Category: Crime

Run All Night

Summary:  Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) is a washed up gangster, a gangster with more notches under his belt due to his work with good friend Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris) then even he would care to admit. Those kills mount so high that he has in the ‘Moby Dick’ for Detective Harding (Vincent D’Onofrio) who is determined to bring him down but has never really been sure which murders he was responsible for and which ones were committed by somebody else.

But Jimmy isn’t living by his gun any more. No these days he spends his time drunk and asleep in Shawn’s bar, which seemingly seems to be managed by his also criminally-minded son Danny (Boyd Holbrook). Meanwhile Jimmy’s own son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) keeps out of the gangster lifestyle choosing to be away from his father and do an honest job as a limo driver.

Suddenly though Mike’s world is turned upside down when his job causes him to witness a murder committed by his former friend, Danny. Now suddenly Danny and Shawn have their sites set on Mike who suddenly finds himself being reluctantly helped by his old man.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 19th March, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Screenwriter: Brad Ingelsby

Cast: Lisa Branch (Angela Banks), Radivoje Bukvic (Victor Grezda), John Cenatiempo (Tommy), Giulia Cicciari (Catelyn Conlon), Common (Andrew Price), Ella June Conroy (Kirsten), T.J. Craig (Tim), Chris C. Cullen (Young Pat Mullen), Vincent D’Onofrio (Detective Harding), Tony Devon (Detective Angie), Dan Domingues (Uncle Ricky), Malcolm Goodwin (Officer Colston), Ed Harris (Shawn Maguire), Roderick Hill (Billy Conlon), Boyd Holbrook (Danny Maguire), Aubrey Joseph (Curtis ‘Legs’ Banks), Jelani Robert Joseph (Marcus), Patricia Kalember (Rose Maguire), Joel Kinnaman (Mike Conlon), Beau Knapp (Kenan Boyle), Anna Ladner (Maria), James Martinez (Detective Oscar Torres), Holt McCallany (Frank), Bruce McGill (Pat Mullen), Carrington Meyer (Lily Conlon), Julian Murdoch (Young Mike), Andy Murray (Paul), Tony Naumovski (Samir), Liam Neeson (Jimmy Conlon), Nick Nolte (uncredited), Genesis Rodriguez (Gabriela Conlon), Daniel Stewart Sherman (Brendan), Lois Smith (Margaret Conlon), Gavin-Keith Umeh (Officer Randle), Barrington Walters Jnr. (Terrell)

Runtime: 114 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR RUN ALL NIGHT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

The gangster film genre (yes a sub-genre of the crime genre) can be a slippery slope for females. Get it wrong and you end up looking incredibly stupid like director Ruben Fleischer did with Gangster Squad. Yes everyone wants to make the next Godfather, but few come close, in recent times it has really only been films like Animal Kingdom, The Departed, Two Hands and Killing Them Softly that have ever come anywhere near the masterpiece of the genre though.

With Run All Night though director, Jaume Collet-Serra, who started as a horror director with House Of Wax and Orphan before directing Neeson it great thrillers Non-Stop and Unknown, comes dangerously close to making a film that deserves to be listed amongst the ‘better’ films in this realm.

Collet-Serra’s horror background certainly seems to help him in the making of Run All Night. Unlike some of the softer gangster flicks around he isn’t afraid to let a little bit of blood splatter, while he brings a dark sinister urban feel to Brad Ingelsby’s script, which already uses the city of New York as a character anyway. The best part of Run All Night though is the fact that Collet-Serra keeps track of the character relationships awfully well and never allows the film to become a storyless shoot-‘em-up like the mediocre Denzel Washington led The Equalizer which surfaced last year. The fact that Ingelsby’s screenplay sets this film over the course of one night also shows that he is a screenwriter to watch.

Instead Collet-Serra keeps the tension running throughout this film, not only from having Mike and Jimmy in constant danger whether through a high speed car chase or a slow paced forest ‘hunt’, but by realizing that the friction generated from the fractured relationships that these characters share with each other is more than enough to have the audience on their seat as well… a tension that is also enhanced by a great soundtrack by Junkie XL.

In fact the only weakness with Run All Night seems to be storyline surrounding Mr. Price (played by the rapper Common), the mysterious hitman hired to track down Mike and Jimmy. While most of the characters in Run All Night escape that the Hollywood gangster clichés, Mr. Price certainly doesn’t. Very little character background is given about him which doesn’t make him mysterious, it just makes him slightly annoying. There seems to be very little motivation to why the character exists in the film except to lead up to the finale, and he would really be more at place in a film like Sin City. Not sure why he was written into the original screenplay when two great adversaries were already set up with Shawn and Detective Harding… the latter a character that certainly deserved a lot more screen time.

Also making Run All Night a must see are the performances of the cast. Neeson vs Harris is one of the best enemy pairings in modern cinema and the two veteran actors go toe-to-toe with not only violence but also a remarkably tension filled dialogue driven scene where the two face off in a crowded restaurant over a meal. Neeson shrugs off the misses he recently delivered with Taken 3 and A Walk Among The Tombstones and once again returns to what we saw in Non-Stop a man who understands the action thriller genre more than most of his counterparts.

The younger cast step up as well with Joel Kinnaman making us forget RoboCop with a performance not too dissimilar to his one in The Killing while Boyd Holbrook also seems to relish the opportunity of playing the ‘bad guy.’ Common doesn’t do much to suggest that he should turn his back on his music career while the brave casting of Law & Order: Criminal Intent star Vincent D’Onofrio to play another New York cop (like playing one on TV for ten years wasn’t enough) actually seems to pay off despite the role not having quite enough meat to make him stand out.

Run All Night is a stylish gangster flick that shows that there is still life in this genre and Liam Neeson yet. Jaume Collet-Serra again reminds us why he is the leading thriller director around at the moment with a film that I am certain is going to be talked about for years to come.

Stars(4)

 

 

Greg King:

You can read Greg’s full Run All Night review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(3.5)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating: Run All Night (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Run All Night reviews: You can also read our Run All Night review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

A Most Violent Year

Summary:  In New York City 1981, an ambitious immigrant fights to protect his business and family during the most dangerous year in the city’s history.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th February, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: J.C. Chandor

Screenwriter: J.C. Chandor

Cast: Christopher Abbott (Louis Servidio), Jerry Adler (Josef), Pico Alexander (Elias Morales), Albert Brooks (Andrew Walsh), Myrna Cabella (Maria), Suzanne Cerreta (Kathy), Jessica Chastain (Anna Morales), Robert Clohessy (Mr. Rose), Giselle Eisenberg (Catherine Morales), Glenn Fleshler (Arnold Klein), Annie Funke (Lorraine Lefkowitz), Elyes Gabel (Julian), Peter Gerety (Bill O’Leary), William Hill (Eddie), Oscar Issac (Abel Morales), Linda Marie Larson (Debbie), Matthew Maher (John Dominczyk), David Margulies (Saul Lefkowtiz), Elizabeth Marvel (Mrs. Rose), Catalina Sandino Moreno (Luisa), Alessandro Nivola (Peter Forente), David Oyelowo (Lawrence), Jimmy Palumbo (Jimmy O.), Patrick Pitu (Vinny), John Procaccino (Arthur Lewis), Lorna Pruce (Toll Booth Clerk Powell), Jason Ralph (Ian Thompson), Taylor Richardson (Elizabeth Morales), Ben Rosenfield (Alex), Daisy Tahan (Annie Morales), Ashley Williams (Lange)

Runtime: 125 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR A MOST VIOLENT YEAR REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King:

You can read Greg’s full A Most Violent Year review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(3.5)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating: A Most Violent Year (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment A Most Violent Year reviews: You can also hear our A Most Violent Year review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #120.

Trailer:

The Gambler

Summary: Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is a man who has given up on life. He is supposed to be a successful novelist, but successful novels these days only make $17,000 which has pretty much ended that dream for him. Instead he finds himself lecturing about literature to students like up-and-coming tennis star Dexter (Emory Cohen) and star college basketballer Lamar Allen (Anthony Kelley) who would rather send text messages during his classes then listen to what Jim has to say. Then there is also his toxic relationship with his mother, Roberta (Jessica Lange), who has her fortune set up thanks to the recent death of Jim’s grandfather who was one of the wealthiest men in the United States.

His life in ruin Jim decides he wants to feel pain. For him the best way to do that is to deliberately lose money in dodgy backyard casinos and end up owing money to the likes of Mister Lee (Alvin Ing), Neville Baraka (Michael Kenneth Williams) and Frank (John Goodman). These ruthless men will do anything to get there money back and that is the way that Jim likes it.

But now a slight glimmer of hope arrives for Jim. A young aspiring writer named Amy Phillips (Brie Larson), whom he labels a genius, who frequents his class has captured his mind (and maybe his heart). But is he too damaged to ever try and get anywhere with her.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 5th February, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Rupert Wyatt

Screenwriter: William Monahan, James Toback (1974 film)

Cast: Andre Braugher (Dean Fuller), Griffin Cleveland (Young Jim), Emory Cohen (Dexter), John Goodman (Frank), Rex Hindrichs (Donovan Cham), Alvin Ing (Mister Lee), Sarunas Jackson (Wilhelm), Anthony Kelley (Lamar Allen), George Kennedy (Ed), Sue Jae Kim (Gambler Ken), Jessica Lange (Roberta), Brie Larson (Amy Phillips), Dominic Lombardozzi (Big Ernie), Leland Orser (Larry Jones), Norman Towns (Brodey), Mark Wahlberg (Jim Bennett), Michael Kenneth Williams (Neville Baraka), Steve Wong (Mr. Mahjong)

Runtime: 111 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR THE GAMBLER REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

With great films like Birdman and American Sniper around at the moment it has been pretty easy to not even notice that The Gambler was about to hit cinemas. That in itself is greatly disappointing because The Gambler is equal to those films in every single way and once again that we are reminded that good character piece cinema is not dead and buried.

Director Rupert Wyatt (probably most noted for Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes) has taken the respected 1974 film of the same name starring James Caan and turned it into an absolute modern day gem. Wyatt does a sensational job of taking a film that has lengthy dialogue driven scenes, eerie ‘are they real or not’ scenes and turned into a film that captures that same energy as films like Fight Club. To be honest not all will like The Gambler as Wyatt and screenwriter William Monahan do have the audience scratching their heads a lot, but if you can get past that then you’ll certainly love this film.

Perhaps one of the most surprising things about The Gambler is just how much is packed into this film. The story ranges from the dirty world of backdoor casinos and sports corruption through to an in-depth character study of a man who has completely given up on life itself. The story weaves and drifts at a sometimes slow pace, due to the well written lengthy dialogue driven scenes, yet for some reason the audience finds themselves sitting on the edge of their seat in the same way they would if they were watching the latest Hollywood action blockbuster. The mood and eerie feeling of the film are further enhanced with a brilliant soundtrack that is varied as the film itself with a wide range of music ranging from the classic Pulp track Common People to a choir led version of Radiohead’s Creep.

Wyatt also manages to get the best of his cast. It seems no matter what Mark Wahlberg does with his career people love to forget the great films he has made, films like The Departed, Boogie Nights etc and instead focus on the couple of bombs that he has delivered or the fact that he was once Marky Mark. Here though Wahlberg reminds everybody that when he is given the right material to work with he can be an acting force. Wahlberg goes through a major physical transformation here, one that could have in line to play Mick Jagger in The Rolling Stones biopic, and goes so far into the character of Jim Bennett that it is easy to see that Wahlberg has picked up a thing or two about character acting along the way.

Wahlberg really is the star of The Gambler, dominating the screen time but he is well supported by those who he takes along for the ride which include Jessica Lange (playing a very similar character to the one she plays in American Horror Story) and Brie Larson. The only actor who gets any chance of stealing a scene away from Wahlberg is the legendary John Goodman, who looks awfully unhealthy in this film but once again delivers the goods.

The Gambler is the kind of film that is going to be lapped up by people that love a good alternative film. The long scenes and lack of action may scare away some cinema goers but this is a film that is destined to become a cult classic. To be blunt this is one of those films that you watch and then tell all your friends to go and see.

 

Stars(4)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating: The Gambler (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment The Gambler reviews: You can also read our The Gambler review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Taken 3

Summary: Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is back, not because someone has been taken but instead because he has been framed for the murder of his wife, Lenny (Famke Janssen). Not only does he want revenge but he also needs to find a way to clear his name.

Bryan soon finds that the only people who believe that he is innocent are his former CIA crew and his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). Worse still it seems like a dogged and determined cop, Franck Dotzler (Forest Whitaker) is determined to see Bryan go down for the crime.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 8th January, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Olivier Megaton

Screenwriter: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen

Cast: Reuven Avi (Officer Parker), Judi Beecher (Claire), Andrew Borba (Clarence), Dylan Bruno (Smith), Alex Disdier (Steward Austin), Maggie Grace (Kim), Jon Gries (Casey), Don Harvey (Garcia), Andrew Howard (Maxim), Famke Janssen (Lenore), Stefanie Kleine, Dale Liner (Officer Bernard), John Mansion (Bart), Liam Neeson (Bryan Mills), Leland Orser (Sam), Jimmy Palumbo (Brooks), Al Sapienza (Detective Johnson), Dougray Scott (Stuart St. John), Philip J. Silvera (Officer Ramsey), Sam Spruell (Oleg Malankov), Jonny Weston, Forest Whitaker (Franck Dotzler), Derrick Worsley (Officer Edwards)

Runtime: 109 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR TAKEN 3 REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

The original Taken film, that surfaced in 2008, was rightfully labelled as one of the best action films to ever be made. It was tightly directed by Pierre Morel who did a great job creating a stylised yet believable action classic while announcing that award-winning actor Liam Neeson was a more-than-worthy action hero, ironic when you consider that Neeson had previously turned down the role of James Bond by saying he never wanted to be in an action film. The one of things that quickly gained Taken a legion of fans though was the fact that it had something that action film buffs had been craving for quite a long time… brutality.

Then came Taken 2 directed by French director Olivier Megaton, a film that was so eagerly received by fans of the original film due to the fact that it was heavily edited in a bid to try and soften the violence and asked the audience to suspend their belief just a little too far. Now comes Taken 3 which again sees Megaton at the helm and the result is an entertaining but completely over the top action film that could potentially have fans of the first film really cringing.

The biggest fault with Taken 3 is that the film’s believability goes out the window very early on. If the fact that Bryan could never have been blamed for Lenny’s death due to the fact that he would have had an alibi to place him away from the scene of the murder isn’t enough to make the audience groan then Taken fans will be completely surprised when they discover that this time around Bryan is no longer just simply a man with a special skill set, somehow in this film they are expected to believe that he has suddenly become super-human. Yes suddenly Bryan has the ability to survive explosions and incidents as if he is some kind of immortal… it just doesn’t work within the realm of this franchise. Plus the audience is also expected to believe that a large amount of collateral damage deaths of innocent bystanders (for those that have seen the film think back to the freeway) is justifiable became one man wants revenge for his wife’s death and to clear his name… it’s just not something that is going to sit right with most people.

Then there are also the faults with the filmmaking and screenwriting themselves. Megaton delivers fast paced action that seems to have been learnt from the Michael Bay School of Filmmaking, lots of quick camera shots and movement that seem to hamper the film more than making it easy to watch, add that to the fact that the screenwriting is just lazy and you have a recipe for disaster. The screenwriter seems to have thrown all matter of Police procedure out the window while making any character that isn’t Bryan or his family into a one-dimensional walking cliché. Yes this is one of those crime thrillers with buffoon cops with the same personality trait and incompetence everywhere you turn.

The weak screenplay certainly affects the performance of Forest Whitaker who is held back by the fact that he seems to be playing the same OCD suffering, obsessive cop that he played while chasing Vic Mackie in The Shield. To a cinema fan it is actually sad to see such a talented actor, like Whitaker, wasting his talents playing such a cliché. The rest of the cast seems to suffer as well. As usual Liam Neeson steps up to the plate as the action hero, but he like his on-screen daughter, Maggie Grace, seems to just breeze through most of the film’s so-called dramatic scenes with complete ease.

The other piece of strange casting in Taken 3 that will potentially annoy true Taken fans is the casting of Dougray Scott as Stuart St. John… Lenny’s husband. Not only does he play another cliché… this time the token bad guy, but looks a hell of a lot younger than the original Stuart (played by Xander Berkeley) that we saw in the original film.

Strangely though despite all its weaknesses Taken 3 isn’t a dull watch. If you like car chases and explosions this film will be entertaining enough for you from start to finish. But if you’re looking for an action film with substance, like the first film was, then give this film a wide berth because substance and believability are just things that aren’t in Megaton’s film-making repetiteur.

 

Stars(2.5)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2.5)

 

IMDB Rating: Taken 3 (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Taken 3 reviews: You can also read our review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

The Mule

Summary: Inspired by true events, The Mule tells the story of a naive man who is detained by federal police with lethal narcotics hidden in his stomach. Alone and afraid, ‘the Mule’ makes a desperate choice; to defy his bodily functions and withhold the evidence… literally. By doing so he becomes a ‘human time bomb’; dragging cops, criminals and concerned family into his impossible escapade.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 21st November, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Tony Mahony, Angus Sampson

Screenwriter: Jaime Browne, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell

Cast: Georgina Haig (Lawyer), Noni Hazlehurst (Mum), Ewen Leslie (Paris), Geoff Morrell (Dad), John Noble (Pat Shepherd), Chris Pang (Phuk), Lasarus Ratuere (Josh), Angus Sampson (Ray Jenkins), Marsha Vassilevskaia (Tiffany), Hugo Weaving (Croft), Leigh Whannell (Gavin)

Runtime: 104 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR THE MULE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Winter Sleep review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(4)

 

David Griffiths:

Australia has always had a knack of making good retro drama films. Films like Two Hands, Dirty Deeds and even Animal Kingdom spring straight to mind. Throw in the fact that despite the amount of times he has been horribly mis-cast on the big screen Aussie audiences still seem to love Angus Sampson and you would think that The Mule is a sure fire winner for Screen Australia.

But as every film journalist seems to like reminding people to film in Australia in its darkest days. So dark at the moment that the people behind The Mule have decided to go about its release in a very unique way. Instead of The Mule being screened in cinemas right across the country it will only appear on a couple of screens before then becoming available to the mass community online. Of course all that aside you would still expect that The Mule be a decent film if the people are expected to watch it. And that’s where you might be in for a surprise.

Flashback to 1983, a simpler time in Australia and the mighty Aussies were locked in a seven race fight with America to win the America’s Cup for the first time. At the same time a little Aussie battler named Ray Jenkins (played by Angus Sampson) was involved in a battle of his own. See normally Ray was a sensible man, he listened to his mother (Noni Hazelhurst), he played footy and he fixed televisions for a dodgy boss.

But then during an end of season footy trip to Asia, which his Mum didn’t want him to go on in the first place, Ray listened to his Dad (Geoff Morrell) and his wannabee criminal mate, Gavin (Leigh Whannell), and decided to fill his stomach with condoms full of heroin. It should have been an easy crime but instead Ray messed up at Melbourne Airport and soon finds himself locked in a room with hardened Federal Agent Croft (Hugo Weaving) and the kinder Federal Agent Paris (Ewen Leslie) who decide they will hold onto Ray until he literally spills his guts. That’s when Ray decides that he can sit them out and hold out… or should that be on… until they can longer hold him.

The Mule is actually a breath of fresh air in the Australian film industry because it gets so many things right. First of all as a first time director Tony Mahony (who shares the directional duties with Sampson) pretty much nails this film. He captures the period of 1983 well (despite the odd modern train appearing) and manages to mix the right amount of violence, comedy, drama and suspense together in a way that is not too dissimilar to an early Quentin Tarrantino. It’s rare that you watch a film where you find yourself barracking for a drug trafficker but just like the legendary Australian 2 yacht, here Ray is an Aussie battler taking it right up to the ‘big giants’ that want his scalp.

Mahony is of course aided by a wonderfully written script by Sampson and Whannell. While the film doesn’t quite find itself in the realm of Two Hands it does mix its genres well and is enough to make its audience go through a whole range of emotions. There are moments when you are find yourself laughing out loud, gagging and almost vomiting at some of the things that Ray has to do with the condoms and at other times find the cinema to be in a state of suspense and it becomes unclear just how far Pat Shepherd (John Noble) and is henchmen are willing to go to silence Ray and his family. And as if the script hasn’t already delivered enough to like by then it then has a huge twist that most audience members certainly won’t see coming.

The cream on the cake in this film is the casting. The normally strong Noni Hazlehurst and Geoff Morrell once again deliver gold but it is the two leading men here who lead this ship to the winning post. It’s not too cruel to say that Sampson has been badly miscast a number of times over his career, none more obvious than in Incidious, but here Sampson delivers everything you would want to see a comedic leading man deliver. The fact that he also does well during the dramatic scenes shows that perhaps we have all misjudged Sampson over the years and he just need the right role to show us all what he is really capable of.

Then opposite Sampson of course is Hugo Weaving who goes into complete bad guy mode playing ruthless, sexist, 1980s Federal Agent Croft to a tee. Croft allows Weaving to deliver some well timed punches to the stomach, sarcastic wit and beautifully delivered snarls alarmingly well and you hope the fact that this is one of Weaving’s best roles might mean that a few more people want to hunt down a copy of The Mule and give it a watch.

The Mule could well be Australia’s sleeper hit film of the year. It seems to take the qualities that most Australians like to see in their cinema and place it all together – the crime grit of a movie like Animal Kingdom mixed with that quirky Australian humor that saw Red Dog become such a big hit and just a hint of the battler story that made The Castle a must see. While the electronic release may frighten off some people The Mule is one Aussie film that is a must see this year.

Stars(4)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating: The Mule (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment The Mule reviews: For our full The Mule review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #105 . You can also read Dave’s The Mule review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Son Of A Gun

Summary: While locked up for a minor offence, 19-yr-old JR (Thwaites) becomes apprentice to the enigmatic Brendan Lynch (McGregor), a calculating crime boss with connections both inside and out. After helping Lynch and his crew orchestrate a daring prison escape, JR is invited to join in on their next job – a high stakes heist that promises to deliver millions.

But as they plan the heist, JR begins to suspect he is being played and soon finds himself on a collision course with his mentor in a very dangerous game.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 16th October, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Julius Avery

Screenwriter: Julius Avery, John Collee

Cast: Eddie Baroo (Merv), Tom Budge (Josh), Nash Edgerton (Chris), Damon Herriman (Private Wilson), Sam Hutchin (Dave), Marko Jovanovic (Ken), Jacek Koman (Sam), Ivan Lightbody (Mitch), Ewan McGregor (Brendan), Matt Nable (Sterlo), Soa Palelei (Thomy), Brenton Thwaites (JR), Alicia Vikander (Tasha)

Runtime: 109 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR SON OF A GUN REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Son Of A Gun review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #101

Stars(3)

 

Dave Griffiths:

The heat is really on Australian films at the moment. Films this year that were supposed to be big hits – These Final Hours, The Rover and Felony – have all had dismal returns at the box office, and now comes Son of A Gun a film that has its producers (and the whole Australian film industry) watching with baited breath to see whether the inclusion of Scottish actor Ewan McGregor on the bill will be enough to make Australian audiences actually want to go and see the film in the cinemas.

Of course as Predestination and The Rover found out earlier this year the inclusion of international stars like Robert Pattinson and Ethan Hawke on the cast list doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the film is going to make an impact at the Box Office either. But what the producers of Son Of A Gun will be hoping is that the fact that Son Of A Gun is back in that gritty crime drama genre that has seen films such as Animal Kingdom become a hit in the past.

From first-time director Julius Avery, who has built a sturdy short film career, Son Of A Gun sees young small-time criminal JR (Brenton Thwaites) suddenly thrust into the rigours of a tough prison environment. While the brash young crim feels that he has what it takes to survive he suddenly finds himself needing the help of seasoned notorious armed robber Brendan (Ewan McGregor) who takes the young man under his wing and includes him in his plans for a violent prison breakout and resulting major heist at a Western Australian gold mine.

On the outside though JR and Brendan don’t find things to run as smoothly as they hoped. Brendan says that he is a crim-of-his-word although his honour is tested when they become involved with a rich mobster named Sam (Jacek Koman) who is money hungry and has no time for JR… especially when he sets his sights on one of Sam’s girls an immigrant named Tasha (Alicia Vikander).

But of course it takes more than some big names and a well believed in genre for a film to work and sadly it is in other areas where Son Of A Gun is largely let down. Early on things seem promising for Son Of A Gun it has all the grit and intensity off prison/crime films like Everynight, Everynight and Animal Kingdom while the actual prison breakout and some of the car chases almost lift this film into the action film genre, but this film is dangerously let down by some of the film’s slower moments.

At times the film seems like it wants to touch on the gangster romance element that made Two Hands so popular but the relationship here never wins the audience over the same way that the Heath Ledger/Rose Byrne chemistry did in the Aussie classic while the films last quarter is a massive let down. After the gold mine heist the film seems to lose its way, so badly that the ending feels like something you would have expected to see in a trashy American film like Wild Things. And of course if you’ve been a loyal audience member and kept a track of all the crumbs and sign posts that Avery has left so blatantly throughout the film you may get a really early sense of exactly what the big suspenseful moment is going to be during the finale as well.

The one thing that does lift Son Of A Gun up though, aside from the first brilliant twenty minutes, are the cast. Ewan McGregor does show that he is a class above everybody else in the film with a strong character performance that almost seems him become the rough-and-ready Brendan. He is well supported by young gun on the rise Brenton Thwaites whose tough boy image is very different to the pretty boy he recently played in The Giver.

The rest of the cast however are not quite so lucky. Alicia Vikander is given very little to work with at all. Her character motivation is weak and she quickly becomes a cliché as does many of the other ‘baddies’ in the film, a shame when you realise that actors such as Jacek Koman are capable of pulling off some really dramatic roles when they are called to. The big crime though is the treatment of Vikander whose role is so weak you can only wonder why she bothered making the trip out to Australia to make the film in the first place. Her performance is good, but the script lets her down.

Son Of A Gun is a film that seems like it is desperate to make the same grade as classic Australian crime films like The Boys, but sadly the films weak last quarter really drags it down and leaves a bad taste in the audience’s mouth. Worse is the fact that the opening of the film is so good that you are left wondering how the same screenwriter could be responsible for such a letdown of a finale. Son Of A Gun may briefly breathe life back into the Australia film industry but it is certainly not the saviour that everybody was hoping for.

Stars(3)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Son of a Gun (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Son Of A Gun′: For our full Son Of A Gun review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #101 . Dave’s Son Of A Gun review can also be viewed on The Book The Film The T-Shirt

Trailer:

 

Gone Girl Poster

Summary: When Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) discovers that his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) is missing and there is sign of a struggle, he is immediately concerned. But as the case develops, the nation becomes transfixed with the search and a series of clues begin to make Nick look like something other than a mere bystander, the police, the media, the viewing public and his family begin to doubt his innocence.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 4th October, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: David Fincher

Screenwriter: Gillian Flynn

Cast: Lynn Adrianna (Kelly Capitono), Ben Affleck (Nick Dunne), Lisa Banes (Marybeth Elliott), David Clennon (Rand Elliott), Carrie Coon (Margo Dunne), Kim Dickens (Detective Rhonda Boney), Nicholas Fagerberg (Charlie), Patrick Fugit (Officer Jim Gilpin), Neil Patrick Harris (Desi Collings), Alexander Michael Helisek (Mover Charles), Boyd Holbrook (Jeff), Pete Housman (Walter), Leonard Kelly-Young (Bill Dunne), Lola Kirke (Greta), Saffron Mazzia (Celina), Scoot McNairy (Tommy O’Hara), Jamie McShane (Donnelly), Terry Myers (Steve Eckart), Kathleen Rose Perkins (Shawna Kelly), Tyler Perry (Tanner Bolt), Rosamund Pike (Amy Dunne), Missi Pyle (Ellen Abbott), Emily Ratajowski (Andie Hardy), Donna Rusch (Lauren Nevens), Cyd Strittmatter (Maureen Dunne), Sela Ward (Sharon Scheiber), Casey Wilson (Noelle Hawthorne), Ricky Wood (Jason)

Runtime: 149 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR GONE GIRL REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Adam Ross: You can check out Adam’s Gone Girl review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #99 .

Stars(4)

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Gone Girl review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(4)

 

Nick Gardiner: You can check out Nick’s Gone Girl review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #99

Stars(4)

 

David Griffiths:

If people were asked to name a director that has been pretty much constant for releasing great films over his career many would have David Fincher on their list. With films like Se7en, Fight Club and The Social Network on his resume you could argue that he is one of the most important directors of the past twenty years. Hell, he is even one of the very few directors who have been able to make a U.S. remake of a foreign film not only something watchable but something that was a hit with both critics and the public alike.

Now comes his latest film Gone Girl, which to many film lovers has become one of the most eagerly anticipated films of 2014. So how does it fair up? Well to be honest this is probably the must un-David Fincher films that Fincher has made to date in his career, but despite saying that this is a film that certainly works and shows that there are people out there in the cinematic world who are willing to try something different and be creative in doing so.

Based on Gillian Flynn’s hit novel of the same name the story of Gone Girl is told in three parts. First we find out-of-work writer Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) return home one day to find his wife Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) missing. Nick is a suspect from Day One and even the help of celebrity lawyer Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry) can’t stop the media from making him one of America’s most hated men.

The second part of the film follows Amy’s story and then the third and final act pretty much delivers the wash-up and sees Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) trying to tie up the loose ends of the case and help those that have been caught up in it all get on with their lives.

Now the first thing you’ll notice is that I’ve been pretty vague in my description of the plot of the film. That is because if someone ruins what happens in this film for you then they are the kind of the person that you should not associate with, this is a film that you need to go into cold with. Even those that have read the novel will not get the special thrill that those who know nothing about the story will get when they view this film.

The three acts of the film being so well defined throughout the film does take some getting used to but it actually does work and you certainly aren’t going to complain when the constant twists and turns that seem to play with your mind throughout this film. Just a word of warning though don’t try to over think the criminal case part of this film because while Fincher and Flynn (who is also the screenwriter here) have been pretty smart it would only take someone who has watched a couple of episodes of C.S.I. to see that there are many flaws involved in this film’s so called ingenious criminal plot.

One of the things that really lifts this film though is the style and tone that Fincher and Flynn have brought to the table. The script heads into some pretty dark areas but unlike a film like The Lovely Bones there is also some dark humor in there designed to get a chuckle from the audience. That element brings a touch of Fargo to the film while the town setting and Fincher’s way of portraying the community and society instantly conjures up thoughts of David Lynch’s career, particularly Twin Peaks. The good thing is that these styles meld together pretty well and despite the film’s length this is a film that will keep you engrossed for the entire time without any clock-watching.

Once again though the big talking point about this film is the fact that David Fincher has once again got the most out of his cast. Many like to highlight the fact that Ben Affleck has made some horrendous films over his career (and let’s be honest films like Gigli are pretty hard to forget) but over recent years he has also become one the finest characters actors going around. Here Fincher works with that and as a result you see Affleck play Nick Dunne in such a way that as an audience you find your feelings for the guy change almost from minute-to-minute. One moment you feel sorry for him and the next you are hoping he gets the death penalty.

Fincher also directs Rosamund Pike to a performance that should see her get an Oscar nomination. She plays a character with a lot of ‘issues’ (again I don’t want to give anything away) in such a way that she conjures up thoughts of some of the performances by the leading ladies in past 90s thrillers like Basic Instinct. Even the sub-cast get a good look in here with Kim Dickens playing Fincher’s Lynch-like Detective brilliantly well, Tyler Perry finally delivering a performance that will warm him to people outside of his normal fan base while Neil Patrick Harris joins the growing list of comedic actors who are dangerously good when playing criminally minded nut-jobs.

While not as good as some of Fincher’s previous films like Se7en and The Social Network Gone Girl is still a credible film that does deserve to be listed as one of 2014’s finest. The twists and turns of the plot will captivate the audience while its slamming of today’s trial-by-media mentality also gives the audience something to ponder once the credits have rolled. The film’s unique mix of drama, suspense and dark humor should guarantee that it also stands up against the test of time.
Stars(4)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating: Gone Girl (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Gone Girl′: For our full Gone Girl review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #99 . You can also read Dave’s Gone Girl review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

The Reckoning

Summary: After his partner is murdered, a detective must track down two teenage runaways whose video footage contains the identity of the killer.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 4th September, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: John V. Soto

Screenwriter: John V. Soto

Cast: Kelsie Anderson (Sarah), Nicola Bartlett (Dawn Saunders), Viva Bianca (Detective Jane Lambert), Olivia Charlotte (Chloe), Michael Davies (Jacob), Rebecca Davies (Amy), Vito de Francesco (Andrei), Katie Dorman (Renee), Amanda Dow (Maxine), Simon Dow-Hall (Angel), Matt Elvert (Matt), Renato Fabretti (Alex), Priscilla-Anne Forder (Officer Sally Franklin), Arielle Gray (Rachel look alike), James Hagan (Father Emmett), Stuart Halusz (Hugo), Luke Hemsworth (Detective Jason Pearson), Jonathan LaPaglia (Detective Robbie Green), Hanna Mangan Lawrence (Rachel), Conrad Le Bron (Lukas), Andrew Lewis (Bill), John McPherson (The Pharmacist), Tom O’Sullivan (Connor), Igor Sas (Captain Harry Bennell), Kasmir Sas (AJ look alike), Alex Williams (AJ), Chelsea Williamson (Abbie Saunders)

Runtime: 86 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR THE RECKONING REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

There has been an influx of so-called crime thriller films over the past few years. A lot of screenwriters and directors have seen the success of television shows such as Law & Order and C.S.I. and decided that if that is the genre the public want at the moment then that is what they will give them. The problem has been though that many of those filmmakers have also decided to use the tired formula used by those television shows and that is certainly something that doesn’t work on the big screen.

That’s why The Reckoning is such a breath of fresh air. Director John V. Soto melds together the crime thriller genre with so good old fashioned suspense and a found footage storyline. Now I’m not normally a fan of found footage films, yes it worked for The Blair Witch Project but in my opinion has gone downhill from there, but here it works really well due to a tight script that delivers some great twists and turns along the way.

The film itself sees Detective Robbie Green (Jonathan LaPaglia) and his partner Detective Jane Lambert (Viva Bianca) handed a strange video tape that will help them piece together the mystery of the murder of their colleague Detective Jason Pearson (Luke Hemsworth).

The tape itself is a ‘documentary’ put together by two runaways Rachel (Hanna Mangan Lawrence) and AJ (Alex Williams) who are seemingly hunting down everybody responsible in the terminally ill Rachel’s sister’s death a few months earlier.

As a director Soto has always shown that he has a knack for good suspense. His films Crush and Needle showed that, but with The Reckoning he shows that he can pull away from those paranormal storylines but still bring that air of suspense to the crime thriller genre. There are moments of true suspense here – a rooftop fight with a girl who has nothing to lose and the film even contains a massive a twist that hits the audience right between the eyes when they least expect it.

Budgetary constraints do hold the film back a little but at the end of the day it is a good screenplay that makes a film work and that is the important thing here. Jonathan LaPaglia and Viva Bianca both seem to cruise through roles with ease and as a result they are overshadowed again by a brilliant performance by the young Hanna Mangan Lawrence who just seems to get better and better with every role she plays. Her performances in films such as Lucky Country, X, Acolytes and The Square have always been sensational and once again she comes to the fore here as a young girl who is dying but wants bloody revenge on those who took her sister away from her. It’s a challenging role but one she delivers with a punch.

The Reckoning is a must see for those that like their crime thrillers with a bit of edge. John V. Soto’s paranormal genre background shows in this film, his murders are a little edgier than you wouldn’t normally expect in a crime film while the found-footage storyline also brings something different to the table. Once again we see when it comes to crime films Aussie filmmakers are well and truly at the front of the pack.

Stars(3)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: The Reckoning (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘The Reckoning′: For our full The Reckoning review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #95 when it is released this week. You can also read Dave’s The Reckoning review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Devil's Knot

Summary: Based on the true crime and novel by Mara Leveritt, Devil’s Knot explores the murder and trial of three boys that went missing in Memphis in 1993. The crime brings three teenagers to trial and despite pleading innocent and the mounting forensic evidence to support their innocence, the teenagers are persecuted without question and left at the mercy of lawyer Ron Lax who continues to probe deeper into the case and the prejudices that exist within the court of law. The film explores the lives of deeply misunderstood outsiders, their families and communities, and their darkest fantasies. The conviction of the West Memphis Three – Damien Echols, Jesse Misskelley, Jr., and Jason Baldwin – riled the American justice system, shocked a tightly knit religious town and outraged the nation.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th July, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Atom Egoyan

Screenwriter: Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson, Mara Leveritt (novel)

Cast: Robert Baker (Detective Bryn Ridge), Paul Boardman Jnr. (Michael Moore), Kerry Cahill (Jo Lynn), Brandon Carroll (Bobby DeAngelo), Jack Coghlan (Aaron Hutcherson), Dane DeHaan (Chris Morgan), Kevin Durand (John Mark Byers), Mireille Enos (Vicki Hutcheson), Colin Firth (Ron Lax), Wilbur Fitzgerald (Tom), Michael Gladis (Dan Stidham), Bruce Greenwood (Judge Burnett), Gary Grubbs (Dale Griffis), James Hamrick (Damien Echols), Martin Henderson (Brent Davis), Kristopher Higgins (Jessie Miskelley), Stan Houston (Detective Donald Bray), Brian Howe (Detective McDonough), Ted Huckabee (Steve Jones), Julie Ivey (Melissa Byers), Jet Jurgensmeyer (Stevie Branch), Elias Koteas (Jerry Driver), Matt Letscher (Paul Ford), Rex Linn (Chief Inspector Gitchell), Seth Meriwether (Jason Baldwin), Stephen Moyer (John Fogelman), Bill Murphey (Marty King), Alessandro Nivola (Terry Hobbs), Kristoffer Polaha (Val Price), Anessa Ramsey (Rosie), Amy Ryan (Margaret Lax), Lori Beth Sikes (Annie), Brad D. Smith (Todd Moore), Brandon Spink (Christopher Byers), Matthew Stanton (Detective Durham), Clay Stapleford (Detective Mike Allen), Stephanie Stewart (Domini Teer), Brooke Jaye Taylor (Officer Regina Meeks), Reese Witherspoon (Pam Hobbs), Collette Wolfe (Glori Shettles), Isabella Zentkovich (Amanda Hobbs)

Runtime: 114 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR DEVIL’S KNOT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

The story of The West Memphis Three has been itching to be turned into a feature film for a great deal many years now. Countless documentaries have been made around the case over the years, and so powerful is the story of injustice that it has been impossible for anyone to sit through them without some kind of anger building up inside them. To be brutally honest the whole story (or should that be saga) is really a screenwriter and director’s dream.

Devil’s Knot looks at the case of The West Memphis Three told through the eyes of a private investigator, Ron Lax (Colin Firth) and one of the grieving mothers, Pam Hobbs (Reese Witherspoon). As Hobbs desperately tries to work out what happened in her son’s murder Lax concentrates on the theory that the three accused, Damien Echols (James Hamrick), Jason Baldwin (Seth Meriwether) and Jessie Misskelley (Kristopher Higgins) are innocent.

Oscar nominated director Atom Egoyan decides to tackle the case head-on in his latest film Devil’s Knot. Now a rookie filmmaker may have simply decided that this film should be told through the eyes of one of the accused but Egoyan is smarter than that and instead digs up the story of one of the case’s lesser known players, the private investigator hired by the three accused’s legal team to try and clear their clients name. So not to make the film too one sided Egoyan also tells part of the story through the eyes of Pam Hobbs, a grieving mother who seems more open to the fact that injustice is being done than anyone else involved in the case.

Early on Devil’s Knot is a promising film. It digs up certain parts of the case that are naturally overlooked in most explorations into the case including the mysterious ‘muddied and bloodied black man’ who was spotted in a fast food diner on the night of the murders. But it’s not long after that revolution that Egoyan seems to let Devil’s Knot dangerously let itself down. Just as Lax beguns to uncover series leads that suggest a Police cover-up and Police corruption the film pulls back from how hard-hitting it should have been and instead becomes a court room drama in the vein of a television show like Law & Order.

The second half of Devil’s Knot shows why a director of the class of David Fincher needs to get hold of this story and do something with it. The links of the boys to the occult and Satanic rituals could have taken the film into some dark places while the whole Police corruption element and them deciding to investigate Ron Lax needed to have a lot more suspense put into it then what it shown here. For Devil’s Knot to work there needed to be less of Lax sitting around in an office and talking to the lawyers and more of him actually out on the street doing the leg work – after all he had to be getting these leads from somewhere, right? Perhaps the most ironic thing about how much the screenplay lets down the film is that it comes from the same pen as Deliver Us From Evil, Scott Derrickson.

As a result Egoyan really under uses his two leads. Colin Firth seems like an actor champing at the bit for a dramatic scene right throughout Devil’s Knot while Reese Witherspoon plumps up and heads into the similar character territory she explored in Mud but again she is let down. Instead of allowing her character to deliver some powerful scenes when she starts suspecting her own husband, Terry Hobbs (Alessandro Nivola), as being involved in their son’s murder. It’s a sad point to make but the screenplay here really does let down both Firth and Witherspoon.

Devil’s Knot could easily have been one of the best films of the year, but sadly it is let down by a director and screenwriter who seem reluctant to tap into the suspense that is handed to them on a plate. Instead the second half of the film becomes a slow court room drama that never really lives up to its potential. Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon try in vain to deliver something but even they are let down dangerously by a script that needed to be much better.

Stars(2.5)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2.5)

 

IMDB Rating:  Devil's Knot (2013) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Devi’s Knot′: For our full Devil’s Knot review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #89. You can also read Dave’s review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

The Raid 2

Summary: Following immediately after the events of the acclaimed bone-crunching Indonesian thriller THE RAID, one-man army Rama (Iko Uwais) is forced to reinvent himself as an undercover cop in order to provide protection for his wife and child. Working for an anti-corruption task force led by the one person he can trust, Bunawar, he is given a mission to engage himself as an enforcer for the local underworld. Finding a way in through mob boss Bangun’s power-hungry and increasingly unhinged son Uco, Rama must hunt for information linking Bangun’s mob with police force corruption. As escalating power-plays ignite a war between factions determined to rule Jakarta, the highly-skilled Rama might be the only man capable of standing in their way.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 28th March, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Indonesia

Director: Gareth Evans

Screenwriter: Gareth Evans

Cast: Alex Abbad (Bejo), Donny Alamsyah (Andi), Oka Antara (Eka), Ken’ichi Endo (Goto), Julie Estelle (Hammer Girl), Epy Kusnandar (Topan), Ryuhel Matsuda (Keiichi), Tio Pakusodewo (Bangun), Arifin Putra (Ucok), Cecep Arif Rahman (The Assassin), Yayan Ruhain (Prakoso), Cok Simbara (Bunawar), Marsha Timothy, Iko Uwais (Rama), Very Tri Yulisman (Basbeball Bat Man)

Runtime: 149 mins

Classification:R18+

OUR THE RAID 2 REVIEWS & RATINGS:

Adam Ross:

Stars(5)

You can check out Adam’s The Raid 2 review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show #73.

Greg King:

You can check out Greg’s The Raid 2 review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show #73

Stars(3.5)

Nick Gardener:

You can check out Nick’s The Raid 2 review on Built For Speed.

Stars(2.5)

David Griffiths:

The first film in The Raid franchise turned the art of the action movie on its head forever. Nobody went into it expecting much, it was a low budget Indonesian film from a director that nobody really knew. But any action film buff who saw it, came out of the cinema declaring that it was the best action films of all time and that director Gareth Evans deserved to be labelled as an absolute hero. The body count was high, the action sequences were new and different and something that is normally missing from a good action film, a decent storyline, was also present. Now comes The Raid 2 and the big question is can Evans re-capture the magic of the first film or will its fans be severely let down?

The Raid 2 kicks off pretty much where the first film leaves off. Our hero the rookie cop, Rama (Iko Uwais) is given no time to relax at all. Instead, excited about the young cop has done Bunawar (Cok Simbara) a cop hell-bent on stamping out Police corruption recruits Rama to go undercover and bring down the rest of the corrupt Police Officers in Jakarta and the two biggest crime families that fuel them.

Much to his sadness Rama has to bid his family farewell and go immediately undercover in one of Indonesia’s toughest jails so he can befriend, Uco (Arifin Putra), the son of one of Jakarta’s most notorious gangsters, Bangun (Tio Pakusodewo). Rama finds himself in a baptism of fire in the jail but it works and soon he becomes a close friend and right hand man to Uco.

On release from prison Rama’s newfound role finds him right in the middle of the turf war between the family crime syndicate run by Bangun and another run by his arch rival Goto (Ken’ichi Endo). While the two families have been at peace for years, that era is ruined by the arrival of a wannabe gangster with high ambitions, Bejo (Alex Abbad).

When thinking up the storyline for The Raid 2 director/screenwriter Gareth Evans reveals himself as a very smart man indeed. The new film means he loses one of his most important allies of the first film – the claustrophobic feel that the film delivered because it was set in the one apartment building. Evans realises that it he is going to lose that element of suspense with The Raid 2 but brilliantly weans his audience off the feeling but setting a large chunk of the beginning of the new film inside a prison. To his credit though the film also never loses any of its suspense even after Rama is outside the prison gates and that comes down solely to the fact that Evans has made Rama a character the audience really loves and that it seems that his life is constantly in danger.

As I previously mentioned one of the big things to hit the audience from the first film was the directional talents of Gareth Evans, and in The Raid 2 I am happy to say that he even surpasses the skills he showed in the first film. Once again the violence here is brutal but Evans almost makes it an art form. Not only does he make every choreographed fight scene seem like organised chaos (and almost like a ballet) but along the way he also brings in some very creative mid-action shots that are going to put some of the top Hollywood directors to shame. Two shots really stand out, the sensational shot of when Rama has just busted open the porn studio and then while fighting the studio boss he throws him through a window and the camera goes through the window with him, lands and keeps shooting. Then there is also the sensational shot during the brilliantly directed car chase sequence where it seems that the vehicle that the camera is mounted to goes straight over the top of a stuntman thrown from a vehicle.

It’s through his creative style as a director that Evans brings a whole new feeling to his audience during The Raid 2. This style of filmmaking really makes the audience feel that they are part of the events that are going on right in front of them. It makes you feel like you are not in a cinema but instead are there amongst the chaos and mayhem of Rama’s Jakarta. Yes once again Gareth Evans shows why he must now be considered one of the best action directors in the world at the moment, and all action films must eagerly await the day when he gets the chance to work with a huge Hollywood budget on an American action film.

With all the credit that is paid to Evans though a lot must also be heaped onto his leading man Iko Uwais. Evans puts Uwais through absolute hell during this film. With the amount of fight scenes he is forced to deliver this time around you can only imagine that after every day on the set his body must have been bruised and sore. Like Evans he also announces himself as a future star of the action genre and you can only wonder whether or not he may one day get a call from Sylvester Stallone about appearing in one of The Expendables film. Another cast member from The Raid 2 who deserves a mention is Alex Abbad who plays Bejo, an interesting gangster who with all his mannerisms wouldn’t have seemed out of place in a Quentin Tarrantino crime flick.

A lot of people will ask whether The Raid 2 is better than The Raid? It is a difficult question to answer because they both brilliant in their own way. The first was sensational because it was new, different and showed what a good director can do with such a small budget. The second film is also sensational because it continues to show how Evans is evolving as a director. The stunts and action sequences are bigger and that ever present suspense is still there to haunt the audience. The only way to sum up is to say that The Raid 2 is equal to The Raid and once again is going to be a film that will be adored by action film fans right around the world.

Stars(4)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(4)

IMDB Rating:  The Raid 2 (2014) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘The Raid 2′: Nil.

Trailer: