Movie Review: The Fate of the Furious (2017)

Well this review was a long time coming. If you’ve followed my blog for an extended amount of time, you’re probably aware that I spent a decent chunk of 2015 reviewing every “Fast & Furious” movie leading up to the seventh installment. Then later that year I did that one. So this franchise has become a bit of a staple for this blog. So let’s talk about the eighth installment.

Family… “The Fate of the Furious”.

After our beloved gang pulls another job for the government, their leader Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) betrays them and starts working for a shady hacker/terrorist known as Cipher (Charlize Theron). So we follow the crew as they do everything in their power to stop Cipher and get Dom back. Not gonna lie, I found myself surprisingly engaged by the narrative here. Maybe I’m biased because I’ve grown attached to this world and these characters, but I felt like there was a lot of effort put into making the story here as dramatically engaging as possible without sacrificing the fast and furious thrills of the franchise. This does bring down the pace ever so slightly, but never to the point of ruining the movie. It’s still generally a fast-paced action fest, and I do appreciate some of the slower moments as they add a surprising amount of nuance and genuinely interesting conflict to the story. So yeah, not perfect, but still very good.

The characters in this are just as colorful, charming, and entertaining as ever, but now also have added character conflict due to the aforementioned part of Dom going bad. Speaking of which, let’s start with Dom, once again played by mumblegrumble master Vin Diesel. Dom is usually the same ol’ guy in every movie, so it’s nice to see him get a little extra character development for a change. And I must say, this is the best I’ve seen Diesel in this franchise, the dude shows that he can do more than just his signature mumblegrumble. Charlize Theron as newcomer villain Cipher is really good in that role, playing her with a generally quiet menace right out of a 90s movie (which I love). Next we have Dwayne Johnson and Jason Stathamas Hobbs and Shaw, both returning characters, mortal enemies forced to work together to stop Cipher. Their banter here is amazing, their chemistry is amazing, they are amazing. Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Kurt Russell all return in their roles, and they are all very good in their roles. And in a few other supporting roles we have Scott Eastwood, Patrick St. Esprit, Kristofer Hivju, and Celestino Cornielle. So overall it’s quite a well rounded cast.

The score for the movie was composed by franchise mainstay (bar the sixth one) Brian Tyler. And it’s another good score. Big bold brass and the occasional soft string and piano. It’s not exactly the most original or unpredictable score, but it serves the movie just fine. There’s also a handful of licensed songs used throughout, all hip hop, all fitting really well in their scenes. So yeah, the movie has good music.

“The Fate of the Furious” was directed by F. Gary Gray, and I think he did a good job with that. He shows with his direction that he knows how to make actions feel like they have weight. So when things happen, they feel like they happen and really hurt, even when it’s clearly done mainly in a computer. Which brings us to the action scenes, which are the dumbest, silliest, most insane set pieces this franchise has seen so far… and I love all of them. I love heavy dramas, I love being intellectually challenged… but sometimes I just need something ridiculously stupid to put a big smile on my face. And the action in this movie did just that. The action in this is an absolute blast to watch.

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 56/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.7/10.

“The Fate of the Furious” is an absolutely bonkers action movie with a lot of heart, and while that might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I absolutely loved it. It has a really good story, really good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/action. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Fate of the Furious” is a 9,56/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Fate of the Furious” is now completed.

Sometimes you just need something stupid.

Series Review: Transformers Prime – Season 1 (2010 – 2011)

Hello. My name is Markus. I’m 22 (soon 23) years old, and I watch kids cartoons. And you can’t fucking stop me.

Ladies and gents… “Transformers Prime” season 1.

A heroic group of alien robots known as the Autobots secretly reside on planet Earth as they try to fight off the villainous Decepticons. The setup is basically the same as any other “Transformers” adaptation, Autobots fighting Decepticons, Autobots having some human friends, yada yada yada. No need to dwell on the setup stuff, as it’s basically the same in most shows. However, “Transformers Prime” transcends its well-trodden premise in its execution, which is pretty damn good. While it’s still a kid-friendly action cartoon, it sports a fairly serious tone that isn’t afraid to go to some surprisingly dark places at times, making for a show that can give kids the colorful action fix they might want, while also featuring some surprising nuance for any potential adults (AKA me) watching. Even the filler episodes help further develop the world and characters, while still retaining a relatively closed off plot for those specific episodes. Am I saying this is the deepest plot for a show ever? Of course not. But it’s still way more compelling than I actually expected, leading me to be genuinely invested in what was going on without solely relying on my nostalgia for this franchise.

The characters in this are colorful, fun, and surprisingly nuanced (kinda like the plot). The cast is a bit too big to go into detail for, so here’s just a quick rundown (starting with the core Autobot team). You got Peter Cullen back as the ever inspiring Optimus Prime, you got Kevin Michael Richardson as the strong but not too smart Bulkhead, you got Sumalee Montano as the fierce and loyal Arcee, and you got Jeffrey Combs as the ever cranky but lovable Ratchet. Among the bad guys you got Frank Welker (fuck yeah) back as the menacing Megatron, you got Steve Blum as the ever scheming Starscream, you got Daran Norris (who possibly gives my favorite performance in the show) as the sassy and clever Knock Out, and you got Gina Torres as the sinister Airachnid. As for human characters, you got Josh Keaton as aspiring cool guy Jack, you got Tania Gunadi as the almost annoying, but luckily endearing Miko, you get Andy Pessoa as the young but bright Rafael, and you get Ernie god damn Hudson as Special Agent Fowler. Sorry I won’t go into more detail on each character, but I don’t have the time or willingness to ruin some interesting developments that occur.

The score for the season was composed by Brian Tyler and Matthew Margeson, and I think they did a good job with it. For the most part it is of course the cool action brass one might expect, but it does get a little more somber when needed. There is also frequent use of the main theme as well, but I’m fine with that, because it’s great. Really, this score is solid.

“Transformers Prime” was developed for the Hub Network by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Duane Capizzi, and Jeff Kline, with writing/directing by a whole load of cool people. And I have to say, this show is way more well crafted than I expected… those last three words seem to be coming up a lot in this review. The first time I saw the art style, I wasn’t really a fan. But when I watched it in action, I grew to really like it, with only a few minor niggles regarding some of the human designs. But the overall animation here is great, showing plenty of detail without sacrificing good movements and such. Usually I tend to lean towards preferring drawn 2D animation, but here I think the animation team made great use of 3D animation to create a lot of fun angles and camera movements, making for some spectacular action scenes.

The show doesn’t really exist on my sites I use for this “other ratings” section. But on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

Season 1 of “Transformers Prime” surprised the hell out of me, it’s one of the best action cartoons I’ve seen in recent years. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 1 of “Transformers Prime” is a 9,62/10. So it does get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Transformers Prime” season 1 is now completed.

Roll out…

Movie Review: Furious 7 (2015)

ws_Furious_7_Movie_1366x768

As some of you might remember, I reviewed every single “Fast & Furious” movie back in May of this year because of the at that point recent release of this damn movie. And from that it’s taken me more than 6 months to get around to it. But at long last, we are here. So let’s stop with this shit and get with it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Furious 7”.

Ready for some more stupidity? *Smack* Ouch, okay I’ll do it right! The story of this movie is that Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the brother of the the last movie’s villain, is coming after the gang to get revenge for his brother. So it’s up to Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker, R.I.P) and all the other guys we know and love to try and stop him. Now that is the main plot we are supposed to care about, but at the same time we get a secondary plot of the gang helping a governmental orgainzation led by Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) with finding a device that could locate any person on planet earth. And it is all very convoluted and guys, this is what the problem was with “Fast & Furious 6”. Don’t get me wrong, I think the plot of this movie is more well handled than in the last movie, but it’s still a bit convoluted and that takes away a bit from the enjoyment of the movie. I mean, it’s fine I guess.

The characters are just as enjoyable as last time and their performances have neither imporved nor gotten worse. So let’s discuss some of the newer ones… like Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw. I would say that putting Jason Statham as the main villain of your movie is a damn good idea, it is one I highly approve of. And while Statham’s performance was really good and menacing, I still felt like the character was underutilized and that he was only there to mess things up a little for our heroes. Then we have Kurt Russell as the mysterious Mr. Nobody and he was awesome. Come on, it’s Kurt fuckin’ Russell! Sure, he wasn’t in teh movie too much, but he was still great… He’s Kurt Russell! One thing I feel kind of split about is the character of Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). Don’t get me wrong, I think he might be the best thing that ever happened to this franchise, but he is used so little in this movie that it’s a bit disappointing. Sure, whenever he is on screen we get some of the best parts of the movie, but they are so few and far between that I almost feel betrayed.

The score for “Furious 7” was composed by Brian Tyler and as you may know, I’m a big fan of that guy. And as per usual, he delivered a great original score for the movie. It is big, bombastic, tense and surprisingly emotional. I would really dare say that this is one of the best scores I have ever heard from Tyler. With that said, does the rest of the soundtrack work for the movie? Yes… yes it does. They managed to fit songs perfectly into the scenes they were used in. And with that said, I feel like i should maybe touch on the song “See you Again” by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth. The song was created as a tribute to the late Paul Walker and his character Brian who would most likely get retired after this movie. And I have to say that the song worked, it is a fitting send-off for Walker and his character. I can also say that I think it is a good song, maybe even worthy of an Oscar nomination…

This is the first “F&F” movie since “Tokyo Drift” that have had a new director take over. So now instead of Justin Lin directing it, we have James Wan who is more known for horror movies than for action. But I have to say that I think he did a good job directing this movie. Sure, the hand-to-hand combat sequences were not that great because of a higher framerate and for a little bit of shaky-cam in them, so they are not impressive at all. However, when there is over-the-top vehicular mayhem in the movie, Wan really did a fantastic job! It’s silly, stupid, ridiculous, absolutely bonkers and pretty fucking fun. Really, instead of Vengeance Hits Home, the tagline for the movie should’ve been Physics Be Damned. 

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

While bogged down a bit by a convoluted plot and underutilization of certain characters, “Furious 7” is still one of the best entries in the franchise. With fun characters, a really great soundtrack, really good directing and a fitting send-off for Paul Walker, it’s definitely still a fun movie. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Furious 7” is an 8,95/10. It’s definitely worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “Furious 7” is finally completed.

*Looks out window*. Is that Jeff parachuting a car?

Movie Review: Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

5477-fast-and-furious-6-wallpaper

At last, my friends… we are here. The last part of my series of “Fast & Furious” reviews. Of course I will review “Furious 7” at some point… but that’s not now. No, now we review the 6th one which seemed like it would be the final one (yeah right). So now it is time to wrap up this series of reviews with…

“FAST AND FURIOUS 6”!

In this movie we have Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) asking the gang to help him take out dangerous mercenary Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). So once again Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker, R.I.P), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Han (Sung Kang) and Gisele (Gal Gadot) has to team up and cause some major mayhem! But we also get this really odd and almost out of place sidestory how (Spoilers for “Fast & Furious” (2009) if you have not seen it) Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) actually survived that crash, lost her memory and got recruited by Shaw. Again, it felt really out of place and I don’t get why it exists. It just makes the entire plot really convoluted and kind of over it’s own head. This is something that I felt dragged the movie down a bit for me, a convoluted plot. The plot sin’t bad per se, it’s just (like I said) dragged down by those twisty little parts.

The characters are as great as ever. Vin Diesel growls like always. Paul Walker was really good in the movie too. I feel like he finally managed to give a performance that was above “Good” but below “Great”. Tyrese Gibson was funny and not annoying (unlike in “2 Fast 2 Stupid Title”). Sung Kang was great, I really liked him since he showed up in “Tokyo Drift”. Gal Gadot was also really good. Ludacris was pretty entertaining too. Riddle me this one though, boyh in “Fast Five” and this one his character is a bit of a tech wiz… yet that theme never popped up in “2 Fast 2 Stupid Title”. What the hell happened screenwriters? Fuck it! And of course… Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs… fucking awesome! I mean, it’s Dwayne Johnson… nothing more needs to be said. I also did like Luke Evans as Owen Shaw, he was a pretty good villain. I did overall enjoy all characters.

The score was apparently NOT done by Brian Tyler which is weird because he made the music for the previous three movies and apparently he made the score for “Furious 7”, so why wasn’t he involved with this? Apparently it was done by a bunch of different musicians. And yes, it did fit really well. NEXT!

Remember the laws of physics? Yeah well you can say goodbye to them in this movie. They basically nowhere to be found. With that said, the action in this movie is pretty fucking great. The c-q-c (Close quarters combat) was pretty well done. The driving parts were also pretty spectacular. At this point they have nailed everything they need to nail when it comes to being an action movie about Fast cars and Furious Vin Diesel.

This movie, while pretty well-received, was not as well-received as the previous installment “Fast Five”. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 69% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Fast & Furious 6” is a fast-paced, badass action movie with a few good performances, some pretty good music and awesome action. However, it is brought down by a convoluted plot with a bunch of out of place twists. Time for my final score. *Window breaks* What the hell, Jeff!? What happened? You flew out of a car? And you’re alright? Well, shit. Envelope? Thank you, now go away! My final score for “Fast & Furious 6” is an 8,40/10. Even though the plot drags it down a bit, it is still worth a rental.
Rent it

“Fast & Furious 6” reviewed.

Plan B? We need a plan C, D, E. We need more alphabet!

Movie Review: Pain & Gain (2013)

Image

Let’s face it, the works of Michael Bay are not mastepieces. “Transformers”, good popcorn material. “Bad Boys”, second verse, same as the first. “Armageddon”, cheesy 90’s fun. “Pearl Harbor”…we don’t talk about “Pearl Harbor”. But he hasn’t done too much bigger-ish things in the last couple of years except for shitty “Transformers” sequels. But then this came into being…”Pain & Gain”, a phrase that is actually kind of true. But after watching it, what did this guy right here think about it? Let’s find out.

Bad boys and bad girls…”Pain & Gain”.

Miami, 1995. Bodybuilder Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) is doing some workout on a billboard. Then he runs away because…cops (cue the song “Bad Boys”). Then after a while of running, he gets hit by a car. Then we get a flashback to 1994 about what got him into this mess. He used to work at a gym with Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie). At the gym he meets his new co-worker and friend Paul Doyle (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). These three guys are not happy with their lives, they wanna make more money. So they hatch up a neat plan. A plan that involves kidnapping the biggest douchebag in town who is also rich as fuck (Tony Shalhoub). And they manage that even though they are arguing all the time. They kidnap him, get their money and new lives. Victor Kershaw A.K.A the douchebag gets beaten up and now lives in a crappy house. The other guys live their new lives, trying to adapt to that lifestyle. Honestly, the story didn’t thrill me at all. Not saying it was bad, it just didn’t work out all too well. A lot of times they glorify the use of drugs, alcohol and violence. This movie seriously makes that shit look like a good idea…even more than “Wolf of Wall Street”. But some parts are fairly entertaining, mainly the parts featuring The Rock. Can’t put my finger on why, I just think that. One thing that would have made this movie a little better would have been if they would have made it a little shorter considering a few scenes were boring and unnecessary. It is two hours and ten minutes long…it would have worked out better being like one hour fifty minutes. Otherwise, decent enough story. And oh yeah, this is based on a true story…even though it doesn’t seem like it. And this true story is just something that I read after watching this and felt Michael Bay just glorified it…and that is not cool.

The characters were as in any other Michael Bay movie…I did not give a shit about them. I only cared because I like the actors. Like I previously stated: the only one I kinda liked was The Rock as this ex-convict turned christian. He gave me this sense that he didn’t want everything that went wrong to go wrong…and actually feel sorry about it. I did also like Ed Harris’ character in the movie even though he was…insignificant. He really had not purpose in this movie. Also, every female character in this movie was as in every Michael Bay movie…just there for fan service…nothing else. The only female standing out was Rebel Wilson…and she didn’t even have that much of an important role. So yeah, the characters were meh.

On the musical aspect I kinda liked it actually. Most of the soundtrack is composed by the great Steve Jablonsky (Gears of War franchise among other things). His score was subtle (unlike most of the movie) and almsot a little chilling. Then there were a few licensed songs. Most notably Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise”…in a version that sounds like it was a cover of it. And I did not like that too much since I am a fan of the original song.

This movie features several recurring tropes we often see in his movies. Like girls for fan service only, overuse of slow motion, some pyrotechnics and heavy focus on different colors. And while these troped bug me a little…I have to admit, Michael Bay knows how to make a good looking movie, and he proves it right here.

The reception for “Pain & Gain” has been very mixed. Rotten Tomatoes curently holds a ranking of 49% on it. Metacritic gave this a 45/100. There is no Roger Ebert review for this movie…which is fully understandable since it came out circa a week after he sadly passed away. imdb.com has the score of 6,5/10 for this movie.

So based on what I have said about this movie on the story and all other stuff I am giving this movie the score of 6,11/10. And I recommend you to rent it if you want to see it. This is not a bad movie, but it is far from buyable. Like I said, if you wanna see it…rent it…or stream it on netflix if it exists on there.

It was Painful to watch it. But I Gained a new review. (Get it?).

Bye-bye.