We’re back with a few more movie reviews, and I’ve got to say that I’m starting to enjoy this format! I still get to watch the movies I want to, but now I can watch them on my own schedule and I keep things nice and succinct. The only problem is that I’m not getting these out in a timely manner, but relevance is overrated, am I right!? Anyway, let’s take a look at three movies that I’m sure you saw a while ago but are still interested to hear what some guy on the internet has to say about them! Let’s get started!!
Bullet Train is owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by David Leitch
A hapless assassin given the codename Ladybug (Brad Pitt) is on a very simple mission to retrieve a briefcase on a train heading to Kyoto. Naturally, these kinds of things never are that easy and he laments his bad luck while dodging other assassins on the train, and is haphazardly embroiled in a plot that is bigger than he could possibly imagine and seems to be heading in one very bloody direction.
I’m not a guy who will turn his nose up at over-the-top action spectacles or something that is intentionally cheesy and a movie like this should have been my jam by default, but even the best ingredients will go to waste if given to an untalented chef, and I just found this whole thing to be insufferable. It’s convoluted without being clever, smarmy without the charm to make up for it, and artificial to the point that nothing seems to actually matter. The only part of the movie that resonated with me was the relationship between Lemon and Tangerine as Brian Tyree Henry and Aaron Taylor-Johnson had great chemistry and added some genuine heart to an otherwise insincere story, and while I feel like this is one of the most Monkeys’ Paw wishes imaginable, I’d kind of like to see what could be done with a spinoff focusing on them specifically. Andrew Koji also stands out from everything else with a very angry and desperate performance that’s still about as one-note as everything else in the movie, but at least it’s a different note being played and does a great job playing it. Everything else though is just laden with insufferable dialogue and compounding coincidences that just drain any investment you can have in the characters or the plot itself; especially our protagonist who is just in the wrong place at the wrong time. For that kind of story to work, it has to ultimately circle back around to them actually being the right person to be there, but that would require a level of emotional investment that this movie is just unwilling to extend and so Brad Pitt feels like as distant to the story as those of us sitting in the theater watching him awkwardly stumble his way through a place he doesn’t belong; like an uninvited party guest asking everyone where the bathroom is. With the threadbare story, the quip-tastic dialogue, and the general lack of impact or weight from any of the narrative beats, it falls somewhere between a Rick and Morty episode and one of those award show skits with a bunch of celebrities are comically inserted into another movie. If we take it on these terms, as little more than entertainment fluff with a bunch of famous people in it, does it manage to work? Sort of, I guess. It’s competent in its action and the actors are fine for what they’re asked to do, but it’s also not that inspiring or clever in its shallowness and I had my fill of everything it had to offer well before it got to its big cameos at the end. At best it’s a misguided attempt from Hollywood to recapture the lightning-in-a-bottle magic of early Tarantino as well as the director’s own early success with John Wick, and at worst it’s the cinematic equivalent of Steve Buscemi in a backwards baseball cap asking his fellow kids how they are doing. It’s not without its charms, but why settle for the smoothed-over corporate version of stylized action shlock when the genuine article is easier to find than ever?
Army of the Dead and all the images you see in this review are owned by Netflix
Directed by Zack Snyder
Considering everything that the guy has gone through in the last few years, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he took several years off instead of going back to making movies. Still, it does seem to be his passion as Zack Snyder certainly makes film with an enthusiasm and gusto you don’t often see from big budget filmmakers, an d what better way to get back into the swing of things than to go back to his roots and make another zombie flick? I’m certainly rooting for him, but is this the triumphant return that we’ve all been waiting for, or is he still a bit rusty from working on tent pole superhero movies for so long? Let’s find out!!
Following a botched military transport, the ZOMBIE VIRUS infects the city of Las Vegas AND NOWHERE ELSE which is convenient because it means the US government can just build a giant wall around the city and leave the zombies to their own devices while also ensuring all the survivors are free from the zombie virus. The state of things is tenuous at best however as the survivors are kept in camps near the city run by NOT-ICE-AGENTS, and since we’re living in a Capitalists hellscape even in our fantastical zombie films, people are sneaking in and out to try and scrounge up a bit of cash from the many casinos to perhaps make their lives better. Because of this the US government has decided to nuke the city to kill off all the zombies which means it’s the PERFECT time to pull off the biggest heist of them all as a casino owner (Hiroyuki Sanada) hires a group of mercenaries, many of whom were part of the efforts to save survivors, to go into the city and take ALL the money from his vault mere days before the nuke is launched; money that would have probably would just burn to ashes anyway so it’s practically there BEGGING to be collected! Our heroes are the ultimate Dad Guy named Scott (Dave Bautista), his friends Maria and Vanderohe (Ana de la Reguera and Omari Hardwick), a safe cracker named Ludwig (Matthias Schweighöfer), some dude who posts zombie shooting videos on YouTube as well as one of his cohorts (Raúl Castillo and Samantha Win), a pilot to get them out of there (Tig Notaro), and a Coyote who helps people get in and out of the city (Nora Arnezeder). On top of that, Scott’s daughter (Ella Purnell) finds a way to tag along as she is searching for someone who got lost in the city during one of those casino runs, and there’s one dude hired by the casino owner (Garret Dillahunt) to keep an eye on things and perhaps has an agenda of his own. With this rag tag group of bad asses and scumbags, can they pull off the ultimate heist without getting bit by a zombie or getting a face full of nuclear fallout? Is this plan as straightforward as they were led to believe, and what have the zombies themselves been up to since being locked up in the city? Do trained mercenaries just not watch movies, or do they assume that this is the ONE plan that won’t go wrong?
Mortal Kombat and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros
Directed by Simon McQuoid
Honestly, I was never much of a Mortal Kombat fan. More of Tekken guy when it came to fighting games, but there’s no denying the cultural impact that the franchise has had and it’s impressive just how long they’ve been going with the series for it to only get better and better as time goes on. I remember Mortal Kombat 9 being an excellent reboot that got me into the series for a bit, but even at the games’ peak it still can’t touch that AWESOME 1995 movie directed by Paul WS Anderson! I just rewatched that movie like a year ago and it still holds up as a fantastic martial arts movie that finds the right balance between what fans want from the games and making into a coherent movie. There have been other attempts since then to get the series off the ground in non-video game forms, but this is the first big step WB has taken with it since acquiring the franchise in 2009. Does this bring Mortal Kombat to the big screen for a whole new generation of fans in a bold and exciting way, or will we all still be clutching our VHS tapes of the original film by the end of this movie? Let’s find out!!
As you’d expect from a Mortal Kombat movie, the story is set right before the start of the tenth Mortal Kombat tournament where Earth Realm’s greatest fighters try to overcome the unstoppable warriors of Outworld, and after nine consecutive losses in a row it’s Earth’s last chance to avoid complete and utter devastation as Outworld will finally be able to invade Earth if they win this time! So who exactly will be participating in this generation’s tournament? Well we’ve got some of the classic standbys from the franchise like Liu Kang, Jax, and a begrudging Kano (Ludi Lin, Mehcad Brooks, and Josh Lawson), but the real hope for humanity comes in the form of Cole Young (Lewis Tan); a new character for the series and someone with an unexpected history to this tournament that slowly reveals itself as he is recruited by Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) to seek out Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) and his crew so he can learn the techniques and Mortal Kombat Magic necessary to win this tournament! All is not as cut and dry however as Outworld’s leader in the tournament Shang Tsung (Chin Han) has his own crew of Mortal Kombat characters and is not waiting for the tournament to begin before sending them out to destroy the fledgling Earth team. With opponents such as Sub-Zero, Mileena, and Goro (Joe Taslim, Sisi Stringer, and Angus Sampson) hunting them down, do these heroes of Earth even stand a chance of MAKING it to the tournament; let alone becoming strong enough to win it? What is Cole’s history with this tournament, and will it be the key to Earth finally getting one over on Outworld? You know, most Fight Camps are AT LEAST eight weeks, so shouldn’t Raiden have gotten these guys together BEFORE the tournament was like a week away? And we all wonder why Earth Realm lost nine times in a row!
Life and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Daniel Espinosa
What’s with movies trying to tell us that Space is totally scary!? I LIKE space! That’s where all the Star Trek stuff happens! I mean, between Ridley Scott’s Alien, Gravity from a few years ago, and now THIS movie, it’s like Hollywood has a grudge against NASA or something! This may be the most overt example though considering it’s literally called LIFE which is about the FIRST FORM OF LIFE WE’VE DISCOVERED OUTSIDE OF EARTH (from freaking MARS of all places) is apparently a serial killing jellyfish monster. Anyway, does this latest entry into the horror sci-fi genre turn out to be another classic, or is this yet another uninspired snooze fest trying to grasp onto ideas that have already been done in much better movies? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins IN SPAAAAAAACE on what I believe is supposed to be the International Space Station, but it could just be a unique space station for this movie. The six member crew of this station (Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, and Olga Dihovichnaya) receive a package from a probe that was sent to Mars which has some dirt samples for them to analyze, and of course they find a single living cell tucked away inside; confirming once and for all that there is life outside of Earth. Of course, the cell turns out to be PURE EVIL as it grows SUPER fast and eventually turns into some white squid/bat looking thingy which starts to wreak havoc on the crew members and on the integrity of the station itself. Can our fearless astronauts stop this space menace from killing them all and destroying the station? Failing that, can they keep the monster from making it back to Earth and presumably destroying all life on it!? WHY DIDN’T THEY BRING SOME SPACE MARINES ABOARD IN CASE SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENED!? Master Chief could have solved this in minute!!