Peerless eighties auctioneer from John McTiernan and Shane Black, with gubernatorial candidate trio Arnie, Jesse Ventura and Sonny Landham flexing muscles with Carl Weathers and others in the Central American jungle in pursuit of an alien hunter.
Strong reboot from Nimród Antal, whose Armored showed what he could do in the Hollywood context after his impressive debut Control. Adrien Brody is not a traditional action movie hero, but he leads a strong cast, including Alice Braga, Oleg Taktarov (15 Minutes) and Mahershala Ali (House Of Cards). Even Topher Grace is bearable.
Red Riding: The Year Of Our Lord 1974
Feature-length adaptation of the first part of David Peace’s quartet of books set in the dark and corrupt world of Yorkshire during the time of the Ripper murders. Julian Jarrold sets the tone for the series – almost unbearably grimy and smoky – whilst a strong cast (Andrew Garfield, Rebecca Hall, Anthony Flanagan, Sean Bean and all) fully commit to the film. Excellent introductions to some of the spine characters too, such as David Morrissey’s mid-level cop, Robert Sheehan’s guttersnipe, and Bob Craven’s psychopath-in-a-uniform.
Red Riding: The Year Of Our Lord 1980
Documentarian James Marsh takes over the reins, and now we’re skipping a book but leaping straight into the Stalker-esque investigation led by a straight-arrow Manchester detective played by Paddy Considine. No happy ending in sight…
Red Riding: The Year Of Our Lord 1983
The baton is passed to Anand Tucker, who manages (by comparison) to offer a sense of redemption through the seedy small town lawyer character played by Mark Addy, which is somewhat grim considering the key themes of a Stefan Kiszko-type suspect (Daniel Mays) being railroaded, and emerging evidence of a pervasive paedophile network.
Norwegian documentary-style trollhunting shenanigans. Well-executed good fun that extends beyond the limitations of The Last Broadcast/Blair Witch Project-style found footage schtick.
Ultimately disappointing reboot of the safari hunting aliens franchise, this time round with a motley crew of killers dropped onto an unknown planet for the sport of vagina-faced extra-terrestrials.
Adrien Brody (what’s with the whole pumped-up look? Some sort of BDD backlash thing?) leads as a one-dimensional mercenary with the most improbable looking movie gun since Men In Black.
Promises much, delivers short. Dennis Quaid is a Secret Service agent chasing down the terrorist plot to assassinate the US President in real time – half a dozen times in a row.
Interesting technical premise – replaying the same events from a number of different perspectives, each revealing a little more about the plot – but in a bid to hold the audience’s attention, director Pete Travis ends up surrendering to ever more implausible leaps between segments.
When first I saw the trailer for this reboot of Fox’s other space monster franchise, and then heard the premise for it, I was quite looking forward to it: a disparate group of soldiers, killers and thugs wake up to find themselves freefalling down onto an unknown planet, where they are the prey for big game hunting aliens.
Unfortunately, it’s a bit pants, basically a retread of the 1987 original, right down to weapon choices (handheld Minigun), location (steamy jungle), and music (Alan Silvestri’s score from the first film underlines everything, almost cue-for-cue), but without any real new excitement or tension. At least the much maligned 1990 sequel mixed things up, with an urban gang war as its backdrop.
Here though it’s a bunch of people we don’t really care about getting killed one by one, and because we know what Predators are, what they’re doing and how they fight, there’s no real surprises. The ‘dogs’ and the whole ‘two tribes go to war’ thing aren’t really adding depth (if anything it harks back to Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection desperately trying to give us remixed xenomorphs and fucking up canon), and the Laurence Fishburne character just feels a bit like how Peter Fonda turned up in Escape From L.A. – for no good reason except as an expositional shortcut.
The twist is obvious to anyone who’s, well, watched films, Adrian Dunbar doesn’t really fit the lead role – however much he beefed up – and the action sequences are mostly not very action-filled. The slightly bleak ending was pretty well done though.