The Fate of the Furious: Review

The Fate of the Furious is the eighth instalment in the Fast and the Furious franchise and as ever features its hugely star studded cast comprising of Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel etc. The film grossed $532 million worldwide during its opening weekend, setting the record for the highest-grossing opening of all time.

‘It’s lost its roots, its just an action film now’ and ‘why are they are making another one’ are all I’ve heard since the first announcement that Fast 8 was in production. Granted the Fast and Furious series has gone away from street racing and has become more of an action film per say, however they are fricking awesome films so who cares?! Who doesn’t love a good action film with flashy cars and huge explosions?! And I am sick to death of people saying that the films aren’t realistic – people go to the cinema to escape from realism not watch a film about someone who works 9-5 and drives a shitty car! Give it a rest!!!

Rant over, the Fate of the Furious was a film I was looking forward to and I was interested to see how the movie would play out following on from the death of Paul Walker (Brian in the Fast series). The film gets off to a great start and as usual you are thrown straight into the action and from here on out it maintains its fast pace, pardon the pun. There are plenty of twists too and without giving away any spoilers, this is a film that will leave you gobsmacked at times, especially hardcore fans of the series.

There’s just something about the cars and explosions which really makes the Fate of the Furious sparkle – the luxurious cars and high octane stunts will make you want to drive like a maniac on your way home from the cinema! Tyrese Gibson, who plays Roman Pearce, is as hilarious as ever and in fact, bar Helen Mirren’s dreadful cockney accent, I can’t fault the cast one bit! Another thing I love about the film, well all the films really, is the focus on how important family is and this is evident throughout especially in regards to the memory of Paul Walker.

Go and watch, wait for the DVD or avoid altogether? – The Fate of the Furious is my film of the year *so far* so I would highly recommend you go and watch it!

Rating: 9.0/10

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Beauty and the Beast: Review

Beauty and the Beast is the latest Disney film to grace the big screen and is a live action remake of the 1991 animated musical. I felt a live action remake of Beauty and the Beast would go either one of two ways, be a hit like the remake of The Jungle Book or be a disaster like the Tarzan remake was. Fortunately, this remake is a triumph!
Having not watched the original Beauty and the Beast film in about a decade, I struggled to remember what exactly happened (only that there was some hairy dude and a singing candlestick?!), but in no time at all, the fantastic tale of love came straight back to me.
The story was fantastic, retaining the key features from the original Beauty and the Beast whilst incorporating modern twists into the film at certain points as well. The cast is fantastic, there is not one character I can fault and there was a stand out performance from Josh Gad, best known as the voice of Olaf, who played LeFou. Whilst he is the most controversial character (his lust over Gaston), he is definitely one of the funniest characters. Emma Watson plays the role of Belle brilliantly too, although I couldn’t help but think of her as Hermione Granger!
Now I’m no lover of musicals but the singing and dancing is really is what makes this film great! I thought Ewan McGregor who played Lumiere was particularly great and I was impressed with his vocal ability. Something else I was particularly impressed with was the CGI, something which Disney seem to have perfected in recent live action films. The Beast looked incredible and the rest of the household objects such as Cogsworth the mantel clock also looked spot on.
Go and watch, wait for the DVD or avoid altogether? –  If you are looking for a great family film to go and watch then I would definitely recommend going to watch Beauty and the Beast!
Rating: 8.0/10

Iceland in a Nutshell: Day 3

After an exciting day of adventure and taking in the sights of Iceland, Day 3 was set to be a day of relaxation and a last day of taking in the Icelandic culture.
Yet again, another bright and early start as we boarded the coach as we set off for the Blue Lagoon! The Blue Lagoon is a hugely popular geothermal spa located just a 50 minute drive from Reykjavik.
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The Blue Lagoon was somewhere I was always interested in going but I thought it was a bit of gimmick. Never the less, we decided to pay it a visit and it was well worth the trip! Once you have got over the strong sulphur smell, the warm mineral rich waters make this geothermal spa a heavenly retreat.
We opted for the ‘comfort’ package which included extras like the Algae Mask and free drink of our choice. This was definitely a good choice as we both felt reinvigorated after the face mask and the ice cold drinks topped off a hugely relaxing morning.
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Once we had dried off we headed back to Reykjavik and before we set about shopping, we stopped off at the BEST CHIP SHOP IN THE WORLD. There is no other way to describe ‘Reykjavik Chips’! We ordered a large portion to share between us with two dips and honestly these were the tastiest chips I have ever had. After we had devoured the food of the gods, we then finished off the holiday by visiting a few traditional Icelandic shops before heading home!
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Iceland is an absolutely amazing country and our short taster of it left a great impression on the both of us. I would highly recommend you visit if you get the chance, but remember to take a LOT of spending money!

Iceland in a Nutshell: Day 2

Day 2 in Iceland began bright and early as we prepared ourselves for a day of adventure of the Golden Circle tour. Our Golden Circle tour consisted of Þingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss waterfall and the geothermal area in Haukadalur, which contains the geysers Geysir and Strokkur.
Our first stop was the beautiful Þingvellir National Park. This is location where the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian plate meet, just North of the largest natural lake in Iceland. The national park offers absolutely beautiful views of the Icelandic countryside and well worth its name as a World Heritage Site. This is definitely a must visit sight for anyone who appreciates geographical beauty like myself.
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Our next stop was to the infamous Icelandic geysers, just a further 20 minute drive away. Again, this was another location of geographical beauty and somewhere I had wanted to visit for absolutely ages. These hot springs are a natural phenomenon and Strokkur, one of the most famous geysers in Iceland which erupts once every 6-10 minutes, is truly a magnificent sight to behold. The geysers are definitely a must see to anyone visiting Iceland.
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Our final stop of the Golden Circle tour was the majestic Gulfoss waterfall. Funnily enough Gullfoss didn’t disappoint with fitting in with the trend of Iceland’s beauty! This picturesque waterfall really is postcard material, especially with the snow scattered around the countryside.
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After the long drive back to Reykjavík and we had recharged our batteries with a quick nap, we headed out into the city looking for somewhere to eat. Our restaurant of choice was the ‘American Bar’, and after we had devoured some delicious BBQ ribs (and lots of Gull!) we headed to the harbour as we prepared ourselves for a Northern Lights cruise!
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We boarded the ship and before we knew it, the tour guide was calling us on the deck below telling us to go the top deck as soon as possible. Low and behold, there they were, the Northern Lights! I couldn’t believe my eyes, the greeny pink rays danced in the night sky just above me – I was speechless. The sky remained clear throughout and we luckily got chance to see them all the way through the cruise. Sadly, our cameras barely managed to capture this beautiful spectacle, at least this gives me an excuse to buy a new camera!

Iceland in a Nutshell: Day 1

My girlfriend and I are just back from an unforgettable 3 days in the cold Nordic island of Iceland. I hope you enjoy our adventure as much as we did!
Our journey began with an early hours flight from Manchester airport to Keflavík airport, which arrived at precisely 9AM. From Keflavík, we then took a bus for an hours drive to the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavík. We then arrived at our accommodation for the stay, the Swan House Apartments Reykjavík. The accommodation was fantastic, located right in the heart of the capital, just a 5 minute walk from the high street. The accommodation has stunning views of Esja, the snow covered mountain range which watches over this magnificent city.
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Upon first impression, I was highly impressed with what I saw of Reykjavík, it was clean and tidy and everyone we spoke to was polite and spoke great English to answer any queries we had. There was a whole load of graffiti in the city too, but not the bad kind, the majority of it looked professional! From the highly detailed gorilla sprayed onto the fence of a construction sight to a giant squid looking monster on the side of a 3 story building, this really did add to the charm of the city.
Once we had unpacked and got our bearings, we headed on out to explore! Our first stop (after we had picked up some snacks for an on the go lunch) was Hallgrímskirkja, the largest church in Iceland. As impressive as it is on the outside because of its sheer size, its the inside where it’s beauty lies. The inside of the church is truly breathtaking and I would highly recommend anyone with an interest in architecture to pay this landmark a visit.
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We then decided we would keep up our tradition of visiting a zoo in every country we visit by going to the Reykjavík family park and zoo. It may be called a zoo, however due to the size and lack of variation of breeds of animals, ‘farm’ is a much more suitable term. Whilst the variety of animals is lacking, all of the animals in the zoo (bar the reptiles) are of Icelandic origin, making for a truly authentic experience. If you are looking for first-hand contact with the animals, then this is definitely the place to come, there are plenty of hand sanitiser’s dotted around the park – allowing for you to get up close and personal. The stars of the zoo are undoubtedly the family of seals who happily swim round in their pool whilst entertaining their hysteric audience.
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After the zoo, our stomachs got the better of us so we headed back towards the city centre in search of somewhere for dinner. On the way back, we took the scenic route along the harbour front, taking in the beautiful panoramic views of Esja. For dinner, we kept up with theme of our own traditions by visiting the Hard Rock Cafe. The Hard Rock was where we first discovered how expensive Iceland really is – for 2 drinks each and a burger each, the bill came to nearly £100! You can’t fault the quality however, the food was to die for and Gull, the local beer, was one of the best beers I have ever had.
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After we had enjoyed a few more drinks at some of the popular bars on the high street and realising we had  spent half of our spends for the holiday in just one day, we decided we would call it a night, ready for the Golden Circle on Day 2!

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildands Review

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands is the latest instalment in the Tom Clancy series and it is the first Ghost Recon game to feature an open world environment. The game is based in Bolivia and the story follows an elite squadron of ‘Ghosts’ who set out to put a stop to the increasingly growing drug gang, known as Santa Blanca.

I really couldn’t decide on whether I was going to pick Ghost Recon Wildlands immediately upon its release, but in eventually I gave in. I can’t count the amount of times in recent years where I have picked up an open world shooter and forgotten about 2 months down the line. However, Ghost Recon Wildlands could be the curve in that trend!
First of all, lets start with the humongous open world. Decorated with mountains, forests, deserts and salt flats, it really is a hugely fun environment to explore.  Whilst the environment doesn’t exactly stand out visually as anything amazing, the changing weather and day / night cycle is a great feature and can massively add to the thrills when completing various missions. There is plenty to do across the map, from chasing down enemy supply trucks to capturing enemy outposts, the longevity of the game is huge.
The gameplay is great too, Ubisoft have seemingly took the best bits from The Division and Rainbow Six Seige’s gameplay and combined them into Ghost Recon Wildlands. The amount of customisations available to your character and the vast array of weapons on offer mean that no two characters in the game are the same. The vehicles in the game are somewhat poor however, whilst there are 60 different vehicles on offer to the player, a lot of these vehicles are too similar and lack variation. Don’t even get me started on the appalling driving controls!
Undoubtedly though, the best feature of Wildlands is deciding on your play style. This may sound odd and down to the player rather than the game, however the missions in Ghost Recon Wildlands really do make you stop think about how to plan your next attack and focus on what type of playing style you are going to adopt. For example, I have set my playing difficulty to ‘extreme’ difficulty as I really wanted the full experience of the game. With the ‘extreme’ difficulty comes huge challenges, the enemies are extremely vigilant and a lot more powerful so I have had to approach missions with a much more stealth focused approach. This leads to great satisfaction when you successfully complete a mission unscathed, without a single enemy knowing you were even there.
Buy, wait for sale or avoid: If you are a video game lover who enjoys tactical shooters then I would highly recommend this triumph.

Rating: 7.9

You can pick up Ghost Recon Wildlands here – http://amzn.to/2nzAO49

Be sure to check out gameplay from Ghost Recon Wildlands on my YouTube channel here – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlLNwxhNF9YS88o-B1M_FMpV9pxUb1XeI