Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2


Viewed – 02 May 2017  Cinema

The first movie was my favourite of 2014, so the prospect of a sequel was very exciting.  This time around we find the unorthodox gang of heroes causing strife with a race of beings after Rocket the Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) gets a little light-fingered with some batteries.  However following a space battle that could cause the guardian’s lives to end abruptly, a mysterious stranger saves the day.  Turns out Star Lord (Chris Pratt) has a Dad who just so happens to be a pretty powerful guy himself, played with charismatic flair by the ever dependable Kurt Russell.

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This fills in a few gaps left over from the last movie, especially the question surrounding Chris Pratt’s father and it was great being back in the company of these very likable characters again.  The dialogue is especially sharp throughout, something that was a highlight of the last movie and the jokes & references come thick and fast to make this a ton of fun.  Pratt’s character constantly makes quips about eighties pop-culture such as TV shows like Cheers and characters such as Skelator and Pac-Man, and makes him a very relatable and refreshing presence in this sort of movie.  I was also glad to see that, despite the trailers, Baby Groot isn’t over-used but damn is he cute and very funny every second he’s on screen.

Kurt RussellThe soundtrack, another highlight last time around isn’t quite as memorable (apart from a great use of Mister Blue Sky by ELO) and a left-over side plot involving sisters Nebula (Karen Gillen) and Morgana (Zoe Saldana) felt unnecessary.  I also did not get much out of the gold-painted race that turn up at the beginning and chase after our heroes.  That being said Michael Rooker’s Yondu was again a joy and I’ve always liked the actor and we get some great moments with him here.  The same can be said for scene-stealing Dave Bautista as Drax.  Action generally is top-notch but the plot didn’t grab me as much or feel as layered this time, with the whole Kurt Russell’s planet sequence stopping the movie dead at one stage.

As it stands though this was a solid sequel and I can’t wait to see what comes next.  The Guardians of the Galaxy will return!

Verdict:  4 /5

Guardians of the Galaxy


Viewed – 20 December 2014  online rental

Craig, take a breath, try not to be too gushy over this one.  Ok, calm restored!  This Marvel comic book adaptation has a human kid called Peter Quill who following the death of his cancer-stricken mother, is seemingly abducted by aliens – jump forward 26 years and he’s become a bounty hunter calling himself star lord who tracks down valuable items for the highest price.  On one such mission he steals a sacred orb and soon a powerful warlord is on his heels as the orb carries with it great power.  Yet star lord gets himself thrown in a high security prison after a ruckus on a neighbouring planet breaks out and before long he’s housed up with a rag tag group of outlaws – a green female assassin, a muscle-bound prisoner seeking revenge, a genetically engineered racoon (!) and a big tree / plant creature.  Not your typical heroes.

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After the usual plethora of sequels and comic book super hero movies that hit during the summer, this one flew for the most part under my radar, even though I always liked the look of it.  Now despite the fine job Marvel have done with the likes of Iron Man, Captain America etc. this is going in a different direction.  It has strong echoes of classic eighties genre piece Battle Beyond The Stars (remember that?) and for me felt a breath of fresh air in a summer that for a few years now has felt stale and stuck in a rut.  With a very sharp script, some great characters (and great actors to play them) and a stand out Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, this just seemed to keep me grinning throughout.  Add to this some great fights (the showdown between Zoe Saldana’s Gamora and Karen Gillan’s Nebula), flashy, exciting battles and several punch-the-air feel good moments (“you said it yourself bitch, we’re the guardians of the galaxy”) – this just surprised, impressed and won me over again and again.  Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Star Lord is brilliant, has a Hans Solo lovable swagger and some of the movie’s best lines and jokes (dance off man!), but the character of Groot (sort of voiced by Vin Diesel) is also a show-stealer.

I simply can’t praise this one enough – it played with clichés like weapons, had a truly brilliant soundtrack that had no place being in this sort of movie (really, the end credits are ‘I Want You Back’ by the Jackson Five? – Genius!).  So hat’s off to Marvel and director James Gunn – this is one to be beaten.

Verdict:  5 /5

Have we met before?


Something occurred to me the other night.  I was surfing the TV channels, and stumbled upon one of my favourite movies of the 90s – Point Break.  Directed by the once talented (but where has she gone?) Kathryn Bigelow, this starred a pre-Speed Keanu Reeves, and a buffed out Patrick Swayze.  Now the reason I am writing this post, is to point out that this great action thriller bares an uncanny similarity to another more recent thriller from a few years back, The Fast & The Furious.

Now I know…how can a tale of surf dudes bare any comparison to a tale of illegal street racers?  Bare with me and I will explain.

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The plot of Point Break:  Keanu Reeves is a rookie F.B.I. agent who infiltrates a gang of surfers in an attempt to crack a mystery gang of bank robbers, who may or may not be from the surf-community.  He befriends the leader of the surf-dudes, Patrick Swayze, and also ends up falling for Swayze’s ex-girlfriend along the way.  At first he doesn’t suspect these clean-cut surfers, and therefore thinks the bank robbers must be the other surf gang from the bad part of town who are always causing trouble.  Then when he realises that Swayze et-al are the ones he’s after, he is suddenly forced to turn against a friend in order to do his job.

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The plot of The Fast & The Furious:  Paul Walker is a rookie F.B.I agent who infiltrates a gang of illegal street racers in an attempt to find a gang of hijackers who may or may not be linked to the street racing community.  He befriends the leader of the gang, Vin Diesel and also falls for Diesel’s sister along the way.  He soon grows fond of the new friends he’s made and therefore thinks the dangerous Chinese gang of street racers are the ones he’s after, until he eventually discovers its really Diesel’s gang all along, and he has to turn against his friend to get the job done. 

In both films, Keanu & Paul Walker report back to an F.B.I. mentor who they have secret meetings with behind the gangs backs.  Also, Keanu is treading dangerous ground to be going with Swayze’s ex-girlfriend in the same way Paul Walker creates tension falling for Diesel’s sister.  The more I think of it, The Fast & The Furious is an unofficial remake of Point Break, with surfing swapped for street racing, to bring things up to date with what is cool and trendy.

In almost every way the two films are alarmingly similar.  I’m probably not alone in noticing this.