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T-34 (2018)

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I’ll give you another chance.
You choose and prepare a Russian tank crew.
On a designated day at the shooting range,
you show your science, to my cadets.
You won’t have ammunition. Just your skill.
If you die … you die as a soldier on the battlefield.

I thought it was time again to watch a realistic WWII war movie. One that focuses on heroism and the urge to survive. A film where you almost can smell the war and experience the despair, as if you were in the middle of it. Not a movie that shows experimental creatures (like in “Overlord“) or Nazi Zombies. I have to admit that after seeing the trailer for “T-34” (yes, yes, I know I always claim to avoid trailers), I was very curious about this film. The trailer looked phenomenal. And I wanted to see if the entire film was peppered with such spectacular images. Or was the trailer again a summary of the best phases of the film? Believe me. The film is unparalleled from start to finish and keeps you glued to your screen.

 

 

Euh. A Russian movie.

When it comes to Russian-made films, I need to confess that I don’t know much about that. To be honest, my knowledge is limited to the clichés known about this enormous country. But in hindsight, I really have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by it. The film didn’t have such an old-fashioned and woolly appearance, but it looked highly qualitative with extremely perfect footage and solid acting. You could say this film has true Hollywood blockbuster allures.

 

 

Big applause for the T-34.

The movie is about the T-34. A Soviet tank that was used en masse against the invasion by Germany in the former Soviet republic. This medium-sized tank, which was provided with thickened armor, was initially unable to cope with the better-made German panzers. However, they had one advantage: the large caterpillar tracks made them tactically very mobile and the infamous mud pools were no problem in the winter period, while the German armored brigades got stuck in it. So the film is a tribute to this legendary tank that helped defeat Nazi Germany.

 

 

Those slow-motion images were impressive.

If you like action-packed war films and want to see how ruthless and cruel a tank battle can be, then you should definitely watch this film (but I am convinced there are other wonderful films that tackle this subject). The confrontations between German tank brigades and Russian lieutenant Nikolay Ivushkin (Alexander Petrov) and his crew are ultra-realistic and impressive. The close-up images in the T-34 with its limited movement space, are breathtaking and have a claustrophobic effect.

You can feel the nerves rushing through your own body. Just as the crew, as they realize they can expect a fatal hit any time. You can almost smell the sweat of fear. And it’s the images that leave a huge impression. The slow-motion images of the all-destructive grenades going through steel and concrete, look really exquisite. It all has a very high PC game vibe and perhaps this technique was used a bit too much. But it was entertainment of the highest level.

 

 

Prisoners of War.

But not only the tank battles impressed me. The part about Nikolay’s captivity in a German concentration camp was also excellent. The scene where the train, crammed with “Prisoners of War”, arrives at the concentration camp in the rain, I found impressive. The despair, despondency, and hopelessness were contained in that one image with the train where dead people fall out of the wagons, the moment the sliding doors open.

It’s here that Nikolay is picked out by camp commander Klaus Jäger (Vinzenz Kiefer) to fix a captured T-34 and make it ready for battle with a crew chosen by Nikolay. The intention is that their Russian tank becomes a target during tank practices by the Germans. What Klaus Jäger doesn’t know is that they also found ammunition while removing the dead bodies. And that’s the impetus for Nikolay to escape during such an exercise and after that trying to reach Czech Slovakia.

 

I loved to play “Tank Battle” when I was a kid.

When I was young I loved to play the board game “Tank Battle”. “T-34” reminded me of this repeatedly. Only the board game was a bit more peaceful compared to this movie. “T-34” is extremely ruthless and shows how heroism makes the impossible possible. And amidst this war violence, there’s even room for some romance between Nikolay and the Russian translator Anya (Irina Starshenbaum) whose privileges in the concentration camp are invaluable for Nikolay and his companions.

I kept asking myself just one thing. What impact did such a grenade (that bounces off the armor) have on the crew in the tank? Is it the air pressure? Or the decibels? Because I can imagine that must be a lot of noise. As if you are sitting in a bronze clock and someone hits it with a heavy sledgehammer. It’s just a futile question about an otherwise excellent and impressive Russian film.

 

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

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Netflix | Night Teeth – Official Trailer

A college student moonlighting as a chauffeur picks up two mysterious women for a night of party-hopping across LA. But when he uncovers their bloodthirsty intentions – and their dangerous, shadowy underworld – he must fight to stay alive.



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Genre:

Action, Crime, Drama

Release Date:

October 20, 2021

Director:

Adam Randall

Cast:

Sydney Sweeney, Megan Fox, Alexander Ludwig

Plot Summary:

A college student moonlighting as a chauffeur picks up two mysterious women for a night of party-hopping across LA. But when he uncovers their bloodthirsty intentions – and their dangerous, shadowy underworld – he must fight to stay alive.

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Matrix: Resurrections | Official Trailer – COMING THURSDAY

The Matrix: Resurrections is an upcoming American science fiction action film produced, co-written, and directed by Lana Wachowski. It is the fourth installment in The Matrix film series.



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Genre:

Action, Sci-fi

Release Date:

December 22, 2021

Director:

Lana Wachowski

Cast:

Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Ann Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jada Pinkett Smith, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Neil Patrick Harris

Plot Summary:

The Matrix: Resurrections is an upcoming American science fiction action film produced, co-written, and directed by Lana Wachowski. It is the fourth installment in The Matrix film series.

FULL TRAILER COMING THIS THURSDAY!

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Review

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It’s crazy to think that Marvel Studios went the whole of 2020 in complete silence with no new releases and now Marvel are back in 2021 with a huge bang. Three TV shows in, part way through another, and now we’ve reached film number two of the four big screen superhero shenanigans Marvel have in store for us in 2021. Even though Avengers: Endgame was the big conclusion for Marvel in 2019, if Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is anything to go by, they show no sign of stopping.



Shang-Chi introduces the first Asian superhero to the big screen and actor Simu Liu absolutely smashes it as the character. It’s like Liu was born to play this role. Immediately it’s clear as day that Liu is the perfect person to play the role and within his first few scenes, he slots into the Marvel universe so well and has so much personality to him.

When we first meet Liu, he’s known as Shaun and working as a valet parking guy at a fancy hotel with his friend Katy (Awkwafina). The two are enjoying their ordinary lives in San Francisco when suddenly Shaun is ambushed on the bus by a bunch of men in an attempt to steal the pendant he wears around his neck. What follows is a dazzling spectacle as Shaun fights off the bad guys. Shang-Chi boasts some of the MCU’s most impressive action sequences to date as the camera flies around the bus in an electrifying manner, highlighting the excellent fight choreography.

Shaun, who reveals to Katy that his real name is actually Shang-Chi must confront his past as he travels to Macau in search of his sister Xialing where he’s drawn into the web of the mysterious organisation known as the Ten Rings. He must face his father Wenwu, played by Hong Kong actor Tony Leung, who possesses the legendary Ten Rings.

Set after the blip and the events of Infinity War and Endgame, the film sees director Destin Daniel Cretton inject a whole lot of freshness and originality into the MCU in what’s one of the best Marvel solo films to date and does a fantastic job of introducing the new character of Shang-Chi to audiences. There are of course some links and ties to the other films, especially since this isn’t the first time we’ve come across the Ten Rings. Fans will recognise the name and remember the organisation from the Iron Man films. However, Shang-Chi largely stands on its own and it doesn’t rely on the rest of the MCU to make it a really good film. It does that all by itself.



Shang-Chi feels very different to the usual Marvel fare- at least in the first half of the film. The action scenes are all incredible and so superbly choreographed. There’s one scene in particular that takes place on scaffolding hundreds of feet above Macau that’s absolutely thrilling to watch and is one of the best action scenes of all the Marvel films. As well as impressive action, the film’s very funny too. Awkwafina’s Katy provides a lot of the comic relief and the chemistry between her and Liu is great making their two characters stand out.

But beyond the action and the humour there are interesting and compelling characters in Shang-Chi. There’s a central struggle between Shang-Chi and his father Wenwu and even though the MCU has had its fair share of daddy issues from Thanos to Ego the Living Planet and Howard Stark, the relationship between Shang-Chi and Wenwu feels gripping and unlike some of the other father-son struggles the MCU has given us.

However, where the film falls down is the final act. It slips away from the fun and entertaining antics we saw in the first hour in favour of a generic, grey, dull CGI fest. Shang-Chi would be top-tier Marvel if it managed to stick the landing and get the ending right but unfortunately the final act is a bit of a bloated mess. It’s not awful and the film as a whole is still in Marvel’s top ten and but it loses so much of what made it different and fun to watch when it resorts back to the basic superhero film climax with a load of CGI taking place in a dull, grey location.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a really enjoyable superhero showdown that does a great job of introducing a new hero into the MCU despite being brought down by a flat and slightly dull finale. Simu Liu shines in the role leaving you itching to see more of him with post credits scenes (there are two) teasing that this certainly won’t be the only time we see Shang-Chi. Marvel once again prove they know exactly how to make a great comic book film.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings releases only in cinemas on September 3rd.

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