Tag Archives: will smith

BAD BOYS FOR LIFE (2020) – My rating: 8/10

Bad Boys for Life is an action-comedy. The film was directed by Adil & Bilall, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Smith, and Doug Belgrad. It is the sequel to Bad Boys II (2003) in the Bad Boys franchise. The film follows the Bad Boy detectives reuniting once again when someone starts murdering people involved in an old case.

When the widow, Isabel Aretas (Kate del Castillo) of deceased drug cartel kingpin, Benito is broken out of a Mexican prison, officials from police officers to judges are being murdered.  Meanwhile, Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) accompanies his partner Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) to see his newborn grandson at a local hospital. There, Marcus informs Mike he intends to retire, as he is getting too old for the job and wants to share in his grandson’s raring.  A party is thrown celebrating the newborn (also named Marcus) after which Mike is shot by Isabel’s son, Armando Aretas (Jacob Scipio). Mike goes into a coma for several months.  Upon Mike’s recovery, he is out for revenge and unsuccessfully tries to talk Marcus, (who has already retired) into unretiring to form their bad boy’s team one last time.

The film is totally unbelievable and full of Smith’s infamous, egotistical outbursts.  There are lots of funny lines and lots of funny scenes.  Older folks are known for calling a spade a spade, which Lawrence does throughout the movie.  Lines like “Ride Together, Die Together, Bad Boys for Life” or “We’re not just black, we’re cops too. We’ll pull ourselves over later” and “I’m married. That’s what married means. It means you sleep together, but you can’t get none”, are what makes his character so loveable, yet so annoying.  There are significant chase scenes as well as special effects. I enjoyed the movie and was well entertained.  There are some surprises and I hear there’s going to be a fourth sequel.  If I’m right, there’s going to be a big surprise as to who might take Lawrence’s place.  We’ll just have to wait and see. The film received mostly positive reviews from critics. The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 76% based on 238 reviews and an average rating of 6.21/10. The website’s critics consensus reads: “Loaded up with action and a double helping of leading-man charisma, Bad Boys for Life reinvigorates this long-dormant franchise by playing squarely to its strengths.”  As of February 13, 2020, Bad Boys for Life has grossed $170 million in the United States and Canada, and $170.3 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $340.3 million, against a production budget of $90 million. It is both the highest-grossing film in the Bad Boys franchise and the highest-grossing film released in January. I think you will enjoy Bad Boys for Life — Check It Out!

 

GEMINI MAN (2019) – My rating: 8/10

Gemini Man is an action thriller directed by Ang Lee and written by David Benioff, Billy Ray, and Darren Lemke. Gemini Man follows a hitman who is targeted by a younger clone of himself while on the run from the government. I waited with bated breath for this movie, it didn’t let me down.

**** SOME SPOILERS ****

Henry Brogan /Jackson Brogan (codenamed “Junior”),   (Will Smith), is a government-paid assassin with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and regarded as the best killer of his generation. Gemini Man opens with Henry, who has eyes on an anonymous terrorist aboard a bullet train that he has been commissioned to assassinate. Once in position, Henry’s spotter alerts him of a young girl approaching the target, causing Henry to delay his shot until the last second. He shoots the man in the neck but was aiming for his head. Disillusioned by his aging skills, Henry retires from government service. While adjusting to retirement, Henry meets boat rental manager Dani Zakarweskiand (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and reconnects with an old friend, Jack Willis (Douglas Hodge), who reveals that an informant named Yuri Kovacs (Ilia Volok) told him that the terrorist Henry killed was an innocent man. Demanding proof, Henry has Jack arrange a meeting with Yuri. In retaliation for Henry knowing their deception, agency director, Janet Lassiter (Linda Emond) plans to kill Henry. Clay Varris (Clive Owen), head of a top-secret black ops unit codenamed “GEMINI“, request permission to do the job of getting rid of Henry but is denied.

Meanwhile, realizing Dani is a fellow agent sent to monitor him, Henry befriends her. After his home is broken into by government agents, Henry calls his spotter, who is killed along with Jack and his mistress. Henry warns Dani about the attack. Together they manage to kill the assassins sent after them, learning the agency wants them both dead. Escaping to Colombia, Henry and Dani go to the home of Henry’s former colleague and friend, Baron (Benedict Wong) and plan to meet with Yuri for further options. Meanwhile, Clay gets his chance to dispatch his top assassin to kill Henry. While they are fighting, Henry realizes the assassin bears an uncanny resemblance to himself as a young man, with a similar skill set.

Gemini Man turned out to be a pretty good movie despite Will Smith’s rather large ego.  It’s probably no coincidence that Will’s character is considered the best in his particular field and because he’s the best, only the best (a clone) could be considered for the job of assassinating “his best self”.  Fast-forwarding to the special effects, I think they were brilliant.  In the old days when one actor played two people that looked exactly alike, their faces couldn’t be shown together at the same time.  Oh, how times have changed, in my opinion, the special effects were fantastic.  The ending was a little cheesy but a nice idea.  So how does a younger you kill an older you, after all, one of you knows every move the other is going to make.  You’ll just have to see this one to get all the answers.  I recommend Gemini to all.  It was fun and enjoyable, as I was thoroughly entertained.  The film received generally negative reviews from critics, who complimented the performances but lamented the script and plot. The de-aging of Smith and the high frame-rate of 120 FPS drew a mixed response, with some critics praising them as technical achievements, while others felt they were unconvincing.  Gemini Man has earned $119.2 million and was produced on an estimated budget of $138 million. Check  It Out!

 

ALADDIN (2019) – My rating: 9/10

Aladdin is a musical fantasy directed by Guy Ritchie, who co-wrote the screenplay with John August. Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, it is a live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1992 animated film of the same name, which is based on the eponymous Middle-Eastern folktale from One Thousand and One Nights. I decided to see Aladdin at the last minute and I’m glad I did because it is the best version of Aladdin I’ve seen.

Aladdin opens with a husband (Will Smith), his wife Dalia (Nasim Pedrad) and their two children, Omar (Jordan A. Nash) and Lian (Taliyah Blair), sailing the world. As Omar and Lian watch a much bigger and more lavish ship pass by, they become excited. The husband hears the children comment on how much better the passing ship is, so he decides to tell them the story of Aladdin, the Princess and the lamp, emphasizing bigger isn’t always better.

Aladdin (Mena Massoud), a kind-hearted young “street urchant”, living in the desert kingdom of Agrabah, along with his pet monkey Abu, rescues and befriends a woman that happens to be Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). She snuck out of the palace because she grew tired of her sheltered and boring life. She hides her true identity, allowing Aladdin to believe that she is Princess Jasmine’s handmaiden, Dalia (Nasim Pedrad). Suddenly, Jasmine has to rush home, telling Aladdin that Prince Anders (Billy Magnussen) has come to court the Princess and since she is the handmaiden, she has to be by the Princess’ side. She then asks Aladdin to give back her bracelet (which was formerly her mother’s) he used as collateral to rescue the Princess earlier.  However, Abu stole the bracelet back from Aladdin, therefore Aladdin is unable to give it back to her at present. Jasmine angrily tells him that he is just a common thief and she was naïve to think he was her friend.

Meanwhile, the nefarious and deceptive sorcerer and Grand Vizier, Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), grows tired of being “second best” to the Sultan (who is Jasmine’s father). He and his parrot Iago (Alan Tudyk) finds his only recourse to become “1st” is to retrieve the magic lamp hidden within the Cave of Wonders. Legend has it that only one person is worthy to enter: “the diamond in the rough”, whom Jafar later identifies as Aladdin. That night, Aladdin returns Jasmine’s bracelet but while trying to return home, Jafar orders the palace guards, who are headed up by Hakim (Numan Acar) who is loyal to the Sultan of Agrabah (Navid Negahban), to capture him. Jafar reveals to Aladdin that the woman he thought was the handmaiden is really the princess and says he can make him rich enough to impress her by making him a prince, but only if he retrieves the lamp from inside the cave. Aladdin agrees and enters the cave with Abu.  While in the cave, Aladdin rescues a magic carpet and obtains the lamp. Defying Aladdin’s instruction to touch nothing but the lamp, Abu grabs a ruby, which causes the cave to collapse.  Aladdin, Abu, and the magic carpet quickly escapes the cave, giving the lamp to Jafar, who throws them back into the cave, but not before Abu steals the lamp back. Now trapped in the collapsed cave, Aladdin rubs the lamp and meets the Genie (Will Smith), an incredibly powerful, comedically eccentric and kindly djinn, who resides inside the lamp. The Genie explains he has the power to grant three wishes with the exception of murder, romance, resurrection of the dead, and wishing for more wishes, but only to the current owner of the lamp. Aladdin tricks the Genie into freeing them from the cave without using a wish and then uses his first wish to become a prince to impress Jasmine, and promises to use his third wish to free the Genie from servitude. Back in Agrabah, Aladdin, as “Prince Ali of Ababwa”, arrives in a large spectacle, complete with elephants, but Jasmine is unimpressed.

From the first appearance of the Genie, the entire movie changed.  Will Smith really placed a whole new aura on “Aladdin”.  The film became humorous, mystifying and in Disney style, glamorous with dancing, flamboyant costumes and brilliant scenery.  The story picked up and actually gave the audience something to look forward to while making one happy they came to see Aladdin.  Don’t get me wrong, watching Aladdin run through the streets of Agrabah while jumping from building to building was quite a sight.  His clever lines and quick actions were spectacular.  The special effects were brilliant, from the magic carpet to the many mystical appearances of the genie.  Jafar’s staff changed to an evil and powerful snake that glowed red. Will sang and rapped and even danced a little.  I have never enjoyed Aladdin as much as I did this version.  There’s something for everyone embedded in this movie and I’m sure young and old will enjoy it.  Aladdin grossed $275 million worldwide. The film received mixed reviews from critics; some praised the performances of Massoud, Smith, and Scott, costumes, and musical numbers, while others criticized the direction, pacing, and CGI effects. The film did receive a positive response from audiences polled by CinemaScore and PostTrak.  If you know the story you’ll love this iteration, if you don’t know the story, you’ll still love this iteration.  Check It Out!

 

SUICIDE SQUAD (2016) – My rating: 6.5/10

suicidesquadI tried really hard to like Suicide Squad because I’m into the whole super hero thing.  I have to admit, as much as I like super heroes and meta-humans, Suicide Squad was suicide.  Some of the most deplorable meta-humans you can imagine are housed in Belle Reve Prison for their hideous crimes.

INTELLIGENCE OFFICER – Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), the government official who gives out the Squad’s orders.  Ambitious and devious, she has big plans and intends to let no meta-human or military protocol get in her way. Davis stated she is fascinated by the character, singling out her psychology and strength and describing her as a “powerful black woman, hard, ready to pick up a gun and shoot anyone at will.” She described Waller as “relentless in her villainy” and noted that her powers are “her intelligence and her complete lack of guilt.” Davis read M.E. Thomas’ autobiography Confessions of a Sociopath to prepare for her role.

ARMY SPECIAL FORCES COLONEL – Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), a West Point graduate who leads the Suicide Squad in the field. He is all business and executes Amanda Waller’s orders but does not always agree with her goals or methods.


In the aftermath of Superman’s death, Amanda Waller assembles Task Force X, which is placed under the command of Rick Flag, to be used as disposable assets in high-risk missions to rid the world of other deplorable rejects for the United States government. Each member has a nano bomb implanted in their neck, designed to detonate should any member rebel or try to escape.  Task Force X is comprised of the following dangerous meta-human, criminal rejects:

ELITE HITMAN – Deadshot aka Floyd Lawson (Will Smith), an expert marksman and assassin. A mercenary by day and a concerned father by night.  Deadshot is a conflicted criminal who enjoys the hunt, but is still trying to do right by his young daughter.

FORMER PSYCHIATRIST – Harley Quinn aka Harleen Quinzel (Margot Robbie), a crazed supervillain and former psychiatrist. Producer Richard Suckle describes this character as “a fan fave. Funny, crazy, scary. … You can’t come up with enough adjectives to describe all the different things you see her do.” Robbie describes Quinn as one of the Squad’s most manipulative members, and her relationship with Joker as “incredibly dysfunctional”, adding that Quinn is “mad about him—like, literally, mad. She’s crazy. But she loves him. And it’s a really unhealthy, dysfunctional relationship. But an addictive one.

PYROKINETIC EX-GANGSTER El Diablo, aka Chato Santana (Jay Hernandez), a former Los Angeles gang member who has powers that allow him to summon flames, and transform himself into a monstrous horned demon-like entity. He has squelched his fire-conjuring powers to a solitary flame as penance for the horrors he inflicted on those he loved. Hernandez set his character apart from his teammates as he “just wants to stay out of the fight”, while “most of [Task Force X] are happy to get out there and kill people”.

OPPORTUNISTIC THIEF – Captain Boomerang aka George “Digger” Harkness (Jai Courtney),  a thief who utilizes deadly boomerangs, described as rugged, unpredictable and mouthy. About his role, Courtney stated, “he is an absolute bogan, in the purest sense”.

SPECIALIZED ASSASSIN – Slipknot aka Christopher Weiss (Adam Beach), A mercenary specializing in tactical grappling and scaling, who is the first member of the squad to be killed.

The following are significant characters who were not part of Task Force X:

The Joker (Jared Leto), a psychopathic supervillain and major love interest of Quinn. Leto described his role as “nearly Shakespearean” and a “beautiful disaster of a character”.  Leto never broke character throughout filming, with Smith going as far as stating he never met him.

Some FYI on the Joker:  In preparation for the role, Leto spent his time alone, listened to gospel music from the 1920s—commenting he senses “Joker may be much older than people think”—and read literature on shamanism. Influences for the character’s appearance include Mexican cartel bosses and the work of Alejandro Jodorowsky. Leto stated that he spoke with doctors and spent time with psychopaths in preparation for his role. The character’s tattoos were added by Ayer, who believed it gave a modernized gangster look to the Joker.

Dr. June Moone / Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), an archaeologist who is possessed by an ancient evil force that transforms her into a powerful sorceress. Unleashed after a long period of imprisonment, the entity draws the attention of Waller who intended to recruit Dr. Moone for the squad, Enchantress instead seeks revenge against mankind for imprisoning her and her brother’s souls in artifacts after years of worshipping them. Delevingne described Moone as “an adventure-seeker who’s always wanted some excitement” and Enchantress as “a feral being.”

Tatsu Yamashiro / Katana (Karen Fukuhara), an expert martial artist and swordswoman who mourns her husband’s death. She serves as Rick Flag’s bodyguard and wields the mystical Soultaker blade, capable of trapping the souls of its victims. As she is a volunteer, not a criminal, she does not have a micro-bomb implant. Fukuhara stated that Katana “has morals and codes. She can also slice through hundreds of people without taking a breath.”

GQ Edwards (Scott Eastwood), a Navy SEAL who assists Flag during the squad’s mission.

The dialogue was slick, ultra modern and a little strange in some places.  The special effects were absolutely brilliant and the plot was really out there with multiple routes to follow.  Most of Suicide Squad was too congested and overshadowed with too many crazy plots.  It was hard to follow however, despite the busyness, bits of entertainment shone through. If you are a fan of the comic book series you will probably get more out of the movie than a novice who doesn’t have a clue what they’re walking into.  I did like the movie but it’s definitely not for everyone.  Suicide Squad is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

[Suicide Squad WON the 89th ANNUAL OSCAR AWARD for Makeup and Hairstyling]

Save

FOCUS (2015) – My rating: 7.5/10

FocusI go back to my statement a few weeks ago about Hollywood running out of new ideas for new movies.  I think if you’re going to do something that’s been done a million times before, you had better be two steps ahead of everyone else.  The trouble with Focus is, I started feeling like every word spoken was part of a con.  First, let me explain what Focus is about.  A con man Nicky (Will Smith), with a crew of cons has made his career about conning people out of their money, valuables and sometimes, even their dignity.  A wanna be con women Jess (Margot Robbie) tries to pull a scam on Nicky but fails.  She then persuades Nicky to teach her the tricks of the trade.  Together they manage to con half of New Orleans before it’s time to move on.  It’s interesting to see what and how scams and cons are pulled off.  Focus makes a person want to stay at home, forever.  In this world, there’s no trusting anyone.  I liked Focus but it’s nothing new.  So, is it okay to take an old concept and try to make it entertaining and different?  It’s absolutely okay to try but not easy to achieve.  Focus was entertaining for the most part but predictable.

AFTER EARTH (2013) – My rating: 9.5/10

AfterEarthI really didn’t know what to expect, even after seeing the trailers.  Before I knew it, After Earth was out and had gotten all sorts of “not so favorable” reviews.  I absolutely loved it.  Because I’m not a die hard fan of Will Smith, I am able to be completely unbiased.  After Earth is a profound story of a father and son with a  strained relationship, brought on by a profound incident in their family.  The boy had demons he had to overcome and so did his dad.  Earth as we know it had become anti human, therefore uninhabitable.  I thought Smith’s son did a brilliant acting portrayal of a kid put in a difficult situation where he had to reach into the depths of his soul to overcome.  I feel this movie is Oscar worthy.  Too bad it probably won’t get the nod come Oscar time.  The story is deep and deserves it’s viewers to see it with a clear mind, untarnished by the media.  In my humble opinion, After Earth is a “Must See”!