Saturday, July 28, 2012

"Top Ten Hated films that I think are Good"


10- Plan Nine from Outer Space(1959) – Now don’t get me wrong, this film is really badly done, but it has a certain charm to it. I remember watching this film when I was little and being really entertained. Later on, when I got older, I began to hear about how bad it was. I decided to watch it again and I still find it to be an entertaining film. Sure, the special effects are badly done and the acting is laughable, but it’s a good film to sit back, turn your brain off, and have fun watching. I find it to be much more entertaining than many of these big budget horror films made nowadays. I also tend to like this film over other b-horror films from the 50s & 60s (like the “Brain that Wouldn’t Die (1962)”), because those films tend to take themselves too serious. This film you can tell they are just having fun and not trying to create a masterpiece. This film stays at ten due to the fact it is so poorly done, but it is still a fun film I would recommend checking out for a good laugh.


9- Van Helsing (2004)”- Next up on the list is Van Helsing. Once again I can see where people are coming from when they hate on this film. The CG is pretty bad, the monster effects (especially Frankenstein’s Monster) are badly done, and the guy who plays Dracula is completely wrong for the part. That said, the things that I like about this film are: the James Bond-like feel to the main character and gadgets, the action is descent, and Kate Beckinsale is in it. The story is also not really that bad and works in the times when the action is slow to start. In conclusion, it may not live up to Bela Lugosi’s or Christopher Lee’s take on the Dracula mythos, but judging it on its own merits, it’s not a bad film(Hey,at least it’s not “Twilight” ( I couldn’t resist:) )  

8-“The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)” – For someone who has read most of the great classics, this film, were most of the great literary characters are thrown together, was a dream come true. It’s great to see such characters as Captain Nemo, Doran Grey, Allan Quartermain(played by Sean Connery in his last film role), and even Tom Sawyer together in one epic story. I really don’t understand why people hate on this film so much. The acting is not bad, graphics look good, and the story is interesting. The only thing that comes to mind is that they don’t like the liberties the film makers had to take with some of the characters, but it really never bothered me. They didn’t really do the characters an injustice and besides, this film is a great way to get people interested in reading the characters source material. Ignore all the hate and give it a try, I don’t think you will be disappointed.








7-“Street Fighter (1994)” While I will agree that the first Mortal Kombat was a much better made film, “Street Fighter” was not really that bad. It’s campy and the acting is cheesy, but it’s still an entertaining movie. I think the cheese factor is what makes me like this film. I am also a pretty big fan of Van Damme’s films also, so I guess I am use to his movies not being blockbuster material. Blockbusters are not really what I want most of the time anyways. I just want a film that entertains me and lets me enjoy myself. I think we get so tied up sometimes in having to have everything so perfect; that we forget what we should be doing is just enjoying ourselves. I guess I will end by saying: this is one of those movies that is so bad that it’s good. I know it’s not perfect, but it never was meant to be. Street Fighter is just a fun, cheesy, film that I can’t help but like. 
  
6-“Eragon (2006)” – I am going to be honest and that the reason that I like this film so much is probably because I never read the book series. Going into the film with unbiased opinion, I think the film is a decent fantasy flick. It is nowhere near the greatness of the Lord of the Rings movies, but I still enjoy it. The big problem I see with it is that it’s really slow near the beginning of the film and the ending is a cliff hanger that will never get a sequel. I will conclude this entry by saying: If you have never read the book give it a try, but skip it otherwise.







5-“Daredevil (2003)” – I can’t really see why they’re so much hate for this film. It stays pretty close to the comic books and is actually really entertaining. I really enjoy the brooding atmosphere that this films has and it is a nice change from the more lighthearted tone that other comic book films have( other than Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the Punisher movies). I also find that the acting to be good and the action scenes to be well shot. While not on the same par as “The Avengers” or “Batman”, it’s still a pretty good film and should not be as hated as it is.


4-“Resident Evil Saga (2002-present)” – I know that people hate this film because it does not follow the storyline of the games. It never really has bothered me though. I always thought the storylines of the games were their main weakness. The first three games have a basic story that is not really that complex and the other games just never had the same feel as the original trio did. It for this reason that I didn’t have a problem with them taking liberties with the film adaptions. If they had followed the games, I feel all we would have ended up with is a generic zombie flick. With the new direction the series went, we instead got a (in my opinion) interesting action/horror hybrid that is entertaining to watch. While I will admit that the last film was (Afterlife) was the weakest in the series, I believe that Paul Anderson has done a fine job with this series. It does not contain the sickening amount of blood as other Zombie flicks and  has a mostly great assortment of characters (except Claire Redfield who comes across as annoying, unlike the game were she is a really likable person and Jill Valentine( for the same reason)) who you root for and actually hate to see die. Milla Jovovich is also another reason that these films are so good. Unlike a lot of actresses, see can really pull of the strong female role without resorting to acting like a B*tch. She and Kate Beckinsale are really the only actresses in Hollywood that I have seen that can pull this off. Well, I will end by saying: If you are a diehard fan of the games just stay away. I understand that for big time fans it really stinks for the source material to change far from what you are used to. It is like when I watched the G.I. Joe Movie and was terribly disappointed to find how much they changed it. For other people, I would suggest giving them a try (at least the first anyways, it’s the best one).     

Monday, July 23, 2012

Movie review: “The 13th Warrior”



Starring:

Antonio Banderas as Ahmed ibn Fadlan

Vladimir Kulich as Buliwyf  

Short Story Summary: Thirteen warriors must go to a kingdom’s aid against an ancient evil.

Plot: (6.5/10) The plot is basically the same as “The Seven Samurai” and “The Magnificent Seven”.  If you have seen either of those films, you know what is going to happen. This story has been used to death and it is getting a bit old. They did try to shake things up, by making the enemy mysterious, but it is not enough to break the feeling of déjà vu. The film also is kind of slow to start with, but it begins to speed up they start toward the village they are to defend. I guess if you are a fan of films like the “Seven Samurai” (like I am), you will enjoy the story. For everyone else it will be just a case of been there, done that.

Characters/Cast: (9/10) the cast is excellent. Yeah, it is that simple to summarize the people in this film. Everyone has great chemistry and interact well with each other. The characters are all distant and interesting, with “Buliwyf” being my favorite of the bunch. He is the definition of badass in this film and is just an all-around interesting person. The only problem I have is that the enemy leader was a wuss. He fell in the final battle in only three hits. I will talk about this later in the action section. Other than the leader, the rest of the enemies are really cool and make a fine change from the ordinary bandits we usually get from these kinds of films.  

Action: (6.5/10) The action in this movie was okay. There was not that many fights and they had a few problems. The first major fight is set at night and is kind of hard to see. I realize that the reason they did this was to keep us it the dark (pun intended) about the nature of the enemy, but it made it difficult to see what was going on at times. Most of the other fights also where affected by this problem, except the last fight (which had its own problem.)  The last fight was completely in slow-mo.  I know ti was for dramatic effect, and I am all for using slow-mo for this effect if it is needed. The thing is , this was reaching the movie “300” level of assuredness in over use of slow-motion. The last fight was also very short, which may have been one of the reasons that it was slow down so much. My final problem I had was that the final “Boss” is, like I said before, a complete wuss. He is killed in three hits. This great evil, that is  in command of  hundreds of vicious “Creatures” ,  is killed in three hits. it just blew my mind when I saw this, I could not believe that they would kill him off this easily. The fights are also filled with a lot of blood and gore, which may not be a problem for some, but others may find it disturbing when limbs and blood start to fly.

Music: (9/10) Pretty standard fare and is what you would expect from this kind of film. They have a very nice and moody feel to them and really help to set the somber mood of the film.

Visuals: (7.5/10) The main problem with this film, in term of visuals, is that it is very dark. I know that they are trying to set a somber mood and ,like I said before, to make the villains more imposing, but it make the film hard to see. It is not as bad as some films I have seen, but it’s still pretty bad. Most of the sets are interesting though. At one point in the film, the heroes go into the enemies’ lair and it has a very cool look to it. The film has a few cases of slow motion being used, but I never saw any wires being used. This I was very glad to see after the last few films I saw over abusing wires.  

Conclusion: This film is kind of hard to put a judgment call on. I guess I would give it a try, especially if you are a fan of films like “The Seven Samurai”.  

Thanks for Reading

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Movie Review” Dawn of the Dead (1978 Version)”


(Here is an old review that I wrote, but this is the first time I have published it.)
Starring:
Ken Foree as Peter
Scott H. Reiniger as Roger
David Emge as Stephen
Gaylen Ross as Francine

Short Story Summary: During a zombie epidemic, four survivors take shelter in a shopping mall.
Story: (8/10) The story, to me, had a lot of problems with it. I am not talking about the basic plot offour people trying to survive in a mall, I mean that the writers never really explain anything. I mean, what caused the zombie outbreak in the first place. I know that it was hinted that it might be a variety ofthings but nothing is ever made clear. It was questions like this that kind of bugged me during my viewing of this film. The ending kind of had me scratching my head in wonder of what I just saw. I think the reason that the ending was the way it was is because it was not supposed to end the way it did. At the last moment the writers changed to be a more upbeat an I will stop there before I go into spoilers.     Having said that, I will say that if you do what I did and just blank your mind from the plot holes and questionable ending, this is movie as an okay story that is fun to watch.

Character/Cast: (6.5/10) The main characters do okay job acting, but the extras are terrible. The “Overacting Scale” is off the charts in this movie. The best actors in this movie are Ken Foree and Scott Emge who play Peter and Roger respectively. Their characters are the only ones of the four survivors that I did not find annoying. All Stephen and Francine do is whine the whole time about their problems and it does get tiresome quick. Speaking of problems, all the characters have flaws and this does make the film more interesting. There is a lot of character development in this movie which is a pleasant surprise coming from a zombie flick.
Action: (9/10) Where this movie lacks in story and compelling characters it makes up with non-stop action and suspense. From the very begging we are thrust into a scene of chaos as a SWAT team storms what I think was an apartment building and then we go straight to seeing the exploits of the main characters. I don’t want to go into much detail because it may lead to spoilers, but I will say that this film has many great combat moments and the suspense is expertly built.

Music: ( 10/10) This film’s soundtrack is awesome. The music will goes from being suspenseful one minute top being comical the next. This for me helps to keep the film from being too depressing and I guaranty that this film does have its fair share of depressing moments.
Visuals: (7/10) Not the best I have ever seen, but this was made in the seventies so I am willing to give it some slack. The one problem I have is the blood, which looks orange most of the time. It’s not that big of a deal though as it does make the film more light hearted and easier to watch. It is probably betterthat the blood is like that because there are ton of the stuff in this film. It is also very gory especially when the zombies are feeding and when people get bitten. At least it is not the CG blood and gore that I can’t really  stand. One of the other problems with this film is that the characters don’t really go to that many different settings. I counted the number of different settings in this film to around four. Luckily, the mall is diverse enough to keep it from being too dull. Not much else that I can say about the visuals.

Conclusion: A descent zombie flick that may not be for everybody. I would recommend checking it out, at the very least rent it and see if you like it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Top Ten Horror Films




(Here is my top ten favorite Horror films. I am only including films that I have saw and I am excluding films like “Underworld” and “Resident Evil” films dew to them being more action films than Horror. Some of my choices are also only the first entry in a series due to them actually being good and the rest being terrible (The first ”Scream) film is an example of this). )  

10- Scream (1996) - First on the list is “Scream”. This film is last due to it having several problems that I list in my last article (like the stereotypical victims). What causes this film to make it on the list though is the tong-in-cheek manner the film makers went about making the film. It does use all the things I mentioned before, but they are not doing it to milk the genre, but to make the film a satire. Its goal was to poke fun at a genre (Slasher films) and it does it to great effect.       

9- Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) - Like scream, this film has its share of problems, but it is still a very well made film. It is to date the scariest film I have seen in my life. The first time I saw this film, I had a hard time getting to sleep for a few weeks afterwards. (Fun Fact-this was Johnny Depp’s first film appearance)   

8-“The Shining (1980)”- Next up on this list is Stephen King’s The Shining. This film is about a writer (Jack Nicholson) who takes a job as a caretaker at a hotel that is haunted by evil spirits. This film does an excellent job creating an eerie atmosphere. Jack Nicholson is at his best here, using his usual “crazy Jack” style of acting. I love the terrifying sense of seclusion the hotel gives as things begin to happen and the fact they can’t leave do to the snow storm. The only problem I have with this film is that it can be kind of weird at times, but this (most of the time) just adds to the charm of the film.

7- “Dawn of the Dead (1978)”- One of the best zombie movie ever. While it’s really gory at times, the story and characters more than make up for it. You actually care about what happens to the characters in this film and hate to see them killed or hurt. I have not really seen any other Zombie film be able to pull that off other than:  

6- Night of the Living Dead (1968)”- The best Zombie movie ever. This film just as the perfect feel and look to it and is a joy to watch. The characters are great and the story is simple, but really good. I am not crazy about the ending and that keeps it from getting higher on the list, but this film is great in everything else it does.

5-“Grudge (2004)”- I am a big fan of ghost/evil spirit stories (as you will see in my next few entries) and this is one of the best. I like how the ghosts are represented and I now prefer this way of doing them than giant, evil looking creatures you normally see. The tension this film creates can be cut with a knife and your heart will suffer from the jump scaresL. I also love Sarah Michelle Gellar and enjoy most of the films she does.  

4-“Boogyman (2005)”- Another ghost/evil spirit film and to me one of the best. Unlike the Grudge where you kind of know that there is something haunting the main player, this film makes you wonder if they are not just going crazy. It is stated that the boy did have a bad childhood and things happen in the film that give the impression that he may not be mentality stable. The other films in the series try to go one way or the other with poor results, so I just watch the first and come to my own conclusions.

3- “Poltergeist (1982)” - Yet another ghost film and the best one that I have ever seen. When I think of a ghost film, this is what I think of.  This film has it all: creepy atmosphere, even creepier little girl, great acting, and a scary antagonist that you never get to see. This was also another film that kept me from getting a descent night’s sleep for a while.

2- “Evil Dead Series (1981-1992)”- I could not decide on which one to put on here, so I will list them together. I grew up watching these films and they have yet to fail to entertain me. They have the right blend of horror and comedy that drags you in and doesn’t let go. Bruce Campbell who plays “Ash” is awesome in this film and he is still one of my favorite actors. Not many series have been made that I have loved and watched every film in the series, but this is defiantly one. Not even #1 can claim that, which is:

1-“Halloween (1978)”- While I may love “Evil Dead”, this is the best horror film I have ever seen. John Carpenter did an excellent job making this film and it will continue to be a genre defining film. Every Slasher fan owes a debt to this film for being the film that set the bar for Slasher films everywhere. The thing is, it’s able to do something the other has never really been able to do: create scares that don’t rely on a lot of blood and gore. Sure it has some, but that is not really what defines this film. It is the nerve chilling music and the fact that this could really happen is what really gets your nerves on edge. Also, Jason (from the Friday the 13th series) is nothing compared to Michael Myers. The way Michael Myers was created is realistic enough were you believe he could be real (In the first and maybe the second film anyways). I also like the fact that the film, at the start, has a kind of ghost story to it, with Myers appearing and disappearing and the eeriness when the characters feel they are being watched. Then by the second half of the film we have gone into full Slasher territory, but it is very well done and without a lot of the red stuff going everywhere. This film also takes care to make sure that you like the main characters and get you to root for them, something sadly most other Slasher films can never claim.  



(Well, that’s my list of my top ten favorite horror films, thanks for reading!)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Top Five reasons Horror Films turn into Horroriable Films


1- Extreme Violence- It is no secret to any one that frequently watches Horror films that they tend to contain over the top violence. While I will admit that violence does have its place in these films, the film makers tend to go overboard most of the time. They do it to try and shock the viewer into forgetting how bad they’re and, unfortunately, it works. This has led to these types of films being mass produce to the point that you can’t really watch a Horror flick nowadays without seeing blood (most of the time terrible CGI Blood for that matter) and Gore being splattered everywhere. While some people may find this entertaining, I for one, find that it kills (no pun intended) the credibility of the film to be anything besides a cartoonish, exploitation flick.     

Notable offenders-

Friday The 13th                  

Hellraiser

Nightmare on Elm Street

Halloween

Final Destination  

Saw

2- Nudity- Like violence, Nudity in these films is a way to keep your mind from noticing the glaring problems. The removal of clothing tends to have to barring on the story at all and tends to happen out of nowhere. One minute you will have the killer chasing the intended victim when suddenly they will end up on a beach with about twenty girls with no top. This not only is degrading to women, but it also makes the film difficult to watch (to me anyways). I will explain my second statement: For some, being flashed every ten minutes is no an appealing prospect. This causes you to keep wondering when the next expletive shot is going to come; that it keeps you from getting into the film and enjoying it. Like violence, this kills the credibility of the film.

Notable Offenders-

Pretty much all horror film from the 60’s to the present

3- Really No Story- Now we are getting to the reason for 1&2. The story of these films normally has little, to no, existence. Most stories in Horror films nowadays come down to: misbehaving teens get killed by random killer of unknown origin or reason for being other than to kill the misbehaving teens. If you think I am kidding, think back to most of the Horror films you have seen. If you think, you will notice that the beginning of the film, almost always, the main characters will be introduced as being unscrupulous and then the killer shows up out of nowhere and begins murdering them. It happens in every Friday the 13th, it happens in every Halloween (the first one was not as bad, but this plot was still present.), and in every Nightmare on Elm Street (except the first, but it, like Halloween, has this same plot line). Basically what I am getting to, is that these films all have the same stupid, boring “story” and are painful to get through.  

Notable Offender-

Friday the 13th (not trying to pick, but this film has pretty much every flaw you can think of)

4- Unlikable Characters- I want to think to yourself and see if you have ever cared about any of the victims or intend victims in the Horror films you have seen. Are you done? Okay, now most of you may say Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis’s character from the Halloween series) and maybe Nancy Thomson (from the Nightmare on Elm Street Films) or even Karen (Sarah Michele Gellar’s Character from the Grudge Film), and I would agree. The reason is because they are made to be likable people and not some loudmouth, drug addicted designed for you to hate. Most, not all, the other films have characters that are designed for you to hate and enjoy when they are put out of your misery. I have not really seen any other horror films that I really cared if the protagonist lived or died. I am not saying that these are the only two; there have been a few others just that these are the two that stick in my mind. These characters are also almost always the same stereotypes: you have the Slut, Jock, Nerd, Druggy, loudmouth, and of course the “good Girl/Boy” (who is normally just as bad as the others) that has the highest chance to live. When films start to do things like this, the films start to become less horror and more of a comedy.

Notable Offenders-   

Friday the 13th (I know, I know)

Scream

Final Destination

5- Repeat Performance- This part will be short due to most of this point being explained already. What I mean by the term “Repeat Performance” is that these films never try to do anything different and are all the same. If you have seen one Friday the 13th, you have seen them all. I know why they do it, the formula works, so why change it.  People will continue to see these films, so they’re no reason to change. For the few people that actually want to see something different in the genre, they are pretty much out of luck. It is not very often that a Horror film comes along that is well done and new. The best newer horror film, one that really surprised me, was the “Boogeyman”(2005). When I got this film, I was expecting to see just another crappy horror film. It surprised me though with how deep and interesting it was. I liked the characters and the monster was actually scary(instead of comical). I would recommend checking it out if you are tired of seeing the same old crap over and over. It is very much like the “Grudge” film (another well-made horror film), in that the filmmakers used atmosphere to scares you, instead of knocking the umpteenth person’s body part off or turning them into a fountain of blood.

Notable Offenders-

Friday the 13th

Final Detestation

Halloween

Hellraiser

Nightmare on Elm Street

Scream   

Conclusion- What I am trying to say with this article is that horror films in general are getting worse by the minute. I am not saying that all of them are bad, just that many fall into the same old clichés.Most filmmakers are afraid to try anything new and go on using the same old “tricks” to keep fans coming back. I don’t see this trend ending anytime soon, as people have a problem when it comes to change. They will always fear it more than the monsters in their television screen.  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Movie review: “The Legend is Born: Ip Man”


(Really been looking foward to seeing and reviewing this one)

Movie review: “The Legend is Born: Ip Man”

Starring:

Yu-Hang To as Ip Man
Siu-Wong Fan as Ip Tin Chi
Huang Yi as Cheung Wing-Shing

Short Story Summary: Story of the early life of Wing Chun Master, Ip Man.

Plot: (9/10) TLIB: Ip Man has a well-constructed plot that is well written and entertaining. Even though it may not be completely related to Donnie Yen’s Ip Man films, this film does work well as a prequel for those movies. It had a few minor flaws, but they never really hampered the film. The biggest flaw and I guess it was a necessary evil, was the Japanese being the villains again. I know that the time period that this was set, there was tensions between China and Japan, but does every other film haft to feature the Japanese as the main villain. It’s just getting really old. Other than this, the plot was pretty good.

Characters/Cast: (10/10) The cast was excellent in this film. Yu-Hang To not only looks like a Younger Donnie Yen, he also played the part perfectly and was really how I would picture Ip Man from the other films being when he was young. It was also nice to see Sammo Hung briefly in the beginning as Ip Man’s master, Chan Wah-Shun. The rest of the cast are also really good. Huang Yi does well as Ip Man’s Love interest, Cheung Wing-Shing. Siu-Wong Fan, who you may remember as Jin Shanzhao in the first two Ip Man films, plays the role of Ip Mans oath brother, Ip Tin Chi. I actually really liked his performance in the other films and here he as good, if not better. His character was very interesting and I found myself more interested in his goals and ambitions at times, than with Ip Man (who by this point, I already knew pretty well). His story takes a tragic turn, but he keeps himself from becoming another “Dark Side” victim.

Action: (7.5/10) There were not near as many fights as the first two films and the ones it did have seemed under powered, save for the final fight.. They just didn’t have the same thrill as the Ip Man 1&2 had. The first two had several really good fights: from the fight between Ip Man and the ten Japanese karate fighters to the second films final fights in the arena at the end. This film just did not have those kind of awe-inducing moments, other than the final fight at the end. This, to me, has to have the best “Boss” fight of the three films. I can’t really talk about it, but trust me when I say it is very well done. I will say that the final fight starts when the ninjas (yes, this film has ninjas) show up. The other bad flaw of the fight was the over use of wires. I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but wires just kill the enjoyment of fights for me. It makes them look really fake and most of the times they are not even really needed. They really need to be gotten rid of in action scenes unless they are absolutely needed.

Music: (8/10) To be honest, I can’t really recall much about the soundtrack. But I will be generous because I liked the song that was played on the Phonograph.

Visuals: (8.5/10) Nothing really spectacular with the visuals. The film is pretty much set in at the school that Ip Man trains. Wires are also once again a visual killer and I will just leave it at that. Not much more I can say, it was pretty much like the other films in terms of visuals.

Conclusion: A great addition to the previous films, that helps us to fill in some of the back story of Ip Man. While it may not be as good as the others, it is still a must watch for Ip Man fans and MA fans alike. I highly recommend checking this one out.

Movie review: “Equilibrium”


Movie review: “Equilibrium”

Starring:
Christian Bale as John Preston
Taye Diggs as Brandit
Angus Macfadyen as DuPont

Short Story Summary: In a dystopian world where emotions are illegal. One man must rise to bring down the system (From IMDB)

Story (6/10): The story as an interesting, but flawed, concept. The idea of a world where no one is allowed to have emotions caught my interest and kept me invested in the duration of the film. That being said, I just could never accept that the world was an emotionless one. People through the whole film, to me, showed a variety of emotions when they should not have been able too. I saw people run in fear, worry about their lives, show suspension on the protagonist, and many other emotions. All of these should have been absent and the people of the world should have been acting pretty much like robots. But they never gave that impression to me, which kind of threw me out of the story the film makers where trying to tell. The story is easy enough to follow through and the story (with its flaws) never the less was an entertaining ride. It will keep you interested as long as you can suspend your disbelief as I did and just enjoy the ride.

Characters/Cast (3/10): The cast was itself was fine, but the concept of the story did hurt their performance a bit, I will explain. The big problem was the actors trying to give the appearance of no emotions. I was just never convinced that any of the characters where emotionless. I know that I am harking on the emotion thing a lot, but that is the whole point of this film. When creating a world where the citizens should act a certain way, it is up to the creators make sure that the characters act in the correct manner. I just do not feel that the makers of this film have done this. While they did create an interesting story, they just failed to populate it with the right people. I am not saying that the acting skill of the actors was bad, on the contrary, they all did a fine job, it was just their characters that were off to me.

Action (9/10): The action is the high point of this film and in delivers big time. I find the “Gun Kata” to be an interesting concept and it was fun to see it in action. The best I can explain it, is that it is a type of martial art, in which you predict your opponents attack pattern and then respond with the correct counter movement. There is probably more to it than that, but that is my understanding of it. On top of the Gun Kata fights, we are treated to many normal gun fights and also a sword fight at one point of the film. Very little wire was it any of these fights and they are fast and exciting. The final fight is between the protagonist (Bale) and Antagonist (Macfadyen) is really good and it was great to see to “Gun Kata” Masters go toe to toe. I kind of wish it was a little longer though.

Music (10/10): The classical music of this film was an excellent addition. It really enhanced the emotional moments of the film and just overall helps set the mood of the film.

Visuals (10/10): The look of the world they created was very well done. Not much CGI was used in the film, which is a plus and people appearance had the right look (even if their acting was off). Fans of such films as “1984” will feel right at home with the look. CGI was thankfully not over used. What’s there looks good and has a purpose. The wire effects are like I said, kept to a minimum.

Conclusion: While the film has its share of problems, I find it to be an interesting watch. I would recommend giving this film a try. I got it dirt cheap in a collect of movies and I don’t regret seeing it. Give it a shot.

Movie review: “Buddha’s Palm”

Movie review: “Buddha’s Palm”

Starring:

Derek Yee Tung-Sing as Long Jian Fei
Alex Man Chi-Leung as Gu Han Hun/Flaming Cloud Demon
Sek Kin as Foot Monster

Short Story Summary: After he is nearly killed in an attempt to steal his techniques, Gu Han Hun goes into hiding. Years later he takes an apprentice who must stop the evil Monster Foot.

Story: (7/10) The story was okay, but could at time be kind of confusing to follow. It follows the standard fare for martial arts films; hero gets defeated in a fight and then is trained by a powerful master to defeat a great evil. The film is also heavily set in fantasy, which are both a blessing and a curse I will explain. While certain fantasy elements keep the story interesting (like the dragon-like creature), others just ruin the experience (like the over use of special effects, which I will talk about in a bit).I am also not sure whether or not they were going for a comedy film or not, but some of the stuff that happens in this film is hilarious. I believe they were heading in the right direction, but just couldn’t quite get it right.

Characters/Cast: (8/10) The characters were not terrible in this film and T the actors gave an overall decent performance. It was pretty standard for these kinds of films and I have taken that in to account with the score. Fans of the martial arts genre, like me, enjoy these types of over the top performances some times, so for them it will be nothing new. For people not accustomed to these films may feel a little put off and bewildered by the actions of the characters, so they may have a harder time getting into the movie.

Action: (1/10) There was no real good MA fights in this film. Almost all the action is done with special effect attacks that get boring after a while. When I sit down to watch a Ma film I want to see Martial Arts, not people fighting with energy blast and lightsabers(yes, there is something in this film that looks like a lightsaber from Star wars). There are a few, very small, fight speckled throw the movie, but not enough to keep viewers interested. There is also a lot of wire work used in this film which just makes the fights look even worse. It never a good sign for the action in a MA film to be the weakest link.

Music: (1/10) It had some wacky music near the beginning of the film that was not very good. Other than this, I don’t recall much in the way of a soundtrack.

Visuals: (3/10) Sorry, but they went way overboard with the special effects and the wires. Every fight had those really out dated looking energy blast flying everywhere and it just made me lose interest in the fights. The whole time I was watching the film, I was begging for them to stop with the stupid effects and have a normal fight. If I want to see this kind of effects I will go watch Dragon Ball Z or a superhero film. Here it is just over done and just not welcomed. I did however lie the job they did on the dragon looking thing. It was really well done and that is the one saying grace for the effects department.

Conclusion: While the story and characters are okay, the over-use of special effects ruins the action and just makes the film laughable. I suggest passing on this one, as there are many other better done Fantasy/MA films out there.

Movie review "Green Hornet"


(I hated this film so bad that I had problems writing this review. I hope I got my point across okay)

Movie review: “The Green Hornet”

Starring:

Seth Rogen as Britt Reid/The Green Hornet
Jay Chou as Kato
Cameron Diaz as Lenore Case
Christoph Waltz as Chudnofsky

Short Story Summary: After his father’s death, Britt Reid teams up with his father’s assistant to fight crime.

Story: (7/10) The story its self was not that bad. It did an okay job at explaining how everything came together to lead to the “Birth” of the “Green Hornet”. That is not to say that the story was not flawed, actually it was very flawed. It could be confusing at times and some of the things that the writers came up with is ridicules. For example, we are, at one point, lead to believe that Kato managed to create two other “Black Beauties” (the Green Hornets Car) in the spanned of just eleven days. There is no way that one guy could create two highly advanced cars in that short span of time. Another problem I had was with the predicable plot twist that comes near the end. I will not spoil it for any poor soul that actually wants to watch this, but you will see it coming a mile away.

Characters/Cast: (2/10) This is where the film fails in just about all regards. Seth Rogen is a fool and should never been allowed anywhere near this film. The problem is that he was the producer, so I guess there was nothing anyone could do. He is so completely wrong for this part that it actually hurt to set and watch him make a mockery of this great character. The whole time he made the character look like a jerk, idiot, and, guess what, a fool. Jay Chou’s take on Kato was just about as bad. The way he portrayed the character, he just came across as a know-it-all and a jerk at times. Basically I am trying to say that both of these “Heroes” are completely unlikable and make a mockery of the source material. The villain is most likely the worst in movie history, being such a boring, stupid, and one dimensional character. The only person that was okay was Cameron Diaz as her character was at least likable. She was unfortunately really underused and had very little on screen time, but she does keep the score from going to a (1/10).

Action: (1/10) Welcome to my lowest score ever. I am being dead serious when I say that this movie has got to have the worst action scenes of any movie I have ever seen. There are very few fights and the ones they do have are ruined by stupid gimmicks and over use of slow-mo and wires. I was bored the whole time and I really did not have anyone to root for, because I hated almost all the actor/characters.

Music: (9/10) This film did have some pretty good music, so I guess it was not a complete and utter failure.

Visuals: (6/10) Most of the visual effects where okay, with a few exceptions. One thing is the “Kato vision”( when he fights time slows done and he is able to tell where enemies and objects are and can plan out strategies to counter them), which is one of the main corporates of the fights scenes being so bad. It just takes all the excitement out of the fights and we are left with a lousy Matrix imitation. Another thing is the stupid shots filmed for the 3D effects. I do not really like 3D and I really dislike like it when it is cheaply done. Other than these two things, the effects where okay and the cars and gadgets looked fine.

Conclusion: A terrible movie that should be avoid by anyone with any taste in films (that leaves out anyone that likes the “Twilight series” so they should be able to watch this film okay). I highly suggest avoiding this film at all cost.

Movie review: “True Legend”


Movie review: “True Legend”

Starring:

Man Cheuk Chiu as Su Can
Xun Zhou as Yuang Ying
Andy On as Yuan Lie
Michelle Yeoh as Sister Yu
Jay Chou as God of Wushu/Drunken Master
David Carradine as Anton

Short Story Summary: The story of Su Can, who became known as the “King of Beggars”

Story: (7/10) While the story was overall good, it was far from original. The story is told in a story book form and is split into two chapters. The first part is basically a combination of every plot device used in martial art films through the years and the second part is pretty much the plot of “Ip Man 2” with a little of Jackie Chan’s “Drunken Master” thrown in. While I feel I understand where they were coming from ( trying to make a kind of “tribute film” to honor the Martial arts Genre), I do believe that the story could have been structured better. By the, I believe, sixty minute mark, I thought the film was over, only to realize that I had a whole second part to watch. The way it was, you are basically watching two films in one, a movie and its sequel you could say. With that said, I did enjoy the two stories and their nods to other films.

Characters/Cast: (9/10) To me, the cast and characters of this film was the most important part that the film makers had to get right: I will explain. As this film is, to me, a tribute to the MA genre, that means that the characters are a combination of every other hero, villain, and love interest that has ever appeared in in these types of films. In my honest opinion, I believe they did a fine job. Chiu’s “Su Can” is a great character to fill the role of the heroes that have come before in other movies. Throughout the movie he has to go through the trials that other heroes have faced, from losing a love one to facing his greatest enemy. He is not shown as perfect, but as a person that must struggle against all odds until he is triumphant. He may suffer, but he knows that he has to keep saying to himself that “You can do this”( even his name represents this “Su Can”-“You Can”.). Villains of this genre are too great to be filled by one person, so the film has two antagonists. The first, Yuan Lie played by Andy On, is the reprehensive of the traditional villain in Martial arts cinema. He is the bad guy who is not only a master, but is also a master deceiver ( “Look: “Su Lie”-“You Lie”). The second villain, Anton played by the late David Carradine, is reprehensive for the newer, more foreign villain. He may not know how to fight, but he is no less evil. He is the type that is willing to wager all on using the skills of others to further his plans (Look:” Anton”-“Ante”). Both of these villains are well done and truly contain and show the essence of their “elders “. Yuang Ying, played by the Xun Zhou, is the combined spirit of all the love that the other movie heroes receive from their love ones. She is shown in the film as being a pure spirit, because true love is the purist thing one can receive. I think the actress did a fine job portraying this and does honor to all the other loyal supporters that have helped their own heroes in their time of need. Lastly, but certainly not least is the representative of the master. Jay Chou’s God of Wushu and Drunken Master are the very embodiment of the “Master” figure, that comes from nowhere and helps the hero find his/her way. This now legendary figure may go as fast as he comes, but his mark stays . There are two masters because, like the villain, they cannot be contained in one body. You may on the one hand have the strict, no nonsense master (“God of Wushu”) or you may have the less serious, more lighthearted master ( “Drunken Master “). I also believe that they chose to have the same actor portray both parts, to show that even though the two masters have different ways of teaching, they both are, deep down the same person, with the same reasons for helping the hero. You could say that every character in this film was the embedment of many hundreds of other characters. Even the Iron Twins were the representives of the faithful henchmen, who will fight to the death for their master.

Action: (8/10) I found the fights to be all around pretty good. The film makers includes many different styles and weapons into the action scenes. They were sure to make sure that they added a good verity of fight situations, from one on one fights to major skirmishes, to make sure they had covered the hundreds of battles that had occurred in other films. The only problem I found was the over use of wires in some of the fights and the sometime frequent use of slow-mo.

Music: (9/10) I found the music in this film to be very good. the only problem was that there was not enough of it.

Visuals: (7/10) The visuals were not bad, but I feel they could have been better. One thing was that the CG landscapes were not very well done and looked fake in most cases. This is not a real big problem, because there was not many of these CG landscapes in the film. Another problem was the frequent use of slow-mo. It was okay the first couple of times, and then it just got old. Lastly has to do with my nemesis, the over use of wires. The wire work did not look all that bad and I know that this is partly a Wushu film, but they could of slacked up on it a little.

Conclusion: While not original (it was never meant to be) and some slight technical problems(wires and slo-mo), I think this is a really good movie. It does a good job at paying tribute to those films that came before it and is entertaining to watch. I highly recommend checking this one out.

Movie review: “Underworld: Awakening”


Movie review: “Underworld: Awakening”

Starring:

Kate Beckinsale as Selene
India Eisley as Eve
Stephen Rea as Dr. Jacob Lane
Michael Ealy as Detective Sebastian
Theo James as David

Short Story Summary: After Selene awakens after twelve years in a cryogenic coma, she must find out the identity and protect the mysterious Subject 2 who awoken her from her coma.

Story: (7.5/10) The story is okay, but it does contain quite a few plot holes. For example, it is never (to my knowledge) explained how humans found out about the Vampires and Lycans. The film just starts with Selene explaining the events of the previous films and about the current “Purge” of the Vampire and Lycans races. The actions then heats up and does not slow a bit. While the story looks like Swiss cheese, the action keeps things flowing and the story is not really that confusing. I will say that it did end kind of abruptly and there is sure to be a fifth one (which is okay with me).

Characters/Cast: (8.5/10) The cast was all around pretty good. Kate Beckinsale returns, after her sad absence from “Rise of the Lycans”, as the Death Dealer Selene. Miss Bechensale is just as great as she was in the other films and it’s great to see her back. Her supporting cast on the other hand was kind of touch and go for me. India Eisley did an okay job as Eve/Subject 2. Michael Ealy who played Detective Sebastian was not really that good in this film. His character was basically not really needed. Sebastian kind of just went through the film with a confused look on his face and looked uninterested in everything going on. David, played by Theo James, was a little better. Mr. James seemed to really get into his role and he had some pretty decent action scenes. I really believe that they could have just combined the David/Sebastian characters together and it would have made a much better character. The main antagonist Dr. Jacob Lane, played by Stephen Rea, is a terrible villain and is a major step back from the antagonists from the rest of the films. He is a very stereotypical, boring bad guy and his son, Quint, played by Kris Holden-Reid, is a little better, but not by much. The rest of the cast was nothing really special, but they were okay.

Action: (9/10) I thought the action in this film was really well done and entertaining. They did rely a little too much on wires during the action scenes, but it does not get to the point that it ruins them. Once again they’re a nice assortment of weapons and the fights are well filmed and easy to follow.

Music: (6/10) There was some okay background music, but nothing really that great.

Visuals: (9/10) The moody, gothic look from the previous films returns and it looks as great as ever. There is a good verity of locations and they all look okay. The creature effects are once again well done and luckily do not have a campy look to them. -10 points for overuse of wires in some scenes and some really unnecessary gore.

Conclusion: While it has its flaws, “Awakening “is a really good film and is a great follow up to the original trilogy. I recommend checking this film out.

Friday, July 13, 2012

"Blade Of Kings"



 Movie review: “Blade of Kings”

Starring:
Jaycee Chan as Charcoal Head
Donnie Yen as Crouching Dragon, Hidden Dragon
Charlene Choi as Spring/13th Master
Gillian Chung as Blue Bird
Bolin Chen as Blockhead

Short Story Summary: A boy must seek an ancient blade to over throw an evil queen.

Plot:(8/10) While this is a very strange Fantasy/ Martial arts/ Wukia film, I have to give it credit for coming up with, to me is, a very interesting tale. It’s true that nothing really new happens in this film. The tried and true story elements are all there, you could say that all make an appearance in this movie. You have the traditional evil antagonist who wishes to bend the will of those around. You have the pure of heart Protagonist who must bring an end to the villain’s evil plans. You also have the standard assortment of allies and lackeys. It is also, as you may have noticed, the traditional “Good guy must go stop bad guy from doing evil deed”. Now while this has been done many times before, the movies saving grace is its way it used these elements to tale a weird, but interesting, story. The film gets to the action quick. It does drag in places, but the use of brilliant comedic elements keeps this from happening too often. The world that the story creates is an awesome, almost cartoonish, place. Where some films are killed by being set in this kind of world (see Buddha’s Palm), it just works in this case. A world were women are the superior gender and have taken complete control of the country is very interesting plot element and one that I don’t believe I have ever seen in a martial arts film before. I know there are films were there is a queen in charge or something to that extent, but never on where the queen has cast down the men to second class citizens. It is pretty close to one of those “Last man/woman on earth” sort of films. I don’t normally like this sort of film, because I like for everyone to be on equal footing, but this was very well done.

Characters/Cast: (7.5/10) The cast was overall pretty good. I didn’t really like Jaycee Chan that much. He was okay, but there was something about him that I just did not like. I guess it was acting, which to me, was very poor. I also found him to not be that likeable and he was kind of annoying most of the time. Maybe he was trying too hard being this was his first film, but bad acting is bad acting. This was the first film I ever saw him in and I guess I will give him another chance to see what he can do (even his dad has been in his fair share of bad roles). Donnie Yen is as great as ever. Even though he does not have much screen time, when he is on he steals the show. The two girls, Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung, are both great( Charlene Choi being my favorite, due to her hilarious performance), and it was nice to see Jackie as the Lord of Amour. The evil Queen (played by Qu Ying) was okay, but she kind of bland. Her plans and the reason for being the way she was, was interesting, but her acting was lacking.

Action: (6.5/10) Everyone say it with me: TOO MANY WIRES! Don’t get me wrong, the fight where actually really nice to look at and fun to watch, but the poorly done use of wires almost completely killed it. I fit weren’t for the beautiful, dance –like, fight choreography, this score would be closer to a 1.The other saving grace is the fight between Donnie Yen and Jackie Chan. While the fight is short and abused by slow-mo and wires, it's still fun to finally see these two duke it out. There are not that many fights and the end fight I found badly disappointing, but for some reason I found the fights in this film to be almost magical. They also kind of over used the slow-mo, but it was not that badly done, I guess. I normally hate the style they used, but damn if they didn’t make it look really good this time(to me anyways)

Music: (0/10) Can’t remember any at all really, so it could not have been that good.

Visuals: (10/10) The filmmakers created a very beautiful world to set their film in. It has a very bright and cheerful look to it, and you could say it almost looks like a cartoon or comic. The visuals have almost a Technicolor look to them and the costumes are really well made. The world, you could say, has almost a dream like feel to it and it was one that I didn’t really want to wake from when the credits started to role. I got to give those guys and gals a hand. This was one of the best worlds I have seen in a while.

Conclusion: With an interesting, if slightly clichéd, story and awesome visuals, Blade of Kings is a fun flm to watch. I highly recommend checking it out.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Movie review: “Police Story 3: Supercop”


Movie review: “Police Story 3: Supercop”

Starring: Jackie Chan as Inspector Chan
Michelle Yeoh as Jessica Yang
Maggie Cheung as May
Kenneth Tsang as Chaibat
Wah Yuen as Panther

Short Story Summary: A Hong Kong Police officer goes undercover to break up a drug ring.

Story: (7/10) The story is standard fair for a Jackie film. It is nothing special, but it gets the job done. The story is basically just there to help get from one fight or comic scene to the next, while trying to not become overly complex. Anyone that is a fan of Jackie will not notice this lack of a more sophisticated story, but others may find the story lacking in substance.

Characters/Cast: (8.5/10) Jackie Chan is as great as ever. His comic and action scenes are well performed and he gives an excellent performance. He makes his Character named “Chan” (go figure) a very likable and sympathetic fellow and you are sure to be rooting for him throughout the film. Michelle Yeoh also gives an excellent performance as Jessica Yang. She and Jackie’s interactions with each other are what really made the film interesting and fun to watch. She is a very talented woman, who not only does her own stunts, but also does well in the comic scenes as well. Maggie Cheung is as great as ever in her role as Jackie’s Girlfriend, May. The villains Chaibat (Kenneth Tsang) and Panther (Wah Yuen) are both pretty good. I think that Panther is the better of the two, as I felt that Chaibat was a bit over the top in his actions most of the time. It just seemed like Mr. Tsang was over acting way too much for my taste.

Action: (7.5/10) The action scenes were okay. There was no real good one on one fights, save for near the beginning when Jackie has to fight one of the military policemen in a training yard. This fight was short, but was pretty good, having a nice blend of action and comedy moments. The rest of the fights are basically against henchmen and not all that thrilling. The stunts in the film where good though. Both Jackie and Yeoh do a nice verity of stunts that should keep anyone both entertained and thrilled.

Music: (4/10) Very poor and generic. It did have a few good songs, but I don’t think they were by the original artist which would have raised the score a bit more.

Visuals: (9/10) The visuals where okay. The film had a nice variety of locations ranging from a coal yard to the back of moving train. No CG was used in the production of this film (well non that would bother anyone that is against CG) and this adds to the thrills of the stunt work. There was also no “Noticeable” wire work and this keeps the film from looking strange. Bad or over-done wire work can do that.

Conclusion: While it is far from perfect, this is still a very fun film to watch. I recommend checking it out.