Monthly Archives: February 2017

Review: Hacksaw Ridge

Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

Hacksaw Ridge is based on the true story of conscientious objector Desmond T. Doss, who saved 75 men in Okinawa, the bloodiest battle of WWII. As an army medic Doss single-handedly evacuated the wounded near enemy lines – braving enemy fire and putting his own life on the line, without firing a single shot.

Well, this should be one of the easier reviews I’ll do this year. Hacksaw Ridge is amazing and you should go and see it. Okay byeeee. Oh, you want slightly more? OKAY FINE!

andrew-garfield-hacksaw-ridgeHacksaw Ridge is the best war film since Saving Private Ryan. I think, in a lot of ways it might be better. Namely the fact that while Saving Private Ryan is based on a policy during World War 2, it didn’t happen. Hacksaw Ridge, did. Bonus points!

Of course the fact that it is based on true events doesn’t immediately equate to being a better film. It’s also wonderfully shot. The cinematography, music and sound is all excellent. It did win an Oscar (for sound) after all so you’d kind of expect it to be. The battle scenes are brutal, bloody and honest. The combat is intense, bloodthirsty and realistic. There is no fake glory here. No matter what you think of Mel Gibson as a person, you can’t deny that he’s actually a really talented director. It’s just got to be said.

Andrew Garfield is charming, loveable and equally frustrating to watch at times. Must you really be so stubborn!? Vince Vaughn is great in one of his more serious roles and this is by far the best film I’ve seen Sam Worthington in as well. All in all, the entire cast is really good. They all have good chemistry together and really make the little moments of character development count.

The only real negative to Hacksaw Ridge is the opening 20-30 minutes before Doss gets to training. It’s diabetes inducingly sugary sweet and rather cringe worthy as we watch the bumbling Garfield awkwardly flirt with Teresa Palmer. Admittedly the longer these scenes go the better they become and overall they do add important detail to the narrative. MY early concerns that this style would dominate the movie were proved to be unfounded.

So like I said at the start of this ramble, Hacksaw Ridge is incredible. The best film I’ve seen so far this year. Do yourselves a favour and check it out.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

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Review: The Lego Batman Movie

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free movie reviews.

batman.PNGSlighted by Batman’s refusal to recognise him as his arch-enemy, The Joker comes up with a plan to make him take notice. In order to save the day though, The Dark Knight may have to drop the whole ‘loner vigilante’ thing, work with others and open himself up to family  again. 

The Lego Batman Movie is another over the top and charming Lego movie. It has lots of little humorous moments throughout and a number of laugh out loud spots as well. As you can imagine it spends the majority of its time mocking, while lovingly, the entire concept of Batman.

The narcissistic Lego version was fantastic in the original movie and it continues with full force here. I’m still not entirely sure it’s a gimmick that is actually strong enough to have an entire movie based around it if I’m honest. I’m very much reminded of how Jack Sparrow went from fun sidekick-esque character in Pirates of the Caribbean to the sole focus of every film. Just because you have a popular character doesn’t mean they are ideal for a solo feature. Sometimes a joke gets stretched a little too thin.

This is something that’s very noticeable to me in The Lego Batman Movie. The second half of the film is clearly weaker than the first. It’s like they had a certain amount of jokes that worked really well and then ran out of ideas and just kept going repeating along the way.

However, you’ve got to remember this is a kids movie and I’m sure kids will love everything about it. Robin is ridiculously cute and there is an overarching story of friendship and team work being told here. There are also enough jokes aimed at older audiences to keep everyone happy. It treads the line carefully but it is most definitely a kids movie.

With all the dark and brooding superhero films coming out, DC and Batman specifically, it’s actually really refreshing to see such a silly take on the subject again. And despite being Lego and a kids film and just generally daft, it still has more credibility than ‘Batman and Robin’.

Simply put, The Lego Batman Movie is an enjoyable kids film. Children will love it and while it has plenty to offer an adult audience as well, it does falter in the second half and cannot compete with the original Lego movie for quality.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

Review: John Wick Chapter 2

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

After leaving a trail of destruction behind him getting vengeance over his dead dog in the first film, legendary hitman John Wick is forced back out of retirement to repay a debt. Bound by a blood oath, John travels to Rome to complete his job. Soon after though Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.

The first John Wick was a complete surprise. It had no right being as good as it was. The problem is that John Wick wasn’t really designed to have a sequel or become a franchise and this new film does suffer in its opening third as they try to re-position everything back into working order. It also can’t match the emotional hook that the original had.

Simply put, the Wick character doesn’t have the same motivations. The bad guys didn’t kill his puppy this time, they just want him dead. Now granted I’m glad they didn’t try to do the exact same thing again but it’s got to be said without that driving Wick. The film does lack in meaning, depth and emotions. It does at times feel empty. Knowing it can’t compete, instead it just takes everything else and turns it up to ten. More guns, more gore and more action. It’s slick, it’s stylish and it’s body count is through the roof.

It’s a philosophy that works for a while, but I’ll admit I did become numb to the back to back to back action scenes. However, I do have to make a point of saying how well everything is shot. The film isn’t overly reliant on shaky cam and quick camera cuts. Instead we have longer shots showing the ebb and flow of the fights. It’s really good.

Another problem this film has is that yes, while it’s apparent that John Wick is really good with guns. Is he really the best hitman ever or is everyone else just really bad? Storm Trooper quality aiming here. Not that it matters, Wick is (unofficially) indestructible. Stabbed in the leg? He’ll run a marathon straight after. Hit him with your car? He’ll get up first! Actually managed to shoot him? He’ll shake it off in a couple of minutes thanks to his sweet bullet proof assassin suit. Basically, they’ve removed all threats to him, which reduces the stakes. He’s like Superman or Wolverine, too powerful to worry about.

At this point the John Wick franchise is an excuse for action scenes. Granted there is some really interesting lore that is hinted at . I’d love to know more, but that and the story really just take a back seat.

Much like with the original, John Wick Chapter 2 won’t be for everyone. At times I’ll even admit that I didn’t think it was for me. Action is fun and all, but I do want a little bit more substance you know? Ultimately it’s not as good as the first, so in a way I could give it a thumbs down. I think that’s unfair though because in reality this is exactly what the film advertised itself to be. The bottom line is, John Wick is all about action and it does action scenes really, really well.

Verdict: Thumbs Up*

*Great action, fantastic lore that I want to know more about but overall a real lack of substance.

Review: The Great Wall

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

European mercenary and worlds greatest archer (Matt Damon) is in search of black powder when he discovers the mysteries behind the building of The Great Wall of China. What were they trying to keep out?! Monsters obviously, you big dummy. It’s always monsters.

I went into this movie having warned my Dad that this film had more chance of being rubbish than it had of being good. I was right to warn him. Not that is was truly terrible, it was just…bad. That seems too harsh, it wasn’t good. Put it that way.

Let me summarise The Great Wall for you; wave after wave of CGI monsters, with the oh so convenient ‘kill the leader and they all die’ plot device. Undeveloped characters all around, you don’t care about the monsters they’re fighting or the 2 dimensional heroes themselves. There are multiple ‘sacrificial last stands’ that make you feel less than nothing. A film created for pure spectacle that lacks in real spectacle and only succeeds in  eye rolling inducing nonsense.

The Great Wall is also full of bizarre steam punk contraptions such as hot air balloons and GIANT FUCKING SCISSORS THAT POP OUT OF THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA TO CUT THE MONSTERS IN HALF. I’m not even joking.

I did like Matt Damon though, but that’s because I already liked Matt Damon and not because this movie did anything to deserve it. His accent is laughable at times too it has to be said.

What I will say about this film is that it does look great. The costumes are fantastic and everything is so colourful. The music, written by Ramin Djawadi, is also fantastic. It’s the best thing about the entire flick. However, underneath the shiny surface of colour and great music. There is no substance. It’s a waste.

Before the films release there was a lot of talk about ‘Hollywood whitewashing’ and using the ‘white saviour narrative’. Personally I think the whole thing is ridiculous, it’s a non issue. Damon plays an Englishman and, I’m not sure if you’re aware, this story didn’t actually happen. So who cares who the hero is?! It’s literally only about money anyway. Stop complaining about everything. The real problem here is that the film isn’t any good. Complain about that instead.

Verdict: Thumbs Down

WCPW: True Destiny

I’ve been keeping my eye on WCPW since its creation last year. Tonight was the first time I’ve been to see a show though, in fact tonight was the first time I’ve seen an entire show. Instead of just highlights. It’s crazy how big things have gotten in such a short amount of time. Yes What Culture clearly has a lot of financial might behind this promotion bringing in big names from around the world but I’m still impressed by the crowd sizes they attract.

Overall True Destiny was a good show, it started off well with Will Osprey versus Ricochet, had a fantastic Tag Team Title ladder match, a solid World Title match and it finished with Kurt Angle. Which will always be great. Unfortunately it did have a post opening match lull however. Zack Sabre Jr. versus Travis Banks was quite frankly boring. Primate versus Rampage just happened, it wasn’t bad and it wasn’t good.

Meanwhile Pentagon Jr wasn’t able to make the show and was replaced by Hijo de Dos Caras to face Drago. It was a slow match, a little bit clumsy as well and the crowd never really got behind it after hearing Pentagon wouldn’t be there. Tessa Blanchard also wasn’t on the show. However, instead she was replaced by the returning Nixen Newell who came back and beat Bea Priestley, the self-declared Women’s Champion, in  quick and dominate fashion to reclaim her title. So that was pretty neat.

Will Osprey vs Ricochet

I’m always torn between whether or not I like the style of Ricochet and Will Osprey, it is a little bit too much like a gymnastics routine for me. Having said that, it is a lot of fun and it is very impressive and considering that I don’t see it that often. It’s actually a very nice change of pace.

The story of this match is that the top rope snapped in the opening few minutes during one of their lengthy acrobatic exchanges. Complete disaster right? Well no actually, the two continued to put on a fantastic match. Which had to be completely changed on the fly and the crowd loved every minute of it. We had comedy spots as the duo had to rethink ways of performing their offensive arsenals and they continued to put on a great performance on throughout. They didn’t skip a beat. Honestly, it was a pleasure to watch.

4-Way Tag Team Title Ladder Match

This was one of the best tag team ladder matches I’ve seen in a long time. Johnny Moss and Liam Slater (c) took on Gabriel Kidd & El Ligero, Prospect (Lucas Archer & Alex Gracie) and The Swords of Essex (Scott Wainwright and Will Osprey). Two Will Osprey matches in one night? Amazing. The Aerial Assassin pulls double duty to replace Paul Robinson.

After a post opening match lull in crowd enthusiasm and match quality. It picked all the way back up with an excellent tag team ladder match. This match was full of great comedic spots, mostly from comedy heels Prospect (Alex Gracie is amazing), but it also had some brutal ladder spots too. Scott Wainwright got smashed into both ladders he set up. Everyone had a jump over the top rope spot, with Moss consistently getting denied his chance to wipe everyone out. There was a double stacked Doomsday Device and a cutter from the top of a ladder as well.

All brilliant stuff. The only down note on the match was Drake coming out to help Prospect win the titles, only to turn on them as they climbed the ladder. Why come out at all you silly goose? In the end The Swords of Essex won the match and I expect to see them work under the freebird ruling with Paul Robinson. I highly recommend you watch this match.

Drew Galloway vs Joe Hendry

A solid World Title match between Galloway and Hendry. World Title you ask? That’s right, Galloway has been defending it in America as well, much like Cody Rhodes has been defending the Internet Championship. Thus giving the main What Culture World Title status.

A good match but unremarkable to be honest. The ending did seem rather sudden and it never really got going. General Manager Martin Kirby was the special quest referee and played absolutely no part in the match, sort of odd to have him out there really but whatever. Galloway retained his title, proving once more that Hendry can’t win the big one.

I feel bad not really rating this match, but it was on a card with 2 great matches (Ricochet/Osprey and the Tag Team Title Match) and everything else was at least one or two steps down. I do really like Galloway though, WWE messed up big time with him.

Kurt Angle vs Alberto El Patron

The main event of the evening was Kurt Angle versus Alberto El Patron (Del Rio). In a match that was a first and potentially last ever meeting. Kurt Angle was obviously over huge with the crowd and El Patron, who started as an equally popular face, wisely switched through the match to play a more heel like role. A frustrated babyface with heel tendencies for one night only kind of thing. It set up a nice dynamic between the two that the crowd would have forced anyway. People want to cheer for Angle? Let them but switch Alberto so it works properly. That way we avoid a Rock versus John Cena face versus face, when one is blatantly the bad guy for the crowd.

Kurt Angle won, but was attacked post match by Joe Hendry! Heel turn for the local hero. Local villain now? Will this new mean streak lead to him finally winning the big one?

It was great to see Kurt Angle for what could be his last UK show ever, or at least in a while. It was actually my first time seeing him wrestle live. I so wish that I had seen him in his prime, that would have been amazing. Will he have one last match in WWE? I think he will yes, probably at Summerslam I’m guessing. Against Rusev, because why not.

Elimination Chamber Predictions

Wrestling isn’t exactly setting my world on fire right now. It’s not that it’s ‘bad’ per se. In fact there’s a lot of little things that are, in fact, really good. AJ Styles, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. Even the whole Goldberg/Brock Lesnar angle is interesting  and I never thought I’d say that! Yet as a whole, the shows (and boy there sure are a lot of them and a lot of hours to watch, too many in fact) all just seem so uninspiring.

The terrible booking of Roman Reigns has (potentially permanently) ruined him for me. Randy Orton winning the Royal Rumble seemed like a boring and ‘safe’ bet instead of taking the opportunity to do something new and exciting. On a smaller note, what the hell have WWE done with Enzo and Cass? They are so bad these days.

So like I say, wrestling and I might not be best friends right now, but it is Wrestlemania season so I’m going to keep watching. Hoping it will all pick up as the ball starts rolling. Will this happen at the Elimination Chamber? Hmmmm, judging by the card all hopes are pinned to the main event. Which will in turn set the stage for my early thoughts on Smackdown’s half of Wrestlemania. It can’t actually be Cena/Orton can it?!

I’m not going to go into much detail for the under-card as in honesty, it’s rather bland. So here we go, quick fire predictions!

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Elimination Chamber

The main event is the only match on the card that has any long-term meaning and relevance. Everything else can be repeated and re-matched to death but this is a one time deal. Which makes it special.

Elimination Chamber matches have had a hit and miss history. It fell into the same trap that still plights Hell In A Cell PPV’s, too many matches on one card. Thankfully we only get the one so that’s nice. It’s good for 2 reasons. Firstly, all the eggs into one basket instead of having to share out spots. Secondly, over saturation is killing wrestling in every other way so this is actually a nice change from the norm. I honestly believe that if they could, WWE would have 2 Royal Rumbles one for each show.

There’s a couple of people I would love to see win this match. AJ Styles being the main one. Wouldn’t it be great if he just leapt straight back up to the top of the Smackdown mountain? I would be so very, very happy. Unfortunately it isn’t going to happen. Neither will it happen for The Miz. Miz has been undoubtedly one of the best things post brand split era but he’s getting lost in the shuffle a little bit since losing his title to Dean Ambrose. That makes me sad.

The third option is by far the most likely, in fact he has to be the heavy favourite to win. Which means we might actually get to see Bray Wyatt win the World Title. Which means Bray Wyatt might actually win at Wrestlemania while defending his title! Okay I got carried away, Orton wins lol.

I’ve got to say, this Randy Orton joins the Wyatt family storyline has actually been really good. Odd, eye glowing effects and other magic nonsense aside. However, I still think it would have been far better to have Bray win the Royal Rumble match! Putting someone new over instead of the same 5 guys. How great could that have been?

You could still get to a Wrestlemania match between Bray and Orton, just have Randy in the Elimination Chamber match instead, have him win and create friction between the duo that way. It’s so close yet feels so far.

Still, won’t complain too much as like I’ve said, this feud has been pretty interesting. I would have liked it to go on for a lot longer though.

Watch me say all of this and then Baron Corbin picks up the surprise victory or something. What an idiot I’ll look like.

Whatever happens at and after the Elimination Chamber, just don’t give me AJ Styles versus Shane O’Mac at Wrestlemania for gods sake. What a waste of one of the best wrestlers in the world.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Top 5: Best Looking Title Belts In Wrestling Today?

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Speaking of the exact opposite of a nice looking title. Here’s the WWE’s Jam Championship from Monday Night Raw.

In 2016 there were a lot of new title belt designs, mostly in WWE after their brand split. Some of these titles looked okay such as the new silver (with either red or blue straps depending on the show) tag team titles. The Raw and Smackdown’s Women’s Titles look pretty nice as well. I’m not quite sure on my opinions of the new UK Championship though. I like the centre piece but I’m not sure in meshes very well with the modern WWE Title design.

Meanwhile the new Universal Championship with looks like the WWE World Title dipped in strawberry jam. I’m sure we’ve all gotten used to it by now, but that doesn’t mean it looks good.

So this got me thinking, what are the best looking titles, currently active, in wrestling today? Here are my top 5.

#5 NXT Tag Team Titles

wwe_nxt_tag_team_championshipNumber 5 on my list is the NXT Tag Team Titles. I think they are far superior than the main roster equivalents, which until recently looked like big copper pennies. Now they look like big silver pennies instead.

It does undoubtedly help that I really enjoy the NXT tag team scene and I’ll happily admit that this is probably the reason that they made the cut. Dash and Dawson of The Revival, are personal favourites of mine, but the whole division has been excellent for over 2 years now.

I find it remarkable that the design of these titles can be so simple and so right. While the main NXT Title looks awful. Not only that, since the main roster got it’s new Women’s Titles, the NXT Women’s title looks more like the old butterfly Divas Title than I think people realised.

What I really like about these titles is that unlike other tag titles, they aren’t a matching pair. As far as I’m aware that is a very unique feature. Instead they are mirror images of each other.

Sleek, clean and simple. In fact they are the epitome of the new championship designs coming from WWE.

#4 IWGP Intercontinental Championship

2nd_version_iwgp_intercontinental_championshipA late addition to my list is the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, having watched Wrestle Kingdom 11. I took some consideration over whether I was going to include this title or the IWGP Heavyweight Championship instead.

The two do look relatively similar but overall I prefer the shape of the Intercontinental Championship. It doesn’t have the extra space on the top and as a result looks cleaner and more symmetric.

Plus it has a white leather strap, much like the WWE version. Which is almost like a trump card for title belts in my opinion. I just think they look really cool. It’s the combination of white leather and gold plate that makes this title look so special. If every championship in the world was on white leather it would lose its appeal very quickly, but for now its still very unique and I like that.

#3 WWE World Title

wwe_world_heavyweight_championship

When The Rock first introduced the new design for the WWE Title it was immediately met with a wave of relief and delight. Finally the WWE had replaced that God damn awful John Cena Title that had been around forever. It looked like a toy and only ever really suited one man, John Cena. On anyone else it looked, well, rubbish.

It wasn’t until it received the updated logo that it really started to work though. The old attitude era style clashed with the new clean design and quite frankly looked a little ridiculous.

It’s a modern design but still keeps its legacy and legitimacy intact. I even like the fact that WWE have made the top title for male and female competitors look similar. However, I’m not a fan of the Universal Titles look and I’m not 100% sold on the UK Championship either. Those problems aside, you can’t deny that this title looks great. It might actually be my favourite WWE Title design ever. Winged Eagle fans please don’t shoot me!

#2 WWE Intercontinental Championship

wwe_intercontinental_championshipThe WWE Intercontinental Championship came very close to being my number one pick. For a long time I would have said that this is the best looking title belt in not only the WWE but in all of wrestling.

I fell in love with this title back in 2011 when Cody Rhodes introduced the modified classic design on the white leather strap. For a brief moment I wanted to be a ‘traditionalist’ with the belt kept on a black leather strap, but there is no denying how good this looks. Its pure class.

That’s why I had to rank it higher than the WWE World Title itself, obviously I like the World Title design, but it the IC Title is in a league of its own. Unfortunately the title itself has been treated like the after thought of an after thought for the majority of the last decade. Even with its modern design introduction. Hopefully now that it is a Smackdown exclusive championship it will keep receiving more focus than it had prior to the brand spilt. Which will, in theory, return some of the prestige that it lost years ago. Basically, just keep it on The Miz forever is what I say.

#1 Ring of Honor World Title

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Here we are, my number one pick for best looking, currently active, championship title. The Ring of Honor World Championship. There’s something about this title belt that just shouts prestigious to me.

Obviously its a great looking belt straight away. The front of the strap is black while it has red on the back. The centrepiece with its multiple gold wreaths. The continents on either strap. It all just creates this image of luxury, class and history.

For a relatively new design, it is actually a throw back to the older design of titles. It reminds me of the Winged Eagle WWF title belt in many ways. While the majority of WWE titles have been super modernised, it’s really cool to see a championship look like this.


Have I missed any obvious ones? If I have let me know! And if you think my opinion sucks and I’m a big dumb fat idiot moron face, keep your opinions to yourself please. Fragile ego and all that.