Transformers Beast Wars The Gathering Review

It’s time for a Transformers review! This comic takes place during the Beast Wars saga, which is pretty interesting. The one downside is that I don’t know most of the characters and one comic isn’t enough to really learn all of their names to a great extent. Luckily, the wiki for Transformers is one of the best in the biz so they have my back. It’s a pretty fun comic and there’s a lot of action. It’s basically a collection that is made for popcorn fun!

The plot involves a new threat to the global peace that has enveloped the universe. His name is Magmatron and his power levels are pretty high. The Autobots and Decepticons have finally made peace and they are now known as Maximals and Predacons. They have a treaty and things are actually looking up for the heroes. The Predacons are too worried to actually launch an attack on the moment. Still, the Maximal leader suspects that Magmatron is up to something so he sends Razorbeast to be his spy on the inside. Razorbeast prevents Magmatron from turning every robot in the past into Predacons, but now the two groups are stuck in the past. They can watch the events of Beast Wars transpire, but those inhabitants cannot see or feel them unless these fighters wish it. The Predacons want to bring Megatron in and the Maximal group needs to stop them. Does Razorbeast really have what it takes to lead a group of newly formed heroes?

The premise of the story is interesting, but I don’t see how it could last a very long time. The villains and heroes can still mess around with the current Maximals and Predacons so all it would take is a single energy blast to rewrite time. Magmatron actually fights Megatron, which should affect the timeline a bit, even if nothing really major happened. That’s why working with time travel can be very risky. There are a lot of ways that you can definitely mess it up, but it also pays off in a big way when it works.

Magmatron is the main villain and he’s a pretty fun addition to the cast. This guy definitely looks very powerful and you get the feeling that he has the physical strength to back up his looks. He doesn’t get a lot of fights here, but he looks impressive for the most part. He takes on one of the legendary heroes and also puts up a good fight against Megatron. He definitely didn’t have the upper hand in that fight, but maybe he could have pulled out some kind of win. It would have been a pretty good fight. I hope he returns someday and I like to think that I’ll remember his design for a while. Maybe Transformers 5 will add him in for fun.

Razorbeast is basically the main character since it’s all up to him now. He’s the robot who quickly sabotages Magmatron’s plan and then scampers off to find the new Maximals. He’s not the strongest fighter and he’s more of a hit and run kind of guy. That’s still pretty handy in itself and I’m sure that the heroes were glad to have him. He has a pretty climatic fight towards the end and he definitely doesn’t back down from a fight. He’s all right and Razorbeast definitely beats the average side character, but I wouldn’t be adding him to my top 10 anytime soon. It’s pretty tough to get up there I suppose.

Grimlock is one of the few G1 characters to appear and it’s great to have him back in the ranks. He talks as tough as you may have expected and he puts up a pretty good fight. It’s a little disappointing to see him on the losing side, but it makes sense thanks to Grimlock’s fighting strategy. He launches into the brawl and that’s not a good idea against Magmatron. Magmatron’s body comes equipped with a dinosaur and a snake so it’s like fighting three opponents at once. That definitely gives close combat fighters a disadvantage. His role here is small, but I’m confident that he would appear more in the sequel. I hope they are able to squeeze in more G1 fighters.

Ravage is another fighter from the original series who is ready for some action. He also appeared in the TV show, which was pretty cool. He’s definitely powerful and he is a lot more experienced than most of the other villains. He doesn’t really feel like the real Ravage, but it has been a long time since the original series. As long as he’s still able to take out dozens of opponents in a short period of time, Ravage is good enough for me!

Megatron (The one from the show of course) looks pretty good since he takes the situation in stride. When Magmatron attacks, Megatron doesn’t miss a beat as he counters. He actually does very well against Magmatron and he seems to have the overwhelming advantage until he gets ganged up on by the other Predacons. This Megatron is the robot responsible for keeping up the Megatron name so you almost can’t help but root for him. It’s better that Megatron wins instead of Magmatron right? It also works as a nice guest star appearance for him as a Beast Wars TV show character.

There are other characters, but most of them are still waiting for their character development arcs to start. The shows come in handy for Transformers because it’s really hard to get to know them through comics. There are simply too many of them and you just end up losing track. Especially since the names are usually two words squeezed together. The names may not even make any sense until you see the character appear some more.

Luckily, this comic basically had everything that I could have wanted from Transformers. It’s a simple action story that has a lot of heart and it makes for a good read. I can’t say that I really had any negatives for it. Naturally, the comic didn’t exactly get a 10, but that just speaks to how difficult it is to get such a high rating. I think a 7 is fair for the collection because it didn’t make any mistakes, but it didn’t do anything so spectacular that I could give it anything higher. It’s pretty standard. That being said, it is still fairly difficult to make a comic without any real mistakes.

Longtime Transformer fans can probably appreciate a nice twist in the story. The Maximals finally have the overwhelming advantage in the present since the Dece-Predacons have basically given up. Of course, that becomes moot since the Maximals are on the run in the past, but it’s still pretty fun to see. It’s always the reverse in the other shows and movies as the Decepticons always outnumber the heroes.

We can’t forget that one of the big positives for the collection is the great artwork. It really shines in just about every page and especially for the character designs. Everyone looks like they’re ready to fight. It makes it tougher to discern who is an expendable character and who isn’t. These guys really look like brawlers and the fight scenes are pretty great as well.

Overall, This was a pretty fun comic for Beast Wars. The Gathering is an intriguing title and you’ll certainly get why it’s called that once you read the comic. Any Transformer fan should get a kick out of this title and I’d say the same thing about any action fan. Even if you don’t know the characters, you should still enjoy the fight scenes and the art. It’s a fairly engaging piece from start to finish and maybe it will make you a fan of the franchise if you aren’t already one. It’s time to step into the Beast Wars!

Overall 7/10

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Howard Aguello vs Kamacuras

Howard Aguello is back and he’s ready for some action. Unfortunately, his running skills won’t be enough to stand up to an opponent like Kamacuras. Kamacuras is still a Kaiju after all and his abilities should not be underestimated. His punishing attacks will really leave opponents guessing and one hit is all that he needs. Kamacuras wins.

Kuneida vs James Bond

Kuneida is back and now she’s up against James Bond. Mr. Bond has now reached 99 battles on the blog so you can be sure that his 100th fight will not be very far behind. Kuneida can easily speedblitz James Bond from all angles and a single sword strike will take down the agent. Moreover, Kuneida just needs to land a punch since she can strike through rock by focusing her power. Kuneida wins.

Dipsy vs Nami

Dipsy is a pretty tough fighter depending on the amount of fighters that you are looking at, but Nami still has the edge here. Her hand to hand skills would be enough to win this round, but she also has her Weather Tempo at the ready for all situations. Dipsy is not going to be able to win this round so the Teletubby will have to drop down the ranks. Nami wins.

Kuneida vs One Above All

The One Above All may seem to be pretty powerful from afar, but he’s not much of a threat to Kuneida. Kuneida makes her debut in this match and she’s one of the better characters from the Beelzebub series. She never backs down from a fight and she became one of the strongest fighters at the school. Her supersonic attacks will quickly leave the One Above All speechless as he fades away into oblivion. Kuneida wins.

Shulk vs Luigi

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Luigi is a plumber who is known across the planet, but that still doesn’t mean that he’s ready to take on Shulk. Shulk is an experienced swordfighter and a few good slashes should win him the match. He has the edge over Luigi in speed and in technique. This victory should rise him up even more through the blog’s ranks. Shulk wins.

Hyrule Warriors Review

It’s been a while since I played a good hack and slash game. The last title would likely be One Piece Unlimited World Red, but you could also consider that one to be more of a hybrid between an action game and a beat em up. The last big one that I played would likely be Devil Kings or the PSP version of Dynasty Warriors. It makes sense that this one would be really chaotic like the classic Dynasty Warrior games since it’s from the same people. They’re still the best at making beat em up games and I can safely say that Hyrule Warriors is the best game on the Wii U right now! (Smash Bros will change this in time, but Hyrule Warriors can enjoy the view from the top at the moment)

The plot involves an evil sorceress named Cia. She is descending upon the land of Hyrule with her dark legions and they’ve already enslaved most of the planet as well. Princess Zelda is forced to recruit one of the soldiers to help her and Impa as they fight on. This soldier is pretty courageous and his name happens to be Link. Once he dawns the legendary hero’s get up..he is ready to claim victory! The situation won’t get any easier for the heroes as the fight continues across whole dimensions. Old enemies like Zant, Dark Link, and Ghirahim show up while old allies like Princess Ruto and Agitha appear as well. Amidst all of the chaos, you can count on Ganondorf showing up at some point as well. The heroes will have to muster up all of their strength to defend the universe and luckily they have a skilled warrior aiding them by the name of Lana. What secrets is she keeping from them?

I am glad that Hyrule Warriors only has one main story as opposed to the usual format where each character gets their own adventure. The latter can get old pretty quickly and a lot of the scenes tend to be shared or similar so everything takes a lot longer to complete. This way, you can enjoy the true story and watch the heroes interact. Different stages will require you to play as different characters, but Link naturally stays as the lead for most of them. There are 17 levels in the game. Each of them can take 15-20 minutes and I usually tried to shoot for the former since that almost guarantees you an A rank in Adventure Mode. (Good practice for the future right?)

I already mentioned that the game is a hack and slash, but I’ll still explain what that means for the gameplay. You will typically wield a sword, but other characters also use magic spells and short blades. You are then launched into a giant area where you work to secure certain spots as you attack the army. You will have many allies as well who will help you secure the enemy’s territory. It is crucial to invade the strong hold of the enemy before they reach yours. There will also be sub missions during the level at times, which are typically helpful in winning the battle. Sometimes, the victory conditions will change as well so you should always be on your guard.

In essence, this means that you’ll be doing a lot of button mashing. After all, you’ll defeat over 1000 enemies in each level so you need to really enjoy this kind of gameplay. Luckily, it’s definitely one of my favorite types as it would only lose to something like Budokai Tenkaichi 3’s epic style of fighting. Of course, I tend to like most action genres so they’re all pretty high up in the ranks, but especially so in the case of hack and slash titles. Each character will have a super attack as well as a few combos to unleash during gameplay. You will be equipped with an endless supply or arrows, bombs, hookshots, and boomerangs to help you overcome obstacles as well.

There are also a lot of things to do once you beat the game. First off, you can go into Free Mode to replay the levels with other characters. Each level has 2 Gold Spiders (1 is not available until you complete the story) as well as two heart pieces hidden inside. The Gold Spiders are used to unlock illustrations, which unlock other things. (I believe that a stage is one of the unlockables) After you’ve beefed up your characters a little more, then you can hit Challenge Mode or Adventure Mode.

Adventure Mode is very long and it’s even longer than Story Mode. There are well over 50 levels to be found here and they are considerably more difficult than what you would have encountered before them. You unlock more characters, heart pieces, and gold spiders here. You also get the chance to find some great weapons and earn more rupees. I’ve only played one level here so far, but it seems to be pretty fun. Anything’s worth it for extra characters right? Challenge Mode is similar since you will have to complete several challenges during a level. It’s not bad, but I don’t see the point at the moment. It’s a new DLC that was added into the game though so they may add more incentives for playing this mode.

The rupees can be really helpful once you go to the shop. You can unlock badges for each character based off of the materials that you own. (It costs money to use them) You can make some potions, which can help during battle. (You shouldn’t waste your rupees on this in my opinion. I didn’t buy any of them since the money would be better spent on the next option) The best way to use the rupees is to level up other characters. If you only play as Link and get him to around level 50, the other characters won’t have gotten any stronger. Instead of going back to play as them, you can simply level them up with rupees. The only catch involved is that you can never level up a character past your strongest character’s highest level. Meaning that you couldn’t level up Impa to level 51 through rupees until you got Link to that level. Of course, if you played as Impa and got her to level 51, then you could just level up Link accordingly.

Cia is the big villain to debut in this game and she’s a decent antagonist. I definitely find her to be more interesting than Zant and Ghirahim. Aside from Ganondorf, she is probably the best main villain. Her magical abilities are definitely powerful and she’s probably one of the only villains to ever talk back to Ganondorf and actually surpass him in fighting ability. There are circumstances involved of course, but it’s very impressive. She has a pretty sad ending, but such is the fate for all villains in the end.

Lana is a pretty cool hero. She’s infinitely more interesting than most of the allies in this game. Her story also has a few sad twists, but she stays pretty optimistic about her circumstances for the most part. She’s a solid addition to the Legend of Zelda series and it would be cool to see her appear in more titles. I don’t care for her gameplay that much since she’s a magic user, but her attacks definitely have good range.

I’m glad that they chose the Skyward Sword version of Impa to show since that is definitely her best incarnation. It’s good to see her as a hero. I didn’t really care for some of the allies like Princess Ruto, Darunia, or Midna. They don’t really do much during the game and I think that Hyrule Warriors could have presented us with more interesting allies.

One of the newer characters from the game that I didn’t care for was Agitha. She’s definitely the kind of character that I don’t care for. She’s not much of a fighter and she’s a little too oblivious about the whole situation. I could definitely have selected a better character to put in her place, (A Wind Waker sage would be cool) but at least her role is pretty small.

We also have the two main villains that work for Cia. Wizzro is a dark magician and he seems to be pretty weak physically so he has to rely on his spells. I was pretty surprised at how confident he was when he went up against Link, but some villains just don’t realize their true limitations until it’s too late. His design is definitely pretty cool and he’s a solid villain. He would be even better if he was a fighter.

That is why Volga is the superior minion. He’s works as a rival to Link and while he is evil..he does have honor. Volga wants to defeat Link in a fair fight and he is one of the more powerful Link villains. He has everything that I could want in a villain and that’s why it’s safe to say that he’s easily in my top 5 of all time. He’s probably even higher, but I haven’t really gone back to think of all of the opponents that have appeared before. Needless to say, he’s a pretty great character. Hyrule Warriors did a good job of making the new characters likable as I enjoyed Cia, Lana, Volga, and Wizzro and Agitha is the only one that I didn’t like.

An assortment of bosses also appeared briefly, but they didn’t really get to stay around for character development. Ganondorf is as tough as ever and this game definitely portrays him pretty accurately. He never retreats and he continues to dominate his opponents with pure power. He takes over a good chunk of the land with ease and it doesn’t take him long to bend Ghirahim and Zant to his will. His new character design really works as well. You get a sense that he is definitely Link’s biggest threat and while he may have suffered defeat by the game’s main villain, he definitely comes back from that. His true form is as tough looking as ever, but I still prefer him in humanoid mode.

Link is pretty true to character. He started from humble beginnings and eventually showed Princess Zelda and the others that he is a true hero. I still say that he’s much more heroic than Mario and he really could be the most heroic character of all time. Of course, it certainly helps a lot that he never talks. He does have a moment where the Master Sword’s power goes to his head, but I can’t say that I disagreed with his actions. I think Link made the right move in attacking the enemy fortress by himself since he is the most skilled hero. Even then, Link never gave up until the bitter end.

Princess Zelda also looks pretty good. I’m glad that she didn’t just hide in the castle and decided to infiltrate enemy lines as Sheik. Sheik’s character design was pretty sleek here and I think the graphics did a good job of depicting it. She’s one of the few characters that I’ve played as aside from Link. (The only others would be Lana, Impa,(Maybe…I’m not positive) and Ganondorf) I do like Sheik more than Zelda, but they’re technically the same character so they’re both pretty good. Zelda is just suck in her leadership role more than Sheik so it limits her actions. Sheik is really free to do whatever she wants.

It’s easy to see why this is an all star title. The developers put a lot of effort into it as they added many easter eggs for the series. Compared to the average Dynasty Warriors game, Hyrule Warriors is lacking a little in content, (Especially the character roster) but that’s okay. It only looks bad when compared to that game. Compare it to almost any other title and Hyrule Warriors really looks good. Counting all of the modes, there are well over 60 levels and there are many other replay value factors to consider. Gathering all of the heart containers, Gold Spiders, and maxing out everyone’s levels will still take a very long time. This game easily has over 30-50 hours of content within it and the developers continue to add more. Challenge Mode only has one level in it so far so we can be pretty confident that more will be added in the near future.

The graphics are pretty solid for the game. Obviously, you shouldn’t expect Final Fantasy levels of animation here since a hack and slash game is typically known to have worse graphics than an RPG title. That’s because of how many enemies are constantly loaded onto the screen. We still do get a few big cutscenes that look really good. I definitely would say that the graphics are 2014 worthy and you won’t be wincing at anything. You can really take in the scenary and enjoy your visits to the various universes relating to the franchise. Twilight Princess, Ocarina of Time, and Skyward Sword levels are all featured in one game. I doubt we’ll ever see that again. (Unless this game gets a sequel, which would be pretty cool)

Naturally, this is a Legend of Zelda game so the soundtrack is very good. A lot of the tunes are very fast paced to keep up with the action and that’s what I like to hear as I shred the armies that stand in my way. You’ll hear many tunes that you recognize from older titles and the atmosphere will make you feel like you’re in one of the main titles for the series.

The only thing that could come close to a negative would be that the game’s opening level is a bit of a tease. We get a pretty grand cutscene that makes the game feel like an RPG. It almost hints at character development for everyone and a grand story. We do get a story of course, but it’s more of a backdrop to the fighting. It would be comparable to a Tekken story, but a little deeper than that. It’s still not the next Final Fantasy there. We only get 4-7 big cutscenes after that and the game became more of a hack and slash through and through. I still did enjoy the story a lot, but the first level really had an RPG feel to it and it will make you think about the next big LoZ title. Hopefully the tone is more like this game’s opening than the last few games. (Meaning that the enemies get to attack right away and the hero is already a pretty good fighter) I still wouldn’t call this a negative though since I did enjoy the story and just got a glimpse of how it could be even better.

Overall, I definitely consider this to be the Wii U’s top title. It had everything that I could want in a hack and slash title. I wouldn’t say that I had any real negatives with the game. Everything performed to my satisfaction and it’s an all around complete title. The gameplay is the smoothest that I’ve played in the genre although Dynasty Warriors Gundam is still my favorite since the moves are more devastating and colorful thanks to all of the explosions. Hyrule Warriors is currently one of the only true hack and slash games that I’ve gotten to experience and it’s nice to see how a brand new, 2014 one fares. This game also gave me a chance to dust off the Wii U and give it all of the new updates. I definitely recommend this title and I actually enjoyed it more than the main installments. (That being said, I will always remember Wind Waker as the greatest Legend of Zelda title due to its replayability and the sheer joy of playing it) If you’ve been waiting to buy a Wii U due to a “lack of games,” I would suggest picking one up now. (Hopefully this inspires Nintendo to really do a big crossover story with the Legend of Zelda series)

Overall 9/10

Deja Vu Review

I know that some like to spell “Deja” with a few symbols above the letters, but I prefer to just write it out like this. The title can already tell you that this is either the next Groundhog Day or it’s going to involve time. I can safely say that it’s the latter although it’s a bit of a trick question since Groundhog Day did involve time. It’s a decent film, but I am hesitant to say that it’s much more than that. The film doesn’t really end up leaving a big impact on you. You watch it…and it’s gone. (Like Battleship)

The plot involves special agent Doug as he tries to solve a case before it even begins. A terrorist attacks a ship and destroys over 500 people in the process. Nobody knows who did it or where the person went, which is where Doug comes in. Doug is the first person to confirm that it was a terrorist attack and he is then brought on to the elite squad. With the use of satellites, they can watch just about any spot on the planet as of 4 days ago. So, they can wait 4 days to see who did it, but it may be too late by then. Moreover, there is no rewinding available so they need to be able to identify the person right away. The plot thickens when Doug finds out that another person was murdered prior to the explosion and thrown into the ocean to make it appear as if the person was just another victim. Doug is now personally invested in this case and he’s ready to solve this case. Now, what if there is more to this satellite technology than meets the eye? What if Doug can stop the crime before it starts? That’s when the real film begins!

Well, the satellite thing is actually pretty scientific. I recall reading about it recently that at least 4 satellites are typically trained on the area. From there, it gets a little hazy since I don’t really think that the satellites would typically be able to look through buildings and get clear 1080P footage while you’re in a dark alley at night. It’s certainly possibly in theory though and it’s interesting to think about. If our government actually had perfected the tech to this extent though, the world would either be a really good place or our civil rights would be even more dismantled than they currently are. (America is still one of the best at protecting us though) Things get more than a little hazy once they start explaining about how you can actually look at the past with the satellites. That means that it’s fiction time!

I do give Doug credit for deciding to change the past while the others said that it wasn’t possible. If time travel was actually possible, then I definitely think it could be altered. The two events go hand in hand. If you can go back in time, then you can change it. If not, then time and the events within it are simply unchangeable. That’s always been my stance on the matter.

Doug is a decent lead. He definitely wants to solve the case and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to succeed without doing anything that’s really unheroic. This is the kind of character that you could call a little generic and get away with it. There’s nothing about him that really stands out and he’s only decent in a fight. His final stand off against the main villain was actually pretty bad since he was on the defensive the whole time. One could argue that his end is also a little tragic and not what you would expect while others can argue that it had to happen due to the plot. I dunno, I think he could have put in the extra effort and just moved to the Hotel California to avoid any missteps.

Claire is the main heroine and a lot of bad things happen to her in a very short amount of time. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a whole lot of street smarts. She gives away her home address to a random guy over the phone that wanted to buy her car. If you’re going to sell a car to someone, at least arrange to meet in a busy section that has a McDonalds. (Or a sports bar, since the guys inside can definitely fight) Her second big mistake is to open the door when she hears a sound outside. First rule of living in any area is that you never open the door unless you know exactly who’s outside. (And you should recognize their tone to know if they’re being held at gunpoint. Although, there’s not much you can do at that point) So, that was a really rough start for her and that leads to the events that transpire afterwards. She’s a decent character overall, but negative things happen to her left and right. She can’t really find any peace at this rate. This also means that she doesn’t get a whole lot of time for character development and the romance is pretty non existent. (It’s pretty one sided until the end where it’s probably both ways, but still rushed)

Oerstadt is the terrorist in the film and he’s as crazy as you may have expected. I doubt I’ll ever like a terrorist character in a film and that’s a good thing. Films shouldn’t even try to make them sympathetic or likable since they’re just bad people when it all boils down to it. Oerstadt is certifiably insane as he wants to murder everyone to show the United States that they need more patriots. He wants them to wake up and start controlling the world since they have the power. Instead, Oerstadt is woken up to the fact that he didn’t think this through and that his only escape options are death and life imprisonment. Not the best set of options right?

One of the complaints that I would have with the supporting characters is that they can be slow on the uptake. Take Doug’s partner. He gets a message informing him that a terrorist is going to blow up the boat so he heads there to stop him. He sees the guy get into the van so he runs towards him. “Stop….Stop…hands in the air” is basically what the agent says. The guy just takes out his gun and shoots him… When you’re dealing with a terrorist, you quickly let everyone know and you don’t just walk up to the window. At the very least, shoot all of the wheels so that the guy can’t escape. Then, don’t go in front of the window so the shot will at least be a little more difficult. This guy was an agent so I’m sure that he’ll have enough connections to inform the NSA that something’s up.

The film is also pretty gritty. The main heroine’s plight is pretty serious and the partner’s demise is also pretty gruesome. The film shows the aftermath of the terrorist attack and it’s grim as you would expect. They don’t want to make light of such a situation, but these three scenes are still not really any fun. The heroine’s plight happens twice. The first one is off screen and then we see part of the second until the guy is interrupted. That was good at least, but it’s still a bit much since we know what would have happened.

Finally, this film actually has some fanservice, which is a definite no no. I wasn’t really expecting any since I’ve actually gotten lucky on that angle recently. Most of the films that I’ve seen have actually stayed away from that angle. Not here. Doug and his co-workers decide to spy on Claire through their super satellites to see what happens and they definitely take a while to turn the camera. They’re spying on her constantly and that is decidedly unheroic. It’s okay when she’s in proper attire, but they should otherwise change the view immediately. Not a good move “heroes!”

There’s not much of a soundtrack of course. Luckily, that was to be expected here. We had a bit of a red herring involving the main agent in charge since he acts incredibly suspicious the whole time, but his plot never amounts to anything. At least it gives the viewers something to think about. His role is very small and I still wonder if the writers just forgot about him.

Overall, Deja Vu is a pretty standard film. It does end up losing some extra points for the gruesome violence and the fanservice though so it ultimately becomes a little sub par. The main character wasn’t bad and I always like a good time travel story, but the film just wasn’t terribly exciting or interesting. You sort of want to find out what’s going to happen, but you’ll find yourself to be pretty detached from the current events. It’s hard to really get into what’s happening and you could say that it’s a bit of a negative. A film should really keep you on the edge of your seat. An example of this is the big car chase scene. It’s a fun concept, but it’s not as thrilling as you would expect. Maybe the cars just weren’t going fast enough or it’s because I already saw Need For Speed. Well, I wouldn’t really recommend this one and I think you’d be better off watching The One for parallel universe explanations.

Overall 4/10

Hide and Seek Review

Please note that this review is of the edited TV 14 version of the film. All of the writing below should only be addressed to this particular version as the uncut one would likely get an even lower score or the review would just be more negative.
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It’s really no stretch to say that horror films are my least favorite genre. Even romance or comedy films tend to have more heart to them. Of course, there are likely some genres that could go under horror if we really went drastic. (Infinite categories out there. Kaiju films, Space Kaiju Films, Undergeround Kaiju films, etc.) War Documentaries would be pretty close to horror films, but I barely count documentaries as films as it is. A regular War film would still be applicable though and we can’t forget about Zombie films. (Even though they would likely count as horror) I can safely say that this film was even worse than the average horror and it goes to Sucker Punch levels of bad. Can you say a 1 for effort? Let’s see what it did wrong.

First, we need to try to remember the plot that all horror films have. A guy and his daughter decide to move to an abandoned area on the outskirts of New York after the mother dies. Unfortunately, strange things begin to happen. Is the House haunted? Is the Dad crazy? Is the Daughter Possessed? Are there Demons hanging around? Zombies? Ghosts? Plot Holes? Take your pick and then get ready to cringe through the background plot as you await the chills and thrills. The body count is pretty low for most of the film, but the ending decides to quickly change this as the film becomes your average slasher. I definitely got some “I know what you did Last Summer” vibes from the ending since it’s fairly similar. (Then again…I could say that about most horror films!) The main characters are certainly in trouble so this could get deadly.

Well, the cast is pretty small in this film. That’s probably a good thing since most of the characters would have been pretty bad anyway. The main character is Mr. Callaway. I dare say that he’s slightly worse than the average lead for a horror film and that’s saying something. He’s pretty unstable and you don’t know what to expect from him. One second he’s a professional on the mind so he can out psych the daughter through her issues and the next second he’s panicking and running away from her. He needs some more training to say the least. Once the murders begin, he decides to cover them up instead of reporting it to the proper authorities and he’s definitely outmatched against Charlie. There aren’t any likable qualities to Mr. Callaway, but he’s not the only terrible character.

Did I mention that Charlie gets a big role in the film. He’s just as unlikable as Mr. Callaway. He likes to play games and it’s heavily implied that he has super speed or invisibility. He probably has dozens of other powers since horror films like to make their villains unstoppable right? Well, Charlie definitely doesn’t have what it takes to be a cool villain. His character design is pretty awful and he’s also fairly weak so he has to rely on tricks and surprise attacks to win his fights. He certainly didn’t help the film.

Emily is the daughter and she doesn’t help the film. She spends most of it being pretty distant and refusing to talk until she meets Charlie. She did just go through a pretty traumatic accident so we can sympathize with her, but it still doesn’t make her an enjoyable character to see on screen. She’s typically a downer. We find out that Emily does try to help out at certain points and she does well during the ending, but she’s still not what I’d call a very good character. She did have some opportunities to quickly end things although I’m sure that it could have backfired since most of the other characters are slow on the uptake.

We have the Sheriff who looks pretty terrible throughout the film. He wanders into the house during the climax and he knows that there has already been a murder. (More than one, but he only knows about one) So, he goes into the room and the lights turn off. He panics and runs towards the basement…that doesn’t end well. Should I mention that he never even reaches for his gun? This guy must be super confident to be walking into closets and constantly giving his back to every direction.

Catherine is another major in psychology and she proves to be more proficient at it than the main character. She doesn’t get a huge role, but this is a slasher so she does make sure to grab a gun and get involved in the climax. She looks downright terrible during most of it, but she finally gets to land a good hit in the end. She’s easily the best character in the film and it’s too bad that she couldn’t have gotten involved sooner. At least we had one pretty good character right?

We also had some supporting characters that had no point in the film except to be red herrings. So that I don’t spoil which one is the red herring, I shall quickly name 4 side characters. Apologies if it’s obvious who the red herring is, but this isn’t exactly Inception! We have the neighbors Laura and her husband. Laura’s a little overly friendly and she constantly goes to the house while her husband hangs around outside and meets up with the daughter. There’s also another acquaintance who has a daughter and they decide to visit the house as well. It should be noted that both neighbors as well as the mother look pretty much identical and I was wondering if they decided to save the budget by having one actress portray all three. Let’s face it, this film didn’t get a big budget!

Well, that’s basically the cast. If this doesn’t sound like a 1 star film yet, then you have not seen Man of Steel! (Man of Steel’s awesomeness in comparison should show you that this is basically a one star film) One of the numerous negatives in this film is the classic animal violence. Every horror film has it so this one quickly includes it as well. Let’s just say that it’s a cat this time and it’s as sad as you may have expected.

This is a slasher so you can expect a lot of gratuitous violence as well. We get the blood bath tub that seems to be featured prominently in all of the 18 and up slashers. It’s really their calling card I suppose. Other people get slashed and we even have doll violence where the dolls are so grotesquely broken that you have to wonder if it’s even possible. One of the characters really crushes one of them in the span of a few seconds. Sort of like Attack on Titan, this film helps to show us that too much violence can just water down the story.

This next negative is probably a given, but the film is also a downer. There’s a happy ending at the end of course, but it only gets about a minute of screentime while the other events take up the rest of the film. You would have more fun watching the Broncos get blown out of the Super Bowl again and I have to say that the game was pretty painful. (I was rooting for the Broncos) There aren’t any scenes that will make you cheer or even any that will make you smile at all. The whole film is devoid of enjoyment or entertainment.

The final plot twist is pretty generic and not in a good way. Of course, I would have said that the twist was generic if it had ended up being one of the other twists that I had labeled in the beginning. All of those are just stale at this point so none of them are surprising. As expected, the film chose the worst one of the group since that is just continuing with the film’s history of bad choices. The only twist that could have been worse would have been if the red herring was the actual villain because of the plot holes and the idea of such a threat. Nonetheless, this is still a pretty awful second and it didn’t do the film any favors. I should also mention that the film tries to be deep and complex by having a subnplot filled with flashbacks and a mysterious waking at 2:06 every morning, but that won’t stop you from snoozing throughout the film and checking your watch.

“Hey, you forgot the positives!” Actually..this film had no positives. It’s one of those films that doesn’t even need to exist. It just takes all the worst tropes of your average horror film and throws them together. On that note, you could say that the film is even worse than Sucker Punch since the other film at least had action scenes, but the worst scenes in Sucker Punch are probably worse than the worst ones here so it’s a dicey showdown. Either way, this is a film that you really just want to see panned by critics and smashed at the Box Office.

Overall, Hide and Seek is as bad as the title would suggest. You’d have a much better time playing Hide and Seek in a one room apartment during the afternoon. I usually give a quick recap of the positives and negatives in this paragraph, but the whole review is basically made up of the negatives so you probably still remember them. This goes without saying, but I strongly recommend staying away from this film. (and horrors/slashers in general) If you want a classy film that’s still pretty scary, I would recommend the 4th Bleach film or even playing a level in Luigi’s Mansion. In the meantime, you’ll be spared from watching this film. Thus, saving you at least 100 minutes of your life that you can use towards racking up trophies on your PS3.

Overall 1/10

Key Largo Review

Bogart and Bacall get to team up once again, but this is easily their weakest adventure. I had a feeling that something wasn’t right when I noticed that the name, Robinson, was between Bogart and Bacall. That’s not how it’s supposed to go right? This is definitely a classic 40s film and it’s still 6 years before the first Godzilla film, but something went dreadfully wrong. The film just moved away from some of the things that made the first few films so good.

Frank decides to pay his army friend’s father a visit as he travels down to the Key Largo section. The hotel is apparently closed, but the father seems happy to see him and Frank gets to meet his pal’s wife. They talk about the friend and what a good guy he was before he finally died in the war. There are a few shady characters in the hotel, but everything else seems to be all right. Some Indians are also around and they plan to turn themselves in for the good of everyone. They leave and prepare to do so later. That’s when the shady fellows decide to make their move and they take the hotel. Everyone has become their hostages now and they’ll all have to weather the hurricane together. There is a lot of tension in the air!

Well, this film definitely didn’t do it for me. For one thing, Bogart typically plays a hardcore lead who loves to mess with everyone. That’s not Frank in this one. Frank is still heroic and he’s a tough guy, but he doesn’t really talk back to the villains. He’s more of a subdued character who is tired of fighting and he’s ready to call it a day. He does make a lot of good moves like not falling for the empty gun trick, but he’s not as exciting as you might expect. Now, I’m not saying that Frank’s a bad character. He’s still a good lead and I agree with most of his moves. He doesn’t even get distracted by romance this time. He’s just not very exciting and he would make for a better supporting character if anything.

Nora is the main heroine and she’s the kind of character that a modern film could portray a little better. (Which is pretty rare) She tries to be tough when needed, but she just doesn’t look very good. She attacks the villain on two occasions, but she’s completely overpowered without doing any real damage. She’s a good character, but not one that is very enjoyable to see on screen since you know that she’ll just be defeated. I can’t say that this is Bacall’s best character to portray either. Nora just needed to get some sort of weapon to make things a little more interesting.

Johnny Rocco is the main villain and he’s about as unlikable as you would expect. He’s always chewing on a cigar or taking a bath. He’s not very bright and Frank makes fun of him from time to time. The only reason why he lasts so long is because he has a gun at the ready. There’s not much else to say about him. He’s just your average gangster who has a lot of minions who could technically beat him in a fight, but are afraid to do so. He’s easily the worst character in the film.

He’s got a handful of minions. One of them tends to laugh a lot while the other one likes to talk or grab a drink to ease the tension. A lady is along with the gang and she’s completely hooked on beer. She seems a little out of place with the group since she used to be a singer and everything, but she went down the wrong path. We’ve also got the Indians whose bond with the father is broken thanks to these circumstances. The cops don’t look too great as one of them is really slow on the uptake while the other one was quickly blindsided. The father of the dead friend really tries his best to keep on believing that the villains will be defeated, but he’s in a wheelchair so he’s not really in a position to fight. He does try though and it can be pretty sad to watch. It’s too bad for the guy since he had a pretty peaceful life up until that point.

One of the big things that hurt the film was that it’s just not very fun. We don’t get any of the witty banter that we have gotten used too in the other titles. Sure, Frank messes with the villain a little, but it can barely be called banter since it’s completely one sided. None of the characters are as charismatic as their older counterparts either. It’s a film where you are actually going to check your watch to see if it’s almost over.

The villains also get away with too much as you may have expected. The cops may be on the way, but it’s a little too late since one of the characters is already taken out and the hotel is basically ruined. Frank gets his big fight at the end and it’s good that he finally went on the offensive, but it definitely took a while. The main heroine’s attack that backfired is also another reason why the film was pretty doomed. It’s just another unnecessary scene to show off how “tough” the villain is. He’s pretty fat and he doesn’t work out so I don’t think he’ll be too strong. At the very least, it should be more of a fight. The Indians also get the short end of the stick here since their end isn’t very happy either.

There isn’t much of a soundtrack here. They squeeze in a song as per usual, but I can’t say that it was anything great. To be fair, I don’t think films really got good music until the 80s, although there are likely a few exceptions scattered about. There isn’t much scenery to look at either since most of the film takes place in the hotel. Not a lot of variety.

Overall, Key Largo lost the charm that the other team up films had. This one just isn’t fun to watch. We don’t have the epic banter and no fight scenes until the very end. The cast is also filled with mostly unlikable or bland characters. There’s no real romance this time, but the film was pretty sunk without it. If you’re looking for a classic (Pre Godzilla) film to watch, then I would recommend The Big Sleep instead. That one is a good example of how you should make a classic film. At least there wasn’t any animal violence here!

Overall 4/10