WWE: Money In The Bank (2016) – Honest Review

Whilst WWE were trying to market this as the greatest Money In The Bank pay-per-view of all time, in what felt like an attempt to erase the 2011 instalment from the memories of fans, it was most certainly not the greatest. But that’s not saying that it was not a fairly decent show with some truly memorable moments. In this review I shall go through each match individually, in order to deliver a realistic verdict on the show as a whole.

And no, I won’t be reviewing the pre-show.

WWE Tag Team Championship Fatal-4-Way Match – The New Day(C) Vs The Club Vs The Vaudevillians Vs Enzo Amore & Collin Cassidy

This match got off to an impressive start, though the overall idea of a four-way tag match seemed like the recipe for a botch-fest. There were a few interesting moments, most notably from Enzo and Cass who, as they always do, steal the show. The problems in this match did manage to over-shadow anything good though, firstly The Club looked so out-of-place here, I’m not sure why that was, they looked just as comically ridiculous as the other three teams involved. There was some sort of stand-off between Big E and Big Cass with a fight that didn’t happen; this was confusing as it was hardly a much-anticipated showdown to begin with. Not to mention that the build-up to this four way confrontation had little to no story behind it, other than all the teams wanted the titles. But I think the worst part of the match by far was the ending in which Anderson, who was the legal man at the time, was taken down by The New Day, yet Aiden English was the man who was pinned for The New Day to pick up the victory. This was a terrible ending to a very mediocre contest.

Baron Corbin Vs Dolph Ziggler

In the 957th confrontation between these two, you really have to wonder, who really cares about this feud? Nobody is the answer you’re looking for.  Although, nobody cared about it to begin with so sun rise, sun set I suppose. Corbin got the win.

Charlotte & Dana Brooke Vs Natalya & Becky Lynch

There’s not much to say on this one either, other than the fact that Charlotte and Dana picked up the win. It also helped us learn that Becky Lynch is the stupidest woman in the WWE. Why, you may ask? Because this marked the third time in the space of a year that a trusted friend and tag team partner has turned on her. This was dreadful news, as not only are there very few face competitors left in the women’s division, but also because we now have to suffer through another horrific Natalya heel run, just adding to the list of reasons not to watch Raw on a Monday night.

Apollo Crews Vs Sheamus

The third dud in a row, Apollo went over as he should have but it seems as though we have Corbin/Ziggler version two on the horizon here, and that is a truly sickening prospect to the average wrestling fan.

 Aj Styles Vs John Cena

This match was the redeemer of the evening so far. After three boring affairs we were treated to this absolute gem as WWE’s top man and TNA’s top man battled in what was probably the most anticipated clash of the last decade. Both men wrestled well, although Styles lived up to his claim and eventually began to wrestle rings around Cena. There was a seemingly dangerous moment though, as Cena came inches from a broken neck in a very narrowly avoided botch of Styles’ signature Styles Clash. This aside, the match proved that WWE really does have the potential to be taken seriously as a technical promotion, or at least it would’ve been if it hadn’t been for the ending. WWE refusing to let Aj Styles go over clean, The Club had to interfere and take Cena down for him. This let the whole match down in my opinion, but still, Styles went over, every cloud, eh?

Money In The Bank Ladder Match – Cesaro Vs Kevin Owens Vs Sami Zayn Vs Alberto Del Rio Vs Chris Jericho Vs Dean Ambrose

The ladder match was defiantly the match of the night, all the men involved performed very well. The best of which being Alberto Del Rio, who in my opinion was pulling out all the stops to portray himself as a big time, main event worthy player, his double foot stomp off the ladder was a thing of beauty and he seemed to me to be the strongest performer in the match.
As all ladder matches do, this match had many spots, including an absolute treat from Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens in which Owens’ back was buckled over a ladder in a moment so realistic my own spine actually began to ache. Eventually, it would come to pass that Dean Ambrose would capture the briefcase, guaranteeing him an opportunity for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, any time, any place, it felt like this was a long time coming for Dean Ambrose and it was rewarding to see him capture the case.

United States Championship Match – Rusev(C) Vs Titus O’Neil

There was not a great deal to say about this, going into the match it was un-realistic that Titus had any chance whatsoever of winning, considering that WWE are only just starting to re-establish Rusev as a major, unstoppable heel once again. That being said, they were also trying desperately trying to legitimise Titus as a serious singles competitor having him stand up to Rusev relatively well, but ultimately being put away by the Bulgarian Brute. This match felt like it was stretched out to fill space more than anything and it was an easily forgettable affair.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match – Roman Reigns(C) Vs Seth Rollins

Let me start by saying that the pre-match video package was sublime and it outlined the roots of the rivalry excellently, really helping to re-enforce the fact that this match was two years in the making. However, the match got off to a very slow start, with neither man seeming to want to make the first move. It did get a little more interesting as time went on but the match was hardly anything to rave about, there was an interesting spot in which Roman took a hard bump against the crowd barrier but as far as spots go that was pretty much it. The interesting thing about this match was that Rollins, for the most part wrestled face whilst Reigns seemed to be wrestling heel, WWE had the potential to pull off the legendary double turn, but alas it will go down as a wasted opportunity. The match had a superb ending to save it from its mediocrity, as Rollins countered the spear into the pedigree, eventually going over clean, this came as a surprise as Roman is widely considered to be one of the most protected performers in the company today. Rollins victory was not cut and dry though, as Dean Ambrose’ music hits and fakes out Rollins, coming from behind, clocking Seth in the back of the head with the case and proceeding to cash it in.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match – Seth Rollins(C) Vs Dean Ambrose

This one was over quick, Ambrose hits dirty deeds and puts Rollins down for the one, two, three, and just like that Dean Ambrose’ career comes full circle in a superb booking choice, having all three former Shield members hold the WWE’s most prestigious championship in the same night. Ambrose has deserved this title reign for so long and nobody can deny that this victory was long overdue.

Verdict:

While this pay-per-view had some undeniably great moments, it also had just as many bad moments, meaning that its overall rating is limited. Based on this, my overall rating for this pay-per-view is: 7/10

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Game Of Thrones: Season 6 Episode 10 – Honest Review

“The Winds of Winter”

Last week I said that Battle of the Bastards was not only the greatest episode of Game of Thrones, but the greatest television episode of all time. As it turns out, I was wrong, The Winds of Winter blows it completely out of the water, it was unlike anything I have ever seen before.

First, we start with the demise of some of the shows biggest mainstays, Margery, Loras, and Mace Tyrell, the High Sparrow, Lancel Lannister, Tommen Baratheon, Grand Maester Pycell, and Walder Frey all bit the dust in possibly the most blood-soaked TV finale of all time. These deaths really gave us the sad realisation that this legendary show is coming slowly to its end, building towards several much-anticipated confrontations.

Again, we have some simply beautiful camera work, throughout this episode there are many breathtaking moments, the first appearance of the Old Town citadel being one of the greater, but not even coming close to the amazing scenes at the end, as the Targeryen fleet moves towards Westeros flanked by the forces of Dorne, Highgarden and The Iron Islands, not to mention Dany’s scaly insurance policy, in the form of her three vicious children. Another great example of the excellent visual codes used in this episode is the reflection of the bright green wildfire in the terrified eyes of Lancel Lannister, you could literally feel the fear he was experiencing through the screen.

As always the acting performances were amazing, but perhaps the most commendable of all is Lena Headly for her phenomenal portrayal of an emotionally crumbling Cersei Lannister, with the prophecy coming full circle in the death of her final child. You really have to respect Lena’s incredible talents as she manages to unlock new levels of hatred inside the minds of Game of Thrones fans the world over. Never has a television character been so unlikable yet so intriguing, and half of this is down to Headly’s constantly captivating and deliberately infuriating performances. The other half is of course down to the shows fantastic script writing.

On the topic of writing, this had to be some of the best storytelling in history. No disrespect to George RR Martin but his Winds of Winter novel will have its work cut out for it in order to compete with what we’ve seen in this episode. This episode was an hour and ten minutes, the longest episode in the shows history, but my god they utilized the extra time in the most perfect ways imaginable. Every second is used well in a constant flow of creative perfection.

The musical score is enchanting, brutal, haunting and mysterious all at the same time and exactly when it needs to be, every spine chilling, jaw-dropping, goosebumping moment is matched perfectly with music that brings it to life in such a vibrant, vivid, and gritty fashion.

The episode also gave fans what they had been waiting for in all but confirming a popular theory about Jon Snow, proving once and for all that he really could be the bastard son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targeryen, to the delight of every long-time speculator.

To round off the episode we had two new rulers crowd, Jon Snow as King in the North, receiving chants as Robb Stark once did, but the mood was overshadowed by the sly and dangerous presence of slippery, supposedly Irish, brother owning weirdo, Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, and Cersei becoming the Queen on the Iron Throne, making it very much a Cersei Lannister Vs the world situation.

Oh, and we finally got to see Ser Davos confront the Red Woman on the sacrifice of the child princess he had cared for like his own, threatening to execute her himself should she ever cross his path again, and there was something very satisfying about that.

Oh, and Tyrion is hand of the dragon queen, and there is nothing finer than seeing everyone’s favourite alcoholic dwarf get the recognition he so truthfully deserves.

All in all this was the perfect ending to the perfect series of the perfect show, my deepest praises to everyone involved in creating this masterpiece, you have all exceeded yourselves and all who came before you.

The only real problem is that we have to wait ten months to see more, but that’s what the best shows do, they keep you waiting, and when the time comes around, it will have been well worth the wait.

As if there would ever by any doubt, my rating for this perfect piece of television is: 10/10

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016) – Honest Review

The first live action Ninja Turtles movie was dreadful, so most people were not expecting a great deal of change coming into the second instalment in the series. But the world’s most muscular reptiles certainly made an improvement this time around.

There are several good things to say about the newest instalment, most notably is the reduction of Megan Fox’s role in this sequel. Fox’s Razzie winning performance in the first film is one of the major reasons why it was such a failure with critics and long-time franchise fans alike. Though Fox also is undeniably bad in this instalment, it is less noticeable as she spends far less time on-screen.

Main men Stephen Amell and Will Arnett are also a comedic breath of fresh air throughout, though neither of their performances will be remembered by future audiences as legendary, they do provide the textbook comedic prowess that the TMNT franchise is known for.

The CGI animation of the turtles is very easy on the eye throughout, though there is a certain videogame-like feel to the end fight sequence, whether this was done intentionally or not is unclear, but it was certainly an interesting direction to take things.

The cinematic debut of WWE star Sheamus, as repulsive rhino-man Rocksteady is also rather humorous and the animation of the character and his warthog counterpart Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) is very accurate to their appearance in the original source material.

Now on to the bad, as I previously mentioned Megan Fox was repugnant once again, but this time it was not as noticeable, again as I have mentioned. Tyler Perry made a particularly dreadful appearance as ungainly, scientific weirdo Baxter Stockman, who spends most of the film being quite pathetically evil for literally no good reason. Honestly, none of the villains in this movie have a motive; Shredder, Rocksteady, Bebop, Stockman, and Kraang seem to want to destroy the world but give very little thought to reasoning or consequences.

Of course there was also the regular inclusion of puerile toilet humour, with many a moment of flatulence and whatnot, however this is a Nickelodeon Studios film so obviously and very unfortunately this is to be expected.

Back onto the topic of terrible villains, Shredder, portrayed in this picture by Brian Lee, may as well not even be on the screen, he makes about as much impact as a hose pipe ban in the Sahara desert and his death, if you can even call it that, is the biggest example of pandering to a PG rating I’ve seen in a long while.

But the absolute worst thing of all about this movie is Laura Linney as the monumentally infuriating Chief Vincent, for a woman who has been praised as a great actress for most of career, it is sad to see such a bland, un-interested performance.

Couple all these things with a relatively directionless script and sleep inducing run-time, and you get a film with some redeeming qualities over the one that came before it, but not enough to save the franchise in the eyes of its viewers.

But hey, at least Johnny Knoxville wasn’t voicing Leonardo this time.

I give this movie a generous rating of: 4/10

Game Of Thrones: Season 6 Episode 9 – Honest Review

“Battle of the Bastards”

Without a doubt, battle of the bastards is not only the greatest episode of Game Of Thrones, but it may just be the greatest episode of anything that has ever been on television. A fantastic, dragon-heavy opening sequence is the perfect start to the perfect episode, establishing Dany and her allies as the ruling force against the despicable slave masters. A few hilarious quips from Tyrion, a screaming Dothraki horde and the unmistakable sound of slavers being scorched by dragon fire assures that this is already established as a truly great episode.

Could it get any better?

How about an interaction with the Greyjoys! In a truly great moment for long-time fans of the series, Theon and Yara came into contact with everyone’s favourite mass-murdering dragon queen. In a rather… flirtatious…exchange between Dany and Yara, an intriguing and potentially lethal alliance was created.

As time rolled on, the confrontation between the bastards arrived. Jon challenging Ramsey, the bastard by both name and bastardly nature, to one-on-one combat, this did not happen as Ramsey, although a literal and metaphorical bastard is evidently not stupid. Instead opting to take the feud to the battlefield, Ramsey even warning Jon that he has a pack of hungry hounds, starved for seven days, ready to pick at his bones should he lose.

As the battle begins, we see some truly stunning visuals as Ramsey’s arrows fly, even impaling former small child and least important Stark family member Rickon.

As the battle rages, the stunning visuals continue, as the arrows of the Bolton men flew, we were taken with them as they scraped the sky and punctured the un-shielded victims below. The use of phenomenal visual codes did not end here, however, as we were treated to a truly breathtaking and gut-wrenchingly claustrophobic sequence of loveable, miserable hero Jon Snow nearly being trampled to death in a somewhat ungodly mixture of thick mud and the corpses of his fellow soldiers. The camera work here was truly something to behold, genuinely making the viewer feel gasping breath and claw for freedom.

Eventually, when all seemed lost, and Jon’s forces seemed well and truly doomed to a muddy, skinless grave, an ally from the most unlikely of places arrived. The Vale, as it would happen, as slippery, somewhat Irish, whore-house owner and all-round trustworthy guy, Littlefinger, arrives with the forces of Arryn. Allowing the Stark forces to make a final push on Winterfell, this had to be one of the most uplifting things that there has ever been in the entire history of the world. No exaggeration.

During the closing moments of the battle, inside the walls of Winterfell, the last of the giants falls, but the impact he has on the battle was even bigger than himself, breaking through Ramsey’s last line of defence in seconds, before finally being put down by the repugnant pale demon. Then, the moment everyone had been waiting for finally arrived; Jon getting his hands on Ramsey, every punch to Ramsey’s face was like Christmas, summer, and the relief of urination all rolled into one.

The Bolton banner falls, the Stark banner replaces it. This moment gave the feel of a true turning point.

In the final sequence, a bloodied, beaten and restrained Ramsey is seen locked in the kennels at Winterfell. The prominent stain on the north delivers one final, haunting message to Sansa, proclaiming that he is now part of her, and that she cannot kill him. Although, she does give it her best try, by releasing Ramsey’s own hounds on him, they wouldn’t usually harm him…but they hadn’t been fed for seven days…I guess that decision really came back to bite him on the arse.

As Sansa walks away, she smiles as her former husband is torn apart.

In conclusion, everything about this episode was perfect, the acting was gritty and intense, the writing was sublime and told one of the best stories I’ve ever seen. The camera work, as I’ve mentioned was visually stunning, putting us right in the middle of the action every step of the way. I must also commend the director for ensuring that all these elements moulded with each other so seamlessly, quite frankly everyone involved with this piece of art deserves praise. The only bad thing about it was that it had to end.

I rate this, without a doubt: 10/10

Bending The Rules (2012) – Honest Review

Every so often I partake in the viewing of some of the worst disasters in cinema in an attempt to determine whether or not they truly deserve their awful reputation, some aren’t too bad but most are sickening. I call this Bad Movie Night.

Grading works in three categories: Not So Bad (Highest) – Pretty Bad (Middle) – Truly Bad (Lowest)

For the first Bad Movie Night Review – “Bending The Rules” (2012)

The tragic career ending injury of Adam Copeland (WWE Superstar Edge) led to perhaps one of the most tragic pieces of cinema ever produced. Of course I am talking about Bending The Rules.

In this monumental wishing well of wasted ideas and lost potential, we see some relatively well-known stars, the aforementioned Adam Copeland (WWE), Jamie Kennedy (Scream), Jessica Walter (Arrested Development) & Phillip Baker Hall (Modern Family) doing their very best to add comedic substance to a script that has very little.

Now I think about it, it does not really have very much of anything, while the dialogue is admittedly okay at times, the films general narrative seems lost, failing to follow a plot and failing even more so to establish any real themes.

Everything starts off promising when we meet Nick Blades (Copeland), a somewhat renegade police officer operating out of New Orleans, the character is interesting and Copeland is the perfect fit for the zany detective. We then go on to meet the second central character of this film, lawyer  Theo Gold, portrayed by Hollywood down-and-out and former Razzie Award nominee Jamie Kennedy.

Theo (Kennedy) has fallen on hard times with family, and work troubles as he tries to get Blades prosecuted for “Bending The Rules” too much in his position of authority. He is then victimized by his wife and angry police alike.

This is where the understandable narrative for this film ends. Somehow Blades and Gold end up working together, in order to find a stolen car and perhaps solve another mystery? I don’t know, honestly, it was not clear.

Throughout the course of this film the storyline becomes even more unclear with a ridiculously ludicrous and completely unexplainable plot twist regarding the previously mentioned stolen car. There is an impactful death scene in which Theo Gold’s father, played by Phillip Baker Hall passes away, there is emotion here, but most of it is taken away by the fact that the characters are not developed enough for us as the audience to truly feel their pain.

The acting is as good as it can be with the horrific and unstructured material that the performers were given to work with, aside from the truly repugnant and cringe-worthy performance of Jennifer Esposito as female police officer Garcia. Her acting is so bad that it would make low-budget 70’s porn look like The Shawshank Redemption in comparison.

So, in summary, this was a film that had a few likeable characters, and some genuinely funny moments but was let down by an honestly abysmal script. Adding to a long list of WWE Studios train wrecks, that attempt, and fail to present themselves as movies.

I give this car wreck (see the film and you’ll get that pun):

VERDICT – Truly Bad

And that’s generous.