Monthly archives "April 2015"

Avengers: Age of Ultron ****


Run Time: 142mins           Cert: 12A
Synopsis: During a mission, the Avengers find technology which interests Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to create an artificial intelligence entity which he feels is the only way to keep the world safe. However, Ultron (James Spader), is more hellbent on wiping out the Avengers than saving humanity.

Marvel and Joss Whedon return with an action packed, but darker sequel to their previous hit. 
It was hard to believe that the first instalment worked so well. A comic book movie with more than three lead characters never works as a rule, but somehow The Avengers was a thrilling roller coaster ride but sadly lacking in story. By making the plot and the look of the film darker, Whedon has tried to do a different take for the sequel as Burton did with Batman Returns.
What he has actually done is repeat that exact same formula but with more characters. This time Scarlet Witch (Olsen) and Quicksilver have been added to the lineup along with familiar faces from other Marvel franchises. But the film seems to overload with characters each with their own subplot that never really becomes fully developed. Even Ultron is forgotten about have way through the film. The dialogue in the film is well written and at times incredibly funny.
In regards to Ultron, the effects are fantastic with the robot encapsulating Spader’a facial mannerisms. While the actor brings menace to his overall performance. But Ultron never comes across as a terrifying foe.
There are endless spectacular action sequences, from the Hulkbuster sequence to the climax. The film is never boring or dull. As usual with Marvel movies recently the final action set piece is far too long and could be cut down a bit.
The cast appear to be having a ball, with the same chemistry audiences witnessed in the previous film. This makes us care about the characters .
If the script had been more developed with fewer characters, this could have been significantly better than the first. What Joss Whedon has given us is more of the same but on a much grander scale.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

Fast & Furious 7 ***


Run Time: 137mins           Cert: 12A

Synopsis: Deckard Shaw (Statham) seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and his family for his comatose brother.


Vin Diesel and the gang return with the long anticipated next instalment of this popular franchise with mixed results. 

Anyone who witnessed and enjoyed the silly finale from last sequel will be happy that this one has even more ridiculous with situations ramped up to the max. Even after the first scene with Statham’s character visiting his brother in hospital has to be seen to be believed how stupid it really is. 
The action scenes have clearly been influenced by The A-Team as characters walk away either unhurt or with minor injuries that no human could ever undertake. 
The plot is completely all over the place and makes absolutely no sense. While Jason Statham’s villian is weak and very underwritten.
The Conjuring’s James Wan takes over as Director from Justin Lin and it would expected that the franchise is in good hands. Unfortunately  it is the editing that lets him down with headache enduring quick cuts, it is hard to focus what is going on.
Sadly Paul Walker died during the filming of the movie. The additional scenes shot after his death, are well done and it is quite hard to tell when Walker was actually there on set. Usually the filmmakers have some respectful tribute, but what the Furious 7 team has come up with something that just comes across as cheesy and quite sickening.
It is not all doom and gloom though. Kurt Russell is a welcome addition, the only downside is that he is not in it enough. The action is thrilling and exciting. The humour in the movie is really funny.
Ultimately though the franchise has turned into a spoof of itself. The film comes across like Hudson Hawk, but without the ingenuity or the cleverness that movie brought. Enjoyable, but also dissatisfying at the same time.
Reviewed by Paul Logan

Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 **

  Run Time: 94mins           Cert: PG

Synopsis: After six years of keeping our malls safe, Paul Blart (James) has earned a well-deserved vacation. He heads to Vegas with his teenage daughter before she heads off to college. But safety never takes a holiday and when duty calls, Blart answers.

Kevin James returns with a sequel no one was asking for. There may be a different location and villain, but the plot is the same Die Hardesque, Home Alone structure that was witnessed in the first instalment.
This time round the portly security guard is in Las Vegas for a convention. Instead of problems in looking for love, this time he has problems trying to understand his teenage daughter.
The humour is pretty infantile, but at times can be amusing and is completely made up of slapstick violence. Whether Blart is being kicked and attacked by a Crested Crown Crane or hit by a car while on his Segway or being kicked by a horse. The violence itself is very A-Team influenced as no one appears to be fatally injured.
Pacing is a problem with the first half being rather dull and tedious with too much focus on the father daughter relationship. Once the terrorists make an appearance the film becomes a lot more fun. Although the main bad guy played by Red 2’s Neal McDonough is completely forgettable and underwritten as antagonistic characters go.
While by no means one of Kevin James’ worst movies ( that honour goes to the Grown Ups and Zookeeper films), but at the end of the day this is a pointless sequel and six years too late for anyone to really care. 

Reviewed by Paul Logan