Saturday, May 20, 2006

X-MEN: THE LAST STAND: An X-cellent Close

Cast: Hugh Jackson, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen & Famke Janssen
Director: Brett Ratner from a script by Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn
Time: 104 mins
Rating: * * *
Halle Berry (Storm), Stewart, Jackson (Wolverine) and McKellen (Magneto)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT? A cure has been found to turn mutants back into humans. You would think that this is good news to the ‘gifted’ ones who find that their powers have alienated them from normal society. But no, the mutants are split right down the middle between forces led by Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen). Xavier is for tolerance and free choice but Magneto sees this as a move to wipe out his group of ‘superhumans’. And Magneto is declaring war on all who oppose him.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? This ‘last’ instalment may not have the wow-inducing X-factor of Bryan Singer’s X2: X-Men United but it is just as engaging. The plot is more character-driven with the telepathic Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) resurrecting from her watery grave to cause havoc and even the deaths of her ‘dear friends’. There are also neat subplots about newcomers like the winged Angel (Ben Foster), the impersonator Callisto (Dania Ramirez) and the blue Beast (Kelsey Grammer) who is also the mutant rep to the White House.

HIGHLIGHTS: The ‘realignment’ of the Golden Gate Bridge is the most awesome F/X treat here. Also the attack on Alcatraz Island can be eye-boggling. Director Rattner keeps the pace fast and taut with non-stop action throughout. Also, it is amazing to see Patrick and McKellen being transformed 20 years younger in a flashback sequence.

LOWLIGHTS: The dialogue is stilted somewhat and some of the ‘romantic sequences’ seem to fall flat.

THE LOWDOWN? A turbo-charged X-travagant entertainment for both X-men fans and action-seekers alike.


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