Unlike Escape Plan or its sequel, Escape Plan 3 strips away all elements of science fiction and instead injects realism into this dramatic tale of revenge. And whilst Escape Plan 2 left us with certain expectations as to where the third installment was headed, the organisation responsible for “The Tomb” and “Hades” – now known to be Zhang Innovations – is not central to the plot of Escape Plan 3. That distinction is instead given to Devon Sawa’s character, Lester Clark Jr. Because of this, its likely that Escape Plan 3 – previously marketed as the final installment – will receive a fourth outing.
Five years after the nostalgia trip that was Escape Plan – a dream team of 80s action muscle; specifically Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger – its sequel, imaginatively titled Escape Plan 2, replaces Schwarzenegger with former professional wrestler, Dave Bautista and Xiaoming Huang. Escape Plan 2 is a sequel that Stallone himself has called “beyond awful”, and yet I have to admit that I actually quite enjoyed watching it for the same reasons I enjoyed its predecessor: its excessive, over-the-top action; although this time there is a lot more martial artistry, courtesy of Xiaoming Huang.
“This isn’t a prison. It’s a machine.”
Based upon Sébastien Japrisot’s 1977 novel of the same name, L’Été meurtrier – or as it is known in English speaking territories, One Deadly Summer – stars Isabelle Adjani as Eliane “Elle” Wieck; a troubled young woman who settles with her family into the small rural town in the south of France.
“All he wants is to get her stupid knickers off, and all that she wants is that he manages. And that he doesn’t get his fingers caught in the zip. Just to forget for a moment that he is the son… of that piece of shit bastard father of his.”
Directed by Mikael Håfström, and written by Miles Chapman and Jason Keller, Escape Plan is a prison break thriller starring Sylvester Stallone as Ray Breslin; a former criminal prosecutor turned prison security expert. As co-owner of Breslin-Clark, Breslin specialises in testing the reliability of maximum security prisons. The weaknesses that are uncovered by Breslin-Clark can then be eliminated. Straight away Escape Plan presents Ray Breslin as a sort of quagmire; a former prosecutor turned security expert AND businessman, with expert knowledge of structural engineering.
“No one breaks out alone.”
Last month saw the release of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the latest instalment in the X-Men franchise, to largely negative reviews. Most focused on the underdeveloped characters, the villains, and the fact that it didn’t bring anything new to the genre. X-Men meh sums it up. Now, after a few weeks, I think it’s time to look at some of the good points of the film, where it ultimately failed, and what’s needed to make the X-Men stand out in the saturated superhero film genre. The X-Men comics are about discrimination – about being different – and this needs to be referenced…
“Every hero has a dark side.”
As the twelfth entry in the Puppet Master franchise, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich was helmed under Cinestate/Fangoria, and thus is not a Full Moon feature film. Nor is this film a sequel to the previous entry in the franchise: 2017’s Puppet Master: Axis Termination. Instead, with the blessing of Charles Band, The Littlest Reich is a comedic reboot of the series, written by Steven Craig Zahler, and directed by Swedish duo, Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund. Nazi puppets. Hate crimes. Gore. Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich would be downright offensive if not for Zahler’s deadpan humour…
“World War III begins on your toy shelf.”
Back in 2015, Ted Geoghegan released his directorial debut We Are Still Here and took a lot of people by surprise, including myself. A well-crafted horror that didn’t follow the same old cliches that a lot of horrors do today. His follow up, Mohawk, is kind of following the same route. Not so much a horror this time, but a film that depicts plenty of horrors and a complete diversion from his previous movie. The tale follows the events of 1812 where war is boiling over between the Americans and the British. Sandwiched in between is the Mohawk tribe who reluctantly refuse to take sides or fight.
“They’re gonna kill us all if we don’t fight.”
It’s been thirty-one years since the release of Tom Holland and Don Mancini’s original Child’s Play, the notorious slasher-horror-comedy hybrid with an avid cult following. After six sequels under the Child’s Play and Chucky titles, director Lars Klevberg and screenwriter Tyler Burton-Smith have delivered a complete re-imagining of the original, set in the modern day. The question that comes up is “is this necessary?”, a fair inquiry, as some may consider the franchise to be over-saturated. However, it’s important to say that I’ve never seen any of the previous films, including the 1988 original…
“More than a toy… he’s your best friend.”
I adored Species as a teenager, having persuaded my parents to rent it on VHS back in 1998/99. They trusted me with the horror genre, and I doubt they realised how sexually charged this genre flick actually was. Yeah, the VHS cover featured Natasha Henstridge in a state of seductive transformation – a extraterrestrial-human hybrid – but it also featured headshots of Forest Whitaker, Alfred Molina, Michael Madsen, and the Academy award-winning Ben Kingsley! How were they supposed to know that they had just rented their thirteen-year-old son smut!
“Be Intrigued. Be Seduced. Be Warned.”
The Nightingale follows Clare, an Irish convict who is regularly abused by vile British officer Hawkins, eventually resulting in her husband and new-born infant being murdered in front of her while she is being gang raped in an excruciatingly long and graphic scene. When Hawkins abandons his post due to the drunkenness of his men and journeys up north to apply for another post, Clare sets out to exact her own revenge. She brings along a native guide named Billy, who she treats unfairly. Billy is the only character who prevents this film from being a period based I Spit on Your Grave…
“Her song will not be silenced.”
“Hey, we missed the whole thing!” was Buzz Aldrin’s quip to Neil Armstrong as the first men to walk on the Moon watched a recording of the TV coverage of the Apollo 11 mission while sitting in quarantine following their return to Earth. Now, fully half a century after the event, Mr Aldrin and the rest of us can see more of “the whole thing” than ever before thanks to Apollo 11, director Todd Douglas Miller’s astonishing new documentary. Miller and his team have created a cinematic experience whose scale and impact are worthy of the momentous events it depicts.
“A cinematic event 50 years in the making.”
Mandatory family game night is usually when we “make sure that we take time out of our busy lives to take part in the magical time,” you know? Hot food, maybe some wine for the adults, a few family games – Monopoly for example – and a blood sacrifice to Satan… Just remember what the one rule at the dinner table is: “No cellphones.” Directed by Nicholas Ferwerda, and written by Ali Chappell and Jon Kohan, Family Game Night is a short 12-minute comedy/horror film that explores the awkward bonding of a middle-class family. “So, what kind of games do you play on family night?”