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Countdown (2016)

Countdown (2016)

It's 12 Rounds again, yet with a new lead role, and apart from an embarrassingly badly filmed car chase it wasn't bad. They manage the tension. They manage a few plot twists too, and Glenn Jacobs is just perfect as main police officer. Superintendent? Right title?

Nic Nemeth and Katharine Isabelle do their fair share of bickering and competing for the lead role, with an awkward hug at the end of it all, but overall? Solid. They manage to throw in a little wrestling showcase in the midst of it too, even if they could've done that particular bit a bit better, and the kid at the end looks like he's totally lost. Little things. You want an action thriller a la WWE though? Here you go.

Honestly feels like they really need some new script writers, but I'm not complaining, just statin'. The action's still good. Emotion too. It is cliche sometimes, but rough enough to make up for it too. Good watch.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Jungle Book (1942)

Jungle Book (1942)

Time for the original! The one that started it all... apart from the book itself, of course. It tells the tale through the voice of a narrator, weaving through Mowgli's by now familiar backstory, though not focusing so much on his upbringing as much as on his first interaction with humans, and the flames of wrath and greed that are sparked there.

It's a much more colorful world than the newer movies, and the animals are life-like, though maybe not handled with as much care as they would have been today - or were in the sequels.

The ones that are props are very obviously so, but they're also all done in a way that you appreciate the craft, and the jungle scenes too. Sabu (yes, no last name) plays the main role well, and any excessively expressive dialog: I'll just attribute that to the time. Times were different then.

Considering how different the times were I'm surprised at how well this one's stood the test of time though! The pace may be slower, but the filming doesn't feel as dated as you may think. More so in the color and quality than the angles. More so in the pace than the choices they make with regard to filming. It's closer to the 1994 version of the movie than the ones that came after, and looking at that one now I assume they copied the style from this one. Maybe their aim was really to make it as much like the original as possible, since this one (with merit) did so well at the time of release, but for a nineties movie not just the style but the story itself seemed very much outdated. It was time for a fresh start, and the ones that followed did that well.

As for the original there's just one. And that's this. An impressive feat for the forties, and a well told - sometimes entertainingly dramatic and visually colorful - tale to this day.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Wreck-It Ralph 2 - Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018)

Wreck-It Ralph 2 - Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018)

I went to an exclusive preview of Ralph Breaks the Internet last month: the third ever Disney sequel, and the 57th Disney movie total, with a car chase they actually brought in a real stuntman to film, and captured the footage of via a hundred cameras to make the in-movie chase as realistic as possible. I don't know if the realism really came across but it did look good.

The producer and director were both there to talk about the movie, and answered a few questions from the chief of Walt Disney's Sweden division (I think it was) before it all started. No commercials. No gibberish wait time. A red mat leading into the cinema and comfy seats on a terrace, and a free seat with the perfect vantage point.

I would have been there with a buddy too but my buddy mistook the time so... that was a bummer.

I tried not to think about that as the movie rolled, though. It started a bit hesitantly, with Ralph and the princess lounging around the arcade, talking about the future, with first a glitchy Tron race I thought might be the lead into that-place-which-the-title-foretells-about, then a trip into the router where you really knew that: this was it.

They venture off into the great WWW in search of a new steering wheel to the machine Ralph accidentally wrecks, and the arcade owner can't afford to buy, and so starts a venture through a whole new universe of massive product-placement, but also charming and creatively presented Internet themes, memes, and so on.

How do you really make the Internet a visual thing? Watch this movie and you'll find out!

With the initial fiber optic tunnel I was a bit doubtful they'd manage, but they surprised me! They really did it well, all the while throwing in not just recognizable brands but recognizable memes, and themes, and both culture and subculture of the Net.

They even left in a little Geocities homage hiding deep down on the damp bottom floor of the Internet world! I probably missed some other equally cool details, but I'm proud I caught that particular one, and even more so knowing that most people probably didn't even recognize it, the brief moment it all passed by.

I won't delve so much into plot, but in its essence it's a story of friendship, and though the storyline might be a tad bit predictable there's always an element nearby ready to spiff things up. Just the way they maneuver the world. The little things. The princesses. The Slaughter Racing scene... it made for plenty of laughs but also a few tear-eyed moments towards the end. I can't say I remember all that much from the first movie, but I'll definitely remember this one, and I don't think it's only because it was an exclusive premiere, which it was. Pretty cool.

More so I think I just relate a lot more to the Internet than I do to arcades, which even if the game characters themselves are mostly recognizable ones, isn't a universe I grew up with. The Internet, though, that's my shizzle. And I appreciated both those references and the various Disney ones they popped in through-out. It's a world of references, basically. A bit like Ready Player One but... well it's nothing like that after all.

It's not just games this time, it's Cyberspace. It's a whole new world, and they did it well.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

The Marine 6 - Close Quarters (2018)

The Marine 6 - Close Quarters (2018)

Jake Carter and another former Marine, Luke Trapper, join forces to rescue a kidnapped girl from a gang of international criminals.

And so The Marine ends. Semper fidelis. Always.

As with the fifth one I really wasn't expecting that twist, and Mezman brought in an element of comedy that made it all the more surprising. They had a good set of villains though, with the vixen Rebecca Quin in particular, but I wish we'd had a glimpse of the big bad wolf at least. Just a glimpse.

It's not a forest this time, nor a theme park: it's the abandoned Oregon Lake Brewery, and the Shanghai Tunnels below it. A massive set, though I wish they'd alternate angles so you'd see in from the outside too, since in most of the surrounding shots it all looks abandoned. Like they're filming someplace differently. Which, for certain scenes, I suppose they were.

Overall though it's another solid segment in the series, where the occasional CGI blood and lack of consistency regard bullet holes, marks, etc, is the only real downside. Good action, good characters, and one desperate chase against time once again. A worthy finale, just might've been a little bit stronger without the sidekick bit.

 rated 3/5: not bad

The Marine 5 - Battleground (2017)

The Marine 5 - Battleground (2017)

This one really reminded me of one of the recent Purge movies. The ambulance thing. The horror vibe.

It is definitely also be the first action movie I see where mid-sequence the good guy does a blood transfusion in an elevator. One problem though: How did he know what blood group the other guy had?

There are other loose ends too, like Alonzo not wanting to take the guy alive in the beginning - or at least not acting like he did. Did he start to suspect something along the way? But these details, the surplus bullet that don't hit, the fake CGI smoke and the somewhat drawn-out search were the only things I didn't really like about this movie. Overall it's solid action, with a tough mofo as main character, good twists, a somewhat cliche theme park setting, but thought-out angles and locations otherwise. Most of it's in a parking garage though. Maybe that says something.

It might not be like the first but it still has that essence of it, of the guy who really goes overboard to do what he has to. That hero vibe. Real shit. Die Hard on a budget but without the whining.

I'm starting to like this Miz guy. Also: he plays against his real-life wife in this one! Might be fun to know when you see it. Try to figure out who it is.

 rated 3/5: not bad

The Marine 4 - Moving Target (2015)

The Marine 4 - Moving Target (2015)

When they changed up the character again with the third Marine movie I thought they might have a new one with every one, but seems like it's the same one at least in the fourth and fifth! And sixth. Mike 'The Miz' Mizanin. He's the man.

Maybe it's the scenery (lots of nature), or maybe it's the girl, but I really liked this one. It might not have had the most variety-rich locations or script to it, but it felt like a real adventure. A genuine little trip and dose of good ol' action, with some beautiful sceneries and some intense fire fights along the way, and some good music where it matters.

The only thing I don't like about these movies is how they always shoot more than they hit. Too many sound effects and too few bullet holes. Not realistic. Especially at close range. But ignore that: enjoy the action. It's a blast.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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