Genre : Action
Rating : R
Director: Scott Mann
When it comes to different forms of entertainment the worlds of film and professional wrestling are closer than one may think. When done well pro wrestling can be an exhilarating mix of athleticism, storytelling and audience work. Considering how compatible these skills are to success in film it’s only natural for wrestlers to try their hand at acting. And while it seems like the skills seem perfect for acting they don’t always transfer over. For every Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or John Cena finding success in Tinsel Town, wrestling hall of famers such as Kurt Angle, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan have typically flopped when they tried to headlock Hollywood. And somewhere in the middle is Dave Bautista.
Trained by Afa Anoa’i, Bautista was signed by WWE in 2000 and made his debut in 2002 as Batista. Starting at the bottom of the ladder he became one of the top guys in the game winning multiple world championships and working with some of the best of all time. Popular whether he was a face or a heel he became one of the biggest stars in WWE history thanks to his unique look and seemingly endless amount of charisma. Since leaving in 2010 he has moved onto film appearing in movies such as Spectre, Blade Runner 2049 and, his big break, the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. But as big as these movies have been he hasn’t been given a lead role since 2011’s House of the Rising Sun. For the most part he has been cast as, and excelled at being, the hulking giant. But like his wrestling career he has made a name for himself, worked his way up the ladder and finally gets another shot as a lead in the Die Hard-esque Final Score.
Taking time off to go overseas, U.S. veteran Michael Knox (Bautista) visits the family of a friend who was killed in the line of duty. Spending the evening with his friend’s daughter Danni (Lara Peake) the two go to a West Ham United match. As the game begins, international terrorist Arkady (Ray Stevenson) secretly takes control of Upton Park with his army of heavily armed terrorists. When Danni goes missing Michael needs all of his military training to not only save her but prevent a massive disaster.
I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical hearing Bautista would be the lead. Not that I think he can’t be the star of a movie but I didn’t think he could work as a John McClane-style action hero. It requires an everyman relatability that you don’t typically find in a guy that’s 6’6″ and nearly 300 lbs. of pure muscle. So, imagine my surprise when he not only pulls it off but turns out to be pretty good at it. Even though his ability as an action star is the focus he shows off a surprising amount of heart as Knox. Sharing a great on-screen chemistry with Lara Peake the two feels real. Whether it’s the playful teasing Bautista gives when he catches her sneaking out or the urgency on his face when Danni goes missing Bautista is able to make it all feel legitimate.
That isn’t to say that Final Score is too heavy on the dramatics. Because while Pierce Brosnan and Ray Stevenson put in the kind of dependable performance audiences have come to expect the real highlight in the supporting cast is Amit Shah as Faisal. A steward at the stadium he is pitch perfect as the movie’s comic relief. Nailing each of his lines he steals almost every scene he is in. Of course, this isn’t a comedy. More than anything else Final Score is a showcase for Bautista to kick butt. And for the most part it delivers.
Directed by Scott Mann (The Tournament) Final Score is a throwback to 90’s style action, Die Hard and Sudden Death in particular. And like those past movies Final Score‘s focus is on the fireworks which it mostly delivers on. We get a little bit of everything from gunplay to hand-to-hand and even a motorbike chase inside of the stadium. The problem arises when it comes to the editing.
Like a lot of action movies Final Score suffers from shaky cam syndrome. While it adds grit to the bike chase and shoot outs it becomes hard to follow when it comes to any hand-to-hand fight scenes. A shame because from what I could tell the fights were well choreographed. Each hit feeling big when you can actually see it. Complimenting the fights were some killer practical effects. We may not have seen the fight but we certainly got to see the aftermath. Certainly, good enough to make up for some lackluster CG effects and an overly cliché plot.
But in all honesty, do these faults really matter? Final Score has no aspirations to revolutionize the world of film or become the next big thing in action cinema. Instead what it aims for is an old school, 90’s action movie such as Sudden Death. And in that respect, it’s near perfect. With a likable cast and some fun action scenes it makes for a brisk, enjoyable watch. Pure popcorn fluff Final Score is perfect for a night in. As for Big Dave, quick with a quip and believable as a badass he pulls off the tough guy with a heart of gold beautifully. Like his time in wrestling it may have taken a bit but he’s finally ready for the main event.
Links : IMDB
Final Score is now available on In Theaters and on VOD and Digital HD Now
Guns Akimbo: This Film Is Simply Top-Notch Entertainment
I would have shot you in the dick,
if the target wasn’t so small.
“Guns Akimbo” is simply too absurd for words. It’s absolute nonsense and you shouldn’t take it too seriously. It’s simply “over the top” pulp and looks as if it’s based on some Asian comic strip. But believe me. This film is simply top-notch entertainment. A roller coaster that slowly takes a very steep run-up and then crashes into the depth with a breakneck-speed, shaking you back and forth. And this crazy, hyperkinetic ride lasts until the end. The action scenes with Nix (Samara Weaving) are equivalent to those in “John Wick“. Flashy editing. Blood splattering when bullets rip apart human flesh in slow motion. And all this under the guidance of an energetic soundtrack where you will hear amongst other “The Ballroom Blitz” from The Sweet. In short, I greatly enjoyed this film for an hour and a half.
Once again respect for the actor Radcliffe.
I have infinite respect for the actor Daniel Radcliffe. This guy could have benefited all his life from the “Harry Potter” stamp that they have tattooed on his forehead. It would have been possible to come up with a few sequels without any problems and without hesitation they could have exploited the success formula of the book series and film versions. He could also have demanded to be part of the “Fantastic Beasts and where to find them” franchise. But no. Instead, Radcliffe opted for not so obvious projects such as “Kill your Darlings“, “Horns” and “Swiss Army Man“. A homosexual-tinted film, full of literary blabbering on the one hand. And on the other hand a film about a friendship between a castaway and a corpse. It’s hard to say that these were commercially safe films that suit the fantasy-loving Harry Potter fans. And to avoid any misunderstanding. I was also enchanted by the Potter films (at least the first four anyway).
Where did these freaking guns come from?
So no magic formulas, mythological creatures and a Radcliffe with a wizard hat showing a boyish, shy smile. Nope, he’s a nobody in this flick. A nobody with a futureless job, who empties one beer bottle after the other while playing violent video games at home. And as a notorious online troll hunter, Miles (Daniel Radcliffe) cannot resist posting derogatory comments on the “Skizm” website and provoking supporters of this obscure platform. “Skizm” is an illegal website that organizes duels in real life where opponents try to eliminate each other. And this is thrown on the internet and followed by hundreds of thousands of fanatic fans and bettors. Obviously, the first movie that came to mind was “Death Match“. The organizer of all this is an ugly tattooed guy called Riktor (Ned Dennehy) who’s obviously completely nuts and is accompanied by a gang of weirdos whose muscle mass is noticeably heavier than the weight of their brains. And Riktor isn’t happy with the muscular language Miles places on his forum. And before the latter realizes it, he lies in bed with two automatic guns bolted to both his hands. And furthermore, he himself is a candidate for a duel between him and Nix.
With this film, Daniel Radcliffe leaves his comfort zone for the umpteenth time and tries to show that he’s more than just Harry Potter. A bushy beard, constantly covered in blood and using a portion of self-mockery and humor, ensure that. Not to mention his clothing: a checkered dressing gown, boxer shorts, and fluffy giant slippers in the shape of tiger claws. For Samara Weaving, this is a little bit an extension of her role in “Ready or Not“. The same bloody and over-the-top situations. But here she got more of a Harley Quinn attitude. A disturbed, fearless person who’s extremely effective in terms of eliminating opponents. That her insane behavior was caused by an incident in her youth is briefly mentioned, but in fact, has no impact or significance. This mindless action film has only one goal in mind and that’s to show chaotic and limitless action. And all this topped with a sauce of humor à la “Deadpool“. There are quite a few hilarious moments in this film. The hand-mounted guns that cause problems for Miles to accomplish daily routines. Like for instance opening a door. Or making a phone call. And peeing is even a hazardous thing to do. The Australian-sounding hobo (Rhys Darby) was simply hilarious with his advice on suicide techniques and his Cypress Hill imitation. How he got Miles in that coat, however, remains a mystery to me.
Wtf is Akimbo?
If you can’t stand a chaotic storyline and you get annoyed when it’s a movie that’s plain predictable and that looks more like an exaggerated comic, then I recommend you avoid this one. Or you don’t take a too critical attitude and you simply undergo the film. Perhaps then you can appreciate the vibrant pace, the screamy images, the creative camera techniques and the complete insane undertone of this movie with a limited budget. “Guns Akimbo” is certainly not a film for everyone because of the video game-like mood and the raw sense of humor. And for those who want to know what the film title actually means: Akimbo is a combat technique in which two weapons are used, with one in each hand. Well, I had to look it up myself.
My rating 7/10
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War | Official Trailer – HD
Matt Peters and Christina Sotta
Tony Todd, Rebecca Romijn, Rosario Dawson, Rainn Wilson, Jason O’Mara, Hynden Walch, Jerry O’Connell, Shemar Moore
A Sequel to Justice League Dark (2017) involving Jack Kirby’s New Gods.
Grand Isle: A Half-Decent, Half-Finished Flick
Go ahead and take her.
She’s all yours.
But I’ll tell you this.
She got a dark side… Darker than hell.
I admire the phenomenon called Nicolas Cage enormously. Every film with him (and nowadays it’s a lot every year) is a mandatory watch for me. I really can’t let a single Cage movie pass by. Even though I know that more than half of them are of a dubious level. And some downright bad. And yet there are sometimes gems in between. Now, “Grand Isle” certainly isn’t the pinnacle of his film oeuvre. It’s rather mediocre. The run-up is promising. The concept had potential. And Cage is having a blast with his role that fits him like a glove. Add to that a bitter Milf, a young handyman whose hormones are going berzerk and “Frasier” as a biased, god-fearing detective who would prefer to put the suspect on a stake, and you still have enough material to make something out of it. It all looks reasonable. Until halfway somewhere. And then the movie transforms to the level of an average C film. Unfortunately, the presence of such a cult figure as Cage couldn’t change that.
Alcohol and a Nam past. Bad combination.
And to think that a white fence is the beginning of all the misery for Buddy (Luke Benward). Such an innocent item with far-reaching consequences. The way in which this fence was damaged, on the other hand, is not so innocent. Not difficult when the owner of the house is an ex-marine with a serious drinking problem. Walter (Nicolas Cage) is a bitter, fatalistic persona. A bit of a crazy person who still can’t get over the fact that he got wounded in Vietnam in a ridiculous way and returned home while his platoon went on a mission the next day. The disappointment was immense. Even knowing that the entire platoon got eliminated completely a few weeks later, the disappointment about a missed opportunity remains. This pent-up anger in combination with excessive alcohol consumption makes him an unguided projectile. His mood, grumpy reactions, and downright aggressive attitude make him an unpleasant person.
Let’s seduce the handyman.
Walter also doesn’t treat his other half kindly. She’s a mature diva whose body shapes are extremely well preserved and whose libido clearly hasn’t disappeared yet. And let that be exactly what Walter fails to deliver. He won’t even budge when she shows up in a transparent nightgown with erotic underwear underneath it. A disinterested look and another sip of a glass of whiskey are the only reactions. It’s not without reason that this hot woman sets her sights on the young, muscular handyman. A handyman with a sex life on the back burner since his lovely wife gave birth to a cuddly daughter. And just when you think it’s going to be about a dangerous triangular relationship where the psychopathic-looking husband wants to initiate a lynch party, the young handyman sits at the police station, face bloodied, trying to prove his innocence in a murder case.
Perfect part for Cage.
Indeed, Walter is really the kind of character that has Nicolas Cage written all over it. The manic mood. Maniacal laughter. Medium length, greasy hair, and a rough stubble beard. The constant drinking and the half-awake state he’s in practically all the time. And it’s not the first time Cage played such a person. In short, it feels familiar to see him that way. The most interesting interpretation, however, is that of Kadee Strickland as the voluptuous Fancy. Every time she’s in the shot, you simply feel the erotic tension increase. Her sultry voice and sensuous appearance ensure she demands all the attention. Unfortunately, Luke Benward could not compete with these two heavyweights. And although he actually plays the main character, it felt like his part was less important.
A half-decent, half-finished flick.
As I said before, the format of the film is only half successful. It seemed to be heading in the direction of a “Basic Instinct” -like, erotic thriller. Only the eroticism and the thriller section remains below par. And you get a rather absurd conclusion. Also, the dark secret of this demonic couple is presented so casually that its impact is negligible. And let’s not forget about the intervention of the police. You really can call this part quite ridiculous. Furthermore, the movie is peppered with improbabilities. Such as that small detail from the testimony that cannot even be verified immediately. But still, it ensures that the biased inspector makes a 180-degree turn immediately. It’s amazing how someone’s beliefs can change so quickly. And the end of the film is simply terrible. Apparently even the marine uniform Cage was wearing, was also completely wrong. Again proof that quantity and quality aren’t related. If you are an immense Cage fan, you should watch it of course. Unfortunately, “Grand Isle” isn’t really grand after all.
My rating 4/10
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