- Father-out-for-revenge films are nothing new
- A boring film that doesn’t do anything much for Cage
TOKAREV is a boring film about a suburban ex-gangster father who returns to his roots after his teenage daughter is abducted and shot in the head.
Nicolas Cage raves and rants after the killing, and he craves for revenge so much that he’s willing to go to extremes to do it. Egging him on is his new and much younger wife played by Rachel Nichols.
ALTHOUGH the villain in Oculus is an antique mirror, most of the action takes place in a house. So you could say that this is a haunted house film, which would make it rather blasé as we’ve seen an explosion of films of this genre.
Oculus switches between present and past as two orphans confront the evil that wrecked their lives and destroyed their family 11 years ago. The final third of the film plays with the two orphans’ perception of reality, probably sending them closer to their death, which also means that viewers’ perception is stretched to the limit.
Viewers will leave the theatre scratching their heads but will admit that it was all in good fun.
2 1/2 out of 5
- This ‘Machine’ is not well-oiled. In fact, it’s rusty, slow and boring
- Familiar tale in a sexy human figure
THE Machine is a slow and boring tale about the turning of a female robot into an ultimate killing machine. The film, written and directed by Caradog James, asks whether a robot who looks like a sexy blonde dressed in a see-through rubber suit can develop feelings of humanity even when she’s programmed to kill.
The robot project is funded by Britain’s Defence Ministry to find a way to win a Cold War against China. However, the project’s computer programmer, Vincent (Toby Stephens), is working behind the scenes to use the project to find a cure for his mentally-disabled daughter.
- Finding out a traitor in a close-knit team keeps viewers engrossed for awhile
- The unusually high level of violence overwhelms everything else
ARNOLD Schwarzenneger played a small-town sheriff in last year’s dismal The Last Stand. The movie flopped, probably because the level of violence was not commensurate with what viewers expected in an Arnie film.
Arnie corrects that in Sabotage, an ultra-violent film directed by David Ayer, who also directed End of Watch and wrote Training Day. He plays John “Breacher” Wharton, the head of an elite Drug Enforcement Agency team that raids the homes of drug cartels and kills drug members with panache and gusto.
The DEA team works with precision and alacrity. Each members knows his task and is a ruthless killer. They jibe with each other and sprinkle their dialogues with liberal doses of profanities.
2 1/2 out of 5
- America to the fore again
THERE is an abundance of fights and chases in the sequel to Captain America. This time, though, the film returns to the perennial debate about democracy, order and security, and whether the US is still the right person to be the policeman of the world.
Captain America Steve Rogers (Evans) wonders whether he’s doing the right thing. Robert Redford plays the boss of SHIELD, and asks whether sacrificing the lives of 20 million people (selected by a computer algorithm) is worth it to ensure the security of 7 billion people.
The question is interesting but the film’s set-up is tedious. The action is blase; it’s something you’d have seen elsewhere in, for example, Thor. Captain America gets beaten up but he also dishes out the kicks. Anyway, we know that this moral embodiment of American strength will always prevail.
2 1/2 out of 5
- Spunky actress makes her point known
It’s a pretty decent flick about aptitude tests can make us conform to societal needs and demands. The movie makes a case that breaking out of the mold is sometimes necessary. Decent action scenes. The actress is young and spunky.
3 out of 5
- All that racing and speeding make this a dull film
- I actually predicted the film’s outcome when the protagonist, his friend and a nemesis race each other
- NEED For Sped is obviously a rip-off of the Fast and Furious franchise. The film is inundated with racing scenes from the start to the end.
While the racing scenes are well edited and constructed, the film’s most engrossing moment takes place when a woman attempts to run away from a cop in convenience store. This should inform viewers of what I think of the film.
The film is about luxury cars but director Scott Waugh makes sure that viewers’ hearts are entirely with blue collar protagonist Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul of TV’s Breaking Bad).
In fact, the film’s ending can be read as a reprimand against rich people thinking that rules don’t apply to them or that they can get away with murder.
Also, the film focuses on the cars at the expense of the actors. Fast and Furious is mainly about cars and racing but it dedicates time for the multiracial cast. Need For Speed is just about racing.
But what lets down the film the most is the predictable plot. As soon as Tobey and his friend Pete (Harrison Gilbertson) get into their cars to race against Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) at the egging of the latter, I knew how the film would end. I correctly predicted the fatality as it was so obvious.
I knew that Tobey would want to exact revenge for the death, and that he would go against what he had vowed never to do in the film’s final race.
Tobey is the strong and silent type but is a devil behind the wheels. I suppose illegal racing is common in big cities but I don’t think it’s ever made an appearance in mid-sized US towns.
What makes the race preposterous is that it has a spotter in the form of pilot Benny (Scott Mescudi), who flies low over the dark city in his Cessna to give traffic and police warnings, but the cops are nowhere to be seen, even with all that noise in the middle of the town. Even more preposterous are some people illegally tapping into street cams to watch the race unfold.
2 out of 5
- House of horrors will bore viewers to death
- As bad as a Malaysian horror film
HAUNT is a haunted house film that is dull, unoriginal and not the least bit frightening. It has all the normal ingredients of a haunted house: a tragedy that befell a family living in a huge house in the past; ghosts that whiz past doors and corridors; ghosts that suddenly pop up behind people, especially in bathrooms; and strange noises that awaken people in the house.
The house, too, just like the ones in The Conjuring and The Haunting In Connecticut 2, is large and isolated.
- Excessive blood and gore
- It may be a man’s film but it’s ruthless woman who dominates the film
THERE’S no denying that 300: Rise of an Empire is ultra violent. The film doesn’t exaggerate when it says that the blood of soldiers cover a beach after a naval battle.
The hand-to-hand combat scenes put to shame the first film (2007) directed by Zack Snyder. A sword piercing flesh or skull is met by a crunching sound and the sight of thick blood splatter. It’s the film’s unfortunate lesson that the sight of a blood splatter soon becomes blase to viewers.
- Decently taut and fast-moving
- Old man Neeson can still kick a few butts
I HAD expected Liam Neeson’s Non-Stop to go the way of his other action movies. However, I was pleasantly surprised when the action potboiler kept me at the edge of my seat for most of the film.
Neeson gets to land a few blows on his enemies and he even snaps the neck of a colleague, but what director Jaume Collet-Serra does is to keep everyone guessing about the identity of the baddie. The action is quick and taut and the editing flows quickly. Malaysian films could learn a thing or two about editing from this film.