Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li Review

It’s kind of cool that Street Fighter actually got a movie as recent as 2009. It was certainly a bold take to do a movie about Chun Li with very few references to the world at large. You’d almost think they were trying to make some kind of cinematic universe for Street Fighter. Well, whatever the objective was, I can’t say that it worked super well since nobody talks about this film. It’s too bad since the movie was good although it does have enough issues to where I can’t call it great. Mortal Kombat remains as the elite fighting game movie.

The movie introduces us to Chun Li early on and how she really enjoyed fighting. It was a way for her to connect with her father and she was also quite good at this. It wasn’t long before she would end up being one of the top fighters around but he was kidnapped a while back by Bison. Chun Li’s mother dies later on and the heroine decides she will continue to live a brave and tough life no matter how dangerous it is. So when she receives a scroll that may have the answers she needs to find Bison and take him down, she can’t overlook this. Is Chun Li really ready to take on these powerful villains though?

The movie may be close to the 2010s era but it feels more like an early 2000s film with the jarring scene transitions and narration throughout. The colors are also different, it’s almost blue at times which is something that makes me think of older films as well. It does help the movie to stand out I suppose which is good but some of the techniques haven’t aged really well. Instead of coming across as cool, it just feels like the movie is trying to tell you how intense it all is.

I’ll give the film props for the fight scenes though. They’re more on the simple side but each one goes hard. I liked Chun Li’s battle against Vega as she destroyed the guy. Yes, he does look pretty bad here but I don’t mind since we saw Li training a whole lot during the film. She had to really pull herself to the limits of what she could take and she did this well. (I do think the training was still excessive as there is one moment where she almost dies because she’s nearly pushed into a saw type device) Vega has likely been assassinating people who can’t fight back for a long time so I doubt he’s been training as extensively. This would end up being a bit of a wake up call for him. The two tend to be natural enemies in the games so it was a nice tribute to that.

Vega still had the initial scene of taking out some delegates which was really cool though. I do feel like these gangsters always take a lot of risks though. Of course as the viewer we know that Bison is going to absolutely destroy these guys but even without that, why not bring a bodyguard to these meetings? If you are told not to then just don’t go right? What is to stop Bison from murdering these guys? Nothing and that’s the problem. It seems like it’s real easy for Bison to go all the way to the top. I’ll still give him credit because he was determined from the start but it was a bad look for the other villains all around.

Bison is portrayed more as a classic villain tycoon as opposed to a supervillain in this film but it works out well. I would have been upset if he couldn’t fight but he still has his hand to hand skills on point and even starts to overwhelm Chun Li during their fight. The movie never forgets that he is one of the top fighters and that’s a good thing because he should be generating a good amount of respect. It takes a lot of people to defeat him and that’s as it should be. He makes for a fun villain and even has a bit of an honor code where he will spare kids if he can help it.

As for Chun Li, I definitely liked her portrayal here. She has definitely lost herself in the quest of vengeance for a bit but considering how much she has gone through that definitely makes sense. As the film goes on she learns to fight with others as well and to not let this get as personal. It’s a very complete journey for her and by the sequel (If it had gotten one) she would have really been a top professional all around. If any character could get a film aside from Ryu it would definitely have been her. It would have been nice if she could have worn something that looked similar to the costume in the games though as a fun reference.

In the B plot we have Nash who has been trying to find Bison for years. Well, in a way he’s found him but it’s hard to get any evidence to put him away. This time he has some help since the cops led by Maya are here to help but in the end none of them are able to help all that much. The most embarrassing scene by far for them is when they are on a stakeout and have to make sure they don’t lose track of the villains but take time to quickly embrace and mess around. While they’re doing that the villain just drives off….that was just bad. It was such a sad moment.

From the start Nash seemed interested in Maya as he would stare at her and make comments so you knew he wasn’t a great agent. You just hoped that Maya would then be the one ready for action but that wasn’t the case either. So both of them aren’t very good and you really could have cut them out of the movie entirely. It really wouldn’t have changed much at all because they don’t contribute. Sure, they beat up some minions from time to time but Chun Li and her mentor do all the hard work. The mentor character was solid from start to finish at least. While I disagree on his training methods, at least he is strong and does a lot of work for himself. He may not be a match for Bison anymore but he is still tough overall.

The film can get a little dark like with Bison murdering one guy Man of Steel style and as we see the state of the city but for the most part it’s a fairly light action film. One thing I disagreed with for Chun Li though was in deciding to not keep any money or assets at all so she would just live on the street. I know that the scroll said she needed to really be within the city in order to make a difference but this was a little risky. Maybe use your money to help people out in the neighborhood and draw out Bison or at least get yourself a little room. It’s like getting yourself arrested on purpose to check out a jail, I feel like the plan’s risk level outweighs the benefits. Things worked out for Chun Li but they easily could have failed.

I could also have gone without the dancing scene. You figured it was inevitable that Chun Li would have to use attraction to distract a villain as it seems to be mandatory for any female agent but you always have to shake your head at that. I’d rather she just busted in and started taking some names. It does lead to a fight scene at least where she dominates the opponent but lets just jump right into the action. The movie definitely understood that Chun Li is a premiere fighter so after the training she crushes most of her opponents. Those are the scenes you really want to watch at all times. “Street Fighter” is still in the name after all and this film could have benefited from more fights. There’s a good amount of action but I think a few more fights would have fit in quite nicely.

Overall, It’s a bit of an odd Street Fighter movie but it gets the job done. Maybe you should just look at it as a normal revenge film and then you’ll appreciate it more. Just hearing the names is always fun as you feel that nostalgia though. There still aren’t many games that can really match the pure hype and name recognition that this series has. It’s why just including Ryu in there for a little bit or as a stinger at the end would have been perfect. Maybe next time I suppose.

Overall 7/10

The Shawshank Redemption Review

This review is of the TV-14 edited 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 a movie where even if you haven’t seen it you’ve probably at least heard of the title. It was a really big movie after all. It’s a long epic about a tough stretch through prison and trying to get out of it in one piece. This is a powerful title but ultimately it’s far too mean spirited for me to ever call it a good movie. Getting through the initial prison chapter is rather rough and not even a solid ending could really save this movie.

We start things off with Andy being taken to court as he is accused of murdering his wife and the guy she was cheating with. He denies the charges but the circumstantial evidence is too strong and he is promptly locked up. He is then taken away to the most powerful jail in the world. Here the warden, Norton rules with an iron fist. The prisoners have no rights at this point so you either play ball or things are going to be very rough for you. The prison guards will beat you up at a moment’s notice and these are true beatings. You likely haven’t seen anything quite so intense in a while. Andy does meet some decent folks at the prison including a guy named Red who is good at getting any kind of materials from the outside. Andy will need some kind of a plan if he wants to escape this place but it definitely won’t be easy.

Right off the bat I can tell you that a big reason as to why the film is so bad for me is the villain group known as the Sisters. These guys are basically here to remind you why prison is such a tough place to be. They basically embody all of the classic horror stories about what happens in prisons and they make life really rough for Andy for a long time there. By the time that chapter of the movie is finished and that group is no more, it is quite late in the game without much of a way to get back up. The sheer amount of grit and violence here is something you may partially expect from a prison film but it doesn’t really make things any better either.

Of course people say the best thing to do is not to wind up in jail but that’s not always possible. For example Andy actually is innocent but he wasn’t able to prove that to the jurors and so he wound up here. Just about everyone in the movie claims that they are innocent as well but for the most part they all say this just to say it. You have to assume there are other innocent people here as well but it’s really tough to actually find out who qualifies and who doesn’t. It ultimately doesn’t matter once you’re stuck in there either.

After all you’re basically doomed at this point. If you don’t get taken out by one of the other prisoners or beaten up by the guards then you still have to deal with the Warden. Norton is one of the biggest crooks here and he is absolutely determined to keep all of his power. He isn’t even satisfied with being the King and also wants to be super rich. This works out well for Andy in a way because this gives him a little break as he helps the guy swindle lots of money.

It definitely pays to know your accounting and how to cook the books. At this point the books weren’t just cooked, but deep fried! It all ends up tying in to the end of the film and there are some good twists in there. One thing I can say about Shawshank Redemption is that there is always a lot going on. Some characters like Norton will alternate between being full fledged villains to guys that are actually helpful for a little while. The important thing to remember is just that you can’t really trust anybody though.

I actually liked one guy named Tommy who showed up later in the film but unfortunately he wasn’t ready for a prison quite like this one. Not everyone has a terrible time in Shawshank but I would wager that the vast majority do. Tommy’s stay didn’t seem that bad until the end but your luck just can’t hold out here. Meanwhile I have to give Andy a lot of credit for staying sane and not letting the place break him.

A good portion of the film is about hope and not giving in to despair. He definitely pulled that off and then some here. A lot of characters would have definitely broken well before he did and he had a lot of patience to keep up with his plans all the way through to the end. Meanwhile there is one more big player I hadn’t mentioned yet and that’s Red. He’s the realist of the group and gives a lot of the narration. He’s seen the worst that the prison has had to offer and has managed to navigate the place.

I’m sure it wasn’t easy to create so many connections across the jail and yet he pulled it off. He has a strong reputation in the place as well and it seems like nobody messes with him. In the jail your reputation is really the only thing that you have so you absolutely have to try and have a strong one at all times. If you don’t then you’re really as good as doomed. I liked Red and thought he had a good conclusion to his story. Ultimately the film may have been very grimdark most of the time but at least the ending is one with some hope rather than going for some kind of twisted ending.

Overall, The Shawshank Redemption is definitely not a film that I would recommend though. Prison is often not the ideal backdrop in any film for me because usually that’s a place that is going to be gritty. You can have really cool prison scenes like in one of the Fast & Furious films but when that’s the main location it’s almost always going to falter in the end and you don’t want to stick around for that. If the film could dial down the darker elements of the film then it would be a lot better and I’m sure you could do that while still making the prison an intimidating place. Instead though, watch Naruto: Blood Prison. It’s easily one of the weakest Naruto films out there but it still does the whole prison plot a lot better than this one could.

Overall 1/10

Prancer Review

When you think of Prancer you’re thinking of a fantastical adventure like with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and his friends. Not a more emotional film about a kid who wants to do the right thing. I think this film had some potential but ultimately the characters can be more on the annoying side and Prancer’s role wasn’t quite big enough. It’s an okay movie but it’s not going to hold its own with the big Christmas hits.

The movie starts with Jessica showing off her reindeer knowledge and having a good time with her friend Carol. She ends up seeing a mysterious reindeer around but it vanishes before anyone else can notice it. Eventually it appears again and she realizes that this is Prancer. Somehow he got injured and has been split up from Santa and the rest of the reindeer. Jessica figures she will nurse him back to health and then set up a meeting spot with Santa to get the guy to take this reindeer back into the group. This won’t be easy though as her father John is going through hard times economically and he is thinking about giving Jessica over to his sister Sarah. Jessica is not happy about this at all but what can she do about it? Also, can she keep the reindeer secret for long?

The deck is absolutely stacked against Jessica here but she never gives up. That’s just not the way she does things. My first main issue with the film is that John can be rather mean the whole time. He never feels very understanding towards Jessica even when she is doing her best. Jessica makes mistakes sure, but she always apologizes and is very respectful towards her father. Usually in these films you see the kid being disrespectful and never apologizing so when he’s still harsh to her despite this it just feels off. The film overplayed its hand with John and makes him far too unlikable so it’s hard to root for him at all or even sympathize to the extent that you normally would. He’s basically an antagonist for most of the movie.

Then you have Jessica’s brother Steve who is also rather mean the whole time. He blackmails Jessica into doing his dishes for a year so he won’t tell their father about the reindeer. Sure he gets his emotional scenes later on where he stands by Jessica but he was a bit overblown in the opening scenes. Surely he could have made the demands a little better than that right? So I think this boils down to the writer where they wanted to put Jessica in a tough corner but they just weren’t good at holding back. So instead of the characters just being a little rude and setting things up for the heart warming second half, they accidentally made them really mean.

It’s a tough balance but you have to walk a careful line in these films or you make the characters go too far past the point of no return and that’s exactly what happened here. The film ends up suffering for this a bit as a result. Then you have the drama with Jessica and Carol as Jessica takes everything super personally. In this case you feel bad for Carol since she didn’t realize she was offending Jessica by saying she didn’t believe in God and Heaven. Jessica’s reactions were certainly not very graceful at all and this is one time where you didn’t really sympathize with her. She never really has a full apology to Carol on this either or at least not to the extent that she should. Carol really didn’t do anything wrong but got treated badly for most of the film.

Then there’s the neighbor Mrs McFarlane who was reasonable enough but I’m not really sure what the point of her character was. When you think about it she didn’t really do a whole lot here. I suppose we got to see that she wasn’t so bad after all but if you cut her out of the movie then nothing really changes. I expected her to have a much bigger role in the second half/climax because that’s how the setup felt. Not saying it’s objectively a bad decision to have her vanish but it just felt like an odd one.

Prancer also should have done more. Of course during the film you are meant to wonder if he is just a normal reindeer or not and that mystery keeps up until the film definitively makes a statement in the final scene. I liked the way that it ended so that worked out for me but I definitely would have given Prancer more to do. Either he was getting into mischief at the house or being kidnapped which isn’t the best role for this guy. If anything Prancer holds the film back as a result.

With a Christmas movie like this you are looking for an uplifting adventure where you can have a lot of fun. That’s the whole point you could say right? Well this one just isn’t super happy most of the time. You feel sad when Prancer is on screen since he’s hurt and injured. Then you feel sad when everyone is picking on Jessica or when Jessica picks on Carol. There are more sad scenes than happy ones here and as a result that makes the movie a bit lopsided. At the end of the day you could call it more of an uplifting film by the end but it doesn’t consistently grab that tone. So instead you have a balance where half of the time the movie just isn’t very fun.

The writing is decent even if the writers don’t know how to make some characters antagonistic without being over the top mean. With better writing I think you could have really done well with this movie. Perhaps have the main characters be grown ups instead even if it does mean rewriting the approach a bit differently. You could have succeeded with the kids though, it just would have taken more effort. Because of that I’d end up putting this film in the middle. I can’t picture myself ever re watching it over another Christmas movie but I still wouldn’t call it bad. I think that would be too strong.

Overall, Prancer may not be the film you were expecting but you can still get some good moments out of it. I found parts of the film to be a little too mean spirited so that can make it difficult to get to the ending though. It’s a fairly unique film as I wasn’t even totally sure what kind of vibe it was going for at times. I suppose you have to give it credit for trying to be really serious while also balancing the Christmas cheer, it just didn’t pull this off. Only watch this one if you really want to see some Reindeer in live action but otherwise you should watch the original Rudolph movie.

Overall 5/10

Battle in Outer Space Review

With a title like this you know that you’re gonna be in for a fun sci-fi ride. Well, Battle in Outer Space definitely does not disappoint on that front. You’ve got a lot going on here right from the jump and the pacing never slows down. The movie actually goes on past where I thought it was going to end and makes for a good final act. While I would have liked the aliens to have definitely appeared more, I can’t say that the film ultimately disappointed me. It had a lot of fun moments throughout.

The film starts off with a lot of crazy disasters happening across the planet. It’s almost as if gravity just stops working at times which is making things very tricky. The UN holds a summit and while this is going on the aliens abduct Dr. Ahmed using some kind of tractor beam. When he shows up again to sabotage things the scientists are ready and take him out. We are able to locate the enemy base in space and so we send a rocket over there to stop them. What will make matters difficult though is how easily they can mind control someone. What if one of the main characters has been taken? Iwamura and Katsumiya have two main objectives. They have to stop the aliens once and for all, then they also have to rescue Etsuko who was kidnapped.

Let me start off with the weakest part of the film which is definitely the fact that the aliens barely appear at all throughout the story. There is one main scene where you actually see them but they look super weak as Katsumiya is able to take down a bunch of them. Basically these guys are not immune to the space guns and also have no super strength. Katsumiya literally just runs over and grabs Etsuko. He then pulls her out despite the two of them being surrounded by so many aliens. Even all of them combined weren’t able to do anything to him and that’s just a bad look.

It’s clear that the aliens absolutely need their tech to win in this case as the individual aliens are super weak. It’s certainly an odd thing to see as you’re usually used to the aliens looking really tough and formidable. That just wasn’t the case here, not by a longshot. I liked the tech and they certainly talk a good game from behind the loudspeakers but that’s about it. You would need to see a whole lot more out of them in order to really have any kind of confidence in them as true antagonists.

Well, I suppose you don’t need a strong antagonist to have a good alien invasion film and this title proves it. The reason I enjoyed this film first boils down to the writing. The film stays engaging throughout as we have quality characters here and a solid story going on. I always like a classic alien invasion and getting to see the United Nations deliberating about it was cool. We really got to see the governmental side of things here as there is no super main character here to save the day.

Katsumiya would be the main character here but he’s not some super skilled CIA fighter or someone that can stop the invasion with a well placed explosive. He’s just here to save Etsuko and then get out. The army is still the one pulling in the big guns to try and stop the invasion as a whole. It’s not so easy to take on so many fighters like that and this is a movie that is using a teamwork approach. Then there is Iwamura but unfortunately he doesn’t look great here. He is often out of his depths and so he isn’t able to be nearly as helpful. Etsuko unfortunately spends a decent chunk of the movie being kidnapped so she isn’t able to help too much either.

So the individuals aren’t the important factor here but what the army is doing to stop these aliens. The movie definitely nails that aspect right out of the gate. The aliens also deal a whole lot of damage to the planet so you know that even if they are defeated, it’s not going to immediately be all sunshine and smiles for the heroes. Now I mentioned how the film seemed like it was about to end. Well, the main chunk of the film is the rescue mission in space and of course we start blasting away but then we get a whole other act on Earth as the aliens prepare another assault.

It does make sense in hindsight that they still had more weapons at the ready but it had just felt like so much of a climax already in space. Regardless it was nice to get some extra action at the end there. You can never have too much combat after all. I don’t think this will end up being more memorable than most of the other big action titles out there. It really lacked the aliens in an alien invasion film but since the rest of the elements were still in play it ended up working out.

Overall, Battle in Outer Space is a film that I would recommend people to check out but I would do so with the reservation that they know the aliens won’t really be appearing. It’s important to underscore that since some people may go in expecting them to not only be appearing but to get a big role. It’s totally understandable but the film is engaging enough even without them. A modern remake would probably be fun with this concept but in the meantime I just enjoy any alien invasion film I can get my hands on. Particularly one from the olden days like this installment since they really knew how to build up to the attacks and have a lot of very solid dialogue between the characters. It’s all handled in a rather low key/calm way that you wouldn’t expect to usually see. There’s not much more to say about the film because it is quiet direct and the story is straight forward. What you see is what you get and in this case that works out well.

Overall 7/10

Support Your Local Gunfighter Review

It’s time to continue the support series but this one is a decisive step down from the first one. It’s still a good movie and perhaps if the first one did not exist then it would have been great but the whole time you just feel like this one loses on every front. The main character is a massive step down but even the jokes aren’t quite as funny. The movie is just a bit more on the desperate side and could have used some more time on the writing table to really nail down. Still, if you want a film with some funny moments then you should still have a good time here.

The movie starts off with Latigo deciding that he wants to escape a train before he can become married to Goldie. The guy really doesn’t want to get married so you have to figure that Goldie is either mean or just too much for him. It’s just not easy to sympathize with the guy because it seems like he was super drunk and did make it seem like he was interested in her. In fact it seems like he is a huge flirt the whole time and it even known for this so it’s a horrible look for the guy. Well either way he escapes and heads to a nearby town where he pulls the moves on the owner Miss Jenny who likes him too now. There’s also a girl there named Patience who likes him so Latigo is having his fun.

It’s not all fun and games though as there is a big war going on between Taylor and Ames as there always seems to be in wild west country. Latigo figures he’ll make a lot of money and mess with them. One thing leads to another and he gets a guy named Jug to pretend to be the world’s greatest marksman, Swifty. Now nobody will want to mess with them but if the real Swifty shows up then it’ll all be over. There is no coming back from that, it would be game over. Still Latigo can take the money and split right? Well, he is also a gambling addict and can’t help but put all of his money in the tables. Ah great….

You can see why I can’t sympathize with the guy. Far as I’m concerned he’s basically an antagonist here. He digs himself into these holes and would not be in so much trouble if he would stop flirting and getting drunk. The fact that he makes no move to get away from these bad habits just shows that he isn’t trying to improve. He actually does seem to be good with a gun but they don’t go into that in the film much. He constantly tells Jug that he’s no good and is very slow but the film seemed to be hinting that he was only doing that to try and protect Jug. So you’re waiting for him to end up getting some kind of big fight in the climax and yet…it doesn’t happen. So what was that build up for?

Not saying it would have absolutely saved his character or anything like that but it would have been something right? Give me a reason to root for the guy a bit. Even with the gambling it’s annoying because he’s constantly talking about what a scam it is and then he falls for it anyway. The man has no willpower and then succumbs immediately. That’s not a good combination no matter how you slice it. The gambling scenes are pretty intense at least so that’s a start.

Goldie and Miss Jenny don’t make for great characters either. Jenny fell for his emotional story way too quickly and for Goldie I don’t see why she would still want to be with him when Latigo is always running away from her. Even if she were to claim him, wouldn’t that not be very satisfying knowing that he always wants to leave? Seems like it would be a waste to me at least and that’s part of why the romance here is very weak.

Latigo’s partner Jug can be decent at times at least. I wouldn’t say that he’s very likable either and he’s the classic character who is strong but not very smart. At least what I do give him credit for here is that he doesn’t back down from a fight and is ready to go in. He may not be smart but at least he doesn’t run away so easily. The two big villains Taylor and Ames are really forgettable though. Even though their war is a main plot element the whole film, you will find yourself struggling to care the whole time. It’s just not a very interesting story.

I did like the true villain Swifty though. When he shows up the characters have to take note because he has the skills to take the whole town down should he feel the urge. I would have definitely handled the climax a whole lot differently though. It makes for a decent comedic burst I guess but in this case playing the climax straight actually would have been a whole lot more effective. The ending would have been more satisfying and so the film would have benefitted as a whole.

Overall, This film is just not super funny for being a comedy and that is what hurts it here. At the end of the day you need to be funny and be funny consistently. That is the trick for making a really good comedy film. It’s just funny enough where you will have a good time either way but the lackluster characters and underwhelming climax will take away a lot of the replay value that it could have had. I’d recommend giving it a watch if you like westerns and/or comedies but you probably won’t be going for the rewatch. Just the initial viewing will be enough for you to get the full experience and then keep it moving. Still a shame that they didn’t make more movies like this though. I think there would have been a lot of potential to make several parody type films like this. When executed well you can picture just about any kind of profession working in this style.

Overall 6/10

Support Your Local Sheriff Review

This is definitely one of the better westerns out there and starts off as a really strong title right off the bat. It has a good amount of humor and action throughout so you won’t be forgetting this one by the time you’re done. It ends up sticking the landing and so even if it isn’t perfect, the movie absolutely accomplishes what it set out to do.

The movie starts off with a very serious funeral being interrupted as some gold is spotted so everyone gets to digging. The town is fairly well off now and so they had to quickly get the government set up but nobody wants to be Sheriff. The Sheriff is always run out of town by the Danby gang who basically run the village from the shadows. Well one day a guy named Jason appears and he is a very confident gunslinger. The mayor and his crew are glad to have Jason on board but they didn’t really think he would be as good as his confident demeanor would have you believe. When Jason begins to rock the boat and upset the Danby family they have to decide if they have his back or not.

The town is not loyal in the slightest and it all trickles down from the mayor. He may say all the right things from time to time but it’s clear that he doesn’t truly believe in Jason. If he did then he wouldn’t be so nervous about the Danbys winning. He’s constantly trying to talk Jason out of helping or to get him to leave but it’s just too late for that now. He should have thought of that before hiring the Sheriff. Additionally he could be more direct about it instead of just waiting the whole time or talking passively as he beat around the bush the whole time.

It does make for a lot of entertaining scenes of course but it doesn’t make you like the character much at all. The town really tried their best to keep getting victimized by the Danby family so you half wish Jason would just run off at some points. Even the main heroine Prudy tries to tell him that he should run away. At first you figure she’s just trying to play him by saying all of this so he would say but when the scene ends it seems like it actually wasn’t her plan and she genuinely thought it would be safer for him to leave.

Little twists like that are part of what makes this film really solid. It is able to be a smart parody of the usual wild west adventure without being too obvious about it. The best complement to the film is that it often is quite funny. I had a good time with it that’s for sure and it has a good amount of replay value so you could easily watch it over again. The writing is on point and so you have a good amount of banter between all of the characters.

If the film has one weakness it’s that the romance here is definitely on the weak side. It’s probably difficult right out of the gate to have a serious romance in a parody film so they should have probably tried to make it more of a comedic subplot. We do have the gag where something embarrassing always seems to be happening to Prudy when she meets Jason but usually you’re just waiting to get back to the action.

The Danby family makes for some decent villains. Of course they’re all greatly outmatched against Jason but they definitely don’t train as often as he does. This guy has been fighting with a gun since forever while they likely just use it for threats most of the time. Jason is always one step ahead and knows just how to intimidate them in order to come out on top. Sometimes it is directly and sometimes he has to trick them but he always comes out on top.

Jason is a huge reason as to why the film is so good. I love the boundless confidence that he has and so it always lets him have the last laugh here. Without him as the lead the movie wouldn’t be as good and the sort of sequel to this film really underscores that but I’ll get to that film soon. Jason dominates the movie right out of the jump and he gets a lot of the funniest jokes. You definitely need him in order to make this film a success.

I thought Jake was decent at times too though. At least he was the one person in town who was actually willing to defend Jason and help him out when the going got tough. You certainly couldn’t expect that out of most of the other townsfolk who were just waiting to get wrecked. Prudy gets some credit here as well since she is introduced as a fighter early on and then helps a lot in the climax. In fact she helps so much that Jason even wants her to calm down since he was hoping not to murder anyone. I thought Prudy had the right idea here though since you need to take them down for the count.

Overall, With good pacing and a lot of fun humor there isn’t really anything to dislike about the film. It certainly underscores how difficult it is to be a sheriff because everyone is against you the whole time. You have to build some strong connections and quickly or you will end up being completely run over by everyone else. There’s never a point where the movie drags on and so I would go as far as to say this was a great movie. I could easily re watch it now which speaks to how good it is. If you like Westerns or just want to watch a fun comedy then this is the title for you. There are still serious moments and fights but the film masterfully mixes and matches the different tones throughout.

Overall 8/10

The Craft Review

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

When I hear the term “The Witching Hour” I think of Football since they use that term every week on Red Zone when the games are entering the final quarter. I don’t watch a whole lot of movies about witches either so I don’t hear it in this context as much. Well in the end that may be a good thing because this one’s not very good. The characters are all pretty bad for the most part and any scene involving a witch initiation or ceremony tends to drag on quite a bit. This one did not end up being a winner.

So the movie starts with Sarah moving into town and it looks like this place is filled with creeps so she’s going to have a hard time fitting in. One guy seems to like her but it quickly becomes apparent that he’s just using her and does the same to all the newcomers. This drives Sarah into the arms of the 3 witch outcasts at the school. They believe that Sarah is the person needed to complete their quartet so they add her to the initiation and begin their spellcasting. At first things seem harmless enough like little coincidences or love spells but then the 3 girls start getting more and more extreme about using their magic to hurt others and have a good time. Sarah wants out but much like a gang…once you’re in there is no way out. Can Sarah stop these 3 or is it game over?

One thing I’ll give the film props for is that it does cover a lot of ground. Keep in mind that at first Sarah isn’t part of the clique so gradually she joins them, then they all explore their abilities, then they see how these powers are causing damage to people, then they become cool with this, and then they turn evil and go after Sarah. So there’s a whole lot of turnarounds going on here and the film does a reasonable job of giving each section time to breathe. As I mentioned earlier it only really drags on during the witch ceremonies.

We don’t need to see them huddled in a circle chanting to the winds or forming blood pacts. Those were dated when they first came out and you feel like Sarah is really letting them take her down the dark side here without much resistance for a while. They are cool with just stealing books from the local witch expert and while Sarah doesn’t steal anything, just hanging out with these guys is a bad look.

Because if you keep being friends with people who are criminals then to an extent it seems like you are condoning it right? You have to take a firm stand against such things if you really want to make a difference. Sarah just gets in a bit too deep here and it feels like the film wouldn’t have even started if she didn’t hang out with these girls. Now you don’t want to judge them on the reputation of course so it’s good Sarah didn’t buy that but once she saw that they were actually not good people then it was time to cut out.

Sarah isn’t exactly blameless in this whole debacle either though. She casts a love spell on Chris, the guy who messed with her in the intro and apparently it’s basically permanent and can’t be turned off. From there he really goes off the deep end with how obsessive he is over her to the point where he becomes dangerous. She finds this amusing at first and disturbing later on but doesn’t take a very active role in trying to remove the spell.

There is one lady named Lirio who at least knows about witches and can maybe help to an extent but surprisingly she ends up doing nothing in this film. She gets to talk tough and come up with ideas but Sarah runs out of there before they can properly try out the spell. I think Sarah should have stood her ground there since maybe they could have fought off the 3 witches together but I guess we’ll never know from there.

Throughout the film they explain that Sarah is a prodigy in magic so you’re waiting for her big power moment but this isn’t quite Shonen Jump so that doesn’t get to happen. Would have been really cool though. Sarah still does get her clutch moments in the end though and we do get a witch battle by the end. Sarah gets to confront all 3 witches and shows them what true power really is. I appreciated having some action at the end.

The ending of the film is also quite solid with Sarah really laying down the law. It’s not quite sequel bait but you know if there was another film that Sarah would be in good shape now. These other 3 won’t be able to do much against her anymore. So in the end I wasn’t big on Sarah’s character but at least she ends well. Bonnie and Rochelle were played up as if they were going to be sympathetic characters for a while there so I was definitely surprised when they went into full villain mode. It wasn’t a bad decision, the film subverted my expectations in a solid way there. These two didn’t really plan things out very well but at least they were following some kind of path.

Nancy was definitely the main villain of the group in the end though and was certainly the most ambitious. She probably should have tried a more direct way of taking Sarah down before it was too late though. Beating around the bush just put her in a tough spot here and gave time for Sarah to get her bearings. The way the witch powers work here is typically more mental than physical like messing around in the dreams but when push comes to shove you can also use telekinetic abilities. There isn’t much in the way of defense though so if they all ganged up on Sarah and just beat her up there would not have been much of a counter to that.

Overall, The Craft wasn’t really my cup of tea. The witch ceremonies drag on a whole lot and the main characters just aren’t very likable. There’s a super random scene with a guy and his snake that pops out of nowhere but for an instant opens up the door to some interesting plot threads. I thought things were going to go in a different direction with some kind of shady group showing up and the main characters having to team up. The 3 witches actually being evil by the end was unexpected and could have worked but ultimately just didn’t take this title to the next level.

Overall 2/10

The Cloverfield Paradox Review

The Cloverfield series loves to have movies with pretty much nothing to do with the original. You always get a little stinger at the end and that’s basically it. Unfortunately that is the case here as well as it just isn’t very relevant until the final scene and even then that is more of a tease than a full connection. The series is toying with the fans by this point so it’s best to watch this as a stand alone sci-fi film instead. Even then I would say it’s below average but I suppose it’s not super bad or anything. The logic of the universe just isn’t that great so while it’s trying to be very mysterious and cryptic, it feels like the movie is just cheating instead. There’s definitely one scene in particular that I’d say fits this bill.

So the Earth is in a big energy crisis and they have sent representatives from various countries to find a solution. This group was thrown onto a space station far in the sky and they have to do whatever they can. So they decide to work on a device that should give the Earth unlimited energy but unfortunately this goes sideways and they seem to open up a portal into another world. They have to try and get back to where they used to be but it won’t be easy. They have to fix parts of the spaceship that don’t work anymore and a lot of weird things keep happening on the ship. Are aliens among us?

This movie is dealing with a lot of sci-fi elements but doesn’t really get too out there with creatures and the like. The main dilemma here is really that they have to question everything they knew about physics. Everything’s just scattered and odd happenings start occurring like people phasing through walls and a hand just running around. Where I thought the film messed up was in throwing some clickbait to try and make you think that a bunch of aliens would show up. There’s an odd scene where these cables start choking someone and basically murder him as he gets crushed by a super magnet but you have to question how it happened. It seemed completely sentient the way it was moving but the rest of the film gives no indicat4ion that it was. So yes it’s a strong scene and definitely gets you nervous but it doesn’t make much sense within the context of the rest of the film. It’s more shock value than anything.

Not saying the movie would have been better off with aliens but this scene could have been changed a lot. The idea of trying to help an alternate version of yourself through writing is interesting and the film could have made that something interesting but even that element doesn’t get as much depth as you would expect. So what we have here is a sci-fi film that is only half heartedly jumping into the various concepts that it introduces. This is what keeps it from being the next big thing. Well, at least that’s one of the reasons.

We’ve got a decently big cast here and I wouldn’t even say the members are that bad. First up is Ava who is the main heroine here. She didn’t even want to go on this mission but it was the only way to potentially save her husband since the Earth wouldn’t be surviving much longer. So now that she is in space she has a lot of regrets and the idea of an alternate planet appeals to her. I will say from the jump that I think even being tempted to leave is not a good idea here. An alternate version of you may seem similar but ultimately it’s a complete different person.

So it’s best not to get attached or to distract yourself from the mission. Meanwhile you have Jensen who is a mysterious lady that appears on the ship after things start to get crazy. She reminds me of a lady who showed up late in the game in another sci-fi title called Astra Lost in Space. Jensen is a wild card here as of course the main characters can’t trust her but at the same time it’s not like they have a lot of choices either. At this point you really need all the help that you can get and you just have to hope that it goes well.

Ava’s husband doesn’t get a huge role but in a small subplot he tries to help a kid stay safe. It’s not like there are too many safe areas left but at least helping someone would be good. This plot is definitely going for the more emotional kind of vibes as it’s rather somber. It’s not until the end that this really goes anywhere. At least I did like the ending here though. This was a good cliffhanger and it gets you ready for the next film. Of course as always that seems like it’s probably a longshot but if it were to happen then that would definitely be cool. At least it ends things off on a hype note.

With a lot of drama going on in the ship you feel like this is yet another case where the heroes would do so much better if they weren’t constantly fighting among themselves. Inevitably this starts to become a country vs country thing. Some characters at least try not to get mixed up on this but it’s a very enclosed battleground so it’s not like there are a lot of places to run either. You’re basically stuck here as you just try to stay alive. There are some things that happen where you can’t blame the character for being in a bad spot like the poor guy who started merging with the wall. There wasn’t really a way to avoid that one but other things like creating a gun just amps up the odds of people snapping at each other.

The effects are good though. I thought that the spaceship looked good and it was big enough where you didn’t feel that the crew was too confined. We still got a decent amount of other sceneries throughout. On land everything was in a fairly bad spot early on so this may have been the best location for the movie to take place if you were trying to avoid the monsters for some reason. Meanwhile having the film take place on land would have been the best way to do a proper Cloverfield 2 so even to the end it feels like they are avoiding giving us what we’re really looking forward to and that’s another giant monster movie.

Overall, The Cloverfield Paradox shouldn’t have included the word “Cloverfield” at the end because this movie is barely connected to the franchise at all. They seem to love including this word just to drum up sales and it’s a bad idea. Keeping this as an individual sci-fi film would have been a much better idea. Ultimately it’s not like it would have changed a whole lot about the story itself but you can probably enjoy it more that way as opposed to waiting for the monster to appear each time. I think there are some interesting nuggets here to be sure but ultimately not enough to keep you really invested. This would have worked better as a full TV series as they start to see the differences between the Earths or maybe as a multi film series. As a stand alone you have to cover a lot of ground and so there isn’t time to really have the characters talk about this situation that they’re in. It makes for a bit of an underwhelming experience especially when it feels like the movie isn’t exactly sure of how these things work. Spending more time on the implications of this other world and some good dialogue could have helped it go to the next stage. Instead you will want to wait for the next Cloverfield film.

Overall 4/10

The Mist Review

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

It’s time for a rather intense thriller with a title that sounds like the Fog but the plot is very different. It’s a very interesting movie and I like the idea of being stuck inside a supermarket but the film ultimately trades the idea of a very atmospheric horror for a more graphic adventure

The movie starts with David and his son Billy heading to the supermarket to pick up some supplies. There had been a really bad thunderstorm after all so they want to be prepared. Unfortunately a heavy mist rolls in and before the characters can leave the store, a guy runs in claiming that there is some kind of monster outside. Any who walk into the mist shall vanish quicker than a wish. Everyone is rather skeptical of course including a lady who decides to run out and take her chances. It’s all very silent outside. David gets a glimpse of one of the monsters when he goes to the back room but of course most people didn’t see this. As the film goes on the characters start to get more and more desperate. Are the people in this supermarket actually more dangerous than the monsters outside?

I mean the answer should be no but at least with the monster you can count on a quick death in theory. Inside the supermarket everyone is slowly turning insane so it’s hard to say what you can expect. The main antagonist here is Carmody as she is someone who is completely delusional and tries to start a religious cult within the market. At first everyone knows that she is crazy but as the movie goes on the more weak willed members begin to believe her. It’s evident that people are losing their minds and fortunately David as well as a few other characters actually see this coming right from the jump.

Sometimes characters can be slow on the uptake for this kind of thing so I was glad that this wasn’t the case this time. They were actually ready and actively plan for this. It goes without saying that I lost respect for any and all characters who ended up siding with Carmody. It’s just so apparent that she is crazy that it’s disheartening to see these characters follow her so readily. Clearly their minds are highly susceptible to being taken over which doesn’t speak too well of them. Some things do go Carmody’s way of course but they’re all coincidental at best.

I enjoyed the first half of the film the most as the situation slowly starts to set in for the main characters. There is no easy way to escape their predicament and the supplies at the market will only last so long. Additionally the defenses at play here won’t last forever here either so simply staying put isn’t an option. No matter what you do there is going to be a huge risk. Personally I’m of the camp that says to try to get into a car and just drive away as fast as you can. I think that’s the best way to at least give yourself a chance to escape while the other methods just feel like you are delaying the inevitable which isn’t really what you are hoping for.

The atmosphere is tense and the characters all sound reasonable aside from Carmody. One of the big antagonists here is Brent and it’s not like he’s evil or anything. He just thinks that the whole story about there being a monster in the Mist is fake and he figures that David is messing with him. The two of them never really got along much before now so it’s not even that far fetched. My main issue with him was just that even if it’s not a monster within the mist, it could easily be some kind of chemical weapon or something equally destructive for your health. So walking out there isn’t the best idea if you don’t have a plan.

I liked his confidence and he is good at getting people together but ultimately he was on the wrong side in this one. If he had just been willing to work with the main characters then I dare say that the film would have gone a lot better for the main characters. It still would have been tough of course but the situation wouldn’t have deteriorated nearly as fast. Billy isn’t able to help a whole lot since he’s way too young for any of this but David does good. He comes up with a lot of plans and is quick on his feet.

He particularly did good in the back room when everyone is trying to act really macho with how they aren’t afraid of the monsters. When they all froze up, David didn’t. He kept on trying to save the poor kid and did his best throughout. He certainly loses his cool a bit during the movie but at least it’s always fairly well justified with how everything is going at the moment. He makes for a good main character here. In general the cast is fairly large. You’ve got quite a lot of people in this supermarket and they range from being reasonable people trying to help the main cast out of ones who join up with Carmody. You see where each character’s true loyalty lies in the end.

Where the second half falters for me is it starts to get really violent as the creatures start to shred everyone. Each wave of attacks from the enemies starts to get worse and worse as they really don’t hold back. People are nearly burned alive or just straight up eaten at times. One death is like something out of Alien. It’s not quite the chest bursters but it’s surprisingly similar. The movie goes quite far once we get to the violent phase and it never lets up. It may help to underscore just how dangerous a predicament everyone is in but at the expense of the slow burn it had been doing so well with.

I would have liked it if the film had stayed more like the first half. In a way I wouldn’t mind if we never even saw the creatures but of course that’s only one route. Way I see it you play the film out like this which is still a great approach in concept as the enemy waves keep coming and people have to choose between defense and escape. Or you go the alternate route where people choose if they want to leave or not but every time they enter the mist it gets really quiet so you as the viewer have to decide if they got out or not. It would be more like a Twilight Zone episode with that kind of suspense throughout. Two very valid approaches that I think could really work out for this one.

Also the ending was really bad. It’s one of the least satisfying endings I’ve seen in a while and I would completely change it. The ending is an absolutely key part of the movie so when that doesn’t live up to expectations then things get really tricky. I also disagreed with the main character’s decision there. It’s a drastic move that you would only even think about taking at the last possible moment. Not when you think something is going to happen but when it’s actually starting to happen. It’s a key difference there and the ending certainly has a lot of shock value at the ready but I didn’t like it. Kind of ends the film with a whimper.

Overall, I like the concept of the Mist. Having a big survival film where the heroes have to try and survive without turning on themselves can be a lot of fun. I’d like for the humans not to crack at least once in these things though. You could absolutely still have a lot of issues and problems come up without having the humans turn on each other. It seems unlikely that a film will end up going this route but I do think there is a whole lot of potential there. Either way the film just decided to let loose a bit too much and went for the gritty route as opposed to keeping this very ominous. I’d say to give this one a skip and instead just think about the premise and play it out in your head because it is still a sound idea.

Overall 2/10

Macabre Review

This film is one of those mystery thrillers that throws a lot of twists at you but it’s convoluted in all the right ways. Everything makes more and more sense as the film goes on and each twist works rather well. The overall plan seems to really be a huge stretch by the end as you really would not be able to guarantee with any degree of certainty that it would work but hey the villain is insane so that’s not really an issue. If you’re up for an intense title then this is a good one to watch.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Barrett who is a doctor but nobody in town like him. They all clearly want him gone and so his assistant Polly suggests that he pack his things. She will of course be glad to accompany him but he declines since he wants to marry Sylvia. One day his world is turned upside down when his daughter Marge is kidnapped and the assailant leaves a threatening phone call hinting that she is dead. He gives a cryptic response that hints they only have a little time to save her before she runs out of oxygen wherever she is. Barrett has to try and find her quickly but he has to do it while everyone despises the guy. There are no shortage of enemies here.

Throughout the film we get several flashbacks which explain just why nobody likes him. It’s a bit hard to get into those without obvious spoilers though as these all involve a lot of twists. One thing we can say for sure is that Barrett is just a bad guy though. The dislike from the town is absolutely justified the whole time as you see these scenes play out. I would argue that he already seemed a bit sketchy even before these though like with how he wants to marry Sylvia but doesn’t really decline Polly as directly as you would expect him to.

The guy is clearly someone who doesn’t mind being on the rebound and that is always a very awful trait to have as a main character. Of course his daughter shouldn’t have to pay for his mistakes so you still figure that whoever got her is even worse than this guy. The movie handles the plot well although as far as the kidnapped child storyarc goes, I’ve seen a few that were stronger than this one. This one is distracted with Barrett’s past and a whole lot going on in this town after all.

Meanwhile the supporting cast here isn’t amazing. You have Sylvia who somehow still doesn’t mind being with Barrett. Considering that her hands aren’t completely clean at this point perhaps they fit together but you never end up finding her all that likable. Meanwhile the same is true of Polly. Sure, Polly at least has a conscience and seems like a decent person but you still have to wrestle with the fact that she is trying to make a move on someone she knows is trying to marry someone else. So that’s just way too desperate for me.

The only really decent main character here is Miss Kushins. She does her best to watch the house and has been around the block for a while. When trouble starts she quickly lets other people know instead of staying quiet like Barrett said. The police chief was also solid. He definitely didn’t mind roughing Barrett up a little and was tempted to do more than that. This guy wants to run a peaceful town and it’s tough when guys like the lead are running around.

One thing this film will remind you of is that it isn’t so easy to die of shock. Perhaps of sheer fright like if you have a weak heart and someone jumps in front of you, but just seeing something? That’s not going to be so easy and since there is a certain part of the plan that revolves around this you are going to have some major doubts the whole time. I know that I certainly did. So part of the ending just doesn’t work on that level. We still do get a satisfying ending to the movie though so it doesn’t let you down there. In a way the villain’s poorly thought out plan did come back to get him so that’s definitely how it should be.

In a way the film’s biggest weakness is just that none of the characters are super likable. I named some decent characters above but all of the main characters are annoying at best. So the film’s trying to succeed in spite of the characters as opposed to being because of them and that’s always a bit tricky. A good plot can absolutely pull this off and I would say this film succeeded but with better characters it absolutely would have worked. You don’t even have to change much but make Polly just a friend who is worried about Marge as opposed to being someone who is interested in the main guy. Also fainting after the phone call is a bit much since time is of the essence. You need to at least pass on the message before you faint right?

I’d also have probably grouped the flashbacks together instead of splitting them up although I do understand the reason for doing so in a narrative way. It would just be nice to get right back to the main plot instead of going through a detour each time. At the end of the day the writing is also solid so the movie did have the right building blocks to make this a good movie. It didn’t forget the fundamentals and that is critically important in a movie like this. The core story is strong and having everyone be against the main guy helps with the tension since you can’t trust anyone and with the race against time being a factor there is always a lot of tension.

Overall, Macabre is a good movie even if the drama can be laid on a bit thick at times. There is just so much going on in both the past and the present that the main plot of the daughter being kidnapped has to take a backseat sometimes and I can’t recall that ever being the case for a film like this. Usually that’s the complete main plot with nothing to compete with it. The movie could probably have benefited from focusing on the present a bit more but I would still recommend this one. If you want to check out a well balanced thriller then you will have a good time here.

Overall 6/10