Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with filmmaker James Mangold, who also directed 2013's The Wolverine. But this doesn't feel like any other X-Men movie; it strikes a sombre, gritty tone from the start to take the audience on a dark and rather brutal road trip. So while it feels rather long and repetitive, the movie also has a strong emotional kick.
It's set in the year 2029, when mutants have been wiped off the planet, and no new ones have been born for years. Hiding out in a drunken haze as a Texas limo driver, Logan aka Wolverine (Jackman) has stashed Charles aka Professor X (Patrick Stewart) across the border in Mexico, watched over by albino caretaker Caliban (Stephen Merchant). Then a nurse (Elizabeth Rodriguez) appears asking for Logan's help to transport the young Laura (Dafne Keen) to North Dakota. And Laura clearly has a genetic connection with Logan. It also turns out that she has escaped from a Mexico City hospital, so as Logan, Charles and Laura hit the road, the ruthless henchman Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and sinister Dr Rice (Richard E. Grant) are hot on their trail.
Mangold holds all of this in careful control, never tipping over into the usual whiz-bang Hollywood superhero action chaos (the violence is especially grisly). The story moves at a steady pace that adds an involving note of desperation to each sequence. This also makes the movie feel a bit repetitive and even wheel-spinning at times. Since the baddies are able to stay right on the heroes' heels, it's clear that even a nicely offhandedly sojourn with a farmer (Eriq La Salle) and his family will be short-lived. But the gnawing intensity, while never quite building into proper suspense, gets deep under the skin as it fleshes out the characters.
Continue reading: Logan Review
In an almost fourth-wall-breaking episode, the latest installment of the Wolverine movie series acknowledges the 'X-Men' comic book series. But this time Logan is far from the superhero his fans are reading about. Age has finally caught up with him - as it does with everyone - and he's no longer as fast or as agile as he used to be. His injuries don't heal as quickly as they used to either, but he's not the only one dealing with the crippling effect of old age. He's currently caring for Professor X in a hide-out, but their lives are about to become disrupted once again with the arrival of a new mutant. Laura is an 11-year-old girl with powers and abilities that match Logan's own. There are dark forces closing in on her, however, and as much as she is capable of taking care of herself, she needs guidance, protection and discipline from somebody who knows her struggle.
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Not even a mutant can be powerful forever. Logan aka Wolverine is dealing with the effects that old age are having on his ability to heal, namely the fact that his skin now scars easily and he's constantly in pain. Professor Charles Xavier is also suffering; Alzheimer's has taken over his mind, destroying his memories. But the pair don't even have the X-Men to take care of them anymore, as a new supervillain by the name of Nathaniel Essex with his Essex Corporation is destroying the world as we know it. Logan and Xavier's only chance of defeating Essex lies with a young girl named Laura Kinney who is an exact genetic clone of Wolverine in female form.
Continue: Logan Trailer
A pair of robust performances from Laurence Fishburne and Derek Luke (the Antwone Fisher of "Antwone Fisher") raise the laughably-titled motorcycle action flick "Biker Boyz" slightly above its veneer as a two-wheel rip-off of "The Fast and the Furious."
Similarly set in the "sideshow" world of illegal street racing, this movie comes minus the ridiculous cops-vs.-smugglers subplot and plus some impressive Western-inspired trick riding. In one scene two bikers speed down the freeway, dismounted to one side of their muscle-cycles with both feet in metal-soled boots, making contact with the road and sending out 20-foot sparks.
But while the plot is utterly predictable -- Kid (Luke), a hot-headed but talented up-and-coming racer, wants to challenge long-time champion Smoke (Fishburne) for his title -- the love-hate relationship between the two (Kid's dad had been Smoke's mechanic) has more depth and dimension than this kind of over-polished B-movie usually musters (see Sylvester Stallone and Kip Pardue in the formulaic, Formula One-themed "Driven").
Continue reading: Biker Boyz Review
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