Don’t Breathe 2 & Respect
Don’t Breathe 2 (2021) & Respect (2021) 2-in-1 review
Don’t Breathe 2 sees Stephen Lang return as The Blind Man in this prequel showing how he- wait, what’s that? It’s a sequel? Set years later. And he’s got an adopted daughter and has to keep her safe? Well that sounds wonderful. The film opened in August to a predictably muddy reception…
Opening that same weekend, Jennifer Hudson stars as real-life singer Aretha Franklin in Respect, which follows Franklin’s life and career from childhood to her worldwide fame. The film was received with warm reviews, with Jennifer Hudson’s performance receiving nearly universal acclaim from critics.
I chose to tackle these two films together for a few simple reasons: They were released together, I got to go see neither of them in theaters, and I honestly don’t have enough to say about these two movies to fill an entire review… So let’s start off with the not-so-anticipated horror sequel that none of us were really asking or waiting for…
Don’t Breathe 2 is a mostly average film with a few key flaws that take is from bad to worse. While the film starts off entertaining enough, the story quickly abandons the idea of a single-setting thriller, which is one of many elements that made the original film so unique. While the film finds its pace again in the final act, it does so by answering some questions that we didn’t ask in the first place… Now for some reason I don’t feel like spoiling the film, but- it doesn’t make any sense.
On top of the silly plot, we need to talk about our “protagonist.” This is not the first horror film to make you root for the bad guy, but I can’t think of one that misses the mark so hard. First, he’s a terrible person. Second, they don’t dig into a redemption arc as much as they could or should if they are going to, which they do attempt to do. Third, the lack of resolution is- insulting? Why make the film? Oh money? Okay that makes sense. Also here’s a 4/10, because you clearly don’t have anything to say in this film. Heck ask Disney for advice on how to make villains your main character…
Now on to Respect! A very typical music biopic. And if you have seen any biopic ever- this one tries hard to be all of them. And for the most part, it works! The film aims for a more straightforward narrative, which was nice for a two and a half hour runtime. We aren’t racking our brains trying to remember where in the frame story we are. And the film manages its beats very well! Part of that is the ability to use music numbers to measure major points in the script, but hey, what better way to tell this story!
Well come to think of it, one with a little more depth might have been the way… Respect tackles a slew of issues, including Atetha’s relationship with her father, her unhealthy relationship with her first husband Ted, her involvement in the Civil Rights movement, and a few other themes including faith that are all struggles Aretha faced on her journey to fame. Which is all fine! I think the film does a fine job portraying those issues! But a little over two hours in, some writer realized we didn’t have a cliché substance abuse montage which I remind you is not a requirement for music biopics… The film gets through the topic as quickly as it is brought up. Which makes me ask…. why bother?
That said, the messy third act is still held together by a fantastic performance from Hudson, who along with the rest of the cast, make the quality of this film stand for itself. It is a bit long, a bit unfocused, and probably not the film the great Aretha Franklin deserved. But it’s not bad either! 6/10.
So Don’t Breathe 2 and Respect? Did you see either of them? How about both? What did you think and which did you like more? Be sure to leave a like or a comment or both below and let us know! And of course, thanks for reading!
-review by Ryan Prince