Category: Action

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Casting update

tmnt-castHot on the heels of the first trailer for the new TMNT movie comes some casting updates. Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub have been added s the voices of two of the major characters. Knoxville will provide the voice of Leonardo and Shalhoub will be on vocal duties for the character of Splinter.

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Shoot ‘Em Up!

shoot-em-up-clive-owenFilmmakers are always striving. Whether it is for authenticity, the ultimate laugh or the biggest heartache the films are usually curtailed by the need to keep it real. What if they did not need to? A film that takes it all the way and really sets out by saying F*** It! Let’s just see how far we can actually go with this. The logical genre for such a film is in action and adventure. One film that turns it up to eleven is the 2007 film Shoot ‘Em Up.

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300: Rise of an Empire

300_Rise_of_an_Empire_Eva_Green_PosterBack in 2006 I stumbled onto 300 in the cinema as a “nothing else on” choice. I had watched the trailers and had been generally underwhelmed. In the end I enjoyed both the visual style and the ‘over macho’ performances of all involved and so I was rather looking forward to seeing this year’s sequel.

Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad are back converting the original Frank Miller source to the big screen, but this time around Snyder passed the directing duties onto Noam Murro. I have never come across this gentleman’s name or work before, but he picked this movie over the terrible Die Hard 4, so he clearly has some smarts! Continue reading “300: Rise of an Empire” »

Noah: The Ark Featurette

noah-russell-croweAhead of the cinema release of the biblical epic Noah, Paramount Pictures have released a featurette going behind the scenes of the movie. The short video takes us for a look at how the look of the Ark was developed. It gives a fascinating insight into how the design of the big boat was developed on paper and ultimately realised on set.

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The Chronicles of Riddick

vin-diesel-riddickIt is difficult to find a contemporary Sci-Fi film that doesn’t try to please everyone. The gritty Elysium from last year, had a storyline that was almost a joke due to it’s overly earnest nature. It eventually results in the anti-climactic and clichéd sacrifice that we have become overly familiar with in movies in recent years. Instead of looking to the classics of Star Wars and Metropolis, I looked towards the 2004 film The Chronicles of Riddick to provide me with a slightly different experience. The film is full of stealth action scenes, parkour with explosions and excessively violent fight scenes and terrible one liners.

The Chronicles of Riddick is set five years after the events of Pitch Black. The first film found its place in the home medium after a modest cinema run film which turned out to be successful enough that a sequel was financed. In the film, we follow Riddick (Vin Diesel) on his quest to find out the identity of the person who has placed a massive bounty on his head. The trail leads to Helion Prime, a world which has very strong echoes of the cities and desert landscapes of Arrakis from Frank Herbert’s Dune. It is this world that showcases some stunning visuals that draw the audience into the story. Although the special effects do not rival that of Avatar, the $105 million budget is very evident on the screen.

Vin Diesel gives a very good performance. The fact that he plays pretty much the same character whatever the film is of little consequence. He knows exactly what the audience wants and he delivers. He relishes the slightly daft one liners and is obviously enjoying taking on the role for a second time. He carries the majority of the film and some of the smaller cast roles are pushed to the side to give his screen presence more impact. That does not mean that other actors do not get a look in.

thandie-Newton-karl-urban-chronicles-of-riddick Karl Urban as Vakko is the main adversary for Riddick and he growls and snarls his way through the film with gusto. It is an almost pantomime bad guy performance which sits well within the confines of the film. Thandie Newton acts alongside Urban as his wife. Her role is a cross between Lady MacBeth and Cruella DeVille. She chews the scenery with her over the top performance which again never feels out of place in the spectacle. Bizarrely Dame Judi Dench also features as Aereon, an elemental. She is of a race of beings who believe in the balance of the universe and have a talent for prophecy. Dame Judi appears to be having a good time hamming it up with the rest of them.

The storyline is nothing special which is both a good and bad point. It’s excellent as the film focuses on the often explosive action and unbelievable elements that truly make a good sci-fi flick. Unfortunately, the film’s lack of in-depth story leads to the action scenes becoming the main driver of the film with the ‘major’ plot points being used as a connective device. For example, when Riddick is interred in an underground prison and for some unexplained reason is left hanging while bounty hunters haggle over money. He of course escapes his chains and is immediately greeted by violent prisoners and a standard fight scene that last only a few moments.

Another major flaw is the colour design. This is reflected in several scenes and none more apparent than during the battle for Helion prime. The fight sequences are very dark and it is a struggle to see what is going on. We are then subjected to a first person view from Riddicks point of view. There is an almost lazy purple light over everything that would give anyone a sore head.

The ultimate problem lies within its originality. As mentioned earlier, Helion prime is very much like Arrakis from Dune. Unfortunately the main issue found is its likeness to certain aspects of the Star Trek universe. I am obviously referring to the unnamed security guard that is killed within ten minutes of appearing. This happens repeatedly as bounty hunters and security guards alike are massacred by Riddick and the armies of the Necromongers, the principal evil presence.

In conclusion, The Chronicles of Riddick is a very good film. The action and adventure is relentless but the overall enjoyment doesn’t wear off and the story doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The Protector 2

the-protector-2-tony-jaaTo lose the only thing you care about and have to battle to get it back is unfortunate and troubling. To be in the same position for a second time is just plain careless. This is the situation that Kham (Tony Jaa) finds himself in. In the events of the first Protector movie, Kham has his pet Elephant stolen and transported to Australia (as you do). He is forced to fight his way to retrieve his prized friend.  Continue reading “The Protector 2” »

Meet Black Widow

Black-Widow-artworkMarvel UK has released a nice featurette which focusses on the character of Black Widow. Up until now the character as portrayed by Scarlett Johansson has taken a secondary role in the building of the Avengers universe. Now with phase two well under way the character is being developed more with a view to at some point give her a standalone movie. Continue reading “Meet Black Widow” »

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

sin-city-a-dame-to-kill-for-joseph-gordon-levittIt has been long overdue. The first trailer for Sin City: A Dame To Kill For has been released online. The film has had a rough passage from page to screen. It was originally penciled in for a 2013 release only for that to be put back a whole year. Continue reading “Sin City: A Dame To Kill For” »


Angelina Jolie The transition from concept to screen can be a difficult and testing one for a movie. There are so many steps and barriers that have to be addressed before a single image is committed to film. It doesn’t help if there are unforeseen circumstances that put a spanner in the works. Salt was originally conceived as an action vehicle for the actor Tom Cruise. He turned down the chance to star, instead taking up the offer to be in the disappointing action film Knight & Day. Rather than going to the next obvious male star available, the film was re-worked. The central character was re-written as a female. Script changes were made for the change of gender and Angelina Jolie was subsequently cast in the title role. Continue reading “Salt” »

View the first three minutes of the Veronica Mars movie


The Veronica Mars movie has seen some very clever marketing before a single frame of footage was shot. A highly publicised crowd funding campaign on kickstarter raised over $5.7 million which persuaded Warner Bros Studios, who own the rights, that a movie of the cult TV show would be a viable and possibly profitable product. To keep the buzz going several behind the scenes features and a trailer giving a flavour of the plot was produced. Continue reading “View the first three minutes of the Veronica Mars movie” »