Adulthood: Older And Wiser?

Adulthood is a crime film directed by Noel Clarke (who also stars). The plot continues on from the events of Kidulthood, we see Sam (Clarke), be released from prison after the murder he committed at the end of the previous film. During his time inside Sam, has become an entirely different person who just wants to live a quiet life and get away from the things he has done. This is made harder by the friends and family of the boy he killed putting a hit out on him.

I think this film really achieved the deterring nature that the series was going for, we can see how Sam is haunted by what he did and how everyday he lives with the consequences, wishing he could go back and change it. The Sam we meet here is far more reformed and wiser, he knows that the life he was living before is going nowhere hence why he wants to move on with his life.

This this time around Sam is our protagonist, and though he might not be a likeable lead as he is still a child killer/ teen killer after all, the emotional nuance of the film allows us the see the situation in a less black and white way making the characters reform seem more believable and allowing us the audience to root for him more.

The tension and the gritty, harsh action compliment the film beautifully and really help to make its message standout. There are a number of scenes where you are on edge waiting to see how a scene will play out. This film is definitely more action orientated then the last which was more drama focused, this does change the viewing experience somewhat, but the films still feel stylistically the same.

Overall, in many ways this may be the best film in the trilogy as it manages to show us this bleak world in a widder scale and harsher intensity then the first film, making us better understand the struggle.


Clarke, both as a director and actor

The emotional beats and the character arcs

Really managing to push the deterrent angle

The ending

The tension and the action


It can be very hard to watch at times


Reviewed by Luke  

The Untouchables: Never Get Between Sean Connery And An Italian Person

The Untouchables is a crime epic directed by Brian De Palma. The plot focuses on the early life of Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner), as he fights to bring down organised crime in Chicago and stop the notorious Al Capone (Robert DeNiro).

I enjoyed this film quite a lot, it was very fun to watch. I enjoyed the mentor role of Sean Connery’s character and thought that he had great chemistry with the rest of the cast. I do, however, think because Connery’s performance was so good he might have outshone Costner’s lead just a little bit, which no doubt would be infuriating for Costner. Costner’s Ness for the most part was your typical straight lace man of the law, gone bad by the end, type. Costner brought nothing to the role that could not have been done by another actor, he was fairly interchangeable. 

I thought there were a lot of strong moments and sequences that were both tense and thrilling: I think the death of Connery’s character is one and I think the courthouse roof scene is another. However, despite these great scenes the film does suffer from pacing issues and struggles to maintain this sense of tension throughout. My main complaint in this regard is that scenes often play out for much longer than they should, thereby becoming bloated.

DeNiro’s Capone is fine, he is a very hateable character which is what the film was probably going for, however, he is nothing more than a hateable low life there is no nuance there or further look into his character he is simply an antagonist and nothing more.

Overall, pacing issues aside this is a fun ride with a great performance from Connery. The rest of the cast let the film down to a degree and stop it from achieving true heights, but it is still good.


The thrills

The action





Reviewed by Luke

Arkansas: Vince Vaughn Is The Godfather

Arkansas is a neo-noir crime film directed by Clark Duke, based on the John Brandon novel of the same name. The plot sees two budding drug runners move up the ranks of the ‘Dixie Mafia’ after their boss dies, however without direction they find themselves trapped in a cycle of violence and expansion.

I enjoyed this film a lot more than I first thought I would, I thought when I first put this film on that it might be yet another generic crime film, but it is so much more than that.

Firstly, I like the chaptered approach and how the story jumps around in time. Moreover, it is a strength of the film that neither the Vince Vaughn storyline nor the Liam Hemsworth storyline is prioritised over the other as in the end it is all part of a much bigger cyclical tale.

I thought the worldbuilding was well done, and I would like to see another film set in this Southern world of organised crime; it feels to me like a really under tapped market that is begging to be explored in further depth.

On an acting front Vaughn is strong here, he plays the role completely straight and nails the dramatic moments and the emotion of the character. This film really does prove, if there was any doubt left, that Vaughn can do both drama and comedy well. Hemsworth on the other hand is not as strong, his performance is very one note with him not being able to conjure much up, other than his angsty anger.

Overall, a very strong crime film that could have benefited from a different lead.


The worldbuilding

The focus on the ‘Dixie Mob’


The chapters and the flashbacks themselves


Hemsworth is not a good actor


Reviewed by Luke

King Of New York: Live By The Sword Die By The Sword

King Of New York is a neo-noir crime thriller film directed by Abel Ferrara. The plot sees infamous mob figure Frank White (Christopher Walken), released from prison and then set about taking his city back only to become targeted by a band of corrupt police officers.

For those of you who like gangster films, this is a work of art. It is very much in line with something like Cronenberg’s Eastern Promise as this is more of a thinky gangster film rather than just a senseless shoot em up, though there are plenty of those sort of scenes.

The inner dialogue that begs the question are men like White inevitable? Are they representative of the city, a by product in some sort of way? These questions prove fascinating as we break down Frank as a person and see how it is that he is the King of New York’s underworld.

The violence in the film feels bold and punchy, it strikes you as real and visceral and leaves a mark. In this regard Lawrence Fishburne’s Jimmy steals the show. Jimmy is unhinged throughout the film, but his night time fight with corrupt police might be his best and most unhinged moment. I think this is a career best performance for Fishburne and it makes me want to explore more of his back catalogue.

Overall, a very grisly and effecting crime tail and leaves you shocked and horrified but also with a few pertinent questions in mind.




The violence

The psychology

The noir like feel of the film




Reviewed by Luke   

Eastern Promise: Viggo In The Russian Mob

Eastern Promise is a gangster film directed by David Cronenberg. The plot tells the story of an abandoned baby from a 14-year-old drug addict. Anna (Naomi Watts), delves into the Russian underworld to try and trace the roots of this now dead junkie, so that her baby can have a chance at a future.

I loved the world of the Russian mob that this film dives into, it is so deep and layered, there is so much to it and all is explored in great detail. Furthermore, this film teaches us the audience a great deal that we might not know in this regard, such as the importance of tattoos within the mob.

Watts is fine, serviceable but not much more, however the real star here is Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen). Mortensen gives a very strong performance that feels nuanced and well delivered, he is so much more than the thug character type he has so much more personality than that. The twist with his character, that I won’t spoil here, is quite obvious but it still works well.

The ending of the film does set it up for a sequel, which I think could be great if it continues to dive further into this world; however according to Cronenberg himself it is dead.

Overall, a bit more thinky than most Gangster films, the plot and the themes are just as important as the violence.


A deep world

An intriguing story

Viggo Mortensen

The twist works


Naomi Watts is very eh


Reviewed by Luke   

Run All Night: Neeson Will Kill Anyone

Run All Night is an action crime film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. We are introduced to aging mob enforcer Jimmy (Liam Neeson), a man who’s past has long since caught up with him. He is shunned by his family and his only friend in the world is the boss of the crime family he used to work for Shawn McGuire (Ed Harris). That all changes when Jimmy ends up killing Shawn’s son to protect his son, the two men then have to face off and only one can walk away alive.

The post Taken action film of one Liam Neeson have become something of a guilty pleasure of mine in that vein I greatly enjoyed this film. I knew exactly what was going to happen before I had even seen it of course, but that is the same with all these kinds of films, I wasn’t watching it for the story of the plot I was watching it to see old man Neeson gun down a room full of people without even pausing to reload.

The acting was okay, nothing more than that, everyone acted exactly how they normally would in these sort of roles, Liam Neeson’s character and performance could have been from any number of movies. The one thing I will say on the characterization front is that the father son stuff in the film, shifts greatly by the end of the film and it does not feel earned. I understand that Neeson’s character final action is to save his son’s life, but does that make up for all the horrible things he has done throughout his life, including murdering his own family?

Overall, a schlocky action film that is as predicatable as they come, if like with me that is what you’re looking for then you will enjoy it.


Solid action

Liam Neeson is fun

Its good schlock


It is very predictable

It is dumb as hell


Reviewed by Luke    

The Tax Collector: One To Clutch Your Pearls At

The Tax Collector is an action thriller film directed by David Ayer. The plot follows local crime duo David (Bobby Soto), and Creeper (Shia LaBeouf), who collect money from all the little gangs and pass it on to those higher up. One day a rival from the past arrives and threatens the duos way of life, rather than surrender they go to war.

This film is painfully unpleasant, to the point where I actually almost turned it off several times; watching it depressed me too much. I am no stranger to gore, being a big horror fan, but I don’t need to see a man getting nails hammered into his legs whilst also having his face stomped on, call me old fashioned, but it seems a tad excessive. I understand what Ayer was trying to do, making it as realistic as possible, but he didn’t stop to think just how off-putting that might be. The film is unrelentingly grim.

The acting is strong and is probably the high point of the film, Soto is good and carries the film well even if he is upstaged at times by the other performers. LaBeouf is like a man possessed here, he fully sinks into the role in a way that is almost scary, he is terrific. Sadly his role is only quite small. There is also a nice cameo from Jimmy Smits at the end of film that sets up a potential sequel.

Overall, a strong action film that has a lot of good tension and keen stakes, the issue is the violence is a little too graphic and feels done for nothing more than shock value disguised as accuracy.




Smits’ cameo

The tension and the final showdown


The violence is off-putting


The Kitchen: McCarthy Mob Boss

The Kitchen is a crime film directed by Andrea Berloff. The plot sees three women single handily take over the Irish Mob, however problems soon arise, and things start to get messy.

This film achieved what I thought to be impossible, it showed me a good Melissa McCarthy performance. McCarthy is often cringey or outright embarrassing to watch on the big screen, but here she stood out, she was commanding, it seems playing it straight suits her.

My main issue with the film is how in your face with its message it is, from the very second the film opens you’re bombarded with agenda. Now I am not saying a film with a very clear message is bad, I am saying the way you deliver that message is everything. For me I appreciate a more subtle nuanced approached, whereas this film chose to whack you over the head with it.

My other issue is Tiffany Haddish. The central three performances are central to the narrative of the film and its believability, I bought McCarthy as someone who would do anything for family, and I bought Elizabeth Moss as a stone-cold killer, Haddish however was thoroughly unconvincing. This is by no means a comedy film, but she plays her role like it is; personally I think she was woefully, and I do mean woefully miscast.

Overall, if you can get past being slapped in the face with politics, this is a surprisingly strong crime drama, Moss, McCarthy and Gleeson are also terrific, sadly Tiffany Haddish is miscast.


A good Melissa McCarthy performance

Tense and gritty

A great crime film


It is far too preachy

Haddish is miscast


Reviewed by Luke  

The Raid 2: This Time It’s Personal

The Raid 2 is an Indonesian action martial arts film directed by Gareth Evans. The plot takes place not long after the events of the first film, Rama (Iko Uwais), has to go undercover within the Jakarta underworld to try and protect his family. His brother is also killed at the start of the film, so Rama is on a side mission of vengeance; seeking out evil rising mobster Bejo (Alex Abbad).

The Raid 2 had a hard job to do, it had to live up to the scale and intensity of the first film, while also raising the stakes and taking everything to the next level. I have to say the film does both of those things. It shows us the wider underworld that was only slightly hinted at during the first film and we get to see some interesting new characters and players. Also, the fight scenes are on a whole new level as well, the prison fight sequence is brutal and relentless.

However, while it is doing all of these things it sacrifices the personal threat and tension from the first film. For those of you who haven’t seen it the first Raid film is all set within a tower block and there are a lot of fight sequences that take place within very tight areas, this makes the film feel very claustrophobic which adds to its overall greatness. The second film really leaves this element behind.

This film introduces some new character who I found to be cool. I don’t remember their names, but I refer to them as Baseball guy and Hammer Woman, they were both very gimmicky in their fight style, but I did really like the final showdown between them and Rama at the end, I thought it was on a par with the first film’s fight sequences.

Finally, I loved the ambiguous ending this film has, it ends with Rama stood in front of a wave of Japanese gangster foot soldiers with him saying he is done. Does he die will he survive we don’t know and with no plans to do a third film any time soon we might never know, but it is a neat way to end things.

Overall, a very solid follow up that does a number of impressive things that raise the stakes and surpass the first film. My only issue is that by doing that it loses some of the things that made the first film great. Both are definitely worth checking out.


Larger scale.

Rama’s ending.

The new characters.

The fight sequence between Rama and Baseball Guy and Hammer Woman.


It loses some of the tense claustrophobia of the first film.


Reviewed by Luke

Narcos Mexico Season 1: A New Era Of Narcos

Narcos Mexico Season 1 is a crime drama series and spin-off to the Netflix series Narcos. The new series as the name would suggest shifts the focus of the program from the cocaine fields of Columbia to the weed fields of Mexico, though some familiar faces do make a return. The series chronicles the rise of the Guadalajara Cartel and Felix Gallardo’s (Diego Luna), kidnapping of American DEA Agent Kiki Camarena (Michael Pena).

To briefly describe this series, it is more of the same, if you liked Narcos and enjoyed seeing the DEA slowly busting drug dealers over a period of years than you will enjoy this. As usually there are some cheer worthy monuments (in this season it is the burning of the weed fields), some sad moments (Kiki’s death), and a hell of a lot of frustration as the corrupt system gets in the way of these agents doing their job.

As someone who loved all of that in previous seasons, I fully enjoyed Narcos Mexico Season 1, I found it to be both captivating and thrilling and it proves the creative team behind the show still has it.

Michael Pena plays against type here, he has done some dramatic work before (End Of Watch, Fury), but he is mainly known for his more comedic work. He played Kiki as a man on a mission, much like characters of past seasons his whole life revolved around bringing the drug lord to justice. My one issue is that the character could be annoying at times and do reckless and dangerous things without thinking about his family, who had moved down to Mexico with him.

I thought Luna’s Gallardo was a villain on the same level of Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), this is exactly what the series needed and was the issue the final series of Narcos was disappointing: because the villains were lacking. My one issue on this side of things was that I would have preferred to see Gallardo’s rise and fall within one series as opposed to two, it just feels more dragged out. A lot of episodes have plot points that go nowhere and feel put into pad out the 50+ minute runtime.

Overall, Narcos Mexico Season 1 is good, the characters are working and that is what made the first two series of Narcos feel so special, I still have a few issues with it, such as I feel like it didn’t need to be spread over two seasons and that I found Kiki’s character annoying at times.  Ps. Don’t even get me started on Raffa or more adeptly the worst character ever written.


Back to basics in a good way.

Interesting new villain.

It feels fresh again.


It is too dragged out.

Some of the characters are annoying.


Reviewed by Luke