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WRATH OF MAN ***
Action thriller. With Jason Statham, Holt McCallany and Jeffrey Donovan. Director: Guy Ritchie.
Statham’s name is synonymous with action so when you see his name in the credits, you pretty much know what to expect.
In this film he plays a man known only as H, who’s suffered a great loss and is determined to take revenge on those responsible. H is a new recruit at a cash-in-transit service in Los Angeles which is a target for bad guys.
Morale at work is low after one of their vehicles is hijacked and two security guards die in a hail of bullets. H has only just passed his driver’s and firearms tests to qualify for the job but his supervisor, Bullet (Holt McCallany from Mindhunter) is so desperate for staff that he hires him. H’s colleagues are wary of him as he doesn’t hang out with them and keeps to himself.
In fact, he seems a little too calm and collected. They soon realise H isn’t who he says he is and the thieves who target his armoured truck will sorely regret it. Statham and director Guy Ritchie – who worked together on Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), Snatch (2000) and Revolver (2005) – reunite for this movie, which is based on the 2004 French film Le Convoyeur (“Cash Truck”). Their latest collaboration will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The film also offers some eye candy in the form of Josh Hartnett, Scott Eastwood and Laz Alonso (The Boys), and has some gravitas thanks to the solid presence of old hand Andy Garcia. The flashbacks can get a bit much and the plot takes a while to come together, but fans of Statham who are hoping for plenty of action won’t be disappointed. This is one of Ritchie’s better films and a must-see for those who enjoy movies with a lone action hero with vengeance on his mind. – LARA ATSON2021.
114 MIN. 18VL. ALSO ON APPLE TV+.
SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW **
It’s happening again. Grisly murders with victims caught in elaborate and gruesome traps. But the serial killer Jigsaw is long dead, so it must be a copycat. And who it is, is clear from the start – which takes the sting out of this ninth instalment in the Saw series.
Veteran police officer Markus Banks (Samuel L Jackson), his son Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) and Zeke’s rookie partner, William Schenk (Max Minghella from The Handmaid’s Tale), take charge of the investigation which is increasingly linked to the Banks’ past.
From the beginning, Spiral feels like a tongue-in-cheek parody – largely because of Rock, who usually stars in comedies. Even his most serious facial expressions are funny, but the attempted Bad Boys vibe is off-kilter and boring.
Director Darren Lynn Bousman, who’s made three other Saw films, says some inventive traps had to be cut from the film to earn a lower age restriction. What a shame – perhaps if those had been included this movie may have been less dull.
This instalment tries hard to offer social commentary about police corruption, but it falls flat. A spiral is supposed to be a symbol of change, but this isn’t a good one. The filmmakers missed the mark and opportunity to resurrect Jigsaw in a new, different guise. – PIETER VAN ZYL2021.
90 MIN. 18VL. Also on GOOGLE PLAY.
TAKE YOUR PILLS *** 1/2
This film is a look at the pervasiveness of prescription stimulants in hyper-competitive and overly medicated modern-day America.
It examines the unlimited possibilities stimulants claim to offer, as well as the consequences of self-medicating, as Adderall and other meds for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have become socially acceptable performance-enhancing drugs.
The doccie raises several issues about Adderall: its moral and ethical use (specifically in children); how it’s levelling the playing field in the face of privilege and status; and debunking myths and its highly problematic marketing as a cognitive-enhancement drug.
This US-centric film doesn’t really provide answers, nor does it spend much time on other drugs such as Ritalin, which is also used in SA schools and universities by young people who want to perform better.
The film doesn’t resort to scare tactics but instead uses real cases, such as that of student Jasper Holt-Teza, as well as interviews with experts, to illustrate the impact of these drugs and just how widespread that impact is. It takes a pragmatic look at the benefits, challenges and dangers of taking amphetamine-based stimulants, which is also relevant to SA.– CAMILLA THOROGOOD2018.
87 MIN. 16D.
A: All ages D: Drugs H: Horror L: Language N: Nudity P: Prejudice PG: Parental guidance S: Sex V: Violence