With the first quarter of 2017 comfortably, or uncomfortably for some, behind us, we look back at the 10 movies that made the bold print. We’ve seen hyped sequels, anticipated remakes, some tried and tested ideas repackaged and animation. As a result, Hollywood so far has pulled some heavy punches along with some weak ones.
Keanu Reeves returns to the larger than life, ruthless, bringer of death, the character of John Wick. In the first installment, he came out of retirement to a dark, polished, sharply dressed underworld to exact revenge on the Russian mob for stealing his ’69 fastback Mustang and killing his cat (The last gift from his deceased wife). Chapter Two sees his past come back to hunt him, expanding on this universe, forcing him to kill and stay alive in the face of betrayal. The movie boasts excellent editing, a gripping pace of story telling and such precisely taken headshots, it makes a seasoned gamer envy Wick’s skills! In the end, John Wick Chapter Two does what so many sequels fail to do these days: double down on the recipe that made the first bite so delicious and has you eagerly await the third entree on the menu.
The final installment (hopefully!) of the Resident Evil franchise that was born from the Resident Evil games with Milla Jovovich as Alice, our superwoman-esque apocalypse survivor, and leader of the human race. Fans have hoped The Final Chapter would bring back the glory of the first movie of the series. The first kept us glued to the screen with nonstop action, gory deaths, and a fast paced plot. Since then the franchise has slackened into dependably dumb post-apocalyptic thrills. This movie has Alice return to where it all started, The Hive in Racoon City where she takes on the Umbrella Corporation in a fast paced story, one, some might call a waste of time. For the loyal fan, it’s a fitting end to the saga.
Over the years King Kong is arguably the most iconic monster to have graced the big screen. Ever since the first in 1933, there have been many reboots of the character. The most recent edition comes to courtesy legendary Entertainment’s MonsterVerse that brought us Godzilla in 2014. Kong: Skull Island has us visit The King in his primal habitat. The year is 1973, the Vietnam War is over and the US has just discovered a new island. Of course, they have to beat the Soviet’s to the island and unearth whatever riches it has to offer. Enter Samuel L. Jackson as the brawn and Tom Hiddleston as the brains of the expedition team. With a pulpy feel of yesteryear, the film takes you on a ride of thrills and kills in which King Kong may not be the only threat posed to our star-studded cast. With a box office take of $150,729,724, legendary and Waner Bros were quick to announce Godzilla vs. King Kong slated for a release in 2020.
The third installment showcasing the bravado of Xander Cage (Vin diesel) brings to the big screen extreme action and stupefying stunts that will take your heartbeat on a roller coaster. Coupled with a badass attitude and wit, this makes for a good trip down memory lane for xXx fans. For the movie fan looking for a more serious take, better plot and believable action, rummage through your 007 Bond collection and pick, preferably one with Sean Connery taking the reins.
Admit it! Wolverine is probably one of our most beloved comic book superhero characters of all time. Who better to bring him to the big screen than Hugh Jackman? We have followed Wolverine’s and Jackman’s journey through X-Men and stand-alone Wolverine movies for over 15 years now. So what makes this final swansong for Jackman’s Wolverine feel like a proper sendoff? It’s 2029 and we find Logan taking care of an ailing Professor X, lying low, somewhere on the Mexican border. With Logan’s powers themselves diminished over the years, he is asked to drive a young girl cross country, a girl the Professor has been waiting for for a long time. The story flows with purpose, pausing at select moments for the gravity of the dialogue to settle in. It has heart and it earns it tears, never superficial, but gritty with great choreographed fight scenes. Don’t be surprised if this is the Wolverine movie you remember 10 years down the line!
A sequel of sorts of 2014 The Lego Movie, Lego Batman stars in his own big-screen adventure. Batman (Will Arnett) has to put aside his superiority complex. The Caped Crusader has to try and work with others to stop The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) from taking over Gotham City. Perhaps not for the kids, Buzzfyre recommends this just to see if the moody Batman learns to lighten up!
The largest most expensive film ever shot entirely in China, the Great Wall brings together Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers), one of the most stunning contemporary visual artists and Matt Demon (The Bourne Series) to the Great Wall of China. The story follows an elite force taking a stand against an unrelenting horde of ancient monsters. The Great Wall has a few edge of the seat moments, great choreography, and costumes. However, an aging Matt Demon and the predictable story line that doesn’t stray too far from its comfort zone. The movie may not leave a lasting impression on its viewers, possibly not that it was trying to in the first place.
Kate Beckinsale returned to reprise her role as Selene, our favorite vampire warrior on taking 5 of vampires vs. werewolves. A grittier take on the theme compared to the twilight zone, the first movie in the saga, Underworld (2003), was well received. Unfortunately, though the installments after the original failed to make the expected impact. Not much can be said about Blood Wars either. We see Selene fight off both the Lycan clan and the Vampire fraction that betrayed her. Bar Beckinsale, who could not be expected to carry the entire movie, none of the other actors had notable performances. Along with bad writing and even worse editing, you can safely skip perhaps the final installment in this franchise.
Walt Disney clocks in with a remake of 1991 animated musical of the same name, Beauty and the Beast. It’s the same story in which Belle played by Emma Watson (Harry Potter fame), the beauty who, to save her father, takes up residence with a Beast in his palace. A long time ago a prince was placed under an enchantment that transformed him into a beast and of course, only true love can break the spell. With top notch CGI that does a marvelous job with the culinary servants and intricately crafted songs, Belle and the Beast waltz to an apt telling of a magical love story. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself going back to the original animated version for likeness!
With a rich history of a show with 24 television seasons and two theatrical films of the ‘90, a third comes to the big screens this March. This one is a reboot of the original television series. Aimed at a younger audience than the Marvel or DC offerings, our teenage heroes have come across five Power Coins left behind by prehistoric warriors. These brave souls died saving planet Earth and the Zeo Crystal; the source of all life. Our heroes have 11 days to train and learn to work together to save planet Earth from Rita Repulsa. Repulsa has an army of putties and her minion Goldar to take on the young heroes. This monster she re-creates from, you guessed it, gold! A little cheesy, I know. The action falls short of the other recent blockbuster offerings before it all comes together, literally, in the end. A coming of age story in essence that lacks in execution, but comes through with heart.
The following movies did not make the cut but are worth checking out: