Transformers: The Last Knight

Transformers: The Last Knight is the latest instalment of the Transformers franchise from director Michael Bay. After five films of the toy movie adaptation, you would think by now these robots would put there differences aside and hug it out but the war between Autobots and Decepticons on Earth still continues.  

Humans and Transformers are at war. To save the future of Earth lies buried in the secrets of the past and the hidden history of Transformers. It’s up to Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), Bumblebee, an English lord (Anthony Hopkins) and an Oxford professor (Laura Haddock) to save the world. 

Meanwhile Optimus Prime has returned back to Cybertron to find the planet disassembled into pieces. Optimus confronts his maker, a powerful sorceress named Quintessa and she corrupts him to do her bidding to destroy Earth so Cybertron can live.  

Mark Wahlberg is back as Cade Yeager, the hero from Transformers: Age of Extinction. Anthony Hopkins and Laura Haddock join the cast with Josh Duhamel and John Turturro reprise their roles from the first three films. 

The cast is likeable but their performances are not enough to save the film. There’s a few uncomfortable humourless moments where Wahlberg, Hopkins and Haddock cracking jokes with Hopkins saying hip words like “dude”. The chemistry between Wahlberg and Haddock is fine but a cliche, their characters don’t get along when they first team up and bicker then later develop feelings for one another.  

Transformers: The Last Knight is a headache to watch. There’s no doubt Bay can make a great pop corn movie. The action is smashing, explosive with dynamite special effects but he always lacks focus in the story and character development. The narrative felt all over the place balancing so many characters and two storylines at the same time. 

The editing felt jumpy and at times annoying to watch the aspect ratio constantly changing during the 2D version. 

Typical Transformers film, spectacular action and special effects with a lousy plot. Overall, this latest instalment of the franchise won’t disappoint fans. 

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars 

The Mummy (2017 film)


Welcome To A New World Of Gods And Monsters

‘The Mummy’ starring Tom Cruise is a reboot of the 1999 film franchise, and the first instalment of Universal Studios’ shared Dark Universe, reviving its monster characters. While it had the budget and an A-List cast, is it a strong start to the new franchise? 

American solider Nick Morton (Cruise) discovers the tomb of Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), an Egyptian princess who has been entombed under the desert for thousands of years. She is accidentally awakened and she embarks on a rampage through the streets of London. It’s up to Morton to stop the resurrected monster before it’s too late.  

Unfortunately, Tom Cruise is miscast in his role as Morton. As the lead, it seems Cruise aims to be the charismatic, humorous soldier and hero, but it just doesn’t seem to suit the film at all. He’s trying to play the cliched unlikeable, self-centred jerk who has the potential to be a good person if makes the right choices in life, a role Cruise doesn’t play that often. He seems mature for a role that should played by a younger actor, doesn’t have chemistry with his female co-stars, his character and former love interest is underdeveloped.  

Sofia Boutella is marvellous as Princess Ahmanet. She’s an alluring, motivated villain and brings terror to the role of the Mummy.  

Russell Crowe appears as Dr. Henry Jekyll (to set up the character for a standalone film in Universal’s monster universe). Crowe is remarkable as the brilliant scientist with the monstrous alter-ego, Edward Hyde. He’s able to play the complex character with duel identities well and nails the no-nonsense tone of the movie.  

Alex Kurtzman (‘People Like Us’) has directed blockbuster disaster. Unlike the previous Mummy films set in the 1920s, this modern retelling takes place in present day which may read well on paper but doesn’t translate well to the screen.  

While there’s some thrills, most of movie is lifeless. It lacks the elements of a Mummy film; fun, adventure and romance. The special effects is over-the-top and flimsy. The only thing good in the production is the solid cinematography and editing.  

The narrative loses its balance, focusing on setting up the Dark Universe by introducing characters into franchise like Crowe’s Jekyll/Hyde and the organisation he works for and taking up a portion of the film. It makes the movie feel rushed and ridiculous to follow. The filmmakers should’ve focused more The Mummy as a whole, focusing more on character development and story instead of taking a page from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe building a shared universe.  

A disappointing and forgettable start to the new monster universe. Here’s wishing the next installment of the franchise will be an improvement. 

Rating 1.5/5 Stars

Wonder Woman

After 20 years of development, Wonder Woman finally makes it the big screen but how is it compared to the recent DC Extended Universe films?  

Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot (Chris Pine) who tells her about the massive conflict that’s raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.

Gal Gadot puts the wonder in Wonder Woman. Perfectly cast, Gadot is fantastic as the title character. She brings beauty, charm and enthusiasm to the role. Chris Pine and supporting cast are superb.

Director Patty Jenkins (Monster) delivers a well adapted and one of the best superhero films in the last years. It’s thrilling, action-packed and entertaining. Editing, visual effects and music is flawless. The only negative is the unnecessary slow motion of the action scenes.

The best film out DC Extended Universe. Enjoyable to watch beginning to end. Wonder Woman is great popcorn movie. It’s a visually stunning, action-packed adventure fun for moviegoers and comic book fans.

Rating: 5/5 Stars 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) feels the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost sailors led by his old nemesis, the evil Capt. Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it, he must forge an uneasy alliance with a brilliant and beautiful astronomer (Kaya Scodelario) and a headstrong young man (Brenton Thwaites) in the British navy.

Johnny Depp reprises his role as the charming, drunk and eccentric pirate Jack Sparrow. Depp’ performance is at times enjoyable but his character has become dull and repetitive. Javier Bardem is superb as the film’s antagonist along with Geoffrey Rush reprising his role as Captain Barbossa. 

Directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg have a made an entertaining family film with great action and impressive special effects but the story lacks originality, it feels like a repeat of the first film. 

Pirates of the Caribbean is okay but not great. Nothing to write home about. 

Rating: 3/5 Stars 

John Wick: Chapter 2

Retired super-assassin John Wick’s (Keanu Reeves) plans to resume a quiet civilian life are cut short when Italian gangster Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) shows up on his doorstep with a gold marker, compelling him to repay past favors. Ordered by Winston (Ian McShane), kingpin of secret assassin society The Continental, to respect the organisations ancient code, Wick reluctantly accepts the assignment to travel to Rome to take out D’Antonio’s sister, the ruthless capo atop the Italian Camorra crime syndicate.

Keanu Reeves brilliantly plays the deadly hit man who can never cut a break, wants to retire and have a peaceful life but always gets caught up with the gangsters he worked with in the past. Great supporting cast with Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne. 

Director of the first film, Chad Stahelski is back for the second time. This is an awesome follow up to John Wick. Action packed, great story, pace and production design makes John Wick 2 a worthy successor. 

Thrilling, action that packs a punch and entertaining to watch from beginning to end, John Wick 2 will not disappoint fans. Definitely a must and fans of the first film. 

Rating: 5/5 Stars 

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

The legendary story of King Arthur has been adapted throughout the years. The classic tale of a young man who pulls Excalibur, a sword out from stone and becomes king. Surely it can’t be difficult to adapt this great story to the big screen? After watching this film, you realise a reimagining an old story doesn’t always work.

In this version, after the murder of his father Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana), young Arthur’s power-hungry uncle Vortigern (Jude Law) seizes control of the crown. Robbed of his birthright, he (now played by Charlie Hunnam) grows up the hard way in the back alleys of the city, not knowing who he truly is. When fate leads him to pull the Excalibur sword from stone, Arthur embraces his true destiny to become a legendary fighter and leader.

Charlie Hunnam is finely cast as lead role. As the title character, Hunnam brings cocky and charisma. Jude Law is terrific as the film’s antagonist Vortigern. A solid supporting cast with Eric Bana and company.

Director Guy Ritchie (Snatch, RocknRolla) has demonstrated in the past he can adapt familiar material like Sherlock Holmes, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and delivers fun and entertaining films for a modern audience but he fails with King Arthur by reinventing the arthurian legend. Modernising the story sounds good on paper but doesn’t translate to the screen. This version feels like narrative is all over the place with at times shaking camera work, bad editing and over the top special effects which is dreadful to watch as a fan of Ritchie.

While the cast is superb, it’s not enough to save the film. An eyesore to watch, Guy Ritchie has made a blockbuster disaster. A disappointment to fans of King Arthur or Ritchie.

Rating: 1/5 Stars

I Am Heath Ledger

I Am Heath Ledger is a feature length documentary celebrating the life of Heath Ledger: actor, artist and icon. The documentary provides an intimate look at Heath Ledger through the lens of his own camera as he films and often performs in his own personal journey.

A wonderful documentary showcasing Heath Ledger. Masterfully made and insightful, this will not disappoint fans of Heath Ledger.

Rating: 4/5 Stars 

Note: I Am Heath Ledger has limited release. Check for listings.