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Adrift (2018)

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It’s intense.
The infinite horizon.
After a few days, I feel reborn.
You know, just you, the wind and the sound of the boat cutting through the ocean.

When you compare “Adrift” with the movie “All is lost“, where Robert Redford sailed across the ocean on board of a huge sailboat, you’ll notice some similarities. First of all, you can expect some idyllic footage once again. The words horizon, the setting sun, and sails that blow in the wind can be used to compose a corresponding sentence. In both films, it’s an upcoming storm that ensures that the spotless sailboat is reduced to floating wreckage. And then you see an admirable struggle for survival. These being the similarities, isn’t surprising. What else did you expect in a film about a shipwreck?

Similarities and differences.

However, there are also some significant differences. Differences which make “Adrift” a more interesting film. First, let’s talk about the conversations. In “All is lost” there are as many dialogue lines as you encounter traffic lights on the ocean. None! But then again, Robert Redford was drifting all alone while Tami (Shailene Woodley) and Richard (Sam Claflin) had each other. If there would be no conversation at all, you could say those two Globetrotters weren’t really meant for each other. And the trip across the Pacific would have been boring as hell for both of them in that case. The most obvious difference is the gender of the person who does everything to survive. And finally, there’s the psychological aspect that reminds you immediately of “47 Meters down“.

Before you know it, the storm is over.

The film can be divided into two chapters. One part before and one after the storm of course. Don’t expect an apocalyptic drawn-out part with a ferocious ocean that throws the boat around like a walnut after which it finally crushes it like a coconut by a heavy stone. Otherwise, you’ll be disappointed. The devastating storm itself is extremely short. The part that was given a lot of attention, is about Tami and Richard meeting each other. And on the other hand, the terrible period on a destroyed boat with a limited supply of food and something to drink. And as a vegetarian, it’s even more difficult For Tami. Because catching a fish causes her to gag instead of being happy. If I’d be in a similar situation, I would throw away my morals instantly.

Lots of flashbacks.

In terms of content, both parts were interesting enough. Only the romantic stuff was a bit too much of a good thing. I understand they tried to show the contrast between the pleasant and the difficult moments. And then there’s the least successful part for me. The alternation of fragments from the two different time lines with the help of recurring flashbacks. Just when you are empathizing with the dramatic part of the story, in which Tami tries to cope with the situation and does the impossible to cheer up the badly wounded Richard, they jump back to a romantic scene with those two lovebirds watching a beautiful sunset while drinking a Cuba Libre. Even though these are sometimes scenes with beautiful images, I thought it slowed down the pace and decreased the tension. After every flashback, I thought to myself “Show up, you damn storm. Where are you?“. But once this terrible event is over, it’s still a fascinating film with a well-thought-out twist.

Don’t watch when you’re about to go on a boat trip.

Adrift” isn’t a bad movie. Or you hate romantic issues. Or you instantly get seasick when you look at a sailboat. What impressed me the most was the interaction between Shailene Woodley (who effortlessly transcends her acting level from “Divergent“) and Sam Claflin. Their love relationship felt convincing and realistic. No fake moments. They were two wandering souls who met each other by chance and together undertook this adventurous trip. They aren’t married yet and already they experience what it means to be together for better or for worse. The film is based on true facts. Mostly the result is a mocking chuckle when I read this. But for me the result was an enormous respect for that young girl who experienced this disaster. Tami Oldham is living proof that one should not talk about the weakness of women. She proves that women can stand their ground in certain circumstances. “Adrift” shows that the term “Girlpower” is not an empty concept. Only one advise. Best not watch this movie when you’re planning to take a boat trip in the near future. I’m sure you’ll start that well-deserved holiday with trembling knees.

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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