Described as a film Britain can be proud of and Hollywood must be afraid of, 1996’s Trainspotting was the film that defined a generation. Receiving widespread critical acclaim for its subject matter, themes, humour, acting and incredible writing – it wasn’t long before it became a cult classic. With immediate impact on popular culture and often regarded to as the greatest Scottish film of all time, director Danny Boyle found his niche bringing to screen Irvine Welsh’s novel of the same name.
Now, 21 years and one hell of a career later, Boyle reunites his ensemble cast of Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle for T2: Trainspotting, an addictive hit of pure cinema, one of the greatest sequels ever made and an experience like no other.
First, there was opportunity and then there was betrayal. Returning to the only place he can ever call home, Renton (McGregor) finds 20 years have passed but not much has changed. Reuniting with Spud (Bremner) and Sick Boy (Miller), it remains unclear whether his old friends can forgive him for taking off with their money all those years ago. With Begbie (Carlyle) still out for revenge, other old friends like sorrow, hatred, love, fear and regret come to welcome Renton as he partners with Sick Boy and his life of crime in an attempt to channel his addiction into something less extreme.
Lifting inspiration from both Welsh’s first novel and follow up ‘Porno’, the situations we find our characters in is exactly where you would have hoped. Impeccable writing, editing and directing help make for its hilarious and often beautifully outrageous tone. All four leads are in cracking fine form playing characters they haven’t portrayed in two decades, each bring intensity, likability and wonderment to display the hallmarks of aging in an excitingly unique way.
Well worth the wait and well worth a ticket, this is a film so good it makes sense it took this long. Choose Life. Choose Trainspotting 2.
‘The Great Wall’
What where they trying to keep out is the question answered in Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s monster film ‘The Great Wall’, centred around one of the legends surrounding The Great Wall of China’s construction.
Matt Damon stars as a mercenary, teaming with an elite army to defend against a horde of giant monsters. This good old fashioned cheesy blockbuster is full of colour and exciting fun, a lot better than the trailer would have you believe.
Simultaneously coming at a time of coincidental social relevance, this perfect example of a mindless popcorn action fantasy adventure flick could very well be Donald Trump’s new favourite.
Following the mercenaries on the hunt for black powder (the earliest known chemical explosive) and on the run from bandits who have already killed some of their group, William (Damon) and Tovar (Pedro Pascal) soon find themselves the only two left alive after being attacked by an unknown monster. Slashing off one of the monster’s arms in the process, the two men take it with them on their journey where the next day they stumble across the north entrance of the Great Wall. Taken prisoner by The Nameless Order – an elite army of Chinese soldiers who protect the wall day and nightly and suspect the men of larceny – William and Tovar soon learn the severed arm belongs to a Tao Tei, member of a massive horde of alien monsters who rise to wreak death and destruction every sixty years.
Shocked that the impending attack is sooner than expected, the commanding officers quickly prepare for war, commencing battle stations as the first wave of monsters attack the Great Wall. Embroiled in an all out invasion that will determine the fate of the human race, William’s quest for fortune turns into a battle of life and death as he and Tovar break free to join the fight, helping the army to hopefully defeat the seemingly unstoppable force.
With impressive action, likeable characters and Matt Damon’s status as leading man help drive forward an energetic and not too long fun action adventure.