Very rarely can a straight action movie excite, these days. It’s a fact: it is becoming increasingly difficult for films to break away from the pack in this tired genre. Enter The Raid: Redemption, an impressive, Indonesian actioner from writer-director-editor extraordinaire Gareth Evans, a film that avoids all of its potential pitfalls with a stripped-down plot, impressive visuals and brutal, stunning action – making it one of the best action films in years.

Gareth Huw Evans has added just enough story to serve Raid‘s breathtaking, brutal and completely original action, inspired by the little-known martial art Pencak Silat. The film opens on Rama (Iko Uwais), a rookie cop preparing for his day. He goes about his morning workout, kisses his pregnant wife, and prepares for his work day. A clock ticks. This opening scene is the most calm the film features, and yet it is claustrophobic, tense.

In just a few, small set-up scenes, the plot is laid out: a small team of elite SWAT forces – Rama included – must enter a run-down, fifteen-story high rise, filled with gangsters and drug lords, to take out the crime lord, Tama (Ray Sahetap) while avoiding an army of henchmen and his brutal and skilled right-hand men, Andi (Doni Alamsyah) and Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian).

This simple plot shows how this film is a perfect example of not needing a convoluted set-up or execution to make a good action film. Director Gareth Evans keeps the premise reasonably small and understated, particularly when compared with the excessive and electrifying violent action, which takes up the majority of the film’s 101 minute running time. The violence is uncomfortably brutal, due to the realism of the combat. Thanks in large part to choreography by Uwais and Ruhian, every hit, punch and stab look and sound real. Not only is the action impressive in its realism and execution, but it has something severely lacking from the majority of modern action films: originality.

The acting here is serviceable, although it isn’t given the opportunity to be anything more, as there is very little dialogue (and subsequently few subtitles) to distract from the relentlessly, hard-hitting violence. However, as the body count builds up and the options for the SWAT team seemingly dwindle, Evans adds some interesting, character-driven complications that elevate the stakes of the action in the third act and add a much-needed change of pace to the otherwise non-stop carnage (which, by the end of the film, begins to wear out its welcome).

From the vision, execution, choreography, and editing, The Raid: Redemption is always treading new territory. A wholly visceral and brutal sensory experience, Evans and the movie’s two stars and choreographers have rewritten what modern action can achieve. The Raid: Redemption hits you hard from the onset and doesn’t relent, attacking your senses with the full force of Pencak Silat.

Grade: A-

Rated: R (for strong, brutal, bloody violence throughout and language.)

The Raid: Redemption is currently playing in limited release.

The Powers That Be have spoken, and they’re saying Guillermo del Toro will not be making a third Hellboy installment.

Fans across the globe are shedding tears as we learn that director/writer del Toro will not be helming another Hellboy movie. It’s time to punch something, smoke a cigar, and then find a kitten before you settle in for the bad news.

In mid-January, del Toro asked fans to vote in a 24-hour poll to show support for making Hellboy III. He promised that if it got 100,000 votes within the time frame, he’d take it to the studio and have a talk with them about making the film.

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The Powers That Be have spoken, and they’re saying Guillermo del Toro will not be making a third Hellboy installment.

Fans across the globe are shedding tears as we learn that director/writer del Toro will not be helming another Hellboy movie. It’s time to punch something, smoke a cigar, and then find a kitten before you settle in for the bad news.

In mid-January, del Toro asked fans to vote in a 24-hour poll to show support for making Hellboy III. He promised that if it got 100,000 votes within the time frame, he’d take it to the studio and have a talk with them about making the film.

Unfortunately, del Toro did not get the answer we were hoping for.

However, there is hope for fans of the comics, as artist and creator Mike Mignola reminded us that just because del Toro isn’t going to be involved anymore, it doesn’t mean there won’t be future Hellboy movies. There’s always hope.

This is good news for those who perhaps didn’t like del Toro’s take on the character. It hints at a possible reboot of the franchise, but if that were to happen, don’t expect Ron Perlman to reprise his role.

For those who fell in love with Perlman’s interpretation of the titular character, this is certainly a blow. However, del Toro does wish the franchise luck, and it’s not like he’s hurting for work (he’s got Netflix’s Trollhunters, Pacific Rim 2, and The Shape of Water, to just name a few).

This tweet is certainly interesting, as it hints that he wanted to take Hellboy in a new direction, but his vision did not match the vision of the studio. Does this mean they’ve got another idea in mind already, and if so, will it be Hellboy III, or a Hellboy for a new generation?

With Ron Perlman out of the picture, it’s likely the studio may try to do a reboot, rather than replace the actor for a potential sequel. If there is a reboot, there could be resistance from fans, but with updated technology and someone else’s vision, we could be looking at an interesting new set of superhero movies that will still feel different from the blockbusters currently taking over cinemas.

Are you interested in a new ‘Hellboy’ franchise?

The movie adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is progressing nicely as Jennifer Garner is in talks to join the cast.

Back in December we relayed news that Nick Robinson (Jurassic World) was cast as the titular character in Simon, which would be directed by Arrow-verse helmer Greg Berlanti.

According to Deadline, Jennifer Garner is currently negotiating a deal with the film to star as Simon’s mother. She’ll be joining Robinson, Katherine Langford (Leah Burke), Alexandra Shipp (Abby Suso), and Logan Miller (Martin Addison).

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The movie adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is progressing nicely as Jennifer Garner is in talks to join the cast.

Back in December we relayed news that Nick Robinson (Jurassic World) was cast as the titular character in Simon, which would be directed by Arrow-verse helmer Greg Berlanti.

According to Deadline, Jennifer Garner is currently negotiating a deal with the film to star as Simon’s mother. She’ll be joining Robinson, Katherine Langford (Leah Burke), Alexandra Shipp (Abby Suso), and Logan Miller (Martin Addison).

The synopsis for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda reads, “Simon Spier is sixteen and in love. Sure, he has never met the mysterious ‘Blue’ in person, but he’s falling hard and fast for their email love letters. There’s only one problem: Blue is a boy, Simon is gay, and he hasn’t told anyone else.”

The novel made the world (and Hypable) fall in love with the story, and the current cast and creative team have fans excited for this adaptation. With Wyck Godfrey’s Temple Hill Entertainment (The Maze Runner series, The Twilight Saga, and the upcoming Power Rangers) behind the scenes, it’s bound to be a big production.

How excited are you for ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’?

Iwan Rheon has been cast as Maximus in Marvel’s upcoming ABC series, Inhumans.

Iwan Rheon will star as Maximus, an integral member of the Inhuman royal family. As the brother of the Inhuman king Black Bolt, Maximus holds considerable power in the alien city of Attilan. Charming and clever, he is exceptionally loyal to his people.

But unsurprisingly to those familiar with Rheon’s body of work, Maximus also hides darker ambitions — including taking the throne from Black Bolt.

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Iwan Rheon has been cast as Maximus in Marvel’s upcoming ABC series, Inhumans.

Iwan Rheon will star as Maximus, an integral member of the Inhuman royal family. As the brother of the Inhuman king Black Bolt, Maximus holds considerable power in the alien city of Attilan. Charming and clever, he is exceptionally loyal to his people.

But unsurprisingly to those familiar with Rheon’s body of work, Maximus also hides darker ambitions — including taking the throne from Black Bolt.

Iwan Rheon is best known for his terrifying turn as Ramsay Bolton in HBO’s Game of Thrones. He has starred in the British series Misfits and Vicious, and may never play a hero again in his life.

Marvel’s head of television Jeph Loeb, who also serves as an executive producer on Inhumans, suggests that those villainous skills will be well-deployed in the role of Maximus.

“Iwan’s ability to be charming, roguish, and still completely unexpectedly dangerous were all the different sides we needed to bring the character to life,” Loeb says. “We’re thrilled to have him on board.”

Showrunner Scott Buck agrees.

“Maximus is a complex character. Likable, charming, tragic and villainous all in the same moment,” he says, “And I’m very excited to have someone of Iwan’s considerable talent.”

Marvel’s Inhumans will be produced in partnership with IMAX. The first two episodes will screen in IMAX theaters before the show’s network debut in mid September. Spanning the course of eight episodes, the series will tell the story of the Inhuman royal family, with the associated drama that just happens when you’re a family of aliens with magical powers trying to rule a secret city.

A leaked cast list for Inhumans hinted at a complex lineup of characters, including Black Bolt’s wife Medusa and her sister Crystal. Karnak, as well as the three-legged horse Gorgon and amphibious Triton round out the eclectic cast. And with Iwan Rheon in place as Maximus, it seems like just a matter of time before the rest of the family falls into line.

What do you think of Iwan Rheon as Maximus in Marvel’s ‘Inhumans’?

Tags: inhumans, Marvel