Friday, January 6, 2012

Movie Review “Holy Flame of the Martial World”

Max Mok Siu Chung as Yien Tien-Chu
Mary Jean Reimer as Tu Chuan-erh
Yeung Jing Jing as Yin Tan-Feng

Short Story Summary: A brother and sister seek vengeance on the ones that killed their parents.

Story: (8/10) The bases of the story is nothing special. It is the usual revenge tale that shows up in many martial art films. That being said, I did find the movie really entertaining. It is a fantasy/Wukia film that is well written and stays at a nice, steady pace. I will warn that this movie is very campy and may not be for everyone. Crazy, over the top things happen throughout the movie and it may turn off some people.

Characters/Cast: (9/10) First, the dubbing job on this film is hilarious to listen to. Also, for some reason,every time the characters do something they perform a series of hand gestures(they even perform hand signs for holding their breath.) Even though their acting is really comical to see sometimes, I did really like the cast in this film. Max Mok Siu Chung is great as the main protagonist of the film. I found that his character acted more normal than most of the others and he is overall likable . His sister Ying Tan-Feng, played by Yeung Jing Jing, is also good and is the other sane character in this film. She also really good and I actually found her to be the more interesting of the two main protagonist. The reason is that while her brother is set on a steady path from the beginning, she is in a terrible situation of being manipulated by the people that killed her parents. It is interesting to see her struggle in trying to make sense of the confusing situation before her. As for the rest of the characters, the best way to describe them is that they are each their own form of crazy. They all do crazy things, like Yien Tien chu’s master has a laughing attack(that is the only way I can describe it), there is a mummy that knows martial arts, and that is just a few on the crazy characters that you will see. Even though they are quirky, I still liked all the characters and the cast did a top notch job.

Action: (7/10) I was not that crazy about the fight scenes. They were entertain to watch, but most of them you could not really call “martial arts”. The fights in this film consisted of mostly magical attacks such as flying swords and shooting beams out of their fingers like Yusuke from “Yu Yu Hakusho. The more traditional fights where mainly sword fights, but they were okay. The final fight is not so much intense as it is hysterically over the top and a sight to see. Not the best action scenes, but entertaining none of the less.

Music: (9/10) while not much in the way of music, what’s there is really good. They really add to the action scenes and are a welcome addition.

Visuals: (7.5/10) Three words: Too…much…wire! I am not really the biggest fan of wires, but if is used in moderation I can stand it. This film thought uses it in every fight scene and even sometimes in other scenes as well. There are wires on everything from the actors to the weapons they carry. I know that this is a Wukia film, but could they not have just toned down the wire use a little. Also, when the actors are flying it looks comically bad. I will say that the scene when the swords are flying around is cool and looks well done. The blood affects are pretty good, but the skeletons that some people get turned intolook obviously fake. There are also a few good explosions thrown in for good measure (this was made in the 80’s after all) and the sets are interesting.

Conclusion: A film not for everyone, but still a well-made comedy/martial arts/fantasy movie. I recommend checking this one out.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Movie Review “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie”

( I tried to give an unbiased opinion about this movie, didn't happen.)

Starring: Jason David Frank as Tommy Oliver/ The White Ranger
Amy Jo Johnson as Kimberly Hart/ The Pink Ranger
David Yost as Billy Cranston/ The Blue Ranger
Steve Cardenas as Rocky DeSantos/ The Red Ranger
Johnny Yong Bosch as Adam Park/ The Black Ranger
Karan Ashley as Aisha Campbell/ The Yellow Ranger
Paul Freeman as Ivan Ooze

Short Story Summary: After an ancient evil is awakened, it is up to the Power Rangers to stop him.

Story: (9/10) Since some of you may not have seen the TV series by the same name, I have decide to judge this movie on its own merits. I think that the story is pretty good. It opens with scrolling text that explains who the Power Ranger are and what the situation is. This should help anyone that may have missed the series. I really doubt though that there would be that many people watching this movie that hasn’t, at least, heard of the “Rangers”. That is not to say that only fans can enjoy this film, it is overall well written and an enjoyable film to watch. I found the pacing to be very nice and I never got bored while watching this movie. I really don’t see there being any reason for non-fans not to enjoy this story.

Characters/Cast: (8.5/10) I find the cast to be really good. The actors playing the rangers are all, to me, great. I will say that their acting can sometimes be a little over the top when they are the rangers, but this, to me, adds to the charm of their characters. The one problem I have with this movie is the villain,Ivan Ooze, played by Paul Freeman. He is not a bad villain, but I kind of wish that they had kept the series’ villain, Rita Repulsa, as the main antagonist of this film. She has a minor role in this film, but she is basically just there to be the reason that Ooze get free from his prison. Before I end this part of the review, I would like to reminded you that this was made in the mid-nineties. This means that the banter between the characters, as well as their clothing and speech, may seem a little outdated for some people. For people that grew up in the nineties though, like me, it will be a nice trip back to their child.

Action: (10/10) The fights in this film are awesome. It has surprisingly good martial arts for a show that was originally meant for children and the banter from the rangers is priceless. They fight a variety of villains in this film, from tengus to Ooze’s war machines. The rangers also have a variety of weapons at their disposal that add excitement to the already great fights.

Music: (10/10) The Power Ranger’s theme alone is enough to warrant this grade. The rest of the music is really good and I cannot, in clear conscience, give this a grade less than 10 out of 10.

Visuals: (8/10) This is where the film suffers a little. The CG that is used is, while not the worst I have ever seen, is still pretty bad. The worst brunt of it is at the end, during the final fight. I wish it had been done the same way it was in the show with people in suits( think Godzilla, except with a giant robot and a random monster each episode) and left the CG out. There is also some poorly done wire work, but it’s not really done all that bad. The suits are changed a bit from the show, but they still look reallly cool. The movie has a nice variety of settings that keep the film interesting. These range from the ranger’s command center to another planet.

Conclusion: I tried to stay unbiased in this review, but I like Power Rangers so much that this was impossible for me to make it completely unbiased. All I can say is that if you find this movie interesting from what I wrote then give it a try, If not, then just past on this one. I do think that it is a must for anyone that is a Power Rangers fan.

Movie Review “Vengeance of a SnowGirl”

Li Ching Yuan as Shen Bing Hong
Yueh Hua as Ting Ying

Short Story Summary: A crippled girl seeks to kill the men that killed her parents.

Story: (9/10) Vengeance movies are a dime a dozen, but this film does change the formula enough to make it an interesting watch. The writing is very good, never once becoming complicated or boring. It also flows at steady pace, first filling us on the backgrounds of the characters and then further developing them over the course of the film. They also added the bonus of some fantasy elements to keep things interesting later in the film.

Characters/Cast: (10/10) This film had a great cast. Li Ching Yuan is perfect as the, would be, avenger Shen Bing Hong. Her character is both a likable person and a talented fighter. Yueh Hua Is good as the son of one of the targeted men. I thought these two worked very well together and have good chemistry. The cast is also filled with many familiar faces. Sammo Hung, who, I think, is playing ahenchman and James Tien Chun, who plays ta prince and is also the action director are a few of the ones that I recognized .

Action: (8.5/10) The fights in this film are, overall, good. I found the early fights to be a bit slow, but by the middle end of the film they were much better and fun to watch. There is not much in the way of hand to hand style combat in this film. Instead we are treated to a ton of sword fights. These swords fights are nicely integrated with acrobatics and wire-work. I found it particularly impressed how Li Chiang was able to keep her legs stiff and still fight.

Music: (5/10) Not much. What I heard was okay, but it would have been better if there had been more.

Visuals: (6/10) This is where the film suffered a bit. The wire work is my biggest complaint. It was not very well done, causing it to look weird. The fake heads that was used looked really bad and you could tell that they were fake. The setting is pretty standard fair for this type of film. There are a few placesthat are cool, like volcano and the snowfield. The blood effects were pretty good and looked pretty realistic.

Conclusion: This film has a few flaws, but nothing that should keep you from watching it. I recommend checking this one out.

Movie Review “Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection”

Chuck Norris as Col. Scott McCoy
Billy Drago as Ramon Cota

Short Story Summary: After DEA agents are captured by an evil kingpin, it is up to delta force to go in and save them.

Story: (7/10) Like the first Delta Force. The story of this film is there only to help get the action started. It is a bare-basic rescue mission that you probably seen a million times before. The thing is, that with this kind of movie, this is the kind of story you want and mostly expect to see. The reason is that, when you sit down to watch this kind of movie, you want to be able to relax, shut your brain off, and just enjoy the ride. I few go by this way of thinking, then this story is very well done.

Characters/Cast: (4/10) The characters in this film are terrible. I don’t know if it’s the actors or just the way the script was written. Billy Drago, who plays the main villain Cota, looks like he is high the whole time. He also really overacts in every scene he is in and he just comes across as a one-dimensional villain. Paul Perri’s character Bobby Chavez is really annoying. I am happy to say that he is not in the movie for that long, which save the score from going lower. Finally, John P. Ryan’s character General Taylor looks and acts completely insane, not much else to say about him. . I will say that Chuck Norris is pretty good in this one. He is basically the same type character he always is, but like they say: “If something isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Action: (8/10) The action in this film is much better than in the first “Delta Force”. Chuck Norris is actually beat up a bit before going all terminator again. There is much more martial arts in this film, which is a plus. There is a training sequence early in the film, where Norris is sparing with members of Delta Force, that I thought was cool. The violence is really turned up in this film, with plenty of shots of people getting violently killed a Varity of ways. As you expect, there are also enough chases, shooting, and explosions to make you think WW3 has started.

Music: (6/10) Standard fair for this type of film, at least they didn’t play the same song over and over.

Visuals: (8/10) I found the sets of the film to be okay. I do wish that there had been more of them. The only places that are really used for any amount of time are the kingpin’s house and a small village. The special effects are well done. The explosions look good, but I kind of wish that they could have found a way to make it look like there are bodies in the vehicles after they explode. The blood is really turned on in this film, so I am glad that they at least made it look real and not like barn paint or something.

Conclusion: While this movie does suffer from several problems, it’s still a fun film to watch. I am happy to finally be able to say, I recommend trying this film out

Movie Review “The Delta Force”

Chuck Norris as Maj. Scott McCoy
Lee Marvin as Col. Nick Alexander

Short Story Summary: After a plane is hijacked by terrorist, Delta Force is sent in to stop them.

Story: (7/10) The story is well suited for the type of movie that this film is aiming to be. The story is really simple, but this works to the film’s advantage. When the point of a film is to just let the viewer enjoy themselves, it’s unadvisable to weight them down with an over complicated tale. Now I don’t mean that it was poorly written, it’s the complete opposite. It has good pacing and it is never allowed to be boring. The action never let up for a second and I was always anxious to know what would happen next.

Characters/Cast: (8.5/10) The cast was really good in this movie. We of course have Chuck Norris who is in his element and he gives a great performance as Maj. McCoy. Also in the cast is the great Lee Marvin. He is not really in a lot of the film (probably cause of his age), but he stills the show when he is. I think that the creators had a great idea teaming Marin and Norris up. You may also notice Robert Vaughn in a small role as Gen. Woodridge. The only problem I had with the characters is that I wish there had been a better main villain at the end for Chuck Norris to face. It is obvious, from the beginning of the final fight, that the main bad guy is not going to be any match for Norris and this lead to a rather anticlimactic boss fight.

Action: (6/10) The action is entertaining, but it did feel a bit dull to me. The villains are no match for Chuck Norris in this film and are there mostly to be bullet absorbers. I just wish that there was a few enemies that could have stood up to Norris. I mean, even though Schwarzenegger in commando was tough, there was still enemies that could pose a threat, like Bennett. Even though you knew Schwarzenegger was going to win it did add some suspense to the fight. It this film Chuck is basically the terminator and can’t be stopped[((Spoiler)) He is not even injured once in the entire film]. The fights also amount to mostly gun fights with hardly any punches thrown. The millions of gun fights are interrupted by a few chase scenes that are okay, but under climatic. Finally, like I said before, the “Boss” fight is not very good and amounts to Norris pounding the guy’s head in.

Music: (7/10) The theme is good but you better get used to it. The reason for this is that it is not only the only song, but they insist on playing it over and over( I think it was played close to fifteen to twenty times over the course of the movie’s two hours). I’m sure the producers were proud of the song, but there are more songs out there.

Visuals: (8.5/10) The settings are diverse, since they do travel to several different places over the course of the film. The special effects are good, with a lot of nice explosions and car wrecks. There are a few bloody scenes, but the blood looks really fake and came across looking like paint to me.

Conclusion: A descent film if a bit flawed. This one I think I will leave up to you. If you can get past the flaws, check it out, If you can’t though, I think I would skip this one.

Movie Review “The Hitman”

Chuck Norris as Garrett/Grogan

Short Story Summary: After an officer is nearly killed by his partner, he is sent undercover in a criminal organization to destroy it from the inside out.

Story: (5/10) Even though the premise of the story is simple, the writers still found a way to make it really confusing. You don’t even find out why he was sent undercover untill about mid-way in the movie. Even when I did finally learn what was going on it didn’t help the boredom I was feeling. This film always felt like it was dragging and not getting anywhere. It even had some sub-plot about a bullied kid which I felt should have been left out for the sake of having more time to try to advance the main plot. I will say that the ending was kind of cool and that keeps this score from being even lower.

Characters/Cast: (6/10) The cast is really not that bad. It at least looks like their trying, but it’s made really difficult by this movie’s script. The characters are not at all interesting and are mainly stereotypical gangsters types. Their dialogue in this film is really corny sounding and can’t really be taken serious. Chuck Norris’s character Garrett is probably the best in the movie, but that is more of the actors ability than anything the writers may have done.

Action: (4/10) There are hardly any martial arts to be seen it this film, which is strange considering who stars in it. This leads to a complete waste of Norris’s talents and all we get are a few half-hearted gun fights. There are also no car chases either that could have bring some excitement into this movie. The final fight is okay, but is not at all worth sitting through this film to see.

Music: (8.5/10) The music in the movie was not that bad, but I am pretty sure that there was only like two songs in the whole film. Not bad but there should have been a few others.

Visuals: (3/10) The film is setting was nothing special being only an ordinary city. The special effects where the bare basics. Not much else to say but they were just dull.

Conclusion: A boring, poorly done film that is a chore to sit through. I highly recommend staying away from this one.

Movie Review “Ninja in the Dragon’s Den”

Hiroyuki Sanada as Jin-Wu
Conan Lee as Jay

Short Story Summary: A ninja is out for revenge against the people responsible for his father’s death.

Story: (9/10) The story is a great mixture of comedy and drama that forms into a very entertaining tale.While the story may seem like a bare basics revenge story, it soon shows that it is much more. It has many twists in the story and everything is happening at a fast pace, but it is never confusing. The script was well written, with really entertaining dialogue between the characters and a tale that will keep you enjoying every minute. By the way, the opening sequence is awesome!

Characters/Cast: (10/10) The cast is excellent in this film. Hiroyuki Sanada (who you may remember from the movie “Legend of the Eight Samurai” that I reviewed) is great as the vengeful ninja Jin-Wu. His character is not just a one-dimensional killer thought, as he has both a sense of humor and really cares for his love ones. Conan Lee is really good in this movie as the wise cracking, joke pulling Jay. Lee reminded me a lot of Jackie Chan and I actually thought it was him to start with. Both of these actors are really talented, but the other people in the movie are also great. The best being the ones playing the “God Fighters”(I think that is what they were called). Their actions are so hysterically funny, that I could not stop from laughing every time they were on screen. The actress (Can’t remember her name) that plays Jin-Wu’s wife, Akane, and actor Tai Bo, who plays Jay’s nutty “sidekick” Chee, both give fine performances. The rest of the cast are all top-notch and really deserving of a 10 out of 10.

Action: (10/10) The fights in this film are a brilliant combination of acrobatics and martial arts. I found all the stunts mind-blowing to see and this film is full of them. The fights are excellently done and the dialogue exchanges during them are great. The actors in this film are really talented and it shows in their fights. There was not one fight that seemed dull or failed to entertain me.

Music: (10/10) The opening theme, “Legend of the Ninja”, is one of the best movie themes I have ever heard. It plays several times during the film and is always a welcome tune to hear. The rest of the music is also good, but the theme takes the cake.

Visuals: (8.5/10) The overall job with the effects is well done. Some of the effects are either dated or look ridicules to start with( like when Jay uses a black and white cloth to blend in with his environment). The sets are okay and they fit the movie, but they’re nothing special. They consist of things like a tower, mill, and a boat. The most entertaining set was the house where Jay and his Uncle lives. I don’t want to spoil anything about it, so check out the movie and see for yourself.

Conclusion: A excellent movie and one of my new favorites movies. I highly recommend checking this one out.

Movie Review “Legend of the Eight Samurai”

Sonny Chiba as Dosetsu
Hiroyuki Sanada as Shinbei
Hiroko Yakushimaru as Princess Shizu

Short Story Summary: A princess and eight samurai must go and get vengeance on the ones that destroyed her clan.

Story: (9.5/10) I found the story to be an interesting fantasy/horror samurai film. The story was itself was easy to follow and entertaining to watch. I will say that the story was very basic and sometimes things were not explain very well, but nothing really hampered my enjoyment of the film.

Characters /Cast: (8/10) First of all, it has Sonny Chiba, so that puts this movie at a good start. The problem is that I though they really under used him in this film, which is a same. He is not in many scenes until the last thirty minutes or so, but in those last minutes he gives a fine performance. The real star of this film seemed to be Hiroyuki Sanada who plays a young Samurai/Ninja named Shinbei. I think he did a fine job and his character is one that I think you will be cheering for. Hiroko Yakushimaru,who plays the princess, was good and I never saw anything wrong with her overall performance. She did tend to over dramatize sometimes in my opinion and that could get irritating. The rest of the eight samurais are all pretty good and the actors do a decent job. Now the villains are the ones that I had kind of a problem with. First , there seemed to be a romance between the evil queen and her son that was more than a bit disturbing. Second, the queen and her son really overacting to the point that it was campy. I don’t mind villains that act crazy, but these two weren’t just crazy they were creepy (in a bad way) as well.

Action: (10/10) Very well-choreographed and stylish are the best way to describe the fights in this film. The action never really stopped the whole two and a half hours that this film runs, but there was always something new to keep things interesting. Not only do the heroes encounter enemy samurai. but they also fight giant snakes, shape-shifters, and even the undead. They’re also a wide variety of weapons used besides the katana and this also contributes to the entertainment of the action scenes.

Music: (10/10) The music in this film is some of the best I have heard in a film. Not because it was all that great of a selection, but because it was fun to listen to. I will explain. Throught most of the movie I heard the typical orchestra music you would expect to here in this kind of movie. Then all of a sudden they start playing really corny 80’s songs and I could not help but to bust out laughing. It was so out of place that it was hysterical to listen to.

Visuals: (8.5/10) The special effects in this film were actually really well done, considering the time it was made. A fantasy version of ancient Japan is an interesting place to set the film. The sets overall look descent with only a few that look poorly done and they’re a wide variety of areas that the characters go to.

Conclusion: While it is kind of a long, this is really great movie to watch. I don’t just recommend it I think you should go and watch it right now. Why are you still reading this? Go watch it, GO!

Movie Review “Five Deadly Venoms”

Sheng Chiang as Yang Tieh
Phillip Kwok as He Yuan-Xin
Feng Lu as Zhang Yio-Tian
Pai Wei as Qi Dong
Chien Sun as Ma Chow
Meng Lo as Lang Shen

Short Story Summary: A teacher’s dying wish is for his last student to check on the activities of his former students.

Story: (9/10) The story was an interesting mixture of martial arts and mystery genres. I thought it was very well wrote, but it did get confusing at certain points. It was interesting to follow Yang Tieh as he tried to find each of the “Venoms” and discover their identities. Watching him try to solve this mystery really leads to a very suspenseful story, as you have no idea, at first, who is friend or foe. I’m not going to go into any more detail because I don’t want to spoil any of the mystery.

Character/Cast: (10/10) I thought the cast in this movie was great. Their acting was well done and even the dubbing was good. The characters they play were all interesting and it was great to see all the different styles that they used. Sheng Chiang is really good as the movies main protagonist and each of the actors that played the venoms were all great.

Action: (10/10) The fights in this movie are some of the best I have seen. Not because they are long or overly complicated, but for the fact that they all involve many different martial arts styles. The final fight was excellently done and was thrilling to watch. The fight themselves were very stylized and well-choreographed. Not much else to say but they defiantly deserve a ten out of ten.

Music: (5/10) The opening music was okay, but other than that, I don’t remember there being any other music.

Visuals: (9/10) The ancient china setting fits this movie very well. It is a lot better than if they had set it in modern times, as it gives it a fantasy style look and feeling. The fact that there was a lot of different places that the characters went helped to keep the film from becoming boring. A few set are reused a few times, but it does not an overall effect on the film. The blood and wound effects are well done and they add to the great fights I talked about earlier. Some sets being reused several times keep this from getting a perfect score.

Conclusion: An excellent martial arts film with a little mystery mixed in .I highly recommend checking out this film.

Movie Review “The Bourne Identity”

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Franka Potente as Marie
Chris Cooper as Conklin

Short Story Summary: A man is picked up by a fishing boat, bullet-riddled and without memory, then races to elude assassins and recover from amnesia. (This summary comes from IMDB.)

Story: (8.5/10) It was overall well written and an interesting story. It caught my attention early and was able to keep it until the end, except for a few times that I got confused about what was going on. I will warn that it can get confusing real fast and it may throw you out of the story while you try to figure out what is going on. The good news is that you should be able to, with relative ease, figure out what is happening and get back to enjoying the film. This is a very entertaining film and you will stay glued to your seat as you wonder how Bourne will escape the next assassin.

Character/Cast: (9/10) The cast was okay and the characters were pretty interesting. Matt Damon’s acting was kind of flat, which caused his character to be lacking in personality. I am not saying his acting was bad, just that it seemed to be lacking in something. It could be that it was not his acting, but just the way Bourne is supposed to be. Franka Potente does a good job as Marie and her character’s more likable personality was a nice contrast to the void in Bourne’s. The rest of the cast was the standard stock you expect from this type of film, but they were, like I said, okay.

Action: (10/10) The action in this film is great and should more than make up for some of the short comings of the story. The encounters between Bourne and the assassins are defiantly the highlight of this film. The encounters are varied, in that, one consist of mainly martial art fighting and the other is manly gun play. Bourne also has to fight other enemies as well, from guards at an embassy to the agents working for the main antagonist. A few well done car chases finish filling out the action and are thrilling to watch.

Music: (7/10) The little that I can remember of it, I thought it was okay.

Visuals: (10/10) The characters in this film travel to many different locations which is always a plus. A variety of places to see always helps to keep movies from becoming boring. Not much in the way of blood in this film, but I did notice a few bones breaking that were done well. Not much else to say on this topic, except that I don’t believe I saw much in the way of CG (its kind of hard to tell sometimes).

Conclusion: A well done movie that is entertaining to watch. I recommend checking this one out.

Movie Review “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans"

Michael Sheen as Lucian
Bill Nighty as Viktor
Rhona Mitra as Sonja
Steven Mackintosh as Tannis
Kevin Grevioux as Raze Short

Story Summary: Prequel to the first two Underworld films that tells the origin story of the Vampire-Lycan war.

Story: (10/10) The filmmakers did an excellent job finishing the origin story that was hinted at in first two films. The plot goes together flawlessly and fits with what we had already been told. When telling origin stories, it is very easy to make mistakes that does not fit with the continuity of the previous films. I am happy to say that this is not the case in “Rise of the Lycans”. Not only did they get the story right, they also made it very easy to understand and it is very easy to follow. Out of the three films this one definitely has the best written story.

Character/Cast: (8.5/10) No Kate Beckinsale this time around. Instead we get Rhona Mitra who is okay, but is not as good as Miss Beckinsale. It really does not matter though in terms of the story, as this time its Michael Sheen’s character Lucian who is the main protagonist of the film. He does a fine job and is much better than Scott Speedman, who is also absent from this film. Bill Nighty makes his return as Viktor, Kevin Grevioux returns as Raze, and you will recognize many other familiar faces. The acting is all top notch and they’re really none of the over the top acting that sometimes popped up in the previous movies.

Action: (10/10) The action is very well choreographed and does away with some of the annoyances of the other two “Underworlds”. No more slow-mo is a plus, as it was never really needed to start with. Weapons are not as advanced this time around, with the majority being swords, crossbows, and other arms of 13th century, the era that this film is set in. Who will however see a few weapons from the previous movies, the most recognizable being the throwing stars that Selene used.

Music: (7/10) The music was okay, but seemed to be mainly an orchestra playing during dramatic ( much like the first two films).

Visuals: (9.5/10) The setting for this film fits this type of movie much better than the modern setting used in the other films. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans keeps the gothic look and it fits very well with the new setting. I am happy to say that they toned down the blood this time around and they’re no mistakes made like the ones I mentioned in the Underworld: Evolution review. The creatures still look good and it is cool to see the vampires dressed in suits of amour. The only thing I saw wrong, that keeps this from getting a 10, is that the movie is a little too dark. It is not real bad, but sometimes I did have trouble seeing.

Conclusion: When I first saw this film, I did not really like it that much. After going back and watching it again though, I have to say that it’s probably the best in the series. I highly recommend checking this one out.(Well that is the last of the "Underworld" movies for now. I will be doing a review of the new one as soon as it comes out.)

Movie Review: "Underworld: Evolution”

Kate Beckinsale as Selene
Scott Speedman as Michael
Tony Curran as Marcus

Short Story Summary: The continued story of the Death Dealer Selene.

Story: (8.5/10) I will start by saying that this movie feels like it is trying to do too much. I am not saying that it was badly written, just that it had too much going on and it could get confusing real fast. With that being said, it never got to the point where I was hopelessly lost. I was able to pull everything that was being thrown at me and put it together into something comprehensive. It does a pretty good job at filling in some of the plot that was hinted at in the first and it is a great lead up to the events of the third movie.

Character/Cast: (9/10) Once again the makers of the film has gathered an excellent cast. Kate Beckinsale is as great as ever as Selene and Scott Speedman is a lot better in the role of Michael. Their romance is further developed, but it is still not over done to point of being overbearing. Tony Curran does a fine job as this movies villain, Marcus. There are a few characters that were annoying, like Tannis, most of the other characters are descent. The acting was overall pretty good, but sometimes the actors did over act. While it does not happen often, it can jar you out of the movie and kill the suspense of the film.

Action: (10/10) While there is not as much combat as in the first film, “Evolution” still has its fair share of exciting fights. The combat no longer reminds me of style used in The Matrix. This time it seems a lot like the type used in The Terminator, especially Terminator 2. If you watch it you will know what I am talking about. There is a chase scene near the beginning of the film that seemed really similar to the type of chases seen in the Terminator films and they’re a lot of super-powered beings throwing each other around.

Music: (7/10) It was about the same as the first, so it was not bad.

Visuals: (8.5/10) The creature effects are once again really good. I have two complaints with this film in terms of visuals: too much blood and the flying creature looked fake. While the first film had its fair amount of blood, this film goes a little over board. The only thing I can figure is that they had a few tons of the red stuff left over from the first film and decided not to let it go to waste. Now on to the second complaint which is the flying creature. To me it looked so bad that it reminded me of the gargoyle thing that captured Ash’s girlfriend in Army of Darkness. I am pretty sure that I actually saw, at one point, the wires holding the actor up. It could have been my imagination, but I don’t think so. Everything else, visual wise, was fine. The movie is once again set in a kind of gothic style world like the first and it looks great. Not much else to say, overall very well done except for a few mistakes.

Conclusion: A good follow-up to the first Underworld film. I recommend seeing this one.

Movie Review “Underworld”

Kate Beckinsale as Selene
Scott Speedman as Michael Corvin
Michael sheen as Lucian
Shane Brolly as Kraven
Bill Nighty as Viktor

Short Story Summary: A vampire named Selene must try to stop a group of werewolves from getting their hands a human that may bring about the end of a century long war between the two races.

Story: (8.5/10) The story is well written and entertaining. I will go as far to say that it is one best vampire/werewolf movies that has been made in a long time. It seems that most movies and TV shows that have these kind of characters in them nowadays are like Twilight. Underworld proves that not every movie with vampires in them have to be a romance. Sure, they’re a romantic subplot to the film, but it is not the driving factor of it. This movie is a nice change from those terrible, mind numbing, movies. The story can get confusing at points, but it never gets to the point where you will be wondering what is happening.

Character/Cast: (9/10) The casting choices for this movie are top notch. No whiny, brooding pains anywhere to be seen , just really cool vampires and werewolves duking it out. Kate Beckinsale is great as the Death Dealer Selene. Her character breaks from the norm of female action stars, in that, she is both tough, but still retains her feminine aspects as well. Scott Speedman does a decent in this movie. Although he is mainly confused and bewildered by what is happening around him at least he is not brooding. Michael Sheen is good as the main antagonist of the film. Although he acts like an evil monster, you can tell that he is a deeper character than that and I will stop there before I go into spoilers. The rest of the cast are fine and their characters well written.

Action: (10/10) The action gets started early and does not slow down to the ending credits. There are a lot of fights in this film and the characters use a variety of weapons from guns to swords. The action is pretty close to the matrix with acrobatic gun fights throughout and the use of slow motion in some of the scenes. The fights are bloody and gory most of the time, but it is done in a very stylized way.

Music: (7/10) Not really all that great, but it was alright.

Visuals: (9/10) The setting had a dark gothic feel to it and it fits well with the nature of the story. The creature effects look great and don't look at all fake like the ones in Twilight . The scene where the vampire is resurrected is well done and is one of the highlights of the movie. My one complaint is that the slow-mo is poorly done and should have been left out.

Conclusion: A well-made film and a great start to the Underworld Trilogy ( I will still call it that until the fourth movie comes out). I highly recommend giving this one a try and see what a real vampire movie should be.

Movie Review “Commando”

Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Matrix
Rae Dawn Chong as Cindy
Vernon Wells as Bennett

Short Story Summary: An ex-commando has only 11 hours to save his daughter from an evil dictator.

Story: (8.5/10) The story is okay and is easy enough to follow. It is not at all deep and is mainly used to help Schwarzenegger’s character get from one place to another so that we can see him kill, blow up, and “one liner” everything in his path. It is entertaining to watch and the bits of comedy mixed in is a nice change from all the action constantly going on.

Character/Cast: (9/10) The cast are all top notch. Arnold does what he does best (destroy things) and Rae Dawn Chong is really good as the lead lady and is the source of many of the films comic moments. Vernon Wells, who plays the main villain Bennett, is probably the worst person on the cast. He way over acts and the outfit he wears makes him look like a complete idiot. With that said though, his habit to way over act in this film does lead to some pretty comical dialogue exchanges between him and the other characters, so I guess he is not all that bad. There is no real character development, but everyone does what they are supposed to and they do it well.

Action: (10/10) A movie like this that has little plot and character development relies on having an abundance of action and this film delivers big time. Commando waste no time getting Arnold killing things and throwing one liners and it is like this the whole film. The combat is well done and is entertaining to watch and there are a few, well done, car chases thrown in for added excitement. The people who made this film understood their target audience and gives them exactly what they want, well made, non-stop, action.

Music: (8/10) While there is not much music in this film, what it did have was good.

Visuals: (10/10) Since this movie was made back in the 80’s, there is no CG to be seen. It is a really nice change of pace from all the films nowadays that rely on CG heavy. All the explosions, blood, wounds, and sets look great because of the simple fact that they are real and not just put there with a computer.

Conclusion: An entertaining 80’s action flick that is a fun ride from beginning to end. I recommend checking this one out.

Movie Review “Serenity”

Nathan Fillion as Mal
Gina Torres as Zoe
Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative Summer
Glau as River

Short Story Summary: The crew of the ship Serenity try to evade an Assassin sent to capture one of their members.

Story: (8.5/10) I have not seen the TV show Firefly yet, so I will be judging the movie’s story solely on its own merits. I thought it was pretty good. The story was easy enough to follow, even for a person like me who has not seen the show, and it got to the action early. With that being said, the story and plot devices were nothing all that special. I have seen most of the things in this movie many times before. That does not take away from the entertainment value though; it is more like visiting an old friend.

Character/Cast: (10/10) The whole cast from the TV series returns for Serenity and I think they did a fine job. The characters are pretty good, River being my favorite. There is nothing else I can really say, as I did not see anything wrong with the characters or cast.

Action: (9/10) The action starts early and keeps going throughout the film. There are not that many fights, this is my one complaint, but the ones it had were entertaining. The final fight is the highlight and is worth the wait, especially the part with River and the Reavers( sounds a little like a rock group).

Music: (6/10) I could not remember much about the music in this film (not a very good sign). To be able to make a judgment call, I did some research( Typed in Serenity soundtrack in YouTube) and listened to each of the songs. I have to say that I didn’t really like them all that much. They were not terrible, but I have heard much better.

Visuals: (8.5/10) The visuals looked okay. They were a bit dated, but have held up pretty good. The various ships in the movie, from “Serenity” to the Reavers ships, are all well done and interesting to look at. The movie takes place in several different worlds and this helps keep the film from becoming dull. Like I said, a bit dated, but the visuals get the job done.

Conclusion: A well-made Sci-Fi film that should keep the fans of the show and new comers entertained. I would probably recommend watching the TV series first, it is not necessary to enjoy the film, but it will help to better understand the characters and situations. I recommended checking out this film.

Movie Review “Transporter 3”

Jason Statham as Frank Martin
Natalya Rudakova as Valentina

Short Story Summary: Frank Martin is forced to deliver an unknown package after having a bomb strapped to his arm.

Story: (2/10) The story in this movie was really bad. It was confusing in some parts, predictable in others, and was boring throughout. I really can’t put into words how bad this movie is. The only way I can put how bad the story is would be to say that the Twilight movies have a better story then this and those are terrible(Yes, I had to suffer through those abominations).

Characters/Cast: (4/10) The cast is either bad or know they’re in a bad move, so they are not trying. Jason Stratham looks board out of his mind throughout the movie and does not give his usually good performance. His character is made a fool out of and it is just sad to see. The female lead Natalya Rudakova, who plays Valentina, gives a horrible performance and you are wishing the whole time she is on screen that the bomb on her arm would go off. Her character is annoying , winy, and not the least bit attractive. Everyone else was just as bad, if not worse.

Action: (2/10) The fights where so disorientating, due to sloppy editing, that I actually got a headache from watching them. I watched the first two Transporter movies, so I know that Jason Stratham can do better than this. He just does not seem into making this movie and it shows big time. The car chases in this film were also bad and not the least bit thrilling. The only part I liked was near the ended were Stratham’s character drove a car off one train car to another one. By that time though, I was so sick of this film that I really didn’t really care all that much about it.

Music: (1/10) It was bad, yeah, no surprise there. If the rest of the movie is bad, why not the music too.

Visuals: (4/10) Well, the cars were okay to look at, some of them anyway. Everything else was either nothing special or badly done, so this movie, on top of everything else, was bad to look at too.

Conclusion: This is a badly made movie in every sense of the word. DO…NOT… WATCH… THIS…MOVIE!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Movie Review “13 Assassins”

Koji Yakusho as Shinzaemon Shimada
Takayuki Yamada as Shinrouko
Yusuke Iseya as Koyata
Goro Inagaki as Lord Naritsugu Matsudaira

Short Movie Summary: A group of 13 warriors go to kill an evil lord.

Story: (9/10) I thought that the story was basic, but good. It flowed at a steady pace and was never confusing or boring. It was pretty dark tale and the ending, for me, was bitter sweet. Since it is such a simple, yet complex(if that makes since) story, I can’t go into any more detail about it without risking spoilers.

Characters/Cast: (10/10) The cast was very good in this movie. They all fit their roles perfect and gave credibility to their characters. The characters were well written and complex in nature. Although I have, unfortunately, not seen many samurai films, I have read a lot about them and the samurai in this film seem pretty close to the real ones. It is this kind of care to historical detail that makes the film much better.

Fights: (10/10) The fights in this movie are awesome and there are plenty of them to watch. The choreography is well done, with bloody, stylized action that never seems to slow done and you will not want it to. If I had to pick my favorite fight it would be the last one. I clocked this fight at almost forty-five minutes long, but it never got boring once. Not much else to say except some of the best fights I have ever seen.

Music: (7/10) Not much in the way of music, but what they did have was good.

Visuals: (8.5/10) The settings in this movie were good, but they were the standard you would see in in this kind of film. The most interesting place is the village they are in at the end of the film, but I will let you check out the movie to see why. The blood and sword wounds in this film are very well done and look realistic. The blood was also not way over done like in some films (see Ninja Assassin) and that makes the film much better to watch.

Conclusion: Great samurai film that I could see standing with other classics such as The Seven Samurai. I highly recommend checking this one out.

Movie Review “Fearless”

Jet Li as Huo Yuanjia
Shido Nakamura as Anno Tanaka
Yong Dong as Nong Jinsun
Betty Sun as moon

Short Movie Summary: Tell the story of Master Huo Yuanjia, the founder of the Jin Wu Sports Federation.

Story: (9/10) While the story is very good and excellently told, it does start off show. It does not really get interesting until about half way in, but then it grabs a hold of you hand does not let go. The makers have really spun an excellent tale of a master’s disgrace and redemption.

Characters/Cast :( 10/10) This film has a superb cast of talented actors/actresses. Jet LI is really at the top of his game as the Wushu Master, Huo Yuanjia. As for Master Yuanjia himself, at first I did not really like the character. It seemed that Jet Li was over acting the part a bit (and he could have been), but I believe that it was effective in conveying that the Master is not meant to be likeable to start with. It is complicated, but I assure you that his acting style changes and that is all I am going to say. The rest of the cast are great and their characters are well fleshed out(minus the Europeans near the end, which are just your stereotypical bad guys and con men).

Fights: (8.5/10) There are only really three fights of note that I found interesting. The first is Master Yuanjia versus Master Chin: this is my favorite fight in the movie. The two masters start off with swords, but soon go hand to hand in this ferocious fight. The next fight is Master Yuanjia versus four challengers at the end of the film. Each fight is one after the other and features many different weapons and styles. The third is the fight between Yuanjia’s father, Huo Endi, and another fighter named Zhao. The reason I picked this one is because it does have some significance pertaining to the story. There are a few other fights, but these are the high lights.

Music: ( 7/10) Not much to speak of. The few spots where there are music are good, the best being played during the fight between Master Yuanjia and Master Chin. It really adds to the tension of the seen.

Visuals :( 7.5/10) Nothing special concerning the setting. It is mostly the same city/rural areas you see in most films like this. The effects during the fights, like bones breaking and blood, are done well and are not over the top. Like I said, nothing special, but it gets the job done.

Conclusion: Although it starts off slow, Fearless quickly speeds up into an exciting tale. I recommend giving it a try.

Movie Review “Inception”

Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb Short

Story Summary: A thief who enters into people’s dreams to steal their secrets is givenone last task of a slightly different nature: Inception.

Story :( 9/10) The best way to describe this movie is that it is like “The Matrix series”. Both films involve going into a world that is similar to ours, but different at the same time. They also have main characters that are hackers that enter into the other world via a special machine. Now, although I say they are similar, I really think that Inception is the better of the two. I know it may be heresy for making such a statement, but I stick by it. The Matrix movies, although good, had a really confusing story and the parts outside the matrix were boring. Inception’s story, on the other hand, was very well written and the movie actually did well making both outside and inside dreams interesting. The only gripe I have is with the ending, but it is not really that bad. That is really all I can say about it without going into spoiler territory.

Characters/Cast :(10/10) I really can’t see anything wrong with the cast. Everyone was really good in this movie and this could easily be DiCaprio’s best film. The characters are all fine and I guarantee you will get invested in seeing what happens to them next.

Fights: (8.5/10) Not really that many fights to speak of. This is where the Matrix and Inception differ a lot. Where the Matrix is heavily reliant on action scenes, Inception is mainly focused on story and that is the reason that Inception outshines the Matrix. Don’t worry though; there are quite a few gun fights throughout the movie and couple of hand-to-hand fights.

Music: (10/10) The music does a great job adding to the tense atmosphere that the film is trying to create.

Graphics/Sets: (10/10) I thought the graphics were really good in this film. When the CG is used, it is not over used as is common nowadays. In the film, the characters travel to many different settings, each one is unique, and this helps to keep the movie fresh and interesting.

Conclusion: One of the best Sci-Fi films I have seen in a long time and is definitely worth seeing. Give it a try.

Movie Review “Avatar”

Sam Worthington as Jake Sully
Sigourney Weaver as Grace
Zoe Saldana as Neytiri
Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles
QuaritchMichelle Rodriguez as Trudy Chacon

Short Story Summary: paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home. (This summary comes from IMDB.)(Some Spoilers may show up in this review, sorry for this inconvenience.)

Story :( 6/10) The story of Avatar can be summed up with one word, clichéd. It the same old story that you have seen a thousand times before” A group of more advanced people go and try to take natives land form them, but lone man from group has change of heart and helps the helpless natives.” Sounds familiar doesn’t it? I am not saying that this story style can’t work, I am just saying that it has been done to death.

Characters/Cast :( 7/10) The characters in the film are okay, but like the story, they can come across as clichéd. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is okay as the protagonist of the film, but he doesn’t really have as much depth as he could have had. I will explain: Near the beginning of the film, Sully is asked by Colonel Quaritch to spy on the "Na'vi", so that he will be able to wipe them out if it comes to that. Although this could have been an interesting part of the plot, I feel that it was played down and didn’t reach its full potential. Sully pretty much changes his mind right from the start and there isn’t really any internal conflict like there could have been. The other characters suffer from this same problem. Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) is such a stereotypical bad guy type, that he comes off comical, instead of menacing, Grace (Sigourney Weaver) is the usual hard nose, but fair mentor type, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) is the usual love interest, and Trudy Chacon( Michelle Rodriguez) is the usual tough-as-nails chick who kills things(the same character that Miss Rodriguez always plays, but she is still my favorite character in the movie). You can see that the cast are trying and they do an okay job, but again, the characters are way too clichéd.

Fights: (9/10) There is not many fights to speak of, but the final battle between the humans and the Na’vi is epic. This battle is one of the best parts of the film, next to the graphics (but more on that later).Not much more I can say about it but that it was well worth the hour and something to two hours I had to wait to see it.

Music:(7/10) James Horner does a decent job with the music. I don’t think it is anything ground-breaking, but it sounds alright and sets the mood of the film. Nothing great, but not bad either.

Graphics/Sets: (10/10) This the highlight of the film and is what people will remember after seeing “Avatar”. The world of Pandora is amazing and is breath taking to see. I will warn that people that hate CG (computer Graphics) will most likely not like the graphics and should not even be watching “Avatar “in the first place. If CG does not bother you though, you will be treated to a wonder of computer technology.

Conclusion: An entertaining, if clichéd, movie that is worth a viewing. It is not for everyone, but I recommend giving it a try.