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‘Final Score’ Review

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Genre : Action
Rating : R
Director: Scott Mann

Cast:
Dave Bautista
Ray Stevenson
Pierce Brosnan

 

When it comes to different forms of entertainment the worlds of film and professional wrestling are closer than one may think. When done well pro wrestling can be an exhilarating mix of athleticism, storytelling and audience work. Considering how compatible these skills are to success in film it’s only natural for wrestlers to try their hand at acting. And while it seems like the skills seem perfect for acting they don’t always transfer over. For every Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or John Cena finding success in Tinsel Town, wrestling hall of famers such as Kurt Angle, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan have typically flopped when they tried to headlock Hollywood. And somewhere in the middle is Dave Bautista.

 

Trained by Afa Anoa’i, Bautista was signed by WWE in 2000 and made his debut in 2002 as Batista. Starting at the bottom of the ladder he became one of the top guys in the game winning multiple world championships and working with some of the best of all time. Popular whether he was a face or a heel he became one of the biggest stars in WWE history thanks to his unique look and seemingly endless amount of charisma. Since leaving in 2010 he has moved onto film appearing in movies such as Spectre, Blade Runner 2049 and, his big break, the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. But as big as these movies have been he hasn’t been given a lead role since 2011’s House of the Rising Sun. For the most part he has been cast as, and excelled at being, the hulking giant. But like his wrestling career he has made a name for himself, worked his way up the ladder and finally gets another shot as a lead in the Die Hard-esque Final Score.

 

Taking time off to go overseas, U.S. veteran Michael Knox (Bautista) visits the family of a friend who was killed in the line of duty. Spending the evening with his friend’s daughter Danni (Lara Peake) the two go to a West Ham United match. As the game begins, international terrorist Arkady (Ray Stevenson) secretly takes control of Upton Park with his army of heavily armed terrorists. When Danni goes missing Michael needs all of his military training to not only save her but prevent a massive disaster.

I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical hearing Bautista would be the lead. Not that I think he can’t be the star of a movie but I didn’t think he could work as a John McClane-style action hero. It requires an everyman relatability that you don’t typically find in a guy that’s 6’6″ and nearly 300 lbs. of pure muscle. So, imagine my surprise when he not only pulls it off but turns out to be pretty good at it. Even though his ability as an action star is the focus he shows off a surprising amount of heart as Knox. Sharing a great on-screen chemistry with Lara Peake the two feels real. Whether it’s the playful teasing Bautista gives when he catches her sneaking out or the urgency on his face when Danni goes missing Bautista is able to make it all feel legitimate.

 

That isn’t to say that Final Score is too heavy on the dramatics. Because while Pierce Brosnan and Ray Stevenson put in the kind of dependable performance audiences have come to expect the real highlight in the supporting cast is Amit Shah as Faisal. A steward at the stadium he is pitch perfect as the movie’s comic relief. Nailing each of his lines he steals almost every scene he is in. Of course, this isn’t a comedy. More than anything else Final Score is a showcase for Bautista to kick butt. And for the most part it delivers.

Directed by Scott Mann (The Tournament) Final Score is a throwback to 90’s style action, Die Hard and Sudden Death in particular. And like those past movies Final Score‘s focus is on the fireworks which it mostly delivers on. We get a little bit of everything from gunplay to hand-to-hand and even a motorbike chase inside of the stadium. The problem arises when it comes to the editing.

 

Like a lot of action movies Final Score suffers from shaky cam syndrome. While it adds grit to the bike chase and shoot outs it becomes hard to follow when it comes to any hand-to-hand fight scenes. A shame because from what I could tell the fights were well choreographed. Each hit feeling big when you can actually see it. Complimenting the fights were some killer practical effects. We may not have seen the fight but we certainly got to see the aftermath. Certainly, good enough to make up for some lackluster CG effects and an overly cliché plot.

 

But in all honesty, do these faults really matter? Final Score has no aspirations to revolutionize the world of film or become the next big thing in action cinema. Instead what it aims for is an old school, 90’s action movie such as Sudden Death. And in that respect, it’s near perfect. With a likable cast and some fun action scenes it makes for a brisk, enjoyable watch. Pure popcorn fluff Final Score is perfect for a night in. As for Big Dave, quick with a quip and believable as a badass he pulls off the tough guy with a heart of gold beautifully. Like his time in wrestling it may have taken a bit but he’s finally ready for the main event.

 

Rating 6/10
Links : IMDB

Final Score is now available on In Theaters and on VOD and Digital HD Now

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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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