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‘Blood, Sweat and Terrors’ Review

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Genre : Action
Rating : Unrated
Director: Various

Cast:
David Leitch
Warren Brown
John Hannah

Few things are as enjoyable as a good anthology film. Dating back to the early 1930’s the film anthology has become one of the most enduring types of movie. Typically held together with a common theme or overarching story anthologies have become a great place to not only see your favorite directors’ step outside of their comfort zone but also discover up-and-coming directors with the latest being Blood, Sweat and Terrors.

Produced by horror staples such as Rue Morgue Magazine and Raven Banner, Blood, Sweat and Terrors doesn’t have a focus on the macabre. Instead the focus is on the action genre. Featuring a collection of directors from around the world each short focuses on a different action sub-genre. With such a diverse group of stories and no overarching story it’s hard to review Blood, Sweat and Terrors as a whole. So, here’s a look at each short and how each of them rates out of five.

 

Empire of Dirt (2017)

Empire of Dirt
Director- Adam Mason
Writer- Paul Sloan

After some brief credits (and cheesy CG explosions) Blood, Sweat and Terrors opens up with Empire of Dirt. Perhaps the most “horror” of the shorts what starts off looking like a John Wick knock off becomes about a man slowly dealing with his own personal hell. All the while trying to discover who, or what, is torturing him. Feeling more like a pitch video for a television show or a comic book I think there’s potential in the idea. But as an action short, Empire of Dirt stumbles. Despite some cool practical effects, the computer effects can be spotty and fight choreography feeling rudimentary. There’s definitely something cool here I’m just not sure it works as an opening for Blood, Sweat and Terrors. 2.5/5

Awesome Runaway

Awesome Runaway!!
Director- Benjamin de Los Santos
Writer- Benjamin de Los Santos
I have to admit I was a bit wary of Awesome Runaway. Opening with a violent interrogation it leads into a mostly-single shot action scene that gets more fantastical as it goes on. Despite some uneven fight choreography Awesome Runaway pulls it all together with a twist ending I didn’t see coming. 3/5

Jacob’s Wrath
Director- Alexander Carriere
Writer- Alexander Carriere

Opening on a post-apocalyptic world Jacob is on the war path after the death of his daughter but things aren’t what they seem. As far as a story plot Jacob’s Wrath is the first short to really have a complete narrative. With questions of what is real and what isn’t Jacob’s Wrath was the first short that really impressed me. 4/5

Flow
Director- Shelagh Rowan-Legg
Writer- Shelagh Rowan-Legg

Just because you are fighting an oppressive government doesn’t mean that everything else stops. Two women are about to strike when her monthly visitor shows up. Like Empire of Dirt, I dig this idea. It is a clever twist on the badass women trope. Unfortunately, everything else falls part. With little actual action and poor special effects, Flow is the movie’s low point. 0.5/5

Express Delivery (2017)

Express Delivery
Director- Beau Fowler
Writer- Beau Fowler

Taken to an abandoned lot by a hitman only known as The Postman, ne’er do well Swifty (director Beau Fowler) is more than meets the eye. Although the story is rudimentary the action is spectacular. With fight choreography by Sonny Louis (who played the Postman) the martial arts action is fast and furious and a clever script Express Delivery is a good comeback after Flow. 3.5/5

Turncoat
Director- Will Gilbey
Writer- Will Gilbey

After the action heavy Express Delivery things slow down with Turncoat. Breaking into a criminal’s home two crooked cops illegally search the premise for a big score. The highlight of Turncoat is the writing. Will Gilbey (A Lonely Place to Die) does a great job ratcheting up the tension as the minutes tick by. The problem with Turncoat, at least in this collection, is that it is light on action. More of a thriller than action it feels like an odd fit in Blood, Sweat and Terrors. 2.5/5

Get Some
Director- Adam Horton, Joe Horton
Writer- Adam Horton, Joe Horton, Simon Uttley

After a viral outbreak the dead return from the grave. It isn’t the end though. Television star and survivalist Hunter Smith has used this opportunity for profit with his show Get Some. The idea of a zombie comedy isn’t particularly original nor is using zombies in a reality tv setting. Despite this Get Some sticks out thanks to a combination of a fun script and great casting. If it weren’t for its frustratingly open ending it would be the best short in the collection. 4/5

Olga (2016)

Olga
Director- Olaf Svenson
Writer- Olaf Svenson

In this tale of revenge, the young Olga goes after the men who killed her father. Finding them in a mob-owned diner she vows vengeance by any means necessary. Similar to movies such as Haywire this female-driven revenge thriller puts its focus on crisp hand-to-hand combat. Featuring a variety of styles, we see everything from knife play to martial arts and even a little bit of lucha libre. Although the story feels a bit overly familiar, I would love to see this expanded into a full movie. 4.5/5

Fetch
Director- Daniel Bernhardt
Writer- Daniel Bernhardt

With alimony due and his life hitting the skids private investigator John ‘Fetch’ Fetcher gets the case of a lifetime. Starring David Leitch (director of Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde) Fetch feels like the most ambitious short of the bunch. Taking on a more sardonic tone Fetch does a magnificent job telling its story without taking itself too seriously. And while the movie can lean a little too heavily into the comedy elements, stellar fight choreography has us leaving Blood, Sweat and Terrors on a high note. 4/5

 

Admittedly Blood, Sweat and Terrors is a bit of a tough sell. With each short being so different from the next one, the project lacks any sense of cohesion. So instead of telling a good story or working thematically we get a collection of short stories that can be hit or miss. With that said it rarely bores thanks to a great combination of talent both in front and behind the camera. And while it may never be considered a classic Blood, Sweat and Terrors is perfect as a jolt of energy for any action connoisseur.

 

Rating 6/10
Links : IMDB

Blood, Sweat and Terrors is now available on VOD, Bluray and DVD.

 

 

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Bad Boys: Ride Or Die Review – Smith and Lawrence Deliver Explosive Entertainment.

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Bad Boys: Ride or Die [credit: Sony Pictures Releasing]

Hollywood has been struggling as of late and a lot is riding on the success of the fourth installment of this beloved franchise. The directors Adil and Bilall have had a tough time after their last feature Batgirl was shelved, Sony is looking to move on from the Madame Web debacle and Smith is gearing up for his big comeback after the slap. Hollywood history also tells us that there aren’t a lot of franchises that are able to deliver blockbuster business in their fourth installments.

 

I went into this movie cautiously optimistic with Adil and Bilall returning to direct. They also directed the last entry, which turned out not only the highest-grossing movie in this franchise but also the highest-grossing movie of 2020, which are quite the achievements. This franchise is almost 30 years old now, but these two directors found a way to give it a modern touch while staying loyal to the legacy of these characters. In this entry, they take it up a notch and give us some of the most creative camera work and they never seem to run out of ideas throughout this movie.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die [credit: Sony Pictures Releasing]

The main attraction of these movies has always been the chemistry between Smith and Lawrence. Smith brings the style, and Lawrence brings the charm. As always, they are unreal together on screen and the movie is at its strongest when it is focusing on both of them. I was curious to see if the slap would affect Smith’s screen presence or his comic timing, but he seemed cool for the most part. Although, I did sense a hint of nervousness a couple of times. On the other hand, Martin Lawrence was having a blast.

 

Eric Dane is menacing as our main villain here, which is also thanks to the directors’ presentation of his character. Jacob Scipio is awesome in action sequences, while Alexander Ludwig and Vanessa Hudgens are great together. Rhea Seehorn and Ioan Gruffudd are our other new additions to this entry, but both of them seemed nowhere near their best. It was mostly due to the fact that they were portraying unlikeable, cliche, and predictable characters. But the real MVP here is Reggie. He gets his moment and it is awesome. There are also quite a few cameos which are all well-handled.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die [credit: Sony Pictures Releasing]

BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE

The story is easily the weakest part here with not a lot of character development, especially for the supporting cast. The plot is thin and doesn’t have too many layers to it and even the twists mostly fail to surprise. But that doesn’t mean that the adventure that our characters are on isn’t fun. One can clearly see that the focus in the structuring of this movie was to make it as fun as possible. There are also some questionable editing choices, but the pacing of the narrative is really good.

 

Bad Boys: Ride Or Die delivers an explosively entertaining ride in one of the franchise’s best entries. It embraces its outrageousness and gives some wild action sequences. Smith and Lawrence’s chemistry is unreal, while Adil and Bilall bring their A-game. Audiences will eat up this hilarious ride that will surely be one of the best movie-going experiences of the year. A treat for fans of the franchise. Hopefully, we get more of these.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRFY_Fesa9Q&pp=ygUSYmFkIGJveXMgNCB0cmFpbGVy

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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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