638 Ways to Kill Castro: Documentary about some of the attempts – and alleged attempts – by various agencies and radical groups to kill Cuba’s charismatic leader. TNT filled sea-shells, exploding cigars, poisoned wetsuits, Mafia hits… it all sounds rather exciting, but after a jovial opening 10 minutes or so the documentary switches focus to a couple of right-wing ‘Terrorist’ factions, and shows how America hold double standards in the old Terrorist Vs Freedom Fighter debate… pretty deep, man. You end up spending more time than you’d want to with a couple of old guys regaling how they came **“this close”** to pulling it off, but there’s not a shred of evidence to prove that it isn’t all nonsense. More focus on the full list, or some detailed commentary on the where/how/why would have been more interesting; instead you get a bunch of American foreign policy bashing. The Doc was made for TV, and it doesn’t aim any higher: it’s all very low budget, feels unfocused and ill-disciplined, and is a bit too one-sided. Even worse, there’s not even that much footage of the titular Castro! Despite it’s sassy title, and a promising opening this is all just a bit dull considering the sensational subject matter.
Kung Fury: After being struck by lightning and bitten by a cobra a cop is transformed into a Kung Fu master and swears to protect his city from evil; evil like Adolf Hitler. Not unlike a Zucker brothers comedy, Kung Fury is crammed with a continuous assault of gags – lots hit the mark, some don’t, but the rapid pace doesn’t give you time to dwell on any of them. There are however a couple of big reservations that hit you when watching this: firstly, it all seems overly familiar because the film’s structured like a collage of ‘cool’ scenes, ideas and parodies from lots of great sources – Danger 5 (literally dozens of ideas stolen from this), Iron Sky, Oldboy, MacGruber, Mortal Kombat, ThunderCats, MASK… all of which are welcome, but you’ll have seen elsewhere. Secondly, with the characters being steampunk Nazis, talking animals, Viking babes with machine guns, dinosaurs etc – it feels like box-checking meme-bait: think SuckerPunch distilled into 30 minutes. Aesthetically, it looks beautiful and feels retro – mostly green screen, but all very well done, with seamless editing, and a couple of nostalgic VHS wear / tracking / distortion moments that really play up the 80s setting. There’s no denying that Kung Fury is fun, entertaining, and particularly well-crafted given the CGI-heavy nature – but ultimately it’s let down by a distinct lack of originality content.
You can watch the entire movie on YouTube below
2 Fast 2 Furious: the LAPD finally catches up with the rogue detective from Fast and the Furious – and immediately put him on an identical car-based infiltration mission. So to keep it true to the first film there’s loads of amazing cars being trashed all over the shop, lots of cool ‘threading through traffic’ race scenes, and lots of close-ups of drivers shouting “AH HAAAA!” having just rammed / overtaken / out-driven someone. Again, some parts feel like techno music videos, other like they’re about to become 2-hot for TV spring-break videos. The story however feels quite vapid and familiar when held up against the first movie: very light on plot and dangerously close to ‘remake’ territory. There’s some bad ‘scarface’/’miami’ accents, and a couple of comically bad Bond-esque henchmen. Whereas the first film was more of a heist-thriller, this feels more like the overly-familiar cop/buddy films. There’s definitely a magic ingredient missing from the first film, perhaps it’s that without Vin Diesel ( who was doing xXx), this film feels like it’s running on an unleaded engine.