‘John Wick 3’, ‘Brightburn’ and ‘Detective Pikachu’ yes, the summer movie season's almost here!

MAY 18 ― June is just two weeks away, and we're already starting to experience an avalanche of big ticket new releases in Malaysian cinemas, which is a sure sign that the summer movie season is just around the corner.

Coupled with the arrival of the fasting month, I couldn't even find the time to see all the movies I'd like to see that opened last week, particularly The Hustle, which is reportedly a female-centred remake of the classic 80s comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

That's because three even bigger and more exciting movies caught my eyes first, and I simply had to go see them before anything else; two of which I'll be writing about here, with Detective Pikachu slightly missing out because while it is entertaining and funny, it's nowhere near unique enough for me to write much about.

And there's even space for A Dog's Journey to compete with these titles in local cinemas, another title that I'll need to find time to catch as well.

But seeing three movies in the cinemas in the space of one week is already more than enough.

John Wick: Chapter 3 ― Parabellum

If John Wick: Chapter 2 hasn't already made it clear that the John Wick franchise is one of the best action franchises in the whole planet, then Chapter 3 will settle the argument once and for all.

This one continues right after Chapter 2 ended, with John Wick pronounced “ex-communicado” and given a 60-minute head start before the assassins of the world can then hunt him down for a US$14 million (RM58 million) bounty.

Basically that's all there is to the story, because at least 80 per cent of Chapter 3 is dedicated purely to the mayhem that ensues when one assassin (or group of assassins) after another tries to kill John Wick, who now has nowhere to go to and no one to turn to since he's been declared “ex-communicado.”

But what glorious mayhem that 80 per cent is.

Chapter 3 basically does what The Beatles did with music in the 60s ― take all the best bits from everyone, everywhere else, and make it their own.

And this one feels just like that, an exhaustive compendium of some of the greatest fight scenes from around the globe in recent memory, the most obvious crib being the fight-on-bikes scene from South Korean flick The Villainess.

But seriously, where does one even begin to describe the amount of artful work put into choreographing, executing, shooting and then editing these glorious fights?

And there are so many great ones to choose from too; my favourites including the fight in an antique store in Chinatown, the opening fight in the New York Public Library, the centrepiece fight using dogs with assistance from Halle Berry in Morocco, and who can ever forget the use of Indonesian language during the fight with Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman?

In short, if relentless bloody mayhem is what you're after, and barring a miracle coming out of nowhere, you'll not find a better fight flick in 2019 than this one.

Brightburn

This film is based on such a brilliant but simple idea that I'm surprised that it wasn't made earlier ― what if Superman was evil?

With that one simple hook (I can even imagine the elevator pitch) writers Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn (brothers of executive producer James Gunn, of Guardians Of The Galaxy fame) have successfully imagined and fashioned an involving horror story.

Yes, you read that right, Brightburn is a horror film, with the aforementioned “superman” (a little baby who crash landed on a farm, with the farm owners taking him in and raising him as their own child), a kid named Brandon Breyer, as the movie's source of fear and thrills.

After growing up a sweet, quiet and intelligent kid, things start to take a turn for the worse when Brandon starts sleepwalking, like he's being drawn to his spaceship, hidden in the barn, with him having no knowledge of his origins, believing himself to be a normal adopted kid.

There are quite a few holes in the story if you really think about it, because the movie never really explained a lot of things, like what the spaceship really is (the movie hints at it being both a prison and a mode of transport) and whether the evil Brandon is actually possessed, simply became darker mentally, or slowly became evil as a sort of after-effects of being possessed by the ship.

But if you leave logic and motivations aside, Brightburn is a really thrilling blend of horror and superhero origin stories, with plenty of outrageous gore in its kills, which are gorier than even some slasher movies!

And, like most good horror films, the acting really  sells the emotions here, as the parents wrestle with the thought of having an evil kid, and struggle with what to do when that thought really hits home as their biggest fears come true.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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