Comedy based on the popular 80s TV show has lifeguard legend Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) dealing with a hot shot new recruit (Zac Efron) and a sexy female drug dealer (Priyanka Chopra), who is dealing a new drug on his beaches. Now Mitch has to make this bunch a team and protect the sands and waters of Emerald Bay.
Directed by Seth Gordon from a script by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, this flick has some laughs and there is some wit behind the raunchy banter, but it drowns in the clichés of the band of misfits investigating the big bad drug queen, when no one else thinks there is anything wrong plot. The film does resemble a TV show episode and is very predictable, though the cast seems to be having fun and can be quite charming. Too bad there wasn’t a better script to go along with the muscles, cleavage and original show cameos. Also stars Alexandra Daddario as another new recruit.
A CURE FOR WELLNESS (2017)
Flick has an up and coming executive named Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) being sent to a wellness clinic in the Swiss Alps to retrieve his company’s estranged CEO (Harry Groener). The man is needed to complete a crucial merger and his latest correspondence has the board questioning his sanity. What Lockhart finds is a strange place where there may be something very sinister going on despite the idyllic appearance. Trapped there after a car accident, Lockhart begins to investigate the institute and it’s equally strange founder, Dr. Heinreich Volmer (Jason Issacs). But what he finds is something straight out of a nightmare…unless he too is losing his mind.
Directed by Gore Verbinski from a script by Justin Haythe, this tries to be an old fashioned gothic chiller from the likes of Edgar Allen Poe or H.P. Lovecraft, but wears out it’s spooky welcome long before it’s over. The film’s biggest problems are it’s overindulgent running time of 146 minutes and the fact that it’s hero is kind of unlikable. The flick could have been at least forty minutes shorter and not lost any important story elements and it’s hard to feel for DeHaan’s Lockhart as he is just another stereotypical ambitious suit character. There are some creepy moments and Verbinski is a skilled visualist, but the movie runs out of gas long before it’s over and where it leads can be seen coming an hour before it does finally end. An interesting effort that could have been better if it didn’t take so long to tell a story that didn’t need so much time to tell it and we actually cared what happened to it’s lead.
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 (2017)
John Wick: Chapter 2 is a well-made sequel that returns Keanu Reeves’ “retired” assassin back to action. Here he must honor the marker from Italian crime boss Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) and go to Italy to assassinate D’Antonio’s own rival crime boss of a sister, Gianna (Claudia Gerini). Wick completes the mission, but is betrayed by D’Antonio with a contract put on his head for seven million dollars. Now every assassin in the NYC area wants the bounty, including Gianna’s vengeful bodyguard (Common).
Written and directed again by Derek Kolstad and Chad Stahelski, respectively, the duo deliver an action packed and fun sequel to the surprise hit John Wick. The action is slick and rapid fire with a larger body count as now Wick must battle his own kind. The locations are used well between Rome and New York City and Reeves is again solid as the stone faced assassin, who just wants to retire. It’s an entertaining action flick and a sequel that knows to stick close enough to the formula to not alienate it’s core audience and yet change’s things just a bit to keep it from being stale. Ian McShane returns as Winston as does John Leguizamo as Aurelio with Lawrence Fishburn appearing as the leader of a guild of homeless street people assassins in NYC.