REVIEWS – Killing Season; Percy Jackson 2

Hunter x hunter
Review by VIves Anunciacion
Published August 8, 2013
Inquirer Libre

Killing Season
Directed by Mark Steven Johnson

In Killing Season, Robert De Niro and John Travolta contemplate the meaning of shooting each other with arrows.

Part thriller, part pseudo-philosophical discussion on the merits and demerits of war by two veterans of the Bosnian war during the 1990s. De Niro plays retired US colonel Ford who helped Muslim Bosnians in the war, while Travolta, sporting a slurred Russian accent, plays the duplicitous Christian Serbian war vet, Kovac.

After surviving the Bosnian-Serbian ethnic war, Kovac hunts down Ford in the Appalachian mountains where the senior has retired in seclusion. Posing as a tourist, Kovac befriends Ford in the beginning but soon reveals his vengeful intentions. But the older veteran, despite his age and a permanently-injured leg, will not let the Serb torture his way to revenge without a good fight.

Sliced between National Geographic, The Deer Hunter, The Edge and an episode of Survivor, Killing Season (former title Shrapnel) is moderately successful with its action while the two are out-witting (or out-torturing) each other. However, each time it talks about how war affects a person, it just boils down to being pretentious – with an ending that begs for the song, America, The Beautiful. De Niro and Travolta, though, true Hollywood icons, act their way as nicely as they can.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Directed by Thor Freudenthal
Based on the novel series by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is a light-hearted teen adventure often peppered with humor. It’s because of this light, not-so-serious approach of the sequel that I found it more enjoyable than the first installment. Also, I miss Harry Potter, so this was, sort of, a welcome reminder of those days.

It’s a few years after Lightning Thief, Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is binata na, training in Camp Half-Blood. Not long, fate intervenes again for the son of Poseidon and his friends Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and the satyr Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) to go on a quest to find the Golden Fleece and save the dying tree that protects the camp from intruders.

It turns out that this quest has something to do with the Lightning Thief, Luke (Jake Abel), and resurrecting Kronos, father of the Olympians and all-around bad Titan, Saving the Camp would also mean saving the world from Kronos’ grudge.

I didn’t read the book, just as I didn’t read the first – so I have no point of comparison with the novel. The movie starts with a narration by Percy, in general reintroducing why there are demigods and where they are now. That way, people can actually start with this film and opt to skip the first.

I didn’t enjoy the first movie, so my expectations were low for this sequel. However, Logan Lerman is becoming quite the talented actor, coming from the really good coming-of-age film The Perks of Being A Wallflower. Laced with humor and charm, the film barely survives a tepid plot and less-than-spectacular effects. If only more Greek mythology was written in, the better the film could have been.

Nothing spectacular in Sea of Monsters, but loads of amusing, funny, teen-friendly lines.

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