Posts Tagged ‘ Film review ’

The Lucky One

Due to a twist of fate U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) manages to survive his third tour of Iraq. He believes his lucky charm is a photo of a smiling woman he found in the rubbles of the war. Finding it hard to connect with his family and the life he had before Iraq, Thibault decides to go and find the stranger he calls his angel and thank her for saving his life.

After a long, long walk across America with only his dog Zeus as a companion this silent veteran follows the clues the photo gives him to a sleepy town somewhere in the US.  But when he stands in front of Beth (Taylor Schilling), the woman from the photo, he can’t find the words to tell his story and ends up taking a job as a handy man for her and her mother (Blyth Danner).

Of course after initial problems they fall in love and all would be good if there wasn’t a vile ex-husband who is the sheriff of the town and a son who is struggling with being a child of divorce.

The Lucky One is another of Nicholas Sparks novels that has made it to the silver screen and it is sure to pull flocks of couples on date night to watch ‘true love’ unfold. Sadly unlike his other stories  The Notebook or even Nights in Rhodante , The Lucky One seems overly predictable and lacks any major twists to keep the viewers interested.  However the scenery is beautiful and always bathed in warm golden light, the actors good and Zac Efron holds his own and has an undeniable screen presence. At times it is a little hard to overlook the age difference between the lead actors, but then cougars seem to be the flavour of the past few years and often the scenes become more steamy and sexy than you would expect from a Nicholas Sparks inspired film.

For those of you who have read the book do not expect to find the plot to be the same, for one the wonderful dog Zeus gets very little screen-time and the relationship between man and dog, so important in the book, only plays a minor role, even the hero is not the same in the end.

The Lucky One is beautifully filmed and director Scott Hicks has done a solid job in creating a romantic date-night film, but sadly something always seems to be missing.

For those of you who expect another modern romance in the league of The Notebook and A Walk To Remember you will be disappointed, but if you like watching beautiful people find the happy end you believe they (and you) deserve The Lucky One will do it’s job. There is even enough drama and tragedy to help you shed a tear or two, creating a good excuse for some cuddles and drinks after the film.

The Raid Redemption

This action packed cop-film isn’t really like anything you have ever seen before.  The Raid is a fast paced martial arts film that not only twists its characters bodies into impossible shapes but it twists your mind too, as you can’t help but watch in horror as blood, body parts and every weapon you can conceive of, and some you would never even dream of, invade the screen and never give you a moment to breathe.

Like most action movies The Raid has a simple storyline, a SWAT team invades an old derelict apartment building in an attempt to take down a crime lord. But as soon as they enter the building everything goes wrong.  There are surveillance cameras everywhere and they are being watched from every angle on every floor in addition to being heavily outnumbered.  Getting in to the building may have been difficult but now they have to fight their way back out.

Of course there is a hero, Rama (Iko Uwais) a rooky cop with a pregnant wife and as it turns out his own agenda. Other than that there are few characters of interest as most of them are dispensable, which they are along the way.  But there is Jaka (Joe Taslim) the right hand man of the boss and Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) who you quickly learn to hate, fear and be amazed at.

Like Die Hard or the Bourne series The Raid is always on the verge of disbelief but unlike Bruce Willis or Matt Damon, Iko Uwais is not a strong enough lead to make a real hero. While you do root for him and hope he makes it out alive he hasn’t got the screen presence or “it-factor” to make a true action icon.  But what he does have is speed and a very flexible bendy body; defying any anatomical possibility he gets punched, kicked and contorted to the extreme. Welsh director Gareth Evans uses Uwais’ strengths and focuses mainly on full body shots so the viewer can appreciate the choreography of the martial scenes, which is basically the whole film.

But if Uwais is lithe and acrobatic his opponent Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) is on a whole other level. This 44-year-old martial arts instructor does thing to his body that are surreal. He seems to feel no pain and no matter what hits him, confines him or should break him he just keeps going like the Duracell bunny, only one made out of rubber. Ruhians fighting scenes are the true highlights of the film and thankfully there are many.

With no real dialogue to speak of, mainly just grunting, screaming and hand signals, it does not matter that The Raid has sub-titles.  This film in unashamedly violent and makes no excuses for using machetes when a knife would do or killing people off like flies.

The Raid is a great film for all who love great one-on-one or one-on-many combat scenes, enjoy the goriness of blood and can stomach the harsh brutality of seeing death in vivid action on the big screen.