This week, our resident movie critic, Kevin McIndoe, shares his views on Don’t Kill It, Chips, Naam Shabana and The Great Father.
You’ve got to hand it to Dolph Lundgren. While the careers of many of his 1980s peers now consist mainly of character parts or cameos (think Jean Claude Van Demme, Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris etc), Dolph is still the doyen of the ask-no-questions action flick, and can still get his name above the title.
In this, a demon has cut loose in a sleepy Mississippi town. It takes on fresh bodies and inhabits those who kill its previous host. Pretty soon, the town has scores of dismembered bodies all over the place.
But Jebediah Woodley (Lungren) is on the case and clearly up to the job, as he has crossed paths with the demon before.
When he teams up with feisty FBI agent Evelyn Pierce (Kristina Klebe), he has to find a way of stopping the demon without killing it, hence the film title.
It’s easy to be dismissive about Dolph, but this is the type of role he does really well, and he is a dab hand at the comedic throwaway line. In fact, his bon mots are worthy of Roger Moore at his best, and provide some moments of mirth in this horror thriller.
And that’s what’s on offer here. There’s plenty of frenetic creepy, and blood-splattering sequences (and one is very entertaining indeed) but interspersed with some moments of black humour and barbed wit that makes the film hard to dislike. Take it with the pinch of salt you will sprinkle on your savoury popcorn, and enjoy.
Back in the late 1970s, CHiPs was a cheerful and not that taxing show about two California Highway Patrol officers, for whom speeding tickets simply failed to provide enough job satisfaction. This modern cinematic reboot has been refashioned as an action-comedy.
In this, a rookie officer (Dax Shepard) is teamed up with a seasoned veteran (Michael Pena). But the new guy soon finds out his older colleague is actually an undercover federal agent out to nail some crooked cops. Unfortunately, the action sequences are lacklustre, and the humour leans towards the lavatorial.
It’s a shame the memory of such a popular TV show has been sullied.
If you liked the 2015 Bollywood thriller Baby, then this is for you. It’s a prequel and explores the reasons why Ajay (Akshay Kumar) became a federal agent in the first place.
A window on the world of the Indian intelligence service is opened, and that originality deserves our attention. There is a third instalment of this series on the way too and it’s becoming clearer that Bollywood directors are now more adept at handling action-thrillers that are grittier and more cerebral than anything that has come before.
The acting is not too shabby, either.
Not everything is black and white in this world, and in this we have a nasty policeman Andrews Eapen (Arya) who has a run-in with David Nainan (Mammotty), a supposedly ruthless construction company boss but who is also a great dad.
Despite that, family relationships are never easy, and David’s daughter Sneha (Michelle David) leads him on a merry dance, leaving her dad bemused at her modern attitude and behaviour.
Directed by Haneef Adeni. In Malayalam, with Arabic subtitles.
Review by Kevin McIndoe