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Danger 5, Isla, Claire, Jackson, Tucker, Pierre, David Ashby, Natasa Ristic, Sean James Murphy, Amanda Simons, Tilman Vogler, Aldo Mignone, Andreas Sobik, Robert Tompkins, Paul Muscat

Danger 5 (Season 1): a team of Allied super-spies are tasked with stopping Hitler’s various advances in a 1960s interpretation of WWII. With a premise like that, you’d expect the show to be a little bit mental… and it is. The plot lines and characters are insane: it’s a show where a jazz improv band of white-suited apes fighting Nazi dinosaurs & reptiles isn’t just normal, but somehow funny. About half of the major characters have massive animal heads, and nobody seems to speak the same language… but you just roll with it. It has a very unique ‘tapey’ aesthetic, with grain, bad dubbing, Gerry Anderson style miniature sets (locations & action set pieces) and a 60s style surf rock soundtrack – it’s 100% kitsch and kampf. On a comedy level it’s very strong, with good loads of one-off belly laughs, and some cracking running gags like cocktail recipes, Hitler jumping through windows, bad food analogies and bizarre product placement. Although the first few episodes are the strongest the show is consistently funny. Danger 5 is what happens when you draw from a bunch of great TV Shows like Archer, Thunderbirds, The Young Ones (and throw in a pinch of Iron Sky). If you’re after a raunchy, risqué, alternative / subversive comedy packed with b-movie gore, sexy damsels, and – most importantly – laughs by the truckload, look no Führer than this. Pure cult TV that will undoubtedly snowball for years to come.

Score: 9/10

Danger 5, Isla, Claire, Jackson, Tucker, Pierre, David Ashby, Natasa Ristic, Sean James Murphy, Amanda Simons, Tilman Vogler, Aldo Mignone, Andreas Sobik, Robert Tompkins, Paul Muscat,2 Danger 5, Isla, Claire, Jackson, Tucker, Pierre, David Ashby, Natasa Ristic, Sean James Murphy, Amanda Simons, Tilman Vogler, Aldo Mignone, Andreas Sobik, Robert Tompkins, Paul Muscat,3

Episode Titles

I Danced For Hitler

Lizard Soldiers Of The Third Reich

Kill-Men Of The Rising Sun

Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace

Fresh Meat For Hitler’s Sex Kitchen

Final Victory

Danger 5, Isla, Claire, Jackson, Tucker, Pierre, David Ashby, Natasa Ristic, Sean James Murphy, Amanda Simons, Tilman Vogler, Aldo Mignone, Andreas Sobik, Robert Tompkins, Paul Muscat,4

Red 2 Wallpaper Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins, Mary-Louise Parker, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung-hun Lee, Jong Kun Lee, David Thewlis, Neal McDonough, Garrick Hagon, Tim Pigott-Smith, Brian Cox

Red 2: a Retired, Extremely Dangerous (RED) agent Frank Moses is back on the radar when an APB goes out to every contract killer in the world, with a tasty bounty on his head. First off, although he’s in a restrictive role (and – skeptically – probably only to sell tickets in Asia) I like the gamble of casting a Korean megastar that is relatively unknown in the West. Even delivering phonetic/over-dubbed lines Lee Byung-Hun steals his scenes, and raises the action bar – peaking in the impressive and innovative fridge-door fight in Moscow. It’s also as funny as RED was, but every single laugh is John Malkovich“If there’s one thing I know, it’s women and covert operations”. Hopkins is entertaining, Louise-Parker & Zeta-Jones are both hyphenated surnames, and dame Mirren also enjoyable company. The setup is rrrrrather contemporary for a comic – a’la WikiLeaks, but the overall story (and film) don’t flow particularly well as they’re determined to have a James Bond style travelogue element – popping up here, there, and everywhere for no real reason: London, Moscow, Paris, America… despite this, it’s hard not to switch off by the end as the required ‘twisty-turny’ but overall a fairly predictable story arc plays out – what’s wrong with goodies being good and baddies staying bad?!?!? Basically, Bruce Willis doing a dialed-in ‘wise guy’ with diluted attitude, surrounded by people you’d rather be watching – all reminding you of that film ‘Paycheck’, but for the wrong reasons. Less Die Hard, more Die Soft and wrinkly.

Score: 5.5/10

From Paris with Love: A govt rookie teams up with an unconventional seasoned spy to take down a drug / terrorist ring in the city of love. This is essentially an action film with every cliché in the book: rookie cop with trigger issues, unconventional old-timer who gets results, and some of the most obvious twists in history – you all know the drill. There’s a lot of flashy direction with fast wooshing CGI pans, and action set pieces. Other than a couple of big, loud, fighty action scenes the only major redeeming feature is Travolta hamming it up: albeit with a brazen, overly offensive script. While it’s definitely not his finest 90, he is rrrather entertaining – even sneaks in a “Royale with cheese” – OH NO HE DIII IIINT!!! His partner (Jonathan Rhys Meyers – form a queue, ladies) is ok, but is basically there to say Travolta’s name (Wax) about 2,000 times. Despite using as many tricks as the budget could facilitate – flashy stunts / big action jumps / explosions / swearing / big stars – nobody could hide the fact that this is the kind of film you’ve seen a thousand times before, but in Paris instead of somewhere Stateside. From Paris with Love is a wild ride, but it’s the very definition of braindead action, even by Europacorp/Besson standards!

Score: 3.5/10

La Femme Nikita [Blu Ray]: a young drug addict street punk is given the choice to die or train for the French secret service – surprisingly, she opts for the latter. The most striking thing from the opening frame onward is how horribly this film has aged – not unlike a nylon shell suit, it may have been smack-up-to-date at the time but it somewhat limits the ‘timelessness’ factor being so deliberately 80s. In saying this, it gives the film an authentic retro feel, and coupled with the cyber-punky tone & Besson‘s peculiar visual style, it’s definitely unique. Gear and tone continually change as Nikita flips between the perfect assassin, a normal girlfriend and broken down cry baby. Story has some awful comedy moments, but is balanced out with tense action scenes and over-the-top graphic violence. Blu Ray picture and sound are both solid, but never really jump out, and don’t leave a lasting impression. It’s strange that for a film which is unique and powerful enough to define a director and influence most of his subsequent works – not to mention becoming the benchmark of modern assassin, especially female assassin, films; it’s surprisingly not-that-great. Much like Leon (who puts in his first appearance here as The Cleaner) it’s still an enjoyable film, but I remembered it far more fondly than it stands up today. Proof that Besson’s target audience is exclusively teenage males? La Femme Nikita is a solid nuts ‘n’ bolts action piece, but for every good aspect, there’s a counterbalancing disappointment!

Score: 4.5/10

Midnight In Paris [Unavoidable Spoilers]: Woody Allen brings us more misunderstood middle-class artisan-intellectuals with relationship trouble. The idea of the central MacGuffin of this film (travelling back in time and meeting historical figures) didn’t bother me much; but as someone who’s not very literary literate it all got a bit wanky pouring familiar name after familiar name on to the screen as if the audience would lap up the theatricality of it all. The only character I liked from the entire cast was Adrien ”Rhinoceros!!” Brody, everyone else just played pretty grotesque caricatures. Owen Wilson’s does his schlubby moping vagina act again, would love to see him try something different. As with any Allen film, there’s some nice tourism-friendly photography and vision from behind the camera, and a token trampy ragtime soundtrack to tart up the audio. For me, it’s just another stock Allen film – watchable and mildly entertaining – unless you majored in English, then it will undoubtedly be your film of the year.

Score: 6/10

Taken: (Extended ‘Harder’ Cut) a stupid girl runs off to Europe to follow a U2 tour, and if that doesn’t warrant getting kidnapped I don’t know what does! Naturally, her badass daddy (conveniently ex CIA covert / black ops) has to sort it all out. My favourite thing about Taken is that it has an amazing mix of action, drama and a no-brain story. It’s very realistic; the fighting’s well-choreographed but never really over-the-top, there’s also a great – no holds barred – authenticity on the human trafficking story. Despite seeing this a few times my heart still ends up in the stomach when Kim gets kidnapped. Above all that, Laim Neeson’s on top form, showing his acting and action abilities in equal measure. I guess the downside is that it doesn’t exactly make you want to visit Paris in a rush. Unashamedly in the same vein as Bourne, 24, Man on Fire-type movies but other than that, you can’t fault this much!

Score: 8.5/10