THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD (2021)

 Directed By: Patrick Hughes 
Written By: Brandon Murphy & Phillip Murphy 
Based On Characters Created By & Story By: Tom O’Connor 
Cinematography: Terry Stacey 
Editor: Jack Hutchings & Michael J. Duthie

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Frank Grillo, Antonio Banderas, Tom Hopper, Caroline Goodall, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Alice McMillan 

The bodyguard, Michael Bryce, continues his friendship with assassin, Darius Kincaid, as they try to save Darius’ wife Sonia


This is a movie that seems rushed to make money off the surprise hit of the first film and this time offers more Salma Hayek that the first film. Where she was a memorable supporting character.

This film offers a lot more of her including in her low-cut outfits and even a sex scene that is more comedic than sexy. Though the film gives her a chance to shine. 

The film is more aimed at being a comedy with action in it rather than the other way around and as hilarious as the film is you never take it seriously and just try to have fun. As much as the cast seems to be having.

This film offers up recognizable cast members new to the franchise in surprising supporting roles. Though luckily it seems as soon as they wear out their welcome they either disappear or are dispatched. 

They try to sideline Ryan Reynolds a little. as once again his character is going through confidence problems and here he has decided to not be violent throughout. He is involved in the action sequences. As more the straight man who keeps getting punished violently while all around him kill and fight. Which might be to make room for Salma Hayek to have more to do and be part of the action. He for the most part is abused throughout 

What works for these films is that while they are silly and quite stupid. They stay entertaining and are never boring and come off as guilty pleasures more than anything else. Especially by the end which is just ridiculous.

These films feel like the CRANK movies only not as over the top, campy or low brow. They are dirty And they all feel like they have the energy of an energized bunny or play out like violent love action cartoons more than anything anyone can really identify with. 

Grade: C+

SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS (2021)

Directed By: Robert Schwentke
Written By: Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse & Evan Spiliotopoulos
Story By: Evan Spiliotopoulos 
Cinematography: Bojan Bazelli
Editor: Stuart Levy

Cast: Henry Golding, Andrew Koji, Haruka Abe, Samara Weaving, Iko Uwais, Takehiro Hira, Peter Mensah, Eri Ishada, Ursula Corbero

A G.I. Joe spin-off centered around the character of Snake Eyes.

The other G.I. Joe films were over the top here this film goes more for espionage and action-adventure tone. then towards the the end it becomes a free for all of just action that becomes a little too cartoonish with real weapons. As It becomes a stunt show more than anything 

The film plays serious for the most part early on and then we get to scenes where there are tests to pass to become a member of the clan and one of them involves Other gigantic monster snakes. Those are the more ridiculous components of the previous films. Though here they only come once in a while. Instead of staying constant.

Truthfully this is a film that doesn’t need to be made. Though it Offers a new revision to the rivalry between Snake eyes and storm shadow with a whole new history. Even though it has played out or been hinted at in the previous films.

That you know is coming as soon as you see a heroic character in the all-white suit that is known to the true die-hards. 

Strangely In trying to give snake eyes a full origin story they still never address his vow of silence and not only doesn’t happen but is still never explained. I am guessing they were hoping for a hit and figured maybe a sequel could. Sort of like the studio’s own WOLVERINE franchise outside of the X-Men films of the time. Even setting up a possible love interest.

The film obviously keeps calling for a sequel. Even though most good action films usually have a memorable villain. Here half the time there is so much infighting you forget who the real villain is and when you do he is so unimpressive and more a means to an end. He is instantly forgettable. The only villain of interest here is the baroness played by Ursula Corbero and she is more of a right-hand woman. Left with little to do 

The only star in the film or of any recognizable star is Samara Weaving, Who plays Scarlett and comes in a supporting role, but more an extended cameo and comes off more like Black Widow from the Marvel movies. Here she appears and seems to know mroe than she is letting in and is the coolest in the room.

As before she is even introduced this film plays like a random Asian-themed action-adventure Tale. Once she appears it ties the film more to the franchise and then starts to get a little more ridiculous. As it goes from personal vendetta between clans an all-out global terrorism threat.

As Henry Golding here just seems to be building his stardom from previous films like CRAZY RICH ASIANS which made him a star. Here this is one of his first leading action hero roles.

The film is stylish and tries not to call Too much attention to itself though at times it does feel like overkill as it just comes across as too smooth and ends up feeling dull. 

Understandable why This film was made like Wolverine one of the mroe recognizable characters and popular but also trying to jump-start the franchise which other characters should you choose to have an origins tale that the audience would want to see. This shows mroe of a last grasp for the franchise rather than a reboot.

As it gives the audience somewhat, what they want, but never seems to realize part of the fun of the character was like The Joker never truly knowing their past and making up their back to the story in their head and any clue felt like a new revelation. It is what was both it seemed revolutionary when it came to the FRIDAY THE 13TH reboot and what ruined it for audiences. We like the magic and the tricks and think we want to know how they were done, but once it Is, it is now spoiled and can’t look at it as magical and worse now feels more basic. 

The truly only badass character was the older female head of the family seen as she was the only one who barely needed a weapon to take our horses if enemies only using her fan where everyone else is using blades or guns 

Action movies often have more victims than horror but we believe the horror of being worse for society. Why because in horror the killing seems more personal and we see them in great detail and watch as the film seems to delight in these aspects whereas in action It’s brief but then again in action, it shows more nonchalance towards not only life but individual ones  making them seem more EXPENDABLE 

Both people are more expendable in a war between two characters that is personal. So everybody pays the price for two egos. 

Grade: C-

NATIONAL SECURITY (2003)

Directed By: Dennis Dugan 
Written By: Jay Scherick & David Rob
Cinematography: Oliver Wood 
Editor: Debra Neil-Fischer 

Cast: Martin Lawrence, Steve Zahn, Colm Feore, Bill Duke, Eric Roberts, Timothy Busfield, Robinne Lee, Matt McCoy, Brett Cullen, Cleo King, Mari Morrow, Joe Flaherty, Stephen Tobolowsky 

Two mismatched security guards are thrown together to bust a smuggling operation.


A film that makes you suffer through a buddy comedy. Where the participants are supposed to be opposites coming together. That feels forced and mismatched. 

When it comes to these types of films we understand why two stars teaming up In the movie will hopefully Produce a hit.

Only here do you have one star and a recognizable actor more of a character actor.

The film has very little to remember about it as it is paint by the numbers and not really good or entertaining and feels quite dumb throughout. While we watch them have their differences. Decide to team up and become buddies. Even though by the end it doesn’t feel earned but more surrender to just go With it. 

It doesn’t help that Martin Lawrence’s character comes off more as a scheming asshole more than a character or even comedic force in the film. So Steve Zahn’s character is supposed to be the redneck. Throughout it shows him as decent and more a victim throughout. Though essentially the straight man to Lawrence’s wacky character.

The film Tries to Make fun of racial police battery and brutality that comes across as racist and insulting, definitely insensitive. Portraying it as more As a Scam at Least in this film. That by the end the film just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. 

The latter party of the film tries to focus more on action but even that isn’t too impressive. The supporting cast is more impressive than anything in the film 

This just feels like a film that didn’t need to be made and was a waste of time for all involved.

Grade: D

2 GUNS (2013)

Directed By: Baltasar Kormakur
Written By: Blake Masters
Based on the boom! studios graphic novels By: Steven Grant
Cinematography: Oliver Wood
Editor: Michael Tronick

Cast: Denzel Washington,Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton,Edward James Olmos, Bill Paxton, James Marsden, Robert John Burke, Fred Ward, Patrick Fischler

Two hardened criminals get into trouble with the US border patrol after meeting with a Mexican drug lord, and then revelations start to unfold.


The film is fun though it is always predictable and you know how it is going to turn out. Though luckily the film keeps us on our toes and interested to see how we will get there.

Didn’t know that the film was actually based on a graphic novel. Though Mark Wahlberg is more an old hat at taking on roles originated elsewhere and in graphic novels. Denzel Washington not so much. 

 The twists and turns are appreciated to keep the film lively and drive the story forward.

The action sequences are impressive. You can tell the two stars are having in with the material, maybe even then the audience. As each doesn’t stretch too far in their roles and falls back to their charms and talents.

This is the type of film where the plot comes off as an afterthought. Though complicated this film seems more invested in the chemistry of the two stars and how much they can interact as superstars. As well as an emphasis on action sequences and who comes out on top in them.

A buddy action comedy is only tougher, involving more death and violence. With two Movie stars, you normally don’t see Co-Starring in each other’s Films. Which is really what brings the audience to this film more than the actual story. 

Shocked, the movie isn’t directed by a frequent collaborator for Denzel Washington Antoine Fuqua. As it has the same polish as his films but lacks the drama needed for one of his films. 

Paula Patton seems more here as eye candy with a surprising amount of nudity. She does set the movie forward. Between this and the movie FLIGHT, Denzel Washington being involved with younger women and having nudity brings one back to the films of yesteryear though admittedly gratuitous, but so much of this film already is still stylish. 

This film is almost like a veteran movie as most cast members are recognizable and here more to chew the scenery but at least they come off as they are having fun. That energy extends to the viewer and makes this film entertaining while you take none of it seriously 

It’s not god’s gift to make a decent action thriller with a bunch of intentional laughs. At least the movie offers an intriguing story that does hold the audience’s interest other than having the two stars teaming up or battling one another amongst the more ridiculous elements. It has suspenseful moments. 

Though honestly if you are a fan of either or both of the stars of this movie. You will like it thus making it criticism-proof in the long run. Especially when the film is better down than expected

Grade: B-  

VIRTUOSITY (1995)

Directed By: Brett Leonard

Written By: Eric Bernt

Cinematography: Gale Tattersall

Editor: Rob Korbin & B.J. Sears

Cast: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Kelly Lynch, Stephen Spinella, William Forsythe, Louise Fletcher, William Finchter, Kevin J. O’Connor, Costas Mandylor, Kaley Cuoco, Mari Morrow

When a virtual reality simulation created using the personalities of multiple serial killers manages to escape into the real world, an ex-cop is tasked with stopping its reign of terror.


The director of THE LAWNMOWER MAN seems to be obsessed with virtual reality as he has made another film based on technology.

That special effects at least makes some kind Of sense though dates the film that is supposed to be futuristic and looks historically dated

This is Russell Crowe’s first big blockbuster film although he is playing the villain and is rather demented and charismatic. He is dressed more like an evil yuppie which at the time seemed to have been the go-to villain archetype. He is memorable throughout as he espouses to be having Fun and comes off more a horror movie villain with a sly sense of humor 

This is a strange film even for a big studio film. It is one of the first to feature Denzel Washington in more of an action setting. Which at the time was why I went to see the film and felt excited. 

Science fiction film that seems dated using technology that was cutting edge then but still seemed on its way out 

There is a curious performance by Stephen Spinella playing the inventor of Russell Crowe’s character who is just creepy as dramatic for no real reason throughout the film only to lamely come back towards the end of the film

I would talk about action sequences but they are more like continuous chase sequences throughout. Those are entertaining but hardly memorable. Where the future is made to look so technical that it feels ridiculous that it is just dressed up in the modern-day. 

The film is Over the top, amped up and hyped by a pounding soundtrack. That never seems to rest. Though the technical elements seem intriguing watching it now. It comes off a little more outdated.

I will admit to going to see this film in theaters and I left with the same questionable conclusion. I was entertained but did I like the film? I recognized it wasn’t good by any means. Though I would watch it again just not enthusiastically. Now I watch the film amazed that it was made as at times it is laughably bad.

Grade: D

WORLD WAR Z (2013)

Directed By: Marc Forester 
Written By: Damon Lindelof, Drew Goddard & Matthew Michael Carnahan 
Screen Story By: J. Michael Stracynski & Matthew Michael Carnahan 
Based On The Book By: Max Brooks 
 Cinematography By: Ben Seresin 
Editor: Matt Cheese & Roger Barton 


Cast: Brad Pitt, James Badge Dale, David Morse, Ruth Negga, Daniella Kertesz, Mireille Enos, Ludi Boekin,

Life for former United Nations investigator Gerry Lane and his family seems content. Suddenly, the world is plagued by a mysterious infection turning whole human populations into rampaging mindless zombies. After barely escaping the chaos, Lane is persuaded to go on a mission to investigate this disease. What follows is a perilous trek around the world where Lane must brave horrific dangers and long odds to find answers before human civilization falls.


Now let me start off by mentioning I avoided this film like the plague when it first came out. As A fan of the book watching what they had done seemed like a travesty. Especially once you see the what are supposed to be impressive zombies and they looked more like cartoons.

It would be easy to write this film off as just another zombie film and only zombies as it is in and can take the place of whatever villain and plague you need and can easily be faceless and not insulting. This film already had a hard road ahead of it has to deliver a PG-13 rating which isn’t easy especially when dealing with zombies, which usually require gore and graphic violence.

The film I have to say isn’t the book, but it’s not as bad or embarassing as I thought it would be. In the book, we examine from different perspectives the oncoming zombie plague and is more dramatic as we get into personal history and the history of this particular apocalypse. Here we have Brad Pitt trying to find the cause but also a way to stop the plague. While having a bunch of axiom scenes. Luckily it’s not the action epic it could have been with him as line warrior. Though throughout the film he is the smartest and toughest guy in the room. The film tries to stay true somewhat to the book as he travels he questions and finds out more information about the plague.

While the film is thrilling with a bunch of good action set pieces. it’s hard to get really involved or scared when half of the scenes feel like you are watching a video game. Zombies by the hundreds disposable, but threatening when one on one. Yet obviously digital like half of the blood spilled. So it never has that level of reality needed. In fact, the only moment that felt real was the pharmacy scene and when brad Pitt thinks he might have been infected and is ready to commit suicide if he begins to change within the next 60 seconds.

I even liked the obligatory scenes of him checking in and protecting his family, giving him added incentive to come back home safe.

The film feels a bit epic and brings more of a thriller element into many of the Action sequences, Rather than just tons of shooting and bullets. They feel dramatic and important rather than just throw away material that is there just to look cool. It is truly what saves the film from just feeling like a video game adaptation almost. The film has an urgency, but not an unrealistic one

Director Marc Forester impresses as he seems to grow as a director with each film. Here he shows adeptness at big scenes of action with an element of thrills and chills. Showing he has come a long way from QUANTUM OF SOLACE.

Originally, the film had a different ending: the plane lands in Moscow rather than crashing in Wales. The passengers are rounded up, and the elderly and sick are executed. Gerry is drafted into the Russian army. An unknown period of time passes, and we see Gerry fighting the zombies. He realizes the zombies are weak in the cold. The film ended with him getting back to the USA and leading a D-Day like invasion against the undead on the Oregon coast. The ending that was used instead made the movie less brutal and ended it with a glimpse of hope

Why Brad Pitt would see this as a franchise? I have no idea though maybe with the bulk of the book and its stories he envisioned epic films exploring the landscape which would seem to fit more as a miniseries.

Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard rewrote the screenplay in the middle of the production to create a whole new different third act.

This seems to be a studios idea of a zombie film, destroying them without more decapitations instead of more shooting in the head. Just like instead of the zombies feasting on humans they just want to bite and infect. The film feels more like a modern apocalypse film that happens to involve zombies and works on a grand global scale to involve all cultures. Instead of a small story in a limited location. It’s nice to see a bigger zombie tale.

It would be too easy to label this as a trend and cash in, this film actually seems thought out and smarter than it should be. I mean, I can honestly say I wasn’t bored and rarely rolled my eyes. A good popcorn film

Grade: C+

THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)

Directed By: Louis Letterier
Written By: Zak Penn (Script Revisions By: Edward Norton)
Cinematography: Peter Menzies Jr.
Editing By: Rick Shaine & Vincent Tabaillon & John Wright

Cast: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Blake Nelson, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Ty Burrell, Lou Ferrigno


Depicting the events after the Gamma Bomb. ‘The Incredible Hulk’ tells the story of Dr. Bruce Banner, who seeks a cure to his unique condition, which causes him to turn into a giant green monster under emotional stress. Whilst on the run from the military which seeks his capture, Banner comes close to a cure. But all is lost when a new creature emerges: The Abomination.

While somewhat improved over the first movie this re-take of the comic character still doesn’t find the right tone for a satisfying hulk project. This film seems to be trying to give the fans everything they want that the first film lacked the only problem is they have a very bare blueprint to base the story elements around

The effects were better in the first film and I liked the moving comic canvas of the first film it at least showed some inspiration here with Edward Norton in the lead and helping with the script I expected a better output than what I saw on the screen. The plot wasn’t that interesting or engaging. This film was very painted by numbers story-wise it had classic action scenes and a CGI battle between two beasts but when I watched this film I don’t remember asking for an animated film sure I want a comic book movie that might involve a little fantasy but do want some realism. It also does the requisite by involving a character who seems minor but perfectly setting up a villain for the sequel for those who notice.

One of the problems I don’t think Louis Leterrier was the right director for this project he is used to making fast-paced action films I know directors are supposed to have a wide range but he’s not ready for that yet. This is a hero film for the MTV generation with all the fast cuts and such. It also appears that the film was entirely filmed on backlots and soundstages I can understand the need for secrecy during filming so that no one knows in advance what is happening. But the budget for this film is huge the funny thing is it doesn’t show on the screen other than the effects everything else looks cheap or false not making for the best looking film.

The one female they showed in Brazil must be the only one for miles around and she is over the top hot yet has no lines. Tim Roth as one-note as the villain that really showed no motivation at all for his villain. Liv Tyler and Edward Norton for old long-lost lovers seem to have no chemistry and both seem to try very hard to have it. This hurts the film since at the heart of this tale is a love story in the middle of a comic book film. For all the ingredients in this tale, the poetic and artistic integrity of this film doesn’t feel very deep as it wants to be. William Hurt as General Thunderbolt Ross made me remember. How much I missed Sam Elliot as the same character from the first film he was compassionate and doing his job William hurt here just seems like a jerk who says he loves his daughter but his actions prove otherwise.

Don’t get me wrong there were good things in this movie the chase scene through the favela comes to mind. But nothing too noteworthy.

Why is it in colossal disaster films New York is the city all the destruction takes place in and where the epic battles must be fought? Does New York really need more publicity we have enough tourism to go and destroy some other cities it would be nice to see maybe to have stuff go down in Miami or Arizona there’s a lot of open space and dessert there.

While the film might work as an action-adventure film. Which tries to improve upon the mistakes of THE HULK movie. Which was more artistic and character-driven.So as that was more the origin story this film was more the continuing adventures of Bruce Banner. So like most sequels, it was more action-packed and go bigger as we know the characters already.
Though it also shows the limitations of director Louis Letterier who is skilled when it comes to more action films and sequences. He has more of a problem doing emotional scenes and making the film feel more dramatic.
While the film might work as an action-adventure film. Which tries to improve upon the mistakes of THE HULK movie. Which was more artistic and character-driven.
So as that was more the origin story this film was more the continuing adventures of Bruce Banner. So like most sequels, it was more action-packed and go bigger as we know the characters already.
Though it also shows the limitations of director Louis Letterier who is skilled when it comes to more action films and sequences. He has more of a problem doing emotional scenes and making the film feel more dramatic.

Spoiler – Plus what the hell are they going to do with the abomination now that the hulk didn’t kill him and he can’t turn human again and we know the professor is going to turn into the villain the leader the smile on his face is like a wink to the audience or fans of the comic at least.

Spoiler end

So in the end you have to wonder was it worth all of your attention to make a film that is the same quality as the original but instead of character and emotions, this film is all about action and special effects.

GRADE: C-

BLACK WIDOW (2021)

Directed By: Cate Shortland
Written By: Eric Pearson 
Story By: Jac Schaeffer & Ned Benson
Cinematography: Gabriel Beristain 
Editor: Leigh Folsom Boyd & Matthew Schmidt 

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, Ray Winstone, O-T Fagbenie, William Hurt, Olga Kurylenko, Nanna Blondell

Natasha Romanoff aka Black  Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.


This film is a prequel of sorts that is almost a last hurrah for actress Scarlet Johansson in the role. Though it gives the character her props. It still manages to be a setup for future marvel series and movies. As we know the eventual fate of Johansson’s character in other Marvel movies.

Though in the marvel universe that keeps setting up a multiverse. They have proven the saying “Never say, Never” 

The film has top-notch action sequences. Though you might find yourself hoping for more grittiness in them and throughout the rest of the film. As it seems like it will be going down and dirty, but comes off almost too polished. The film relies heavily on hand-to-hand action scenes.

At least this movie offers more action and fighting than some other Marvel films. So much so that when there are dialogue scenes the film seems to drag. 

As at heart, this is a full-on espionage film, only simplified and without most of the confusion, those films can bring. 

The film’s theme seems to be that we all must pay for past crimes. Even throughout, the Black widow doesn’t bother to change her look or Into too many outfits. So she always seems barely hidden in plain sight.

It’s clear throughout that the cast is having fun and David Harbour in particular is a riot. One only wishes his HELLBOY performance was as much fun. 

The film’s main weakness is the villain. Who feels hollow. A similar problem was felt in ANT-MAN & THE WASP. Where the villain was weak in terms of creation and really only behind a truly bigger one who was using them. So essentially they are more of a weapon than a character or menace. That is the character of the TASKMASTER in this film. 

The main villain is Ray Winstone here he is good as always playing a villain and is believable in villainous roles usually. Especially ones who are made to be hated and despicable. Where do you believe he really would enjoy assaulting females by punching them in the face. 

It might be that the villain here is too simple and pedestrian compared to the ones we have seen in other Marvel films. Which can be a nice change of pace. Though might have helped if the film was made or brought forth earlier. As of now, it feels like a kind of break from world changers. 

That’s what it is good at. Just as ANTMAN & THE WASP was a more comedic adventure with science. It makes you totally forget the lacking villain. In fact hard to remember the villain from the get-go. 

The film goes for diversity as most of the female assassins under the villain’s plan are women of color. Who he considers as early on it’s noticeable and disturbing that the bench people the heroes fought and killed were mostly minorities. Which is kind of explained with the villains’ attitude towards them yet not the films? 

A little shocked when watching these films that respected actors such as Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz are in it, but these days who isn’t in a superhero or big-budget franchise movie?

In the end the film comes across as trying to be more serious than what it is meant to be pure entertainment and fun. 

Grade: B-

COPSHOP (2021)

Directed By: Joe Carnahan
Written By: Kurt McLeod & Joe Carnahan 
Story By: Mark Williams & Kurt McLeod 
Cinematography: Juanmi Azpiroz 
Editor: Kevin Hale

Cast: Frank Grillo, Gerard Butler, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss, Chad L. Coleman, Ryan O’Nan, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Kauai Lyman 

On the run from a lethal assassin, a wily con artist devises a scheme to hide out inside a small-town police station-but when the hitman turns up at the precinct, an unsuspecting rookie cop finds herself caught in the crosshairs.


This film came across as a welcome surprise. At first, I was interested in the cast and director but when I heard that the director was upset at the cut used upon release. I tried to stay away but my curiosity got the better of me.

Though I know director Joe Carnahan is upset with this cut of the movie. If this is the cut that he is disappointed with I would love to see his cut, because this cut constantly breathes life into certain cliches and keeps the action moving and the scenes exciting.

This is why it is upsetting to a degree that Joe Carnahan is one of the best action directors out there. Whose films feel tough, full of life, vital, and still manage to usually be exciting and surprising. Seems to have to try and get by while higher-profile projects he attaches himself to would be great but rarely seem to work out. Even though he does his best with lower budgeted films. There is always that what if. He got bigger budgets. Because he certainly gets the actors and his scripts are always character-driven with the action.

Though you have two action powerhouses on each side by Frank Grillo and a surprisingly likable hardass played by Gerard butler. What really amazes me in the film is the lead played by Alexis Louder, as she is all gusto. She can be rough and tough one minute and funny the next but always in a serious manner. She is no pushover and here she makes a kick-ass action debut that hopefully, we will see her in more of these types of films. As she damn near steals the whole movie. 

It also is nice to see an African American female in an action movie leading a role. She more than holds her own against these two known action movie veterans.

The film has minor weaknesses like it would have been nice to learn a little bit more about Frank Grillo’s character. As both actors are mysterious at first and slowly their true natures come to be shown. It would have been nice if there was still some mystery to them after a bit. As like the main character at first, you don’t know entirely who to trust and it keeps us on our toes.

Eventually, the film becomes a kind of siege movie as it seems everyone wants either into the police station or that certain prison block. Though considering the importance of everything that is on display you would think there would be more involved rather than the few that are eventually shown. 

Although Toby Huss does provide laughs and chills as a rival contract killer who seems to enjoy his job a little too much. Who is as diabolical as he is Goofy. 

While there is plenty of action and double-crosses what works for the film is how much the double-crosses are character-driven and feel more personal overall. Not easily forgettable even as it seems half the characters are at the end of their ropes. 

It manages to be a memorable crime thriller. That is also a lot of fun as it goes along. It never gets boring and uses its one location wisely and to the most extent. As it makes it feel vast rather than secluded. 

Maybe the reason why it is enjoyable is that it has a feel of ’80s and 90’s action. Thrillers with a modern-day flair. So that while not seen it feels like a throwback to those straight to video action films that were little hidden gems because they never tried to be more than what they knew they were. The type that seemed more like B-Movies that would air on HBO on Friday nights as their action offerings of extravaganza. 

This is a film best to go blindly into. Though definitely worth your time. As it doesn’t rewrite anything but works well within its genre and with its time 

Grade: B

PRISONERS OF GHOSTLAND (2021)

Directed By: Sion Sono
Written By: Aaron Hendry & Reza Sixo Safai
Cinematography: Sohei Tanikawa 
Editor: Taylor Levy 

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Sofia Boutella, Nick Cassavettes, Bill Moseley, Tak Sakaguchi, Charles Glover, Young Dais, Tetsu Wantanabe 

Set in the treacherous frontier city of Samurai Town where a ruthless bank robber is sprung from jail by wealthy warlord The Governor, whose adopted granddaughter Bernice has gone missing. The Governor offers the prisoner his freedom in exchange for retrieving the runaway. Strapped into a leather suit that will self-destruct within three days, the bandit sets off on a journey to find the young woman and his own path to redemption.


Being that Nicolas Cage stars in this film. The audience will already expect a certain level of craziness. Here the film fulfills expectations.

So that while off the wall, violent and colorful. The movie also comes off like a blockbuster that somewhat for all of its eccentricities also comes off unexpectedly conventional for a post-apocalyptic film. 

Especially when you consider that this is Sion Sono’s first English language film and teaming up with an American star known for unconventional choices. That seems like a Genius pair made in Heaven. As Director sono is known for films that are considered out there in mentality and surreal in visions and atmosphere. 

The director’s eye for visuals and over-the-top excess while staying stylish and artistic are on full display. Though the film also seems to lack certain courage of vision. Though Cage certainly easily fits right in. 

As it seems it has reigned In only a little to be less indulgent and think more about the audience. It does come off as more poetic and symbolic at times.

The film oddly lacks as much action as might be expected and that seems to be set-up and building up to. 

While the film is quite an adventure filled with plenty of themes of redemption and a combination of cultural clashes and influence. It certainly comes across as different and hard to exactly define, but still oddly feels a little dispirited and tame. 

By the end, the film is a post-apocalyptic film that is heavily influenced to end a western. Though one thing the film promises is that it is never what you thought you would be watching.

Grade: C+