Bangkok Adrenaline: four backpackers lose a card game and now own local gangsters 1 million baht – so they kidnap an heiress and everything kicks off. It looks like (and is) a mid-low budget film, but that gives it a cheesy-charming and admirable vibe; it also makes light of many B-movie action tropes, which is a good touch of humour. Filmed in Thailand and only 80 minutes long, the budget goes a long, long way here. it’s very ‘laddish’ – opening 10 minutes are identical to Lock, Stock – and it’s end-to-end packed with machismo / babes / fighting / gambling / cars /guns and even has a slow-mo walking scene! The story’s pretty simple but the action is an absolute roundhouse kick-o-rama; this is how everyone should choreograph, film and edit action set pieces! There’s about 5 jaw-dropping fight/chase scenes, and the final 20 minutes, all worth picking this up for alone – and all done to a higher standard that most Hollywood films. This won’t be for everyone, for fans on Tony Jaa / District 13 style films it’s a must-see action flick that delivers he goods.
Luther (Series 2): Detective CI John Luther Thud! Is back on the streets of London Thud! Stopping more bad guys Thud! and saving the day Thud… Hear that? That’s the sound of the BBC dropping the balls of everything that made series one great. 1) Format changed from 1 hour 1 case to 2 hours 1 case – also instead of 6 there are only 4 episodes (and only 2 cases) 2) Bad guys are ridiculous, one is straight out of a Saw film, and the other was just a normal nerd – neither particularly scary, or believable 3) Good, established characters are neglected – most noticeably crazy Alice, who is majorly poo poo’d – and the show suffers big time – and Schenk, who was hot on Luther’s heels in S1 and now his immediate boss. 4) Worst side story ever (Geezers, porn, drugs…) although I strongly suspect it was written as a 2-episode case, but was so bad they cut it in to the others as a backstory. 5) Super-Luther… he was suspiciously good in Series 1, but it’s all a bit too “just one more thig…” this time round. On the up side, there’s some really tense scenes, we get more of Ripley, the acting and production are to a high standard, and it’s still watchable. Don’t get me wrong, Series 2 is still good TV by UK standards, but it’s a mere shadow of the brilliant series 1.
I’m A Cyborg: offbeat buddy movie set in an asylum as two very, very memorable characters form an unlikely friendship. There’s an absolutely insane first part, with a ton of story unfolding, busy shots, hectic scenes, crazy and colourful sets; it all pumps you up and gets you excited. The leading lady absolutely steals the show with her portrayal of a girl who genuinely believes she’s a robot – and can talk to electrical appliances – however the main male (Rain, who hulked up for Ninja Assassin!!WTF!!) and Chan-wook behind the camera are both continually vying for your attention. Most of the script, puns and jokes translate in to English very well, which is uncommon and is a welcome kick in the teeth to the Asian symbolism and culture that doesn’t always export. The only real downer is that whereas the first 70 minutes absolutely fly by, the final 30 feel quite sluggish in comparison as the pace is deliberately throttled… there’s still some great scenes, but it definitely peaks too soon. It’s a great concept, crammed with yet more exciting filmmaking from Park Chan Wook, Almost like a quirkier modern day cuckoos nest, with robots and masks – and I’ll definitely be re-watching it again soon.