By Chris Tookey
WRATH OF THE TITANS (12A) )
Verdict: For action fans only
STREET DANCE 2 (PG) )
Verdict: Lamer than the original
Warrior queen: Rosamund Pike
Comeback, Mel Gibson, all is forgiven! Mad Mel at least attempted the right accent when he essayed a part.
The Perseus played by Mel's compatriot Sam Worthington might as well be called Perth-eus, for present-day Australia is as close to Ancient Greece as this movie gets.
Mr Worthington apologised for his bad acting in Clash Of The Titans. Regrettably, Wrath Of The Titans proves his rotten performance was no fluke. He's even more personality-free here than he was in Man On A Ledge.
The first thing director Jonathan Lieberson might have done was standardise the accents. Distractingly, John Bell - the boy playing Perseus's son, Helion - speaks London prep school English, while Ares, Perseus's half-brother, is played with an American accent . . . by a Venezuelan. Other members of the cast include the god Hephaestus, played by Bill Nighy with a broad Yorkshire accent, possibly to differentiate himself from an American Zeus (Liam Neeson), a posh English Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and a cockney half-God Agenor (Toby Kebbell).
The film's biggest asset is the beautiful Rosamund Pike, taking over from Gemma Arterton as the warrior queen Andromeda in a fetching leather outfit.
Other sights worth seeing are the special effects. The Cyclops are (yes, there's more than one) a big advance on the jerky monsters created by Harry Harryhausen.
A minotaur's labyrinth is a technical marvel, as is a two-headed chimera. In Clash Of The Titans, the 3D effects were added in post-production. Here, they are incorporated into the shoot, and the film is better for it. However, there is a disconcerting feel at the start of many scenes that everything is swimming out of focus and then back into it.
Lieberson's direction lacks any sense of geography or light and shade. Nor does he endow the film with the slightest sense of reality.
Another dud: Sam Worthington's acting is once again awful
The rules of the gods' universe seem to be made up as the film goes along, and their behaviour seems petulant, rather than anything grander. I'm not even sure what the Titans were wrathful about.
The thing that should have angered them is the script, which is boring, banal and bereft of humour.
By the end of 100 noisy minutes, the final ten of which are just a series of explosions, little Helios was wailing: 'I'm actually looking forward to going back home' - a sentiment which inspired audible agreement in more than one audience member.
* * *
The first StreetDance was great fun, and came out two years ago, at the height of the street-dancing craze. The sequel is nowhere near as impressive or well-timed.
The dance act Flawless reappear, none too heavily disguised as The Surge. Otherwise, only 2008 Britain's Got Talent winner George Sampson survives from the first movie, and his acting is not on a par with his dancing, which curiously takes place mostly in the background.
The leading character is Greg Rusedski lookalike Ash (Falk Hentschel). He's traumatised when he falls over in a dance battle with world champ Vince (Anwar Burton). But Ash cheers up when Eddie (Sampson) offers to manage him.
Lame: The cast of StreetDance 2 are full of energy, but where is the choreography?
Much in this movie is underwritten, including the barely-there villain Vince, but some effort should have been made to explain how Eddie has the funds to fly around Europe, the expertise to recruit the best dancers from each city and the persuasive ability to gather them together in Paris to take part in a dance contest with no financial reward.
Generally in this kind of film, there's an attempt to fuse streetdance with some other form.
A FILM? MORE LIKE AN AD FOR THE ARMY
ACT OF VALOUR (15)
Verdict: Patriotic clap-trap
This Pentagon-approved feature is blatantly a recruitment film for the American special forces, so gung-ho it makes John Wayne's The Green Berets look lily-livered.
It is undeniably well-crafted, with action sequences that are above the norm and reflect professional knowledge of military technique.
But the script is amateurish and the characters are very poorly drawn - the two leads are like animatronic action-men. It comes as no surprise to learn they are played by servicemen, not actors.
It resembles an unironic, dumbed-down version of the puppet movie Team America: World Police. I don't think that's a good thing, entertainment-wise or politically.
But if you're a big fan of military hardware and looking for a tribute to the brilliance of America's special forces, this is for you.
Here, it's salsa, as interpreted by the seemingly Hispanic Eva (Sofia Boutella) and her French partner Lucien (Maykel Fonts), who is set up as a rival to our hero but vanishes without explanation.
A boy-meets-girl scenario develops between Ash and Eva in oh-so-romantic Paris, with elderly comic relief in the form of Eva's uncle — none other than Tom Conti, rejoicing in an accent that hails simultaneously from Spain, Italy and the Greek islands.
Not even Tom's twinkling can rescue Jane English's abysmal script, which tacks together clichés without a clue how to breathe life into them.
Directors Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini use too much flashy editing, which detracts from the dancing. The final showdown is particularly disappointing.
The dancers are athletic and have energy, but there's no sign of an expert choreographer capable of combining those talents and building coherent routines.
One obliging critic has hailed this movie as 'Bigger. Better. Bolder. Back.' The alliterative truth, I'm afraid, is that it's Louder. Lazier. Lousier. Lame.
VIDEO: Wrath Of The Titans London premiere