Deadpool 2 – Movie Review

deadpool 2

We couldn’t help but ask “why?” when the sequel was announced, even though we knew the answer was money. There was little hope in improving on the first DEADPOOL (2016), and since that film’s director, Tim Miller, was tied up with upcoming projects for X-Men and Terminator, there was understandable concern that changing the recipe could result in huge disappointment. While it may not be an improvement on the first, only those with unrealistic expectations are likely to be disappointed … the rest of us will spend most of two hours laughing and enjoying the spectacle.

Director David Leitch exploded onto the scene with last year’s surprise action hit ATOMIC BLONDE, and his stuntman experience is once again on display with even more frenzied action and fight sequences this time out. As you might expect, there is no easing into the comedy routine here. The Opening Credits are laugh out loud funny and the only thing better may be the closing credits sequence, which is an instant classic.

No punchlines will be spoiled here, and it’s an obvious statement, but clearly no topic or subject, or at least very few, are off-limits. Targets of barbs include LinkedIn, YENTL, FROZEN, Fox & Friends, and well, the list goes on and on. You’ll likely miss 20 percent of the dialogue whilst laughing. The “Merc with a Mouth” breaks the 4th wall in atypical fashion – blurring the line through dialogue incorporated into the story. The self-awareness is comical in its own right.

Some familiar faces are back. Wade’s main squeeze Vanessa (Marina Baccarin) kicks off the “kids” discussion (Yikes!) and the couple seems to have settled into cohabitant bliss – never a good sign in a superhero movie. TJ Miller (despite his recent headlines) is back running Sister Margaret’s Bar, though his minimal presence is noted. Also back is Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic), and his expanded role finds him turning Deadpool into an X-Men trainee at Professor Xavier’s School for the gifted. This occurs after tragedy strikes and we are introduced to some new players. Julian Dennison (so good in HUNT FOR THE WILDERBEAST) plays FireFist, and of course, the arrival of Cable (Josh Brolin) shows us what happens when a time-travelling Terminator type is out for revenge.

Snarking, mocking and irreverence remain in full force throughout, but if you happen to pay attention to the story, you’ll notice a (not-so) subtle transition taking place. The renegade superhero shifts from loner to team player, and even picks up some life lessons along the way – mostly related to loss and collaboration. Deadpool even forms his own team called X-Force, and one of the more interesting members is Domino (Zazie Beetz), whose superpower is luck (yep). We do get a surprise cameo, and there’s even a shot of Deadpool with no pants … and it’s markedly unsexy. The music selections are inspired, however, if you are unsure whether this movie is for you … it probably isn’t.

 

4 out of 5 stars

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John Wick (2014) – Movie Review

john wick

The best way I can describe John Wick is to picture Taken but instead of Liam Neeson it’s Keanu Reeves and instead of his daughter it’s his dog. That’s essentially the plot of the movie. John Wick (Reeves) is out to seek revenge on the people who took something he loved from him. It’s a beautifully simple premise for an action movie – when action movies get convoluted, they get bad i.e. A Good Day to Die Hard. John Wick gives the viewers what they want: Awesome action, stylish stunts, kinetic chaos, and a relatable hero to tie it all together. John Wick succeeds in its simplicity.

As an action movie buff, all I wanted to see in this movie is some inventive action sequences, and I was not disappointed. Every single action sequence in this movie is fast-paced, beautifully shot, fluid, intense, and you never have trouble understanding what’s going on. The direction of this film is fantastic, as is the writing. There’s no melodramatic soapy story lines – everything is straight and to the point, and the point is to get to the action. Not one moment in this movie is boring. The short dialogue is effective from getting to action sequence A to sequence B without any confusion as to any character’s motive. It’s all laid out in front of you – all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the insanity happening on screen.

Remember when Live Free or Die Hard came out and people were upset that John McClane only fired pistols throughout the entire movie? I like a little versatility when it comes to action heroes, and evidently so do the writers. John Wick wrecks face with pistols, assault rifles, shotguns, knives, even mano-a-mano; the man can do anything. The difference between John Wick and other modern action movies (Die Hard 5 and Taken 3 for instance) is that you actually believe John Wick is killable. He’s not some invincible superhero like Bruce Willis was in Die Hard 5, having his car crash and flip like a hundred times and the second it stops he gets out without a scratch and starts running. No, John Wick takes a beating in this film. Numerous times in fact. But most of the time he’s kicking ass and taking names, and instead of acting as some unstoppable killing machine, he just seems like a guy who’s an expert in his field. He used to be a hit-man after all.

John Wick is a blast to watch. Really, it’s just a mindlessly fun action movie. It has large-scale shootouts, CQC sequences, and a classic hero-villain hand-to-hand confrontation at the end. The only negative I can say about the movie is that the villains aren’t anything to write home about. They’re Russian mobsters which we’ve seen a million times, and their leader isn’t given enough to work with as far as character goes. Willam DaFoe has a brief but important role though as Wick’s former colleague.

Regardless, John Wick is all about the action and it goes above and beyond in every respect. It’s a breath of fresh air after all the poor sequels we’ve been getting, and thankfully John Wick has the potential to be the next great action franchise. An absolute must-watch for action fans.

 

8 out of 10 stars

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