Furious 7 provides thrills, spills, and a surprisingly moving farewell (RIP, Paul Walker)

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

Fast cars and beautiful women. Gunfights in exotic locales. You could be talking of any one of half a dozen franchises: Mission: Impossible, James Bond. They all offer similar thrills and spills, albeit in hugely different styles.

Kingsman: The Secret Service goes to top of the (working) class

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

Remember when spy movies were silly and fun?

Long before Daniel Craig’s brooding, psychologically complex 007, Sean Connery “yellowed up” to take on a scar-faced megalomaniacal villain in his hidden volcano base, George Lazenby went undercover at an alpine base filled with a bevy of (non-allergenic) beauties, Roger Moore headed into space to battle a metal-mouthed giant (alongside the unlikely named Holly Goodhead), and Timothy Dalton, well, he mostly brooded too.…

Fury is a war film full of sound and signifying a lot

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

Is there anything quite so cinematic as war? The mud, the blood, the bullets, the explosions; the scale, the intimacy; the stakes, both large and small.

An elegantly uniformed rider on a pale horse makes his way through a graveyard of shattered military hardware.…

The Equalizer is a fairly brutal middle-of-the-road actioner

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

The major issue that almost every attempt to adapt beloved ‘80s TV franchises to the big screen is tone.

Michael Mann’s Miami Vice might have had cigarette boats and more suit jacket-t-shirt combos than you can shake a brick (of coke) at, but, amidst all the neo-noir stylings, it lost it sense of cool.…

A Walk Among the Tombstones makes for a forgettable ramble

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

What’s become of Liam Neeson?

The aquiline Northern Irishman, best known for the likes Schindler’s List, Michael Collins, and Kinsey, became an unlikely action hero when, at the age of fifty-six, he starred in the Luc Besson-produced Taken.…

Godzilla (2014) is like a storm on the horizon

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

How many films is it possible to make about a giant rampaging lizard?

An idea may be all in the execution – after all, how many films can you make about a Walther-packing, martini-swilling super-spy? – but the need to have buildings crumble and people scream surely serves as something of a limiting factor.…

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit fails to fully surface

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

Has ever a hero been rebooted as repeatedly and with little aplomb as Jack Ryan? From Sean Connery-starrer Hunt for the Red October back in 1990 through to the present day, Tom Clancy’s best-known protagonist has grossed more than half a billion dollars.…

Schwarzenegger & Stallone are expendable in lightweight prison actioner Escape Plan

2 Stars (2 / 5)

 

Prison Break meets The Expendables.

Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger work together as a mumbling, droopy-eyed escape artist-cum-protagonist and a hulking, silver-haired Austrian crook – not much of a change apart from the professions.

The high-tech panopticon in which they find themselves imprisoned is an impressive technical feat; though the eponymous escape plan is a fairly nuts-and-bolts affair.

2 Guns is a throwaway summer fling of reputable caliber

3 Stars (3 / 5)

Denzel Washington and Mark Walhberg banter with friendly acrimony, speed around in a variety of cars, and generally blow shit up. If you like the sound of that, you’ll probably get on with 2 Guns.

Washington is winningly cool as Bobby Trench, Wahlberg likeably guileless as Michael Stigman – two law enforcement officers who end up undercover and unaware of the other’s background – the type of character types both actors have built careers around playing.…