It didn't seem possible, but somehow this action movie is even more preposterous than its predecessor, 2013's over-serious Olympus Has Fallen. Gerard Butler is back as a Secret Service agent protecting US President Aaron Eckhart, this time in a Taken-style scenario in which they leave America only to be immediately thrown into the middle of a massive terrorist attack. But the script is so lazy that there isn't a moment when any of this is remotely believable.
Events are put into motion when the British prime minister dies of a heart attack and security services only have a few days to lock down London so that the world's leaders can arrive for the funeral at St Paul's Cathedral. Mike (Butler) flies in with his boss Lynn (Bassett) on Air Force One, accompanying President Asher (Eckhart) and a platoon of bodyguards. Then just before the funeral, a carefully orchestrated series of bombings and gun attacks take out five heads of state. Of course, Mike and Lynn get Asher out of the fray, but an army of bad guys led by terror mastermind Kamran (Waleed Zuaiter) pursue them across the city. Back in Washington, Vice President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) and the panicky cabinet (including Haley, Forster and Leo) watch all of this unfold on video screens and coordinates a counter-attack.
Even with four screenwriters, the movie makes no real sense. And worse than that, the filmmakers never take advantage of the story's potential or the heavy-hitting cast. There's a line about how all of London's landmarks have been destroyed, but the on-screen destruction is limited to just one of Westminster Abbey's towers. The depiction of world leaders is laughably cliched. And the award-winning actors have nothing to do but stand there looking worried. By contrast, Butler charges around shooting and stabbing everybody who moves in a display of shockingly brutal machismo. Eckhart is more believably reluctant to join in and dispense some violence, but of course he does.
Continue reading: London Has Fallen Review
Robert Forster - 26th Annual Night of 100 Stars held at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel - Arrivals at Beverly Hilton - Beverly Hills, CA - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 28th February 2016
President Benjamin Asher must make a diplomatic trip to the capital of the United Kingdom after the British Prime Minister is killed. The death of the Prime Minister is shroud in mystery and Asher's number one Secret Service agent, Mike Banning, can't help but feel that the trip is going too smoothly.
Having each of the world's leaders all in one place, it's a hugely appealing target for terrorists. As the funeral proceedings begin to come together, Banning's worst fears come true. The world's stability is left in the hands of the president, his secret service agent and a lone MI6 agent.
Continue: London Has Fallen Trailer
Unusually gritty and grounded, this terrorism thriller avoids the pitfalls of most overwrought action movies by creating characters and action situations that are unusually believable, even if the plot itself feels badly undercooked. The problem is that there isn't a clear sense of what's at stake here, because screenwriter Philip Shelby insists on continually blurring the mystery by withholding key details until he's ready to reveal them. So the cleverly played old-style suspense never quite pays off.
It opens at the US Embassy in London, where new security chief Kate (Milla Jovovich) has been alerted to the fact that terrorists are trying to get visas to enter America. Working with the ambassador (Angela Bassett) her team leaders (Dylan McDermott and Robert Forster), Kate narrows in on a suspicious doctor (Roger Rees) who's an expert in explosive gasses. But a shocking bombing stops her short, framing her as the villain. Now she's being chased not only by the Americans, but also a British inspector (James D'Arcy) and a ruthless assassin known as The Watchmaker (Pierce Brosnan). And Kate knows that she's the only one who can stop the nefarious plot, whatever it might be.
This is one of those films that enjoyably pushes its central character over the brink, so we can't help but root for Kate to get out of this seriously messy situation and save the day. Jovovich plays her in a plausible way as a capable woman who has no choice but to fight back and try to survive, because she's the only one who knows that she's not the real threat here. Everyone else is extremely shadowy, although McDermott gets to show a heroic side, as does the terrific Frances de la Tour as the only embassy staff member who believes that Kate is the good guy. Meanwhile, Brosnan gives a remarkably effective performance as a cold-blooded killer.
Continue reading: Survivor Review
Jacq Vaucan (Antonio Banderas) is working as an insurance agent for ROC Robotics Corporation in the dystopian world of 2044. In a world where human kind is served by robots, there are specific rules set in place to avoid uprising or attacks against mankind. These include robots not being able to harm any form of life and robots not being able to alter themselves. When an altered robot turns up without an owner, Vaucan must investigate the possibility of multiple robots altering themselves before a full scale uprising can begin. When he comes under attack from Wallace (Dylan McDermott), he is forced to live amongst conscious robots and learnt that they may not be all that different to human beings after all.
Continue: Automata Trailer
As this massive blockbuster thriller progresses, it's impossible not to become amused by how ridiculous its script becomes. Because the production values are first-rate, with mammoth set pieces, rampant destruction and elaborate stunt action. Meanwhile, the plot and dialog are comically inane, to the point where knowing audience members start giggling helplessly. And frankly, these viewers will enjoy the film a lot more than anyone who tries to take it seriously.
The film opens with a harrowing scene in which Secret Service agent Mike (Butler) saves the President (Echkart) from an accident in which the First Lady (Judd) dies. So he's transferred to office duty, and now only keeps an eye on the White House from across the road. But this is how he spots a fringe group of radical Koreans launch an assault. Led by nutcase Kang (Yune) they storm the Oval Office and take the President, Defense Secretary (Leo) and others hostage. As Mike tries to break them free, he stays in touch with the temporary command centre at the Pentagon, where top dogs (including Freeman, Forster and Bassett) attempt to keep the menace from spreading.
But of course, these officials are useless, and it'll be up to Mike to save the day on his own, Die Hard-style. Improbably, all of his old access codes and passwords still work, so he's able to sneak around the White House and take out the villains one by one. Butler turns out to be rather good in this kind of meathead role, combining Bruce Willis' wit with Sylvester Stallone's brawn. By contrast, everyone else pretty much just sits around saying ridiculous things like, "Oh my God, we're doomed!" At least Leo gets to show some backbone.
Continue reading: Olympus Has Fallen Review
President of the United States Benjamin Asher has had enough trauma while being in office, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. What with the current conflicts between the States and North Korea, there is a known danger that a war could erupt between the two countries; however, Asher had little to suspect when he welcomed a South Korean ministerial aide into the White House. In a terrifying turn of events, he is kidnapped by the aide who reveals himself to be Kang, a North Korean terrorist with little interest in negotiations. Trapped in the building as it becomes under siege by Kang's cohorts is Mike Banning; a former Secret Service agent who was discredited after making a mistake at the expense of a life while acting as a Presidential guard. Despite his being shunned from the government for his errors, with his insider knowledge he becomes the only hope they have of rescuing the President from a grisly fate.
Continue: Olympus Has Fallen Trailer
And Clooney has never had a role that was quite as emotionally resonant as this.
In sunny Hawaii, Matt (Clooney) has coasted through marriage and parenthood, focussing on his career and managing the estate of his family, which is descended from Hawaiian royalty. But now his wife (Patti Hastie) is in a coma, and he has to take responsibility for his free-spirited daughters, 10-year-old Scottie (Miller) and 17-year-old Alexandra (Woodley). Meanwhile, his cousins want to sell off a gorgeous tract of ancestral land in Kauai. Amid all of this, Matt finds out that his wife isn't going to wake up, and also that she had been having an affair.
Continue reading: The Descendants Review
Sure, the vampire myth has been with us forever. One of the very first films was a vampire movie. We are indeed obsessed with these blood-sucking trollops. And yet, lately, the vampire film has fallen into a rut that I worry it can never pry itself out of. We don't see the vampires of yesteryear anymore. Gone are green skinned, hairy-eared ghouls that haunted graveyards and sucked the blood from corpulent women. Gone are the baby-bird-headed stick figures that lurked in foggy London alleyways. Today vampires are all glamorous, leather-bound martial arts experts. They have great hair (that's a side-effect of living forever), nice shoes, and groove to industrial music. They are the Goth fashionistas who are as infatuated with sucking blood as they with collecting Ferraris and having swanky parties.
Continue reading: Rise: Blood Hunter Review
Huston's most interesting decision was to riff off the title and shoot the entire picture in a golden sepia tone with only occasional splashes of color. The print was pulled from theaters when people didn't get it, but on DVD you can see it the way Huston intended, and it's unlike anything you've seen before.
Continue reading: Reflections In A Golden Eye Review
Confidence has triple the pizzazz of any caper movie released in the past several years. To say that it keeps you guessing would be misleading; the film has so many twists, turns, and reveals them in such an order that you don't even know where to start guessing. You'll need a scorecard to keep everything in order. Yet, remarkably, in the end, everything adds up without any apparent plot holes. It's astonishing.
Continue reading: Confidence Review
The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.
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