Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Allegiant Review


All right, it’s time to finish off this trilogy. Divergent has had a good start, but all good YA movie titles must end at some point and now this one is over. The true finale was cancelled though so it ended a little sooner than expected, but that’s all right. Unfortunately it does end on a bit of a whimper compared to the first two. There are a lot of good moments here so it’s still not a bad movie, but it really does feel like this arc is a bit of a re-tread in a lot of ways. You’ll start to see how futile the main characters’ rebellion is.

Tris and Four have finally stopped Jeanine and brought the world to a more peaceful place. That was the plan at least, but the new leader Evelyn already seems to be as corrupt as Jeanine. She has shut down the borders so everyone is locked in the tower once more and has decided to execute all of the people who were under Jeanine’s regime. Tris decides that she has had enough waiting and along with Four, Caleb, Peter, and Christina they break through the border to the outside world. This world promises to be a utopia, but is it really so perfect?

This is the kind of plot that can be quite frustrating most of the time. For starters, Tris and Four have already been through quite a lot. Whether or not you think the romance has been handled well, you’d expect them to have complete confidence in each other by now. Unfortunately the villains are able to create a bit of a rift between them and sucker Tris throughout the movie. Usually in these situations I would say that both characters deserve 50$ of the blame, but in this case I have to say that it is all Tris. Tris has been shown to be a very smart character in the past two films and doesn’t just believe what she hears.

Instead she falls for every trick in this book. She comes across as very naïve and nearly costs Four his life by walking away with the villain. She doesn’t even seem to consider that he is actually right and we do the whole “No time to talk” part where if she just stopped to listen then the whole thing would be over. This is definitely Tris’ weakest film. Now, even if she had listened to Four there is no guarantee that she could have done a whole lot to stop the villains of course, but at least she would have been in a position to do something. By ignoring all of the issues it just gets worse for everyone else.

Meanwhile, this is Four’s best film yet though. Throughout the series he has been portrayed as one of the best fighters in the series and this one doubles down on that. He takes out a whole plane full of armed guards and tends to beat up everyone who gets in his way. He just leaves a wave of destruction in his wake and it’s pretty satisfying. He figures out the truth about the place very quickly. In part it’s because he didn’t trust them from the beginning, but that is the right outset. Look, you’ve grown up in a dystopian future where everyone’s been lying to you from the start. Why would you go somewhere else and assume that it would be better? I’m sure Four was hoping the place would be great, but he didn’t just suddenly take them all at their word. That was the right call here.

Meanwhile, this is Caleb’s film to try and make a big comeback. He looked really bad in the last film to the point of being borderline irredeemable. In this one he knows that he owes Tris his life several times over and is doing his best to atone. It’s clear right now that he does regret his actions so he looks a lot better here, but I’m still not a fan of the character. Even now he gets a little too absorbed in the data part of what’s going on and loses sight of what’s important. He does come through when it counts though so you do have to give him some credit.

Then you’ve got Peter. He’s been super manipulative throughout the films and has been a fun villain. I don’t think it’s likely that you will like the character, but I do enjoy him as an obstacle for the heroes. He’s consistent with how overconfident and arrogant he is. No matter which side he is helping you can bet that Peter will be doing his best to tick everyone off and play them against each other. You can’t even say that his role here is all that unexpected since he has made it clear in the past that you can’t trust him. It’s a shame that we aren’t getting the next film because they’re definitely setting up for a really big fight between him and Four. As it stands Four would crush him if it’s a fair fight so Peter will have to come up with a plan. Peter’s a jerk, but that’s a trait that works really well for a villain.

Then you’ve got David who is the main villain here. The film kind of toys with the idea of him being an old man who just doesn’t know what is going on, but never really goes for that because almost immediately they make him look shady. The problem is that you can’t really take him all that seriously as a villain because he’s just an old guy who can’t really fight. He has the country in his pocket so he is tough to stop, but that’s about it. As a result his final scene is more humorous than threatening. I dare you not to crack a grin as the film ends because it is definitely going for a very ominous moment that will keep you up at night getting ready for the sequel, but it’s hard to take seriously.

That being said, the heroes really should have no chance in a 4th film if you ask me. What can they possibly do? The heroes are outnumbered by an insane amount and are also outgunned. They have basic guns, but the villains have high tech robots that can do just about anything and even come complete with barriers. Still, having a cliffhanger is better than not having one so even if I couldn’t take David seriously, I do like that the film made the attempt.

Then we have Evelyn and her civil war plot. She may protest quite a lot, but at the end of the day she basically is Jeanine 2.0. She may have different views, but she goes about them in the exact same way so you can’t really say that there are a bunch of differences between them. I do think she is a more interesting villain than Jeanine though and she is pretty serious about her goals. Evelyn does get manipulated a little easier than Jeanine though so if I were comparing the villains in terms of who is better at the role, Jeanine is definitely more successful.

Evelyn somehow manages to blow her lead against the Allegiant so badly that they outnumber her at the end and are about to claim victory. That’s pretty crazy since she should have easily been able to win even without using the gas at her disposal. I feel like it was just an excuse to quickly throw in why the gas was necessary, but it didn’t add up. Maybe something was cut out from the book here.

Going back to why this film was weaker than the others, I really think it’s all about how Tris was handled. She’s one of the highlights of the series and I felt like her character took a few steps back. Right when David started not allowing Four to accompany her she should have known that something was up. She also should have protested and just not met up with David in that case. There are many way she could have handled this better. I’m also not sure about her just sitting back and not even speaking out against the trials near the beginning. Inaction is never a good thing.

Also, as I mentioned it’s like we’re back to square one. The heroes beat one dictator, but now they’re up against another and are outnumbered again. They’re going to be the rebellion yet again only with double the trouble this time. They can handle this plot reasonably I’m sure, but not much would probably happen until the next film. The pacing here is good, but it all just feels futile because you never feel like they’re going to come out on top here. There’s not much they can do as just a city against the rest of the world. Even the random jello scene (Completely unnecessary) at the beginning shows how they could have easily choked all of the heroes right there and it’d be game over. Their tech just doesn’t play fair.

As always the fight scenes are definitely top notch though. Pretty much any scene with Four in it is a great moment. The airplane fight where he uses all of the enemy weapons against themselves is particularly brilliant. Those guys definitely didn’t have a chance. Surprisingly I’d say that the little drones didn’t really make for more enjoyable fight scenes likely due to the fact that the barriers are extremely overpowered against ordinary guys with guns.

Overall, Allegiant continues to build the world and does introduce a lot of new elements into the mix. Unfortunately, they don’t always feel necessary and this is a story that really feels like it wrapped up pretty nicely in the last film. I’m not really sure we needed another civil war to bring the factions back. Of course it is realistic because people never want to ditch the old ways. It probably should have picked one plot (Outside world or civil war) and stuck to that though, have the other plot pick up afterwards. It may not have been the big finale we may have hoped for, but at the same time this trilogy was considerably better than I was expecting so that was good.

Overall 6/10

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Insurgent Review


Time to jump into the sequel to Divergent! As you likely read in my last review, the series is off to a good start so the question is really whether or not the sequel could manage to keep up the momentum. Well, I can safely say that it did. It continues to harness the same level of energy and makes for a pretty fast paced sequel. I do feel like the third film is going to be the one that has a hard time keeping up since this film basically ends the main plot. The third film would be starting a whole new arc and since it’s the last film there isn’t a whole lot of time to finish it.

The second film picks up pretty much right after the first one ended. Jeanine isn’t happy about how things have turned out so she has just made it plain and clear that she is taking over the world. She does so under the guise of justice though so people are pretty cool with it. The only faction that didn’t like her has been wiped out anyway so they don’t care much. Four and Tris are still on the run and decide that they need to meet up with the rest of Dauntless to regroup. Along the way they’ll have to deal with faction-less gangs as well as get past other factions and a peace group to reach their goal. Once they make it they’ll have to then decide how to handle this situation. Do they start a civil war and take Jeanine down or just flee the country and risk seeing what is hidden beyond the borders? I don’t think I mentioned it in my last review, but in Divergent the world is surrounded by a lot of large walls. Supposedly there is nothing beyond those walls except for deserts, but most of the characters don’t believe this.

The film starts up with the characters hiding among a group of peaceful people who don’t want to take a side in the current situation. That’s rarely a choice in these things though so they are just prolonging the inevitable. The heroes can’t stay long though since Peter picks a fight and Tris nearly murders him. It does help them see Peter’s true colors though and the heroes fight their way out and onto a train. This leads to another action scene where they are forced to take on the whole crew. Both of them do a good job of holding their own here. Tris and Four take down a significant amount of enemies, but ultimately are not on the winning side here since they are simply too outnumbered. They would have been in a better spot if Tris’ brother Caleb had actually been helping more, but he was too scared to act. It’s a solid action scene though and definitely gets the film off on the right note. That’s already quite a few fight scenes and the film had only barely started.

Caleb never quite recovers though. I didn’t like him in the first film and he is significantly worse here. Being afraid of the villains isn’t a bad thing, but when you’re so afraid that you’re willing to let them murder your family that’s when things have gone too far. He should definitely be pretty ashamed after that and then he makes all of the wrong calls as the film goes on. By the end of it you just can’t like this character. He quickly sinks to being one of the worst characters in the movie.

Meanwhile Peter gets a bigger role here and he continues trying to be as unlikable as possible too. He antagonizes Tris quite a bit, but since she is such a quality character she shuts that down real quick. Not only does she completely overwhelm him in combat, but she scares him enough where you know he won’t try picking another fair fight with her again. An extra second and he would have been down for the count. Peter comes across as fairly petty though since most of his latter scenes seem to be direct retaliation against her. He never seemed like a trust worthy ally though so it’s not like this is surprising.

If you think about it there are probably more antagonists than heroes in this film. You’ve also got Eric who returns again and is still the villain who appears the most. While he isn’t the best fighter compared to the others, he usually has some kind of advantage to help him. The mind control serums and knock out gas still work as well as ever and he’s always got a gun. His fight with Four goes as you would expect though and was handled really well. It definitely made Four look good. Jeanine is still a solid villain, but she does appear to have lost a lot of her intelligence here. She’s very obvious about how she doesn’t care for her lackeys and that’s not a good idea when you put one of them in charge of your entire security system. At least pretend to be looking out for that guy or just destroy him otherwise. That felt like the beginning of the end for her.

Four and Tris are pretty consistent with their first appearance. Four still makes it clear that he’s here to protect Tris first and save the world second. I’m glad that he doesn’t hesitate in heading over to save Tris and just leaves the compound. He has the right priorities there. While I’m definitely still not with the romance now that it’s already a thing it’s naturally less forced than in the first film. It’s more or less just how things are so it’s not really a matter of questioning its inclusion now. Tris goes for the classic action star haircut here which seems to happen to most protagonists at some point or other. I’ll definitely miss the more Metroid esque look, but it’s not like it changes her personality. She’s still just as tough as always. Just as she was ruthless in combat during the first film she definitely doesn’t hesitate here and continues to be one of the better heroines. She definitely goes through a lot here since her allies keep dying left and right. That’s why it’s tough being the toughest person in the room since its inevitable that you’ll see some allies get taken down along the way.

Christina gets less of a role here than in the first film. She spends a lot of it being fairly upset, but ultimately handles it well. It’s hard to blame her since being directly lied to is never any fun, but at the end of the day she still helped out when necessary and didn’t try to get revenge on Tris or anything like that. I don’t think you could ask for a better reaction to her situation. Four’s parents show up and his Dad is still pretty bad. He’s the kind of character who absolutely can’t be redeemed at this point and I think the film knows it. He half heartedly attempts to bridge the gap to no success. The Mom in comparison doesn’t seem nearly as guilty. Of course leaving Four wasn’t the right call and she should have found a way to take him, but at least she wasn’t actively being a villain. The film is definitely hinting that she is a dangerous character though so it’ll be interesting to see what she does in the third movie.

All of the strengths from the first film carry over to this one. The writing is pretty solid and the core characters are good. We get a lot of nice action scenes which definitely hold up and the pacing is solid. The film doesn’t drag on and it avoids making any big mistakes. It does have more emotional moments than the first film which do slow the film down to an extent, but I don’t think it’s overplayed. You do feel bad for the random dude who shows up to talk to Tris when she’s down though since you know that he’s dead right away. This is the kind of film where you just know that the no names are doomed as soon as they start to talk. Any divergent who isn’t Four or Tris is also typically doomed since none of them are all that smart. If you notice that everyone is acting evil and mind controlled you should probably pretend to be under the spell too instead of wandering around looking confused. One of the kids also doesn’t look good since she disobeys orders, but as she’s a kid you can’t be quite as harsh I suppose.

The dream sequences for the trials are still pretty fun. We get quite a few of them and Tris gets to show her determination each time. Even when there’s one simulation that is obviously not the real world the film handles it pretty well so people who are new to the genre could potentially fall for it. Tris also gets random nightmares throughout the film. These aren’t quite as interesting visually or even in context, but it does show up the events are messing Tris up. In such a hopeless world I imagine that most of the characters are pretty messed up by now. The best of the training sequences is definitely Tris trying to save her mother from a burning building. It depicts her determination pretty well and I still remember seeing that part in a trailer which is what made the series look interesting in the first place.

Of course the best sequence in the movie is also in the dream world. You can call it the final test/sequence, but basically Tris has to fight herself in the simulation. The effects here are awesome and it’s like a fight out of Man of Steel. You can feel the intensity behind every hit and by the end of the match you are definitely fully on board with that being the definitive scene. I’d like to have more fights like that, but realistically it isn’t likely. I’m just glad they were able to put in such a cool fight.

Overall, Insurgent continues to keep the series on track. Again, I do think the third film may have a tough time since I feel like the upcoming plot wouldn’t be as interesting, but there are countless ways the movie can go from here so I suppose I can’t really say that with any confidence. I’ll go into the next movie with an open mind ready to see what they’ve got in store. While you could probably watch this film and understand everything without the first it’s definitely the kind of trilogy where you are meant to watch it in order. More so than most of the other trilogies these 2 films at least feel like one big story that you’ll want to watch almost back to back for the maximum experience.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Divergent Review


I remember seeing the trailer to the second film in this series many years ago. It was a pretty solid one and definitely gave the series a more interesting vibe to me than the competitors like Hunger Games. Still, now that I’ve finally seen it, does the movie live up to the hype? I do think it’s a pretty fun movie, but nothing particularly special. There’s enough here to keep you marching towards the sequel.

The film introduces us to a world where people are divided into sub categories based on a test result and then their own choice via blood oath. There are a handful of titles in the world, but the one that looks the most enjoyable to the main character Tris is the battle faction Dauntless. She undergoes the test, but the result gets glitched out and she is told to keep this a secret. Tris doesn’t like the way this is going, but it does mean that she can effectively choose whatever faction she wants. She naturally chooses Dauntless and after a harsh initiation barely manages to get in. She finds out that she is what they call a “Divergent” who is smarter and more emotional than the average human. Unfortunately the government doesn’t seem to like divergents so she will have to keep this under wraps. It’s a lot of pressure but she’ll just have to keep this in mind as she also struggles to stay in Dauntless as the commander decides to keep on weeding out the lowest ranking members.

It’s a pretty interesting future setup. Naturally you’ll have a lot of questions about how humanity arrived at this point, but the past doesn’t have to be explained all that much as you can just take this at face value. Of course you can probably anticipate some of the upcoming twists relating to the world structure as a result. In general I like the world that’s built here. It’s a lot more interesting than both Maze Runner and the Hunger Games since we actually have some future tech here and you can tell that we’re still in the future. I think it defeats the purpose of a future setting to have everything look really old so Divergent doesn’t fall into this trap.

It’s also got a reasonable cast. I like Tris wayyyyyyyy more than Katniss or that guy from Maze Runner. A point in her favor is that she is quick to adapt to what’s going on rather than panicking. In her first moments as Dauntless she is told to jump off a building, jump off a train, climb a tower, and do all kinds of crazy stuff. She just gets it all done without complaint. Now this doesn’t mean that Tris is completely fearless, she admits as much during the film, but she always puts on a brave face which is important. You have to act the part if you want to eventually live it out. Tris calls several characters’ bluffs and steps up to protect her friends when they’re about to get diced. She’s just a great lead and does a good job of carrying the film.

As for the main guy, Four is fairly good. He’s a solid fighter and doesn’t approve of Eric’s harsh methods of teaching the recruits. However, he doesn’t do anything to stop Eric so I can’t give him all that much credit yet. He likes Tris so he coaches her and helps the lead out, but he doesn’t do that for anyone else. Towards the end of the film he gets better at doing his own thing though. One thing that may be a bit overdone is how many times he grabs Tris to turn her around when she’s trying to leave. It’s borderline becoming a running gag by the end of the film and it even carries into the next installment. I guess he really needs eye contact when talking to her. Four’s definitely fairly gruff and mean to everyone who isn’t Tris but he’s still solid overall.

The other characters start to get a little dicey. You’ve got Eric who’s the commander of the Dauntless. He’s obviously corrupt from the start and is happy to murder his fellow comrades. In this grim world where everyone’s mean and thinks about themselves you’d think that someone would have rebelled by now. The guy has quite a lot of control and seems to be pretty much untouchable. Then you’ve got Al who’s pretty nervous the whole film and cracks by the end. He’s definitely a terrible character. Tris’ brother is pretty annoying as well as he is quick to ditch Tris and everyone else for his new job. The guy has a very inflated ego and is brainwashed with ease.

Christina is a good ally at least. She goes out of her way to help make Tris feel welcome in the beginning. She does make some dicey decisions to antagonize Eric and Four without a plan though. It’s played off like she doesn’t know better, but by that point I feel like she should. Then you’ve got the antagonistic Peter. It’s actually pretty hard to get a bead on the guy since sometimes he’ll seem like a friend who just goes a little too far with his jokes while in other scenes he seems downright villainous. He does add some personality to the cast though and is a good addition. Finally you’ve got leader of the government, Jeanine. She makes sure that everyone stays in their lane and definitely has big plans. She’s fairly generic, but handled pretty well. It’s nothing that you haven’t seen well, but the writers did handle her character with care so it’s not like she’s just going through the motions.

I definitely have to give the film a thumbs up for the writing. I’m not going to say that it was exceptional, but it did take shots at something that a lot of films let slide. Lets go back and imagine this scenario. You’ve just been selected to join the meanest, most corrupt squad in the land. You’ve just seen as Four and Eric have yelled, bullied, and beat up anyone who dares challenge them. Are you going to continue to antagonize them? Well, a lot of the characters would say yes to that. In their defense, you usually get away with making sarcastic remarks in most other films. Even the mean characters will just shoot you a glare for doing that. Not so in this film. One character remarks later on in the film that the guns look pretty weak so naturally Eric shoots her to prove that it wasn’t. Another one asks Eric if she can give up even after he told them numerous times not to give up or bad things would happen. He ends up throwing her over a cliff. Another guy says he won’t go pick up his dagger so Eric uses him as live dagger throwing practice.

It feels like these characters just never learn. They come across as extremely slow on the uptake. It’s handled pretty realistically with the consequences for this though as naturally the villains won’t let it slide. A lot of the film is fairly dark and mean spirited like this as being in Dauntless is definitely portrayed as being a life threatening situation. Still, the film never goes too far with it so it doesn’t actually hurt the film.

One weakness the movie does have is the inevitable romance between Tris and Four though. It really is just there to fill in all the usual tropes, but it all happens very fast and there’s no real reason for it. Four basically did save Tris’ life multiple times so it’s not unreasonable that she would fall for him, but at the same time with the stakes so high it’s not really the right time or place for it. It also eats up valuable time that could be used for other aspects of the movie. Most of the movie is well paced, but it gets a little rushed by the ending. I actually thought the film was going to end before the raid on the enemy base, but the movie actually managed to squeeze it in.

So we’re introduced to a whole new group of characters who are part of a resistance and they want to break into the villain stronghold. You would expect that this would be a very long sequence of planning and such, but the heroes basically just walk right in. To put this in perspective, they even get the main villain at gun point. If they shoot her then the whole trilogy is basically over in an instant. For reasons that elude me they decide to spare her. Sure, it’s the hero move, but that isn’t really one of their top priorities most of the time and they’re trying to win a war right? Well, that catches up to them in the sequel. It’s a fun climax that actually is pretty hype, but it all just happens so fast.

While we don’t see them much, Tris’ parents were decent. The dad didn’t get to do a whole lot, but the Mom had some pivotal moments and definitely made a difference. She also reminded Tris to stay strong and the heroine did good when confronted with one of her old allies. You can’t just knock out mind control so easily so she made the right call in ending the fight in a single shot. Naturally going for a non fatal wound would be ideal, but it is definitely tough to aim like that in close quarters. The fight scenes throughout the movie are really solid. The hand to hand is on point and even the blaster battles look good and aren’t dragged out.

Overall, Divergent is a pretty fun film. It’s actually surprising how solid it is, I wasn’t expecting it to be all that good. You may have to suspend some disbelief for how dangerously the Dauntless like to live though. They let Tris ride down a roller coaster where there are at least half a dozen spots where you can die if you don’t move at just the right moment. I feel like a lot of trainees would have died in those spots and there’s really no reason to do such things. There shouldn’t be many people left alive in that faction if they continue like this. Still, it’s a solid way to start the series and it’s just a lot more exciting than you would expect at first. It actually lives up to the thriller genre and at this point it’s looking like the series to beat as far as the YA movies based on books go. I’ll have a review up for the sequel soon.

Overall 7/10

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Split Review


It’s time to finally take a look at the next film in the trilogy involving Unbreakable. This film always looked terrible from the first trailer though and as I didn’t even like the first film I knew this was gonna get dicey. Unfortunately the film is even worse than I had imagined and is ultimately a complete waste of your time. If you want to watch a super edgy/gritty story where the villains manage to keep on racking up wins then this is the one to check out. Otherwise you’re better off heading to your local Duane Reade to buy some cookies.

The film definitely doesn’t waste time as it starts with Kevin showing up and kidnapping 3 teenagers who had just finished having a party. He takes them to his lair where he preps them for being eaten by the beast. See, Kevin’s a psychotic who believes he contains 23 different souls inside of him and 3 of them are evil. Naturally the 3 evil ones are stronger than the 20 good ones put together so he’s gone back to his murdering ways. The 3 girls have to find a way to escape. Claire believes they should try to overpower him, Casey thinks they should just wait and see, while Marcia will follow whatever tactic they decide on. Can they escape?

So the film is distastefully bad almost from the start. Naturally Kevin isn’t a classy villain who just wants to destroy the world or anything like that. No, he is only interested in attacking girls and his mind shatters so often that even he doesn’t know who is in control at times. He has a history of such incidents, but isn’t in prison because he keeps pleading insanity. The whole thing is pretty warped and you don’t really buy into his split personalities gimmick. He’s just a guy with an enhancement ability that gives him super strength but at the end of the day that’s it. It’s all too convenient otherwise how all of his souls tend to lose to the evil ones. There’s nothing interesting about his character.

Then you’ve got Casey’s gritty backstory which is also pretty awful and shouldn’t have been included in the film. Not only does it just serve to give her extra trauma, but then in the end we find out that the uncle is still around. So, he murdered (implied) her father and has been taking advantage of her for over 10 years? This is the amount of grit that you only see in terrible films. If you really stretch it then maybe she will tell the cops at the end, but the silence was deafening. Hopefully that plot isn’t brought back for the third film.

Casey’s a good character overall though as she tries to make the best of a tough situation. She hasn’t let her circumstances break her which is good. The other teens were good as well. Claire definitely showed the most spirit out of the 3, but was definitely doomed from the start. Still, without her actually attempting to escape the others would probably have just sat around and waited til the end. Marcia also had a rough time from the start so her confidence was shaken almost right away. While Casey was quick to play along with Kevin’s insanity it’s understandable that the other two weren’t able to adapt so quickly. Casey was used to dealing with crazies.

Karen is Kevin’s psychiatrist, but ultimately she doesn’t serve much of a purpose in the film. She’s slow as molasses in understanding what is happening. Her plot doesn’t make much sense because the whole time she is the only one who actually believed Kevin from the start. Since she actually thought that his personalities were real you’d think that she would have taken the emails a little more seriously. She knew that he was in danger or different versions of him were in trouble so why did she wait so long to act? She also knew that the evil personality was in control so why did she make so many mistakes over and over again? What was the point of going to his lair?

Maybe she was going to call the cops or something, but surely she knew that she wasn’t going to make it out of there. Also, she wasn’t particularly subtle when going into the closet. She should have at least used the secret word to stun Kevin at that point since there shouldn’t be any hesitation. Instead she panicked and then forgot how to say the word by the end. She’s definitely a waste of a character and her plot line ultimately didn’t contribute to the story.

No worries, Split also managed to squeeze in some animal violence to complete the film’s descent into madness. It’s really got every undesirable trait you could ask for in a film. It’s super edgy, it’s got animal violence, it’s got child violence, and a whole lot of things that happen off screen. There’s also quite a bit of fanservice since the villain uses every excuse possible to put the heroines in worse and worse spots. There’s nothing redeemable about the film and allowing the teenagers to be decent characters is just to make the film even darker. You know from the start that this is the kind of film that won’t really have a happy ending. It’s even worse when you consider that all of the villains get away with no ramifications to continue their chaos.
The film drags on and on as the 2 hours go by. There’s no solid writing to back it up either so hopefully you have a lot of snacks.

Overall, Split is definitely a horrible film that I’d recommend staying far away from. It’s the kind that you should just toss aside and never watch. It’s a poor thriller with sub-par writing and plots that are no fun. The film never even tries to be engaging and it’s far too dark to make for an enjoyable watch. Even the final scene has a defeated sense to it as the guest star just takes another drink because he doesn’t want to get back into this mess. Of course, he’ll end up stepping in for the third film which should still be better than this one at least. Split simply couldn’t stitch the scenes together into a complete feature.

Overall 0/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Postman Always Rings Twice Review


It’s time to look at a film where the whole concept is about being the rebound guy. As you can guess that means the romance was doomed from the start. Since this is mainly a romance film that did put this one in a tough spot from the start and it never quite recovered. I was just waiting for the Postman to show up and shock everyone to the core, but it never happens. Turns out that it isn’t one of those literal titles, but it really should have been to be honest.

The film starts off with the district attorney giving Frank a ride. Frank’s been in a tough spot lately and that’s due in part to the fact that he is a free spirit. He loves just going wherever the wind takes him and living life on the edge. Well, he’s finally found a job at a burger joint, but immediately warns the owner, Nick, that he may not stay long. His plans change when Nick’s wife Cora shows up and Frank immediately decides that they should be together. Despite Cora’s half hearted rejections Frank forces the issue and they decide that Nick has to be murdered. Can they really pull off such a feat?

With a plot like this there is nobody to root for. Of course, you would expect to be rooting for Nick but the film goes out of its way to make him hard to root for. He doesn’t pay Cora any attention and is way older than her so that was never going to work out anyway. He’s oblivious to the point where he basically pushes them together and at the end of the day sees Cora as more of a helper than an equal. He doesn’t even consult her when making his big decision at the end of the film. He also gets drunk and in general just doesn’t seem like a good person.

Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right. Frank knows that Cora is married from the start. It’s not as if they were hanging out for a long time before he figured this out, it was made clear as day to him immediately. He pressed on anyway and then cheats on her later on in the film anyway. It’s no surprise though because that’s just the kind of guy he is. Frank does everything half heartedly and never becomes a decent person. By the end of the film he basically goes insane.

Meanwhile Cora is shown to be very manipulative. There are large portions of the film where it doesn’t seem like she actually cares about Frank and is just using him to get to her own goals. It’s pretty easy for her to manipulate him so it’s not like it takes a lot of effort. She’ll go from being overly friendly to him to giving Frank the cold shoulder. None of the characters handle the various situations well but her main failing is that she wants to stay in the burger choice even if that’s where all of the cops will connect the dots. She had a lot of opportunities to simply leave, but never took them. That was simply too big of a mistake to come back from.

Then you’ve got Arthur who helps plead their case in one of the court sessions. He’s actually pretty good even if the guy seems pretty shady. He may not be helping out for the right reasons, but the guy definitely does have talent. He added a little intrigue to the situation. Then you’ve got the D.A., Kyle. He’s definitely not sympathetic to their cause, nor should he be. Even by the end of the film he whips out another trump card and you can see why he has such a strong reputation in the film. He always gets his man.

Of course the film couldn’t help but throw a cat into the mix for no real reason. The scene just comes out of nowhere and he doesn’t live through the scene. I suppose the film was just desperate to lose another star but with the lackluster plot it’s not like the film needed any help. The writing in general is decent, but with none of the characters being particularly intelligent some scenes can seem like bad writing as well. The film also drags on quite a bit. On one hand it is impressive just how far the plot changes from the beginning, but on the other hand it starts to outlive its welcome by the end. It’s around 30 minutes longer than it needs to be, especially since the plot is fairly basic.

I suppose the ending will be happy or sad depending on who you’re rooting for. Considering that the main characters are openly cheating I’d say that the D.A. and the long arm of the law is probably who you’d be rooting for. If you look at the ending with that lens then it does change things quite a bit. On a minor note, at least the burgers did look pretty good. I could definitely use one right about now and if we had more scenes of the characters preparing food for their restaurant perhaps it could have distracted from the weak story. Almost all of the film takes place at their restaurant after all and yet the scenes with real food are scarce and far apart.

Overall, The Postman Always Rings Twice is definitely a film that I’ve got to give a thumbs down. How can you like a film where the main character is so petty? He’s basically a crook the whole time and is super ungrateful considering that Nick was giving him a place to live and a decent salary. Also, even before Frank’s romance was starting he seemed like a rude person. When Cora dropped her lipstick he made her come to him to pick it up rather than just giving it to her. It’s the kind of petty power play that you would expect from someone like Frank. The ending is also completely his fault since he was the one at command. He should have realized that he didn’t have the skills to multi task.

Overall 4/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Julie Review


It’s time to look at another film with an annoying main character. This one’s not the worst lead or anything, but she does seem to be incredibly naive and not one of the smartest leads out there. Still, when it was crunch time Julie did her best to stand up to the danger. This is a pretty good thriller that builds up to a nice climax. You will need to suspend a lot of disbelief of course, but that’s to be expected.

The film starts with Julie running to her car after her husband Lyle had another public episode of getting upset over her. He gets violently dangerous whenever a guy even talks to Julie. She gets in the car and warns Lyle that maybe they can’t be together anymore. He responds by forcing her to drive the car at max speed for a while and they nearly fall off a cliff. He then warns her that it was an accident and he’s sorry about it. Another way to think of it is that these accidents will occur more and more unless she stops talking to other men. Julie is surprisingly fine with this so then her friend Cliff shows up and reminds Julie that Lyle is a dangerous murderer. Lyle murdered her first husband and will stop at nothing to claim her. Julie must now escape from Lyle and try to establish a new identity, but Lyle seems to be around every corner. Can she possibly shake such a skilled stalker or is this the end for her?

A situation like this is always pretty tough to escape from and Julie’s first actions don’t help matters. See, you’ve usually got just one shot to get out because after that the guy will suspect something. So Julie tries to leave first thing in the morning, but Lyle is already up so she has to make a ton of excuses to leave. He doesn’t buy any of them but decides to pretend to leave to see what she’ll do. Here’s where Lyle slipped up since he damages her car but goes so far away that she is able to run to town. (Thanks in part to hitch hiking) From there the film is mainly about Julie running from place to place and trying to stay ahead of him.

This is where it’s a little hard to buy that Lyle is following her everywhere. He finds out what state she is in, which hotel, etc. The film does try to give reasons for how he finds these things out like by asking operators for her place or just deducing which state she would likely flee to. At the same time, you still can’t help but feel a little skeptical at times. Julie used a pseudonym for these journeys and there are still a lot of hotels in each state. Just knowing what state Julie is in wouldn’t be enough for Lyle to find her so easily. The whole time I figured that Cliff was a traitor leaking info to Lyle or just a villain who wanted Julie for himself. It’s good that Julie did actually have an ally, but at the same time it did mean that it was harder to buy into the Lyle scenes.

Meanwhile, while Julie may not have been the best character, you could still root for her. As far as villains go Lyle definitely wasn’t anything special. He’s one of those petty villains who just wants Julie at any cost. You really can’t even like him as a villain because his motivations aren’t solid and there’s nothing interesting about him. Also, since Julie was 100% fooled if he had just played the part of the nice guy they could have actually been together. When the villain creates his own problems then that just makes him even worse.

As for Cliff, he is a good guy. His arc really didn’t go as I expected it to, but at the end of the day I can’t hold that against him. He probably could have handled some of the early situations a little better though. He was being pretty obvious with Julie in front of Lyle, but at the same time it was imperative that he convince her of the truth right away so in that sense his plan worked. He also did at least try to escape when he was held hostage although I dare say that going for the gun is always the best move in that situation. I dare say that it’s best to make a final lunge and attack the guy with the gun rather than getting in the car. Once you’re in the car your chances of survival are close to 0 unless you’re in an action film. So, even if you might die during the charge your odds are better. Trust me, getting in the car is never the right move.

Unfortunately the film does end on a bit of a whimper. It probably has one of the worst climaxes that I’ve seen in a very long time. Nothing happens for a long period of time and what should have been a very thrilling plane sequence ends up feeling rather dull. You’re just sort of waiting for the film to get on with it. Whatever the idea was for the ending it simply should have gone with a different option. I did like the tension on the plane before this, but it all doesn’t play out as you’d hope. I also felt bad for the pilot who was doing a good job the whole time, but faltered at the very end.

Overall, the script is pretty solid and the film will definitely keep you engaged all the way through. It’s a pretty classic thriller and definitely one that holds up. It actually grabs a lot of the beats that you might see in a modern film even if the effects don’t allow for it to go all the way with big car chases or anything like that. Of course, how much you enjoy the film will probably depend on how the first half affects you. Julie is just a very tough lead since she isn’t very sharp which can make it a whole lot harder to root for her. Still, I think you’ll be fine and while it’s not a great thriller, it’s a solid one nonetheless.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Men In Black: International Review


All right gang, it’s time to look at the Men in Black’s latest outing. It’s definitely a franchise that pretty much everyone is familiar with although it hasn’t been the most consistent of titles. The first film was really good and the second was still solid. The third one was a pretty big dip in quality though and this one is more in line with that. It’s a decent movie, but one that you probably won’t bother to see twice.

The film starts out with a tease with Agent H and T heading off to fight the Hive. The scene ends real quick though so you never get to see the fight, thereby making it a bit of a waste of an intro. The scene wasn’t bad, but the sudden ending just invalidates the whole thing. We then cut to a flashback taking place before the intro which was also a flashback. We’re introduced to Molly who managed to escape having her memory wiped since everyone thought she was asleep. She then makes it her life’s mission to find the MIB. After tracking them down and being recruited she is given her first assignment. Agent M is to work with H and what should have been a routine escort mission quickly becomes a planetary crisis. Is M ready for this?

First off, the script is pretty solid. I do like the fast paced banter with the leads here. This style of humor’s been working pretty well for Chris’ various cinema characters lately and Agent H is no exception. He’s always got a comeback for everything and the rest of the characters follow suit. One good example of this is Pawny who takes every opportunity to take shots at H. While not all of the insults will land there are quite a few solid ones in there. One involves referencing how H was choked which was the ultimate comeback. There’s no counter to that. There is a whole lot of comedy in the film, but it rarely gets annoying. At most you’ve got some laugh scenes that last too long or too many jokes in a small time frame, but with the writing it didn’t really feel like an issue.

I think where the writing breaks down is how MIB just feels more about spectacle than realism here. I’m sure there are issues with them you could nitpick in the earlier films too, but here they’re just very apparent. One is how the heroes constantly show off the alien tech everywhere. There’s one scene where H and M quickly blast a few humans with the memory wiper, but ignore the hundreds of other people in the area. I guess there’s no time to blast them all, but then it’s almost pointless to blast the few. Molly’s whole origin story is pretty telling on how easy it is to avoid the MIB. I feel like more people should know about them at this point. As for a total nitpick, the train scene is a little odd. This is a secret MIB train that only the agents know about so why does it keep changing from an MTA train to a sci-fi one? Once it’s already underground with aliens boarding I don’t see the purpose in keeping it transformed except for the shock value scene of spooking M.

The film is also very predictable. To an extent most films are, but some just feel more telegraphed than others. This one is like Captain Marvel in that respect (Maybe it’s just a sci-fi thing) but you’ll be able to predict all of the twists before they occur. I won’t even hint at the main twist, but the instant one character brings up the possibility you just know that it’s a certainty. Then there’s one character who appears for an instant near the beginning so you know it’ll tie in later on. They say that the destination doesn’t matter and it’s all about the journey so if we take that as true then this wouldn’t really hurt the film. Honestly I don’t hold predictability against a movie since I do think it’s all in the execution. It wouldn’t hurt to mask what’s going to happen a little better though.

Now for the characters. I think Chris Hemsworth is quickly becoming like Tom Cruise or Dwayne Johnson in that he’s quickly becoming an actor who is playing himself rather than a character. There’s a debate to be had on whether that’s a good thing or not (Hint, it’s usually a good thing) but regardless it makes for H being a pretty entertaining character. He definitely has his share of iffy moments and he goes a little too far in being the irresponsible lead. You can see what the film is going for with the character, but I think he plays the trope a little too far. Now, the film does open the door to an explanation for this, but the film only halfheartedly entertains the idea and never goes through with it. Unless we actually get a sequel this will just be something for fan theories and headcanons so I can’t give him a pass. He’s an entertaining character, but definitely not a heroic one.

M is pretty solid. She’s definitely his polar opposite as she has lived her whole life just to join the MIB and as a result has no real life. This is almost a bit tragic to be honest, but I always like when a character has a one track mind like this. She’s a quick learner and while she isn’t as quick to think on her feet, she does have a lot of general knowledge on aliens and such. M has done her research so she adds some brains to the operation. She fills in her role pretty well.

Agent C is also a solid character. He’s thrown into one of those roles where he’s made out to be the annoying figure in the film, but that’s all if you look at it through the main characters’ lens. If you think about it objectively he is just doing his job and doing it well I might add. Every action he takes makes sense and it’s also perfectly understandable why he is a little jealous about how H gets to break all of the rules. I liked him quite a bit. Then you’ve got Agent T who is the classic boss type character. He’s pretty stern and down to business. A solid character all around, but naturally I liked him best during the flashback opening where he was a field agent.

As mentioned earlier Pawny is mainly here to crack a lot of jokes. He does come in handy on many occasions though and I think a good comic relief character needs to know when to step up. Pawny did just that and as a result he is a very complete character. He easily could have been a very annoying one so I think we got to give him some credit for avoiding that fate. Then you have one of the villains named Riza who is around for a quick fight scene. I do like the idea of a 3 armed fighting style and thought the fight was pretty well handled. Her actual plot wasn’t though. I won’t say much here, but keep in mind that her island is known as a lair of certain death and is the toughest place in the cosmos. So…why doesn’t she have more guards or security so people can’t literally strut around the place? Everything’s connected to one lever??? You’re gonna be suspending a lot of disbelief here.

There are also the two villains from the trailer who can turn into a space like vortex. They have cool designs and I like the moveset, but the film doesn’t give them a whole lot to do. In a way they just feel like they’re filling in space which is never what you want to happen. I think so much more could have been done with them, they don’t even really get named by the end of their appearances.

The special effects are definitely on point. There are a lot of scenes where the movie gets to show off the energy effects and such. There aren’t too many fights, but I did like the first action scene which took place in the city. The city’s always the best backdrop and as I mentioned the villains’ powers have good visuals attached to them. There were even some Terminator influences here with how they could manipulate metal. Then the soundtrack is superb as always. The main Men in Black theme is just really good and tends to fit in with everything. It makes any scene feel a lot more intriguing automatically.

Overall, Men in Black International was pretty reasonable. It’s a good film, I just wouldn’t call it very good. I think it’s a nice example of a film that didn’t necessarily do anything wrong (No animal violence, no excessive violence, the script was reasonable, etc) but it doesn’t really stick out. There are films that tackle the same subjects and plots that just handle them a lot better. This movie is the kind of title that makes for a fun experience at the theaters or watching at home the first go around, but there’s not a whole lot to say about it afterwards. You’ll enjoy it, but then move on to the next thing. There’s nothing great about it or super good in general. Still, I would recommend checking it out. Honestly, just being an enjoyable film isn’t such a bad thing. It wouldn’t be the first title I’d check out, but if you just want to watch a nice movie with some action scenes then this will be up your alley.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movies

Young Man with a Horn


It’s time to look at an old movie based on an old novel which is based on a true story from a while ago. Naturally that means this review won’t have a score, but I will still dig into the movie. It’s one of those stories where it’s very hard to sympathize with the main character, at least with how he was depicted in the movie. They really make him an unbearable jerk the whole time and he makes so many wrong choices in a row that you figure he might as well be the villain. All right, lets jump in!

The movie starts off with Rick as a kid. He manages to get into a bar and watches Art play the Trumpet. Rick quickly realizes that this is the best instrument out there and decides to dedicate his life to it. He has a lot of ups and downs as the years go by since he likes to do his own thing. He’d rather play the wrong notes on purpose and get fired rather than do his job. Rick’s a free spirit who loves sabotaging himself. That’s when he finds the ultimate opportunity to do so. He currently has a great job with nice friends Smoke and Jo, as well as a good nightlife where he hangs out with his old friends. This all changes when Amy shows up and convinces Rick to throw it all away for her. She also forewarns him that she will destroy him much like she has destroyed everyone else who decided to have a fling with her. Rick accepts this challenge with a grin…and his life is quickly destroyed.

Whoops, that’s basically the whole film, but it’s hard to summarize that. See, Rick is one of those guys who has a lot of advantages in life. He’s a musical prodigy and he was in the right place at the right time often enough where he got a bunch of gigs. The problem is that he’s incredibly unlikable. He is quick to betray his friends for a girl that he literally just met. He then decides to marry her almost immediately because he has fallen for her so hard. After that he indirectly murders one of his old friends and it’s at this point that he finally realizes how Amy has changed him…and then gets into alcohol and falls further into despair.

Look, the film is trying to give Rick a big character redemption arc, but it’s way too late. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to turn back after murdering someone because such a redemption can happen, but the circumstances leading up to it and Rick’s actions afterwards just don’t work. He doesn’t show me any real signs that he will change. Even before Rick met Amy he had a lot of issues. There’s no reason why he needed to constantly rebel when on the job just so he could play what he wanted to. That’s simply being spoiled and entitled. If Rick had stuck to his job then none of this would have happened.

He also backstabs Art quite a lot in their final meeting. There’s absolutely no gratitude to the guy who saved his life and career many times. By the end when Rick goes to his funeral and picks up the Trumpet you want someone to slap it out of his hands. Imagine how disrespectful it would be for someone to walk up to a funeral and do that. Sure, nobody knows how he was involved in the accident, but it’s still annoying. That’s enough ranting on Rick, but I don’t have any sympathy for him because the guy knew what he was getting into and did it anyway. If you betray everyone for a stranger who loves twisting people, then that’s a choice you made.

Rick’s friends were good at least. As mentioned, Art was definitely solid. He was always around to help Rick whenever possible and really let him get a good start to his musical career. Smoke was a solid sidekick and someone that you could always count on. He’s definitely a solid guy and stuck by Rick the whole time. Jo was a good heroine as well. She’s not the most upfront person out there, but she meant well. One edge Amy has over Jo is that she’s a lot more direct. While it’s customary for the guy to approach the girl, if you really want someone you better make your feelings known or someone else will. Amy made her call while Jo held her tongue and ultimately it cost her. Still, at least Jo didn’t take it all that personally.

It’s a pretty small cast, but at the end of the day it’s not like you need a whole lot more characters than that. The film is able to tell a pretty complete story with just those guys. The writing is pretty solid with a lot of quick dialogue. It’s not quite as eloquent as some other titles, but it has that same atmosphere which is definitely important. The film’s pacing is also pretty good.

Overall, This is a pretty decent film, but one that is held back by Rick quite a lot. He’s just not a good character. He consistently makes the wrong calls and you almost wish all his friends had befriended someone else. They all would have been positive influences on each other. The ending’s a bit sudden so brace yourself for it, but I suppose the ending could have been a lot worse. If you want to see a film with a lot of Jazz music then this is your best bet. Jazz is always a fun style of music. You don’t hear it a whole lot in movies nowadays, but when it shows up it’s always pretty solid.

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Poseidon (2006) Review


It’s time to look at the remake to the original Poseidon film. It’s a pretty faithful remake although it does take its own twists and turns. The basic plot and resolution are unchanged, but the movie takes some liberties with the characters. I’m always up for that since a word for word remake doesn’t have a whole lot of point if you ask me. We’ve already seen it once so throw in a few wrinkles if you’re gonna do it again.

The film starts off with all of the characters getting on the Poseidon boat. They are looking forward to a nice relaxing cruise. All of the characters are here for different reasons. Some are literally along for the ride while others are here for the excitement. One guy even came here to die. Well, all of their plans go haywire when the boar is struck by a powerful wave and goes upside down. While most of the people on the ship decide to stay in the lobby since the pilot thinks they’ll be okay, Dylan has other ideas. He aims to get off the boat right away by going to the bottom which is now on top. Robert decides to follow him because his daughter is trapped in one of the rooms up ahead. There are 2 main plots here since half of the main characters are trapped and the others are trying to get to him.

With ensemble casts the main thing the film has to get right at all costs is making the characters good. Fortunately this one is able to pull that off. I won’t say that I liked all of the characters, but it was definitely a strong cast. We also get a good amount of time to each plot and the film manages to keep up the tension the whole way through. The length is basically perfect as it doesn’t end too soon nor does it drag on. I dare say that the writing may have even been better than the original’s. I definitely did enjoy it more than the first although it is pretty close. I just think this one was able to take advantage of the modern effects more which really helps for a local disaster film like this one.

Seeing the wave hit the ship is just handled really well. In general the rooms of the ship all look very realistic and the explosions are handled well. You can tell that no expense was spared on this film. I’m also glad that nobody randomly brought a pet on board as that would have hurt the immersion. The film also doesn’t really dwell on the violent scenes here. There are a ton of fatalities of course since almost everyone dies but while you see the bodies and such it is never too gruesome. The film focuses on the story and getting the characters through this.

Robert is the main character if you ask me although it’s meant to be pretty debatable. He’s a solid lead and I was definitely on his side with the Jennifer debates. While he might prefer to take the cautious route he definitely does whatever it takes to find her once Jennifer goes missing. Robert’s a very intelligent character who makes the right moves and is a natural leader. Without him the group would have definitely been in trouble. Then you’ve got Dylan who is the other side of the coin. He’s quick to think of plans and is physically able to get things done that the other characters would not be able to do. Robert’s the one who convinces the others to jump on board while Dylan thinks of the plans first. He is able to look at everything objectively and Dylan was definitely my favorite character. His character was just handled perfectly.

From the side characters Jennifer and Christian were definitely a lot weaker than the others. It was pretty insensitive of them to be constantly flirting when Robert was just trying to get a few days to relax. Jennifer was also wearing rather risque attire just to mess with him. (Well in her defense it seems like she was oblivious, but considering how quickly it happens after the last scene it’s hard to take seriously) Christian doesn’t really get anything to do. It is pretty impressive that he was able to swim so well after being pinned under a bunch of debris for so long though.

Richard is the old man of the group and he came close to jumping overboard near the beginning. This disaster helps him learn to keep on fighting, but what may hurt how much you like him as a character is when he sends someone else off to their doom. Keep in mind that Dylan was encouraging him, but ultimately Richard is the one who made the choice to kick the guy off. Since that chef was the one who suggested Richard go first it was a really big betrayal. He never saved himself from that.

Elena started out real good, but started sinking later on. Elena snuck on board the ship, but is one of the first to try and help once Christian is pinned down. She seemed like a really nice character and definitely was a good supporting one although she also had a tendency to get scared a lot and did nearly cause the team to die on several occasions. Maggie is solid as well but is more consistent and does a good job of hanging in there even while her son is constantly messing up. Conor is definitely pretty terrible imo, but the kids rarely end up ranking for me. They just hold everyone back and running out on everyone near the climax was extremely foolish.

Then you’ve got Lucky Larry who I guess was a slight homage to the Texan from the first film. Either way Larry looks really bad here. He just shows up to taunt the heroes quite a lot and then dies as soon as you would expect. If anything he’s just here for some grim humor although I’d say he was handled well. There’s almost no way you’ll like the character, but that’s basically the point. He’s no hero and he’s not going to get any noteworthy scenes. He’s just here to cause trouble and slow everyone down.

Overall, Poseidon is definitely a fun film. It’s the kind of fast paced disaster film that really holds up well. There’s a lot of replay value here since the scenes don’t drag and something is always happening. Even from a pure visual perspective I’m sure there is a lot here to re-watch. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I recommend checking it out. As long as you like a good action title or just enjoy a solid ensemble film then you’ll like this one. Naturally it’s the kind of film where not everyone survives so you can also try and make some predictions on who will make it.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Flash Gordon Review


It’s time to look at the legendary Flash Gordon movie. This is definitely a retro sci-fi film that pretty much everyone has heard of at this point. It’s definitely a pretty good movie that’s aged pretty well. Despite the film mainly having a light tone some parts do get pretty dark which is that rare back and forth you don’t see as much nowadays. I’m definitely cool with that, but basically Flash Gordon really gets around and tackles the sci-fi genre from all sides.

The film starts with Flash and Dale on a flight. Unfortunately their plane goes down thanks to some fire hail and a weird storm that came out of nowhere. They meet up with a crazy scientist named Zarkov and he forces them into a ship with him as the 3 head towards the planet of the invading alien race. The guy definitely is crazy and a villain as he forced them in, but I suppose at the very least you do have to give him some props for actually being right here. It all was an invasion and all those years he was right for worrying about it. No excuse though. Now these 3 unlikely heroes have to save the world or die trying!

Flash is definitely a fun hero. He’s basically the classic lead you would expect from a classic action film. He may not have any professional experience, but he’s got natural leadership skills and is quick on his feet. The scene of him using football skills to take on the villains was definitely pretty fun. The guy’s confident and also nice to a fault. If anything you may get frustrated with how forgiving he can be at times, but that’s just how he rolls. Flash is here to save everyone and he’s quick to put his life on the line to help his friends and even total strangers.

Then we’ve got the heroine Dale. She’s also got a strict moral code that she lives by which she refuses to break. I do like when heroes have an honor code and the same goes for villains, but at the same time I do think she put herself in a pretty bad spot right from the start. Why promise the villain that you won’t try anything if you know that he’s gonna break his promise? Not going through with the poison plan was a bit iffy. Still, I guess Dale was a good character.

Then you’ve got Zarkov. He’s pretty strong willed and certainly has the deepest voice of the cast. That makes his scenes pretty fun even if the character himself can’t quite keep up with the rest. You can’t really forget that everyone’s in trouble because of him. He also is directly responsible for Flash losing round 1 so if he hadn’t made that mistake the heroes may have won a whole lot sooner than they did.

Next up is Aura who is the daughter of the main villain. Unlike Ming, she isn’t pure evil though. It may not be accurate to call her a pure hero at first as she saves Flash for her own reasons, but at the very least she doesn’t like his cruel methods. She definitely suffers the most from all the characters though and you’ll feel pretty bad for her during the various scenes. Her moments are the only parts where the film does tend to get pretty dark. Considering how much work she did to help the heroes I would have liked for her to have had a bit of a happier route. The torture scene was particularly brutal.

The villains definitely aren’t quite as solid as the villains. You’ve got Klytus who is Ming’s right hand man. He just wants to be with Aura though so that doesn’t make for the greatest villain motivation. He’s just petty and you can’t root for a villain like that. Then you’ve got Barin who likes tricking Klytus and not following his orders. This makes him look even worse to be honest. She’s not bad, but doesn’t really have much of a role next to the others.

Ming is the main villain and he’s one of those classic spoiled kings who can’t really fight much. He has a pretty OP ring which helps him fight a bit, but beyond that he is dependent on his allies. Considering that all of his allies are constantly looking for an excuse to betray him the guy can’t rest easy. In particular there are 2 generals who are always rebellious. First is Kala who doesn’t like Ming, but he’s too scared to do anything. He spends most of the film trying to destroy Flash and grumbling a lot before finally being forced on board. Likewise for Vultan who talks a big game but is too scared of Ming to do anything.

Actually maybe I should take that back because all of the villains in this film seem to be cowards. They probably wouldn’t even try betraying Ming if there was any chance of them getting caught. No wonder he enjoyed such a long stint as the leader. Good thing Flash came when he did eh?

The special effects have definitely aged pretty well. The space battles are a lot of fun and it feels like a scene from Star Wars. The music here is definitely pretty fun. The classic Flash song definitely pops up a lot and the timing is pretty solid. At one point the heroine asks rhetorically who could possible save them and then the song starts with the lyric “FLASH!!!” as he shows up in a meanwhile scene. The song loves to keep on repeating that lyric in particular so expect to hear it quite a lot as the film goes on.

In general the writing is pretty solid here as well. The character cast may not be amazing for the most part, but Flash and Aura are really all you need. The film’s pacing is pretty quick. It’s a long movie, but it doesn’t drag on. The romance may not be particularly solid, but it doesn’t play a big role in the film. It’s just kind of there to check off the box.

The film does end with a pretty cool cliffhanger as well. I imagine it probably won’t ever be resolved, but it was still neat to see. I think a nostalgia sequel could actually do pretty good so the film companies should definitely think about it. It may be hard to get a scene quite as cool as Flash using Football to take down the villains, but it’s worth the attempt.

Overall, Flash Gordon is a pretty good sci-fi film that holds up well. Any character who isn’t Flash will probably annoy you at times, but he puts them in their place. The film’s light, but can get a bit violent at times like in Flash’s spike battle. It’s really a film that can change elements at any given time which is pretty cool. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would recommend checking it out. Just remember that Aura could have left at any time, but chose to be a hero and paid the price. She proved her heroism more than any other character except for Flash.

Overall 6/10