Film Fanatic: ‘Star Wars’ Casting News, ‘Rambo 5,’ Michael Keaton’s Next Role


Film Fanatic

The Raid’ Actors to Appear in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Do you remember how George Lucas’ Star Wars’ prequels were loaded with CGI? Attack of the Clones was practically one big green screen and instead of expanding the Star Wars universe and our imaginations, all the computer-generation effects in the prequels did was take you right out of the movie.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams is very aware of this complaint by fans and he and producer Kathleen Kennedy have expressed an emphasis on practical effects versus digital. Get everything you possibly can in-camera and seamlessly weave in subtle digital shots here and there to complete each frame. This is why Christopher Nolan and David Fincher are my favorite directors because they have perfected this style of filmmaking.

One of the great ways to show off in-camera work is to shoot a well-executed and well-choreographed fight sequence and Abrams has apparently hired three of the best fighters to appear in his film.

The Raid 2 -
Imagine scenes like this in Star Wars. | (

Twitch has reported that The Raid and The Raid 2 actors Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruyhian and Cecep Arif Rahman will all appear in the upcoming Star Wars movie.

I haven’t had the chance to see The Raid 2 yet, but I have seen the original and it is one of the great action movies of the past decade. The fight sequences are so real you think these men are actually kicking the crap out of one another. A level of intensity and realism like that would be great to see in a science fiction space adventure like Star Wars.

They won’t be major characters in the movie, but more than likely they’ll have memorable scenes and possibly collaborate on the stunts in the film. One of the things all Star Wars fans and movie fans in general are looking forward to with the new movie are the light saber battles. Can you imagine these three in such a scene? Sign me up.

Sylvester Stallone Plans to Star in ‘Rambo 5’

Now that The Expendables franchise is hopefully done after the dismal box office performance of the third movie, Sylvester Stallone is already hard at work on his next few projects and a couple of them are very familiar.

He’s currently working on the Rocky spin-off Creed, which focuses on the grandson, played by Michael B. Jordan, of Apollo Creed being mentored by Rocky Balboa. I don’t know about you but I kind of like the idea of Rocky getting out of the ring and playing the wise old trainer. We’ve seen enough of Stallone beating guys in the ring and despite his still great physique, he’s almost 70. It’s time to hang up the gloves. Plus the movie will be directed by Ryan Coogler whose debut film, Fruitvale Station (also starring B. Jordan), was a heartbreaking and amazing debut feature.

As for what Stallone will be doing after Creed, he let fans know via Twitter that it’s another one of his iconic characters. He revealed that he will be doing another Rambo movie entitled Last Blood: Rambo. Nothing else about the project is known.

Rambo -
A soldier without a country might finally be returning to America. | (

First of all, let me say that I love the title. It’s a nice book-end to the first film’s name and coming off of the gloriously violent and fun Rambo 4 which ended with him returning to America and his family’s farm, it would be fitting to end the franchise with him back in the States.

As I said, Rambo 4 is one of the most violent movies I have ever seen and it was a great throwback to ’80s action movies unlike The Expendables franchise which failed miserably at doing that.

The one thing that will be interesting is whether this last Rambo film is more like the first one in that it’s a story about a man dealing with PTS and the hardship of re-entering civilian life. The sequels definitely turned John Rambo into nothing more than an action hero who mows down hundreds of dudes with a machine gun and rips out their throats with his bare hands.

There’s nothing wrong with that (In a fictional world of course), but I would like to see a more grounded Rambo movie again. Show off those acting chops Stallone. We know you can kill endless bad guys but how about some actual emotion to add weight to all of that violence. We might just view the sequels in a different light if that happened. Except for Rambo 3. That movie will forever be stuck in ’80s machismo.

Michael Keaton Joins Skull Island Cast

With the success of Birdman, Michael Keaton is no doubt garnering a lot of attention from filmmakers about future projects. While he’s showed up in movies hear and there, Keaton has never really been “back” in the mainstream and that’s mostly from his doing. I mean when you’re a star for more than a decade, who could blame him for wanting to disappear for a few years.

Kong- Skull
Michael Keaton is up for an adventure on Skull Island. | (

But it looks like one of his first post-Birdman roles will indeed be garnering a lot of attention as he is finalizing a deal to join the cast of Legendary and Universal’s Kong: Skull Island.

With Tom Hiddleston and JK Simmons on board as well, Skull Island will focus on the dangerous jungle home of the big ape but it will not include the beast. But you can be sure there will be plenty of dinosaurs, giant bugs and rough terrain to fill the void.

I’m actually really excited for this because of the cast and because Jordan Vogt-Roberts is directing. His previous film, The kings of Summer, was one of my favorite films of 2013 and it will be interesting to see him tackle a project on a much bigger scale.

Kong: Skull Island is set to be released on March 10, 2017.

Passionate about movies, sports and writing, Ryan hails from Bend but lives in Springfield now. He earned his college degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and hopes to one day write a novel. He also enjoys sunsets and long walks on the beach.

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