John Wick returns for another action packed and fun sequel. The gun-fu series now sees John Wick on the outs from his previous masters. The film hosts some very beautiful aesthetics as we see John evading harm on the gritty streets of New York. The fight scenes and shootouts are still a blast to watch. Well choreographed and filmed martial arts is hard to come by and continues to be a front and center staple for this entry. John Wick’s mastery of close quarters combat is a delight to watch and I don’t see myself ever growing tired of. New notable characters played by Halle Berry and the Asia Kate Dillon (Billions) are a welcome addition.
Yet one of my favorite entries had to be from the introduction of a tag team duo of killer dogs being commanded by Sofia(Berry). Bringing into the fold a genre I didn’t even think was possible– Dog-fu? The series itself seems to have begun developing an ever expanding lore of its own. The John Wick series never seems to rest on it laurels. A growing number of antagonists and allies continue to give myself and audiences a reason to cheer. With the impressive ability to make me root for foes just as easily as friends; John Wick still has a lot of gas in its tanks.
Self/Less is a film which reminds you constantly not to suspend belief. The plot in Self/Less isn’t bad in itself but paired with bad writing/dialogue and a flat performance from Ryan Reynolds it pushes the film from being a promising B- film to a soulless cash in on tried formulas. An over reliance on action movie tropes ,such as exaggerated military training capabilities, makes Self/Less fall into the category of outright silliness at times.
Characters behave and react to events in illogical and absurd manners. We are treated with a relatively disappointing and weakly written female supporting roles in a post-Mad Max society. A thoroughly unscientific plot attempts to prove that it is grounded but falls painstakingly short and expounds the gullible nature of Ryan’s on-screen “wife” even further. What could have been embraced as a distant undiscovered possibility is squandered by unconvincing narrative.
This movie had an intriguing premise which would be better suited to relish in its obscurity. It focuses on tried and overused devices in Hollywood filmmaking. With a lack of rational characters and motives, Self/Less fumbles while searching for it’s identity. While there is an obvious protagonist and antagonist, there really shouldn’t be. The audience is essentially forced into an opinion which would be fine if there was some sort of reasonable payoff.
We are given a glimpse about a debate on who is really right and wrong but ultimately do not care due to lack of execution. Self/Less isn’t a terrible movie but it certainly isn’t one that treats its audience as though they are remotely intelligent.
Hiding behind a desk you frantically attempt to craft a weapon that can increase your chances for what is to come. You listen intently for what danger lies in the dark. Confronting your enemies won’t always work. Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that survival is the only real goal. The Last of Us is a game about survival, friendship, and the acceptance that in this phenomenal universe there is nothing either good or bad. The story of The Last of Us is a huge departure from Naughty Dog’s previous titles.
Where the Uncharted serious is known for its amazing set pieces, action sequences, witty dialogue, and Raiders of The Lost Ark type characters-TLOU goes for the complete opposite. The story is paced deliberately and slowly. The world is extremely grim at times with small segments of humor but it is constantly overshadowed by the characters of the game. Who are basically only in it for one thing; Themselves. TLOU spans about a year traveling across the U.S. Joel and Ellie the main characters of the game are fantastic contrast to each other. Joel only talks when he really needs to. Ellie can’t seem to stop talking. She is a curious and brash kid who was born into the horrible world. Ellie meets Joel and and they soon find themselves on an expedition across vast dangerous lands.
The game-play in TLOU is truly a masterpiece. Never has a game felt so right while being so incredibly lopsided. The infected in the game can kill you in seconds. Every decision you make is vital to your survival. Where most games give you a certain sense of invulnerability. TLOU forces you to quickly react to a situation or meet a gruesome and gory death. Bullets are scarce and you have to manage your resources. The suspense I felt from every encounter was nothing I’ve felt in a long time. The sound in this game incredible. Every gunshot ripped through the darkness of the world with an authentic punch.
Ambiance in the environment and sound effects for things such as footsteps was top notch. Listening for clickers(type of infected in the game) or bandits was stressful and a legitimate real tactic, I’ve never seen done so effectively before. When game-play mechanics revolve around the sound design you know you have something special. The voice actors did an incredible job and you actually care about these characters. Not to mention the downright mind blowing soundtrack. The story of The Last of us draws you in, the game-play continually impresses over and over, and the characters stay with you long after your done. All we can do now is hope the series continues in some form on PS4.