Summary: Supervillains Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Peacemaker and a collection of nutty cons at Belle Reve prison join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X as they are dropped off at the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese.
Cinema Release Dates: 5th August 2021 (Australia), 2nd September 2021 (Thailand), 30th July 2021 (UK), 6th August 2021 (US)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Director: James Gunn
Screenwriter: James Gunn
Cast: Steve Agee (John Economos/On-Set King Shark), Dee Bradley Baker (Sebastian), Ray Benitel (Coronel), Stephen Blackehart (Briscoe), Flula Borg (Javelin), Juan Diego Botto (Presidente General Silvio Luna), Alice Braga (Sol Saria), Peter Capaldi (Thinker), John Cena (Peacemaker), Joaquin Cosio (Mayor General Mateo Suarez), Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang), Giovannie Cruz (Isabella), David Dastmalchian (Polka-Dot Man), Pete Davidson (Blackguard), Gerardo Davila (General Vera), Viola Davis (Amanda Waller), Idris Elba (Bloodsport), Nathan Fillion (T.D.K.), Jared Leland Gore (Double Down), Sean Gunn (Weasel/Calendar Man), Ray Hernandez (Teniente), Quasheem D. Herring (Co-Pilot Lt. Glass), Jennifer Holland (Emilia Harcourt), Mikaela Hoover (Camila), Alexander Christopher Jones (Sgt. Chavis), Tinashe Kajese (Flo Crawley), Joel Kinnaman (Colonel Rick Flag), Maya Le Clerk (Young Cleo), Fernando Martinez (Sliced Dome Soldado), Daniela Melchior (Ratcatcher 2), Mayling Ng (Mongal), John Ostrander (Doctor Fitzgibbon), Storm Reid (Tyler), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Michael Rooker (Savant), Julio Cesar Ruiz (Milton), Natalia Safran (Kaleidoscope), Sylvester Stallone (King Shark), Freddie Stroma (Adrian Chase/Vigilante), Taiki Waititi (Ratcatcher), Victoria Paige Watkins (Tiff)
Running Time: 132 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia), 15 (UK), R (USA)
OUR THE SUICIDE SQUAD REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ The Suicide Squad Review:
The original Suicide Squad movie may have ben much maligned, although the Director’s Cut version certainly didn’t deserve to be, but it did show the world that DC did know how to mix their darkness with some good times and surprising humour. But like Green Lantern before it it did split DC movie fans over whether it was a good or bad film, so much so that I doubt many people would have ever expected that there would be a follow film.
But here we are in 2021 and The Suicide Squad is back with Hollywood’s ‘he can make anything look cool’ director James Gunn (Guardians Of The Galaxy) at the helm and boy does he make a difference. It is almost like Gunn sat down and watched the original film and said to himself “right I’ll change everything this one did wrong and make this old school.” He did that and yes it works.
Remember the long character introductions from the first film Yeah well Gunn doesn’t do that here. Director Amanda Waller (Viola Davis – The Help) hastily puts together her squad which includes inmates like special force veterans Bloodsport (Idris Elba – Thor: Ragnarok) and Peacemaker (John Cena – F9), the mysterious Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian – Prisoners), the sweet but dangerous Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior – Massa Fresca), the very familiar Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie – Bombshell), and then puts them in the safe hands of Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman – RoboCop) and sends them to a jungle trouble spot to bring down an evil regime and scientific experiment led by Thinker (Peter Capaldi – Doctor Who).
Gunn doesn’t muck around here he keeps the story to The Suicide Squad basic and simple but it works. Instead he engages his audience with some amazing action sequences, actual characterisation (a rarity in comic book movies… right?) and some pretty witty dialogue between the characters throughout the film. As a director Gunn also demands the attention of the audience like a teacher whacking a table with a ruler by very quickly showing that not every character is going to make it through to the end credits alive, in a twisted way he also makes these inmates likable so their deaths hit you like one of Peacemaker’s specially designed exploding bullets.
As director Gunn doesn’t only learn from past sins to make The Suicide Squad work, he also leans heavily on movies that have got it right over the years. At times during this film you can sense the throw-backs to films like Rambo or Inglorious Basterds while the whole feel of the squad at hand (and the film’s poster) feels like it is inspired by famous war films like The Dam Busters or The Bridge On The River Kwai. Whatever the inspirations it certainly does work because even when the heroes here are battling a giant starfish that wouldn’t seem out of place in Ghostbusters somehow it all works.
Then there is the quirkiness to the film. Gunn reveals himself as a visionary here by throwing in little odd bits here and there, from interesting forms of titling throughout the film to going inside the head of Harley Quinn during one of her fight sequences and showing that amidst all the violence Quinn is visualising flowers and petals instead of blood.
That leads us into the violence and action sequences throughout the film. Yes The Suicide Squad is insanely violent, if you can’t stand seeing blood and brain splatter then this isn’t the film for you, but even with that Gunn almost does it in a comical way. Like what was said earlier this film captures the darkness of a DC film but does it in a fun way. A great example being early on this film Bloodsport and Peacemaker conducting a massacre of troops while ‘competing’ to see who has the better kill. Yes The Suicide Squad is a throwback to the violent action films of the 80s but it is a hell of a fun ride as well.
That also shows in the acting side of things. Idris Elba and John Cena just take their characters and run with them, they are obviously having a fun time but when the screenplay calls for heart they deliver that is well… in spades. Likewise David Dastmalchian and Daniela Melchior bring a sensibleness to everything with measured performances that allow their characters to be shocked by the going ons of the supposed heroes around them. At the same time Melchior announces herself as a future star.
Viola Davis also seems to relish bringing out the darker side of Amanda Waller, almost to the point where she is one of the villains of this film, while Margot Robbie once again delivers the goods as Harley Quinn. She is witty, shows true emotion at times amongst the insanity and shows that through this franchise she has become an expert at fight sequences now.
There is little doubt that The Suicide Squad is a crazy ride. Yet somehow among a storyline that involves a giant starfish, a confused Weasel (James Gunn), a man-eating shark who walks on land (Sylvester Stallone – The Expendables) and a cute waving rat called Sebastian the audience finds a group of characters that they care about enough to want to see them get through all of us. At the same time the filmmaker at hand knows how to deliver twists and turns that will shock and stun the audience while totally engrossing them in a completely crazy world and scenario. Take your hat off Mr. Gunn because you have delivered a cult classic here.
From writer/director James Gunn comes Warner Bros. Pictures’ superhero action adventure “The Suicide Squad” featuring a collection of the most degenerate delinquents in the DC line up.
Welcome to hell—a.k.a. Belle Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst Super-Villains are kept and where they will do anything to get out—even join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X. Today’s do-or-die assignment? Assemble a collection of cons, including Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Captain Boomerang, Ratcatcher 2, Savant, King Shark, Blackguard, Javelin and everyone’s favorite psycho, Harley Quinn. Then arm them heavily and drop them (literally) on the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Trekking through a jungle teeming with militant adversaries and guerrilla forces at every turn, the Squad is on a search-and-destroy mission with only Colonel Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave…and Amanda Waller’s government techies in their ears, tracking their every movement. And as always, one wrong move and they’re dead (whether at the hands of their opponents, a teammate, or Waller herself). If anyone’s laying down bets, the smart money is against them—all of them.
The film stars Margot Robbie (“Birds of Prey,” “Bombshell”), Idris Elba (“Avengers: Infinity War”), John Cena (upcoming HBO Max series “Peacemaker,” “Bumblebee”), Joel Kinnaman (“Suicide Squad”), Jai Courtney (the “Divergent” franchise), Peter Capaldi (“World War Z,” BBC’s “Doctor Who” ), David Dastmalchian (upcoming “Dune,” “Ant-Man and the Wasp”), Daniela Melchior (“Parque Mayer”), Michael Rooker (the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films), Alice Braga (“Elysium”), Pete Davidson (“The King of Staten Island,” TV’s “Saturday Night Live”), Joaquín Cosio (“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” TV’s “Narcos: Mexico”), Juan Diego Botto (“The Europeans”), Storm Reid (“The Invisible Man,” “A Wrinkle in Time”, “Euphoria”), Nathan Fillion (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” TV’s “The Rookie”), Steve Agee (“Brightburn,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”), Sean Gunn (the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, the “Avengers” films), Mayling Ng (“Wonder Woman”), Flula Borg (“Ralph Breaks the Internet”), Jennifer Holland (“Brightburn,” upcoming HBO Max series “Peacemaker”) and Tinashe Kajese (TV’s “Valor,” “The Inspectors”), with Sylvester Stallone (the “Rocky,” “Rambo” and “Expendables” franchises), and Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Suicide Squad”).
Gunn (the “Guardian of the Galaxy” films) directs from his own screenplay, based on characters from DC. The film is produced by Charles Roven and Peter Safran, with Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Walter Hamada, Chantal Nong Vo, Nikolas Korda and Richard Suckle executive producing.
Gunn’s creative team includes director of photography Henry Braham (“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”), production designer Beth Mickle (“Captain Marvel”), editors Fred Raskin (“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood”) and Christian Wagner (the “Fast & Furious” films) and Oscar-nominated costume designer Judianna Makovsky (“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”). The music is by John Murphy (“Kick-Ass”).
Warner Bros. Pictures Presents An Atlas Entertainment/Peter Safran Production, A James Gunn Film, “The Suicide Squad.” The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures. Only In Cinemas August 5.
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: The owner of a luxurious resort invites a group of people to spend time at the resort and live out their ultimate fantasies with horrific results.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 13th February 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 2nd July 2020
Australian VOD Release Date: 3rd June 2020
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Screenwriter: Jeff Wadlow, Jillian Jacobs, Christopher Roach
Cast: Jeriya Benn (Lila), Kim Coates (Devil Face), Joshua Diaz (Alejandro), Portia Doubleday (Sloane Maddison), Evan Evagora (Nick Taylor), Parisa Fitz-Henley (Julia), Lucy Hale (Melanie Cole), Ryan Hansen (J.D. Weaver), Robbie Jones (Allen Chambers), Goran D. Kleut (Valet Milton), Andrew Lees (Will), Edmund Lembke-Hogan (Himoff), Josh McConville (Sarge), Charlotte McKinney (Chastity), Michael Pena (Mr. Roarke), Maggie Q (Gwen Olsen), Josh Randall (Valet Chester), Ian Roberts (Dr. Torture), Michael Rooker (Damon), Nick Slater (Greg), Austin Stowell (Patrick Sullivan), Mike Vogel (Lieutenant Sullivan), Mark Weinhandl (Pig Face), Tane Williams-Accra (Fischer), Jimmy O. Yang (Brax Weaver)
Running Time: 109 mins
Classification: M (Australia)
OUR FANTASY ISLAND REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths’ Fantasy Island Review:
It is always a weird feeling when you like a film that other people seem to dislike. You always feel like you want to defend the film to the hilt, but the same time you can’t help but wonder if you are horribly wrong. The best way to look at it is that you like what you like and as long as you like it it doesn’t really matter what others think.
This whole scenario recently happened with me when it came to Blumhouse Productions re-working of Fantasy Island. Now I am not going to sit here and say that it is film of the year or one of the best horror films ever made, but if you’re looking for a horror film that will entertain you for a couple of hours then this is a film that will not disappoint.
For anyone who watched the original Fantasy Island television series the concept here may be a little strange. Fantasy Island never traditionally had a horror feel to it, but here director Jeff Wadlow (Truth or Dare) and his team give the story a warm welcome into the Blumhouse horror universe.
The film centres around the mystical island run by Mr Roarke (Michael Pena – Ant-Man). It is an island where people go to live out their fantasies and the latest group to have arrived includes jaded youngster Melanie Cole (Lucy Hale – Pretty Little Liars) who dreams about getting revenge on those who bullied her at school and two brothers Patrick Sullivan (Austin Stowell – Whiplash) and Brax Weaver (Jimmy O. Yang – Crazy Rich Asians) who dream of living the life of the rich and famous.
It is here where the film first runs into its major hurdle. See that list of characters above could have almost filled this page. Aside from the ones I have already mentioned there is Maggie Q (Divergent), a wannabe solider who wants to learn about his father and a crazy man who seems to appear out of nowhere but wants to warn everybody about the dangers of the island… and even then that isn’t everyone. Yes the problem here is that there are just way too many characters in this film, at times it even becomes difficult to try and keep track of who is where.
What is a shame is that when the film keeps to its horror roots it is ten time the film it is when it tries to do things a little bit differently. There are scenes that depict Melanie getting revenge on a High School bully that is reminiscent of a Saw movie and it times like that when the film works its best. When Fantasy Island sticks to the basics and remains a simple film about an island where people’s fantasies quickly become nightmares it is a film that captivates its audience and draws it in. However, when the film tries to get too smart and interweave stories while bringing in a convoluted supernatural plotline that I still can’t get my head around it trips itself up and becomes a film that is simply trying too hard.
If the film had kept to the storylines involving Melanie, Patrick and Brax it would have been an absolutely brilliant horror film. Those are the storylines that you end up being drawn to the most and seeing those fantasies become nightmares for those involved is more than enough to have the audience wondering whether Mr. Roarke has a hidden sinister, psychopathic side or if something supernatural is at work. The rest of the story threads that the writers have tried to infuse into the film are just unnecessary overkill.
Also enhancing the film are some of the acting performances at hand. Michael Pena is perfectly cast as Mr. Roarke and for all those naysayers out there who were taking swipes at the film before it was even released no he is not playing a character that is meant to represent Tattoo, the role made famous by Herve Villechaize in the original television series.
Also shining in their roles are Austin Stowell and Jimmy O. Yang who bring their A-Games to a film that you wouldn’t expect it in. As actors they are put through a true wringer of emotions as at times they become the comedic relief for the film but then at other times they are called to do some action sequences and moments of horror as well. It is a well-rounded acting performance that you certainly don’t expect in a film like this.
Last but not least there is the amazing performance of Lucy Hale. Grouped together with her performance in Truth Or Dare Hale is now rightfully considered one of the best up-and-coming actresses in Hollywood. Like some of her co-stars here she is put through a range of emotions of this film and clearly shows why she is only a few steps away from becoming an A-Lister.
Fantasy Island does have some major weaknesses but there are times throughout the film where it is a genuine popcorn horror that has the ability to entertain its audience. While one of the weaker Blumhouse films from recent years it is still certainly a film that is worth a look.
Average Subculture Rating:
Other Subculture Entertainment Fantasy Island Reviews:
With Season 6 of The Walking Dead being released on home entertainment this week (thanks to our good friends at eOne Entertainment) and Season 7 about to hit television screens next month we decided that now would be a good time to go back and recap the main things that have happened in each season… and keep tuned to the Heavy website because we have some Australian exclusive The Walking Dead content coming up over the next couple of weeks.
Our trusty hero Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), the best television cop since Sgt Frank Gilroy, wakes up after being in a coma in hospital. He quickly discovers that a virus has spread right across America and the result are hordes of zombies (called ‘walkers’ by Rick) that will either bite you and turn you or just eat you… depends on how quick you are at getting away.
After meeting up with Morgan Jones (Lennie James) who were refer to as that dude from Jericho in our household Rick heads off to Atlanta, which is rumoured to have been quarantined by the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, in search of his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and son, Carl (Chandler Riggs).
Meanwhile, Lori has started a relationship with Rick’s best friend and Police partner Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) as she believes that Rick is dead. Her, Shane and Carl are staying with a group, including Andrea (Laurie Holden), Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), Glenn (Steven Yuen), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride) and Merle (Michael Rooker) just out of Atlanta.
Rick meets up with the group and learns that Atlanta is over-run with workers. After a daring escape that sees Rick handcuff Merle to a roof in Atlanta the group head for the CFDSAP where Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich) tells that the outbreak cannot be contained and that technically everybody is now infected… that just have to die for it to take over. He kills himself and blows up the centre but our group of trusty heroes manage to escape.
The group leave Atlanta and head for Fort Benning. But after Carl is accidentally shot they head to the farm of Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) and his family which includes Beth (Emily Kinney) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Hershel patches up Carl (despite being a vet not a doctor) and the group decide to try and stay with the Greenes, but not everything runs smoothly. Rick and Hershel clash on a number of things (the biggest being Hershel’s refusal to kill walkers – he believes he can cure them), Rick loses trust in both Shane and Lori after he discovers their relationship while Daryl sinks into depression and Carol struggles to deal with the loss of her daughter. Then there is the sad death of Daryl. In fact the only person who seems to be enjoying his time at the Greenes is Glen who starts a relationship with Maggie.
Then on one fateful night Rick and Shane come to blows, the result being the death of Shane, while Shane actions lead to the ‘walkers’ attacking the farm. The group flee but in doing so leave Andrea behind, but she is rescued by a mysterious figure who keeps walkers on a chain.
Eight months after the night of horror at the Greenes Rick and his group stumble across an abandoned prison. After clearing the complex of ‘walkers’ they make themselves at home but tragedy strikes pretty much straight away. First Hershel’s foot has to be amputated after a walker bite while Lori dies during child-birth and has to be shot by her own son, Carl, before she can turn. Her death then starts Rick on a steady journey of mental illness as he starts seeing her ghost everywhere.
Meanwhile Andrea and her new found friend, the modern-day warrior Michonne (Danai Gurira) are taken captive by Merle and delivered to a settlement run by the ego-driven The Governor (David Morrissey). After learning about the group at the prison The Governor decides they are a threat and after he takes Glen and Maggie captive a series of attacks between the two fractions start.
After The Governor continues to de-stabilise his behaviour becomes some erratic that he ends up torturing Andrea, something that results in her killing herself, and launching another attack on the prison. With Rick’s group coming out triumphant The Governor and his commanders are sent packing while the rest of his group are welcomed into the prison.
The two groups seem to be happily co-inhabiting at the prison but the joy is short lived when a flu epidemic sweeps through the complex. Many die and Carol becomes exiled after killing some of the infected.
The Governor then returns and manages to take Michonne and Hershel captive and use them as leverage against Rick. Another battle erupts, one that claims The Governor and Hershel’s lives but not before the prison is badly damaged allowing it to become once again over-run with walkers.
As Rick’s group flees the prison they go in all different directions but all find themselves heading to Terminus, a railway depot that is said to offer safety and shelter for victims. While various members of the group meet Glen and Tara (Alanna Masterson) run into Abraham (Michael Cludlitz) and Rosita (Christian Serratos) who are helping a ‘supposed’ gifted scientist, Eugene (Josh McDermitt), get to Washington where he believes he can cure the walker epidemic.
Eventually the entire group arrive at Terminus and soon learn that the people there are not what they are expected and find themselves being taken captive.
While the group are being held captive at Terminus they learn that they are about to become food for the inhabitants there. Luckily Carol and Tyrese (Chad L. Coleman) launch an attack on Terminus and the group are rescued.
After that they stumble across a Church run by Father Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam) and while most stay there Carol and Daryl leave in search of Beth who they believe has been kidnapped by instead has been taken to a hospital that is run by corrupt Police Officers. While trying to rescue her the group are shattered when Beth is killed.
Once again devastated the group travel and look for a new home and in doing so are found by Aaron (Ross Marquand) who takes them to the fortified community of Alexandria which is run by a former Senator, Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh).
Rick and the group find it difficult to settle into Alexandria though. Rick believes the community is not protected enough and schemes with Carol and Daryl to go against Deanna. Meanwhile Glen finds himself at war with one of the locals after the death of a young man. Everything comes to ahead when Rick tries to protect Jessie Anderson (Alexandra Breckenridge) from her violent husband. After being ‘arrested’ her husband kills Deanna’s husband and Rick is ordered to kill him just as Morgan turns up.
Whew…so that should bring you up to date with what has happened in the first five seasons of The Walking Dead now make sure you check back over the next couple of days because we’re going to behind the scenes of Season Six in a way that you have never seen before.
This weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige took the stage in Hall H for a panel to showcase the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, hosted by Chris Hardwick.
These are the films that were looked at:
BLACK PANTHER is in U.S. Cinemas February 16, 2018 / Australia release date TBC, 2018
The panel kicked off with surprise guests from BLACK PANTHER, including cast members Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Michael B. Jordan (Erik Killmonger), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye) and director Ryan Coogler, making their first official appearance as a cast.
THOR: RAGNAROK is in U.S. Cinemas November 3, 2017; Australia release date October, 2017
Chris Hemsworth (Thor) from the upcoming THOR: RAGNOROK didn’t want to be left out of the Comic-Con fun despite being mid-shoot in Australia and sent a video highlighting what Thor has been up to since the last Avengers. An in-production sizzle reel gave the audience in attendance a sense of what’s to come.
DOCTOR STRANGE is in U.S. cinemas November 4, 2016 / Australia release date October 27, 2016
For the first time, fans were introduced to the cast of DOCTOR STRANGE: Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Stephen Strange), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Mordo), Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One), Rachel McAdams (Doctor Christine Palmer), Mads Mikkelsen (Kaecilius) and Benedict Wong (Master Wong) along with director Scott Derrickson and treated to brand new never-before-seenfootage from the film.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 is in U.S. Cinemas May 5, 2017/ Australia release date April, 2017
The panel was taken over by the Ravagers from GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, and Kevin Feige announced the brand new Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! (more information below and attached) attraction at Disney California Adventure, followed by a surprise appearance from returning cast members Chris Pratt (Peter Quill), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Michael Rooker (Yondu) and new additions Kurt Russell (Ego), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha) alongside director James Gunn. They treated fans to exclusive footage from the film. The following pieces of art were also revealed.
More about Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
Debuting in summer 2017, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! will take Disney California Adventure park guests through the fortress-like museum of the mysterious Collector, who is keeping his newest acquisitions, the Guardians of the Galaxy, as prisoners. Guests will board a gantry lift which launches them into a daring adventure as they join Rocket Raccoon in an attempt to set free his fellow Guardians. The new attraction will transform the structure currently housing The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ into an epic new adventure, enhancing the breathtaking free fall sensation with new visual and audio effects to create a variety of ride experiences. Guests will experience multiple, random and unique ride profiles in which the rise and fall of the gantry lift rocks to the beat of music inspired by the film’s popular soundtrack.
CAPTAIN MARVEL is in U.S. Cinemas March 8, 2019 / Australia release date TBC, 2019
As a final surprise, Kevin Feige introduced the brand new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Brie Larson, who will be playing Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers in CAPTAIN MARVEL.