Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Viewed – 24 September 2019. Online rental

I only mildly got into Pokémon last Christmas when I had Pokémon Let’s Go for the Nintendo Switch. The world and all the creatures within certainly fascinated me and so a live action movie definitely appealed. This somewhat weirdly has Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu, and follows a story set in the fictional Rome City (clearly influenced by many of the worlds cities) where a twenty something guy investigates the mysterious disappearance of his father, aided by his father’s former Pokémon. However as a strange gas begins to send Pokémon crazy the guy teams up with a plucky wannabe reporter girl to discover what’s going on.

Yeah this wafer-thin, at times confused plot is mostly an excuse for Reynolds to deliver his brand of one-liner wise-crackery and also showcase the endless varieties of Pokémon. It fails to truly delve into what Pokémon is and its intricacies, so newcomers should instead take this as simply high fantasy science fiction. Justice Smith playing the main guy is only passable and next to Reynolds razor-sharp (if family friendly) line delivery … comes off poorly. Kathryn Newton as the sort-of love interest is pretty and reminiscent of the games and anime but generally not much better. Veteran actor Bill Nighy lends a bit of personality as the head of a corporation that may or may not be sinister, and the fact the movie only hints at the inclusion of Pokémon baddies Team Rocket feels like a missed opportunity.

The CGI for the creatures, the city and various sequences on the other hand, is top notch and brought everything to eye-catching life, and as a casual fan this still ticked many boxes for how I’d imagine this sort of movie to turn out. Good fun, but ultimately a bit forgettable.

Verdict: 3 /5

Deadpool 2

Viewed – 23 May 2018  Cinema

I think most of us knew that the sequel to the unexpected hit that was Deadpool, would be bigger and better,   A movie that was basically a one trick pony first time around, that of Ryan Reynolds’ wise-cracking, self-aware ‘merc with the mouth’ didn’t have a great deal more going for it as far as plot or an interesting villain.  So coming into this I was hoping for more.  Step up to the task Josh Brolin, fresh off his movie-stealing turn in the latest Avengers, he plays Terminator-like bad-guy ‘Cable’, sent from the future to kill some acting-out mutant kid who wants to blow up an orphanage and those that govern over him.  Deadpool see’s some injustice in the kids plight and offers to help, along with his band of reluctant friends he awkwardly names ‘X-Force’.


Reynolds is on brilliant form and his wealth of one liners, observations and fourth-wall breaking piss-takes are often hilarious.  Thankfully this time around he’s not the only pull this movie has, because Brolin is again brilliant and there’s also a few other colourful characters to keep things interesting (personal fave:  Domino).  Yet the child actor at the centre of the plot is somewhat lacking, has poor line-delivery and stands out compared to his more seasoned and entertaining co-stars.  Yet we do get a wealth of at times very violent, bloody action that is utterly unrestrained but skilfully executed, showing director David Leitch is an assured replacement for the original’s Tim Miller. 

Some rather cheap-looking CGI doesn’t look all that much better than the first movie (especially Colossus) and not all the gags hit home runs.  However, this matters little when what’s presented is just so infectious.  I haven’t had as much at the cinema in a long time as I had watching this funny, exciting and crazy ride … which may play to the juvenile kid in all of us, but sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed.  Just go see it already.

Verdict:  4 /5


Viewed – 15 August 2017  online rental

Science-fiction has become one of my favourite genres, with such gems as The Martian and Interstellar impressing me.  There seems to have been a bit of a resurgence in such movies, albeit stepping away from the flights of fantasy we’ve seen and instead focusing on a more semi-realistic tone.  The same can be said for this latest space-set thriller starring amongst others, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds.


A team of astronauts orbiting the earth reprieve a probe that has been on it’s way back from Mars, and discover a life form within it’s gathered soil samples.  Nurturing said life form in an incubator, the astronauts try to figure out how it responds and whether it’s harmless or deadly.  I’m guessing you probably know the answer to that one, huh?

I got a serious Alien vibe from this but stripped down to actual realistic space travel and science rather than H R Giger inspired horror aesthetics.   The creature, nicknamed Calvin is initially cute but eventually shudder creepy-crawly, and as the scientists attempt to contain it, this set into action some seriously well done thrills.  It’s not a subject that breathes new life into a tired genre but it’s done well, has some genuinely heart-in-mouth moments and is topped off by decent effects work (but for the occasional obvious CGI monster) and great set design that transported me right there … and I didn’t want to be there.  Gyllenhaal, considering his usual brilliance is a little side-lined and the star of this turns out to be Rebecca Ferguson who is very good.  Ryan Reynolds seems like he’s just playing Ryan Reynolds, but the rest of the cast do a decent job.  It’s also a movie, despite it’s familiarity that still managed to keep me gripped and wondering how it might end, and in this day and age that has to be commended.

Verdict:  4 /5


Viewed – 18 February 2016 Cinema

This is an easy movie to enjoy, if that is you enjoy very crude humour alongside genre satire and general piss takes.  You see, Marvel’s Deadpool as a character is like the anti-comic book character, he’s at odds with what we know and love about the Marvel universe and for that matter any comic book universe.  He’s self-aware, a killer, gun for hire and a joker … who just happens to have the same regenerative healing ability as Wolverine.


Ryan Reynolds plays the title character who is initially a low-key mercenary working at a bar for mercenaries (!) who meets the hot girl and falls in love, but then gets some bad news and resorts to a shady underground organization who promise to cure all his woes.  Yet with such a promise comes side effects and so yes, he becomes a bad-ass super (hero) but with horrific scars all over his body forcing him to remain in hiding and away from the woman he loves.  So revenge quickly becomes his only compulsion.  Reynolds is perfect; motor mouth humour and line delivery on excellent form and making for 90% the appeal of this movie.  Which is good as nearly everything else seems to be an after thought.  The characterization of anyone other than ‘Pool is wafer thin to almost non-existent and the plot for what it is … is as basic as it gets; they fucked up my face so I can’t get it on with my gal…so I’m out to kick ass – the end.

vanessa deadpoolSome stylish and hyper-violent action sequences help matters considerably however, and every time Reynolds is doing his thing, the movie’s a riot.  Sad then that the in-between stuff, including a limp love story, a villain with surprisingly no agenda, and two of the most bland X-Men ever, fail to bring much of anything to a movie that let’s face it, lives or dies on it’s one gag concept.  Yes the movie was shot on a (for this kind of movie) low budget but that doesn’t mean it can’t have substance.  Fans of the character will lap this up, but despite enjoying this on a purely juvenile scale, the movie fan in me came away wishing there had been a bit … more.

Verdict: 3 /5

Safe House

Viewed – 11 July 2012 DVD

Hollywood loves this kind of thriller. Shady government organisation, exotic locales, rookie agent out to prove himself … etc etc.  It’s been done to death.  Here though we have Ryan Reynolds’ newbie CIA agent looking after a safe house where rogue agent Denzel Washington is taken for interrogation after being on the run for several years.  Yet people are out to kill him and soon enough it’s up to Reynolds to find out if Washington really is the bad guy everyone his making him out to be.

In the style of a Tony Scott movie without Tony Scott, this is all sun-drenched African setting, slick photography and punchy action.  Yet beneath the surface is a very derivative and predictable plot held together by adequate rather than decent performances.  I was here for Denzel, one of the best in the business and although he’s ok, his performance is rather subdued and his character difficult to sympathise with.  Reynolds fairs better in a more demanding role as the rookie, and supporting cast including Vera Farmiga (Source Code) and Brendan Gleeson are also not bad either.

So this was still enertaining despite such short comings, and as a typical espionage thriller, ticked enough boxes to pass the time well … but all in all, would have benefited from fresher material and stronger performances to shine in an otherwise crowded genre.

Verdict: 3 /5