My notes on 3 Days to Kill:

1. A movie doesn’t need to be directed by Luc Besson to feel like a Luc Besson movie. This one seemed to be a Besson movie with heart.

2. Dear Kevin Costner, Liam Neeson called and said that he’s got the Taken sequels covered.

Costner tried his best to be the next thinking man’s action hero but it was just so hard to erase The Bodyguard from memory. Plus, Neeson will always hold on to that title.

3. Hailee Steinfeld was good as a rebellious teenager. I still can’t believe she’s not in The Hunger Games.

4. The movie felt disjointed with all the graphic violence interspersed with poignant scenes between father and daughter. Two scenes stood out though: one involving a bike lesson and the other a spaghetti recipe.

5. Not bad if you have a couple of hours to kill.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published February 23, 2014.)




My notes on Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets:

1. I remember watching the execrable Jupiter Ascending and wishing that it was a ride in Enchanted Kingdom’s Rialto instead. I had the exact same feeling with this newest flick by Luc Besson, something that I should probably have seen in 3D/4DX.

The lack of a solid story would have been forgivable with a more immersive viewing experience (moving seats to match all the chase sequences, blasts of wind from giant ceiling fans, a spray of mist here and there). I was also curious to know the aroma of all those pearls being pooped by the alien armadillos.

2. Kainggit si Ate Avatar. Her prep before an “I woke up like this” Instagram selfie consisted only of a simple facial wash of gold pearls (water-free!) and a few pisil-pisil on her already glowing cheeks. She actually resembled a bald version of Wilma Doesnt, if Wilma ingested a ton of silver and jars of glitter.

3. I know a lot of people that hated Cara Delevingne because 1) she’s part of the Bad Blood squad, 2) they immediately judged her after her snarky (er, frank) comments at a group of elderly morning show hosts while promoting Paper Towns, and 3) they would never ever ever be her. Wait, why do I sound like Tay-Tay? (Answer: I’m a Swiftie and I adore her posse.)

Cara was more of her same sassy self here, trying desperately to create sparks with Dane DeHaan who really looked like her twin brother that hadn’t slept since 2015. I could imagine her rolling her eyes upon reading the part of the script where she was supposed to be hit by the alien king’s crown and had to act funny while fainting cross-eyed. Oh, the things them British had to do to win over the American market!

4. To be fair, this was a visual treat as expected from the same director of The Fifth Element and Lucy. I particularly liked the concept of that CGI market where patrons had to walk around a vast desert while wearing high-tech helmets to see the actual funkadelic stalls.

5. The biggest surprise here was a shape-shifting, pole-dancing, cabaret-performing Rihanna. Sure, the role basically required her to just dance while transforming into a naughty nurse, a naughty school girl, a naughty Roller girl from Boogie Nights, and a naughty French maid among others (if she was a shape-shifter though, why did she choose to always look like Rihanna?), but she brought the necessary sizzle even as a mere voice for her blobby character (best line: “Life’s a drag when you don’t have an identity to call your own”).

I actually stopped caring about the Wonder Twins as soon as she showed up. Her character’s demise signalled the start of another nap in time for the third act.

6. I was a bit distracted by the silver patilya of Clive Owen. Also, Kris Wu. WUW!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

TAKEN (Pierre Morel, 2008)


Probably the best Luc Besson movie that he didn’t direct.

Liam Neeson gave a standout performance and secured his spot as the thinking man’s action star. This movie was the ultimate nightmare of all parents.

With this and Hostel, I actually had second thoughts on that European vacation fantasy. That said, the movie raised a lot of questions that would probably make the self-righteous’ heads explode. An eye for an eye might make the world go blind but it made one hell of a popcorn flick, too.

Morality got thrown out of the window for comeuppance? Talk about a different kind of action movie.

Rating: ★★★★☆