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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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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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