*NEW* DEATH WISH REVIEW *NEW*

I must have had one watching this tripe . . .

Well, that was what I thought I was going to say.

Regardless of what I think of the man, Bruce Willis can still hold his own in this violent revenge flick.

Dr Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) is an experienced trauma surgeon, a man who has spent his life saving lives. After an attack on his family, Paul embarks on his own mission for justice.

After the ghastly ratings, I expected something really dire. Being a fan of the original cult crime classic, I wasn’t the happiest to hear of a remake. I mean who could top the icon that was Charles Bronson?! BUT I found this latest rehash surprisingly watchable.

The rapid opening sequence (with a fantastic panning shot) riddled with reports of shootings all over Detroit spoke volumes. Finger on the pulse stuff for a generic shoot-em-up. Especially with what’s been happening with gun crime in the US.

Willis’ robotic introduction didn’t give me high hopes . . . At first. He was always going to have a tough act to follow. BUT it added a degree of cynicism to the surgeon as he apologised to the copper whose partner he couldn’t save. And then moved over to the next bed and saved the monster who killed him.

The family melodrama was incredibly cheesy BUT easy going enough as we waited for the inevitable to happen.

The pacing did leave a little to be desired BUT I wasn’t bored. I liked the fact that Kersey didn’t turn into a stone cold killer straight away. A slow burning montage showed a gradual transformation as this down beaten man grew frustrated with the system and his psychiatrist (Wendy Crewson – Air Force One).

Dean Norris was literally playing Hank from Breaking Bad as Detective Raines. Tied by the rules and hoping for the best.

It took a good 40 minutes before Kersey began his vigilante spree. Donning his Unbreakable hoodie and terrorising the streets.

I was a little sceptical that the tone felt as muddled as its message. It may have raised debates about gun crime and vigilantism BUT it was a bit hard to be taken seriously when Willis would then shoot a drug dealer to a bloody pulp in the next frame.

A scene between Kersey and his father in law (Len Cariou – Blue Bloods) was incredibly hammy as the old boy fended off some poachers and preached about “a man defending his own”. Yawn.

The mismatched song choices killed off the seriousness of certain scenes. Using YouTube to learn how to shoot and assemble guns to AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ spoiled what could have been a satirical boiling point.

However, the consumerization of gun culture was brilliantly encapsulated with Bethany, the sales girl at the Jolly Rogers’ gun emporium: “Easy forms to fill, nobody ever fails gun safety class, 100 per cent American made”. Talking about weapons like they were new cars. Kersey’s smirk at such hypocrisy said it all.

The vengeance spree was violent enough as the vigilante ‘honed his craft’. Working his way through the food chain. Looking for the ones who tore his family apart. An unsavoury interrogation with a shady car mechanic did not make for easy viewing after just eating a big ol’ bowl of spaghetti. That’s all I’m saying.

To be honest, I was more surprised at how ‘tame’ this really was. Especially when the director at the helm was Eli “Hostel” Roth. Normally the master of disgust BUT I was relieved to see that NOT everything was taken from the original i.e. the unsavoury rape scene.

It is what is. A violent actioner. Willis held his own and carried the film. It killed the time and deliver what I expected.

It wasn’t perfect and the kills were hardly memorable. I still remember Bronson’s newspaper kill (No, he didn’t kill a guy with a newspaper). BUT nowhere near as unmemorable as Wendy Crewson’s psychiatrist or Vincent D’Onofrio as Kersey’s useless (and incredibly annoying) brother-in-law. Nothing more than a meaningless red herring.

You could pick at the fact that if the police were looking for a vigilante in a dark hoodie, you wouldn’t walk into a public nightclub in said garb with pistol in tow. Come on!

BUT despite the muddled politics and mismatched tone, did we really expect this to be anything other a bloody shoot-em-up?

I just wish that cheeky trigger pose didn’t come off so tacky. Sorry, McClane. Charles Bronson, you ain’t.

2.5/5

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*NEW* SUICIDE SQUAD REVIEW *NEW*

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Meh. I didn’t hate it. Didn’t love it either.

Based on the DC Comic, the government gives a team of super villains a chance at redemption. The catch: their mission will probably kill them all.

The first 30 minutes was brilliant. It hit the ground running and got straight to business.

Director David Ayer’s rapid quick cut editing and mad eclectic soundtrack ticked all the boxes as each dysfunctional member of this demented squad were introduced with their own theme song and back story.

A little silly BUT it gave off that Guardians of the Galaxy vibe.

BUT despite doing a good job of flicking through everybody’s origins and getting them into the mix as quickly as possible, more time should have spent on that.

I don’t think newbies or non-DC fans need to know too much going in BUT I was more intrigued in the back stories we were teased with than the Enchantress’ apocalypse plot.

We only had a taster of the warped relationship between Harley Quinn and the Joker in several flashbacks.

The biggest scene stealer and the one I was looking forward to seeing was (of course) Margot Robbie (Wolf of Wall Street).

She captured Quinn perfectly. Mental and vexing in one scene, troubled and lost the next. And not too bad on the eye either (What?). She really picked up the pace which tragically lagged.

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Jared Leto, on the other hand, failed to make an impression on me. I was unconvinced by his clips in the trailers.

I said the same thing for Heath Ledger back in the day BUT he proved me wrong tenfold and became one of the best Jokers I’ve seen.

I mean there were a lot of factors going against Leto. BUT after hearing all the weird method acting rumours and the lengths he went to get into character, he was only in this for 15 minutes.

He looked the part BUT in one scene, he won me over; the next he infuriated and that laugh! Sounded like he was trying to cough up something stuck in the back of his throat.

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He wasn’t really necessary or needed in this piece as Harley’s origin story was rushed through too quickly.

BUT this wasn’t the Joker’s movie. It was supposed to be about the Suicide Squad.

I had to agree with someone who said this movie should have been called Deadshot. We had more exposition and focus on Will Smith’s hitman than we did on anybody else.

We had his troubled relationship with his daughter. Animosity towards the Caped Crusader.

I thought this could be a different role for Smith BUT he provided his usual spiel and whether it was the shoddy lines in the script, it just didn’t work. I was impressed with the effects and Deadshot’s shooting skills BUT it soon got very repetitive and very dull.

His fractious relationship with Joel Kinnaman’s Flag was the only thing that broke up the monotonous action. I haven’t really rated Kinnaman in his Hollywood endeavours (The less we say about Robocop, the better) BUT he was great as Flag. The rock that was weighing down on this bunch of parasites.

Jai Courtney’s Boomerang should have been so much better than he was. His quips and quirky behaviour had potential BUT wasn’t really explored. All we knew was that he carried cans of beer and a pink unicorn under his jacket. Okay then.

Karen Fukuhara’s Katana was a waste of time. An unnecessary addition to a bloated squad. Everyone else had a quick synopsis about their past. All we got was a quick flashback to an irrelevant street brawl to explain why she was late for the party.

Oh . . . and some guff about her sword bearing the soul of her dead husband?! What? Why? By the end, I didn’t care.

Adam Beach’s Slipknot was also another waste. His introduction nothing more than a statement from Flag (and a poor one at that). Jay Hernandez’ Diablo just moped around. His personal reasons for not fighting were so freakin’ predictable that by the time he wanted to share, I wanted him gone.

Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje (LOST) was another disappointment as Killer Croc. The make-up and effects were brilliant BUT he was in the background far too much.

Viola Davis (The Help) and Ike Barinholtz (Bad Neighbours) made more memorable turns! Frankly, Davis wasn’t in this enough BUT thankfully we might be seeing more of her.

The second half ruined the whole thing. It took such a sombre turn and got far too serious with our motley crew all suddenly growing a conscience.

I didn’t think the team really gelled enough to forge proper bonds and considering how violent and anti-social they were, they decide to look out for each other and become pals in one night? Come on. It hampered the momentum of the piece a treat.

They spent so much of the running time squabbling, escaping or sulking. The relationships were either forced or clichéd.

The middle act meandered along and when we weren’t subjected to petty feuds, we had a ridiculous end of the world plot that had me in stitches.

The supernatural stuff didn’t work one bit. Cara Delevigne did her best as the Enchantress BUT her character was far too weak and the shoddy CGI didn’t do her any favours.

What was the deal with her demon dance?! She was supposed to be summoning a death machine NOT the funky chicken.

The story line got so stupid that you began to wonder why we needed these guys in the first place.

Especially when we had cameos from a couple *COUGH* SPOILERS *COUGH* members of the Justice League. And that finale was so hammy and stupid. The demon fight sequence – what da fuq?

Mixed bag, to say the least. I’ve seen a lot worse.

A mad riotous opening first half was spoiled by a lagging pace, clichéd dialogue and a complete mismatch in tone with a ridiculous finale.

If Ayer could have kept that mad energy and stopped trying to be like every other superhero film, then we would have had a winner.

A fun mess that’s not completely worth the mauling it’s received.

2.5/5

KNOCK KNOCK REVIEW

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Knock, knock? Who’s there? One of the worst films of the year. That’s what.

So what’s it about? A pair of femme fatales (Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas) wreak havoc on the life of a happily married man (Keanu Reeves).

Woah, this was horrific. For all the wrong reasons. At 99 minutes, this film felt considerably longer. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Roth’s work. At his best, the backpacking travel terror flick Hostel. At his worst, Hostel 2 . . . Or Cabin Fever. Well, I’ve found a new one to add to his worst list.

The opening was painfully slow. I was prepared to let the tension build before the alluring ladies made their introduction. BUT we were subjected to mindless vomit inducing cliched family chatter.

I thought writer/director Eli Roth made the opening as a joke. The exchanges were so corny. After 15 minutes, I was praying for that knock on the door as Reeves chased after kids with cake all over his gob, calling himself the ‘Cake Monster’. Cringe.

When the ladies finally made their appearance, it didn’t really didn’t pick up. A knock at the door. Some unbelievable excuse about a mix up with addresses and the femme fatales were in.

For another 20 minutes, we had to endure Reeves playing an awkward game of musical chairs as the girls flirted and shared “seductive” stories that he ate up. Because hey, why would strangers lie? “Valiantly” turning down their advances and re-iterating that he is a happily married man.

It was just so slow, uninteresting and unsettling. And not even in the creepy sense. It felt like a badly done porno. The vintage music. The awful pick up lines. The bad interior decor. An eclectic collection of trippy looking items. Reeves trying to woo the ladies with his old record player because . . . Well, would you look at that? He used to be a DJ.

All within 45 minutes of waiting for a taxi cab? Really? Things must have been getting desperate as we had to listen to some rubbish from Reeves about drying the moisture out of a damp iPhone with a bowl of rice? Come on.

When the deed finally happened, I thought “Here we go” (No, not like that). The games will begin. Oh no. If anything Izzo and Armas were really annoying. Acting like spoiled high school kids. Throwing pancakes at the wall and messing up the kitchen while refusing to leave.

Childish and even more boring. When things finally took a darker turn and their real motives finally revealed, there was only a slight improvement.

Armas wearing Reeves’ daughter’s school uniform while riding him and barking like a dog made for bizarre viewing. I’m sure Knock Knock was supposed to be a sexy horror. A cross between Misery with Funny Games with a splash of Hard Candy. Well, that was what I was hoping for.

BUT oh no! This was worse than one of Roth’s intentionally bad B-movie grindhouse flicks. There was no suspense and no tension as Reeves’ character spend the rest of the film effing and jeffing while being strapped to a chair.

His character was so stupid and his endless commentary on what the two girls were doing was highly comical. “You’re going to kill me? You ARE going to kill ME?! You came to my house”. Oh, Keanu. How the mighty have fallen!

He just didn’t even try to make an effort to escape. And when he finally mustered the brain cells to try, the girls caught him easily. One particular highlight being in one of the only tense moments in the film; Reeves looks set to break free . . .  Only to trip over something. Face palm.

What sucked was that this was probably one of Keanu’s most liveliest performances in the last decade. He really went for it. It’s a shame that it came off a whole lot laughable than it should have.

Izzo (Roth’s wife. Funny that) and Armas played the parts as well as they could but it felt like something out of Scary Movie than anything else. Misery had suspense and tension. An atmosphere hanging off every scene. And that was with two people.

And to make matters worse, there were only ever going to be two outcomes with a film like this. And both were predictable and terrible. Seriously, in the cinema, most people were laughing or talking among themselves. Uninterested and rightly so.

Knock, knock? Who’s there? Oh, the Keanu Reeves horror flick? Now, that’s a joke.

1.5/5