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Non-Review Review: Riddick

Riddick is remarkably candid about the trouble with The Chronicles of Riddick. Somewhere,” Riddick tells us in his introductory monologue, “I lost my way.” The movie sees Riddick trying to get back to his roots – literally and figuratively. He abandons the trappings of The Chronicles of Riddick, casting Karl Urban aside after little more than a cameo and a convoluted back story. He longs to return home.And, in a way, he does.

Eschewing the scale of The Chronicles of Riddick, the movie finds Riddick and the crews of two ships locked in combat on the surface of a planet, discovering that the elements are against them – and the monsters hiding therein. The movie is acutely aware of how tightly it’s mirroring Pitch Black. At one point, before an alien onslaught begins, one co-star asks how many survivors emerged from the crash at the start of Pitch Black. “As many as are in this room,” Riddick replies, underscoring the similarities.

However, Riddick is strongest when it tries to recapture the mood of Pitch Black, rather than trying to connect more directly with its predecessors. The decision to hang the back story of the film on a minor character from a movie released a decade ago feels like a miscalculation, and the movie’s introduction suffers from an indecisiveness about whether it’s breaking free of or following on from its direct predecessor.

Apocalypse how?

Apocalypse how?

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Non-Review Review: RED 2

Red 2 is a stronger film than Red, although it’s still not quite a wholly satisfying cinematic experience. There’s a certain charm to watching all these veteran stars reuniting on the screen together, with a considerably lighter touch than The Expendables. What’s interesting about Red 2 isn’t a dearth of good ideas or interesting hooks in the set-up of this sequel, it’s just a littler rushed, a little unfocused, a little disjointed. However, Red 2 generally moves so fast that these problems never quite reach critical mass. The result is more-than-occasionally great fun, but also just a little too light for its own good.

Growing old disgracefully...

Growing old disgracefully…

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Watch! New Star Trek: Into Darkness International Trailer!

The release of Star Trek: Into Darkness is getting closer and closer. So Paramount have released a new international trailer for the highly anticipated sequel. It has everything. Hints about the character played by Benedict Cumberbatch… who might actually be an original character, or at least not a notable pre-existing one! Peter Weller being all stern and awesome! (Although it does make me worry about the absence of Bruce Greenwood.) Anger! Explosions! Uniforms that look like affectionate nods to the decidedly seventies design seen only in Star Trek: The Motion Picture! Cumberbatch being ominously evil! Gratuitous shots of Alice Eve in her underwear, for some reason! Truly something for everyone.

We’ll be doing a whole month of Star Trek related fun to celebrate the release in May, so check back then for more!

Annihilators (Review/Retrospective)

It’s a bit of a shame that Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s run on Marvel’s “cosmic” comics ended up ending like this – whimpering away rather than finishing with a bang. The pair have been responsible for one of the most cohesive and entertaining aspects of Marvel’s publishing line over the past half-decade, producing some of the best events in recent years, and even providing the Guardians of the Galaxy run that will (apparently) inspire the upcoming blockbuster. I sincerely hope to see an omnibus collection of that run. However, Lanning and Abnett seem to fade from the scene, following up the climax to their cosmic events, The Thanos Imperative, with two Annihilators miniseries, the second of which didn’t sell well enough to merit a hardcover collection.

It’s a bit of a shame because, despite some admittedly serious flaws, their Annihilators four-issue miniseries actually has a lot of promise, and is something I wouldn’t have objected to seeing extended past the two miniseries.

Talk about an Ikon-oclast…

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Non-Review Review: Dredd (3D)

It’s hard not to admire the modesty of Dredd 3D. The film doesn’t mess about, and it never aspires to be more than it is. Rather than trying to be anything more creative or important, director Pete Travis has opted to tell a relatively straight-forward action adventure that just happens to be set in the fascinating Mega-City One starring the delightfully straight-forward Judge Dredd. Dredd isn’t trying to save the world, to quell a rebellion or to embark on an epic quest. He’s just tied up in a murder investigation that went bad. Real bad.

In many ways the movie resembles its protagonist – for better or worse. It’s blunt, simplistic and ruthlessly conventional. It’s also violent, efficient and never anything less than what it claims to be.

Hm. We never quite find out if he has helmet hair.

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