Skiptrace Movie Review

After almost half a year of delay, Jackie Chan’s latest film makes its way to the big screen.

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Jackie Chan seems to be a tag team specialist. This time, he is with Jackass frontrunner Johnny Knoxville. Do they have the same chemistry as Chan and Tucker/Chan and Wilson?

The movie is about Hong Kong police Benny Chan (Chan) attempting to get American gambler Connor Watts (Knoxville) back to Hong Kong to cleanse the reputation of his goddaughter, Samantha (Fan Bingbing), who has been accused of stealing a million dollars. Things went sour later on as Chan discovers a lead on The Matador case, which he has obsessively followed for 9 years since the death of his partner, Sam’s dad.

Jackie brings his brand of action and comedy for the nth time, and he delivered yet again. Anything is a weapon in Jackie’s eyes. Action choreography is good, though clearly not on the same level to an average Jackie Chan movie. However, I am still impressed how he can do some stunts on his own. This guy is 62 years old!

As expected much of the humor relies on the two leads. Some were spot on; some were downright flat. The scene where the horse took a dump makes me crack up just by thinking about it. Some scenes looked like Knoxville was just filming it for the paycheck though.

The movie suffers from sub-plotosis. There was simply too much small stories crammed together to make this movie. For example, Watts’ sub-plot was unnecessary.

But my biggest issue was the character of Watts. His character change has not been explored much to the point that it looked natural… or at least realistic. It just seemed so sudden.

Skiptrace is not as good as regular Jackie Chan movies… not as good with the buddy chemistry, humor, and even action. For that, this movie is…

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY

Suicide Squad Film Review

Yet another DC film that is divisive to fans and critics…

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Director David Ayer gives us Suicide Squad, the much hyped and much anticipated DC film. It serves as the follow up to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. And given how divisive that film turned out, this film has a lot of expectation to live up to.

The film starts with Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), an intelligence operative who proposes for an elite team of supervillains to send in dangerous missions. After an ancient entity wreaks havoc in Midway City, Waller calls on Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) to lead Task Force X, a team consisting of the marksman Deadshot (Will Smith), the insane Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), the pyrokinetic El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), the boomerang-wielding thief Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), the cannibal Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and rope-expert mercenary Slipknot (Adam Beach).

The actors were clearly having fun filming this film, especially Margot Robbie, Jared Leto (who plays The Joker), and Jai Courtney. There is a lot of chemistry between the characters.

There seems to be a new take in the Joker-Harley relationship, and it might upset some fans. In fact, I am a bit cautious about it. But if they ever make it compelling and intriguing in the next movies, then that’s fine with me.

I cannot believe I’m saying this, but Jai Courtney was really enjoyable in this film (Whooo, fire!). Hernandez and Smith give us a human side to supervillains in the forms of El Diablo and Deadshot. Davis gives us a cold Amanda Waller who takes the “means to an end” approach very seriously.

Killer Croc, however, is definitely there just for the team to have a “tank” character. He did little for the plot…

Undoubtedly, there is more humor in this film compared to the two DCEU films, and it worked most of the time. However, Killer Croc’s jokes/humor seems to be forced and awkward to say the least.

There seems to be trouble with pacing though. The first half of the film was perfect as it sets up the characters really well, but once the antagonist started to cause destruction, a lot of things happen quickly.

Suicide Squad is undoubtedly the best DCEU film so far, but Warner Bros. Pictures still need to step up their game if they want to catch up to/exceed Marvel’s success. Because of this, this film is…

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY

Lights Out Film Review

Director David F. Sandberg brings us back to our primal fear of the dark.

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Last 2013, Director David F. Sandberg’s short film, Lights Out, received positive reviews and even got some recognition such as the “Best Short” (FANT Bilbao 2014) and “Best Director” (BC Horror Challenge). Three years later, we now have a feature film about it.

The film is about siblings Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) and Martin (Gabriel Bateman), who are recently haunted by the ghost of Diana, an entity that can only harm you when it is dark. The fact that Diana was a childhood friend of Sophie (Maria Bello), their mother, makes things worse for the two.

The thing that made me so hooked in this movie is that beyond the horror aspect is a tragic story about a mother’s descent into madness and how it affects her family. Take Diana the Ghost away from the picture, and you still have a heavy plot. The two conversations between Rebecca and Sophie before the climax are heavily emotional. You can’t say that to most horror films/movies.

Every character is able to give something significant to the plot table. No one is there just to be a cannon fodder. Each character has depth. Even the character of Bret (Alexander DiPersia) is a surprisingly good one; he’s the ultimate boyfriend.  But none can compete to Teresa Palmer’s portrayal of Rebecca. The way she acts after the second she hears her brother say Diana shows the viewers that there was a history between her and Diana. The forced exposition that happened next is really unnecessary after that. When the scares come in, Palmer delivered authentic screams and body movements one might wonder if the filmmakers are doing a snuff film.

The scares are beautifully executed. In his feature film directorial debut, Sandberg proves to us that he is a master of jumpscares. There is build-up and suspense.

My only gripe with the movie is the character design of Diana. She looked exponentially scarier in the short film.

Lights Out is a refreshing addition to the horror genre. Man’s basic fear is reawakened everytime the lights turn on and off. Actor performances are amazing. Because of this, Lights Out is undoubtedly…

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY