Tag Archives: jai courtney

Suicide Squad – Review

9 Aug

This is a review I’ve been looking forward to writing for a long time since Suicide Squad has been one of my most anticipated movies of 2016. A lot of my hopes for a really good modern DC live action movie was almost completely destroyed after seeing Batman v. Superman earlier this year. It was a muddled mess of a movie that was far too long and didn’t have enough in the ways of story or entertainment. Based on the large majority of reviews I’ve seen about Suicide Squad, I was ready to accept that this was going to be another stinker. Fortunately, and despite what seems to be the popular opinion, I had a really good time with this movie even with all of its glaring, painfully obvious flaws.

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With supernatural beings and metahumans becoming more known, government agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) creates a special ops unit called Task Force X, aka the Suicide Squad, to complete missions that are to sensitive and controversial for official branches to handle. This squad is made up of expert assassin Deadshot (Will Smith), the beautifully dangerous psychopath Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), the mutated Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Australian thief Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), former gangster El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), martial artist Katana (Karen Fukuhara), and loyal soldier Rick Flag (Joel Kinnamen). While hosting a plethora of differences in opinion, technique, and beliefs, this unlikely crew must band together to stop the overwhelmingly powerful abilities of the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), whose main goal is to once again have the human race fear her, while also keeping the anarchic doings of the Joker (Jared Leto) in check.

I want to get the obvious problems with this movie out of the way, because while I liked this movie overall, there are some pretty large mistakes that were made. For one thing, some of the dialogue is beyond stupid. We all understand that the Suicide Squad is made up of villains. The characters didn’t have to refer to themselves as “the bad guys” multiple times throughout the movie. If they did it once, that would’ve been fine, but they said it over and over again. That’s just one example of the writing. A lot of the characters are also extremely underutilized. The little bits we got of Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc, and Katana were all really cool, but they never actually end up doing much of anything in the movie, which is very disappointing. How can you make a movie about an entire squad of characters and not give every member their time to shine? Enchantress also doesn’t work too great as a villain, and my main reasoning for this is that she doesn’t really interact with any of the members of the Suicide Squad until the very end. I like a villain that has a very known and active presence, and Enchantress just didn’t command the screen like she should have.

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Now that all that gross stuff is out of the way, I can talk about what made Suicide Squad as fun as it was. The characters that do get attention all knock it out of the park. Viola Davis is menacing as Amanda Waller, and was easily one of the most interesting characters in the entire movie. Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Joel Kinnamen also are spot on with their roles, and I was surprised that these characters actually develop very well individually and also in their relationships with one another. Character development was something Batman v Superman really lacked, so luckily this movie picked up the attention to detail a little bit. Jay Hernandez was surprisingly a really great character and might actually be the most fulfilling character, rivaled only by Smith’s story arc. Finally, everyone was curious what Leto was going to do with the Joker, and I’m relieved to say that he has taken the character and really made it his own. This is a Joker that’s taken lessons from cartel members, while also making Arkham Asylum his getaway of choice. He stole every scene he was in and I can’t wait to see more of him.

One of the most important things a movie can be to me is entertaining. It’s great if a movie looks beautiful, has deep themes and strong characters, but if it fails to draw me into it what’ the point of even watching? More than any of the flaws Suicide Squad had, it had me entertained for most of the run time. There was plenty of action, more humor than the DCEU has yet to see, and an overabundance of energy that kept me into the story and the action. I hate to keep referring back to Batman v Superman, but indulge me. That movie had action and energy at moments, but there was so much muddy stuff to get through that by the time things were starting to pick up that were relevant to the story, I was already tired of it. Suicide Squad was a much more compact movie and every scene had a place and significance. While the middle of the movie got a little slow and drawn out, it soon found its way again and the flow of the plot resumed normally. If a movie can hook me, it’s already done a very important job.

I can see why a lot of people may not like this movie considering it has a lot of obvious problems with the writing and some of the characters. That being said, I can’t really understand all of the hate that being thrown at it. Suicide Squad isn’t a perfect movie, but, to me, it was a whole lot of fun. There’s plenty of action, good humor, and a strong sense of style. Comparing it to Man of Steel and Batman v SupermanSuicide Squad might be my favorite entry in the DCEU to date. If the characters were written better and the story was tweaked a little bit, this movie could have been something great. As it stands, it’s an entertaining summer movie that I’d love to see again.

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Terminator Genisys – Review

21 Jul

Has anyone in this universe never watched a Terminator movie? If that is the case, I feel extraordinarily sorry for them because, as far as movies go, they’re pretty damn cool. The Terminator put James Cameron on the map for putting a masterful example of “tech-noir” on the screen, and the lore only got a million times cooler with Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Since those two films there was Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines in 2003, which wasn’t bad, but 2009’s Terminator Salvation was a catastrophe. Here’s one thing I can now say about Terminator Genisys: At least it isn’t as bad as Salvation.

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In the future, leader of the Resistance and all around savior of the human race, John Connor (Jason Clarke) leads a massive assault on Skynet. It’s at this point that we see Skynet send the original T-800 through time to kill Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), which prompts John to send his right hand man, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), back to protect her. When Reese gets back to 1984, however, everything has changed. A T-1000 (Lee Byung-hun) is running amok, and Sarah is being assisted by another T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger). After being convinced that the future is now changed and things could never happen the same way, that they travel to 2017 where Skynet is developing the Genisys program, an operating system that will connect everyone and everything. Things quickly go awry when the heroes run into John Connor, who has been changed into a T-3000 by Skynet in the future.

Going into this movie, I had very low expectations. I mean, after Terminator Salvation how good could another one be? I’m not the kind of person who thinks that every series should stop after a certain amount of movies, but I was confused as to what they could possibly do with the universe that was established in the previous movies. That being said, I really had a good time watching Terminator Genisys. It had a brisk pace and some really cool scenes that would please any fan of the series. There were in-jokes, references, and entire scenes recreated. After that, I slept on it and woke up the next day still thinking about it. That’s where the movie started to lose its credibility very fast.

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Part of the enjoyment of a movie is to be able to think about it and talk about it in the hours and days to come. You can learn new insights or hear lines you might have missed or even be able to look at the movie in a new light. The worst thing you can do with Terminator Genisys is think about it. Now, I’m a person who can enjoy a brainless action movie where you don’t have to think, but this is a movie that plain and simply doesn’t make any sense. There’s a huge difference between those two kinds of movies. Plus, there are so many twists and plot points and goals throughout the story combined with technobabble about time travel, I began to not even really know what it was all about anymore. Finally, there are so many questions left unanswered which can only be explained by awful writing, and that is unacceptable.

Now, Terminator Genisys isn’t a total waste, and it isn’t even the worst that this series has to offer. There are some redeeming qualities. Like I said, there’s some scenes that are shot for shot recreations of scenes from the first movie. There’s also quick little nods to the other films that are subtly hidden throughout the dialogue that takes a keen ear and knowledge of the Terminator universe to pick up on. It was also really great seeing Schwarzenegger return as the T-800 and Jason Clarke’s John Connor is actually the best portrayal of the character yet… At least the parts where he actually is John Connor.

Terminator Genisys is a movie that didn’t have to happen, but if done well I’d be behind it 100%. Unfortunately, the storytelling is weak, scenes just happen to move the story forward, questions go unanswered, and things just start not making sense after a while. As a big budget summer blockbuster, it’s entertaining enough to watch, but for a series that has been growing for over 30 years, some respect should be given to the source material, instead of just rewriting everything in the laziest ways possible.

A Good Day to Die Hard – Review

20 Feb

Since 1988, John McClane has saved what must be hundreds of thousands of lives. He stopped Hans Gruber at Nakatomi Plaza, saved the lives of Col. Stuart’s airborne hostages, hunted Simon all over New York, and successfully put a stop to Thomas Gabriel’s fire sale. All four of these movies have excellent qualities, yet of course not all of them are perfect. Now we have A Good Day to Die Hard, a film that brings the series back into the R-rating. Where do I begin?

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After hearing that his son is in some sort of trouble in Russia, John McClane (Bruce Willis) takes to the skies for yet another adventure, this time in Moscow. It doesn’t take long to find his estranged son, Jack (Jai Courtney), who is an agent for the CIA working with a government whistleblower, Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch), to find a file that would incriminate high ranking Russian officials. Viktor Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov), an official who risks exposure, hires Alik (Radivoje Bukvić) and his team of mercenaries, to find and kill Jack and Yuri. They didn’t count on John, however, who turns Moscow into a war zone and will do anything and kill anyone to protect his son.

This is most certainly one of the weakest entries in the Die Hard franchise. There are so many weaknesses that jump off the screen and do their best to make the viewer disappointed. A Good Day to Die Hard has been receiving terrible reviews from both critics and audiences alike. Me? I didn’t hate the movie, in fact, I was entertained for most of it. Is it an action classic? Does it make the character of John McClane even more of a hero than he already is? Not particularly. But, it still does feel like a Die Hard film, despite all of its glaring weaknesses.

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Let’s start with what bothered me. First of all, the plot was pretty hard to follow, and not because it was a complicated web of intrigue. It was hard to follow because it was so muddled with the need for action that it just seemed out of place. A plot that has to do with exposing foreign government secrets that have to do with major historical events is great for a political thriller, not for something where John McClane has to run around killing bad guys. Along with the plot, there are characters. The characters are so uninteresting, save for John. Jack is stoic and boring and the villains are the worst that this series has to offer. Remember Hans Gruber? He was awesome, if not, the best villain ever. These guys are just boring. There’s also a weird revelation towards the end that has to do with the bad guys that threw me off and made me with they were more characterized.

Second of all, the dialogue at times made me cringe. If I had to hear one more snarky remark from Jack about how much John sucked as a father, I was going to somehow transport myself into the movie and shoot him myself. Having the theme of family issues is fine, especially when the idea of law enforcement and service is thrown in, but it got way too overbearing. We get it, Jack. Thanks.

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But come on. There has to have some good stuff. Of course there was! The action in this movie is awesome. Cars go flying, buildings are torn to shreds, helicopters explode, guns, fists, knives, the works. This is where I felt best. It had the same over the top insanity that Live Free or Die Hard had. The sky’s the limit with this movie. I already talked about the bad dialogue, but there was also some really good dialogue in that cheesy, sarcastic Die Hard way. In fact, there’s one scene involving a particular hand gesture that I consider to be one of the funniest moments of the whole series. I feel like John McClane is back and better than ever, character wise. The last film made him seem like a fish out of water and nothing else. In A Good Day to Die Hard, he’s back in his element.

So yeah, A Good Day to Die Hard is definitely one of the weakest entries in the series, but I don’t consider it the weakest. That award goes to Die Hard 2: Die Harder. I’m sure there are many, many people who would disagree, and they can if they want to. I was a little disappointed with this movie, but not enough to make me hate it altogether. Don’t go into this expecting a fantastic entry into the series. Instead, just be happy to be part of another one of John McClane’s adventures.