Tag Archives: there should have been only one

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

“Life Finds a Way”

Directed by J.A. Bayona
Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, B. D. Wong, Isabella Sermon, Geraldine Chaplin, Jeff Goldblum

Years after the collapse of Jurassic World, and with Isla Nubla having reverted to active volcano status, debates rage over whether the dinosaurs are deserving of legal protection, with Dr Ian Malcolm (Goldblum) taking the position that nope, fuck those guys. Claire Dearing (Howard) leads a campaign to protect the dinosaurs, and is tapped by John Hammond’s silent partner Sir Benjamin Lockwood (Cromwell) to take her staffers Franklin (Smith) and Zia (Pineda) back to the island, along with Owen Grady (Pratt) to save at least eleven species of dinosaurs and bring them to a new sanctuary.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017)

In a flip of the usual, the UK title is lame.

“All Pirates Must Die”

Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg
Starring Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally

Henry Turner (Thwaites) is obsessed with saving his father from the curse of The Flying Dutchman. Carina Smyth (Scodelario) is obsessed with uncovering the location of the Trident of Poseidon to validate her faith in the father who abandoned her as a baby, with nought but a diary to her name. As the trident can raise any curse of the sea, these two quests coincide, but not before Henry has run afoul of the British, and of the spectral pirate-hunter Salazar (Bardem), who sends him out with a message to Jack Sparrow (Depp) that he will be coming for him when his curse breaks, which, despite the fact that Salazar has been champing at the bit for this for decades, happens almost immediately.

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xXx: State of the Union (2005)

xxx-sotu

“Get ready for the next level”

Directed by Lee Tamahori
Starring Ice Cube, Willem Dafoe, Scott Speedman, Peter Strauss, Samuel L. Jackson

A commando team bust into the secret HQ of the xXx programme, killing everyone except station chief Agent Gibbons (Jackson) and technical comic relief Shavers (Michael Roof). Informed of the incident, the president (Peter Strauss) is determined that his State of the Union address must tackle the causes of such attacks by building up international relations, much to the chagrin of hawkish Secretary and obvious villain Deckert (Dafoe).

Continue reading xXx: State of the Union (2005)

Monsters: Dark Continent (2014)

Monsters

“Fear has Evolved”

Directed Tom Green
Starring Johnny Harris and Sam Keeley

When alien life-forms spread from Mexico to the Middle East, the active role of US forces stationed there in combating the aliens provokes local insurgency. Four friends from Detroit are dropped into the midst of this two-fronted campaign under the command of experienced sergeants Frater (Harris) and Forrest. When a search and rescue mission goes pear-shaped, Frater and the last surviving recruit, Michael (Keeley) are trapped, surrounded by unfriendly forces.

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Underworld: Awakening (2012)

Never mind the dialogue, check out the corsetry.
Never mind the dialogue, check out the corsetry.

“Vengeance Returns”

Directed by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein
Starring Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, Theo James and India Eisley

Following directly from the end of the previous movie, we open with a narrated montage to get rid of Scott Speedman’s character and accelerate the plot into the future, because fuck continuity; am I right?

Anyway, humanity finds out about the Lycans and the vampires and a purge begins under a militarised medical establishment led by Dr Jacob Lane (Rea). Selene (Beckinsale) and Michael are blown up and she wakes upside down in a cryonic tank twelve years later, collects her combat catsuit, battle corset and eight inch assault heels from a cupboard right beside the tank and murders her way out of the building to look for Michael. Instead, she finds a vampire named David (James) and a girl named Eve (Eisley) who turns out to be a hybrid, and her daughter.

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Summer of Lovecraft: Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

beyond_re_animator_poster

“Welcome to a world where death is only the beginning”

Directed by Brian Yuzna
Starring Jeffrey Combs, Jason Barry, Simon Andreu and Elsa Pataky

The Story

This film is a sequel to Re-Animator, rather than an adaptation of the original story. It ignores much of the ending of the first film, however, largely in order to bring Combs’ West back in.

The Film

During the ‘Miskatonic massacre’, one of the reanimated corpses escapes and kills a young woman as her brother, Howard Phillips (geddit?), watches. Phillips later sees Herbert West (Combs) being taken away by the police. Years later, West is continuing his work in prison, when Phillips (Barry) arrives as the new prison doctor, bringing the last of the reagent and asking to work with West.

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Terminator: Genisys

Okay, fine; the character stack will never die.
Okay, fine; the character stack will never die.

“New Mission. New Fate.”

Directed by Alan Taylor
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney and Jason Clarke

In 2029, the human resistance is on the verge of victory over the Skynet AI and its army of machines. In a last ditch attempt to protect itself, Skynet sends a Terminator (Schwarzenegger), a machine disguised as a human, back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Clarke), mother of the resistance leader John Conner (the other Clarke), while John sends a lone soldier, Kyle Reese (Courtney) to save her.

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Jurassic World (2015)

This poster is bullshit, as like any live attraction park, Jurassic World doesn't feed its exhibits live prey in front of the tourists. Well, not on purpose.
This poster is bullshit, as like any live attraction park, Jurassic World doesn’t feed its exhibits live prey in front of the tourists. Well, not on purpose.

“The Park is Open”

Directed by Colin Trevorrow
Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins

Zach (Robinson) and Gray (Simpkins) Mitchell are sent by their parents to visit Jurassic World, the fully functioning dinosaur theme park on Isla Nublar, to distract them from their parents’ divorce. Their aunt Claire Dearing (Howard? Dallas Howard?) is the career-oriented manager of Jurassic World, juggling the titanic egos of InGen rep Hoskins (D’Onofrio), CEO Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), chief geneticist Henry Wu (BD Wong), and raptor wrangler Owen Grady (Pratt) and the expectations of sponsors and holiday makers who want bigger and badder thrills.

Enter Indominus Rex.

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Blade Trinity (2004)

Are these three the Trinity? Because I always thought the members of a trinity were supposed to be equal.
Are these three the Trinity? Because I always thought the members of a trinity were supposed to be equal.

“The Final Hunt Begins”

Directed by David S Goyer
Starring Wesley Snipes, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds and Dominic Purcell

A cadre of savvy vampires seek out the first vampire in an attempt to increase their own power and destroy their nemesis, Blade (Snipes).

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Cyborg 2 (1993)

Cyborg2poster

“Future Beware: The Soul is in the Software”

Directed by Michael Schroeder
Starring Elias Koteas, Angelina Jolie, Jack Palance and Billy Drago

In the future, cyborgs have replaced humans in all jobs (except for all the ones we see anyone doing in the film) and two corporations struggle for dominance of the cyborg market. Casella ‘Cash’ Reese (Jolie) is created and trained to be the perfect corporate infiltrator, with the goal of inserting her into Kobayashi Electronics and destroying their entire board with an undetectable explosive, called Glass Shadow, loaded into her circulatory system.

80% of this plot setup will never be relevant in any way, as with the aid of the mysterious Mercy (Palance) and her human combat instructor Colt (Koteas), Cash escapes. Hunted by fellow cyborg Chen (Karen Shepherd) and cyborg-hunter Daniel Bench (Drago), she must find a way to get rid of the Glass Shadow then make her way to the Cyborg Free Zone in Mombasa.

There’s a whole Romeo and Juliet thing with Colt and Cash, but… meh.

What’s wrong with it?

Well, it’s a super-cheap, video-shot dystopian action movie from the early 90s, so the picture quality is for shit and the cyborg PoV shots are hilarious. I’m pretty sure they’re running DOS.

Jolie – in her first starring role – is… okay, but nothing to write home about, and with Koteas being pretty bland the lack of chemistry is pretty crippling for a Romeo and Juliet flick. Plus, he’s about thirty and she’s seventeen. It’s hard to put that out of your mind in the sex scene.

Oh, and yes, there’s another sex scene which even the movie admits is gratuitous. The Glass Shadow demonstration takes the form of a female cyborg who detonates at climax, and the lead creepy scientist admits this is because ‘it seemed the most entertaining way’.

What’s right with it?

Jack Palance is… pretty damned awesome in this one. Sometimes he chews on the scenery, but here he’s nicely reserved. It’s quite surprising. Billy Drago is… Billy Drago; he’s a smiling psychopath, just like always.

In fairness, Cash is pretty badass; no faux action credentials here.

How bad is it really?

It’s mostly just dull, especially in the bits which have neither Jack Palance nor Billy Drago in. It’s also pretty nonsensical, and spends an awfully long time setting up a plot which has almost no relevance whatsoever.

Best bit (if such there is)?

Having spent most of the film as a disembodied mouth on a TV screen, Mercy shows up to lay some hurt on the Pinwheel Robotics goons hunting Cash. He steps out of the shadows, chuckles dryly at the heavily armed opposition, and growls:

“If you want to dine with the devil, you’re gonna need a long spoon.”

And somehow he makes it work.

What’s up with…?

  • The universal prevalence of cyborgs, when we don’t actually see that many of them?
  • Mercy’s cyborg beagle?
  • The palm reader? Cash wanders into her consulting parlour unbidden, she gives a slightly sinister reading, says she can offer Cash a job, and then Cash beats her and her assistant up and leaves. Why?
  • Danny Bench and his plastic surgery? There is apparently some major backstory there, but it’s not really explained that well, and certainly isn’t tied into the rest of the film. Neither does it have anything to do with Cyborg, despite the clips of Van Damme.

Ratings

Production values – The effects are cheap, and only saved by the low resolution of the 90s video shooting. Film; it just ages better. 13
Dialogue and performances –  Jack Palance is stealing the show here with a low key performance. He also gets the only real quotable of the film. 14
Plot and execution – The setup is overly complicated and largely pointless, and the Romeo and Juliet plot is largely unconvincing, but it’s pretty much by the numbers and that’s hard to screw up too badly. 12
Randomness – Cyborg dog? Random palmist? Cyborg flashbacks? 16
Waste of potential – A sequel to Cyborg could at least be a sequel to Cyborg, you know? 13

Overall 68%