Inside Man Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

The Inside Man is a classic bank heist kind of film but with it taking place around Wall Street that’s a pretty fun twist. You’ve got everyone trying to make a move so there are a lot of plans and counter plans going on. Effectively this is exactly my kind of film because I like to see how the debates play out as each side tries to take the lead. Most of the film keeps you wrapped up in the suspense so you won’t get to see the answers until near the end.

The movie starts with everything being rather normal at a bank until a few people show up and take the whole place hostage. They do it rather quickly, so quickly in fact that nobody even dies. Clearly these guys are professionals so Detective Keith is called in since the usual guy is on vacation. Keith tries to discuss terms with this guy but Dalton, the leader of the criminals, isn’t talking. He is sticking to his demands and does not want to change his terms. He wants a jet, and a lot of assurances before he does anything. Keith can only do so much on his end but time is not on his side. After all, the hostages currently hang in the balance. Which side will give in first?

And that’s really the tone the movie is going for here. Both players are effectively facing off against each other in a game of poker. They each have an ace or two up their sleeve and a whole lot of bluffs to work with but at the end of the day one of them is going to have to make a move sooner or later. There are also a few other players in the arena though since you can’t have the film go so linearly.

First up, we have the owner of the bank Arthur. He is hiding something important in the bank and is worried that the robbers may end up leaving with it. He is forced to call in the mysterious Madeleine. She is willing to help him out since that’s basically what she does. She doesn’t concern herself with the moral implications of what is going on so long as she is paid. There are some good back and forth conversations with these two characters though as she does also make it clear that if he is hiding anything relevant to her mission then the deal is off. She does need to know a certain amount in order to claim victory here after all. It’s not as if this will be an easy or safe job for her either since she has to deal directly with the bank robbers.

For Keith this is also pretty stressful since it is effectively his first big case. There’s a whole lot riding on this one and he is given a tempting offer from Madeleine involving how this plays out. Can you in good conscience take a bribe like that? The film opens up with an exchange where Keith basically says that if you’re doing your job most of the time and take a bribe at some point, you still did a net good for society so it works out. Foreshadowing or something to subvert? It’s just something extra to think about.

The film always gives you a whole lot to think about in each scene which is part of why the film is so good. There are many different plots and storylines going on here at once and all of the characters are quite solid. It makes for a very engaging film from start to finish and one that does not have any weaknesses. The climax does not disappoint and the actual journey is also a lot of fun. There’s a lot of replay value to be had here just because the writing is so good. It’s properly engaging and all of the characters are pretty reasonable. Even the random hostages all have a good amount of personality between them so you aren’t likely to mix them up at all.

Throughout the movie, we get flash forwards where we see Keith and his partner talking to the hostages and trying to figure out if any of them were in on it. It’s a dangerous tactic because for one thing, it means that we know some details about the case. Clearly the hostages survived and the thieves were not stopped or at least the heroes suspect they weren’t. In some cases it could wreck the suspense like a certain George Clooney film I saw a while back but in this case the execution was good enough where this worked out.

The standout character here would probably be Madeleine. Her confidence is just a lot of fun and I like wild card characters like her who come out of nowhere to shake things up. The villains were also pretty solid. Dalton’s definitely a thinker and has some pretty good plans throughout the movie. He was clearly one step ahead of the other characters the whole time. There are a lot of twists involved of course so I can’t really go into the motivations of the robbers but lets say that Arthur’s secret is indeed a big one.

The film certainly paints him as a pretty bad guy relating to what’s in the box. It’s not the kind of mistake you can really just walk away from. Keeping the proof of this was also a horrible mistake on this part. Even if a part of him wanted to keep this in order to atone for it…it definitely didn’t pay off this time. It’s also hard to really feel if the guy is sincere or not. Personally I assume he probably is not. Even the shady mayor in this film seems to be a lot more trust worthy. Just about everyone is hiding a few skeletons in their closet in this film though so they all fit in rather well together.

Overall, Inside Man is a great film. It really tells a complete story with a lot of compelling elements and characters along the way. The writing is fantastic with all of the various exchanges between the heroes and villains being quite compelling. The movie even throws in a decent amount of humor here and there that works well within the scene like the debate about the trains. As I mentioned, the film has no weaknesses which is a big deal for a mystery like this. It means you can just watch straight through and really have a blast here. Even something like the hold up itself which can usually be rather vanilla was handled really well as we saw exactly how much the robbers had already planned like the scene where they split everyone up. It’s like something out of Liar Game, only the heroes don’t have a genius of their own to counter these guys. The ending to the movie is satisfying so if you like mysteries or heist films I highly recommend checking this one out.

Overall 8/10

Nomads Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

This is one of those films where the whole thing doesn’t make much sense so you just have to roll with it. The problem is that you can only roll with a film that actually has an engaging cast and quality characters…this one has neither. So Nomads is really doomed from the start and at no point in the film does it become all that engaging or interesting. You’ll definitely want to stay pretty far away from this one.

The movie starts with Jean being treated in the hospital but he doesn’t quite make it. Before he dies though, he manages to bite Dr. Eileen. The bite isn’t quite like a radioactive spider bite though because instead of super powers, she now has to relive the last few days/years of Jean’s life. She sees as he begins to unravel as he sees Nomads everywhere and they are going to take care of him for good. Can Jena avoid having the same fate or is she doomed here?

A really big portion of the film is devoted to the flashback of what happened to Jean. Ignoring the huge problem in that we already know he’s going to die anyway so the whole thing is rather empty, he’s just not a good character. His wife Niki is pretty reasonable the whole time and just seems like a nice person. Jean decides not to tell her anything though and then goes on pretty dangerous hunts to follow the Nomads and take pictures of them.

He takes a lot of pictures throughout and is constantly daring them to see him. Maybe he’s planning to write the biggest essay to end all essays but he really didn’t need this many pictures. Of course they would find him. He also knows that they’re dangerous since from the start they are writing disturbing messages all around and they flat out murder some random guy in a later scene. All Jean is doing is putting his wife in danger as well. The fact that he is keeping all of these secrets also means that Niki won’t be prepared when it’s her turn.

It’d be fun if we got to see Eileen reacting as she sees this by shaking her head or something. Unfortunately the magical bite from Jean means that she has to physically relive his events. So she is sort of playing a VR game you can say as she retraces his steps and looks rather crazy doing it. At least that makes it easy for the Nomads to track her down although to be fair they probably would have found her anyway.

So, this film is going for the classic horror approach of making the villains more powerful than any mere mortal. The characters can’t possibly do anything about them since their sheer numbers are crazy and they are probably all undead monsters anyway. The Nomads seem to want to torment the characters as much as possible by overloading them with fear before finishing them off. At least that would explain why they keep some characters alive. I guess maybe the guy in the dumpster scene didn’t give them the scared reaction they wanted so that’s why they destroyed him? I dunno and I don’t think the film does either.

Unfortunately Eileen isn’t a great character either. Sure, she’s better than Jean but it isn’t saying much. She immediately starts keeping secrets as well as she tries to uncover the French warning that Jean gave her before dying. Unfortunately it was not very helpful though. It basically boils down to “They’re coming to get you!”. Okay, it wasn’t that direct but essentially it’s that their spirits are everywhere so it’s not like you can beat them either. I wouldn’t say the end of the film leaves much hope for them either. In some ways you can draw some similarities to Fallen. The villain is around and you just have to hope that you don’t catch their attention. Once you do then it’s check mate.

The film can get randomly violent at times although I wouldn’t put it in the same ballpark as your average horror film or anything like that. Characters get beaten up pretty badly and since the opening takes place in a hospital get ready for one character needing to get live stitches. Still, it’s a little tamer than you would expect, but it’s not like that is going to do anything to save the film anyway. The whole story just feels like nonsense and the character cast is incredibly weak.

There is no real reason to fear the Nomads or find them as interesting characters because they have no personality. They seem like a bunch of juvenile delinquents who just so happen to have super powers and a matching fashion sense. They all wear the same leather jackets and try to take down as many heroes as possible. That’s it….that’s the extent of their character development. Then characters who are starting to have some development like Eileen’s doctor friend…just vanish later on. I suppose there isn’t much reason to keep them around but the cast was rather tiny so maybe at least have him help in the fight.

Of course, the odds of anyone believing you are slim since the Nomads only let some people see them. Pretty handy for their crew since it mans no backup will be coming. To get invested in a film you need something to latch onto but this film has nothing. There’s no scene where you can grab on and say “This was pretty interesting”. It just doesn’t happen and since the film is rather aimless, the scenes hit with the power of a bowl of soup.

Overall, Nomads is not a film I would recommend in the slightest. It could have been worse I suppose like if the guy owned a dog but the whole thing feels really pointless. There isn’t anything particularly positive to say about the film. If Jean had just minded his own business from the start then maybe none of this would have happened. If he had been frank with Niki then maybe at least he could have had a real plan. Instead he goes rogue and takes much bigger risks than he ever should have even considered. At least in that sense he’s like one of those old school horror protagonists who always makes the wrong call at every turn. If you want to watch a horror title definitely skip past this one.

Overall 2/10

Yugioh GX: Spirit Caller Review


When I play a game like Lunar: Dragon Song I figure that the days of bad gameplay mechanics are behind me. Then I play Spirit Caller and I remember that there is no end to this. Here’s the problem with Spirit Caller right off the bat, you can’t duel the person you want to without RNG and a lot of luck. That’s a big issue but I’ll go more into that in a moment. Anytime RNG dominates your game like this without a specific purpose you know that things are about to go sour and it’s just a shame.

The basic plot is that you are a new transfer student to Slifer Academy. You joined up a few days after Jaden and pals so now you will be around for the events of the TV show. I believe this covers the first two seasons. You have a fairly small map world that is divided into about 6 areas. You can jump into each area and then wander around for duels. After fulfilling specific criteria that is not mentioned anywhere in the game, you can trigger story events. Good luck triggering them without a walkthrough by the way. Keep on going until you have defeated all of the enemies.

So here’s problem number 1, at first you will just have to click on each red circle and hope it’s the right duelist. NPCs give off the same frequency as duelists so you’ll have to waste time bumping into the same guy time and time again when looking for an opponent. Also, until you register an opponent in your PDA he is completely anonymous so you may end up fighting someone you’ve already beaten. How do you get them registered? Well, you have to beat the opponent a bunch of times but there is no exact number. So just keep on defeating these guys until their icon eventually shows up over an area so you know how to avoid them.

Also, there’s a day and night system here. You only have time to check out a few spots before it goes dark and it’s time for bed. This is definitely a shame since you may want to play more than that. The whole day and night system is always really bad if you ask me. Particularly as there seems to be no point to it here. The amount of days and nights are endless anyway and the only difference is that once a week or every other week you have to do a test that has no impact on the story or on your stats anyway.

Some story events also take a really long time to trigger. For example, one event was I needed to just keep going to sleep until Jaden randomly wakes me up for a duel. The problem is that it took several cycles before he did that and there’s no way to speed up the time except to keep on visiting areas over and over again. The quickest way is to pick an empty area and then another one across town. It’s all rather tedious though.

So those are my main issues with the game. I don’t like that you have to just wait for story events to come to you or that the day will run out so you are forced into bed. Also, just let me duel whoever I want instead of having to search the forest to fight a random opponent. It just doesn’t make any sense if you ask me. The World Championship games may not usually have a plot but at least you can jump in and duel whoever you want whenever you want. Now isn’t that a much more balanced system? I would certainly say it is.

The actual gameplay is good though. The duels go very smoothly with fast loading times and a lot of interesting decks. Some Yugioh games suffer from being a little slow but this isn’t one of them so that’s good. I think you can definitely have a good time with this if you focus on the duels. The problem is that there are other Yugioh games which can give you a similar experience with less hassle. Still, at least it’s an incentive to buy the game since the gameplay is at least good which is important..

It’s hard to say how long the game is, but at my current pace it would easily take around 30+ hours I would say. It’ll take you a long while to earn up enough money to buy all of the best cards as well and you will need that if you want to take on the future duelists who will appear. Also, EXP allows you to level up which includes more card packs and dueling opportunities so it’s important to keep battling as much as possible. There is definitely a lot of content here.

At least you can expect to have a true challenge here. The game starts you off with a truly terrible deck and since buying new cards comes down to luck you will definitely be held back for a while before you can get a really solid deck. Once you do though, then the sky’s the limit. Creating and managing your deck is one of the most enjoyable parts of Yugioh after all since you get the satisfaction of really getting to build from scratch and knowing that each card was carefully placed into the mix. That is definitely the way to go.

Overall, Spirit caller is one of those games that tried to get a little too fancy for its own good. As a Yugioh game all this title needed to do was supply the duels and give a fun plot/story to work off of. That’s really it. Just have a nice hub world to walk around or put it in an arcade mode kind of setting. The whole time system and constant RNG have no place here. Think about it, you’re already going to be using a lot of RNG for the actual duels so do we need it in the hub world as well? I would say definitely not personally.

Overall 6/10

Dharuriser vs One Above All




This is a tribute to the Dharuriser film. The main guy looked pretty good in the end as he made all the right calls and kept on fighting to the end. He may not have any special powers but he does have basic hand to hand techniques which always come in handy. He was able to draw out the costume and then played a role in bringing it to life. While the One Above All may be good at creating things too, he hasn’t shown that he knows basic hand to hand combat. Dharuriser wins.

DK vs Greenfist




Greenfist is a villain in Wario World who made me immediately think of DK. Both of them are users who like to go with their punches as the first line of defense. DK has had better feats over the years and a whole lot of other opportunities to show off his abilities beyond just one game. That’s what is going to hold Greenfist back here. He just won’t be able to keep up so while he can dish out a good punch, he is out of his league. DK wins.

Wario World Review


Wario World is one of those games that I had been meaning to get for a very long time. After all, who wouldn’t want to experience this platformer in all its glory? Well, I can see why it never got big. It’s a good game, but it’s not a very good one. It makes some key errors in gameplay and level design that hold it back. It’s also worth mentioning that the game is quite short which is definitely not a good thing. You’d expect it to be a little longer.

The basic plot is that Wario was enjoying his riches when a dark star arrives which blows the whole thing up. Wario now needs to reunite the 4 keys in order to open up a Treasure Chest and then take the star down for good. Can Wario really manage to pull this off though or is he going to need to call in Mario to end things before it gets too serious? One thing’s for sure, he is going to make sure to grab a whole lot of treasure on the way.

There are 4 worlds in the game and each one has 2 levels and then a boss. Right away you can see how this would be shorter than the average game because that’s not really a whole lot of levels to get through. You can blast through that with ease. The individual levels are longer than the average platformer but it’s still not quite enough to completely balance things out.

The gameplay is that of a 3D platformer. You can punch enemies out or slam into them. Additionally you can pick them up after stunning an enemy and throw them into something else. The goal of each level is to grab some red gems which can be found in trap doors where you have to solve a puzzle. How many crystals you need definitely varies but on average you want to have around 5-6. Just don’t skip any trap doors and you’re good. If the trap door is glowing then that means there is a crystal in there.

Make sure you go through the trap doors that have a closed door symbol on them. Initially I didn’t go through them since it didn’t seem necessary but I found out the hard way that you need those as well. In order to enter those you need to ground pound while holding an enemy and then you are able to get in. At the end of each level is a boss so make sure you go for their weak points. The little guys you rescue during each level will give you hints on how to beat the boss. How many of them you collect also determined how your ending plays out in the game so it’s something to consider. It seems like I got the second best ending which is pretty nice.

The gameplay is decently solid although the controls definitely feel a lot more slippery than the average Mario game. Some of the jumps can be tougher than they look as a result. I liked the combat aspects of it though. Being able to punch out your enemies is pretty nice and feels like something Wario would do. I didn’t appreciate the fact that you have to collect gems though. One thing I’ve never liked is when you have to collect things because it just doesn’t feel right to me. Can’t I just breeze through the levels at my leisure?

Meanwhile the graphics are good. It definitely has that retro Gamecube feel which is always so amazing. No other console has managed to hit with quite the same level of emotional value. The boss designs are also pretty intense like the guy who looks like DK. Now there’s a power hitter if I’ve ever seen one before. He had to be a homage to DK just like we had a boss later who was like King K Rool. The designs were definitely on point.

As for the soundtrack, it’s like a Bizarro version of the Mario themes. You have Wario doing his best to make the themes sound like the classic tunes but it doesn’t really work. His singing voice simply isn’t up to par and neither are the stage instrumental themes. Ultimately this definitely isn’t one of the game’s strengths. As for replay value, at least there is some of that I suppose. You can go back to try and grab all of the upgrades and collectibles. Only issue is that aside from the ending which is less than 30 seconds anyway, there isn’t much of an incentive to doing that beyond just a general feeling that you 100% completed the game. Maybe that’s all you need I guess. So if you really like the game then it’s an added bonus.

Overall, Wario World is a good game but you can tell the studio hadn’t quite found their footing on this one yet. It feels like there are just a lot of chinks in the armor that still need to be straightened out. It had a lot of potential but as a result this title can’t beat the average platformer. Right now the going price for this game is around 70-80 bucks so I would not recommend it for that price. Even if just because the game is so short. If you find it for a good price though then it’s worth a look as such an old school title.

Overall 6/10

Ms Marvel vs Thor



Suggested by Jean This was definitely a pretty close fight. On one hand, Thor likely has the edge in raw power here and maybe even stamina although Marvel’s Binary form can take quite a few hits. On the other hand, while Thor has super speed, it isn’t quite on the level of Ms Marvel. Ultimately that’s what I think the deciding factor will be here. Ms Marvel can play it safe and just overwhelm in the fight using her speed. Thor will be able to take a lot of punishment and keep the fight close but would eventually falter. Ms Marvel wins.

Lunar: Dragon Song Review


What were they thinking with this one? Dragon Song easily has some of the worst video game mechanics I’ve ever seen. Another issue here is at least most titles stick to just having one awful gimmick that was thrown into the game. This has a bunch of them and we’re definitely going to have to talk about why they are an issue. There is a decent game buried in here somewhere but the game makes it as difficult as possible to try and find it. I can see why the franchise basically died with this one.

The story takes place many years before Lunar Legacy so now we can see why everyone looked up to the Dragon Master and why all of the dragons were in poor shape from the start of the first game. Well, Jian is just your average main character who looks up to the old legends of strong fighters. One day he and Lucia are on a usual delivery job from their guild when they wander into a town and fight some monsters. That’s when they find out that the town general is actually a mad man chasing power. He takes out the dragons and becomes the Dragonmaster. After that he kidnaps Lucia.

Jian has to get her back but the only one who can defeat a Dragonmaster is another Dragonmaster. Jian needs to take down all of the dragons and get some powerful friends by his side if he is to save her but it won’t be easy. Fortunately Jian is the kind of guy who learns really fast and isn’t afraid to mix it up with the enemies. In fact, he does have more character than the first game’s protagonist even if he is unreasonable a lot of the time. Get ready to hear Jian constantly talk about how he has to save Lucia and he will do whatever it takes. He says this a whole lot.

Dragon Song has a fairly weak character cast though. You won’t remember any of the heroes for very long which is a shame. Additionally, the main villain is so unremarkable that the game doesn’t even let you fight him. Yes, you have a main villain who actually goes out without a fight. If that’s not anticlimactic then I don’t know what is. It was such a bad way to go out too. Then for the heroes you have a revolving door here as your party members keep on changing. Maybe that’s part of what makes it hard to really sync up with them. They also don’t level up with you so be prepared for a level 1 guy to join you when you’re past level 10. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

While Jian’s determination to save Lucia is good, he does come across as unreasonable parts of the time. A big moment of this is when the world is at stake and he has deliveries to do but gets baited into joining a tournament to prove that humans are just as cool as the Beastmen. It wasn’t really a good time for that and he ended up being cursed for his efforts. The game has a theme about humans vs beast men similar to Arc the Lad, but it is not handled nearly as well to be honest.

Lets talk gameplay now though. On its surface this is a turn based combat game where you attack enemies and level up to victory. Here’s the first issue..you can’t choose who you attack. Yes, it is completely random by the system so get ready to always be attacking in the worst possible combinations. Enemies who you should defeat easily suddenly become an issue due to this. At least you’re earning EXP the whole time right?

Wrong! You only earn EXP if you switch to EXP mode but then you won’t earn any materials or items. Moreover, the enemies and bosses level up with you. The issue with this is that your efforts are largely wasted as the bosses get a whole lot of extra health for leveling up. Grinding up your levels just isn’t as satisfying as it usually is. Also, you don’t get money from minions no matter which route you choose so earning enough to buy the good equipment takes a long while. The best way is to just farm guild missions which is still quite slow and tedious.

It’s also worth noting that your weapons and equipment can break. Yeah, this has never been a good gimmicku and Lunar Dragon of all games was not going to be the exception here. Did I mention that you can run at your own peril? The game encourages you to walk because if you run then you will rapidly lose health points. If you get too low on health then you have to walk until you can find the nearest healing statue. It’s incredibly inconvenient when you’re at lower levels and don’t have a whole lot of health to speak of.

There is no quick travel system for each town. You can use ports to skip some areas but at the end of the day be prepared to do a lot of running. If you want to open the chests in an area you have to defeat a bunch of minions within an allotted time while in EXP mode. The game really wanted to make sure every aspect of the game was as painful as possible. Now you may be wondering, why isn’t the game a negative score then? Well, the answer is because the game still has enough interesting points where I would say it’s worth a playthrough. Even if just to see how bad these mechanics are.

The graphics are decent even if I would definitely not call them very good. I would have liked actual cutscenes or at least some illustrations instead of the hard to read text that is spammed at you. The soundtrack is pretty forgettable though so you won’t remember it for long. The game took me around 20 hours to complete which is really not all that bad. It definitely could have been a lot worse that’s for sure. There isn’t really any post game to speak of though so forget about having any replay value.

Overall, Lunar: Dragon Song is definitely what I would call a soulless RPG. A lot of the decisions are completely baffling as to why you would ever even want to add them in. They straight up take a lot of the enjoyment out of the experience. This game should have been an easy 7 and yet I couldn’t give it a positive score. The gameplay is just slowed down far too much. To run away you even have to blow into the microphone which is also horrible. There are probably even more mechanics I could mention but you get the general picture. Dragon Song was just never going to be all that good because the gameplay is a huge part of any RPG. Same with the story and that was just pretty bland.

Overall 5/10

Yugioh GX: Spirit Caller Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 7h 9m
Battle Record 24-7

Deck Stats

Legend of the White Dragon 12% Complete
Powerful Seal 7% Complete
Established Chaos 59% Complete
Shadow Magicians 52% Complete
Scarlet Firestorm 52% Complete
Ultimate Power 52% Complete