7:00 PM, 22nd February, 2014
Captain Phillips is based on the true story of the hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged merchant ship Maersk Alabama and the kidnap of her captain as the vessel transported cargo through the waters of the Gulf of Aden in the Indian Ocean. It was the first hijacking of an American cargo ship in 200 years.
The film is directed by Paul Greengrass (the Bourne film series) so it was in good hands from the start. It steers clear of descending into any triumphant whooping for the might of the American navy and armed forces, instead showing the pirate villains to be paupers with few options due to the exploitation of their in-shore fishing waters. In fact the film is very much the story of the motivation of the pirates led by Abduwali Muse (Abdi, a Somali-American actor) in an extraordinary film debut for which he has earned a Screen Actors Guild nomination.
The pirates make two attempts to hijack the ship, failing on the first but succeeding on the second, capturing the captain on the bridge while most of the crew hide in the engine room. From then on it becomes clear that the pirates cannot go back as they desperately seek an insurance company ransom, driven by pressure from drug lords in Somalia, and take the captain hostage in a lifeboat launched from the ship.
Acting performances are top grade as are the direction, screenplay, production values and cinematography. Tom Hanks, in the title role, has further entrenched himself in the ranks of the world’s top actors in this story which will hold you enthralled for more than two hours.
9:24 PM, 22nd February, 2014
2 Guns is an action comedy from Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur, who previously worked with Wahlberg on 2012’s Contraband, and is an adaptation of Steven Grant’s graphic novel series of the same name.
Washington and Wahlberg excel as DEA and naval intelligence officers forced to go on the run together after botching an undercover assignment. Wahlberg fully develops his character, making Stigman appear as the kind of soldier who would sell his soul for his country. When criticising Washington for his lack of commitment, much of his dialogue is hilarious. As expected, Washington is his usual smooth self, exciting the ladies while also maintaining a laid back, lone wolf persona. Together, they generate a more than workable onscreen partnership, delivering their fair share of quick-witted banter and sarcastic quips.
Initially, 2 Guns might seem as though it is a standard buddy action film, perhaps something we’ve seen numerous times before. The real surprise is that the script is strong and has more to it than the average action adventure film. It has a much more clever and intricate plot than most of the standard offerings in the genre and manages to save the most powerful pay-offs until the end. While there’s much more to the film, fans of the action adventure won’t be disappointed, it still has everything there, just more of it and better done.