The purpose of movies has always run along spectrums from making people think about themselves and the world around them in a different light, making them laugh, making them cry, making them jump from their seat (or crawl under it) in fright, or making them cheer on a hero.
Above all, movies should to do one thing more than anything else: entertain.
This means there needs to be first and foremost an interesting story, blended with well done sound and visuals, and headed by committed actors and directors. Here are four completely different films that run from slasher horror, to social commentary, to comedy to military thrillers hitting theaters or streaming services the first part of 2021. All of these share one thing in common: they look to keep you heavily invested in a diverse group of heroes and stories from start to finish. (RELATED: In Appreciation of Rowan Atkinson)
Set in Afghanistan, this military action pits a pair of soldiers in the British military, one of them a Gurkha, against a rogue special ops unit in order to fight for both honor and their own lives. As the title suggests, the pair are down to 400 bullets, which means they have to resort to other means of defense and combat in the end. Starring Jean-Paul Ly, who has an impressive list in both acting and stunt work, and Andrew Lee Potts, who has also been continuing to build up a healthy reputation as creator of short films.
Paton’s films in the past have mixed some supernatural, horror and fantasy elements into military stories, so I am looking forward to seeing how he handles this straight on military action film.
Releases in the US on March 2 from Shout! Factory.
As talented as Emmy-winning actor Bob Odenkirk is, no one would think the man behind Saul Goodman and Mr. Show would be the star of a an action film. Director Ilya Naishuller has pulled off some weirder concepts, like the first person POV Hardcore Henry and The Weekend’s action movie style music video for “False Alarm,” so this should be easy.
What if that nearly invisible, unassuming “nobody” neighbor has some hidden hitman skills he has been suppressing for a bit too long? Push him too far and find out the hard way.
This is like John Wick for the “everyman,” which is more than a coincidence since writer Derek Kolstad also penned all the John Wick films. While very few guys can watch someone like Keanu Reeves and think “I could be this guy,” this movie shows you don’t have to look like an action hero to be one.
And it looks like a funny and intense blast.
Releases in theaters on Feb. 26 from Universal Pictures.
Run, Hide, Fight
Action, thriller and horror director Kyle Rankin both directs and writes this action about the unspeakable event of a school shooting. However, it shows how there are still heroes today, mainly a 17-year-old student who is big on survival skills and also has compassion for her fellow students. Starring Isabel May, who’ll be familiar for her television roles in shows like Young Sheldon.
The plot seems to have several similarities to Die Hard, but it looks like those are intentional shout outs to the spirit of that film. Being in a high school setting might be a little traumatic for some viewers, but that is all the more reason to want to see this young protagonist get the bad guys.
So far, the Rotten Tomatoes score for this film is incredibly low with the critics, but in the high 90s with fans, which means most regular moviegoers will enjoy it at face value. As the parent of two daughters, I am looking forward to cheering on this badass girl.
This is the first feature release of the news site Daily Wire, but anyone for anyone who may be hesitant about any political agenda, the only real message seems to be to quit making those punk-ass psychos like school shooters or serial killers famous.
The film is currently available on streaming exclusively for members of the Daily Wire. No word yet whether it will be in theaters or general home streaming.
Even before I saw the trailer on the one, they had me at the concept of Nicolas Cage popping a can of whoop-ass on some demonic animatronics.
Cage plays a drifter who is somehow coerced into taking a night “janitorial” job at a creepy, condemned, family entertainment, party place called Willy’s Wonderland, but everything is not as it seems in this dark, possessed facility. Too bad for the creepy, evil, fuzzy critters at Willy’s, Cage’s character, who seems devoid of any dialogue, is also much more than he seems as well.
Believe it or not, this is not an adaptation of the game Five Nights at Freddy’s (for which there is a horror movie version tentatively scheduled soon from Blumhouse)…it looks so much creepier…and so much more fun.
Willy’s Wonderland releases Feb. 12 from JD Entertainment.
It looks like 2021 is going to be another interesting year, so why not expel some energy cheering on its first batch of action stars.