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The Hitman’s Bodyguard Review (2017) | An Act of Deliberate Plotting

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is as weird, absurd and fun as it sounds by the very title of it. Doesn’t that give away a bit of a plot as well? So, we already knew the nub of the tale even before walking into the theatre. Of course, oblivious to how much comedy the movie was going to pack in. The good news is that the movie is exactly what it promises to deliver by that moniker. The bad news is that there is nothing serious going on in here, so even if you try your best to find something somber, trust me, it isn’t. It is written in all good fun, and I guess, supposed to be enjoyed like that.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is solely driven with “seat belts” on by Samuel L. Jackson. Even though you feel like the movie’s title is about the bodyguard Ryan Reynolds and not the hitman himself, you are dead wrong. Ryan is just an uptight rabbit, no matter how good he is on the field, he forever stays below the real deal Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson.

Oh, by the way, there’s probably no one in the world who says “Motherfucker” better than this guy. And that somehow makes his dialogues enjoyable. I think he writes over his screenplay.

This guy single-handedly ruined the word motherfucker.

Plot and Direction of The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Spoilers)

As mentioned earlier The Hitman’s Bodyguard isn’t keen on showing you genuine action. The action is wrapped in comedy and so if you think there is a serious scene about to come, be wary it has just been shot for cheap thrills. Not to give you any unadulterated adrenaline rush.

The character of Samuel L. Jackson, Darius Kincaid, being the real hero of the flick, does smug things, acts as if he is the boss, and keeps condescending the bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) who is asked to save his ass.

still from The Hitman's Bodyguard

It almost seems like the concept was imagined first, and then a story was written all around it. Like why would a Hitman require a bodyguard in the first place? Unless he’s injured, right? Let’s injure him. And why would the bodyguard be protecting him? Unless he has been hired or forced to, of course. For our hitman to be badass it would be too beneath him to call for help, so let someone else do that. So there’s a woman Amelia Roussel played by Elodie Yung. Since it’s a bodyguard protecting the Hitman, he has to be the best, or there’s really no point. Let’s make him the best! And thus the agency AAA came into existence.

Catch my drift?

The movie is directed by Patrick Hughes. The story is written by Tom O’ Connor.

The Chemistry

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is all about the chemistry between its two lead actors. With that flaky storyline, it had to be. Surprisingly that’s really good.

Darius Kincaid: I will bust a cap in your ass.
Michael Bryce: Have you ever said “please”?
Darius Kincaid: Please, motherfucker!

Ryan Reynolds the deuteragonist plays the uptight guy keen on fulfilling his mission while Jackson is just relentless playing a guy full of himself.  Their trivial conversation about “how to do a thing” is pretty interesting, and most of the comedy is derived from that very equation. You have Michael Bryce trying to ensure that a certain way is followed for safety reasons, but Darius does the exact opposite being a guy who enjoys living on the edge.

Darius: I made that jump on one leg.
Michael: I made that jump without jumping.

There are plenty of laughs strewn across the movie. Some of them really enjoyable, others fail to tickle you. The great comic timing of Ryan comes into play more than often, and you realize the casting was done great with that pissed off face he makes.

still from The Hitman's Bodyguard movie

Salma Hayek brings more fun to the table by playing Darius’ wife. She is boisterous and equally high on expletives. Love how she calls Darius an unkillable Cucaracha.

Wasting Gary Oldman

When the villain isn’t as dangerous as he looks, it becomes a concern for a movie. Gary Oldman was roped in to play Vladislav Dukhovich the main antagonist in the movie who is calling the shots to stop Darius from reaching the court. Unfortunately, even though he has been provided with some great lines, and an accent to ace that, there is nothing he could do with a story-line that places him as an insignificant person against Darius. He ends up disappearing in a jiffy.

You fucked up when you shot my bodyguard.

All that talent goes to waste when you don’t use him enough. At least should have let him do something outrageous or contemptuous. He didn’t even reek of perversion. The flick ends up becoming all about his minions who come try to kill the couple.

Even there, the level of action is moderate. The energy, however, stays great and the stunts are performed effectively. The most stretched scene is that of Darius trying to escape on a motor boat while Bryce guards him using a bike. Then there are some cool car chases, bullets flying all around, close encounters and fist fights that end up making the movie worth watching.

You can order the movie from here:

The Final Verdict

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is average if not great. But it is entertaining nevertheless. Even if the plot just sounds like nothing but a road trip movie for its characters, the real fun happens when these two get to talking.

Go and watch it for yourself to enjoy its sweet nothings.

Check out reviews of other Ryan Reynolds movies.

Check out the trailer of The Hitman’s Bodyguard here:

xXx Return of Xander Cage Review (2017) | He Shouldn’t Have Returned

Mindless action! xXx Return of Xander Cage bends laws of physics, banks on cliched action at times to deliberately showcase what its director thinks “would look cool” stunts. It has cheesy lines galore, and a really insipid plot in its baggage. The worst however remains, that instantly piercing and bothering demeanour that Vin Diesel wears throughout the flick. His smugness is the worst. It makes you go, “Is this guy for real?” Overlook Vin and you see how hollow, cliched, stupid and pointless the whole movie is.

Plot of xXx Return of Xander Cage (Spoilers)

Presumably dead the legend, Xander Cage (the one who gets on your nerves avatar of Vin Diesel) from the first one, is hunted down by CIA to bring a stolen device called Pandora’s Box back. It is a device that can ensue destruction on a massive scale, since it holds the reins of military satellites. To successfully complete the mission he hires his own team, deliberately throwing an unprepared bunch of soldiers out of a moving plane. Whaaaat?

Wait, that’s nothing. He breaks a gun, yes! a frigging gun with his knees just to prove a point! He brags a lot about himself, or let others go on and on about him, which gets on your nerves.

To make matters further indigestible, he goes on a bike chase in the sea. I repeat, in the sea! When that’s going on, you wonder if they plan on ever stopping. A water station maybe? To get some gas? They appear as if they were planning on crossing the ocean on their bikes.

The Competition

His competition is Xiang portrayed by Donnie Yen who is the guy Cage is supposed to race to get the Pandora’s box before he does. Xiang has plans of his own and a team too. Eventually both the teams end up joining hands to fight the double crossing government instead. In words of Sebastian from La La Land:

“It is all very very exciting.”

All seemingly cool frames seem very deliberately created just to prove a scene. There is one bit that shows Cage playing with grenades with Xiang and Serena (Deepika Padukone). What a way to make a conversation! *Facepalm* It is hands down one of the most forced scenes in the movie, and makes it very laughable. You know, spoofs get made because of such absurdity!

image of Vin Diesel Deepika Padukone and Donnie Yen in xXx Return of Xander Cage movie

Oh wait! Cage gets shot too. You know when in a movie hero would get shot, a voice in your head would always go, “he must be wearing a bulletproof vest? Or the bullet might have been stopped by an impenetrable object? Well the former’s your answer.

Yes, the story is as if a kid wrote it. I remember thinking all that stuff when I was five.

All the Shooting

Then there is that cliched gun fight scene too, where two badass chicks come out in the open and then shoot at random army of villains who somehow never stop coming. Yes the one where they are leaning against each other’s backs to look dope. Yeah! It’s all in there.

Just then to break the monotony, everyone’s bullets run out, and you predict the director has something up his sleeve, in comes the protagonist from the second part, which was an even shittier movie. Ice Cube comes with a grenade launcher reprising his role as Darius Stone and the music in the background turns into a rap. It is supposed to mean the “Lord is here!”

Tony Jaa gets a role of a psychotic fighter who looks like he has been on a strict Red Bull diet all his life. Nina Dobrev plays the one fun character that we have seen in so many movies before that it should actually cease to exist. But no! Every movie has it.

Deepika Padukone doesn’t cause any ripples either. She seems weirdly out of place whenever she comes to do her bit. Her icky walk to meet Xiang would make you wonder what the director must have been expecting to see, and what came out as a result. And he chose to include it too.

And what’s with the tats? The director D.J. Caruso seems like he must have been saying: We should not leave the tattoo! Let him wear a Capri so that the tattoos show!

Worthy Bits

If you still expect something cool to happen, then it is Donnie Yen’s fight bits that takes off the heat for a while. You watch him go full Ip Man on rogue soldiers and you get your money’s worth then and there with his badass action moves. Inclusion of known faces from the past, like Darius Stone too at one point makes you smile.

Amongst other worthy scenes, okay, now I am drawing a blank.

If you are a huge Vin Diesel fan, you can still watch it.

You can buy xXx Return of Xander Cage from here:

The Final Verdict

xXx Return of Xander Cage is nothing but a fully flawed flick. If you are a diehard Vin Diesel fan, and are ready to accept him in every avatar he portrays, this movie might make you happy.

To be honest, nobody remembers the first XXX movie. Now when did that happen? 15 years ago! I was a kid back then and might have mistakenly considered Xander Cage to be cool.

So far Vin has been mighty successful in the Fast and Furious series. He should stick to that. Because at least the direction and story there weaves up something worth watching. It lets us digest all the nonsensical stunts.

You can check out the trailer of xXx Return of Xander Cage here:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Review (2016) | Fantastic Plot

Tim Burton‘s knack for the queer continues. This time he picks up Ransom Riggs‘s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children off the shelves. But the big question is he able to deliver a proper literary adaptation? The answer is not quite. I would say Miss Peregrine ends up becoming a tad unremarkable for its remarkable tale. However, its story can’t be overlooked either. If you pay heed to the plot of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, you will realize that it takes one hell of an imagination to think something so beautiful! For that I can’t thank Ransom Rigg enough.

Plot of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Spoilers Ahead)

If you take the beautiful plot of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children into account, you will be surprised to know how intriguing its story-line is. It skims on the surface of time loops that is an adventurous topic per se. Jake, played by the meek mien of Asa Butterfield, is visiting his grandfather Abe who used to babysit him when he was young.

Grandfather Abe

Abe would tell him stories about peculiar children showing him photographs that would tingle his senses. In his story a Lady Peregrine, who could turn into a bird (Peregrine good guess there!), used to take care of the children with strange mutant like abilities in a huge house. However, growing up, Jake came to believe, all his stories were nothing but sham. Lost faith in his Grampa’s vision, he ends up going aloof from him.

still of the peculiar children in miss peregrine movie

Once when paying his Grampa a visit, he encounters a strange man standing in the middle of the road, some blocks ahead of Grampa’s abode. Clueless he moves on. On reaching there, he finds his grandfather dead and without his eyes. Before dying Abe asks Jake about a bird, a loop and the year 1940. Confused Jake fails to understand, when he finds a gargantuan tentacled beast in the woods. Aftermath, he ends up in therapy.

Visiting Cairnholm Island

His constant struggle with what his grandfather was trying to tell him, compels him to visit an island called Cairnholm to look for clues. He coaxes his father into taking him there. Jake finds the house of the peculiars there, however it’s in tatters owing to a certain German bomb attack that had burnt the house to cinders in 1940. Trying to satiate his curiosity, the bold Jake ventures in to have a look. He finds photos of the children that confirms his Grandfather’s stories. But then out of the blue he finds them all alive. Scared he tries to run, but ends up knocking himself out.

Brilliance of Time Loops

That’s when the plot of the story starts shaping up too. On waking up, and realizing they were for real he follows the children to a cave. Unknowingly, he enters a time loop that takes him to 1940. He finds the Peculiar Home intact. That’s when he gets to meet the gorgeous Peregrine lady played by Eva Green. Miss Peregrine is an Ymbryne who can manipulate time. She has, along with her children, taken refuge in a time loop that she had created moments before the bomb attack.

still of eva green as miss peregrine in miss peregrine's home for peculiar children

The beauty of this very concept lies in its surreal poetry. Every single day living the same life over and over again, knowing everyday is going to end with that same wretched bomb dropping from the sky. Every single day goes by without them ageing, in constant fear of being discovered, and trying to hide under the blankets of time. Such a beautiful thought! But unfortunately, Tim Burton doesn’t milk this enough. The beauty of its poesy disappears along with its constantly running frames. You can’t help but blame the movie’s sped up editing for it.

Dark Antagonists

Like any yarn, galloping towards a direction, we are introduced to elements of perversion here as well. They are called Hollowgasts or simply Hollows, people who became monsters as a result of an experiment gone wrong. Misshapen they can’t be seen with naked eyes (unless you are Jake or Abe of course). Hollows hunt for peculiars as that’s their only chance to become a tad normal. They are known as Wights. Barron is the head of the wights who has been trying to hunt down more Ymbrynes to continue his experiments of immortality.

still of a hollowgast or hollow in miss peregrine movie

The real tension begins when Mr. Barron follows Jake to their timeloop who is then followed up by a ghastly Hollowgaust. Tim Burton uses peculiar children’s abilities to help each other out from that situation. A bomb drops and their loop forever shuts down.

It is then when Jake and the other peculiars decide to save Miss Peregrine and other Ymbrynes from the clutches of the evil wights. That becomes the sole theme of the movie afterwards.

You can pre-order Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar children here:

Major Drawbacks

The first obvious one was Shelly, the non-peculiar. Her reaction when she finds oddity going on in the real world is not what we expect. It is as if Tim Burton has taken it for granted that everybody is okay with a tinge of eccentricity. I mean, if I was there, I would have first freaked out. The abnormal absent reaction of Shelly will make you think,

“Is she for real?”

Then moving on to Miss Peregrine’s character. To be really candid, Eva Green wasn’t really fit for the role. Okay, she does bring a rare sense of grandeur to her character but was that really enough? Her portrayal was very unconvincing and forgetful. Could it be because of the limited screen-time she had?

There was nothing motherly about her portrayal, if she was supposed to be the caretaker of those children. Somehow I felt a stronger character was supposed to be the call of the hour that no one took. The script demanded someone powerful like Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep or Emma Thompson for that to matter.

Burton’s Bleak Time Loop Representation

With time loop being one of the major driving forces of the tale, Burton’s depiction ends up becoming really bland. Tim Burton’s loops are empty. They come and go at odd hours without packing in much theatrics which ebbs its colossal import. At a time where the ending fight should have mattered the most, the backcloth score of a carnival makes that huge showdown a laughable affair.

Samuel Jackson plays a non-serious villain trying to introduce some humour through his acts. He is alright actually. He makes himself less scary even though he looks terrifying. The Whites of the Wights ( their eyes) were enough to terrorize little kids who had come thinking it was a Disney movie.

still of Samuel Jackson as Baron in Miss Peregrine

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children isn’t really dark. But there are dark elements in the tale nevertheless that are trying real hard to throw in different angles. But the depiction of it all ends up becoming more fun than gloomy. What makes it so is not only just the odd placement of music by Matthew Margeson and Michael Higham but also its less terrorizing banal acts. You can also count both stop motion animation and the CGI of the movie in whilst judging it.

The Final Verdict

To drop the final gavel on this, I would say it is an enjoyable ride nevertheless. However I do wish to see a perceptive TV series made on Ransom Rigg’s book, to capture the beauty of its ravishing story in pensive time frames.

Having trouble understanding the time loops in Miss Peregrine movie? Read our article on: Miss Peregrine Movie Explained

Check out the trailer of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children here:

The Legend of Tarzan Review (2016) | A different but mediocre take

The Legend of Tarzan is an entirely different take on the story of Tarzan. Aptly named as the song that spoke of his feral legends sung by tribals, it is an above average flick that has been beautifully helmed by David Yates. Even though the style of frame depiction is sheer amazeballs, The Legend of Tarzan isn’t exactly all goodies either.

DIRECTION OF THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

I have a mixed feeling about Yates direction. Bits where he chooses different angles to depict a grim situation, cashing in on the intensity makes every frame powerful. He aces such frames with badass music in the backdrop. However there are moments where his frames tumble into the shoddy territory. Like when he starts rotating the camera around a character who is delivering generic dialogues, it is hard to take him seriously.

still of Akut and Tarzan fighting in the legend of tarzan movie

Action scenes in Legend of Tarzan are very unsteady, and it is almost impossible to focus on what’s really happening until it’s all over. Either the characters are too zoomed in or not properly shown. There are plenty of areas where this is evident.

Music is brilliantly chosen and imparts quite a darker comportment to the movie. Screenplay is kind of okay. There are two to three memorable one liners that will definitely wiggle your ears. The other moments, however, your ears will stay parched in need of some intelligent literary lines.

PLOT OF THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

Another area where Tarzan scores profusely is the plot. It comes with a good one, beating the clichés of the jungle tale. The only sad thing is that revisiting the old story is like a constant to and fro motion. It is done at awkward junctures, without choosing a proper way to deliver the complete storyline. Visuals are average. Sometimes you see the CGI dwindle too much taking things towards the animated crossroads.

still of Alexander Skarsgard as Tarzan in the Legend of Tarzan movie

Alexander Skarsgard works magnificently in the shoes of the legendary Tarzan. He creates a more silent and darker aired hero who let his grim nature do the talking for him.

You will also find humour at weird junctures in The Legend of Tarzan, mostly coming from Samuel L. Jackson as George Washington Williams and his shenanigans but most of it is bland.

SPOILERS CLINGING HEREON

Conversations between Leon Rom and Jane Clayton are the worst. There is something wrong with their timing, and the fact that Yates is okay with it, will leave you scratching your head. Also, you cannot overlook the constant disconnect there is to the tale. Just when you begin to think that something is going to happen, the frame changes to a different timeline entirely. It is a constant wrestle between the frames that takes out the tangibility from the movie.

BADASS MOMENTS TO REMEMBER

The Legend of Tarzan is gorgeously blended with moments that resuscitate elements from his past. The first one being the cubs he grew up with. There is a moment where he bows down to grown up versions of lions and lionesses, who recognize him and rub their heads against him in mute affection.

still of alexander skarsgard as tarzan bowing down to lion and lioness in the legend of tarzan movie

Also, the fight between Akut and Tarzan is definitely one of the most theatrical bits of the tale. The mere fact that he fights with someone whom he can’t defeat is ballsy per se. When he tries to save Jane by covering her with his body is both romantic and brave. Another one where he beats a box of soldiers to pulp with his bare hands is one helluva eye-candy.

THE FINAL VERDICT

The Legend of Tarzan has its ups and downs that constantly keep playing with your head. There are flaws galore at the same time beautiful moments to be cherished. I would say go for it, so you don’t regret not watching it, if there are future sequels planned.

Check out the trailer of The Legend of Tarzan here: