Train to Busan

Train to Busan

I’ve seen the film Train to Busan make waves in my country recently. But this was well after I’d already seen this film with my friends in the native[Korean] language with subs. So I don’t have any clue of how the dubbed version is, but I can tell you about the original.

Due to some unknown reason, animals have started mutating into the undead fast, and through the death of a human, this very same contamination has entered the human population as well. Meanwhile, Seok Woo is being tormented by his kid daughter Soo-an of about 10 years of age, to meet her mother, who has been estranged from Seok for some time. He finally decides to take Soo-an to her mother, and also have a heart-to-heart discussion with her about their future. They get on the express train to Busan, only to hear on the news being telecast in the train compartments about the undead apocalypse that has unleashed itself over the country. What’s worse is that one of the undead sneaks into a compartment and kills a person, who soon turns into an undead as well. And with some good ol’ geometric progression, it’s only a matter of minutes before the train is swelling with hordes of the undead, and with Seok and his daughter caught in a battle for survival along with the remaining passengers: a middle-aged man with his pregnant wife, some students on a sports trip, a political bigshot and such. Watch as the lot of them try to do everything in their power to survive the undead apocalypse.

Image result for train to busan

The story is pretty generic and adds nothing new to the zombie-horror genre. The progression is pretty predictable as well, sort of. But the setting is really well done, I haven’t yet seen any zombie film shot in a train, and this novelty works for me. Far as character building goes, Yoo Gong playing the estranged husband and father of a 10-year old girl, is marvelous. His transformation from an apathetic person to a better one, is great to behold. Too bad I really couldn’t sympathize with any other characters[except for the political bigwig who showed the best survival instincts in all horror films I’ve seen]. The husband and pregnant wife were good in their roles, but I was truly pained by the whiny kiddo. And the students felt halfway like extras to me.

Train to Busan works better as a thriller film than a horror flick. There aren’t many scary instances in the film, but there are many scenes where your heart races for the survivors, especially the one where they are in the same compartment as the undead, and are trying to sneak out when the train passes through a tunnel. It’s moments like these which make this film a good one.

If only Train to Busan had a better plot, it would have probably been a revolutionary film in the zombie setting. Watch it if you like zombie-flicks in general, or thrillers for that instance.

RATING : 7/10

PROS :
– setting
– genuinely thrilling instances
– the lead and one other character are great

CONS :
– uninspiring and somewhat predictable storyline
– supporting roles aren’t good by any stretch of imagination

JACK REACHER : NEVER GO BACK

JACK REACHER : NEVER GO BACK

The much-awaited movie sequel of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series is back again, with Tome Cruise reprising his role as The Man. This time with Lee’s book Never Go Back as the source material. And since this film has released a week after Ben Affleck’s The Accountant, it is only fair to say that there are going to be comparisons between the two, what with both being of the same genre. So how does Jack Reacher 2 fare?

Never Go Back begins with ex-MP Jack Reacher going to visit Major Susan Turner, only to find out there that she has been arrested for leaking army secrets to the enemy, and is to be tried by the army court for espionage. Also, Jack is informed of a paternity lawsuit which had been filed against him during his absence. Leaving the lawsuit aside, Jack Reacher tries to find out more details about the warrant against Maj. Turner from her lawyer. And thus he discovers the reasons behind Turner’s arrest; the deaths of two officers under her command in the Middle East under shady circumstances. The true shocker comes next; the lawyer gets murdered by an unknown person, and the blame ends up falling on Reacher. Now Jack Reacher has to find some evidence to exonerate him and Turner from any crimes, while at the same time searching for the real killers.

Image result for jack reacher 2

Now, I myself have read only Killing Floor by Lee Child, but if that book is anything to go by, then I’m forced to infer that the plot has been dumbed down by a substantial extent. In this respect, I think the first film Jack Reacher was way better in terms of atmosphere and story than the sequel. Never Go Back could have been so much better if it hadn’t tried to pull off what seemed like a way too convoluted story which wasn’t really getting anywhere, to be honest.

Far as acting is concerned, Tom Cruise in the titular role of Reacher does a good job of course, but again, I liked him better in the first installment. And the Mission Impossible series, if I can count that too. Cobie Smulders as Maj. Susan Turner gets a substantial role in the film, and does a nice job too. Danika Yarosh as Reacher’s daughter[or not] does well too, although some of her actions in the film itself seem borderline retarded, which makes her character come across as somewhat of a pain in the backside sometimes. There isn’t much to complain about regarding the film’s antagonist either, played by Patrick Heusinger. Overall, I’m getting at the fact that acting isn’t an issue in this film. And the action scenes and stunts are probably some of the better parts of the movie. I especially liked the sound of the guns blasting away; it was reminiscent of Battlefield games, which are famous for their sound effects, if nothing else.

So, how does Jack Reacher : Never Go Back compare to other movies of the same genre? That is the film’s true weak point; it isn’t different enough from other action thrillers to stand on its own. Watch the film if you are a Tom Cruise fan; and don’t watch it if you have read the book already because I’m assuming it must have been way better than the film, what with the plot elements feeling toned down way too much and all.

RATING : 6.9/10

PROS :
– good acting
– solid action scenes and sound effects

CONS :
– story feels too unnecessarily convoluted and dumber down at the same time
– not too different from other action films
– first installment was way better

 

 

INSIDE

INSIDE

It has been some time since I’ve played any games, let alone indie games. So I myself wanted to try out something new, and picked up Inside. So, how was the game?

Inside starts off with the player being in control of a red-shirted boy who’s trying to get away from some facility of a dystopian world, where people are being turned into some sort of machines and mind-control is an extremely common occurrence. We, as the boy, have one objective; to escape from whatever horrors could be perpetrated upon us. The game is pretty dark and feels like a monochromatic game; I was actually trying to turn up the brightness of my screen to increase the visibility of the colors, before realizing that the game itself was being presented that way. It is pretty dark most of the time, in both form and character, and is a silent game throughout, save the occasional musical cues we get whenever we complete a part of a puzzle, or something on those lines.

                                                 Probably the most thrilling part of the game…

The puzzles of Inside are some of the most creative ones I’ve seen in some time; I mean, what would you expect if you haven’t played any indies in some time? But that notwithstanding, I must say that the puzzles did make me think quite a bit. And the bleak atmosphere really suits the game. Not just that, some of the incidents that take place over the course of the game are really thrilling, the kind of tense situations where you know that just one wrong move is enough to get you caught or killed. Which was exactly what I liked about Limbo, made by the very same Playdead. Whereas some of the scenes are just flat out disturbing in their far-reaching implications, yet more reason to love this game. The plot is a bit vague except for the escaping part, but in this case the ambiguity actually works in the favor of Inside, because of all the player interpretations which can kick in and add unique flavors of gameplay to each individual. And the best part? Minimal backtracking!

In the end, I would say that this is one game any indie/puzzle-game lover should definitely not miss. Do yourself a favor and play this already!

RATING : 9.3/10

PROS :
– great setting
– bleak atmosphere interspersed with tense moments
– creative puzzles
– minimal backtracking

CONS :
-I dunno man, you guys tell me.

 

The Accountant (2016)

The Accountant (2016)

I’ve always been a fan of Ben Affleck-films, though I confess I don’t recall ever seeing him in any action roles, Batman vs Superman notwithstanding. Also I’m not a great fan of action movies, but still, Ben Af. Right?

The Accountant starts off with a snippet from the protagonist’s childhood, where we get to know that he is autistic and also some sort of a genius. Cut to the present, we see the protagonist Christian Wolff, as an accountant who is in the process of helping out an elderly couple through their finances. Meanwhile, at the Treasury Department, a new manhunt is on; the target : a shadowy figure who is only referred to as The Accountant, one who has carried out many shady business transactions for the most notorious sets of criminals. And of course, this is Wolff. To throw off some heat, Wolff decides to take on a legitimate client; Living Robotics, a state-of-the-art company dedicated to developing prosthetic implants to help out the physically challenged. An accounting clerk finds a discrepancy in the company’s bookkeeping, and Wolff is hired to look into the problem. But when Wolff also starts looking into the matter, a shadowy organization hell-bent on covering up the conspiracy makes its way into Wolff’s life. What happens next?

                                         Because all accountants should know sniping, right?

The plot is pretty solid for what I expected to be a run-of-the-mill action thriller, although some of the plot elements are painfully predictable. Ben Affleck’s portrayal of an autistic assassiny guy is great, while Anna Kendrick’s small role as the accounting clerk at Living Robotics is well-done, but still is too small for her to make a significant impact. J K Simmons as Raymond King, the Treasury Dept.’s Crime Enforcement Division’s head, is solidly done, although it is ‘not my tempo'[hehe]. Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Marybeth Medina, the one investigating the accountant matter, seems a wee bit tacked-on, but she does play her role well. And Jon Bernthal playing the film’s antagonist, is surprisingly fun to watch.

The pacing of the film will leave you breathless, what with new developments every other moment and whatnot. But it never feels rushed. And the action scenes are beyond good; they will most often get you whoo-and-aah-ing throughout the sequences. The protagonist’s backstory is something we get to see every once in a while, and although they have been placed well within the film, in one or two occasions the flashbacks seem to take away from the flow of the film. Other than that, the film is pretty clean in its screenplay.

If you are a fan of spy films and action thrillers, The Accountant is one movie you should definitely check out.

RATING : 7.6/10

PROS :
– Ben Affleck is great
– complex plot
– great pacing
– fun action sequences

CONS :
– Anna Kendrick’s role is too small
– flashbacks occasionally take away the pacing

THE PEOPLE VS O.J.SIMPSON : AMERICAN CRIME STORY

THE PEOPLE VS O.J.SIMPSON : AMERICAN CRIME STORY

After watching Making A Murderer, my interest was piqued regarding similar real-life incidents that shook the world. And I hit on this show by FX.

The year is 1994. Nicole Simpson, O.J’s ex-wife, and her friend Ronald Goldman, a waiter, are killed at Nicole’s house one night. Some of the police set off to notify O.J Simpson of his ex-wife’s death, but he is nowhere to be found. At the same time, preliminary evidence-gathering puts O.J in the vicinity of the crime scene, and on subsequent analysis O.J’s blood is found at the crime scene, along with that of the victims’. When the cops try to arrest O.J, he absconds with his friend A.C. Cowlings in his white Ford Bronco, and leads the police on a long-spanning low-speed chase, with O.J.Simpson threatening to blow his head off if he is arrested. After O.J and the police arrive at a compromise, he is taken into custody, and soon enough what will be known as the Trial of the Century starts up. Marcia Clark is handed over the reins for the prosecution’s case against O.J, while Robert Shapiro takes over as the lead attorney for the O.J.Simpson defense. Follow them as they build their case against each other, while more attorney are added to both of the teams as the show moves on forward.

Absolutely, 100% not guilty!!!

Regarding the setting of ACS, I can’t really say if it was faithfully recreated as I’m neither an American, nor was I around when all this stuff took place, but I’ll go along with it. But I must say, the acting was really awesome; my personal favorite was Courtney B Vance’s portrayal of Johnnie Cochran and Sarah Paulson’s Marcia Clark, they were absolutely phenomenal, if I may say so. And so was Sterling K Brown’s passionate performance in the role of Christopher Darden. And even if David Schwimmer and John Travolta may not appear for very long, they were  great as well. Only thing is, I’m doubtful about Cuba Gooding Jr. being cast in the titular role O.J “The Juice” Simpson. He does come across as a wee bit whiny and needy at times. And the pacing of ACS? That’s one thing you needn’t worry about, seeing as it never lets up at all.

Overall, if you are a fan of real-life documentaries and shows based on true incidents, this must definitely be on your radar. And even if you are not, still give it a try; it’s a great show, after all.

RATING : 8.6/10

PROS :
– great adaptation
– stellar acting
– good pacing

CONS :
– titular character comes across as a whiner sometimes

 

 

91 DAYS

91 DAYS

After finishing Re:Zero, I began to watch 91 Days, as I knew the anime’s final episode was about to release soon, then. So, was the show worth the watch?

91 Days begins with the protagonist Angelo Lagusa’s family getting assassinated by the mafia to settle a dispute, while Angelo helplessly watches on from his hiding place in a cupboard, and then barely manages to escape the killers. Years later, Angelo receives a letter from an unknown individual, and this prompts him to return to his home town of Lawless for revenge.

The anime is set in the Prohibition-era in America, when mafia made the rules and anyone who thought otherwise were…disposed of with impunity. Illegal sales of liquor were the main sources of income for the mafia families at the time. From the letter, Angelo finds out that the Vancetti family was the one that killed his family, and then sets out to infiltrate the Vancettis, with some help from his childhood friend Corteo.

91-days-episode-01-screenshot-01

I always like it when the main character does a Light Yagami…

The anime is so named because the whole story takes place over a span of 91 days, from Angelo’s return to Lawless to its conclusion. The story is pretty good in my opinion, but even better is the plot progression throughout the anime. The way events lead to new developments, and how the fallout of some decisions affects different characters is amazingly well depicted. The whole anime has a dark undertone to it which fits perfectly into the events surrounding Angelo’s circumstances. Well, it’s not Gungrave-level awesome, but it is great nonetheless.

The art style felt somewhat similar to that of Joker Game for me, but that doesn’t take away anything from 91 Days; in fact it is quite the opposite. So no complaints on that front from me. Also, the anime boasts of one of the best opening themes I’ve heard in recent times. And the ending theme is pretty well done as well.

Overall, I would say that if you are a fan of mafia-based films and TV shows, or just like gritty, realistic stuff in general, 91 Days is for you. On the other hand, if you were one of those guys who were made too uncomfortable by shows like True Detective, then look elsewhere.

RATING : 9.1/10

PROS :
– good story
– solid plot progression
– great character development

CONS :
– may be a bit too cynical and dark for some viewers