Archives for : May2015

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Review

A sequel to the 2009 film about a Segway-riding security guard at a suburban shopping centre who falls over a lot, this mostly unwanted sequel sees him falling over and colliding into heavy objects in Las Vegas casinos instead; where the floors are shinier, the Segways’ a little sleeker, and the comedy is as lethargic, if not entirely absent, as ever.

Synopsis (Warning: May contain spoilers, duh!)

The Gist of It: Immersed in flop sweat and devoid of purpose, ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’ strings together fat-shaming humour and Segway sight gags with outline results..

Plot

Blart’s wife (Jayma Mays) and elderly mother (Shirley Knight) are unceremoniously scrubbed out in the film’s opening sequences; with the latter being run over by a milk float (Which, admittedly, is mildly amusing, if it isn’t a touch too brutal for young viewers). Depressed by his current life, the only meaningful relationship he has left in the world is with his teenage daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) who has, unbeknownst to him,  just been accepted into UCLA; which is on the other side of the country.

Paul Blart (Kevin James) manages to convince his daughter to take a trip to Nevada together for a security-guard conference at which he believes he’ll be the surprise keynote speaker. His daughter is then kidnapped by an international art villain and his gang, who happens to be plotting to steal priceless artworks from the Wynn Las Vegas hotel casino in which they’re staying at (which incidentally received enough product placement to have presumably paid for the film’s obviously low budget).

Blart switches back into Mall Cop mode, tools up with Home Alone-like weapons from the conference floor (glue gun, pocket taser, beanbag shooter etc.), and trips into action with his sub-Avengers league of sad-sack security guard brethren.

A sad-sack brethren indeed.

A sad-sack brethren indeed.

KH-Review

Spoofing the Die Hard formula with an overweight mall cop in the Bruce Willis role may not be a lofty idea, and may seem simple enough, yet it’s taken the Paul Blart franchise two whole feature films to fail at this very task.

One of the biggest annoyances viewers will find is instead of ‘Paul Blart’ undercutting the seriousness of the shiny gold opening titles with jokes, the film immediately puts any and all spoofery on hold while painstakingly establishing, or in this case re-establishing, the seriously obese security officer Paul Blart as a sympathetic underdog; as evidenced in the first film. In fact, it feels as if ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’ has upped the sadness factor with it spending a significant portion of its opening being somewhat cripplingly depressing.

Kevin James admittedly tries hard, almost too hard, to inject the agonizing minutes with slapstick humour by propelling his large body through endless physical contortions in a fruitless effort for laughs; from Blart’s unnecessary and extremely juvenile fight with an angry peacock to when, in an effort to raise his plummeting blood sugar levels, he lies underneath a child’s dripping ice-cream cone, lapping up the drops like the helpless baby bird he thinks he is. (He has to bear a large part of the blame since he co-wrote the screenplay).

In between the few moments where Blart shakes of his muttering and yelling routine dialogue-based humour, many of his pratfalls and sight gags do not prompt much of an emotional reaction with the familiar jokes and predictable slap-stick routines. Speaking of running gags, the filmmakers seem convinced that the mere sight of James atop a Segway is inherently amusing; an idea that quickly wears out its welcome.

What baffles us the most is that Paul Blart, a mere rent-a-cop, manages to piece together bits evidence quicker than, not only most detective sleuths, but more importantly,  the audience; often times, we found ourselves barely remembering and figuring out how and where random objects of interest were discovered.

In addition to us struggling to make sense of the choppy narrative and missing plot holes, like how Blart was able to locate his daughter in a massively packed hotel once she had been kidnapped, without her divulging her location nor possessing any sort of tracking device on herself (The phone she used to make her distress call was snatched away by the antagonist), the draggy ordeal between two sub-characters, Divina and Edwardo, were also utterly unnecessary and only achieved unanimous cringes of despair instead of laughter.

Ultimately, Paul Blart’s character barely resembles anything at all. He comes off as a science experiment gone horribly wrong, with him ending up as a stereotype of a stereotype: a half-remembered punchline and a stomach with a mustache and wheels.

Verdict

Although there have been worse sequels and worse overall movies, Caddyshack 2, Exorcist 2, Speed 2 to name a few, viewers can wisely add this wretched film to the ever-expanding list of worst movie sequels ever conceived by Hollywood. (Who in Hollywood thought this passes as an idea, let alone a funny one?)

Our faces as we sat through the punishing film.

Our faces as we sat through the punishing film.

While the original is far from being a classic, it had a few mild laughs and the plus-sized actor displayed a certain buffoonish, dare I say, charm. Unsurprisingly, this is not the case with this painfully unfunny, slapdash follow-up in which the protagonist is so relentlessly obnoxious that you’ll be rooting for the villains; who, by the way, are probably the most dis-organised villains to ever hit the big screen with them embarking on a “secret” heist and then carelessly leaving their loot out in the open, at their base of operations, in which Blart’s daughter accidentally stumbles upon. This tacky, numbingly inane sequel also functions as an over-sized product-placement playground for Wynn Las Vegas & Encore Resort in which the film was entirely set in.

 

Finally, something we can both agree on: This film has scored its self a whopping "0.0" with critics alike.

Finally, something we can both agree on: This film has scored its self a whopping “0.0” with critics alike.

Rating: 3/10

‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’ makes the original look like an unheralded classic and in this case, what happened in Vegas should surely have stayed in Vegas.

Disregard the colourful poster for being nothing more than an utter pathetic excuse for a "film".

Disregard the colourful poster for being nothing more than an utter pathetic excuse for a “film”.

Release Date: 7th May, 2015

Infini- Review

Set in the far and dark reaches of space, an elite search-and-rescue team are sent to the off-world mining-facility “Infini” after a biological outbreak. Using Slipstream technology, the team must transport into a hostile environment to both quarantine the lethal biological pathogen, which is set to arrive on Earth within the hour, and locate and rescue a lone survivor.

Synopsis (Warning: May contain spoilers, duh!)

The Gist of It:Infini’ is a science-fiction-horror feature that takes place in a distant mining facility where an ancient organism is spreading through a vulnerable search-and-rescue crew that are trying to prevent it from reaching Earth.

Plot

The story begins with a West-Coast search-and-rescue team that can slipstream, travel extremely fast, all over the universe in mere seconds. However, things take a dark turn when members of the West-Coast team returns with an infectious plague. Protagonist Whit Carmichael (Daniel Macpherson) manages to avoid infection by illegally slipstreaming himself to a far off mining facility; which incidentally turns out to be the source of the infection.

A second search-and-rescue team, from the East-Coast, is then sent to investigate the outbreak and locate a lone survivor. With the mining station devoid of any “modern” technology, the search is tedious but they manage to re-activate the station and achieve their objectives. The elite search-and-rescue cum mercenary team is made up of main characters Claire Grenich (Grace Huang), Charlie Kent (Luke Hemsworth), Morgan Jacklar (Bren Forster), Chester Huntington (Luke Ford), Rex Mannings (Dwaine Stevenson), and Philipa Boxen (Louisa Mignone). However, not everything is as dead on “Infini” as reported.

Infini #6

The crack East Coast Search-and-Rescue before the parasite sets in.

The search-and-rescue team discover some of the former inhabitants still very much alive and violent. Chaos quickly ensues and reigns through much of the film as the rescue crew tries to fight off the virulent parasite, which has violently burrowed itself into their bodies. With members of the search-and-rescue team becoming infected one–by-one, they soon turn on one another as they give in to the compelling murderous alpha-male impulses of the parasitic organism.

Infini #5

If this doesn’t have “Yes, its time to leave and never come back”, I don’t know what does!

KH-Review

Infini’ keeps the audience off balance throughout. Its dungeon-like sets and claustrophobic staging keeps the audience from figuring out the winding story as the actors do not hesitate to push their characters; whose changing behaviours are excellently portray as delirium and primal urges creep in. A significant portion of the first half of film sets an excellent narrative for the story that continues to unfold as does the level of senseless violence in the second half; from the rapid and delirious action montages to the intense oral arguments had between crew members.

Infini #7

Hiding from deranged-parasite-murdering-crew mates in space has never looked suspenseful!

As exposure to the deadly pathogen wreaks havoc on each character’s mental well-being, specifically with Carmichael who was previously thought to be immune to the lethal outbreak but slowly succumbs to the effects of the parasite, viewers are treated to his confusing, but oddly tantalizing, delusions as he bounces back and forth between hallucinations and reality. With the de-evolution of Carmichael’s mental state deteriorating through a series of surreal sequences, the core conflict of this film is very much centred on an alien parasite, moral choices, and the meaning of life; with each character plagued by wild struggles against madness, the impulse to kill, and the primitive urge to survive at all costs.

As far as emotional connection with the characters go, ‘Infini’ manages to squeeze in and emphasize the importance of family, with many characters talking about their children, life back home, and why they had signed up to this elite search-and-rescue team. However, the ending is left somewhat unresolved and leaves viewers to freely interpret the final scenes of the film; possibly for the potential for a sequel or multiple sequels.

Verdict

If there’s anything to be said about Australian filmmakers, they do two things extremely well: make silly comedies and horrifyingly gritty horror; ‘Infini’ is a prime example of the latter. In a compartmentalized setting that is far-flung from civilization and assistance, we see the characters frighteningly descend into madness as viewers are left with the somewhat difficult task of deciphering what was reality and what were delusions.

Infini #3

“Yup, he dead. Hopefully.”- Thought everyone in the audience

Aside from the only black character Seet Johanson (Kevin Copeland) being the first to die, ‘Infini’ will keep you on the edge of your seat and intrigued as to what is going on until the very end; or at least until the viewer can decide what the ending means.

Rating 7/10

Infini’ harbours a decent amount of gritty violence and gore as truly nightmarish events unfold in a dangerous and isolated setting, with the characters going up against an unrelenting and body-burrowing enemy; we’d recommend watching ‘Infini’.

Infini #2

This poster screams violent-deep-space-tragedy; then again, no one can hear you scream in space.

Release Date: 7th of May, 2015