Lucky Prescott (Isabela Merced, Dora and the Lost City of Gold) never really knew her late mother, Milagro Navarro (Eiza González, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw), a fearless horse-riding stunt performer from Miradero, a small town on the edge of the wide-open frontier.
Like her mother, Lucky isn’t exactly a fan of rules and restrictions, which has caused her Aunt Cora (Academy Award® winner Julianne Moore) no small amount of worry. Lucky has grown up in an East Coast city under Cora’s watchful eye, but when Lucky presses her own luck with one too many risky escapades, Cora picks up stakes and moves them both back with Lucky’s father, Jim (Oscar® nominee Jake Gyllenhaal), in Miradero.
Lucky is decidedly unimpressed with the sleepy little town. She has a change of heart when she meets Spirit, a wild Mustang who shares her independent streak, and befriends two local horseback riders, Abigail Stone (Mckenna Grace, Captain Marvel) and Pru Granger (Marsai Martin, Little). Pru’s father, stable owner Al Granger (Emmy winner Andre Braugher, Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine), is the best friend of Lucky’s father.
When a heartless horse wrangler (Emmy nominee Walton Goggins, FX’s Justified) and his team plan to capture Spirit and his herd and auction them off to a life of captivity and hard labor, Lucky enlists her new friends and bravely embarks on the adventure of a lifetime to rescue the horse who has given her freedom and a sense of purpose, and has helped Lucky discover a connection to her mother’s legacy and to her Mexican heritage that she never expected.
Spirit Untamed is the next chapter in DreamWorks Animation’s beloved franchise that began with the 2002 Oscar-nominated film Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron and includes an Emmy-winning TV series. The film is directed by Elaine Bogan (Netflix and DreamWorks Animation Television’s Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia) and is produced by Karen Foster (co-producer, How to Train Your Dragon). The film’s co-director is Ennio Torresan (head of story, The Boss Baby), and the film’s score is by composer Amie Doherty (Amazon’s Undone, DreamWorks Animation’s Marooned).
Summary: Ray Garrison, an elite soldier who was killed in battle, is brought back to life by an advanced technology that gives him the ability of super human strength and fast healing. With his new abilities, he goes after the man who killed his wife, or at least, who he believes killed his wife. He soon comes to learn that not everything he learns can be trusted. The true question is: Can he even trust himself?
Australian Cinema Release Date: 1st March 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA
Australian Home Entertainment Release Date: 7th April 2020
Country: United States, China
Director: Dave Wilson
Screenwriter: Jeff Wadlow, Eric Heisserer, Kevin VanHanhook (comic book), Bob Layton (comic book), Don Perlin (comic book)
Cast: Siddharth Dhananjay (Eric), Vin Diesel (Ray Garrison/Bloodshot), Eiza Gonzalez (KT), Alex Hernandez (Tibbs), Sam Heughan (Jimmy Dalton), Johannes Haukur Johannosson (Nick Baris), Toby Kebbell (Martin Axe), Lamorne Morris (Wilfred Wigans), Guy Pearce (Dr. Emil Harting), Talulah Riley (Gina Garrison)
Running Time: 109 mins
Classification: M (Australia) TBA (Thailand)
OUR BLOODSHOT REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths’ Bloodshot Review:
Actor Vin Diesel has become a super-star off the back of the Fast & Furious, XXX and Riddick franchises but over recent years he has rarely strayed from either, perhaps preferring to sticking to what he knows best. That is what makes Bloodshot such an interesting prospect. Arguably, one of the world’s biggest action stars rarely branching out to start something new, and something that from the look of the trailer looks interesting enough to take a chance on.
Based on the popular Valiant Comics series Bloodshot the film centres on Special Forces soldier Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel – The Fast & The Furious) who after returning from a mission is kidnapped and murdered alongside his wife, Gina Garrison (Talulah Riley – Inception).
He then wakes up in the laboratory of Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce – Memento) having being re-animated and turned into a super-soldier. While Harting marvels at his creation he quickly adds him to his team of super soldiers but while working with team leader Katie (Elza Gonzalez – Alita: Battle Angel) he suddenly has flashbacks and decides to seek revenge for what has happened. But what is real and what is a figment of his imagination… that is what he has to find out.
That is actually one of the joys of watching Bloodshot. The film has so many twists and turns that it is impossible to ever work out what is going to happen next. With a brilliant screenplay from Jeff Wadlow (Truth Or Dare) and Eric Heisserer (Arrival) the line between the truth and fiction and is often tested and the audience is left in the dark to what is really happening in just the same way the characters are. The result is a film that contains such a suspense element that it lifts the storyline well above what most films in the action genre can ever achieve.
When it comes to the action genre there is something uniquely intelligent about Bloodshot. The screenplay is suspenseful and thought-provoking while director Dave Wilson (Love, Death & Robots) is a smart enough director to actually keep the action to a level that actually makes the story seem more believable. The fact that Wilson is a first time director is almost unbelievable as he handles this film with the expertise of a seasoned director with the experience of Steven Spielberg. Wilson creates some pretty impressive action sequences, including a sequence in a tunnel that does more than show that he is a director with a big future ahead of him
The only side of the film that lets it down slightly is the fact that after the film delivers its big twist that turns everything on its head, which happens about halfway through the film; it feels like the film then loses its greatest source of suspense. From then on the film seems to become a simple good versus evil storyline that is purely kept interesting by the fact that by that time the audience have become invested in the characters – especially Ray and Katie.
Because of that we should thank goodness that this is one action film that has bothered to put some effort into characterisation, but that can’t be said for all the characters we find here. While the screenplay does give us a pretty good notion of who characters like Ray and Katie are it falls dangerously with the ‘villains’ who become one dimensional and very comic-book like – the kinds of characters that we have seen in films thousands of times in the past.
The result of that also sees up and down performances by the main actors as well. The biggest loser here is Guy Pearce whose talents seem to be completely wasted as he plays a characterless villain who would have been more at home in a video game. On the flipside my biggest fear going into this film was that I would not be able to not see Vin Diesel as Dom Toretto or Xander Cage. Luckily though, the characterisation that the screenplay allows for Ray the film does actually allow Vin Diesel the opportunity to test his acting chops while also delivering so awesome action sequences. He is also well supported by Eiza Gonzelez who grouped with her performances in Baby Driver and Alita: Battle Angel is showing Hollywood why she is one of the biggest stars on the rise.
There are some things that sadly let down Bloodshot but there is more than enough to make this the perfect film to sat down and watch when you just don’t want to think. So engrossing is the storyline that it does feel like you are watching a television pilot that wants to draw you more into its universe. At the end of the day Bloodshot is well worth watching if you are looking for a good action film to lose yourself in.
This review by David Griffiths also appeared on www.lilithia.net
Has any other actor been impacted as much by the Corona virus pandemic as Vin Diesel? I can rack my brain but can’t think of any. First Diesel had his latest instalment of the Fast & Furious franchise pushed back by twelve months and then his beer of choice took a massive hit because of the Corona name. But both those things really pale into insignificance when you consider what happened to Diesel’s latest release Bloodshot – the unfortunate film due to open the week cinemas closed.
I have a lot of respect for Diesel as an actor. Not because he is one of those actors who has the acting skills to play dramatic roles in between his action juggernauts, but because he is a man who becomes so passionate about a project that he invests not only his money but also his heart and soul into it to make it happen. With Riddick Diesel bought the franchise to make sure it continued and now he is also one of the main producers of the epic Fast & Furious saga so he could keep some creative control over what happens to the characters that he loves so dearly.
It is the same with Bloodshot. A hardened comic book fan himself Diesel was more than aware of the Bloodshot series of comics created by Valiant Comics. Drawn to the series as a fan Diesel then melted my heart by declaring one of the reasons he got behind the film was because his son declared “Daddy, you are Bloodshot” when he was considering playing the role.
I’ll admit I was bought as soon as I heard about this film. One of my favourite action stars in a comic book film that was rumoured to have a pretty gruesome dark side. Then Covid-19 hit and Bloodshot became one of the biggest cinematic causalities of the fallout. With no media screenings on offer I saw the film in a general session on its opening night and there was only myself and one other guy in the cinema – another tragic soul who was willing to risk the impending plague in order to get a Diesel fix.
Now Bloodshot gets a second life in the cinemas and I can only pray that this time it gets a bigger audience because this is one of action film that I have to admit not only worked for me, but impressed me enough that I would love to see the film become a franchise… as long as they can fix up some of the issues I’ll list below.
For those who haven’t read the comics Diesel plays Ray Garrison a soldier who while celebrating his latest successful mission is kidnapped alongside his wife Gina (Talulah Riley – Inception). He then suffers the heart-breaking trauma of watching her murdered in front of him and when he wakes learns that he was also murdered but has been re-animated as a super-solider in a program run by inventive scientist Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce – Memento).
And that is where I will leave the synopsis for Bloodshot because to say anything else would be going into spoiler territory and this is a film that you can’t have spoilt for you. I think the reason that Bloodshot worked so well for me is because I knew nothing about where the story was going to go. As a result I sat there like a kid in a candy store as every twist and turn played out in front of me. Spectacular action aside what impressed me the most about Bloodshot was the suspenseful storyline with twists that I definitely didn’t see coming.
Having said that though there is a major flaw with this film. While Diesel is Bloodshot to a tee Guy Pearce is horribly miscast as Harting. Actually, maybe that is a little unfair because to be honest I am not sure whether he was miscast or whether Pearce could have done something with the character had it had been written as more than just a walking cliché.
That is the strange thing about this film. Bloodshot and KT (Eiza Gonzalez – Alita: Battle Angeli) are brilliantly written and as a result Diesel and Gonzalez shine. Sadly though most other characters are either under-written or are so one-dimensional that the audience has very little interest in them.
As an action film Bloodshot does overcome its flaws with an unpredictable storyline and two leads I felt led the way. Now I simply can’t wait to see if the franchise develops or whether the pandemic has put a dismal finale to it all.
Based on the bestselling comic book, Vin Diesel stars as Ray Garrison, a soldier recently killed in action and brought back to life as the super-human Bloodshot by the RST corporation. With an army of nanotechnology in his veins, he’s an unstoppable force –stronger than ever and able to heal instantly. But in controlling his body, the company has sway over his mind and memories, too. Now, Ray doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not – but he’s on a mission to find out.
Starring Vin Diesel, Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell and Guy Pearce
Summary: As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.
Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A
Australian DVD Release Date: 24th March, 2016
Director: Jon M. Chu
Screenwriter: Ryan Landels
Cast: Justin Alastair (Esteban), Ken Baker (Donnie The Reporter), Nicholas Braun (Brad), Barnaby Carpenter (Emmett Benton), Jimmy Fallon (himself), Katie Findlay (Stormer), Eiza Gonzalez (Jetta), Ryan Guzman (Rio), Dwayne Johnson (himself), Djoir Jordan (herself), Jason Kennedy (Jason Kennedy), Kesha (Pizazz), Alicia Keys (herself), Hayley Kiyoko (Aja), Hana Mae Lee (Roxy), Juliette Lewis (Erica Raymond), Christy Marx (Lindsey Pierce), Nathan Moore (Zipper), Aubrey Peeples (Jerrica/Jem), Aurora Perrineau (Shana), Chris Pratt (himself), Isabella Kai Rice (Young Jerrica), Molly Ringwald (Aunt Bailey), Stefanie Scott (Kimber), Jackie Tohn (Rebecca)
Runtime: 118 mins
OUR JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Jem And The Holograms is a film based on Hasbro’s super popular doll line of the Eighties, which had a cartoon series still loved to this day. The screenplay of this film was written by Ryan Landels and the film was directed by Jon M Chu.
The story revolves around the orphaned Jerrica who grows up with her little sister, Kimber, and 2 adoptive sisters, Shana and Aja, in a house where music is cultivated as a way to bond. She becomes an online sensation overnight when she dons a pink wig and performs a song under the name ‘Jem’.
When I heard that Jem was going to be done as a live action movie I was so excited. I loved the cartoon when I was a child. I t was the essential Eighties cartoon – full of music, colour, crazy style but with real heart at its centre.
Then I saw the trailer for the movie. What was being advertised was absolutely nothing like Jem – it was just using the name. I’m pretty sure this pissed-off a lot of people and the film’s release suffered for it.
However, having just watched the DVD release, I have to say it was not as horrible as I feared. Synergy was there as a character, albeit a little different to the original, as was Jerrica’s backstory, slightly tweaked…
So why was I shown a completely boring ‘I-want-to-be-on-American-Idol’ type trailer to advertise the movie – with almost none of the classic Jem elements and characteristic details?
Despite this, the film does offer good fan-service throughout the film; a lot of characters and elements from the show appear. Some elements are not used enough, such as the classic Jem “truly outrageous” style. This appears briefly at the start and gets our hopes up… only to be watered down when they hit stardom.
The filmmakers have created a story about finding the ‘real you’ and being courageous enough to be yourself and follow your dreams. To sell this, we not only follow Jerrica’s journey to becoming Jem via her online video, but other ‘everyday people’ are shown throughout the film with their video uploads. This is meant to be an inspirational “we are all Jem” idea, showing that everyone can make their dreams come true.
Whilst I applaud the idea and lesson, I have to say that all those videos were annoying and detracted from the narrative. More time spent ‘showing’ Jem’s effect rather than a bunch of low-quality home video scenes of people saying how inspired they are would have been more beneficial.
Overall, the story was good and engaging but suffered from lazy and predictable moments later on. At one point the band falls apart, but all is forgiven without any kind of prompting a few minutes later. Character-wise, the movie starts good and builds each of the main characters, then becomes all about Jem and the others start to become background elements.
Jerrica’s biological little sister, Kimber, is the catalyst for the events and is built up at the start. Jerrica finds clues left by their father and follows them as her personal journey and, apparently, is nothing to do with Kimber. A message from their father at the end is all directed at Jerrica, only acknowledging Kimber at the very end.
Fans of Jem will have been wanting to see the Misfits in the movie. They’re not the main antagonists as you might have hoped, but do appear in a mid-credits bonus scene (with Pizazz played by Kesha) obviously intended to set-up a sequel. Their absence did not bother me, though, as it made sense to set Jem up as a star before introducing rivals.
I hope we actually do get a sequel, but with stronger writing (I’ll do it!) and ‘style’ showing it to be a bit more faithful to the franchise – especially in how it’s advertised. I hope they make the effort to set it straight and actually make Jem ‘truly outrageous’, which she really wasn’t in this film.
A nice touch might have been to update the old theme-tune. The music was good in the movie, but it should have been more striking and utilised more than it actually was for a film about a musician. It was disappointing to see her turned into a Lady-Gaga-clone at one stage – although this could have been a device used to show her becoming unpopular when they tried to change who she fundamentally was; you missed something there, Hasbro Studios!
Performances by the cast were generally strong, given what they had to work with. At times the film did not know if it wanted to be funny or feely and could have been executed better. Our heroine played her part well but we would like to see more opportunity to be the striking character and talent that she is built up to be (more the script’s fault than the actress’).
This film deserves 3.5 out of 5, with plenty of room left to be truly, truly, truly outrageous.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Entertainment Jem And The Holograms Reviews: Nil