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We Die Young – A Fastpaced Gangsta Film That Never Bores

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When Rincon started doing his Shakespeare,
you knew some poor bastard’s about to get smoked.

We Die Young” is not a typical Jean-Claude Van Damme film, where he can show off his trained body. In fact, in this film, the number of times Van Damme is demonstrating his fighting techniques, is almost nil. So don’t expect any splits. Actually, it’s kind of understandable because “The muscles of Brussels” isn’t the youngest anymore. And I can imagine that such efforts are no longer evident.

 

We die young

 

He’s back again.

There’s one advantage. JcvD concentrates more on the acting part than on the more action-rich part. Films such as “Bloodsport” and “Kickboxer” from the 80s were immensely popular. And I admit that I also look back on that with pleasure. Unfortunately, this successful period was followed by a period with fewer successful films. Such as “Alien Uprising” (probably to please his daughter), “Dragon Eyes” and “Welcome to the Jungle“. After the umpteenth crap movie, my decision was made. Best I avoid JcvD films. Until recently. I couldn’t resist watching “The Bouncer” and was pleasantly surprised. Let me quote myself for a moment: “Just when you think that an icon such as Jean-Claude Van Damme is becoming a caricature of himself and in danger of sinking into oblivion, he surprises you with such a part as in this film. The “Muscles from Brussels” got under my skin with his integer and sensitive acting. ” I couldn’t have said it better.

 

We die Young

 

A war veteran and Latinos.

Naturally, I gave “We die young” a chance. Solely to verify whether he could maintain the same level. And I readily admit that he has wonderfully succeeded in convincing me once again. This time he’s not a bouncer of nightclubs in a Brussels neighborhood, but a retired Afghanistan war veteran. A military past that has left traces in the form of PTSD and a set of damaged vocal cords. The latter issue also ensures that you won’t hear any sound out of Van Damme’s mouth. Daniel (Jean-Claude Van Damme) somehow ended up in a slum near Washington D.C. where Latinos (Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13) are in control. A run-down neighborhood where drug addiction is the source of income for this fully tattooed gang members.

 

 

Some more impressive performances.

Next to JcvD also David Castañeda left an impression. His performance as the gang leader and kingpin Rincon is quite impressive. Not only because of his threatening attitude, cruelty, and determination with which he leads his drug gang. But also because he also shows his soft side as guardian of Lucas (Elijah Rodriguez) and Miguel (Nicholas Sean Johnny). And as the protective brother of his physically disabled sister Gabriela (Robyn Cara). The whole story revolves around Lucas who works for Rincon as a drug courier and preferably doesn’t want his younger brother to end up to be part of this gang. When a very important transaction goes wrong, also thanks to the interference of right-hand man Jester (Charlie MacGechan), it’s the start of a nerve-racking and rather action-rich part.

 

We die Young

 

A fastpaced gangsta film that never bores.

Again, don’t expect a typical Van Damme movie. In the end, it’s a rather gloomy film that shows how destructive and dangerous it is to live in a neighborhood controlled by drug gangs. Survival is more the right word because every mistake made, will be punished ruthlessly. This film shows the futureless life of young people there. The title is therefore applicable. Not many can enjoy a long and healthy life in these slums. Of course, you can ask a few questions about “We die young“. Why the hell has Daniel moved there? Was he looking for anonymity? Is he trying to forget about the past? What with his family? Or is he simply alone in this world? Forgotten by those who knew him? Or is it a convenient solution such that he can easily get the painkillers. Those that help him to get rid of delusions and visions? And what about his military skills? Because when it comes to defending, he looks like a klutz. All in all, “We die young” is a must see if you want to see Van Damme again. A fastpaced gangsta film that never bores.

 

My rating 6.5/10
Links: IMDB

 

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Drama

Nine Perfect Strangers Episode 5 Review

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Nine Perfect Strangers episode 5 titled Sweet Surender definitely answers some of the questions that were posed in previous episodes of the Hulu/Amazon series. It also shows the aftermath of Masha (Kidman) who’s moving to the next stage in her mysterious plan. 

The guests are also now struggling to tell the difference between reality and their hallucinations, thanks to the higher dosages in their smoothies, some of these sequences were hilarious but also some were truly heartbreaking. 



Birthdays are a time to celebrate and in this episode Zoe Marconi (Grace Van Patten) celebrates her 21st birthday. It’s bittersweet as she shares her birthday with her late brother, however Zach (Hal Cumpston) appears during this episode thanks to Zoe hallucinating. They talk, mainly about her lying and saying to the other guests that she and Zach were not close.

It’s the first time that Zoe truly has expressed her grief, she’s constantly in denial so it was emotional and heartbreaking watching her admit how lonely she’s been. 

In the morning, Napoleon enters the room and puts on a John Travolta performance from Grease. He starts dancing in his underwear as Smoothies are being prepared. The family are getting more along at their stay in Tranquillum but is it a facade or not. 

Vince Valitutti/Hulu

The gang of strangers all join together and discuss their odd dreams with each other. Napoleon discusses how he dreamed of being a member of the Beatles though Carmel is triggered by the song and forcefully plunges her fork straight into the table. 

Lars also confesses that he dreamed of giving birth whilst all the residents were there to see it all happen. Lars remembers the dream so vividly that he remembers that Tony happened to be the father and was uncontrollably crying. 

Vince Valitutti/Hulu

Frances also has a visitor, Paul arrives too apologise. However this is all one big dream sequence as Frances collapses into her oatmeal and passes out. This provides such an intimate moment later on between Frances and Tony as he’s the only one she feels able to share the most with. Tony encourages her to keep writing.

Vince Valitutti/Hulu

Masha also has some moments, as the episode begins with a flashback when she lost one of her residents at Tranquillum. Still on the the hunt for her mysterious stalker she confides in Deliah and apologises for what happened in the past. Unexpectedly Delilah leans forward and kisses Masha.

The episode then takes a trippy and psychedelic turn as both Yao and Delilah share some intimate moments together.

The day goes ahead with cliff dives for the Marconi couple as they get their shot of adrenaline by jumping straight into the water. While this is going on Lars heads to a secret spot and phones his contact letting them know that he’s been drugged. 



Regina Hall does some phenomenal acting in this episode especially as she sees Benjamin and Jessica make love in the hot springs. This unfortunately sends her to the boiling point as she becomes erratic. that moment reminded her of her ex husband and his new woman, as it’s discovered that Carmel hid all her anger and rage by putting on a brave face for her children. 

Overall Nine Perfect Strangers episode 5 has me questioning what is real and what is imaginary. The cast are also compelling to watch as they go further into treatment. That night as they all join back at Tranquillum to celebrate Zoe’s birthday, Zoe notices Zack standing by the pool as she stares in his direction. Masha notices surprised and hurries over to only whisper in Zoe’s ear that she is the key to what’s happening. But what exactly does she mean and will we eventually get to figure this mystery out. 

Vince Valitutti/Hulu

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Crime

Malignant | Official Trailer

Madison is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities.

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Genre:

Crime, Drama, Horror

Release Date:

September 10, 2021

Director:

James Wan

Cast:

Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, Paula Marshall, George Young, Michole Briana White, Jacqueline McKenzie, Ingrid Bisu, Jake Abel

Plot Summary:

Madison is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities.

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Drama

Nine Perfect Strangers Episode 4 Review

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Nine Perfect Strangers is the most addicting series I’ve seen so far, It’s already become Hulu’s most watched original. Streaming in the UK on Amazon prime video, the first three episodes introduced the shows ensemble star studded cast of characters, all of whom are hiding secrets and trauma whilst staying at Tranquillum House. 

Episode three ended with a bombshell, revealing that Masha (Nicole Kidman) is drugging them. In Episode four titled “Brave New World”, shows the repercussions of Masha’s admittance. Surprisingly things don’t go as badly as viewers may expect. 

Vince Valitutti/Hulu

The guests are understandably outraged that she didn’t ask for their consent first as she’s been micro-dosing them all with magic mushrooms. Even Tony’s (Bobby Cannavale) oxy has been switched out a while back with the mushrooms. Frances is not happy either and walks away, whilst Masha bluntly tells the others that they’re all keeping secrets. 

Such as Lars (Luke Evans) who as it turns out, is an investigative journalist but Masha is already very much aware of who he is. She eventually encourages him to continue on with his research and even says his stay at Tranquillum could even win him a Pulitzer prize. 



The guests overall take the news better then expected. No-one even leaves Tranquillum House as suggested by Masha, though several characters briefly consider doing so. 

Among them is Napoleon (Michael Shannon) who seems the most bothered by Masha’s deception.  Him being a school teacher has been against drugs his whole life. However his worry about consuming these narcotics turns into an intimate moment with his wife Heather (Asher Keddie). Both rekindle their romance and Napoleon finally confronts to his wife his feelings about their son’s death. 

Vince Valitutti/Hulu

Another relationship this episode showcases is of Tony and Frances, this pair’s relationship has truly grown over the weeks. The episode helps us understand more about Tony and what happened to him in the past. His life has been completely destroyed and this episode gives us a devastating and shocking reveal. 

During Masha’s Mr. Kendo exercise, Frances reveals more about her experience getting catfished by Paul (Ben Falcone). It’s not just the lying and stealing that made her broken over his betrayal. It’s the fact that she’ll never get to be a mum. McCarthy’s performance was so emotional and heartbreaking, it truly showcases her range. 



It’s Carmel’s (Regina Hall) turn to meet up with Masha. Alone they discuss that she’s a bit of a livewire as they talk about her violent tendencies. The deep reason for Carmel’s hostility is that her husband left her for a younger woman. She is unfortunately forced to pick up the pieces in her life as she’s at her wits end. Carmel also really wants to punch Jessica in the face. 

Everyone was being drugged, except for Jessica (Samara Weaving) and Ben (Melvin Gregg). Jessica really wants to sample some of these healing drugs but ben is scared since his sister is an addict. 

Whilst the guests have calmer and friendlier interactions, drama among staff at Tranquillum increases rapidly. It sets up what seems to be an open relationship between Masha, Yao (Manny Jacinto and Delilah. The latter appears less on board with the whole thing. 

Vince Valitutti/Hulu

The end of episode Four sees Masha telling her staff to move forward with the next step in her plan. Its unclear what her purpose is going to be going forward and there’s certainly someone who has it out for her. Nine Perfect Strangers is shaping up to be quite the intriguing show.

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