The 10 Most and 5 Least Anticipated Films of 2015
Here we are a month into the 2015 and that fresh year smell is starting to wear off as the box office starts seeing the release of something other than wide releases of the award season films and the designated bombs (I’m looking at you, Blackhat). So let us unearth our crystal ball and try to gaze into future to see what 2015 holds for us as far as action films go with the 5 least and 10 most anticipated films of the year, at least for me.
#5 Anything with Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis is done in my eyes, he seems to appear in whatever is willing to pay his ridiculous price for making an appearance and when he does he phones in a lifeless performance. After Setup, Catch .44, The Cold Light of Day, Fire with Fire, The Prince and the just released Vice there is nothing that Bruno could attach himself to that could make me bother to even glance at the poster. I’m fucking done.
#4 Ant Man
This used to be my most anticipated movie of the year; it was going to be the Guardians of the Galaxy of 2015. When Edgar Wright got fired as the director to be replaced by the guy that did Bring It On, I still tried to keep my hopes up but then the trailer dropped. A thoroughly unimpressive bit of teasing showing some poor jokes and boring visuals, the very opposite of what the name Edgar Wright usually promises, top it off with some shoddy CGI and colour me out.
#3 Dragon Blade & Skiptrace
Oh, Jackie what are you doing with yourself? Maybe the greatest action hero of all time with an understanding of how action cinema ticks that may be unsurpassed, but the last couple of years seem to mostly have been spent smudging his resume more and more. His first outing this year seems to be a West meets East movie about Roman soldiers in Ming Dynasty China. It is also the latest misstep in what was once John Cusack’s career, and the latest piece in what I can only assume is Adrien Brody’s experiment to leave behind the weirdest filmography of all time. How else do you explain this and a Rob Schneider comedy directed by the Shamwow guy squeezed between Woody Allen and Wes Anderson movies?
Skiptrace is a buddy comedy that teams Jackie with Johnny Knoxville and a Renny Harlin hot off the heels of The Legend of Hercules. Yup, case rested.
#2 Jupiter Ascending
In the now decade and a half since all our minds were first blown by The Matrix have you caught yourself thinking “maybe it was a fluke?” Be honest, because I entertain the thought about once an hour. Because if anything the Wachowski brothers, siblings, whatevers, have spent pretty much showing us over and over again that they had no fucking clue what made The Matrix so good. Their latest effort about a cat eared Channing Tatum that needs to take Mila Kunis to his home planet because she’s the chosen one to end the reign of a tyrant makes me suspect that 2015 will not be the year when they figure it out. The fact that it was pulled from its planned release last July, in one of the more lackluster summers as far as major blockbusters releases go, and pushed to this February bodes all but well.
#1 Fantastic Four
Is anyone actually excited about this? This is the reboot of a franchise that has twice proven to fail on the big screen, but it needs to be re-launched every 10 years or else the rights pass back to Marvel. The studio doesn’t even seem interested in this film as there has been close to no marketing for this movie at all. No posters, no set photos, no concept art, we still have no clue about what The Thing is going to look like. All this topped off by the rumors of director Josh Trank’s appalling behavior on set and removal from the film’s post production phase bodes about as well as a sentence beginning with “Now I’m not racist, but…” The trailer is supposed to come out soon, but it would literally have to make me ejaculate through my eyeballs for me to believe this will be anything shy of a disaster.
Honorable mention: Full Love
This film has been on my most anticipated list for 5 years running now because it seemingly never seems to get released. I was still in High School when I pre-ordered this on DVD and it has yet to see the light of day. Full Love as it is currently called JCVD’s sophomore directorial effort has gone through so many name changes (The Eagle Path and Soldiers among them) and re-shoots that it now has two separate pages on IMDb. Maybe this is the year it finally gets a release.
#10 Skin Trade & A Man Will Rise
So Tony Jaa has had an interesting career trajectory over the last 11 years, from his debut in the boner inducing Ong-bak which made me think of a young Jackie Chan, through a series of continuously more disappointing follow ups and briefly retiring to become a monk he last year (hopefully) hit rock bottom with The Protector 2. After seeing an out of shape Jaa sleepwalk through that snooze fest that wanted you to believe the RZA is the greatest martial artist alive his upcoming double Dolph team up can only be the first step on a road to redemption.
Skin Trade, which has been in the works for almost a decade now, sees Tony Jaa team up with Dolph Lundgren, Michael Jai White and Peter Weller to take down Ron Perlman. While the trailer seems rather bleak (human trafficking might be a challenging theme to make humorous) it also looks like it’ll provide solid action with all 3 leads showing off their MA skills.
A Man Will Rise is the less prolific of the two with only a couple of promotional pictures to bode. The film will see Tony Jaa square off against Dolph and his glorious moustache.
#9 Pound of Flesh
Jean-Claude Van Damme has actually only had a single lead role in the last 4 years, considering the comeback he has actually made back into the mainstream it is almost a bit surprising. While this year will also see him taking a supporting role in the remake of his own smash hit from the 1980s Kickboxer, more importantly it also sees his first lead in 3 years in Pound of Flesh. The film is about JCVD going on a revenge rampage after the Chinese mob steals his kidney or something like that. Honestly I could care less what it is about I just want to see JCVD kick some ass again, and with JCVD and Ernie Barbarash’s solid track record of collaboration this bodes well.
#8 The Gunman
It seems the new trend in Hollywood is to deal with your mid-life crisis by playing a former assassin/mercenary being forced to pull out their old bag of tricks one last time. Well I’m not complaining because it is resulting in some good action and drawing some interesting names to the genre, and it’s a lot less creepy than marrying a 17 year old. This time its two time Oscar winner and generally perceived boring person Sean Penn who looks to put a violent past behind him, but is instead forced to create a violent future for himself and the people trying to prevent said lack of violence. What I’m trying to say is there will be violence. It has a solid cast with Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone and Idris Elba in the supporting roles and with Pierre Morel in the director’s chair this sounds like it should be a fun little action thriller and those so rarely come outside of franchises now that I welcome it with open arms. (Morel was the director of Taken which means he is responsible for the most recent bulk of films that the internet has blindly credited to Luc Besson. Like seriously internet; if Luc Besson farts on a script you’ll credit the whole film to him.)
#7 Furious 7
I wish I could rank this higher because I really want this series to continue being the ridiculous, fun and awesome thing it has grown into miles away from the Rob Cohen exercise in blandness where it all began. Sadly I can’t as two factors has me a bit worried; #1 The change of director from Justin Lin to James Wan. Now while Lin didn’t come from action films either Wan’s entire filmography has one mark that has me worried; none of his films are fun. They’re not just horror films, but they’re horror films that aim to be unpleasant to watch and the same is very much true for his only previous action film Death Sentence, a grim uncomfortable watch. I really hope the tone of the previous installments carry over despite the change. #2 is of course the tragic death of Paul Walker, while any future installment will probably suffer the loss more greatly I can’t imagine it will go unnoticed here either.
Anyway I was supposed to be excited about this so; Vin Diesel and The Rock fight Jason Statham! FUCK YEAH!
#6 Terminator: Genisys
This one was tracking fairly low on my radar for the longest time. Terminator Salvation was in lack of a better word; shit, and the last couple of films in Arnold’s comeback was less than convincing in regards to whether or not he still had it. Then the trailer for this dropped and I got interested. The film doesn’t seem to be interested in breaking any new ground, but at least they’re going with a more interesting take than Terminator Origins: Scar.
Since the lowdown on the film was already done so well in this article from last year I’ll rather let you read that again and move on.
#5 Avengers: Age of Ultron
Let’s face it: the superhero/comic book movie is king and if you don’t like them you are shit out of luck, son. Last year Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy proved that the Marvel movies can stand shoulder to shoulder with anything else on the action market right now. While the first Avengers film was a slight disappointment the recent high form of the Marvel films has got me having high hopes for the sequel. It seems like this installment will have fewer ties to the Thor series, easily the weakest of the Marvel CU branches, and that it will leave a permanent impact on the characters as we go into phase 3, both of which sounds more promising than the giant battle sequence that was the entire last movie.
#4 Mission: Impossible 5
Tom Cruise is on a roll recently and this franchise seems to be ageing like fine wine so I see no reason not be excited about this despite the limited knowledge we have about it. This series has been going strong for almost 20 years now without any reboots or remakes (yes, I do realize that movies themselves are a reboot of the television series) and never changing their selling point past “Tom Cruise does cool stuff” I can’t see a reason for ever not being ready for some more from the Mission Impossible series.
#3 Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Like a lot of you I too was pretending that Star Wars Episode 7 wasn’t a big deal for the longest time, but then that trailer dropped. Because who are we trying to kid? It is fucking Star Wars! It is back, there is no George Lucas, there are actual sets, it is being made by people who haven’t been on a 20+ year hiatus from filmmaking. So let us just sit back, feel like kids again and be excited as fuck that Star Wars is coming back and it looks like it won’t suck balls this time.
#2 Mad Max: Fury Road
I’ve waited so long for this movie to actually become reality and it looks absolutely insane! Everything so far seems to promise one balls to the wall, one hundred minute long action sequence, like Dredd but as a car chase across the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Tom Hardy has some big shoes to fill as he replaces Mel Gibson as the title character, but if this movie in the end is only 1/5th the film that The Road Warrior was I will still be going see it half a dozen times.
Is there a new James Bond movie coming in 2015? Yes, there is. Well game, set, match then. Any time a new Bond movie is coming out it will be my most anticipated movie of the year, the fact that this one promises some consistency with a returning director, a push into a new area with a new M, the further return of Q and not to mention classic bad guys SPECTRE, and last but not least Christoph Waltz as the villain. That’s like dream casting.