Daily Archives: January 14, 2014
Man of Tai Chi (2013)
Keanu Reeves returns ruthlessly with a vengeance. Not only is he a star in this film, but he also made his directorial debut.
The fact that this is a martial arts movie was intriguing to me because after watching Keanu’s fighting skills in The Matrix (1999), I was thirsty for a little bit more of his flying jump kicks and karate chops. It’s just a bit of a shame that he waited so long after The Matrix Trilogy to showcase his combat expertise. He is probably a little more known for his slow-motion bullet dodge than his actual fighting skills, but he has proved that either one can be sufficiently entertaining. The bottom line is, Man of Tai Chi is Reeves in a fighting movie.
The film is about wealthy businessman Donaka Mark (Keanu Reeves), who discovers uniquely talented fighters who he then convinces to fight for him in underground and illegal fighting matches in China. His most recent fighter, Tiger Chen (Chen Lin-Hu), has a special and virtually one-of-a-kind style of hand-to-hand combat with a Tai Chi base. Tiger Chen needs the money, and the fights pay, but once he is in the game, Donaka Mark makes it difficult to stop.
The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Iko Uwais, Simon Yam, Karen Mok, Silvio Simac, and Jeremy Marinas.
The movie goes back and forth between spoken English and Chinese with subtitles. It’s a foreign film with American and Chinese actors. I believe that the joining of the two cultures in the film works to successfully portray the mix of each cultures’ fighting style.
The martial arts in Man of Tai Chi is depicted gracefully and eloquently. The choreography is amazing. The movie has some of the best fighting scenes that I have seen since The Raid: Redemption (2011). Each move seemed so intentional that it almost felt like the fighters were dancing, but the dance was a work of art.
The film’s soundtrack helped to give what was happening on screen a deeper, more intense feel.
The movie started off impressively and this continued until probably the last quarter of the film. It certainly had potential to be better, but I felt like the ending fell short. This was pretty disappointing because it was so good up until that point.
Iko Uwais, who became famous for his role in The Raid: Redemption, was way underused in the movie. If his character was given the chance to show what he was made of, the film could have reached the same caliber as The Raid: Redemption. Instead, his part was cut far too short.
Man of Tai Chi was certainly crammed with action-packed goodness. If it weren’t for the ending, I would give the movie a higher rating. Even though the film was a bit of a letdown towards the end, it was still fun to watch. Keanu did his job well, but his martial arts skill unfortunately didn’t add up to the rest of the fighters in the movie.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
Expendables 3 (2014)
Sylvester Stallone is at it again. He has gathered his Expendables for another go-round. The Expendables (2010) was good, The Expendables 2 (2012) was even better. Will this third time be the charm? The teaser trailer doesn’t reveal enough of anything, except for the fact that the boys are back and hopefully better than ever.
The movie was directed by Patrick Hughes and the noteworthy cast includes Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terry Crews, Kelsey Grammer, Randy Couture, and Robert Davi.
I especially like the addition of Gibson and Ford.
I think viewers will be in for an overload of blood, guts, and bullets.
The film is set to release on 08/15/14.
Lone Survivor (2013)
You will laugh, and you will cry. They live, they fight, and they die.
I was very excited to see Lone Survivor. When I learned of the movie months ago, I knew it would be one that I had to see. Recently, I heard from numerous people that the film was amazing, and that just made me want to see it more. These days, if Mark Wahlberg is in a movie, you can basically expect gold.
The film is based on the book with the same title which was written by Marcus Luttrell and is based on his true story. It’s about a group of Navy SEALS on a covert operation in Afghanistan that goes horribly wrong. Four SEALS are left severely outnumbered and outgunned and behind enemy lines. Unable to make radio contact, they are forced to stand together as one and try desperately to fight the local Taliban for their survival.
The movie was directed by Peter Berg and the noteworthy cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch, Yousif Azami, Ali Suliman, Alexander Ludwig, and Jerry Ferrara.
I had vaguely heard of the mission that was portrayed in Lone Survivor, but ultimately, I hardly new any of the details before watching the film. I’m not sure how much of the story went by the book, and what was fictionalized for pure entertainment purposes. I have not read the book, but it would be interesting to see how it differs from the movie.
Lone Survivor is a superb depiction of the camaraderie and brotherhood that is commonly found in the Navy SEALS. The actors walked the walk, and talked the talk. They were large, bulky instruments that were trained to kill and trained to survive. They fight like soldiers and they curse like soldiers. This film does not edit itself for a lighter rating. It’s as real as I’ve ever seen. Prepare yourself to be shocked.
This movie has some of the most insanely realistic and severely intense battle scenes that I have ever seen in a film. Although I knew that I was in a theatre watching a film, it was as if I was watching real footage of actual soldiers at war, and not actors pretending for a camera.
Lone Survivor is a trip into hostile territory. The movie reminded me of how I felt about Saving Private Ryan (1998) when I saw it for the first time. It’s an epic achievement. The film changes the way that you look at the war movie genre. It raises the bar and leaves huge shoes to fill for any future war movie. It’s a game changer. I have a feeling that this movie will be hard to beat for years to come. The genre has now been reestablished.
The cast was a force to be reckoned with. Everyone was awesome. Wahlberg stood out above the rest and he continues to add to the arsenal of reasons why I like him. He has become one of my favorite actors. He is a consistent entertainer in the movie world and that is a rare thing in this day and age.
This movie should be an Oscar contender. It would be a crime if it didn’t win something. It would be an excellent way to honor all of the Navy SEALS that fought for their brothers standing next to them.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Note: Lone Survivor could deserve a higher rating, but it has to live up to the test of time before it gets one from me.
There was a bit of a disturbance in the densely populated theatre where I watched this film. A man in the same row as mine was yelling obscenities during the first half of the movie. He started to violently strike the seats in front of him before he was finally removed from the premises. I was unable to give my full attention to the first part of the movie because of this distraction. It was unfortunate, but when I watch the movie for a second time, my rating could possibly change.