2010, 106 minutes
Directors: Panina Rittikrai & Morakot Kaewthanee
Sahamongkolfilm International Co, Ltd. BeeRamEwe. Magnet
I was perilously close to turning this off several times during it’s opening minutes, though being of the ‘let’s wait and see’ Jedi school of watching low budget fare I persevered and am so very glad that I decided to do so.
The movie gets infinitely better as it picks up pace and it picks it up gleefully fast as it does so the audience quickly learns of the aforementioned producer’s carefully calculated scheme and the apparent worth of a human life in the eyes of his small circle of friends.
I won’t spoil anything suffice it to say that each has a great deal of green to throw around and care not how the amount may or may not increase.
As the movie progresses our set of ‘heroes’ find themselves entangled in some rather precarious predicaments. The two main characters in the group Pod and Pom (easy to remember names those) are apparently both vying for the attentions of the same girl which adds a little to the storyline. In between various extended scenes of fighting of a quality not seen since the likes of earlier Jackie Chan films, Project A and Armor of God being two great examples, we also learn that friend aren’t always who they seem and that money’s allure more than upsets any sense of loyalty.
In fact, BKO is rife with deception, treachery and absolute devotion to the almighty green God above all else.
What really makes BKO stand out above all else however is the quality of the combat and conflict. Several scenes stand out for me, one with a masked long coat wearing ax man is the most vivid.
His similarity to Jason (from the Friday the 13th franchise) is stunning each are unmovable no matter what’s ‘thrown’ in their direction. In this case this character returns more times than I care to mention and takes more of a beating than * (insert famous MMA combatant here who’s especially famous for getting his ass kicked).
Other memorable scenes include a fight under a moving tractor trailer, speeding stunt motorcyclists and a sword wielding ninja (probably not in actuality but his skills were quite remarkable).
During what one might perceive as the film’s climax there’s too many fighters to count on screen, each and every one kicking the holy hell out of each other, (You ate my Klondike?... You bastar-!) a real ‘gung-ho’, everyone’s invited to this party type of moment.
And just when one might think the actions all over it only gets better.
In conclusion if you enjoy martial arts films with copious subtitles, a plethora of cultural oddities (that might well only make sense and be appreciated by those in and from the country/area itself) and fight scenes that far surpass what a viewer might have previously expected, truly exceptional spinning limb, high flying, vertebra crunching stunts excellently executed in every way possible then this might well be a movie you might, make that ‘will definitely’ enjoy.
A stunning feat that knocked me on my British derriere.
2010, 97 minutes
Director: Neil Marshall
Pathe' Productions, Entertainment Films Canada
Walking into a trap the Ninth find themselves in a spot of bother resulting from an act of treachery.
Various extended battle scenes complete with decapitations, impalements and all the associated brutality that comes with proudly boast Neil Marshall, the director, skill, talents and even an acute historical knowledge (from all accounts this is actually rather historically accurate down to the weapons utilized).
After the ambush/trap only seven remain. Can they between them, a motey crew at best, pull off what the trained and well decorated Ninth failed to. Can they rescue General Titus Falvius Virilus before he's made into a piñata for the amusement of the Picts? Can they dispose of the Pict leader Gorlacon to ensure the safety of the remaining garrisons in the North? And will they be able to finish this before the completion of Hadrian's Wall?
I won't in any way spoil the many plot devices and turns within Centurion though I will continue to highly recommend it. The scenery and locations throughout are superb and very believable (not to mention it looks colder than a witches tit).
The acting is top notch, an amazing performance from Olga depicting a femme fatale who is very hard to dislike even though she's a heartless bitch with the killing capacity and hunting prowess of a pack of famished wolves. Several other outstanding performances include Dominic West (as the General) Liam Cunningham as Brick (a favorite of mine who also has an outstanding role in Dog Soldiers another film by the same director) and Arianne, Imogen Potts, a banished Pict 'witch' with a 'thing' for sweaty 'banged up' Roman warriors.
The overall vibe of the film is one that screams desperation the Roman's are at odds with what to do as they're unable to control Britain completely (no thanks to those pesky highland folk) and don't want to admit it even if it means sacrificing a couple of their own to make a point.
Centurion remains an outstanding film that continues to plaster a smile upon my face no matter how many times I view it.
Fans of The Eagle, 300, Ironclad, Pathfinder and The 13th Warrior will have no choice but to devour this amazing chunk of historical celluloid (no matter how close it in fact is to it's 'original' premise).
2010 (rel- Feb/13/2016 in the USA)
Producer: Isidoro B. Guggiano
Director: Davi de Oliviera Pinheiro
Beyond the Grave isn't fast paced nor does it brim over with action and there's really not that many undead fellows to speak of. Very few adrenaline pumping scenes are strangely stylish, containing lingering slow moving camera work, in fact the style throws me back to films such as Jorge Grau's The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue (it goes by an unfathomable amount of other monikers/aka's). One scene in particular is sure to stick (I can't get it out of my head) an undead type in a bathtub chuckles, in a very menacing manner, as he's being fed chunks of dripping fresh meat by another. As with the entirety of the movie it's not the quantity here it's the quality, the atmosphere within the scene. The look the bathtub riden guy gives along with his apathetic manner is very creepy, to put it simply highly effective it's as if he knows (a zombie with the power of 'sight'. Quite a unique concept) what's about to happen. It does. And he continues to chuckle as the majority of his lunch drips from his mouth to land on his chest.
The synopsis of Beyond the Grave speaks of aeons old dark magic and mystery and it certainly has that feel although it's not at all obvious at first. I won't spoil anything have no fear. The movie actually might make you feel as if you've missed something, it's rather slow (again) and that's probably the long lasting effect that numerous Hollywood blockbusters overflowing with wall-to-wall action have on a viewer's perceptions and assumptions of any movie given enough time.
There are a few moments of what-the-fuckery though any familiar with Italian (this is from Brazil but in the same roundabout style) cult films from the seventies will attest there's plenty to be found in that genre too. The scenes here actually add a certain something (invisible bullets, yea I guess that makes sense..?) to this feature.
In conclusion there are many that will instantly forget this, push it to one side and never head in it's direction again, though there are others that will adore this as they have a passion for films from a bygone era (one that I hope will never be forgotten) containing films such as, Fulci's Zombie, City of the Living Dead and other classics never really given their due until much later after their initial release dates. I suggest you give this a view, who knows it may grow on you as it has me.
Stylishly shot with an emphasis on individual's fears, anticipations and survival rather than a screen rendered with action, carnage and bowel ripping gore.