Sign in using your account with
Sarkhat Namla: Definitely Not the Official Film of the Revolution
Sarkhat Namla revolves around the economic differences in Egypt seen through the eyes of Gouda (Abdel Gelil), an Egyptian contractor who was wrongly imprisoned in Iraq. The film tries to address the issues that Egyptians have been faced with in increasing economic difficulties such as the increase in food commodity prices, the rate of corruption and their effects on the Egyptian people.
Upon returning from Iraq, Gouda is disillusioned at the depressing state of the country. With very little to his name, Gouda finds himself in conflict; his sense of patriotism compels him to get involved in the revolution, but at the same time, his efforts to live a comfortable life lead him to become involved in the same type of underhandedness that the revolution is rising up against. Naturally, this inner struggle drives Gouda to extreme measures and consequences.
Originally meant to be a comedy, the story suffers from many elements that simply felt forced. Since it's mainly seen through the eyes of Gouda, you'll get the feeling that his jokes are misplaced. Egyptian films in the last twenty years or so have invariably pulled off adding humour to real-life situations but sadly, it doesn’t work here. It wasn't only the script that was the downfall of the film; but the setting as well.
Sarkhat Namla’s advertising campaign positioned it as the official film of the revolution. This is inaccurate, as it tries to focus on the events that helped in inspiring the revolution. In fact, the shooting was almost completed before January 25th, and when the revolution kicked off, additional scenes were filmed to make it more relevant. This further adds to the mess of the script, as the story seems disjointed. Another contributing factor is surely the fact that it had to be quickly edited after being picked to screen at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Abel Gelil turns in an adequate performance that doesn’t stray too far from his usual style. On the other hand, Youssef fails to shine and isn’t adequately used, appearing intermittently as Gouda's belly-dancer wife. The rest of the cast are distinctly average; nothing more, nothing less.
It’s actually astounding how the film fails to deliver on any of its promises. It’s neither really about the revolution, nor is it funny; the jokes and scenarios are worn out, the parts that specifically talk about the revolution only do so in a very shallow way, and images and footage of the protests are used awkwardly. Ultimately, Sarkhat Namla is a poorly executed film that fails to portray an important and topical subject adequately.
Mechanic: Resurrection, an unexpected sequel to 2011’s The Mechanic - a remake of the 1972 original which didn’t quite receive glowing reviews to begin with - offers the right kind of platform for Jason Statham’s already well established and very specific brand of action. However, while there are genuine moments of thrills to be had, Mechanic: Resurrection’s needlessly complicated and, at times, ridiculous storyline does get a little heavy-handed, turning the story into a relatively entertaining but helplessly cheesy action romp.
The story introduces us to Arthur Bishop (Statham); a retired contract killer who has decided to fall off the grid and live out a relatively quiet life in Brazil. However, his peaceful existence is soon disrupted when a group of associates, sent by his long-time enemy and prominent arms dealer Riah Craine (Hazeldine), threaten to uncover his location to the people who presume him dead unless he agrees to perform three hit jobs for Craine.
Managing to escape, Arthur flees to his home in Thailand where he soon comes across Gina (Alba), whom he manages to save from the hands of her abusive boyfriend, Frank (Quintavalle). Naturally, the two are quick to fall in love, but their happy union is soon upset when Gina is kidnapped and taken hostage by Craine, leaving Bishop no choice but to accept the three contract kills which he is to make look like accidents.
Just how much you will enjoy this latest Statham-extravaganza solely depends on how much love you have for the man himself. As expected, the forty-nine-year-old star is reliable as ever and completely devoted to the action stunts required and even though there is nothing new on offer – we’ve seen him do this stuff before - he still manages to keep things interesting. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his co-stars who are either given very little to do - we’re looking at you Ms. Alba - or don’t know how to handle the material given - see Hazeldine as the bland villain.
In terms of story itself, it takes a little bit time for the action to get rolling and while audiences will probably get a kick out of the various action set pieces and dangerous situations that Bishop finds himself in the plot, scripted by Phillip Shelby and Tony Mosher, boasts a certain degree of absurdity which might be difficult to swallow. Additionally, the romance between Statham and Alba feels forced and when things go awry, it’s difficult to become fully connected with the situation and the stakes.
All in all, Mechanic: Resurrection is a relatively fun, but by-the-numbers Statham action flick which is capable of offering a good time, but only if you go in knowing what to expect.
Originally titled In the Deep, there’s a lot to love about Jaume Collet-Serra’s slightly cheesy but relatively solid and beautifully photographed killer-shark movie, The Shallows. With franchises like Sharknado having turned this once terrifying concept - see Jaws - into a cartoonish spectacle, The Shallows reaffirms the genre’s position on the scare-o-meter and brings with it the feeling of dread and terror of the deep blue sea.
The story follows Nancy (Lively); a med-student from Texas who is on holiday searching for a beach that her recently deceased mother spoke very fondly of. With her travel-buddy off doing other stuff, Nancy is left to her own devices and with the help of a friendly local, Carlos (Jaenada), soon makes her way to the secret beach.
Arriving to what can only be described as heaven on earth, Nancy wastes no time before diving into the blue waters. However, her blissful afternoon of sun, sea and sand is soon cut short by an arrival of a vicious Great White shark who was drawn to the bay by a dead whale. Having taken a bite out of her leg, Nancy is forced to stay perched up on a rock formation and must find a way to save her own life before being swept away by the high tide that is soon coming in.
With the exception of a handful of supporting characters, The Shallows is a one-woman show with Lively - most popular for her role as Serena van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl - showing a surprising amount of versatility and skill in carrying the movie through on her own and offers a lot more than what one would expect from this kind of set-up – a shot of her witnessing something terrifying off-screen is a particular highlight.
Things get off to an ominous start with a two-minute Skype call between the lead and her father spelling out a little too much to the audience, meaning there's no character-building throughout the film. But Collet-Serra manages, quite successfully, to build up enough dread leading up to the attack, inducing the picturesque scenes with enough anxiety and fear to keep audiences on edge. The CGI is mostly spot-on - although there are scenes where its presence is painfully obvious - and the gore is relatively effective.
It’s no Jaws by any means, but there’s still enough atmosphere in The Shallows the the end result is a surprisingly and effectively constructed summer-thriller.