Thursday, 18 October 2018

Occupation: DVD Review

Occupation: DVD Review


There's a great deal of set-up present in Occupation, a B-movie film that in truth, feels more suited as a pilot for a low budget cable channel, rather than a proposed franchise.

With a sequel in the works already, this alien invasion film does little to rise above its early aspirations - the opening 15 minutes set up the protagonists in Australia who will come under attack.

Occupation: Film Review

There's the nuclear family, headed by Tem's just-out-of-prison dad (let's side step why the brown fella in the white cast had to be the former crim); there's the comeback rugby captain whose last tackle saw him in a coma; there's the just-found-out-I'm-going-to-be-a-dad jock, and a whole cast of other cliches coming together in a small Aussie town.

But when the town comes under attack, the disparate group must throw aside its problems and conflicts (for now, until the narrative demands they be rebirthed later) to face off against the aliens.

Occupation has some pretty damn impressive FX for the B-movie budget.

Certainly, the first scenes where the lights are glimpsed across the hills plays on the likes of Close Encounters before segueing into Independence Day as the attack begins.

While the invaders appear to be nothing more than a space-age version of Knights with some truly awful stock-standard alien heads beneath their masks, the film's motives for their invasion are so rote they date back to the likes of The Invaders TV show.

Occupation: Film Review

But Sparke's less interested in reinventing the wheel, preferring to set up a franchise and further the films than provide depth to the characters. In fairness, Morrison has genuine warmth as the stepdad who wants to protect his brood, but he, like the rest of the cast, can do little to lift the script from its depths.

With corny cheeseball one-liners and a feeling there's nothing new here to say (even the Aussie flag hoisted high as the one-last-desperate-push into battle takes place is more laughable than stirring), Occupation unfortunately makes little case for a film series.

Despite its high gloss FX and scope, the familiar is what drags Occupation down to ground - sure, B Movie aspirations are fine, but either fully embrace them or aim higher. Sadly, Occupation does neither of these and flounders as a result. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Skyscraper: Blu Ray Review

Skyscraper: Blu Ray Review


Skewing towards memories of The Towering Inferno and Die Hard, but with an eye very much on the cheesy and disastrous, Skyscraper sees the Rock toning down some of his more natural elements for a PG13 audience.
Skyscraper: Film Review

Johnson is Will Sawyer, a former FBI Team Leader who lost the lower half of his leg when a hostage negotiation went wrong. Now assessing skyscrapers for security, Sawyer and his family are taken to Hong Kong to look at a new building, The Pearl.

However, when terrorists (led by Moller's timidly snarling Kores Botha) strike, Sawyer has to find his inner strength to save the day.

It's fair to say Skyscraper is a solid piece of entertainment, aimed squarely at the blockbuster crowd, but yet somehow doesn't quite manage to leap its problems as high as it should.

Johnson dials down his usual charisma, trying to aim more for an average Joe who's had obstacles to overcome and who's now trying to save his family. However, he carries out such super-human feats of strength (climbing a massive crane, running off the edge of said crane and powering into a building, holding a bridge together) that the everyman appeal is lost very early on.

Skyscraper: Film Review

Equally, the potential over the leg loss for empowerment which was promised in the initial trailers seems to have been sidelined for some kind of hanging-by-a-leg moment that seems more than a tad misjudged.

Whereas films like the aforementioned Tower and Die Hard saw ordinary people having to do extraordinary things, there's never really any question of The Rock caving, even though he takes a beating a few times during it. His earnestness only gets him so far, as the bloodless violence and gunplay escalates.

Campbell's solid, very much his equal (something Hollywood's suddenly more keen to show), giving her former army surgeon the pluck needed to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him when necessary, even if the inability to use an iPhone seems to be more a narrative necessity than character trait.

In among the incessant dark swirling shots circling the tower on fire with CGI flames, Thurber muddies a lot of the sequences with the dark, meaning the vertiginous shots lose their head-dizzying ability early on.

Skyscraper: Film Review

It's not that Skyscraper is a roaring success, but its deep-dive more into bland rote schlockbuster territory than enticing, enthralling suspense squanders its promise and potential. It may aim for the sky, but it scrapes the bottom a little too often than is liked, with dialogue that borders on cult material, but holds back.

Ultimately, that's the biggest problem with Skyscraper - in its quest to satiate a PG13 audience and censor, it's neither one thing nor the other. It's certainly not a Towering inferno by any stretch, but its desire to not embrace what it could be, and its commitment to bland action fare means it's more a flicker than a flaming roar. 

Halloween: Film Review

Halloween: Film Review


Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Nick Castle
Director: David Gordon Green

Michael Myers is back.

And you can just forget about all the other sequels spawned post the 1978 launch of the first Halloween, because this latest cares not one jot for the middling to trashy quality of what was launched after.
Halloween: Film Review

In the latest, with a script from Danny McBride amongst others, babysitter murderer Michael Myers (Castle, non-speaking and menacing in shape) is about to be transferred to another jail - on October 31st, 2018.

And this being a horror film, you can guess what happens next....

Halloween is a film of two halves.

An utterly gripping finale caps off what is a fairly average thrill ride throughout.

The narrative seems to fall into a mesh of wanting to bring some storyboards to vivid life creating more iconic images of the masked one as he goes around ruthlessly killing and putting him on the inevitable collision course with Curtis' Laurie Strode.

It's in the second half of this execution that the film's more successful, largely thanks to Curtis' performance, which encapsulates both the terror of knowing what's coming, and the bitterness of having a life ruined by four decades of post-trauma. In many ways, this Halloween is a paean to those left behind by crimes, and who have to endure - and Curtis, with her mix of resentment and recalcitrant approach, more than rises to the challenge, without ever resorting to cheap acting.
Halloween: Film Review

Equally Castle's embodiment of the unstoppable unemotional shape once again captures what an effective Boogeyman is - as Strode says " An evil like his never stops, it just grows older. Darker. More determined." Castle turns Myers into myth, and there are genuine terrors when the impassive
mask stares at the screen and menaces Strode and her daughter in the finale.

Elsewhere along the way, the film flounders, throwing together a kids in peril plot with a kids rowing over love plot that never gels, and merely provides more slashing fodder for Myers' knife to sink into. It's never interested in providing deep characters outside of the core trio, and potentially never really pretends to.

It may be evocative in parts as it crosses through the tropes and thanks to the perennially chilling song from that score, but Halloween only works best when it's stripped down to basics.

If you're willing to weather the ride, the finale more than rewards you with a housebound showdown that simply personifies the primal terror of the Boogeyman.

A Star Is Born: Film Review

A Star Is Born: Film Review


Cast: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay
Director: Bradley Cooper

In truth, A Star Is Born's fourth iteration doesn't mess with the formula of those that have gone before it.
A Star Is Born: Film Review

While Bradley Cooper's directorial turn sees him framing Lady Gaga close up and letting her stripped back voice do the soaring, much of A Star Is Born makes for queasy viewing in a post MeToo world.
Cooper is Jackson Maine, a hard-drinking pill-popping long time veteran of the music scene, a MOR artist destined to fill stadiums, but whose love for the job is dwindling as his tinnitus grows ever stronger.

One night, after a concert, Maine stops off at a drag bar looking for his next booze fix, and is wowed by the on-stage performance of Ally (Gaga) who burns the stage down with her version of La Vie En Rose.

Swooping in on her, Maine nurtures an attraction, and believes he sees a kindred spirit in Ally, whose self-destruction is at the cost of belief in herself as a singer / performer. However, with a bit of coaching and some throwing under the bus, Ally begins to blossom, as Maine's career and star begins to fall.
A Star Is Born: Film Review

Billed as a romance, and try as one might, the overriding feeling of A Star Is Born leaves a queasy feeling it's more about domestic and emotional abuse than a star-crossed romance. And an icky one about male-fuelled control as well, given how Ally is moulded by both Maine, the music industry and a controlling manager.

While the concert scenes are incredible and Cooper manages to inject some spine-tingling touches into their exuberant execution, the fairytale side of A Star Is Born feels blessed with some corny dialogue that is fudged in the exposition.

Still, it's already proven that this is what audiences lap up, and while the unevenness of events hits the film's second half, Lady Gaga's Ally truly shines when the screen needs it the most.

It's clear Cooper as the director is in love with Gaga's voice and physique, framing her in close ups and excluding others in the handheld execution, touches which enhance the sheer power of her voice.

In truth she delivers a competent performance as Ally, from wide-eyed innocent to blossoming talent to troubled wife, Gaga delivers more of a gamut and arc than Cooper's Maine does.

Solid support comes from Elliott who appears in a clutch of scenes as Maine's brother, and delivers more than his keeper-of-the-demons-at-the-door role would have you invest in.
A Star Is Born: Film Review

A Star Is Born is a little too overlong and indulgent to fully succeed in the romance stakes - it does bless us with a cinematic talent that's already been nurtured in American Horror Story.

But to be honest, the over-riding uneasy feeling of control, abuse and male power, along with talk of how this will be showered with Oscars sits at odds with a world one year after MeToo was born.

It may not have been Cooper's intention and audiences may be lapping this up as a star-crossed romance for our times, but A Star Is Born is an odd experience, part concert tour footage and part blast from the past promotion of male privilege.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

PlayStation VR celebrates its 2nd Anniversary

PlayStation VR celebrates its 2nd Anniversary


PlayStation VR celebrates its 2nd Anniversary this October 13th, and Sony Interactive Entertainment New Zealand has some exciting news to share to commemorate this special event.

Acclaimed classic shooter, Borderlands 2 is coming to PS VR this December, with the game available for pre-order today from PlayStation Store. The breathtaking reimagined puzzle classic Tetris Effecthas launch date confirmed, while a free demo from Astro Bot Rescue Mission goes live this month for players to jump in and try this must-have PS VR exclusive. Finally, a new DLC pack for Firewall Zero Hour brings new items, skins and content to critical and community acclaimed multiplayer first person shooter – there is a PS VR experience for everybody to enjoy the celebration!

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Borderlands 2 VR
Launching December 14, 2018, Available for Pre-Order Today
This December 14, PlayStation VR fans can look forward to the latest blockbuster experience to come to the platform with Borderlands 2 VR. Developed by Gearbox Software, Borderlands 2 VR brings the iconic shooting-looting world of Pandora to life like never before, as you virtually become a treasure-seeking Vault Hunter facing off against the galaxy’s most charming psychopathic dictator.

Gearbox has brought the acclaimed shooter-looter to PlayStation VR, so Borderland 2 fans can now fully sink their eyes into the wild and mayhem-filled world of Pandora with new VR-specific mechanics and skills!

More information on Borderlands 2 VR, head to the PlayStation Blog.

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Tetris Effect
Launching November 9, 2018, Available for Pre-Order Today
Experience Tetris like you've never seen, heard, or felt it before! Tetris Effect is an incredibly unique, and breathtakingly gorgeous reinvention of one of the most popular puzzle games of all time. Pre-order starting today via PlayStation Store and unlock a PS4 theme, seven avatars and an original soundtrack sampler!

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New Astro Bot Rescue Mission Free Demo
Available October 16, 2018
If you haven’t already tried Japan Studio’s latest title developed exclusively for PlayStation VR, this game is a must! Starting this October 16, you can demo the epic platformer that has been hailed as one of the best PlayStation VR titles of all time where you accompany Astro as he jumps across high-rise buildings and help him battle a boss!

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New Firewall Zero Hour DLC
Launching October 16, 2018
After recently launching to critical and community acclaim, First Contact Entertainment’s Firewall Zero Hour is a PS VR exclusive team-based multiplayer shooter you just can’t miss. Starting October 16, you can also enjoy a new DLC pack that unlocks new items and skins to customize your character and weapons for a completely new style of play.

Head to the PlayStation Blog to find out more about PlayStation VR.

For the latest PlayStation news, follow PlayStation New Zealand on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.

Astro Bot Rescue Mission PSVR Review

Astro Bot Rescue Mission PSVR Review


Platform: PS4

Developed by Japan Studio

The Astro bots have until now, been an annoyance.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission PSVR Review

A clutch of chirruping characters that were part of the Playroom game launched with the PS4, these critters "live" inside your controller and exist only to showcase the use of the PlayStation's touchpad, and its cutesy edges.

But, now with the Astro Bot Rescue Mission, they come out of the domain of being inessential into something quite impressive in the VR stakes.

Fleshed out from the Robot Rescue mission in The Playroom, Astro Bot Rescue Mission sees you taking control of Captain Astro and simply put, heading into various worlds after your buddies have been kidnapped by an alien bad guy.

Plot-wise, it ain't all that and a bag of chips.

But if you were to be told this is perhaps the most inventive platformers of the year, that capitalises on what VR has to offer, you'd begin to suspect madness has set in. However, it truly is a clever use of the depth and scope the tool offers, recapturing the essentialness last seen in the release title Batman Arkham VR.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission PSVR Review

In that, the depth added to Batman's world; in this, there's no such sense of landscapes et al, but a desire to create a platformer which uses depth and scale to take you on an adventure that's as impressive as it is fun.

Astro has to rescue his buddies, negotiating landscapes and baddies in the same kind of way that was last seen in Banjo Kazooie and Pokemon Go. Booting the robots as you find them sends them flying back to your controller till the end of the level.

However, it's not as simple as going along a level, bashing some baddies and collecting the robots as well as coin tokens. The VR adds the depth to the levels, and the studio's really take on board the whole concept of it being a wrap around world. This is no flat platformer, this is a fully formed world, where up and down, and behind count.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission PSVR Review

Fellow robots may be behind you or off to the side, it's a game that really does encourage you to look around, and as well as offering you a token reward, it gives it a visual prowess that's engaging too.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission is a game which makes use of the best of VR, and the controller, long left redundant in your hands. It's a game which aims to delight with cute, and delivers with some sweet touches. If that sounds like praise to damn it, it's not.

VR's been here nigh on two years now, and while some game studios have embraced it, there's yet to be the ultimate experience. VR's never really been about the gaming per se, but Astro Bot Rescue Mission delivers both on the gaming front, and delivers an immersive experience which is beyond belief.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Mega Man 11: PS4 Review

Mega Man 11: PS4 Review


Released by Capcom
Platform: PS4

The little blue battler boy is back in Mega-Man 11, which began all the way back in 1987.
Bringing back both voice acting and a graphic style from the past, it's up to you as Mega-Man to stop Dr Wily from taking you down.
Mega Man 11: PS4 Review

Through a series of eight stages, the Mega Man faces off against Dr Wily's newest Robot Masters - from the likes of Block Man, Blast Man to Acid Man, after they've been captured and corrupted by the Doc.

Using a double gears system which takes in the chance to slow things down as well as fire a massive shot at a cost of some serious energy. And you'll need these skills, because to be frank, Mega Man 11 is pretty tough platforming, no matter what setting you put it on.
Mega Man 11: PS4 Review

And that's frustrating in many ways, as the various checkpoints scattered around aren't exactly the best either. The 2.5D graphics pop off the screen, and while the cut scenes become somewhat irritating, it's nothing to the frustration you'll feel trying to complete levels. Timing problems, miscalculating a jump, failing to duck when you should dive - they're all here for Mega Man to fail spectacularly.

But if you're after a kind of old school platforming challenge like the first Crash Bandicoot gave you, then to be honest, Mega Man 11 will scratch your itch. And bring you out in a nervous rash.
Mega Man 11: PS4 Review

Hard and not quite rewarding enough for the completion, Mega Man's retro looks betray a tortuous gameplay that's almost sadistic in its execution. Long levels make death a real chore, and while games shouldn't pander, Mega Man 11's commitment to driving you crazy is both commendable and frustrating in equal measure.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

FIFA 19: PS4 Review

FIFA 19: PS4 Review


Released by EA
Platform: PS4

The beautiful game's back.
FIFA 19: PS4 Review

And to be honest, the annual iteration of FIFA has become something of a tried and tested formula that does little to break the cycle of the endless Pro Evolution Soccer / FIFA, which is better debate.

But FIFA's last few iterations became a little more compelling with the introduction of their story-led element The Journey, which followed new player Alex Hunter.

This latest release caps off the Alex Hunter trilogy (Fifa 18 was missed by this reviewer) and moves it into the realm of the Champions league in all its glory. Neatly the third part sees a crafty recap to what went ahead and gets you upto speed like some kind of Hollywood film experience, complete with the twists and turns.
FIFA 19: PS4 Review

But it's smarter moves like taking you to a game from the past where The Journey: Champions starts to grow; and weaving between three narratives also gives it a kind of GTA V flipping that works as well as you go the usual routes of the game.

Career mode, choosing Champions League teams, and just playing games - it's all what FIFA does, and to be honest, it feels like little aside from some tinkering has changed throughout the game.

Not that what FIFA does isn't good enough, and the big change this time is the timed kicking which gives you two bites of the cherry to fire at the goal. It's a good touch that takes some time to get used to, and which can change the game as well.

Early on, the player arrow on the field took a little getting used to, leading to my feeling that I had the ball when I didn't - a minor quibble again, but one which initially detracts.
FIFA 19: PS4 Review

But the flow of the game and the ease of it is also worth mentioning and indulging; this is a FIFA that knows what it wants to do on the pitch and keeps on kicking when it should.

It's a comfortable victory for FIFA 19, and the Journey is as strong as it's been - but there's a nagging deja vu feeling that fluid gameplay aside can't shift; it may be the most minor of tweaks that FIFA's rolled out, but the game's still as playable as it always was - and while diehards may see little reason to reinvest, the casual player is better catered for than ever before.

As I say, a comfortable victory, but not a romping win.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

The Party: DVD Review

The Party: DVD Review




The Party: Film Review

Continuing the British desire to only unburden repressed feelings in social gatherings, Sally Potter's The Party builds a fragile house of cards at a soirée, only to consequently scatter the deck without any food being served.

Opening with a 'how did they get here?' moment, the black and white melodrama plays out with some acidic aplomb by the troupe of players.

All gathered to celebrate Kristin Scott Thomas' Janet's ascension to ministry and politics, a group of fractured and apparently fragile friends begin to unravel in only the delicious way the Brits know how.

As the group comes together, Timothy Spall's Bill sits solo in the front room, hunched and haunted on a chair, with a wine glass in one hand, and with a near catatonic look on his face. But as the night goes on, everyone comes under scrutiny in some form or other.

Like a scab being ripped off or an itch incessantly being scratched, The Party's thrills come from the unexpected turn of events and the inevitably entangled revelations.

Perhaps it teeters perilously towards the end with disbelief, but Potter's black and white film crackles with dry acidity and typical scorn throughout, all topped off with a deliciously dark dry tragedy languishing within. It's fraught with spoilers to unveil what transpires within, but needless to say the troupe of players from Spall's distanced Bill, Thomas' haughty and yet easy to humble Janet, Patricia Clarkson's acidic April to Cillian Murphy's on edge Tom, all delivering in spades.


It helps the script is laced with one-liners and withering moments, as the sourness of the situation becomes more evident. In many ways, the film feels like a play with its whirling deliciousness on words and desire to ratchet up the moments to near contrived, but in Potter's hand, the curt run time feels just about right; any more would over-egg this pudding and any further reveals would push this dangerously close to cliche.

The Party's power lies in the picking over of the relationships and the unbinding of those ties; it's thanks to all involved that the polish and sheen comes tumbling from the screen; in black and white and close up, every detail is nuanced; from Spall's heavily white flecked beard to Murphy's drug-induced sweats, Potter's camera captures every subtlety.

This is most definitely one party to RSVP to
 

Friday, 12 October 2018

She Shears: Film Review

She Shears: Film Review


Director Jack Nicol's She Shears has ambitions.

But it seems primarily these ambitions are confined to presenting a story rather than digging a little deeper.

Entrenched in bucolic touches, She Shears takes a look at the sport of sheep shearing, an industry dominated by men back in the 80s and now seeing an increase in the number of women taking part.

In the 80s, it was 1 woman in 5000, now it's 1 in 40, so there's clearly been a sea change in righting the gender imbalance.

She Shears: NZIFF Review

Following five shearers, two of whom are established names - Emily Welch, and Jills Angus Burney - 
She Shears is a pleasant doco that is graced by some stunning cinematography and slow mo shots of the work being done.

It takes a look at this quintet as they look to either enter the world of competitive sheep shearing (Hazel, Pagan and Catherine being the youngest and newest) and their drive and reasons to do so. It goes some way to give us their backstories on the Road To The Golden Shears competition held in Masterton with Pagan's history being the most intriguing thanks to the traditional sports underdog /hit by injury story.

However, it's potentially fair to say that perhaps She Shears should have narrowed its focus a little more on maybe three of these competitors as some have longer in the spotlight than others, and certainly, given the way the competition pans out, not everyone gets to where they want.

It's a frustration to be borne with She Shears - and certainly, the focus feels a little more like it could have done better to spotlight the problems of getting women into this industry.

All five talk of various levels of discrimination in among the support as well - and it's at this stage, the most intriguing and strongest element of the doco emerges that could have provided a sharp sting in a post MeToo world.

Certainly there's great disparity on display when the commentators of the Golden Shears markedly and pointedly refer to the male and female competitors in different terms. "Two little girls there" is the worst offender and points to some signs the entrenched sexism exists within - certainly, there's no diminutives levelled at the male competitors. It's a shame this narrative isn't expanded out, and Nicol's spotlight wasn't shined more at this, because it provides a stronger proposition to the film as it goes on. (And is mentioned by all five in their careers and how people view it).

That said, Nicol gives his doco a wondrously filmic approach in its shots of competition, with wool being flung in slow motion, shears guided around hindquarters and sweat dripping from competitors all looking glorious in slow mo and on the big screen. Nothing's been held back in ensuring the look of this generally pleasant piece is anything but top notch.

Ultimately, She Shears feels like a doco that slightly tracked down the wrong way for its focus. Granted, it gives the women competitors their time in the spotlight, and while narrowing that focus may have paid dividends, it does show that when it comes to showcasing and capturing the countryside, its animals and its people, Nicol has a sharp eye for what looks sensational on screen. 

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Sicario: Day Of The Soldado: DVD Review

Sicario: Day Of The Soldado: DVD Review


The start of Sicario: Rise of the Soldado plays out like some kind of fever dream for current events, discussions and a wet dream for US President Donald Trump.
Sicario: Day Of The Soldado: Film Review

Under the watchful night eye of a US squad, a group of hopeful migrants race toward the US border - but their fleeing freedom is stopped by soldiers. However, surrounded, one of them reveals they're wearing a suicide vest, before detonating it. Moments later, a group of nondescript men walk into a supermarket, and blow themselves up.

Visually, it's shocking and terrifyingly present as well as prescient.
Sicario: Day Of The Soldado: Film Review
Yet, unlike the opening of the original 2015 Sicario where bodies in walls were discovered, it lacks the subtlety of horror and sets the stage for what loosely could be defined as a Call Of Duty: Cartels version of the movie.

Returning once again are Josh Brolin's gruff Matt Graver who teams up with Benicio Del Toro's Alejandro as events begin to unfold. With the US Government deciding to sanction an illegal kidnapping operation to spiral a war between the cartels, the duo are thrust into the middle of proceedings as leader and recruit respectively.

However, as the operation goes on, the duo find their allegiances and their quests tested.

There's no denying the tension of the grim and gritty Sicario: Rise of the Soldado. Scenes unfold with sickening dread and as the knotty politics play out, there's a feeling that what's happening is not going to end well.

Wiry and spry, Del Toro is excellent, as is Brolin, whose actions convey more than his words could. In fact, both these two do more with less throughout as the spiralling threads of the web unravels - minimalism may be the soldier's way but these two make it watchable and compelling throughout.

And while the film's executed well, it feels less fresh and enticing as 2015's Sicario did. It lacks the addition of an innocent face in proceedings (as provided by Blunt's agent in the first flick) and consequently becomes a grim exploration of politics, rather than the human touch brought by the first.

There are elements of that humanity within Moner's performance, as she goes from hard-bitten scrapper-in-the-school-yard to victim of her father's connections, but it's nowhere near as strong as the previous narrative.

Sicario: Day Of The Soldado: Film Review

Sollima (TV's Gomorra) strings together a series of overhead shots, convoy tensions and scenes of conflict with certain directorial flair (even if the menacing OST drowns things out at times) and despite some grim humour, the film grips but never fully suffocates as the first did.

There are a collision of seemingly disparate but ultimately interconnected threads, but disappointingly, a last act moment loses power by the lack of courage of conviction of the writers. 

This is a world that shocks, and to lessen the shocks of one such consequence is a disappointment and is one that shows the film to lack the cojones and volatility it needs.

Make no mistake though, Sicario: Rise of the Soldado is no less a compelling watch because of it, but the strength and power of the first Sicario still outshines what feels like a story that wants to shock and outrage but lacks the finesse to fully do so on a narrative front.