John Thompson

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The Hitman's Bodyguard Review

Very Good

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of Ryan Reynolds with Samuel L. Jackson is so entertaining that we never want it to end. Director Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3) keeps the action so insanely energetic that we're not quite sure where to look. But at the centre of the mayhem Reynolds and Jackson are having so much fun that we can't wipe the smiles off our faces.

Reynolds plays London-based security expert Michael, whose high-flying career was derailed two years ago and stubbornly refuses to get back on track. Then his Interpol agent ex-girlfriend Amelia (Elodie Yung) offers him a job escorting the ruthless assassin Darius (Jackson) from his British prison cell to The Hague, where he's needed to testify against murderous Belarusian warlord Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) in a war crimes trial. So far, Dukhovich's militia has made sure no witnesses have made it to the courtroom, so Michael has his work cut out for him. Meanwhile, Darius is trying to get in touch with his wife Sonia (Salma Hayek), who is in prison in Amsterdam and lovingly calls him an unkillable cockroach.

All of this unfolds at a breakneck pace, with a flurry of hyper-violent shootouts, chases and fistfights. Cars fly in every direction as passers-by run for cover, bullets fly in every direction, and pretty much everything on-screen explodes into a huge ball of flames. It's so cartoonish that it's impossible to take even remotely seriously. So we just laugh along with Ryan and Jackson, as they bicker and fight, then bond over flashbacks into their amusingly messy love lives. Both are swaggering alpha-males who don't take instructions from anyone, so their interaction is feisty and funny. The supporting cast of glowering villains and secretive agents barely gets a chance to register, although Hayek nearly walks off with the movie in a riotously scene-stealing turn that leaves us wanting her to get a film of her own.

Continue reading: The Hitman's Bodyguard Review

The Expendables 3 Review


Good

Striking a tone somewhere between the po-faced original and the silly Part 2, this rampaging action nonsense is badly overcrowded and chaotic, but there's plenty of comedy and whizzy stuntwork to keep the audience entertained. It of course helps a lot that the film is packed to the rafters with iconic actors and lively newcomers. And their sassy dialogue helps make up for the idiotic plot.

It opens with a prison break, as Barney (Sylvester Stallone) and his team (Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture and Terry Crews) rescue their old cohort Doc (Wesley Snipes) then head off on a mysterious mission that turns out to involve their presumed-dead nemesis Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who is targeting Barney's team. So Barney and his pal Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer) set about finding four new commandoes (Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell and Victor Ortiz) to take on Stonebanks, but of course nothing goes as plan. For the final face-off they're joined by the old team, CIA boss Drummer (Harrison Ford), former colleagues Trench and Yin (Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jet Li), and chatty newcomer Galgo (Antonio Banderas).

The ever-increasing cast means that some characters can't help but be pushed into the shadows (Crews and Li are barely in this film), while others hover around the edges of scenes injecting moments of sarcastic wit. Each of the characters gets his or her moment of eye-popping action, as the film lurches from set-piece to set-piece in a whirl of bombs, bullets and blades. All of this is fun because the actors are gleefully refusing to take any of this seriously. The scene-stealers this time are Gibson, terrific as the swaggering villain, and Banderas, who's hilarious as the only person who can string a sentence together.

Continue reading: The Expendables 3 Review

David Cameron Making World War I Album With Danny Dyer. Yep.


Danny Dyer David Cameron Sean Bean John Thompson

Prime Minister David Cameron has teamed up with Eastenders star Danny Dyer to record an official World War I centenary album of spoken words and music. Cameron has recorded the classic war poem The Soldier by Rupert Brooke while Dyer read In Memoriam by Ewart Alan Mackintosh.

Danny DyerDanny Dyer At Broadcasting House

Elsewhere, the Cold Feed actor John Thompson recorded Wilfred Owen's Dulce et Decorum Est and Sean Bean, Stephen Fry and comedian Sarah Millican also recorded tracks. Some descendants of recipients of World War I Victoria Crosses have recorded John McCrarie's In Flanders Fields, which will be released as a single with 40 pence from each sale being donated to the Royal British Legion and Victoria Cross Trust. 

Continue reading: David Cameron Making World War I Album With Danny Dyer. Yep.

Homefront Review


OK

With a powerhouse cast and an anaemic script, this violent revenge thriller never quite gets off the ground. It's watchable for the character detail, but resolutely refuses to make any logical sense as it charges through its corny plot. Fortunately the slick filmmaking and charismatic acting hold our attention, adding a hint of sophistication to the bluntly brutal story.

It's set in the Louisiana bayou, where former undercover agent Phil (Statham) is trying to have a quiet life with his young daughter (Vidovic). But the locals are wary of outsiders, and a schoolyard confrontation escalates into a feud between Phil and a resentful woman (Bosworth) who calls her gangster brother Gator (Franco) for help in getting even. Gator quickly discovers Phil's past, then enlists his trashy pal Sheryl (Ryder) to contact Phil's old enemies. But as these ruthless thugs descend on the bayou, they fail to take into consideration the fact that Phil has nearly super-human fighting skills.

There's plenty of possibility in this rather tired premise, but Stallone's boneheaded script never bothers to make things believable, skipping over key details and indulging in trite coincidences. Fleder manages to obscure this with his fluid, pacey direction, and the cast is unusually good for such a simplistic thriller. The charismatic Statham doesn't stretch himself much, occasionally attempting a bit of real acting in the father-daughter scenes (his romance with LeFevre's teacher is never developed). Bosworth and Ryder add some unpredictable edges to their stereotypical roles. And it's Franco who steals the film as an unusually thoughtful redneck thug. Although his moral quandary doesn't put off any of the nastiness.

Continue reading: Homefront Review

The Expendables 2 Review


Good
Although there's been no attempt to tone down the first film's bloodthirsty hyperviolence or dim-witted plotting, this sequel is a massive improvement simply because they have fun with the premise. As a result, so do we.

Barney (Stallone) and his team of ageing mercenaries are coerced by Church (Willis) into heading into hostile territory to retrieve a top secret electronic gadget. Most shocking is the fact that Church insists that a woman, Maggie (Yu), joins them. And when things go wrong, Barney leads the gang on a grisly revenge mission against a nasty villain (Van Damme) who's callously putting humanity in peril. Along the way they're joined by Church and Trench (Schwarzenegger), and get help from lone-wolf Booker (Norris).

Continue reading: The Expendables 2 Review

The Mechanic Review


OK
Remade from Michael Winner's 1972 thriller, this action movie can't be bothered to get as dark and edgy as it should be. But the cast members keep us watching, even as things turn unnecessarily grisly.

Elite hitman Arthur (Statham) lives a solitary life in a New Orleans bayou with his stinking wealth and exquisite taste. But he's shocked when his boss (Goldwyn) gives him his next assignment: to kill his mentor Harry (Sutherland).

Arthur is a cool professional, but now he's also wracked with guilt. So he takes Harry's wastrel son Steve (Foster) under his wing, teaching him the assassination trade and letting him practice during a few jobs. But the work gets increasingly dangerous, and soon it becomes apparent that Harry was set up. Revenge is in the air.

Continue reading: The Mechanic Review

Hard Cash Review


Good
Yes, it's a direct-to-video movie called Hard Cash, and yes it's a black comedy/heist that you've never heard of. And yes, it's got Val Kilmer and Christian Slater in it. What's the story?

Well, it's not as bad as you might think. We even get Verne "Mini-Me" Troyer crawling out of a toilet, so who can complain?

Continue reading: Hard Cash Review

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John Thompson Movies

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

The Expendables 3 Movie Review

The Expendables 3 Movie Review

Striking a tone somewhere between the po-faced original and the silly Part 2, this rampaging...

Homefront Movie Review

Homefront Movie Review

With a powerhouse cast and an anaemic script, this violent revenge thriller never quite gets...

Advertisement
The Expendables 2 Movie Review

The Expendables 2 Movie Review

Although there's been no attempt to tone down the first film's bloodthirsty hyperviolence or dim-witted...

The Mechanic Movie Review

The Mechanic Movie Review

Remade from Michael Winner's 1972 thriller, this action movie can't be bothered to get as...

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