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Wonder Woman 1984 | Review

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DC films in recent years have been heavily criticized for being too dark and gritty but Wonder Woman 1984 is the complete opposite, it’s full of so much fun and colour and joy. In terms of the tone and feel of the film it’s very reminiscent of the Christopher Reeve Superman films. It’s a delight from start to finish despite the 151-minute runtime as it’s just pure entertainment and the sort of fun we need right now to see us through to the end of 2020.

Wonder Woman 1984 follows Diana Prince, AKA Wonder Woman, played excellently by Gal Gadot now living in the 1980s and working in a museum when a mysterious ancient artefact shows up that seems to grant people wishes. This dream-stone starts causing big problems when its powers begin to get abused by Diana’s colleague Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) who comic fans will recognise as Wonder Woman villain ‘The Cheetah’. Barbara isn’t the only person who wants the stone as businessman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) is after it too. Wonder Woman, with the help of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) must stop the Cheetah and Max Lord before it gets too late.

“This world is not yet ready for all that you will do.” 

The film opens with a great scene on Themyscira, the island home of the Amazons, with a young Diana taking part in the Amazon games. Straight away we get thrown back into the exciting world of Wonder Woman with a fast-paced action scene. The opening looks really amazing, particularly in an IMAX cinema, as Wonder Woman 1984 was partially filmed with IMAX cameras meaning you get to see more in certain scenes. As well as looking amazing, the whole film, and in particular the opening scene, sounds great too as Hans Zimmer’s booming score fills your ears. The film immediately has you hooked and it doesn’t let you go until the very end.

The opening scene is really good fun and it doesn’t stop there. Not long afterwards we get our first glimpse of Gal Gadot trying to stop some thugs robbing a jewellery store in a shopping mall and she gets a really glorious entrance as she takes down the bad guys with ease and we really see that Gal Gadot completely embodies that character of Wonder Woman.

“One day you will become all that you dream of and more.”

It’s interesting to look at how the two villains shape up in this film as one of the biggest problems I had with the previous Wonder Woman film was the villain. And so, are the villains in the sequel any better? Yes, although they’re still not perfect. Both of the villains do have some issues but Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal bring so much enthusiasm and charisma to their characters that you just about forget about their character flaws. Kristen Wiig’s Barbara does seem a little generic and we first meet her in a scene that really reminded me of Jamie Foxx’s Electro’s introduction in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as we see Barbara’s colleagues taking no notice of her and we can already begin to wonder how she might try and change things.

Pascal brings so much life and character to Maxwell Lord and it really is a joy to watch his face fill the screen, especially since a lot of us have been seeing him trapped behind a helmet recently in The Mandalorian. But Lord too does have some issues, particularly in the third act when things begin to get a little messy and some of his motivations seem a little unclear but I think Wiig and Pascal play their respective roles so well that it’s enough to see past these issues.

“Your time will come, Diana.  Everything will be different

As mentioned above, the villains can be a bit weak in places which makes the 3rd act a bit messier (although still much cleaner than the 3rd act of the first film) and some of the character’s motivations can be unclear in certain places but other than that, it’s a really good film. Despite being two and a half hours long, the time completely flies by as it’s just so much fun and because all the action set-pieces are so well done.

I really hope that after films like Shazam!, Birds of Prey and now Wonder Woman 1984  DC continue to make more bright, vibrant and colourful fun films, they just provide so much pleasure and exuberance to you when you watch them and that’s exactly what the world needs right now. Patty Jenkins has crafted another great film and Wonder Woman 1984 is full of plenty of scenes to keep both the Wonder Woman novices and experts entertained throughout.

Overall, Wonder Woman 1984 is a joyous thrill ride that’s even better than the first film. It’s so much fun and filled with lots of colour and plenty of enjoyment.

★★★★☆

Wonder Woman 1984 opens in UK cinemas on Wednesday December 16th

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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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