TAKEN 3 (Olivier Megaton, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Taken 3:

1. I think the first Taken movie was an instant favorite of daughters everywhere. I’m sure it made them feel safe knowing the extent that their fathers would do to show their love for them. Consider it an action-packed version of Father of the Bride.

2. In this third movie, Liam Neeson displayed his love for his daughter by giving her a giant panda on her birthday. Her survival was more of an after-thought and everything else was just to save his reputation.

3. For the most part, this was actually a lame-brained version of The Fugitive. There was even a tunnel scene here reminiscent of that movie (homage?). All it needed was a one-armed man.

4. Speaking of the villain, it was hard to take him seriously with that Dumb and Dumber bowl cut. In one scene, he fought in his tighty-whities and his bulge (that would put Justin Bieber’s photoshopped Calvin Klein ads to shame) just proved to be a distraction. To some women, I mean.

5. Neeson’s character was asked, “Why do you have to be so honorable?” And therein lay my biggest problem with the entire movie.

In the first two, all the violence was driven by his agenda to save his daughter and wife. Here, he resorted to all kinds of violence even involving innocent people just to prove his own innocence.

One scene showed him causing a stampede in a college (really??). Why did he have to consider himself above the law when a simple trial would have proven his innocence? I just kept thinking, “Anong ipinaglalaban mo?”

6. Olivier Megaton also directed Transporter 3. His idea of an action sequence was to show the exact same scene of a flying truck container from five different angles. This could very well have been directed by Francis Jun Posadas.

7. Why was the MTRCB so strict when it came to sexuality but very lenient with violence? This movie where people got shot by all kinds of guns in all areas of the body just merited a Parental Guidance. Seriously, a PG-rating for excessive violence? Watching this with a kid a few rows behind me actually made me feel uncomfortable.

8. Whatever happened to Dougray Scott’s career? Ever since he passed on the role of Wolverine in the first X-Men movie, he hadn’t done anything significant to launch himself as a leading man. Unless you count his role as Teri Hatcher’s boyfriend in Desperate Housewives.

9. A lot of scenes here didn’t make any sense to me. He made his (pregnant) daughter drink a potion to make her nauseous when he could have just asked her to meet in the school bathroom at a specific time. In another scene, he used a defibrillator to attack henchmen just for the cool concept of seeing someone getting attacked with a defibrillator. And where did he get that anyway? Yet in another, he rammed his vehicle on the wheels of a plane that was about to take off even if his daughter who he was trying to save in the first place was onboard. Oh, and Forrest Whitaker (in the Tommy Lee Jones role) announced in the end that he knew that Neeson was innocent from the start because of his Warm Bagel Theory. So why did they go through all that goose chase? Oh, then we wouldn’t have a movie. Don’t bother.

10. Wait, who got taken??

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published January 18, 2015.)

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CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (Anthony and Joe Russo, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Captain America: Civil War:

1. I had no clue who Doctor Strange was but that awesome trailer made me wish it were November already. Did I just sound like a die-hard Cumberbitch? Probably. But what really sealed the deal was Tilda Swinton looking like a cooler version of the Last Airbender.

2. Was it just me or did this actually feel like a Bond thriller (or a Bourne thriller, or any thriller for that matter)? You could have replaced the Marvel superheroes with real common people and it would still have been completely enjoyable. Sure, the climactic battle scene wouldn’t have been as fun, but my entire point was that this was a good film.

3. Everyone knows that I’m not the biggest fan of action movies, but I really enjoyed all the fight and chase scenes here (the drone shots were really impressive). The movie delivered on its trailer’s promise of an epic battle between the superheroes. I guess I was so used to Fernando Poe, Jr. movies where the bida and (lead) kontrabida have a match-up of their own while the minor characters get their own one-on-ones (with the women relegated to their own eye-scratching and hair-pulling). I really expected a bitch fight between the (balimbing) Black Widow and Scarlet Witch, but I was actually happy it didn’t happen. Each superhero was able to demonstrate his/her strengths and weaknesses by battling every other superhero from the opposing team. Definitely worth the wait.

4. I actually thought that Robert Downey, Jr. discovered the Fountain of Youth when his younger self appeared onscreen until his real more scruffy-looking (and better-looking, right?) other walked out and started discussing the wonders of BARF (was this the same machine used by Clementine to erase the traumatic memories of ex-boyfriend Joel? If you got this reference, you have great taste in films).

Also, that scene with him and Alfre Woodard made me want to start singing “Walk Like A Man” (if you still got this reference, I love you already). And, RDJ was so good in that big reveal scene. *sob*

5. I wonder how King T’Chaka’s campaign would have been if he ran for President here. He would have needed a really good manager.

6. Chris Evans looked so pale, like he stepped out of a Twilight movie. With that said, he still decimated my remaining self-esteem when he started flexing his biceps and flaunting his ripped upper torso while holding on to the runaway helicopter. No wonder Captain America only needed a shield when he already had those big guns. (Emily Thorne, you lucky girl.)

7. The proposed UN agreement regarding the need for supervision of superheroes was reminiscent of the Mutant Registration Act in the X-Men movies. One of them said it best with “If we don’t put limitations, we’re no different from the bad guys” and of course, my recently quoted “You’re wrong. You think you’re right. It makes you dangerous.” Who knew that choosing if you’re #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan would actually reflect one’s political views?

8. I know that one character mentioned it but why were Thor and Hulk really missing in action? The Incredible Hulk going head-to-head with the giant Ant-Man (Hantik Man! Har har!) would have been a real showdown. Also, I wanted to see Pepper. Please tell me she’s really pregnant. Everyone has a gimmick now, right? I hope that would be hers.

9. The movie felt like it was really made for grown-ups. It took its time (read: felt overlong) to explain everything and some might find these parts a bit dragging. I’m still a kid so yes, my mind wandered a bit during all the pseudo-philosophical discussions. It was a giant (bold) step for Marvel movies, though. (Wait, why was this a Captain America movie when it felt very much like an Avengers movie?)

10. I was amused by Peter Parker and his onesie but he will forever be Andrew Garfield to me. Also, the fall of War Machine was eerily similar to the death of Gwen Stacy.

11. Daniel Bruhl will have more screen time in the next movie, yes? Yes?

12. If I were the Winter Soldier, the key words that would trigger my inner rage would be: SIR. WALA. PONG. BREAST. PART.

What would be yours?

Rating: ★★★★☆

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (Zack Snyder, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice:

1. I entered the cinema with incredibly low expectations because of brutal reviews from critics and terrible feedback from friends that camped out to watch the very first screening. I was also never fascinated with this match-up and saw it more like Alien vs Predator, a lame cash cow that pitted two popular characters for the sake of seeing which one had the bigger balls (or mandibles). Besides, when it was a battle between good vs good (or evil vs evil), would there even be a winner? When the movie was over, all I could think of was that it wasn’t bad at all. (Even better, it was no Man of Steel.)

2. If I was clueless on the Marvel Universe, I was even more lost in this DC Universe. I would not be geeking out and pointing various differences between the comic books and the movie because I really didn’t know anything, except from what I had seen in previous Superman and Batman movies. I was even puzzled because my idea of Wonder Woman was the red, white, and blue clad Lynda Carter with her magic lasso. Seriously, how many more times would we see another version of Bruce Wayne’s parents getting killed? Remember when Deadpool mentioned that he was getting confused with the timelines of X-Men (“McAvoy or Stewart?”), I felt the exact same way as soon as the flashback started.

3. At least the promised showdown didn’t disappoint. It clearly showed a battle between god and man, one with superhero powers and a major weakness and the other a rich mortal armed with hi-tech gadgets. When they started fighting and destroying buildings, I finally understood why the people hated these two. They were just major nuisances that disturbed the peace of their city.

4. There were two scenes where characters went for a dip even with their shoes on and it really bothered me. It would only take a minute to remove them. Why subject yourselves to super kachichas?

5. A lot of people hated Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor and called him the movie’s Jar Jar Binks. I think the biggest difference was that he was really meant to be an annoying man-child (I loved the scene where he was giving a speech and completely forgot his entire point) while JJB was George Lucas’ failed attempt to create another Ewok. Eisenberg was good here and in one scene even proved that he could out-snot Viola Davis. I did not see him growing up as Kevin Spacey, though.

6. When Jeremy Irons showed up as Alfred, I actually thought that he was an old Robert Downey, Jr. I swear I thought it was an unprecedented crossover.

7. I didn’t know the rest of the characters shown for the future Justice League but I was excited to see Ezra Miller playing the Flash (although this character would always be Dawson’s father to me, you know John Wesley Shipp that was rumored to have a romantic relationship with James Van der Beek). I also recognized Silas Stone (his name was on the computer screen) as the brilliant Joe Morton. Olivia Pope should be proud.

8. Regardless of the ending, Zack Snyder obviously favored Superman more. Now I really understood those sad Ben Affleck memes and videos. His Batman was just depressed and didn’t have the necessary angst for the role (like he was still suffering from a tortured relationship with J.Lo or carrying a guilt for possibly cheating on Jennifer Garner). For a rich guy, he couldn’t even ask his butler to remove his car cover.

Henry Cavill, on the other hand, could still barely act, but was shown as the real hero even if he had enough time to bask in the glory of his billowing cape while the people on the roof were close to drowning. He even had a scene where people surrounded him and touched him like a god (although I was sure that even James Reid would be treated that way if he stood in the middle of the activity center in ATC).

9. Wonder Woman clearly knew how to accentuate her assets (considering that she was played by a previous Miss Universe candidate). All of Gal Gadot’s dresses showed her cleavage and/or back. But nothing beats the beauty of Lois Lane (Amy Adams) who always came first in terms of saving, regardless if people were dying everywhere. She took “ganda mo gurl” to a whole new level.

10. Here are some questions from a self-confessed comic book idiot:

a) How could Superman not hear that there was a bomb in the court room? He couldn’t be that distracted, right?

b) What were the flying taong insekto?

c) Was Wonder Woman a witch if she lived way back in 1918?

d) If Batman knew that Superman’s weakness was kryptonite, why couldn’t he have made a simple bracelet that he could attach to him? (I saw one used in the Supergirl TV series.)

e) Speaking of, how could even Superman fly carrying the kryptonite spear when Lois even had to throw it away because it was seeping his strength?

f) Was Superman the first person to show up in court wearing his underwear outside?

g) Did people hate the movie because “people hate what they don’t understand” or because it had a bummer of an ending (giving Star Cinema another reason to have a requisite happy ending)?

11. No mid-/post-credits sequence. Now that was even more sad than the funeral.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

DEADPOOL (Tim Miller, 2016)

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My notes on Deadpool:

1. As promised, it was indeed a different kind of superhero movie from the hilarious opening credits, the outright mockery of the genre, the constant breaking of the fourth wall, the gratuitous sex and graphic violence, and down to the silly send-up of post-credits scenes. The actual structure of the movie didn’t stray that far from the superhero formula (origin story, cheesy love story with a damsel in distress, group of super friends, climactic battle scene with a felonious villain, acceptance of new identity) but the occasional profanity, crude humor, and immense self-awareness actually worked to its advantage. In the end, it was a very entertaining Marvel movie. (Were the jokes as funny after repeated viewings? Could fanboys confirm, please?)

2. Has there been another movie with opening credits of this kind? It was fun trying to match the stereotypes with the actual characters and actors (“God’s perfect idiot”, “a hot chick”, a “gratuitous cameo” that shouldn’t be a surprise to Marvel fans). The movie might have been directed by a “douchebag director” that was also an “overpaid tool” but all that money didn’t go to waste. (Kudos for acknowledging that the “real heroes here” were the writers.)

3. Inasmuch as I liked Ryan Reynolds as Van Wilder, I really thought that he could never recover from the Green Lantern disaster. After that, it was just one box office bomb after another that I already said RIP to his career after RIPD. Similar to Robert Downey, Jr., it took just one perfect role to jump-start his resurgence (US opening weekend at $135M, the biggest for an R-rated film). The fact that he openly and so gamely made fun of himself (requesting that his supersuit not be green, references to being the Sexiest Man Alive, joking about his obvious lack of talent) just made everything even funnier.

4. When is the next season of Silicon Valley? T.J. Miller (he played the bartender Weasel) may have bombed as the host of the recent Critics’ Choice Awards but he would always be one of my favorite TV geeks. And speaking of TV, I have seen the full glory of Morena Baccarin’s breasts on Homeland and they still looked glorious on the big screen (hey, I was also entitled to an R-rated comment!).

5. In one scene, Deadpool (“That sounds like a fucking franchise!”) mentioned a “fourth wall break in a fourth wall break, so that’s like 16 walls!” and my favorite ones would have to be:

• When Colossus asked him to see the Professor and he deadpanned, “Stewart or McAvoy? These timelines are so confusing!” (Preach!)

• When he visited the X-Men mansion and mentioned that he only kept seeing Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Colossus as if “the studio couldn’t afford another X-Men”.

6. The aforementioned cheesy love story (“Your crazy matches my crazy”, huhubelles) seriously reminded me of that Lorna Tolentino early 90’s movie Gaano Kita Kamahal. I probably alienated all of you fanboys with this reference but I swear Christopher de Leon also had the same burnt face and it was a remarkable true story of love and acceptance (and thankfully no dialogue that he had a face that she could sit on). I might need to dig up my VHS copy of that film and find a working player so I can rewatch.

7. I would never look at a dish soap brand the same way again (wink, wink).

8. Can someone explain why people start leaving as soon as the end credits roll when they know for a fact that this is a Marvel movie and has a 99% chance of a post-credits scene? Please tell me that I’m not the only one annoyed whenever the said scene would start playing and then people that have already stood up would suddenly stop and block the view of those that are still seated and patiently waited for it. End of rant.

P.S. Loved the “What were you expecting? Sam Jackson in an eye patch?” joke. I do hope they cast Keira Knightley as Cable.

Rating: ★★★★☆