Monday, December 25, 2017

The Greatest Showman






Release Date: Dec 20, 2017 
Runtime: 1 hr. 45 min. 
Director: Michael Gracey
Cast: Hugh JackmanMichelle WilliamsZac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson.


I should probably preface this review with the fact that I'm a sucker for musicals. It's subjective and not everyone's cup of tea but throw in a good soundtrack and I'm usually intrigued. Loosely based on the life of P.T. Barnum, "The Greatest Showman" is a dreamer's story of rags to riches. Hugh Jackman stars as the man himself, bringing all of the charm and star power that we've come to love about him. After seeing his talents at the Oscars and in "Les Mis," it's great to see him flex his vocal chords with some original songs. Touted as featuring the lyricists of "La La Land," it's hard not to make any comparisons in this new age of modern musicals. While "Showman" does have its array of catchy numbers, they come off as sounding more generic and 'pop' than being original. The so-called show-stoppers are good examples of this, but that's not to say they aren't enjoyable in the least. The ballads offer up memorable moments, with "Rewrite the Stars," featuring Zendaya and Zac Efron, being a personal favoriteWhere songs meets spectacles is when the film really soars getting us lost in the wonder and magic of being at the circus. It's this escapism that I've come to love about musicals and "Greatest Showman" does not disappoint. The choreography and cinematography are absolutely gorgeous, whereas the whole cast looks to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. In lieu of this, the story falls into the ways of being conventional, ignoring the darker and less favorable aspects of Barnum's life. But honestly, that shouldn't be the take away of the film, as its main message stretches far deeper than that. At the heart of it all, "The Greatest Showman" revels in celebrating individuality and diversity. After all, given the current circumstances, what's more culturally relevant than that?

Rating: 4 stars

Star Wars: The Last Jedi




Release Date: Dec 15, 2017 
Runtime: 2 hr. 32 min. 
Director: Rian Johnson 
Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Andy SerkisDomhnall Gleeson, Laura Dern, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Benicio del Toro, Lupita Nyong'o.


It's been well over 20 years since I first experienced the grandeur of George Lucas' Star Wars, yet hearing that familiar overture still gives me the chills. Continuing on in what is to be the second to last of the Skywalker Saga, Rian Johnson takes on the insurmountable task of appeasing the fans. If there was one criticism of "The Force Awakens," it was the overwhelming similarities it possessed with "A New Hope." Taking cue, Johnson deliberately breaks the mold, but it's a decision that's rather divisive in nature. While some may argue that "Last Jedi" is a weak link in the canon, it just proves that fans are wary of change. The main issue seems to lie in the attachment to these characters, especially to the originals who have sparked a renewed interest. As standards run incredibly high, the film has no chance but to fall short of expectations. Is it the best since "The Empire Strikes Back?" Probably not. But there are still redeeming qualities that make this a respectable entry. The music, for one, is a return to familiarity – a mix of nostalgia and excitement that only John Williams can offer. Mark Hamill gets grittier in his portrayal of Luke Skywalker, delivering a stoic yet seasoned performance. The late Carrie Fisher takes a final bow as one of the most beloved characters to emerge from the series. Though her presence is bittersweet and left open-ended, one can't help but wonder what could've been in the climactic finale. The rest of the cast is rounded out by the returning members from "The Force Awakens," with the addition of Kelly Marie Tran as an ambitious engineer. If there's one thing I appreciate about this updated Star Wars universe, it's the diversity it brings to characters both big and small. The increase in humor, however, seems off for the series, which is usually expressed in minimal doses. At times it would feel forced and longwinded, causing moments of bemusement and disconnect. In addition, some of the characters don't feel fully fleshed out, or given trivial storylines to fill in the gaps. Still, there is a good amount of surprise to be held, albeit different from what many have theorized and speculated. The mysteries surrounding Rey and Kylo Ren are considerably unraveled, but as to how much of it is true is yet to be determined. With J.J. Abrams coming back for Episode 9, it should be interesting to see how this trilogy concludes. After years of ostracizing those questionable prequels, it will be gratifying to bid farewell in a more reputable manner.


Rating: 3.5 stars


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2





Release Date: May 05, 2017 
Runtime: 2 hr. 15 min. 
Director: James Gunn 
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, David Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker,
Kurt Russell.

We've seen more than our fair share of Marvel movies, the last being the psychedelic and egocentric "Doctor Strange." But if you think of a ragtime team of quirky misfits, only one series easily rises to the top. Kicking off the first of three MCU outings to release this year, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" is, unsurprisingly, another surefire hit. Banding together Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Baby Groot, it's a welcome reunion of unrestrained comedy and adventure. Known ubiquitously as the 'Guardians,' we find our heroes tasked by a group called the 'Sovereign' to protect valuable batteries from an inter-dimensional creature. <Cue music> Like its predecessor, the film thrives on classic oldies, some intentionally less familiar than others. But this time around, Gunn opts for slower ballads, in turn missing a level of energy that emboldened the first one. Fortunately for us, the humor remains intact, utilizing each character to the best of their strengths, or in some cases, their weaknesses. Despite a cynical raccoon (aka "trash panda") and newly reborn tree being, the funniest of the bunch is none other than Drax the Destroyer. David Bautista is an irrepressible riot, becoming the bedrock that coincidentally unifies the characters. As relations are ultimately tested and frayed, 'family' becomes the overarching thematic, particularly for our lead hero. Kurt Russell joins the cast as Quill's (Star- Lord) father Ego, a seemingly remorseful yet powerful being. With motives unknown and a strained reconciliation, the film gradually becomes a retrospect of father and son. As a result, it's a slower build-up than before, spotlighting again the problem with most Marvel flicks: uninteresting villains. But Gunn makes up for it with spectacular visual effects, expanding the unexplored universe with colorful imagination. The aging effect, notably, is probably the best we've seen yet, and a stellar indication of just how far we've come in technology. While "Vol. 2" may not be the superior sequel that we hoped for, it definitely substantiates it's not just a one hit wonder. Note to the wise: hang tight until the very end to be treated by not 1, not 2 but 5 end credit scenes. (Thanks James Gunn.)

Rating: 4 stars
 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story





Release Date: Dec 16, 2016 
Runtime: 2 hr. 13 min. 
Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Alan Tudyk, Mads Mikkelsen,
Forest Whitaker.

It goes without saying there's always a palpable energy when it comes to anything "Star Wars:" the intro, the score, and of course, the conflict. And if "The Force Awakens" was any indication of renewed nostalgia, "Rogue One" is the next best thing in this ongoing saga. Being the first in a planned anthology series, the film has its advantages of being independent from the canon. While it is technically a prequel to "A New Hope," "Rogue One" delivers an untold narrative – ultimately feeling fresh and new as a solid stand-alone feature. Centering on the Rebels who led the first successful battle against the Galactic Empire, it is, in all essence, a war movie. Packed with action sequences and aerial combat, Director Gareth Edwards pulls out all the stops in this intergalactic adventure. Felicity Jones as the headstrong protagonist is another step forward in gender/diverse casting. Along with the addition of Diego Luna, Donnie Yen and Forest Whitaker, to name a few, "Rogue One" boasts and exceeds much needed diversification. As is such the case, however, the most interesting character is none other than a droid. K-2SO, played by Alan Tudyk, is as cynical and droll as C3PO is affable. His passive aggressive demeanor is a fun counter to Jyn's more defiant nature and, as a result, he receives some of the best lines of the film. A few familiar faces also make timely appearances, as obvious connections to linear storytelling. While the use of CGI is generally beneficial, some scenes can be unnerving and noticeably artificial. Still, "Rogue One" offers a gratifying experience, even if it's a filler before Episode 8. With plenty more stories coming down the pipeline, this will be one that's hard to beat.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

La La Land






Release Date: Dec 09, 2016
Runtime: 2 hr. 7 min.
Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Ryan GoslingEmma StoneJohn Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons.

Rarely has a film been so spellbinding, nostalgic and wondrously inspiriting than "La La Land," a melodic masterpiece destined for the stars. Written and directed by Damien Chazelle and composed by Justin Hurwitz, the duo delivers another knockout production of musical achievement. Whether you enjoy musicals or not, it's hard not to appreciate the gravitational pull of each magical number. Set against iconic landmarks of dreamy Los Angeles, the story of Sebastian and Mia unfolds in conducted succession. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are the defining embodiment of old Hollywood, perfectly paired and evocative of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Where Gosling lacks in vocal strength, he makes up for in charm, while Stone is a bona-fide performer. Together they tackle the pitfalls of love, dreams and everything in between –  a cliched story of sorts if not for the score. Hurwitz's fusion of contemporary and jazz blends seamlessly with topnotch choreography and gorgeous cinematography. Whether it's the captivating melody of "Mia & Sebastian's Theme," the mellow duet of "City of Stars," or even the toe-tapping spectacle of "Someone In The Crowd," the film is not short of memorable tunes. Chazelle directs with effortless precision –  an admirable feat for someone so young. Following the success of "Whiplash" and now this second feature, it's suffice to say he has a promising road ahead. While most great films invoke thought and reflection, not all can quite linger like "La La Land."


 Rating: 5 stars 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them






Release Date:Nov 18, 2016
Runtime:2 hr. 13 min.
Director:David Yates
Cast:Eddie Redmayne, Dan FoglerKatherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton.

It's been 5 years since the conclusion of a beloved franchise, and 5 years since the loss of magical storytelling. But lo and behold, J.K. Rowling proves she still has something up her sleeve, igniting a series bred for a new generation. Preluding the birth of "Harry Potter," we embark on an unforeseen journey with remarkable creatures – "Fantastic Beasts" to be exact. Set in 1926 in New York City, we follow Newt Scamander, a zoologist on a mission to rescue these mythical beasts. Potterheads should be familiar with Newt thanks to the resourcefulness of Rowling, who not only wrote the screenplay but also the 'textbook' that inspired it. It's in this regard that "Beasts" conjures a pleasant familiarity, one only attainable with the help of the author. Eddie Redmayne takes the limelight of the autonomous hero, while Colin Farrell is implied as the underlying villain. Dan Fogler provides the comic relief as the inadvertent sidekick, whose role as No-Maj (muggle) is fortuitous in context. It's a change from trailing students at Hogwarts, moreover, relocating to America to discover a cultural diversity. But while incantations and levitations remain the same, that is where the similarities end. The plot, as a whole, is less thrilling than accustomed, and it's hard not to miss old familiar faces. Newt, while likable and honest in nature, is hard to picture in the long run as a strong protagonist. But hints of a character that's been long forgotten tells us there's more percolating beneath the surface. As protracted secrecy is J.K. Rowling's forte, it'll be interesting to see how this franchise unravels over the course of 5 films. Though "Beasts" is no match for the likes of "Harry Potter," it appears to at least have some budding potential. 

Rating: 3½ stars

Monday, November 28, 2016

Doctor Strange





Release Date:Nov 04, 2016
Runtime:1 hr. 55 min.
Director:Scott Derrickson
Cast:Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads MikkelsenTilda SwintonRachel McAdams, 
Benedict Wong.

We've had weapon specialists and Asgardian gods, super soldiers and extraterrestrials, but the next Marvel adventure transports us beyond the psyche. Entering a world of mysticism and time manipulation, "Doctor Strange" is full of elaborate complexities. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the hero himself, it's a casting match made in heaven akin to Tony Stark. Sharing similar traits of arrogance and charm, Cumberbatch is a brilliant addition to the ever-growing roster. Once a gifted neurosurgeon with no care but his own, an accident leaves him debilitated and bitterly defeated. Following a chance encounter and discovery of a secret sanctum, he gains power unlike any he's had before. Like other Marvel endeavors, the film is thoroughly entertaining, balancing humor with action and onscreen chemistry. But where "Strange" excels is in its visual achievements, twisting worlds upon worlds in a mind-bending experience. Much of it is reminiscent of "Inception," save for the dream realm which is replaced here with teleportation. Tilda Swinton is a perfect gender swapped Ancient One, while Chiwetel Ejiofor adds compassion and ascertainable dimension. Mads Mikkelsen as the villain gets the short end of the stick, with little to no importance or intimidating prowess. As a result, the story is weak at times, though Cumberbatch duly makes up for it with his cocky charisma. In comparison, the score is beautifully crafted by Michael Giacchino, genuinely integral for a supporting role of its own. While "Doctor Strange" may just be another notch in the MCU, the music and visuals make it the most sensorial entry to date. As Phase III has only just begun, it's exciting to see some new life added to the mix.

Rating: 4 stars

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Suicide Squad





Release Date:Aug 05, 2016
Runtime:2 hr. 3 min.
Director:David Ayer
Cast:Will SmithMargot RobbieJared LetoJoel KinnamanJai CourtneyCara Delevingne, Viola Davis, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jay Hernandez, Ike Barinholtz.

It's been an uphill battle for DC Comics, coming off of a lackluster "Batman v Superman" amidst a barrage of hype. And it's been no easy task of fending off Marvel, which has outdone itself in both Netflix and film. Yet "Suicide Squad" imbued a small inkling of hope, touting a power-stacked cast and a reputable director. Its marketing alone was effective to say the least, teasing and coaxing the inner fanboy. But optimism aside, it still wasn't enough to keep "Squad" from falling short of wayward expectations. To start with the positives, it's entertaining for the most part – envisioning characters, old and new, in a psychedelic universe. Embellished in graphics and maniacal in nature, the film veers in its own unique direction. Continuing from where "BvS" left off, a new task force is assembled, employing some of the world's most dangerous criminals. Led by intelligence operative Amanda Waller (Davis) and Colonel Rick Flag (Kinnaman), the team is assigned to battle powers unknown. Will Smith as 'Deadshot' is easily the most recognizable, using his Hollywood stature to domineer the film. As a result, he acquires the most character development, in comparison to others who fall wayside with limited exposure. Cara Delevingne, in particular, is the weak link of the group, as beauty undermines acting suitable for the role. On the flip-side, Jared Leto takes on the titular Joker, having undergone another ultra-dramatic transformation. Over-the-top and excessively unhinged, he's a polarizing rendition that we have seen thus far. Standing alongside the likes of Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, Leto is distinctive, if not unforgettable. Is he the best? Certainly not. But there's a humane side to him that feels new to the role. Margot Robbie, on the other hand, is rather underwhelming, as her wide-eyed lunacy comes off ditzy and superficial. The complexity of Harley Quinn is what makes her appealing and this, unfortunately, is not thoroughly conveyed. So much of the film seems like a missed opportunity and it's a shame, really, to knock it for its delivery. This could be attributed to the editing of the film, with rumors of Ayer being overlooked for a trailer production company. With so much time and effort being spent on visual integrity, the execution suffers greatly, whether ill-advised or intentionally. But if anything else, at least the soundtrack is enjoyable, and there's always those fun, abbreviated trailers. While DC still has a lot of catching up to do, the chance at success may lie near in the future. Next up to the plate: "Wonder Woman."


Rating: 2½ stars

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Furious 7




Release Date: Apr 03, 2015 
Runtime: 2 hr. 17 min. 
Director: James Wan 
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Kurt Russell, Djimon Hounsou,
Tony Jaa.

The "Fast and Furious" franchise has gone through its share of metamorphic changes, from imports to actors to out-of-this-world stunts. But one thing that's stayed true has been its affinity towards family a notion more applicable now with the unfortunate passing of Paul Walker. In spite of the hardships, the series has endured for this reason or another, and the latest installment is a testament to that sentimental value. As a continuation from "Fast & Furious 6" and, in turn, "Tokyo Drift," the gang is now being hunted by the brother of Owen Shaw (Luke Evans.) Jason Statham joins the cast of automotive villains, as an ex-special forces operative with an appetite for vengeance. Unlike previous adversaries before him, he's a physicality to be dealt with, proving to be a match for even Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. In a chase that spans the world from LA to Abu Dhabi, the action stakes are higher than ever before. Airdrops and building jumps are only the tip of the iceberg, as James Wan pulls out all the stops in this high-octane frenzy. Just as improbability takes the forefront in every action sequence, the emotional ties are visible in every heartfelt conversation. Using a reverential combination of CGI and body doubles of his siblings, Walker gets a proper sendoff in his final performance. Alongside those who that have stood by his side including some old from "Furious" past his story comes full circle in a gratifying way. With parallels to the first film, as well as its successors, there's a sense of nostalgia deep beneath the surface. Of course, the plot itself is not as equally substantial, as additional narratives further complicate the matter. But Wan does a good job of carrying on the torch, taking over for Justin Lin who has directed the previous four films. At the end of the day, it's the fond memories that will ceremoniously live on though live on it shall in at least two more sequels.

Rating: 4 stars

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service






Release Date: Feb 13, 2015 
Runtime: 2 hr. 9 min. 
Director: Matthew Vaughn 
Cast: Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine, Mark Strong, Mark Hamill.

Mix 007 with a shot of manic adrenaline and you get "Kingsman," a rollicking spy flick with a gory twist. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, the visionary behind "Kick-Ass," it's another hyper-stylized thrill ride that rallies to please. Paying homage to past films and current alike, there's a little something for anyone who's seeking a mindless escape. Starring a usually debonair Colin Firth as a lethal secret agent, it's his unexpected swagger that irrevocably steals the spotlight. Eradicating bad guys in a methodical manner, he joins the ranks of Liam Neeson in gentlemen turned rogue. Rounding out the cast are other notable Britsthe always respectable Michael Caine and invariable Mark Strong. They add a broadened sophistication that complements the tone, while concurrently conflicting with the more graphic elements of the film. If you're familiar with "Kick-Ass," then that should come as no surprise, as Vaughn outshines at crafting artful violence. The accelerated scenes are exhilarating to watch, though not always on par with the occasional wane in story. As for the eminent villain, it's a subjective hit or miss, as Samuel L. Jackson takes on a particularly quirky persona. While befitting for a comedy, his character here feels out of place neither iconic nor memorable as Bond antagonists typically go. Nonetheless, "Kingsman" is the first real fun of the year, a good precursor to the summer ahead of us. As Vaughn has already stated the possibility of a sequel, this could be the new era of British intelligence.

Rating: 3½ stars

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1





Release Date: Nov 21, 2014 
Runtime: 2 hr. 3 min. 
Director: Francis Lawrence 
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Natalie Dormer, Jeffrey Wright.

She's been hunted, demoralized, and enveloped by fire, but Katniss Everdeen's greatest challenges have yet to be materialized. In part 1 of the finale in "The Hunger Games" series, propaganda takes the forefront in the fight against the Capitol. Touting the 'Mockingjay' symbol as the leader of hope, Jennifer Lawrence continues her role as the catalyst of the films. It's through her perseverance the story cultivates the most interest, though not enough to warrant a 2-part summation. What starts out as a cry for urgent revolution leisurely meanders into 2 hrs of idle preparation. This is mostly in part due to the languid source materialthe third book, personally, being the weakest in the dystopian trilogy. As it's the slow buildup before the imminent warfare, there's not much to be seen in active battle. But if there's one thing that Francis Lawrence adds as director, it's the multiple facets other than just Katniss' point of view. By integrating scenes not previously actualized in the book, the film brings tension in otherwise placid of moments. Jennifer Lawrence, conjointly, delivers an arresting performance, baring her soul in the aftermath of the games and fall of District 12. Normally levelheaded, she takes a turn for the worst, as she attempts to regain her sanity and adapt to new bearings. Josh Hutcherson similarly makes use of his time, eliciting a raw facade never seen before. Albeit, the film no longer focuses solely on their wayward romance, they still hold a prominence when it comes to engaging the viewer. As "Part 1" comes to a close leaving much to be desired, there's at least solace in knowing the general premise of "Part 2." Given that all of the games has led to this moment, expectations are ripe for a blazing showdown.

Rating: 3 stars

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Interstellar





Release Date: Nov 07, 2014
Runtime: 2 hr. 49 min. 
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, Wes Bentley, Matt Damon, John Lithgow.

When Christopher Nolan stated that "Interstellar" would be his most ambitious film to date, he certainly wasn't exaggerating. Dealing with space-time continuum, gravitational singularity, fifth dimensional probability, and the fate of mankind, the influx of information can challenge even the most scientific of minds. Yet through it all, he delivers another transcendent experienceone that truly captures the mysteries of the galaxies beyond our reach. Boasting an all-star cast led by Matthew McConaughey, the film probes the question of life after Earth. It's a meticulous exploration of human survivalone that takes ample years in the making, and hours upon hours of viewing. Nolan takes us on a spatial journey of unfathomable beauty, from our blight-stricken planet to otherworldly terrains. While the grand scale of it all is visually compelling, it's the small hope for humanity that ultimately shoulders the story. McConaughey gives an affecting performance as a NASA pilot turned farmer turned planetary savior. His personal odyssey is filled with tangible emotions, and draws you in much like the elusive black hole. To that point, the science is undoubtedly an impressive element of the film, based on actual research done by theoretical physicist Kip Thorne. With so much of the unknown still left to be discovered, it's a fascinating glimpse into the possibilities of existence. This, in turn, bolstered by the thunderous sound and score, makes it as much of a physical interaction as it is cerebral. But be that as it may, the film still has its minor eccentricities, specifically when it comes to interpreting the ending. There's a fine line between fact and fiction, and another between imagination and implausibility. With Nolan choosing to objectify the latter, it somewhat compromises the plot line from having a greater impact. Regardless, "Interstellar" is definitively a cinematic achievement, one to be fully appreciated in the grandeur of IMAX. Though the future of space travel is yet to be determined, the film's thought-provoking questions may someday lead to our answers.

Rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

John Wick






Release Date: Oct 24, 2014 
Runtime: 1 hr. 41 min. 
Director: David Leitch, Chad Stahelski 
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Willem Dafoe, Adrianne Palicki, Alfie Allen, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, Bridget Moynahan.

Keanu Reeves isn't exactly known for giving scintillating performances generally ranging from monotonous to befuddled to downright apathetic. But there seems to be one definitive state that suits him effectively and it's an all-encompassed rage as an accidentally-wronged assassin. Starring as the titular "John Wick," aka the 'Boogeyman,' Reeves marks a dynamic return as a legitimate action star. Former stunt coordinators David Leitch and Chad Stahelski make their directorial debut in this vengeance-themed rampage filled with satisfying brutality. Steeped in gun fights and head shots staged with rhythmic choreography, "John Wick" is simply and foremost an action film. Forget any character arcs, climactic developments, or even a dignifying motive, it's the full throttle fights that are the defining characteristics. Reeves ignites at procuring massive body counts one shot never enough to take down an opponent. His meticulous nature is enhanced by his stoic disposition, for once playing more to his strength than his usual weakness. The world he inhabits is equally enthralling, a hidden society of killers in a posh environment. Not a minute ticks by without an energizing blow, or a lack of a corpse for that matter. Yet given the brevity of his return, there may be more to the story, as the doors are left open for a (potential?) franchise. Revenge comes in all shapes and forms but now most will know it by the name of "John Wick."

Rating: 4 stars