Like James Bond, wilfully anonymous driver Frank Martin is reborn as a new actor without any fuss, shifting the tone of the franchise from Jason Statham's knowing wink to Ed Skrein's stone-faced glower. But even though the new film is a lot less camp, it's still deliriously preposterous, pinging between dimwitted dialogue and jaw-droppingly silly action. It's utterly inane, but never dull and often very funny, sometimes intentionally so.
Skrein's Frank is still based on the French Riviera, where he has three simple rules to ensure plausible deniability about whoever or whatever he carries around in his shiny, seemingly indestructible Audi (product placement alert!). Then he's contacted by high-class hooker Anna (Loan Chabanol), who has escaped from her Russian mafioso bosses and is out for revenge. She hires Frank to carry her and a mini-UN of angry ex-prostitutes (Gabriella Wright, Tatiana Pajkovic and Wenxia Wu) to a variety of heists aimed at top Russians, with their final sites on kingpin Karasov (Radivoje Bukvic). When Frank balks at this, the women kidnap his father (Ray Stevenson) to force him to comply, and soon both dad and son are in the middle of the action themselves. Chases in cars, motorbikes, planes and boats ensue, as gangsters shoot at them and the police try to catch them.
Basically, this is a series of elaborately staged set-pieces held together by the bare hint of a plot, as this quartet of scantily clad women take on the macho thugs who have enslaved them. In the middle, Frank looks like a model in his sleek suit, while his dad provides some comical relief. It never makes much sense at all, and the action sequences aren't particularly well staged, relying on lots of slow motion to make everything look achingly cool. But there's a level of inventiveness in the mayhem that keeps us watching, as well as laughing along with everything that happens.
Continue reading: The Transporter Refuelled Review
Frank Martin is well known in the criminal underworld as an expert driver and deliveryman. He has been working with some of the world's most serious crooks, delivering goods and occasionally getting involved in hostage situations for a very high but very fair price. He works under just three rules: never change the deal, no names and never open the package. But now he is being enlisted for a different kind of job; when a set of disguised females get into his car, he's confused about the lack of the usual package. But he soon discovers that his own father has been taken hostage this time, and Frank can only get him freed if he helps overthrow a set of dangerous human traffickers from Russia. This is more involved than he ever wanted to get, and it looks like he'll have to pay a dear price for his family this time.
Continue: The Transporter Refuelled Trailer
A missed opportunity, this European action romp begins with a terrific premise but never quite makes anything of it. Finnish writer-director Jalmari Helander certainly knows how to make a sharp, snappy action-comedy (see Rare Exports), but this script is badly compromised by simplistic plotting and gags that go for the easiest target every time. Which leaves the actors looking like they're standing around waiting for something interesting to happen. And it leaves the audience feeling badly let-down.
It opens as 13-year-old Oskari (Onni Tommila) is sent into the mountainous Finnish wilderness to prove his manhood by hunting down a stag all by himself. His father (Jorma Tommila) isn't hugely confident, but wishes him well. Meanwhile, preening terrorist Hazar (Mehmet Kirtulus) has just shot down Air Force One as it flew overhead. As the plane goes down, the US President (Samuel L. Jackson) boards his escape pod, and the first person he meets on the ground is a gob-smacked Oskari. Together, they set out to get to safety while escaping the tenacious thugs who are after the President. And officials at the Pentagon (including Jim Broadbent, Victor Garber and Felicity Huffman) are watching everything unfold by satellite, while the President's security chief (Ray Stevenson) leads the ground party.
The set-up is great, and offers plenty of scope for both over-the-top action sequences and Home Alone-style mayhem, but Helander never quite settles on a tone, perhaps because the 13-year-old hero demands a PG-13 sensibility that undermines any chance of proper black comedy. Yes, there's plenty of violent destruction, but it's cartoonish rather than clever, so the film feels silly rather than exhilarating. Jackson is clearly having a lot of fun as the annoyed President, adding some gravitas to his usual action-hero persona while delivering his requisite snarky one-liners. But Helander never quite finds anything new for him to do. And young Tommila looks far too serious all the way along.
Continue reading: Big Game Review
12 points down in the polls, the President of the United States of America (Samuel L. Jackson) is flying over Finland in Air Force One - aware of the fact that his own party is out to get him. However, when a sudden missile threat is discovered, the President is forced to evacuate by the suspicious Morris (Ray Stevenson). As the President evacuates, Morris also jumps from the plane, watching as it explodes in the air. The President finds himself on the ground with Oskari (Onni Tommila), a young boy out to prove himself as a hunter. Yet there is now far greater game to be hunted in the Finnish forests, as Morris is hunting the President himself.
Continue: Big Game Trailer
Following on from the events of 'Divergent', the mysterious government has discovered a magical maguffin which had the power to create the idyllic future they have always hoped to fulfil. The only catch, is that it requires a Divergent in order to activate it. As the government begins testing any and all Divergents they can find, Tris (Shailene Woodley) is already on the run, and meets up with an army of secret, hidden Divergents. When it is revealed that she may be the only one to truly activate the maguffin, the Divergents rise up as an Insurgency, and take the fight to the government that has oppressed them for too long.
Continue: The Divergent Series: Insurgent Trailer
Following the revelation that she is Divergent and not specialised for any of the dystopian Chicago factions, Tris (Shailene Woodley) uncovered a series of intrigue and dishonesty amongst factions. Now, Tris is on the run with her leader Four (Theo James); being chased by the Erudite - a faction based on intelligence - as they plot to become the dominant faction. With Tris' family having sacrificed themselves some great secret, Tris and Four must find out what that is before the Erudite can catch them and win.
Teens tackle yet another dystopian future in this well-made but derivative franchise-launcher. Filmmaker Neil Burger is more interested in whizzy visuals and a thorny plot to pay much attention to the characters or larger underlying themes, which leaves the film feeling eerily superficial. So while the film is relatively entertaining, it ultimately feels rather pointless.
The story's set after a war has reduced Chicago to a walled-in enclave of people divided into five stabilising factions: charitable Abnegation, peaceful Amity, honest Candor, defending Dauntless and brainy Erudite. Tris (Shailene Woodley) was born to parents (Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn) who are leaders in Abnegation, but when time comes for her to select her own path she discovers that she's Divergent, a cross-faction state that threatens those in power. So she chooses to join Dauntless, entering intense physical training under the tutelage of sexy hunk Four (Theo James) and harsh hunk Eric (Jai Courtney). then Dauntless' soldiers get caught up in a power struggle as Erudite leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet) plots to take governmental responsibilities from Abnegation.
All of this scene-setting takes about half of the film's running time, and it's frankly not very exciting. Burger makes sure it looks fantastic, with seamless visual effects, impressive stunt work and flashy action sequences, but the character drama takes longer to kick off. And there's also the problem that it essentially feels like a cross between The Hunger Games and Harry Potter as an unusually gifted teen takes on a controlling society.
Continue reading: Divergent Review
Marvel can't help itself: these movies have to get bigger and crazier. And this one leaves us wondering where they can possibly go next, as it spirals into a madly funny-scary thriller that threatens the existence of the whole universe. But it also feels like a story children would make up as they go along. Still, the sparky characters and wildly cataclysmic approach are hugely entertaining.
The action picks up right after the Battle of New York (see 2012's The Avengers), and scientist Jane (Portman) is miffed that Thor (Hemsworth) didn't call when he was back on Earth. She has just started dating a nebbish Londoner (O'Dowd) when her assistant Darcy (Dennings) stumbles into a spatial anomaly that draws Jane right into the middle of a 5,000-year-old struggle between Thor's home-realm Asgard and the dark elf Malekith (Eccleston), who wants to use a swirling goo called the Aether to plunge all of existence into blackness just as the universe aligns itself. As this convergence approaches, Thor defies his father Odin (Hopkins) and turns to his disgraced, malicious brother Loki (Hiddleston) for help.
The film is overcrowded with small but pivotal characters, including stern but helpful gatekeeper Heimdall (Elba), mad-doctor Erik (Skarsgard) and Odin's wise wife Frigga (Russo). All of them help distract us from the movie's wildly shifting tone as it darts from sardonic comedy to Lord of the Rings-style battles to silly romance to dark emotion. But the best thing is the tense, unpredictable relationship between Thor and Loki, an enjoyable mixture of sibling rivalry and brotherly love that's well-played by Hemsworth and especially Hiddleston. None of the other characters really has a chance to develop around them. But at least the actors have fun with their roles, including a number of hilarious cameos along the way (there are also two post-credit stings).
Continue reading: Thor: The Dark World Review
Marvel's Thunder God, Thor returns in the latest superhero blockbuster, Thor: The Dark World (sequel to self titled film: Thor) where he must face his greatest battle to save Earth and all nine realms 'from a Darkness known only to one' lead by the feared Malekith. Thor must risk everything by reuniting with his brother and Avengers Villian: Loki in order to protect his beloved Jane Foster in what promises to be the most thrilling Thor adventure yet.
The film see's the Return of stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Tom Hiddleston with the introduction of acclaimed actor Christopher Eccleston as Malekith and Alan Taylor replacing Kenneth Branagh as director. Stan Lee remains Executive Producer alongside Alan Fine, Nigel Gostelow, Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso and Craig Kyle.
Date of birth
25th May, 1954
With his friends and his hammer, Thor is virtually unbeatable by any creature in the...
Like James Bond, wilfully anonymous driver Frank Martin is reborn as a new actor without...
Frank Martin is well known in the criminal underworld as an expert driver and deliveryman....
A missed opportunity, this European action romp begins with a terrific premise but never quite...
12 points down in the polls, the President of the United States of America (Samuel...
Following on from the events of 'Divergent', the mysterious government has discovered a magical maguffin...
Following the revelation that she is Divergent and not specialised for any of the dystopian...
Teens tackle yet another dystopian future in this well-made but derivative franchise-launcher. Filmmaker Neil Burger...
Author Veronica Roth and the cast of her book's film adaptation 'Divergent' talk about the...
Marvel can't help itself: these movies have to get bigger and crazier. And this one...
Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston talk about the upcoming 'Thor: The Dark World' in a...
Tris Prior is a 'divergent' in a world where everyone is split up in accordance...
Marvel's Thunder God, Thor returns in the latest superhero blockbuster, Thor: The Dark World (sequel...