A year after Lost Bullet, Lino has a chance to get justice for the deaths of his mentor and brother. Amped-up sequel delivering as before in close combat, chases, reversals, and vehicular mayhem. A slightly lighter touch this time: sterling genre (SF and western touches in the mix) entertainment all the same.
Assassin Fallon is lying low in Malta, but trouble follows from London. A superior sequel, its simple story a set-up for an escalating series of well-shot and choreographed fight sequences balanced with slapstick violence. Deliberately cartoony, foregrounding a keen stunt team and solid location work throughout. Recommended.
An orphaned prince, now a mercenary, battles the usurper who murdered his parents. Okay sword and sorcery flick with some ripe performances, daft ideas, and a commitment to rubbery gore and sweaty flesh throughout. The promised sequel – Tales of an Ancient Empire – emerged in 2010.
An outlaw warrior quests to reunite three fabled artefacts also sought by an evil magician. Tatty and at times po-faced sword and sorcery exploitation piece, albeit with intermittent amusing asides and a couple of fun lo-fi John Buechler monster effects. Three sequels followed.
A hitman with Alzheimer’s disease struggles to make things right. Odd mix of character drama and potboiler thriller: it doesn’t really cohere, but there’s pleasures along the way. A solid cast, efficient direction and cinematography, and very effective use of Nu Boyana production facilities all help though.
1719: a young Commanche woman determined to become a hunter combats an alien presence. Smart, thrilling riff on the Disney/Pixar princess archetype: this is Brave or Moana meets Apocalypto, basically. A lean, effective thrill ride blending action, gore, and character-focused storytelling well, with a few neat nods to the wider Predator franchise.
Multiple gangsters and assassins with varying motives are aboard the same shinkansen. Too-pleased-with-itself slapstick thriller, adapted from the novel Maria Beetle by Kotaro Isaka. Some early stuff works, but there’s little control over the premise, so it falls apart despite committed work from star Brad Pitt and others. A hack approach to Japan doesn’t help.
Five operatives – each female – team up to retrieve a codebreaking device. Uninspired globetrotting spy thriller with a good cast (including Dear Old Jason Flemyng on Brit villain duties) largely wasted. A tickbox script, flaccid direction, and flat action design give producer Chastain and colleagues little to sell. Meh, unfortunately.
Mismatched brothers kidnap a paramedic and her cop patient as part of an LA heist getaway. A superior slice of Bayhem (remaking the 2005 Danish flick of the same name) that’s dumb as rocks, but gleeful and propulsive. An impressive commitment to vehicular destruction, and it looks great throughout. Jake Gyllenhaal clearly has a blast.