Director: Craig Brewer, Paramount Pictures, Rated M, 113 mins

Following his direction of Hustle and Flow comes Craig Brewer’s surprisingly enjoyable remake of the song and dance classic ‘Footloose’ that was released in 1984 and propelled young actor Kevin Bacon to stardom.
   In retaining the same storyline, Brewer has gone a good deal further with his rendition by injecting a lot more energy and fun, especially in relation to his well choreographed dance sequences that are a particular highlight in this heartfelt dance drama.
   Like the original, the story revolves around an out-of-town teenager who comes to stay with his surviving relatives and is resolute in overturning the ban on dancing and loud music that was imposed following a tragic accident which killed a number of teenagers three years earlier - dramatically depicted in the opening scenes.
   Taking on Bacon’s lead role of Ren McCormack is relative newcomer Kenny Wormald who, having starred in the dance production of Centre Stage: Turn It Up, delivers a great performance through his good natured personality and his wild dancing. This is complimented by co-stars Julianne Hough, playing Ren’s love interest - the rebellious Ariel Moore - and Miles Tellar (Rabbit Hole) who plays his close friend Willard.
   The only known actors are Dennis Quaid (The Special Relationship), Ariel’s preacher father who instituted the ban following his son’s death, and his wife Vi (Andie MacDowell-star of Four Weddings and a Funeral).
   In contributing to the script, Brewer has done a pretty good job in staying true to the original version, but has also given his movie a more modern look that is clearly intended to appeal to the current generation of young people at the same time as attracting a wider audience with his entertaining movie, designed to also pay tribute to the classic production.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamps

DVD Review

Soul Surfer

   Release Date October 2011
   Director: Sean McNamara, Sony Pictures, Rated PG, 106 mins

This DVD is the remarkable but true story of a young surfing champion – 13-year-old Bethany Hamilton (performed brilliantly by AnnaSophia Robb) who, after an enjoyable day of surfing, is brutally attacked by a shark but is saved by the quick action of close family friend Holt Blanchard (Kevin Sorbo).
   After leaving hospital Bethany has to re-learn how to do everything with one arm-including surfing.
Soul Surfer
   But it is Bethany’s Christian faith and the tremendous support she receives from her loving family, parents Cheri (Helen Hunt) and Tom (Dennis Quaid) as well as her brothers Noah (Ross Thomas) and Timmy (Chris Brochu) that ultimately gets her back into the water to finally win the National Surfing Championships.
   TV director Sean McNamara really delivers an uplifting story for the whole family, filled with heartfelt emotion and filmed against the beautiful Hawaiian landscape, including some great surfing sequences.
   The movie’s real highlight is of a courageous teenage girl who overcomes numerous obstacles and turns tragedy into triumph, reinforced in scenes showing the real Bethany Hamilton in the closing credits of the DVD.
   There is also a wonderful array of inspiring bonus features including Becoming Bethany, Heart of a Soul Surfer Documentary and the Making of Soul Surfer.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps

DVD Review

Assassination Games

   Release Date October 2011
   Director: Ernie Barbarash, Sony Pictures, Rated M, 101 mins

From relatively unknown director Ernie Barbarash, this DVD stars Jean Claude Van Damme and Scott Adkins in the lead roles of two renowned assassins (Vincent Brazil
Assassination Games
and Roland Flint) who are not known to each other until they decide to join forces to take down a ruthless drug dealer named Polo Yakur (Ivan Kaye).
   In Brazil’s case it is all about the money he will get while Flint is after revenge following his wife being beaten up by Polo’s thugs and left in a coma.
   Such is the perplexing plot of this solid action thriller which has too much dialogue and some lack-lustre action scenes, despite Barbarash injecting some style into what appears to be a strange storyline.
   Despite being an average action movie it is good to see Van Damme doing another action role (as well as taking on the role of Executive Producer) together with his daughter Bianca Bree who not only plays Flint’s wife Anna but also co-produces the movie.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 Rubber Stamps

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