Tuesday, 28 October 2014

60 Second Film Reviews #14

Quick movie reviews, without the waffle. 60 Second Film Reviews is a regular feature where I compile together brief reviews of recent films I've watched at home or at the movies - and generally couldn't be arsed didn't find time to write a proper review for. 

In this month's edition we have Antoine Fuqua's The Equalizer, Cuban Fury and Pompeii.

The Equalizer (2014) 

The Equalizer sees Denzel Washington (Safe House, 2 Guns), a man with a mysterious past, come out of retirement to kick some serious ass. It also stars Chloe Moretz, Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo. It's directed by Antoine Fuqua, the man behind Training Day and Olympus Has Fallen

Washington plays an average joe whose black ops past comes flooding back to him as he intervenes when Chloe Moretz (a prostitute) lands in hot water with her pimp (David Meunier). Stepping up to save the day, Washington goes on the hunt of those responsible.

The acting in this movie is pretty solid, with Washington his usual steely self. Moretz is okay, even if her character is sidelined early on. I liked that the villains were memorable, rather than just carbon-copy drones. 

This movie has lots of human drama, so its not just a brainless run'n'gun. The action didn't get going until halfway through, which is someways builds the tension, but may put off audiences looking for a non-stop thrill-ride. 

It's a slow-burn, and this can be taken as either a good thing (character drama over action) or a bad thing (slowly paced). The product placement was the only big drawback, with Sony being plastered across pretty much every shot.

On the whole, a decent action flick that makes good use of a talented cast.

I give The Equalizer: 6.5/10

Cuban Fury (2014)

Cuban Fury is a British comedy from one third of the 'Holy Cornetto Trinity', Nick Frost. It's sees Frost play a downtrodden office worker,  Bruce, who must reignite his passion for salsa dancing in order to win the affection of his boss, Julia (Rashida Jones) and win one over on his office rival, Drew (Chris O'Dowd).

I was drawn to watching this film by the lead trio of actors alone - I'm a big fan of Frost, Jones and O'Dowd through their past work (things like Shaun of the Dead, Parks and Recreation and The IT Crowd respectively), so I had high hopes Cuban Fury would be an equally energetic, riotous fun time. 

As it stands, it fulfilled its promise...kind of. It's funny, but certainly not as good as it could've been. Firstly, Frost is a likeable lead, and his character is one we naturally side with. There are some cute quirks and sight gags we're treated to (eating four yoghurt pots in one sitting), but on the whole this isn't the best work Frost has done.

O'Dowd plays the villain, a borderline sex pest with a filthy vocabulary and filthier mind. His constant tormenting of Bruce is funny, but I found it got kind of vulgar the more it went on. For me, the best character was Rashida Jones as the pair's cute boss - though they make a rather odd couple, Frost and Jones had a nice on-screen chemistry, something which helped validate the former's quest to relearn salsa.

As for the dancing itself, this is where I felt the film could've been a bit more ambitious - the dance scenes are fun, with lots of vibrant jazz and salsa tunes to jig along to, but the direction is very simple and nowhere near as energetic or dynamic as you'd hope. On the whole, a fun but ultimately forgettable rom-com with a Latin twist.

I give Cuban Fury: 6/10

Pompeii (2014) 

Pompeii is a film by Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Three Musketeers) that, as you may have guessed, sees a massive volcano go all explody on a poor Roman town just because, you know, it can. 

It sees Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) play a slave turned gladiator who must save the lady he loves (Emily Browning) from impending doom as lava rains down around them. Ahh, the things people do for love. 

When you get down to it, a film called Pompeii only needs to deliver one thing, and that thing is Earth-shattering destruction from searing hot lava and cascading molten rock that tears shit up.

If that's what you're looking for, you're in luck. Pompeii has that by the bucket-load. The only issue is, it takes FOREVER to get to the good stuff (read: destruction). Before that, we have to suffer through all kinds of half-baked, stilted scenes with awful dialogue.

The movie also has Keifer Sutherland in it, as well as Carrie-Anne Moss. It's a shame, because these are two genuinely good actors who've been in some great stuff over the years. But in this movie, they're forced to wade through some pretty crap dialogue and and even crapper VFX. Kit Harrington was okay in the lead role, but its not the big break into movies he was probably hoping for. With Anderson's name attached to this film, everyone involved should've known better. Seriously, it's like The Three Musketeers all over again - why did Orlando Bloom and Luke Evans ever think that was a good idea?

Pompeii is a movie that tries way to hard to be something that it isn't, and even falls below guilty pleasure status as a result.

I give Pompeii: 3/10


  1. I enjoyed The Equalizer. I thought it was a well done action flick. Haven't seen the other two (yet).

    1. I'd definitely recommend you watch Cuban Fury (if you're a fan of Frost and O'Dowd that is). It's a semi-decent comedy that has its moments.



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