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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Review



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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Expendables 4 Movie Review | Explosive & Funny!



Expendables 4 (Lionsgate Movies)

The following piece was written during the 2023 Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie material being covered here wouldn’t exist.


A new generation of stars join the world’s top action stars for an adrenaline-fueled adventure in Expend4bles. Reuniting as the team of elite mercenaries, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, and Sylvester Stallone are joined for the first time by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, and Andy Garcia. Armed with every weapon they can get their hands on and the skills to use them, The Expendables are the world’s last line of defense and the team that gets called when all other options are off the table. But new team members with new styles and tactics are going to give “new blood” a whole new meaning.

Iko Uwais as Suarto Rahmat (Lionsgate Movies)

The Expendables Film Series

I highly recommend catching up on the other movies in the Expendables film series.

Expendables 1 (2010)

The only life they’ve known is war. The only loyalty they have is to each other. They are the Expendables: leader and mastermind Barney Ross (Stallone), former SAS blade expert Lee Christmas (Statham), hand-to-hand combat specialist Yin Yang (Li), long barrel weapons specialist Hale Caesar (Crews), demolitions expert Toll Road (Couture), and precision sniper Gunnar Jensen (Lundgren). Living life in the fringes of the law, these hardened mercenaries take on what appears to be a routine assignment: a covert, CIA-funded operation to infiltrate the South American country of Vilena and overthrow its ruthless dictator General Garza (David Zayas). But when their job is revealed to be a suicide mission, the men are faced with a deadly choice, one that might redeem their souls or destroy their brotherhood forever.

The Expendables Official Trailer (Lionsgate Movies)

Expendables 2

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren),Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) — with newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) aboard — are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job. The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old-school mercenaries. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time — six tons of weapons-grade plutonium; enough to change the balance of power in the world. But that’s nothing compared to the justice they serve against the villainous adversary who savagely murdered their brother. That is done the Expendables way….

The Expendables 2 Official Trailer (Lionsgate Movies)

Expendables 3 (2014)

In The Expendables 3, Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team comes face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks subsequently became a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill… or so he thought. In order to defeat Stonebanks, Barney decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy. The latest mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise in the Expendables’ most personal battle yet.

The Expendables 3 Official Trailer (Lionsgate Movies)

Movie Review

Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture and Sylvester Stallone bring the explosive energy needed to give us an explosive performance on-screen. The new members, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, and Andy Garcia bring in a breath of fresh air with new attitude and fighting styles to keep us entertained. This movie is the fourth in the Expendable film series, but there is definitely no clear link between this movie and the prequels. Each movie in essence is a new mission and Expendables 4 can be watched without watching the previous movies. I suggest watching the previous three movies to experience the explosive action that you get when you combine our favorite action heroes.

Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross, leader of the Expendables (Lionsgate Movies)

Expendables 4 was great and delivered yet another action-packed mission filled with awesome fights, humor, cultural references and explosions. However, it wasn’t difficult to spot the main villain and there aren’t much surprises in terms of the new action stars who join this mission.

The movie starts us off with the Expendables in a race against time to retrieve nuclear warheads, but the mission goes south and instead of sticking to orders, one of the soldiers attempt to save his team member instead, which results in a failed mission and a casualty. The story follows the combination of accomplishing the mission while delivering a can of revenge-based whoop-ass. The last fight isn’t as explosive as the cast but still manages to deliver a plot-twist finale.

Megan Fox, Andy Garcia & Jacob Scipio, some of the newest members of the Expendables (Lionsgate Movies)

A future sequel should really consider a completely new group pick up the baton and leave us in suspense as to who the new heroes and villains could be. I love a good surprise with a side of plot twist in any movie.

There is no post-credits scene, so no need to wait till the very end. The trailer doesn’t spoil any of the plot twists you can expect from the movie. Overall, my rating for Expendables 4 is a 3.5 out of 5.

Make sure to watch at a cinema near you!

Expend4bles Official Trailer (Lionsgate Movies)

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Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom | Official Trailer

Arthur must enlist the help of his half-brother Orm in order to protect Atlantis against Black Manta, who has unleashed a devastating weapon in his obsessive quest to avenge his father’s death.




Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom [credit: Warner Bros. / DC]


Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Release Date:

December 20,  2023


James Wan


Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

Plot Summary:

Arthur must enlist the help of his half-brother Orm in order to protect Atlantis against Black Manta, who has unleashed a devastating weapon in his obsessive quest to avenge his father’s death.

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Retribution Movie Review: Mildly Explosive 



Lionsgate Films

The following piece was written during the 2023 Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie, Retribution, being covered here wouldn’t exist.


When a mysterious caller puts a bomb under Matt Turner’s car seat, he begins a high-speed chase across the city to complete a specific series of tasks. With his kids trapped in the back seat and a bomb that will explode if they get out of the car, a normal commute becomes a twisted game of life or death as Matt follows the stranger’s increasingly dangerous instructions in a race against time to save his family.

Liam Neeson as Matt Turner (Lionsgate Films)

Did You Know?

This movie is the third remake of the movie titled Retribution.

In 2015, a Spanish-language adaptation, The Stranger (El desconocido) was released. This was the first Retribution movie. A dishonest banker pays the ultimate price for his wrongdoings when he is held hostage in his own speeding car by a bomb-making extortionist.

In 2018, a German-language adaptation, Don’t. Get. Out! (Steig. Nicht. Aus!) was released in Germany. A loving father and husband is extorted by an unknown guy and he is about to lose his life, his money and his family

In 2021, a Korean version, Hard Hit (Balsinjehan) was released. On his way to work, a bank manager receives an anonymous call claiming there’s a bomb under his car seat, and if anyone exits the car, it will explode unless he can pay a ransom.

The Turner Family (Lionsgate Films)

Movie Review

Liam Neeson plays the role of Matt Turner, and is literally in the ‘hot seat’ throughout most of the movie. The movie eases you into the drama and the suspense keeps building as the time passes. No time is wasted to bring A small cast brought an intense situation to life in Retribution, and I need to compliment, especially Liam Neeson, Jack Champion and Lilly Aspell, who played the parts of Matt Turner, Zach Turner and Emily Turner respectively for playing the part in the car to perfection. A plot twist is delivered at the end, but the ending is not as explosive as the bomb in the car.

Overall my rating is 3 out of 5 for the Retribution. There is no post-credits scene, so no need to wait till the end. The trailer doesn’t spoil too much of the movie and serves as a great appetizer for Retribution.

Catch the trailer, and watch Retribution at a cinema near you.

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