NEW SHOW | STAR TREK: DISCOVERY

STARRING: Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh, Jason Isaacs

Today was the Netflix release of Star Trek: Discovery, the newest Star Trek series since Enterprise in 2005.

This series revolves around the Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), an intelligent and head strong young human woman who has been raised by Vulcans after her family were killed by Klingons. When their ship – USS Shenzhou – captained by Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) comes across an unknown object floating around in space; Commander Burnham volunteers to go and see what it is.

What she discovers – see what I did there – is the presence of Klingons who in this setting haven’t been seen in over a century. The first two episodes are then a battle of wills between Burnham and Captain Georgiou who differ on how to deal with the possible threat of the warrior race.

This all sets up for an exciting opening episode but for me, I was lost for a while in how much Burnham annoyed me! It’s the same annoyance that one feels for Mr Spock and his supreme intelligence and sense of superiority. However, because I was so annoyed by her only went to prove how well she’d embodied the characteristics of Vulcans.

The appearance of another familiar race – the Klingons – is done well as they feature heavily in the episodes as does their language. Their guttural language reminds me a lot of Dothraki but that’s neither here nor there; I’m sure George R.R. Martin got his inspiration from somewhere! Their leader’s drive for unification amongst their race against what they view as a common enemy is definitely relevant to current events. Whether this was intentional remains to be seen but it doesn’t go unnoticed, especially within the inclusion of such a diverse cast.

An African- American woman as the protagonist of a sci-fi series is virtually unheard of but can definitely work. Martin-Green does well enough in the role for me to continue watching it.

My only negative with the show is the effects. While it is set roughly ten years prior to the original Star Trek series – I’m talking Captain Kirk original here people – it looks slightly dated. I realise this may be keeping in line with the original but watching with 2017 eyes makes me a bit picky. I’m used to Apple HD level viewing; felt like I was watching through SnapChat on an Android 😉

Either way, I’ll be watching this and see if it brings any surprises along the way.

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AMERICAN ASSASSIN – REVIEW

 

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Sanaa Lathan, Michael Keaton, Taylor Kitsch
Director: Michael Cuesta
Running Time: 111mins
Cert: 18

Last night I went to the movies after a long while and saw the patriotically titled, American Assassin starring Dylan O’Brien.

I’ve been a Dylan O’Brien fan since small roles in The Internship and then  of course The Maze Runner and was excited to see what he would offer in the way of a more ‘adult’ role.

Before I go into his performance however which is well done in my opinion; this film in a lot of ways is not the best in terms of release time. There are a few who may agree with the opposite as the content is current and thought provoking and to witness the destruction near the end was actually quite emotional for me. Its not the best content to have been released in such tumultuous times for America when relationships with Muslims are strained and this film plays heavily on that animosity.

When his fiance is killed during a random terrorist attack, Mitch Rapp (O’Brien) takes it upon himself to exact revenge against the man/terrorist group who killed her. While this dedication to revenge brings him to the attention of the CIA; the dedication is overshadowed by what seems to be his hatred of ALL Muslims which isnt a good thing to watch. It plays out that his reckless and impulsive behaviour is rewarded by top authorities when he is hired to work for them to bring down a terrorist group.

Moving on from this, O’Brien’s performance is commendable although for future reference Dylan – growing a beard does not a grown up make – although it does suit him!
He embodies the character really well and you believe his passion for wanting to go after the terrorists even when the fight is no longer his to fight.

The negatives? A bit too much globe trotting for my liking. One minute we’re in Roanoke, then we’re in London then we’re in Turkey then Greece! I gather its the nature of a ‘spy’ but it was a bit much to keep up with! The characters, though played well by all involved are quite 2 dimensional: tough ex Army vet, tough as nails Black female at the head of the operation; loose cannon rookie that has exceptional skill.

On the plus side, there are some decent fight scenes especially one in an apartment that has one entire wall made of glass which makes for good viewing. They’re not overly done and believable in the technique and skill. There are a few Easter eggs in terms of ‘the real enemy’ but not too obviously so.

I liked that it was brought together in the end that things were not as they seemed which helped with the general impression of the film.

Definitely enjoyable and thought provoking as to what is going on around us right now.

American Assassin is out in UK cinemas Sept. 14

BAYWATCH – REVIEW

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra,
Director: Seth Gordon
Running Time: 116mins
Cert: 12A

When it was originally announced that there was going to be a Baywatch movie, it was met with a lot of skepticism. Unfortunately, this was proven to be warranted by the disastrously pointless film that is BAYWATCH.

While i have not taken this film seriously by any means; even in is stupidity it lacks any real humour or comical narrative. For once, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has not blessed a film with his star power and created a hit.

Its quite simply ridiculous and only serves as 116 mins of eye candy. This isnt a problem of course lol, but what could have been very funny, had crap one liners; shit punchlines and a copious amount of swearing that was highly unnecessary.

The story was weak; the editing was abysmal, the acting was lacklustre and the villain was a bore. While her accent was wonderful to listen to; there was no mystery to Priyanka Chopra’s villain.

Of course the original series was far fetched and cheesy; and this definitely pays homage to that, but its not don correctly in the way that 21 Jump Street was for example.

While the cameos from David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson are fun, the film is just weak.

KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD – REVIEW

Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Djimon Honsou
Director: Guy Ritchie
Running Time: 126mins
Cert: 12A

Aaaand, we’re back!

This time with the legendary/fantasy epic-cum-East End Gangster film; that is Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword!

As the title suggests, this take on the King Arthur legend; focuses on the legendary sword Excalibur and the power which it possesses. In this rendering; the powers of Excalibur have been linked to the blood line of Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana); father to Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) and brother to the jealous and vengeful Vortigern (Jude Law).

Now, think of the movie baby of Troy, Green Street and The Lion King and you can get an idea of the feel of this film as well as see the initial story; jealous uncle takes out the noble King and sets his sights on the rightful heir to the throne. However, that my friend; is where the cliches end and where the real fun begins.

Ritchie has managed to take the Arthurian legend and adapt it in a way that it is both modern ridiculously entertaining. Arthur for example, lives in Londinium a few days ride from Camelot which gives the whole thing a time frame that was never really established before. Magic is explained as a contained entity that is manifested through powerful individuals called Mages and while the infamous Merlin is mentioned; he plays no major part. Instead, Ritchie has focused on the sword’s power as well as the devil-may-care but good natured soul of Arthur, which Hunnam executes perfectly.

While Arthur, in the beginning has no understanding of who and what he is; by the time he comes into his own and accepts the power of the sword (this scene is probably the best part!); he does so in a way that is believable and current. The character that was built up prior to his ascension; is maintained throughout the film and you are able to sympathise with his reluctance as well as rejoice in his acceptance of his birthright.

The only let down of the film is probably the heavy use of SFX in a few of the fight scenes. While I realise that these were used to highlight the magnitude of the sword’s powers; the final battle for example goes very quickly and is hard to follow. While SFX are used well in some parts; at one point it looked weird like when Neo had to fight all the Agent Smiths in The Matrix Reloaded and his body went all funny looking! Other than that, everything else works amazingly well.

While I’m not a huge fan of Jude Law, he plays a decent villain in this film. Quiet and refined though innately petty and cruel; he does very well. There is a scene in which there are some cleverly placed props and gestures that remind you of a certain German dictator. While creepy; so so good! The supporting cast of British talent including Aiden Gillen aka Peter Baelish from Game of Thrones; encompass the Kray era/Merry Men attitude to the film and make it an incredibly hilarious and entertaining watch. Arthur’s advisor and link to his royal lineage in Sir Bedevere (Djimon Honsou) provides copius amounts of banter that will have anyone giggling. The soundtrack is spectacular and the use of alternative camera angles and SFX takes you on an a exciting journey that has you hooked from the very beginning.

Lastly, if all the reasons above havent made you want to see it then the fact that David Beckham is in it should do the trick!

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is out May 8th.