Tag Archives: Ray Stevenson

Owen’s 2015 in Film: Part 9 – September Refuelled

As yet another month passes in 2015, it’s time for the next entry to Owen’s year in review series, looking at a selection of the films that he’s been watching throughout September. As with each of the previous articles in the series, the month will be broken down by week, with a review of one arbitrarily chosen film seen during each period.

by Owen Hughes (@ohughes86)

everest-base-camp-movieNormally in this series I’d pick whichever movie that I happened to fancy writing about. Be it the one I found the most interesting, the one I loved most, one that I hated, etc. It typically changes with each new entry.

However, having taken a look back through the whole month, it appears that I’ve seen at least one new release in each week of September. Therefore, I’m going to do something slightly different for this month’s article, I think. After all, it’s been a month of new starts for me personally, beginning life as a full time University student.

I’ve learnt a lot over the past five weeks; how to be a better writer, the essence of what being a journalist actually means – and just how much I missed going to work. Seriously. I spent just over one solitary week unemployed, having left employment on Friday 11th September before enrolling at University on Thursday 24th. It was horrible. My expectations were that it would feel like a holiday. A nice, albeit short break before my life completely changed.

Wrong.

It was a tedious, slow, excruciating week of sitting around doing nothing, getting more and more anxious about whether or not I’d done the right thing. I do not envy anybody who has to spend longer than that out of work. But at least it did give me a chance to reflect a little. Some time to think about the decisions I’d made; about what I had let myself in for.

Contrary to the seemingly popular opinion that student life is all about causing queue congestion by paying for everything with a cheque, staying in bed until 2pm and eating Pot Noodles for breakfast, it’s been bloody hard work. Rewarding and exciting. But hard.

It’s certainly threatening to scupper my plans to resurrect my Horrorble Month sequel, the project I completed last October where I watched a horror movie every day in the lead up to Halloween. It’s actually where I conceived the idea of doing this as a more regular thing.

Although, back in September, I did still manage to actually get through a decent number of movies. Starting with…


Week 1 – Tuesday 1 – Sunday 6 September 2015

Tuesday – Star*Men (2015), Welcome to Leith (2015), No Tears For The Dead (2014); Wednesday – [absolutely nothing]; Thursday – [absolutely nothing]; Friday – The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of A Window And Disappeared (2014); Saturday – Area 51 (2015), Blood Lake (2014); Sunday – THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED (2015)

transporterI know it’s weird how I constantly feel the need to defend my preference for action movies; quite frankly, it shouldn’t be an issue. Taste is a subjective thing, of course. However, there is a stigma attached to the genre that suggests those who enjoy mindless action on camera are morons. Personally, I don’t subscribe to that opinion. People are entitled to enjoy whatever the hell they want and it’s not necessarily a reflection on your level of intelligence. Laugh at Adam Sandler if you want, cry whilst watching My Little Pony, ponder the nature of existence during the three hours of motorway footage you found on YouTube. It’s your choice. That said, what an absolutely enormous waste of everybody’s time the latest entry to the Transporter franchise is. From its tacky opening scenes trying (and failing) to revive the swagger that the original Luc Besson movie had in swathes, to its boring and overdue conclusion; I had no fun watching this whatsoever. The only thing more annoying than Ed Skrein’s Statham impersonation is the missing ‘L’ in the movie title. I love the original movie as much as anyone should, but the sequels have been subpar. Even The Stath agrees, given his comments in an interview with Sabotage Times about working with Ben Foster:

“…for me to be able to work opposite someone like that and not some hairdresser cast off the street – which is what happened with Transporter 3 – well, it was fantastic.”

At least The Transporter Refueled wasn’t quite that bad, I suppose. Also in its favour is that it did introduce the always watchable Ray Stevenson as the father of the notorious getaway driver Frank Martin. The plot too is acceptable (if badly structured) for this sort of film, with the delivery package this time being four women enacting their revenge. But it was in essence a dull, unexciting and incredibly stupid crapfest.


Week 2 – Monday 7 – Sunday 13 September 2015

Monday – Tabloid (2010)Tuesday – [absolutely nothing]; Wednesday – [absolutely nothing]; Thursday – Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002); Friday – [absolutely nothing]; Saturday – SONS OF BEN (2015)Sunday – The Hunted (2003)

sons of benOrdinarily I wouldn’t cover a film in this series that I’d already written a review for on the website and talked about on the podcast. Nevertheless, it: a) fits the criteria I set out in the introduction; and b) is an indie documentary that deserves a bit of extra publicity. As such, here are a few snippets from my original review to give you an overview:

“What happens when you’re a fan of the beautiful game in a country where football is not even close to being in the top three most popular sports on the continent, never mind without half a dozen teams a stones throw from your bedroom window? Well, if you’re in Philadelphia, then of course the only viable solution is to set up a supporters club called the Sons of Ben for a team that doesn’t yet exist. That’s exactly what Bryan James, Andrew Dillon, and David Flagler did in January 2007 hoping that one day a Major League Soccer franchise would open in their beloved home town.

“Director Jeffrey C. Bell tells the entire unbelievable story of this passionate community of soccer fans coming together to support a non-existent team, from its humble beginnings as a conversation at a bar, through to its surprising conclusion.

You can purchase Sons of Ben: The Movie on DVD directly from their website. They have other outlets such as streaming and digital download planned to happen soon so keep an eye on their Twitter and Facebook pages for updates. In the meantime, check out the trailer below.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqAFIAHox6w]

Week 3 – Monday 14 – Sunday 20 September 2015

Monday – L’eclisse (1962)Tuesday – Mortal Kombat (1995), Legend (2015)Wednesday – Starry Eyes (2014); Thursday – Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie (1994)Friday – Class of Nuke ’em High (1986), Pernicious (2015)Saturday – Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)Sunday – EVEREST (2015)

60ea71a0-dcbf-4e43-92f6-415984fbdbd6-1020x612To borrow an often used football cliché, director Baltasar Kormákur‘s Everest is a film of two halves. The first hour of this adventure-turned-disaster movie is mind numbingly slow. It drags. There’s a lot of emphasis placed on the characters involved in this 1990’s expedition to the summit of Mount Everest, led by Jason Clarke as real-life New Zealander Rob Hall. I understand why the film is purposefully designed to be this slow, as it builds up enough backstory to make you care about the characters involved, hoping that you’ll be bothered by them if something were to happen. Perhaps the reason that this drudges on so tamely is because there are too many characters, each with their own stories to tell. This may be a very slight spoiler, so apologies in advance, but once they finally got to the top of the treacherous mountain, it did occur to me that surely there wasn’t much of the 120 minute run time left. And yet! I was wrong. I glanced at my watch and there was still somehow an hour to go. But what an hour of cinema it was. I was surprised by just how invested I became in these people given the fact that I was certain that up to that point, I’d been bored. I’d have liked to have seen a little more about what Rob Hall’s wife (Keira Knightley) was going through back home but otherwise it was a very emotional 60 minutes. It’s probably the first movie for years that has caused me to well up in the cinema whilst watching. Apparently a lot of the footage was actually taken at camp one on the real mountain too. The film looks amazing for it and between the visuals and the latter half of the story, it’s definitely a film worth seeing and makes up for a tepid opening half.


Week 4 – Monday 21 – Sunday 27 September 2015

Monday – Bride of Re-animator (1989); Tuesday – Dawn of the Dead (1978)Wednesday – Day of the Dead (1985), Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015), Sicario (2015); Thursday – Day of the Triffids (1962), From Beyond (1986)Friday – Invaders From Mars (1986), Return to Oz (1985); Saturday – [absolutely nothing]; Sunday – THE MARTIAN (2015)

maxresdefault-3I’m going to spare your eyes from going even more square whilst staring at your computer screen for any longer and suggest you click the link below and instead listen to my review of Ridley Scott’s latest sci-fi movie:

FAILED CRITICS PODCAST: THE INTERN, THE MARTIAN & SICARIO (29 Sep 2015)

Alternatively, read on below if you’d rather.

There appear to be two types of ‘Ridley Scott’ in this world. There’s the Ridley Scott who makes ambitious, misunderstood or sometimes simply just plain bad movies such as American Gangster, Exodus: Gods & Kings, Robin Hood, Kingdom of Heaven (the theatrical cut at least) and The Counsellor, to name but a few. Then there also appears to be a Ridley Scott who makes exciting, intelligent and often influential science fiction movies with an enticing premise and wondrous, imagination-capturing special effects and plots. Think Blade Runner, Alien and (yes, even) Prometheus. Where that leaves The Martian is definitely more towards that of a studio-led film than a recognisably Ridley Scott movie. There’s very little character in the picture; you certainly wouldn’t guess from looking that it was Ridley Scott rather than, say, Steven Speilberg, Robert Zemeckis, Ron Howard etc. Not that this is necessarily a problem. The lack of identity in respect to its director is moot considering just how enjoyable The Martian is. Adapted from the Andy Weir novel of the same name, the plot revolves around wise-cracking astronaut and botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) who is stranded on the planet Mars where his crew have abandoned him, assuming him dead. Although there’s a large support cast of talented actors (Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benny Wong(!) etc) the majority of the run time is carried by Damon, whose antics and humour make his time on the red planet seem all too brief. Even though the final third descends into Gravity with pop tunes sound tracking it, the biggest compliment I can think to pay The Martian is that I wish it were a biopic simply so I could spend more time learning about this fascinating and epic adventure.


Week 5 – Monday 28 – Wednesday 30 September 2015

Monday – Vamp (1986); Tuesday – Wolf Cop (2014); Wednesday – SKIN TRADE (2015)

skintradeheaderAh, Netflix. From time to time, you throw up some real gems that I would otherwise have overlooked. Usually they’re films starring Scott Adkins or Donnie Yen. On this occasion, Skin Trade lured me in by plastering martial arts movie icon Tony Jaa’s name all over it. If that wasn’t tempting enough, they only went and got Dolph Lundgren involved too. What the double team that is, eh? But wait! Ron Pearlman, as well? Well, blow me down with a feather (or flaming flying kick – Onk Bak, anyone?). The truth is, Skin Trade is complete and utter tosh. Quelle surprise, right? Maybe that’s a bit unfair as for at least 10 minutes, it’s OK. It’s alright. It’s not horrendous. Dolph plays a NYC cop who teams up with a Thai detective (Tony Jaa) to stop the Serbian crime boss (Ron Pearlman) and his human trafficking gig. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that; I’d even stretch that a bit further and say Jaa’s first action scene in a small room was impressively well choreographed and set the bar too high too early. You can see he’s clearly still got it in him to pull out some fantastic moves on screen. Unfortunately, it just gets progressively worse from then on. Its great cast are left to scrape together something resembling a cohesive plot but without fully capitalising on the potential of its concept. I will keep my fingers crossed in the hope that Tony Jaa gets another crack at the lead role in an American movie, Skin Trade somewhat remarkably being his first. He definitely proved he’s capable enough during his cameo role in Furious 7.


And that’s it for another month. Join me again roughly this time in November for part two of my “horrorble month” lists, where once again I aim to watch at least one horror film every day through October. Until then, feel free to comment below on any of my reviews – or send me a tweet!

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The Transporter Refueled

by Andrew Brooker (@Brooker411)

The-Transporter-Refueled-13“I don’t ask questions on a job. This is a favour.”

Now I don’t know about you, but the thought of recasting a role that I love always leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth. When it happens, there’s never really a middle ground where the film or TV show is just okay; you almost always find your self at one of the extremes of the spectrum where the result is fantastic, or utter toilet. We’ve seen it a hundred times; from James Bond and Hannibal Lecter to John and Sarah Connor, so last year when news hit that Jason Statham was walking away from The Transporter Refueled and letting someone else take on the role of Frank Martin, I was horrified. Now, after a couple of release date shifts, we have a fresh faced Ed Skrein – a man I only know from his short stint on Game of Thrones before his role of Daario Naharis was handed to someone else – taking on the role of the contract transporter and looking to reboot the franchise.

But the question is, can he replace Statham as The Transporter? And if he can, can he make the role his own and bring enough to fulfil the new trilogy that Luc Besson’s Europacorp are hoping for?

As Frank Martin adds his name to a list of great characters to whom shit just seems to keep happening, the fourth instalment in the Transporter series sees Martin back behind the driver’s seat in France, doing shady things for shady people and getting paid well for it. This time around, he finds himself quickly embroiled in a revenge plot against Eastern European human traffickers a decade and a half in the making; as a handful of women who have managed to escape the clutches of greasy pimp in a nice suit Karasov, the women set about robbing the man and his associates and start in motion a chain of events that they hope will bring down the entire filthy operation.

Hiring Frank as a getaway driver for a bank robbery, the former sex workers make it personal by kidnapping Martin’s retired father – personal favourite actor Ray Stevenson – and threatening his life to force Frank’s hand and make him hang around long past the point of his contract being finished. Unwittingly and unwillingly, the father and son duo are now part of the team taking on this nasty prostitution ring and trying to keep the girls, and themselves, alive; a feat that they find pretty difficult when shit hits the fan and they start pissing off some scary guys who aren’t backwards in coming forwards and punching you in the face. If Frank and his dad, a man who has a few of his own skeletons in his closet, can come out of this in one piece, it’ll be nothing sort of a miracle.

The thing with the Transporter franchise as a whole, is that while in reality it isn’t anything special and it certainly isn’t flawless, it’s an absolute arse full of fun and they are surprisingly well made for a low budget bunch of films about a guy that drives really fast. I went in to The Transporter Refueled expecting all the fun and quality to be gone. With the stories of Jason Statham leaving the franchise because producers didn’t want to pay him and that they were going into production without a proper script, my this-is-gonna-be-shit-o-meter was going nuts as I sat in my seat this afternoon.

But to my complete surprise, I was completely wrong. Transporter Refueled is everything I’ve come to expect from the series. Great action, superb fighting and amazing car chases all strung together with a story put together at the last minute and just kind of thrown at the people acting it out on screen the day before it was being shot. I mean, the whole Eastern European sex worker story is starting to wear thin, with Liam Neeson recently taking three movies to eradicate it with the Taken series, we are seeing it come back with The Transporter, with all the rubbish stereotypes in tow. Not to worry, Ed Skrein is here to wipe them all out again and the guy is pretty damn convincing in Jason Statham’s shoes, and man does he know how to drive that car! Mmmmm. That car. An erection inducing Audi S8 that roars to life with a tap to the accelerator and just leaves me drooling like an imbecile at every rev. Forget Fast and Furious, ladies and gentlemen; this is the kind of car porn I like and boy is it good.

Mmmmmm. Cars. Mmmmm Audis.  I feel like I’ve been subliminally pushed into buying an Audi by the last couple of films I’ve watched. I can’t afford a bloody Audi, you bastards! Anyways… Yeah, where was I? Oh right.

The story, and the film as a whole takes a little while to kick into a good gear while it lays the groundwork for the story and introduces us to the new Frank Martin. It’s definitely a bit of a slog to get through the first twenty minutes or so because as much as I tried to look past it, I couldn’t help but miss Jason Statham on the screen and kind of pined for him for a bit. But, by the end of the first fight, the first car chase and the first bit of back and forth with his old man, the story has ramped up and I’ve all but forgotten The Stath and accepted The Skrein as the new Frank Martin. Camille Delamarre, long time editor to Luc Besson, is on director duties and does a pretty good job in keeping the film running at a good pace and at a little over an hour and a half, has kept the film down to a run time that even those burning out on daft action films like this won’t be sat long enough to get bored.

At the end of the day, if you’ve stuck with The Transporter long enough to be going to see the fourth film, then you know exactly what you’re going to get and you’re sure to enjoy it. A new star and a slightly different direction aren’t going to stop The Transporter Refueled from being a shit load of fun and a welcome return for a Frank Martin.