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Avengers : Infinity War

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Smile.
For even in death, you have become Children of Thanos.

Me and superheroes. We have a kind of love-hate relationship. One moment I’m really enjoying the character or the story. At that time jealousy bubbles up and I wished I had those specific powers in my daily life. And sometimes I have absolutely no feelings about the superhero or I find the story not so fascinating. I surely can enjoy a Hulk movie because of the devastating power this superhero possesses. From “Spiderman“, I like that youthful enthusiasm that Peter Parker radiates when discovering his new power. And in “The Guardians of the Galaxy“, I appreciated the humor. Finally, “Deadpool” and “Ant-man” were refreshing. But when I watched “Thor: Ragnarok“, I simply fell asleep. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” I found so terribly confusing. After 20 minutes I no longer understood what it was about. And the whole “X-men” universe left me indifferent because of the lack of affinity I have with this club. It will be due to my not so great interest in superheroism. And every time, I come to the conclusion that all those superheroes are connected in one way or another, which makes it look like a web of facts and events.

One superhero? Hell no, let’s use them all.

But “Avengers: Infinity war” was entertaining. First of all, because a large part of the Marvel clan appears in it. It’s like a grand finale of all Marvel heroes. Together they try to join forces to prevent Thanos (Josh Brolin) from grabbing the six Infinity stones, so he can destroy half of the population in the universe with the snap of a finger. A simplistic idea of this super-villain to make life more pleasant on overcrowded planets. A purple environmental activist. He quickly gets hold of the first stones. However, the other two remaining stones are on Earth and require a little more effort from Thanos because they are surrounded by the remaining superheroes. What follows are sometimes hallucinating-looking battles and superhuman confrontations. As we are used to from the Marvel clan.

Does it look like a defeat? No worries. They’ll fix it anyway.

I have to admit it. I was able to follow the story without difficulties (and that might have something to do with my age). Usually, the story isn’t so clear for someone without much knowledge about this world of superheroes. You could even call the film exciting. That’s no self-evident fact when it concerns unbeatable superheroes with unprecedented forces who seldom fear to be defeated. And you know they are going to use the well-known trick of resurrecting the seemingly defeated hero. Even though the situation seems hopeless, you can be sure that one of the heroes will put his butt on an intergalactic toilet where, after the necessary superhero-pushing, he’ll produce some super weapon with which they shrink the bad guy to the size of a smurf, such that the universe is again saved from a catastrophe.

Some fun conversations.

To keep things simple, they’ve split the whole into a number of different storylines in different locations where a group of heroes each has their own fish to fry. This ensures a pleasant change and amusing interactions. Personally, I thought the conversations between Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Ironman (Robert Downey Jr.) at times quite hilarious. Even the inner battle of Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) with his character Hulk caused me to chuckle. Only occasionally the coincidence is really laughable. But isn’t this characteristic of such a superhero flick? For example, Hulk is catapulted from an Asgardian spaceship and flies several light years through the universe, after which he lands with an immense smack on earth. And where? Through the roof of Dr. Strange’s house. What a coincidence.

Bring on the sequel. For once.

When you think there’s an oversupply of movies with superheroes in a latex suit and that the point of saturation had already been reached, then you can call this film an orgasmic highlight. And hats off to the makers for transforming this heterogeneous mixture of characters into a colorful whole. Certainly not a simple task. And even though I’m not a big supporter of sequels and I’m allergic to anything that smells like serials, I still look forward to the second part of this epic story. I wonder what one has to come up with in order to exceed this. That will be an impossible task. Even for superheroes.

My rating 7/10
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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