MMT Quick Review ‘THE FOREIGNER’

(Left to Right) Jackie Chan as Quan and Pierce Brosnan as Hennessy in hotel suite in THE FOREIGNER

Earlier this week, I was really excited about seeing the new Jackie Chan led vehicle “The Foreigner.” It had been years since I’d watched him on the big screen – last saw him in theaters (not including his voice work) in “The Karate Kid” remake – and have recently seen him on the press circuit promoting the film, and clearly excited about the opportunity to display himself in a less comedic and more dramatic fashion.

So, I had high hopes for this film which co-stars Pierce Brosnan as Liam Hennessy, a duplicitous government official who may or may not be involved in a London terrorist attack that led to the deaths of several people – one of whom was the daughter of Chan’s character, an elderly businessman named Quan Ngoc Minh.

Intent of taking matters into his own hands to locate the whereabouts and identity of the terrorists, Quan is lured into a cat-and-mouse conflict – he as a one-man battle force against a well-crafted terrorist cell intent on progressing its deadly cause.

Now, although I found the movie to be entertaining – and Mr. Chan’s acting actually quite good – the film was very ambitious in its material, had a lot going on story/plot wise, and kind of faltered for a bit to compensate.

It also required a huge suspension of disbelief to invest in Quan’s journey in the first place – I mean he goes into this pursuit completely blind to the facts. But once the action jumped in, it was easier to invest in the film and enjoy the ride on which I was taken.

That being said, I wish the script was tighter, and I’m not sure it’s one I would have on repeat, but I certainly would watch “The Foreigner” again for the Chan and Brosnan – and fight – scenes alone.

And it’s worth noting that the audience I viewed the movie with clapped several times – especially during the action and scenes of vengeance taken by the lead character.

But don’t get it twisted, Chan is a 63-year-old action star, and the character required more realism than any of his former roles – so if you’re a Jackie Chan fan, don’t go in expecting the norm as this is a dramatic thriller – read as not a straight action film and slower-paced.

Here’s the star at the LA première discussing his role and its differences from those in the past:

Really curious to hear/read your thoughts on this one family, so make sure to leave a comment or two after you see it! And to get an idea of the critical discrepancy, the film currently is 56% rotten (critic) with an 80% audience score on the aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.

Until next thought, Thomasena

 

 

MMT Recommends THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE with mini review by subscriber Steve Rodriguez

Jay (voiced by KUMAIL NANJIANI), Kai (voiced by MICHAEL PEÑA), Lloyd (voiced by DAVE FRANCO), Nya (voiced by ABBI JACOBSON), Cole (voiced by FRED ARMISEN) and Zane (voiced by ZACH WOODS) in the new animated adventure “THE LEGO® NINJAGO® MOVIE,” from Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Animation Group, in association with LEGO System A/S, a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

There are some films that you hate to miss in theaters, and for me THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE is definitely one of them! Unfortunately, I missed the screenings for this film, but was excited that MMT had the opportunity to give out family four packs so a few of our subscribers could enjoy!

Released on Friday, September 22, “The Lego Ninjago Movie” is the next film in the highly successful Lego movie franchise – following 2014’s “The Lego Movie” and this year’s “The Lego Batman Movie.”

In the film, the battle for NINJAGO City calls to action young Master Builder Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja, along with his friends, who are all secret ninja warriors. Led by Master Wu, as wise-cracking as he is wise, they must defeat evil warlord Garmadon, The Worst Guy Ever, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad. Pitting mech against mech and father against son, the epic showdown will test this fierce but undisciplined team of modern-day ninjas, who must learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash their inner power.

MMT contest winner/subscriber, and creator of THE NO NOTES SHOW, LLC, Steve Rodriguez had this to say about the movie,

“The Lego Ninjago Movie has a wonderful story line as it depicts a family separated from each other, and the journey of reunification, while centering on five friends – who comprise a secret Ninja force to defend NINJAGO from the evil forces of Warlord Garmadon.

I loved the storyline because it identifies and speaks to the importance of family unity, values and bonding. I also enjoyed the individual characters created. Each of the ninjas displayed the value of true friendship, and showed how circumstances do not define us but we are defined by our character.

The film presented the wonderful message that even though wrong choices are made in the life, it is never too late to change and make things right. There is nothing more powerful than the bond love that holds a family together. I thoroughly enjoyed the messages relayed and felt it was very enjoyable to watch.”

And if you need any more convincing to check the film out, unlike myself, listen to this cool audio (courtesy of Warner Bros.) featuring cast members Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Munn, Kumali Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Zach Woods, and Jackie Chan, producers Dan Lin and Chris McKay and director Charlie Bean sharing thoughts on the film, behind the scenes antics and answering audience questions :

I would love to hear from other MMT winners that saw the film! Leave some comments if you’ve checked it out. 🙂

Until next thought, Thomasena

MMT Quick Review: Kung Fu Panda 3 – with MMT junior contributor Jayla

Kung Fu Panda (photo: Dreamworks)

In my recent quick review of a film sequel (Ride Along 2), I made some suggestions as to what the third movie, if made, should/should not do. And I believe the latest installment – KUNG FU PANDA 3 – in the family friendly franchise did some things very right – starting with the return of the original voice-over cast featuring Jack Black as protagonist Po along with co-stars Angelina Jolie-Pitt (Tigress), Dustin Hoffman (Shifu), Jackie Chan (Monkey), Seth Rogen (Mantis), David Cross (Crane), Lucy Liu (Viper), and Randall Duk Kim (Oogway); along with some great additions, including Kate Hudson as Mei Mei, Bryan Cranston as Li, and J.K. Rowlings who voices the new supervillain Kai.

The film starts by introducing Kai and his escape from confinement in the spirit world, and moves to Po and the rest of the Furious Five on their rounds guarding the Valley of Peace before picking up where the second film hinted in its ending  – with Po’s father (Li) arriving in the village to find his long-lost son.

Like it’s two predecessors, “Kung Fu Panda 3” is filled with inspiring lessons (on family, community, and acceptance to name a few), plenty of laughs, and – maybe even more than the first two – amazing animation that’s a must see in 3D. And unlike many “thirds” that are made, the film really does stand on its own without feeling overdone or unnecessary.

So you know I took our youngest contributor, and my littlest bestie, Jayla to see this one right? And from the jump, Jayla was not feeling the 3D glasses – she’s three, very opinionated and, when asked if something was wrong with the kids-sized glasses that perfectly fit her face, simply shook her head and stated she didn’t want to wear them. I still wondered if the animation, which again was visually stunning and some of the best I’d seen since I reviewed Rio 2, was simply too much in 3D for her taste. But she really was invested in the movie, even with the slight blur without the glasses, and when the movie ended – before I could even get a word of inquiry formed – she turned to me and said, “That was a good movie!” Yes, the emphasis on good was all hers!

I will say that this 3rd installment, again maybe more than the first two, had some heavier themes, mostly surrounding the spirit world, that I thought were a bit too heady for a preschooler by monitoring Jayla’s reaction – she seemed to need a bit of seat adjusting or respite on her mother’s lap during those sequences. But when Po was faced with the ultimate challenge, (slight spoiler) which occurred in the spirit world, Jayla was certainly tuned in and quietly voiced that she wanted Po to “come back” to his home. Yep, the three-year-old was following this movie quite well and the more school-aged themes hadn’t lost her after all.

Alright family, you know the drill. Stop by and leave a comment or two when you’ve seen the film. Would love to hear your thoughts on this one!

Until next thought, Thomasena

PS – my favorite scene is at the end of the below trailer! By the expression they gave Po (look at those eyes), someone on that animation team must be a fellow cat lover! 🙂

MMT contributor Jayla (photo: M. Noll)
MMT contributor Jayla (photo: M. Noll)

Jayla is MMT’s kid contributor, and Thomasena’s self-described “littlest Gemini bestie.” Her favorite colors are purple and pink, and she enjoys Minnie Mouse and Snoopy.