Tag Archive: dwayne johnson


With the introduction of Dwayne Johnson in Fast Five, this franchise cemented its place as a must see film among the summer blockbusters; something for die hard action fans. After the commercial and critical success of the fifth installment it left fans wondering just how Fast & Furious 6 would top it? The solution: add a tank, add an aeroplane, bring back Michelle Rodriguez and just generally up the stakes. So what of the result?

“Give them a reason to stay.”

Fast & Furious 6 struggles to find its feet for a while, it’s as if the franchise isn’t quite sure how to better itself or what direction to take. Is it supposed to up the ante with the action sequences or focus on the family side of things and Brian O’Conner’s (Paul Walker) newborn baby. As a result the two strands of action and emotion are ruthlessly combined and don’t quite pack the punch expected, leaving Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and, most surprising of all, Tyrese Gibson to help the film pull through and come out well on the other side.

Enter Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). As Hobbs (the retuning Johnson) reliably informs us, he has been chasing Shaw and his crew across 12 countries stretching over four continents. Right from the off these are set up as some big time criminals, meaning that Hobbs has to put a team together capable of catching criminals like these. And the only team good enough is led by Dom Turetto (Diesel). When Roman (Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Han (Sung Kang) and Gisele (Gal Gadot) return there is no time for reacquaintance as they are introduced to their target and the real reason Dom has agreed to play for the law this time round: Letty (Rodriguez) is still alive.

“I can reach out and break you whenever I want”

Soon enough the slow emotional parts of the film are eased out and instead of being told “we’re a family”, “you’re a family” over and over again, the real action begins. The team find themselves in London, racing through the streets of the English capital (although how anyone manages to elicit an illegal street race through the center of London is anyone’s guess) and the fights fly. The pick of the bunch early on is seeing Rodriguez go toe to toe with new addition Gina Carano.

The cars get faster, the action gets better and the stunts get bigger throughout and appears to peak in the incredible tank sequence; taking out cars is one thing but when there’s a criminal mastermind manning a tank, firing a cannon down the motorway and not afraid to crush however many innocent people it takes, then it’s going to be difficult going. And just when you think the story is coming to an end it takes another turn…

“This is something we don’t do”

And you end up on what must be the longest runway in the world with Shaw attempting to flee via a plane and Toretto’s crew not having any other option than to bring it down! That’s right… taking out a flying plane with just a handful of cars and Dwayne Johnson’s muscles. The adrenaline pumping finale takes all the worries you had and politely tosses them out as you’re sucked into the exciting ending where the stakes are higher than ever!

The one thing the Fast & Furious franchise has lacked so far in its existence has been that a real defining villain has never really been seen. Shaw has all the makings of it: he’s emotionally cold, he’s as intelligent (if not more so) than our heroes and he’s physically able to hold par with anyone, as seen brilliantly in his brief fight with O’Conner. However, when you leave the screening not really knowing what the villain’s plan was all along, then something has clearly gone wrong. The potential was never reached with Shaw.

“Maybe the Letty we once knew is gone”

But if the post/mid/beginning credits teaser was anything to go by, Fast & Furious 7 will have the real villain it deserves.

My Rating: 7/10

UK Release Date: 24th May 2013.

Stars: Justin Lin (director), Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, Sung Kang, Ludacris, Jordana Brewster, Gina Carano, Luke Evans, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson.

Plot: Since letting Dom and Brian escape at the end of Fast Five, Luke Hobbs has been has been tracking an organisation of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries. Unable to bring them to justice on his own, Hobbs must call on Dom to get his gang back together from all corners of the globe in order to match this rival gang at street level. The reward? Full pardons for their previous crimes.

Of all the trailers/tv spots to be revealed during the Super Bowl Fast & Furious 6 was the one I was most looking forward to. To ignorant outsiders this will simply be palmed off as a mindless action film; but to fans of the series this is just an indication of how far Dom and friends have come since their first outing back in 2001. What started as a simple street racing franchise has now developed into being at the forefront of action cinema and has left its simple roots a long way behind.

The introduction of Luke Evans in this film is a great one, in my opinion. From the official synopsis and what little we see in the trailer it looks as though his character is going to be more than a match for Dom Turetto. With any luck he may provide something more than the stereotypical villains we are used to seeing and may be able to provide the Fast & Furious franchise with a memorable villain it really does deserve.

Even though every clip lasts less than a second there is a lot to be excited about here. There’s the return of Michelle Rodriguez and that will play out very interestingly being as though Dom thought she was dead; there’s planes being blown up, tanks crushing cars. It’s great to see all of the team back together which, for me, was something I really loved about Fast Five. Bring on May 24th!

Snitch Trailer

UK Release Date: 5th April 2013

Stars: Ric Roman Waugh (director), Dwayne Johnson, Susan Sarandon, Jon Bernthal, Harold Perineau

Plot: A father goes undercover for the DEA in order to free his son who was imprisoned after being set up in drug deal.

Snitch is just one of six films released in 2013 that is set to star the new WWE champion, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. And in all honesty, I don’t believe that this is going to be the best.

The trailer portrays Snitch as your typical action film. It’ll bring nothing new to the genre, just another chance to see Dwayne Johnson on the big screen and it is undoubtedly set to be a fun ride. The plot, from what I took from the trailer, doesn’t really seem to make much sense but I guess we’ll find out when we see more than just two minutes of footage.

It looks as though there will be a slow build up with no real big action footage until towards the end of the film, which will be slightly disappointing for action fans. Even the trailer seems to take the slow build up and doesn’t really inject any adrenaline into viewers, which is something that it’s target audience will have been wanting.

Pain & Gain Trailer

UK Release Date: 3rd May 2013

Stars: Michael Bay (director), Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Ken Jeong, Tony Shalhoub, Rebel Wilson.

Plot: A trio of bodybuilders in Florida get caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong.

This is actually based on a true story, how much of that true story remains in the film, however, is up for debate. But with a cast that teams together Wahlberg, Johnson and Mackie then you have my attention, even if it is directed by that horrible man Michael Bay.

There are no huge explosions in the trailer so it looks as though Bay might have to try and prove he can be a good director without so much action which should be interesting; unfortunately it also feels like a role I have seen Wahlberg in many times before. However, it is great that Johnson getting to show off some humour in the trailer.

The trailer looks decent, but that’s about it. There’s nothing that makes me really want to see Pain & Gain because of the trailer but there’s nothing that puts me off it either. It’s an interesting premise and it seems like we’re going to get to see the plan, the extortion and the aftermath which should make for an interesting story. Coming from the writers behind two of the most anticipated sequels in film (Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: Winter Soldier) it should be a good script to work from.

With the news this week that Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Hugh Jackman will all be reprising their roles as Professor Xavier, Magneto and Wolverine from the original trilogy in Days of Future Past, I thought it would be fun to take a look at characters from the X-Men universe that are yet to make it to the big screen in a true capacity and who should play them. Here are my thoughts on the top five I would most like to see:

 

Cable

We’ll start with Cable, one of the most popular X-Men in the comic books. Cable is the time-travelling son of Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Madelyne Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey) and his back story would probably have to be changed in order to fit in with this film series. Although, saying that, with what seems to be a time traveling element added to the series with Days of Future Past then perhaps it is a plausible addition. Suggestions for this role put forward by fans have included Dominic Purcell, Clive Owen (two good actors but bad choices for this role) and Kurt Russell (a better choice). But my favourite is Stephen Lang. This week, Lang has come out and expressed an interest in playing the character and, while he may need to bulk up a little bit more, I think Lang definitely has the bad-assery needed to play Cable.

https://i2.wp.com/www.comicbookmovie.com/images/users/uploads/14267/Stephen%20Lang%20-%20Cable.jpg

 

Bishop

Bishop is another time traveling mutant in the X-Men universe and comes from a dystopian future. Again, a little back story change may be necessary to include Bishop but I know there are plenty of fans that would love to see the arrival of Lucas Bishop on the big screen. Idris Elba is an actor that is linked to every role for a black actor that is going around which is clearly a credit to how highly thought of as an actor he is. However, while I know he can play a complex character with a lot of attitude he wouldn’t be my choice for the role (he’s already appeared in two superhero movies as well). I’m not sure how popular my choice will be but I would suggest the 6’4 hard man Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. His toughness is unquestionable and his ability to act has been proven in his most recent projects.

Dwayne Johnson Bishop

 

Scarlet Witch

All in all, female characters weren’t greatly portrayed in the original trilogy or in X-Men: First Class. Plenty of attention was given to Jean Grey but characters like Shadowcat, Rogue, Emma Frost and Storm didn’t quite reach their full potential in my opinion. Scarlet Witch is one of the greatest and most powerful female mutants there have ever been, with the power to even change a whole universe (which would have come in handy to reboot the series properly). As Magneto’s daughter Scarlet Witch has featured a lot in the comic books over the years. A few big name actresses have been mentioned (Eva Green, Marion Cotillard and Rachel McAdams among them) however I would choose someone younger in the form of British actress Katie McGrath.

Katie McGrath Scarlet Witch

 

Cannonball

Cannonball, aka Sam Guthrie, is one of my favourite characters from the X-Men comics although how it would come across on screen I’m not so sure. Cannonball’s ability is described as the ability to “bodily generate thermo-chemical energy and release it from his skin. This energy is used as thrust to cause his body to be propelled through the air like a rocket”… or to put it simply, he’s a bit like the Human Torch. Someone young would have to play Cannonball for me and I can’t look past Alex Pettyfer (Stormbreaker) for the part!

Alex Pettyfer Cannonball

 

Psylocke

Okay, so technically Psylocke did appear in X-Men: The Last Stand but if you’re going to count that as a true interpretation of the character then you need to get your head checked. Psylocke is a born leader, a fantastic warrior and one of the more prominent characters in a number of X-Men comic book lines and in some of the biggest events to shape the Marvel universe. There is a lot of debate among fans whether Pyclocke in the film should be British or Asian (long story, Wiki it) but the actress I have chosen, and have seen put forward by other fans, is neither of these. Olivia Wilde.

Olivia Wilde Psylocke

 

Who would you want to see join the ranks of the X-Men on the big screen? And who would you pick to play them?

 

 

2013 will see the release of the sixth film in the highly commercially successful and highly critically criticised Fast & Furious franchise. Last week Vin Diesel uploaded some pictures to his Facebook account of him on set and these photos were met with largely negative response to people on the internet with people saying things like “oh look, Vin Diesel in a car, they’re really pushing the boat out for this one” or just simply “shit” etc etc etc. But really, what did people expect from the Fast & Furious franchise? And with every film pulling in great box offices so far and the latest instalment Fast Five being the highest praised and highest box office is there any need for all the negativity and is there any need for the series to be clamped?

It all began back in 2001 when producers decided to make a film about street racing clubs that use Japanese cars to race in New York City. And the first instalment, The Fast and the Furious, set the tone for what every other film that follows was set to be about; illegal street racing. And while these are just typical popcorn, mindless action films (up until Fast Five) is there really anything wrong with that? Actors, especially back in the 80s, have made names for themselves in making mindless action movies and what we have here is just an hour and a half – two hours of real escapist fun. The films aren’t made for the critics, they’re made for the fans and as long as the fans are out there the films will get made.

The fourth instalment reunited the original cast… if only for a brief time.

Whilst the series continues with 2 Fast 2 Furious and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, when the rightful sequel arrived in 2009 with the original cast members all back together the franchise seemed to be reborn. Fast & Furious reunited Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez as well as adding new characters that would seem to become main players in the franchise from her on out: Gal Gadot and Sung Kang (the latter also appearing in Tokyo Drift). With Fast Five some more talent was added and Dwayne Johnson received high critical praise for his performance (and is it any wonder? He was brilliant!) and the series continues to add fresh acting talent with The Fast and the Furious 6 adding Luke Evans, Gina Carano and Joe Taslim. It was rumoured that Rihanna (excuse me while I throw up) was reported to be in the next instalment but thanks to scheduling conflicts (Hallelujah!) we are not being subjected to that torture and she is rumoured to be replaced by British pop sensation Rita Ora… interesting.

Various shots of The Fast and the Furious 6 in production

Anyway, it was Fast Five that was the real game changer. It seems that now Fast & Furious has finally reached it’s full potential. With Fast Five, the writers, cast, crew, directors, producers, whoever! had got a grasp on what was going on in the series and Fast Five showed that it was more than just mindless action. They allowed for real character development; it was great to see how much Dom Turetto had changed since his first outing in 2001 as well as Paul Walker’s former cop turned criminal’s relationship with Jordana Brewster’s character. The really disheartening thing is that, because people think the first few films are rubbish, the majority of people will not watch Fast Five and they are missing out on a real treat and one of the greatest action films of all time!

Yes, the acting isn’t always brilliant and the stories aren’t always gripping but Fast & Furious has never set out to be a contender for big awards in film making. For this series it’s all about having fun; fast cars, hot women, tough men, big action scenes and explosions. And when you watch Fast & Furious you can’t help but have fun. So people should stop moaning about the quality of previous films, sit down and watch Fast & Furious (2009) followed by Fast Five and prepare to be swamped in fun, explosions and at times surprisingly touching friendships. Embrace it.

 

 

How can you not want to at least watch Fast Five after that?

The trend of popular video games being adapted into films for the cinema screen continues with the announcement of casting news in the Need for Speed movie. As you can probably guess from the title Need for Speed are racing games and so you would expect that the films would just be the same as the Fast & Furious franchise and, even though they are great fun films, you don’t want to flood the market with the same material from two different franchises. However, the casting of the lead character has been announced and it is one of the best actors on television: Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad). Aaron Paul is clearly a better actor than the likes of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and, as much as it pains me to say it, Dwayne Johnson so perhaps Need for Speed will be taking a more dramatic route? I doubt it.

Marvel have been busy this week with announcing a release date for Ant-Man and another one of their projects has been surrounded by casting rumours this week. Captain America: The Winter Soldier has been described as a ‘political thriller’ and will see (judging by the Winter Soldier character in the comics) the return of Cap’s World War 2 comrade Bucky. But casting in two other roles is under way with Mary Elizabeth Winstead being touted for a role likely to be Sharon Carter. And a strong, franchise hopping male character is also under consideration with LOST star (and one of the best characters) Josh Holloway one of the front runners for the role.

There are a lot of pointless sequels being made at the minute and one of those is Woman in Black: Angel of Death. The sequel to the post-Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe film will not star The Boy Who Lived but will take place several years after the original story. Anyway, Angel of Death now has a director attached and that man in question is Tom Harper. Harper’s television work will be more known that his film work so far having directed episodes of This Is England ’86 as well as the first series of Misfits.

And finally… Janis Joplin is often remembered as one of the greatest musicians of all time. And with biopics of stars from years gone by, especially musicians (Nowhere Boy, Walk The Line) having gone down very well previously it should come as no surprise that a Janis Joplin movie is in the works. Amy Adams is attached to star and Oscar nominated Lee Daniels is in talks to direct; Daniels is best known for critical winner Precious as well as his latest film The Paperboy starring Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron.

There hasn’t really been much news this week that has really grabbed my attention other than these three stories so this shouldn’t take long.
Steven Spielberg’s Robopocalypse is one of the most highly anticipated movies in production right now and the film takes place sometime in the future after the robot uprising.

Earlier this year Chris Hemsworth was reported to have landed the lead role (although some people say that is still being negotiated) but now there have been more rumours about the casting. Anne Hathaway is reportedly in talks to land the female lead which, I think, would be a bad call for this because she doesn’t have a reputation in big blockbusters (The Dark Knight Rises being her only one) and she isn’t actually that good an actress in my opinion; I just don’t see the hype. However, the other casting rumour involves British actor Ben Whishaw who I have no doubt will be a huge star in the next ten years. He has wonderful acting ability and a great sense of likeability surrounding him: he will be in Cloud Atlas and Skyfall later this year. Robopocalypse is due for a 2014 release.

Whishaw is ‘Q’ in the latest Bond outing.

Last month I wrote a blog about my dream cast for a female version of The Expendables. In that cast list I placed Gina Carano, who had her first acting role at the very beginning of this year in Haywire, and now it seems that she is the first name to sign on the dotted line and join the movie. A great choice. Carano will next be seen in the next Fast & Furious instalment alongside action heavyweights Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson.

And finally another casting choice that I can smile about. Casey Affleck has taken a part in Race to the South Pole. The film will chronicle the real life journey of two men in the early 1900s, the British Robert Falcon Scott (Affleck’s character) and Norwegian Roald Amundsen (yet to be cast), and their race to be the first man to reach the South Pole which is the last uncharted territory on the planet at the time. What’s more is that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (that old friendship) will be partnering up to produce the film based on Peter Glanz’s script. It will be Glanz’s second feature film after The Longest Week but Casey Affleck does choose his films carefully so all signs are pointing in the right direction on this journey.

Fast Five (2011) Review.

Fast Five was the latest instalment in the Fast & Furious franchise which saw its main cast return, directed by Justin Lin and written by Chris Morgan (the duo previously worked on The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift and Fast & Furious). It is time that this franchise had some new life injected into it as it had began to grow stale and audience may be getting bored with seeing the same thing over and over again so what was changed and how good is Fast Five really?

The official synopsis of Fast Five is thus: Dominic and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story; Fast Five is not just a simple ‘you chase me, I’ll chase you’ story like the original films as the brief synopsis would suggest, instead the characters are put into a different world in South America where they attempt to pull off a huge heist and but their freedom.

The main cast of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster all return with some very familiar faces in the world of The Fast & The Furious; Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Gia Gadot, Matt Schulze and Sung Kang. The return of all these cast members are very obvious nods to the previous films and an acknowledgement of where the franchise has come from. New additions to the cast include Dwayne Johnson, Elsa Pataky and Michael Irby who all come to the franchise with very different qualifications: Johnson is the ‘tough guy’, Pataky is the ‘beautiful woman’ and Irby is the ‘evil foreigner’ and anyone who has watched the rest of these films should be more than familiar with those stereotypes.

So the same cast are back and they’re still driving fast cars and parading around beautiful woman so what exactly makes Fast Five so different to the rest of the films? The heist. This is the first memorable opportunity for us to see just how clever these guys are; obviously Brian O’Conner (Walker) is a former cop and clearly is quite smart but now we get to see Domini Toretto’s intelligence as he plans the heist to perfection and we can now understand how it is that Turetto has managed to outrun the law for so long. There is a great montage where the main trio of characters are talking about different members of the team they are going to need which plays over the scenes of all the characters coming together to meet at the arranged location and the editing is just fantastic. The high quality of editing goes much unnoticed by most people but it is there and it is subtle in Fast Five and it just helps the film to run so smoothly.

Of course, if the main heist at the end of the movie was the only action we got to see many fans of the Fast & Furious franchise would be disappointed. There is plenty of action and enough explosions to entertain audiences increasing in scale right from the off: to being we have a small scale prison break, then a mid-scale train robbery, then we get to see Vin Diesel and ‘the Rock’ take each other on in a great fight scene before the huge scale heist which involves driving away with a safe attached to the back of two cars… from a police station. Some things that happen really do ask the audience to suspend their disbelief for a few moments but it wouldn’t be the great popcorn action flick that it is if it didn’t.

There is a lot here to enjoy for fans of the franchise and is an easy jump-in point for anyone looking to get involved; there isn’t exactly a deep running storyline through these films but Fast Five is well worth watching. It’s pretty much Ocean’s Eleven in cars and one of the best action films of recent years.

UK Release Date: 28th December 2012.

Stars: Christopher McQuarrie (director), Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Jai Courtney, Richard Jenkins.

Plot: A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims.

This is Tom Cruise’s latest film and to be honest, it doesn’t look like the best one he will be making on his return to the top of the acting world. Tom Cruise plays the titular character Jack Reacher who, in the Lee Childs novels the film is based on, is a 6’5 man with a 50 inch chest and weighs between 210 and 250lbs… any ideas why fans of the book are against Cruise’s casting? No, me neither. The role is probably more suited to that of someone like Dwayne Johnson but anyway…

So Jack Reacher is a crime drama apparently, yet from the trailer it looks more like a knock off Fast and Furious film; it just looks like a typically corny B list action movie. First we are introduced to the character of Jack and then he hits us with the quote “you think I’m a hero, I am not a hero”; the next few shots proceed to show us Tom Cruise doing some incredibly hero-like ass kicking and even managing to fit in a clip of a woman in her underwear, just to assure the male audience it is worth going to see.

I am a big fan of Tom Cruise. I always enjoy his performances and he may not be the best actor in the world but he always puts in a shift and throws himself into the film. But in all honesty I don’t think this looks that good and it just seems to be a generic action movie.