Tag Archives: Spy

Opinion – Can Spoof Films Really Go Too Over The Top?

This week we’ve seen the release of Kingsman: The Golden Circle hit cinemas all over the place. It’s been a long time coming for a lot of people following the success of the first Kingsman film back in 2015. People loved the first film because of how wonderfully loud and fun it was. Everyone was a fan of the outrageous fight scenes that were littered throughout, and we were all looking forward to the return of such things in this sequel.

However, upon its arrival, some individuals proceeded to complain that they found the film to go a little too overboard for their liking. I have to say that I have found myself to be slightly dumbfounded by these claims. The whole idea behind the Kingsman stories is they rip the piss out of all those spy stories that have been guilty of taking themselves way too seriously over the years. It is a spoof spy franchise, for Christ’s sake. It is supposed to be stupidly over-the-top – if not, it is no longer a spoof film really, is it? At the end of the day, has anyone ever actually complained that some of the scenes in the James Bond films go unnecessarily overboard? Because you could if you’re one of those pedantic types, which some people clearly are. Just look at that scene in Skyfall where the tube train gets blown off the rails – I loved the film, but even I can admit that special effects only did so much for that sequence.

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Ready Steady Cut EP63 – Kingsman: The Secret Service

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This is Episode 63 of the Ready, Steady, Cut! Podcast. On this episode, with the release of Kingsman: The Golden Circle we discuss the first movie in the series – Kingsman: The Secret Service. 

We also discuss What’s Happening At Ready Steady Cut, Trailer Talk is Fifty Shades Freed and The Commuter and as always, we play another game of You Can’t Beat Me! This week it is Hip Hop Movie Characters.

Episode Summary:

00:00 – Introduction and Episode Summary
01:37 – What’s Happening at Ready, Steady, Cut!
06:30 – Trailer Talk – 50 Shades Freed
11:49 – Trailer Talk – The Commuter
15:40 – Kingsman: The Secret Service – Character Analysis
30:52 – Kingsman: The Secret Service – Plot Analysis
1:07:59 – You Can’t Beat Me – Hip Hop Movie Characters
1:33:17 – Final Comments

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Opinion – Is Daniel Craig A Little Too Shaken And Stirred To Play Bond Anymore?

So, following well over a year of speculation about whether he will return to the role of 007, it has been confirmed that Daniel Craig will play James Bond for a further two films.

After all the injury problems experienced during the production of Spectre, the actor’s most recent outing as the spy, Craig’s future was very much in question. During the promotional work for Spectre, everyone kept asking the big question – will he do another film? At the time, it looked as though we had seen the last of him. Craig seemed to have had enough; looked as though he had completely fallen out of love with the character. However, over a year and a half on after the release of the last film, the news has surfaced that he is signed not for one, but for TWO more films.

Now, inevitably, everyone has their take on the announcement. It has received a somewhat mixed response and has definitely polarised cinema-goers and Bond fanatics. Some have been overjoyed to hear that Craig will be in the role for the foreseeable future, and others have been… less so.

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Review – Atomic Blonde

What’s this?

It’s Jane Wick.

Okay, sorry, that’s not entirely accurate. But I’ve had that joke lined up since the first trailer, and while it might not be my best work, I needed to get it off my chest. It’s half right, anyway. Atomic Blonde is about a badass super-spy punching, shooting and stabbing her way through a stylized aesthetic under the direction of David Leitch. Certainly sounds like John Wick to me.

But, alas, Atomic Blonde isn’t that – at least not all the time. In reality, it’s based on a moderately obscure graphic novel, The Coldest City, and takes the form, structurally and tonally, of a twisty Cold War espionage thriller full of Soviet skulduggery and collapsing communist regimes. Which isn’t exactly what was advertised.

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Review – Archer: Dreamland

What’s this?

The eighth season of Adam Reed’s anarchic, sneakily genius spy-spoof animated series – and a bit of a gamble, this time around. Sure, the FXX cartoon has upended its central premise several times, and mostly just for fun. The fifth season was a Miami Vice pastiche in which the cast became hapless drug traffickers; the seventh moved the show (which had always been New York-based) to Los Angeles. But Archer: Dreamland is the most thorough reimagining the series has been treated to. Set in the late 40s, it’s an outright noir, which sees the familiar characters we know and love recast as genre archetypes with roughly the same sense of humour.

Didn’t the last season end on a cliffhanger?

It did, and this one opens with half a resolution to it – Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin), the devilishly-handsome alcoholic spy, is alive after being shot several times at the end of season 7 and left face-down in a swimming pool. But he’s currently comatose, which allows Reed a whole season’s time to think about how he’s going to write his way out of this particular corner. Dreamland disappears straight into Archer’s unconscious brain, and doesn’t leave for the remainder of the season.

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The Alpha Protocol Conversation

It’s all too easy to criticise Alpha Protocol for its mechanical shortcomings, loose characterisation and unfulfilling combat. Indeed I have, multiple times, during the hours that I spent with it. This is not a genre-defining role-playing game, a revolutionary shooter or a masterclass of stealth gameplay. It’s a far cry from all of those things. Yet, it utterly compels me, often in a way which very few video games ever have in the past.

My version of international super spy Michael Thorton is a sneaky, tech-savvy lurker who finds solace in the shadows and the dull thud of silenced weaponry. He’s a thinker, more suited to finding alternate, more intelligent solutions to problems which a noisy assault could just as easily solve. The customisation options Obsidian provide not only allow this kind of approach, but present me with the tools I need to complement such a style of play. All this is irrelevant, however. How I progress through the shooting galleries has no real impact, nor is it the most fulfilling element of Alpha Protocol. I appreciate the freedom I’m given, but I don’t really and truly care.

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Review – Spy

Paul Feig – bespectacled, rumpled, perpetually-tailored, like a harangued insurance salesman – doesn’t look like an especially funny guy. He must be, though, to keep writing and directing such funny movies. And really, Paul Feig just might be the most generous director working in comedies today. He evidently sees something in actors which most of us don’t: an innate funniness, even where you’d least expect it. That’s how he assembles such eyebrow-raising ensembles and has them work so well with and against each other. But he doesn’t just allow people to be funny – he encourages it. He writes them into sensible environments which house their eccentricities. He lets them play. Feig’s movies have scenes which you know weren’t written, but instead plucked from a bunch of improvised takes solely because they were the funniest. His latest offering, Spy, feels as though it was built almost entirely on scenes like that. It’s hilarious in the loosest, most playful way possible, like the whole cast were working behind the camera and taking their time off in front of it.

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