F9 Is So Fast and So 9 It Couldn’t Be Anymore Furious

F9: The Fast Saga is a good movie because it’s dumb. These movies have fully embraced their big dumb side and the franchise is better for it. Does this get to the level of Fast Five? Not close. But if you enjoyed Furious 7 and The F8 of the Furious then you’re getting buckled back in for more of the same.

(Mild spoilers ahead.)

One thing these movies do to try and keep the formula fresh, with varying success, is that each movie tries to be different in its own big and dumb way. Now, that’s led to the franchise going from grounded in street racing subculture to taking down drug lords to a Yakuza film to FBI vigilante hunter to heist movie to saving the world and flying a Pontiac into space, but still. Different!

So what’s the difference this time out? What new angle are they taking The Fast franchise in? Prequel-sequel-origin story for Dom Toretto based around family drama!

Yeah, I know how lame that sounds. But it’s fitting. One thing these movies never let you forget is that everything is about family. Anything is possible with the power of family. Dom is basically a superhero because he has family. So much family.

It can be a bit hard to separate the ego from the project since everything that came out about Vin Diesel (and The Rock and Jason Statham) having contract clauses that they can’t lose an on-screen fight. Why? Because then movie goers might not think they’re the toughest biggest baddest dude’s ever.

Maybe take a page from John Wick. Taking a few lumps isn’t a bad thing. But then again, this movie isn’t trying to be realistic. It isn’t grounded unless the plot calls for it. It’s a Fast & Furious franchise film where anyone with muscles is basically a Corona drinking Captain America-James Bond hybrid.

The movie plays like a Greatest Hits of the entire franchise. It hits on some older story beats and locations the films would travel to. There’s weirdly a lot of lore in this universe, somehow, and you get plunged back into every important bit of it to help make sense of this big dumb world where a 1970 Charger is as powerful as Thor.

Playing more to the greatest hits is that the cast is bigger than ever. There has to be like 20 star actors in this movie. It feels like every past character appears again. Even characters you might have been iffy on return in a pleasant way. And the best return of all is Han (Sung Kang). Han is so cool. He’s my favourite. I’m so happy he’s back.

Coming in new to the cast is John Cena who acts his heart out as a big tough guy super spy secret agent hero man. I like seeing John Cena in things, whether its WWE or Hollywood. I like seeing any wrestler, really, so this is just cool. It makes sense for him to debut after all this time considering we can’t see him.

One of my favourite things about these movies is explaining to my friends who refuse to watch it how absurd it is. Then they react by laughing and going “No way, that sounds too dumb!” To which I reply, “Yeah! Exactly! That’s the point!”

If you’re not one for turning off part of your brain when watching something like this then you’re already out. You should know that by now though because this is a movie that involves relatively consequence free destruction as a giant truck train military super smasher smashes everything in sight and also EMP electromagnetic wave vacuums and space-ship Pontiacs.

This is what happens when a child gets their GI Joe toys and smashes them into their Hotwheels with a plot they daydreamed up while ignoring math class. Just add 150 million dollars to film it.

Nothing has to make sense as long as it can make sense in The Fast and The Furious.

@Adam_Pyde on Twitter, Adam Reviews Things on Facebook. CanadianAdam on Twitch.

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker is Whatever. It Exists.

Star-Wars

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the Transformers movie equivalent of a Star Wars film. It fell into itself and didn’t want to change anything.  It clings to the basic premise of Star Wars, which is fine, and doesn’t let go for anything or any reason, which is frustrating. This might be Star Wars at its worst, which is afraid to be anything you haven’t seen before.

Star Wars, cinematically, is an echo. Everything rhymes. “It’s like poetry” said George Lucas once. Everything Star Wars is here: the Force, X-Wings, Star Destroyers, Sith, Jedi, lightsabres, etc. Empire big strong and then the underdog Rebels pull a John Cena to a victory. That’s where the movie becomes frustrating because that’s all the movie is, again. We saw that in Episode VII and in Episode VIII.

That’s to be expected. The Lord of the Rings movies are fantastic and every movie ends with the heroes winning over evil. The key difference is that it feels earned; every movie ups the stakes and increases the grandeur in a way that makes sense step by step.

Was Episode VII – The Force Awakens good? Sure it was. Don’t pretend it’s a bad movie. Call it unimaginative if you want, but it was a safe and entertaining blockbuster that made you interested in what Star Wars could be again. You can go back and watch it and enjoy how it brought a charismatic cast together, planted seeds, had some mystery, did the big stuff and was enjoyable. Probably as good a reboot as you would get.

Was Episode VIII – The Last Jedi good? It was fine. It did some stuff that was interesting, had pointless side plots, some frustrating character choices and decisions (maybe the Rebellion really likes to watch Suits in space). For everything good, it did something a bit whatever and a few things just plain blargh. If that movie ends after the back-to-back fight on a cliff hanger then everyone is probably thinking of it relatively favourably. But it didn’t, oh well. However, it gets worse because of what follows.

Is Episode IX – Rise of Skywalker good? Eh… your mileage may vary. How much are you into wanking off to nostalgia, hectic action, 1+1=2 plot, frustrating character decisions and insane pacing? I can’t get away from thinking the movie was just frustrating. I’m not mad or sad. I’m not giddy. Depending on which 5 minute span of the movie I was watching I would go from enjoyment to indifference to annoyance or displeasure. But I know that after it ended, the conclusion to the 9 movie 40 year Skywalker arc, I wasn’t satisfied.

15new-starwars-1-superJumbo

The worst thing movie’s can do is waste potential because that can make an okay movie bad. A bad movie is just bad and you know its bad. But leaving an okay movie that could have been more feels worse because your brain is telling you “That should have been better.”

I didn’t know a movie could make me appreciate Avengers: Endgame as a film more than I already did. Imagine if Infinity War and Endgame were condensed into one two hour movie. No scene has the time to sink in. There’s barely been a pause in dialogue before the scene is transitioned and someone else somewhere else completely is talking. It’s like it was edited on TikTok.

There’s so few moments where things move at a “normal” pace that when it does happen it feels almost jarring that a “normally” paced scene is occurring. But then you take in the normally paced scene and enjoy it just to get discombobulated right after by another hectic, lightspeed mess.

Plot threads IN THIS FILM are literally being dropped from scene to scene. Something will be brought up and then 15 minutes, or less, after someone says the cinematic equivalent of “Oh that? Doesn’t matter. Forget about it, please.”

There are moments and decisions that should be Big Things that happen so quickly that the movie feels like a TV edit. There are other times where the weight of a decision is completely negated or becomes inconsequential almost immediately after it happens.  Characters are making turns and decisions so quickly that you feel like someone off screen is tapping their watch saying “Wrap it up” like Monica during Phoebe’s wedding speech.

So many scenes could have been so much more if they were given more time, but you travel across like 6 planets in less than 90 minutes. When scenes don’t have the time or weight to happen “properly” then you forget about them. Moments don’t become memorable otherwise.

There’s a scene where they straight up pull it from a WW2 movie with Nazi SS dudes doing door to door raids and stuff. The Rebels have to sneak about to find a macguffin and avoid the First Order. That could have been 20 minutes with a lot of tension and pressure. Instead it was like 10 minutes and it ends on what feels like a whim. And it was the second time they landed on Planet Convenience in a row.

Characters will face down something that appears harrowing, say “we gotta climb the big thing”, “wow that’s gonna be tough”, and then it just cuts to them at the top of the harrowing big thing. Usually this kind of stuff goes: Introduce an issue, struggle with issue, solve it. Instead we get: introduce a thing, solve it immediately, move on. It’s like a chain of fetch quests in a video game.

You would think a director who is also a fanboy of Star Wars, in JJ Abrams, would understand these things. He did these things pretty well in his Star Trek reboot. He got emotion and excitement right in those movies.

I can’t help but feel that JJ Abrams was the angry fan who walked out of The Last Jedi with a wet diaper. There’s such a feeling of “Episode VIII didn’t happen! Episode IX is the REAL VIII and IX at the same time!” There are moments that feel like actual middle fingers to the previous film to the point you could probably just watch Episode VII and go to Episode IX just off the pre-scroll.

ren-and-rey1-768x400

I just want to vent for a bit about Kylo Ren and Rey, and their relationship. There may be a few spoilers from here out but we’re talking about a movie from 2019 in 2021, so…

Kylo Ren, portrayed by Adam Driver, is the best part of the movie, again. He deserves so much more than this movie for his acting. He carried this franchise. He’s the closest to feeling like a real movie person across three movies, where other characters are all over the place due to the lack of foresight from page one or they’re almost entirely static.

Daisy Ridley is perfectly fine as Rey. But the issue is Rey. Rey gets to do everything for free. Our other big Force characters always took an L where they screwed up, but came out the other side as a better character:

  • Anakin lost an arm because he was too cocky, then he became a robot because had an unstoppable boner.
  • Luke lost a hand because he was too brazen and didn’t take his training seriously.
  • Obi-Wan lost his mentor and didn’t listen to his better judgment and it led to Darth Vader.
  • Kylo Ren is suffering from the galaxy’s biggest case of imposter syndrome after his Uncle tried to murder him in his sleep.

These are important because to round out a character they need to take a loss. Aragorn took an L in Lord of the Rings. Tony Stark took some L’s as Iron Man. Rey gives up a late goal but always scores it right back to win.

She might not win clean, but she’s basically John Cena when John Cena couldn’t lose a match for like 10 years. She’s Hulk Hogan from the 80s. I don’t consider her a Mary Sue, but I get why people say she is now when I didn’t really hold that belief before.

Her biggest trauma relates to her parents (fair enough), but she’s never gets her Big Loser moment to teach her a lesson. Not that I’m trying to neckbeard here, but there’s a moment that could have been her “oh my god I effed up” but like 12 seconds later they go “no it’s okay”. She’s never had to come back from a big mistake that changes her. That’s… boring.

It makes it even worse when the movie climaxes and she kisses Kylo Ren. The kiss sucks. It wasn’t about good and bad meeting and the whole world is grey.

Kylo Ren is shown to be a paranoid-schizophrenic with a hunger for violence and anger problems that have stunted his maturity to the point that he has had different Big Evil’s doing his thinking since he was a teenager when he became an intergalactic Neo-Nazi. He has tried to kill the Rebels more times than you can count and has killed enough of them, and innocents, to make Stalin feel inadequate.

His first encounter with Rey begins with him torturing her for information and he’s relentlessly antagonized her for a couple years now by killing her friends, blowing up planets and doing his best to manipulate her at every turn.

He’s basically happily killed both his parents. He is in no position to be in a relationship with anybody. No matter what you feel about him, he is in no position to be in a relationship with anyone. Especially not the equivalent of a Force using demi-god with her own abandonment issues with big time force powers she can’t even control.

But apparently torturing her left a good first impression. Killing her friends and tons of randoms and innocent civilians was also okay and cool and forgivable. Killing his dad was fine. Being hell-bent on destroying almost your entire resistance was okay.

Screw it. Maybe they deserve each other.

Just about everyone else in the movie is useless and don’t really matter but they get B plots that are easily solvable so they can kill time while the headliners do their thing because if you don’t have The Force Juice you don’t matter in Star Wars.

Brody-StarWarsReview

If you’re going to spend 4 billion dollars on a media property famous for trilogies, lore and the expanded universe then perhaps plan your new trilogy out in advance. It doesn’t need to be scripted to the second, but setting up plot threads and then doing nothing with them because you had no plan is so painfully WWE.

Movie universes shouldn’t struggle and fail this often. What Marvel is doing, and to a lesser extent Legendary with the Godzilla and Kong movies, isn’t terribly difficult. Plan it out, have patience, execute it.

You can understand DC stumbling because it took them four years to realize they couldn’t do six years of build in three films. You get why the Dark Universe bumbled, because they couldn’t contain themselves and wanted to go big right away. Sony’s Spider-Man world failed in the exact same way. You can’t hit the gym twice and then hope to hit world record numbers on a deadlift.

But you would have thought Star Wars, a Disney property, would have been able to knock on the Marvel, a Disney property, door next door and get such simple advice as “yeah try to at least sorta plan things out and stick to that.” It’s like they went and knocked on the Fox’s X-Men door, a Disney property, and got their advice from them.

Or maybe the guy who wrote Batman v Superman isn’t the best choice for cohesion in your climactic film.

the-resistance-space-armada-and-the-millennium-falcon-star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker

The Last Jedi was not perfect, but it did do like four great things: Rey being a nobody, Old Man Luke not living up to the myth, Kylo talking to Rey about “Jedi and Sith are both dumb. What if we did our own thing?” and posing the question of “Maybe anyone can tap into the force/be a hero?”

This movie pretty will dumps on all of those: Rey is important and always has been like Harry Potter-Aragorn-Anakin. Luke wasn’t tired, he’s actually silly like puppet Yoda now. Then “actually the Jedi are good and right and the Sith are pure evil and wrong. There is no merit to the Jedi having their issues as well.” And absolutely no way can anyone be a hero. Only people from basically two families are allowed to be heroes.

One of the worst ways to handle something that is potentially cool is by going “Look how cool this could be?” and then going “Nope. That isn’t cool and you’re bad for wanting something like it” because now you’ve gone and split your audience further.

Rise of Skywalker is so desperate to course correct on The Last Jedi that in their attempts to make you forget about it that it instead makes it so you can’t forget about The Last Jedi at all.

I do want to say that I feel the amount of freedom Disney supposedly gave Rian Johnson for Episode VIII was overstated as a lame attempt to satisfy people through post-film PR – I’m basing this off the weird shifts in tone and the extraneous forth act and how they fit the film compared to Rian Johnson’s other work.

But maybe you hated The Last Jedi for perfectly good reasons and you feel this actually did things right. I don’t know. I feel this movie bashes as much “established Star Wars” with a hammer just as much. However, I get the feeling that cinematic Star Wars has just reached fan apathy level.

Cinematic Star Wars is just so weird. You have so many people, that call themselves huge fans and maybe they are or maybe they’re “fans” for the hustle, that seem like they’re always racing each other to see who can hate it more. Who can be the most contrarian? Who has the hottest take that they can back with the most nerd cred?

It’s just so weird to see Nerd Media become the behemoth it has where you get the same level of tribalism and viciousness that have been present in sports and politics for years. You get the feeling from the discourse that most of the most vocal fans don’t even like it, but that feeling of not liking it also fuels them to keep not liking it while staying engaged with it.

star-wars-episode-9-rise-of-skywalker-stormtroopers-1580293398

For what it is worth, the movie does look great. I love the lightsaber battles in the new trilogy. They aren’t swinging glow sticks and breakdancing, but they’re a bit more involved than a classic style sword duel that more resemble pirate movies from the original trilogy. They swing the swords like they have weight and like they’re really exerting themselves.

The cinematography is great. It’s a well shot movie that’s colour coded well so you understand where you are, even if you don’t know where you are. It isn’t completely devoid of creativity. You get all your classic Star Wars shots and iconography. It’s all here and that part is still pretty cool and backed by a traditional and excellent score.

The character designs and props are always a high point. Maybe its one of the reason’s that Star Wars relies so hard on its own iconography, because its that good: Storm Troopers look good, black bad guy looks good, white good girl looks good, scrappy Rebel outfits look good, the X-Wing and the Millenium Falcon are wicked designs. “Show, don’t tell” as a rule has been a strength of Star Wars for the better part of it’s existence.

The themes, as repetitive as they’ve become, are still strong. Anyone can stand up to oppression. Maybe it’s ten people but maybe then its twenty people, then fifty and then you’ve started a revolution. There will always be resistance to tyranny. That’s good and especially in 2021 its a really prevalent message.

star-wars-the-rise-skywalker-george-lucas

In the end, the worst thing Big Hollywood can do is be average. This movie is average. Did I complain a lot? Yes. Did I enjoy myself? Kinda. Would I recommend this? I guess but not really.

I’m just sour because the potential of this series declined at an exponential rate and that’s a bummer. Fantasy movies are cool. Space movies are cool. Fantasy space movies should be really cool.

I was just hoping for something slightly new creatively. A slightly different take on things that avoided wanking itself off with the nostalgia glove. It’s just a very predictable movie that never catches you off guard, subverts your expectations in a good way or satisfies the obvious outcome either.

This is the finale. The Finale. The finale to a nine movie arc (ten if you want Rogue One in here). This is the cap to Star Wars as people know it. The end. The big climax to it all. But it just piddles itself out with a sloppy landing.

At some point we’ll be into Episode X, XI and XII and everyone will be excited again. People have started looking back at the prequels and think they’re good movies for some reason. In 10-20 years I’m sure the same will happen here. Everyone cheered like crazy for The Last Jedi. Then they hated it. But then everyone rushed right back in for Rise of Skywalker only to hate it. People couldn’t keep their pants on for The Mandalorian but I’ve even seen some people start to poo poo that.

Maybe the best thing this set of Star Wars films did was get so mad at Rian Johnson that they kicked him out, and he responded by making Knives Out. Go watch that. It’s great.

@Adam_Pyde on Twitter, Adam Reviews Things on Facebook. CanadianAdam on Twitch.

WWE Summerslam: This One Was Just Right

Wrestling is great. It is a variety show with action and comedy over a soap opera. It’s a stage play of comic book storylines played characters portrayed as super heroes and super villains. And when it all comes together, its worth it. WWE Summerslam got it right. Stories don’t have to be long, drawn out and complicated. Short and sweet, simple and effective,

I was expecting a 5+ hour show with some serious crap. While not everything was spectacular, there wasn’t anything really worth skipping on the main show. The whole thing was worth the time and money.

Pre-show Kick-off:

Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina def. Rusev and Lana, Cedric Alexander def. Drew Gulak, The B-Team def. The Revival

The Pre-Show doesn’t matter.

The Latino Guy, with the gimmick of having a hot girlfriend, beat the European Guy, with the gimmick of having a hot girlfriend. 205 Live did something where moves occurred. A match happened with the worst Tag Division in years.

There’s no way to care about 205 Live. The moves are fine, but Cruiserweight wrestling is whatever now. It isn’t like it used to be where you could only see the acrobatic stuff from the luchadors, Japanese fellas and little Americans. Seth Rollins is flipping around and he’s a main eventer. Jeff Hardy, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Finn Balor and AJ Styles all flip around and be acrobatic. Sticking these fellas guys in their own division just segregates them from requiring caring. There are small dudes all over the main WWE roster. Having these 205 Live guys on their own just shows they don’t matter. They’re not in the same league as anyone on Raw of SmackDown! Has anything interesting happened on 205 Live since Enzo Amore got canned? I wouldn’t know because these guys don’t get character time on TV.

Who cares.

Summerslam!

Intercontinental Championship Match: Seth Rollins (with Dean Ambrose) def. Dolph Ziggler (with Drew McIntyre)
Image result for seth rollins

Easily the best program on Raw. Probably the best one since Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho with the Festival of Friendship. These guys have carried a bloated 3 hour show for weeks now. Dolph finally finds a character that works, with a serious heavy that can back him up. Seth has been valiant as a baby face

Seth Rollins with the Thanos vest and the Infinity Bootlet. Remember what I was saying about super heroes?

Dolph Ziggler with the Rick Rude pants. Good to see he’s just embracing being a shameless amalgamation of nostalgic characters that got over instead of pretending he isn’t a rip off and not being over with the crowd.

Beef Ambrose’s haircut is a dead giveaway of a heel turn. Bald guys are not face wrestlers without being a heel.

After all the shenanigans in this build up it was nice to get just a simple match. Minor shenanigans, but nothing that makes the match or win feel cheap or dirty. This match was worth all the wait. These guys are all money. A Seth win keeps the good times Rollins.

Two thumbs up.

SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day def. The Bludgeon Brothers via DQ (no title change)
WWE Photo

This is almost another who cares. The New Day are silly and fun. The Bludgeon Brothers are silly and okay. Wacky dudes against bush people zombie hunters. Pretty straight forward match. Heels do big stuff. Faces make a comeback. Heels cut it off. Then heels get themselves disqualified instead of losing their titles.

One big gripe:
The Bludgeon Brothers are using prop hammers and they still do the stupid HHH hand protected sledge-hammer belly shot? Prop hammers. How did no one think to make these “usable” in this very exact instance? It looks silly with HHH does it, but it looks totally absurd when they’ve got their hand on the hammer end of a giant prop hammer.

A DQ win keeps things “undecided”. That’s fine, but I miss the days when the big pay-per-view events were definitive. There’s not much else going on at Smackdown! so I guess you gotta keep this running.

Sideways thumb.

Braun Strowman def. Kevin Owens
WWE Photo

This is all Strowman has to do. Come out. Dominate. Less is more with anyone who can take the label “special attraction” since you keep everyone wanting more. Dudes like Strowman and Lesnar need to tease the audience. Braun shouldn’t be doing long matches. When he’s in a real match it makes it a big deal.

Owens at this point is a mid-card heel jobber. He needs a break to rehab his credibility because he’s eating a couple more pins away from being on the pre-show with Rusev.

Thumbs up.

SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Charlotte def. Becky Lynch, Carmella
WWE Photo

Mella is money. Her gimmick is great. She’s grating and you want to see her lose. If you’d told me that she’d be the longest tenured out of her, Enzo and Big Cass then I wouldn’t have believed you. Her trash talk during the match is impressive. It’s a lost art that only a couple of wrestlers still do. It makes wrestling feel like its crossing over to real sport.

Three ways are usually a bit of a mess. Usually a lot of one-on-one wrestling while someone takes a nap after a standard move somehow pseudo-KO’s them. But the women never really took much of a break. When they were down, it wasn’t an age before they’d get back in. It was a constant cycle. There was a solid mix of Becky-Charlotte, Charlotte-Carmella, Carmella-Becky.

Carmella worked her butt off and kept up with Becky and Charlotte. There were a lot of really interesting moves, transitions and moments. Women’s matches were for so long a bathroom break but now they’re worth the commitment. Everyone looks great coming out of this.

Charlotte pinning Becky is interesting. Carmella never technically “lost” her title and so she still has a legit claim going forward. Becky being pinned makes Charlotte look stronger, but also like a baddie for doing it to a friend.

That whole ending just has me expecting a Becky heel promo on Smackdown despite her finally REALLY getting over with the crowd. I’ll crap myself if she drops some “Fans didn’t believe in me line!” like a bad Ziggler promo.

Charlotte doesn’t work as a face. She’s a head taller than all the other women. She’s probably 130-150% their body weight. She’s powerful and athletic. She’s the daughter of Ric Flair. Those aren’t baby face characteristics. Hopefully they don’t butcher this.

Thumb up.

WWE Championship Match: Samoa Joe def. AJ Styles via DQ (no title change)
WWE Photo

AJ is phenomenal and he’s a better all-round performer than he used to be. He’s way better at making things look like a fight, like he’s mad, like its serious than he used to be. Mic work goes a long way to selling a match. Moves are neat, story is the meat.

Joe is great and a convincing badass. Its unfortunate he’s been injured as frequently as he has since it takes your credibility away when you’re supposed to be a destroyer and you miss month after month with injury. It is kinda supposed to be the other way around.

He’s so acrobatic for a big guy. The top rope knee and his corner moves are worth it. The Coquina Clutch looks like a real submission. He looks like he’s fighting.

These guys got me to buy in. AJ stepped up his game and it got me. Not just moves, he really was fighting like he was pissed off. All the drama with his wife and daughter, Joe claiming he was their new “daddy”, as 2018 as that is, was still great.

AJ snapping at the end and going to town with the chair was fitting. A messy finish works here. It helps tell the story. It fits. Things will continue, but it doesn’t feel lame.

Thumbs right up.

The Miz def. Daniel Bryan
WWE Photo

The Miz Rules. Daniel Bryan is boring and played out at this point. Nothing about him has changed in the better part of four years now. He’s a little dude who tries hard and chants “yes”.

The Miz is a heat magnet. He’s an actual superstar. He’s an actual character. And he’s over. Watching people Yes! chant along with Daniel Bryan is always funnier when the same people are doing the Yes! chant while Miz is delivering his own stupid kicks. Pick a side you bums.

The Miz winning was pretty unexpected, although the crying Daniel Bryan marks will tell you otherwise. I cheered when Miz won. He deserves it. He’s been an MVP on Raw and Smackdown! carrying the primary non-main event program for months. Using shenanigans to win is okay and makes sense. He’s a trickster. He’s a heel.

This match made sense from the build to the promo to the moves to the finish. So good.

Two thumbs up fist pumping!

Finn Balor def. Constable Baron Corbin
WWE Photo

Seeing the Demon was neat, if out of the blue. Squashing Corbin is the only way to go. You don’t go all anime with Balor’s “Final Form” unless you make it dominant. Regular Finn Balor? 50-50 wrestler in the mid-card. Demon Finn Balor? World title level wrestler capable of easy squash matches in the mid-card.

One thumb up.

United States Championship Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
WWE Photo

I don’t understand Shinsuke Nakamura. I don’t understand his appeal. Once his entrance is over, what are you left with? A skinny guy with limp offence and a lame finisher (Don’t @ me over the Kinshasa. Its a limp looking kick most of the time. It’s as bad as the Zig-Zag in how bad it looks when it isn’t perfect.) He’s had maybe 3 actually good matches since debuting on the main roster. He’s trying to be a heel now, and he’s doing okay, but he still does his baby face stuff to get cheers from the crowd. Like, come on dude.

Jeff Hardy has lost about a step since returning and he was already about 3 steps behind from his prime. Fun nostalgia act, but the dude isn’t much in the ring anymore. Credit to him though, he gave it everything he could in this match. He took some rough moves. He crashed and burned leaving a win on the table for Shinsuke.

The Orton tease at the end was confusing. Blandy Boreton should not be a babyface and even as a heel he’s played out.

Thumb up.

Raw Women’s Championship Match: Ronda Rousey def. Alexa Bliss
WWE Photo

What was on Ronda’s face? What is that makeup? Did Jeff Hardy not have any time to help her out? Does she want to be Proxima Midnight? Luna Vachon?  Or did she have a Create-A-Wrestler from an old SmackDown! game in mind when she showed up? What if Ronda has terrible taste and we only didn’t know because she couldn’t rock that in the UFC?

Alexa is great. She’s a real character. She’s the bitchy high school cheer leader who always gets her way through manipulation and cattiness. Ronda is radical. She’s a real badass. This match had one way to go and it nailed it. Any Ronda match against anyone but Nia Jax or Charlotte Flair should be this. Ronda would destroy every woman in the history of the company. This was the exhibition squash it needed to be.

The Bella’s can GTFO.

Two thumbs all the way up!

Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns def. Brock Lesnar
WWE Photo

Roman is great. Brock is better the less he does otherwise every match is the same. He does some crappy fake UFC strikes and then a bunch of suplexes before getting gassed 5 minutes in only to get hit with a babyface comeback before squashing it.

The Braun Strowman promo was weird. “I’m so manly I refuse to be a coward and stab anyone in the back. That’s why I’m going to stand here all match so you know I’m going to cash in after you’re tired and beaten and bruised and exhausted, instead of you being surprised by me cashing in under those circumstances.”

Having nothing but money moves is the way to go. Lesnar-Goldberg was great. No BS between them. Just the big stuff, go short and hard and fast. This match could have fit in a tweet. Super man punch, super man punch, spear, guillotine, spine buster, guillotine, spine buster, missed spear (not a suicide dive, Michael Cole), F5, spear, pin, win.

Brock taking out Braun saves the whole promo and Braun’s promise. Roman winning actually worked.

Three thumbs up.

Summer Movie Reviews: Now With 100% More Bad Rom-Coms

Trainwreck 2/5

Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I just thought I was getting a different movie from all the promo material I saw. Maybe I’m just too dumb to “appreciate the commentary on modern society” which is a thing apparently. But honestly, it just wasn’t that good.

For a movie that has two great funny people in the leads as Amy Schumer and Bill Hader, the laughs weren’t quite hitting. I guess the best way to describe it is that it is a dram-edy with some raunchy humour, occasionally.

The raunchy humour is honestly the best part because it lightens the mood in a movie that isn’t exactly heavy on the tone, but just seems dull so often. It seems that the funny things happen around the actors, versus with the actors. Ezra Miller, Tilda Swinton, John Cena, LeBron James are all terrific. Maybe that is by design?

This movie could very literally be a PG-13 if it weren’t for the use of the f-word. It was honestly pretty by the numbers for large sections. “Oh no, I’m incapable of loving someone. Oh wait no I’m not.” The end.

It does end on a high. The movie does have some sincerely touching moments. But I just expected more. I wanted to come here and rave about the film, but I can’t.

It is easily stolen by two of the guest stars of the film. John Cena is terrific early in the movie. Comedy timing, delivery, body language, all of it. LeBron James is also magnetic on screen and steals the attention from the other actors to him.

It could be a decent date movie, or maybe you’re looking for something to kill the time if you don’t want to go for a blockbuster like Ant-Man or something truly funny and touching in Inside Out.

Previously:

To come this summer/year:

  • Fantastic Four, August 7
  • Straight Outta Compton, August 14
  • Hitman: Agent 47, August 28
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens, December 18

Maybe to come this summer/year:

  • Pixels, July 24
  • Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, July 31
  • Goosebumps, October 16