The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Review

It’s time to sit down and have a difficult discussion about Tears of the Kingdom. I know that you’ve heard from just about every source how this is the game of the year, one of the best games of all time, etc. Well I’m here to let you down gently because it did not reach those heights. I would argue that the first game actually defeats it overall. Tears of the Kingdom ultimately tried to be too ambitious and tried too many things with a lot of them not working out. That’s the big problem here and I say this as someone who has always been a big Legend of Zelda fan. It just wasn’t ready for this and I think the series should go back to the really big story based titles like Skyward Sword. The open world format is cool but it needs extensive fixes.

Well first off the story starts with Zelda and Link exploring some ruins. Unfortunately this does go very well and Zelda goes missing, lost into the winds. Link wakes up on the sky islands and needs to find a way to get going. He must save Princess Zelda from Ganondorf who has returned to destroy the world. Link will need to meet up with various friends and allies as he reawakens the Master Sword and saves the day but can he do this?

Lets talk about some of my issues with the game. First up, they kept the whole breakable weapons mechanic. So every few swings your weapons are going to keep on shattering. Over and over and over again. Yes you now have the ability to fuse weapons with objects which is a new mechanic to the game but this only delays the inevitable as they will both be destroyed before long. The only exception is the Master Sword which still breaks but it will eventually regenerate. This is a mechanic that should have been removed by now because all it really does is force some extra length into the game instead of just letting you have fun. I don’t know about you but I want to have fun and I want to have fun now!!

Then there is the new Ultrahand mechanic to which a large part of the game is built around. With this you can lift up almost any object in the game. This helps a lot with puzzles and such as you jump from platform to platform. The thing is, it’s not a mechanic that is super fun to use. I think it could have been in small doses like using it once in a while but having to do it constantly is something else. Building objects and such is good fun at time but the game is too focused on having you do it all the time. As it is you don’t have much time to just play the game.

You maybe fight someone once every few hours but for the mot part you’re doing a lot of running and map exploring. I managed to scope out almost the whole Depths can a fairly early period in the game and likewise opened up the lighthouses. It is really good to be able to see the map at least and they didn’t exaggerate about the overall size of the kingdom. The game is absolutely massive and it would take forever to run from one side to the other. It is absolutely impressive and I’ll give the egame credit there. They just should have skipped the overall gimmicks so all of the different styles would be gone and you’re just having fun with combat.

The actual combat is smooth but it feels like that is rarely something you need to do. Aside from the occasional boss you don’t have much incentive to take down the minions. You can get some material for beating them but not much. So you’re just going to be doing a lot of running instead and probably getting stuck at some point by those puzzles. I certainly got stuck plenty of times. In the end it took me 55 hours to complete the game and I feel like a good chunk of that was running around in circles because I didn’t know where to go.

There are a ton of sidequests and bonus content to access but most of them are behind puzzles as well so get ready to try and figure those out. Additionally don’t forget that you have to complete a bunch of shrines to get the stars needed to level up your health and stamina. The game may try to present itself as a rue open world where you can make any choices you want but that isn’t always the case. For example there is one boss that you can’t reach unless you get past a stamina door and to do that you had to buy at least 5 stamina upgrades. I wanted to max out hearts and that’s what I had been doing but this forced me to change gears.

Also I believe the open world is to blame for this game not having much in the story. After each temple they play the same cutscene over and over again and just zoom in on a different character depending on the temple. It means that the game froze the progression right here and that’s no good. By the time you get to the end of the game it really doesn’t feel like there was a ton of story that you got through.

At least the climax was a lot of fun though. Lin’s battle stance where he gets ready and the Master Sword lights up was brilliant. That was a great moment all around and is exactly what you like to see in a AAA title. Link has been through a lot but when the going gets tough he is always ready to hang in there. The battle involves a lot of dodging and parrying so you do need to really be on point here. Especially since I had used up all of my hearts earlier thanks to the gloom. I had to beat the final boss and the various phases without taking any hits to my hearts. It took me over 2 hours of trying over and over again but eventually I did manage to succeed.

That was easily the highlight of the game for me because I did feel good in conquering that challenge. I’d argue that the game design wasn’t the best to put you in such a rough circumstance since I feel like most wouldn’t be able to pull that off. Of course there is extra gear and food that you could have gotten to avoid that which is worth noting. The game really wants you to stick around and try all of the content so you can go into the final boss well prepared. It’s a noble goal and I know there is a lot to the game but at the end of the day there just isn’t enough to keep you here. Once you complete the game then you are likely out.

The soundtrack is definitely more on the forgettable side but I suppose I wouldn’t say that it’s bad. You just don’t feel like you will need to Youtube the themes afterwards. The graphics are definitely great here. I would have liked to have had Link’s classic green tunic throughout the game though. Lately it feels like that costume doesn’t appear enough even though it’s the best one. I’m sure it’s out there somewhere in the mode but I was hoping I would get it for the final boss.

Nobody can say that the game is short though. 55 hours just to complete the campaign is really impressive and in terms of overall content I wouldn’t be surprised if this is around 100-150 hours. There is so much to do here. The game can also be fun when you are just relaxing and not having to do anything. The problem is that the game reminds you of what’s coming all the time. Just when you’re unwinding the game throws another puzzle at you or some kind of cryptic clue. You simply can’t escape it.

This all sounds pretty negative so just for the record the reason why I would still call the game good is because the gameplay itself is good. The combat is on point and I enjoy the parrying system. The characters are good and the story is solid when it appears with a cinematic once in a while. You will get real annoyed on many occasions and will need to put the game down for a while since long batches can hurt the experience but at the end of the day it’s a game that you won’t regret buying.

Overall, Tears of the Kingdom is one of the weaker Legend of Zelda games for me but I will applaud it on really trying to be as ambitious as possible. It is a huge game but the gimmicks just ended up bringing the experience down. Sometimes less is more and just letting me fight the enemies without having to worry about things would have been great. I want more story and more action next time. Throw those things into the game and I would enjoy it a whole lot more. I would still recommend the game if you want to travel through the kingdom and have fun. I’m confident that you will have a good time here but you will also get irritated at times so definitely keep that in mind. The game is very much a rollercoaster.

Overall 6/10

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Review

This film has certainly been a very long time coming but I can confirm that it delivers in every way. This is the kind of sequel you like to see where it improves upon everything from the original. The first Spider-Verse film was really good and now this one I can safely call elite. It’s a really thrilling film all the way through with an impressive cast of characters and the fight scenes are excellent. It’s not likely that you will see any other films in theaters this year that will be able to match these fight scenes unless you are checking out an anime movie.

The movie starts off with a fairly long prologue focused on Gwen and the events that led her up to the movie. It’s a really effective origin story here and it’s also fairly lengthy so there is really time for the moments to sink in. I love it when the movie title doesn’t show up for a while to let you know that everything you just saw was the intro. That was handled really effectively here to the point where you might think Gwen was the main character for a moment.

Then we come to the main plot. Miles has been Spiderman for a long while now and at this point he’s definitely a seasoned veteran. Unfortunately it has become harder and harder to balance his personal and professional lives. His parents are starting to get worried but Miles isn’t ready to tell them about his secret identity yet. When the Spot shows up along with a ton of other Spidermen, Miles is going to have to make a choice and find out where he really wants to belong. With the other Spidermen or with his family.

Lets jump on some of the really strong aspects of the film first. First off is the animation because that was really top tier. You don’t see this level of speed and intensity in just about any American animation. It’s extremely rare and this would hold its own with some anime. The fights allow you to feel just how strong Miles is with how quickly everyone is zipping about and each fighter has their own strengths. My favorite fight in the film is definitely the big team battle with the Spot but there are a lot of good fights to enjoy throughout the film. The opening battle with the Vulture was also solid and he put up a really good fight considering how the odds were. It lets you understand just how strong Spiderman’s villains are even when he is dominating in a fight.

There are a lot of really fun transitions here from scene to scene and I liked the captions for thoughts and also character introductions. Those were handled well like they were straight out of a comic which is the entire idea. Then you have the excellent soundtrack. Each character and universe have their own themes which fit the setting but additionally the instrumental themes for the fights were really good. There was always a quick tempo for each battle which served to enhance the scene even further. The movie definitely did not hold back in terms of the technicals.

Of course the writing was not lagging either as this is a very well written movie. In a lot of ways Flashpoint did a lot of damage with the message it was getting out about not being able to defy destiny and sacrificing the one for the many. This film’s taking the opposite approach in clearly portraying that you can always shape your own future and a big part of Miles’ character development is really relying on his own strengths and judgment. If you know that something’s wrong then it doesn’t matter if anyone agrees with you, you have to do your best to hang in there and do what you gotta do.

The characters are all developed well but in particular Gwen and Miles get the bulk of the scenes here. Gwen is mainly trying to internalize all of the issues that she is going through and naturally this does lead to some troubles for her down the line. Quick avoidance leads to slow troubles after all and her issues are continuing to grow in the background. She makes her share of mistakes in the film to be sure but is someone trying to do her best throughout. Gwen’s a very charismatic character and someone who is easy to root for so she’s definitely a standout here.

My favorite character ended up being Miles who in a lot of ways is also trying to deal with all of the issues on his own. It does take some to really trust anyone enough to talk about issues especially when you’re Spiderman but he’s definitely just about ready for that. He goes up against some really tough odds during the film but keeps on going. I also appreciate that he has a lot of self confidence and isn’t listening to the other characters who keep trying to get him to quit. He also gets a lot of witty banter the way you would expect a Spiderman to have.

Peter Parker doesn’t get to appear a whole lot this time though. Ultimately this is Miles’ film and how he is working on being the best Spiderman he can be so it makes sense not to give Peter a huge role so he doesn’t take that away from the kid. Peter’s not the best in this film so I’m looking forward to seeing him make a comeback in the sequel. It’s time for Peter to find his own confidence and make the right moves instead of being a bystander.

Throughout the film I only had 2 main issues which are not big enough to hurt the film but are still worth noting. Both basically come about due to the scope of the film. The first is a power level issue involving the thousands of Spidermen in the film. As you saw in the trailer they get mobilized at sone point and I don’t care how good any individual Spiderman is, you’re not lasting more than a second against those numbers. So there are large scenes where you just don’t believe what’s happening at all because escape just wasn’t an option at that point. You simply won’t believe that it is possible.

The other issue is really just that most of the Spidermen don’t act like Spiderman. In theory the vast majority of these should be reasonable Peter Parkers and yet they blindly obey orders without really questioning them. Of course that’s going to happen in a plot like this but as the writer your job is to work around that. There should definitely have been some good ways to avoid the scenario so everyone stays in character. If necessary you do the old mind control trick. It’s perhaps not the most original one out there but it does the job. So those were my two issues plot-wise at least and it’s funny that they’re both basically relating to the same scenes.

Otherwise the film really didn’t make any big mistakes and was really solid all throughout. The writing is great whether it be for the serious moments or the fun ones. The Spot is a really solid villain here and I liked him pretty much from the Jump. His powers are incredibly versatile and this is not someone that just any hero could deal with. It’s why Spiderman is a good foe for him because the web slinging allows him to stay close. A normal land based hero would likely be too slow to actually keep up with this guy. The Spot is also very determined and holds a grudge, both of which are very good attributes for a villain.

Then we have the other villain in Spiderman 2099. Yeah I’m going to call him a villain because at the end of the day your intentions don’t matter as much as the actions. Just ask Thanos and Garou. This guy has lost sight of what it means to be a Spiderman but he’s still a very cool character. In terms of design I would also say that he has the best looking outfit out of all the characters. He looks really intimidating the whole time. The guy’s super tall and buff. Throw in that his costume also has claws and that Miguel himself has fangs and yeah you don’t really want to cross this guy.

There are loads of other Spider characters running around but only a few more important ones. One is Ben, but his fans will likely be dismayed at how he looks. The guy’s basically a big joke the whole time who is as incompetent as possible. Be prepared for him to get slapped around by everybody. Then you have a Spiderwoman driving around on a motorcycle. She was my least favorite character because of how unreasonable she was the whole time. It feels like almost all of her lines are threats in the film. Additionally I’m just going to be direct and say it, fighting while super pregnant seems very irresponsible. A single hit to the baby and that’s game over.

You see some heroes try to do this now and again but it never seems like a good idea. Particularly in this scenario where there are thousands of other heroes who can help out in the meantime. Then you have the Indian Spiderman who’s a lot of fun. I like how he uses the webs with an object of sorts to focus them. It’s a unique fighting style right there. Then you have Hobie who likes to defy the system and was easily the most independent thinker out of all of them. This was someone who was not going to just obey all of the rules and I definitely appreciated that. He may not have been around as long as he could have but his scenes left an impact.

The film’s cliffhanger isn’t quite as dire as you may have been expecting but it’s still a cliffhanger all the same. I’m thinking they wanted to leave this as a more cheerful ending so it wouldn’t be too intense for younger viewers since this film is still in theory aimed a bit younger than something like Fast X. So the audience is given an out by the end here when it could have ended like a minute or two sooner and had a completely different vibe. It’s a really hype ending either way though and you’ll be ready for part 2. There’s definitely a lot left to happen and I’m expecting some really big fights. In theory part 2 will have even more action than this one.

Of course a lot of the fun here is in picking out all the cameos and there are definitely a ton of them all throughout. Ranging from TV shows to video games to movies, just about every Spiderman is here. It really goes to show just how many there have been over the years. Spiderman’s a household name for good reason after all.

I should also give a quick shoutout to Miles’ parents before ending the film because they were really solid the whole time. They’re dealing with a whole lot from their end as well with Miles always vanishing and running off. His cover stories aren’t always the most convincing either so it feels like he’s going through some kind of rebellious phase that he can’t clue them in on. We also see Gwen’s father and he is trying to do his best as well but doesn’t always take things well. In that plot I give Gwen at least 50% of the blame too though because she could have handled things better.

Overall, Across the Spider-Verse is an excellent film and definitely one that I would recommend checking out. The humor is on point, the pacing is great, the characters are excellent, the animation is masterful, etc. It’s a sequel that does everything right and you can especially appreciate the fast tempo and visuals by watching this one in theaters. You do not want to wait on this one and should try checking it out right away. As the “Part 1” is not in the title there are a lot of people who don’t even realize that this is one of those films that won’t be fully resolved just yet. Something to keep in mind because that always guarantees a fun ending.

Overall 9/10

Naruto: Konoha’s Story – The Steam Ninja Scrolls Review

It’s time for us to jump back into the world of Naruto with a spinoff that ended recently. You may be wondering how any villain can possibly hope to give the heroes a hard time when Naruto runs the world with a wholesome fist. Well, with lots of power level shenanigans but we’ll get into that later on. My main issue with the series is it feels like 90% of it is just the characters messing around until we get some brief plot at the very end before the series ends. This is a miniseries so it isn’t trying to be super grand or anything like that but at the end of the day I still think it could have done better. Still makes for an entertaining enough read though.

The series starts by introducing us to Mirai who is the daughter of Asuma. She has been trying to prove herself for a long time now but the tough part is that the village has been at peace for so long. She feels like she was never given a fair shot to show what she can do and never will at this rate. So she’s thrilled when she is added as a bodyguard to Kakashi and Might Guy’s mission…before getting saddened again when she sees this was just a cover for them to visit hot springs and have fun. Things just aren’t going her way but she needs to be careful what she wishes for because danger might be just around the corner.

There are 15 chapters here and the story is basically weekly sized so you can probably guess that the adventure will be quick. As I mentioned the first 2/3 of the series really are just slice of life adventures with little hintings of a plot before we get to the big battle at the end. You can absolutely execute well on such a story with the Naruto characters because in theory they are well rounded enough to still be entertaining. The main problem is that the characters aren’t particularly funny. In large part this is because Kakashi and Might Guy are always great in a serious context but I was never too impressed with their rivalry. They aren’t exactly op tier contenders there and since Might Guy can’t fight very much anymore…that doesn’t help things.

Mirai tries a little too hard throughout the series to prove herself and as a result she tends to hold them all back. They needed a very well reasoned veteran to help out and she was too eager to the point of embarrassing them at times. At least she could make potato chips and yes we get a full chapter of that. It isn’t until the end where she finally proves herself but it was a tough road to get there and she fell for one of the most basic traps out there. I do think Mirai has all the makings of being a good character but if you just read this series then I don’t imagine that you will have a very high opinion of her just yet. She’s still got a ways to go.

In terms of fighting ability she seems okay though. She’s hard to scale though because everyone scales quite poorly in this adventure. So lets use that as a diving board to talk about the power level issues. First off, Kakashi and Might Guy are now so weak that they can’t even break a boulder. It felt like gameplay mechanics for a minute there as the villains drop a boulder in front of the heroes so they can’t proceed. There is clearly a lot of room to go around or over the boulder but they can’t for some reason. It doesn’t make any sense but it’s even worse that they just can’t break it.

So they call in Choji but I guess old age has hit him rather harshly because he needs constant food to use his power at even a basic level. So that’s why Mirai had to make him some potato chips and then he was ready to go. That whole part of the plot will definitely make you groan because it makes no sense. It’s like a poorly written filler episode. The mini arc with Kiba showing up and our seeing a dog vs cat civil war was also more on the petty side. You’ll definitely be rolling your eyes a bit on that one.

Things pick up once they actually bring back the cult of lord Jashin. Jashin was always a character that I felt was underestimated by the Naruto fandom because in theory this is another cosmic being on the level of Kaguya. He seems like he’s definitely real because of the fact that the rituals work so maybe one day he will appear. I’m still banking on that even if the odds aren’t great because it just makes too much sense. He’s the one villain that all of the heroes will really need to watch out for or else they are going to be doomed.

His minions here are fairly generic though. They can’t fight a whole lot and use hostages to get in the way. The fight is only close because Mirai messed up. I really don’t buy Kakashi thinking he wasn’t fast enough to step in though. The nerfs to the OG characters in Boruto land definitely hits hard I guess. At least it was an excuse to see Mirai fight though and while she performed poorly against the hostage, we got some decent moves against the villain himself.

The art is on point here and I definitely have no issues there. All of the characters are on model and it’s very easy to read. On a technical level it certainly adopts the style of the original Naruto very well. With the short length there is no real downside to checking this one out because it’s so short and it’s also nice to see some of the characters again. Does it hold up in terms of story? Eh not really but it’s still not a bad title. You just wish more had happened.

I feel like there isn’t a whole lot to say even after 15 chapters. Mirai basically goes through the same character arc as Shikamaru in learning about who the King represents but without all of the hype action scenes and danger around it. Now granted, I do like that things are mostly peaceful under Naruto’s reign because it wouldn’t make sense if everything was super dangerous. That said, few stories manage to properly explain why Naruto isn’t running around taking names. Even if he’s sick I don’t see that holding him back. This is Naruto Uzumaki after all!

Overall, I’m always up for a classic spinoff. This story probably would benefit from a marathon read more than weekly since you’ll get to the action part a lot sooner. The review may have sounded fairly negative because there were a lot of areas to take shots at here but it’s not bad. Ultimately it ended up squarely in the middle. It was looking like a 6 for a while but in the end it just couldn’t quite make it. Another fight or two would have been good or some kind of hype cliffhanger but in the end I don’t think the story was executed nearly as well as it could have been. It’s not the kind of title that has any kind of replay value so you should check it out once if you’re a Naruto fan but that’s it. Hopefully next time Kakashi and Might Guy will look a lot better. (I also don’t buy their explanation that nothing can bring his leg back. There are so many spells and ninjutsu in the world of Naruto that should be able to do this easily…..)

Overall 5/10

Pinocchio (2022) Review

Pinocchio is the kind of character who is so well known and respected that he has gotten countless films over the years. They really just keep coming in all sorts of different animation styles and alternate retellings. This one is definitely going for a bit of a creepier feel to it although by no means would I call it downright dark. It’s just not going to be quite as whimsical as some of the other versions and all in all it follows the main story beats that you know. It’s a fresh take which should keep fans entertained.

The movie starts off on a rather somber note as we see Gepetto and his son enjoying a normal day and are setting up decorations in the local church when a bomb hits and the kid dies in the explosion. Geppetto is really shocked into silence and eventually decides to rebuild his son using his skill in puppets. The experiment succeeds and Pinocchio is born. Pinocchio isn’t quite Geppetto’s old son but he’s a nice enough kid. The main problem of course is that he’s made out of wood and so the people in the village don’t really think of him as a real boy. The government wants to use him in warfare and a circus owner wants to use him for money. Whichever side wins, Pinocchio is the one who will lose out here. He needs to find a way to resist all of these plans for his life and just do things his way. Is that even an option though?

The intro is definitely a powerful way to start the film off with because you can definitely see how sad it was for Geppetto to lose his son like that. In mot stories the kid is already dead so we start with Pinocchio being built. Going back just a bit further the way this film did certainly makes the moment hit a lot harder. In general the movie wasn’t afraid to go all out like in showing the war and how a lot of people kept dying in the bombings. The film was certainly ready to have a bit of a deeper look at what was going on during this time period that’s for sure.

Then with the creepy designs as I mentioned, Pinocchio looks like someone that you don’t want to bump into in a dark alley. The opening scenes of him smashing everything as he learns new words would have been absolutely terrifying to see in person. Then you have the fairy which brought him to life and the one in charge of bringing him back every time he dies. Both of them look like rather surreal creatures and ones that you would not want to cross. It’s a fun vibe all around and while the core plot is still the same so this isn’t suddenly turning into a horror film, you could absolutely have seen the film going that way.

While the townsfolk and government are still rather judgmental in seeing him as a potential soldier and threat, at least having him look dangerous does add a little to that rather than everyone just being super unreasonable the whole time. We don’t get the iconic moment of Pinocchio getting drunk and smoking when the bad influences get to him which is probably for the best since it makes him look a bit stronger morally. Pinocchio certainly still makes his mistakes here and gets manipulated but these errors are more about him being naïve than weak willed this time.

Pinocchio’s never going to be my favorite character in the film because of how easily he’s used but ultimately I would say that he’s still a decent character here. He is certainly trying his best the whole time and his nose even gets to be really handy by the end. The end of his character arc here is also a bit different because of the introduction of the immortality clause. Everything couldn’t be quite so smooth this time. So Pinocchio is brought back to life every time after he dies as I mentioned before and a big catch to this is the fact that he has to wait in the realm of the dead longer and longer after each death.

Now granted the ending changes things a bit but you have to wonder what this would do to his psyche over time. Just waiting there like that is intense and especially since there isn’t much to do. At least the death fairy seems really chill so that helps but it’s yet another reason why I wouldn’t want to be immortal. There are just so many catches and outliving everyone seems rather grimm to say the least.

Geppetto was a nice character as always. He went through a lot and never ended up cracking. The guy journeyed quite far to find Pinocchio after the guy was tricked by the circus and never gave up. Meanwhile the head of the circus made for an imposing villain as always. The guy loses a bit of his bite in this version only because you know he can immediately be overruled by the government general at any time. This guy wasn’t te head honcho villain this time around but seeing the government is always fun. It absolutely makes sense that Pinocchio would be seen as a powerful soldier at the ready because of his immortality and robotic parts. In a way he could help ensure that there are no human casualties in any other battle if they could reproduce him. Of course then you run into a lot of moral issues but this army didn’t care about those things.

Now while the animation style may have helped to set up the grimm tone of the movie, ultimately I still would have preferred hand drawn style. Stop motion to me just can never really compete with the more traditional styles no matter how polished it gets eventually. There’s just something about it that is less fluid and as a result you can’t get the same high speed movements. I would say the famous animated version that came out a long time ago still looks better than this one and it all comes down to style. Still it does work well enough.

Overall, Pinocchio is a story that you may have seen many times by now but I do think this adaption approached the story in its own way and as a result it was more memorable than usual. The film has a lot of replay value and it’s one I would enjoy checking out again. It does tackle some of the more serious aspects of what would happen if a doll could come back to life after all and the themes are handled well. It’s also a movie that you could easily recommend to anyone as it’s very accessible.

Overall 7/10

All the President’s Men

This was a really fun movie. It’s kinda fun that I got to see the parody movie based on the Watergate scandal before watching this one but that’s just how it goes sometimes. It actually makes the parody seem more and more impressive as I watched this one because they got so many of the scenes done just right to mirror this one. This movie obviously goes a lot more in depth on the actual going ons behind the controversy though. It feels like a good amount of research went into this one and it’s still really thrilling which goes to show that real life can be just as exciting as the movies sometimes.

The movie starts off with some suspicious people walking through an office looking for something. Fortunately the cops show up in time to stop them but when these guys are taken to court they get a big lawyer out of nowhere. the whole thing seems suspicious so Woodward decides to look into it. Initially the Washington Post isn’t sure that this is a big story which is why they put such a new reporter on the case but he’s confident that he is on to something. Eventually the more experienced reporter Bernstein gets involved as well although they don’t get off on the right foot with the other guy sort of shoehorning himself into the picture. They will have to try and get along though because with a case this big they seriously can’t afford to make any big mistakes.

As with just about any movie based on a true story I’d be willing to bet that some parts of the film are exaggerated and played up but it does feel like most of it would be pretty accurate here. One scene I liked in particular was when Woodward was walking down a street as he normally would. Except it was late at night and everything seemed extra ominous. There was no music or anything, just the sound of his shoes hitting the concrete with each step and he kept looking around in case he was being followed. Nobody was there as far as he could see and the film never implies that anyone actually was there but you have to imagine the reporters probably were getting rather paranoid after a while. I personally wouldn’t like walking down the streets at around 2AM in the best neighborhood and when you’re picking fights with the most dangerous people around. makes sense that you would be a little nervous.

You also have to imagine that the reporters were probably close to being murdered many times because this was such a big case. When you anger the people up top then your lease on life certainly becomes a bit more tenuous. Still they kept on the case and I was glad when the Post did back them as the boss wouldn’t drop the case either. It’s really important for someone to have your back on a case like this because if you’re completely alone then you’re really not going to be able to do a whole lot.

The best character here definitely had to be the shadowy informant. I liked how that guy had all the answers and was always stringing the heroes along. To his defense it’s not like he can take too many risks or he would be in the targeting range but I was glad when he was called out for being so vague. I suppose the movie couldn’t just show who this guy was since presumably the reporters didn’t know there. This guy was almost like Batman with how quickly he would vanish out of view and then return later on. Nobody could tail him and so this guy was definitely a master of espionage.

For a film like this the dialogue definitely has to grab you and fortunately it did. The movie is quite long but at no point is it ever boring or tedious. You’re just as invested as the characters are in trying to figure out what is going on here. There are a whole lot of players involved after all so you want to try and memorize all of the names as best as you can. Typically each clue leads to a whole bunch of new characters as well so you have to try and keep following the names and the money for as long as possible.

Then the actual witnesses all give safe/double answers so as not to get in trouble and you see just how much work it is to try and get a single story out of all these guys. It’s definitely not easy that’s for sure. Still it feels like being a reporter was probably pretty fun in those days. It’s probably a bit glamorized of course but it’s more exciting seeing them go door to door than just hopping on the internet or the phone and asking questions that way. This way has more of a personal touch and we also get to see them discussing what kinds of traps they will lay out for the suspects. Like pretending they have extra knowledge and seeing if the bait is taken.

Overall, All the President’s Men is a really good film. It reminds you to always be on the lookout for corruption because it can certainly be everywhere. Then if you do find it you have to be very careful on how you handle it or you could end up vanishing really quick and you don’t want that. Personally I’m always a bit of two minds about the big conspiracies like this because on one hand you figure in real life nobody’s ever actually clever enough to pull off something too large scale without leaving behind massive amounts of evidence particularly in the post internet era but then you also see how a lot of government people are confused by basic technology and you can see how this kind of trick worked. If it can happen once then it can happen again so films like this are also good for reminding you to always double check your sources. keep your guard up and always leave some room for doubt for yourself. In the meantime definitely watch this film though, you won’t be disappointed.

Double Dragon Review

Double Dragon is a film that opens with its best fight scene right off the bat. That means you start off strong which is good but the huge downside to doing that is it means the rest of the experience is going downhill. Now granted, I did enjoy the film. It’s not great but I thought it was decently good. You are just surprised that the rest of the films aren’t as good as the opening because that showed you exactly what kind of potential this film had.

The movie starts off with Billy and Jimmy fighting against another pair of fighters in a martial arts tournament. They are doing well but unfortunately Billy makes a huge mistake and gets cocky which costs them the match. So they head home in disgrace and are then attacked by an enemy gang. See, this film takes place in the “future” which is the past at this point but the world’s not doing so hot. This is basically a dystopia as there is smog everywhere and a lot of acid all over the place. It’s really not safe after dark but Billy and Jimmy are rebels like that. They barely make it home where Satori lets them know about the dragon medallions. It’s rather sudden but they have to keep their half safe before the villain Shuko can get it or the whole world will be in trouble. Can these two teenagers man up and save the day or are they about to get absolutely rocked?

So like I said the opening fight is the best part of the movie. The fight scene actually has a lot of choreography to it and you can appreciate the stakes here. Nobody wants to lose in a tournament setting and Jimmy was actually doing really well until Billy ruined it for him. The fight had good music as well and with the film being based on a beat em up type game this is what you would expect. Unfortunately there are very few actual hand to hand battles after this and none of them are quite able to measure up.

Instead we have a lot of chase scenes and humor subplots but they don’t hit as hard. On the car chase I can at least appreciate the high tech gizmos that come into play with it but it doesn’t really stand out much. Then for the humor it’s often hit or miss. I like a lot of the puns and dialogue that the film is going for but some parts are just too outlandish and dragged out. For example one of the villains is named Bo and after he is defeated the villains decide to turn him into a huge Hulk type monster.

Now he’s nearly braindead and it seems like a rough fate for the guy but based on the music and scenes this is supposed to be funny to an extent. I’d say that the film definitely got lost in the sauce on this one. Any scene with Bo quickly became painful after this. You just did not want to see that guy at all and it’s not like he was a great villain before that but he definitely got even worse afterwards.

Then there is this whole subplot about Marian trying to unite the gangs and having what I guess you could equate to a nicer gang. They’re still vigilantes but they’re not so bad. With the police being extremely ineffective in this film as her own father the chief was nervous the whole time you do want this group out on the streets but it was a bit of a boring subplot. You were just waiting for the main characters to take the stage again.

The film does pick up again in the climax for the battle against Shuko though. We actually get to see the power of the Medallions in action and that also means that we have some more hand to hand fights at last. This does bring up some power level issues though because the medallion is supposed to be a big deal. It can even end the entire planet after all so what are two teenagers and their fists going to do about it? Well, at it turns out they can apparently do a whole lot about it. Kind of an odd way to dehype the object right?

Basically it can split you into shadows and has some other vague abilities including the ability to control someone else’s body but Shuko looks way too unimpressive. I just don’t buy him losing to the characters like that. Now I will say one hype thing about the climax is that we do get the iconic costumes at last. The costumes look really good too so the effects team held nothing back here. They should have given the heroes those costumes from the start but this was still a good way to end things. It showed you a bit of promise on how things could have been.

The movie tries to really nail the bantering dynamic between Billy and Jimmy but you just don’t feel like it works. There aren’t enough scenes of them actually being pals so it feels like they low key just don’t like each other. Even by the very end of the film one of the brothers tries to run away with the girl and ditch the other one only to be outsmarted by the guy already being in the car. It’s of course played up as a funny ending but yeah they spend most of the film being at odds with one another. The sequel probably could have fixed this but that’s not really in the cards.

Overall, At the end of the day Double Dragon isn’t a great film but it’s a pretty fun one. It’s a very old school title with a lot of campy action and witty banter. While not all of the film’s humor lands, I’d say that enough of it does. The villain has a classic base and the effects hold up well so you will appreciate the scenery behind him. The world isn’t very well thought out and it’s not super memorable but the film did try being grand here. There’s just enough unique elements about the film to make you want to keep coming back. I dare say there is a good amount of replay value to be found here although a modern remake could likely execute on the game’s premise way better. This could and should be an elite film just based on the game so I need the next one to focus on the fights a whole lot more.

Overall 6/10

Zack vs Jinpaichi Mishima

Suggested by iKnowledge Jinpaichi is one of the more powerful Tekken character. He is absolutely not someone whom you want to take lightly. When you mix in his masterful hand to hand combat abilities along with his super strength then going up close isn’t a great idea. Fortunately for Zack he has magical materia for long range options and the sword also gives him extra reach. Anything Jinpaichi can do in terms of movement or speed, Zack can one up him. Ultimately that’s why Zack will win this one. He’s the more balanced all around fighter and has the stats needed o take Jinpaichi down for the count. Zack wins.

Venat vs Makarov Dreyar

Suggested by iKnowledge Venat is a very skilled healer and someone who excels at being a support class fighter. She certainly wouldn’t be going down easily but Makarov is much more adept at offensive spells. He should be able to easily keep her at bay with hi attacks and healing can only take you so far. She doesn’t have the speed to keep up with him, nor the durability to stay in the ring after a few hits. This is why she will end up going down. Makarov Dreyar wins.

Saturn Girl vs Iron Tager

Suggested by iKnowledge Iron Tager may not be the fastest Blazblue fighter but he is still strong enough to take the advantage here. Saturn Girl will have a tough time trying to keep him at bay and mostly her attacks do revolve around getting close to her opponent. The instant she gets close to him he will be able to defeat her with a devastating strike. His raw power is just too great. Iron Tager wins.

Saturn Girl vs Hawks

Suggested by iKnowledge Saturn Girl has powerful telepathy to be sure but I don’t see it being enough to take down Hawks here. Hawks is extremely precise with his strikes and his feathers allow him to land numerous blows all at once. Saturn Girl may be able to predict the attacks by reading Hawks’ mind but ultimately she still won’t be quite fast enough to dodge them all. He will still end up having the edge in combat and she doesn’t have a real way to counter him. Hawks wins.