Posts Tagged ‘Jason Statham’

The Snowflake Effect

Hobbs & Shaw

Director: David Leitch

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, Idris Elba, Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Hart, Cliff Curtis

Deadpool 2 and Atomic Blonde director David Leitch returns with a sure fire blockbuster, a spin off from the Fast and Furious franchise Hobbs and Shaw.

(from left) Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, directed by David Leitch.

Lawmaker Luke Hobbs played by Dwayne Johnson and British bouncer Deckard Shaw played by Jason Statham team up on an unlikely mission to save the world from a deadly virus and a crazy cyber-genetically altered superhuman wonderfully played by Idris Elba (Thor: Ragnarok, Molly’s Game, The Mountain Between Us) who is after Deckard’s feisty sister Hattie played by Vanessa Kirby (Mission Impossible: Fallout) and proves to be a muscular and worthy villain for Hobbs and Shaw.

Idris Elba as Brixton Lorr in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, directed by David Leitch.

As the action moves swiftly from the sleek skyscrapers of London’s financial district to Moscow and then for a more exotic finale in Samoa, Hobbs and Shaw ticks all the right boxes to ensure that this is an entertaining action packed ballbuster with an outlandish plot, some witty one liners mostly provided by cameo appearances by Kevin Hart and Ryan Reynolds.

Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, directed by David Leitch.

The action is crazy, the stunts are amazing and as Hobbs and Shaw and Hattie desperately try to stop the spread of a deadly virus aptly known as The Snowflake effect which will kill the world’s population within 72 hours of going airborne, they get some hefty help from the entire island of Samoa lead by Luke Hobbs’s crazy brother Jonah.

Vanessa Kirby as Hattie Shaw in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, directed by David Leitch.

There are even guest appearances by Oscar winner Helen Mirren as Deckard’s mother Queenie looking absolutely ravishing even though she is stuck behind bars in a British prison and New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis (Colombiana, Die Hard 4.0, Whale Rider) plays Hobbs’s older brother Jonah who gathers the troops for the final Samoan showdown.

(from left) Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Brixton Lorr (Idris Elba) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, directed by David Leitch.

Let’s face it with Hollywood superstars Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson in an buddy action movie, it’s sure to be a blockbuster and judging by how fill the cinema was on a Saturday matinee, Hobbs and Shaw is recommended for all those Fast and Furious fans who love fast cars, action and some damn funny one liners.

Recommended viewing, Hobbs and Shaw gets a Film Rating of 7 out of 10.

Please note all further film images are provided courtesy of United International Pictures

Live Fast, Die Harder

Fast and Furious 8

Director: F. Gary Gray

Cast: Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kristofer Hivuju, Elsa Pataky

As if there weren’t enough Fast and Furious films, there has to be an eighth film less the appearance of actor Paul Walker who tragically died in a car accident in California in 2013, just after filming The Fast and Furious 7.

The Italian Job director F. Gary Gray assembles an international cast featuring most of the actors from the previous films including Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto, Michelle Rodriguez as Letty along with Tyrese Gibson as Roman and Chris Bridges as Tej Parker. This time the chief villain is South African born Oscar winner Charlize Theron (Monster) as ruthless hacker Cipher who entices Dominic into working for him after she approaches him in a Havana Street. Cipher’s hold of Dominic turns to be blackmail and she constantly manipulates his familial duties and his bond to his gang of drivers.

To add some muscle to the cast are Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs and action man Jason Statham as Deckard who are recruited by a covert intelligence officer aptly identified as Mr Nobody played by Kurt Russell who is definitely experience a resurgence in his career. Mr Nobody’s sidekick Little Nobody is played by Scott Eastwood (Fury) son of veteran actor Clint Eastwood.

Let’s face it the screenwriters are not exactly imaginative with character names. Suffice to say is that audiences that enjoyed all the other Fast and Furious films will definitely enjoy this international joyride as the action swiftly moves from Havana, Cuba to New York and then onto an icy showdown in Russia which involves a nuclear submarine among all the fast cars and snowmobiles. The Manhattan action sequence might be implausible but is definitely not an advert for the benefits of self-driving cars which can be remotely hacked. See it to believe it.

Considering that Fast and the Furious 8 was number one at the South African box office for three consecutive weeks since its Easter weekend opening and that the action film has grossed over a $1 billion dollars worldwide there is definitely enough fan support to sustain this fast-paced action franchise for further films to come.

Judging by the packed cinema when I watched the film, Fast and Furious 8 or the Fate of the Furious has the winning combination of fast cars, gadgets, beautiful women and a healthy dose of Hollywood cameos. This is popcorn cinema at its most formulaic and these films certainly keeps many actors employed.

As the characters live fast and some of them die harder, Fast and Furious 8 is a fun-filled action film but don’t expect anything too highbrow. Audiences should look out for Game of Thrones stars Nathalie Emmanuel as Ramsey and Norwegian actor Kristofer Hivuju as Toretto’s musclebound enemy Rhodes.

Fast and Furious 8 gets a film rating of 7 out of 10. If you enjoyed the other films, then this film will satisfy even the most ardent speed racers who can visually salivate at fast cars and daring stunts.

Eliminating the Competition

Mechanic: Resurrection

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Director: Dennis Gansel

Cast: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Sam Hazeldine, Toby Eddington, John Cenatiempo

Viewers of Mechanic Resurrection could be forgiven for thinking they are watching a retro 007 film. As German director Dennis Gansel’s film opens in Rio de Janeiro, it is reminiscent of Moonraker then as the next sequence moves to the South China Sea, the location is directly out of The Man with the Golden Gun.

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Action man Jason Statham reprises his role of Arthur Bishop in the sequel to the 2011 film The Mechanic, this time Bishop is courted by nefarious arms dealer Crain played by British actor Sam Hazeldine (The Huntsman: Winters War), to carry out a series of assassinations around the globe, which should look like freak accidents.

As Mechanic Resurrection moves from Rio to Bangkok, to a prison island off the Malaysian city of Penang then onto a glossy highrise in Sydney Harbour, director Ganzel makes the most out of every exotic location. Surprisingly none of the locations are in the US, which adds to the originality of the film.

In Thailand, Bishop meets the pawn in the game, Gina, played by the voluptuous and feisty Jessica Alba, and then both are involved in a dangerous game of intrigue, as Bishop is sent by Crain to kill these criminal monsters. The last of which is Max Adams played by an unrecognizable Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive, Jason Bourne), who is hiding out in a Soviet era monument in the outskirts of the Bulgarian resort city of Varna.

Soon Bishop and Adams make an unholy alliance to take Crain down and the rest of Mechanic Resurrection is an old style action film, as bad guys are dispatched in the hundreds, particularly in a scene on a luxurious yacht on the Black Sea. Bishop literally eliminates the competition.

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The most dazzling scene in the film is the cantilever swimming pool which juts out of a Sydney Harbour apartment building which Bishop sabotages to kill arms dealer and child trafficker, the suave Adrian Cook played by Toby Eddington.

Mechanic Resurrection is an old style action film, the kind film studios used to make between the mid-1980 and 1990’s. Think Rambo, Die Hard or True Lies. It’s a great popcorn film.

The stunts are outrageous, the locations out of a bond film and naturally the buff Jason Statham is perfect as the fit action hero ready to save the gorgeous Gina held captive on a yacht fill of thugs.

Clearly inspired by the Bond franchise, director Dennis Gansel pays homage to some of the classic 007 films giving the look of Mechanic Resurrection that fabulously exotic retro feel. Even former Bond girl Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies) stars as Mei, Bishop’s friend and confidant in the South China Sea.

Mechanic Resurrection is 90 minutes of pure action, fabulous locations and complete escapism, sometimes it’s just what audiences need to escape the mundane realities of daily life. Go and see it. It’s fun and certainly entertaining!

Feminizing Espionage

Spy

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Director: Paul Feig

Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Alison Janney, Miranda Hart, Morena Baccarin

There is a confession to be made. I am not a huge Melissa McCarthy fan having missed most of her films which have made her famous including Bridesmaids, The Heat and Tammy. So it was with a mixture of trepidation and curiosity that I went to see director Paul Feig’s comedy thriller Spy mainly because I am a huge Jude Law fan. So I thought it would be interesting to see whether such a diverse cast such as Melissa McCarthy, Oscar Nominee Jude Law (The Talented Mr Ripley, Sherlock Holmes), action star Jason Statham (The Expendibles 3, Transporter Trilogy), Bobby Cannavale (Blue Jasmine, Danny Collins) and Rose Byrne (Annie, Marie Antoinette) could elevate such a film as Spy.

Despite its exotic locations from Varna in Bulgaria, to Paris, Rome and Budapest, Spy is a second rate thriller which attempts with some hilarious if not crude consequences attempts to feminize the espionage genre, and more specifically rip off the ultimate Spy films, The James Bond Franchise.

The 007 franchise have nothing to worry about as Spy is so second rate and middle of the road, even the predictable narrative could not have threatened the Bond films as a serious competitor.

spy

Let’s face it. Spy is really a comedy especially with the likes of Melissa McCarthy, British comedian Miranda Hart and Bridesmaids co-star Rose Byrne thrown in. But Jude Law? Seriously after making appearances in such exceptional films as The Talented Mr Ripley, Hugo, Sherlock Holmes and Anna Karenina, I wondered what he was doing in such a ridiculous film.

Spy is a fun filled and crass comedy which should appeal to all Melissa McCarthy fans however I would have thought that writer and director Paul Feig could have been more inventive when ripping off the James Bond franchise. The storyline is predictable, vaguely funny and even the villains Sergio de Luca and Rayna Boyanov played by Cannavale and Byrne are not seriously menacing but come off as clichés of the more heinous megalomaniacs

Even Alison Janney (The Way Way Back, The Hours) as CIA director Elaine Crocker does not save this film. Although Jason Statham is suitably funny as the rogue spy Rick Ford who is constantly threatened by females in his line of duty. Audiences should watch Spy on a Saturday afternoon as it’s certainly not the most taxing film to watch but enjoyable in its own lazy and crude style. Look out for a cameo by Curtis Jackson also known as 50c

A Fraternal Send Off

Fast and Furious 7

furious_seven

Director: James Wan

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Djimon Hounsou, Kurt Russell, Chris Bridges, Luke Evans, Ronda Rousey, John Brotherton, Ali Fazal

Fast and Furious fans will not be disappointed with the seventh instalment of this hugely successful globetrotting film franchise as almost the entire cast of the previous six films are reunited in a poignant and brash fraternal send off to co-star Paul Walker, who died tragically in a car accident in Santa Clarita, California during the shooting of Fast and Furious 7 on the 30th November 2013.

This time the enemy amongst others is Deckard Shaw played with brawn by action star Jason Statham who after the defeat of his brother in London travels to Los Angeles and vows to hunt down all those responsible which include Hobbs played by Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Dominic Torreto played by Vin Diesel as well as Brian O’Conner played by the late Paul Walker. Even Michelle Rodriguez has a bigger role in this film as Torreto’s kick-ass slightly amnesiac girlfriend Letty.

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This time the enemy amongst others is Deckard Shaw played with brawn by action star Jason Statham who after the defeat of his brother in London travels to Los Angeles and vows to hunt down all those responsible which include Hobbs played by Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Dominic Tureto played by Vin Diesel as well as Brian O’Conner played by the late Paul Walker. Even Michelle Rodriguez has a bigger role in this film as Tureto’s kick-ass slightly amnesiac girlfriend Letty.

Add some new faces such as Kurt Russell as the aptly titled Mr Nobody and Oscar nominee Djimon Hounson (Blood Diamond) as the other more nefarious villain Jakande as well as some familiar faces like Tyrese Gibson (2 Fast 2 Furious), Lucas Black (Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift) and this sequel is set to satisfy fans of this adrenalin pumping action series right from the opening fight scenes between Statham (Transporter, Safe) and Johnson (G. I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra).

As the seventh instalment of Fast and Furious was funded by Media Rights Capital, which is based in Abu Dhabi so should the action for a large part of this film. The Abu Dhabi skyscraper sequence in Fast and Furious 7 at a Jordanian billionaire prince’s penthouse party is sure to delight fans the world over and certainly attract new ones in the Middle East, even though the action scenes do mimic that of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol which was set in Dubai.

Although the plot for Fast and Furious 7 may be convoluted and the storyline slightly far-fetched, the action sequences and car chase scenes are amazing from the Azerbaijan mountain sequence to the fabulous Abu Dhabi segment to the final explosive showdown in downtown Los Angeles which tends to drag on a bit but is no less entertaining if slightly implausible.

Most fittingly, the film ends with a poignant and memorable tribute scene on the beach in Malibu to one of its late stars, Paul Walker and it’s for this reason that fans will definitely see this film.

Recommended viewing for adrenalin junkies, petrol heads and fans of The Expendables and Mission Impossible film series, Fast and Furious 7 can be forgiven for being overlong, it’s a fitting fraternal send off to one its own stars. The action and stunt sequences are truly out of this world. See Fast and Furious 7 to believe it!

Old Dogs of War

The Expendables 3

expendables_three_ver18

Director: Patrick Hughes

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Kellan Lutz, Kelsey Grammer, Dolph Lundgren, Victor Ortiz, Terry Crews, Glen Powell, Ronda Rousey, Randy Coutoure, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Randy Coutoure

 expendables_three_ver4

Sylvester Stallone reunites with all his 80’s action hero stars for a reminiscent action adventure film culminating in Zorro, the guy from Lethal Weapon along with Arnie, Indiana Jones and of course Rambo all fighting it out on the big screen.

The Expendables 3 is a fun action romp with lots of old and new cast members following on the success of the two previous films which basically gave a very flimsy premise for all these aged action stars to have an onscreen reunion amidst blowing everything in sight. The fact that all 3 Expendables movies is always released on South African screen during woman’s month is ironic to say the least. One has to satisfy the male population some how.

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Stallone plays Barney with Jason Statham as Lee Christmas who along with the rest of the Expendables cast add some new younger and savvy crew led by the cocky Smilee played by a buffed up Kellan Lutz who has come along way from the Twilight Days. Together both crews set out to destroy the evil and manic arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks, wonderfully played by Mel Gibson, a former Expendables co founder and now nefarious and ruthless criminal with a penchant for expensive art.

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As the action moves swiftly from all the usual international honeymoon spots like Mogadishu, Somalia to Armenia, (actually Bulgaria) in the film, The Expendables 3 does not pretend to be anything more than popcorn fodder with loads of action some witty one liners and a flimsy plot thrown in. Its also a fantastic chance for Wesley Snipes (The Blade Trilogy) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator) to redeem their forsaken Hollywood careers along with Antonio Banderas (The Legend of Zorro) and more importantly Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon).

The real question is what was Harrison Ford doing in a film like this? Surely he made enough money as Indiana Jones or is this a revival pending the next Star Wars Trilogy where Ford is rumored to reprise his role as Han Solo (40 years on!)

The Expendables 3 is great entertainment if viewers enjoy a bunch of old dogs of cinema blowing things up and getting the bad guys. There are some amazing stunts, the narrative is flimsy punctuated by some hilarious moments provided by Banderas, Snipes and of course Oscar Winner Mel Gibson.

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It is also evident that clearly the 2008 economic recession is still affecting Hollywood if all these actors from the eighties and nineties still need to take part in sequels. The main thing is, at least they haven’t retired and are still entertaining audiences 30 years later as the cinema was packed when watching this action flick. Recommended viewing for serious action stars and clearly not aimed at female audiences despite the presence of female wrestler Rhonda Rousey who adds some glamour to this aged group of bandits.

Watch out for Kelsey Grammer (last seen in Transformers: Age of Extinction) as Bonaparte, a sort of mercenary recruiter who is always good value.

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