REVIEW: ‘Shang Chi’ is sufficient, but not sensational

In 2008, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie featured the Ten Rings as an antagonistic organization.

More than a decade later, we finally get a look at the group’s true leader, and his family.

Tony Leung stars as Xu Wenwu in “Shang-Chi,” a man who has lived for centuries thanks to his 10 magical rings he wields. For most of his life, Wenwu had been focused on conquest, leading an army known as the Ten Rings. However, this changes when he meets Ying Li, a woman from a mystical land.

Wenwu ends his warrior ways as he gets married to Ying Li and they have two children, one being Shang Chi (Simu Liu). However, following the loss of a family member, Wenwu once again takes his old mantle while also training Shang Chi to be a skilled warrior. But when the time comes for Shang Chi to go out on Ten Rings a mission, he opts instead to leave his family and the Ten Rings organization and start a new life in the United States.

At the movie’s start, though, Shang Chi’s old life comes calling.

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REVIEW: ‘The Protégé’ provides thrills despite plot issues

More action movies with Maggie Q please.

Anna (Q) is the protagonist in “The Protégé,” an elite assassin who works alongside her friend and mentor Moody (Samuel L. Jackson). The two are exceptionally efficient in their work and the film picks up with them successfully completing another mission.

As the film gets underway, Anna begins researching a new job, but soon after finds Moody murdered. With revenge in mind, Anna travels back to her homeland of Vietnam, where there may be some clues as to who killed her mentor. During her journey, she comes across Rembrandt (Michael Keaton), an assassin who works for another involved party.

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REVIEW: ‘Free Guy’ entertains but has fleeting impact

Movies about video games or films where the reality has elements of video games can be hit or miss. Sometimes you can get a “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World.” Other times you get a “Serenity” or “Pixels.”

Fortunately, “Free Guy” leans a bit more toward the former.

“Free Guy” takes place in two realms of existence, one digital and one real. In the latter, Jodie Comer plays Millie, a young woman who’s living on hard times after the video game developer Antwan (Taika Waititi) stole her idea. That idea for a game was created by her and her best friend Keys (Joe Keery), who now works for Antwan.

Meanwhile, Guy (Ryan Reynolds), is a non-playable character in the video game owned by Antwan. While Guy is mainly programmed to be a normal bank employee in a violent video game, one day he begins to evolve and becomes self aware of the world around him. With that new knowledge, he begins playing the game himself, getting the attention of Millie. Millie soon learns that Guy’s programming is the key to exposing Antwan.

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REVIEW: ‘Suicide Squad’ succeeds under Gunn’s direction

Considering there was another movie released just a few years earlier, I figured they would have come up with another title to set this “Suicide Squad” apart than just adding a “The.”

But it works for Ohio State, so, maybe it’s fine here.

The Suicide Squad” follows a new group of convicts turned mercenaries working for government official Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) for a chance of reducing their sentence. This group includes a pair of top tier elite assassins in Peacemaker (John Cena) and Bloodsport (Idris Elba), as well as a human shark hybrid (voice by Sylvester Stallone), a woman who has a device to control rats (Daniela Melchior) and a man who can shoot colorful energy bolts (David Dastmalchian).

Along for the ride with this Suicide Squad team is their government chaperone Col. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and the infamous Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). This time around, the crew is tasked with taking down the dictator of a remote island who has fallen into control of a dangerous scientific research facility.

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REVIEW: ‘Green Knight’ is a strong, melancholic medieval feature

As an American, I’m not too versed in legends from the British Isles. Fortunately, the themes presented in “The Green Knight” are universal.

Dev Patel stars in the medieval fantasy as Gawain, the nephew of King Arthur. After accepting a challenge one fateful Christmas, Gawain is set on a path where he must go on a quest and face the mysterious Green Knight.

Gawain sets off on the adventure knowing full well that he may likely perish in the journey. However, with greatness at stake, he continues forward with the quest.

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REVIEW: While flawed, ‘Gunpowder Milkshake’ gives audiences a fun experience

The title “Gunpowder Milkshake” makes sense, because like the cold drink, it’s an enjoyable summer treat.

Karen Gillan stars as Sam in “Milkshake,” a young woman who works as an assassin for a mysterious agency known only as The Firm. The agency is helmed by a man named Nathan (Paul Giamatti), who sends Sam out on her assignments.

While her latest mission seems straightforward, though, it turns out to be anything but. Caught in a conflict between two violent faction related to Sam’s assignment is a young girl named Emily (Chloe Coleman). Sam decides to get involved and protect Emily, but it only complicates things as hitmen are sent after her. In response, she looks to get help from her past.

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REVIEW: ‘Snake’ origin film is an eye sore

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” from 2013 threw out nearly 80% of the characters from 2009’s “G.I. Joe: Rise of Corbra.”

This movie, in turn, throws out  all of those films’ lore and a plethora of characters.

Get rid of what you think you know about Snake Eyes from the previous movies, because this is a completely different universe. In this movie, Henry Golding portrays Snake Eyes, a young man who witnessed his dad getting murdered when he was a kid. The film picks up with him fighting in an underground circuit, making just enough money to get by.

That chapter of his life comes to a close as he’s recruited to the Yakuza because of his fighting ability. That doesn’t last long, though, as he’s not cut out for the job and instead finds himself working alongside a man named Tommy (Andrew Koji).

It turns out Tommy is a member of a secret ninja clan known as the Arashikage and he wants Snake to be a new member. However, his loyalty to the clan becomes challenged when he’s offered information about the man who killed his father.

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REVIEW: ‘The Tomorrow War’ weakened by convoluted concept

Sometimes you come across a movie where you ask “what the hell did I just watch?” when it gets done.

“The Tomorrow War” is one of those flicks.

The movie follows Dan Forester (Chris Pratt), a family man and retired soldier-turned school teacher in the year 2022. The story starts when the family watches a group of soldiers walk out of a portal on live TV. The soldiers inform those watching at home like the Foresters that they’re from the year 2051 where a massive war is taking place against aliens, and it’s not going well.

In order to push back against this threat, humanity developed a time bridge back to 2022 in order to get more fighters. The present day leaders agree to start a draft to send soldiers to the future and Forester ends up getting sent back into combat.

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REVIEW: Deviation from spy genre breaks ‘Black Widow’

The concept of family was brought up so many times, I thought I was in the wrong room watching “F9.”

“Black Widow” takes place between “Captain America 3” and “Avengers 3,” when Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) was on the run from the American government because of the Sokovia Accords conflict. Romanoff manages to go into hiding, but it’s not long before her past life catches up with her.

It turns out Yelena (Florence Pugh) who posed as Natasha’s sister in an undercover family, needs Black Widow’s help. The organization that created the Black Widow program, known as the Red Room, has developed a dangerous mind control system and Yelena is hoping to put an end to it. Knowing they need some additional help, the duo recruit other members of their undercover family, the father Alexei (David Harbour) and mother Melina (Rachel Wesz).

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Eight Great Black Widow Moments

In the last decade, Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow, has appeared in eight Marvel Cinematic Universe films. After her career as a spy, she joined the superhero team the Avengers and was integral in several battles during the Infinity conflicts.

There have been a lot of superb spy moments in the Marvel movies, but these eight are my favorite. I’m of course going with eight because of spiders having eight legs. Seemed appropriate.

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