Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

Da 5 Bloods – *

Posted: June 15, 2020 in 2020, Adventure, USA, War, X

Spike Lee isn’t going to want to hear this, but Quentin Tarantino would have made a much stronger movie based on this material.

Four African American Vietnam vets return to the Asian country in search of a case of gold they once found on a mission and which they buried next to the remains of their squad leader, who got shot during the mission.

Sounds interesting. A bit of adventure, mixed with drama and four unusual leads.

But then the movie starts and it’s already a mess from the beginning. None of these main characters is interesting. They once formed a squad, then led separate lives and now get back together to go on a treasure hunt. NO! This has to be a group of buddies who stuck with each other through life and now finally, as the icing of the friendship cake, go on this adventure. One of them, the PTSD case of the group, voted Trump and wears a MAGA cap. He’s the most annoying character of the movie and that’s probably Spike Lee’s aim. He’s also the main character. Yawn. The other three are present, but that’s all they are. They don’t provide comic relief. Nor drama. They are almost obsolete.

Then one of the guy’s son appears to join them. A character so uninteresting that he’s only used for one dramatic scene by the end. Along the way they meet all kinds of people, who are superficially introduced as stereotypes. The unemotional former prostitute and her daughter, the stuck up French businessman accepting to cash the gold when it is found, the anti-American members of a European mine detonating organization, the Vietnamese guide who they can or cannot trust, …. None of them are interesting. Somewhere near the end a snake attacks one of the squad members and gets blown to pieces. Somehow that is the dramatic highlight of the movie.

And a lot of things happen. Which is the only reason why this still gets some rating.

The problem is that it all looks like it was made on a low budget and there was no money for second takes or special effects. It’s also filled with obsolete scenes. Like the one where the foursome gets a visit from a kid that is missing a leg and begs for money. Why is that scene in the movie? To show the dismissive reaction of the MAGA dude? We already know the guy is the douchebag, reinforcing it by this scene is unnecessary. Then as the four walk out of the restaurant the kid throws firecrackers at them. It sounds like they are being attacked. Why is that scene in the movie? It’s not funny. It’s not dramatic. It’s obsolete. And so you have almost half of the movie consisting of unnecessary scenes that aren’t funny or dramatic or make sense.

Clear to say this is a very disappointing movie. Especially since it looked like it could have been such a great movie. It could have been a Stand By Me for grown ups in the Vietnamese jungle. It also could have been a Romancing The Stone kind of comical action adventure. It could even have been a Deer Hunter like drama. It could have even been a mix of all that. And still work.

But it doesn’t. It’s a boring movie without drama, without humor and lots of shoot up action scenes that could well have been featured in Rambo, a movie that gets dissed by some of the characters.

Missed chance.

Jumanji: The Next Level – *(*)

Posted: December 22, 2019 in 2019, Adventure, Fantasy, USA, X1/2

Lame action. Lame jokes. Lame acting.

Apart from The Rock and Danny Glover maybe, who kind of make this still worth watching.

This may appeal to very young kids, who will love the action and the slapstick and the weird avatar swaps. But if you’re not a kid, this is a really dull.

Four kids get detention and have to spend it in a basement room, where they find a video game. They decide to play it, but get sucked into the game. The only way to get out of the game is by finishing all the levels together. They are not playing the game as themselves, but as their avatars, who look very different from their normal selves.

It’s a classic adventure movie for kids. Sure, the special effects are very 2010ish, but this could have been made in the eighties as well. Nothing really bad happens to the characters and they succeed in the challenge at the end. It even has a positive message: Four kids, two nerds and two popular teenagers, have to overcome their differences and work together as a team! Hooray!

When you’re looking for brainless entertaining fun this is quite good. The action is great. The humor is good. The acting is okay.


Watched this a week ago.

Kinda forgot what it was all about.

Ah yes. Marvel Universe. Female heroine. Sassy Brie Larson. Funny Samuel Jackson. Chase scenes. Aliens. A plot twist. A lot of confusion. Earthlings bonding with aliens against a common evil force. Nineties. Cool soundtrack.


After having watched Free Solo, the Oscar-winning documentary about a free climber who goes up El Capitan in less than four hours without ropes, made me rewatch this episode from a popular Flemish tv program, in which the adventurous presenter takes on the challenge to climb El Capitan without previous climbing experience.

Unfortunately there are no English subtitles, so not everyone can watch it. There’s some conversations in French and English as well, but the main language is Flemish (the Dutch spoken in Belgium).

The tv series has varied challenges ranging from very physical (entering a national body building competition) to very silly (creating a chart topping sing along song). Not all episodes are good and in the end, it’s entertaining television, with a lot of things being fixed.

But this is the most fascinating episode. Even when things are fixed (that we don’t get to see), it’s still very impressive.

Somehow, the guy from Free Solo isn’t really relatable. Tom Waes on the other hand  is the total opposite. The drive he has to just succeed in everything is amazing. But he is also super honest about his fears and his frustrations. He swears all the time, sighs constantly, doubts a lot… He has a good sense of humor too. You want him to succeed. You want him to climb El Capitan. No matter in how many days.

The cool thing is that you actually learn something about climbing as well. And not just about techniques, but also about how people sleep, eat and … shit when they’re climbing up a rock wall. Tom also has a sports cam on his head so the views are spectacular.

The team of professional climbers who escort/guide/make it easy for him, is also great.

Somehow this impressed me more than Free Solo.

On tv because there’s a sequel in the theatre: that other Julie Andrews blockbuster from the sixties.

It’s amazing how much you remember from a movie that you loved as a kid, but haven’t seen in about 35 years or so. And it’s even more amazing how you can still smile with your favorite moments (the I Love To Laugh scene, Michael’s constant stare of amazement, the penguins, …) and how you want to fast forward those scenes that are boring and annoying (all the moments in the bank… )

Re-watching it in 2018 as adult is a challenge. There is just too much music. And the songs are repetitive and terrible. Then there’s Dick Van Dyke, known to be the American actor speaking with the worst British accent ever. As a child, Bert comes across as this fun guy Mary Poppins hangs around with. As an adult, he is annoying as hell. Sure, he tries to ‘honor’ Gene Kelly’s comedic dancing and singing skills. But he fails in every scene. That accent is excruciating.

It’s one of those Disney Classics that didn’t stand the test of time. Not keen on seeing the sequel now.


Mowgli – *(*)

Posted: December 15, 2018 in 2018, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, UK, USA, X1/2

Disney’s live animation remake of The Jungle Book was a great success a few years ago. That must have been very bad news for the producers of Mowgli, another movie based on Rudyard Kipling’s fantasy book, telling the story of a young human being raised by a pack of wolves in the jungle. It’s not the first time in movie history that two production companies release a similar movie and almost always there’s the one movie that becomes a hit and the other a flop. Unless the movies are so unique that they become two totally different experiences.

Alas, for Mowgli, the first half of the movie is pretty similar to The Jungle Book. At least what’s the story is concerned. The animals look very different though. Less real, less polished, less funny. The creatures in this movie look like they all have had a past life being the caged, underfed pets of humans. A bit like Koba in Planet Of The Apes. And in the second half you do get to learn that Bagheera was once a pet. It’s a confession he makes when he visits Mowgli at night, who’s locked up in a cage by a white hunter living in an Indian village. That part is more intriguing than in the 2016 version. However, as the story could have focused on Mowgli’s integration with fellow humans, it ends with the hunt for Shere Khan, as predicted.

It’s a dark movie. It’s not fun entertainment. It does have its merits, but it falls short. The trailer is great though. The final product not so much.

This movie is everything you expect it to be. It tells the background story of Han Solo, the iconic Star Wars character immortalized by Harrison Ford. He’s not in it. Hey, the guy is 76. But Alden Ehrenreich is playing the young action hero. And he’s doing it really well! Okay, the story isn’t that original. And the fact that it’s everything you expect it to be is also not that exciting. But, in the end, it’s more than 2 hours of nostalgic fun. There’s non stop straight forward action. There’s quite a lot of humor. There’s the introduction of hundreds new characters. And a few familiar faces. The movie is a relative ‘flop’, so a sequel isn’t probably in the pipelines. But there’s so much more to tell, Disney… don’t let this flop stop you from making more Star Wars movies! Just start looking for different locations. Go back to the forest or the lakes! Stop focussing on snow, desserts, wormholes and industrial places.

Damn. The expectations were too high. The anticipation too great. Episode VIII disappoints. Bummer. It’s still a great movie though. Entertaining and funny. A few new creatures and settings that look generally good. But there’s just so much going on (it never bores) that it doesn’t really focus on anything in particular. Apart from the ‘new’ connecting force between Kylo Ren and Rey, which intrigues, but not quite captivates as much as you want. It’s all pretty superficial.

Go see it anyways. It’s fun. And don’t listen to all the negativity.

Great trailer by the way.


The Lost City Of Z – **

Posted: October 26, 2017 in 2016, Adventure, Drama, UK, USA, XX

Percy Fawcett was a British explorer who tried to locate the ruins of an ancient civilization in the Amazon region between Bolivia and Brazil. The search for his own Machu Picchu was obsessive. The man went back several times in the first quarter of the 20th century. A few years ago, a journalist followed his footsteps and wrote a book about it, on which the story of this movie was based.

First, the good thing: the director didn’t choose to tell the story of the journalist who travelled in the explorer’s footsteps. Great!

Now the bad thing: the director decided to make an overly detailed, chronologically told biopic trying to tell too many things that don’t really matter.

There’s hardly any adventure in this movie! There are as many scenes in England as there are in the jungle. Which is something you don’t expect after having read rave reviews and after having watched mysterious and adventurous movie trailers. It’s not good to have expectations, but when reviews start with lines like ‘bring your mosquito repellent to the cinema’ or mention ‘Indiana Jones’ or the ‘Heart Of Darkness‘ as references, you kind of hope to seen an adventure movie in the jungle!


It’s not really a bad movie. It’s just not an adventurers trip through the jungle. Yes, there are encounters with indigenous tribes (depicted as the Stormtroopers from the Amazon, because they pretty much suck at efficiently shooting arrows at intruders).  Yes, you see a jaguar. But only for about 30 seconds. Yes, there’s one snake. Yes, there’s one mosquito bite. But that’s about it. Whoever writes about a trip to the jungle didn’t actually see the movie or hasn’t been to the jungle before.