Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 1 and 2 (2008 and 2010)

Third in my Star Wars review saga and, thankfully, a game I have played much more recently and actually remember. That game is Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, brought to us by LucasArts. I will not promise that I remember these games clearly, especially not the first one, but I remember them well enough to put forth a decent review, unlike with my review of KotOR. So let’s check these games out and get us all further educated on the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008)

This series is set in between the events of Episode III (Revenge of the Sith) and Episode IV (A New Hope). We start off as Darth Vader, running rampant on the Wookie-filled planet of Kashyyyk, the planet of too-many-y’s. Vader is looking for one of the Jedi that managed to escape Order 66 at the end of Episode III. Upon finding him, Vader quickly dispatches him. He then finds that this Jedi had a kid. Seeing that this child is strong in the ways of the Force, he takes him and raises him as his apprentice behind Emporer Palpatine’s back. When the child (now known as Starkiller as an homage to the original name that was going to be given to Anakin instead of Skywalker) reaches adulthood, Vader sends him to kill the remaining Jedi to complete his training and become more powerful so that he could eventually kill the Emperor at Vader’s request. The Emperor finds out about Starkiller and orders Vader to kill him, but secretly keeps him alive and sends his apprentice to start a rebellion against the Empire to distract the Emperor and allow Vader to kill him. He does so, along the way rescuing Juno Eclipse, pilot of the Rogue Shadow, Jedi Master Rahm Kota, Princess Leia Organa, and her father, Senator Bail Organa. Kota teaches Starkiller about the Jedi way and that leads him to spare a Jedi apprentice named Maris Brood after a battle with her. At a meeting to start a rebellion, Kota, Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, and Garm Bel Iblis are arrested by Vader. Vader attacks Starkiller and informs him that he was not meant to overthrow the Emperor, but to collect the heads of the rebellion so that they could be destroyed. Starkiller don’t take kindly to this, and he has massive anger issues. He travels to the Death Star and battles Vader as Kota fights the Emperor, but is wounded. You then have a choice on how to end it, but the canon ending is that Starkiller defeats Palpatine, but Kota stops him from killing the Emperor because thems the path to the dark side. In order to allow Kota and the Senators to escape, Starkiller sacrifices himself. Vader and Palpatine fear that his death will become a martyrdom, fueling the rebellion they hoped to squash. He is, and it does.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (2010)

How do you make a sequel when your protagonist died in the first game? CLONE THAT MAMMA JAMMA! Yes, that’s right, 6 months after FU 1, we catch a giant FU when they piss on the significant death of Starkiller in the first game by ignoring his death and cloning him. Oh well, it is what it is. Darth Vader has used Starkiller’s DNA to try to create the perfect secret apprentice. You have a vision that Vader kills you because of your inability to kill a droid wearing the appearance of Starkiller’s love interest from the first game, Juno Eclipse. The Clone escapes and embarks on a quest to understand what has happened to him and Juno. Vader hires Boba Fett (apparently no longer Baby Boba) to track down Juno and lure us out. We rescue Rahm Kota from a gladiatoral arena, and also encounter Yoda on Dagobah. We have some strange visions on Dagobah (probably the ‘shrooms), and rush to Juno’s ship, arriving just as Boba captures her. With help from Kota and the Rebels, we launch an assault on Kamino. Starkiller shows off by Force grabbing a Star Destroyer and crashing it into a planet so that Kota can stage a ground assault while we go after Juno. While fighting Vader, Juno is thrown out a window. Starkiller is not fond of this. He viciously attacks Vader and cuts off his hand. Kota arrives and pleads with Starkiller not to kill Vader because he needs him interrogated, and then put him on trial. We again get to choose our ending. I couldn’t find out which ending was the canon one, but I believe it to be the light side ending. In this ending, Starkiller allows Vader to be taken and discovers that Juno survived the fall and the two jet off with Vader as prisoner. Going to rub it in, Starkiller goes down to Vader and tells him that he’s free of his control because he was the one who made the choice to let him live. Vader tells him that, as long as Juno lives, he will always control Starkiller. They jet off and Slave 1, Boba Fett’s ship, follows. I believe this is the canon ending because, though the other one fits with the canon too, it gets wacky and the DLC shatters canon. In this ending, Starkiller raises his saber to strike down Vader and is stabbed by another lightsaber. The shrouded figure appears behind him and kills Kota. Starkiller looks over to the dead Juno as Vader tells him the cloning process had actually been perfected. The shrouded figure removes his hood to reveal another Starkiller. Vader tells him to hunt down the rest of the rebels and destroy them. The DLC gets wacky as the dark Starkiller particpates in the Battle of Endor from Episode VI, killing Ewoks and Rebels and later, Han Solo and Chewbacca, and even Leia.

Both of these games are solid action adventure hack-and-slash games with fancy Force powers thrown in there (though I tended to prefer to just throw down with some sabers. The only difference between the two games here is that Starkiller’s clone in TFU 2 uses 2 sabers. The gameplay is very solid and typically satisfying, and the force powers work well, though better in the second game. Having a second lightsaber doesn’t change the gameplay much beyond making Starkiller awesome. Which he totally is. And if you don’t believe that, pull a Star Destroyer out of the skies with YOUR mind. …bitch. I also liked the ability to change the crystals in your lightsaber as you collected them throughout the missions. The only bummer to this is that they changed both the color AND the stats of Starkiller’s that they buffed. The problem with this is that I want my lightsabers red or black, because that’s metal and awesome! I don’t want to have to use lame ass green because it would help me more!

These are not perfect games, though. They capture the atmosphere of Star Wars well and practically capture something else from the Star Wars movies: the length. These games (especially TFU2) are super short. TFU2 being the most recent one, I can recall this game taking me about 5 hours to complete. What’s that all about? You know I paid 60 bucks for you, right? I don’t even get paid 10 dollars an hour! Shame on you. It gives you a little more in that you can play them twice to be good and evil, but since the decision that changes the game is made at the end, you can simply reload a save and find out what happens. Or just look it up on YouTube. If they had made it possible to make decisions throughout the game, playing through twice would’ve been more worthwhile.

Altogether, I think both of these games are worth playing, especially now that they’re both $20 or $30 instead of the $60 that I paid. TFU2 is slightly better than the first, but both are too short for me to recommend at $60. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you gotta play them. If you’re a casual fan, I give these games “Still worth a play if you’ve got nothing else on your plate” out of 1344.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.

Star Wars: Episodes I, II, and III (1999, 2002, and 2005)

Twi’leks are hot!

As requested, I will be reviewing the Star Wars films in two reviews, by their trilogies.  First, the prequel trilogy (Episodes I, II, and III) and next the original trilogy (Episodes IV, V, and VI).  Do I need to display their numbers as Roman numerals?  Probably not.  But I’m gonna.  Before I jump in to my first attempt to do multiple movies in one review, I will warn you that I will be spoiling in this review.  But, on the other hand, if you haven’t seen Star Wars by this point in your life, I hate you.

Episode I – The Phantom Menace.  (1999)

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there are trade disputes.  The Trade Federation has put a blockade around the planet of Naboo and two Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), are sent in to fix it.  The Viceroy of the Trade Federation gets the order from Darth Sidious to kill the two Jedi.  But the Jedi won’t go down easy.  They fight their way out and stow aboard a ship going to Naboo.  Here they meet the ruination of the Star Wars series, Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best).  With him, they go to visit the recently captured Queen of the … Nabooians? … Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman or Keira Knightley, depending on when you see her) and rescue her, taking her to Tatooine.  They meet Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd for the time being), a slave of a flying blue thing named Watto, and make a wager with Watto for Anakin’s freedom and the parts they need to repair their ship.  Commence 15 minutes of pod racing!  They win and leave.  Qui-Gon wants Anakin because, as with most religious type figures, he likes little boys.  No, it’s because he has an unusually high count of midichlorians, little creatures that get you tied in to the Force … and also clean a pool really well.  They head to the capital planet of Coruscant and get Senator Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) elected Supreme Chancellor of the Senate, a decision that will in no way come back to bite them in the ass.  They go back to Naboo to try to save the planet and the two Jedi get into a fight with Darth Sidious’ apprentice, Darth Maul (Ray Park).  He kills Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan kills him right back.  Then they save Naboo.  Obi-Wan is made a Jedi Knight and takes Anakin on as his apprentice, as per Qui-Gon’s last request.

Episode II – Attack of the Clones.  (2002)

10 years later, same far, far away galaxy, a Separatist movement has been set up against the Republic behind former Jedi, Count Dooku (Christopher Lee).  Amidala (Now a Senator and occasionally Rose Byrne), returns to Coruscant to vote on some junk and someone tries to kill her, instead killing her stand-in.  Obi-Wan and grown up Anakin (Hayden Christensen) are assigned to protect her.  After another assassination attempt, Obi-Wan is goes to Kamino (or as the Mexicans call it, El Kamino) in search of the assassin.  Anakin goes with Amidala back to Naboo to tell her his dissertation about why he hates sand so much.  Hating sand gets this woman moist and they start getting all romantic like.  On Kamino, Obi-Wan finds out that a now dead Jedi had ordered the production of a clone army, all cloned from Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison).  Eventually they fight, but Jango escapes.  Obi-Wan follows him to Geonosis, a planet where they’re creating a droid army.  Then he gets captured.  Back on Naboo, Anakin is having bad dreams about his momma dying so he and Amidala go back to Tatooine.  There, they find that she was sold to a guy who freed and married her, then she was taken by Tusken Raiders.  Anakin goes and finds her, but she’s been tortured nigh to death and dies in his arm.  So he kills all the men, women, and children in the Tusken camp.  Okay, perhaps he overreacted.  They get a message from Obi-Wan and go to save him, but then get captured themselves.  In classic Bond villain style, they are to be executed in an overly complicated way that always works.  They escape and the rest of the Jedi show up.  Then Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson, mother fucker!) cuts off Jango Fett’s head.  This makes Baby Boba (Daniel Logan), his son, sad.  In order to make this move on Geonosis, Jar Jar had to go and fuck up things more by giving emergency powers to Palpatine, who passes the use of clone soldiers.  A big battle engages and Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Amidala chase down Dooku.  Dooku soundly beats them both in a lightsaber duel, cutting off one of Anakin’s arms in the process.  Then Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz) comes in and whoops all up on that ass.  Dooku escapes.  At the end, Anakin (with new robo arm) gets married to Amidala in secret.

Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.  (2005)

Obi-Wan and Anakin infiltrate the flagship of General Grievous (voiced by Matthew Wood), commander of the Separatist droid army, to rescue Supreme Chancellor Palpatine.  They again fight Dooku, who promptly knocks out Obi-Wan.  Anakin, on the other hand, cuts off both Dooku’s arms and then executes him, being egged on by Palpatine.  (Did you get the “on the other hand” pun?  You’re welcome)  Back to Coruscant, Anakin meets up with Amidala again and she reveals she’s been knocked up by his Jedi jizz.  Anakin starts having visions of Amidala dying during childbirth and vows he won’t let it happen.  And he especially won’t be the CAUSE of it happening.  Because of his closeness to Palpatine, the Jedi Council tell him to monitor Palpatine.  Anakin has begun to get all emo on the Council because of Palpatine’s manipulation and their denial of his promotion to Jedi Knight.  I hear you, Ani.  Palpatine also gets Anakin’s attention by telling him he’s heard of a dark side of the Force ability to keep people from dying.  Anakin figures out that Palpatine is Darth Sidious, Lord of the Sith.  Obi-Wan is sent after Grievous and kills him.  Mace Windu goes to make sure Palpatine relinquishes his control of the Senate with the death of Grievous and Anakin tells him that Palpatine is the Sith Lord.  Windu orders Anakin to stay behind as he confronts Palpatine, but Anakin is torn because he believes Palpatine is the only one that can save Amidala.  Mace fights Sidious and wins, until Anakin goes and screws it up.  Sidious starts shooting some lightning at Windu, but it’s deflected back at himself, fucking up his face and starting to kill him.  Anakin rashly cuts Windu’s arm off and Sidious shoots Windu out the window.  Sidious then names Anakin his apprentice in the dark side, changing his name to Darth Vader (probably naming him after those Star Wars movies).  Then Sidious sends Vader out to kill all the children in the Jedi Temple, and then go to Mustafar to kill the Separatist leaders.  Obi-Wan finds out what Anakin has done and informs Amidala, but she won’t tell him where Anakin’s gone.  But he stows away on her ship as she goes to confront him.  Feeling he’s been betrayed by Amidala because she brought Obi-Wan there, he Force chokes her into passing out, then Obi-Wan and Anakin get into one hell of a lightsaber battle.  Yoda tries to stop Palpatine by attacking him directly, but is unable to defeat him and must escape.  Obi-Wan has better luck and cuts off Anakin’s legs as Anakin tries to attack from an inferior position.  Then Obi-Wan collects Amidala and leaves Anakin burning up by a lake of lava.  Amidala does die during childbirth, but the twins (Luke and Leia) live.  Who knows if those kids will ever make something of themselves, coming from a broken home as they do.  Darth Sidious rescues Vader from near death and turns him all robotic, telling him of Amidala’s demise.  He yells “no”.  Leia is given to a Senator from Alderaan to raise, and Luke is taken back to Tatooine to be raised by his step-family, Owen and Beru, under the watchful eye of Obi-Wan.  The rest of the Jedi are spread throughout the galaxy, waiting for their moment to return.

WOW!  That’s a gundamn lot of writing, and I haven’t even started reviewing!  Oh well, here we go.

The Phantom Menace is, almost inarguably, the worst movie of the 6.  It looks pretty as hell, especially when they’re on Naboo, but almost everything else about this movie doesn’t work.  Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, and Natalie Portman all perform well.  Jake Lloyd got on my nerves a little, but most of that was probably the dialogue (“Are you an angel?”)  Also, this kid was basically Jedi Jesus, as it’s revealed that he was immaculately conceived.  Of course, everyone knows that Jar Jar Binks was horribly annoying in every way.  Conversely, Ray Park as Darth Maul was a total metal badass.  Too bad he only got to be in one movie.  The basic premise of the movie starts off poorly too because it’s about trade disputes.  How do you make a trade dispute interesting?  Jedi!  And then it’s still not that interesting.  All the little skinny droids, which are the main soldiers in the movie, are completely useless, almost as much so as Storm Troopers.  The pod racing was a horrible position to be in during this movie.  It took 15 minutes and was really boring.  It was like watching intergalactic Nascar.  Hell, even Jabba the Hutt fell asleep during it.  The dialogue was pretty bad in parts of this movie.  Also, it made me think that George Lucas has the sense of humor of a 5 year old.  At one point, Jar Jar steps in poodoo and, at another point, a creature farts.  This is supposed to be humor.  This one was not a horrible movie, but it was a let down for the movie that brings back the Star Wars saga after so many years of waiting.

Attack of the Clones comes next and gives Jar Jar the backseat.  He passes on his crown of “Most annoying thing in Star Wars” to Hayden Christensen.  This kid was trying throughout the entire movie to act his way out of a paper bag, but remained in it until the very end of the next movie.  Ewan McGregor gets better in this movie and also shows the audience that Obi-Wan’s favorite pastime is cutting off people’s hands in bars.  Natalie Portman does the best she can do with the shitty romantic dialogue that Lucas wrote for her, but also makes us think she’s retarded by leaving the STUPIDEST THING SHE KNOWS IN CHARGE OF HER PLANET!  How you gonna make Jar Jar a senator?!  It’s because of him that everything bad in the Star Wars series happens.  On the other hand, we wouldn’t have the original trilogy without his actions.  I also think it’s strange that I can’t get myself a girlfriend but a smokin’ hot biddy like Natalie Portman will get busy with a guy that just indiscriminately killed men, women, and children.  Not a horrible movie again, and it’s on it’s way towards getting better.

Revenge of the Sith elevates the prequel trilogies from the abyss it would have been in if the third had been on par with one of the others.  It seems to have to stuff a lot into the amount of time it has because it has to tie up all the loose ends and get us ready for A New Hope.  In the beginning of this, beloved robot R2D2 reminds us why we all love him so as he takes on a giant robot trooper as he’s surrounded by others.  R2D2’s like a honey badger!  He just don’t give a fuck!  You little badass you.  Anyways, Hayden is back and as bad as ever.  In this movie, credulity is stretched as Anakin starts getting more and more obviously dark side-leaning.  He starts wearing clothes as emo as he’s acting; getting all black and dark and morose.  And, again, why the hell couldn’t Lucas get someone from a famous romance movie or something to come in and write his romantic dialogue for him?  The rest of the dialogue ranges from fine to awesome, but when someone is falling in love, it’s all “You’re beautiful” “That’s because I’m in love” “No, it is because I am the one who is in love … with you!”  As for examples of the other dialogue, the way Palpatine manipulates others (throughout all of the movies, but especially here) is sublime.  I was fixing to join the dark side if he kept going.  The end of the movie is where everything is at it’s best.  Ewan McGregor is awesome as he’s just defeated Anakin and you can watch his heart break as he has to defeat someone he’s so close to for the evil he’s committed.  Hayden is at his best when he shuts the fuck up and kills younglings and Separatists.  And the climax of the movie is everything you hoped it would be.  Big ass battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin in a place that looks like Hell itself.  Yoda and Sidious throwing down in the giant Council chambers.  The birth of Luke and Leia and the birth of Darth Vader as we know him.  Then they kinda screw it up with Vader’s “NOOOOOOOoooooooooo!”  But it’s not that bad, just a little goofy.

So that’s it.  The longest review I’ve done (until possibly tomorrow).  Altogether these movies are of course the weakest of the saga, but it’s so hard to surpass the original trilogy’s glory for me.  The awesome thing about these movies being first in the chronology of the series but last in real-time chronology is that this series gets to steadily increase in awesomeness, unlike most movies that get worse and worse as they go on.  None of us will remember it that way, but when my blu-rays are passed down to my children and their children, they’ll think that’s the order they came out in and all will be right in the world.  The first two could be skipped, but to use them as a build up to the pretty epic conclusion of the third is worth the time.  The Star Wars prequel trilogy gets a “You were supposed to be the Chosen One!” out of “I hate sand”.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2 (2003 and 2005)

I decided, being that I was already reviewing all 6 Star Wars movies, that I should put into review form all of the parts of Star Wars canon that I have experienced, in chronological order for the Star Wars universe.  The earliest account that I have taken part in is the Knights of the Old Republic, or KotOR for short.  This RPG series was brought to us by one of my favorite game developers, BioWare, and published by LucasArts.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003)

This game takes place 4,000 years before the events of Star Wars Episode I.  Darth Malak, Dark Lord of the Sith, has unleashed a Sith armada against the Republic.  Malak has done significant damage to the Jedi order, killing most of them or converting them to the Dark Side.  We play as an unnamed player, on a Republic ship called the Endar Spire, right as it’s come under attack from Malak’s forces.  Through the course of the game, you collect companions and learn about your past while trying to stop Malak.  Eventually we come to the Jedi Academy on Dantooine where your character learns the ways of the Jedi.  Then you learn about something called the “Star Forge”, which is probably where Malak has been collecting his military resources.  As you look for more information about the Star Forge, you discover your character’s true identity.  You are the brainwashed Darth Revan, former master of Darth Malak, brainwashed by the Jedi to stop his threat to the galaxy.  Jedi Bastila Shan had defeated Revan and was aboard his ship when Malak turned his guns on Revan.  She heals Revan and takes him to Dantooine to be brainwashed, and is later seduced to the dark side by Malak.  The player can then choose a good or evil ending.  You either defeats the Sith (light-side) or takes control from Malak (dark-side).

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (2005)

This game takes place 5 years after KotOR.  Jedi have been nearly wiped out by the Sith.  We play as a former Jedi Knight, exiled from the Jedi Order.  You can choose your gender, but canon takes this character as a female and refers to her mostly as “the Exile”.  She had served under Revan during the Mandalorian Wars and activated a devastating weapon named the mass shadow generator during the climactic battle over Malachor V.  The ensuing deaths created a massive “wound” in the Force and caused the Exile to sever all connection to the Force and caused her exile.  As the game progresses, we rebuild our connection to the Force while creating strong Force Bonds with other characters and places, while unknowingly sapping Force powers.  One of the characters that join the Exile is Kreia, who mentors the Exile, as well as former Sith assassin Atton Rand, Mandalorian War veteran Bao-Dur, criminal droid G0-T0, Sith apprentice Visas Marr, and T3-M4 and Mandalore from the first game.  As the game progresses, we find out Kreia is the Sith Lord Darth Traya and was attempting to use the Exile to create another rift in the Force so deep it would destroy the Force completely, but we defeat Traya instead.  Bao-Dur activates the mass shadow generator and causes Malachor V to collapse in on itself.  The Exile’s ship, the Ebon Hawk, arrived just in time to rescue the Exile and disappears into space to search for Darth Revan.

Both of these games are fantastic and right up my alley.  Universally loved by critics and beloved by me.  This game is a RPG set in the Star Wars universe!  That’s one of my favorite types of games in one of my favorite universes!  I’m also a big fan of the games where choices you make set you on a good or evil path and change the outcome of the game, an idea that BioWare took with them to other beloved games of mine, Mass Effect and Dragon Age.  It will probably follow them into a game I’m skeptical about, The Old Republic, which I’m only skeptical about because it’s an MMORPG like World of Warcraft and I just don’t want to be “that guy”.  In that, it shares my desire for a sequel that will most likely never come as I wish for sequels to both games (KotOR and Warcraft) but both developers will likely be too busy because of their MMORPG titles.  Sad face.

As I haven’t played either of these games in many years (and had to read most of the stories from Wikipedia sites) I can’t go into the proper detail with them.  Suffice to say, I remember both fondly.  They both offer further expansion on my beloved Star Wars saga and fantastic gameplay to boot.  I don’t know if I can recommend you play them since they would look so dated at this point it could take you out of the game.  But if you’re a lover of Star Wars, you need to play it for the canon storyline.  But, if you’re a Star Wars lover, you probably already did.  I give this game “It was awesome, but if you wanted to play it you probably already did” out of 863.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

You’ve lost your muchness.

I had no time to do my review of the 6 Star Wars movies today, so I dipped back into my DVD collection and routed out Alice in Wonderland. Not the animated one, the Tim Burton one. I decided to do this movie in case my friend Loni had lost interest in my reviews. You put Johnny Depp on the end of a hook and Loni will bite every time. So lets get into this here movie. This version of Alice in Wonderland stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas X 2, as well as the voices of Michael Sheen, Alan Rickman, Barbara Windsor, Christopher Lee, and Stephen Fry.

I shouldn’t have to tell you too much about this movie. Who doesn’t know the story of Alice in Wonderland? This doesn’t just remake the classic Disney animation with wacky scenery though. It mashes up two of the classic Lewis Carroll novels: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and it’s sequel Through the Looking-Glass. Now 19-year-old Alice (Mia Wasikowska), is an eccentric girl who has been set up for marriage behind her back. When the proposal comes, she jets. She sees a white rabbit in a waistcoat and follows him into a hole, falling down into Underland. Here she meets Nivens McTwisp the White Rabbit (voiced by Michael Sheen), Mallymkun the Dormouse (voiced by Barbara Windsor), Absolem the Caterpillar (voiced by Alan Rickman), and twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum (both Matt Lucas). They tell her she’s the only one that can slay the Jabberwocky and save Underland. She’s not thrilled. Then, the conversation is interrupted by the Red Queen’s army, including the Bandersnatch and the Knave of Hearts, Ilosovic Stayne (Crispin Glover). Iracebeth of Crims, the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter with a giant head), is not happy at the return of Alice because she’s come back to slay her beloved Jabber-baby-wocky and she’s looking to separate some heads from some shoulders. Alice escapes and soon comes to meet the Cheshire Cat (voiced by Stephen Fry). He takes her to meet the March Hare and brings about the moment Loni had been checking her watch and waiting for, the introduction of the Mad Hatter, Tarrant Hightopp (Johnny Depp). Together with the Mad Hatter, Alice makes her way towards the Red Queen to find the Vorpal Sword, then off to meet Mirana of Marmoreal, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), to try to get her reelected as Queen of Underland. And, yes, I did look up all of their full names because they were wacky and I wanted them written in my review.

So the story doesn’t really require very much commentary. Of course it’s great. It’s Alice in Wonderland. This movie can’t really take much credit for that. I absolutely refuse to read without a weapon of some sort pointed at me, so I have no idea how closely they stuck to the source material. I don’t much care either. The movie was interesting all the way through so, much as the Harry Potter series, I don’t care if it’s nothing like the book at all. I’m not sure if it was a choice by Burton or if it was in the books, but parts of this seemed pretty dark for a movie aimed more towards kids. The Bandersnatch get’s it’s eye ripped out, there’s a bird that get’s stabbed in the eye and then gets it’s head crushed by a rock, and there’s a river full of decapitated heads. Hey kids, you wanna watch Alice in Wonderland? No, the one that will give you nightmares. Well then you probably should’ve eaten all of your vegetables at dinner. Now get in here and watch the movie!

As with most Tim Burton movies – and also Guillermo Del Toro movies – the story takes a major backseat to the visual effects. I’m pretty sure both of those guys are probably insane to be able to come up with some of the visuals they use. And it’s okay that they’re crazy because I can just enjoy the visuals of their movies without having to deal with them personally. The movie was in 3D in theaters, but I’m pretty sure no one made me sit through that gimmicky bullshit, and I certainly didn’t watch it like that at home. The landscapes were all rich with imagination; whether it was the lush, colorful forest area or the ruined town, all of it was a pleasure to look at. Some of the visual effects they went with were interesting but occasionally poorly done. I’m talking mainly about the morphing of the people. Tweedledee and Tweedledum were CG fat boys with Matt Lucas’ face plastered on there. The Red Queen had HBC’s head made gargantuan on a tiny body and Cripin Glover was made slightly more tall and lanky than he really is. These effects usually worked but I felt like, on occasion, it looked weird to the point where I noticed it and that’s not a good thing. But it was few and far between. Alice’s size was in a fairly constant state of flux in the movie because of a potion and a cake. This worked well through the movie, but that must’ve been one flexible dress. Also, the Jabberwocky is freaking metal. I wanna make an album and put that guy on the cover.

The performances in the movie were mostly wacky but all pretty good. Anne Hathaway was the stand out for me. Not just because she’s smokin’ hot and I want to make babies in her, but her portrayal of the White Queen was pretty freaking funny as well. She’s got a darkness to her that she’s always suppressing and compensating by going over the top with the prim and proper. Just the way she walked made me laugh. I don’t really know what to make of Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter though. It was good and interesting, but totally wacky. There were parts where you could really connect with him on an emotional level over the tragedy that befell his town and drove him to madness, but then he’d break into a Scottish brogue out of nowhere. And that Futterwhacken thing? Yeah, I could’ve done without that. I also could’ve done without the scene where Johnny said it in a way that made me think he was talking about regular whackin’ … of the penis … vigorously … HBC’s Red Queen was pretty funny as well. She was like a child given power and murderous intent. The funniest characters were Matt Lucas’ Tweedle twins. I liked their crazy way of making words.

All in all, this is still a good movie. There were parts that lost me, either in wacky performances or slightly askew VFX, but the rest of the visuals kept me pretty riveted throughout. The biggest thing holding this movie back is that it refused to tell me how a raven is like a writing desk. I NEED TO KNOW, DAMNIT!! …sorry. I give this movie “You’re almost Alice” out of “Um.”

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.

I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)

I Love You Jim Carrey

Okay, I went into this review with the worst idea of what it would be ever.  I totally thought this movie was supposed to be about Philip Morris, the tobacco guy.  Then I heard Jim Carrey played one of them gays in it.  Then I thought “The tobacco guy was a gay?”  Then I watched the movie, and I’m an idiot.  This movie is not about that Philip Morris at all.  It’s about Steven Jay Russell, a famous con artist that escaped from jail many times and is currently in jail until 2140.  I Love You Phillip Morris stars Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, and Leslie Mann.

The movie starts with Steven Jay Russell (Jim Carrey) on his deathbed, remembering the events of his life.  At first he’s an organist at a church where he meets the woman that will become his wife, Debbie (Leslie Mann).  He becomes a police officer, mainly to find his biological mother.  He does, goes to meet her, and is rejected by her without explanation.  Soon after, he gets in a vehicle collision and decides he needs to start being who he really is – a gay.  He leaves his life and moves to Florida and gets a boyfriend.  But he soon finds that being gay is expensive, so he starts committing lots and lots of fraud to pay for expensive things he now likes.  Then he gets arrested.  In jail, he gets learned on the law from the library and meets Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor), a man who has nothing to do with tobacco or the Force, but does love wang.  They soon get out of jail and Steven fraudulently acquires a position as chief financial officer of a large company.  It’s not long before he starts stealing from them too, and then gets into more trouble.

I don’t think I’ve had it on the forefront of my facade for a while now, but some people that know me know that I love Jim Carrey.  I own and loved the greater majority of movies that he’s appeared in.  That being the case, I feel fully confident that it had nothing to do with the fact that I liked this movie.  I was worried going into it that this was going to be another one of his dramatic movies, which I generally still like but I don’t like dramas.  This was not the case.  This is actually mostly a comedy.  There’s a good amount of funny in here.  One thing I can think of is that he doesn’t say he’s gay until a few minutes into the movie, having already shown himself with his wife and daughter.  How do they tell us?  Out of nowhere throw in him butt fucking Freddie Mercury.  Okay, so it probably wasn’t him, but it looked like him.  It’s also pretty funny that he decides to become a conman because of how expensive it is to be gay.  I had no idea how expensive it was.

The performances are really good in here as well.  There’s really only two people in this movie that are heavily featured and that’s Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor.  Leslie Mann is pretty funny as the super religious ex-wife, but she’s not in it that often.  Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor had me totally convinced that they were gays in this, even though I’m pretty sure both are actually straight.  The both also had some hilarious moments, touching love scenes, and very emotional scenes.  Also of note, when Carrey has to be someone’s lawyer in the middle of the movie, it totally took me back to the Liar Liar days.  I must watch that again.

Now, I don’t consider myself homophobic, or even homoist as I say it.  I can prove that I’m not a homoist because I have a couple of gay friends.  But I do still have some deep seeded homophobia that makes me uncomfortable watching dudes kiss.  I don’t know what it is and I don’t really have desire to fix it because it’s not a big deal, but when it happens in a movie it tends to startle me more than a horror movie.  If you’re like me, don’t worry.  There aren’t that many scenes of men kissing and the sex scenes usually happen off camera and you only see one dude standing behind another dude and thrusting.

I gotta say, this is probably one of Jim Carrey’s best performances ever, and I liked his other performances.  I could probably say the same for Ewan McGregor, but I can only presently remember him appearing in one other movie and that was Star Wars.  The movie’s also very funny and definitely worth watching.  I give this movie “Enough romance.  Let’s fuck!” out of 788.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.

I Am Number Four (2011)

I Am … Not Interested

The timing of my decision to start doing movie reviews became fairly unfortunate when my friend Cody suggested I review the movie I Am Number Four.  The reason it was so unfortunate is because I had already watched this movie, it was completely lackluster, and now I must do it again to review it.  Well, here goes anyways.  I Am Number Four stars Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant (or Olyphantastic, as Kevin Smith called him), Dianna Agron, Teresa Palmer, Callan McAuliffe, and Kevin Durand (who I know from his portrayal of the Blob in the Wolverine movie I don’t like to call an X-Men movie).

At least 6 aliens have come to Earth, their planet having been destroyed by a race known as the Mogadorians, or as I call them the Overactians.  We follow, of course, Number 4, otherwise known to us as John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) and his protector Henri (Timothy Olyphantastic).  Their identities are compromised by 4’s shiny calf scar and a combination of iPhones and the interwebs.  So they have to pick up and move.  Turns out his shiny calf (not a golden idol, I mean a scar on his calf that started glowing) meant that one of the other 6 was killed by the Overactians.  The move to Paradise, Ohio and John enrolls himself in the most cliched, John Hughes-ian school in recent memory.  Here he meets the the bully jock, the quirky artsy girl (Dianna Agron), and the picked on nerdy kid (Callan McAuliffe).  Being the good guy, he befriends the two outcasts.  This pisses off the jock because he used to date artsy girl.  Eventually the Overactians descend upon Paradise and the whole group, plus Number 6 (Teresa Palmer), must overcome the enemy.

Not a lot of this movie works for me.  The writing is totally cliched and obvious.  Like I said, the high school 4 goes to is right out of a John Hughes film.  I’ve been to high school before and I never really saw any of this stuff going down.  I could’ve been considered either a nerd or artsy girl … I mean guy … back in high school, but no one ever knocked my books out of my hands or set up elaborate exploding paint pranks in my locker.  Hell, I didn’t even have a locker!

The acting pretty much tops off at mediocre.  No one really stood out.  One of the weird things I thought about towards the end of the movie involve Number 6.  This chick shows up in the very beginning of the movie at the house Number 4 just evacuated and decides to blow it up to cover their tracks.  They work really hard to make her appear to be a badass here; having her walking out in slow mo, sunglasses on, and the building blowing up behind her.  Then you don’t see this chick again until the last 10 minutes of the movie, where they again try to sell her as a badass by giving her cool powers.  If this chick is supposed to be so cool, why not give her a little screen time?  As I said, the Mogadorians are totally hamming it up as the alien enemies.  And they look weird too.  Their main physical feature that sets them apart is having gills next to their nose, which apparently cause them to speak in a ridiculous way.  On a positive note, the fight scene near the end is decent, the CG is actually pretty good, and they have some nice parkour in the movie.

So, not a lot of this movie made sense to me.  First off, the names of everyone.  How clever is it to just give people numbers?  Was it a placeholder so you could go back and give them names later but you forgot and the deadline on the script ran out?  And how angry would you be if you were Number 2?  The poop jokes would never end.  “Hey, here comes Number Two.” “Oh you guys were looking for me?” “No, I was just saying I haveta take a shit pretty soon.” “…I hate you guys.”  Another weird thing is when Number 4 meets the artsy girl.  She introduces herself and he does as well, introducing himself as John Smith.  She gets all butt-hurt and says something like “Okay, you don’t want to tell me your name.  That’s fine.”  Bitch, you don’t think there may be a few people whose name really IS John Smith?  They’re super common names, that’s why they even use it as a unidentified person’s name.  The biggest thing that bothered me while watching the movie was the relationship between 4 and artsy chick.  Why is he even falling in love?  Aren’t you an alien?!  What kind of horrible abomination are you looking to create?  And do you even know if our reproductive organs match up?

The best thing I can say about this movie is that it is completely lackluster as a movie, but probably would’ve made a pretty decent Saturday morning TV show.  It’s got a lot of Power Rangers to it.  Probably Ben 10 too, but I’ve never seen it.  They have these powers called Legacies and it seems they can make up new ones on the spot.  This is how they show up.  They are all apparently extra agile and strong, 6 has a shield of some sort, 4 makes his hands glow, 4 learns to blast and grab things with his glowing hands, 6 can teleport, and then apparently 4 can blast another Number Ranger with his hands to “power them up”.  The glowing hands create light, heat, and concussive force, but if he decides they can also gently cradle a girl that just fell off a roof.  They can just decide whatever they want to be able to do.  Tell me this format wouldn’t get kids on board on TV every week.

This movie seemed to be after an audience stupider than myself.  Between it’s hip music, pretty people, and parkour, it adds up to a formula to appeal to the dumber masses.  It’s not horrible, but it’s not worth watching either.  Make a TV show out of it, get some kids to watch it, ’cause I won’t for a third time.  And Heaven help you if you make a sequel to this like the end of the movie hinted at.  I will never forgive you.  I give this movie “Red Bull is for pussies” out of 1060.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

It’s Time for a Bit of the Old Ultra-Violence

Today’s movie was requested by my friend Christine, probably based on my earlier review of another Stanley Kubrick film, Spartacus.  This movie is A Clockwork Orange.  I already had this movie in my collection so it was an easy request to grant.  Problematically, I don’t remember liking the movie very much so I’m not sure why I owned it.  But I watched it again anyway and here’s what I think.  A Clockwork Orange stars Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, and Anthony Sharp.

A short time ago in a land across the pond, Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) is the leader of a gang of “droogs” that likes to hang out in “milk bars” and go out for “the old ultra-violence”.  This, on one evening, including the beating of writer Mr. Alexander (Patrick Magee) and the raping of his wife while singing “Singin’ in the Rain”.  Two of Alex’s droogs suggest that they break into the house of a wealthy woman who is all alone except for her cats.  They do so and Alex ends up beating the woman to death with a penis statue, then getting betrayed by his cohorts and left for the police.  He goes to jail for about 2 years until he gets selected by the Minister of the Interior (Anthony Sharp) for an experimental aversion therapy called the Ludovico technique.  This involves giving him a shot to make him sick and showing him scenes of violence and rape.  This has the desired effect of making him sick whenever he sees naked girls or wants to hit someone, but also has the accidental effect of making him sick when he hears Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony because it was the background music.  Calling Alex cured, he is sent back out into the world.  Suffice to say, it goes poorly for Alex.

I’m generally not a fan of what I refer to as an “artsy-fartsy” movie.  Take, for instance, Donnie Darko.  I know, everyone tells me it’s the best film ever for some reason.  I know I’ve seen it once and I know I’ll have to see it again, but I remember not liking it and barely understanding it.  I’m not much for finding hidden meaning to films or novels, either because I’m not paying attention at all or maybe just not paying attention to the right things.  Either way, I generally regard such movies as trying to seem meaningful by not making sense.

All that being said, I generally liked A Clockwork Orange.  It’s a very watchable movie with a couple confusing bits but not enough that I’d lose track of what was going on.  The slang was the hardest thing to follow.  At least 50% of what comes out of McDowell’s mouth is almost unintelligible by the standards of an American of my age.  I don’t know what a “droogie” is, nor do I know what it is to “viddy”.  I think I managed to deduce that “yarbles” are testes, but much else made it difficult to understand what was being said.  Of course, that’s not the movie’s fault.  It can either be blamed on England in the 70’s for their choices of crazy slang terms, or for the author of the book the film was based on.  I’m not going to read that book, but I assume the movie sticks to it fairly well.  Based on nothing, of course.  And this movie left me wondering if everyone in London in the 70’s actually had artsy pictures and sculptures of naked women and dicks laying around their houses as the movie lead me to believe.

I figure the point of the movie (as best I can understand) is something about the morality of a temporary fix to a problem in comparison to fixing it for good.  Sure, Alex was unable to rape people and randomly assault people, but is that fixing it?  Hell, it didn’t even work out that well for him because he was unable to defend himself when being attacked or, I assume, have a consensual relationship with someone.  Basically the movie seems to be asking whether or not it’s good enough for someone to want to do something bad but to be unable to, or should we instead try to fix them wanting to do the bad thing in the first place.  This is not really a hidden message as the Priest in the movie pretty much says just that.

The acting is all pretty good in here.  As is expected, McDowell steals the show.  In the beginning, as leader of his droogs, he’s every bit as creepy as he should be.  In the middle, when he’s trying to finagle his way into the aversion therapy, not to get better of course, but instead to get out of jail, he’s got a thick layer of unbelievable obedience masking his true intentions.  And during and after the therapy, he’s every bit as conflicted as he should be.  He’s probably the reason I found this movie so watchable.

I give this movie my blessing.  It’s very watchable with a decent meaning to it and some great performances.  You should take a look and it should probably be in any self respecting collection.  It’s still inferior to my favorite Kubrick movie, The Shining, but I can’t hold that against it.  I’ll give this movie a “Viddy well” out of “Whatever the hell that means”.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – The Movie (1995)

We are about to embark on a movie review that I am quasi-embarrassed about owning, but I feel I had no choice. My childhood demanded it’s purchase. That movie is the very first movie port of the television classic … The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – The Movie. Oh yeah, this is happening. MMPR includes the star studded cast of Jason David Frank, Amy Jo Johnson, David Yost, Steve Cardenas, Johnny Yong Bosch, Karan Ashley, and other people I don’t know.

The Power Rangers, as many of you possibly remember, are a group of 6 30+ year old teenagers that are given incredible powers – to change their clothes in a blinding flash of light – by the creepy floating head Zordon (Nicholas Bell) and his bumbling, annoying, robot assistant Alpha 5 (voiced by Richard Wood). Those 6 teens are played by Jason David Frank (The White Ranger, Tommy Oliver), Amy Jo Johnson (The Pink Ranger, Kimberly Hart), David Yost (The Blue Ranger, Billy Cranston), Steve Cardenas (The Red Ranger, Rocky DeSantos), Johnny Yong Bosch (The Black Ranger, Adam Park), and Karan Ashley (The Yellow Ranger, Aisha Campbell). For some reason, there is an excavation taking place in the middle of the city of Angel Grove, and that excavation turns up a purple egg. The enemies from the TV show, Rita Repulsa (Julia Cortez with the voice of Barbara Goodson and wearer of a Madonna bra) and Lord Zedd (voiced by Robert Axelrod, and has no skin and an exposed brain), turn up and crack the egg, revealing the purple ooze from Ghostbusters 2, that then morphs into new villain Ivan Ooze (Paul Freeman). The Power Rangers show up and Ivan creates some ooze minions for them to battle before fucking off to go destroy Zordon. As is customary for the Power Rangers, they decide they need to try their hand at fighting them as regular people first before eventually reaching a stalemate and having to morph into their Power Ranger forms (which is basically just changing clothes), and then they win. Ivan destroys Zordon and the Power Ranger home base, which causes the Power Rangers to loose their powers/outfits. They go back and find out that Zordon will die if they don’t go to the planet Phaedos and get some new powers to save the day. Ivan Ooze enslaves the parents of Angel Grove, builds big robots, Rangers find their powers, come back, win, fireworks. The end.

A lesser man would be embarrassed to admit this, but my nostalgia kind of took over and made me actually kind of like this movie despite the cheesiness. I’m sure it’s almost entirely the nostalgia too. The group of Rangers is second generation, only Jason, Amy, and David still here from the original cast. The only thing that stands out in this movie as actually pretty good is the fight scenes. They’re actually not that bad. The guys all seem as if they’ve had some sort of martial arts training and make it look pretty good. The women, on the other hand, seem as if they got in on their good looks and gymnastics ability. The women remind me of back when I used to watch the WWF/WWE. The women were all ranged from pretty good to look at to downright hot, but when they started wrestling it degenerated to hair pulling or really poor wrestling. Except for Chyna, but she was basically a dude.

The story of the movie is basically a 4 part TV show jammed into 1 movie and serves it’s purpose of ganking some extra money from the kids that watch on TV and the parents forced to accompany them. The lines they spit out were either really bad or really cheesy bad. Also, unexpectedly, some things don’t make sense in this movie. The main one is the fact that all the Rangers wear the color of their ranger all the time. I don’t know if they decided they needed to only have this one color in their palate before becoming Rangers or after, but I feel like, if I lived in Angel Grove, I’d take a look at the group of kids that had the exact same number in their group as the Rangers and wore around the same color as the Rangers and say to myself, “There is a 27% chance those guys are the Power Rangers.” When the Rangers go to Phaedos and meet the hot chick with the bo staff, they get introduced to their inner animal powers and they get ninja costumes (that only last until they get the power they came their for, for some reason). White gets the Falcon, Red gets the Ape, Yellow gets the Bear, Blue gets the Wolf, Pink gets the Crane, and Black gets … the Frog. One of these things is not like the others. Did you guys run out of badass animals to use? Even the crane is a martial arts form. I’ve only seen “Frog Style” in Kung Fu Hustle. Why not a Panther? They’re already black! I think I would want to be the Chartreuse three-toed sloth. That way I could connect with my animal powers by laying around and letting the other dudes do the fighting. Also, the girl with the staff tells them she can’t go help them acquire the power because “if she leaves the plateau, she’ll begin to age rapidly”. Isn’t that just like a girl to not want to help out an entire world and her friends so she can keep her smokin’ bod?

I could talk about the acting in this movie, but why bother? You know it wasn’t great. Why would you expect it to be otherwise? Instead, I’m gonna make fun of the things they do. The biggest one I always loved back in the day was the fact that, when they’re Power Rangers and wearing the big, plastic helmets, they have to move their whole heads to indicate they’re talking. Also, these people cannot just walk when they’re Power Rangers. They have lost that ability. Instead they choose to backflip EVERYWHERE. Also, do they REALLY need to loudly proclaim the name of the item they’re going to use? Like the Pink Ranger has to yell “Pterodactyl Whip Thingie!” before the thing works. I don’t think anything works that way in real life. THREE-TOED SLOTH SPACE BAR, ACTIVATE! Also, the reason I watched this movie is because one of my friends, Mikey G, was having an argument about when and if Tommy and Kimberly ever got buck nasty. Well I researched and found out they did, but it was in the TV show at some point. In this movie, they only indicate that they’re starting to get up in each other’s jocks.

One more quick thing before I leave you. I guess, since they now had a movie budget, they decided to change a few things up and make them fancier. They changed the costumes a little bit. No longer were they to wear colored spandex. Now they wear colored motorcycle outfits. They also made the awful decision to change up the presentation of their giant robotic “Zords”. In the TV show, the MegaZord (the combination of all of the Zords into one Voltron rip off) was a Godzilla-style guy in a costume fighting in a tiny scale city and destroying things indiscriminately. This time they went with CGI, but did not realize how much worse it looked than the guy in a costume. CGI for this movie, either being from CGI having not developed far enough yet or their low budget, was terrible. Also, with the change of a couple of Rangers, this movie killed my joke about how racist they were. In the original cast, the Yellow Ranger was the Asian and the Black Ranger was the African American. Now the Yellow Ranger is a black girl and I assume one of the other new dudes is Asian. Total bummer.

Even though I said all those things negative about this movie, I still think you should watch it. I didn’t find it unbearable. If you watched the Rangers as a kid, you might get a little enjoyment from talking the walk down memory lane. If you didn’t like the Rangers, you can still watch a watchable bad movie and make fun of it. I give this movie “We may not have our power, but we’re still Power Rangers!” out of “Ayeyiyiyiyi!”

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.

Cobra (1986)

Sometimes you just need to watch a really dumb action movie, but you generally still hope it’s entertaining. Not me! I see Cobra on the shelf of Best Buy for $5 and say “I gotta get me some of that.” So let us learn about one of the most revolutionary movies never, Cobra, starring Sylvester Stallone, Brigitte Nielsen (when she was still hot), Reni Santoni, Andrew Robinson (the guy from Hellraiser), and of course Shao Khan himself Brian Thompson.

Sly plays Marion Cobretti, a totally over the top cop with a totally realistic name that has somehow earned him the nickname Cobra. He is a revolutionary character that you’ve never seen in a movie before: the cop that knows what’s right and plays by his own rules. Well he’s investigating a series of murders by the Night Slasher (Brian Thompson). There are no real clues and no witnesses, even though he’s killed a whole heap of people. Ingrid Knudsen (Brigitte Nielsen) happens to drive by one of these murders and sees his face, so she must die. Although, technically, she didn’t see the murder so all she knows is a creepy guy and some friends were at the side of the road one day. Well they try to kill Ingrid but she survives and that puts her under the protection of Cobra. For more surprising, non-cliche things, Cobra and Ingrid fall in love, there’s a corrupt person in the police department that betrays Cobra, and Cobra wins in the end.

I know the joys often felt by stupider people when it comes to an action movie. I don’t feel like every movie needs to revolutionize the genre in some way or have a great story or great performances. That being said, the combination of the 3 problems, and others, kinda makes a bad movie, even for a big dumb action movie. As I’ve indicated, almost every inch of this movie is derivative. Everything happens exactly as you would expect if you have seen at least one action movie before. It’s all laid out in the very beginning when a guy pulls a shotgun in a crowded supermarket and, even though he is murderous, as he does kill one guy, he decides instead to unload most of his ammo into the produce. Of course, everyone else in the LAPD is ineffective so they call in Cobra. He shows up in his car he stole from L.A. Noire with ‘Awsom 50’ on the plates, goes in there, takes a sip of a beer off the shelf, and kills the guy with extreme prejudice. You’ll be surprised to hear that one of his superiors (Andrew Robinson) does not approve of his methods. Cobra has a hard time responding to his criticisms because Cobra only opens his mouth for one-liners, and “Yippe Kai Yay” was taken.

If there was writing in this movie, it was not good. I already said that it was derivative and Sly only spoke in one-liners, but there was plenty else wrong with it. For one, when the Night Slasher goes after Brigitte in the hospital because she knows his face, he totally would’ve gotten her if he didn’t feel the need to kill EVERYONE on her floor in the hospital and leave her for last. If he got his head in the game and went in there and just killed her, he had ample time before Sly figured out that her protection had been called off suspiciously. The ending is also problematic. It’s completely anticlimactic. It gives you the over-the-top shooter that it should have, with a hefty body count, but I felt like there should’ve been more to it. Usually in this type of movie you’d expect to see the person in charge of the evil posse to be a higher up in the LAPD like Andrew Robinson or something. He was douchey enough through the movie that you’d like to see him die, but he just gets punched for being a douche instead. The crazy and stupid Night Slasher is in charge and is the final battle, which would totally work because stupid people are the kind you need to outsmart the police.

The performances are nothing special, but they’re pretty much what you expect. Sly is pretty uninteresting throughout the movie and there are parts where he makes awkward attempts to get Brigitte’s favor that seem completely out of character. Nothing else of note there.

Even for a big dumb action movie, this movie’s pretty dumb. There’s plenty of other watchable big dumb action to watch, so you don’t need to see this. I give this movie a “You’re the disease, and I’m the cure” out of 757.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.

Splatterhouse (2010)

I have no idea how my friend Jordan came to own this game, or why he felt I needed to play it, but he did, and then I played it.  This game is Splatterhouse, remake of the 1988 classic game I never played when it was in arcades.  Nor did I play Splatterhouse 2 and 3 because they were for the Sega and I never had one.  But BottleRocket and Namco Bandai Games brought the remake of the classic to a system I actually owned, and I didn’t have to pay anything for it, so I gave it a shot.

In Splatterhouse, you play as Rick Taylor, a scrawny emo boy blessed by the Gods with a hot girlfriend Jennifer.  Jennifer is invited to a creepy mansion to interview reclusive professor of necrobiology, Dr. Henry West.  Unfortunately for them, Jennifer strongly resembles the dead wife of Dr. West, Lenore.  So he kidnaps Jennifer and has one of his creatures mortally wound Rick.  As Rick bleeds on the floor, a mask falls out of a sarcophagus that identifies itself as the Terror Mask.  In exchange for Rick delivering lots and lots of blood to the Terror Mask, the mask agrees to help Rick save Jennifer.  So Rick puts on the mask, spins around in a vortex, and becomes a guy in a zoot suit with a green face.  No wait … I got confused for a second.  Instead he turns really buff, like a pasty white Hulk.  As you continue through the game, you kill things in brutal ways, learn that Dr. West intends to resurrect Lenore in Jennifer’s body, travel through time learning the backstory, and then you save Jennifer.  OR DO YOU?!  No, she’s possessed.  But that’s the end of the game.

If I had to sum up this game in one sentence, I would say “Decent game, poorly executed”.  The type of game is truly tested by time, but I don’t feel that makes it any less fun.  A good old fashioned beat-’em-up game can always be entertaining.  You truly don’t need your brain for this game as it’s nothing mold-breaking and it’s not even particularly difficult as you can, at almost any time, drain blood from your enemies and get your health back to good.  Basically the gameplay need not go further than randomly pressing X and Y.  When you desire to perform a SplatterKill on a creature, wait till they turn red, press B, and follow the timed button press events.  These button press events were both good and bad.  The way they made you move the controller made it feel more like you were actually controlling the character intricately because, if it was going to rip an enemies arms off, you would pull the analog sticks apart from each other to do it.  If you were to crush the enemies head, push them together.  Tear an enemies head off?  Well just lift them both up.  I liked these.  What I didn’t like is that you could hardly make out what stick movements it was calling for on the screen and, by the time I did, I was probably already dead.

The gameplay is mostly mindless beat-’em-up with a little bit of ill conceived platformer.  No real complaints about the beat-’em-up part.  The platformer part was pretty poor, however.  Rick does not jump that well, big hulking goon that he is, and it’s not that enjoyable to fall into spike traps and have to restart from checkpoint because the controls weren’t focused on that well in the production.  There are platforming parts that involve jumping back and forth from highlighted hook to highlighted hook, and these parts work well, but are a little boring.  One of the cool things this game does is it will occasionally revert to 2D side-scroller from it’s normal 3D game to pay homage to the old Splatterhouse style.  These parts are kept fun by not being present too often.

The look is pretty solid.  I wouldn’t say that the graphics are amazing by any stretch of the imagination, but they pull of the horror/slasher movie look pretty well.  After a battle, blood is often caking the environment, as you would expect it to be after what you just did.  The camera is one of the major failing points here.  The camera seems to fight you with a greater degree of difficulty than most of the enemies, and that’s not good.  Sometimes, if you get too close to a wall, the camera will flip around so the only thing you can see on the screen is your character and not the enemy that’s about to hit you.  And when you need to go forward and you lose track of which side is the way you came and which side is the way you’re going, it can get annoying.

The biggest problems here involve loading.  First of all, the load times are pretty ridiculous for a game that is probably near the middle of the pack graphically.  For a system that can make Deus Ex and Gears of War 3 look like they do and still only take as long to load as this game, one that looks like this should pop right up.  Hell, even the damned menus in this game have loading times.  Normally I wouldn’t have that much problem with loading times as I can be pretty patient, but when I’m constantly dying in the same place because your platforming sucks and having to wait about a minute to try again, that will get frustrating.  And the biggest problem with this game which will keep me from recommending it strongly in a paragraph is … the glitches.  This game froze on me about 15 times.  I looked online and it turns out it’s not just the copy of the game I got, it’s the game itself.  And as this game has been out for almost a year, a patch should have been released by now fixing this.  I assume they’ve no interest in spending more money on this game, and I recommend you do the same.

In summation, you don’t really need to play this game.  The fact that it comes with the first 3 Splatterhouse games on it is a nice touch, but I don’t even know if I have interest in playing them.  I’m not one for nostalgia.  If you can rent this game or find it for around $10, it may be worth it for a bit of mindless ultra-violence.  Otherwise, I give this game a “Don’t bother” out of 1064.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.