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Without Remorse, but With a Review

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My wife and I recently watched Without Remorse. It is a rather pedestrian actioner, elevated by its lead and supporting cast, with acceptable but not innovative action scenes.

Without Remorse poster

Without Remorse takes place in the Tom Clancy-verse (for lack of a better term), or, perhaps more precisely, uses characters and ideas from the Jack Ryan-verse. John Clarke was a major supporting character in a collection of the Jack Ryan novels, and has previously been portrayed on the screen by Willem Dafoe in Clear and Present Danger. I liked Dafoe’s turn as the character, but in that case, he was a grizzled special warfare operator who had spent long years in the covert action community, whereas Without Remorse is an origin story. (I completely forgot about Liev Schreiber as John Clark in the adaptation of Sum of All Fears, and now I need to re-watch that movie, as Schreiber tends to elevate anything he is in)

Michael B. Jordan is the perfect actor to play John Kelly/John Clarke. His physical presence on the screen is magnetic, and his charisma is undeniable. He makes Kelly’s heroics believable, and he projects quiet intensity in every scene. You never forget how driven this character is.

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Zombie Heists

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Dark and dour poster for the movie Peninsula

So, I have now seen both Peninsula (Train to Busan 2) and Army of the Dead, both of which are stories of a group sent into zombie-infested territory to secure money. There is very different world-building, different character styles, and different stories, but the premises are the same.

And both were disappointing.

Of the two, I preferred Peninsula. It injected new elements, and some interesting story beats, and more fully realized characters, but the pacing was still off, there were too many clichés, and the general experience didn’t satisfy me. Army of the Dead, on the other hand, I just found poorly written. There were very few redeeming features. And, wow, there was A LOT of fridging the feminine characters.

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Extraction: A Review

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This review was first presented on my Patreon.

Extraction is the new Chris Hemsworth action movie released on Netflix.

The summary according to Rotten Tomatoes is:

Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) is a fearless black market mercenary with nothing left to lose when his skills are solicited to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned international crime lord. But in the murky underworld of weapons dealers and drug traffickers, an already deadly mission approaches the impossible, forever altering the lives of Rake and the boy.

The action is outstanding. Hemsworth is physically believable as Rake, and the action choreography leans toward the John Wick school of extreme action. It’s done quite well and this is where the movie shines. Hemsworth has a great alter-ego in the film played by Randeep Hooda. Their two characters cut through the opposition with gritty aplomb, and when they end up opposite each other, it’s a treat.

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Time to Hunt: A Review

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This review was first presented on my Patreon.

I had the chance to catch the new South Korean thriller, Time to Hunt, on Netflix this week. 

The plot, as summarized on Rotten Tomatoes is:

In a hopeless dystopian city, Jun-seok (LEE Je-hoon) is released from prison and plans his next step in life in order to start anew with his friends Jang-ho (AHN Jae-hong), Ki-hoon (CHOI Woo-shik) and Sang-soo (PARK Jeong-min). But their excitement for the plan is short-lived as an unknown man chases after them. Can these best friends get away from the hunt?

The story is actually pretty generic when one breaks it down. The “plan” involves the robbery of an illegal casino. Up until then, the most outstanding part of the movie was the setting and atmosphere. This isn’t a science-fiction movie per se, but it’s definitely set at some point in the future. 

The South Korea of this film is hopeless, mostly abandoned, covered in constant smog, and depopulated. I think anyone will be affected by the setting presented in the film, but if you’ve actually lived in South Korea, especially in a major urban centre, the shots of block after block of empty streets and abandoned stores have a very visceral impact.

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