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Flash Movie Review: Stuber

I WAS HOPING THE SERVER WAS coming to our table, but he veered to the other side of the aisle to serve the party of three people across from us. At first glance I did not realize one of the plates he was carrying was an unusual size. When he placed it in front of one of the diners I was just as stunned as the three across from me; the plate was enormous. It must have been at least 16 inches in length, I kid you not. Loaded with food that looked wonderful, I only knew what it was when our waiter came by and I asked him for the name of the dish. Surprisingly it was nachos, but it did not look like any plate of nachos I had seen before. Honestly, the size of that plate would normally be found on a buffet table for a multitude of diners. The woman who ordered it laughed when it was put in front of her. When everyone was served at her table, the other 2 people started eating their food; however, the woman grabbed her phone and took several photos of the nachos. I could see taking one photo, but a whole series of them? After she was done doing whatever she was planning to do with the photos, she said the oddest thing, “I hope no one thinks I am a fat slob.”      SUCH AN ODD THING TO SAY, I thought. First, if you were concerned someone might think of you in a negative light then why post the photo on social media? Secondly, why do you care what people might think about you? This is something I see more and more these days; people overly concerned what others will think of them. Whether it is the clothes being worn or the food being eaten or the way one’s home is decorated; so many individuals live life cautiously, all in the hopes of being thought of positively. Now I can understand asking a friend/family member how an article of clothing looks on you; but if you choose not to buy a shirt or blouse because you think people will think you are not dressing your age, then I feel you are not living your true self. It seems to me more people act and react based on how they will be perceived by others. I have challenged friends/family members by asking them why it is important to have people’s acceptance of their actions, for all they really need is their respect. Just look at what happens to one of the main characters in this action, crime comedy; all for a 5-star rating.      AFRAID OF GETTING A NEGATIVE RATING Stu, played by Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Central Intelligence), was willing to go above and beyond what was expected of an Uber driver; even if it might kill him and it just might. With Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, Hotel Artemis) as Vic Manning, Mira Sorvino (The Replacement Killers, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion) as Angie McHenry, Natalie Morales (Battle of the Sexes, Parks and Recreation-TV) as Nicole and Iko Uwais (The Raid franchise, Mile 22) as Oka Tedjo; this story’s strength was in its 2 main actors. They had an easy flow between them where I could see them reteaming again. There were several places where I laughed or chuckled, despite the story being a rehash of several past films in this genre. The script was an odd mix with several holes in it and a couple of non-believable parts. If it wasn’t for Kumail’s comedic timing and quick witty line reads with Dave’s over-the-top tough cop actions, this picture might have tanked. Instead, I found myself being amused and not caring what others around me in the theater were thinking of me.

 

2 ½ stars    

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Flash Movie Review: Mile 22

AT WHAT TIME DO YOU BEGIN to trust someone completely? For myself I do not have a definite set time where I start trusting a person. What I will say is this: trust is something that gets earned, it is not given freely by me. One of the ways trust gets built between me and an individual is to hear and listen to a person when they speak. Because my mind accelerates during a conversation, where I start to finish the person’s sentences in my mind, I tend to interrupt people. I must keep reminding myself to slow down and let the person finish before I say something. Being aware of this makes me more attentive in seeing if the person’s words and actions match each other, which is one-way trust starts to grow for me. Another thing that helps a person gain my trust is exposing me to their circle of friends at some point. I feel one can gain insight into a person based on the company they keep. I do not know; maybe it is harder to deal with me because I do not give my trust out freely. I can easily tell you why; after giving my trust out and getting it broken a few times, I questioned my ability to vet out untrustworthy individuals.     ONE PERSON WHO BROKE MY trust was a co-worker at a previous job. I thought we had a good, friendly relationship; she would even confide in me. I found out later that she resented me being promoted into a position that she was hoping to get. Of course, I did not know she wanted it; another employee told me. There had been several incidents that reflected poorly on my performance. I did not understand how these kept happening until I found out she was entering inaccurate information on purpose to make me look bad. Besides being furious at her, I was hurt. If I confronted her I would have to divulge the name of the employee who tipped me off; so, from that point on I totally ignored her. If it was a business question I would answer her; but anything else she said to me I would not give her a response. This may sound childish to you, but it worked for me. Trust me, this kind of broken trust doesn’t compare to the ones that get damaged in a love relationship; those are much harder to come back from in my opinion. But then again, I have been fortunate that my life has never been put into jeopardy due to the trust I had given someone, unlike the main characters in this action adventure film.      THERE WAS LITTLE TIME FOR an elite group of CIA agents to build trust with the one person who had the key that would save thousands of people. Too many other people wanted him dead. Starring Mark Wahlberg (All the Money in the World, The Gambler) as James Silva, Lauren Cohan (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Walking Dead-TV) as Alice Kerr, Iko Uwais (The Raid franchise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Li Noor, John Malkovich (Bullet Head, Secretariat) as Bishop and Ronda Rousey (The Expendables 3, Furious 7) as Sam Snow; this crime movie was all about intense action. Development of the characters was close to nil; the script was a mess and I especially disliked the jumping back and forth in time periods. Iko was my favorite and I have to say his fight scenes were insane. I only wished they were not so edited to the point it was hard to figure out who was fighting. There was a good deal of violence and blood, too much for my tastes. The idea behind the story was valid; I only wished they had a better script and a less heavy hand in making sure the viewers were experiencing non-stop intensity.

 

1 ¾ stars        

Flash Movie Review: The Raid 2

The room had faded floral wallpaper with tired looking edges resembling sleepy eyelids. There was a brightly polished maple table in the middle of the room where a small woman with large glasses stood. She greeted us with a delicate smile. My friends and I arranged to visit her because we were told she had a unique gift. Each of us sat with her separately and when it was my turn I sat down across from her. She asked to see the palm of the hand that I use for writing. Looking at it she began telling me what type of personality I had, emphasizing I had strong teaching skills. Now it was funny, before sitting with her one of my friends whispered in my ear to remember the things that did not make sense. “Strong teaching capabilities” was more of a general statement, though she did not know I was an instructor. She peered closer at my palm and told me that in a former life I was a spy. I was able to go back and forth between opposing sides with no trouble. The reason I became a spy was due to my inner strength and ability to not reveal my true convictions. I evidently had a knack for quickly changing my mindset, able to avoid being captured by anyone. I had not thought about this for many years until I saw this action adventure film. The reason was the main character Rama, played by Iko Uwais (Merantau, The Raid franchise), had to do the very thing I supposedly did another lifetime ago. With the city being divided up into gang territories, police officer Rama agreed to go undercover to work his way into the criminal underground hierarchy. His plan involved getting close to Ucok, played by Arifin Putra (Macabre, Badai di Ujung Negeri), who was the son of a crime lord. This was one of those sequels where you did not have to see the previous film. It was a good thing because my review of the earlier one received only a rating of 1 3/4 stars. Where that one was a poorly done film, this one had more going for it. Iko Uwais’ martial arts skills were killer, pun intended. The fight scenes were the main attraction of this crime thriller and they were pretty amazing. I cannot say much about the acting but at least there was more of a story, a motive and fluidity to this picture. My guess would be this movie would only appeal to those who are fans of the genre. There was extreme violence and bloodshed throughout the film. If you are curious to see incredible fighting feel free to go incognito into the theater. The dialog was Indonesian and Japanese with English subtitles.

 

2 2/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: The Raid: Redemption

During one point of the movie I felt I was watching an extreme episode of the Iron Chef. There was so much slicing and dicing, I almost had to take a motion sickness pill. The story was simple: a small swat team of police officers, on a mission to bring in a ruthless drug lord, got trapped in his compound.  Vastly outnumbered, the team had to fight their way through an endless amount of the drug lord’s minions. There was nothing to the story, it only had sparse dialog and practically non-existent acting. The key element here was the action scenes. The main star was Rama, played by Iko Uwais (Merantau). My guess is the studio was hoping to market Iko as the next martial arts superstar. He was a national champion in silat, a traditional Indonesian martial art, which he has been studying since he was 10 years old. The fight scenes were choreographed down to the millisecond. The actors moved so fast I wondered how many real injuries took place while filming. After several battles, they all seemed to be the same to me except for the level of violence. If you play violent video games, you would be okay with this movie. Though I could appreciate the intricate fight scenes, I did not enjoy viewing this movie. Ginzu knives missed a great marketing opportunity here.  Warning: extreme violence.  Indonesian with English subtitles.

 

1 3/4 stars

 

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