Fast X Review

It’s time to take a look at the latest Fast and the Furious film. As you can expect this one is going to be a ton of nonstop action and at this point in the series the cast is rather huge. I’d say the movie does a great job of giving everyone something to do. There are so many cutaways to different locations and it’s pretty much the Infinity War of the racing series. It’s easily one of the stronger films in the series and it really shows how this series has become consistently great ever since the 5th movie. It can now be compared with heavy hitters like Mission Impossible. Throw in the fact that this film is “Part 1” and you’re also guaranteed a fun cliffhanger.

The movie starts with a flashback to the 5th film introducing us to the new villain, Dante. He’s the son of the guy who got bumped off in the 5th movie and now he wants revenge. He has been biding his time for years now and is finally ready to make his move and take Dominic down. Specifically he wants to destroy his family first and then take Dominic down for the count. He will have to go up against an army of heroes though so does he really have what it takes? Well, time to find out.

So one of the benefits of a movie series is that you have a lot of time to introduce all of the characters and develop them over time. When handled correctly, an ambitious film 10 will always beat the oneshot adventure because you are able to make this as grand as possible. This movie brings in characters from so many films and so many plotlines that it automatically gives the film a big boost. It almost feels like a crossover to an extent even though it’s just one film. Particularly characters like Shaw and Jakob because they almost feel like they’re from different series.

The action scenes here are really on point as you would expect. The films have so many hand to hand fights now in addition to the car scenes and they all work well. The choreography is on point and it’s also nice seeing the different fighting styles. Jakob fights more like a special ops guy with precision shotgun blasts to the head, Shaw fights like an assassin using every trick in the book, Cipher fights with deadly short stabs, etc. At this point they’re all so powerful and some of these characters have to fight other established fighters which makes for a wild ride.

The pacing is also excellent. The chases and action scenes start off almost right away and from there it tends to be nonstop. The movie is long and it feels long, but in that time it still manages to cover more than you would expect. I like how the characters keep hopping across the globe into different countries. The constant change in scenery is nice and the film keeps up with the different song styles all throughout as well. The movies have always had a really solid soundtrack and I’d say this one fits right in. The songs always get your blood pumping as you get ready for more high intensity races.

At this point of course there aren’t a lot of actual races though. There are a ton of car chases and action scenes but there’s only one real race and it’s very short. It was still nice to see it for an instant though and I thought the movie did a great job of setting it up. We meet a hype character who has been winning a lot of races lately. She believes that beating Dominic will be easy, then you have Dante in his villainous car and one of Dominic’s local supporters. It had all the setup and stakes of a true race.

With this much nonstop action you may worry about it being too much but that’s not a problem. The action scenes are all different so that’s never really a concern. All of the best scenes involve some kind of action but the title never loses its heart either. My favorite moment was definitely when Letty decided to take down Cipher. Sure Cipher may be helpful in the current predicament but you can’t forget what she’s already done to the heroes so there’s no time to work as buddies. She just had to be taken out of the equation real quick.

Even with a film this great of course there will always be some issues. No movie is perfect after all. The weakest part in this one would be the main villain Dante. The film’s definitely playing him up as a super quirky villain. He has a lot of comedic moments in a dark humor kind of way like talking with dead bodies and generally acting insane. He probably laughs about as much as the Joker and Dante tries not to take himself too seriously. He’s always squealing and trying to play mind games on the heroes. So far we have not been able to really see him fight though as he folds like an omelet the instant the heroes finally get to him.

His planning is good of course and the guy is one step ahead of the heroes the whole time so you do have to give him a lot of credit. The guy is good at what he does and a true threat but I can’t say that I found him all that engaging or exciting as a villain. Personally I just was not impressed and he would be one of the weaker villains for me. His scenes tended to be the weakest part and you were just waiting for the heroes to step in. His intro scene of appearing before Cipher also had a whole ton of plot armor for him to get so far.

There’s also the one obligatory scene of Dominic driving towards a racing area where we get some random dancing and fanservice. I feel like they squeeze one scene like this into every film just for tradition even though it doesn’t actually add anything to the story. You’ll be rolling your eyes at that scene and just waiting for the next one but beyond that the rest of the film is definitely legit.

Meanwhile Cipher continues to be a great villain through and through. She really managed to overcome the odds by taking on such a large group of fighters. She was one of the big masterminds in previous films and I’m glad that she’s still got it. I did mix up her and Tess at one point because they look so similar but both are quality characters so that wasn’t much of a problem. Hopefully Cipher continues to get some more fights in the next one. Eventually they do need to take her down though, I hope all of the heroes hold a grudge like Letty and don’t just forget how evil she was.

Little Nobody doesn’t get to do a whole lot here. The guy continues to look incredibly unimpressive which is why we need the real Nobody back. I feel like this guy only exists to get styled on every single time. Tess was a fun addition to the cast though. I look forward to seeing her get to fight a little more next time but already she’s done a lot to prove that she is someone who shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Then there is Isabel who has a smaller role than most of the other characters but I liked her confidence in the race. She definitely knows how to race but at the same time if you’re Dominic you’re probably not worried. Shaw’s role is also pretty small here but I’d say in large part it’s because he would really steal the show if he was here longer. What are the villain’s really going to do against a fighter who is this skilled and prepared? Shaw is really in a different league from pretty much all the main characters here, even Dominic would likely go down against this guy. Always satisfying to see how he fights.

Roman and Tej have a lot of fun banter throughout the film as always. I tend to prefer Roman as a character because no matter how things turn out the guy always has something witty to say while Tej tries to bring the mood down. Their fight definitely felt like the most random part of the whole film though. I kept waiting for there to be a twist about how this was going to lure the villains’ out or something but I guess they actually did just need to mix it up a bit. Ultimately this subplot served its role well as the more comedic B plot.

Ramsey and Han also tagged along for the ride. Ramsey did her usual solid hacking and Han gave us a way to bring Shaw back into the mix so that was fun. In a way the characters didn’t get to do much other than just hanging out nd being themselves but that’s all you really need. Another benefit of this being a sequel, you already know the characters so it’s not like they have to be introduced again.

Then there is Mia whose appearance is small but she does well in it. She definitely still knows how to fight and gives the villains a really tough time all the way through. Hopefully they can incorporate her more into the plot again at some point. Then once Jakob shows up he really begins to steal the show in his subplot. The guy does a great job of looking after the kid for the most part and it felt like he kept a lot of the strength that he had as a villain. This guy isn’t going to go down easily and has a lot of his own contacts. Fans of the character should definitely be real satisfied here.

Letty does well as the main heroine. She is always quick to fight and did keep up with Dante for quite a while which was impressive. Whenever Dominic tries to leave on a solo mission she does not let him and that’s the right way to go. At this point they need to be a team so no running off solo like in the old days. At this point Dominic needs to be able to trust the team and she makes sure to press that point. Letty also more than justifies her own involvement since she can take care of herself.

Then we have the new government head Aimes who really doesn’t want to hear any stories and just wants to take Dominic down for the count. The guy is definitely as unreasonable as possible and doesn’t like the whole family approach. It is fun how he basically acknowledges that everyone always turns good and joins the barbeque by the end of the film. It’s the right level of awareness without actually breaking the 4th wall. In general I liked all of the callbacks here and references to different parts of the franchise. It worked really well.

Finally we have Dominic who is a great main character as always. He gives more lessons about just how important family is and never lets up on this. He goes through a lot here but always comes up with a plan and thinks things through. I really have no problems with Dominic because he’s just a stand up guy who always does the right thing and doesn’t waver. There aren’t any real flaws to point to here and that’s why he’s a character that everyone else can rally behind. As long as he has a car then he has a chance and that will always be the case here.

The film has a great cliffhanger to end things off. It takes full advantage of the fact that this is a multi parter and a two part film should never end with things appearing to be resolved. (Slight shots to the RWBY/Justice League film) This is definitely how you do it. Then you have an after credits scene which was excellent. One of the stand out scenes in the film. Now this isn’t how the film would play out but imagine for a minute if the second film only focused on the character who appeared at the end? Sort of like a redo but seeing if the strategy would work on this character. Trust me, I don’t think it will. This character does have some family weaknesses as well but he’s ready for action. The first thing I said when leaving the theatre is that the villain’s going to be in for a surprise because this guy won’t be going down the way a certain other character did.

New main character, new rules. This guy also isn’t hiding and the sheer top level confidence here was great. A super bold move would be not to bring back just about any of the characters from this film so the sequel is just the characters who were all right by the end of this one. Realistically though this is the kind of film where you’re expecting more of a full teamwork, celebration mood by the end. Nothing wrong with that either, but the possibilities for the sequel are just so good. X already set a high bar but the sequel could manage to top it and I’m eager to see how this plays out.

Overall, Fast X is a great film. It’s really got everything that you could want in an action thriller. A lot of action and a lot of thrills. Yeah that may just sound like more of the same but why fix what isn’t broken right? I would say there is probably still more action here than even in previous films though. It feels like the most nonstop out of all the films at least after watching it. It’s a perfect film for theaters in that respect as well because hearing all of the sounds and watching this on the big screen was a real treat. It may be tougher to watch if you haven’t seen the previous 9 but either way you want to catch this film before it leaves theaters because it is definitely on point!

Overall 8/10

F9 Review

Fast and the Furious has had quite a lot of solid films throughout the series. It started out a bit slow but kept on getting better by the 5th film. By this point we’re back on the way down a bit since there aren’t any Hobbs or Shaw characters to help keep things going. I think after you’ve been with those characters for so long it’s hard to go back to not having them around anymore. This is still a good film but you don’t feel like it’s quite on the level that they used to be at.

The movie starts off with a flashback about Dom and his brother Jakob as they were watching his father in a race before he was unfortunately obliterated in a big explosion. Dom find out that Jakob seemingly sabotaged the car and banishes him from the family. Jakob then went on to become one of the world’s greatest intelligence agents and works for many different villains on really difficult missions. Now he has captured Cipher and has access to some of the most powerful weapons imaginable. The gang are forced to call Dominick Toretto back into action but he refuses since he’s retired. The choice is taken out of his hands when his wife Letty agrees to help though so he tags along. Can they take Jakob down or has this man grown too powerful to be stopped?

I like the idea of Jakob more than the actual character. So you’ve got the long lost brother who is super skilled in a car and can match Toretto blow for blow. I mean that’s pretty cool right off the bat and I can even overlook how he just wasn’t mentioned all these years even if that is rather odd. No my main problem is that his character arc felt really rushed by the end and we didn’t get the satisfying clash with Toretto that I was waiting for. When Hobbs first showed up we had a great confrontation with Toretto that absolutely lived up to everything you could have hoped for. When Shaw appeared he also got a great clash. Jakob though? Nah not really. They get to talk and we learn more about the past but outside of a quick race and confrontation later on it isn’t nearly as grand. I feel like they fumbled this character a bit.

If anything Jakob’s best scene was when he was talking tough to Cipher. She tried to psycho analyze him and he just wasn’t having it. He had good comebacks for all her insults and just walked off. That’s exactly how you have to handle these manipulative villains or else you will always be in trouble. They could have probably shortened the flashbacks to when they were kids as well to be honest since those scenes weren’t as exciting. I think you could have condensed that really easily.

Now lets go back to the positives for a moment. One thing the series has always done well and continues to do well is delivering on a ton of nonstop action. The fights just keep on coming here and there are explosions around every corner. I think it’s safe to say that all action fans should be really satisfied while watching the movie. While the story may be more forgettable, all of the characters get their moments and that’s impressive because the cast is absolutely massive here! That also means the group splits up real fast so they aren’t all united until the end of the film.

The after credits scene here is also a lot of fun. A character that I had been wanting to show up at least gets a small cameo this way. I would have still liked more content out of him but I’ll take what I can get. He’s still a very powerful fighter after all so I expect he can beat anyone who gets in his way so the group is lucky that he’s basically a hero now. Perhaps one who is still very extreme and will crush anyone in his way but an ally all the same. The series continues its streak of great endings with this.

As always Toretto is a good main character. I really don’t blame him for wanting to get out of the business either. It’s a dangerous line of work to be taking on countries and such and now that he has a kid to think about he shouldn’t be taking extra risks. Once he’s on the mission he does use all of his resources to get to the bottom of it though. He does nothing halfhearted and that’s what I like about him. Letty also looks really good here as she was the one who was proactive about helping out from the start. She’s always ready to fight and isn’t afraid of taking the lead on these missions.

Roman and Tej mainly get the comic relief plots here. Roman does tend to really take down a lot of enemies when it counts though so you have to give him a lot of props there. He always pulls through and then Tej has the tech aspects on point. Ramsey is also important for helping on that end so the hero group really has a whole lot of talent now. Even Mia steps in to help out and it’s been a while since that happened. Now a big controversy before the film came out was Han showing up since we saw him die rather clearly. I will say that the explanation they gave here wasn’t very good at all. Like almost anything else would have been a better explanation. What would I have done? I would have had the cops run to the wreck and find Han alive in the explosion because he had some kind of sci-fi suit materialize over him at the last instant. That would have absolutely been more convincing if you ask me.

It is nice to see Han back of course but they could have tried a bit harder there. As for Cipher, it was nice to see her return. She’s easily the most personal villain of the group with what she did to Toretto in the past and I actually wasn’t expecting to see her again so that was a welcome surprise. The films are great at expanding the cast a whole lot but even then this one went the extra mile with a bunch of other characters showing up too. I actually don’t think Cipher is getting a redemption arc anytime soon so this is one character who is going to stay bad to the bone the whole time.

The film has a lot of music going on as the characters run around the planet and it works pretty well. The variety of the songs is good and most of these did land. I appreciated the throwbacks to Tokyo Drift as well. I would have liked it if the old protagonist there could have actually fought a bit more with the team though. He was a solid racer in that movie after all so I feel like he could have really contributed even though he hasn’t been in the game for a while. That’s just how good he should be when he’s behind the wheel since you never really lose those skills. They just stick with you through thick and thin.

Overall, F9 is a pretty good movie. It just feels a bit more forgettable than the others. Maybe it needed to pick a plot and focus on it more like the rivalry with Jakob. There’s a whole lot of untapped potential there. We find out some twists about the past of course but at the end of the day I wouldn’t say it makes Jakob look all that great anyway. Maybe the next film will help me like him more but with how his character arc went he’s already going to be rather different this time around. If you’ve watched the previous titles then you definitely need to check this out and I would still recommend it to the average movie viewer who isn’t into the series yet. It may not be the best one but it’s pretty fun and at the end of the day what more do you need than that right?

Overall 7/10

Jingle All the Way 2 Review

It’s time to look at the sequel that nobody even knows about. The original Jingle All the Way is classic at this point, but the sequel has been overlooked time and time again. At this point, a third film is unlikely to come out anytime soon. It’s definitely not a bad film and I thought that it was entertaining enough, but it certainly is a step down over the last film. You can tell right away that this wasn’t a theater film and the soundtrack isn’t quite as good. You can draw a lot of similarities between this and Home Alone 4, but the ending is much better here.

It is almost Christmas time and Larry wants to give his daughter Noel the best Christmas ever. The problem is that her new Step-Dad please wants to have her over for Christmas. The official system is that she switches between them every year as they alternate days, but the step Dad pulls rank. The compromise is that Larry will have her for the first half and will then bring her back over for the second half. In the week leading up to Christmas, he now has to really show Victor up. He steals her letter to Santa, where Noel asks for a super cool Teddy Bear. Larry knows what he has to do but Victor won’t make it easy.

Once again, it’s one of those cases where the contrast between the two Dads is probably exaggerated a little too much. Larry has let himself go since the marriage fell apart and now he’s super overweight. He’s not very smart and economically he isn’t doing well either. He attempts to impress Noel by connecting his car lights to the Christmas ones, but ends up losing all of his electricity so they can’t bake cookies or even have a proper breakfast. They have to settle for cereal. Larry’s a nice and likable guy, but it’s clear who we are supposed to think will give Noel a better Christmas when it comes to material goods. What works in Larry’s favor is that he has no real responsibilities and can just hang out with Noel all day. They go sledding, ice fishing, and do all kinds of stuff. Larry’s super laid back and relaxed as well with a charismatic personality so it’s easy to see why he’s fun to be around.

One thing that really hurts Larry’s case though is the fact that he’s always taking cheap shots at Victor. You never see Victor insulting Larry, but whenever Larry sees something that he can use against Victor, he takes it. “I bet Victor’s food isn’t this good right Noel?” “I bet Victor’s no fun” and he takes shots at Victor throughout the entire film. Naturally, the writers make sure that Victor jumps over the fence in the last part of the film, but otherwise, it’s hard not to be in his corner right from the start. Also, Larry cheats at games.

Sleigh bells ring…are you listening? Odds are that you’re not if you’re Victor. He’s so rich that he is hosting the town’s Christmas party this year and even buys a 10000 dollar tree. He wants to make Noel’s Christmas great so she can accept him as her new Dad. He pulls out all the stops and I wouldn’t even say that it’s to make Larry look bad. He’s just insecure and is doing everything that he can to give himself better odds. It only gets personal once he finds out that Larry is looking for a bear so he decides to buy all of them in the city. This is the only part where he goes too far as he wrecks many Christmases since everyone wanted the toy and it was a pretty dirty move. He is forced to give them back by the end and the heroes make up. So, the film wants you to go with Larry or to admit to a draw, but I’m going with Victor here. I’m not saying that money wins, but Larry had many chances, but blew them all. Victor wouldn’t have been able to buy all of the toys if Larry hadn’t slept in. Furthermore, they both (Victor’s proxy anyway) ran into a store at the same time when it opened, but Larry was outrun (Of course) and by the time he got to the toy section, they’d all been nabbed. Larry did his best after that, but he got taken into a choke hold and an Elf beat him up after that. It was rough for Larry, but at least he never gave up.

Noel was actually a lot better than Jamie from the first film. She was really understanding the whole time and took everything in stride. It was as if nothing could bring her down and the only thing that mildly upset her was how everyone kept fighting over her. She got everyone in line though and ultimately acted like one of the best kids in recent films. It’s hard to be better than her. Her Mom didn’t really have a role at all, which was surprising. She basically just watched the two Dads fight with an amused expression the whole time.

The film’s humor does occasionally wander into lower depths than the first film. Larry gets so nervous that he does something pretty sad and then makes sure to tell his friend about it. Not only is this not funny, but it doesn’t make sense. At least not for something this mild. The scene where Larry’s looking for trees and an attendant comes out to help him is also poorly handled with cringe worthy dialogue at every corner. That moment couldn’t end fast enough! Once those two moments were out of the way though, the rest of the film is fairly sound.

It certainly flew by fast and the film was just entertaining. While Larry was a little too exaggerated to allow him to be a winner here, his personality was handled well. You can still tell that he’s a nice guy as opposed to being a terrible person who just happens to be a good father. There’s a difference, trust me. His Teddy Bear fight with Victor is good as well although it naturally doesn’t beat the fist fights from the first film. I definitely think that this one held back a little too much in that regard. The action was dialed down quite a lot. Perhaps they thought that it would be bad for the kids to see or something? I get that standards have changed over time, but since the WWE helped with this film, you’d expect some action.

Overall, Jingle All the Way 2 is an admirable sequel. It may not have topped the original film, but it’s a good film in its own right. Some parts of it are fairly cheesy and don’t make sense, but that’s the problem with having this plot amidst a very exaggerated contrast. Victor’s speech about how he envies Larry’s ability to go out and have a lot of fun is just a little unbelievable. It’s a lot easier to buy into Larry’s argument since he literally cannot compete with Victor’s money. It doesn’t help that all of Larry’s attempts to do something special for Noel backfire completely. Taking a peek at her letter was also very underhanded and I like to think that Victor would not have done that although I suppose that’s not a complete guarantee. If you want a hidden star in this film, keep an eye out for Victor’s head of security. He may have thrown Victor off the bus by the end, but he did a really good job of executing the mission right from the get go. I’d recommend checking this film out. It also feels pretty fresh since I had not seen it before and adding new Christmas rosters to the collection is always a blast. No worries, it still makes for a good January film. I’d actually like to see a third film and it’d be even better if it was a crossover. They could have both families fighting over one copy of a new toy. Arnold may be old, but he still has fighting spirit and if they could get Myron back, the duo would be set!

Overall 6/10

12 Rounds Review

Time to look at a film that is fairly recent, but fell under my radar. I definitely had not heard of this film until I saw it and the plot is intriguing. It’s one of those films that has the potential to be pretty interesting or a train wreck. Luckily, it turned out to be the former and 12 Rounds was better than I had expected it to be. The film was handled pretty well.

The main character is named Danny and he works for the police. He does his usual nightly patrols with his partner, Hank, when they are roped into preventing an international fugitive from getting away. They go on the trail and after an intense chase scene, Danny is able to apprehend the man. What he didn’t expect was for a truck to run over the villain’s ally. Miles (the villain) swears revenge on Danny as he is taken into custody. One year later, he returns and kidnaps Molly. This is now personal for Danny and the only way for him to rescue her will be to play the “12 Rounds” game. He has to complete 12 challenges in time if he wants to win her back and will Miles really keep his word? It’s a race against time now!

12 Rounds keeps up a very quick pace throughout the film. The action never slows down and it works out pretty well for the film. Danny never gets a break since the rounds always start one after the other and he has to run around all day. The film starts in the morning and ends by the time it is nightfall. There are certainly a lot of action scenes to be found here, but they are typically not fight scenes. An example of one of the action scenes is Danny trying to stop a runaway trolley.

The film has a surprisingly high body count. The deaths are usually expected once the scene is coming close, but you may not have expected some of the characters to go when you first start the film. Danny may still be able to save Molly if he completes the 12 Rounds, but he can say good bye to many bystanders and one of his friends. It’s definitely an easy way to lose morale during the tournament and Danny has his doubts at times, but he keeps on going. There’s not much more that he can do.

The plot twist at the end is a little preposterous though. Let’s just say that the 12 Rounds were planned out very carefully to the point where the villain has to be a super genius. We do get a quick scene to show that he is really smart, but it’s a little over done here. All of Danny’s actions were predicted as well as the Police and the FBI. The plan also revolves around the villain being able to outshoot quite a few of the local cops and he is naturally able to best them with ease. This will certainly stretch your imagination a little bit…that’s for sure.

Danny makes for a pretty good main character. He’s actually almost perfect as he is very smart and a good athlete. He’ll do just about anything to save Molly while he also makes sure to help out the innocents along the way. He’s virtually perfect, which may make some fans wish that he had more character development, but being the ultimate hero is a personality in and of itself. He definitely looks really good here and you can’t blame him for the train hitting one of the villains seeing as how she ran into it. He took the whole situation pretty well.

Miles is a pretty decent villain. Naturally, he blames Danny for everything so he breaks out of jail and sets up one of the most elaborate schemes in cinema history. He’s nothing special when it comes to a fight so he has to rely on his intellect. He never goes too far, which is why I don’t mind him as a villain. He wants revenge and he never loses sight of that objective. Molly is a decent heroine and she also takes the situation as well as she can. I do have to question how she was taken out so easily while on the boat though since there was a lot of security around and someone should have noticed something. That whole scene was definitely a little unbelievable and I have a feeling that it was off screen because there was no believable way to show it.

Luckily, the film ducks the animal violence section twice. Danny’s pet dog makes it outside of the house before it blows up and the guard dog from one of the neighbors steals Danny’s gun without letting the hero get any hits in. I was certainly glad to see that since it proves hat the film knows what it needs to do to continue being a good film. A scene with animal violence would have definitely cost it a positive rating and a 5 would have been the best that it could have hoped for.

12 Rounds can certainly be pretty sad at times when you know that someone is about to be written out. The elevator scene was a little hard to believe though as I think that the main should have been able to get up to grab onto the window with Danny. He was overweight and tired, but when your life is on the line, I imagine that he should have been able to put in the extra effort. The partner of Danny also looked pretty bad during his subplot. He finally locates the villain and allows him to escape so that he can tail the guy. I don’t see how anyone thought that this could possibly be a good idea since they immediately lose him. The hero only has time to use one last insult before getting destroyed.

The writing is pretty decent although the writer must love a certain swear word. It’s always the one that’s used for emphasis when the hero is mocking the villain. “I guess you weren’t in the plans….._____” is something that one of the heroes says. They always finis the sentence and let a little dramatic pause slip by before saying the true insult. It’s rather unnecessary and the language issues don’t actually pop up that often, it’s just notable that the word is always used in that fashion.

Seeing as how there aren’t many fight scenes, the film isn’t that violent. The scene where the villain dies in the beginning is a little intense, but then things soften up for the rest of the film. The final fight between Danny and the main villain is pretty tame with the occasional stab thrown in. I have to say that Danny was pretty disappointing in that fight though. He naturally punches the villain and then assumes that e’s down for the count. I don’t see how you can possibly just turn away from the villain considering the circumstances. That kind of thing just doesn’t happen.

This doesn’t affect the rating since a little plot hax is expected from every film, but the very ending is a little much. The heroes jump from a helicopter into a swimming pool and the pool happens to be deep enough for them not to get injured. Moreover, they time the jump perfectly and their jump didn’t make them hit the rotors. I don’t know about you, but the rotors are why I could never jump from one. I’d slide off of one, but jumping is out of the question. The opening scene where Danny chases the villains is also a bit much as Danny has apparently memorized the neighborhood like the back of his hand to he goes through a lot of shortcuts and jumps through fences while keeping track of the speeding car. I don’t really see this happening to be honest.

The film can be sad at times, but it’s also a pretty fun blockbuster to watch. As I mentioned, the action is really nonstop and the film never goes too far to show us how evil the villain is. He kidnaps Molly and destroys a lot of people, but it’s all done in a reasonable way. This lets us feel free to just enjoy the adventure. Some of the challenges are certainly more interesting than others, but they all can’t be equal right? This is definitely a good film.

Overall, 12 Rounds was certainly better than I had expected. It was tough deciding whether to give it a 6 or a 7 by the end. I narrowly ended up going with the former, but you can certainly make a case for either rating. The concept is pretty cool and the execution of it was satisfactory. It was fun watching Danny tackle the 12 Rounds and the film didn’t fall into many holes. There’s some slight fanservice in one scene and the romance can be pretty cringe worthy thanks to some of the camera angles early on. Those are really some of the only negatives in the film. It’s a pretty good adventure and I recommend checking it out if you are in the mood for a thriller. Who doesn’t want to see John Cena take on a few challenges?!

Overall 6/10

Scooby Doo Wrestlemania Mystery Review

It’s time for the next Scooby Doo adventure! The franchise has always been pretty fun and it’s good to see that it is powering along. The films won’t be stopping anytime soon so the Mystery Gang can continue to prove that they are the best in the biz. This one features some famous wrestlers as well, but will they be of help to the gang..or a hindrance!? It’s going to take everything that Scooby Doo has and more if he wants to save the day!

The film opens with a poor jogger getting attacked by a monster. He puts up a fight, but he’s definitely outmatched. Can this monster actually be real!? Meanwhile, Shaggy and Scooby Doo win a contest by completing their favorite wrestling game. They can now travel to WWE city and show the world what it means to be a fan. The rest of the gang is coerced into coming along via black mail. Unfortunately, they find out about the bear incidents that have been occurring in town. They quickly band together to solve the mystery, but the stakes are high. WWE’s reputation could be tarnished forever if the bear shows up during their big event. It’s a good thing that Fred’s always prepared.

It’s definitely interesting to have real people in the film aside from Scooby and friends. Because of that, there are actually live action segments in the opening credits! I have to say that the opening was one of the best ones that we’ve seen in Scooby Doo though. The song was pretty catchy and the explosion began things off on a good note. After that, it was time to get ready for the mystery. So, quickly I shall talk about each of the main characters and also about the suspects.

Scooby Doo is basically the main character of this adventure. We already know that he’s the heart of the Mystery Inc, but we find out that he’s also the most talented wrestler in this film. His role is a little worse than usual though since he is basically a pawn in the grand scheme of things. Not a very flattering way to leave an impression eh? Let’s just say that Scooby Doo doesn’t have a lot of “strength of character” in this installment and he can’t outrun the other animals. His final fight scene almost helps to fix this, but it’s not handled as well as it could be in terms of courage. Scooby Doo is the heart of the team…but that’s not saying much.

Shaggy is also around of course and he’s basically here to get crushed by the big fighters. He gets insulted to his face at one point and he barely bats an eye. That’s a little disappointing for his fans. He’s very slow on the uptake and you can’t count on Shaggy to win the big fights. It was good to see him blackmail the others, but that was really his only hardcore scene.

Velma and Fred are basically non factors in this film. There was a good scene where Fred and Velma had to start backpedaling faster than Microsoft’s Xbox One policies when Shaggy brought out the blackmail. They definitely underestimated him and that’s not a mistake that you really want to make. At the end, we get a really generic scene where Velma becomes a huge wrestling fan and I’ll admit that it was a little sad to see. It was over the top. Daphne doesn’t do so well in this film. She becomes a little too friendly with John Cena and she forgets what Wrestling is really about. She forgot about the integrity of the sport and she also forgot to stay true ti herself and her anti wrestlingness. This was definitely one of her worst films and hopefully she steps it up from here on out.

John Cena is the main wrestler and he really looks good. He looks insanely good! The writers must have really loved his personality since he’s basically Superman in this film. He’s able to stop a giant rampaging bolder with ease. He’s always got his cell phone at the ready to accept the texts and quickly save the mystery gang. He thinks up plans on the fly like when he had to save the city from the EMP. He is portrayed to be a genius and the strongest human fighter out there. I’ll admit that he was definitely pretty awesome in this film. It goes without saying that he was the best character of the bunch.

Cookie is another one of the suspects. He’s the coach who trains all of the wrestlers and his leg was injured a long time ago during one of the matches. Because of this, he doesn’t want Ruben (Enter the next suspect) to become a wrestler. Ruben is a computer whiz, but he wants to be a wrestler and he’s sad that Cookie keeps trying to stop him. One of them’s going to have to give by the end and neither one of them wants to back down. They were both decent characters, but they were about as generic as they come. I slightly preferred Cookie to Ruben.

Time for the next two suspects. Kane is a wrestler from the old days who wants to get back into the ring. He doesn’t talk all that often, but his fists speak for him. He scares a lot of people along the way and he is a pretty mean individual. Mr. McMahon is the head honcho for the wrestling events and he always has a lot of gusto about him. He talks with pride and he seems to love the wrestling events. He’s a pretty reasonable guy and he is the one who brings the Mystery gang in on the action.

Sin Cara is my second favorite character and his design is pretty cool. It can be a little annoying to see that he doesn’t talk. Not that he can’t talk btw…he just refuses to do so. Luckily, he can talk through is dancing and (Super Indestructible) John Cena knows how to translate. Sin Cara has a lot of knowledge from the olden days and he’s a fighter, but he gets one shotted in his first fight with the bear. Luckily, he makes a comeback and he does much better in round 2. Sin Cara may lack John’s physical might, but he’s very quick and that works to his advantage.

Finally, AJ Lee and Ms. Richards round out the list of suspects. AJ Lee is your typical all star female wrestler who always wins and makes sure to verbally and physically pawn Shaggy and Scooby Doo. She never takes a loss on screen and she’s very confident. Could she be the monster? Ms. Richards doesn’t like the Mystery Gang and she’s in charge of security. She wishes that the gang wasn’t on the case and she’s confident in her tech. Nothing gets past her and she could lose her job if the bear attacks continue to occur.

The Fire Bear is one of the most intense monsters to be seen in the Scooby Doo franchise. Whoever it is, The Fire Bear has a good degree of super strength and speed. It actually knocked away a missile that Fred launched and it was able to take out several professional wrestlers even when they were teaming up. It’s the only being to ever give John Cena a good fight in the film and it kicked one fighter across a long distance. I became an instant fan of the monster!

I definitely enjoyed this film and it was one of the better Scooby Doo adventures. It had its problems of course, but it also succeeded in various ways. The soundtrack was probably the best in the series and it was pretty impressive. The theme that played before the fighters took the stage was like something out of Justice League and the opening credits were solid as well. You felt like you were going in to watch a theater film. The soundtrack definitely gets a 4/5 at the very least. It was limited, but effective.

The fights were also fun to watch. Of course, most of the blows were off screen and someone would quickly get in the way so we missed all of the elbow drops. It was still fun to see some high powered wrestling and it was pretty serious business. It was like playing an old PS1 game. The wrestler slowly picks up and opponent and you get a lot of lag before executing the move. The animation may have been choppy, but it was done in an intentional way that made it fun.

The animation is decent. It’s nothing special of course and you can’t really see much improvement compared to a few years ago. Anime from about 10 years ago can likely top it, but Scooby Doo isn’t about transcending its animation limits. It’s about having fun and the animation definitely isn’t bad.

One negative that I would have with the film is the fact that it does drag on a little bit at some points. The ironic part is that the dragged out moments all involve the gang trying to solve the mystery. I guess the wrestling part was just more interesting this time around. I tried to make the detective work more fun by making a guess based off of all the suspects. My early guess was Sin Cara..which may have been a little dicey. Nontheless, I had to stand by him!

It’s also a little sad to see Daphne being to obvious the whole time about her liking John Cena and Shaggy/Scooby Doo shouldn’t be so nervous anymore. They’ve been through a lot worse. Now, it’s for the sake of tradition and all, but I wouldn’t mind a little character development for these guys. Seeing them make the same mistakes over and over again can be a little sad.

Overall, This was a pretty good Scooby Doo film. It stays true to formula. The fighting scenes were surprisingly intense and we also got some Young Justice cameos. Don’t worry, if you miss it the first time, the film makes sure to keep on showing them until you can’t miss the scene! It was also good to see the video games finally get their props and the film was more enjoyable than most of the others. The food scenes may have lacked some heart and I’m not sure about the new scooby snacks, but seeing food is always fun anyway. I recommend this to any Scooby Doo fan and wrestling fans might like it as a nice homage to the show. John Cena definitely gets a lot of feats.

Overall 6/10