Tag Archives: Dwayne Johnson

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

Rampage (2018) Review

BIG MEETS MINDLESSLY DUMB FUN


 

It’s almost commonplace to say that video games have evolved with the changing of times and the new generation of gamers that play them. However, adapting video games into feature length movies has been always being a bumpy road, plague with multiple reasons that make the film itself falter from being truly great cinematic representation of its source material. Some of have called it the “video game movie curse”, suggesting that any feature of which is adapted from a video game is doomed right from the start and it’s been an ongoing continuation with every new video game movie release. Looking back there has been many popular video games that have been adapted to the big screen, including Nintendo’s classic Super Mario Bros (1993’s Super Mario Bros.), Capcom’s survival horror Resident Evil (2002-2016’s Resident Evil series), Blizzard’s fantasy strategy Warcraft (2016’s Warcraft or Warcraft: The Beginning in international territories), Core Design / Square Enix’s action adventure platforming Tomb Raider (2001-2018’s Tomb Raider films series), Ubisoft’s time-traveling action adventures Assassin’s Creed (2016’s Assassin’s Creed), Square Enix’s immersive JRPG Final Fantasy (2001, 2005, and 2016’s Final Fantasy movies), and many others. There are multiple reasons as to why these features mostly fail and / or don’t fully pan out with critics and moviegoers with different variations and reasons behind each one. Whether too gimmicky, lack of characterization, too much exposition plot, too much world-building, or even completely changing everything to make the film almost unrecognizable to its video game counterpoint. Regardless, movies based on video games are still being produced, with each one trying to break the infamous “video game movie curse” and appeal to both its fans and to general moviegoers everywhere. Now, Warner Bros. Pictures / New Line Cinema and director Brad Peyton give the classic Midway Games arcade game a cinematic representation with the film Rampage. Does this movie finally break the curse on video game adaptations or is it just a mindless and dumb endeavor? Read more

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) Review

THE GAME HAS CHANGED


 

Jumanji: a game for those who seek to find, a way to leave their world behind. Released in 1995 and based on the children’s book by author Chris Van Allsburg, the movie Jumanji, which starred Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, and Kristen Dunst, followed siblings Judy and Peter Shepherd, who begin to play magical board game that has dire consequences. With the game manifesting its “roll of the dice” aesthetics into the real world, Judy and Peter, along with Alan Parrish, who was trapped in the game’s world for twenty-six years, and Sarah Whittle (Alan’s friend who witnessed him getting trapped in the game), must complete Jumanji in order to reverse the damage it has caused. Despite its mixed reviews from critics, Jumanji actually became a commercial box office success that year, earning roughly $262 million against its $65 million production budget as well as become the 10th highest grossing film in 1995. That following year, the story of Jumanji returned, but on the small screen (TV), returning as an animated series and continued the further adventures of Alan, Judy, and Peter. Although the show was mildly successful, lasting from 1996 to 1999 for three seasons (40 episodes in total) and a somewhat spiritual successor feature film was released 2005 titled Zathura: A Space Adventure, was also based on Chris Van Allsburg, it, despite its fame and popularity never received a proper sequel. Now, roughly twenty-two years since the release of the 1995 film, Columbia Pictures (i.e. Sony Pictures) and director Jake Kasdan present a standalone sequel to the original film with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Is this long-awaited follow-up adventure worth a glance or does it fail to impress its target audience and get lost in its own jungle? Read more

Baywatch (2017) Review

SHALLOW WATERS


 One word…Baywatch. The show, which was created back in 1989 by Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz, and Gregory J. Bonann, follows a team of Los Angeles County Lifeguards (led by David Hasselhoff’s Mitch Buchannon) as they patrol their shores of Emerald Bay (and later Hawaii) from natural disasters, shark attacks, serial killers, and saving lives in the process. Originally, the show only ran for one season (being cancelled by its original backer NBC) before being picked up again, running for another nine more seasons and spanning the entire length of the 90s era of television, with additional material added with a spin-off show (Baywatch Nights) and three movies. Now, almost sixteen years after the show ended, Paramount Pictures and director Seth Gordon revamp this once popular TV show series with the film Baywatch. Is this film worth seeing or does it drowning underneath its own insurmountable follies? Read more

The Fate of the Furious (2017) Review

ANOTHER WILD AND ENTERTAINING RIDE


 

Back in 2015, Furious 7 raced into theaters and brought with it new level of box office success to the long running Fast and the Furious franchise. While the franchise has grown, evolving into an interesting dynamic aspect beyond the earlier entries of merely street racing, one of the main interest in viewers seeing Furious 7 was due to the untimely death of the franchise’s co-star Paul Walker, with many curious to see how the film (as well as the series) would handle such a hard and devastating blow. Many even began to ask the question if that the Fast and the Furious franchise would end after this movie due to Walker’s death. Believe it or not, despite Walker’s death during the middle of production, Furious 7 was a rousing success, both in global box office success (raking in over $1.5 billion) as well as sending off Paul Walker’s character Brian O’Conner (driving off into the sunset) in a touching tribute. With the success of Furious 7, it was clear that the series still had its mojo “racing” energy, which prompted the studio execs at Paramount Pictures to greenlight the eighth installment. Now, in a way to try to reinvent the franchise without Walker’s O’Connor, Paramount Pictures and director F. Gary Gray present the newest entry in the Fast and the Furious series with The Fate of the Furious. Does this latest installment stand tall and proud to its recent successors or has this long-running film saga burned out of energy and fresh ideas? Read more

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