Evil Dead (2013)

I’ll Swallow Your Soul!

Evil Dead (2013)I had a lot of trepidation when I went into today’s movie. It was based almost entirely on the fact that I remember having a great deal of respect for the movie that this movie was rebooting. But now that I think about it, I’ve felt that way before. Dredd and Total Recall were both remakes of movies I thought I liked, but didn’t when I watched them again, allowing their remakes to blow the originals out of the water. I assumed the same would happen when I watched the remake of Red Dawn, but that one let me down. There had to be some remake movie that could fit in as the third movie. Maybe today’s movie would accomplish that. Let’s find out as I review the remake of Evil Dead, remaking the movie by Sam Raimi, written by Rodo Sayagues and Diablo Cody, co-written and directed by Fede Alvarez, and starring Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore, and Phoenix Connolly.

A group of friends (well, they used to be. They kind of hate each other now) meet at a cabin in the woods to give Mia (Jane Levy) the opportunity to kick her drug addiction. Her brother, David (Shiloh Fernandez), would like to also take this opportunity to repair his relationship with his sister. He also brings his girlfriend, Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore). I don’t know what that has to do with the other statement, but I had introductions to do, okay?! Anyway, Mia also brings her friends, the nurse Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and the school teacher Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) to help her overcome her addiction. As Mia starts going through withdrawals, she complains of a smell of death coming from the house that no one else but her and the dog can smell. The dog helps them unearth a cellar where they find animal corpses suspended from the ceiling, a double-barreled shotgun, and a book made of human skin, wrapped in a trash bag and tied with barbed wire. Eric’s curiosity not only kills the cat, but goes back in time and kills the cat’s parents. He opens and reads from the book, unleashing something into the woods that is not of this Earth.

I don’t know if I’ll ever write a review for it, but I rewatched the original movie not long after watching the remake, and sadly I’d have to admit that I found the remake far superior. I say sadly because I actually remember liking the original movie a lot, but on rewatching I was not really on board with it. This remake was not perfect, but it did all the things that the original movie did right and improved on them. The original had next to no story for instance, and this one had a fairly simple, but fairly solid story. Originally, it was just people going to a cabin in the woods to hang out and getting caught up in this mess. This movie had a much better reason to go to the cabin with the drug addiction thing, although it was a fairly stupid reason. I know this chick nurse thinks she can handle something like a drug addiction, but this would’ve worked out better for Mia (for so many reasons) if you had taken this chick to a legitimate rehab facility. Dr. Drew would’ve fixed that girl up fast. And then you all get killed because you wanted to handle it on your own. Dr. Drew doesn’t even rehab people alone! The other people you brought certainly weren’t helpful. All Eric wanted to do was get everyone killed by reading from a book filled with blood, death, and demons, wrapped in human skin. That’s not foreboding at all. Once the demon stuff started happening, there were a couple of things I took issue with, but a couple of things they still improved on from the original. For instance, in the original anyone could turn evil for no particular reason. In this one, it at least seemed to be transmitted by injury. That also meant that no one should’ve been surprised when Eric came back at the end. But I also don’t know why the demons were so stupid. When they look like the person they inhabit, they are fairly able to manipulate people, but they always have to change back into a demon to say something, thus reminding the person why they were cool with killing you. Like the girl in the very beginning. Her dad didn’t look like he was going to be able to kill her when she looked like his daughter, but then she goes demon and he lights her ass on fire and blows her head off. They also fall for the other side of that too, when the person that’s been possessed starts acting scared and innocent and people are too stupid to get their friends before checking on it. Those people were dicks too, by the way. Apparently, they just broke into someone else’s house, lit a girl on fire and shot her in the head in their cellar, and left behind a bunch of dead animals and the fuckin’ Necronomicon for the real owners. That’s top-shelf douchlery right there. Also, the Necronomicon in this movie seemed to tell the entire story of the movie. It made me wonder why Eric didn’t just skip to the end and find out what to do, like I do with any book I read. Also, why does the picture of the demon in the book have a candle over his head? Is that the medieval way to say it has an idea?

There are a couple of things they did very well in this movie. First was the atmosphere. They created a fantastic atmosphere early in the movie and kept it going all the way through. The second was gore. I assume that one of the things that made the original movie so popular was how well they did the gore with so little money. They threw money at this movie, and they used it to amp up that gore to the point where it made me squirm on at least one occasion. Did you see the trailer where the girl cut her tongue in half with an Exacto Knife? That’s the one! All the other gore was very well done too, but that one particularly got to me. The third was their homages to the original movie. They had a pendant that was reminiscent of the one Ash gave his girlfriend without being identical. They also had a super badass ending where the chainsaw on the arm came into effect. And it was awesome. One of the first questions I has about this movie was if they did the tree rape or not. The answer is kinda. What they did kind of made more sense, and didn’t look nearly as goofy. It was, in fact, scary, and didn’t look like someone whacked a lady in the vag with a broom handle.

The cast did a fairly good job. Most weren’t playing likeable characters, but they were playing them well. The one I liked the least was Olivia, played by Jessica Lucas. She was a bitch. She made it pretty clear in the movie. The first time we meet her she gets snarky with someone because they refer to her as a doctor, and she’s a registered nurse. Bitch, she gave you a promotion! I’m not even in the medical field, but if someone called me a doctor, I’d consider it a compliment. Also a dick was Eric, who caused the whole mess. And was regularly a dick anyway. He was bitchy towards David from the beginning because, as he put it, he hasn’t cared about them for the past century. They all do look very good for their age, though. I spent a lot of the movie trying to figure out who was supposed to be the Ash character in this movie. Turns out it’s kind of a few of them. David has the look but not the chin for it, Natalie takes her arm off because of infection, and Mia is the one who survives. Perhaps it was Bruce Campbell because he IS Ash and shows up at the end and says Groovy, but only if you stick around for the credits. I understand that David should probably have a problem killing his girlfriend, but I didn’t understand why he had a problem with it by the time she turned demon. She had nails in her face and was missing an arm. I’d have no use for her anymore, even if she lost the demon stuff. She was no longer hot.

I thought the remake of Evil Dead was awesome, and superior to the original. I always was a bigger fan of Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness though, since those were when they started getting funny. I thought this remake improved on everything that was enjoyable about the first one. The story was similar, but much better. They had a lot more money and thus a lot better gore. And the performances in this movie were all great and not kinda goofy as they were in the original. Of course, none of the people in this movie were Bruce Campbell (except for Bruce Campbell, that is) and he pretty much made the original movies for me. Even without the be-chined one, this movie is worth watching. Get to a theater and check it out. Evil Dead gets “Feast on this, motherfucker!” out of “I feel better now.”

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Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

I Don’t Want to be a Good Man … I Want to be a Great One.

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)It’s Tuesday (as I’m writing this, not as you are reading this), which means it was $5 movies at my local theater. Most of the times I get to go to the theaters on Tuesdays, I try to make it a double feature. And, if possible, I try to make the movies I pick be one for me and one for you, my audience. Today was only different in that I accidentally created a theme with the two movies I saw, tied together by the director of today’s movie. But the movie I wanted to see for myself was the other movie. Today’s movie was the one that was requested on Facebook, and it’s also a movie I probably never would’ve seen on my own. The first thing that drew me to the movie was my roommate Richurd telling me about how awful it was. That always makes me want to see something. But I do like the director, so let’s see how Sam Raimi did with Oz the Great and Powerful, based on a series of novels by L. Frank Baum, written by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire, and starring James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Zach Braff, Joey King, Bill Cobbs, Tony Cox, Abigail Spencer, Tim Holmes, Stephen R. Hart, Bruce Campbell, and Ted Raimi.

We are in Kansas once more. Oscar “Oz” Diggs (James Franco) is a magician at a travelling circus who is down on his luck. He is forced to make a hasty retreat when the circus strongman (Tim Holmes) attacks Oz for flirting with his wife. Oz is thoroughly satisfied with himself for escaping in a hot air balloon … until he realizes it’s being drawn into a tornado. He crashes and, when he reawakens, he is in color and in the Land of Oz. He meets Theodora (Mila Kunis), a good witch who believes him to be the wizard prophesized to overthrow the Wicked Witch that terrorizes the Land of Oz, and she quickly develops romantic, and unrequited interest in Oz. On the way to the Emerald City, they rescue a flying monkey named Finley (Zach Braff) from a lion of questionable bravery. When they reach the Emerald City, Oz meets Theodora’s sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz), who tells Oz that the Wicked Witch poisoned the previous King of Oz, and to defeat her he would need to destroy her wand. But all may be only slightly different than it appears…

I was not a fan of this movie. It wasn’t horrible as my roommate suggested, but there wasn’t much in the movie that was able to win me over. I have a lot of experience with the original Wizard of Oz movie since it was one of my mom’s favorite movies, which meant that I would be forced to watch it several dozen times in my youth. This movie captures a lot of what they accomplished in the original movie, but neither one of them were particularly strong on story. The original movie was all about a girl making friends on her road to meet the Wizard of Oz. This one is Oz making friends on his road to defeat the Wicked Witch. They have a couple of twists in the plot that were admittedly ruined for me by my knowledge of the previous movie. But, though you know where it’s going to end up since it’s a prequel to the original movie, it’s still a little interesting to see how they get there. But it felt like it should’ve been much more interesting. I understand Theodora’s motivation for becoming the Wicked Witch, but I don’t understand the love at first sight thing she had going on. She just dives right into being all the way devoted to this guy and why? Because he’s going to be king? Because he’s a wizard? Because you realize that you’re a witch, right? You can throw fireballs out of your hands but you’re going to be really impressed that he can pull fake flowers out of his sleeve and throw a smoke bomb on the floor? But then she gets pissed enough to commit her life to evil because the relationship she committed to too quickly turns sour. I suppose that’s a thing that women do, but my problem with that situation is that I didn’t see any reason that Evanora should’ve even bothered to conceal her wickedness. When she unveiled it, the soldiers of the Emerald City were still on her side. I also didn’t understand why Glinda was the only one that had the wand as her weak point and crutch? Neither of the other witches even used wands, let alone would die if theirs was broken. Also, “China Town” being a city made out of fine porcelain? Come on…

The look of this movie is by far its most appealing aspect. Once we get to Oz, the movie is beautiful, colorful, and visually striking. As much as seeing the original film in Technicolor must’ve delighted audiences in 1939, I was delighted by the look of this movie. But with the relative lack of story, I started feeling like I was watching a demo video for some new Nvidia graphics card. There were still a couple of issues I took with the look in this movie though. The first I noted was that Finley was not nearly cute enough to be tolerable. The people in the movie acted like he was supposed to be cute, but I found that role was occupied by the tiny China Girl, who was unforgivably and relentlessly adorable. The second was the look of Theodora after she turns evil. I understand what they were trying to do by making her look like a younger version of the same character in the original movie, but I just thought it looked goofy. She had Mexican chola eyebrows for crying out loud! I would’ve felt better about it if they had just Hulked Kunis up with some green paint and let her do the rest with her performance. I would just assume that her appearance changed over the years.

Mila Kunis Oz the Great and PowerfulA lot of the performances worked for me, but sadly the main character mostly did not. I’ve liked James Franco in things before, but he was a little too wacky for my tastes in this movie. One could say that he was chewing the fantastic scenery, as they say. I was fine with Mila Kunis in the movie right up until she turned green, and then she kind of lost me. It was possibly the makeup, but also the over the top wicked witch laugh. I don’t know how much you can knock her for it since it was obviously an homage to the original movie, but judging this movie on its own, that was just pretty goofy. It may also have been the fact that she wasn’t wearing those tight pants that made her butt look so good anymore. Rachel Weisz did a good job throughout the movie, and I felt like she was giving a better performance to this movie than it had earned. Had I been in the movie, I would’ve seen Kunis and Franco goin’ nuts and decided to take it easy. On the other hand, she didn’t do a very good job of concealing her wickedness. I kind of had an idea of it from the first time we met her. Michelle Williams brought it to the movie as well, and I found her extremely charming as Glinda. I was trying to figure out what it was I liked so much about her. She had something similar to naiveté, but she was smarter than being considered naïve. Perhaps it’s just extreme optimism. I did feel like Kunis and Weisz should’ve had a Kansas counterpart like Braff and Williams did, though. That’s kind of a staple for the Oz movies. Or at least the one I remember.

Oz the Great and Powerful didn’t really work for me as a movie, but it still has some very watchable parts. They took a cue from the Wizard of Oz in having a super simplistic story, and at least half of the performances were off-putting in how over the top they were, but Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams gave more to the movie than it had really earned. The movie was inarguably beautiful, though the combination of the visual spectacle and lack of story made it feel too much like a demo for a new graphics card. I like watching the video demos when I get a new graphics card, but I won’t recommend that you pay $10 to see it in theaters. Check it out at a RedBox eventually. Oz the Great and Powerful gets “I don’t want to die yet! I haven’t accomplished anything!” out of “You’re capable of more than you know…”

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The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

It’s Like the Movie … With 800% More Cross-Breeds

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)I found myself terribly torn by today’s game.  There have been games like the one that I’m reviewing today that were some of the most fun and enjoyable experiences that I can remember in gaming, and others still that reached the level of mediocrity at best.  When this game came out, it looked to be a return to form for the series, but I still had my trepidations.  I wasn’t prepared to waste $60 for a game like the most recent few, and I just wasn’t interested in taking the risk.  I put it on my Gamefly queue instead, and eventually it arrived.  Interested to see which type of game it resembled more, I started playing The Amazing Spider-Man, developed by Beenox, published by Activision, and featuring the voices of Sam Riegel, Nolan North, Kari Wahlgren, Steven Blum, Claudia Black, Ali Hillis, Bruce Campbell, Fred Tatasciore, and Stan Lee.

A few months after a mediocre film was made about him, Peter Parker (Sam Riegel) and his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Kari Wahlgren) sneak into restricted areas of Oscorp to find Alistair Smythe (Nolan North) attempting to clean up after Dr. Curt Connors’ (Steven Blum) experimentation with cross-species DNA, making him into a giant Lizard and Peter into a man of spider.  Well, the man-spidering of his DNA does not go unnoticed by the other hybrid creatures in the facility, and it causes them to break from their bondage and attack the facility.  Gwen gets bitten in the process and she is quarantined along with Smythe and others to quell the infection.  Desperate to find a cure for Gwen, Peter frees Dr. Connors and sets him to work creating a cure while he tries to capture the freed cross-breeds before the infection gets out of control.

So what’s the final decision?  Was this game a return to the free roaming Spider-Man that I loved, or is it another mediocre addition to the series?  The answer is “Yes.”  It’s both.  The bulk of the game felt pretty average, but there’s no denying that I’m a fan of the free roaming parts, and I’m very thankful they went back to that.  The bulk of the story was pretty mundane, much like the movie that spawned it.  In fact, the story of the game is very similar to the movie, at least the part that pertains to Dr. Connors.  And since that story alone had already been told and it was necessary to prolong the story of the game, it seems that they just took that part and added more creatures.  And since they didn’t have that many creatures in the canon that fit the bill, they just turned the other characters with various origin stories into cross-breeds, like Rhino.  Another thing it had in common with the movie was that Spider-Man’s trademark quips never really landed.  Spider-Man is supposed to have killer one-liners, man!  That’s something you just gotta get right.  I would say that the occasion when they worked the most was in most of the interactions between Spider-Man and the reporter.  Altogether, the story didn’t really offer that much, but I can’t say that it was awful.

There’s not a whole lot to say about the look of the game.  It looks really good and I had scant few complaints about it.  What complaints I might have is that the faces never looked realistic, but the rest of the stuff in the game looked so good and set the mood so well that it made up for it.  Also, I’m beginning to think that there’s a very good chance I’d be able to make it around New York without a GPS because of these free-roaming Spider-Man games and their attention to detail in making New York as accurate as they can.  I would be looking for a collectable and see that it was located in Time Square or Central Park or other random places, and I knew where they were without having to look that up, even though I’ve never been to New York.  Well, I might not be able to make it around the city unless I was swinging through it on webs, but I might be able to translate that into walking.

The free-roaming stuff was really what sold this game to me the most.  I missed that aspect of the Spider-Man games so much.  The last three Spider-Man games I remember playing were all really linear, and that just made my penis soft.  That doesn’t feel like Spider-Man!  It doesn’t feel right to just be Spider-Man just after he showed up at a museum or a linear back alley and making me follow a straight line to the boss at the end.  So this game had that much going for it.  It also had boss battles, and I appreciated those because they all felt really epic, even though they really weren’t much more than quick time button pressing events.  There wasn’t a whole lot to the other fights either.  A lot of pressing X to punch faces, and occasionally pressing B to finish someone.

The achievements in this game are not entirely difficult, but they can be fairly time consuming, extremely tedious, and inevitably I gave up with about 800.  There are 700 comic books to collect in the city of New York, and finding them is not helped by the fact that every one that Spidey picks up causes him to say something that sounds like a sales pitch for comic books.  Things like “Cover price went up, but still worth it.”  But these weren’t that bad for me because I enjoyed swinging around the city aimlessly.  But there were also magazines to find inside the linear levels, and I didn’t have the patience to go back in for those.  I also wasn’t interested enough in the game to try to go back for the second playthrough on Hard.  But still, 800 is close enough for a game I rented for 3 days.

I was happy to see that Amazing Spider-Man returned the Spider-Man games to their beloved past of free-roaming games, but this outing still ending up being expectedly mediocre.  The story was nothing special, the fights were easy, and they went way overboard with the collectables, but there is a good amount of enjoyment to be gained from swinging around New York as the be-webbed one.  I’d say there’s enough in this game that it’s worth a go, but probably not until you can find it for around $20.  The Amazing Spider-Man gets “The Vermin” out of “The Rhino.”

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Fargo (1996)

The Little Guy Was Kinda Funny-Lookin’

Acting as both a review request and a movie I should’ve seen earlier comes today’s movie. Requested by Sam, today’s movie is a dark comedy, something that generally turns me off. I don’t like my comedies to be demented, with lots of death and sadness to them. On the other hand, this movie is by the Coen Brothers, and they gave me True Grit. On top of that, it’s a classic. How could I not watch it? This is how! This review is over! … Oh, you’re still here. Okay, I’ll review it. Today’s movie is Fargo, written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and starring William H. Macy, Kristin Rudrud, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, Harve Presnell, Frances McDormand, John Carroll Lynch, Steve Reevis, Steve Park, and Bruce Campbell.

Car salesman Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) has gotten himself into a bit of a financial pickle. The most obvious solution to his (and, let’s face it, ANYONE’s) problem is to hire two guys to kidnap your wife for the ransom. Through a Native American ex-con named Shep Proudfoot (Steve Reevis), Jerry is introduced to the two men who will do the deed, Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare). They kidnap Jerry’s wife, Jean (Kristin Rudrud), but things start to go sour for them as they drive to their safe house. First, they get pulled over for not having tags, then Jean’s bitching from the backseat gets the cop killed. Then, Carl’s lack of upper body strength gets them seen as he tries to drag the cop’s body off the street, making Gaear kill two more people. This gets the local police chief, Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), involved. From here, the plan hits a few speed bumps.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to the greater majority of you, but this is a good ass movie. Hell, it didn’t even come as a surprise to me. I don’t know why it took me so long to watch this thing. I loved True Grit. I loved No Country for Old Men. I’ve already written of my affection for the Big Lebowski. And yet, foolishly, I refrained from this movie. But that problem is now solved. Dark comedies have never really worked for me in the past, but this movie combines a few solid laughs with all their dark subject matter, and ties it all together with an excellent story. I found that the accents wore on me in this movie, though. I was already a little bit prepared for them, having tolerated Sam’s accent for so long, but Jesus they say “Oh yeah” a lot. It kind of gave me the impression that the Coen’s did not care for the people of Minnesota that much, as most of them came off as not that bright. The story of the movie made up for it though. Shit just kept getting worse and worse in this movie. It’s like the Shield or something. You would be saying “Alright, give us a break and let something go right for a change” were the story not so well done. Instead you just sit back and enjoy. I don’t know if I’d call it a negative, but one part I had a bit of an issue with was the part between McDormand and Steve Park in the restaurant. This scene served no purpose whatsoever as far as I could tell, but it was a good scene, so I don’t know if I can say I’d want it gone. The story is put on pause by it, but the performances in the scene were good and it was interesting watching it be funny, then plunge into depressing, and back up again.

The performances in this movie were even better than the story somehow. I started wondering as I started listing the cast about who the hero was in this movie. William H. Macy is the driving force of the movie because he sets everything moving. Buscemi did the majority of the legwork in the movie while Stormare spent his time watching TV’s. Frances McDormand would probably have to be the hero of the movie because she was the only one that was a good person, she solved the thing, but she also didn’t have that much to do with the overall story until the very end. She did make me laugh the most, though. That accent amused me no matter who’s mouth it was coming out of, but it was even funnier when she was saying intelligent things and working out exactly what happened from very little evidence, but all of it was being said with that accent that would make me not take it seriously. Then again, she didn’t seem able to see through William H. Macy’s horrible poker face in their first interview, so who’s to say how bright she is? I did laugh at the joke she told about the personalized license plates, but only because the other cop’s response was “Oh yeah, that’s a good one”. But easily the most awesome thing about this movie is that Bruce Campbell was in it. Sure, he was only in about a minute of the movie, and that minute was on the soap opera Stormare was watching with horrible reception, but I recognized him! That dude rules.

I couldn’t really find a lot to say about this movie. Sometimes, movie’s are just great and I can’t make fun of them. I have let you all down and will now perform ritualistic suicide to punish myself, while simultaneously saving my honor. Probably the only dark comedy that has ever worked for me, the film delivers plenty of dark, plenty of comedy, and a fantastic story, all supported by great acting. No complaints. Go watch this movie and enjoy it, even if you have already. Fargo gets “You’re darned tootin’!” out of “So, I called it in. …End o’ story…”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

Escape from LA (1996)

I decided to keep the Kurt Russell love going by watching Escape from LA next. Snake Plissken (Russell) is back, this time rescuing the President’s daughter from LA because she’s carrying a device that will can set an Electromagnetic Pulse loose that will turn the world back to the Dark Ages.

Time is still a major gripe of mine in this movie, just as it was in Escape from New York. The movie came out in 1996, and it makes the claim that 4 years after the movie came out, LA has turned into a squalid city of sin and vice that, in 2000, is separated from California by a giant earthquake. Okay, I give you that, even in 96, that was an apt description of LA from my experience, but you gave God 4 years to sink that bitch. Suffice to say that didn’t happen. The movie itself takes place in 2 years, so I guess it still has some time for Snake Plissken to get down there and start some shit. At least they realized that CGI would evolve. So we have 2 years to get full holographic recordings. We’re actually on our way there from what I’ve seen. We’ve got that lame 3D nonsense already, and I’ve seen those holographic newscasts on some station before. It’s a dumb gimmick, but a plausible one!

So Snake is again arrested, his status as badass not affected by the fact that he’s not that great at eluding the police. His help is needed again because the President’s daughter stole the EMP device – which I am ashamed to admit I kept trying to type EVP because I watch Ghost Adventures too much – and went into LA to take it to her boyfriend, Cuervo Jones. He of course, is not down like a clown, not even for Charlie Brown, but they entice him by scratching his hand and giving him a virus, which is TOTALLY different than the last movie where almost everything else happened exactly like this but it was an explosive in his neck. He gets in to LA and almost immediately gets close to getting the device from Cuervo by stealing a motorcycle and traversing his motorcade and beating ass on most of his men. Cuervo sees him running up on him with a shotgun and Cuervo takes him down with bolas. Now, if you’re not all weapon nerdy like I am, you may not know what bolas are. Bolas are a snare device dating back to the 1600’s or earlier that are basically a set of weighted balls connected by a string that you throw at something to wrap it up. Badass status slightly diminished there, Snake. You now those shotguns shoot bullets, right? Another thing you learn from this section is that when a motorcycle falls onto it’s side, it explodes into a giant ball of flame. Can’t say you didn’t learn anything, eh?

Along his way to the end of the movie, Snake meets up with a colorful cavalcade of characters. He meets “Map to the Stars” Eddy, played by Steve Buscemi, who is a nervous, shifty, sheister that Buscemi is so good at playing. He comes across the hot chick from Hot Shots Part Deux Valerina Golino, who promptly dies. He escapes from a hospital where – my favorite – Bruce Campbell plays a doctor who trades in body parts to people whose plastic surgery is failing because they’ve had too much and they need it replaced daily, a fair enough commentary on the fakeness of LA. And last but not least, Pam Grier as a transsexual named Hershey, who is so good at playing one that I originally thought she was actually a man before I knew who Pam Grier was. Not to say she’s not hot, but they messed with her voice so I thought she was a dude. I never said I was a smart kid.

So, there were some problems to this movie, the most glaring of which is that it is basically Escape from New York in LA with a better budget. I think people would’ve liked the movie better if they released it as a re-imagining and not a sequel. In the middle of the movie, after being captured by Cuervo, Snake must fight for his life in a win-or-die game of … basketball … so there THAT is. Also, being as LA was split from the world by an earthquake, the city is semi-regularly ravaged by aftershocks, which would be fine if it was actually random and not only when it advanced the plot. It seems like the writer would write himself into a corner and say “How do we get Snake out of this? Oh yes, random earthquake, someone falls down, Snake runs away”.

That all being said, I actually preferred this movie and I seemed to be one of the few. The movie got a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes and Escape from New York got 80 something. I think a lot of that probably comes from the fact that it was basically the same movie, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t make someone just think it’s like the first one with better graphics and more explosions. For a brief time I tried to find out what people’s problem was with this movie, then I realized I don’t care. I give this movie a “Fuck you guys, it’s better than the first” out of 27.