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Hotel Artemis

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Genre : Action
Country : United States
Rating :
R
Director: Drew Pearce

Cast:
Sterling K. Brown
Jodie Foster
Jeff Goldblum
Sofia Boutella
Dave Bautista
Charlie Day

 

 

 

 

Few film genres are able to jump on top of a trend as well as the action genre. When something is a hit studios will do their best to ride that wave as long as possible. When early John Woo movies gained cult status in the early 90’s fellow directors Dante Lam, Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark started finding work in the United States. After The Matrix surprised the world seemingly every action hero wore Ray Bans and shiny leather jackets. And that’s saying nothing about the glut of superhero movies to hit the big screen after the success of 2000’s X-Men. Clout chasing is a common occurrence within the action genre and the most recent film to influence the genre has been 2014’s John Wick.

Directed by stuntmen Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, John Wick was a surprise hit. Mixing Hong Kong-inspired gun fu with a modern, blood soaked revenge story, John Wick was a treat for audiences and critics alike. Since then not only has John Wick become a full-fledged franchise (with John Wick 3 coming out in 2019) but Stahelski and Leitch’s distinct style started to appear more and more. Aside from Leitch’s own Atomic Blonde movies like Run All Night, The Accountant and The Foreigner have similar elements either thematically or visually. The latest film to be inspired by Keanu Reeves’s master assassin is Hotel Artemis.

The year is 2028 and Los Angeles is on the brink of destruction. With corporations in control of water rioters have taken to the streets demanding justice. Using the riots as a cover career criminals Waikiki and Honolulu try to rob a bank when Honolulu is shot. With nowhere else to go they head to the Hotel Artemis, a hospital for criminals run by The Nurse (Jodie Foster). Things quickly go from bad to worse with the arrival of LA’s biggest crime lord, the Wolf King.

A shady criminal organization, enclosed spaces, Sofia Boutella, all things considered Hotel Artemis sounds like the perfect scenario for an action extravaganza. The kind of movie that should make Smokin’ Aces or Shoot’em Up look like My Dinner with Andre. Unfortunately that isn’t what we get. Whether due to a short production schedule or its lower budget Hotel Artemis can feel surprisingly sparse when it comes to action. After an exciting bank robbery in the beginning action comes in short spurts throughout Artemis‘s lean 97 before an explosive climax. I have to admit it left me wanting more. What little action we do get is great. With the carnage mostly focusing on nurse Everest (Dave Bautista) and assassin Nice (Sofia Boutella) their fight scenes play to their strengths. With Everest coming off as a monstrous bruiser and Nice being the agile yet deadly femme fatale it feels like a mix of WWE and Atomic Blonde. Their dual scene makes for a fun watch, I just wish there was more of it. This isn’t to say the movie is a failure on all fronts. In fact, I found Hotel Artemis to be quite a fun watch.

Perhaps most obvious is the film’s look. Like his Iron Man 3 collaborator Shane Black, director Drew Pearce does a masterful job making LA feel like a live, vibrant place. Despite mostly taking place at the Artemis his use of flashback and news reports make Los Angeles feel alive. Just as much detail is given to the Artemis. Practically a world unto itself Pearce does just as good a job making it feel like a real Old Hollywood hotel.

The second big reason for Hotel Artemis works is the stellar cast assembled. A mix of Emmy and Oscar nominees they are able to elevate what could just be a mix of crime movie clichés. At the center of the film is Sterling K. Brown as Waikiki. Far away from This Is Us, Brown is able to give the role a deepness you wouldn’t expect. Despite doing some awful things he straddles the line between sympathetic and bland quite well. A big part of this being due to his scenes with Honolulu, played by Brian Tyree Henry (Paperboi on Atlanta). Not only are the two able to pull off their roles but they interact like real brothers. The two have a chemistry that just feels authentic. Like Waikiki is someone trying their best to deal with a troubled younger brother. The kind of dramatic performance you would expect in a family drama yet makes it work into the neon-soaked world of Hotel Artemis.

The movie’s other main character is The Nurse, portrayed by Jodie Foster. Her first on screen role in several years she’s perfectly cast as the troubled yet resilient manager of the Hotel Artemis. While she has her own demons to confront, she continues on and does the job she was born for. It’s a role that could easily be overacted or feel hackneyed but Foster handles it with the same skill and talent she would a bigger movie. But as good as she is the films real star is the Wolf King.

Throughout the film the Wolf King is talked about in hushed whispers, projecting a presence that seems larger than life. Then, amidst an entourage of armed thugs is a middle aged man in sandals and a fur coat. And as ridiculous as it sounds it works. Portrayed by Jeff Goldblum, he peacocks onto the screen with the quirky charisma we have come to expect from him. Eccentric yet threatening he is followed around by his youngest son, portrayed by Zachary Quinto. Following his father wherever he goes he is on a constant quest for his father’s approval. A quest he continually fails at. An antagonistic relationship the two have a great rapport that would be perfect in a Quentin Tarantino film.

From the look to the frenetic action one can’t help but think of John Wick and its signature hotel The Continental. Despite the advertising that isn’t quite what we get. While the fight scenes are well choreographed what we get is a slower, more deliberate film focusing on character instead of action. Despite its outstanding cast providing some memorable performances Hotel Artemis is hindered by a script and characters we have seen dozens of times already. Regardless it can be overlooked thanks to some enjoyable bursts of action and the always delightful Jeff Goldblum. Like a real hotel it’s a fun place to visit but you may not want to stay for too long.

 

Rating 6/10
Links : IMDB

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Action

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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Action

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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