Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Film Review: American Heist (2014)

American Heist (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the most generic films I've seen in a long time."

When his older brother, Frankie (Adrien Brody), is released from prison, James (Hayden Christensen), a man working to turn his life around, spirals back into a life of crime...

American Heist is a very generic crime film. The film follows James and Frankie. The brothers have a troubled relationship, especially due to a crime the duo committed years ago — Frankie serving ten years, James getting spared with 16 months. Anyway, James is working on getting his life back together when Frankie is released from prison. Of course, Frankie drags his younger brother into a risky scheme — a bank heist. James is reluctant, but his brother's "associates" hold him with few options — basically, help or everyone he loves will die. It's stuff we've seen a million times before, really. The climax, the actual heist, is decent and the ending was okay. The ending was a bit abrupt, though, it almost felt like the writer just got tired and gave up.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Film Review: Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' (2015)

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' (Review)
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the most exciting and entertaining films I've seen this year."

Frieza's incapacitated army, led by Sorbet, find the dragon balls and resurrect their sinister leader...

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' is a very simple film. After being swiftly resurrected, Freiza begins training to reach a new level of power and exact his revenge on Goku (Sean Schemmel). As Frieza arrives, he finds Goku is absent; Goku and Vegeta (Christopher R. Sabat) are training with Whis at Lord Beerus' humble abode. So, our group of remaining heroes — including Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin, Master Roshi and Tien — decide to hold off Frieza's forces until Goku can arrive. And, when Goku and Vegeta finally arrive, we get our epic climax. A battle between old adversaries with a few surprises. The film leads to a satisfying ending.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Film Review: Harbinger Down (2015)

Harbinger Down (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"If you don't mind a bland narrative, this is a spectacle worth watching for the practical special effects."

Sadie (Camille Balsamo) and her college group board the fishing trawler Harbinger to study the effects of global warming on whales in the Bering Sea. Their studies are soured upon discovering something more sinister in the ice...

Harbinger Down is a basic creature feature with a generic cast of characters — I think the latter is more disappointing. The film follows Sadie after she boards the Harbinger — the trawler captained by her grandfather, Graff (Lance Henriksen). The crew discover a block of ice with a Soviet spacecraft and decide to keep it in the hold. Of course, instead of waiting until they dock, Sadie decides to pry into their discovery. She finds bizarre alien bacteria and the crew find themselves attacked by a shape-shifting alien. There are other tidbits here and there, but that's practically the entire plot. Discover, unleash, survive. The ending plays it safe — very predictable and fails to leave an impression. It's not horrible, but it could have been better.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Film Review: Wolf Warrior (2015)

Wolf Warrior (Review)
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

" As an action film, Wolf Warriors is a more serviceable movie."

After showing initiative during a tense showdown, expert marksman Leng Feng (Wu Jing) joins the "special forces of the special forces," but soon finds himself confronting the actions of his past...

Let's just get to the basics. Wolf Warrior follows Leng Feng when he's recruited by Long Xiaoyun (Yu Nan) to join a special forces group she commands — The Wolf Warriors. During a training mission, the group are assaulted by a team of foreign mercenaries led by Tom Cat (Scott Adkins). Tom Cat is hired by a drug lord to kill Leng Feng. So, the PLA (more like Leng Feng by his lonesome) and these mercenaries go to war in these barren woods. For the most part, the plot felt very thin and a little disjointed. It gets a little more consistent during the final act, but the ending was very predictable.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Film Review: Last Shift (2014)

Last Shift (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the best horror experiences in recent years."

On her first day, Officer Jessica Loren (Juliana Harkavy) is assigned the last shift at a closing precinct. As she begins her lonesome night, Loren is disturbed by an ominous presence...

Last Shift is a rather simple film with a very familiar premise. The film follows Officer Loren on her first day. After meeting her eccentric sergeant, Loren is left by her lonesome. It's not long until she begins to receive eerie phone calls, encounter strange visitors, and experience surreal events. To her utter dismay, she eventually finds these strange happenings may be linked to a notorious cult with devious intentions. That's practically all that happens in the film. There's not exactly a lot to talk about, but it does have quite a bit going on. The plot leads to a satisfying conclusion. Considering all of the buildup, though, it did feel a little underwhelming.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Film Review: Kung Fu Killer (2014)

Kung Fu Killer (aka Kung Fu Jungle) (Review)
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...action fans will not be disappointed."

When a vicious killer (Wang Baoqiang) begins challenging retired martial arts masters to deadly duels, Hahou Mo (Donnie Yen), a martial arts expert incarcerated for manslaughter, is released to catch the culprit...

Kung Fu Killer is a very simple film. In fact, that's practically all you need to know about the film's story — it's that simple. Our vicious killer goes by the name Fung Yu-Sau. He goes around challenging the top martial artists in their respective disciplines – boxing, kicking, grappling, etc. Hahou knows this and convinces the police to release him so he can help capture Fung. Hahou and the police trail Fung and occasional clash, piecing together the reasoning for his crimes and Hahou's true intentions. It leads to an epic battle and satisfying conclusion.