Alien: Covenant (2017)

Monday was a holiday for us here in Canada as we celebrated Victoria Day. I had taken an extra day off on Friday with my accumulated overtime from April’s deadline turning it into a four day weekend and it was still incredibly busy and hectic however, my husband and I did manage to take some time to go see Alien: Covenant. The goal this year is to at least see all the anticipated movies in theatres, so far I have only missed one which is pretty good for an almost half year mark.

We both love the Alien franchise. To be more accurate, I love the Alien franchise because my husband sat me down years ago in our early dating days to watch it and it was awesome. We both enjoyed Prometheus and now, time for some Alien:Covenant.

Lets check it out!

Alien: Covenant (2017)

alien covenant

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz

The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape. – IMDB

 Alien: Covenant is back and it takes place 10 years or so after the events of Prometheus. The crew and their ship of 2000 colonists is on their way to a planet called Origae-6. After many tests, Origae-6 has proved to meet all the tests for colonization. Despite taking years upon years, the crew is set on cryosleep. However, in a not so routine way of waking up, they are intercepted which affects the functionality of the ship, Covenant which ends up hearing signs of civilization in a fuzzy transmission and with the simple analysis, their new captain Oram (played by Billy Crudup) ends up making the decision to land to scout out the area despite the reluctance of his second, Daniels, played by Katherine Waterston. As part of the crew stays in the ship and the rest land, the crew on this remote planet ends up finding a familiar scene that we all know from Prometheus. Here is where the link starts and they start getting weird occurences that as the audience, we get to see have started affected the crew and people who know about the franchise already know very well which this direction will be. Except, Alien: Covenant takes a turn to make sure that its story isn’t all about aliens but rather its a new direction to hint towards advanced technology and android versus humanity and playing God. Whether that is a good change or not? I guess that depends what you expect from Alien: Covenant. For us, it does make a nice change because it gives the Alien franchise a new direction instead of their rather predictable Xenomorphs slaughters the space crew storyline. Xenomorphs are fantastic and if you are a fan of them, they are also wildly underused here. However, their presence can invisibly be felt in the latter half as they have been yet again changed a little more.

Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant is a hard one to review and its taken me a few days to sit down and think about it a little more to let me feelings sort out further. The results of my thinking is there are pros and cons to this movie. It is important to say that I have seen and enjoyed (for the most part) the Alien franchise. We are huge fans of Prometheus as well as the first two movies and we honestly don’t have a huge issue with the 3rd and 4th although we do acknowledge that it is rather flawed in many ways however, the entertainment value is still there. With that said, Alien: Covenant has a lot of good, in fact there are some great moments here. One of the biggest pros here is the visuals. Visually, this movie is fantastic. There are so many scenes that build so much atmosphere and character to the remote planet they land on. It is incredible to see. There is quite a bit of detail as well. Leading to that, Ridley Scott, whether we are talking about Alien or Prometheus and even in Alien: Covenant is masterful at building tension and creating atmosphere. There is a lot of that here as well. The world is elevated mostly because of these two elements. Finally, the cast here that gets more screen time does a good job. There is no doubt that Michael Fassbender is a great actor. He has been in many movies that has proved that he can do a wide array of different roles and capture what the character he needs to portray and deliver something great. In Alien: Covenant, he is one man with two roles. If you were wondering what happened to David from Prometheus, you will get your answer here. He also plays mostly as Walter, who is the resident android on Covenant, as he calls himself an updated version which has its pros and cons as well which the movie will slowly let you learn. In this case, Michael Fassbender as David and Walter create some of the most engaging scenes as well as create depth for the story they want to tell here.

Alien: Covenant

However, the one thing I’m hesitating on being incredibly enthusiastic about here is the story arcs they choose to take. It definitely doesn’t fall in the fault of execution because like I said, the tension and atmosphere was done well and if in the hands of someone less capable than Ridley Scott, this might be less appealing. Here’s where my dilemma lies. An Alien movie should have more aliens, the Xenomorphs here are far and few. They have some pretty generic scenes that are pretty predictable at this point. They almost mirror the first movie such as the Xenomorph hanging out in the ceiling before attacking or the egg with the face huggers and then we have the little creatures breaking out of bodies. I don’t think these are spoilers mostly because they are expected in this franchise at this point, however, perhaps playing with the audience’s anticipation of these moments comes in the equation here where we know more than the characters in the story and if we connected with those characters, we would feel more tense and stressed out because we already know what is going to happen. Maybe this is where the uneasiness comes as well because there are a lot of characters and the only reason I even know their names is thanks to IMDB because they completely went over my head while I was watching it. It also says something about how memorable they are especually when our femal protagonist Daniels played by Katherine Waterston did a good job but somehow everyone was overshadowed by what seems like the main plot with Michael Fassbender who was a much better developed character(s). Somehow with a mesh of characters that didn’t quite get the depth they deserved and a plot that was rather predictable and familiar but also lacking in the appearance of the Xenomorphs. Especially when it attempts to surprise in some parts and yet somehow didn’t manage to do it for myself. 

While it sounds like I didn’t like the movie, I honestly did. Alien:Covenant does a lot of good. I’m a sucker for movies with great atmosphere and beautiful settings because its not only visually appealing but a thrilling and engaging world. While I might have liked more Xenomorph appearances, I do like that they are trying to expand the story to give it another fresh direction. Plus, even if some characters did lack depth for the most part, the few that got the development was done well. Not to mention, it still felt self-contained despite linking back to a previous movie. 
Have you seen Alien:Covenant? Do you like the Alien franchise? Which is your favorite movie from the franchise?

Addicted to Screwball Blogathon: Addicted to Love (1997)

Today is the anniversary of Addicted to Love and in honor of that, Paul at Pfeiffer Philms and Meg Movies has put together this Addicted to Screwball blogathon event. You read more about it here or by clicking on the banner above.

Now, before I start, I do want to be completely honest that I really have a lot of classic movies to catch up on and seeing as the rise of screwball comedy also lies in a lot of these iconic titles that i haven’t seen, I am almost completely unfamiliar with this subgenre. However, Paul did give me some suggestions and I ended up choosing to write about Addicted to Love with Meg Ryan.

Lets check it out!

Addicted to Love (1997)

addicted to love

Director: Griffin Dune

Cast: Meg Ryan, Matthew Broderick, Kelly Preston, Tcheky Karyo, Maureen Stapleton

Maggie’s and Sam’s former partners are in love; she wants revenge and he wants his lost love back, so they work together to break up the happy couple. – IMDB

If screwball comedy is what Addicted to Love is, count me in for more. Addicted to Love is such a great film. It is a ton of fun to watch with a lot of great characters. I love Meg Ryan and this movie is exactly why. She is so versatile in her acting capabilities. In Addicted to Love, there is a completely different side to her that we don’t see in some of the other romantic comedies. Let’s face it, maybe I don’t know how to talk about this in the whole screwball comedy spectrum but I’m watching this because there’s Meg Ryan.

Addicted to Love

Here’s a good time to switch over to talk about the characters and performances on Addicted to Love. Our leading lady here is Meg Ryan who delivers a great character, Maggie who is the opposite that needs to accomplish this sabotage plan. On the exterior, Maggie is calm and calculated with the plan. She is determined to achieve her revenge on this man that used her and broke her heart. A lot of who she is is already shown to us by how she makes her entrance into the movie as she breaks in and appears in her motorcycle get up and starts getting straight to work. Deep down, there is a softer side and as the story goes on, she has these layers that we see. Now that I am done fangirling over Meg, Matthew Broderick also delivers quite the performance. I always have a hard time pinpointing where I have seen him before in movies but his role here as Sam is a lot of fun. Sam is the opposite to Maggie in many ways. He really is calm but also a scientist so he believes in charts and predicting when certain signs will mean a breakup. He believes it will end naturally until he realizes that everything he believed in doesn’t apply in love. Sam’s character breaks out of this shell and becomes more daring as he turns into the guy who starts off lacking discretion and letting his feelings get in the way of the plan but turns into the guy who hatches the ultimate plan.

Addicted to Love

Addicted to Love is charming because of these two leading roles however, the charm extends to the outrageous scenes that are set up here. While Kelly Preston plays the not very special Linda, playing opposite her is the odd French chef who seeks perfection, Anton. Anton does catch most of the heat in the situation as they make him suffer mostly and creating the most unbelievable situations for him to explain his way out and create suspicion. Anton himself gets more screen time and much more focus in the last third of the movie when things start spiralling apart from the revenge/stalker plot of the exes team-up. The dynamic was turned around and we actually get to learn more about this character of Anton. The goal is not to care about him but rather to guide Maggie and Sam to realize what they have/feel for each other.

Overall, Addicted to Love is a really fun romantic comedy in the veins of a revenge of the exes storyline. While many things are still foreseeable, the charming cast particularly Meg Ryan’s Maggie shines as she takes on a fun and tough role opposite Matthew Broderick as Sam, an astronomer who breaks out of his own shell. There is a good blend of outrageously fun scenes and a lot of humor.

Podcast: Lamb Tracks #4 Jurassic World Commentary

Hey my lovelies!

Just a quick post today!

A few weeks ago, I got asked by my fantastic Game Warp co-host Elwood Jones to join him on the Lamb Tracks podcast that he hosts. Lamb Tracks is a new show that does commentary on different franchises or category of movies each season. Season 1 was kicked off by the Jurassic Park franchise. I’ve had a ton of fun listening to their commentaries while rewatching the franchise and I was ecstatic about joining him for Jurassic World. Being a newer release, this was only my second viewing however, I still remember a lot of it.

This is my first time doing commentary and I personally rarely listen to them even when they are bonuses on DVDs or Blurays however, it was a ton of fun to record. Hopefully you will enjoy it as well. If you didn’t read my review of Jurassic World, you can find it HERE.

There is no embed player so use the link to jump to the podcast episode. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/lambcast/episodes/2017-05-15T04_47_25-07_00

Did you like Jurassic World? Have you seen it yet? If not, do you intend to?
Are you excited about Jurassic World 2?

Double Feature: The Fitzroy (2017) & Suicide Squad (2016)

The new structure for here onwards will be double features, my lovelies. If you want great full-length movie reviews, I can refer you to a ton of bloggers. At least it will be spoiler-free guaranteed as always. There may be some exceptions but for now, this will be the format for the most part.

This week’s double feature starts with one of the first projects that I backed on Kickstarter that finally made its premiere and as I am not in the UK, I received a 48 hours access to watch it digitally. Next up, we jump into a more action and comic variety of villains turned heroes in a way with Suicide Squad.

Lets get started! 🙂

The Fitzroy (2017)

the fitzroy

Director (and writer): Andrew Harmer

Cast: Cerith Flinn, Jan Anderson, Kenneth Collard, David Schaal, David Gant, Stuart McGugan

The Fitzroy is a live action black comedy set in an alternative post-apocalyptic 1950s. The world is covered in poisonous gas, and the last place for a traditional seaside holiday is The Fitzroy hotel, an abandoned submarine just off the coast of England. The film centers on Bernard, the hotel’s bellboy, cook, maintenance man and general dogsbody, as he faces a constant battle to keep the decaying hotel airtight and afloat. But when he falls in love with a murderous guest, he is thrown into a mad day of lies, backstabbing and chaos. As Bernard struggles to hide her murders from the other guests and suspicious authorities, his world literally begins to sink around him. – IMDB

One promise that I make is when this comes out officially and I actually receive my copy of it that I’ll write up a full review on this. The Fitzroy arrived on a pretty busy weekend and we managed to squeeze out some time late at night to watch it. The Fitzroy is a compelling movie to watch. Its a tad predictable but the characters are so fleshed out along with a well-written and entertaining script that it has a lot of laughs and fun characters to watch come alive on screen. There is no doubt that The Fitzroy is indie though. There is a lot of charm to the movie along with creativity for the world they have set. Plus, it really is almost all set in one enclosed area with a few exceptions. The danger is also in its environment. The movie is extremely quirky and I mean it in the best way.

Kickstarter projects are always a toss of luck and I don’t remember when this project launched why I backed it and I am sure over the years, my taste on movies have shifted however, I had a great time watching this one.

Suicide Squad (2016)

suicide squad

Director (and writer): David Ayer

Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Cara Delevingue, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jared Leto, Scott Eastwood

A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous incarcerated super-villains to form a defensive task force. Their first mission: save the world from the apocalypse. – IMDB

Once again, in case you are new here, I need to start with the fact that I have not read any comics so if this is based on any source material of that variety, for myself, this is a standalone. Also do know that I have not caught up with Man of Steel or Batman vs. Superman so while I feel like the mention some of those events, I don’t know if there is a link however, Suicide Squad feels and is standalone for myself.

The best way to describe Suicide Squad is with the word fun. There is a lot of fun. Humor and a ragtag team of villains and fighting and the likes. With the cast they got, its pretty entertaining. However, my husband described it the best the end as he called it very comic-like in the way its made. It isn’t criticism since many movies do a great job using that approach. It is why it keeps it rather light. Suicide Squad also works as an intro to these characters in case we don’t know them: their stories and what motivates them to stay alive. It works because for myself, it didn’t feel like we were invading someone’s story.

Perhaps the best part of Suicide Squad is its cast. Will Smith is fantastic as Deadshot, Margot Robbie was incredibly entertaining as Harley Quinn: other familiar villains like Killer Croc has a role. I love Viola Davis a ton so her role here fit so well with her. I think if I was to rant a little would be the underuse of The Joker because it was played up so much in the publicity about how he did a fantastic job when he was there for like 5 minutes (or what felt like that). At least not enough for me to think that he did a particularly good or bad job. There’s so much here that is much more than that and that has to go to finally not focusing around The Joker which is something that us over at Game Warp have appreciated in some of the Batman games because its gives space for other villains to grow as well.

Suicide Squad still has a rather predictable flow of events however, the script gives these characters a little more than fluff and while it is very comic-like, it is really just an entertaining time.

Have you seen Suicide Squad or heard of The Fitzroy?

My Weekly Adventures #41

2017 continues to fly by! The whirlwind of crazy is a ton of fun but it is getting a tad hectic. Gaming, writing, editing and still lots of behind the scenes stuff. I feel like a lot of it is the residual work from the busy month of March with the course and weekend away for Comicon. However, the gear is turned on now because as it gets warmer, I’m gearing up to train and go out for more frequent runs and hopefully go for a 5K run. Not too confident about a 10K yet. Aside from that, I need to step up the game for hopefully giving the Grade 10 piano exam a last hurrah. I wish I could pick up my courage and share some of that journey but I’ve come to terms that I’m a little too self-conscious to do it. Plus, I’m pretty sure that I’m ready for the most part in general, except all that gets affected by how much confidence I have in myself and I just don’t want to get shut down by all those horrible people that pop up to hate which is obviously not so much in the blogosphere as if I put it on Youtube. Way too much to justify that choice but still, that is my reasoning, rational or not.

Moving on.. Let’s get the recap going!

 Hanging Out with Friends

Erabliere au Palais Sucre

For those of you who missed it, I went out for a Sugar Shack thing with my girl friends. It was pretty cool. We don’t get every year like some people do  but this experience was much more pleasant that the previous one that we had. You can get the full details HERE.

The Friday after, I went out with my best friend who I haven’t seen for a few months. Growing up, grown up responsibilities, career and life changes all factored into this. Although we did text once in a while, we still had a lot of catching up to do. It was great to hang out with her as always. Its nice to know that there’s always the best friends in your life that are comfortable to be with no matter how long we haven’t seen or talked. Its a pretty awesome feeling. We had our dinner at La Cage which is a sports bar. We grabbed some drinks and ate some alright food.

New Furniture & Decor

I’ve been having an indoor plant issue because of the whole cat eating plant situation, a lot of plants had to all stick around the fenced bay window area. Its starting to get really crowded. When I took a trip to IKEA to pick up a replacement table for the basement that broke, I saw this beautiful bamboo plant stand and since its tall and small platforms, it means that I can fit plants and my cat can’t access it as well, plus it fit well with the orchids which she really doesn’t care much for. It was a bit of a hassle to put together but its done and working out great! Not to mention this spot in the house genuinely gets no sun but lots of light so it works for the orchid temperaments.

Of course, the final two pictures are also framed. My husband surprised me with these frames for my birthday and now they are sitting on top of my office so that whenever I doubt myself, i just looking up and it’ll remind me to keep moving forward. Most of all, its really because I love these art so much. Obviously, I do, or else I wouldn’t have bought it but so pretty. We just have one more wall to decorate in the office now. I suggested for my husband to pick up something at the Montreal Comiccon when we go this year (hopefully he will come with me).

Advanced Screening & Movies

Unforgettable

The review is already up for Unforgettable and I mentioned it briefly, but I saw this movie in advanced screening and the experience was fantastic. You can find the review HERE.

As this post goes up, the theatre broke down on Friday  night because of power outage and I ended up having my tickets refunded for The Fate of the Furious, however, fret not (at least more for myself), we are heading out to see it tonight (this post should go up Sunday). I’m pretty stoked. I know its over the top and the series is starting to spiral a tad downwards towards some really absurd phase but I still like them a lot for exactly the reasons that it might not work for others. Regardless, the review should be up next week some time.

Next Cook-off Gathering & Belated Birthday Gift

Its the long weekend as this post goes up! Last night, we had our second Battle of Ingredients dinner party thing. As I mentioned before, it was a maple syrup theme. If you missed the first one, you can find it here. As I said in there, this is a work in progress so the structure is not always a battle among us but rather a battle of how to use the ingredient and so this one is a collab effort to put together a full course meal in our own way. My husband and thanks to our friend who brought his little portable retro console over, had a blast of nostalgia and lots of fun. As for the food, the post will be up in the coming week. We have decided to make this a monthly event so should be fun.

My friend also gave me a DIY belated birthday gift. I love My Neighbor Totoro and she made a little jar or glass holder for it and its adorable. It actually matches perfectly with my new art on my wall and she didn’t even know about my new stuff.

Cute Kitty Pic

Upcoming:

  • New Segment: All About Adaptations (for real this time)
  • Reviews (Movies, Books, etc)

What have you been up to? How has your Easter been?

Unforgettable (2017)

Its been since September and Queen of Katwe (review here) but finally, we got selected for the advanced screening for the next movie. Its funny because I didn’t even know about this movie until we went to the theatres for Ghost in the Shell (review here) a few weeks ago. Unforgettable snuck in without really a lot of previews or trailers and totally under the radar. Since Grey’s Anatomy, I had my eye on Katherine Heigl but it seems that she has vanished the last few years and well, Rosario Dawson is quite the opposite especially with her involvement in the whole Daredevil and such Netflix Original series. With that said, not sure what to expect with this one.

This is the first time we had the advanced screening at a Cineplex VIP lounge and at the theatre near us so it was quite a unique experience. Not only did we get the advanced screening but it also came with some appetizers (buffet-style) and a ticket for beer or a glass of wine. Pretty classy and enjoyable. I actually didn’t expect the whole nine yards so it was pretty awesome.

Now for the main feature, let’s check it out!

Unforgettable (2017)

Unforgettable

Director: Denise Di Novi

Cast: Katherine Heigl, Rosario Dawson, Geoff Stults, Cheryl Ladd, Isabella Kai Rice, Whitney Cummings, Simon Kassianides

A woman sets out to make life hell for her ex-husband’s new wife. – IMDB

If you haven’t been to these free advanced screening before, when you leave the theatre, there’s these people running these events that ask you what you thought about it. I had a lot of thoughts that had solidified during the film already. Its a pretty rare occurance to be so clear about where I stood with the pros and cons. I’ll dive deeper into it later but I could stand there for 10 minutes talking about the film if I had to but I just gave a score of 6 out of 10. Honestly, I could be convinced to bump it to a 7 out of 10 but various reasons did drop it down a point and we’ll talk about it. I’m not one to do a rating system (unless I’m writing for That Moment In), so that is just a guideline of what to expect.

Unforgettable

Let’s start with the pros. Unforgettable has a solid cast. The majority of the cast delivered on their performances. Rosario Dawson was fantastic as the new woman with a secret past trying to just live her life in this new reality with the love of her life and learning to be a mom. She is plays Julia and probably has the most depth and character development. Playing across her is Katherine Heigl, as Tessa, the ex-wife who just can’t let go, channeled her crazy and did a pretty good job. They were really the focal points of the film so it was important that they delivered. Her character also did have some depth. On the side, we have the husband David, played by Geoff Stults. While he was here quite a bit, the script didn’t write his role to be too much and that is okay. For what he needed to do, he did his part pretty well. The little girl who was the daughter Lily is played by Isabella Kai Rice and she wasn’t annoying at all, in fact, she did alright. My fave does go out to the most uplifting part as Rosario Dawson’s Julie’s friend, played by Whitney Cummings. It was a supporting role and yet her character brought a nice contrast. Please note the emphasis here is on performances. I will elaborate further on it later on because the nitty gritty con is about the other part of the equation.

The next pro goes to capturing the suspense with camera work. There are a few shots in this film that really do a good job of using a first person perspective with the camera to create suspense. Now, I say this as various shots and a lot of them are in the first act, because things start falling apart really quickly and it doesn’t have much to do with the camera work or the potential for suspense but rather the downfalls of Unforgettable.

Unforgettable

The downfall of Unforgettable is that it is quite forgettable. A movie can have fancy performances and a solid cast that delivers everything but a good script, intriguing dialogue and even more than that, executing it well is a must. What makes it hard to swallow is that there was such great potential especially with this cast and some scenes showed it off so well, like I said, in the first act, then things just fell apart. Act 2 was supposed to hit a climax. It was supposed to give character development and meaning and yet, it was just a contrived and predictable sequence after sequence. There was no subtlety in it. It was like they were scared the audience was too stupid to link one thing to the next to there was an over focus on certain movements. It made the next scenes incredibly easy to figure out taking away all the thrills it had as it reached closer and closer to the end. Not to mention, the dialogue sometimes just couldn’t hit the right note and gave off a rather awkward feeling. Its not a “I’m talking to a crazy person” awkward, but a more forced sort of awkward. As it closed to Act 3 and we stepped near the finale, it started hitting the right notes for a second before falling even farther apart with some nonsensical conversation between these ladies which made the entire movie want to hit something deeper that felt like it was really just trying to find a way to end this with a little twist or something extra and yet, somehow it didn’t work that well.

Thrillers are hard to do. I get that. The effort here was solid. In fact, the director here may have produced a long list of movies in her filmography but this is the debut full-length and in that regards, does a decent job at it. The main issue here is the script and the execution of the story. The thrills just aren’t consistent. The scenes are predictable. While the performances were great and everyone did what they could with what they had, it just wasn’t enough to pull it all together which is a complete shame because the potential was there. However, this isn’t the bottom of the barrel, in fact, its probably a good choice for a rainy day or a lazy Sunday afternoon because the performances here are pretty impressive.

Netflix Double Feature: The Avenging Fist (2001) & N.Y.C. Underground (2013)

I’m in a bit of a pickle these days as I run out of space to add more movies to my queue list on Netflix so that means, I need to get cracking on some of those movies that I added in without thinking much about it and has overflowed. I wish that Netflix had a way to organize movies that have been added in there for too long. Anyways, maybe one day, right? Seeing as we no longer rank movies by stars but by the familiar system of thumbs up and down. Regardless, the mission to get through the mountains of movies is here. I almost wanted to name this Burning Through My List but then it doesn’t highlight the double feature aspect or triple feature. I’m a complete post on the movie if say, I actually hit a winner. Expect a few more of these to pop up. Also, if you do want to see what movies I’m watching lately, you can always find me on Letterboxd as tranquildreams where I’m using to track movies to easily follow how many movies I’ve watched this year.

Today’s double feature is 2001 Hong Kong action fantasy flick heavily influenced by video game Tekken, The Avenging Fist and 2013’s direct to video N.Y.C Underground also called Brooklyn to Manhattan.

Let’s check it out!

The Avenging Fist (2001)

The Avenging Fist

Director: Andrew Lau

Cast: Leehom Wang, Stephen Fung, Gigi Leung, Biao Yuen, Kristy Yang, Sammo Hung, Kar Lok Chin, Roy Cheung, Cecilia Yip, Ekin Cheng

Special gloves [Power Gloves] that yield an unimaginable power [the ability to tap into unused mental power] are stolen by an agent who subsequently disappears. Decades later, he reemerges to rule the world – Netflix

The Avenging Fist was Hong Kong’s first Dolby Digital Surround Film. It is supposed to be a big deal. Forget about the really bad graphics for a while and forgive it because this movie is 15 years old and we’ve been pampered with better, there is no reason for this film to be as disappointing as it is. Andrew Lau is the director. Remember the guy who brought us the Infernal Affairs trilogy, which did happen after this one. Still, he has a lot of memorable movies under his belt including the Young and Dangerous which is probably why he uses Kar Lok Chin and Ekin Cheng in here. What makes this film disappointing is also the fact that it is trying to tell Tekken but then it seems they don’t have the license so they can’t and have to add in the end credits about how it has nothing to do with the famous video game franchise. You don’t ever want to be the first of something but become a movie that reminds you of something else and this one did that, despite its cast which back in the early 2000s was a big deal. Future Cops launched back in 1993 and put live action and humor and a ton of charm with a great cast bringing to life Street Fighter. While it is incredibly underrated and not a lot of people remember it, there is something there that grabs the audience. Not to mention, Roy Cheung and Ekin Cheng were also part of that movie. You can see my review of it HERE.

Possibly the worse part of this which probably won’t bother non-Chinese speaking audience was the fact that Leehom Wang’s Cantonese dub was okay but yet so awkward with how he reacted at times. Leehom Wang is a great singer and the fact that he is jumping into movies is exciting and the best part of this movie is the fact that there’s some great songs he’s done that’s put on the soundtrack. However, there isn’t much here. The fight scenes are a tad ridiculous and that’s coming from myself who likes a lot of over the top action. The cast was what made me continue like Kristy Yang (who hasn’t been around for a while), Gigi Leung, Stephen Fung (who does some behind the scenes stuff now, I believe). There’s of course Sammo Hung who still proves that age is only a number when it comes to martial arts and acting and to not get fooled by his physical appearance and the fantastic Biao Yuen.

This quick review is turning to be way too long already. Point is, while there is a decent cast, the execution of this movie is rather flawed and just not very good. It reinforces why I don’t watch movies for the cast anymore.

NYC Underground (2013)

nyc underground

Director: Jessy Terrero

Cast: Clayne Crawford, Arielle Kebbel, Sean Faris, Dania Ramirez, Rob Mayes, Evan Ross, Craig Walker, Matt Servitto

Four people run for their lives in the Brooklyn subway tunnels after a botched drug deal.- IMDB

Oh, boy. *shakes head* You know, its hard to not shake your head when you know that some of this cast can be good. It feels a little like Cloverfield, without the found footage angle, you know before things went down the drain. Its funny because Sean Faris has done some decent movies and he was alright in Pretty Little Liars. Arielle Kebbel has proved that she’s decent as well in various TV properties and even the main bad dude played by Clayne Crawford was alright. Deal is, this one wasn’t appealing in the execution. There wasn’t any tense build-up. It was really silly in many parts and there was lot of overacting and whining and screaming. When a movie tries to sell stupid lack of common sense like yelping in an echoing subway tunnel and creating some pretty unappealing chracters that you can’t cheer for, its hard. Plus, it added on the assaulting my eardrums factor and I’m not particularly a happy camper. The fact that I finished this one is already a miracle.

However, its easy to hate on a movie. And I don’t want to do it. If there was one good thing in this movie and that is two of the characters, despite at that point being too far to care too much about them. really lifted the movie up by their growth and finding the courage to move on in a smarter although riskier way. To be honest, those two characters were the stronger characters and that is Sean Faris’s character who plays the older brother dragged into this situation and the supporting girl played by Dania Ramirez.

Overall…

I think I gave both of these movies 2 stars (out of 5). They both weren’t good. Both had their own faults and very little that pushed me to finish and honestly, at this point, I remember The Avenging Fist just a tad more than NYC Underground. The Hong Kong films was going through an odd change in action and humor in that timeframe and I remember not being a huge fan of it so I had stopped watching a lot of Chinese movies at that point which is probably why I didn’t see The Avenging Fist earlier despite being a die-hard fan of Ekin Cheng and he only had a very small role.