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Great Director & actors but poor storyline hinders it all
Up front I've really like Steve McQueen's output to date. Shame is one of the best films i've seen in the past decade, and like many others I found 12 Years a Slave very moving. His style is very artistic but you see it all, especially the inner motions. This film is filmed with camera work in a similar fashion to 'Shame' and is as wonderfully captivating, yet it's just not a good film.
I don't know about anyone else but I found the revelations to be too obvious, and some of the actors (such as Liam Neeson) were really just faxing in their acting in their roles in this film. Viola Davis is excellent and the crux of the film, but I don't feel she was well supported enough.
I wasn't convinced at all of this movie and story. Simply if it wasn't for the director & cast, this would easily have shifted into being a Sunday TV film of some sort.
Just a disappointment, and little to recommend it for.
Cobra Kai: No Mercy (2019)
More well placed kicks - Continues to surprise, entertain and intrigue...
You have got to hand it to the writers/producers of this show, they've done an incredibly good job here. This is the difficult 'second album' where after the adulation of the first season, they had to push the whole show forward, yet they have wonderfully balanced nostalgia with a new generation of stories.
There were a number of great episodes, which even stand alone would be classed as excellent. The boys on the motorcycle meet up was a poignant and heart warming episode with sadness too. William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence killed it here ably assisted by his old Cobra Kai colleagues.
The final episode (no spoilers) really surprises and goes from one emotion to another wonderfully. You are gripped.
There's so much humour, good drama and development here with a wide cast of stars, and you can't help but feel in love with the show. It doesn't patronise but rather takes you through.
Admittedly there were a few poorer parts to the show, I think Dmitri & Stingray were not convincing or adding much value, but they are the exception to the rule, and I hold out for the Dmitri character. Also they have such a large cast that unintentionally they have sidestepped some such as Aisha who was very interesting in the first season.
Give this a try, it truly has been a wonderful ride so far, and I can't wait till the next season. As close as you'll come to a perfect homage to a cult old movie.
The Karate Kid (2010)
Kung Fu kid doesn't match up to its more humble predecessor
For a certain generation like mines, there's just no way you can get around comparison to the original which is an undoubted classic of that era. Many would like to criticise the need for a remake, but it's par the course for films nowadays across many genres, so there's no point restarting that arguement.
I won't rehash the premise of the film as it's so well known, but one things for certain: if you really want to understand what was so special about the original then maybe watching this remake will clearly show you why! Despite having the greater budget, the legendary Jackie Chan and a ready set fan base, this film fails to capture at all what was so great about the original.
With all due respect to Jackie Chan, who is an adept actor, he is possily too well known to have been able to capture the mystery of a Mr Miyagi (Pat Morita in the original didn't even know any martial arts). He does a fair job, but what made Mr Miyagi so humbling just doesn't come across here.
Granted the dialogue & script didn't help in the film for anyone, but there was also little chemistry between the key leads. The girl/boy and teacher/pupil relationship just didn't engross as in the original. Part of the problem was also that these were kids as against olders teenagers on the verge of adulthood in the original . That all played a part in the success of the script of the original.
No denying the martial arts in this film is on a different far higher level than the original, but again that's an issue. The original was a counterweight to the high flying 100mph martial arts movies of the time. The Karate Kid was about simplicity and down to earth action, not impressing with roundhouses & flying kicks. This film's directors failed to understand that.
It's a shame to have to be negative on this film, but even standalone I wasn't convinced. I struggled to empathise enough with any of the characters in this film to truly care.
Disappointing, and I maybe was just hoping that as much as it was too much to ask it to match the original, then at least in its own way it could have at least tried to pay due honour to it. I'm not convinced at all that it even successfully did that.
Cobra Kai: Mercy (2018)
This crane kicks the right nostalgia spot
I really didn't expect much from this show, but have been blown away by how good it has been. There has been a raft of spin-off shows from old nostalgic TV shows & films, most have failed to match the original. Yet this somehow does.
When I first heard they were doing a series on the back of the Karate Kid (a film I absolutely adored as a youngster when it first came out), I was apprehensive. I thought it would be fun to watch as a filler for nostalgia purposes.
The producers though have hit the spot. This is no simple spin-off, we have instead an incredibly well put together, written & acted show that is multi-layered with characters with mixed emotions.
The two leads are perfect, with William Zabka returning as Jonny Lawrence making us all wondering where he has been all these years? His acting performance is worth awards, and he has been the real crux of the show. Ralph Macchio is now actually the rich man. There are contrived parts to the show, but it has to help bring in teenagers to the show. The Kids are varied and you can see their arcs developing.
There is a lot of grey in this show, which is what makes it interesting. Nothing is simply black & white, but what remains is that the two leads are like big kids who can't let go of their old feud which has been rekindled, but their love for Karate is there.
Jonny Lawrence is on a road to redemption which is the greatest part of the show for me, and I truly loved this whole nostalgia show. He may be non-PC, offensive and a throw back to the 80s, but that's surprisingly part of his charm.
Give this show a try. On its low budget, its an incredible achievement. I never thought they could make it work without the peerless Mr Miyagi, but the old sensei's charm & character still permeates throughout the show.
This show and the arcs will develop as we follow the two men now sensei's and their young charges. I look forward to go on the long road with them, as well as seeing returning faces from the original set of films.
Thank you to all for making this series, and the wonderful surprise it has given me. Just rewatched the original films on the back of this.
The Karate Kid Part II (1986)
Lower key sequel... Story develops but not as impacting
The original is something special, and I have revisited the original trilogy after 30 years, and enjoyed reviewing them. However as much as still kind of enjoyed this sequel, it hasn't aged well with me.
When I first watched this as a kid in the cinema, I loved it, and fell for its charm & beauty, and followed the continuing story of Mr Miyagi & Daniel. The pair go to Okinawa (Japan), and end up rekindling a feud involving a childhood friend of Mr Miyagi.
The main change from the first film, apart from the setting, is the focus on Mr Miyagi. We see his childhood home and what inspired his philosophy, something that his mentor learns from. When Mr Miyagi's father dies, it is actually Daniel who gives a shoulder to lean on for his friend & surrogate father this time.
However, despite the parallels, and the beauty from the settings etc, it just doesn't all come together. The two leads are excellent, and you love their developing father/surrogate son relationship, but the rest of the cast are weak. Watching the cast speak wholly in broken English is a big galling (what's wrong with just allowing subtitles), and the villains are two dimensional.
The love interest for Daniel is good but her lines & acting were a bit weak, but their relationship was convincing. Shame they couldn't develop it into the third film.
I was disappointed to see that I couldn't enjoy this as much now as when a youngster, but maybe that says something. Maybe I've too much experience now to enjoy it, but the first film still holds very well.
I love Mr Miyagi, the greatest mentor in film history, and the man we all wish was our mentor, friend & second father. For that alone, this film is worth watching again. Pat Morita created one of the greatest on-screen characters, and to him thank you. I can never explain fully the impact Mr Miyagi had on the lives of a certain generation. Thank you.
The Karate Kid (1984)
Mr Miyagi is the mentor we all wish we had... A life impacting movie
Is there anything more that can be truly said of this inspiring movie? Possibly it is the most unlikely hit movie that has generated a strong faithful following.
I rewatched it after 30 years on the back of falling for the Cobra Kai series, and loved it every bit as much as when I first saw it. I'm much older but find so many new things to relate to and remind myself of in life.
The premise of the film is simple, but it is almost impossible to explain the impact this movie had on a certain young generation on its release. It was its run in the video market that made it the huge success it became, and so much of it has become part of pop culture be it in its quotable lines and simple action.
What made it stand out was that it clearly was the antithesis of all other martial arts movies of the time which were in a boom period on video rental, but they were all muscle bound and flying around at 100mph. The Karate Kid instead centres on peace, life philosophy, defence and self-betterment.
The crux is the central partnership between the central pair of Mr Miyagi and Daniel, which begins as teacher mentoring pupil but develops into a father & surrogate son relationship.
There are so many layers to this film, and the truth is that the karate is really secondary to all. Any action is short, simple and down to earth. The real fights are for the soul, against bullies and personal defeat. For Mr Miyagi it is a reawakening for him, for Daniel it is a journey of self discovery.
The greatest part is the acting. You simply can't take away from either of the two leads, the chemistry between them is just perfect. Pat Morita plays Mr Miyagi almost effortlessly but perfectly as the mentor to a young insecure Daniel, which becomes a father and surrogate son relationship. If anything the relationship helps bring Mr Miyagi out of his shell. For example, we see inside the soul of Mr Miyagi, and some of his inner torment (i.e. loss of wife & child), and Daniel becomes closer to him for it.
Mr Miyagi is the mentor & father all men wish they had. He practices & teaches peace & self-respect with humour & dignity. Something we can all learn from. His dry wit and personal reserve are humbling to see. Winning the tournament against the bullies is secondary, but the personal development is what comes first.
The Oscar nomination for Pat Morita for the role was deserved, and unfortunate not to win it, but his role has left a lasting legacy and is in the hearts of so many. I can only say to him thank you, and also to all who helped put this wonderful touching film together.
The Karate Kid Part III (1989)
This film is best crane kicked away....
Having recently been engrossed in the new Cobra Kai series, I decided to rewatch the original trilogy after 30 years. Now much older but I still have a huge fondness for the original film, however this third movie is as bad as I remember if not worse.
What made The Karate Kid stand out was that it was that it was the antithesis of the bog standard martial arts movie from back in those halcyon video days, yet the writers decided to move this film series into that direction. The main antagonists are like something from 'No Retreat No Surrender' and the ilk. That's a different world, with The Karate Kid universe more about life philosophy and self-defence, as well as self respect. This film sadly sacrificed the often beautiful father & surrogate son relationship between Miyagi and Daniel for dumb action, and the film suffered for it.
Both the leads deserved so much better, a last hurrah to complete the trilogy with further good humour and pearls of wisdom. Instead they are both given poor scripts with the wonderful Pat Morita as Miyagi painting by numbers for his role whilst Ralph Macchio as Daniel is made to be a whiny regressive soul. The OTT performances by the villains are cringe inducing, and I didn't buy it; as for their story? Best buried away.
I was happy to see Mr Miyagi again, I love the character but he deserved better. This film killed so much opportunity. Its such a shame. Say what you like but at least The Next Karate Kid movie gave Miyagi a finer on-screen farewell to the audience to practise what was so great about the character despite the numerous flaws with that film too.
A sorry end to the original trilogy, but it will never destroy the memory of the wonderful relationship of Daniel and Mr Miyagi, which has genuinely affected and touched the lives of so many of a certain generation. Thank you Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio.
The Next Karate Kid (1994)
A final ode to the wonderful Pat Morita as Mr Miyagi - thank you
Many may wish to give this film much criticism for various reasons, and yet there are actually moments of true beauty in this too, and that's what I want to mostly concentrate on here.
The premise is clear and obvious to all even if they have not seen the original. What we have here is an ode to the wonderful Pat Morita playing Mr Miyagi for the final time in the series. This character to many of a certain generation is the father and mentor they wish they had, and love him for it. His wisdom, humour and support is humbling to the rest of us.
This film returns to its roots as we see Mr Miyagi mentoring a broken girl who is at the stage of graduating to adulthood. Future Oscar winner Hilary Swank is the young lady, her debut movie, and she and Pat Morita strike up an incredible family chemistry that is just so beautiful. She is a perfect stand in as the new student, and becomes like a surrogate daughter to Mr Miyagi who himself has a lot to learn about young ladies too.
The story may be clichéd, events contrived and the acting often poor from the bulk of the cast, but the best moments are touching.
I really recommend you to watch this film for at least the 'Miyagi Waltz' scene, which personally I think is one of the most beautiful yet simple scenes I've ever seen, and is worth it for the movie time alone. Another is a bowling scene which allows Pat Morita to show his perfect comic-lite touch and wisdom, aided by a group of humble monks. It's just old school light hearted humour.
Despite the title, the martial arts is negligible and not of much value in this film (forgettable even), could even have been left out.
The music is surprisingly poor (compared to the previous films) and overall the film has the feel of a Sunday afternoon TV movie. This could have been so much better in the hands of a better director. Disappointing as with the lead two stars there could have been so much more in making a more memorable film.
For all the film's flaws, there are still moments to admire, and to watch the understated genius of Pat Morita as Mr Miyagi for the final time is a treasure. We'll never see his like again but he is immortalised in this role and will be cherished for eternity for it. He'll never fully know the positive impact he had on the lives of so many with his most important on-screen role. My thanks.
Shallow Grave in a lighthouse
Have you ever watched Shallow Grave? If not, then I'd highly recommend you to give that movie a try, it's a classic Scottish movie which is dark, nasty & humorous. This film clearly takes a lot of influence in it.
What we have is another Scottish based movie, with our three lead characters facing major dilemmas when a body & treasure trove comes into their grasp. You can figure out the rest quiet easily, but it's a psychologically tense movie.
Our two main leads are Peter Mullan and Gerard Butler, and the latter (believe it or not) is exceptional in his role. Probably his best acting ever. All the lead characters are spooked in the excluded location, and trying their best to think of a rational escape, but things are never so easy.
The film is strangely complex but simple, hard edged but has morals too. It's a fine movie. The only big problem is that it is derivative in some ways, but you can bypass this. I still enjoyed it for what it was. It's really like a stageplay on screen.
It's fine, it's no classic, but cerebral and engaging. Maybe needed some more tweeking but you'll find it enjoyable enough.
Surpised me in that it was fine, but as you expected
This is simply an unapologetic throwback to the 1980s video days of action films, with little talent, big muscles & as much OTT action as possible.
We have here the fourth installment of Rambo, and to my surprise it was enjoyable enough. I appreciate the politics etc are very crude but don't take it too seriously, there are more appropriate platforms in which to debate the issues.
We have John Rambo trying to move on but struggling to live with what he has become. In any case, gives him the chance to kill lots of bad guys in very violent ways.
There's little to say more. Stallone is actually excellent in this, and I can't think of anyone who could have ever have played Rambo any better than what he is. It doesn't require a top level actor, just someone willing to accept the character for what it is.
It's a short-ish film (just 90mins) and you'll find it runs along fine. Worth it for a Saturday night viewing. No classic, but does what it says on the tin.
Saat po long: Taam long (2017)
Poor Man's 'Taken'
I'll keep this short. Basically a martial arts lite copy of Taken, but unlike Taken this is just poor. Taken was hardly Oscar worthy but had a strange fun aspect to it. This film on the other hand is just poorly made.
This is like Die Hard 4 compared to Die Hard, if you want to compare this to Taken.
The neo noir tag showed best be ignored, all it is really is a poor story filled in with some not very exciting martial arts moments which in fairness were well choreographed.
Tries to be edgy but isn't, tries to be broad, but isn't. It's just not engaging.
Tony Jaa has a brief spell in the film (not a spoiler as the credits make it clear he's only in it for a short spell) and his scene is suprisingly dull.
Deadpool 2 (2018)
DP2 - Witty, but can't piece itself together
Here we go again for the another round of the unorthodox Deadpool. Loveable but brutal he may be, but it's a refreshing change from the usual god fearing hero that is the Marvel norm.
The story kinds of carries on from before but our hero is under the weight of guilt and loss of his partner in a freak attack. The rest of it all sees him try to seek some kind of redemption, but the stories are too disjointed together to work as a whole. Individually they're fine, and enjoyable.
The actions and humour are great and biting, and very bloody. The movie runs at a fine pace but never knows where it is going which is a shame.
I enjoyed it, but still felt it was missing items and needed a relook. Fine sequel and sets us up for more.
P..S. Loved the digs at DC too, especially the one in the final credits. That is worth watching all this for that alone.
Let it be.....
Yesterday is a film that with this title could so easily have written its own obituaries, but with Danny Boyle at the helm this film has sailed thru what could have been troubled waters.
We have a cookie premise of one man who finds after an accident he's the only one in his new reality to have ever heard of the Beatles. Taking advantage of this, he climbs up the ladder of fame but really the real prize that he must Kearny is to win the heart of his childhood sweetheart.
It generally avoids cliché, its fun and sassy, but most importantly pays genuine homage to The Beatles and the roots of the songs. You love the humour, the colour and relatable characters. It doesn't add anything new but isn't trying to.
It's a fun ride on this yellow submarine, and doesn't need any Help! One to Twist and Shout to. Enjoyable homage.
Last Stand medieval story in Korea
Inevitably, with Game of Thrones having ended, many people will be looking elsewhere for a dose of historical politics & war, but few if any will match up.
The Fortress will be an interesting one for anyone interested who falls into that area, but it's a true story, telling of The Last Stand by a King holed up in a mountain fortress in what is now Korea, in a futile bid.
There's no fantasy here, just the political realpolitik and the bloodshed, but it's more measured.
This is quite refreshening turn when it comes to large scale historical military movies, as it's about survival and not victory. The competing advisors are judging weather war or conciliation with the far greater powerful Qing dynasty is the best course of action.
The settings are beautiful as is the choreography, and it also helps that the viewpoints of the foot soldiers is taken as seriously as that of those at the top.
It's a long movie and it's fascinating to watch, not all medieval movies have to be European! The Far East has done many good films in this way too which can be recommended.
Back to this one, it's far better than you expect. It's the story & acting that will capture you, and as you watch the advisors & king mentally battle to just keep their heads afloat in a merciless environment you will have your heart wrenched.
Very good watch, give it a chance.
A real mixed bottle of Wildfire
I've been as addicted to this show as many others over the past 8 years or so since I was first directed to watch it by a friend, and I was hooked.
It's been dark, funny, enlightening, frightening and surprising.
BUT everything must come to an end, and such a sprawling show with young characters no longer very young anymore, they have had to rush the end. IMO, in this season 8, there it was often spectacle above all dialogue. You just have to rewatch a few episodes to contrast the dialogue & quotes from season 1 to this one, and it's like chalk & cheese. The fact the show this season had to hark back to old lines and even jokes kind of proves my point.
Don't get me wrong, on a big screen this season has looked marvellous, but I'm still left cold. Many will have felt unhappy as their forecasts were all wrong, but really one problem was that the ending seemed to satisfy Fan Servicing rather than the GoT narrative.
Granted the storyline will have followed GRRM's main line, but I can't believe he would have followed the way the show has ended. He wanted a bittersweet ending, I thought it seemed mostly happy to me, and not in line with the general theme of the underlying show from over the years.
I don't want to end watching this fine season on a sour note, as there has been so much good to say about it all. I loved the characters, even many we just loved to hate, but maybe I just wanted more. Rushed ending, but thankfully doesn't ruin the whole experience.
Thx to GRRM for such a wonderful series, and I do look forward for any spinoffs to appear in time.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Not sure on which level this plays to... but it's worth watching for the humour...
I'm really trying to like this more than I did.
You just can't deny that in the whole roster of films released by Marvel etc, this is a bit of fresh air. The leads are not heroic in the traditional sense of muscle-bound or geniuses etc, but are good fun with a great sense of humour. You go alone with this for the fun & gags.
The story builds on the first story, and I enjoyed the first film but this time the story just lost steam for me towards the last third. We have a long lost mother lost in some sub-atomic world from long back, yet they now think they can get her back (don't worry if you're confused by what I have just written, much of what they say is confusing science-speak).
Watch it for the laughs, the myriad of likeable characters and the break from the comic book norm.
It's a fine enough film, but I just think they could have easily done so much better with the script, and then we would have so much more to write home about.
Surprised by this shocking film
I have to hold my hands up here and concede that this film has very much surprised me. Taking Zac Efron who is better known by the teenie mobs of the past generation or so, this was a gamble as a gruesome lead, the true life Ted Bundy. Yet it all works and Zac Efron is excellent in the lead.
This could easily have been another crude exploitation move under a guise taking a moral high ground. Yet instead we have a gruesome themed movie that actually avoids (in general) any gruesome aspects and themes.
This film centres around one women who falls in love with Bundy, and her experiences round that, following also the capture and indictment of Bundy. Also it creepily follows those women who just simply fall head over heels for Bundy, and are unapologetic for him, in the same way some were over Charles Manson.
The real scare factor is the reality of it all. It falls down in part in that possibly it could have been more ambitious, but possibly needed more budget and some stronger names for this. However, it doesn't fail in what it tries to achieve.
I found it mostly disturbingly fascinatingly despite being disgusted by many in it, but that's the point. Reality can be more frightening than fiction.
I can't seem myself reading up more on it all, as I don't want to get into anything that builds up a legend status for what Bundy has narcissistically already achieved.
It's a fine move, which will make you feel awkward, but there many good points of interest in it, and that's what makes it a mostly curious watch.
Hotel Artemis (2018)
Jodie Foster reminds us just why she is such a special actress...
Away from the constant fair of comic book movies, we have this major diversion. A sci-fi dystopian LA, in the not so distant future to come, we have Jodie Foster playing an aging Nurse who is wokring in a 'dark room' which caters to treating & serving wealthy crooks who are injured.
This 'Hotel' has a number of rules, and as you can guess, one day they just all get broken and all goes out the window. Killings, thefts and revenge etc to come.
This film runs on two items: strong actors and some great cinematography. The settings are wonderful, grim and claustrophobic, but it's Jodie Foster with the always surprisingly good Dave Bautista who are the real heart of the film playing very well as you follow their story. Great emotion and pacing by them.
The rest of the roster are very good, although seem to play it by numbers with for example Jeff Goldblum in particular playing, well, Jeff Goldblum again. The story is intriguing but maybe needed further fleshed out, filling in by adding action in which is fine but I wanted more.
This film given more time and more attention could have created something greater, but it's still very good, better than some of the responses I've seen to it so far. Given time by viewers you will appreciate it, and it is worth it for the wonderful Jodie Foster alone.
Deutschland 86 (2018)
It's another slice of communist Berlin in its final days.
Bungling East German politicos and frustrated spies, once more.
More German spy action, as the East Germans continue to bungle their way through what will be their final days. Martin Rauch is the young man who brought back into the melting pot of the disintegrating Berlin political entity who are scrapping around for money.
The real interest is the stories behind the scenes, from gun running to Africa, corrupt West German company collusions, the rising Aids crisis and a 'spy who loved me' storyline too.
What escalates is the literary convenience of Martin Rauch having so much family involved at the top end of the East German political world (his dad, wife and aunt), which is corny but you can live with it here. Storylines are generally good (with some black humour too) but there are some hard watches too especially with respect to that of family attempting to escape East Berlin for the freedom of the west.
As before, it's entertaining, engaging but also educational. A reminder of a world which was really on our door.
It just misses the cut for me, but I still enjoyed it and was engrossed, although the ultimate ending was predicatable enough. Give a go, I'm looking forward to season three which I assume will concentrate on the important fall of the wall.
Bad Samaritan (2018)
Dark & dangerous black comedy horror...
This one crosses various genres. It's a thriller but also is a dark comedy & a horror movie, and in fairness it steps across each line fine enough.
We have the ever watchable David Tennant as an extrovert rich man being stalked by a young thief (played by Robert Sheehan) when the young man finds out that he has a gruesome hobby.
It's not a stellar production, but on a moderate budget, it hits enough of the right buttons to leave the viewer satisfied (despite the gruesome subject matter), as we follows our young protagonist on his road to redemption.
It's fun, it's very modern and unlike many other current movies, you can see young viewers relate to some social media aspects of what goes on.
Not actually very gruesome either, it's more the acting of the lead two that carries the movies. The story is fine and entertaining, but the problem is that it's nothing major, more just pulp fiction. Feels like a Twilight Zone episode maxed out into a film.
For me it was a fine viewing for what it was, I think most with find it satisfactory viewing. Bodes well for all involved in future projects.
Big roar from the new entry, but is it enough?
There's lots of cliches that you can use for this film, involving extinction etc. The last movie was mostly met lukewarm by many, but I enjoyed, yet really it's the same thing over again. This film had to try to be different, and does it succeed? Yes & No.
What we have is again a similar enough background, with heroes and comic book villains, thrust into chaos with dinosaurs on the loose. The difference? Well not too much, but it's more low key as most of the action is not on the dinosaur island with large crowds etc, but still it's bish bosh dino v dino action.
The story is fine, and it's enjoyable, and as ever the CGI is amongst the best anywhere. However, they really are stuck for ideas. You can see that have made some changes to move it all in another direction, but really they end up falling back into the old school.
It's a fine film, deserved better reviews from many, but sit back and have fair expectations and you'll enjoy the ride. It will bring the inner kid in you, and some of you may still want to jump behind the sofa!
The Punisher: The Whirlwind (2019)
The Punisher punishes but evolves in this improving season
Marvel films etc have been mostly quite stale for a long while, despite remaining to be entertaining. The Punisher has always been a character that has been best seen from the outside: Violent, gloomy and angry.
This season 2 follows on from the introductory first season, but thankfully doesn't retread the old arc. Frank Castle is back in the action, as the enemies find themselves over their heads in dealing with this unstoppable one man army out to protect a young lady in his care. Added to this is the Billy Russo/Jigsaw arc, where that character is trying to figure out what happened to him and seems to seek revenge.
As usual Jon Bernthal is terrific, and all else do a fine job too. I've got to be honest and say that Jon Bernthal is perfect as the Punisher, he captures the character very well. Some supporting actors are also doing a great job, others could be better (but it is TV and not high budget films).
Anyhow, as for the story, I found it intriguing, and the lead villain is a dark brooding villain, maybe a foil to The Punisher. It's intriguing and violent. Both are out for redemption it seems but can their battles allow both to survive?
Really for a TV series, it's very good. Okay, has some bits you can point to for this & that, but really you get all you want. You love the characters, you love it all.
Hopefully not the final run for this show, and if so (boo hoo!) then I hope they give this a chance at a full film with Jon Bernthal still in the lead.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
Not a movie, just a collection of short stories
This is beautifully filmed with a cross section of well known actors.
All set in the wild west, the Coen Brothers use their style to bring out the dark comedy that underlies life in these stories, that more often than not subvert your expectations. Often nasty, always humorous, yet I was often bored. You can pick & choose from what is given and there are good points, but it wasn't for me.
This is one you'll either love or be bored by, sadly I was in the latter but that wouldn't stop me recommending this to others to maybe give it a try.
Batman Ninja (2018)
Shockingly poor but glorious looking...
This was quite an interesting idea. Take a US icon and give it a manga dress up and see how the transformation goes. Sounds great. Problem is that they forgot to get good script writers in.
Design wise it's exceptionally good; the colours, the designs and the animation is flawless. There's a segment in the story dedicated to The Joker turned farmer done in a traditional Japanese style and it's beautiful with probably the only intriguing bit of script writing. That's about all I can say good about the whole film.
Supposedly this is about Batman, his team and his enemies somehow having been transported back in time to feudal Japan and it's all out samurai clan war. Yet for much of the film it feels more like Transformers than Batman, and really I hadn't a clue what was often going on. What was the need for the Transformers stuff?
Also what was the point with adding the Penguin and Two Face in this movie when they were hardly used if really at all.
The action starts from the word go, which is fine but comes at the expense of story of which you just don't find any interest in.
The action is manga style full speed which is the point, but really it didn't engage me (but probably will some 12 year old). That the action is well designed but there is little ninja here, as I thought ninjas were meant to be stealthy (not here).
This is a wasted opportunity and an over blown mess. Probably they realised that the storyline was poor and so went overboard on the action.
Best left on the shelf. There's far better Batman animation out there to watch which may not have the design quality this has but are far more faithful to the story lines which have always been their strength.
The Punisher: Memento Mori (2017)
Surprisingly faithful hard edged comic transfer to TV.
Well done to Netflix et al.
After a bunch of botched job interpretations on screen in the film world, Netflix have taken The Punisher and given the whole story a welcome retelling. It worked.
Really worked! I read a bunch of The Punisher comics when I was much younger and always liked the dark take on the character, something different for a hero.
Our lead is perfect, and despite having a lower effects budget to work on, both our lead et al are given long story arcs in which to develop with great storyline.
It's violent and unapologetic for it, which is fine as that is what The Punisher is all about. In the comics he's a tortured soul and violence to execute justice is is way, whether you agree with his philosophy or not.
There was some obvious points, and some of the surprises were easily predicted before they happened, but really they could be passed over. Enjoyable and engrossing story, which really even the most stone hearted person could find something in.
Give it a try, and hopefully the second season will live up to the first. This has been my first series I've watched on Netflix, and with this good standard it won't be the last.