Upon first viewing the trailer for this film, I felt a slight glimmer of hope for this otherwise marred franchise. It showed hero Perseus (Sam Worthington) locked in battles each more daunting than the last; it was action oriented, and the pace seemed fierce. I also recall making a comparison to the video game franchise God of War. As the actual film began you were not instantly thrust into a world of peril but instead into an environment of peace, family, and fishing, giving the once hero something, again, to fight for. Then came the visit from the god Zeus (Liam Neeson) pleading with Perseus for aide in an oncoming struggle between the Titans. A brief conversation about Perseus’ half-god status and son-ship of Zeus was thrown in to again show this demigod’s inevitable role as hero.
The tranquility of the setting was disrupted by a large mythical creature know as the Chimera, which was thrown towards the Earth, landing in a huge crater. After a moment of silence — pure chaos once the creature emerged and began to destroy the town. The ensuing battle scene was intense and swift and had a sense of urgency as Perseus had to defend his young son Helius (John Bell) from the rampaging, fire-breathing creature. The skirmish between Perseus and the beast was nothing short of epic and at that point I was filled with a sense of glee, as I felt the trailer had fulfilled its promise.
Then, came the rest of the film. Though filling, the battle was short-lived and soon the tempo changed drastically as Perseus now had to take action to quell this yet unknown struggle between the gods and the Titan Cronus. That is whereabouts the movie again followed its predecessor — the plot though solid was be-smudged by pointless fools errands and trite battles that at first seemed potentially to have an epic feel but simply floundered into a shoving match between Perseus as he would constantly lose his sword mid-battle. The filmmakers tried to spice it up by having him dispatch the beasts in unique ways, but it was still not enough to match up with the first battle. The acting though not terrible was muddled by lines that were pointless and repetitive. They had an underlying theme about sonship and destiny, but it really didn’t make me care enough. I wanted to really love this movie due to the way I felt betrayed by 2010’s Clash of The Titans. Wrath of the Titans was not without its charm and held me captivated long enough to feel some sense of gratification. Or maybe I just really hated the last one that much.
After watching The Hunger Games with my good friend Joaquin, he offered to write up a review of his own. Maybe this will become a regular feature.
Having never read the book, watching the movie “The Hunger Games” was a great way of immersing myself into the gritty yet lovely world. Now, having watched this movie I can cleary see why the book was such a phenomeon. This movie was a breath of fresh air in this “Shoot first ask questions later” movie industry. It was really made with the die hard fans in mind, and it was easy enough to grasp and appreciate for newcomers. In most instances, watching a favorite book franchise being interpreted into a movie may leave one feeling dismayed, but in this movie’s instance, it left me wanting more. Good acting and great costumes really helped move the story along. The timing was well paced and never focused on one aspect too long and kept a fluid momentum. Action scenes were fast and intense, and they were at times violent but never overly gory. All in all give this movie a watch in the theatres.
Asia super-sensation Rain stars as Raizo, an orphan raised by a modern day ninja clan. Trained under the ruthless Lord Ozunu (Sho Kosugi), the scarred Raizo turns against the only family he’s ever known to protect Europol agent Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris) and dismantle the clan.
The movie is about as redundant as its title. Flashbacks show the young Raizo being tenderly cared for by female ninja-in-training Kiriko (Kylie Goldstein and Anna Sawai) which is important for Raizo’s character development as he turns against the very family that raised him. Kiriko’s execution for an attempted escape breaks the camel’s back as Raizo becomes the clan’s number one enemy, foiling their assassination attempts and leading a lone war to stop their villainry. When Europol agent Coretti gets too close, the ninja clan makes her a target.
In many ways, it’s similar to the better Batman Begins. Both movies are about an orphan trained by a ninja clan to become an ultimate weapon embodying the ideas and values of the clan. The main character goes rogue when their moral fibers are tested. Both characters wear a lot of black, terrorize those who don’t understand them, and throw sharp pointed objects while hiding in the dark. Ninja Assassin comes in a shiny package with expensive visuals, but while there’s a lot of flash, there isn’t much of a pan. Batman Begins took a premise and made the impossible very realistic with a deep backstory and a paced origin story that’s handled with care. Ninja Assassin breaks down the door with a spinning kick, but it’s been done before. In the realm of cool, ninjas are in, but this assassin doesn’t cut it.
Ninja Assassin (2009)
Directed by: James McTeigue
Written by: Matthew Sand, J. Michael Straczynski
Starring: Rain, Rick Yune, and Naomie Harris
Rating: 2 / 5
Chronicles of Riddick is entertaining in that leave-logic-behind kind of sense — a sort of style-above-substance approach that’s heavily (and perhaps detrimentally) prevalent in the action genre. Things explode, people are killed, and the hero — or Riddick (Vin Diesel) as the lesser of two evils — gets to punctuate the end of scenes with a pointed one-liner that sums it all up. One might say the experience is entertaining. Someone else might say, This movie is Riddickulous.
Following the events of 2000’s Pitch Black in which space criminal Richard B. Riddick saves a group of stranded people lost on a hostile alien planet, he somehow becomes involved in an intergalactic struggle between the Necromongers, a race of imperialistic religious zealots, and the rest of the universe. A prophecy holds that a Furyan will bring balance, and Star Wars influences aside, CoR becomes a movie that’s a little bit of a lot of things without bringing too much of its own to the table.
Diesel holds his own as a capable action hero, and CoR as his pet project doesn’t lack in passion. The movie feels like it could have been a modern epic with the many location changes, the grandiose costumes, and the ensemble of solid actors filling out the various supporting roles. It’s interesting that Riddick, semi-blind, can see in the dark — his vision works by catching the light cast off of subjects. It gives him more dimension, but the story could have used a steadier pace and heavier steps to compensate for the meager Necromonger backstory and carrot-on-a-stick character motivations.
Chronicles of Riddick (2004)
Directed by: David Twohy
Written by: David Twohy
Starring: Vin Diesel, Judi Dench, Colm Feore
Rating: 2.5 / 5