10 April 2009

Movie Review - 12 Rounds

When I first walked into the theater with my family, the first thing on my mind was what I guess would have been on the mind of every Cena film bringing in his family : Pleassssee don't let this suck! Fortunately, this was the first time we were seeing a non-The Rock, WWE movie at the at the theater. First off, if you had seen Cena's last flick, The Marine in the theaters when it was released a couple of years back (sympathies,my friend), then here's the bottom line, this movie is light years away from the low-quality stuff WWE Studios usually produce.

While The Marine was a "made-for-the-fans" movie, destined to disappoint with one critic aptly describing the movie as "so dumb it might cause actual brain damage", 12 Rounds is easily the best WWE Studios-produced film yet, but also the one that's actually watchable (The Marine was pure torture).

The plot begins with cop Danny Fisher (Cena) , a cop in post-Katrina New Orleans, leaving his girlfriend Molly (and his dog) for regular night patrol just as an FBI operation to apprehend Miles Jackson (Aiden Gillen) goes awry. Needless to say, Miles escapes the numerous surveillance camera and agents and makes his getaway with his girlfriend in a car (with priceless diamonds) until Cena's patrol spots the car and stops it. A gun-fight ensues and a lot of running and bullets later, Fisher finally apprehends Miles. Miles's girlfriend,however, is struck down by a car and killed when she tries to make a run for it. A year later, Miles is back for revenge and kidnaps Molly and arranges "12 rounds of wits and strength " for Cena to get his girl back. If he doesn't do 'em all right, she dies.

Now that the "best WWE film ever produced" is over, it's time for the real low-down. There are scenes that could have been better and plot inconsistencies in the film that would be a delight for a WWE hater. For instance, when Miles escapes on car (in the initial part), Cena gives chase on foot ! Fat chance of him outrunning a speedy car ! Of course, we get to see him barging in through houses and seedy alleys of inner city New Orleans, but there should have been the proper camera positioning to show he was taking a shortcut.

Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2) brings his immense talent here, doing a good job getting Cena to be less of an android. There are definitely more emotions on his face, and yeah he actually smiles in 12 Rounds . However, most of the time the only expression on his face is a frown or that of exasperation. There are a few cliches too, but the movie delivers heavily on one aspect : Entertainment. The action is engrossing, generally intense and entertaining. I wish I didn't keep repeating that, but I just can't help it, considering how people would think 12 Rounds offers action scenes akin to the quality of The Marine (which is to say, non-existent). There is one elevator scene where Cena and an obese hotel employee are trapped in an elevator with a one-minue bomb ! That's was just too adrenaline-pumping for words.

Verdict : Overall, 12 Rounds proves that good direction from an experienced director and properly executed action scenes provide good entertainment value, albeit several missed opportunities.
Score : 7.5/10

Note : The official website of 12 Rounds now redirects to it's WWE.com page. It's still a plethora of content,pics,videos etc, so don't give it a miss.

01 April 2009

April Fools Candidates

I think it was National Geographic, who ran such an article on their website last year. Frankly speaking, this article is not as shocking as the one I read last year, but No 6,7, and 8 makes up for it ! 

10 stories that could be April Fools... but aren't

It's the day when some news stories are a little bit "out there", when jokers spring traps to make fools of the rest of us. But not every weird report is an April Fool. Here is a round-up of some of the day's seemingly hoax news stories which are actually true.

1. PE in schools is embracing yoga, martial arts and cheerleading because pupils don't like being outside in the rain. Some schools are also putting on Krypton Factor-style problem solving for pupils more interested in maths than sports, according to a report by Ofsted.

2. Porsche has announced a four-fold rise in profits, recession or no recession. The German car maker bucked the bad news coming out of the industry through its lucrative stake in Volkswagen, and despite selling 27% fewer cars.

3. Pubs are telling expectant mothers when they've had enough to drink. A pregnant woman was thrown out of a pub for ordering an alcoholic drink. Caroline Williams, on a night out in Hove, had drunk one pint of beer but was refused another half-pint. The brewery has apologised and is investigating.

4. Glamour model Jordan will run the London Marathon. She hopes to raise £250,000 for charities NSPCC and Vision.

5. Alan Shearer is manager of Newcastle United. Despite repeatedly being linked with the post in the past and resisting the temptation to leave the BBC's Match of the Day comfy sofa, the Toon footballing hero finally returns. But if Kevin Keegan was touted as the new Messiah, it's not clear what further superlatives can be used to describe the coming of the city's prodigal son.

6. The lottery tells jackpot winners by e-mail. Lottery winner Graham Forrest found out he had won £2.7m when he opened an e-mail sent to him at work. When the message from the National Lottery said it had some "exciting news" for him, Mr Forrest from Cumbria thought he had won £10. He rang his wife but at first she refused to believe him.

7. A man has won £400,000 in compensation after cutting his finger. Police mechanic Alexander Darg was checking an air bag fault in a police car when he accidentally slid his hand across a knife that had been left behind. He told the court he had been terrified of contracting the HIV virus.

8. Miss Universe says Guantanamo Bay is a "relaxing place, so calm and beautiful", after a five-day trip there. Dayana Mendoza, a model from Venezuela, visited the US base in Cuba as a morale-booster for troops and blogged about the experience.

9. A "magic torch" detects drug use. The torch, costing only £40, works when it is shone in the face of night clubbers. It uses UV light to detect the tiniest traces of cocaine or amphetamine on nasal hair and police in Blackburn are using it to stop drug users from entering clubs.

10. The White House is comparing the UK to Oregon. A briefing booklet accompanying Barack Obama on his European tour equates each country to a US state - Germany to Montana, the Czech Republic to Virginia and so on.

Chechen leader Assassinated in Dubai ALIVE- brother

Nearly two months after the apparent assassination of Sulim Yamadayev, his brother has come out with a shocking revelation : Sulim has survived the assassination attempt and is recuperating in a Dubai hospital . Yamadayev, a former Chechen military commander was supposedly assassinated on March 28th 2009 in the underground parking of a luxury apartment in Dubai. The Dubai Police arrested a few suspects within days and came to the conclusion that the President of Chechyna ordered the killing  - something which he animatedly denied. 

The Russian consul general in Dubai, Sergei Krasnogor, said: "Dubai police officials, including the police chief, have repeatedly confirmed to me that Sulim Yamadayev had been killed and buried at a local cemetery." Russian diplomats earlier acknowledged they had not been provided with documentary evidence of Sulim's death.

Cities, especially those in the so called 'Third World' countries, often serve as a safe haven for high profile refugees and political figures who need to flee from their country of residence for fear of persecution. Adolf Eichmann, an ex-Nazi figure, for instance evaded Nazi hunters for more than a decade by inconspicuously moving to Buenos Aires with his family before Israeli intelligence finally caught up with him. Another Nazi moved to an unlikely refuge - Egypt. Living under a false identity in the most populous Arab country ensured his safety till his natural death in the 1990s.

Yamadayev previously had good relations with the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov before their relations soured.
 The case is clear and there is no confusion over what happened. An organized criminal group was behind the assassination.
Major General Dahi Khalfan Tamim
                                                        Dubai Police                    
Major General Dahi Khalfan Tamim of Dubai Police told Reuters that,  Yamadayev was accompanied by two bodyguards when he was killed. A year earlier, one of Sulim’s brothers, a former State Duma deputy Ruslan Yamadayev, was shot to death in Moscow. The Dubai Police said Yamadayev was fatally wounded by a single shot to the back of the head in the basement of his luxury apartment building. A few days after the alleged killing, one of his other brother however, had an altogether different version. According to that version, Sulim was able to shoot back at his attacker and survived the attack. There is no doubt on my mind that Sulim is indeed alive. Why else would his brother claim him to be alive ?