TL;DR – A fascinating but also a quite difficult film, great acting, but only one-dimensional characters, with a very mixed ending
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – No
So back in 2017, I pushed myself to go see more non-western films and while it was a laudable goal, it didn’t pan out as much as I would have liked. Well, 2018 is a new year, and so let’s take another stab at this, and well there was no better place to start than with one of the most controversial films I have seen since maybe The Interview (see review). A leading politician in India demanded people assault the director, sets have been burnt down, death threats have been made, even riots at screenings and well some people have really got to understand what the Streisand Effect is. Now before we get into the film review proper I did want to preface this review with a couple of provisos, for better or worse I am approaching this film as an outsider, as I am a white guy who is not a practitioner of any of the religions depicted nor a decedent of any of the ethnic groups in this film. Now this means that I am likely missing a lot of the historical and cultural contexts that the film is using as shorthand. But also, I have no particular want to see one side viewed in a certain way, so impartial external observer and what not. So let’s dive into probably one of the more interesting films I have seen recently, for good and bad reasons.
TL;DR – This is a perfect popcorn flick, as long as you don’t try to think through the plot, which you can’t help but do in the 2nd act.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
XXX: Return of Xander Cage is a film of many things, interesting set pieces, an incredibly diverse cast, a title that you really need to be careful with when searching on the internet for researching the movie, but also some missed opportunities. So it should come as no surprise that everyone is trying to create the next Bond, and why wouldn’t you? if you could swing 25 feature films out of a single premise. There have been multiple attempts over the years to create the new spy king, a fresh new face. Now for me, the best attempt has to be Kingsman (Click here to see Review), but many people have tried and one direction they went in was recasting the Bond-type with an extreme sports star, and well I have heard worse premises. However, after twelve years, and fifteen since Vin Diesel has been the lead, did we really need another crack at this formula to see if it works, well if this is anything to go by then … maybe?