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The Devil’s Double: after being forced into doubling for Saddam Hussain’s crazy son Uday, a regular Iraqi soldier is thrown into a crazy world. The biggest reason to watch this is the central performance; Domnic Cooper absolutely owns two completely separate and distinguishable characters – often in the same scene. It really is fantastic to watch, and the film shines brightest when the ‘brothers’ are together (Beginning, nightclub, wedding…). The girlfriend side-story on the other hand is pedestrian, predictable and feels crow-barred in – detracting from the political story and making the final half hour drag on, which is the film’s biggest downfall as the first hour is superb. Parts of the film are hard to watch, but it’s centered around such a fantastic story of identity and what’s wrong/right.

Score: 6.5/10

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The Hangover Part II: Take my review of the first film – change mentions of ‘Vegas to Bangkok and it’s a job well done! Realising that the one-man wolf pack and Leslie Chow (the only two that pull off ‘funny’) were the best things about The Hangover, these two characters get even more screen time and gags than before. Once again, the humour is very Lad / Frat friendly and doesn’t appeal to everyone. Not much else to say other than it’s even more crass and offensive than the first, and seemed to have longer periods where nothing amazingly funny was happening. It’s good, but definitely more of an expansion pack than a new addition. Kudos to the people responsible for taking Hangovers for from a low-budget comedy to the biggest comedy of all time in 2 films!

Score: 6.5/10

Thunderball: A NATO bomber carrying nukes ditches in the sea prompting a ransom from SPECTRE and 7-day ultimatum – and James Bond is the only person with a lead.

Ciao... Seeing double vision

Thunderball is a pretty shocking follow-up to Goldfinger, with almost zero memorable – let alone iconic – scenes /or lines. It’s also punctuated with too many lengthy and boring underwater set-pieces, peaking with a battle that goes on forever and lacks any audio element.

What's that sound? Nothing...

The only vaguely famous scene would be the card game in the casino with one-eye’d Largo. As far as villains go, Largo is pretty poor, but his main henchman – straight-edge Vargas, takes the piss: what a pitiful baddie. I almost felt sorry for those two.

Aye aye cap'n

If Thunderball’s good for something it’s showing us deeper into Bond’s psyche – he blackmails and forces himself upon women,  will sleep with absolutely anyone, does whatever it takes for King and Country, and is so reckless that he doesn’t care who’s life he endangers!

Bond getting ready to pump for information

The most memorable scene is the ridiculously sped-up projections at the end, genuinely laugh out loud material – yet Thunderball won the Oscar for best SFX. It’s a bit of a car crash for a Goldfinger follow-up and far, far, far too long given how little happens.

Score: 2.5/10

Now pay attention 007

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Largo, one eyed sailor – Number 2 – just following orders. 5
Henchmen: Ginger Fiona / Straight-Edge Vargas – the worst henchman ever. 2
Bond Girl: Bikini girl Domino / Spa Worker Patricia. 4
Action: Tranny fight / Boat Chase / Scuba War. 4

Vargas does not drink... does not smoke... does not make love... loser

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Gozu: a mid-level Yakuza loses his crazy, narcoleptic, undead boss then sets out to find him. It opens with a memorable scene involving a dog but nosedives into nonsense shortly after. All but one of the characters are totally ridiculous and/or perverted, and a the basic story was just to facilitate more ‘wackiness’. The dark humour doesn’t work, it’s obviously supposed to be funny but something gets lost in translation. It’s typical Takashi: dry, minimal style and dialogue. His movies seem to be either hit-or-miss, for me this is definitely one of the misses but if you’re a fan it may be worth checking out. Although there are a few notorious scenes, the rest of the film doesn’t justify sitting through 130 minutes of Gozu. Released in the UK when Japanese cinema was trendy I think it’s unfair of distributors like Tartan (Asia Extreme) to endorse films where the native themes, values, humour and symbolism just don’t export well; if anything this will probably put people off foreign Cinema.

Score: 2/10

The Bodyguard: so-called action flick featuring Thailand’s smallest and tubbiest gravity-defying bodyguard – definitely not the ’92 Costner / Houston affair! A few familiar faces from ‘Ong-Bak’ make up the main cast – including a Tony Jaa cameo – although this is nowhere as good a movie. Despite being made in 2004 it feels uncannily like classic ’80s cheese; slow-motion shots, terminally cheap music, and some of the most ridiculous and least funny pantomime-esque ‘humour’ I’ve seen. It’s camper than a row of tents, contains a bizarrely high level of foul language, and doesn’t say much about the intelligence of Thai people. The few action scenes are the only redeeming feature of this, in particularly some nifty moves and set pieces. The film focuses more on a millionaire’s love conquest over the actual bodyguard – title FAIL. Feels more like a bunch of mates making a b-movie than the action / wire-fu movie it’s promoted as. Best stick with Ong Bak / Warrior King etc.

Score: 3/10