Tag Archives: Vin Diesel

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 – Movie Review

The Guardians of the Galaxy return to the big screen to prove they are more than just misfits prepared to save the galaxy. In Volume 2, the Guardians prove that they need to be a family to save the galaxy.

Release Date: May 5, 2017
Writer: James Gunn
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell, Karen Gillan, Elizabeth Debicki

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 starts a few months after the events of the first film. Our brood of heroes, Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) are hired as the Guardians to protect a power set of batteries from an inter-dimensional monster. The batteries power the race of conceited aliens known as the Sovereign.

As payment, the Guardians take custody of Gamora’s sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), but as their leaving Rocket steals the very batteries that they were hired to protect. Here starts a series of plots and sub-plots, the main one being the meeting of Peter Quill’s father played by Kurt Russell, who brings Peter, Gamora and Drax to his home planet. For comic book fans, this planet is Ego, the living planet. They also meet Mantis (Elizabeth Debicki), who serves Ego. She has empathic powers.

The other subplots include Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his gang of Ravagers. Yondu has been kicked out of the Ravagers because he betrayed the other clans in the first film. Yondu is then hired by the Sovereign to hunt down the Guardians and return the batteries, but Yondu also had a mutiny on his hands when one of his officers Tazer Face (Pom Klementieff) no longer believes Yondu can effectively act as leader.

While in custody, Nebula plots to get the upper hand on Gamora and ultimately kill her and then her father, Thanos. Rocket continues his own brand of self-destructive and self-loathing behavior and then there’s Baby Groot, who wants to grow up and become a warrior, but he’s only a baby.

There is a lot going on in Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2. You can already see there is literally a shipload of old and new characters. There are about four storylines going on at the same time. Writer/Director James Gunn masterfully manages to keep the storylines interesting and followable which could have easily unraveled at any point.

The main story between Quill and Ego is not the strongest of stories and unfortunately, it is the main spine of the movie. Their relationship feels more like a morality episode of Star Trek. It feels very over-and-done by the end of the movie.

As much as this is a large galactic action movie, the best moments in Guardians are the moments the main characters spend together. Clearly, there is a Sam-and-Diane relationship brewing between Quill and Gamora. So-much-so that Quill calls it out as a Cheers-inspired romance. Drax and Mantis have an opposite relationship, which will make your head spin. Maybe, the sisterly conflict between Gamora and Nebula feels a little forced.

The tone of Guardians of the Galaxy is light, a little gruesome and stands outside the seriousness of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Earth. But this movie is funny and the rollercoaster of action you expect it to be. For a long movie, the pacing is fast and because it is packed with so much plot, characters and action, you leave wanting more. Finally, please stay to the end of the credits.

 

 

Furious 7 – Movie Review

Full Disclosure: I have not seen any of the Fast and Furious series prior to seeing Furious 7. Based on the events of the previous Fast and Furious movie, the Furious crew is up against a former special operative, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). Shaw is the brother of the previous villain in Fast and Furious 6 seeking revenge on Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family.

Release Date: April 3, 2015
Rated PG-13
Writer: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson
Director: James Wan
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster

The movie starts with the plot of revenge as Shaw looks to end the lives of Toretto and his family. Shaw is basically

Furious 7 04But to complicate the plot further is a global threat, when a terrorist organization is about to get its hands on a device called the God’s Eye. This device enables the user to access every surveillance device in the world, including security cameras and cell phones. The terrorist organization led by its leader, Jakande (Djimon Hounsou) has possession of the device and the sexy hacker, Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), who created it.

Secret government agents, Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) enlists the help of Toretto recover the device and Ramsey. In return, Toretto can use the device to find Shaw. What is interesting is that there was never a discussion of whether or not God’s Eye violates privacy rights and laws.

When it’s all said and done, Furious 7 is an action movie with several amazing set pieces strung together by a thin plot. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as audiences get good action. The first set piece is in the Russian Mountains. With the help of Mr. Nobody, the secret operation drops the team on a lone mountain highway. First, the team drops in with parachutes attached to their cars. Second, they neutralize the cars guarding the transport vehicle. Third, Ramsey is rescued.

Furious 7 03Furious 7 is a visually stunning action movie. The problem with the action is that it employs a combination of practical, real stunts and computer generated imagery. The effects are so well done that it is hard to tell what is real and what is created. For example, when Toretto jumps a car from one skyscraper to another, you know full well that none of that is real. The problem is that rather than feeling real, it feels fake. Furious 7 is essentially a realistic cartoon.

When you have a great deal of Universal’s money behind you, the cartoon leans toward the real side, but its still feels fake. The final set piece takes place on the streets of Los Angeles. It involves cars passing Ramsey from one to the other at high speeds. It involves a military helicopter with smart missiles, and it involves the destruction of various building and parking structures in downtown Los Angeles.

Furious 7 may be an action film, but it is also a tribute to Paul Walker. Walker managed to film the movie prior to this death. Cast and filmmakers felt it was necessary, rightfully so, to say goodbye to his character, Brian O’Conner. Small scenes, added dialog and a touching ending were added to the movie as a tribute. This tribute is effectively poignant, assuming you know what happened. If you’re unaware of Walkers death, the scene may feel a little heavy handed.

Furious 7 is a movie that succeeds thanks to a cast that you can tell is close like family and to a studio that made all if its movie-making resources behind it. But there is something to be said about returning to good old fashioned action movie making.