Film review – John Wick 3: Parabellum

The title’s a bit of a giveaway, but this is the third outing for Keanu Reeves’s shockingly successful “James Bond in a Bad Suit” franchise. Number three picks up exactly where the sequel left off: the disagreement over the death of his dog continues to escalate. Things were said, insults traded, people were stabbed, shot and run over … Wick now finds himself on the run from the mysterious, and not particularly well explained, guild of super assassins who trained and employed him.

The plot meanders quite a bit (it does that thing where they send the main character somewhere, and then send him back to where he just came from), and parts of it probably don’t make much sense, but let’s be honest: you’re not looking for the Shawshank Redemption here are you?

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Film: The Wandering Earth

Caught this on Netflix the other night, which was a happy coincidence because I’d just read the short story it was based on. It’s also the title of the collection it was taken from, written by the fabled SciFi author Lui Cixin (one each story is a gem in its own right). The film became the second highest-grossing movie ever produced in China a few weeks after its release.

For a short story, it’s ambition is breath-taking. In the near-future, the sun is nearing the end of its life and is about to expand into a red giant and engulfing the solar system. In an attempt to escape annihilation, the human race comes together and embarks on a desperate bid for survival. The plan is, to say the least … big:

thousands of engines, each one bigger than Everest, are constructed around the world; they’re used to halt the planet’s rotation (this alone takes forty years and kills of almost half the population) before the planet begins its journey to a new solar system … a journey that’ll take 2500 years.

The story is brilliant: the film slightly less so. Much of the story had been changed and it lost a lot of the gritty despair and soaring sense of hope along the way. I felt the characters were perhaps a little less complex than they should have been, and though the special effects were worthy of any Hollywood blockbuster, I felt that the film still missed out on the grandeur of the original story.

It could just be that I shouldn’t read the story and then watch the movie straight afterwards. Or it could be that the film just wasn’t the same as the movie I’d built inside my head.

Nevertheless, it was creditable effort in bringing a Science-Fiction masterpiece to the big screen, and at the end of the day, I actually did enjoy it.

Six out of ten.

Book review: Heroes by Stephen Fry

The author actually did a bit of a fireside chat about the sequel to Mythos a few months ago, where I picked up a free copy (cheers Stephen!). I left it on the bookshelf for a while because I’d just finished Mythos, and I thought launching straight into another Fry epic based around ancient Greek mythology might be a bit much.

If you liked the first one then there’s really no reason you won’t like this one. I find Greek legends enthralling, and when you marry them with Stephen’s wry wit, then it’s bound to be another winner. Everything I said about the first book, pretty much applies here. The difference is that Mythos focussed mainly on the Greek gods (Zeus, his wife/sister, his various children by other gods/mortals …); this one is more about the playthings of the gods: men. Continue reading “Book review: Heroes by Stephen Fry”