The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is the type of middling, mediocre nonsense that you’re likely going to find playing on basic cable in three years. It’s such an unremarkable, silly action comedy going through the motions and capitalizing on two men and what they’re famous for. Stars Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds never break out of their comfort zones, and you can almost sense director Patrick Hughes asked both men to just be who everyone knows them for, and really nothing else. “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is everything you think a movie starring Jackson and Reynolds will be like. Nothing ever really skirts the edges or thinks outside the box, and the violence seems just tacked on to what was probably a bland PG-13 action comedy in development.

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Batman and Harley Quinn (2017): Deluxe Edition [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

“Well that was a big ass bucket of nothing!”

“Batman: The Animated Series” is one of the seminal animated creations of the nineties and is still considered a quintessential depiction of Batman. It’s a masterpiece of animation and meticulous storytelling. The voice work by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as Batman and Joker are so definitive, that some fans can’t possibly imagine either character on screen without either actor portraying them. Here we are in 2017 with Bruce Timm reviving his animated version of “Batman” and what do we get? A very long gag involving Harley Quinn farting in the Batmobile as Batman sniffs it in with pleasure, all the while Nightwing retches in the side seat. This is the bar of “quality” we get with “Batman and Harley Quinn.”

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Atomic Blonde (2017)

David Leitch’s adaptation of the graphic novel from Oni Press is something of an anomaly that I’ve had a difficult time wrapping my head around since I finished it. I’m not typically one who is easy on an action movie that’s so unnecessarily hard to follow, but “Atomic Blonde” kept me hooked, even when I was trying to keep up with it. Leitch’s direction, matched with the excellent editing, and just amazing martial arts scenes assured me I may just be watching “Atomic Blonde” again and again. The amalgam of a neo-noir and a gung ho martial arts spy thriller amounts to an occasionally awkward experience, but I embraced it in the end as this imperfect action film that sucked me in time and time again.

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Broken Sword Hero (Thong Dee Fun Khao) (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

A young fighter goes on a quest to learn as much as he can to perfect his fighting skills following a hard loss.  He travels his province in search of many masters to learn from and makes friends along the way.

Written by Suwan Takongkaew and Preayaporn Boonpa and directed by Bin Bunluerit, Broken Sword Hero is an action film with a quest at it center and a philosophical angle to how it approaches some of the fights and the learning the lead does during his travels.  The way this is approached is interesting here but ultimately feels a bit long.  The story around the fights makes this a film about more than just the fights, but also about the different techniques and the human element.  Unfortunately, the film feels a bit uneven between the fighting being very strong and entertaining and the story parts feeling a bit slow and a lot less entertaining.  This leads to the whole of the film feeling a touch long with some pacing issues.

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Savage Dog (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

In 1959 Indochina, a legend is born.  A man fights his way out of jail and to make money until he is forced to fight for revenge.  Through this, he learns a lot about himself and what he is ready to do.

Written and directed by Jesse V. Johnson, Savage Dog is a decent fight film with a bit of story created with the purpose of setting up fights for star Scott Adkins and co-star Marko Zaror.  The story is decent enough but not exactly fascinating, something that should not bother fans of fight films as this one has a few very good fights and some side ones that are also interesting.  The dialogue is decent while the setting is interesting, but not used to its full potential.  The characters are almost all created with a purpose relating to Adkins’ character, making him the center of just about everything.  The story is not bad as it develops in ways that keep the attention and introduces fights in a manner that makes sense.

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Jailbreak (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

A special police team is sent to transfer a high risk prisoner from holding to a local prison where the Butterfly clan should not be able to get to him.  Once at the prison, things go south fast and the team members find themselves in a fight for their lives.

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Atomic Blonde (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

A beautiful but deadly MI6 agent is sent to Berlin in 1989, right at the time the wall is about to be taken down, so that she can navigate her way through the cities and the web of spies and double agents there to get her hands on a list of them with powerful information.

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