Cine Reviews: ‘Fast & Furious 8’ (2017)

About 16 years ago, Hollywood churned out a film about Los Angeles street-racing modeling it after a hit ’90s action flick going by the name of Point Break. It starred Paul Walker and Vin Diesel with Walker playing a moonlighting cop in pursuit of the fugitive Dominic Toretto, as so memorably portrayed by Diesel in The Fast and the Furious. Who knew that this cool, vehicular action-thriller grew up to become a cash-generating blockbuster franchise that eventually sported an enlarged scope, and a scale that is bigger than it ever was? Now, 7 films later, we get a supposedly more epic installment that excitedly wants to crank up almost everything that we ever loved about this franchise.

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What do we get? Fast & Furious 8 – also known as the film in the series that unintentionally makes fun of itself without even knowing it. It’s indirectly, and unconsciously a satire, but it’s not a good one either. Making a check-list of everything Fast & Furious, and ticking them off one by one with all it’s got, it’s hard not to  see how much it renders the dearly efforts of the last one as a warm finale as useless. It goes on and on, kicking off a new phase to explore, seeming like as if it’s trying to make every little action movie feel jealous because of its dumb enormity. Writer Chris Morgan could take the biggest blame here, as he tries to fire up an engine that is already quite rusty by encircling characters in extreme conflict. All of that may sound and look ambitious to the senses of many, but to ours, they definitely aren’t. To begin with, the dialogue written on the wall for the actors to read feels so off that they just mawkishly deliver them with the intention of making us laugh even if it’s clear to see that they plan to strike with dramatic intensity stemming from forced emotions. The family dynamics that had been sitting since the series’ humble beginnings is nudged with a storyline so contrived and complex yet so non-discernible that you won’t just care for its twists anyway since it throws your focus off of it in favor of the explosive spectacles afoot. Since it wants to show us how far these films had gone, it treats us to all the goods, and blows them up in our faces with no remorse. Most notably, the high-budgeted set pieces comprised of maximum absurdity will melt your brain, but nonetheless, will keep you entertained for the time being. That is, if you try to switch it off and not let itself take its course in analyzing every single glaring flaw present in the area. Because we’re so accustomed to Justin Lin’s sleek direction, and James Wan’s nuance, those who are looking for that exact same feel will only be bugged off by F. Gary Gray’s floundering takeover that narrows down to the shortage of genuine fun and thrills. There’s almost no sense of organization to every scene that he makes, and that is part of the many reasons why it drags so insufferably that it makes time seem like an illusion the moment you get your gears grinded in its dreadful confines.

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The characters that you’ve been with before are only shells of their former selves, while the actors that play them look desperate to keep us impressed as they banter weakly for a paycheck. An exception to that though is Dwayne Johnson’s and Jason Statham’s throwing of hilarious lines which turns out to be one of the few things in the film that is worth embracing next to Charlize Theron’s arrival as a menacing albeit outrageous villain. Aside from all that, there isn’t a lot to look out for. Action? It’s abundant in that. Story? Eh. Characters? Pass. It’s all dull, bloated, and foolishly “bold”. It isn’t worthy of the “glorious” namesake of the franchise, and could’ve been any other film created for the sake of “entertainment”. Directed by F. Gary Gray of Straight Outta Compton fame, Fast & Furious 8 revs up, and races to the finish line making the loudest noise possible – probably so loud that it almost becomes disorienting enough to drive you literally insane. It exchanges simple logic for melodrama, fun for rambunctiousness, and it is anything but ultimately rewarding. Evidently, the driver behind the wheel couldn’t handle the heavy load that this vehicle carries, and as a result, it meets its fate in a cliff of oblivion. Action fans could have some of it, and fans might or might not be gratified, but to lay it down easily, let’s just say that, it’s about time that this vehicle got wrecked completely since it’s just running on fumes anyway.

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  • Fast & Furious 8 opens in Philippine cinemas on Black Saturday, April 15. Also available in IMAX. Distributed by United International Pictures Philippines.

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Thor Enters Battle Arena in Official “Thor: Ragnarok” Teaser Trailer

Watch Thor go up against an old friend in the first official teaser trailer for Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok  here

Directed by Taika Waititi from a script by Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost and Stephany Folsom and Eric Pearson, Thor: Ragnarok picks up after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

In Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok—the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization—at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela (Cate Blanchett). But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger—the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).

If that isn’t enough, feast your eyes on the Asgardian god in his gladiatorial garb in a brand new poster below!

The film also stars Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban with Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Hopkins.

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Thor: Ragnarok hits Philippine theaters like a hammer on November 3, and is distributed by the Walt Disney Company (Philippines).

Will “Fast & Furious 8” Mark the End of the Dom-Letty Love Story?

Back to play the iconic rebel Dominic Toretto himself, Vin Diesel knew exactly what he wanted to accomplish for Universal Pictures’ Fast & Furious 8, the newest chapter in one of the most popular and enduring motion-picture serials of all time, and the first instalment of the planned final trilogy.

Watch the featurette Dom & Letty’s Love Story here: 

I only wanted to continue the saga if we were going to collectively make the best final trilogy for ourselves, for the legacy of our brother Paul, and for Universal, who’s been so supportive over the years,” says Diesel. “With Furious 7, our focus was to not only make the best film in the saga but to honor what it has represented for almost two decades. The key to this next chapter is to challenge those core themes that have endured, and to do it in a way that is compelling but still entertaining.”

Dom Toretto is always about family, and with this storyline it’s the absolute opposite of what you expect,” adds director F. Gary Gray. “I wanted to be a part of delivering not only this different story, but delivering a performance that you’ve never seen from the entire cast. Now we’re able to explore this different realm of emotions with Dom going up against his family.”

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For Fast & Furious fans, most of the franchise’s emotional beats almost always begin and end with the Dom-Letty love story.

Michelle Rodriguez, who originated the role of straight-shooting Letty Ortiz in 2001, has been a fierce proponent of keeping the couple’s relationship as grounded and real as possible, especially with its tumultuous history. That relationship has been placed in jeopardy time and time again, most jarringly in Fast & Furious with her supposed death. But even in her absence, Letty’s presence was just as strong, culminating in her on-screen resurrection as the coda of Fast Five and reconnection with Dom and her family of friends in Fast & Furious 6.

Their unconventional love story is a testament to the multi-layered films’ staying power for close to two decades. “A woman’s most powerful gift is love,” reflects Rodriguez. “What’s beautiful about Dom is that he only sees love’s strength, and that’s a testament to his character. It takes a certain type of guy to accept a really strong woman. But isn’t that the beauty of love? You’re so connected to that one person that the only thing that matters is what you both know to be true. What Vin and I try to convey with Letty and Dom is that, ultimately, the true message is this idealistic love drives people to fight for each other, to stay together tough times and to believe in each other.”

After surviving the machinations that kept them separated for years, Fast & Furious 8 finds Dom and Letty reunited and enjoying the laid back beauty of Cuba. But it is all about to disappear when a routine mission explodes and Dom betrays everyone he’s loved…and has loved him.

Faced with incontrovertible evidence that Dom has joined forces with a cyber-terrorist, seeds of doubt sprout within the team and begin to splinter the now fragile bonds. Despite everything, Letty is the lone holdout who believes in Dom. A lifetime of love that has triumphed and evolved cannot be denied. “Letty is moving on faith for the entire movie,” reflects Rodriguez. “She knows Dom, she knows how he’s wired and what drives him; this is the toughest thing she’s ever faced. Dom and Letty’s relationship is born of an unconditional love that binds them to one another.”

The love is so deep between these two,” adds Diesel, “and as bleak as the situation looks, Letty is going to fight for her man…no matter what.”

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Fast & Furious 8 features a returning all-star cast, as well as a star-studded array of newcomers to this world – Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Helen Mirren, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Scott Eastwood with Kurt Russell and Charlize Theron.

Opening across the Philippines on Black Saturday, April 15, 2017, Fast & Furious 8 is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” Continues Adventure of Quirky Heroes, Expands MCU

From Marvel Studios, the studio that brought you the cinematic global blockbuster franchises of “Iron Man,” “Captain America,” “Thor,” “Ant-Man,” “Doctor Strange” and the “Avengers,” comes the highly anticipated sequel, featuring the world’s favorite band of intergalactic misfits—the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Picking up where “Guardians of the Galaxy”—2014’s highest grossing film of the summer—left off, Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” continues the action-packed, irreverent, epic space adventures of Peter Quill aka Star-Lord and his gang of eccentric characters as they patrol and protect the universe, doing mercenary work in the wake of the popularity and fame they garnered from saving Xandar.

Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, the story follows the team as they fight to keep their newfound family together while traversing the outer reaches of the cosmos to unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.

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Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is written and directed by James Gunn (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Dawn of the Dead”) and produced by Kevin Feige. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jonathan Schwartz, Nikolas Korda and Stan Lee serve as executive producers.

The film stars Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, Michael Rooker as Yondu, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha, Chris Sullivan as Taserface, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Tommy Flanagan as Tulik, Laura Haddock as Meredith Quill, with Sylvester Stallone as Stakar, and Kurt Russell as Ego.

Created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan, the “Guardians of the Galaxy” were introduced in 1969 as a team of heroes in the 31st century—each member the last of its kind. With the phase two expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “The Guardians of the Galaxy” was the first franchise introduced outside of the core Marvel cornerstone characters. The film was also a dramatic departure in tone and style from any previous Marvel film franchises. When the uniquely creative and original film was released, “Guardians of the Galaxy” became a worldwide box-office sensation, with audiences warmly embracing the eccentric cast of intergalactic characters.

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Writer/director James Gunn recalls his reaction to seeing the characters being propelled into the pop-culture zeitgeist in the summer of 2014. “It was truly gratifying and fulfilling that the Guardians’ characters spoke so profoundly to so many people all over the world,” says Gunn. “At the core of the film, the Guardians are a group of outsiders who come together and find a way to make it work. I think that’s what speaks to such a wide array of people. It’s a great feeling when kids come up and say they loved the film and that their parents and grandparents loved it as well. These characters were able to connect to all generations around the world from Thailand to South America to London.”

Opening across the Philippines on April 26, 2017, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is distributed in the Philippines by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

“The Mummy” Unveils New Tom Cruise-Centric Poster

Universal Pictures has just unveiled the new poster art for its epic action-adventure The Mummy, showing Tom Cruise’s character with the titular female mummy (Sofia Boutella) looming in the background.

Check out the one-sheet art below and watch The Mummy when it rises in Philippine cinemas on June 7, 2017.

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In The Mummy, thought safely entombed in a tomb deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella of Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.

From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, The Mummy brings a surprising intensity and balance of wonder and thrills in an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters.

Cruise is joined by a cast including Annabelle Wallis (upcoming King Arthur, Annabelle), Jake Johnson (Jurassic World), Courtney B. Vance (TV’s American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson) and Oscar® winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator).

The Mummy is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

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Acclaimed Manga and Box-Office Hit “A Silent Voice” Chronicles the Journey of a Teen Bully

A Silent Voice” (Koe no Katachi) is based on the highly regarded, award-winning Manga by Yoshitoki Oima, the film was made by Kyoto Animation and directed by Naoko Yamada.

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A coming-of-age story, “A Silent Voice,” is a manga about a deaf high school girl, the boy who bullies her and his attempt at reconciliation. Shoya is a bully. When Shoko, a girl who can’t hear, enters his elementary school class, she becomes their favorite target, and Shoya and his friends goad each other into devising new tortures for her. But the children’s cruelty goes too far. Shoko is forced to leave the school, and Shoya ends up shouldering all the blame. Six years later, the two meet again. Can Shoya make up for his past mistakes, or is it too late?

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A Silent Voice” opens April 15 in cinemas from Pioneer Films.

Watch the trailer:

Resurrected Tom Cruise Battles “The Mummy” in Action-Packed New Trailer

Big reveals and jaw-dropping action sequences highlight the new trailer of Universal Pictures’ epic action-adventure The Mummy starring Tom Cruise.

Check out the trailer here, and watch The Mummy when it rises in Philippine cinemas on June 7, 2017.

In The Mummy, thought safely entombed in a tomb deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella of Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.

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From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, The Mummy brings a surprising intensity and balance of wonder and thrills in an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters.

Cruise is joined by a cast including Annabelle Wallis (upcoming King Arthur, Annabelle), Jake Johnson (Jurassic World), Courtney B. Vance (TV’s American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson) and Oscar® winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator).

The creative team on this action-adventure event is led by director/producer Alex Kurtzman and producer Chris Morgan, who have been instrumental in growing some of the most successful franchises of the past several years—with Kurtzman writing or producing entries in the Transformers, Star Trek and Mission: Impossible series, and Morgan being the narrative engineer of the Fast & Furious saga as it has experienced explosive growth from its third chapter on. Sean Daniel, who produced the most recent Mummy trilogy, produces alongside Kurtzman and Morgan.

The Mummy is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.