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The Roundup Punishment Review: Sturdy Formula

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The Roundup Punishment Review: Sturdy Formula

The Roundup: Punishment is earnest and fun enough as a turn-your-brain-off action film, but its formula is its greatest flaw as it is its strength.


Director: Heo Myeong Haeng
Genre: Action, Crime
Run Time: 109′
US Release: May 3, 2024
UK Release: May 3, 2024
Where to watch: in theaters

Korean Title: City of Crime 4
English Title: The Roundup – Punishment

I don’t think I’ll ever comprehend how movie title translations work. Then again, I shouldn’t bash the English side only. I mean, the film Fate of the Furious is translated as Furious Ride: The Extreme in Korean.

Directed by Heo Myung-haeng, The Roundup: Punishment is the fourth installment in The Roundup series, following Ma Seok-do (Ma Dong-seok, of Train to Busan), and his battles against crime as the Seoul Police Agency lieutenant. This time, his battle is against an online gambling organization exploiting and even killing off teenagers. God help the criminals.

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Maybe that was shorter than usual, but you need to understand that this goes for The Roundup series in general. They are not complicated movies. Ma Seok-do finds a group of irredeemable criminals, and his hulking mass of muscles and an even greater sense of justice leads him on an unstoppable rampage against crime. Lots of action, just as much comedic bits, and you have the series in a nutshell; The Roundup: Punishment is no exception.

It’s easy to understand if you look at Ma Dong-seok. His filmography mainly consists of him as a physically dominant action star that also doesn’t forget a bit of heart and a little adorableness on the way. In other words, he’s the Korean equivalent of Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Liam Neeson, etc, where the actor has created a popular typecast image around himself, one that’s genuinely likeable and easy to consume. I don’t dislike these sort of actors. Yes, one could accuse them for basically playing the same character in every movie, but even creating that iconic typecast image takes genuine skill.

If Ma Dong-seok was really ctrl cv-ing his performances across his movies, then that image would have run dry very fast. Instead, while his general mannerisms and settings are similar, he brings in different bits of heart or dialogue to each of his roles, so that they are recognizable as the Ma Dong-seok brand, but still feels just different enough to watch. When this typecast imagemaking is done well, I can enjoy myself, and that certainly is the case with The Roundup: Punishment. Ma Dong-seok is a large part of what makes the film tick.

Ma Dong-seok walks with a yellow car behind him in the film The Roundup: Punishment
The Roundup: Punishment (Capelight Pictures)

But if the movie puts in no effort beyond its star, then even a strong typecast image cannot carry the entire film on its own. Thankfully, The Roundup: Punishment isn’t one of those movies. For one, the film’s action is actually a lot stronger than I expected. Ever since John Wick (2014) popularized the “steady cam” style of action, so to speak, more movies have thankfully been following its example, and this is one of them. Camera remains fairly steady, and the shots are long and clean, giving the audience enough time to take in the stunt work.

In addition, the film doesn’t forget that Ma Dong-seok isn’t the only character in the film. Seok-do’s police comrades might not get deep or largely compelling stories, but they still remain likeable and relevant in bringing in the film’s villains. They also provide the main source of this film’s comedy. Not all of them land, but they give off a general air of people who are sincere and have known each other for a long time, which gives me enough incentive to stick through even the bad jokes.

The movie also puts in a bit of effort in making its villains compelling, although in this regard, it also runs into an issue. Baek Chang-gi (Kim Mu-yeol, of The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil), a former special forces member turned criminal, doesn’t have too many iconic lines, or lines in general. But he makes up for it by bringing an air of a cold and completely serious killer, which extends to his action as well. It makes him entertaining to watch, and he comes off as a credible threat to some extent.

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But that’s the main issue, “to some extent.” And this comes back to a problem that’s not just prevalent in the film but the entire series. Ma Dong-seok is such a hulking, impressive looking badass that it’s hard to really feel like any threat is viable against him. Unless we start introducing super soldiers into the mix, any criminal is going to come off as an underdog against Seok-do.

I realize that is a part of the series’ charm: to see an unstoppable badass crush irredeemable villains. But when you’re on the fourth installment, I feel some change has to be made in that department. Either bring in someone who can match Seok-do or at least hold up better against him, or if you can’t build a credible physical threat (understandable, considering the actor’s the size of a two-ton truck), have a villain that challenges him intellectually or politically.

The Roundup: Punishment Trailer (Capelight Pictures)

In addition, while the positives I mentioned above do keep the film entertaining enough for the main lead’s charm to carry through, it also means if you can’t get on board with that primary charm, the film’s going to feel a lot more empty. Then you’ll end up noticing its paper-thin story, lack of any real deep arcs, or some plot holes and conveniences that will further take you out of the experience. As the series continued, the Ma Dong-seok magic has lost some of its initial spark, and thus the aforementioned downsides have become a lot more noticeable.

In the end, when I score the films I review, I do so on the basis of how much I was immersed and enjoying myself with it. And on that front, The Roundup: Punishment is solid. But that doesn’t mean I don’t realize how this sort of movie, and to that extent, Ma Dong-seok’s primary filmography, won’t work for others who are less forgiving of the typecast format. Even I recognize that despite being a fun time, The Roundup series needs to change soon. I hear there are 2~3 more films planned in this franchise, and I can only hope those can keep up the Ma Dong-seok formula strong, and not let it run itself into the ground.

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The Roundup: Punishment is out now globally in theaters.

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Movie Reviews

Movie review: Furiosa shifts into first gear

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Movie review: Furiosa shifts into first gear

Furiosa is a madcap summer blockbuster, with soul, intelligence, and a gnarly production design that together make for a white-knuckle night at the movies

Buckle up, road warriors: there’s a new sheriff in the wild, wild wasteland. Her name is Furiosa, and her cinematic epic is now blazing on screen with a blistering ferocity.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga comes nearly a decade after the Australian apocalypse series returned with the Oscar-winning mega-hit Fury Road in 2015. What (obviously) makes this instalment unique is that this is the first time someone other than Max gets the spotlight – true to the name, he isn’t even in the film except for a two-second cameo.

Instead, Fury Road’s deuteragonist Furiosa is in the driver’s seat, and she proves to be just as compelling and driven a lead character. After being originated by Charlize Theron nine years ago, her younger versions are now played by Anya Taylor-Joy and Aylya Brown.

The main plot sees a young Furiosa (Brown) kidnapped from her family in a desert oasis, sometime in the future when the world is nearly covered in sand, gas and grime. The rest of the film follows the growing Furiosa determined to exact revenge on her kidnapper – the warlord Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) – and return home.

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When the title promises this will be a “saga”, writer/director George Miller isn’t kidding. Just as Fury Road was about a man (Max) finding his quest and purpose in a woman’s odyssey, the inverse is realized in Furiosa, which is about a woman finding her pursuit within the male-dominated wasteland. 

Taylor-Joy and Brown get nearly equal screen time following Furiosa from childhood to grown woman, and they each dominate scene after scene showing their tactics, efforts, fears and discoveries through stunt after remarkable stunt in mountains, storms, and through every sort of dune buggy and truck you can imagine.

But because they split the film’s (maybe overlong) run time, the actor who we spend the most time with is Hemsworth’s Dementus, who shifts from graceful and brutal to giddy and manic. The degradation of the two main characters are fascinating: like their surrounding world, it’s like watching two warriors fighting the threat of literally wasting away.

George Miller has become famous for the meticulously evolving Mad Max series just as he has for family films like Babe and Happy Feet (yes, really!), but his regular detailed world building are in full force for Furiosa, with excellent production design, cinematography and editing sharper than the on screen spikes. It’s brutally beautiful.

The only real downgrade from Fury Road, which draws several easy comparisons, is that the first two chapters of the film are a bit slow, with the story’s engine only really revving once Taylor-Joy begins her scenes. But this is a small critique.

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Furiosa is a madcap summer blockbuster, with soul, intelligence, and a gnarly artistry that all builds to several white-knuckle scenes. It’s well worth the ride.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

9 out of 10

14A, 2hrs 28mins. Action Adventure Epic.

Co-written and directed by George Miller.

Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke and Lacey Hulme.

Now Playing at SilverCity Burlington Cinemas and Film.Ca Cinemas, 5 Drive-In.

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Love Me Telugu Movie Review, Ashish, Vaishnavi Chaitanya

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Love Me Telugu Movie Review, Ashish, Vaishnavi Chaitanya

Movie Name : Love Me

Release Date : May 25, 2024

123telugu.com Rating : 2.25/5

Starring : Ashish, Vaishnavi Chaitanya, Ravi Krishna, Simran Chowdhary, and others

Director: Arun Bhimavarapu

Producers: Harshith Reddy, Hanshitha Reddy, Naga Mallidi

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Music Director: M.M. Keeravani

Cinematographer: P.C. Sreeram

Editor: Santosh Kamireddy

Related Links : Trailer

Love Me, starring Ashish and Vaishnavi Chaitanya, has hit the screens today. This romantic thriller is directed by debutant Arun Bhimavarapu. Let’s see how the movie is.
 

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Story:

Arjun (Ashish) is a YouTuber. He always tries to find answers to unsolved questions and does things that others ask him not to do. Arjun finds out there is a ghost named Divyavathi, and whoever tried to go near her lost their lives. Arjun falls in love with the ghost and in the process of learning what happened to Divyavathi, he comes across many surprises. Who is this Divyavathi? What happened to her? How did Prathap (Ravi Krishna) and Priya (Vaishnavi Chaitanya) assist Arjun in unraveling the mystery surrounding Divyavathi? This is what the movie is about.
 

Plus Points:

Ashish has improved a lot compared to his debut film. He has shown more maturity in his performance in a role that requires him to behave in a subtle manner. Ashish looks charming in every frame, and his dialogue delivery is also neat.

The screenplay in the first half isn’t perfect, but the core idea of the movie, which is the hero falling for a ghost, makes us sit through. The movie begins on an interesting note with the backstory of the ghost. Though the film remains flat thereafter, the solid visuals and the central theme engage us to an extent. Ravi Krishna is alright in his role.
 

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Minus Points:

Not all interesting ideas look good on the screen. The hero falling in love with a ghost is an idea that isn’t explored much, but the presentation isn’t convincing. The interest factor created in the first half dies down by the end after the big revelation. Once the final twist is disclosed, everything looks silly and illogical. The character development of an artist upon whom the entire film revolves isn’t done well.

One would expect a thrilling ride in the second half, but what we get to see is a confusing narrative that tries to pack in a lot. When the hero and Vaishnavi Chaitanya start unraveling the mystery, we come across many characters, and it is too much to absorb. A lot of information is presented that goes over our heads. The second half makes us wonder what actually is happening.

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Vaishnavi Chaitanya doesn’t get much scope to shine, and this is due to the way her character is written. The complex narration is not the only drawback. The film scores low in terms of emotions, too. They don’t look natural, and not enough time is taken to showcase the emotional connection between the key characters.
 

Technical Aspects:

Keeravani’s background score is decent. The songs are just about okay. The writing isn’t good, so we can’t expect much from the music department. The art work is superb, and the visuals by P.C. Sreeram are top-notch. The movie is splendid visually, and credit should go to the legendary cinematographer for the fantastic visuals. The CG works are satisfactory.

The editing is below par and creates too much confusion. Director Arun Bhimavarapu has come up with some interesting ideas, but he isn’t successful in translating them effectively onto the screen. The first half is somewhat watchable, but the proceedings in the second half go for a toss with the complicated screenplay.
 

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Verdict:

On the whole, Love Me tries to be a unique horror thriller but ends up being a silly and unconvincing flick. The fascinating ideas are not told in an effective manner, and the movie looks illogical in many places. Ashish is good in his role, and the first half is somewhat watchable. But the whole second half is confusing with too much information, and the key twist disappoints big time. You can skip this film.
123telugu.com Rating: 2.25/5

Reviewed by 123telugu Team

Click Here For Telugu Review

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The Fall Guy – Extended Cut (Movie Review) | Why So Blu?

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The Fall Guy – Extended Cut (Movie Review) | Why So Blu?

May 24th, 2024 by Brian White

The Fall Guy was one of my favorite television shows growing up in the 1980’s.  I would watch it each week with my dad.  I secretly had a crush on Heather Thomas at a very young age.  That bikini she wore in the opening credit sequence each week…ooh la la.  The Fall Guy is also special to me because it’s the very first TV show I ever recorded on a VHS tape.  We were poor growing up so one day my grandfather gave my dad a brand new VHS deck.  I was over the moon.  I couldn’t believe it.  We went home later that evening and I recorded that night’s episode of The Fall Guy.  I was so in awe of the fact that I could record something and watch it back any time that I think I viewed that episode three more times that same evening.  Therefore, one can kind of come to the conclusion that The Fall Guy was responsible for my love of home media products and technology.  That sounds good to me!

The Fall Guy

So when a feature film adaptation of the original Fall Guy show was announced I was already onboard with no questions asked.  It helps that Ryan Gosling and the beautiful Emily Blunt are in it, but who am I kidding?  I would have even seen this if Nic Cage and Melissa McCarthy were the main billed actors.  That’s how much I love The Fall Guy.  However, I don’t think you can really call this an adaptation of the original show.  How about this movie was inspired by?  Yeah.  That sounds a lot better to me.  So really the only sure tie in here is that Ryan Gosling’s character is named Colt Seavers.  That’s the character Lee Majors portrayed in the 80’s show.  Everything else is brand new here and just icing on the cake so let’s get started!

In addition to Ryan and Emily the film also stars another actor I love watching, Aaron Taylor-Johnson.  He’s always so good!  Rounding up the rest of The Fall Guy main cast includes Hannah Waddingham, Winston Duke and Stephanie Hsu.  And if you seen the film already and wonder why it’s so silly, then look no further the words it’s penned by the screenwriter of Hobbs & Shaw, Drew Pearce.  Also, it’s made by the same director of the aforementioned movie, David Leitch.  And it’s billed as one of the best date movies of the year.  So what more can you ask for?  That was a rhetorical question.  However, if your answer to that was KISS, then you’re in luck.  “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” is prominently featured throughout.  No joke either!  I lost track of how many time you hear the KISS version, an instrumental take or even YUNGBLUD’s version.

The Fall Guy

The Fall Guy is billed as a love letter to action movies and the hard-working stunt crew who make them.  I can definitely get behind that tagline.  The film is about a stunt man after all.  His name is Colt Seavers (Gosling).  When we first meet him he’s Tom Ryder’s (Taylor-Johnson) stunt double.  But when a career ending stunt goes wrong what gets Colt back in the action?  And why doesn’t everyone want to kill him all the sudden?  I won’t tell you any of that here, but I will say this.  Emily Blunt play’s Gosling’s love interest in this one and that’s why it’s billed as the ultimate date movie.  You got two of the best looking actors in Hollywood today in an over-the-top action comedy (not like the original TV show at all) with a good looking romance thrown in.  It has all the makings of a big box office popcorn movie with a heavy side serving of KISS.  I know right.  How can you not “fall” in love this one?

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Now you’re probably wondering why am I writing a movie review about this a month late?  Well, it’s because The Fall Guy is now (as of May 21st) officially out on home digital platforms.  Pick one a digital retailer of your choice and buy it today (you no longer have to “bring” it home).  Furthermore, The Fall Guy has been officially released as an Extended Cut with an additional 20 minutes of never-before-seen footage featuring more action, more laughs and more stunts.  Check out the video down below for more information and to check out our two good looking main stars or do they call those box office draws in movie talk?  Also, IF you’re curious as to what all makes up that extra 20 minutes of footage check out this article HERE.

Available NOW from Universal Pictures!

Purchase The Fall Guy – Extended Cut

at Movies Anywhere HERE

The Fall Guy

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