Week Of 07.25.2021 Movie Reviews

Reviewing Snake Eyes, Old, And Riders Of Justice

- S Grade; 5.0 Stars: The Best Film One Has Ever Seen, Everyone Has An S Film
- A+/A- Grade; 4.0/4.5 Stars: One Of The Best Films Of The Year, If Not All-Time
- B+/B- Grade; 3.0/3.5 Stars: Worth A Trip To The Theatre For First Viewing
- C+/C- Grade; 2.0/2.5 Stars: Watch From Home For First Viewing
- D+/D- Grade; 1.0/1.5 Stars: Don’t Bother Watching This At All If You Can Help It
- F Grade; 0.5 Star: One Of The Worst Films Of All-Time
- Reminder: Reviews For These Films Can Change Over Time And Will Be Reflected Over At Our Letterboxd

- The Plot: After saving the life of their heir apparent, tenacious loner Snake Eyes is welcomed into an ancient Japanese clan called the Arashikage where he is taught the ways of the ninja warrior. But, when secrets from his past are revealed, Snake Eyes’ honor and allegiance will be tested - even if that means losing the trust of those closest to him.

- The Review: This is yet another attempt to create a film franchise from the G.I Joe property - one I must admit I don’t have a fondness of as much as others who have nostalgia for it might. The first was as generic an action flick as it got, and then the second was a strange quasi-reboot and sequel that tried to cash in on big stars but ended up taking the franchise nowhere. Now the plan is to create a cinematic universe of sorts with origin films and this movie is supposed to be the start to that effort with the character of Snake Eyes. And I have to say given the mixed reception from critics and the decent but not great reception from audiences, I’m not entirely sure its an effort that is going to pay off in more films - and yet I personally tend to side on the positive side of the mixed reception.

The movie isn’t a disaster. Henry Golding once again shows he can be a lead when given the chance and for Asian Americans this is going to be great to see themselves in an almost superhero like story that pays tribute to parts of their culture (Well that is likely until SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS comes around and does it bigger and better knowing Marvel’s track record). The movie also delivers some great fighting choreography, and there is an attempt to do some world and lore building alongside some interesting concepts that are played with in terms of this characters’ origins. And it does somehow tie nicely into inviting the mainstream and well known G.I Joe elements by the film’s final act. And I really dug the climactic battle with the villain which brings back an element from earlier in the film.

But it does have some glaring flaws that hold it back from being something special. The movie spends way too much time on exposition and at times does feel like its playing to tropes and stereotypes for Asian stories as much as giving them tribute. The camera work is a bit of a mess too, and some of the dialogue and story beats feel really forced. A better script with some of these concepts could have given is a more solid film really worth being the big film of the weekend. The entire time I was sitting there watching this with my wife, I kept going back and forth from giving this a C tier grade or a B tier grade. Some of this film is MCU quality stuff in its origins storytelling, but other parts is a more generic action flick that tries to force things in.

I have to say, and this might be a tad controversial, I think this would be getting better reviews among some critics if this had the Marvel brand slapped on to it. Because it felt a lot to me like a generic low tier MCU origins movie. But it doesn’t have that brand protection which means its flaws (and they are very real flaws) only hurt it more so than any MCU film’s flaws would with some. I get why this is getting some mixed reactions, but honestly I liked this about as much as I did something like F9 and BLACK WIDOW, low tier films for successful franchises but even low tier for those are enjoyable and entertaining. I thought this was a decent film worth the trip to the theatre for those looking for a new weekend movie watch, but at the same time I don’t think this necessarily a movie that is among the better franchise blockbusters will get this year. B- for SNAKE EYES. Decent film that won’t have the brand protection other low tier franchise films will get, but one with very real flaws that I can understand the mixed reception.

- The Plot: A family on a tropical holiday discovers that the secluded beach where they are staying is somehow causing them to age rapidly, reducing their entire lives into a single day.

- The Review: When it comes to M Night Shyamalan, I always feel conflicted. On one hand I have a ton of respect for a guy who can go out there and tell the stories he wants to tell, and he does hit some home runs from time to time especially peaking early in his career with films like THE SIXTH SENSE or SIGNS. But the fact is his movies have become very hit or miss and quite frankly the misses are starting to pile up. And with this film the reviews seem to be coming in very mixed both with critics and audiences. And as always I find myself in the middle.

Some are saying this is good tier M Night, and I can see why. This film does explore some themes regarding Time and not Death being the real enemy that will defeat us all eventually and it does play around with all facets of time from the way it can affect us physically and mentally to the major life moments such as losing loved ones or even having a child. There’s some interesting ideas that he showcases here given the plot this film has. And the way the characters are brought together, the way they interact, and even the inevitable twist at the end have their clever moments.

However I can also see why some are hating this. The dialogue isn’t the best, the story beats at times go so over the top even for a sci-fi horror like this that my theatre laughed at the movie at times, and the movie just feels like a perfect example of M Night’s unwillingness to have someone come in and clean up the script to make a potentially better all around film.

As clever as the movie is, its just as dumb downed at times. Its like two movies are fighting here, one an interesting commentary on how precious time is and another an over the top roll your eyes horror flick dumbed down for teenagers.

I can’t claim to hate this, but I also couldn’t stop thinking about how this seemed better as movie night rental that you eventually forget about rather than a theatrical experience. This is unfortunately for all of its clever moments low tier M Night but not his worst either. C+ for OLD. Mixed views on this and I’m just stuck in the middle telling folks to just wait and watch it when it comes to home media in a few months.

- The Plot: Recently-deployed military man Markus is forced to return home to care for his teenage daughter, Mathilde, after his wife is killed in a tragic train accident. It appears to have been plain bad luck, until data analyst Otto, a survivor of the wrecked train, surfaces and claims foul play. Now suspecting that his wife was murdered in a carefully orchestrated assassination plot, Markus teams up with Otto, alongside his eccentric colleague Lennart and his even stranger friend Emmenthaler, to embark on a revenge mission to find those responsible.

- The Review: This could have easily been yet another one of these generic “revenge thrillers” but like two films I’ve watched from earlier in the year, NOBODY and PIG, it attempts to be something more than just that. Adding in some of the comedic elements of the former and some of the themes on grief and moving on with one’s life from the latter.

This has action scenes with guns blazing, this has the gangsters, this has the tortured man, and it also has supporting characters that each stand out on their own both physically and personality wise; plus touching moments of drama where loss is confronted and vigilantism is questioned. It also adds interesting elements to the background of the film in regards to probability which as a Psephology enthusiast I greatly appreciated, and it uses it to highlight those deeper meanings and themes that the film tries to explore.

However I have to say I “Liked” this movie like I did something like NOBODY, more than I “Loved” it like something along the lines of a PIG. Its a decent film I was entertained enough by, but for me personally the tonal shifts between action and drama and comedy came off executed a bit choppy at times even if it did work really well the other times it did. I also felt that for all the things this film addressed, it also allowed some actions to get through unaddressed as well which made some parts of the film feel a bit rough around the hedges for me.

That said overall I thought this was a decent action comedy that I would have loved to have seen on the big screen if I could and its always nice to see Mads Mikkelsen shine as he does in this. B- for RIDERS OF JUSTICE. Its got some issues, but its certainly a film from across the Sea worth watching.

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