Gemini Man


Viewed – 10 March 2020 online rental

When a movie revolves around a technology gimmick I usually approach with caution and even in this age of amazing CGI I can still tell, especially with the currently in-vogue de-ageing tech as seen in Captain Marvel and The Irishman. Will Smith plays an assassin who yearns for retirement. However on the day he gets his wish a team of contract killers start hunting him down, and one of them bares an uncanny resemblance to his younger self.

When you’re your own worst enemy

Director Ang Lee throws together an action thriller that uses the technology well and mostly makes for a fun time. The story is fairly cliched but helped by charismatic turns from Smith and also the always likeable Mary Elizabeth Winstead. A motorbike chase early on is particularly exhilarating but mostly this focuses on character, with an interesting exploration of identity and morality. Clive Owen is also decent as Smith’s former mentor. Gimmicks like the hyped 60fps passed me by as I wasn’t sure if this rental was supporting it, and the de-aged Smith effect is about 50/50 when it comes to convincing and weird looking.

You may have come to this for Smith or the tech, but I was most impressed by the cinematography with several breath-taking locations that gave this a globe trotting Bond movie feel. However, with a lack of big set pieces, the movie couldn’t fall back on its story which lacks depth and feels a bit familiar. I’ve also seen such actor-in-a-scene-with-himself done better in movies like Dead Ringers over 30 years ago. Overall entertaining, occasionally thrilling and still another enjoyable turn from Smith in what appears to be his come back period.

Verdict: Good

Bad Boys For Life


Viewed – 28 January 2020 Cinema

I can’t say the prospect of a third Bad Boys movie filled me with excitement. I’d lost interest in Will Smith as an actor a while back, and who had seen much of Martin Lawrence? Also it felt like a concept that was relegated to the past. However on seeing the positive buzz surrounding this I thought I’d give it a go. Smith and Lawrence return as the streetwise Miami detectives who following the escape of a dangerous Mexican cartel woman from prison, learn of a hit list targeting various cops and officials, including Smith’s Mike Lowrey.

Initially some of the dialogue and humour, that focuses on growing older and family commitments, felt a bit forced … but once the narrative hit its stride this observational humour began to gel better. The focus like previous movies, on Smith and Lawrence’s buddy chemistry was again the star and even 17 years later they still work great together. Smith proves heroic, reckless and layered rekindling my liking of the actor all over again. Also Lawrence proves at times hilarious with some perfectly timed one-liners – and that motorbike side car sequence is just gold.

Although series director Michael Bay isn’t behind the camera this time (but appears in a brief cameo) the visuals are stylish and the action particularly slick and visceral making this equal parts funny and exciting whilst not shying away from the violence. It feels very much like the older movies but brings it up to date with some genuine emotion and pathos amidst the pyrotechnics. Check it out.

Verdict: Recommended

Suicide Squad


Viewed – 09 August 2016  Cinema

In the lead up to this movie’s release and the surrounding hype, I began to see this as potentially DC’s answer to Marvel’s Guardian’s of the Galaxy – that being a refreshing, new spin on an increasingly tired comic-book movie genre, and various images, trailers and the casting was looking very promising.  But I’m getting a little head of myself.

suicide-squad

A government initiative headed my Viola Davis decides to bring together a group of imprisoned super-villains in hope of having someone to throw into the shit in case said shit goes down and they don’t want innocent lives put at risk.  These folks are expendable you see, killers, crazies and well, nobody’s going to miss them, right?  So step up former psychiatric therapist Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), assassin for hire Deadshot (Will Smith), deadly walking arsonist Diablo and talking man-shaped reptile Killer Croc, amongst others.  However after a powerful sorceress escapes and starts to wreck havoc on the city, Viola Davis has no choice but to put her plan into action.

JokerIt’s a cool idea and certainly fun seeing these recognisable (and not so recognisable) faces team up and fight for the good guys, and I thoroughly enjoyed their interactions and banter, with several funny lines.  And well, when these guys kick ass it’s a sight to behold.  It also helps there’s a killer soundtrack here too (Eminem, The White Stripes, The Rolling Stones to name but a few). Margot Robbie as I expected steals the show as the spunky, sexy and homicidal Harley and is clearly loving her character.  Also it was great to see Will Smith back in action and he doesn’t disappoint, even if for him he seems a little restrained by a bloated cast.  Also on hand is Jared Leto as Joker, who has presence and looks disturbing and is a joy to watch – despite not have much to do than continually try to kidnap Harley, a disappointment considering how pivotal the character has usually been.

However, the surrounding plot is flimsy at best and despite some interesting backstories and decent if somewhat repetitive action, the whole point and where the movie goes is weak.  I also came away thinking Viola Davis and her military cronies were a bunch of idiots with a scheme that seemed to fall to pieces from the off.  Also I was puzzled at some of the line delivery especially as most lines seemed pretty sharp whilst others were barely audible.  With a more involving plot and dropping of a couple of the less interesting characters (that Australian guy was pointless), more focus on Joker and less on a sorceress whose motives aren’t explained … this could have been amazing.  As it stands it was simply good fun.

Verdict:  3 /5

Men In Black 3


Viewed – 24 November 2012. Pay per view rental

In the years since the last MIB movie, star Will Smith has almost retired, letting his kids (not quite) steal the limelight and series director Barry Sonnenfeld has disappeared into television obscurity … however now we have the third outing, and I’m happy to report it’s worth the wait.

Will Smith’s Agent J must go back in time to 1969 to prevent a vengeful alien from murdering Agent K.  Simple concept, making way for plenty of gags, cool gadgets (fave: the one wheel bikes) and a shed load of effects.  The villain here may be little more than a mutant biker with bad teeth, but with good turns from both Tommy Lee Jones (looking very old) and Josh Brolin (perfect) as his younger, spritlier self not to mention Smith on perfect wise-cracking form … this happily retained the look and feel of a sequel popped out a year or so after the last, not ten years late.

At times the plot gets a bit bogged down in details, and the humour doesn’t hit quite as often as say, MIB #1 … and there is green screen over kill causing some moments to look fake. But regardless, none of this prevented MIB 3 from still being great entertainment.

Verdict 4 /5

Hancock


Viewed – 23 Jan 2009  DVD

Now what I don’t get is why this film came in for so much stick when it came out in the summer blockbuster season.  Ok, it may not be as knowingly stylish as Wanted or as in-yer-face as Batman & Hellboy (ooh, there’s a movie waiting to happen), but this charming and well made superhero flick has it where it counts – originality.  Oh and Will Smith is brilliant in it.

Will plays a superhero powered guy shunned by the people he tried to help because of his uncaring, self-destructive attitude and careless approach to every situation.  Its funny as hell, and also very different than what we are usually erm, treated to.  Step in Jason Bateman’s advertising exec who sees in Will (or should I say Hancock?) a chance to prove himself and help someone who obviously needs a new image and way of thinking.

If it wasn’t for Will Smiths obvious charisma this bold idea would fall flat on its face, and with the help of a likable Bateman and a purr, hubba hubba Charlize Theron, as well as some truly exciting set-pieces and quality effects, this is just really good entertainment.  So what if things get a bit serious in the final act – in my opinion, it still works and adds plenty of emotion too.  What more could you want?

Verdict:  4 /5