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Occupation (2018)

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Film Review : Occupation

I got out of worse situations than this.
Been married three times.

This must be the stupidest movie ever made about aliens who want to use our planet as a replacement. We already saw it happening in “War of the worlds” and “Independence Day“. But those movies overwhelmed us with expensive special effects and immense battles between earthlings and non-earthlings. The most original thing about “Occupation” is that it doesn’t happen on American soil but on the other side of the world. Down-under in Australia in particular. What they did learn from the American versions, is the patriotic waving with a flag. So expect a half-burned Australian flag somewhere near the end.

 

 

Environmental protests.

Right now, there’s a 15-year-old Swedish girl who comes to the European Union to fight for better environmental measures before we all ruin our planet. Apparently, these alien invaders haven’t listened carefully to their local “Rise for climate” movement and thereby seriously fucked up their planet. The moment the Alien chief announced this, I laughed spontaneously. I don’t know if there were any environmental protests in the world when they released this movie, but I thought it was appropriate. But that was the only humorous thing I had to laugh about spontaneously and sincerely. The rest of the film makes you want to cry actually. Except for the first 15 to 20 minutes. I still had hope then. Admittedly, the special effects weren’t impressive, but it looked promising. Those 20 minutes were fully utilized to present the entire group of people that formed the basis of the revolution.

 

 

It’s really true. A mobile home can stay ahead of lightning-fast alien aircraft.

First, there’s Matt Simmons (Dan Ewing) and his wife Amelia (Stephany Jacobsen). He’s a recovering “Australian Football” player who re-enters the field after taking a dose of pills against his headache. Furthermore, we meet Peter (TemueraOnce were WarriorsMorrison) and his beautiful daughter Bella (Izzy Stevens) who happened to have chosen this small Australian village as a short-term stop during their trip with a mobile home.

And then Jackson (Charles Terrier), a teammate of Matt who has taken over his role as the team leader and explicitly shows that, and his girlfriend Vanessa (Rhiannon Fish) is introduced. The moment the power goes out and an apocalyptic, stroboscopic light lightens the sky, it’s the beginning of a murderous alien invasion. And this jumble of persons ends up in Peter’s mobile home (along with local commentator Seth Grimes played by Felix Williamson). And yes, they know how to get away from this superior breed and end up hiding in a derelict farm.

 

The CGI was at times excellent.

The story “Occupation” has been told countless times. Nothing new under the sun. Naturally, those randomly gathered individuals become the basis for an uprising against the alien invaders. For that, the very first mutual feuds and misunderstandings must be cleared up, in order to conclude that cooperation and togetherness are a fearsome weapon. Even against creatures that have evolved much further technologically.

What really impressed me was how amazing it sometimes looked. Certainly when you realize that the budget was considerably smaller than that of an American blockbusters. The CGI used for the Martians’ mothership was certainly not bad. The advancing ground troops certainly had an old-fashioned look and reminded me a bit of Scifi from the 70s. And yes, when they removed the helmets of the aliens, their appearance was kind of cliché with those eyes of a fly. The most realistic thing in this movie was the time period. The shown conflict lasts more than a few days. A few months are being bridged. But the story is so full of unrealistic and ridiculous things that you’ll forget about that real soon.

 

 

Let’s sum up some stupidities.

A small anthology. Extraterrestrials conquer the planet with their giant spaceships and an army of laser-equipped stormtroopers. What do you do if they infiltrate into your hideout? Indeed, you just crawl behind a mattress or door. Guaranteed safe.

And when you conclude that natural surroundings act as a kind of camouflage, why don’t you use that to protect yourself all the time? Apparently, they realized this at a certain point in time. When they approached a legion of aliens, they were able to avoid a confrontation by driving into a cornfield. The upcoming troops immediately lost track of our heroes (Stupid aliens, they just turned left) and stayed behind just looking around in a dazed way.

Do you remember the troops the Americans gathered to start their attack against the mother ship? Here they save the world by deploying an ultimate attack with roughly 12 people. Even in a Smart, prepared for the upcoming war. And when someone just escaped death and was lying in bed comatose for a long time, you can get him up and running immediately by throwing a bucket of ice-cold water over him. And the final boss fight is just too grotesque for words.

 

 

Hey, you blew up half the planet, let’s shake hands.

But especially the end is totally whacked. Finally, they succeed in overriding the cruel conquerors and then suddenly they get all evangelical. Remember that phrase about turning the other cheek? In short, half the population was disintegrated or became slaves, and then they are going to shake hands and talk about improving the world by working together as a united force? Any spiritual or religious movement could use this as a study material.

It’s strange they are suddenly so kindhearted when you compare this with the scene where Temuera Morrison takes care of a captured alien. That was pure rage. But there are more of these oddities to discover in this courageous attempt by the Australians to prove that they are also capable of producing Scifi. In any case, I hope that if we ever have to deal with an alien invasion, these Martians will also be as tame and stupid as those you see in this movie.

 

 

My rating 3/10
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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