ZOO series review (2017- 2019)

Where to watch: Streaming on Netflix

Zoo series trailer

Rating: 3/5

Time: 3 seasons, 39 episodes of 40 minutes each

Zoo series cast: Kristen Connolly, James Wolk, Billy Burke, Nonso Anozie, Nora Arnezeder

“The world was becoming a zoo, without cages.” James Patterson, author of Zoo

The James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge novel of the same name is the inspiration behind the Zoo series, streaming on Netflix. The show is based on an interesting premise – what if after generations of subjugation, hunting and killing by humans, the animals and birds of Earth were to rise up in unison against humans?

This rebellion takes place in multiple locations across the world. In Botswana, Africa, lions unify as one team to hunt and kill tourists. In Japan and Rio de Janeiro, swarms of bats come out of their hiding places to wreak havoc in broad daylight. In Slovenia, domestic and street dogs form packs to kill people.

In order to make sense of this dystopian nightmare, a motley group of investigators is put in place. We have Dr Jackson Oz (played by James Wolk), a zoologist based in Africa who has a day job as a safari guide. His father’s thesis on animal behaviour may shed light on the bizarre behaviour of the animal kingdom. He’s joined by his assistant and good friend, the ever-dependable Abe (played by Nonso Anozie). We have the veterinary pathologist, Mitch (played by Billy Burke) and pushy journalist, Jaime (played by Kristen Connolly) who is convinced that the chemicals dispensed by a big, bad global corporation is responsible for the animal attacks. Finally, we have Chloe Tousignant, a French spy agent who is the leader of this disparate group.

Heroes of Zoo

Season 1 of Zoo is eminently binge-worthy. You will want to know what happens next….will the investigators find out how this happened? Can they find a “cure” for the animals’ erratic behaviour? However, the fast-paced sci-fi thriller runs out of James Patterson’s original novel in the first season. By the second and third seasons, Zoo begins to take on new and bizarre twists and turns, which even for the sci-fi genre is hard to believe. We’ve given a 3/5 rating for Season 1. Seasons 2 and 3 can be given a miss.

Has Zoo been renewed for Season 4?

The Zoo tv series was cancelled by CBS after Season 3 due to dwindling popularity. The show could get only a 0.51 rating in the 18-41 demographic and just 2.56 million viewers.

The Kingdom movie review (2007)

Streaming on Netflix

Rating: 3/5

Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Cast: Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Ashraf Barhom

Made in the years after 9/11 and before Osama bin Laden was killed by the US, The Kingdom focuses on America’s fight against jihadis in Saudi Arabia. The movie’s opening credits help to concisely explain the current situation in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The opening credits are a mini history lesson in itself, explaining the founding of the kingdom, discovery of oil by Americans and the joint formation of the Arabian-American Oil Company (today called Saudi Aramco). This led to the establishment of American housing compounds in Saudi Arabia where American workers of Aramco lived with their families.

The Kingdom opens with scenes from a company picnic and a baseball match that is in progress. This peaceful and happy atmosphere is soon shaken by gun shots and a suicide bomber as trigger-happy jihadists in Saudi Army uniforms reign bullets and terror on the American families inside their compound.

Several hundred miles away, FBI special agent, Ronald Fleury (played by Jamie Foxx) is tasked with investigating the terrorist incident. This is an uphill task because the Saudis are not very cooperative. As special agent, Janet Mayes (played by Jennifer Garner) explains – “The Saudi Royal Family cannot appear as if they’re losing control. If they lose control of their country, lose control of the people, they risk losing control of the oil. And that’s not going to happen.

Fleury and the rest of his team (Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper and Jason Bateman) fly to Saudi Arabia and they finally find a kindred soul in Colonel Faris al Ghazi (played by Ashraf Barhom) who is just as keen to find the terrorists.

Never a dull moment, The Kingdom has some great action sequences and car chases.

The Extraction movie review (2020)

Streaming on Netflix

Rating: 2 / 5

Time: 1 hour, 57 minutes

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Randeep Hooda

Chris Hemsworth – starrers are usually high on action. The Extraction is no exception. The action thriller has some good fight sequences, including a 12-minute action sequence that was shot continuously.

However, the rest of the movie disappoints with a predictable story line.

Set in India and Bangladesh, the movie features an Indian cast. The story unfolds with the kidnapping of the son of a Mumbai-based crime lord by a rival drug lord based in Dhaka. The boy, Ovi, is subsequently taken to Bangladesh from where a mercenary, Tyler (Chris Hemsworth), has been hired to extract him.

Things go wrong (as they usually do in a movie, otherwise where is the drama?) and carefully laid plans go waste. Tyler must improvise but there are complications as our hero carries a death wish, haunted by the death of his own son a few years ago. Will Ovi be saved? Will both Tyler and Ovi survive the extraction?

There is one particularly stomach-churning scene when Tyler and Ovi jump into a Dhaka sewage drain to escape the bad guys. With creepy crawlies on the walls and rats swimming in the drain, it was scarier than when our heroes were under fire.

In other news, the producers were in the process of making a sequel for The Extraction but the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have delayed it considerably.