Bumblebee Review


It’s time to look at the new Transformers prequel/reboot that came out. I’ve never been a big fan of the live action Transformer films. The franchise is still awesome and the G1 animated film was excellent, but for some reason it just couldn’t make the jump to live action. A large part of this could likely be blamed on Michael Bay and the Transformers not getting enough the respect a franchise of its caliber should have. A good adaption should be amazing. This one isn’t quite there yet, but Bumblebee is certainly an improvement and is actually a good film overall.

The film starts with a really nice action scene on Cybertron as we see Optimus Prime and a lot of the classic Autobots dealing with a Decepticon invasion. They are being pushed back though and Prime decides that they have to fall back. He sends Bumblebee to Earth to protect it and ultimately they will all converge on the planet to set up a counter strike. Bumblebee manages to make it to Earth, but a Decepticon follows and breaks his voice box. He has also lost most of his memories. We then cut to the main heroine of the film, Charlie. Charlie’s going through a pretty tough time as her father died and was quickly replaced with a new one. She has yet to warm up to him and has started distancing herself from her family. Her life begins to change when she finds Bumblebee and he becomes her first friend. Can she help him protect Earth from incoming Decepticons or is this all too big for one person?

I can’t stress enough how awesome the first scene is. I would certainly watch a movie all about the Cybertron fights and I think it would very quickly go down as the best Transformers title. It would basically be a CGI film at that point but the human characters really aren’t necessary so that’s not a bad thing. There’s no reason why Transformers has to be live action, especially if it’s a prequel. It’s almost a bit of a tease since you know the bulk of this film will be on Earth, but a strong opener is always a good thing to have for any film so I think this was the right move.

Also, the action does stay at a high level even on Earth. The previous films didn’t really have any choreography. The characters would typically just slam each other with normal hits but there wasn’t much to the fight scenes beyond that. In this film you actually see a lot of good hand to hand combat. Bumblebee is a really small Autobot compared to most of the others so as you would expect he needs to fight with a lot of throws and judo combos. The film shows that to great effect and the fights here have so much more energy than previous films.

The special effects are also much better. The characters actually look like Autobots and Decepticons here as opposed to being generic robots in the last few films. The designs are very faithful to the source material. Cybertron itself looks amazing and all of the visuals are just top notch. The soundtrack is also quite good. A lot of big 80s songs pop up here. Sometimes back to back in the same scene. It’s always nostalgic to hear these tunes. I can’t say that I knew too many of them, but the style itself just feels very nostalgic right from the start. It helps make the human scenes more fun.

Jack steals the show here as far as the human characters are concerned. From the start he suspects that the Decepticons are up to no good and is pretty reasonable about it. As he explains….their name is the Deceptiocns! That should be the end of the story. Unfortunately he is outvoted by the top brass so he is forced to work with the Decepticons, but I like that he voices his displeasure over this constantly. He doesn’t even pretend to play ball with them which is good. If you’re that confident that they’re up to no good you can’t shake on it. I hope he will return for a sequel.

Charlie is the actual main character here and she’s pretty reasonable. Naturally she is going through a tough time so she isn’t in the best of moods, but she isn’t nearly as sour as other main characters who were in a similar predicament. She does a good job of doing what she needs to and even her inevitable blowup moment isn’t nearly as dramatic as you might expect. She also ends up helping during the climax. The only moment where Charlie doesn’t look particularly good involves a diving situation. Granted, she never agreed to anything but the way she handled the situation wasn’t amazing. Also, I probably would have kept the window closed in the next scene. Memo is the next door neighbor who shows up and acts as the comic relief here. He’s not nearly as bad as he could have been, but I can’t say that I was a big fan. He seemed a little too desperate to hang out with Charlie the whole time and I don’t think it was just so they could be friends considering how quickly he was going.

So the film had a lot of positives, but it certainly wasn’t perfect. I do think that some of the humor scenes could drag on a little too long. Bumblebee stumbling through the house and breaking everything is definitely an overdone trope. After breaking a bunch of stuff you’d think that he would learn and adapt quick enough to stop making things worse. That doesn’t happen and he almost completely totals the place. I also think Bumblebee being so scared during his first appearance was a little odd. That subplot seemed to stick around as he didn’t even put up a fight towards the climax. I suppose the damage from the opening scene may have also prevented him from fighting, but I was still a little puzzled the whole time. Other humor scenes worked fairly well though like the Ricky Roll theme getting a quick cameo.

Charlie’s family also wasn’t too bad. I can see why she wouldn’t get along with them, but I thought the parents did a reasonable job of being annoying while still feeling genuine about looking after her. They weren’t trying to be annoying and at the end of the day they were a little helpful. The new dad more than the Mom, she could be a bit much at times since she was more reluctant to help. The bullies were certainly dramatized, but I did like the fact that they didn’t recognize Charlie outside of her job. In movies a lot of time they seem to have perfect memory but realistically I doubt they would remember everyone they make fun of. The revenge against the bully was a bit drastic though and I think that scene could have been cut. I didn’t find it particularly funny.

Overall, Bumblebee was pretty good. It was certainly a lot better than I had expected it to be which helps its case quite a lot. I think it will hold up to repeat viewings as well even though I certainly don’t plan on re-watching it anytime soon. The pacing is on point with an action scene always being around the corner. The film can try a bit hard with the humor at times, but at least it never devolves into dirty jokes like the old film. Whether you find them funny or not, I wouldn’t say that any of them are terrible. If you are avoiding the film because you have had poor experiences with the previous installments don’t let that stop you from watching this one. Bumblebee really feels like a brand new start for the series and if the quality stays at this level then I can finally start looking forward to these Transformer films again.

Overall 7/10

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Driver: You Are The Wheelman Stats and Records

There are no stats here sadly. Maybe in the newer installments there will be.

Driver: You Are The Wheelman Review

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Driver is one of the first racing games that I ever got to play and it was always a fun one. It was certainly the first open world driving game that I had ever played. The game really holds up well and honestly you can entertain yourself for many hours just by driving around. Even without the story this game has a lot of depth and with it…well this ends up being one of the greatest driving games out there. I can see the appeal of Grand Theft Auto’s driving aspect if it’s anything like this and I look forward to checking out the Driver sequels.

The plot can be a bit hard to follow but you seem to be a double agent for the cops. You infiltrate the mafia by pretending to be one of them and from there you work on getting their trust. By the end you have to try to put an end to their plot. In many ways this feels like the basic synopsis for one of the Fast and the Furious films. As you might have guessed the plot wasn’t exactly the more interesting aspect of the game. I’m glad the game had it of course and it wasn’t bad, just a bit on the generic side.

The gameplay is where this title really shines. The driving is incredibly smooth. Dare I say that this may be one of the best titles in the whole genre on that regard? You can’t even compare this to a lot of the other big titles like Need For Speed. (Although I haven’t played the more modern ones yet) You never have to worry about quick turns or anything like that. If you want to drive somewhere or dodge obstacles you will be able to do so without a problem. It’s these basic things that help make Driver so good. The fundamentals are all completely on point.

This may be a given, but I also like how the battles with the cops play out. You can choose to either run away from them entirely or engage. If you engage then you need to total their car without getting totaled yourself. You can take out 2-3 police cars before you eventually have to stick to running. It’s fun to try and get your crime meter all the way to the top and then see how long you last. Once the police start throwing out the roadblocks then your time is nearly up. Those things are really hard to get around although sometimes there is a slight gap for you. Otherwise you have to try and do a quick 180 but that’s usually just about impossible in that situation.

The stages are also huge. It’s fun driving around the city. You can stop by the park if you like or head to the highway for some fast driving. You won’t need to pass by the same place twice for a very long time unless you want to. The weather also changes as you go from day to night and sometimes it will also be raining. The effects are pretty fun even if they don’t change the actual gameplay all that much. Unfortunately my TV still can’t handle old gen games too well so I really couldn’t see much of anything while playing these sections. It’s why I was unable to handle the final level in the game. Trust me, this game can be super difficult if you are unable to see where you are going or anything like that.

The difficulty is nothing to sneeze at either way though. Some of the levels are reasonably difficult here even if you can see. I think you can take off a point or two from the difficulty level once you can see but don’t underestimate the cops or the mafia chasing you. Practice makes perfect and just work on your turning skills til you can shake them without even thinking about it. That will be the moment when you can really take off. Alternately just see how long you can follow the rules in free roam. I would try that for a while, but eventually I would go back to driving at top speed and just having a blast running around. It’s really hard to go slow for long.

As for the graphics, they are top notch for the PS1. This game could easily pass for a PS2 game. The models for the cars and levels are excellent and there is a lot of attention to detail here. The soundtrack also isn’t bad although it is a little less impressive. Between the fairly long story and the fee roam this game has a ton of replay value. It’s a car game that you will find yourself going back to time and time again. It took me over 10 years to finally get back to this game, but it was certainly worth it. I have a PS3 Driver game, but I think I’ve got to go through a few others before that one so it still could be a little while til I’m back with this franchise.

Overall, I’d recommend checking this game out. There aren’t a whole lot of open world car games. I think it would probably get old if too many people did it, but as this is my first experience naturally it was a whole lot of fun. Of course, the game is quite old so it’s understandable if you don’t want to go that far back. Maybe it’s on the PSN or something. Now there are only 2 more PS1 games for me to go through and since Tarzan isn’t working I basically just have one left. That’s definitely not too bad if I do say so myself!

Overall 8/10

The Sweetest Christmas Review

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It’s time to look at the next Hallmark film. This one is another Christmas rebound adventure but with a food themed plot to spice things up. When competitions are on the line even Christmas can get a little hectic. Still, the main characters are ready for anything and this is another solid film to check out.

This film starts out with Kylie lamenting her loss for the Gingerbread contest. She sent in a submission weeks ago but never received a response. At least things are going well at work and she thinks that Alex may be ready to take the next step as he invites her to a fancy restaurant. Her hopes are dashed when he says that he just brought her over so ask if she would like a promotion so they can be a team at work. Honestly it wasn’t a bad idea but Kylie already had her heart set on something else so she ends their “partnership” as he would put it. She then meets rebound guy #1…her ex Nick. Nick is living the tough life of being a single Dad at the moment since she formerly dumped him as well but now they can get back to the past. Also, Kylie ended up doing well on her submission, the letter was just loss behind the fridge. She is now determined to win the contest and prove that her cooking skills are the real deal!

This is a pretty fun film like the other Hallmark title. While I don’t think it is quite as impressive it still has all of the fundamentals down. First off, it’s an enjoyable movie with no real negative scenes to drag it down. I wouldn’t say that any of the characters are downright terrible and the pacing is on point as well. The cooking scenes are always nice and the supporting characters had nice contributions and managed not to feel tacked on. The writing is pretty good and I continue to be impressed with Hallmark in general.

On the other side of the spectrum, once again the whole film’s plot revolves around a rebound and the film pretty much justifies it here like in the last movie. I certainly find it hard to root for Kylie myself especially since Alex doesn’t even seem like a bad guy. Oblivious to be sure, but at least he’s not cheating on her or anything like that. I think the main character is where the last film really takes the edge. That’s a good segway into talking about our heroine. So, Kylie is an aspiring chef who has had a hard time breaking into the industry but is looking to do so now. This is her golden opportunity but you wouldn’t know it since she is so quick to throw in the towel all the time. As soon as she hears that a professional is joining the contest she is ready to throw in the towel and must be told repeatedly not to do so. Why does she have to be convinced to enter the contest she’s been waiting for her whole life? She throws the pity party way too quickly.

Then we find out the reason why she broke up with Nick and it’s a bad one. Basically his Dad died and Kylie didn’t want Nick to have to be busy driving to her place all the time since it was so far…so she broke up with him. She acts like she was doing him a favor but I think it’s pretty obvious why this would be one of the worst times to break up with him. With his life basically being turned upside down all she is doing is amplifying that even more. Things could have ended up pretty badly for him. Now when Nick is just getting over him she is ready to reconnect.

Meanwhile, Nick is fairly reasonable as he does his best to turn her away and also doesn’t make any kind of move until he is sure that she is no longer together with Alex. For him this is also a rebound since his wife died and the time frame can’t have been too long based on the timeline of when this all went down. Naturally the romance in this film is more of a weakness than anything. The movie is at its best when it’s focusing on the comedy and just having a good time. The film never gets too serious though and even the negatives in the romance are typically glossed over. I don’t think you’ll notice it much unless you are paying a lot of attention to it.

Ralphie is Nick’s best friend and he does a good job of looking out for him. The guy’s a lot of fun and certainly is supportive. Without him Nick and Kylie would have definitely been doomed. Likewise Kylie had a sister who was also with her throughout all of this and always had a good attitude about her. Again, the supporting cast was just quite good. I didn’t care much for Nick’s kid, but they can’t all be good. Alex was still fairly decent. He does his best to try to make things right with Kylie. He seems to have a hard time really expressing himself but you never get the feeling that he doesn’t care for Kylie. He’s just grown up in a business environment and doesn’t really know how to differentiate the two. He probably gets the saddest ending from all of the characters. His plan for the contest was certainly convoluted and didn’t work too well but again it was all for Kylie. If anything I found him to be a lot more impressive than Nick and he was certainly a more likable character. He’s the kind of guy where you knew he was doomed from the start though. He never stood a chance.

Overall, This was a fun Christmas film. There’s a lot of baking and solid characters to root for here. Even though this is primarily a romance/comedy film it only succeeds in half of its genre. That’s enough though especially since there are no true negatives here. There was no scene where I thought to myself “I’m gonna drop a star for that.” That’s definitely important and a big reason as to why I can safely recommend this title to anyone. It’s a nice feel good film to end the year with.

Overall 7/10

Guyver vs Punisher



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Suggested by Anonymous Punisher has a gun which doesn’t sound too impressive at first, but he became the Ghost Rider at one point and I think he also got the Symbiote. He’ll put up a reasonable fight here, but Guyver still has the massive edge in firepower. That’s what’s going to set Punisher back. Guyver can fly at high speeds and fire off energy blasts. Punisher will have to stay on defense for a while and then he will eventually go down. Guyver wins.

Guyver vs Luke Cage



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Suggested by Anonymous Luke Cage is a pretty strong guy. He’s effectively bullet proof and has been slightly amped up in the past. The guy’s a powerhouse, but I would make the case that he isn’t quite as strong as Guyver. He certainly can’t keep up with the guy’s speed either which makes this a losing match for Luke all around. There isn’t any stat where Luke outranks Guyver and that is a serious problem if he wants to win. It’s very difficult to win a fight without some kind of edge. Guyver wins.

Guyver vs Black Widow


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Suggested by Anonymous Black Widow is a pretty solid hand to hand fighter, but it’s hard to deal with a fighter as strong and skilled as Guyver. Guyver’s got enough power to take down an army of fighters. What can Black Widow really do against that? Most of her weapons won’t even scratch his armor and a single counter blast will take her down for the count. He’s just getting started and you’ll be seeing Guyver more coming up. Guyver wins.

The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold Review

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Leprechauns are usually seen as villainous little guys who want gold at any cost. Typically they will resort to violent means as soon as possible in order to fulfill their ambitions. At the same time then you also have the shoemakers who are always seen as nice in the various stories. Well, this special finally explains that both sides separated a while back. The shoemakers are just a lot nicer.

The short starts with a sailor crash landing on an island from his boat. Then a heavy rain storm appears and the sailor immediately gives up hope that he will ever escape. Fortunately there is a pine cone tree and the hero rips it out of the ground before joining an old Leprechaun for some tea. It turns out that by ripping away the tree the sailor has released an ancient witch who will do everything in her power to steal the gold. Can the sailor make amends or is it all over?

Now that’s the plot on the surface but there is a little nuance here. For starters you have to ask yourself who the true enemy is here. I would argue that the witch isn’t as bad as the Leprechauns. One thing you need to be aware of is that the witch will die if she doesn’t receive a piece of gold before Christmas. Moreover, she can’t steal it, she must convince a leprechaun to give it to her in order for the spell to be broken. The Leprechauns are rich beyond belief so surely they could have given her at least one piece right? The fact that they didn’t shows how petty they are. They kept treating it as an all or nothing issue when that was simply not the case.

The Witch has some reasonable plans to trick the Leprechauns in the meanwhile. Putting a serum into the Leprechaun’s tea was pretty clever and that plan almost worked. Then The witch correctly assumed that the sailor wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed and moved on to manipulating him. It just gave more reason to remind you that the sailor was certainly not on point.

While I was on team witch I suppose the main Leprechaun was a solid character. He was quick on the draw and would have defeated the sailor if he had a better weapon. His disagreement with the wife was certainly not one of his better moments though. Again, he could have given some gold rather than having to live apart for the next few decades. That part of the plot is actually a little tragic if you think about it. The fact that the lead acknowledges the existence of Gold Fever just proves the point even more. On the other side of the spectrum though, the wife shouldn’t even suggest getting rid of all the gold. Cmon, that’s not very practical.

As far as the animation goes, stop motion still isn’t the best style out there. It’s around LEGO level with that style bring a little more polished at this point. Still, the animation could be worse (Water colors) and as this special is quite short I wouldn’t call it a real issue. The constant crying effect for the Witch was certainly something. If anything the style makes you feel bad for the characters whenever they are sad as they tend to shake a lot.

Overall, This was a fun little special. I do think the movie could have done more to show us why the witch was the antagonist if we were really supposed to root for the Leprechauns. Perhaps it was intentional though in which case the film did a good job. If you haven’t seen this film yet and don’t mind the art style then I would recommend it. It’s not every day that you get to watch a film about Leprechauns after all.

Overall 6/10

Matchmaker Santa Review

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It’s time to look at the first Christmas film of the season. It’s time to enter the world of the Hallmark films. They’ve typically got a good rep for being fun films with nice plots that get you ready for Christmas to arrive and I can confirm that this was a pretty good film. It can be a little cheesy and stuff but at the end of the day the film doesn’t really have any faults and succeeds at being entertaining.

The film starts with a flashback where Melanie wishes for Christmas that she will meet a Prince Charming. Santa decides to fulfill her wish, but as she is a kid he puts this under the long-term plans section. Around 20 years later he has returned to grant her wish. The problem is that she is currently with a CEO named Justin who doesn’t seem like a great guy so Santa decides to play matchmaker by setting the lead up with Dean. He’ll have to do some property damage and illegal summoning in order to make it work, but Santa will do anything to make his plans a success.

Now I know what you might be thinking. Santa is trying to get the lead to go for the rebound and ditch her current partner right? Well…you’d be right. We’re on morally shaky territory here right from the get go. Naturally the film wants you to pull for the rebound guy since the starter pick is pretty quick to change who he wants to be with and such but you still have to question the rebound guy’s decision to get with Melanie. He should see her as off limits either way and just run off. Whether the rebound person wants to be with you or not doesn’t matter at that point. It’s over before it has even begun.

So, naturally I am against the romance. I also have to admit that the romance in this film isn’t all that good. It’s surprisingly better than some other romances I’ve seen in recent films, but you still can’t get behind the rebound situation. You know from the start how the film is going to end so you’re already looking at Melanie and the others pretty suspiciously. I’ll give Dean credit for most of the film as he tries his best not to get himself into tricky situations. Still, by the end of the film he falls into line as expected. The world was against him and ultimately they broke the guy.

Melanie seemed like a reasonable heroine. She’s a bit of a downer during the start of the film, but fortunately she had a pretty nice co-worker who was ready to mind the store while she was away. Considering that this employee was managing the store during Christmas I hope Melanie payed her time and a half for those hours. As with Dean, Melanie is a good character aside from the whole romance angle. She does her best to help the needy and came through when it counted. She took a little while to realize that Justin wasn’t placing her as a priority, but some small things like hanging up on him early made her a pretty good heroine.

Then we’ve got Justin who is naturally not a good character. Case in point, his friend Dean helped him with just about everything for at least a year. They’ve apparently been pretty good friends throughout and yet when Dean wants to go home for Christmas Justin immediately threatens him with being fired. I don’t know how they stayed friends after this and honestly I think Dean was too much of a pushover. He was nice otherwise but this was the moment where he went a bit overboard. Then Justin fell for his ex during the days leading up to Christmas and overall showed that he could not resist the rebound. If your partner can be swayed away from you in the course of a few days then the person was never really serious. Honestly, there shouldn’t even be a time frame. If you can be swayed at any point you were never that serious about the relationship.

Then we’ve got Santa who is certainly very focused on helping out Melanie. It goes to the point where he is willing to total cars, summon bears, cause an avalanche, gave someone poison ivy, and more. Santa certainly wasn’t messing around in this version and it’s really something seeing him cause all this chaos. He may seem like a harmless old man, but the guy’s definitely got a lot of fire and ambition. I can appreciate the fact that he wants to help Melanie’s wish come true even if he’s sacrificing everyone else in the process. I do think his gimmick of constantly letting slip the fact that he is Santa can get old very quickly though. Cmon, the guy’s a hundred years old. You’d think that he could keep a secret better than that right?

Overall, Matchmaker Santa is a pretty fun film. It’s a romance comedy so of course there is going to be a lot of romance here, but it’s not as cringy as other titles I’ve seen. the romance isn’t even bad if not for the fact that it’s built around rebounds. I do like that the film went all in with Justin though as he is completely unapologetic about dumping Melanie without even letting her know first. Granted, she was about to do the same thing although in her case it would be a lot more justified. The film certainly has a neat and tidy ending. The writing is on point the film is definitely one of those feel good titles where you’ll have fun watching it. There’s a good amount of humor here without it feeling forced. Again, there are really no negatives with the film here. Even the rebounding, while regrettable, doesn’t actually end up hurting anyone here as they were all satisfied with their back up picks. In Justin’s case you could argue that Melanie was the rebound and he went back to the starter. If you want to see a fun Christmas film I’d recommend checking this one out. It furthers my theory that Rom-Coms are the best ways to handle a romance film as they will make the romance a lot more tolerable. This movie even avoided the second half slump that most of these had as it kept up the humor all the way to the end. My only regret is that we never got to see the actual board meeting though. That would have been fun.

Overall 7/10

Mirio vs Asta


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Mirio has a lot of strength which he has honed over the years. Coupled with his ability to phase through objects he is a very talented fighter. That will let him put up a good fight here, but he will still be unable to take on an opponent as fierce as Asta. Asta has tremendous levels of speed at his disposal and he can really dish out the pain. In terms of physical strength I’d likely give Asta the slight edge as well. He’ll never give up and that’s bad news for his opponents. Asta wins.