Thursday, January 8, 2015


Apocalyptic (2014): Are all contemporary films about apocalypse cults the same? Discuss! But seriously, Apocalyptic’s big problem isn’t that it’s a bad film – it certainly isn’t – it’s that I’ve seen more or less exactly the same film more than once before, which can’t help but make the very low survival skills of the protagonists even less believable, nor make the same damn twist ending (where “twist” means “something utterly predictable”) all these movies have any more interesting.

But hey, if you haven’t seen one of these before, you might as well watch this one.

Falcon Rising (2014): Ernie Barbarash’s Michael Jai White vehicle is a perfectly decent low budget movie with all the problems that entails – the often a bit too cartoony characters, the plot that jumps from nearly having something interesting to say about power structures to utter nonsense (and never back again), and creativity in the set-up of the action scenes that is at times visibly constrained by the available money. Barbarash’s direction tends towards the decent instead of the excellent here, while the action choreography is good. The film moves along at a nice enough pace for the most part, and Michael Jai White is – as has been often the case in his career – generally better than whatever surrounds him.

There’s really little else to say about the film. It’s like the movie equivalent of fast food, probably not very nourishing, never too exciting, yet pleasant enough while it lasts.

Game of Assassins aka The Gauntlet (2013): A bunch of people who have killed before find themselves in a cardboard dungeon set even copious amounts of dry ice can’t make more convincing. They have to survive a series of contrived and deeply idiotic tests that have a moral dilemma aspect so flat many videogames would be ashamed to use it. Characters babble clichéd nonsense about their past. Some violence happens. Then, some more violence happens until the whole stupid affair climaxes in a twist-y ending so dumb yet played with so much seriousness and conviction it does become funny enough I suddenly found myself kind of liking the film for it, despite having reacted to what came before mostly with yawning, eye-rolling and damning the influence bad RPG trap design seems to have had on the script.

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