Hitman: Agent 47

August 21, 2015 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto
Directed by: Aleksander Bach (debut)
Written by: Skip Woods (“Hitman”) and Michael Finch (“The November Man”)

Look, I don’t really know much about video games these days, but I do know that the relationship between games and films—consisting of films based on games or vice-versa—is one of missed opportunities, half-assed hack jobs, and marred by some of the worst examples of either genre. Foregoing the film-to-games side of the equation, of which the only positive example is “GoldenEye 64,” let’s turn to the list of lame to terrible movies made from video games, like “Super Mario Bros.,” “Street Fighter,” “Doom,” and, well, every single other adaptation you can think of. The latest game-to-movie adaptation to leap out of consoles and into theaters is “Hitman: Agent 47,” a second try at crafting a cinematic adventure from a pixelated bucket of generic crap like genetically-modified assassins, shadowy organizations staffed with blindly-loyal cannon fodder, and robotically-efficient hitmen differentiated with tattooed bar codes.

Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) is an emotionless killing machine, engineered from childhood to be an assassin for one of the aforementioned shadowy organization known as The Agency and to fight a different shadowy organization known as The Syndicate—and no, not the same one from “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.” 47 is sent to kill Katia (Hannah Ware), a young woman searching for a mysterious man she knows nothing about. Katia is intercepted by John Smith (Zachary Quinto), another mysterious stranger who tells her the man he is looking for is her father, and he is the man behind the Agent program that created 47 and numerous other Agents. Punch punch shoot, chase chase, helicopter explodes, maybe one cool action sequence, yawn.

In 2007, Timothy Olyphant, an actual charismatic actor, played 47 and no one cared. Desperate to try again on the franchise (for some reason) Fox originally tapped the late Paul Walker as the new 47. With the star’s tragic death in 2013, the studio decided to forge ahead anyway with whoever looked good with their head shaved and settled on “Homeland’s” Rupert Friend, who leaves no impression whatsoever, just like the rest of the movie. Quinto tries to have some fun, but the nonsensical screenplay strands him in a plot turn that gives him nothing to do but chase after Friend and Ware. Ciaran Hinds, lately of “Game of Thrones,” also shows up for a little while, but nothing means anything and as soon as the credits roll, the whole movie slips from your memory, like hitting the reset button on your video game console.

Star Trek Into Darkness

May 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Kiko

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch
Directed by: J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek”)
Written by: Roberto Orci (“Star Trek”), Alex Kurtzman (“Star Trek”) and Damon Lindelof (“Prometheus”)

Already having given audiences the best “Mission Impossible” film of the series with the third installment in 2006 and the best “Star Trek” movie with his hip revamp in 2009, director J.J. Abrams attempts to top himself again by joining up with the Starship Enterprise in “Star Trek Into Darkness,” a solid follow-up to Abrams’ first foray into space seven years ago. It’s more proof that you don’t have to be a Klingon-speaking geekboy to find this franchise one of the more fascinating big-budget sci-fi projects to hit the mainstream in the last four or five years.

Of course, if you are one of those hardcore “Star Trek” fans that won’t be happy with the shape of Mr. Spock’s ears in comparison to Leonard Nimoy’s or looking forward to nitpicking any number of creative choices Abrams makes that are different from the original TV show, then it’s probably best if you stay home and Netflix “The Trouble with Tribbles.” This isn’t your grandfather’s “Star Trek.” For those interested in another fresh take from Abrams and have the open-mindedness to let things go, then “Into Darkness” just might be the popcorn movie of the pre-summer.

Working loosely off 1982’s “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” which is what most “Star Trek” aficionados agree is the best of the original films, we join the crew of the Enterprise as they search for John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), a former commander who has gone rogue. On his trail and reprising their roles from the 2009 film are Chris Pine as Capt. Kirk, who was recently relieved and then reinstated as Captain; Zachary Quinto as Mr. Spock; Zoe Saldana as Uhura; Karl Urban as Bones; Simon Pegg as Scotty; John Cho as Sulu; Anton Yelchin as Chekov; and Alice Eve as new and attractive science officer Carol Marcus. When they catch up to Harrison on a Klingon planet, the crew is shocked to learn there is more to their manhunt than simply eliminating a powerful villain.

Aside from the outstanding action sequences and set pieces that packed its predecessor, “Into Darkness” also takes an effective emotional turn with the relationship between Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock. Kirk’s massive ego and bullheaded nature and Spock’s reluctance to break regulation frame their interaction very well. Pine and Quinto once again take command of the characters in the same way William Shatner and Nimoy did in the late 60s. Sorry, purists, but those roles are theirs now.

With today’s technology catching up to Gene Roddenberry’s creation, the universe feels even more volatile, which makes for an exciting adventure with this crew. Who knows how long Abrams will stay on board (now that he’s been dubbed to lead the new “Star Wars” movie in 2015), but he’s laid some great groundwork for a dozen more and has taken the storytelling to a place few directors have gone before.

Star Trek

May 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana
Directed by: J.J. Abrams (“Mission: Impossible 3”)
Written by: Roberto Orci (“Transformers”) and Alex Kurtzman (“Tranformers”)

Welcome me with open arms Trekkies worldwide.

While I may not know the difference between photon and polaron torpedoes and can’t speak a lick of Klingon, the new J.J. Abrams-helmed “Star Trek” has created a new fan – at least of the most recent film.

Commanding the Starship Enterprise is a young James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), the son of a former captain whose reign was short-lived after being attacked by a Romulan ship the night his wife gave birth to James. Leading the enemy ship throughout the film is Nero (an unrecognizable Eric Bana), a Romulan who wants nothing more than to make anyone he comes in contact with suffer, especially the Vulcan race.

The back stories to the most influential characters of the series, including Kirk, Spock, and “Bones” McCoy are extremely fascinating. Give credit to screenwriting team Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman of the overblown “Transformers” movie for reenergizing this franchise. With so much material to work with in “Star Trek” folklore, Orci and Kurtzman do well in dabbling in both the old and the new aspects of what has made the franchise popular for so long.

As the new half human-half Vulcan Spock, actor Zachary Quinto is spot on, not only with his pointy-eared look but when what he brings to the character. The scenes he shares with the original Spock (Leonord Nimoy) are well-written and fit in nicely with the new story. The most important thing about this small cameo is that Nimoy doesn’t feel like he was thrown in as a gimmick. His contribution to the film is integral and Abrams uses the short time he has with him to expand the story by light years.

Once Kirk enlists in the Starfleet, “Star Trek” never lingers. It’s an extraordinary action film complete with impressive special effects and solid performances by the entire cast.