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Banlieue 13: Ultimatum (2009)

Banlieue 13: Ultimatum (2009)

The sequel to Banlieue 13 was better than I remembered!

Back in the day I felt it didn't match up to the original at all, but compared to the remake... it's still in a whole other league.

Since the perils of their former adventure: not much has changed in the state of Leito (David Belle) and Damien (Cyril Raffaelli)'s lives. The former's still doing his best to tear down the walls around his neighborhood - from the inside, and the latter's doing his best to catch the criminals outside it. Lola? She's a lose end, as is K2 and his crew. But life in the ghetto's still as chaotic as ever, and though the gangs have it in a mutual choke hold, Leito now seems to be on good terms with all.

How did that happen? Wasn't he at war with the gangs? Lose ends.

This all changes when a new mystery villain enters the scene though, and threatens to not only tear down the walls of the district, but the entire district, and build up a new one in it's place. It's not the government this time, though both our main character's are quickly framed and find themselves on the wrong side of the law, battling both crooks and (both crooked and non) law enforcement alike, and eventually gathering together the big gangs in District 13 for one big raid on the capital.

They make a good team, and the movie adds in a few new; interesting characters for the final fight, though most of the action's still in the beginning phase of the movie. The hype for the final showdown quickly outgrows the actual showdown, and the plot overall... it just doesn't feel as well-planned as the previous. It feels like a sequel for the purpose of a sequel more than for the sake of being conclusive, because it´s really just the same thing once again- with a few new figures on both sides, and an even more endearing set of stunts, albeit with a more optimistic ending.

It's a good movie though, in retrospect. It doesn't have anything particularly new to it, but does bring back most good elements of the former successfully, and take them to a higher level. So as far as sequels go it does a pretty good job! It's no match to the original, but if you want more of the former: this is it. This and (the somewhat unwillingly mentioned combined remake) Brick Mansions.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Banlieue 13 (2004)

Banlieue 13 (2004)

My former favorite movie of all time... and I've never written a proper review for it! Time to right that horrible wrong.

I saw it again a few weeks ago, and confirmed that it's indeed still one of the best action movies I've ever seen. It doesn't just feature David Belle in the lead role (the founder of parkour), but the also-very-talented Cyril Raffaelli as his sidekick. The story is the same as in the remake, but including minor plot adjustments: everything is better in the original - from the soundtrack, to the scenography, to the flawless introduction, to the character relations, build-up, conclusion, choreography, everything. Here it feels real. It makes sense. The action's full steam all the way but never too much, and it manages - maybe because the stunts are real - to always seem believable.

There's not much more to say about this. Just watch it. If you liked the remake: watch this! If you don't want to watch both: watch this. If you've watched this one before and liked it: watch it again! It doesn't seem to ever get dull, or irrelevant, or outdated. The moral of the movie's maybe more important now than ever before, but even if all you want is some good action: this'll suffice. It's in French, but better watch the subbed version anyway, remake considering. It's still fantastic.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

Naked (2017)

Naked (2017)

I really can't take Marlon Wayans seriously. This was a comedy, but it had its serious moments too, and I can't help wonder what it would've been like with someone else in the lead role. Overall Marlon does deliver though, and what a feelgood movie it was! Really. It's not bad at all.

The time-loop scenario should feel incredibly used by now, yet they keep devising new alternations to it! Good and bad. Fortunately this was one of the good ones.

It's a romantic comedy with a bit of action and plenty of awkward moments, though that whole 'Naked' thing feels overemphasized. Not that I feel there need be any more nudity than there was (especially when it's male nudity), but the movie was about so much more than that, and it's far from the most-used element in the big play. They could've as well called it The Elevator, or The Wedding, or better yet: something creative. Something that sums it up without focusing on sales and settling for a mediocre title that in no way tells you what the movie is really about.

The story is that of a guy who's about to wed his wife, but wakes up naked in an elevator the day of the wedding, and keeps getting sent back in time to that elevator each time the wedding bells toll, before he's able to fulfill his vows, or a whole lot of other things he realizes he needs to take care of before the grand event that he wasn't prepared for at all. It's divine intervention. A second chance. Though I'm happy they didn't somehow include God as a character, but left that part up to the viewer entirely.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the main character comes to terms with the magnitude of this event, and gets all kinds of other self-realizations along the way. Along with bouts of both comical and embarrassing misfortunes, of course.

Overall it was a good movie! An unusual, but appreciated spin-off to my usual action-antiques and rage. Good watch.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Taekwondo The Movie

And I thought the music video was the movie! Here's the extended version then. Martial arts and music at its bestest (seems to be something of a trend lately). Also! Enjoy!

The Infiltrator (2016)

The Infiltrator (2016)

Here's a pretty serious movie, and a true movie, about a U.S. Customs official uncovering a money-laundering scheme involving Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

That Customs official was Robert Mazur, and he wrote a book about it too, which then became this movie. Bryan Cranston plays him, and Diane Kruger and Benjamin Bratt the two other most notable... and then that other guy I've seen in so many movies but can never recall the name of.

It's a dramatic movie, with charismatic actors, and it probably does the true story more than justice. Of course, there are differences between the movie and the reality, but reading up on them it feels like they hit pretty close to home still, and don't glorify it too much. I'm happy Roberto Alacaino in particular is portrayed in a more positive light, and in the end I'm as sad as the main character seems to be to see him be put in cuffs.

What a fascinating story it was, and filmed well, with vehicles and clothes and styles all reminiscent of old and better times (even the drugs they had back then were at least organic).

Here's some actual news footage of the actual bust, way back in the day, though for lack of spoiler you might want to watch the movie first.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

The Boss Baby (2017)

The Boss Baby (2017)

At a first glance I thought this would be a feelbad movie a la Despicable Me, but... they turn it around, and the main character's an impressively good main character! So optimistic even when he's depressed. So imaginative. So kind. You never get the impression he's just spoiled. Well, rarely ever. Maybe you do at first impressions, but it's good it's there a while or you really wouldn't like how the movie starts out.

The story's one of a suit-wearing, briefcase-carrying baby, [that] pairs up with his 7-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Co, but it takes a while before they really start getting along.

The creative imagination at the beginning is probably a big hint, but I didn't get it then. I took the movie visually, and the great thing about it is that you can take it both ways. It's made to be that way, and as the characters grow on you, and go on their entertaining but serious adventure you keep getting surprised by the creative angles, changes in style, and perception, and the overall so very light tone of humor, even when they're in a real pickle jar.

They even managed to fit in the triangle is the strongest shape in nature in a way you won't ever forget it. Illuminati or no, that was pretty awesome! Awesome because it's a fact that correlates to design, and uneven numbers, and is much-forgotten in the flat designs of modern responsive web... but that's probably something most people don't get the same awe from. Maybe it'll affect people subconsciously and the 3.0 web trend will start changing hmm...

But this movie was lovely, and what the world needs now, is love sweet love. Great watch. Refreshingly creative, and different, and familiar all the same. For all ages.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle
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