All the President’s Men

This was a really fun movie. It’s kinda fun that I got to see the parody movie based on the Watergate scandal before watching this one but that’s just how it goes sometimes. It actually makes the parody seem more and more impressive as I watched this one because they got so many of the scenes done just right to mirror this one. This movie obviously goes a lot more in depth on the actual going ons behind the controversy though. It feels like a good amount of research went into this one and it’s still really thrilling which goes to show that real life can be just as exciting as the movies sometimes.

The movie starts off with some suspicious people walking through an office looking for something. Fortunately the cops show up in time to stop them but when these guys are taken to court they get a big lawyer out of nowhere. the whole thing seems suspicious so Woodward decides to look into it. Initially the Washington Post isn’t sure that this is a big story which is why they put such a new reporter on the case but he’s confident that he is on to something. Eventually the more experienced reporter Bernstein gets involved as well although they don’t get off on the right foot with the other guy sort of shoehorning himself into the picture. They will have to try and get along though because with a case this big they seriously can’t afford to make any big mistakes.

As with just about any movie based on a true story I’d be willing to bet that some parts of the film are exaggerated and played up but it does feel like most of it would be pretty accurate here. One scene I liked in particular was when Woodward was walking down a street as he normally would. Except it was late at night and everything seemed extra ominous. There was no music or anything, just the sound of his shoes hitting the concrete with each step and he kept looking around in case he was being followed. Nobody was there as far as he could see and the film never implies that anyone actually was there but you have to imagine the reporters probably were getting rather paranoid after a while. I personally wouldn’t like walking down the streets at around 2AM in the best neighborhood and when you’re picking fights with the most dangerous people around. makes sense that you would be a little nervous.

You also have to imagine that the reporters were probably close to being murdered many times because this was such a big case. When you anger the people up top then your lease on life certainly becomes a bit more tenuous. Still they kept on the case and I was glad when the Post did back them as the boss wouldn’t drop the case either. It’s really important for someone to have your back on a case like this because if you’re completely alone then you’re really not going to be able to do a whole lot.

The best character here definitely had to be the shadowy informant. I liked how that guy had all the answers and was always stringing the heroes along. To his defense it’s not like he can take too many risks or he would be in the targeting range but I was glad when he was called out for being so vague. I suppose the movie couldn’t just show who this guy was since presumably the reporters didn’t know there. This guy was almost like Batman with how quickly he would vanish out of view and then return later on. Nobody could tail him and so this guy was definitely a master of espionage.

For a film like this the dialogue definitely has to grab you and fortunately it did. The movie is quite long but at no point is it ever boring or tedious. You’re just as invested as the characters are in trying to figure out what is going on here. There are a whole lot of players involved after all so you want to try and memorize all of the names as best as you can. Typically each clue leads to a whole bunch of new characters as well so you have to try and keep following the names and the money for as long as possible.

Then the actual witnesses all give safe/double answers so as not to get in trouble and you see just how much work it is to try and get a single story out of all these guys. It’s definitely not easy that’s for sure. Still it feels like being a reporter was probably pretty fun in those days. It’s probably a bit glamorized of course but it’s more exciting seeing them go door to door than just hopping on the internet or the phone and asking questions that way. This way has more of a personal touch and we also get to see them discussing what kinds of traps they will lay out for the suspects. Like pretending they have extra knowledge and seeing if the bait is taken.

Overall, All the President’s Men is a really good film. It reminds you to always be on the lookout for corruption because it can certainly be everywhere. Then if you do find it you have to be very careful on how you handle it or you could end up vanishing really quick and you don’t want that. Personally I’m always a bit of two minds about the big conspiracies like this because on one hand you figure in real life nobody’s ever actually clever enough to pull off something too large scale without leaving behind massive amounts of evidence particularly in the post internet era but then you also see how a lot of government people are confused by basic technology and you can see how this kind of trick worked. If it can happen once then it can happen again so films like this are also good for reminding you to always double check your sources. keep your guard up and always leave some room for doubt for yourself. In the meantime definitely watch this film though, you won’t be disappointed.

Blue Thunder Review

This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as a review of the unedited version would likely be more negative

Blue Thunder is one of those films that has a fairly interesting plot but also unlikable main characters. There is one particularly egregious scene which realllllllly ends up hurting the movie as well. Ultimately if you are looking for those rare helicopter fight scenes then this one should be the ticket for you but otherwise it’s definitely time for a good skip. Watch Top Gun 2 instead for a solid film involving aerial combat.

The film starts off by introducing us to Frank and Richard who are two helicopter pilots who basically do frequent patrols around the neighborhood to make sure everything is going well. Well one day they come across a crime that seems like a potential mugging but the victim was a councilwoman and she ends up dying. It was a very odd neighborhood for this kind of attack and Frank notices things that don’t make sense around the area which all get missed in the police report. Unfortunately he doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on as he’s already known to not be the best at just following orders and his boss thinks he is sort of going off the ravine again. Can Frank get to the bottom of this mystery?

See, this is normally where you’re supposed to get annoyed at the boss because he’s slowing Frank down and not letting him do his job. Usually that’s the case at least but here’s the problem, Frank actually is a very bad employee. It’s not even one of those things where it’s close. He abuses his power in order to spy on people. The worst scene in the whole film is Frank and Richard invading a lady’s privacy and staring at her through the window from long range so she can’t see them. It’s really an awful scene all around and well past the boundaries of being even remotely funny. It’s just inappropriate and that alone should cost them their badge.

So when Frank is getting upset about the bosses zeroing in on him…well he definitely earned it. That scene also has nothing to do with the film and seemed to only have been added as fanservice. Cut that out and the film is immediately a lot better. The worst part is that the characters don’t really pay for that. Sure Richard has a painful time during the film to be sure but it’s not directly related to this scene. Then Frank gets to play the hero as he runs around blasting at everyone.

The film is at its best when it’s focused on the actual mystery. For example Frank’s friend Kate helps him out by going to the reporters and we get a fun little side plot near the end. One of the villains even sends a goon after her but fortunately she didn’t fall for the trap and then the reporter came through in time with the security guard. That was definitely fairly tense and the reporter was impressive. He felt like he could have been the lead in a different film.

As for the main villain Cochrane, the guy is definitely not very subtle about being a villain but when there is so much corruption in the ranks why would you bother hiding right? The guy can basically do whatever he wants to a large extent and it’s not like anybody is going to be able to stop him. He’s just going to do whatever he wants and will keep on doing it until someone can stop him. He plays the villain role well and is the most entertaining character in the film to be sure. The guy’s just so sarcastic the whole time.

The effects for the helicopter scenes definitely hold up really well too. I’ve always preferred planes in most areas since I feel like they are faster, more agile, better equipped, etc. But you still don’t want to underestimate the Helicopters because there is a lot that they can do. Part of the focus in the film is that they are testing an experimental one which will have so much firepower that it is basically a mini army in its own right. The dilemma here is obviously that having so much firepower within the city is a huge risk, especially if it’s in the hands of someone like Frank.

I’d say he proves that he’s not trustworthy for using it throughout the film. It also has a lot of invasive hardware in it like a super long range scanner to hear anything anyone says from any range. Not exactly the kind of tech that you just want anyone to have right? It was even funny in a way how in the army demo the company gave we saw a ton of innocent people being destroyed in the simulations. There just isn’t a way to get this kind of weaponry to ever be super safe without some collateral damage. Not without some kind of big technological breakthrough at least. The action scenes are good though and the film’s pacing is on point.

Overall, This film had potential but that one scene just dragged on way too long and was way too detailed. It also destroyed both main characters in an instant to the point where they were impossible to root for. The conspiracy angle was done well although most films have done it better. We get some minor hand to hand kind of action here but mainly it’s about the vehicles and that is handled well. I still wouldn’t recommend this film but it’s fairly close to the border of being a solid pic. If you can get behind that one moment of Frank being the villain then you should have a good time here.

Overall 4/10

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

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Review

Crouching Tiger is one of those movies where I know the name well but I really couldn’t tell you what it was about. So it’s nice to finally be able to have checked this one out and it holds up. The fight scenes are on point and the story is good. My only issue is that the film does lose a lot of steam during the desert scenes. That side trip lasted way too long and reminded me of how John Wick 3 destroyed its momentum with a desert adventure as well. Maybe the moral here is if your story is going well then you don’t need to go to the desert. Sometimes that’s the way to go.

The movie starts with Mu Bai retiring from the way of the sword and asking Yu Shu to give away his prized sword to the governor. Unfortunately it is stolen right away by a mysterious warrior. This warrior even manages to escape Yu Shu after a lengthy battle. Suspiciously the governor has a daughter who really claims not to know anything about martial arts but Yu Shu is convinced that this is the culprit. Still she doesn’t want to ruin the young lady’s life by exposing this and tries to get her to return the sword. Meanwhile a hardened killer known as the Jade Fox has reappeared and this fight is personal for Mu Bai because his master was murdered by her.

There’s definitely a lot going on here but one of the real strengths of the film is how it actually spares the time for long fight scenes. We’re not talking a quick 2 minute fight but prolonged action scenes with a good amount of back and forth. For example the fight with Yu Shu and the intruder at the start is surprisingly very long with a ton of good choreography. We really get to see how good Yu Shu’s skills are here as well as the intruder’s. They’re fighting while the intruder is trying to escape so you get to see these shifts in combat. If Yu Shu isn’t careful the intruder will leave and so the situation does favor the villain here because you never know when the situation will be a fight or flee moment.

This movie definitely does use the flying techniques quite a lot. The characters fly over buildings and jump with the power of the Hulk. It may not be realistic but it makes this feel more like an anime adventure so I was 100% on board with this. It makes for a lot of very satisfying battles. It also really shows the gap in ability between the trained ninjas and the average fighters. If you can’t move with tremendous speed and jump over leagues then you’re not going to win the fight. You’ll have no shot at all.

Yu Shu is a really solid heroine. She gets less to do in the first half but the opening was such a great way to introduce her character. You also see her compassionate side in trying to drop hints to make the fighting stop with everyone coming out on top. There is also a sub plot where she likes Mu Bai but the two have a hard time connecting because she had a fiancé who died. So she doesn’t want this to be a rebound which is very honorable and same for him. It’s a nice way to look at things and I think you just have to be satisfied staying as just friends there. You made your choice and it just didn’t turn out well. Ultimately she still looks out for the guy and they have a good dynamic.

Meanwhile Mu Bai may have retired from fighting but he still retains his skills at a really high level. It was impressive seeing him take on all challengers in this film. It’s clear that he was easily the most powerful fighter here and if we discount any cheap shots, nobody was really able to land a hit on him. The closest was the intruder to be sure but even she was no match. This guy absolutely lived up to his rep of being a martial arts master.

For the villains Jade Fox was a bit underwhelming. She is strong when faced against the lower ranking fighters to be sure but can’t hold a candle to Yu Shu, the intruder, or Mu Bai. Regardless she is older so I suppose in her prime things may have been different. She’s a villain through and through to be sure and doesn’t have some kind of sympathetic backstory set up. Her reason for murdering the master made sense and that guy definitely didn’t sound very good but of course any non-villain would have just left. When you go into murder that’s when you step over the line.

The intruder (So I don’t spoil who this is I’ll just keep using this phrase for the mysterious fighter) is a great character. She is a prodigy when it comes to fighting as she didn’t have the best teacher and yet she became one of the strongest in the verse. Her style of fighting is very smooth and it was always impressive to just see her get in on the action and face off against anyone. Not backing down is impressive. I would also say that she’s a big reason as to why I enjoyed the film. In live action you don’t get to see the “I want to fight strong opponents!” character adapted all that often. She felt like she was out of an anime film as someone who just wanted to test her limits and I like that kind of fighting spirit in any character. She also lived up to the hype and didn’t hide behind any characters.

Meanwhile Jen is a nice enough character. She doesn’t really seem thrilled about her arranged marriage and I don’t blame her. That always seemed like a custom that would really lead to disaster. Unfortunately everyone in her circles are used to this so the advice tends to be that she won’t mind eventually. Not great advice if you ask me but Jen had an affair with someone in the desert and now she misses those days. She really beat up Lo (The guy she met) quite a lot but eventually they liked each other. They’re in different stations though and so it was a romance that could never be. Truly tragic…but completely out of place here.

The movie basically pauses the plot for a really long trip down memory lane in the desert. You definitely understand what they are doing here but I felt like this detour was just not needed. Seriously we could have understood the story in a few minutes, this didn’t need to be so long. It’s to build up the romance of course but at the same time I would say it’s still hard to buy because the whole thing is still very quick. She also tried to murder him several times and it’s a bit hard to let that go. I’ll say that the film tried harder to make the romance work than most others but no I wanted to go back to the real action.

Overall, That was really my only issue with the film though. So while the pacing isn’t as great as it could have been, the film still has a whole lot of great things going for it. The action is on point and the characters are good. The fight scenes are really given a lot of focus here and the martial arts can hold their own with any title. There are a variety of different settings for the fights and the visuals at the ending are also really good. This movie was definitely the complete package through and through and I can definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to see an action film with good writing or someone who wants to check out a well thought out drama since the dramatic moments are here as well.

Overall 7/10

Identity Review

This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Identity is a movie with a pretty interesting premise. I’d actually say there was a whole lot of potential here and I do tend to like the premise of getting a bunch of people together and as they all start getting bumped off you have to wonder who the big villain is. There’s a whole lot that you can do with this but unfortunately the film didn’t really take advantage of this. Mainly because it was going really well but there was one twist which really didn’t work out and ended up weakening the experience.

The movie starts out with the viewer seeing a lot of violent crime photos as there was some kind of serial killer but he’s now being put to death. The Judge and some other people have to quickly talk things over though but then we cut away to the actual plot of a bunch of people getting stranded at a motel. You have the owner who is really shady and being super aggressive the whole time. A former cop who works as a chauffer for a famous movie actress. The actress in question is here as well. A family of 3 where the wife got his by the chauffer’s car so she’s in critical condition and the young boy is definitely traumatized. The father is also cracking the whole time as well. There was a girl who tried leaving the area but the road got blocked so she is stuck with them as well. Finally you have a cop who was transporting a murderer over to jail so he stops in as well along with the handcuffed prisoner. All of these people have to try and survive the night at the motel while they wait for the flood to end but slowly they start getting picked off. Who could possibly be doing this!?

So that’s the story premise that I really do enjoy. It’s very much a Clue kind of mystery and most of the characters don’t seem to have much of a motive at first but then all of their stories start falling apart the more the movie goes on. So after that then everyone starts feeling really suspicious which makes it just as hard to find the guilty party, just for different reasons than earlier. As the film goes on you get to really start coming to your own conclusions as well so it’s just a really good match. It’s just hard to get into this without spoilers but the final twist just defeats the entire purpose of everything. I don’t think it was a good idea and I would have played this one straight. It would immediately be way better. Now in part the final twist helps to establish how some of these events could have possibly happened.

It helps in a power scaling sense but I don’t want power scaling right now. I just wanted a really satisfying story with a lot of tension all around. You still get that for most of the film but this takes away that replay value once you know what’s going on from the start here. It changes the whole dynamic of the film retroactively and the payoff for this isn’t great as well. The film does have a horror film type ending as well which can be fun. I mean you do always want to see that but there’s a whole lot of plot convenience going on here. There’s a car scene near the end that makes no sense because nobody in their fight mind is taking such a chance with a dangerous person. The closest analogy I can use is you hear someone knocking on the door so you open it and get one shotted. That’s basically what happens here.

I did enjoy the meanwhile scenes with the judge and other people talking though. It was so random that it was just a bit funny and that actually leads into a very satisfying twist. The first twist in this plot was actually good and that’s why they always say to quit while you’re ahead. If there was ever a time to follow that advice, this was it. For another positive on the film I thought they did a good job with the atmosphere and effects. Everything did look really ominous and dreary the whole time. You felt that motel vibe all the way. Also the film didn’t overdo it with the violence. It could be violent at times to be sure but some of the visuals would be more creepy than over the top. I’d say the photos at the beginning were mainly more violent than the actual murders at times.

So if we ignore the final twist then I still did enjoy all the cat and mouse games. Aside from the motel owner and the prisoner who were both awful characters from the jump, at least the rest seemed decent. The father was going a bit crazy but considering what just happened to his wife I feel like that’s fair. The kid doesn’t do much but he’s a kid so that’s just how it goes. The Chauffer is one of the more mysterious characters but he’s very proactive and always trying to find some clues so you have to give him props there. He’s definitely taking some extra risks there assuming he isn’t the culprit.

Then you have the actress but she’s a bit on the spoiled side and doesn’t really help out a whole lot. Right from the start you figure things won’t go well for her. The lady who was trying to leave earlier is nice enough. She probably tries the hardest to keep everyone together but with the manager always being rather aggressive it can be hard on her. She keeps it together pretty well though so she was one of the stronger characters. Then you have the cop who adds a lot of the excitement to the film. After all he has a gun and isn’t afraid to use it. The guy’s a bit of a loose cannon and so you feel like he could dish out a lot of damage if he finds out who the culprit is.

With so many characters here there are a lot of dynamics to play into. The film is at its best when the characters are all trying to act normal but you can see how they’re starting to get suspicious. Now in defense of the final twist, you do see exactly what they’re going for here. I think it is possible to execute the twist and have a good movie but ironically it works better if you were not enjoying the movie. Or in fact if we knew about the twist from the start. It manages expectations and you can still have a lot of fun there. It just felt really out of place here and seriously hurt the movie’s momentum.

Overall, Identity is a really solid movie for over 80% of its run. It’s not perfect but it was doing well and then things really came to a halt. Ultimately once you know the twist you can try and recover from it, but it just completely changes the dynamic of the title so it’s never quite the same. I’d like to see a remake/reboot of this film but ignoring the last twist and just playing things straight. As the film gradually got weirder and weirder with so many things happening you just get really excited to see how the writers will tie it all together. That’s what I still need and is what would really make the ending a lot more satisfying.

Overall 4/10

The Chronicles of Riddick Review

This Riddick film is definitely quite a bit different from the first and the last one. It feels like it has nothing to do with the rest of the series which is what makes it interesting. Still, I can’t say that it’s a good film. It’s heads and shoulders above the other two without a doubt but the world building isn’t as interesting as it could have been and there aren’t many likable characters here. I do think the direction it was going in had some potential though but ultimately this is a sci-fi title that you will soon forget.

The movie starts with Riddick dodging bounty hunters and proving why he is still one of the most dangerous guys on the planet. Unfortunately he underestimates a galactic army known as the Necromongers who show up and quickly put him in his place. These guys have been taking down whole planets and so Riddick wasn’t much of a challenge. He escapes but then gets captured again and that’s sort of how the film goes. The movie tries to give Riddick a lot of hype while at the same time giving a lot of hype to the villains and so what happens is there’s a whole lot of back and forth the whole time. Honestly I thought it was a bit overdone and ended up just making Riddick look a little bad. At times there was nothing he could do to be sure, but it was still rough for him. Can he stop this empire?

Like I said the plot is a bit odd here because instead of this being an alien survival film suddenly you have cosmic dynasties, people with superpowers, a lot of lore, interuniversal wars, etc. It’s all rather wild but I like the idea behind it. Like Riddick is just a guy in a really massive universe so the first film was just a little pocket. Hey it’s a good way to expand the rest of the universe but the downside is that you probably won’t care for a while. This could have easily been leveraged into a huge sci-fi franchise but that didn’t happen. I’ll touch more on this in the sequel but this plot ultimately doesn’t matter much. Of course I don’t think it’s fair to judge the film in hindsight so for now we’re not going to worry about the third film.

I mentioned that you’re just not very interested in the whole cosmic plot and that’s the real underlying issue here. The movie also brings back the heroine from the first film, Jack. Jack’s completely different now though as she’s a hardened murderer who has seen and experienced a lot of rough stuff which has made her very tough. It’s a rather rough backstory for her that’s needlessly edgy and everyone looks bad in the process. Basically Riddick abandoned her for ages thinking that he was helping by keeping the heat off of her but other villains came anyway and got her so the whole thing was messed up. I do feel like you have to always take the person you want to protect with you because otherwise you really don’t know if that person is safe or not. Trusting that things will go well isn’t viable in the real world, let alone a sci-fi universe with super aliens in it.

I do like Jack’s new personality quite a bit as she’s really tough and can fight now. She definitely takes some serious risks but in a prison filled with the worst thugs in the universe you have to always emit a tough persona or you’re doomed. I’m not a big fan of films that take place in a prison ordinarily for this reason though as the characters will all be so nasty that even as antagonists they aren’t even remotely interesting.

Jack and Riddick really have to carry the film. While Riddick loses a lot and doesn’t match his film 1 portrayal, he still talks tough all the time and gets his share of wins. I always like seeing him take down some villains and kick things into the next gear. The final fight in the film gave him a lot of credit in the determination side since he was completely outgunned but never gave up. That’s not an easy thing to pull off.

Speaking of the final fight though, the power levels get a bit wonky here. So the head Marshal has super speed and strength which seem classic for a super villain. The big problem is that writers forget how overpowered super speed is. When you have that then you shouldn’t be losing to just about anyone. It’s just not going to happen and Riddick shouldn’t be landing any hits. Of course the guy gets a little overconfident and doesn’t watch his back but you still have a hard time buying into it. The actual fight is great and I liked that we were getting into the superhuman feats here but the power levels were definitely iffy.

There’s also the general named Vaako whose wife keeps telling him to overthrow the leader and rule the place but I never liked him. He was completely indecisive for the entirety of the film so she had to keep on goading him. Honestly she made for the much better villain because at least she was scheming and cackling throughout the whole movie. She had actual ambitions and was doing whatever she could to secure the win. That’s what you want to see in a villain and she was even threatening the wind elemental. The lady knew no fear! (Yes there are wind elementals here but this doesn’t really add anything to the plot. I guess it’s cool to have spirits running around but you could cut her out of the film and not much would change)

I would have liked Vaako more if he had ambitions of his own. Instead he hesitates so much that he squanders his opportunity. Even Toombs was better as the bounty hunter villain here even though he wasn’t very smart either. The guy definitely got too greedy and it cost him which is a running theme for the villains. The film isn’t as violent as the first one but still gets rather intense. The film can often focus on the violence more than it needs to which doesn’t do it any favors. At least there isn’t much time for romance here. The film isn’t devoid of it completely but for the most part it stays focused and on task.

Overall, The main problem with this film is that while it is very ambitious in introducing a ton of factions, armies, and new concepts, it doesn’t do much with them. It feels like they are retroactively trying to make this the next Star Wars and failing epicly. The only real benefit of this approach was that we got to really see the future technology more this way. The final fight was a great visual spectacle and Riddick is still a solid main character. It can’t get over the issues so I would recommend watching the Star Trek movie instead but if they keep this storyline up (….we’ll see) then there is potential here. I’ll have the review for the third film up soon.

Overall 4/10

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Review

This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Psychological films can definitely be good but this one didn’t do the trick. I knew almost right away that it wasn’t going to be very good but from there it just kept on getting worse and worse. Throw in a pretty awful ending and that’s really a wrap. There may have been some potential here but ultimately films where someone is stuck in a prison or an asylum rarely turn out to be good.

The movie starts off with Randle being admitted to the psychiatric ward for the insane. He’s basically faking it because this way he doesn’t have to go outside and do hard labor while he serves out his sentence. Everyone around him is truly insane but he’s fine with that and figures he will still have his fun. Nurse Ratched doesn’t appreciate this though and is determined to break him in the same way that she has broken everyone else. It will be a battle of wills but she does have a big advantage over Randle because people don’t have a lot of rights while within the facility. This means that she effectively has cart blanche to do whatever she wants with him. Not exactly the position you want to put yourself in right?

Well you’d think that but surprisingly it turns out that most of the prisoners are here by choice. Yes that’s right. They can actually walk out anytime they want to but they feel more secure in this facility. It’s pretty wild and as you can imagine Randle is definitely shocked to hear this. The problem is that Randle actually isn’t here willingly at this point because he acted too convincingly in showing everyone that he’s crazy. So ironically it is most imperative that he leaves now but at this point he’s already in deep. He wants to find a way to bring the rest of his friends out with him but to do that he has to convince them that they already have the bravery and skills needed to make it on the outside. It’s a good speech but can he really convince them of this in time?

Randle’s character is the most entertaining one in the movie to be sure but at the same time it’s not like you can really call him a great time. He bribes guards, likes to have one night stands and is generally a bad influence to everyone around him. He believes in living life to the fullest and doing whatever he wants but of course that isn’t really the best kind of lifestyle long term. It’ll catch up to him some day and all of the characters know it. Unfortunately Randle takes too long to really make his move and is easily baited. Letting his instincts run wild all the time is really the cause for why things don’t go very well for him in the end. His whole ending is just super tragic the whole time. He goes through a whole lot and ultimately there isn’t really a shining light at the end of the tunnel for him. It’s just as bleak at the end as it was at the start, honestly much more so even.

There are quite a number of people in the asylum with Randle but the two biggest ones were Billy and the Chief. The Chief is a very quiet guy who initially seems to be mostly braindead as he can’t understand anything but as the film goes on Randle i able to get to him more. It’s always nice to have someone strong by your side. The film also deals with the themes of freedom and how if you’re trapped in your own body then that’s the worst feeling at all. It deals with the ending and that was still not a great way to show the message. I feel like you have to find a way to hope that it’s possible to cure someone instead of just bumping him off. I understand the action though. If I was going to be vegetable then I’d probably want to be taken out too so I’m not trapped but it’s definitely something you hope you never have to really even think about.

Then there is Billy who was probably the most ready to listen to Randle from the start. He has a big stutter which is why he’s in here but otherwise he’s mainly normal. The guy can reason and think just like anyone else. Billy just lacks confidence but is otherwise as normal as anyone else. He’s definitely someone who should have left sooner than later. Honestly they all should have really gotten out of there because it was clear from the jump that Ratched did not have their best interests at heart. She just wanted power and control. She definitely got those things here.

Ratched makes for an intense villain. I like how she really tries to hide this and act normal but you know what’s up the whole time. She has a bit of a nefarious air about her and definitely leaves no room for compassion or mercy. But that’s what makes her a good villain. She isn’t half hearted at all and is just determined to be as antagonistic as possible. You don’t always see a whole lot of villains like that. Her fights with Randle were the best part of the film but of course it was always one sided just by nature of their positions within the hospital. At the end of the day it’s not like he can seriously defy her after all. When he gets out of line she’ll just have him tortured.

That’s ultimately what makes this film a swing and a miss which is that it’s never fun. Characters are always either being tortured, beat up, or humiliated. You’re constantly reminded that there is no hope for them as long as they stay within the asylum and unfortunately most of them can’t function very well outside of the asylum either. So what you have here is a lose-lose situation. Then the ending goes for a very grim dark approach. The dialogue is very rarely entertaining outside of Randle and Ratched and this is a very dialogue heavy film so you can see how that would quickly become a problem.

Overall, The film is tackling a sub genre that isn’t explored a whole lot with the asylums but that’s probably for the best. It feels like these films never end up being all that great and so in the end you’re better off just skipping it entirely. It’s not a film that leaves you feeling all happy inside and instead you’re just wishing that you could have seen Randle break everyone out early so the rest of the film could be about the characters learning how to survive on their own. It would have been a much better experience than this mean spirited title.

Overall 1/10


It’s always fun to watch some solid martial art battles. The choreography tends to be quite excellent and the battles are fast paced. This one is also going for a fairly realistic style so you won’t see a whole lot of flying through the air like in some other titles. I don’t doubt that some parts are a bit exaggerated in this cinematic retelling of Huo Yuannija’s life but I’d say it gets the themes across. He makes his share of mistakes but ultimately does well in the end. It’s a satisfying movie to check out all the way through.

The film starts off with Huo taking on the world’s strongest fighters and easily defeating them all. It’s a 4 on 1 gauntlet although each match is one on one, it’s just that they’re all back to back which puts Huo at a bit of a disadvantage there. He is about to start the final match when we flashback to Huo as a kid and the rest of the film follows his story chronologically until we finally get back to the ending. Huo always wanted to be a great fighter but his father didn’t allow this because Huo had asthma and so it was dangerous. Well, Huo ends up learning anyway and becomes the best fighter in the land. The problem is that the fame gets to him and he allows himself to attract a rather large crowd of people who aren’t the best of individuals.

Ultimately this leads to him being manipulated and his family pays the price. He needs to find his way once more while at a village on the outskirts of society and a blind lady named Yueci but can he really return to his days of fighting or is it all over? This is all happening amidst a backdrop of his city being taken over by foreigners and so things have gotten rather rough over there. The people need their champion if they are to have any chance of fighting back.

This isn’t a war film though, but it helps to show why the fights were very important. If Huo didn’t make a move then the rest of the land would surely suffer as a result. His inaction would ultimately be a big negative to the world at large. Huo definitely has a lot of real skill and you have to imagine that he must have trained for hours and hours to reach this level. He was absolutely one of the best fighters in the world based on this film and even by the end nobody could really touch him. I’m sure fans of the guy would be pleased with how he looks here since the guy seems all but invincible based on this.

He definitely made a big mistake in attacking his rival so quickly though. It was a shame to see even as it was happening because you just knew he was being played the whole time. Honestly even if his pupil had been attacked you definitely need to know the full story first. He also wrecked things for his friend Jinsun which is hard to turn back. Huo ultimately learns a lot from the experience but it’s the definition of learning things the hard way.

The film isn’t afraid to get rather violent at times and the tragedy that happened to Huo is pretty brutal. On the whole the film isn’t very violent beyond that which is part of why the scene sticks out. They weren’t pulling any punches there and I suppose if it happened in real life then it needed to be adapted but otherwise I’d say they should have skipped that part. It’s also tough because his family really had nothing to do with his skirmish and the villains just took the easy way out in going after them.

Meanwhile the rival Qin seemed like a decent guy. If not for being framed I don’t think the two main characters would have really come to serious blows. The guy had his share of trash talk to be sure but otherwise he doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would be using cheap shots or anything like that. It would have been a very intense fight but a fair one across the board. It’s just too bad that he didn’t get that proper fight. Huo likely would have won but at least Qin would have been able to still be alive and train some more.

Yueci is a nice heroine throughout the film and it always seems like it has to be really tough to survive while you’re blind. Every action just feels a million times harder but she never complains and does her best. She’s instrumental in helping Huo reach the next level without a doubt. It’s why you’re glad that she gets a happy ending at least. It’s nice to think of the ending as quite literal because then in a way two really good things happened to her back to back. You can’t ask for much more of a good ending than that.

Huo’s friend Jinsun also gets a lot of credit for sticking by the lead all those years. Even when Huo was making a lot of mistakes and not being grateful, Jinsun took care of his family in the background. That’s not something that just anyone would do and it shows that his loyalty was true all the way. I was also glad that the opponents in the final tournament weren’t just made to be nameless throwaways and had real character. This even goes back to the first opponent before the tournament. In the exhibition fight O’Brien turns out to be a very reasonable guy who wants a clean fight and isn’t looking to get dirty. When he realizes that he would have lost, he gladly gives Huo the credit.

We see something similar with Tanaka at the end who was really a class act. Often times you’d see these opponents just be as corrupt as the officials but that wasn’t the case here. I appreciated the nuance and Tanaka ended up being my favorite character. He just seemed like a really nice guy who was confident in his abilities but wanted to win in a fair way. That’s the kind of guy you want to have as your opponent and the final fight was definitely a lot of fun. Some annoying circumstances prevented it from being quite as great as it should have been but it was really solid regardless.

Overall, The writing in this film was really good and I definitely enjoyed the fights. It was a well balanced movie all around and one that I could easily recommend to anyone wanting to check out a solid film. It’s got a satisfying conclusion which is always important in these things and you should be on the edge of your seat the whole time. Additionally as was not familiar with the man the film is based on, it helps the film keep its suspense as I don’t really know what will happen next. In general it always helps when you don’t know the original material since everything is more of a surprise. So you should check out this film sooner than later in case you learn about this guy at some point and so you can enjoy the film experience first.

The Sting Review

The Sting is a very ambitious film with a ton of moving parts so it really ends up being quite a lot of fun. I enjoyed seeing jut how intense it was with a lot of twists and a huge cast of characters. Everyone stands out too which is a good thing and the suspense will keep you at the edge of your seat. I was definitely impressed with this one. Not to say I thought it would be bd or anything like that but is was still better than I expected. If you like planning movies like this then you will definitely have a great time here.

The movie starts with Johnny and Luther suckering a guy out of a lot of money and we see that they are grifters. Basically they part people with their money and it’s actually a rather profitable business. It has its share of risks to be sure but they have really done well for themselves. Unfortunately they messed with the wrong person this time and Luther is murdered by the mafia led by Doyle. Johnny escapes and meets up with a man named Henry who is supposed to be the best in the business. Johnny asks Henry to help him take revenge and so they set up the most ambitious trap yet to take down Doyle. Can they really defeat the leader of the mafia like this?

A film like this will only be as good as its writing and characters. Fortunately both of those are quite great so there is really nothing to worry about here. The movie is long which allows it to introduce all of the characters and make them all matter. The pacing never gets slow and so you never feel like things are dragging along. All of the scenes are necessary and the film gives you enough context to always keep up but you’re also supposed to think things out and try to stay ahead of the score too. The best part is that the plan actually feels feasible. Incredibly difficult to be sure but you aren’t suspending a whole lot of disbelief here.

Now the characters can’t be perfect or you might have some questions but for the most part they always make a lot of reasonable decisions and that goes a long way. My only issue here are the mistakes that Johnny makes. Sure the guy is a rookie compared to Henry but at the same time he’s still been in the game for a long while. When he wasted $10,000 on a roll of the dice that was just not a smart move. Even if the casino didn’t cheat, odds are great that he would have lost. There is no upside to spending a bunch of cash like that since the house will always clean up.

Then just as bad is when he decides to have a one night stand with a waitress. The stakes are too high for him to be messing around right now. Keep in mind that just about everyone in the city is after him at this point so he really doesn’t have a whole lot of time. He should be hiding out and laying low right now, not making moves. He seems rather desperate for someone from the start like when he was carrying the flowers at the beginning but he should just wait a little longer until after the plan is done. Things really came close to going sideways for him there. In a way it actually helped his defense since by looking like a sucker the villains really wouldn’t suspect him but he can’t take any credit there since that was accidental.

I like that Johnny was very determined to take revenge and he did put a lot into the planning. So I’m not going to sell him totally short. The guy contributed a ton and was a really solid character who had good acting to the end. His role was absolutely crucial in getting Doyle to take the bait. Ultimately he’s also just a likable main character. I would say Henry is the one who stole the show here though. He took huge risks himself and while the situation was a lot more personal to him than he let on, he still wasn’t as personally invested as Johnny was. Still he got the gang back together and pulled off a really grand exhibition. This film was truly a team effort with everyone putting in their part.

Meanwhile Doyle made for a solid main villain. The guy has a lot of personal pride which is why he couldn’t let the heroes get away with messing with him. Additionally he was pretty smart and was not easy to fool. It’s quite telling that the characters had to go so far in order to try and stay ahead of him. Half hearted methods definitely wouldn’t have done the trick here. This guy has a lot of muscle and you can see why he was the head of the mafia. Even to the end he was always a thorn in their side and switched things up enough times where you could say he did take every precaution. Ultimately the heroes were just too prepared for him.

I also liked Snyder and Polk as more supporting characters to mix things up. Snyder being more of a two bit criminal who was one of the more corrupt cops helped to be a wild card here. Same for Polk from the FBI side. The more sides you have in any movie the better and it was always great when Johnny would just be minding his own business and suddenly one of these guys shows up to complicate matters. He was really never allowed to have any peace while on the job. No matter what he did or where he went, there was always someone around to complicate maters further and cause a lot of trouble.

Overall, The Sting is a very satisfying movie. Not only does it remain very interesting throughout the entirety of the run but the ending is very satisfying. If you stumble at the ending that ends up hurting a lot so managing not to do that was a really big bonus for the title. The characters are likable and even the villain faction are solid. There weren’t any characters here that I really disliked. Everyone had their own objectives and you have to remember that this all started because Johnny and Luther were scamming people so it’s not even like they were upstanding citizens. When you become a crook you understand the risks and so it just happened to them earlier than they were expecting. It still remains personal but at the end of the day it was also business. Both of these villain groups were just doing what they wanted to do and so it turned into this big fight.

Overall 8/10

Season of the Witch Review

Whenever you have a film taking place back in the olden days with witches, demons, werewolves and the like I have to assume that the film is not going to be very good. Sure that is a general plot and so you can definitely surpass that if need be but what are the odds realistically right? I doubt they are very good at least with the track record and this one is no exception. Sure there are some interesting moments and plot lines scattered around the place but ultimately the movie could not capitalize on any of them and so it failed in the end.

The film starts off by showing us how skilled Felson and Behmen are. They utterly decimate opposing armies in every fight that they are in. We see a montage of them in countless fights and it’s definitely impressive how ahead of the curve they are in the battles. Nobody can really touch them or even come close. Well one day Behmen ends up murdering an innocent civilian and he becomes disillusioned with the whole thing. He now realizes that he was merely a soldier of battle and quite the army. Felson follows him but unfortunately they are quickly captured by the same army again. Their mission is to bring a suspected witch back into custody with them to face justice at a “fair” trial. Behmen doesn’t much like this but orders are orders and trying to escape the whole army again would be tricky. The girl’s name is Anna and she seems incredibly suspicious and crafty but that doesn’t automatically make her a witch. Behmen will have to handle this carefully.

I did find part of the intro funny in how quickly the two leads were captured though. These were the kingdom’s best warriors and yet they could be brought back in so easily? Have to admit that they lost a lot of hype there. I give some credit for wanting to leave the army in the first place of course but I really didn’t think that they would be brought back so quickly. As for the mission itself, well in a way they know that this won’t be a fair trial but they aren’t the justice system so what can be done? I think just running off for a second time would have been just fine to be honest but it is what it is.

Anna is unashamedly suspicious the whole time to the point where it can definitely be real amusing. She keeps on using magic and messing with the heroes so it seems obvious that she is a witch but they can’t prove it yet. She even goes out of her way to save someone who nearly plummeted to his doom by using her super strength. Even the characters can be confused sometimes on if she is sympathetic or not. It’s just really hard to get a read on her and that’s definitely by design. For what it’s worth she was a good antagonist for this reason. She really kept the heroes sharp and always on edge. Her abilities were solid too and versatile. She had flight, mind manipulation, animal summoning/transformation, super strength, etc. Yeah that’s a lot for any human to deal with and by the end her scenes get even better in hindsight.

Unfortunately you can probably guess how the animal summoning ended up being a net negative here. We have to sit through an extended scene of the heroes destroying a bunch of dogs that she transformed into werewolves. Definitely a scene that didn’t need to be here and it really drags down the experience. At this point they should have taken her down since this also directly murdered some members of the team. You don’t exactly need a trial when the villain openly murders people in front of you right? Well, unfortunately Debelzaq the priest says you do need that so there isn’t much the heroes can do about this. Behmen ultimately stands down but the body count only continues to rise.

These are guys who don’t have a no killing code or anything like that so in light of this it just doesn’t make sense to spare her. Anna will only continue to cause more death and destruction in her wake the longer they keep her alive. It’s always hard to defeat the supernatural and this is just another example of that. Behmen and the others are completely outmatched and only plot armor is enough to help them win. It’s why I say films always need to be careful not to make their villains end up being too powerful or there’s just no way to buy into the hero ever winning. When you create an unwinnable situation that’s exactly what happens.

Ultimately I did like Behmen as a character though. He wanted to do the right thing and protect everyone. His motivations were always good and he let his actions do the talking for him like when he left the army early on. He won’t be a part of anything that is unjust and has the strongest moral center of the group. His partner Felson is solid as well but that guy’s more relaxed and will just do whatever he feels like doing. He follows Behmen since they’re friends but it’s less about the morality of it and more because that’s just what he wants to do.

The film actually has a fairly large cast of characters accompanying the main two on the trip but you will forget most of them immediately because they don’t do anything. You’ve got a guy with a tragic past, the priest who is always ready to exorcise, the comic relief maps guy, etc. They’re all just here for the body count and you know it. There is never even an attempt to start liking these guys or making them a part of the main cast. It’s just not happening and so the film treats their characters rather half heartedly.

You’ve got your share of jump scares here but the film is more action than horror. The film just likes using some strong imagery so that you can see how threatening the villains are. We get lots of zoom ins on rather deformed faces on the witch side and while the film isn’t super violent, it does have some moments here and there. The imagery can be more gross than violent at times although I suppose it depends on the scene.

I think this film could have really shined by focusing on the main two guys as they look for a battle that is worth fighting. They stop just blindly listening to orders and look for a chance to really make a difference. Having them work for the army again was a really odd move and not the one I would have chosen. From there they are back to following orders even when they have doubts and that’s what doesn’t work as well about this film. It sort of goes against their whole character choice in the beginning to do that.

Overall, I liked one of the twists at the end of the film but this one didn’t live up to its full potential. After a while it felt like this film was even trying to be the next Exorcist although it still beats those easily. Witches can make for decent villains when you focus more on their magic and the cool fantasy battles we can have but outside of that they aren’t super interesting. So when you just have Anna locked up in the cage for most of the film it takes some of the bite out of the experience. A sequel could maybe do better but lets shift the time-frame to modern day. Trust me that setting works way better.

Overall 2/10