Tag Archives: Toby Kebbell

RockNRolla (2008) Review

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RocknRolla

Time: 114 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, Offensive Language & Drug Use
Cast:
Gerard Butler as One-Two
Mark Strong as Archy
Tom Wilkinson as Lenny Cole
Toby Kebbell as Johnny Quid
Tom Hardy as Handsome Bob
Idris Elba as Mumbles
Thandie Newton as Stella
Jeremy Piven as Roman
Ludacris as Mickey
Director: Guy Ritchie

Small-time crooks One Two (Gerard Butler) and Mumbles (Idris Elba) decide to legitimately invest in some prime real estate and find themselves out of their depth and in debt to old-school London gangster Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson). Cole himself is in the middle of a business deal with a Russian gangster, but when his accountant tips off One Two and Mumbles to the details of an upcoming big-money business transaction, the two scallywags swoop in and steal the cash.

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Guy Ritchie established himself as a filmmaker to pay attention to with Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch, both British crime comedies. RocknRolla, which was released in 2008, marked his next main gangster movie in roughly a decade, and it was quite good. It’s not as quite as good as the gangster movies that made him well known, but Ritchie is in his element here, and it’s quite entertaining for what it was.

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With the story, characters and tropes, you can definitely tell it was directed by Guy Ritchie. It’s very well written, and has some interesting characters and plenty of plot twists. It’s also quite funny, very witty, and contains plenty of hilarious dialogue. Like Snatch there are so many characters and plotlines. The story branches out then effectively ties together at the climax, which I thought was done well. With that said, the story itself was a bit weak and is definitely overcomplicated, even if I like how some of the storylines and characters tie together. The storyline involving Tom Wilkinson’s character and the Russians I particularly found a bit hard to follow. It does suffer from slow pacing and being a bit predictable at points, even if I enjoyed watching all of it. It’s not a massive criticism but a disappointment is that it really does fall into the familiar tropes that Ritchie has already fallen into with his past movies. It’s more or less the same type of films with intertwined plots and characters of all different sites, all tied together by one little thing. However, those other two movies didn’t feel messy or convoluted like it does here. RockNRolla is still funny and there’s lots of gags, though it does seem to be missing something. The ending also does feel a bit rushed. One point in difference between RockNRolla and Ritchie’s first two movies that’s not better or worse is that it’s a little darker and more grounded and realistic, certainly not as offbeat as say Snatch. Everything here is sour and shady. It’s not devoid of fun, and a lot of the dialogue is hilarious, it’s just one way it differs from those other movies.

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One consistently great thing in this movie is the great acting, there is a large cast and they all do well in their parts. Much of the cast includes Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, Toby Kebbell and Tom Wilkinson, they all do a great job. In terms of standouts, for me it’s Gerard Butler, Toby Kebbell, Tom Hardy, and Mark Strong.

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Guy Ritchie takes the style that he had with Lock Stock and Snatch and combined it with his more modern filmmaking and it really paid off. The editing is always great and intertwines with the camerawork fluently. Visually, it’s surprisingly not quite as super stylised as Ritchie’s other films have been. There are some characteristic and signature camera tricks of his, especially towards the end of the movie. However for the most part, it plays more like an ordinary gangster action film. Nonetheless it works. The soundtrack is great too and is utilised perfectly.

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RockNRolla wasn’t quite a return to form for Guy Ritchie even with it being within the genre that he’s known for, but it’s still a very enjoyable British crime flick. The characters are interesting, the acting is great from everyone, it’s funny, and it’s very stylish and generally entertaining. If you liked Snatch, or Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, or really any other British gangster comedy thrillers, then it’s worth checking out for sure. RockNRolla had a sequel-bait ending and for all of my issues with the movie, I actually did wish that Ritchie made a follow up, because there was really a lot of potential there.

Bloodshot (2020) Review

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Bloodshot

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence & offensive language
Cast:
Vin Diesel as Ray Garrison/Bloodshot
Sam Heughan as Jimmy Dalton
Eiza González as KT
Toby Kebbell as Martin Axe
Guy Pearce as Dr. Emil Harting
Director: Dave Wilson

After he and his wife are murdered, marine Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) is resurrected by a team of scientists. Enhanced with nanotechnology, he becomes a superhuman, biotech killing machine – Bloodshot. As Ray first trains with fellow super-soldiers, he cannot recall anything from his former life. But when his memories flood back and he remembers the man that killed both him and his wife, he breaks out of the facility to get revenge, only to discover that there’s more to the conspiracy than he thought.

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I heard about Bloodshot a while ago, I knew it as being based of a comic book from Valiant Comics and it was starring Vin Diesel in the lead role. I didn’t really know what to expect really, I didn’t know of the comics, and while I enjoy a lot of Vin Diesel movies, they are often just above average action flicks and not much more than that. The trailer certainly made it look like another Vin Diesel action movie, but I went in cautiously optimistic and hoping for something fun. Unfortunately, the experience was rather mixed, fun in points but otherwise rather average.

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For the record, the trailer does reveal a big aspect of the plot, and to put it bluntly you can figure out the rest of the plot from that. So if you haven’t watched the trailer and are intending to watch Bloodshot, don’t watch it before going in. Not that I wouldn’t have figured out something like that during the early parts, but knowing it going in made many of the early scenes kind of a chore to sit through. Fortunately it does pick up after the first act, but even then the plot remains pretty standard. It’s a revenge thriller mixed with a conspiracy sci-fi movie, and almost everything in this movie is quite predictable. Not to mention the characters have multiple exposition scenes where they spell out the plot clearly for the audience, even though it’s obvious what’s going on. If they removed the scenes it wouldn’t have affected the movie too much. A lot of the tension and suspense is ruined by the fact that Vin Diesel’s character is essentially unstoppable and regenerates any damages he receives. I know near immortal characters as protagonists like him are hard to balance in blockbusters, but Bloodshot didn’t seem to figure out how to handle him. The writing is pretty poor, and really limits the movie to generic action territory. The biggest disappointment was that Bloodshot was either too campy or not campy enough. This plot has been recycled from numerous other blockbusters, but there were some opportunities to take it further and explore certain areas, but it’s trapped as a generic sci-fi action flick. On the other hand, while it has its over the top and cheesy moments, it still has a semi-serious feel, so it doesn’t even reach that level of entertainment on a guilty pleasure sense.

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Vin Diesel acts like Vin Diesel in the lead role, just like you’d expect him too. He’s serviceable but doesn’t take the material to the next level that this movie really needed, and honestly most actors probably would’ve been better had they been cast instead of him. He does try to display emotions in the scenes that he needs to, but to put it generously, he’s not good. In fact most of his attempts were more hilarious than anything. Most of the rest of the cast does fine, including Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan and Guy Pearce. However most of the side characters are written pretty unevenly, with motivations all over the place. Some side characters were particularly written and performed way too over the top. Toby Kebbell despite being a talented actor, once again doesn’t get much to do in another average blockbuster (outside of maybe his first scene).

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This is the first film from Dave Wilson, and it’s not directed the best. Sure it’s made competently enough, but it lacks any sort of style. The action is a mixed bag, on the one hand it is over the top, but it only really provided mild entertainment at best. With the slow motion and panning shots, it felt like they were wanting action on the level done by the likes of Michael Bay or Zack Snyder, but unfortunately it was nowhere near that level, and felt rather weak. There’s a little too much editing going on during the action, not to the point where you can’t see what’s happening, but to the point where it was distracting. It didn’t need to be R rated and I’m not sure that it would’ve made it necessarily better, but going all out with the violence would’ve it a little more entertaining than the end product turned out to be. Visual effects are hit or miss, mostly miss as it’s so reliant on the CGI. The level of visual effects at points made it look like a movie from the early 2000s. There’s an action scene in an elevator, where it has a falling CGI body meant to represent Vin Diesel, and it just looked really dumb.

BLOODSHOT (Vin Diesel) in Columbia Pictures' BLOODSHOT.

Bloodshot feels like one of those goofy action movies from the early 2000s, and in this case it’s not really for the better. While it has its moments of entertainment, at best it is a disposable flick that is really only worth checking out if you’re very curious about it and have 2 hours to spare. The direction is okay at best, the writing is terrible, and while most of the acting is fine, Vin Diesel really doesn’t do enough to elevate the material. If it was all in on the silliness it would’ve been more enjoyable, but it also could’ve been better, there was a lot of potential even with the rather generic plot. In all honesty, it really feels like a Vin Diesel vehicle, and the fact that Vin Diesel produced the movie doesn’t make things better. It was made with the intention to start off a series, but even without the recent pandemic, Bloodshot just doesn’t have enough here to make people interested beyond the first movie.

Kong: Skull Island (2017) Review

Time: 118 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and offensive language

Cast:
Tom Hiddleston as James Conrad
Samuel L. Jackson as Preston Packard
John Goodman as William “Bill” Randa
Brie Larson as Mason Weaver
Toby Kebbell as Jack Chapman
John Ortiz as Victor Nieves
Corey Hawkins as Houston Brooks
Jason Mitchell as Glenn Mills
Shea Whigham as Earl Cole
Thomas Mann as Reg Slivko
Terry Notary as King Kong (motion capture performance)
John C. Reilly as Hank Marlow
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

A diverse team of scientists, soldiers and adventurers unites to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific, as dangerous as it is beautiful. Cut off from everything they know, the team ventures into the domain of the mighty Kong, igniting the ultimate battle between man and nature. As their mission of discovery becomes one of survival, they must fight to escape a primal Eden in which humanity does not belong.

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Kong: Skull Island was one of my most anticipated films of 2017. This film is also set in the same universe as Godzilla (a film that I liked) as the MonsterVerse is being created. Plus the cast and the trailers looked good, so I was definitely interested in checking it out. Although there are plenty of problems with this movie, Kong Skull Island is still a fun and solid movie, mostly due to the fantastic direction.

The story isn’t particularly special, above average, it’s serviceable for a Kong movie. The dialogue at times was hit or miss, some of it worked, some of it was cheesy and occasionally bad. Most of the comedy didn’t work, it only worked when it was delivered by John C. Reilly. One thing I will say though is that this movie definitely knows what it is. It knows its an over the top action movie and it delivers in that regard. Kong doesn’t show up a huge amount (like with Godzilla in his most recent film) but it doesn’t cut away from Kong just as he is about to do something awesome. He is in the movie in small enjoyable doses and was used very effectively, he was awesome when he was on screen. As for the last act… so fantastic.

Now this film has a lot of talented actors, including Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, and Toby Kebbell. Unfortunately the film kind of wastes them and they don’t get to do as much as you think they would. However, these actors do try as best as they can, they still were good enough, they just should’ve been given more to work with. The actor who steals the show is John C. Reilly. He is entertaining, and also the only source of comedy which actually works.

What makes this film work effectively despite its flaws is the direction. This film is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. This is his first ‘big’ film and I can say that he is a talented filmmaker, and I can’t wait to see more movies from him. The direction of this film is so great, on a technical level, everything is excellent. Something that was perfect was the cinematography, done by Larry Fong (Batman v Superman, Watchmen, 300). The film looks absolutely beautiful, not one shot felt out of place. The action is intense, the special effects looked great, there wasn’t a fake looking creature or effect. The film also does a good job at making it feel like its set in the 70s. The soundtrack by Henry Jackman also made things a lot more epic. The only criticism I have direction wise is some of the music choices and style felt out of place but that is it.

Kong: Skull Island definitely has some flaws with regards to its plot, characters and dialogue, but the overall direction boosts the film immensely, and almost makes me completely forget about all the problems. Overall I liked this movie about the same level as Godzilla, this film does some things better and some things worse. While the movie wasn’t as great as I hoped it would be, it was still quite a fun time. Also, make sure you stay after the credits, because there’s a post credits scene, and it’s well worth waiting to see it.

Fantastic Four (2015) Review

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Fantastic Four (2015)

Time: 100 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Miles Teller as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic
Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch
Kate Mara as Susan “Sue” Storm/The Invisible Woman
Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/The Thing
Toby Kebbell as Victor von Doom/Doctor Doom
Reg E. Cathey as Dr. Franklin Storm
Tim Blake Nelson as Dr. Harvey Allen
Director: Josh Trank

Transported to an alternate universe, four young outsiders gain superhuman powers as they alter their physical form in shocking ways. Reed Richards (Miles Teller) becomes Mr. Fantastic, able to stretch and twist his body at will, while pal Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) gains immense strength as the Thing. Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan) becomes the Human Torch, able to control and project fire, while his sister Sue (Kate Mara) becomes the Invisible Woman. Together, the team must harness their new abilities to prevent Doctor Doom (Toby Kebbell) from destroying the Earth.

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Ever since its release, Fant4stic has received worldwide criticism, making only half of its budget back and having a 10% on rotten Tomatoes, there’s also been news of Fox interfering with the movie during filming. I will say that I don’t hate this movie but I don’t think it’s good either. It is an interesting take on the Fantastic Four with great actors and good ideas. However it is let down by a slow pace, obvious reshoots and a horrendous final act.

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This movie is a different take on the Fantastic Four, it aims to be much darker, grittier and more of a Science Fiction film, with elements of horror which I can give credit for. The main problem of the movie is that there is not much of the four doing anything in this movie, it takes a long time before they even get their powers. The film feels like it’s trying to build its world but forgets to be its own movie. The best two scenes of the movie is when they are on Planet Zero and when they discover their powers, it actually seemed like Sci-Fi horror. The second act doesn’t have much going on, and feels extended for no reason. The final act though is one of the worst climaxes I’ve seen in any movie. Doom pretty much returns to earth to destroy it (because why not?) and despite how powerful Doom is made out to be, the final fight with him (which is also their only fight) is about 5 minutes long (even though he has the ability to kill people just by looking at them). It breaks the slow tone that the rest of the film was going for and feels rushed, probably a reshoot as well.

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The acting was decent but it’s pretty clear that these actors are underused and don’t have much to work with. The worst part was that Marvel’s first family didn’t really feel like a family, most of them only bond in the first act, and then are reunited to fight Doom. Toby Kebbell was wasted as Doom, he was decent in the first act but he’s only the villain in the last act of the movie and was completely underdeveloped. I couldn’t even tell it Kebbell was playing Doom in those latter scenes.

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The special effects are fine for the most part but there are many times where it’s quite obvious that green screen was used, especially when in ‘Planet Zero’. I also think that The Thing’s design was much better than the 2005 version but again, the CGI at times looks fake. There are many scenes where it’s pretty obvious that there have been reshoots, whether it be Kate Mara occasionally wearing a fake wig or Miles Teller having disappearing and reappearing facial hair.

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Fant4stic has many flaws but it’s not the worst superhero movie I’ve seen. The acting was decent, there was some good ideas but a lot of it was wasted and did nothing with it. It culminated in the worst final act of a superhero movie that I’ve seen and the movie is overall a massive disappointment. It is worse than the 2005 Fantastic Four because it least had the four acting like a team and the tone fitted much better. I’ll have to see Rise of the Silver Surfer to see if it’s the worst Fantastic Four but in any case, Fant4stic was a let-down, I’ve still seen worse from 2015 though.