This turned up on Disney+ so I thought I’d give it a go. This tells the story of a young princess (Joey King) who has been locked away in a tower after refusing to marry a powerful lord who wishes to become king. After her refusal however he’s chosen to attack the kingdom and imprison the current king and his family.
This was a fun and energetic movie. The story is very simple but the concept of the princess having to battle her way down the floors of the tower is an interesting one, paving the way for plenty of action. Joey King shows off some skilful sword fighting too and overall it’s a physically demanding role. I also appreciated that the violence wasn’t watered down, and although not graphic, it still packed a punch.
Support is mostly just ok, with the stand out being Dominic Cooper’s evil lord. Also a reliance on exaggerated style and fancy camera work for some of the fighting felt a little out of place – in addition some CGI moments looked a bit silly. That said, King is the star and delivers a convincing badass heroine. Worth watching even if this had potential to be even better had more been put into its story and also the world it inhabits.
Approaching this you get the feeling it’s going to immediately be what the latest Die Hard movie wasn’t … as in an actual Die Hard movie. Channing Tatum goes to the White House for an interview to become a Secret Service agent, bringing his plucky daughter along because she’s up on her politics and kinda has a thing for current President Jamie Foxx. Yet whilst at the big white building, a group of terrorists attack and as you can imagine, Tatum is the only man who might be able to get the President out alive.
Not a new idea by a long shot, but given a certain panache by director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow). So expect gunfights, one-liners, a smattering of humour and plenty of things that go boom. What I wasn’t expecting however was the fun partnership between Tatum and Foxx (making for one of the cooler Presidents in Hollywood history) and an overdose of rather bad CGI (the helicopters flying through the city looked awful). Emmerich is known for having no subtlety, and believability pretty much goes out of the window in the second half of the movie, not helped by an increasingly annoying Joey King playing Tatum’s daughter (was she the best we could have got for a fairly important role?) and a barrel load of cheese towards the end. Tatum looked the part (complete with white vest) but lacked a certain level of charisma I’d say. James Woods also pops up and is very good, as is Maggie Gyllenhaal even if she gets very little to do. Oh and every twist is so blatantly sign posted, I gave up expecting surprises and just enjoyed the ride.
This was a lot of fun, but could have been a classic if Emmerich had just applied the breaks (and his brain) for once.
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