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Atomic Blonde (2017)

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SuAtomic Blondemmary

An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.

Genre : Action/Thriller
Country : Germany/Sweden/USA

Cast :
Charlize Theron : Lorraine Broughton
James McAvoy : David Percival
John Goodman : Emmett Kurzfeld

Director :
David Leitch

My opinion on “Atomic Blonde”

“You know those movies where the picture just starts to slow down…
and melt?
Then catch fire?
Well… that’s Berlin.”

What was the overall feeling after watching “Atomic Blonde“? For me it was a mixture of confusion and excitement at the same time. Confusion because of the complex story with a multitude of twists and spy related mumbo jumbo. To be honest, I always have that with this kind of movies. So you can assume that I’m not a big fan of espionage movies. Not even James Bond movies. Even though these story lines are rather straightforward and simplistic in my eyes. Atomic Blonde” on the other hand is in a different league. At a certain point I didn’t know anymore what was going on and what role the main characters played. I even forgot the main goal. The only things I still could reimagine in the end, were the fierce action scenes and the appetizing looking curves of Charlize Terron. Should all female spies in a movie use the same wardrobe as Terron did here, I instantly would become a fervent fan of this genre. There’s nothing so exciting as a blonde shrew, wearing sensual knee-length boots and sexy suspenders, who gives her male opponents a solid kick in their glockenspiel.

Atomic Blonde

The one responsible for putting together the playlist, is a genius.

Guess what. I was more excited about the soundtrack used here. Perhaps this was disruptive to some but personally I thought this was pleasant addition. Well, maybe it’s because I’m a hard-core fan of music from the 80’s. And I’m not talking about boysbands or disco music, but the underground and alternative kind of music. Unfortunately, they had to choose the most annoying song from the entire Neue Deutsche Welle repertoire. During that period I often wished for Nena to disappear with her 99 air balloons beyond the horizon. It would have been way better to include “Stunde des Glücks” from Fehlfarben or “Schlachtet!” From Grauzone. But besides this weak moment, I was pleasantly surprised to hear “Cities in dust” from Siouxsie & the Banshees, “Cat People” by David Bowie and “I ran” from A flock or seagulls. In terms of mood, this musical framework certainly made for a positive feeling. In retrospect, I’ll remember this playlist more than the movie itself.

Atomic Blonde

Spies and ultra-secret lists. Not a healthy combination.

It’s all about an ultra-secret list (hidden in a wristwatch) with names of spies who are actively working in the Soviet Union doing … uh … I suppose spy-work. The entire film is situated in dark Berlin of the 80’s, where the ultimate symbol of the cold war still stands. The Berlin wall. It’s in the shadow of this gray decor where this spy movie takes place. In this post-war city, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) tries to get the list back together with colleague spy David Percival (James McAvoy), who has his own agenda apparently. The fact there are other sharks in this spy-pond who are interested in getting that list, is something Lorraine experiences real soon. The entire story is displayed in flashback mode. The whole story is being told by Lorraine during a debriefing in the presence of Eric Gray (Toby Jones), some superior at MI6, and Emmett Kurzfeld (John Goodman) from the C.I.A. What follows are some badass action sequences that’ll thrill you. Unfortunately, these impressive, action-filled scenes are no guarantee to make it a memorable movie .

Atomic Blonde

A limited number of action scenes, but they are sublime choreographed.

Perhaps it was the intention to make a female “John Wick” spin-off. But unlike the latter, where action scenes followed eachother in a breathtaking pace, this movie only contains three (sublime choreographed) violent and action-packed scenes. First the German Polizei notices that the colour of their green uniforms is replaced by the colour of emerging bruises and dripping blood. And as icing on the cake you’ll be presented with a damn elongated scene where KGB agents are being banged up pretty bad. Next you’ll see an intense car chase across Berlin. And then you’ll get a plot twist involving double agents and counterespionage shizzle. And that’s where I suddenly lost the thread. To be honest, that’s it in a nutshell. Even the lesbian it’s-supposed-to-be-a-hot scene wasn’t interesting enough to get me ecstatic. In my view, this was added just so the presence of Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella) seemed functional again.

Atomic Blonde

Nope, it’s not the female “John Wick”.

In terms of acting, it was quite all right, although Charlize Theron impressed me more as Furiosa in “Mad Max: Fury Road“. James McAvoy was sublime. But then again, I  thought he was more convincing as the guy with a split personality in “Split“. Eddie Marsan, John Goodman and Toby Jones complete the rest of the cast and showed once again their acting skills. But despite the brilliant acting, the violent and furious action, the atmospheric images and a soundtrack which made me feel young again, I thought the storyline was incoherent, quite inconsistent and superfluous. You can’t call it the counterpart of “John Wick“. And for those who say this film is amazing because of the fact that it’s an action movie with a female action heroine in it, I suggest to look up these movies and rewatch them : “Alien“, “Terminator“, “Salt” or “Kill Bill“. You’ll also see an action heroine with giant cajones, who’s filletting the other sex (or species) without blinking an eye. But still, highly recommended.

My rating 6/10
Links : IMDB

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Bad Boys: Ride or Die | Official Trailer – Sony Pictures Entertainment

Miami’s finest end up on the run.

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Comedy

Release Date:

2024

Director:

Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah

Cast:

Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens

Plot Summary:

Miami’s finest end up on the run

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Kung Fu Panda 4 Review: Po and Co are Back to Pack Hilarious Punches.

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I’ve seen too many great animation franchises deliver diminishing returns with more and more sequels. To name some recent examples one could include How to Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me, Cars, etc. Kung Fu Panda is another franchise that unfortunately falls in this category. The threequel that released in 2016, was most people’s choice for the weakest entry in the beloved franchise. So that made me pretty skeptical whether the world was ready for this franchise to return and gave us good cause not to have expectations set too high, especially given the weak marketing campaign and smaller production budget. To make things worse, it was being reported that the furious five would not be a part of the story.

So I went in with my expectations in check but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s been 8 years since the last Kung Fu Panda movie, but the characters are somehow still fresh and fun. One of the best things that the makers are able to do is remind the viewers what makes Po such a darling and why we love him so much. Jack Black is such a natural fit for his voice and makes this character special with his wit and wisdom in this latest entry. 

This entry is notably structured in a very different way from the other 3 entries. This one focuses on Po’s search for a successor and his ascension to the Master of Peace. The main characters are split up pretty early in the movie and are sent on separate adventures in a sort of buddy-cop-style scenario. On one side we have Po and Awkwafina’s Zhen, and on the other, we have Bryan Cranston and James Hong as Po’s dads. These two duos are a lot of fun in their own ways.

(from left) Po (Jack Black) and Zhen (Awkwafina) in Kung Fu Panda 4 directed by Mike Mitchell.

Po and Xen have more of a good boy-bad boy dynamic, while the dads have more of a light-hearted brotherhood between them. Both pairs of misfits deliver a string of humorously entertaining sequences that will have you laughing your heart out. The humor here works for most parts apart from one or two instances and the dialogue in particular is very smartly written. The story, on the other hand, is where the movie is at its weakest.

The structuring is pretty generic with a very cliche twist at the beginning of the second half and the script mostly fails to provide significantly fresh plot points. But credit to it for executing the successor plotline better than a lot of movies that have tried it, especially Cars 3. The writers make sure to put their entire focus on humor and entertainment value, but they do come up with a couple of charming moments and some subplots that come full circle.

The animation here is surprisingly really good, especially given the significantly lower budget. The trailers didn’t get too many people encouraged about the quality of animation, but I can tell you that even though it’s not DreamWorks’ best, it’s still really well done. The background score also hits the right spot where it’s able to compliment the scene and lift it at the same time. The voice work here is also pretty solid. Jack Black is amazing as always and Awkwafina Ke Huy Quan are welcome additions.

(Center) Chameleon (Viola Davis) in Kung Fu Panda 4 directed by Mike Mitchell.

Apart from Po, the best part of the movie is Li and Ping. They are the heart of this movie. The two of them have incredible chemistry and Mike Mitchell finds a way to bring out the best from the both of them. They play off of each other in the most silly, but whimsical manner which is just a joy to watch. We could do with a spin-off of them. Ian McShane’s return as Tai Lung is another highlight here. He is nicely integrated and fits well into the story being told. On the other hand, Viola Davis’ Chameleon is somewhat of a disappointment. For a villain that has the powers of all the previous villains, she was a rather tame antagonist.

Overall, Kung Fu Panda 4 is a return to form for the beloved franchise. It has a lot of elements that made the franchise successful and is a much-needed reminder of how much we love these characters and in particular, Po. Jack Black knocks it out of the park with Bryan Cranston and James Hong emerging as surprise standouts. It lacks the emotional depth of the first two entries and has a disappointingly tame villain. But it is a major improvement from the last entry and unsurprisingly very very entertaining.

Kung Fu Panda 4 releases in cinemas on March 8.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_inKs4eeHiI&pp=ygUXa3VuZyBmdSBwYW5kYSA0IHRyYWlsZXI%3D

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One More Shot: Scott Adkins Returns in This Kick Ass Sequel Seemingly Shot in One Take.

With many immersing and kick ass action sequences, One More Shot is another technically impressive action film from director James Nunn.

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Scott Adkins One More Shot

Bigger, better, and more kick-ass than the first, One More Shot is another impressive one-take action film full of tension, stakes, and adrenaline fuelled action sequences. Much like the first, One More Shot is another action film shot in one-continuous take. With hidden cuts of course. This one-take style adds a greater level of intensity to the film by immersing audiences deeper into the action, and connecting audiences closer to it’s characters. James Nunn’s work behind the camera is even more precise than his previous effort. Blending excellent camera work, explicit framing, and fluid editing Nunn leave audiences with punchy (no pun intented), smooth, and enthralling action movie experience.

Scott Adkins once again kicks ass as Jake Harris, delivering another exhausting performance as he takes out waves of bad guys with guns, knives, and of course, his infamous high kicks. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast was pretty underwhelming with Alexis Knapp being the worst offender. Likewise, as exciting as it was to have Michael Jai White star alongside Scott Adkins again, he certainly doesn’t get the screen time he definitely deserved. White should have been the main antagonist. Not a high level bodyguard. With that said however, Michael Jai White’s and Scott Adkins’ brawl was a phenomenal piece of action cinema that action movie fans shouldn’t miss.

One More Shot is an action extravaganza with impressive work both on and off camera, and a brilliant early contender for action movie of the year.

Sony Pictures Entertainment

After the attack on the black site in Poland, Navy SEAL Jake Harris must escort suspect Amin Mansur (Waleed Elgadi) to Washington DC for interrogation. However, after the two become trapped at an airport in the US by an army of armed mercanaries, Jake Harris must protect Mansur or else the fate of America would be on his head.

Much like its predecessor One More Shot is a very technically impressive action movie. Whilst James Nunn proved himself as a fantastic action movie director with his previous endeavour, it’s One More Shot that truly cements it. The filmmaker nails the tension, pacing, cinematography and framing of every fight. The airport setting is much more immersing setting compared to the previous one, allowing for much more creative, and tight action sequences.

Complementing Nunn’s excellent direction, was the casts breathtaking physicality. Unsurprisingly Adkins steals the show with his efficiently brutal, and fast paced martial arts which add a level of finesse, and polish to every fight scene. Likewise, Michael Jai White was another standout. His large physique, matched with his fast and incredibly precise combat proves a deadly foe. Despite the amount of times we have seen Adkins and White go toe to toe, the novelty still hasn’t worn off. Both performers are expert in their craft and give every fight between the two their all. While it would’ve benefitted the film if Michael Jai White had a greater role to play, it was still an unrelenting, and exhilarating brawl. Fingers crossed he’s the big bad in the next one.

Sony Pictures Entertainment

While many have come to see fist fights, shoot outs, and explosions, One More Shot boast’s a surprisingly developed script that’s much deeper than its predecessor. Writers James Nunn, and Jamie Russell provide a well paced and intriguing story full of heart and tension. The characters are far more developed, and introducing audiences to Mansur’s wife, and unborn child greatly elevated the stakes.

The performances where perhaps the films biggest downfall. Adkins was fantastic, White was incredible, and Waleed Elgadi was captivating. As for the rest, their performances just felt lazy. They brought zero nuance to their characters, and seeing them on screen provoked a thought’s of “Damn, I can’t wait to they get killed off”.

One More Shot’s ending is a little abrupt, and while it does have a sweet resolution, the film sort of just ends. We don’t get to see much of the repocussions of the events that unfolding throughout the movie which raises more questions that answers. However, we guarantee that James Nunn and Jamie Russell are working a script for the final film, undoubtedly titled “One Last Shot”. Fingers crossed.

While it may be a little premature, One More Shot is damn great action film that could easily end up on many “Best Action Movie of the Year” lists by the time December roles around. It’s technically impressive, boasting great camera work, and imagery with many adrenaline fuelled action sequences scattered throughout.

One More Shot is available to purchase on demand January 16th

Check out the trailer below:

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