Category Archives: Action

Alita: Battle Angel (2019) | Robert Rodriguez



The origin of Alita: Battle Angel starts with Yukito Kishiro’s intricately plotted 1990 manga, something this adaptation has to simplify in order to make it palatable for wide-release audiences.  The setting is an Earth five centuries from now, a mostly tumultuous and vice-filled world that suffers even more by comparison to the life of luxury from the beaming city utopia called Zalem that floats above their heads. Christoph Waltz plays Dr. Ido, a brilliant scientist who has been through he trash-heaps of history to find something of value and meaning. Ido soon discovers the remnants of a robotic entity, taking it back to his lab for rehabilitation, resulting in a cyborg creation he has dubbed “Alita” (which was also the name of the daughter he lost in a tragedy), who has the mind of a teenage girl and hard-shell body to match. She walks, talks and understands, but one thing she can’t readily do is remember who she is or why she exists. Ido provides fatherly guidance, but Alita is drawn to battle and action by her nature, stoked further by an interest in the local boy named Hugo, who sees more potential in Alita’s abilities that could make her formidable in a world that values such adept skills in the arena of conflict.


Glass (2019) | M. Night Shyamalan



Glass serves as a sequel to two films from M. Night Shyamalan, 2000’s Unbreakable and 2018’s Split, the latter of which tied itself to the former with the post-end title stinger. Bruce Willis makes his return as the ‘unbreakable’ security company owner David Dunn, who, along with his adult son (and sole employee) Joseph, is trying to track down a crazy roaming the streets of Philadelphia who is abducting teenage girls.  James McAvoy continues his portrayal of Kevin Wendell Crumb, aka The Horde, a conglomerations of split personalities that take over Kevin’s body at various points, including the homicidal brute known as The Beast, who is the one feeding on those girls David is looking for .  Samuel L. Jackson also returns from Unbreakable as the titular character, the brittle mastermind self-named Mr. Glass, aka Elijah Price, who has apparently been laying low for some time under heavy sedation.  The three end up rounded up and subsequently kept separate chambers within a high-security psychiatric facility led by Sarah Paulson’s Dr. Ellie Staple, whose specialty is in rehabilitating persons who believe they are superheroes. From Split, Anya Taylor-Joy returns as Casey Cooke, who survived her terror-filled first meeting with The Horde while in its persona as The Beast, but who finds herself drawn to help him escape his inner demons.


Bumblebee (2018) | Travis Knight



This time out, the character of Bumblebee ends up going back to his original look from the toy line and cartoon series of a Volkswagen Beetle, when he arrives on Earth back in 1987 as part of a last-minute escape plan for the Autobots on Cybertron to find an inhabitable planet as theirs is about to be destroyed in an all-out civil war with the Decepticons.  Bumblebee ends up emerging in California, where his dormant state of the Beetle laying in rust in a junkyard, in hiding after being hunted by Sector Seven (the government agency who first discovers him), draws the eye of a troubled teenage girl named Charlie Watson, who views the car as freedom and an opportunity to follow in her recently deceased father’s footsteps by repairing two damaged precious things – the car, and herself.


Aquaman (2018) | James Wan



The setting starts sometime in the 1980s, where we find Atlantean queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) coming up to the surface in the state of Maine to get away from an arranged marriage, seeking a bit of sanctuary and time to heal in a lighthouse run by a human named Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison). The two unlikely partners fall in love, eventually leading to a son, Arthur Curry.  The kingdom of Atlantis is not pleased with Atlanna’s apparent defection to the land, sending out their soldiers to claim her back, culminating in Tom being left alone to raise the boy himself as a human, except one with the powers of Atlanteans in his DNA, including an ability to talk to and command all forms of marine life.

We fast forward to Arthur’s adulthood, known to the land-dwellers as “The Aquaman” after a series of public acts of heroism, one including taking down pirates that includes future nemesis Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mareen II).  However, Arthur has to become a savior to his adopted people when the current rule of Atlantis, Arthur’s half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson), is looking to mount a war with the land walkers who continue to pollute the oceans, seeking the assistance of King Nereus (Dolph Lundgren), one of the leaders of the ‘seven seas’ needed to approve. Nereus’s daughter Mera looks to recruit Arthur’s assistance in staving off the uprising from his brother’s charge.  Arthur must go undersea to make his presence felt, but the opposite of a fish out of water in his new environs in the Atlantean realm, especially when the situation boils down to a mano-a-mano battle between Arthur and Orm on his home turf (or non-turf, as it happens to be).


Venom (2018)



The Marvel Comics villain gets the antihero treatment in this Spiderman-less origin story filled with grotesque body horror and lots of crazy CGI-infused action.  Tom Hardy stars as reporter Eddie Brock, who finds himself the host of an alien symbiote he discovers within a hi-tech laboratory he’s investigating.  That alien needs live organs to feast upon, which means Eddie’s if he can’t find other things for “Venom”, which is what the symbiote calls himself, to ravenously consume.  Michelle Williams stars as Brock’s ex-fiance, and Riz Ahmed is the head of the corporate lab out to experiment on the living in order for humans to try to survive on other planets when this one is no longer, inevitably, inhabitable. Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer directs.


The Predator (2018)



Shane Black tries to do what no one has done thus far, and that’s to make a good follow-up to John McTiernan’s 1997 action classic, PREDATOR.  Here, the Predators are back searching for their old technology, and possibly taking over the Earth, having to confront a rag-tag group of disgrace military vets in their way.  Boyd Holdbrook, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Keegan-Michael Key, Trevante Rhodes and Jacob Tremblay also appear.


The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018) – A Podcast Film Review



Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon star in this buddy comedy about two best friends who end up embroiled in a spy assassin plot when some terrorists come looking for them for information that Kunis’ most recent boyfriend, who she didn’t know was a secret agent, may have in his possessions.  Laughs, thrills, and action are promised, but does it deliver?


The Meg (2018) – A Podcast Film Review



A big shark and Jason Statham are the big draws to THE MEG, in which a rescue team of humans must try to survive, and eventually take on, a prehistoric shark of gargantuan proportions that threatens everyone off of the coast of China.  Jon Turteltaub directs this PG-13 action-horror hybrid that some compare to the JAWS and JURASSIC PARK series, or, at least, its low-aiming sequels.


The Equalizer 2 (2018) – A Podcast Film Review



Denzel Washington returns to exact some brutal vigilante justice on the predators of the world in this follow-up to the 2014 hit, the first sequel in the veteran actor’s long and varied career. In this one, he seeks to avenge the murder of one of his old friends from his black ops days, only to find that he has to battle with forces that may outgun him at every turn.  Melissa Leo co-stars in Antoine Fuqua’s intense actioner.


Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) – A Podcast Film Review



The sixth film in the franchise sees Ethan Hunt trying to recover some plutonium before it gets employed by a ruthless anarchist terrorist group out to shake up the world order through detonating these bombs in the the world’s most revered religious meccas. Tom Cruise gives hit his all, amid a fine supporting cast and some of the best technical crew in the business.  ROGUE NATION’s Christopher McQuarrie returns to deliver one of the most satisfying entries in the series and one of the best action films of the year.