7:00 PM, 27th May, 2017
The Fast and the Furious crew have been through quite a bit – starting at car theft and leading into ever escalating confrontations involving heists, gunfights, brawls, mercenaries, revenge, international intrigue and, most importantly, a whole lot of Vin Diesel as Dom speechifying about family. The Fate of the Furious (AKA Fast & Furious 8) is the latest in the series, which has increasingly become a kinda multi-ethnic action-packed soap opera with cars, with an extended cast of recurring characters, many of whom are former rivals now turned allies.
In this one, Dom (Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are on their honeymoon. With the gang’s names now cleared and the vengeful Deckard Shaw (Statham) locked away, everything should be going fine, right? Wrong. Very wrong. On a seemingly simple mission, Dom betrays the team, sending Agent Hobbs (Johnson) into prison with Shaw, and teams up with the high-tech terrorist Cipher (Theron). With the help of Frank Petty (Kurt Russell), a covert operative, the team has to find out what Dom’s really up to and stop the dangerous Cipher before further mayhem ensues.
Yes, it’s dumb, but so entertainingly so that only the most miserable of critics would complain. Screenwriter Chris Morgan has been writing for these since the third entry, Tokyo Drift, and this one even has a new director in F. Gary Gray, who definitely knows car action from his remake of The Italian Job, and how to handle a strong ensemble cast from directing Straight Outta Compton. Big screen action on a big screen with big sound. Don’t miss it.
9:26 PM, 27th May, 2017
Two mercenaries (Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal) are left the sole survivors of a party seeking their fortune bringing black powder back to the west, after they are attacked by a shadowy monster.
Beating their retreat they are imprisoned after stumbling upon the Great Wall, which is being built to hold back the onslaught of monstrous creatures attacking the land. Led by strategist Wang (Lau), two generals (Jing Tian and Zhang Hanyu) command an ever-dwindling force of warriors that repel the wall to combat the oncoming creatures. Reluctantly, the mercs are allowed to join the defenders as they prepare to hold back the monsters from the capital in one final defence.
The Great Wall is a Chinese-US co-production mainly aimed at the Chinese market, where it opened as the top movie of the Christmas-New Year period and recouped its production costs before even opening in the West. Director Zhang Yimou (best known for Hero and House of Flying Daggers, but probably should be best known for Raise the Red Lantern) makes a welcome return to action movies with The Great Wall. Few directors have his eye for colour and an ability to command grand, sweeping action scenes. The contrast of murky grey monsters against black powder sparks and blood is truly a sight to behold.