Samuel L Jackson

The poster art can or could be obtained from Paramount Pictures.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

xXx: Return of Xander Cage is the third installment in the Triple X Franchise. This go around Vin Diesel returns as the titular character after taking the second film off while Ice Cube took the reins for a film. The franchise is built on over the top action and while poking fun at the spy thriller genre. xXx was a fun popcorn flick that had a lot of enjoyment in it. State of The Union, the second film was definitely forgettable in the eyes of most. Diesel returning to the franchise had its ups and downs. While his Fast and Furious films have been on the rise, his projects outside of F&F have not been received well.

Joining Diesel in this action pack sequel is Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Tony Jaa, and Nina Dobrev. Back again reprising their roles from previous films includes Samuel L. Jackson as NSA Agent Augustus Eugene Gibbons, Ice Cube as the 2nd xXx Darius Stone. D. J. Caruso takes over the director’s duties and it was written by F. Scott Frazie

If you’ve watched the trailers for xXx: The Return of Xander Cage you pretty much know what you are getting. It is a popcorn fun over the top action film in the vein of 90s action flicks. There are one liners, unbelievable action, and a plot that makes no damn sense, and even with all that it is so much fun to watch. The film keeps you entertained from start to finish. Not because of the plot or story but because it’s just fun to shut your brain off and enjoy the ride.

I was forced to see this film in 3D, and we all know I am not the biggest fan of 3D. If you have the choice of to 3D or not to 3D, I suggest not going 3D. It did not add anything to the film, or was even really that much to it. It didn’t necessarily distract from the film, but it definitely didn’t lend anything extra to it.

This cast is pretty incredible. Maybe not in acting ability, but in the fact that it’s fun to watch these guys beat the hell out of each other. Vin Diesel is once again dialed into the Xander Cage character like he never left it. While he is very much a like when you compare Xander to Dominic Toretto, there a little differences that Diesel portrays that amount to enough to distinguish a different personality. Samuel L Jackson is of course Samuel L Jackson once again. They make some small jabs and jokes at the Avengers and his character of Nick Fury that really had me laughing.

The new comers to the film are really what make this one fun. I am pretty much in love with Ruby Rose. Her character is the over the top female badass and she drives the role perfectly. Seeing Michael Bisping take his first steps into the world of acting is pretty awesome too. They use him in a way that plays to his strengths of being a badass fighter, hiding any shortcomings he may have in his first outing. Nina Dobrev is the breakout performance though. Her quirky attitude with the right amount of humor and sexual tension aligns perfectly with the feel of this installment.

I’d be remised if I didn’t mention how awesome it is to see both Tony Jaa and Donnie Yen out there as well. These two are iconic when it comes to martial artist in film. They are on a level that few have made to. Names like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li. Jaa and Yen deserve to be mentioned in that conversation. And their fight choreography in this film is just another example of that.

The film is shot pretty well. While there is not much to call “ground breaking direction” D. J. Caruso does a great job of bringing to life some killer cool action sequences. The action scenes are intense and over the top, and fun to watch. They keep you excited and entertained. And that is what we are looking for in a film like this. It is not about being enthralled in the story of the film, but just being able to watch a lot awesome action and some funny one liners. And this cast and crew brought that to life.

Jeebus Comments

Look, no one was going into xXx: Return of Xander Cage expecting an Oscar caliber film. We go to see crazy action, hot girls, and a dumb fun story. The issue is can the studio make it dumb enough to be a fun film, but not so bad that it’s Independence Day Resurgence. And in the case of xXx 3 I think they did a great job. It is fun, it is action packed, and it is just dumb fun. There is enjoyment to be had in this film if you can look passed the lack of story, and over the top acting. I gave xXx: The Return of Xander Cage a 3.3 overall, with Jeebus bonus of .3 for Ice Cube’s cameo. It would have gotten a full .5 bonus had they not put it in the trailer!

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 5 points with a .5 bonus. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Entertainment Value, Story/Writing, Performance, Direction, and Production. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 5.5 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

Advertisements

The Avengers Age Of Ultron

Nearly two years ago to the day I sat in a theater, watching a dream come true. Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor, on screen together. Marvels The Avengers changed the game. Then, in its end credits, around 245 in the morning, The Mad Titan Thanos made his debut. Since that moment, I have been waiting for this night. The return of Earth’s mightiest heroes! Could this film live up to the hype? The first one was so special because we had never seen these characters, on screen together. The Marvel villains can be one sided at times, could Ultron live up to Loki? Well, yes. In every sense of its being, it was epic!

The Avengers Age of Ultron tells the story of Earths Mightiest heroes coming together again to finish what they started in Marvels The Avengers however, during their wrap party they are greeted by a creation that Stark and Banner had been working on to create peace. However this creation, this Artificial Intelligence has decided the best route for peace, is extinction. The film stars Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Arron Taylor-Johnson, and Elizabeth Olsen. It is once again written and directed by the great Joss Whedon.

The pace is epic in this film. We open up with the Avengers on a mission and we never really slow down. It is nearly a 2 and half hour action scene. That’s not to say the story does not follow suite. Whedon has done and incredible job bringing these characters back together, and while the magic of seeing them for the first time is gone, the charisma between the characters is so much fun to see unravel. There is a lot of worry that the film would be to dark, however it is quite the opposite. While it is dark and gritty, there is no lack of fun and jokes. Every joke hits perfectly.

The cinematography is beautiful. Every shot is nearly seamless. The CGI is incredible. Hulk is once again amazing to see on screen. The story is well written. Ultron is a well-rounded villain that makes you fear for everyone in this film. And for good reason. Whedon does such a good job with this script. Are some of the beats the same as the first film? Yes, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. There is a lot of heart to this one. To the point that I was actually tearing up at certain scenes.

Now that’s not to say I don’t have any negatives. I had a few issues. There is no explanation for the end of Iron Man 3. Stark is just, Iron Man again. I guess forget that he said he was done. Also Ultron is kind of just thrown together. While he has no lack of personality, there is not much to his creation. Short montage and boom. I’m here; there are no strings on me. There is a random cross thread which I assume is meant to build the greater universe, a short scene with Thor, that feels out of place and is never mentioned again. Other than those, I don’t have much to complain about.

I think the biggest positive about Age of Ultron, is its character development. We get three new members this go around. Marvel’s version of Quicksilver, his sister The Scarlett Which, and The Vison. And I enjoyed all three of them. The accents the twins are given are little off. And Olsen has a hard time keeping it up in some scenes. Vision is incredibly well done. A character that could come off as pretty goofy comes off, pretty epic. There is a lot of develop to the Hulk and Black Widow as well as their relationship. You get hints toward the Civil War between Stark and Rogers. As well as Hawkeye. Hawkeye final gets the respect he deserves.

So all in all. Age of Ultron is an incredible film, and a must see in the theater. Before I get my Jeebus score, I am going to let you in a little surprise. I will be releasing my first video review within the next week. It will be much more spoiler heavy and meant for fans who have already seen the film. But know that it is coming. So, score. Age of Ultron is epic as I have said, I gave it a 5.0, with a .5 bonus for spoilerific reasons I can’t tell you here (wait for the video) giving us a Jeebus Score of 5.5.

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 6 points. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Acting, Entertainment, and Casting, and a max of .5 for Dialog, Cinematography, and Direction. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 6 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

Kingsman: The Secret Service, see this movie, not 50 whatever.

So Matthew Vaughn has this thing about only directed one movie in what otherwise could be great franchises with him. Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class for examples. Not to say those films’ sequels weren’t great, I loved them both, but Vaughn just sets franchises up, and doesn’t stick around. So when I found out that Vaughn was leaving X-Men Days of Future Past for some film called Kingsman I wasn’t surprised, yet pretty disappointed! I didn’t get it! But as the trailers slowly started coming out, I started changing my tune. And Kingsman: The Secret Service, is just another example of how good Vaughn is. Written by Vaughn and based on a comic called The Secret Service by Mark Miller and Dave Gibbions, with a stunning cast of Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Luke Freaking Skywalker, Sofia Boutella, and relative unknown Taron Egerton.

Kingsman tells the story of a troubled young boy named Eggsy (Egerton) whose father was once a Secret Agent. When a spot in the service opens up, Eggsy is chosen by his father’s trainer Galahad (Firth) to be his candidate for replacement. As the trainees work to become the next Kingsman, a mastermind criminal (Jackson) is revealed, and they must begin to try to figure out what he is up to. While Eggsy rises to the top of his class, he quickly learns what being a Kingsman is all about, and he must band together with only a few to save the world from certain disaster.

This film is incredible! I expected to really enjoy it, but not as much as I did. I had to double check that I was really still in the middle of February and it wasn’t summer blockbuster time, because this film has that feel to it. It has mixture of feel to it, where it almost is a film that merges old school James Bond films, with a little of Kick-Ass to it. It truly is a fun film, with a good story. There is a little over the top acting, but not that it takes you out of the film. The action scenes are crisp and fun, in typical Matthew Vaughn fashion. They can be gruesome and violent. Not to the point that they are overdone, but definitely in the vain of Kick-Ass which is awesome!

Another major plus is this cast. Some of the greatest British actors ever put together. This is like an Oceans Twelve of great Brits! Firth is great, and for a 50 something year old he is awesome at the action sequences in here. Mark Strong is strong as always (Pun intended). And Samuel L. Jackson even a completely different version of himself, and still, kind of a badass mother F’er! Taron Egerton is definitely a break out star in the film. This kid has a bright future ahead of him. (Spidey????) One of my favorite cameos in the film is obviously Luke Freaking Skywalker, Mark Hamill. Hamill plays a character that his likeness was the inspiration for in the original comic, which is obviously fun to see. He even uses the Joker voice a little here and there, mark out moment of course.

There are a few small issues with the film. There is a little bit of use of Shaky cam during the action scenes. It is not as terrible as it usually used, Matthew Vaughn does a good job at using it correctly. Nevertheless, it is shaky cam. The training montage during the beginning is very choppy and definitely could have been shot better. When we get to the final climax of the movie, you see our hero Eggsy doing some stuff that you kind of think to yourself, “where the hell did he learn to do this, that wasn’t in any of his training!” which kind of takes you out of the film, but you immediately jump right back in and start having fun again.

Even the problems are pretty nitpicky right? This is just a fun film! One that you need to go see. Men, women, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, whatever you are doing this Valentine’s Day weekend, change you plans if they do not involve seeing this film! I’m giving it a 4.4 with a bonus of .3 for how much fun it is, and another .2 for LUKE F’N SKYWALKER! That’s a Jeebus Score of 4.9! So Jackass Nation, are you planning on seeing Kingsman? If not, WHATS WRONG WITH YOU, GO SEE KINGSMAN! Sound off in the comments below!

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 6 points. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Acting, Entertainment, and Casting, and a max of .5 for Dialog, Cinematography, and Direction. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 6 a film will pretty much have to be The Godfather.

The Purge: Anarchy

The annual Purge has commenced. The Purge: Anarchy, the sequel to 2013’s The Purge. This go around James DeMonaco returns to direct a new cast including Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiel Sanchez, Zoe Soul, and Michael K. Williams in Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes’ film. While the first film was wildly perceived as a let down due to its nature of nothing more than a home invasion horror film, this film takes the concept of the Purge to the streets. Which is what the fan base vocally stated in their distaste for the misconception of what the first film as about. SO the question is, do the fans get what they wanted this go around? I’d say, yes, yes they do.

The Purge: Anarchy follows a group of 4 people who are not into the Purge movement but find themselves in the middle of downtown stranded out on the most dangerous and deadly night of the Year. Shane(Gilford) and Liz(Sanchez) a couple whose relationship is in a rocky spot get stranded as their car breaks down on their way to their sisters home. Mother and daughter Eva(Ejogo) and Cali(Soul) find themselves out on the streets after well armed tactical group of Purgers break in and attempt to take them. The 4 get together following a Purger(Grillo) who saves Eva and Cali. Now the 5 must survive the night together, all while their protector has an agenda of his own.

As the first film attempted to be a horror film, this film corrected that mistake and went all out action thriller. The Purge series lends itself to action much better than horror and Anarchy proves that. The focus is now on the thrills and action rather than attempting to scare the audience and it makes the film much more enjoyable. There are so many ways they can now take this franchise in the future. All thanks to genre switch. The film moves from the home invasion to the streets and the characters attempt to make their way through a town with basically a war going on all around them.

The cast is much stronger this go round too. Nothing against Lena Headey, she was awesome in Dredd, just whiny and weak in The Purge. And I’ve never liked Ethan Hawke, Training Day not with standing. But this cast, of, well to me, relative unknowns fits well. They are normal people who attempt to stand up and do what they must in the face adversary and danger. And Grillo, mark my words, is the next Liam Neeson. He is a bonafide action star. Definitely miscast in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Don’t get me wrong, Grillo makes for a great Crossbones, but ill be damned if he wouldn’t make for the perfect Punisher. There is one character that is horribly miss cast in Anarchy, Samuel L. Jackson should have been in this movie. When you watch it, you’ll know exactly who I am talking about.

The direction is solid, the story is decent, the cast is great. It is refreshing to see a sequel to a not so good movie that the directors and writers listen to the fan base and give us what we want. The Purge: Anarchy is a fun action thriller. When I scored it, I gave the film a Jeebus Score of 4.0, a Good Time at the Theater.

Still hooked on a feeling. Marvel releases the 2nd Guardians of the Galaxy trailer.

Marvel is firing on all cylinders these days. What started in 2008 with Samuel L Jackson telling Robert Downey Jr he wanted to talk about “the Avengers initiative” in a post credits scene of Iron Man, has grown into an entire universe. A universe that has now spread for  films, and now a 10 with Marvel’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. Today Marvel has released their 2nd trailer for the upcoming superhero film. The fun thing about the Guardians is, we don’t really know what to expect. Remember back when superhero were limited to Batman and Superman. Then came the X-Men and Spider-Man, both well known so accepted. But then, then Jon Favreau, Kevin Fiege, and Marvel took a chance on Iron Man. No one really knew what to expect, but it blew up the superhero genre and introduced us to a whole new future of for the superhero film. But since then the films have been expected. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Avengers. All a little more known. But the Guardians of the Galaxy? The general public doesn’t know them. Hell half the comic book world doesn’t know. So watching this trailer, you get the same feelings you got early on with Iron Man, its exciting to see where this goes.

Guardians of the Galaxy tells the story of Peter Quill as he is forced to team up a band of misfit criminals to save the galaxy from the forces of evil. The film stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, John C Reilly, Glen Close, and Benicia del Toro. It will be directed James Gunn, and is set to be released August 1 2014.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier(no spoilers)

Captain America is back! And this time he has a new squad of buddies. The question is, who does he trust? I really liked this film, Captain America is much different hero then you get with Thor, or Hulk, or even Iron Man. With those films you get your Destruction film, or fantasy film, or true action adventure. With the Captain, you almost get a Political Thriller, which keeps you on the edge of your seat and wanting more. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, and starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford, and Samuel L Jackson. Now I’m going to get in this with everything I can and not give away any spoilers. I will put out another one next week a little more spoiler filled. I’m even going to attempt to keep down my comic loving nerdism out.

Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier sees our hero adjusting to life in this decade. We open with a pretty cool action scene that shows us that Captain Rogers has decided to stick by S.H.I.E.L.D. even though he doesn’t truly trust the secrecy. There is an attempt on Nick Fury’s life, and Captain Rogers along with The Black Widow go on the hunt for who is behind the meltdown that has become S.H.I.E.L.D.! Along the way Rogers continues to attempt to adjust, but when his past comes back in the form of The Winter Soldier.

This film does everything a sequel should. It ups the ante in action, story, and suspense. It does a very good job moving along the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It takes the Universe they have created and turns it upside making you wonder where they are going. Never once becoming predictable, or stale. The story is easy to follow, yet keeps you guessing at who to trust. My only real negative on the movie, and this could possibly be construed as a spoiler, but The Winter Soldier who the film is named after, isn’t even the main story line that runs through the film. It’s almost where if you had taken him out, Captain America would of still had quite a problem to handle! Yet it leaves wanting more of this mysterious soldier, and where they will go.

Newcomer Anthony Mackie as the Falcon is a definite plus. He is going to be a fun force to watch moving forward and I hope he gets a bigger part then the Iron Patriot/War Machine does in the Iron Man franchise. The Easter Eggs as well will knock you away if you are a comic fan and looking forward to the growth of this universe, as will the after credit scenes. Yes I said sceneS, plural, make sure you stay until the very end!

All in all I scored Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier a Jeebus score of 5.6, with a .2 for Anthony Mackie, a .1 bonus for Scarlett Johansson, and .1 bonus for an Easter egg I can’t mention, giving us a final score of 6, and the first JEEBUS-TACULAR of the year!