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Bad Boys For Life (2020)

Bad Boys For Life (2020)

I might be forgetting details in the prequels, but unexpectedly this one felt like the best one yet. If no more than by the way it starts. The Porsche. Lawrence still in his prime. Will a bit older and rougher but still that same dude: Bulletproof Mike.

Some twists you expect, some you don't. Sometimes the scenes transition perfectly, sometimes it's just a bit too fast. Sometimes you laugh, some­times you cry, but the cinematics, the personal drama, the party and that waterfront penthouse/ocean vibe - it's all there, and I love every second.

It's refreshing to see Rita back in the game too (never mind I thought she was Téa Leoni from the first one), and the main bad guy/gal duo are something else. Jacob Scipio's the perfect tough guy, and Kate del Castillo the perfect woman.

Apart from the occasional CGI that doesn't quite fly all the way (something with the burning building for one; something about the helicopter chase too) it's American action comedy as I just haven't seen it done in a long time. Not since the era of Lethal Weapon, Hollywood Cop, and of course the one and only, original Bad Boys.

Glad they got the third one out in time. Before the element of old and traditional versus new and improved totally took over.

I watched this in January btw. Bit late with this review...

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

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John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)

John Wick is back at it again! Taking his art of violence to the next level, all the while innocent (and not innocent) bystanders get caught up in the crossfire.

It was a pleasant surprise to see some of the action cinema martial art world's more foreign faces along for the ride, both the so very violent (but awesome) Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman from Indonesia (maybe most known from 'The Raid Redemption'), as well as the exotic American action icon Mark Dacascos - who for some reason reminds me of Brandon Lee. Bruce Lee's son. Turning to Google now he looks nothing alike though. Maybe I've mistaken the name/actor earlier.

Overall this movie's an action feast unlike others, where although sometimes bullets have a tendency to miss even when it seems the shooter wouldn't be incompetent enough that they would miss all that easily, this is a minor grievance. The action scenes mix in occasional grim cynicalism and comedy in such a way that it's easy to distance yourself from the faults, and just enjoy the journey. And the choreography, of course.

Cause that's what it is. It's John Wick's journey. And it's a bad-ass journey. It's colorful, classy, and glassy - this time with horses, dogs, swords and even Halle Berry in the mix.

I love it! And I think everyone else in the room did so too (watched it on the big screen earlier this year), even though when it's over it feels like one of those movies you just can't praise after all. It's so RAW. It's so mindless. It'd seem shallow to say you love it but... what can I say. I love it. I love depth too, but these types of movies hold a special place in my heart as well. The action choreography is just so classy and creative it's crazy. It's a blast wave you're facing if you wave at the screen. Yupp. Straight out amazing.

The only bits that bug me a bit are the notably fake bits, like John's fall off the roof, the horse kicks, and the Indonesian fight bit where either the Indonesians were scared of injuring Keanu, or he just couldn't match their pace. Something's off with that battle. Maybe they'll perfect their craft until the next round.

There's also the fact that John jumps back and forth across the world so easily, without transition, even when that difficulty was supposed to be one of the focal points of the film. And he's sure forgiven fast. Inconsistencies.

I was really expecting this to be the finale too, but it looks like there's more on the way! I can't wait. Even if it's just a way to keep making money at this point it's gonna be one hell of a showdown.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

The Gentleman (2019)

The Gentleman (2019)

British gangster movies have always felt a little off to me somehow. Violent, criminal, but never really as classy as the Hollywood ones. American Gangster. The Departed. Casino. That kind.

But those didn't have Matthew McConaughey, or Charlie Hunnam, or Hugh Grant. They might have had Colin Farrell, but not this kind of Colin Farrell either.

When they mix it up like this? Well then it's a different ballgame. Best of both worlds. The British richness of storytelling, their eccentricity, and the American ambition, and attitude, and all the nuances that make a character a character. Even if it's mostly Matthew. He is the character.

The Gentleman.

It's not just that though. It's the music too. The smoke and haze. The bits of comedy and darkness alike, like when Ray creeps out from the shadow to confront Fletcher when they're carrying the corpse from the freezer.

They leave us these little clues as well.

But where it excels is where most Hollywood movies have problems these days. With the script and narrative. With the details they leave out intent­ionally, and the ones they leave in, and how they play not only with words and nuances but also the very fabric of time and space itself. The fourth wall, even, if only for a short while with the intro.

I haven't felt as delighted, fulfilled and kindled by a movie in a long time as I did with this one.

The name suits it too. Calm, considerate and composed men, with class and intellect yet not without the mind to do what they have to. The ones capable of greater things. That's who they are. Gentlemen.

I went to a pre-screening of this one earlier this year btw. What a treat! Stood in line over an hour for the tickets but: worth it. Couldn't have chosen a better one to go to, and it was free too. Thank you SF.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

The Blue Knight (1973)

The Blue Knight (1973)

Bumper Morgan walks his beat. He walks the street. He sees some thugs. He finds a dead prostitute. He stumbles across a promising young shoe shiner. He talks to his snitches. To his girls. To his boss. To his love, of moving away to San Fransisco. Just another week and it'll all be over...

But that's before they start getting a lead on the killer. Before he starts working with homicide. Before he starts learning the codes. And before the dragon he's looking to slay shouts out that he'll drop him, when one time too many Bumper disrupts his not all legit business.

It's an authentic and casual movie. You see the people. You see the life­style. You walk around, and go to court, and get a glimpse into the soul of this one officer of the law, with a belief in justice but maybe no longer as much in love. It's a sometimes depressing tale, but not to tear-point. You understand what it's about, the life in blue that woos so few.

William Holden might seem a bit old by modern standards, but he feels authentic here. Everybody does. There's not much action but the authenticity's on point, and a myriad of threads all come together at the end. Almost. Still a few more dragons to slay. The beat goes on.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

I loved the Jumanji reboot recently. It might not have held up to the original in terms of props and details, but it more than made up for it with the cast, and comedy, and a story that felt just right for all ages.

This one? Let me tell you what I didn't like about it first: Fake ostriches, a cliche start, and not the best character switches - though Jables and the Asian were just amazing.

It grows on you too.

I'm not sure if it just takes a while to immerse yourself this time around or if it really does get better. Like they didn't fully believe in the sequel when they started, but as they got it going... they started to.

Kevin Hart has a smaller role this time around; The Rock a bigger one. Just saying. Great end too. When it was all over it was a blast, they really brought the action element to the next level, and both the buggies and the wells and all were atmospheric no doubt, but it feels like it took a while before it really started getting there. First half or so I was missing out.

Sequel though? They definitely left a window open...

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

Star Wars 9 - The Rise Of Skywalker (2019)

Star Wars 9 - The Rise Of Skywalker (2019)

Watched this one at the cinema twice. First the normal version, then VFR HD (is that the right abbreviation...?).

It was great. It was nostalgic, yet it was new, and it ended with just the right amount of sacrifice.

It feels like they're following a strict formula with these lately though. It's so exciting. So engaging. So great but still... there's something missing.

I miss that natural warmth and character with the older ones. I miss the differences. It's the same thing with each one of these now. They try hard, but maybe they try a bit too much.

Star Wars has become such a huge franchise that it's probably difficult for loyal fans to quench their expectations with each sequel, and maybe that's why they now pour their all into each and every one of them, but I'm no loyal fan. I'm a casual fan. I feel like I could have become a loyal one if they just slowed down a bit and let things have their way. Like they used to. Took some time to build things, and get creative with the premise.

I should've reviewed this in full back when I first watched it though. It's been a year now. I'm sure I had a much richer net of impressions after the first watch. About the sometimes lacking special effects in particular, something about the suits, and the chase... feels like I'm forgetting a few details now, but overall impressions remain. It's great but: still the same.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

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