Tag Archive | Action movies

A Review of The Lego Movie

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Hello everybody!  I recently have watched The Lego Movie and right off the bat I will say that it can be summed up pretty much in one word…awesome.  I seriously feel this is the best animated movie in the past year as I honestly can’t remember the last time I had so much fun in a movie theater.  And yes, I am saying it is better than Frozen but do keep in mind they are different types of movies.  I was compelled to watch this movie as soon as I heard about it being made because as a kid my childhood was dominated by piecing together Legos endlessly.  My whole room was consumed by different Lego sets and the makers of this movie have a crystal clear understanding of their fan base.  Right off the bat I will start by saying the animation and visuals of this movie are stunning.  I was mindblown by how literally everysingle thing in the movie looks as if it was entirely created by Legos and its supposed to.  Heck, the explosions and other visual effects look as though they were made of Legos.  The filmmakers understand that this movie is for both younger and older audiences as they know that their product has entertained plenty of generations of people.  These two concepts are what made me extremely interested in this movie and then once I learned of the cast I instantly had to drop everything I was doing the day came out and go to the theaters.  The cast consists of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, and has a host of cameos from different celebrities like Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.  I mean, you can’t ever go wrong by having Morgan Freeman say words in any given movie right?  I absolutely love and Charlie Day was in this movie though because I am a huge fan of his from the TV series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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The idea of using a tool of imagination, the Lego brick, and using it as the building block  (no pun intended) for a film was genius.  Due to the vast number of sets and characters in the Lego Universe, it made it open to pretty much anything is in the realm of possibility.  The movie plot consists of Lord Business (Will Ferrell) obtaining a super weapon to rule the Lego Universe and Vitrivius (Morgan Freeman) must help the Chosen One in the prophecy to save the world.  The Chosen One just so happens to be Emmett (Chris Pratt) who is just an ordinary Lego man who follows the instructions.  The integration of all the different universes and characters is just masterful.  I found this movie to be ridiculously funny.  The packed theater was almost laughing throughout the entire movie.  Kids will enjoy this movie for purely the entertainment aspect of an animated film and they will also get the jokes aimed towards younger audiences.  However, I feel as though older audiences will find the movie funnier than the younger ones.  There are so many witty and funny references to other movies and things that I couldn’t help but laugh at them.  The jokes are all delivered at perfect times and the whole experience was just a hoot.  My favorite character was Spaceship Benny (Charlie Day) and if you go see the movie you will see why.  Spaceship!  My girlfriend didn’t want to go see this movie with my friends and I because she felt it was going to be a stupid movie.  She was a skeptic.  However, she walked out of that movie absolutely loving the movie and apologized she didn’t give it a chance at first.  She was laughing the entire time and thought the movie was really cute as her favorite character was Unikitty.

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Batman and Spaceship Benny

I really recommend going to go see this movie, drop everything you are doing and just go.  Go!  This movie is that good, seriously.  I know the hype is all about how Frozen is so good and all but this movie is something to get hyped about.  It is what a comedy movie experience should be like, full of laughter and good times.  Plus, the take away message from this film is one that is very important and meaningful.  It teaches people to not live by the “instructions” in life and to ultimately follow one’s own path and to create something entirely new.  I feel like individuality and freedom is something not entirely stressed in today’s society or school systems.  It is important to have people feel as though they have a voice, an opinion, and the ability to create for themselves.  This movie also brought me back to my childhood and has resparked my love for Legos.  In fact, after seeing this movie my girlfriend went to go buy me a Lego Architecture set of the Seattle Space Needle as a surprise.  If you have nothing to do or want to go see a movie, go see The Lego Movie.

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The Seattle Space Needle in Lego form build by Yours Truly

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The Raid 2

As previously mentioned in a post, I have claimed The Raid Redemption to be one of my favorite modern martial arts/action films of all time.  Last Tuesday, The Raid 2 Berandal premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and I was waiting that night for reviews of the film.  I patiently waited until early morning the next day and finally…word came out.  Suddenly, a flood of attention and hype came on other blogs and movie review sites appeared.  Let the hype begin.

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The Raid 2 Berandal is supposed to pick up immediately following the first film and follows the story of Rama, the protagonist, in his journey to take down the crime underworld of Jakarta, Indonesia while undercover.  For those of you that have seen the first film, you will understand where I am coming from when I say it is not the type of movie you would watch for its story, its more about the action.  However, from what I have read and heard, the plot in this movie is much more captivating in depth and expansive.  The action scenes and stunt work is also supposed to be revolutionary.  In fact, this movie has been called “one of the greatest action sequels since Terminator 2: Judgement Day”.  That kind of comparison is something that you just don’t throw around.  I grew up hailing Terminator 2: Judgement Day as one of the greatest movies of all time.  I mean the last scene where Arnold goes down on the chain and sacrifices himself for the sake of humanity that was a pretty emotional and heavy scene.  On top of that, the special effects James Cameron implemented where revolutionary in the sense that it added a new dimension to action films, CGI.

Even he gives The Raid 2 a thumbs up.

Even he gives The Raid 2 a thumbs up.

 

Being compared to the sequel of The Terminator is something that is extraordinary, but with these high expectations it opens up more opportunity for the movie to not live up to the hype or exceed the anxiety of influence of previous action films.  However, on Rotten Tomatoes it currently has a fresh rating of 93% and seems to only be increasing.  The only criticism of the movie that I have heard of is that for those that don’t really enjoy violent movies, it may be too violent for those kind of people.  This also raises concerns for what kind of rating it will be given, an NC-17 or R?  The Raid Redemption was released in the United States rated an R, and there has been talk that this sequel might have to cut out some scenes in order for it to get an R rating.  Will these potential changes perhaps affect its performance at the box office or change the vision of those behind the camera?  We will have to see as unfortunately it gets released in the United States in March, which makes me really sad.  You can count on me attending the midnight premiere though.  Here is the trailer released by Sundance:

-Carlos

 

The Raid Redemption

     A few weeks ago, I was shown two great martial arts films, Master of the Flying Guillotine and Return to the 36th Chamber, and it made me think of the most recent martial art film I had seen.  The Raid Redemption.  I saw this movie last winter while it was in theaters in limited release because my friend, who shares me enthusiasm for testosterone fueled action films, had heard about it and wanted to go see it.  I really didn’t know what to expect, after all I was use to Bruce Lee film’s like Return of the Dragon or Jackie Chan in Rush Hour or Rumble in the Bronx.  This was a modern, serious martial arts action film…I had never seen one of this nature…and I loved it!!!

     The Raid Redemption in an Indonesian film that takes place in present day Jakarta, Indonesia as a SWAT team prepares to overtake an apartment complex ran by the country’s crime kingpin.  The Lieutenant orders this mission and the team must fight story by story up a 50 story complex in hopes to take the boss down.  To me, this was very reminiscent of Stallone in Judge Dredd, where he reminds us that he is the law.  The film’s protagonist, Rama, is an expectant father who is dedicated to not only his family and honor, but his art of mixed martial arts.  The SWAT team goes in and initially has success due to their surprise attack.  The residents of the complex are criminals and eventually they alert the boss who sends a mass alert to the occupants.  They run into trouble and soon start to take losses but the Lieutenant, the protagonist, and a few others are cornered and take a detour to bypass the opposition, with the use of a refrigerator and explosives.  Without spoiling the movie, the characters by encountering enemies up the stories eventually are split up by the battles and the audience follows them as they make their way up to the boss.  However, this mission has significance to Rama because of how his brother works for the crime boss and is one of his right hand men.  The crowd favorite out of the villains in the movie is the killer, crazed character Mad Dog.

       Mad Dog is one of the kingpin’s henchmen who is sent to kill the protagonists one by one.  His martial arts skills are impeccable and super dynamic.  He is the type of villain with honor as he refuses to kill anyone with a gun and instead uses his hands.  Rama’s brother is put in a mess when he realizes his brother is down their fighting to not only take down his boss but to save him.  Without spoiling the movie, the movie leads up to one of, if not the greatest, fight action sequence I have seen where it is 2 vs. 1, between Rama with his brother against Mad Dog.  Here is a sample of Rama’s fighting:

     I highly recommend this movie to anyone that enjoys action and martial arts films.  It is non-stop action with great plot and character development.  It has a variety of characters with different fighting styles, some incorporating knives and other objects.  It is one of the greatest action films I have ever seen and my friends and I constantly reference this movie.  We have also learned that kicks aren’t practical and if you see the movie you will see why.  I believe The Raid Redemption is on Netflix and actually the sequel is coming out in January or February.

-Carlos