Posts Tagged ‘John Cena’

Project Starfish

The Suicide Squad

Director: James Gunn

Cast: Viola Davis, Idris Elba, Margot Robbie, Sylvester Stallone, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Pete Davidson, Flula Borg, Jai Courtney, Nathan Fillion, Michael Rooker, Alice Braga, Peter Capaldi, Juan Diego Botto, Taika Waititi, David Dastmalchian

Film Rating: 5.5 out of 10

How did Warner Brothers go from the brilliant Oscar winning Joker in the DC superhero universe to this bizarre concoction of the 2021 reboot of Suicide Squad, unimaginably entitled The Suicide Squad?

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn clearly drew on a lot of inspiration from the films of Mexican director Guillermo del Toro specifically the Oscar winning Pan’s Labyrinth and more recently 2018’s The Shape of Water. Clearly, del Toro’s brilliance as a film maker did not shine off on director James Gunn as he delivers a bloated hot mess of a superhero film The Suicide Squad, featuring too many characters, glorified violence and a plot as bizarre as a Kafka novel with drug induced input from William S. Boroughs author of The Naked Lunch.

2021’s The Suicide Squad is so crazy, so unbelievably off the wall, that even the brilliant moments are overshadowed by some truly ridiculous moments which involved a whole new gang of The Suicide Squad attacking a fictional crackpot Hispanic island in which a crazed glorified dictator is harbouring an alien lifeform in the shape of a giant starfish.

Not even Oscar winner Viola Davis (Fences) could steady this crazy ship of fools, nor could Oscar nominee Margot Robbie (I, Tonya, Bombshell) as she dutifully reprises her role of the psychotic Harley Quinn, alongside Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, newcomer Idris Elba as Bloodsport and John Cena, seen frequently in white underpants as Peacemaker.

There are an abundance of sidekicks including David Dastmalchian as the mother obsessed Polka Dot Man, Sylvester Stallone as the talking shark King Shark, beautiful German actor Flula Borg as the gorgeous Javelin and a briefly seen Jai Courtenay as Captain Boomerang.

The scriptwriters killed their darlings in the opening credits of The Suicide Squad, making way for a convoluted plot involving alien life forms, a vain Hispanic dictator on a remote Caribbean island and a giant starfish which eventually attacks a city the size of Haiti. With such a confluence of confusing characters not one of them stood out as remarkably noticeable, although both Idris Elba and Margot Robbie tried their best to steady this sinking ship of wrecked and psychotic superheroes.

The only bright moment in The Suicide Squad, was the brief cameo appearance of Oscar winning screen writer of Jojo Rabbit Taika Waititi on a rooftop in Lisbon, Portugal, appearing as Ratcatcher. 

Despite the creative production design, The Suicide Squad is deeply disturbing, a film that glorifies death and violence without ever being responsible about its moral implications for the viewers who watch it. Where Joker was intricate and careful about its psychological makeup, The Suicide Squad is unbelievable careless about their characterizations.

The Suicide Squad gets a film rating of 5.5 out of 10, outlandish and cluttered with dazzling images, psychotic superheroes and zombies. Do not watch this film if you are stressed or taking hallucinogenic drugs.

The Aries Project

F9: The Fast Saga

Director: Justin Lin

Cast: Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron, John Cena, Helen Mirren, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Finn Cole, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Anna Sawai, Thue Ersted Rasmussen, Shea Whigham, Michael Rooker, Vinnie Bennett  

Thank you to United International Pictures for the Media Preview at Suncoast Cinemas, Durban of F9: The Fast Saga held on Wednesday 23rd June 2021

Taiwanese-American director Justin Lin who helmed the sequel to the original Fast and the Furious film, called Tokyo Drift returns to direct the ninth instalment of the Fast and the Furious franchise, F9: The Fast Saga, which is an action film infused with speedway nostalgia.

F9: The Fast Saga focuses on Dominic Toretto’s childhood and the death of his father and the fractured relationship with his younger brother Jakob. The younger version of Jakob is played by rising star Finn Cole who appeared in the TV series Animal Kingdom and Peaky Blinders. Dominic’s younger version is played by Vinnie Bennett.

Back in the present, Dominic Toretto confronts his younger brother Jakob played by wrestler turned actor John Cena as they fight it out within a ring of international espionage.

Jakob has fallen under the spell of a Georgian dictator’s son, Otto wonderfully played by Danish star Thue Ersted Rasmussen. Toretto assembles the old crew back including the gang from Tokyo drift Han played by Sung Kang and Sean played by Lucas Black along with Roman and Tej to provide some laughs played respectively by Tyrese Gibson and Chris Bridges.

The girls are well represented in the gang with Letty, Mia, Ramsey and Elle played respectively by Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel and Anna Sawai. There is also the arch villain: the hacker Cypher played by gorgeous South African born Oscar winner Charlize Theron (Monster).

The story swiftly whisks audiences around the world from Tokyo to Tbilisi, from Edinburgh to the Caspian Sea. The stunts in F9: The Fast Saga are amazing, drawing a lot of inspiration from such 007 films as The Man with the Golden Gun and the latest Christopher Nolan film Tenet, although not quite with the some elegant flourish.

Suspend your disbelief and enjoy the escapism of this action packed full throttle adventure with a stellar cast including some cameo appearances again by Kurt Russell as Mr Nobody and Oscar winner Helen Mirren (The Queen) as Queenie.

Family is at the centre of F9: The Fast Saga as the Toretto brothers battle it out only to realize that they are pawns being used in a more ambitious plan to find a powerful encryption device called The Aries Project which if unleashed on the world’s orbiting satellites, would wreck digital havoc globally.

If viewers are a fan of the Fast and Furious franchise, then go and purchase a ticket in a cinema and watch it on the Big Screen now. It’s amazing but strictly for fans of the eight previous films. Thankfully I have been a fan since the first film was released in 2001.

F9: The Fast Saga is an ideal popcorn film, filled with action, laughter and off the wall stunts, with a story that treats its characters with respect while paying homage to the drag racing franchise. This film gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10. Go and see it and enjoy.

It’s a Zoo Out There

Dolittle

Director: Stephen Gaghan

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Buckley, Harry Collett, Emma Thompson, Octavia Spencer, Rami Malek, Marion Cotillard, Tom Holland, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Carmel Laniado, Kumail Nanijani, John Cena, Frances de la Tour

(from left) Dog Jip (Tom Holland) and Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) in Dolittle, directed by Stephen Gaghan.

Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr (Chaplin, Tropic Thunder) takes on the mischievous role of Victorian animal doctor John Dolittle who has an amazing ability to communicate with animals which includes a menagerie of beasts and birds including a timid Gorilla, a Polar Bear and a bossy Parrot voiced by Oscar winner Emma Thompson (Howards End) in the heart-warming film Dolittle which is definitely an ideal film for parents to accompany their children to.

Dolittle is a delightful film if slightly boisterous at times with a really simple plot about a young boy named Tommy Stubbins played by Harry Collett who accidentally shoots a squirrel and then takes the poor creature to the infamous Dr Dolittle to seek his assistance. Stubbins is roped into assisting a young and comatose Queen Victoria played by Jessie Buckley (Judy) by a Lady Rose played by Carmel Laniado.

Both Stubbins and Lady Rose ask for the assistance of the eccentric and reclusive Dr Doolittle wonderfully played by Robert Downey Jr to assist in finding the source of Queen Victoria’s condition.

Soon Dr Dolittle and Stubbins plus the menagerie embark on a nautical adventure to a mysterious island to find a cure for Queen Victoria but along the way they get stranded in Montevideo, an exotic island run by the crazy King Rassouli played by Oscar nominee Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory) who also happens to be Dolittle’s belated father-in-law. Doolittle’s gorgeous wife Lily Doolittle has mysteriously vanished.

While Dolittle’s storyline is slim, it really is a fun filled film about a doctor who has the amazing ability to talk to animals with an overall message of conservation and appreciation of animals which the younger generation will be able to enjoy.

The villain in Dolittle is Dr Blair Mudly marvelously played by Michael Sheen (Frost, Nixon) and there is also a cameo appearance by Oscar winner Jim Broadbent (Iris) as Lord Thomas Bagley who is suspiciously watching over young Queen Victoria’s supposed demise.

Dolittle is a raucous animal film with a fantastic voice cast including the talents of Oscar winner Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Tom Holland, Oscar nominee Ralph Fiennes (Schindler’s List) and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer (The Help) which all help bring the screen animals to life with vitality and without the pretensions. The visual effects are extraordinary.

Dolittle is recommended viewing, a crazy fun-filled family film with a fabulous cast of characters and animals and is suitable for the entire family.

Dolittle gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10 and is by no means a masterpiece nor does it pretend to be cinematic gold. It’s a light enjoyable adventure film filled with sufficient animals to populate a zoo.

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