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Tremors 2 Aftershocks

Director – S.S. Wilson – 1996 – US – Cert. 12 – 92m

Video rental release

Tremors’ Fred Ward and Michael Gross (the survivalist Burt Gummer) joined by self‑styled “new guy” Christopher Gartin are again beset by underground beasties who, as before, outsmart the humans – here mutating into CGI bipeds created by top Jurassic Park effects man Phil Tippett. Highly inventive sequel – recommended.

Capsule review from Manga Mania, 1996, republished here on the death of actor Fred Ward, May 2022.

Trailer:

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The Matrix: Resurrections

Director – Lana Wachowski – 2021 – US – Cert. 15 – 148m

**

One of the original directors returns for a fourth film in the popular franchise – available to own on Digital Download from Monday, March 14th

Helmed by one of the directing duo behind The Matrix (1999), this is the fourth feature film in the popular franchise. Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is now the designer of the popular computer game The Matrix and being asked by owners Warner Bros. to make a fourth game, something he’s always decided he wouldn’t do. But under pressure from his boss, he capitulates. Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) frequents his local coffee shop, but they don’t know each other. The hero of his game Neo is loosely modelled on himself while Tiffany reminds him of its heroine Trinity.

With these two stars of the original film and its sequels returning, this fourth film starts off like a rerun of the original with different or substitute characters: the feisty Bugs (Jessica Henwick) as a Trinity substitute fleeing a series of suits in dark glasses, running into a man claiming to be Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who states, “I have to find Neo”.

And this is where The Matrix: Resurrections’ problems start to occur.… Read the rest

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The Battle At Lake Changjin II aka Water Gate Bridge (Zhang Jin Hu, 长津湖之水门桥)

Director – Tsui Hark – 2022 – China – Cert. 15 – 153m

**

Ill-considered sequel to box office barnstorming, Chinese war movie fails to match the emotional engagement and excitement of the original – out in cinemas on Friday, February 11th

After the exciting and energetic original, this sequel is a disappointment. It has the same expertise of CG special effects as its predecessor. However the cast is cut down, many of the memorable characters having died heroically in the first film, and there’s no attempt to replace them. Similarly, the spectacular locations are fewer in number because there’s no journey from home through different regions, so this has a smaller geographical palette to play with.

The cast of characters issue would be easy enough to fix within the war genre: members of a military unit die, others come to the fore to replace them in the vacuum created. But no, here all we get are People’s Volunteer Army (PVA) 7th Company commander Wu Qianli (Wu Jing) and his younger brother Wu Wanli (Jackson Lee) and no real attempt to further develop their relationship under fire. The two characters are just there, and the audience is expected to carry over their emotional investment from the first film without the second one providing any reason for doing so.… Read the rest

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Ghostbusters Afterlife

Director – Jason Reitman – 2021 – US – Cert. 12a – 124m

*****

A single parent mum and her two teenage kids relocate to a small American town to find strange, paranormal goings-on – currently streaming in Ultra HD and from Monday, January 31st on BD and DVD in the UK

Hollywood loves sequels to or reboots of successful films. The original Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman, 1984), in which three parapsychologists set up as a team to capture the many ghosts that have inexplicably begun appearing in New York City, was unlike anything that had gone before with its mixture of comedy, action and the paranormal. Deservedly a huge hit, it spawned the inevitable sequel Ghostbusters II (Ivan Reitman, 1989) which didn’t have a strong enough plot to maintain interest beyond the first 20 minutes or so. The reboot Ghostbusters (Paul Feig, 2016), recasting the parapsychologists as women, worked well enough.

Ghostbusters Afterlife, however, is another attempt at a sequel. A very brave attempt it is too, because sequels are often expected to basically rerun the original film in an attempt to serve the audience a second helping of what they enjoyed before. After seeing it, you might argue that Afterlife does that, but going in, you might wonder what on Earth is going on.… Read the rest

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The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Director – Steven Spielberg – 1997 – US – PG – 129m

***

UK PAL laserdisc review.

Originally published on London Calling Internet.

Given the original Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993) movie left out some of the best bits of a brilliant book, had a plot so full of holes it was virtually transparent and still elevated itself to the level of technically groundbreaking, cinematic achievement (not to mention making more money than any other movie ever) the quality of any sequel movie was nothing if not uncertain. Michael Crichton’s uninspired follow-up novel, with all the un-Spielberg-y rough edges removed, didn’t bode well and while audiences flocked to see the second film, most critics responded poorly to it. Their main criticism – it has a weak plot. Or scarcely a plot at all.

Basically, having escaped Jurassic Park, chaos theorist Dr. Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), his ideas this time round largely reduced to the repeated phrase “life finds a way”, journeys to the second island to bring back palaeontologist girlfriend Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore), who’s there documenting the dino-wildlife for founding billionaire Hammond (Richard Attenborough) before his nephew Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard) – who has just wrested control of the InGen company from his uncle – arrives there with an army of men and an arsenal of big game hunting weapons under the command of big game hunter Roland Tembo (Pete Postlethwaite).… Read the rest