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Duo Review – Fast and Furious 7 – Too fast?

Pete Fast and Furious movies are one that hold a spot in my heart. It was always fun and entertaining and I’m sure a lot of people agree with me. With the unfortunate death of Paul Walker, development of the film was halted and many presumed the end of an era for the Fast crew. However, with some movie magic, they brought Walker back for one last time. Was it worth it? From a monetary aspect, I’m sure they will do just fine. For me, I’m on the fence. I enjoyed the movie but I spent most of my time picking up on stupid little things.

With the movie franchise moving towards a more realistic approach from cars with 18 gears and an engine to rival a 747, I expected a little more common sense in this instalment. Dropping out of a plane in cars happened, it was tested in WW2, slamming your parachute on while at terminal velocity was not. Its moments like these that can be extreme fun if done correctly, but with it being the majority of the release trailers, it lost that charm in minutes. There are many of these moments that are so incredibly stupid and over done to the point of exhaustion. Hit in the head with a wrench? Get up. Have 30 tonnes of concrete dropped onto the lower half of your body? walk into prison and this sort of whacked out shit goes on and on and on.

So avoiding the blatant WTF’s and moving onto the ‘story’. Once again, we follow Toretto and the gang who have pissed of Owen Shaw’s big brother. He gets angry and is on a man hunt to kill them. Toretto crosses path with some CIA black ops guy to find hacking software that can monitor everyone in the world and give their location for man-hunts. Save the hacker, use the tool. Simple but surprisingly good for a franchise known for its corny one-liners and story. It went in a direction that we couldn’t have expected and for once, had a mix of actual enemies rather than The Rock and drug pedallers.

Fast 7 was shot beautifully and often you couldn’t tell the difference between the CGI versions of Walker although the rest of the CGI looked ripped from the latest top of the line show coming from Syfy. I’d say it was a fitting tribute for him. I’m still trying to come to terms with why the child threw out a Red Porsche toy car. Was it simply coincidence or a dig at the car?

The Fast franchise is always poorly acted and I’m almost sure Vin Diesel cannot whisper. Nothing new there then. So, what are you waiting for, get on down to your local, enjoy mindless entertainment with a half-decent story and help fund the next 18 movies in the franchise. My rating for Fast is 7.

Dan  Before entering viewing mode for the newest film in the overlong Furious franchise, I have always created a check list that gets mentally crossed off during the course of that particular offerings’ runtime, with Furious 7 being no exception. On that list includes, scenes of the camera focusing intensively on rather attractive women wearing barely anything at all. Check. Scenes of cars driving along long, open roads whilst “gangster rap music” plays over the top. Check. Scenes where the law of physics is completely disregarded whether by cars or just humans themselves. Check. You might get the idea that Furious 7 filled my mental check-list completely, yet surprisingly this did not prevent it from being actually quite fun and probably one of the best entries in the Furious series so far.

Firstly, the film is completely bonkers. It did a good job in reminding me how fun it is to cause absolute carnage on rampages on GTAV, with the latter stages of the film seemingly being just that, with unlimited amounts of collateral damage to buildings, cars, ambulances, civilians, drones, all being displayed on screen whilst simultaneously having the time to show The Raid style hand-to-hand fights, and a battle sequence taken straight out of Street Fighter. And I loved it. It has been a long time since a film has been so completely ludicrous that you forget the major plot holes and chances to say, “he wouldn’t survive that”, and just let it ride on, destroying completely everything in its’ path.

In terms of criticism, the film is way too long and easily could have removed the sequence in which the team head off to Abu Dhabi, which seemingly was only there to showcase the Lykan Hypersport, which in itself to be fair, kind of symbolises the entire film. It’s ridiculous (I mean you can get diamonds in the headlights), it’s unbelievably quick (240mph), but is also a wonder to behold. The film also concludes in a fitting tribute to the late Paul Walker, and I think I can say honestly say, who would have been thrilled with the finished product. Peace out. 7/10

Overall Score: 7/10

Transformers: Age of Extinction – Giant Robot UFC – Review – SPOILERS

Transformers 2Everyone with half a brain knows that Transformers is bound to be a huge hit in cinemas. With Michael Bay at the helm, it makes it that much more special (Lets not talk about the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…). With Shia LeBeouf having his alcohol fuelled plagiarist mid-life crisis, Transformers return has had to make a change. Although its very unlikely that he was planned to feature in this instalment even before his impression of Lohan came too light, it feels empty not seeing the hero that we’ve followed for so many years. Now we have been lumbered with Mr Mark Wahlberg and it certainly isn’t the same. With his new reality TV series and the emotional pallet of a dead skunk it has led me to slowly lose faith in a big player in the movie industry and made me wary of the quality of the film.
Since the Chicago war in which the Autobots annihilated the Decepticons, NEST was shut down, the alliance between Humans and Autobots has ceased with them being granted asylum and a new task force was created to deal with the Decepticon threat and those who are hidden away on Earth. Although, not all is well with this new task force. Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer), CIA and our lead villain has an alliance with a Transformer bounty hunter and Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) in providing Optimus to the bounty hunter and with his help all the Transformers, including the Autobots too Joyce, dead. Attinger stands to inherit a bomb from the bounty hunter that creates the very material Transformers are built from and a large sum of money from Joyce who is using the mineral to create his version of Transformers but under his control, thus cornering huge markets. Walhberg, who plays Cade Yaeger is simply a bystander who bought a truck which turned out to be Optimus. Some stuff blows up and now him and his ‘family’ are on the run from this shadow organization with the Autobots.

Now that NEST has thoroughly been pushed out of the picture, it feels as if they just blew away all of the past characters that could still have played a role and really strengthen the cast and add some familiarity to the screen. Lumbered with a new frontman, we have to be able to connect with Wahlberg from the bat and it’s just not possible. With the acting range of Steven Seagal’s back catalogue, Wahlberg cannot express emotion to any other degree than a blank canvas that shouts a lot. mixed with two young actors whose blockbuster virginity has been popped but have the likeability of women with a tramp-stamp. Paired with the fact that Nicola Peltz plays Tessa Yaeger, the stereotypical Transformers 1American blond popular girl who dates Shane Dyson (Jack Reynor), a ‘rally’ driver picked up by Red Bull who is a giant pussy when it comes to anything else. Then we have a few Youtube sensations appearing for small roles. Kassem G and TJ Millar (I know he does other stuff) were horrible. Annoying character, even when they didn’t speak. Many of their scenes were useless and are worthless additions to try and make something funny. Another bone to pick is the plug advertisements. Of all things, Beats Pill got its grubby hands on Michael Bay and he bent right over. The scenes were so painfully forced, you could see the souls of the actors die a little inside.

Now apart from all of this, this film is a ton of fun. Lured in by the addition of giant Dinobots, I was sold on the idea from the first trailer release. Although they only appear in the last 30 minutes, the action is heavy enough with plenty of witty moments to lighten up the mood. The range of vehicles was astonishing and seeing the first Transformer with the ability to transform into 3 forms (A Samurai, Bugatti Veyron Vitess and an attack helicopter) was cool too. The huge range of vehicles and Transformers was amazing and their general quality was incredible. At parts it slips and looks like its pasted onto the scene with little shading and the new transform style isn’t the nicest looking but the level of work, expertise and dedication that goes into making something on this scale shows the love and passion that everyone had working on this. I would like to put into question the prop designer on a gun used by Mark that is picked up from the armoury of the bounty hunter’s ship. With the size of the crew, how is it only the size of a standard issue rifle and shaped like a sword but extremely blunt?

With a few plugs confirming the next Transformers movie, hopefully the cast can be sorted and we get a better group of people to face it. Hopefully Shia will have woken up from whatever moment he is having and will be considered to return as the forerunner to the next title as I don’t think I can stand dealing with Mark Wahlberg in a movie that he doesn’t fit. The passion and effort that went into making this warrants a lot of more score alongside the fact that the movie is just pure craziness from the get-go. Unadulterated fun with giant dinosaurs and clever little twists and loveable Transformers. What’s not to love? 7/10

Transformers

Need For Speed – The Movie Quicky Review!

I’m only going to spend 5 minutes writing this so please forgive for any mistakes but I’m a little pressed with everything else going on and feel a challenge will get me writing!

Initially I was really hoping that this movie was going to be a pile of crap and I would have something to tear into mercilessly without compromise. However, I found myself shocked. The movie was actually half decent. A few moments left me thinking “Why the fuck?” but I wrote it off too early as a simple rip-off by EA of the Fast franchise.

Although its not a movie that you can expect quality acting, set pieces, script and story, I find myself impressed. As a self confessed car fanatic, I enjoyed it for its aspect of free-roam fun. A little betrayal to kick it into gear and give some pace and a flurry of super cars and a supercharged Ford Mustang that is functional at turning a corner in excess of 90MPH without careering off-road and killing the local wildlife. Although I feel that the car would never hit the specified 230MPH, they are adamant. The elements of realism were just booted from play and replaced with Need for Speed’s physics and vehicle engine for the added fun.

All of the stunts and driving throughout were all done. No CGI was used, just good old fashioned camera placement and some bloody good coordinators. The attention to this stands it above the Fast franchise as it shows that you don’t need to hit fast forward or have some of the worst CGI known to man thrown into your biggest movie yet (I still hold you to that shit).

With sub par acting, question acts and an English women who grinds me up the wall, everything is fairly lacklustre. Its not a show piece film for your local art house cinema to rub themselves over, its just a good old fashion fun which has managed to disassociate itself from what is a very hit and miss gaming series. Counting everything, I would highly recommend if you just fancy a night out with a bit of mindless entertainment and some expensive cars getting trashed (Please be replicas you destroyed)…Upon calming down from the initial excitement, I feel its worth a solid 6.

Need for Speed

Fast and Furious 6 – Review – SPOILERS-

fast 6 4Hello all and welcome back to Black Ribbon Reviews! I am back on a regular basis with news, reviews and anything else I can do!

Vin Diesel and Paul walker return to put peddle to the metal and kick some ass with the aid of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Packed with action, violence and extreme situations, this movie really packs a punch and keeps the story flowing effectively. As we are all aware, the Fast and Furious franchise is a huge money maker with many dedicated fans (One being me). If you are not aware, this movie is still before Tokyo Drift and is the last one to prequel it story wise.

Talking of the story, its not extensive. O’Connor and Toretto are called upon by Hobbs to help chase down the tyrant; Owen Shaw. All because Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) miraculously appears after her apparent death. It’s a very simple and linear story with a few twists within to vary it from the rest but it doesn’t stop it from being very weak. Yet who really wants a deep and gritty, action drama flick with cars and the ‘classy’ broads? Exactly. The Fast franchise has their demographic precision engineered, which made it the $3 billion franchise it is today.

Jumping in head first, we are dropped into a race between an Import and some V8 Muscle through the winding landscape at high speed. Yet is it high speed? We follow them and notice the extreme use of the producers fast forward button which ruined the effects of speed and where way to blazay for something which prides itself on driving. The effects role throughout and really pull the movie down.

Can you smell what the rock is cooking? I can, it's a knuckle sandwich with a side order of STFU

Can you smell what the rock is cooking? I can, it’s a knuckle sandwich with a side order of STFU

Many other scenes were also edited similarly which gave a huge chunk of chase scenes a clunky and unprofessional feel. I’m no pro driver, but I’m well aware of what you can do

and get away with. Crashing your $300,000 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird into the crash barrier and flinging Don into the air to catch Letty and conveniently land on a beat up Merc was just way to much. Scenes like this smelt so bad of cheese, I could almost hear Wallace in the background screaming “Cheese Gromit!”. The cheese ball visuals isn’t the end of it. A few lines are placed in which grind on me (I also don’t appreciate the destruction of a mint condition Mustang fastback. Let’s have a moment to remember what it never got to achieve in this film).

Speaking of lines, the actors are generally good. They play simple roles with little character depth until the end which we see Han (Sung Kang) after the loss of his women, Gisele. It got very little screen time but Han’s rage was generally believable and gives us a little context of his suicidal drifting in Tokyo. In contrast, we have Letty, I genuinely think Rodriguez is a bit of a blunt tool when up against the rest and plays the same role across all movies and by now you would expect her to be the best at it, right? The movie has many fight scenes which are creative and fluid in execution, with brutal executions and general badassery. The variation in styles and a scene that juxtaposes Han and Roman to Riley was quite amusing and bits like this certainly made the whole cinema audience giggle or laugh out loud.

fast 6 2(MAJOR SPOILER) Soon after the credits star rolling, we meet Jason Statham in the credit timelapse to Han’s explosive death after a drift went wrong. Jason play Ian Shaw. Owen Shaw’s brother who I can only presume is seeking revenge for the death of his brother and is making a statement by killing Dom’s closest friend. This confirms our next villain and that Jason Statham is appearing!

(MAJOR SPOILER) Soon after the credits star rolling, we meet Jason Statham in the credit timelapse to Han’s explosive death after a drift went wrong. Jason play Ian Shaw. Owen Shaw’s brother who I can only presume is seeking revenge for the death of his brother and is making a statement by killing Dom’s closest friend. This confirms our next villain and that Jason Statham is appearing!

Speaking of villains. What is it with us Brits being the bad guys? The worst part about it, it even picks a few of our social minorities. A black and polish immigrants and black youth are the key here. These groups already get crap from the racist public but don’t ride on that and give the uneducated fools something to stand on. It may just be me looking to deep into it but it never is good to portray it to the mindless folk. However, our consolation prize is that we get it before the US…Again!

Overall, the movie is predominately for a certain group of people. Men. It’s a movie that lacks emotional connection and is simply there for good fun and is great for a Friday night out or after a particularly boring policy exam you had an hour before the movie…

With lack of anything to critically analyse, the fun side of the movie is what I shall be giving a score for. The Fun Factor is 7/10, its outrageous use of cars and the creative minds of the writers (who I can only presume to have been high) really add that little bit of fun and the credit cameo by Jason was truly kick ass.

fast 6 3