James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Thomas Kretschmann & Morgan Freeman.
Written by Michael Brandt, Derek Haas & Chad Morgan.
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov.
Visionary Russian director Bekmambetov (Nightwatch) scores big time with his first Hollywood film, a whacked-out tale of a nebbish young man who becomes a member of a cabal of assassins. Based on the comic by Mark Millar, this slick, imaginative action film is brought to life by a great cast, and despite it’s lapses in credibility, managed to engage this viewer right from the slow-burn beginning through to the momentous final reel.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Ray Winstone, Karen Allen & Shia LaBeouf.
Written by David Koepp.
Directed by Steven Spielberg.
Not being a fan of the Indiana sequels, I entered the viewing of Crystal Skull with a healthy dose of scepticism. But I’m glad to say that I enjoyed this overblown nonsense wholeheartedly. And whilst it’s certainly no Raiders of the Lost Ark, it stands proud as perhaps the best of the Indiana sequels, throwing homage to the original film at every possible moment. Spielberg is top form and an excellent cast seem to be having a ball – especially Blanchett, hamming it up as a Russian femme fatale.
John Rambo (2008)
Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Matthew Marsden & Maung Maung Khin.
Written by Art Monterastelli & Sylvester Stallone.
Directed by Sylvester Stallone.
Stallone has not aged well, but his appearance serves the character of John Rambo very well. Big John is now living in Thailand, catching cobras and ferrying missionaries upriver into Burma. When one such group goes missing, Rambo leads a ragtag bunch of mercenaries on a rescue mission. This has to be one of the most violent films I have ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of violent films. Well directed, but it’s entertainment value will depend on your tolerance for a film whose single driving motive is grisly death.
(Wadrick Jones is a freelance writer for GritFX and will post weekly thirty second film reviews on this blog.)