Too-short Cruise does the running-jumping-shooting-punching thing, this time ripping off Taken right down to a version of that phone speech to the principle bad guy. It’s a polished version of the middle-aged-guy-with-skills-and-guns alright, but it’s no more than that. Never Go Back? Only if there’s a big franchise pay-check.
Charismatic, but increasingly asexual, Tom Cruise is now such a big movie star that every project he takes on becomes a Tom Cruise vanity project; look how Tom can run, jump, shoot, punch. And how much he now looks like a waxwork of himself.
Ex-military investigator Reacher drifts from case to case and positively trips over this one. His army successor, Major Turner (Coby Smulders – Avengers – holding the screen rather well) has been falsely accused on treason charges. Add in the revelation of a tearaway teen daughter he didn’t know about (an excellent Danika Yarosh), with the bad guys on their tail, there’s a military conspiracy to uncover. Continue Reading
The A-team of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass return to the Bourne franchise to give us more of what we want. It may not be original, but it has grit, tension and that visceral quality that made Bourne the go-to spy-guy. That was then, what about now?
Damon matures well as the battered survivor Jason Bourne with the extreme espionage skills, although the extended origins plot is now getting a little thin. We go further back into Bourne’s family history, turning the whole Bourne franchise into an Inigo Montoya revenge tale. Continue Reading
The critical hammering this 70’s cop-show reboot received on release in 2013 kept me away from it; catching up with it now, I was probably right. Abandoning the ramshackle charm of TV’s lovable rogues Regan and Carter, director Nick Love (of various terrible Danny Dire movies not worth naming) goes sweary and loud in an attempt to make this the British Heat, right down to a running street battle across Trafalgar Square. Ambitious but foolhardy, this Sweeney misses the mark, like the automatic fire in all its set pieces.
Worth seeing only for the monumental performance of Ray Winstone (Snow White, Hugo) as out-of-control dinosaur cop Jack Regan, the rest of this under-budget crime ‘thriller’ is by turns cliched, ludicrous, laughable and cheap. Does anyone really think this is how the modern Met Police operates? Continue Reading
If you want to skip on, you just need to know this is the Aussie version of the Cohens’ Blood Simple. With sunshine.
Alice wants to leave town with mechanic boyfriend Dylan, but bar-owner husband Jack hires hitman Mr Wolf to kill her. Jack’s sister Lucy needs a substitute body to pull off an insurance scam with indebted gambler husband Nathan, who’s being stung by the corrupt town cop Bruce.
A solid Aussie genre-blending black-comedy-thriller, Kill Me Three Times is Blood Simple, with a workmanlike script, snappy editing and a good cast, with only one problem… Continue Reading
“Let’s do a heist-chase-spy thriller like Salt – that made money. We need a strong female lead to carry it like Angelina – Kurylenko’s a babe, she can do it. Get Morgan Freeman to do his corrupt elder-stateman thing. And we need a British villain – Purefoy, he’s available, and cheap. Couple of car chases, couple of shoot-outs; make it cheaply in Jo’berg – done!”
It’s tricky calling a movie Momentum when the journeyman script can’t maintain any… Continue Reading
The BBC’s long-running espionage series moves from TV to the big screen, this time trying to save Britain’s home intelligence service from a CIA takeover in the face of a Pakistani revenge-terrorism campaign.
All the clichés of latterday pop-TV terror plots mix with old fashioned Le Carre legacy; the question is can it open up a claustrophobic TV drama into something more without a Bourne/Bond scale budget? Continue Reading
Chameleon actor Tom Hardy (Batman, Legend) turns in a Brando-like performance as Russian war hero turned investigator Leo Demidov on the trail of a serial killer. In a paranoid Soviet state of suspicion and fear, executing its citizens at will, even his schoolteacher wife Raisa (Noomi Rapace – Prometheus, Dragon Tatoo trilogy) is afraid of him.
It’s not easy when ‘there can be no murder in paradise’; even when the latest murdered child – 44th – is the son of his army comrade; the totalitarian state is in denial of murder, even as it executes its citizens daily. This is Soviet Russia at the height of Stalin’s reign of terror, and even a war hero like Leo can be denounced and exiled to a remote factory town after failing to denounce his own wife, a suspected dissident. Continue Reading