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Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – Edward Zwick (2016)

Another Reacher produced by Tom Cruise and with Cruise in the main part. This time Reacher is not hunted by his former colleagues, at least, not from the start. He is in contact with his follower who is sucked into a scandal around two dead soldiers. Reacher sets out to help her.

There is some drama added with a girl that is either or not Reacher’s daughter. For the rest, a Cruise-type action film with a one man army, chasing scenes, shootouts and the whole shebang.

Pinocchio – Guillermo del Toro (2022)

Even though the film is said to be entirely stop-motion, it looks like an animation. Del Toro got a star cast including Ewan MacGregor, Christoph Walz, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton and of course Ron Perlman, to do the voices. Also Del Toro brought fascism in the story. This time not in Spain, but in Italy.

I suppose you know the story. A father looses his son and after years of grief, he creates a wooden boy out of the tree that his son planted. The boy is gifted a soul and Pinocchio becomes the new son.

In Del Toro’s film, Pinocchio is picked up by a circus and goes to perform for “Il Duce”, Benito Musselini. Pinocchio insults Il Duce and has to flee. Meanwhile his father tries to get his son back.

The film is a bit of an animation musical, aimed too much at children for my liking, but not boring.

The Fall Guy – David Leitch (2024)

When I saw the trailer, I thought (hoped) “The Fall Guy” would be a bit of a “Bullet Train“. Now I see both are from the same director.

“The Fall Guy” is more of an action romcom though, too romcom for my liking. The movie is an ode to the stunt people of Hollywood too. Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) is the stunt double for Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), rapidly rising Hollywood star.

Seavers has a crush on Jody (Emily Blunt), formerly camera woman, nowadays director. This makes a large and not too interesting part of the story.

Ryder goes missing from the set and Seavers is sent out to find him, but Ryder does not want to be found and so you get a lot of action scenes and a descent ‘whodunnit’ story.

Not boring, but it seems to me that Leitch aimed for a larger and more general audience with his latest film.

Antebellum – Bush & Renz (2020)

Apparently playing before the American Civil War (antebellum) in the time of Confederation and in the present time, we follow Eden/Veronica as a slave on a cotton farm and as a successful author and speaker for black women rights.

The antebellum scenes show the brutality with which the white man ruled over the black. In the present day scenes we see a well off black woman, but in the background racism always plays. Obviously the makers of the film tried to connect the present to the past.

Presented as a horror, I find the film more of a drama with some thriller elements. Even though the antebellum scenes are certainly uncomfortable, over all I do not find the film particularly good.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga – George Miller (2024)

  • action

At least this second Mad Max revamp is again from the original director. As the title suggests, this time there is no character called “Mad Max” as there was in “Fury Road“.

As it should be in a Mad Max film, we are looking at a dystopian future in which violent gangs with monstrous vehicles fight over water and gazoline. Early in the film, a girl is kidnapped from an oasis and held captive by the frivolous gang leader Dementus (Chris Hemsworth). By the time she grows up, “Furiosa” is played by Anya Taylor Joy who -needless to say- has the role a revenging one girl army. Well, perhaps not entirely one girl.

Miller again presents enormous monster trucks, hundreds of motor bikes, weird gang members and brutal villains driving through vast deserts with here and there an industrial stronghold. Again there is not too much of a story and again the movie is fairly enjoyable, but not as great as the originals.

Geostorm – Dean Devlin (2017)

Mankind messed up preventing climate change and the earth is terrorised by extreme weather. An elaborate system is developed where thousands and thousands of satellites interfere when -for example- a hurricane develops. That way the weather is ‘perfect’ everywhere.

The film is -of course- about the malfunctioning of that system. Ice in Afghanistan, bursting earth in Hong Kong. The man who developed the system has to get back to space to find out what goes wrong.

The film is alright, but towards the end, it takes a deep dive.

The Thomas Crown Affair – John McTiernan (1999)

  • crime

In the time that Pierce Brosnan also played James Bond, he also played Thomas Crown. A similar part, but in a way, here he is the ‘bad guy’.

Thomas Crown is an extremely rich business man with a love of art. As a sort of game, he decides to steal a painting of Monet from a museum that he visits daily. One of the investigators of the heist is Catherine Banning (Rene Russo), a self-certain employer of the insurance company that insured the Monet for $ 100 million that they rather not pay.

Banning quickly finds out that Crown got his hands on the painting and in a way of testing who is the most cunning, the two start to grow closer and closer. The film is not so much a ‘whodunnit’, but rather a ‘who is going to win’. The result is an amusing crime movie.

Ninja Assassin – James McTeigue (2009)

I was reading a book about Chinese and Japanese traditional religion and this film was mentioned as having authentic elements, so I gave it a go.

In a fairly typical story we follow Raizo who has been trained brutally in a Ninja school since he was a kid. We follow him in these early days of harsh training and in the present time as an unconquerable fighter gone rogue. I do not think I need to say that he is out for revenge on his former master and that he former fellow students are after him to get rid of the problem.

The film is not too bad.

The One – James Wong (2001)

Sci-fi kong-fu action. Not too bad even.

There are many parallel universes and there is a possibility to travel between them. One guy finds out that when he kills another version of himself in another multiverse, he gets stronger. Needless to say that he sets out to kill all his other selves in order to become “the one”.

Transporter 2 – Louis Leterrier (2005)

A Jason Stratham action. That says enough, does it not?

Stratham is a driver who drives a kid to school and back. it soon becomes clear that he only does so in between other jobs. He is indeed a transporter, but of another kind.

The kid gets kidnapped and Stratham turns into the one man army to retrieve the kid.