Summary: In 2024 a pandemic ravages the world and its cities. Centering on a handful of people as they navigate the obstacles currently hindering society: disease, martial law, quarantine, and vigilantes.
Cinema Release Dates: 11th December 2020 (UK)
VOD Release Dates: 16th March 2021 (Australia), 11th December 2020 (USA)
Director: Adam Mason
Screenwriter: Adam Mason, Simon Boyes
Cast: Carol Abney (Marie), K.J. Apa (Nico), Elipidia Carrillo (Grammy/Lita), Sofia Carson (Sara), Alexadria Daddario (May), Ian Duncan (Anthony), Paul Walter Hauser (Dozer), Andrew Howard (Reg), Darri Ingolfsson (Steve), Liz McHugh (Emma Griffin), Demi Moore (Piper Griffin), Craig Robinson (Lester), Paul Sloan (Boomer), Peter Stormore (Emmett Harland), Nichole Briana White (Alice), Bradley Whitford (William Griffin)
Summary: Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.
Cinema Release Dates: 27th May 2021 (Australia), 24th June 2021 (Thailand), 3rd June 2021 (UK), 28th May 2021 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Director: John Krasinski
Screenwriter: John Krasinski
Cast: Emily Blunt (Evelyn Abbott), Chad Corbi (Jim Chimney), Wayne Duvall (Roger), Djimon Hounsou (Man On Island), Noah Jupe (Marcus Abbott), John Krasinski (Lee Abbott), Scoot McNairy (Marina Man), Cillian Murphy (Emmett), Millicent Simmonds (Regan Abbott)
Running Time: 97 mins
Classification: M (Australia), 13 (Thailand), 15 (UK), PG-13 (USA)
OUR A QUIET PLACE PART II REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ A Quiet Place Part II Review:
Cinemas are back open and the movies are back with a BANG! There has been no ‘slow-opening’ when it comes to blockbusters being released with one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year opening this week… after a delay of exactly a year (thanks Covid!!!).
Back in 2018 genre film fans were shocked when real-life husband and wife team John Krasinski (TV’S The Office) and Emily Blunt (Edge Of Tomorrow) brought their passion project, titled A Quiet Place, to the big screen. The film itself was a virtual cinematic masterpiece and fans begun asking for a sequel almost straight-away. Now that sequel has landed with A Quiet Place Part II and once again those fans are going to be enthralled.
Part II picks up exactly where the original film left off. The subsequent fire, thanks to the finale of Part 1, sees Evelyn Abbott (Blunt) and her kids, Regan (Millicent Simmonds – Wonderstruck) and Marcus (Noah Jupe – Honey Boy), seeking shelter elsewhere while the creatures still hunt them down whenever they make a noise.
They soon find shelter in an old mill alongside family friend, Emmett (Cillian Murphy – Inception), but when Regan finds a radio transmission on her father’s radio she becomes insistent that the group travel to where the feed is being transmitted from. She soon makes it known that if the others don’t follow her she is willing to go it alone.
It becomes very obvious early on with Part II that as a filmmaker Krasinki wanted to makes this film bigger and better than the original but without losing that ‘indie’ feel that was so obvious in the first film – and to his credit he manages to do that. The opening sequence which is a short prequel to the event is mind-blowing – brilliantly directed and still has a small town feel to it which makes it perfect fodder for those that love shows like Stranger Things.
From there though the film returns to the almost slower pace that made the first film so special. The film focuses on characterisation whether it be the audience being frustrated at behaviour of Marcus that often puts his family at risk or the emotional growth that we see from Regan this time around. The fact that the people behind the camera also had the sense to risk a large portion of this film being carried by young Millicent Simmonds pays off as well.
Simmonds is brilliant in this film and often steals scenes from her more experienced co-stars like Emily Blunt. She uses her deafness to her advantage in her portrayal of her character on screen and some of the film’s most important and memorable moments are played out with her alongside Cillian Murphy. Both Murphy and Simmonds are also made look even better by Krasinski and his cinematographer, Polly Morgan (Lucy In The Sky), who frequently give small nods to cult classics like Alien throughout the film.
The real key to A Quiet Place Part II working so well as a film though is the fact that Krasinski never allows this film to give in to the cheesiness that Hollywood so often feels like these films need. There are no tacky, throw-away lines placed into the film to try and get a cheap life and there are certainly none of those laughable jump scares that seem to litter horror and sci-fi films these days. It is obvious that Krasinski has learnt his craft by watching the films of the masters – directors like Spielberg, Carpenter and Scott, and thankfully for fans of the genre their work is mirrored in his.The Quiet Place Part II is better suited to those that have already seen the original film. While the flashback at the start of the film does do enough to give newcomers a bit of back-story once the film comes back to the current day there are things that happen that would only be understood by those who have seen the original. The great news is that for fans of the original this is a more than worthy watch and it reveals Millicent Simmonds as a future star in a role that is now truly memorable.
Dave’s rating Out Of 5
Kyle McGrath’s A Quiet Place Part II Review:
A Quiet Place was the 2018 surprise hit film directed by John Krasinski and starring himself and real world wife Emily Blunt as Lee & Evelyn Abbott, parents to Regan and Marcus played by Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe. Largely set a year and a half after strange brutal monsters have wiped out most of humanity by attacking anything which makes a sound. The film followed the Abbotts as they try to make a literal quiet life for themselves on their farm in this new world of terror as they expect the birth of a new child. One day a series of events lead to the family being stalked by at least one of these creatures (there are 3 in the area), during which Evelyn gives birth, Lee is killed and Regan, a deaf teenager, discovers that the hearing aid her father made for her while it doesnt help her hearing emits such a frequency that weakens the monsters impervious shell allowing for the family to finally take down the creature with aide of a shotgun. The film ends with a cliffhanger as 2 more monsters race to investigate the explosive sound.
A Quiet Place part 2 picks up directly after these events, besides a flashback, where Evelyn, her 2 children and newborn infant are forced to flee their farm in search of aide and a new place to call home. They quickly come into contact with Emmett (Cillian Murphy) a neighbour with his own tragic story and former friend of the Abbotts in the old world. Upon hearing a radio broadcast the survivors set out to see if they can reach the source and if with Regan’s earpiece they might be able to honour her father Lee by providing some sort of larger scale fight back against these, until now, seemingly unbeatable monsters.
A Quiet Place was a movie that i personally didnt enjoy nearly as much as many others did. I found it to be a film with quite an interesting premise and being set in a world where characters had to remain as silent as possible I was really interested to see how it played out. Unfortunately while the movie featured a talented cast of actors, impressive special effects and effective jump scares the writing and world building I found somewhat lacking & hurt the believability of the film.
The thing which bothered me most watching the movie was that while I found John Krasinski had done an amazing job in taking a horror story of such an odd nature with little to no spoken dialogue and making it work extremely well, the film by its very nature almost encouraged the audience to think “why dont they do this, why dont they do that”. Some of this second guessing is inevitable with a genre film such as this but here was a movie with great actors, looked amazing and incredibly was never boring despite such long and silent moments when one could argue not much was happening. However I have to assume that most of the audience would like me be thinking about what they would find themselves doing in a situation such as the Abbotts found themselves in and this is just sitting in the audience for 90 minutes, rhe Abbotts have been living in this world for a year and a half and we see the story opens with the death of one of their children. If we the audience can think “maybe they should be living near that waterfall which provides cover for sound” maybe the Abbotts should have thought of these things as well. If I would carry around an egg timer or, hell, even a rock just to throw to the side to privide some sort of distraction for these blind creatures who hunt by sound maybe Lee Abbott should be as well.
It was an interesting movie and I was impressed that it made for such a unique cinema going experience where the audience feels the need to keep as quiet as possible like say a deep sea movie would encourage us to hold our breath. Some parts of the film I quite liked such as the family having a deaf daughter and knowing sign language, rather than this being a ridiculous coincidence I saw it as a reason that the Abbotts have survived so long, they already knew how to communicate with each other silently. But as the plot contrivances and holes began to pile up I couldn’t find ways to explain them all away.
A Quiet Place 2 however I found to be a different case. A lot more is happening here with much of the film surprisingly not focusing as much on Emily Blunt’s character but on Regan and Emmett as they go on a quest of there own to reach what they hope will be a settlement and more survivors. The question is would they be people worth saving.
Despite the original film’s cliche’d “she cocks the shotgun and it cuts to credits” apparent sequel bait ending I can 100% believe that John Krasinski is being honest when saying that they never intended to make a sequel. Reason being is remember those 2 monsters that were racing to destroy whatever had made that shotgun blast? Well they both disappeared from existence which makes watching this movie as some sort of double feature quite humorous indeed as an immediate threat is set up only to be instantly forgotten about. Having the remaining Abbotts quickly dispatch 2 monsters in the film’s opening when a single creature had stalked them the entire previous movie may have nerfed the central threat of the series a little but still Kathy Bates’ character from Misery would be pissed at such inconsistency.
A lot of this movie is put on the shoulders of both Cillian Murphy and especially Millicent Simmonds. Simmonds as Regan trying to do what her father would have done and Murphy as Emmett a man who has lost everything, including possibly his mind, needing to protect his dead friend’s daughter both provided incredible performances which more than carry the film. Cillian Murphy is one of the most talented actors of his generation and fits well into his role giving us a character we’re not sure if we can trust or not.
Emily Blunt somewhat falls to the side in this film which is a pity but while the last film’s theme of protecting one’s children suited her having a much more substantial role, this film’s theme of children growing up and leaving the nest means it wouldnt have worked here. On that note in fact I was somewhat disappointed that the character of Marcus and Evelyn’s roles in the latter half of the film had been exchanced. Not to give anything away but this movie features a scene that makes the previous films stepping on a nail look preferable. The result is that Marcus is forced to stay mostly in one location taking care of a newborn while Evelyn goes in search of medical supplies. I couldnt help but think both their actions could have been swapped around with Evelyn being in the unfavorable position of having both her son and daughter out in the wild with her unable to do anything to help them. Especially considering that Marcus’ character arc in this film, not to mention the whole “leaving the nest” theme, would have fit better had he been the one forced by circumstances to be the protector rather than the one being protected.
The film has plenty more going on in it this time than in the last film. The characters moving from one location to another rather than the entire film being set in one fortified location also avoids the issues I had with world building in the previous movie. The characters act in a more believable way as they are thrust into dangerous situatuons that occur naturally rather than preventable situations they should have prepared for.
As the narratives split to 3 different focal points throughout the story it must be said that a credible job is done to seemlessly jump from one storyline to another without awkwardness or lapses in tone. As tension builds with Marcus exploring his surroundings and not knowing what he will find or what will jump out at him it also is gearing up with Regan and Emmett on their quest.
Once again the movie makes for an incredibly tense cinema going experience. It really goes to show Krasinski’s ability as a director that he can have 100s of people sitting in a room deathly silent on the edge of their seats too afraid to be the one to disturb the quiet by crinkling a bag of crisps and woe betide anyone who forgot to put their phones on silent as they’ll earn the scorn of an entire cinema moreso than usual.
Rarely do I find myself enjoying a sequel as much or more than the original and even more rarely do I find myself such a fan of a sequel to a film I didnt really care for. A Quiet Place Part 2 like Happy Death Day 2U is one of those freak occurrences. I was surprised when this movie got pushed so far forward from its initial 2020 release date with no question of an on demand release. However with its small and talented cast directed with an impressive eye for tension and jump scares this is a genre film the likes of which deserves to be seen on the big screen as much as any huge blockbuster. The interesting premise of the original film is still going strong here and I’m interested to see where the franchise could go from here.
Summary: Dream Alliance is an unlikely race horse bred by small-town Welsh bartender Jan Vokes. With no experience, Jan convinces her neighbors to chip in their meager earnings to help raise Dream in the hopes he can compete with the racing elites.
Cinema Release Dates: 10th June 2021 (Australia), 4th June 2021 (UK), 21st May 2021 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Director: Euros Lyn
Screenwriter: Neil McKay
Cast: Asheq Akhtar (Peter), Clare Balding (Clare Balding OBE), Lynda Baron (Elsie), Di Botcher (Nerys), Ellis Cochlin (Mary), Toni Collette (Jan Vokes), Alan David (Bert), Peter Davison (Lord Avery), Brian Doherty (Gordon), Darren Evans (Goose), Nicholas Farrell (Philip Hobbs), Caryn Glyn (Dylan), Gerald Royston Horler (Alan The Milk), Rhys Horler (Lee The Twin), Aneirin Hughes (Ron), Max Hutchinson (James Lingsford), Katherine Jenkins (Katherine Jenkins OBE), Rehka John-Cheriyan (Davina), Karl Johnson (Kerby), Alex Jordan (Johnson White), Damian Lewis (Howard Davies), Pino Maiello (Sheikh Omari), Anthong O’Donnell (Maldwyn), Joanna Page (Angela Davies), Raj Paul (David Patel), Sian Phillips (Maureen), Steffan Rhodri (Gerwyn), Owen Teale (Brian Vokes), Katrina Ward (Glenda), Benji Wild (Rob Rossi), Rhys ap William (Kev/Racing Commentator)
Summary: Thomas and Bea are now married and living with Peter and his rabbit family. Bored of life in the garden, Peter goes to the big city, where he meets shady characters and ends up creating chaos for the whole family.
Cinema Release Dates: 25th March 2021 (Australia), 7th October 2021 (Thailand), 17th May 2021 (UK), 11th June 2021 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Country: Australia, India, USA, UK, Canada
Director: Will Gluck
Screenwriter: Will Gluck, Patrick Burleigh
Cast: Stewart Alves (Mr. Tod (voice)), Jack Andrew (JW Rooster III (voice)), Hayley Atwell (Mittens (voice)), Jack Batchelor (Farmer Busby), Owen Beamond (Liam), Alex Blias (Hardware Clerk – Phil), Rose Byrne (Bea), Nigel Cooke (Marvin Stewart), James Corden (Peter Rabbit (voice)), Elizabeth Debicki (Mopsy (voice)), Rupert Degas (Samuel Whiskers/Little Pig Robinson/Trainer von Stauffenmouse/Kennedy St Squirrel (voice)), Simon Edds (Cheese Monger Pemberly), Andy Gatherwood (Mail Carrier – Matthias), Domhnall Gleeson (Mr Thomas McGregor), Alexandra Gluck (T. Whinosaurus Lex), Taryn Gluck (Boney Suarez), Tom Golding (Carlos), Lily Hall (Amelia), Isla Hawkins (Baby McGregor), Damon Herriman (Tom Kitten (voice)), Aimee Horne (Cotton-tail (voice)),Lennie James (Barnabas (voice)), Buckminster Kerfuffle (Tweedy Fantastic IV), Lance Kerfuffle (Sir Tweedy Fantastic III), Dave Lawson (Hardware Clerk – Chris), Ewen Leslie (Pigling Bland (voice)), Eliza Logan (Farmer Near Sawrey), Callum Macgowan (William Pemberly), Tim Minchin (Busker K. Bushy Esq.), Colin Moody (Benjamin Bunny (voice)), Sam Neil (Tommy Brock (voice)), Matt Newport (Farmer Far Sawrey), David Oyelowo (Nigel Basil-Jones), Harold Peek (Farmer Brown), Will Reichelt (JW Rooster II (voice)), Margot Robbie (Flopsy/The Narrator (voice)), Sia (Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle (voice)), Shona Tough (Mail Carrier – Moira), David Wenham (Johnny Town-Mouse (voice)), Faizan Munawar Varya (Ray Rabbie), Connor Van Vuuren (Dungaree McGee), Matt Villa (Feix D’eer (voice)), Chaka Yasumura (Sara Nakamoto)
Running Time: 93 mins
Classification: G (Australia), U (UK), PG (Australia)
OUR PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY REVIEWS
David and Lee Griffiths’ Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway Review:
Summary: A live-action prequel feature film following a young Cruella de Vil.
Cinema Release Dates: 27th May 2021 (Australia), 28th May 2021 (UK), 28th May 2021 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Country: USA, UK
Director: Craig Gillespie
Screenwriter: Dana Fox, Tony McNamara
Cast: Emily Beecham (Catherine/Maid), Maeve Chadwick (Estella (Toddler)), Neil Chadwick (Estella (Toddler)), Grecia De la Paz (Miss Venezuela), Jamie Demetriou (Gerald), Steve Edge (Steven The Jewellery Shop Assistant), Joel Fry (Jasper), Billie Gadson (Estella (Age 5)), Ziggy Gardner (Jasper (12 yrs)), Paul Walter Hauser (Horace), Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Anita Darling), Florisa Kamara (Anita (12 yrs)), Andrew Leung (Jeffrey), John McCree (Artie), Joseph McDonald (Horace (12 yrs)), Kayvan Novak (Roger), Abraham Popoola (George), Sid Sagar (Mark), Tipper Seifert-Cleveland (Estella (12 yrs)), Tim Steed (Frederick), Emma Stone (Estella/Cruella), Mark Strong (John The Valet), Emma Thompson (The Baroness), Tom Turner (The Baron)
Disney have just pulled off one of the biggest surprises of 2021. I was one of those people who was wondering what all the fuss was about when Disney first announced that they were making a film that would explore the beginnings of one of their vilest villains – the dog killer Cruella de Vil. Of course this isn’t the first time that the House Of Mouse have brought out an origins story for one of their villains, in fact as far as fantasy films go I quite enjoyed the original Malificent.
The problem for me really was how could they possibly create a film where I would have any sort of empathy for a character that even my Disney Encyclopaedia refers to as someone who has ‘murderous intentions towards puppies.’ Well not only did Disney make me feel empathy towards Ms de Vil in Cruella they have made a film I fell in love with and am now saying is one of the best films of 2021.
Directed by Craig Gillespie (I Tonya) Cruella shows a very different side to a character that it seems could have been more intriguing on screen over the years. Here de Vil is depicted as a talented fashion designer who can drift between the talented and mild mannered Estelle (Emma Stone – Easy A) and the revenge-fuelled Cruella depending on what buttons of her’s have been pushed.
The film shows her as a young girl witnessing the death of her mother and then finding her way in life by teaming up with petty thieves Jasper (Joel Fry – Yesterday) and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser – Richard Jewell). The three treat each like family and they have a merry existence with small crimes while Estelle does what she can to try and be noticed in the fashion world. Then everything falls together nicely when she is spotted by fashion royalty – The Baroness (Emma Thompson – Love Actually). And that is when the real fun and crime begins.
For me to go into all of the in and outs of the plot would be criminal because part of the magic that I found with this film was going on the journey of twists and turns with Estelle. Every scene is like a Pandora’s box exposing more of the secrets and lies that have surrounded her whole life and the screenplay is written in such a way that you see the emotional strain pushing Estelle closer and closer to becoming Cruella. Yes, to a certain extent some areas of Cruella actually mirror Joker.
The strong point of this film is the ambience of it. There is a strong Gothic English feel that is further enhanced by a look and feel that is normally reserved for a Wes Anderson film. That dark ambience then crosses over into the brash feeling of a Sex Pistols video clip as Cruella comes to life and embraces the alternative fashion of the period alongside her new-found friend Artie (John McCrea – Dracula).
Adding to the wild vibe of 1970s London is an amazing soundtrack that consists of tracks by The Clash, David Bowie right through to Doris Day and everything in-between. The soundtrack is seriously so good that I had added it on Spotify before I even made it back to the car after watching the film.
Bringing everything into place though is the cast. Emma Stone shines in a role where she gets to embrace both good and evil, she is reminiscent of Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and plays well opposite Emma Thompson’s portrayal of the mean-spirited and cruel The Baroness. Joel Fry and Paul Walter Haueser also steal the scenes they are in while Mark Strong (Shazam!) once again comes to the fore as the film’s tough guy.
I may have gone into Cruella sceptical about the film but I came out of it completely in love. This is an absolute Gothic spectacular that I sincerely hope comes to the stage one day. Tome the film felt like a brilliant cross-between the original Oliver Twist and Joker and the result is one of Disney’s best ever films. I can’t wait to experience it again.
Summary: Cipher enlists the help of Jakob, Dom’s younger brother to take revenge on Dom and his team.
Cinema Release Dates: 17th June 2021 (Australia), 15th July 2021 (Thailand), 24th June 2021 (UK), 25th June 2021 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Director: Justin Lin
Screenwriter: Daniel Casey, Justin Lin
Cast: Siena Agudong (Young Mia), Vinnie Bennet (Young Dom), Lucas Black (Sean), Jordana Brewster (Mia), Cardi B (Leysa), John Cena (Jakob), Cered (Young Leo), Finn Cole (Young Jakob), Vin Diesel (Dominic Toretto), Vincent Sinclair Diesel (Younger Dom), Lex Elle (Sergeant Reyes), Nathalie Emmanuel (Ramsey), Martin Ford (Lieutenant Sue), Tyrese Gibson (Roman), Azia Dinea Hale (Young Letty), Immanuel Holtant (Little Brian), Issac Holtane (Little Brian), Sung Kang (Han), Karson Kern (Young Vince), Mark Krenik (Cash), Ludacris (Tej), Helen Mirren (Queenie), Shad Moss (Twinkie), Don Omar (Santos), Ozuna (Young Santos), JD Pardo (Jack Toretto), Jim Parrack (Kenny Linder), Thur Ersted Rasmussen (Otto), Igby Rigney (Young Jesse), Michelle Rodriguez (Letty), Michael Rooker (Buddy), Kurt Russell (Mr. Nobody), Anna Sawwai (Elle), Charlize Theron (Cipher), Jason Tobin (Earl), Ella Walker (Vanessa), Shea Whigham (Stasiak), Juju Zhang (Young Elle)
Running Time: 145 mins
Classification: M (Australia), 12A (UK), PG-13 (Australia)
OUR F9: THE FAST SAGA REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ F9: The Fast Saga Review:
To call me a Fast & Furious fan is a major under-statement. I fell in love with this franchise when I saw the first film on the day it opened back in 2001. At the time I was almost unaware of Paul Walker (Snow Dogs) or Vin Diesel (XXX) but by the time I left the cinema I was wishing I was them. As I write this review right now just above me on my wall is one of my most valuable possessions – framed signed stills from the cast of
Over the years I have never really hated any of the films, sure there have been some that I have enjoyed more than others but I have even found things to like about 2Fast 2Furious and Tokyo Drift which others have described as weaker films in the franchises. What I found this time is that while F9 may not be my favourite in the series it is certainly up there with the best.
This time around the film open with Dom (Vin Diesel) and Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez – Avatar) are living a quiet country lifestyle with Dom’s son. That quiet life is quickly pushed to the side though when Roman (Tyrese Gibson – Transformers), Tej (Ludacris – Crash) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel – Game Of Thrones) shows up with an encrypted message from Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell – The Hateful Eight) asking for the group’s help.
After viewing the message himself though Dom soon realises that this isn’t going to be a simple search and rescue mission because he recognises the work of his arch nemesis – the dangerous hacker Cipher (Charlize Theron – Monster) and a ghost from he and Mia’s (Jordana Brewster – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) past – their brother Jakob (John Cena – Bumblebee).
What makes F9 work so well is the same as what has endeared me to this franchise for so long – the film’s have heart and are not just big soulless action flicks. As an audience we have come to know and love Dom, Letty, Mia and their crew and here the screenwriters and director Justin Lin (Fast Five) feed off that.
The fact that this film explores the relationship between Dom and Jakob and even shows the moment that Dom changed from being a teenager into a man in a flash second gives this film a heart and soul that the fans are just going to love. Those flash-backs instantly show the haters that there is still a lot more to explore in this Fast & Furious universe. And the way that they intertwine with the action sequences of the modern day action shows that Lin is a director that knows how to tell a story as well as direct action.
As we have come to expect from this franchise the action sequences here are amazing. Lin once again returns back to more car based action (there is even a joke told about tanks and submarines) with a finale that while out of this world is shot so well that the audience are still able to see it as believable.
My only gripes are that with Jakob and Cipher already in the picture Otto (Thue Ersted Rasmussen – Sunday) almost seems redundant as a villain and that the excuses for Paul Walker’s character of Brian not being around are getting pretty thin, Lines indicating that he is staying at home and looking after his kids while his wife is out battling villains is border-line disrespectful to the character’s memory and you almost wonder whether they would have been better off killing Brian in the franchise after the untimely death of Walker.
All up though F9 is a film that fans of the franchise are going to love, and yes there are a few unexpected surprises thrown in for everyone as well. Casual viewers may find some of the characters confusing given that the screenplay relies on you having seen their character set-ups and storylines in previous films. The action is epic and the heroes are deep and meaningful – once again this franchise has given us all its best.
Dave’s rating Out Of 5
Lee Griffiths’ F9: The Fast Saga Review:
Lee’s rating Out Of 5
Kyle McGraths’ F9: The Fast Saga Review:
The Fast & Furious franchise has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. Moreso than that I feel that it’s a film franchise worthy of praise for its immense success in a variety of ways many of which have gone overlooked.
It goes without saying that the films have achieved an incredible financial success at the box office but what film franchise other than James Bond and the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made it to 9 movies (10 including the 2019 spinoff Hobbs & Shaw) with audiences still wanting more? For it to have lost then regained for the most part the same main cast of actors, for it to have evolved into something completely different than what it started off as and for it to still work as well as it does in its target audience’s eyes has got to be praised. The franchise is in fact so huge that even successful film franchises like The Expendables or Star Trek have themselves self destructed trying to cash in in one way or another.
It keeps being brought up how ridiculous it is that what started out as a movie about a gang stealing VCRs has turned into a huge budget spy movie franchise with those same characters destroying tanks or going into outer space. This is all true but it’s not something I find myself being irritated by nearly as much as I am by the people who keep bringing it up with every new installment. 2001’s The Fast & The Furious while a popular film that launched Vin Diesel to stardom was itself labled, somewhat justifiably, as a Point Break ripoff with cars in exchange for surfboards. Its always been hard for me to find fault in the fact that one type of shlocky fun action film turned into a different type of schlocky fun action film.
Paul Walker’s tragic passing effected the films greatly. He wasnt just a main character in the movies, from the start he was the actual protagonist of them. On top of that his continuing to star in the initial sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious while Vin Diesel would not return to the franchise until film 4 means that his death would have effectively destroyed the saga’s trajectory. The odd thing is it didn’t, not due to any shortcoming in the quality of the series’ writing or characters, but because “F&F” had grown to something entirely different by then it could survive the loss of a main character.
Allow me to go on a little here but this is why I’m a fan of the series 20 years later. With 2 Fast 2 Furious Vin Diesel not returning meant the movie instead of pairing Paul Walker’s Brian with Dom paired him with Tyrese Gibson’s Roman as well as other new characters. 2006’s F&F: Tokyo Drift acted as an entire reboot of the franchise focusing on a new character and his story in the Japanese car drifting world. It introduced the character of Han (Sung Kang) who’s death in that film became an easter egg establishing that F&F 4, 5 & 6 were actually all prequels. Those films were when the series took on more of it’s “familia” theme and became more about the ensemble cast on different steadily crazier and crazier adventures.
Then midway during the production of F&F7 Paul Walker was killed in an unrelated car accident. This led to massive delays as the filmmakers tried to decide how to proceed with filming or whether to scrap the movie altogether. Amazingly against all odds F&F7 managed to pull off the impossible and actually worked despite the film initially being rushed into production to achieve a next year release date, the resulting loss of Justin Lin (director of all the films since Tokyo Drift) and death of a lead actor midway through filming leading to the film needing to be completely rewritten to work as not only a coherent film but also as a fitting tribute to Paul Walker and a send-off to his character. Not only was it the most financially successful F&F til that point but many fans see it as their favourite film of the series.
Whats worth noting also is that while he had to initially pull out due to scheduling conflicts with his Hercules epic the delay in filming allowed Dwyane Johnson to rejoin the film. This led to the clashing of his character Luke Hobbs with the antagonist Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). The chemistry they had together eventually leading to their own spinoff movie Hobbs & Shaw. Point being that a tragic event which should have destroyed the series somehow didnt and the F&F franchise remained as strong as ever for 2 more films.
This brings us (finally) to the delayed release of Fast & Furious 9. The story picks up where F8 of the Furious left off with Dom as a father living the quiet life with his child and his partner Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). They become dragged back into the world of espionage and adventure learning that the Blofeld-like Cipher (Charlize Theron) has been captured and as quickly escaped with the assistance of Jakob (John Cena), Dom’s long estranged brother. Dom and the rest of his famila must do what they can to stop whatever it is that Cipher and Jakob must be planning before it’s too late. Along the way there will be revelations as its revealed that Letty isnt the only series character whose death was greatly overstated.
While there were elements of this movie I found interesting or impressive. Its always a bit of a risky move pulling the “long lost character” trope especially after we’ve known Dom’s family story for so long. That said the film did a surprisingly decent job of weaving Jakob into the back story of the Toretto family and there’s ample use of flashbacks throughout the film to establish the rift which grew between the two brothers. John Cena has the charisma and the menace to easily take on the role of a lead villain in a F&F movir. It is a little far fetched that Jakob also became some sort of evil secret agent at the same time that Dom’s life led him down a similar path but it was two other things which bothered me about Jakob’s shoehorning into the story.
First is that while most of Jakob’s interactions and character development understandably are between himself and his brother Dom there wasn’t a whole lot between him and his sister Mia played by Jordana Brewster making her return to the series after sitting out the last film. One of this film’s strengths and also its weaknesses I believe is its large ensemble cast of characters. Telling a full story, giving everyone enough screen time and having plenty of action sequences can lead to an exceptionally long film (little wonder this movie clocks in at 145 mins and similarly Avengers Endgame was over 3hrs). Also getting such a large cast together can have other issues such as Charlize Theron having a quite small role in this film most of her scenes being filmed on the same set. But Jordana Brewster’s Mia does feel left out a lot but with her being in the film at all the audience is reminded often of the elephant in the room, where is Bryan? I felt a lot of those problems could have been resolved by introducing her later in the film but then she does have some scenes with Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty character who is having her own crisis as to whether she belongs in a domestic life.
Another reason Mia may have been added back to the cast is to give the franchise some more female characters. There was talk a while ago about making a “female oriented” Fast & Furious spinoffvmovie which I hope doesnt happen because the franchise has never not included strong female characters. Especially since the move to an ensemble cast it hasn’t felt anything like a boy’s only club. I would be happy if in the future they continued with the multi racial, multi gendered cast of characters they have now working together rather than try splitting up into segregated films for some reason.
Going back the other problem that I had with Jakob’s inclusion in the story is more to do with the trope itself. The F&F films have already had a villain who turned out to be the until unknown brother of another character in Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw in F&F 7 to Luke Evan’s Owen Shaw in F&F 6. The biggest problem with any long lasting franchise to me is when the storytellers start running out of ideas and repeating themselves. I understand there’s only so many storylines possible but I’m always impressed by creativity and when we are told stories or, in action films, shown action sequences we’ve never seen before. While many others were praising the 2012 Bond film Skyfall I couldn’t help but see it as a collection of themes & ideas & plot devices Frankenstein’d together from other Bond films, Mission: Impossible films and even The Dark Knight.
To it’s credit the F&F films have made it this far without repearing themselves too much. With the exception of the Hobbs & Shaw spinoff the films have always impressed me with being able to come up with new and exciting set pieces and in many ways this film achieves this as well with this film filled to the brim with insane stunts and crazy ideas. However it does feel like the well of ideas may be running a little dry as in F&F 9 they not only have recycled the lost brother idea already used in previous films but also the twist of bringing a character long thought dead back to life. I won’t go into detail on that as I feel it qualifies as a spoiler (even if this character is involved in official promotional meterial for the film) but we are getting into MCU territory here with reincarnations.
Fast 9 is the epitome of a “turn your brain off and enjoy it” movie. At this point 10 films into a franchise I feel like if that hasnt been made clear to people it never will be. Through that lens I found myself enjoying the film while accepting that it is by far not my favourite installment and definitely shows signs that the series is in need of retirement before it becomes too late. With Fast 10 Part 1 & 2 in development and allegedly being the final mainstream film in the saga I think that even the filmmakers can see there’s a time to wrap things up.
Summary: A teenage murder witness finds himself pursued by twin assassins in the Montana wilderness with a survival expert tasked with protecting him — and a forest fire threatening to consume them all.
Cinema Release Dates: 13th May 2021 (Australia), 13th May 2021 (Thailand), 17th May 2021 (UK), 14th May 2021 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Country: Canada, USA
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Screenwriter: Michael Koryta, Charles Leavitt, Taylor Sheridan
Cast: Gabe Baca (Officer R. Hermes), Jon Bernthal (Ethan), Ryan Jason Cook (Leo), Mary Fenton (Beth), Howard Ferguson Jnr. (Vic), Aidan Gillen (Jack), Carma Harvey (Deborah Killdeer), Nicholas Hoult (Patrick), Angelina Jolie (Hannah), James Jordan (Ben), Tory Kittles (Ryan), Finn Little (Connor), Lora Martinez-Cunningham (Tina), Matt Medrano (MarshallFranks), Laura Niemi (Maggie), Tyler Perry (Arthur), Medina Senghore (Allison), Boots Southerland (Sheriff), Jake Weber (Owen)
Running Time: 100 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia), 15 (UK), R (USA)
OUR THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ Those Who Wish Me Dead Review:
Over recent years filmmaker Taylor Sheridan has had a huge impact on Hollywood. His screenplay for the hard-hitting Sicario heralded in a new age of dramatic intensity within a market that many said had gone soft. Then came his work on the under-rated Hell Or High Water and the brilliant Wind River. Sheridan was no longer a light-weight he had awards in his back pocket and actors like Jeremy Renner were lining up to work with him. To show that was no flash in the pan then came one of the most eagerly-anticipated television shows of 2020 – Yellowstone – of which Sheridan was the main creator.
Now Sheridan teams up with one of Hollywood’s biggest stars – Angelina Jolie (Tomb Raider) in the edgy action thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead. Jolie plays damaged fire-jumper (fire-fighter) Hannah Faber who has been sent to an outpost fire tower to work as a spotter after she has become an emotional mess after being involved with a forest fire that claimed the lives of children and one of her colleagues.
While believing that her new post will be much more peaceful Hannah soon comes across a young boy Connor Casserly (Finn Little – Angel Of Mine) who is being hunted down by ruthless assassins Jack (Aidan Gillen – Game Of Thrones) and Patrick Blackwell (Nicholas Hoult – Mad Max: Fury Road).
Despite her own demons Hannah realises that only her and the boy’s uncle, local Police Officer Ethan Sawyer (Jon Bernthal – The Walking Dead), can keep him alive. To add to the pressure they also find themselves trapped by a forest fire that was lit by the assassins as a distraction for local authorities.
You soon realise when watching Those Who Wish Me Dead that in contains all the tropes that has made Sheridan one of Hollywood’s most interesting filmmakers at the moment. The film is edgy – it doesn’t stick to the Hollywood rules of trying to keep the film to a low classification. Most of the characters are damaged and they talk and act like they are damaged – they swear when under pressure and they certainly don’t play nice.
While over the years Hollywood has normally tried to shy away from violence towards the vulnerable – as can be expected Sheridan puts the vulnerable at risk. It doesn’t matter that the key target here is a child – Jack and Patrick are blood-thirsty assassins who will not think twice about blowing young Connor away. The result is a realism that is normally never present in an action thriller like this plus a level of intensity and suspense that is normally only reserved for European or Scandinavian cinema.
To add even further to that suspense is the forest fire storyline. There are times during this film when likable characters such as Sawyer’s pregnant partner, Allison (Medina Senghore – Blindspot!) find themselves trapped between the fire and the insatiable killers and that only raises the stakes even more. Sheridan plays on the human condition that we are all terrified by fire and its ferocious nature and he uses it to his advantage.
It is a welcome relief to see Jolie back in an ‘action’ flick as she has spent much of the last decade making family films and doing voice work. She seems to relish being in a role with edge and the scenes that she shares with young Finn Little are natural and memorable. Jon Bernthal’s performance in the film is also a stand-out and his fans will be happy to see that this time he has been given a chance to play a hero rather than a villain.
To be honest Those Who Wish Me Dead is probably closer to a blockbuster than the ‘indie’ feeling films like Hell Or High Water or Wind River that Taylor Sheridan has made in the past. But just like those films this one is full of memorable characters, a hard edge and suspense that is going to make you want to watch it time and time again.