The LEGO Ninjago Movie (Cinema Review)

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U – 101mins – 2017 – 3D


 

THE QUEST FOR PIECE

With 2014’s Lord and Miller-scribed The Lego Movie proving to be a chuckle-stuffed block-buster, a whole universe of brick-based CG-animated feature film spin-offs were commissioned, with this modern-day karate-themed yarn following hot on the heels of February’s Batman solo adventure (which I reviewed HERE).

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Office Christmas Party (Cinema Review)

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15 – 105mins – 2016


 

PARTY LIKE IT’S 19:00

The night before last I donned my free Coca Cola Santa hat and got into the Christmas spirit for a Cineworld Unlimited Preview Screening of a raucous new ensemble comedy from the directorial duo behind Blades of Glory and The Switch, Will Speck and Josh Gordon. Not officially released in the UK until today (December 7th), Office Christmas Party certainly puts the “high” in Ding, Dong Merrily…

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Magic Mike (DVD Review)

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15 – 110mins – 2012


 

WELCOME TO THE CRAZY CLUB

“You don’t need to talk, just look pretty.”

It has taken four years, but I have finally relented and taken a peek at the Channing Tatum pec show (AKA. Magic Mike). Loosely based on the star’s eyebrow-raising pre-Hollywood experiences, with its flashy, shimmering DVD cover almost blinding me with glittery glamour, I can’t help but feel like director Steven Soderbergh’s often dark and depressing glimpse behind the curtain of Tampa’s male strip scene has been as mis-sold as the bawdy industry it portrays.

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Ride Along 2 (DVD Review)

12 – 97mins – 2016


 

BROTHERS-IN-LAW

“Do you ever listen to the shit that flies out of your mouth?”

Exceeding expectations in much the same manner as its lead character did, 2014’s buddy cop comedy Ride Along was so popular a sequel was inevitable. But how could they continue to bring the bantz now that straight shootin’ “expert on bullshit” Detective James Payton (Ice Cube) has mellowed to his irritating tag-along sidekick Ben Barber’s (Kevin Hart) verbal diarrhea and wised up to his worth?

The answer is to reset this fast-tracked sequel back to the status quo, with James relegating recently-graduated police rookie Ben’s assistance at the climax of the first film to “beginner’s luck.” With Ben’s marriage to James’ sister, Ang (Tika Sumpter), less than a week away, James is still determined to humiliate and undermine the videogame fan who calls himself “Black Hammer,” believing if he allows the try-hard trouble-magnet to accompany him on a case that takes them from Atlanta to Miami, Ben’s dream of becoming a detective will be dashed.

“Why does nobody want to show me respect?!”

From thereon in it’s business as usual in this repeat-quel which does little to upset the prizewinning applecart in bringing more shoot outs, car chases, stakeouts and party-crashing courtesy of the “blentlemen” with the badges, who are accompanied by Miami PD’s thin-lipped Maya Cruz (Olivia Munn) and self-proclaimed “cyber dark-arts God” A.J. (Community goofball Ken Jeong yet again playing to type) in bringing down a villainous drug ring lead by Benjamin Bratt’s cookie-cutter crime lord.

Like a hyperactive cross between The Hangover and Hot Fuzz, Ride Along 2 really shouldn’t work as well as it does. Aside from a freeway car chase reimagined as a pixelated, GTA-style videogame (the farce and the furious!), this is nothing we haven’t seen a thousand times before, and yet I still found myself enjoying the Ride.

Ice Cube’s seasoned peer isn’t as hard-nosed as you’re meant to believe, while grounded motor-mouth Ben really shouldn’t be given as many chances at redemption as he is granted, but watch with beer and mates and Ride Along 2’s lazy plot rehash, clichéd genre tropes, irritating characterisation and minor flaws really do pale in comparison to the laughs it shoots out like a never-ending round of target-homing bullets.

CR@B Verdict: 3 stars