It's a thankless job but someone's gotta do it: singling out the not-so-good movies that came out in 2018. With the help of 8 DAYS contributors Tay Yek Keak and Gold 90FM’s Chris Ho, we look back at some of the cinematic disappointments of 2018.
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Tay Yek Keak's picks
1. The Brits Are Coming
The Brits may be coming as the title says here. But if you see this god-awful flick, you'd be running away as fast you can. An eccentric and generally abhorrent British couple (Uma Thurman and Tim Roth) flee to rich-man's-paradise Los Angeles to steal a precious jewel from Roth's ex-wife (Alice Eve). They need to do this to pay back a debt owed to terminator-gangster Maggie Q who seems to kill everybody she meets. At first, I thought this was a stylish heist film. It turns out to be a pig sty-lish “high” flick because every porky-rich body in this movie seems to be stone-drunk or doped up or sniffing some kind of industrial-grade glue to do the trying-to-be-cute things they do here. I remember vividly only one item from this show — there's a young Asian dude named Kim Kim in the film who's the boy toy of a fattened ang moh (Stephen Fry). Don't know why. Watch this stinker only when you're in a coma.
To visualise the career of Nicolas Cage is to visualise the life span of a firefly. So bright when their butts are glowing bright and so dark like a cockroach when they crumble and die. Cage plays a logger in the mountains who sees his girlfriend, Mandy, being killed by sicko hippie cult people who then leave him for dead wrapped up in barbed wire. After he breaks free and downs a bottle of vodka like he's still in his Oscar-winning Leaving Las Vegas thespian mode, Mr Severely Pissed-Off, hallucinating between insanity and the Nic Cage School Of Manic-Eyes Acting, gets splatter-movie payback using, among other weapons, a handy chainsaw and a crossbow affectionately named “The Reaper”. Somewhere in this bonkers-zonkers deal are also three crazy demon bikers who, I believe, rode straight out of Hellraiser, an actual tiger and Brit actor Linus Roache (TV's Vikings) looking like a demented Jesus while waving his junk around in full frontal nudity. Oh, you get the drift. The light has long gone out of the firefly's butt.
3. Death Wish
I don't know if this title refers to the people Bruce Willis kills here or to me for thinking I was gonna connect with my inner Charles Bronson. Back in the 1970s, old Craggy Charlie played an architect-turned-vigilante who went around New York City shooting bad guys in the original Death Wish while basically mumbling what sounded like words. This time, Willis mumbles what sounds like “If only this was Christmas in Die Hard” as he plays a surgeon in Chicago who's had it with the useless cops after his family is attacked by vicious thugs. I was all geared up to soak up the vengeance fun until I realised that this 2018 remake isn't here to expand beyond the Neanderthal rage portrayed simplistically in the 1974 original. Instead it's made to actually regress mankind even further into a caveman's dark hole with some updated killing equipment such as a scalpel, assault rifle and the pleasurable act of crushing a guy's head with a car. And, oh, there's, of course, Willis's trademark smirk too which is now the only indicator of life on his permanently impassive face. Man, I really miss old Charlie Bronson and his personality of an immovable rock. That had so much more depth.
Dwayne Johnson jumps onto a ridiculously high building here and I actually fear for the safety of the building. Johnson isn't playing a superhero like Thor or Aquaman. But due to his giant biceps and King Kong-size persona, he may as well be. So when gazillionaire owner Chin Han shows off his Hongkong skyscraper to Johnson, playing a security expert, we know that the sucker — I'm referring to the poor building — is going to be attacked, abused, bombed, burnt, riddled by bullets by baddies while The Rock and his family trapped in the tower are going to be absolutely just fine and dandy. Hence, we look to this flick to give us something more, something dramatic, something unexpected, like maybe Johnson grumbling about the lift breaking down as though he's a HDB complaint king. Alas, there isn't any. Because Johnson is so invincible the movie gives up trying to pit Ultimate Danger Vs The Rock. Nothing works. Even when he's dangling outside the building for dear life over 200 floors up, you worry for the safety of the sky.
5. Fifty Shades Freed
I thought they got the title wrong. I thought they meant Fifty Shades Fried. Because that's how my brain felt after watching this movie. Look, I don't mind this erotic series because it saves me a lot of money since I don't need to go to Geylang. I actually like the first film. Had a kick with the second one because it had a masquerade ball and little metal balls. But this one, the conclusion, is an exercise in RMPVSP – Rich Married People's Very Stupid Problems. Hot Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) and Horny Christian (Jamie Dornan) are now officially wedded with their own kinky sex-freak playroom. But as always, married life comes with a new set of problems including, in this case, a stalker, a kidnapping and generally blander expressions than before on the faces of the couple saddled with nothing but money, whips and handcuffs. You know, life's everyday niggles. Now, apart from this final instalment being totally unnecessary and basically stupid, there's a big deal going on here about the hubby being miffed by the missus becoming pregnant too soon because he fears he'd lose his place in her heart to the baby. Or is it actually his place in the chair with chains which he's really worried about? My mind, you see, gets fried easily while watching such Geylang-style rubbish.
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Chris Ho's picks
I found it overrated and overly juvenile. And that Black Princess utterly annoying and she wasn’t strangled. Don't kill me over this choice instead. I admit I was expecting a 'black revolutionary' Black Panther, instead I got a Disney mystical one for Millennials.
2. Deadpool 2
Desperately seeking ideas and a gimmick. X-Men to the non-rescue. What a fizzle. Not that I enjoyed the previous a-punchline-a-minute Deadpool either.
3. Future World
His The Disaster Artist is great. Within the same year, James Franco delivers this flat and disastrous co-directed vision of a Mad Max-world that’s as puzzling as it is a stinker. Why, James, why? His poor co-stars lending their names…
4. Iceman: Time Traveler
The previous Donnie Yen vehicle Iceman had some great kungfu scenes. This CGI-bloated sequel is really a poor excuse for a film. Terrible.
5. Legend Of The Demon Cat
We know Chen Kaige is on a cynical film-making path but to decimate the very appeal of cynicism itself is outright blasphemy even in his own void of satire. Sad and baffling. Dull, even.
6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald
What was that, again? We were squirming in our seats from boredom.
A Todd McFarlane creation with no metal or rap-metal but a soundtrack of hip hop — how telling! Worst role of Michelle Williams' career. And the special effects look like outtakes from that 'black' Spiderman movie some time back. If one ever doubted that playing it safe and mainstream with a dark super-hero is courting disaster, look no further. Bet Tom Hardy is still reeling from the 'poison'.
8. The First Purge
Another film going for a mainstream hip hop audience, this time as an 'overhaul' of the series, with disastrous results.
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Douglas Tseng's picks
Margot Robbie must really owed somebody a big favour to appear in this inert, over-written, lethargic hitman thriller that’s all style and very little else. Or do I need to get pissed drunk to truly enjoy this vacuous time-waster?
2. Fifty Shades Freed
Whatever Yek Keak said earlier, times two. I can’t help but wonder how awkward it must've been for Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson to pretend to have killer chemistry when they have zilch. Maybe all will be revealed when Johnson pens her memoir in 2040.
3. Escape Plan 2: Hades
The 2013 original was no classic but it made enough money to greenlit a sequel that no one wanted. Sylvester Stallone knew that and that was probably why he let Huang Xiaoming do most of the heavy-lifting as his protégé trapped in a high-tech jail that looks a cheesy discotheque.
John Travolta’s passion project about real-life mob boss John Gotti feels like either a Godfather-themed cosplay party with the actors doing their best gangster impression, or an unfunny Saturday Night Live spoof of The Sporanos. Whichever way you look at it, it’s eye-torture.
Between his John Wick gigs, Keanu Reeves filled his empty schedule with this aimlessly cold thriller where he plays a shady diamond dealer in trouble with Russian gangsters over some rare blue gems. Keanu, please don’t kill your time at our expense lah.
6. Europe Raiders
Tony Leung Chiu-Wai’s idea of a paid vacation was to board this pointless sequel shot in Rome where his Klingon-speaking (no way!) bounty hunter searches for a doomsday device. He seemed like he had fun making it. Was the call sheet the script as well?
7. 23:59: The Haunting Hour
Was director Gilbert Chan possessed when he made this half-assed, tonally uneven, scare-free sequel? Then again, he didn’t need an exorcist — he needed a script doctor and reshoots. Anyone who’s done weekend guard duty should know the feeling: it’s a drag.