Tag Archives: Action Movies

Peppermint (2018) Review

GARNER SHINES,

PEPPERMINT DOES NOT


 

In the category of the action film genre, there exist a certain style of cinematic narrative that has been proven to work…. the story of revenge. While this storyline premise / plot device has always been around and has done multiple other genres (drama, thriller, comedy, fantasy, etc.), it’s been a somewhat fan-favorite (i.e. bread and butter) of the action movie genre, spinning a tale of action, shootouts, brawls, and (sometimes) a sort of “one-man” wrecking crew as the story’s main protagonist character, who’s fighting for loss and trying to “payback” an individual / group that took something (or someone) way for him. Movies like 2004’s Man on Fire, 2009’s Crime, 2009’s Taken, 2014’s John Wick, and 2018’s Death Wish are prime examples of this narrative arc of revenge, while other films like have weave in other filmmaking elements / genres into the mix with films like 1994’s The Crow, 1997’s Spawn, and 2006’s V for Vendetta. Now, STX films (and Lakeshore Entertainment) and director Pierre Morel present the latest iteration of vigilante / revenge action storyline with the film Peppermint. Does this movie find its entertainment action in amongst its revenge story or does it flounder underneath its own bland vigilante tale? Read more

Skyscraper (2018) Review

A SEMI-DECENT (IF NOT GENERIC)

ACTION ENDEAVOR


 

Over the past several years, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has proven himself to a very “bankable” star in Hollywood. With a failed prospect of playing for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League back in 1995, Johnson joined the ranks of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and became a professional wrestler. His fame skyrocketed during his tenure with the organization (from 1996 to 2004), winning over 17 championships reigns. While he was featured in several movie during that particular timeframe, Johnson began to increase in popularity (in Hollywood) sometime after he left pro-wrestling, starring motion pictures that would befit his deliver timing of dialogue and charismatic bravado. While he started to appeared in smaller feature film roles, it was until 2011 when Fast Five (the fifth installment in the Fast and the Furious franchise) came out and he became a much more recognizable and “bankable” lead male actor. Since then, Johnson has become a Greek god in Hercules, a legendary shapeshifting demigod in Disney’s Moana, a steadfast lifeguard of Emerald Bay in Baywatch, a CIA agent in Central Intelligence, a video game avatar in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and has even battle giant monsters in Rampage. Now, Johnson returns to the big screen (for his second 2018 release) as Universal Pictures (and Legendary Pictures) and director Rawson Marshall Thurber present the film Skyscraper. Does Johnson’s charismatic acting talents propel this action-based feature or does it falter underneath its cliché storytelling of larger-than-life heroism? Read more

Atomic Blonde (2017) Review

JANE WICK


 

In 2014, the action genre of the movie world had an intriguing newest addition with the motion picture John Wick. The movie, which starred Keanu Reeves and was directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, followed the story of John Wick as a one-man army against the Russian mob for stealing his car and killing his dog. Surprisingly, John Wick was quite an unexpected “sleeper” hit that year, especially with all the big powerhouse / blockbusters film that also came out in 2014, and gained $86 million at the box office against its $20 million production budget. The fanbase of the film, which cried out for a sequel, got their wish several years later when John Wick: Chapter 2 was released in early 2017. Naturally, the film was success and gained a little bit over what the first film was able to make at the box office. Unfortunately, while Chad Stahelski returned to direct Chapter 2, David Leitch did not return to the project. Now, in a spiritual successor to John Wick, Focus Features and director David Leitch present the film Atomic Blonde. Does this newest film, which stars Charlize Theron, have enough entertainment value within the action / spy genre or is it just a generic and hollow action movie? Read more

John Wick: Chapter 2 Review

JOHN WICK 2.0

(FASTER, HARDER, STRONGER)


 

In the world of cinematic movies, the year of 2014 saw a lot of big hits, which includes Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy. In amidst these box office juggernauts, was a film that no one expected to be a surprise hit……John Wick. Yes, the action-based film that starred actor Keanu Reeves was a smash hit, finding Reeves (as the title character of John Wick) becoming a one-man army against the Russian mob for stealing his car and killing his dog.  While John Wick didn’t reach a six-figure box office number (like those I mentioned above), the movie make roughly $ 86 million worldwide. This may not sound like a lot, but, given its production budget was only $ 20 million, the film made back its money and tripled it. In addition, the movie was critically praise by fans who relished the non-stop action thrills that movie provided. Now, after three years, Summit Entertainment, director Chad Stahelski, and actor Keanu Reeves present the next installment of John Wick’s adventure with John Wick: Chapter 2. Does this second helping of Mr. Wick deliver or is its barrage of action nuances too much for moviegoers to enjoy? Read more

XXX: Return of Xander Cage Review

THE GOOD, THE EXTREME,

AND THE COMPLETELY INSANE


 

Before The Fast and the Furious movies took off and became super popular film franchise that it is currently, actor Vin Diesel tried to his hand at another potential franchise. Yes, I’m talking about the thrill-seeking action XXX movies. Created back in 2002, the first movie that was simply titled XXX followed the story of a rebellious / extreme daredevil Xander Cage, who gets recruited through the NSA to inflate a group of Russian terrorists. While the movie was met with mixed reviews, the film did find its success at the box office, grossing over $270 million, which is pretty good for a “B-rated” action flick (at that time). In 2005, the franchise was resurrected, but not with Vin Diesel or his of character Xander Cage, finding a new hero in rapper / actor Ice Cube’s character Darius Stone in the film XXX: State of the Union. State of the Union was pretty much the same as the last movie, (tweaking stuff here and there), and followed the story of a renegade that gets recruited by the NSA to take down some bad guys, with some elaborate actions stunts thrown in. As one would imagine (with sequels), State of the Union was heavily criticized by critics and moviegoers and underperformed at the box office, barely making over its production cost. It’s been fifteen years since we’ve seeing Diesel’s Xander Cage on-screen and now he’s back for another round crazy action stunts as Paramount Pictures and director D. J. Caruso present the new movie XXX: Return of Xander Cage. Are audiences ready for the return of Xander Cage or would they rather just see Diesel’s Dominic Toretto return in a new Fast and the Furious movie? Read more

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Review

A FAILED REACH OF A BANAL SEQUEL


 

The literary world, the character of the renegade alpha male character (i.e no-nonsense, brash, loose-cannon, etc.) has become a fix point in fascination, with several authors producing their own series built around that persona protagonist. The late Vince Flynn as the character of Mitch Rapp, Brad Thor as the character of Scott Harvath, and Lee Child has the character of Jack Reacher. Interestingly, of those three, Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, which has been featured in over 21 books that Child’s has written, has been adapted into a feature length movie. Debuting back in 2012, the film, titled Jack Reacher, followed the exploits of the chief character, played by actor Tom Cruise, through a series of action thrills and investigations nuances. The film, while received with mixed reviews, generated a little bit $200 million dollars at the box office (its production budget was $60 million), which was enough for the studio heads at Paramount Pictures to commission a sequel to the 2012 film. This bring us to the present as Cruise’s Reacher is back as Paramount Pictures and director Edward Zwick present Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Does this second installment bring the action thrills or is it a misguided follow-up? Read more

Mechanic Resurrection Review

A FAILED RESURRECTION


 

Actor Jason Statham has proven to be a solid lead role in action movies or least in a large ensemble type action feature. From Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, Revolver, The Italian Job and to his most popular films in The Transporter franchise (films 1, 2, and 3), the now 49-year-old actor has become an iconic action star of the modern age, mostly performing his own stage combat and stunts. Back in 2011, Statham starred in the action movie The Mechanic, a film that was loosely based off of the 1972 flick of the same name. While it was intended to be a remake and new way for viewers to the get their new “Statham” kicks, 2011 version of The Mechanic was received with mixed thoughts from both critics and moviegoers. Many thought it was a “one and done” movie. However, Summit Entertainment and director Dennis Gansel resurrect the film once again in the year of 2016 with the film Mechanic Resurrection. Does this sequel rise to the challenge or is it a mindless and bland action movie? Read more

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