8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Super Inframan Review


It’s time to look at an old school Power Rangers type film. I have always been a big fan of the Rangers, but never really got around to checking out any of their shows. Well, this is the next closest thing and it does reassure me that this type of series is definitely up my ally. The Super Inframan is a great film that is a lot of fun from start to finish. It’s hard to go wrong with a nice array of monsters and hand to hand fights like we have here. The film may not be all that long, but they fit in a ton of action and quality scenes. There is never a dull moment to be found here.

The film starts with the Dragon Mom returning from her long slumber and she decides to destroy the world. She has amassed an army of powerful monsters ranging from spellcasters to more traditional creatures. Her second in command is a normal humanoid though and while she may sound out of her depth this character is actually a good fighter. The heroes realize that they need some power to counter this so a scientist gives Lei a shot that transforms him into the Super Inframan. In this form there is nothing that he can’t do. Lei decides to stop the villain group no matter what. It looks like this time he will actually have to try.

It’s hard to know where to start here since the film is really good on a lot of levels. I guess we should do the obvious first and that is the fight scenes. They are all really well done with a lot of excellent choreography. One of the standout fights is when one of Lei’s friends attacks the villains on his own. He actually does a great job of taking down dozens of them before he is eventually defeated by one of the monsters using a net ability. All of the other fights are good too though like the climax where it is a big battle royale or the various fights as Inframan. Aside from one match that was just beam spamming from side to side all of his fights were hand to hand as well.

Inframan also has a good array of powers which served him well during the matches as well. He can turn giant, fire off his fists, use laser blasts, etc. It’s really hard to defeat someone like this and Inframan is definitely shown as the strongest fighter except for possibly the Dragon Mom who was dominating him in the fight. Granted, Inframan was a little weakened from his other battles. Lei is a solid lead and I dare say that his dynamic as Lei and Inframan was more enjoyable than Hayata and Ultraman. This is due in part to the fact that Lei has more personality and is just a likable guy. He’s pretty quick on the uptake and always ready to help out. He also doesn’t hesitate to transform and take on the villains at any time.

Then you’ve also got the soundtrack which is pretty fun. Inframan’s main theme is suitably heroic and gives you an extra jolt of energy whenever he is getting ready to join the fray. Now there is one technical level where the film falters and that is the fact that it uses a lot of recycled footage whenever Inframan transforms. This is likely intentional as part of the camp factor, but it’s still got to be noted. Recycled footage is something you really don’t want to use as it feels like stalling for time. I also question why the footage was the triple flip. It’s not like that’s something that Inframan does a lot furing the movie.

The villains are also very solid which speaks to the solid writing and character cast of the movie. The Dragon Mom is definitely one of the best ones. I like her confidence and she is quite merciless. I was not expecting her to actually murder one of the heroes so that definitely surprised me. It’s not every day that you see a villain make a move like that. Whoever did her English voice did a solid job. Then you’ve got her fighting abilities which were sound. Her minions had a cool uniform and the other monsters at her disposal all put up valiant fights. While you aren’t likely going to remember their names you’ll remember the designs and their determination. The human also put up a great fight against Inframan and it was brave to even attempt to fight him. The villains were surprisingly loyal and I also liked how upbeat they were. You’d see them dancing in the background whenever the Dragon Mom was talking.

The heroes are solid as well. There’s less to say about most of them since they stay on the sidelines, but as I mentioned one of Lei’s main friends did a good job holding off the enemies by himself. The other members can also fight even if they never got a big moment to shine. They were still able to contribute and that’s the important thing. There are no annoying characters here. There’s nothing even remotely negative to say about the film. The pacing is on point, the writing is great, the fight scenes are amazing, this is just a very well rounded film and one that I could easily re-watch. There’s a lot of fun to be had here and it’s a shame that they just don’t make movies like this anymore.

Overall, The Super Inframan is one of those super obscure films that deserves to be more well known than it actually is. You’d have a lot of fun watching this movie for sure. On one hand it plays on your nostalgia as you remember what great fun this era was and on the other hand you get to see a new superhero taking down legions of monsters. I liked the suit they used for the Super Inframan and the ones for the monsters as well. It feels like this was probably a pretty big budget film back in its day. Hopefully the Inframan gets revived in some form or another at some point because this franchise still has a ton of potential left in it.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Getaway Review


It’s time to look at a thriller film from not too long ago. It seems like the kind of film that wouldn’t have really gotten all that well known but I’m sure people would take a second look at the posters and promotions. It’s got that Need For Speed kind of vibe right from the get go which is always fun. The plot of someone being kidnapped and the hero being forced to do everything the villain is admittedly not the best. I never liked the idea of the hostage situation much in part because there is really no winning in that situation. Once you’ve done everything they want there is no reason for them not to murder the hostage and the hero as well. Typically the climax involves a lot of plot hax to compensate for this as the heroes defy the villain but for some reason they don’t murder the hostage. That’s just how it is sometimes.

The film starts off with Brent driving away from some cops and after an extended race scene they crash and he escapes. We then find out through a bunch of quick cuts and time jumps from past to present that his wife was kidnapped and he is now following a bunch of demands from someone who has bugged the car. If he doesn’t follow the orders then the wife will be destroyed. Meanwhile a kid shows up to try and take Brent hostage but he stops her and now she must also stay in the car or the wife will be destroyed. This means that Brent is effectively forced to square off with two villains and that won’t be an easy thing to do. Ah well, looks like it’s crunch time for him!

Getaway does seem to underestimate the audience a bit though with how many times we see the flashback to show us that the wife was kidnapped. I thought it was pretty obvious early on but we get the flashback 10-15 times for good measure. Once the film actually gets started then the plot is able to move. At this point the movie does get pretty fun. Yeah the demands can be annoying as Brent keeps talking tough but ultimately has to follow the orders because there really isn’t anything else he can do. That bit can be a bit repetitive but for the most part the film’s about the chase scenes so you don’t have to worry about this too much.

Brent is first introduced as a mysterious character. Despite being the one forced to do the villain’s dirty work, he’s got the cool shades and doesn’t really talk much. He’s a total wild card and as the film progresses we learn more about him. He may not be a professional or something like the guy from Taken, but he’s a gruff individual who is a great racer so he adapts to the situation well. He’s a solid lead who is willing to do just about anything to get his wife back, but does draw the line at being told to destroy a kid or doing anything like that. He’s not going to turn into a villain. Part of what makes his character work is that we don’t know a lot about him. He’s portrayed as an average joe who’s stuck in this situation.

Then we’ve got the kid who probably got a name at some point but I can’t remember what it was. She starts out as a pretty tough character who has a gun and seems to be a bit of a hoodlum. This ultimately doesn’t seem to stick, but she is definitely a girl of many talents as she is also a genius. This character is probably the most “convenient” one to show up during the movie because what are the odds right? She really makes the difference in solving this film to a great extent. Well, convenient or not she looks good here and is a fun character. She does complain a lot at first and seems slow on the uptake for the given situation, but to an extent you can see why she is upset. The kid just wants her car back. (More like a teenager really but on Wikipedia they just refer to her as the kid so that’s what I figured I’d go with.

There are really no other big characters in this film aside from the villain. The villain has no character beyond the fact that he is always goading the heroes on and is one step ahead of any plans that they may have. He’s not bad, but I can’t really say that I thought about him all that much as a character. He’s more of a plot device and this does lead to a rather unsatisfying ending. This kind of ending can work out well sometimes in the right context, but here it’s more annoying than anything. I’d be down with a sequel to wrap things up though.

The make or break point here will be how much you like car fights/chase scenes. Do you like them or do you love them? Almost the whole film is a series of long car chase scenes. Some will go on for over 10 minutes at a time and you have to be ready for them. Personally I enjoy car fights a lot. They are better than underwater fights, airplane battles, or pretty much any other fights outside of human interactions. If it’s got to be a vehicle then I’ll take a car. I also thought that the car scenes in this film were particularly good. They were better than the ones we saw in Need For Speed or even the original Fast and the Furious film. In part this is because you could really feel the impacts here. When a car got crushed it got completely totaled. There was no coming back from that.

The scenes with the cop cars following Brent also felt more like the Need For Speed chases than the actual movie’s version did. So personally these scenes are what amplified the film for me. They were just a lot of fun and I didn’t get tired of them. I could totally understand how they could get repetitive though so it really does depend on how much you enjoy the chases. It’s really the whole point of the film and you could argue that the rest of the plot is really just a backdrop for it. The focus was and is clearly on the car scenes. As for the technical elements like the writing, it was okay. I wouldn’t really say it was that impressive, but it could have been worse. The special effects were great and so it all balances out into a pretty good film. There’s a lot of replay value here since the film isn’t all that long and the car scenes hold up to the tests of time.

Overall, Getaway is one of those films that is surprisingly solid. I wasn’t expecting anything amazing earlier, but as of now I would probably have this as my definitive car based film. It’s a simple, but effective movie that hits the right notes and keeps the momentum going strong. If you haven’t seen it yet and love a good car based thriller then you really need to check it out. See what you think on if the hostage situation is resolved through plot hax or not. Personally I would have expected the villain to take out the hostage as soon as the heroes begin to enact their plan, but maybe you’ll see why he didn’t do that.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Brave Review


Video games based on movies always have a certain reputation that comes along with them. People just expect these games to not be very good and this is warranted by the multitude of games that came out in the early 2000s…..or did they? See, a lot of games based on movies did come out in that era, but I’d argue that a lot of them were really good. The Matrix, Spider-Man 1-3, X-Men 3, etc. These games were actually a lot of fun and then you’ve got titles like The Incredibles or Superman Shadow of Apokolips (Based on a show at least) which were also solid. Now there have been some terrible ones like Finding Nemo, but I’d argue it balances out well. Brave is a solid game in its own right and I’d recommend checking it out.

The plot seems to cover what the movie did in abridged form although I have not watched the movie yet so I can’t say that with 100% confidence. Basically the main character’s Mom is turned into a bear so now she must find a way to turn her back. Meanwhile there is an evil bear who is spreading evil throughout the world and corrupting everybody. If he isn’t stopped soon then there will be no going back. The lead has to learn that bravery is something that comes from within and the way to save her Mother may have something to do with this. The only thing left to do now is fight!

The gameplay is fairly standard. You start out at the Ring of Stones which is effectively the hub world although I hesitate to say that because there is nothing to do here. It’s a blank field you can run around in and it leads you to the 9 levels. Each time you clear one level then the gateway to the next one opens up which allows you to challenge it. There’s not really much more than that to do here so maybe lets just call it the hub. Once inside of the level the goal is to get to the end. This is done by running and jumping through the obstacles. You’ll have to beat a lot of the levels as it is part beat em up. When you beat all of the enemies the force field will leave and you can proceed forward. The levels are fairly quick and you can knock out the full game in a few hours. I don’t know exactly how long it took me, but it was between 4-6 hours I’d say.

In combat you have two weapons. The first is the sword which the game seems to think is your main weapon but don’t let that fool you. It’s nice and you can slice enemies up pretty quickly but there’s no reason to use it. The reason for that is you have a bow which fires unlimited arrows machine gun style. While the damage is slightly lower it compensates well with how many arrows you’re shooting. You can also run at full speed while shooting which is rare for any game. As a result there is no downside to constantly shooting as you are running. Not a bad idea right? I went with the arrows for the whole game and it was worth it. I didn’t die at all throughout my whole playthrough (until the final boss) which yeah that isn’t too impressive considering what game it is, but it still felt pretty good.

As you play through the game you will find upgrades for your sword and arrows as well as other costumes and tapestries which increase your base stats. You can also buy other upgrades at each save point which are pretty handy. They aren’t hidden all that far away from the main path so I was actually able to get almost all of them despite focusing on just clearing the game the whole time. It’s really not much of a time sink to quickly turn around and grab them so I’d recommend doing so. Additionally if you aim to get the Platinum trophy you’ll need to do this at some point anyway so what better time than the present right?

The graphics are fairly decent. It does look more like a PS2 game than PS3, but it’s not like the character models are blocky or anything. You’re always still sure of what’s happening next and there are a good amount of cinematics here to give you that movie feel. There isn’t really a soundtrack unfortunately so that does keep this from feeling like a higher budget title. I’d say that the main giveaways to this not being a big AAA game is how there are some re-used cutscenes and how simple the controls are. I don’t think simple controls is inherently a bad thing though. With good level design and a solid gameplay option you can really make this work out. Just look at the old Sonic or Mega Man games. There weren’t a bunch of controls but they were still a lot of fun.

If anything holds this game back it’s the length, but you can buy this game for cheap nowadays so I don’t think you’ll feel too badly about it. There is also the replay value thanks to the trophies which keeps this from being too short as well. Brave is just a fun game and it feels like a nice relic of the past. You don’t really see quick cash-in games like this anymore and it’s a shame. It’s not the kind of game you’d buy for 60, but it’s one that is always fun to stumble upon in Gamestop. It’s easily worth the price nowadays.

Overall, Brave is a very good game. I’m not saying it’s great and it’s not going for game of the year awards, but there’s really nothing bad to say about it. The ability to shoot endless arrows is admittedly very cheesy, but it does help this feel more like an arcade game. You can just dive into the game and take down as many enemies as you can. You can even turn it into a minigame with yourself to see how long you can go without getting hit. Some of the last levels will give you a nice challenge there and as I mentioned I did die a few times during the final boss. That one throws enemy after enemy at you so taking them all down isn’t the easiest thing in the world. It’s good reaction time practice since if you jump at the right time you should be able to dodge any attack.

Overall 7/10

Game Records

Dusk Diver Stats and Records

Stats time!

PS4 Trophies 7/38
Money 25,925
Shards 53/153

Chapter Stats

Chapter 2 S Rank
Chapter 3 A Rank
Chapter 3 S Rank
Chapter 4 S Rank
Chapter 5 S Rank
Chapter 6 S Rank
Chapter 7 S Rank
Chapter 8 S Rank
Chapter 9 A Rank
Chapter 10 S Rank
Chapter 11 S Rank
Chapter 12 S Rank

Yumo

HP 4
SP Max
ATK Max
Luck Max
Moves 3
Just Dodge Max
D. Arms 1

Leo

Atk 1
TP 0

Everyone Else

Atk 0
TP 0

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dusk Diver Review


It’s time to look at a game that I hadn’t heard of before receiving for Christmas. From the aesthetic and cover right away you get that anime vibe which is always good. I tend to get more excited for games like this with a colorful art style and lots of cinematics. Usually these games are on the long side, but surprisingly this one is only around 6 hours or so. I nearly beat the whole thing on New Year’s, but the final hour took one last batch to complete. It’s definitely a great game with a solid post game plan.

The game focuses on the lead character Yuma who suddenly finds herself in a world filled with monsters one day. She is able to transform into a Super Saiyan type fighter and with the help of a cat defeats them. We then learn that there is another world that exists parallel to the human world and there are a few deities who fight them off every day. Somehow Yuma was thrown into this world and now the deities are unable to transform back into their true forms while she is around. Until they figure out a way around this Yuma will need to do the fighting for them. She agrees to do this while she’s on summer vacation, but once she has to go back to school that’ll be it for their agreement. The monster incursions have started happening more frequently and with greater intensity though so Yuma is going to have to bring her A game to this.

Just judging from the general plot and the huge hub world I’m still surprised that the game is so short. It just feels like we could have had a few more chapters thrown in. It’s better for the game to be direct and end early rather than forcing a long length on us though. As I mentioned earlier there is a lot to do after you beat the game anyway. You can train up your partners and work on getting all of the PS4 trophies. This should take you a long time to accomplish so that’s always something to consider. I didn’t even get to visit a fraction of the shops or learn just about any new skills during the game. I just focused on maxing out my attack power and taking it from there.

Lets talk about the gameplay though. This is your classic 3D beat em up. Each chapter starts with a few conversations with the deities and then you go to the other world through a dimensional rift. The only way to enter these rifts is to have some dragon scales with you so be sure to grab them when the Boss tells you that she senses one. Typically she says that once per chapter and to enter a rift that’s usually all you’ll need. There were 2-3 times where I needed to grab 5 or so, but running around the hub world and getting them doesn’t take up much time. It does make me think that this whole gimmick was rather pointless, but I’m thinking the developers really wanted to show off the town and figured you may not check it out otherwise. It’s probably true, but I still don’t like forced collectibles. It’s not nearly as intrusive as in platformers though so it’s not a big deal here.

Once you’re in the other world then you turn into the blue flame haired Yang Yuma. You’ve got your standard power attacks, standard moves, and a summon which brings out a guardian to land a quick combo. It’s like an assist in a Capcom Vs title as they’ll quickly go back into the air until you summon them again. It takes a block of energy but they do a lot of damage so it’s usually worth it. The big incentive with these guys is they chip away at an enemy’s armor really quick which is very handy. I always use them to get rid of the enemy’s armor and then finish the opponent with my final smash. It takes 3 bars, but does a ton of damage. Even bosses tend to lose a full bar of health if you’ve destroyed their armor. The armor regenerates quickly so be sure to smash it entirely before going for damage to save time. It’s a good tactic and I should know because I S ranked all of the missions except for 1. (Got an A….)

When you have enough super meter you can also transform into a magical girl. I was surprised that we got 2 different super forms here, but it’s fun enough. All of your stats greatly increase and you also get another super attack. For some reason it’s weaker than your normal one, but still fun to have. The main value here is just in your normal attacks getting so much stronger. You can really just rely on them to an extent although the form doesn’t last very long.

The game’s only fault may be that some parts aren’t super polished. At times when you click on X to get the next text to come through it won’t work so you have to click again. There are also a lot of typos in the text so I don’t think anyone actually reviewed it. Some people are pretty big grammar sticklers so they wouldn’t like that, but it doesn’t really bother me. It would have been an easy fix, but it’s mostly just letters left out here and there or ones that are close to each other like a v instead of a b.

As for the game’s cast, it’s fairly compact. There are a few deities with Leo being the main one. He’s a good coach type character who is always around to help Yuma out. Leo and Boss tend to keep way too many secrets though. I don’t see why they didn’t come clean with Yuma from the start as it would have saved them a lot of trouble. The other two deities are pretty good even if they never get quite as much to do. Running into the villain base was definitely not their smartest decision though.

Then you’ve got Yuma who is a really fun lead. She tends to take everything in stride which is good. She’s not the type to panic or question every little thing that happens in the monster world. For her it’s just another job. I’m glad she was the lead and not her friend. Her friend seems pretty pointless in the game as she just shows up for free food now and again and also tends to faint a lot. I suppose you need a friend like that to make the main character look even better, but Yuma was already solid so I don’t think she really even needed the help. Finally you’ve got the little girl who shows up near the end. She’s a fun character although if you’ve played Crystar then you probably already know how her character arc is going to go. She’s a good example of a quirky character who doesn’t go over the top and so manages to be a fun character to have around.

The graphics here are definitely really nice. The town looks vibrant and the same can be said for the gameplay. The level and character designs are on point and there’s just a lot of color here. You’ll know you’re playing a PS4 game right away. Then you’ve also got a pretty nice soundtrack. It’s very fast paced to the point where even Yuma’s ringtone is a battle song. Then you’ve got an anime opening type track which plays sparingly during the game as well. There are certainly no complaints here.

Overall, Dusk Diver is a fun game. I can’t really say that I had any complaints with it. Buying the game at full price may cause you to be a little upset at the length, but otherwise it’s not short enough where I’d feel like I was ripped off. By the time you get all of the trophies you’ll likely have been here for quite a while as well. I’d definitely recommend buying this game. Odds are that you probably haven’t heard of it before now either so the more people that play the game the better. Maybe that way people will start spreading the word. If the game ever gets a sequel them I’d definitely be up for that.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review


It’s time to take a look at the final Star Wars film in the main saga. It’s been a long road so we’ve been waiting quite a while for this one. This trilogy has definitely had a checkered history with the first film being pretty much a 1-1 remake of episode IV and V destroyed any semblance of Luke Skywalker’s character, but did give us some of the first fight scenes we had in a very long time. This one is definitely better than the last two films. It may not take the series to the next level, but it certainly has more positives than negatives and I would easily recommend it to anyone who wants a good action film.

The movie starts off by with the group scattered once again. The Empire is on the offensive as always and Kylo Ren is searching for even greater power. He has found a new spark of life for his army and they threaten the very universe. Rey has been training so that she would be ready for the next big battle and is closer to being a Jedi Master. This has caused her to not be as available to the resistance which does bring some apprehensive feelings from the other characters. Finn and Poe have done their best to locate more intel but they are heavily outgunned and need some kind of backup support. Can the resistance rise up to overthrow the empire or have they finally hit their limit?

Right away one positive in the film is that it has a very fast pace. Something is always happening and we get to cover a lot of ground. There aren’t a whole lot of action scenes or at least it feels that way, but the ones we do get are very good. Whenever Rey and Ren face off against each other you are sure to have a good fight. The series still isn’t nearly as good at the battles as in films II and III which is a little odd since those are so old, but the battles still hold up. I always like hearing the lightsaber effects and how they are designed as well. The Force abilities are also pretty versatile and can be used in many ways. The film did a good job of incorporating them into the action scenes.

Luke Skywalker actually didn’t look terrible here which is already a point above the last film. He seemed like his old self and I was glad about that. It’s always fun to have cameos from the older characters through their force ghosts although some of them can be a bit much here. One character in particular was a bit iffy since he really shouldn’t have the ability to become a force ghost compared to the others. We can assume that they let him in and it’s not like the rules are totally set, but it did feel a bit cheesy. It does help make this finale feel a little more special though. We get to see almost every important character and location in the series.

One of the film’s weaknesses is that it’s a long movie that does feel long though. In part this is because the cast can’t hold their own scenes as well as the original characters. Rey does a good job as the lead, but Poe and Finn aren’t quite as exciting in the B plot as Han Solo was back in the day. We get to see a lot of nice backdrops in various scenes, but the scenery does add up which also gets attributed to the feeling that the film’s lasting a while. It’s probably a tradeoff that is unavoidable to feel like a LOTR epic, but I think the film could have shrunk the length down a bit or maybe focused more on Rey and thrown in some more fight scenes.

As always Rey is a great lead. In this film she is really struggling with her past a lot and trying not to go to the dark side. It’s a good internal battle and Rey tends to make the right decisions. I do think her friends had a point that she was taking too long training when they could use her on the front lines, but the training did allow her to stay on par with Kylo Ren so without it I wonder how she would have fared. Rey not come out on top every time, but she always fights hard and it’s nice to have a Jedi who is trained so well for a change. It feels like a long time since we’ve been to this point. The scene of her dragging down a ship was impressive the likes of which we haven’t seen since Starkiller.

This is one of the best parts about the film in general. It’s great to see Rey as a Jedi Master who is pretty confident and knows what she is doing. I’d like to see her go rogue a little more and just wreck the enemy, but she shows us enough so we know what she is capable of. We haven’t seen someone as powerful as her since episode III so it’s been a considerably long time. The fun part is when you think about it she is way stronger than even someone like Darth Vader just going by the films, but his appearances came before the effects got to this point so it’s not totally an equal comparison.

Unfortunately Finn didn’t bring his A game this time. I found him to be pretty annoying in a lot of scenes where he acts like he knows Rey better than Poe. Whether that is true or not he comes across as pretty obnoxious. One scene in particular is when he accuses Poe of not understanding Rey and when Poe asks him to help get this understanding, Finn just doesn’t bother helping out. It’s like telling someone that they don’t know the right answer and you do, but then not giving it to them when asked. In general I thought Finn was giving Poe a hard time throughout the film when it wasn’t really deserved. Poe was actually quite solid here. He got the shaft in the first two films compared to the other two so it was nice to see him take more of an active role here. Poe is probably the closest we would get to Han Solo so it’s nice to have another hot shot pilot like him.

Meanwhile we’ve got Kylo Ren on the villain side. I still can’t take him all that seriously without his helmet because of how beat up he always looks. The guy can still fight though so ideally this should be enough to get you on his side. While I can’t go into detail on his character too much, I thought his portrayal here was pretty good. I consider it to be an improvement over how he looked in the last two films. His first scene in the movie is probably his best one though even if he made the wrong call in the end.

Part of why most of the characters are at their best here is because the writing is pretty solid. We get a good script with some nice humor included. Most of the characters make the rational choices time and time again. The villains are constantly in-fighting while the heroes keep using their bonds to get through tough times. It helps their resistance feel a little more realistic even if they probably should have been completely wiped off the map by now. I already covered the fights, but the effects in general are really great as well.

Princess Leia is one character who I felt had no real purpose in this film. She was one of those characters who was just here for nostalgia along with a bunch of cameos. We got a flashback scene with her and I feel like it should not have been included because it just makes her look terrible. The reason why she gave up something boils down to her being scared of the future and that’s always one of the worst reasons to abandon something. She also made some wrong calls with regard to certain secrets so overall she really didn’t help the troops much at all.

One interesting concept that the film dabbles with is how the force can allow you to be in multiple places at once and transcend space/time. It seems like an interesting take on the astral plane because in a way that’s how the characters are connected. It was cool to see how they would effect different places at the same time. One point where I don’t see how it worked is how both characters got a lightsaber at the end and you’ll know what scene I’m talking about when you watch the film. It’s possible one was on the ground, but if the force duplicated it then that might be stretching things a little bit. Otherwise I think this ability still makes sense and is effectively a further demonstration of the usual force ghost abilities.

It does always make you wonder why the heroes don’t use this more often to mess with the villains. It opens up an interesting can of worms since the heroes could have easily ruined the villain’s plans a lot sooner if they would act in the real world more. One of the novels explained why they do not, but most of those are not canon anymore so I’d like the films to address it at some point. The power levels are pretty good for the most part though so I don’t really have any issues there. The soundtrack is good as well even if a whole lot of it is really just re-used from older films. I’d like to start seeing some new music in any future films going forward.

It’s hard to pick what the best scene in the film is, but mine is possibly when two characters are struggling for control over a ship in the distance. It’s a really nice scene showing how persistent both characters are and was one of the best portrayals of their individual strength as well. It was also the right move for the hero to do there instead of retreating or following. Just grabbing the ship made the most sense so long as it was a feasible option and that’s exactly what happened. One scene where a character made the wrong move is when someone rightfully mentions that they should consider a potential counter and as he is going into detail on why they should think about it he gets silenced. I guess some people just don’t want to win….

This film has a little romance although fortunately not much. Unfortunately it wasn’t handled well at all. This doesn’t feel like a natural progression considering how much animosity was between the two characters. It’s great that they could move past this so quickly of course, but jumping to the next step was a bit soon. Time was of the essence I suppose so it might have been more of a gesture of friendship with one person feeling bad for the other, but no matter how you slice it I couldn’t really give this part a thumbs up.

Rise of Skywalker has a pretty satisfying ending that deals with everything more or less. There is one missed opportunity in my opinion though. One character gets one last line to end the film with and if it was one word different it would have been amazing. It would have probably been pretty controversial as well, but sometimes you gotta take some big risks. This isn’t a negative though as it’s a purely subjective change and either way it works well enough.

So, where does Rise of Skywalker rank overall? Well, I’d put it above pretty much all of the films except III which ages better each time and IV. It’s tough with V, Rogue One, and VI, but I may have to actually put this one above those. Here’s the thing, those films had a more interesting setup and better characters, but I would call this the stronger film. I’d sooner rewatch those in part because it’s been a while, but if we’re comparing initial viewings then I would have to pick this one. So initially I thought this was around middle tier, but this would actually put it near the top.

All in all, this third trilogy is the strongest one. It may have had a slight dip with the middle film, but it didn’t have any bad installments either. I still think the worst thing it did was basically make all of the old films pointless with the reveal in VII that the Empire is back, but after that it recovered well. I think it’ll definitely live on as a nice trilogy for new viewers who don’t necessarily want to go back to the older days. I am interested in seeing new films come out with a fresh cast and all though. One thing I still really want is more Jedi and Sith battles. I’d like some high end battles like in Episode III. This one had some good battles, but there was still nothing even close to the level of those.

Overall, Rise of Skywalker is a solid way to wrap up the Star Wars series. I think I covered about as much as I could without heading into spoiler territory. I won’t call it a great movie because despite the fast pacing it wasn’t always super engaging. I think in part this is because the big emotional moments don’t really land. Seeing some guest stars and throwbacks to the past is always fun and all but I wouldn’t call any of these scenes particularly powerful. The action and effects should still keep you busy though and the film is technically sound. The writing is good and at the very least you can see how there was a lot of effort put in here. I’d recommend checking this film out whether you are a Star Wars fan or not. You should be able to jump in and quickly understand what is happening thanks to the helpful opening text and the fact that the basic plot (large scale) is easy enough to understand. It’s a war and the empire is the evil side.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Deadpool: Samurai Review


It’s time to take a look at a quick one shot that came out for Deadpool a while back. It’s always nice to see Marvel have some collaborations with Shonen Jump. It definitely breaks the wall quite a lot as you would expect from a Deadpool comic and definitely delivers on all the action you would expect. It’s pretty entertaining and at only one chapter you’ll be breezing through this story real quick.

It starts with a bunch of samurai gangsters attacking a girl. Fortunately they are interrupted as Deadpool shows up inside of a baby carriage. He decides to stop these guys and save the girl while hurling insults the whole time. The gangsters have never dealt with anyone quite like Deadpool so as you can imagine they are definitely not too well equipped to handle this guy. They’ll have to try using all the weapons at their disposal, but against a guy who is basically immortal all this will ultimately do is prolong the inevitable. The victor is never in doubt in this title.

The artwork is certainly pretty nice. The action scenes are on point and there is a lot of detail here. Whoever drew the comic definitely gave it their all and didn’t phone it in. I could easily see this getting some more chapters and doing well as an ongoing series. There’s just a lot you can do with Deadpool and the art would be able to keep up.

The actual story may not have a lot of stakes since it’s obvious that Deadpool will beat up on these humans, but for a one shot it’s not like you’re trying to build up any big plots anyway. It’s really just about introducing people to Deadpool and throwing in some one liners. There are a lot of third wall breaking moments as Deadpool keeps plugging in the comics. I’m definitely fine with skipping his origin story here since as he mentioned most people will likely know it anyway. Even if he was a brand new character, I feel like the origin story isn’t something that you worry about for the pilot. It would take too much time away from everyone else.

Most of the story is Deadpool just owning everyone and reminding the audience that he isn’t a total hero like the others. Ultimately he is protecting the girl but he is murdering everyone else so think of him like the Punisher. His goals align more with the average hero’s, but he doesn’t go all in on trying to save everyone the way that they do. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time and took advantage of that. The manga can get a little violent even with the parody nature so that’s something to keep in mind when you’re reading of course. Pretty much everyone gets bullets and stabs into them before the day is through.

Overall, It was a little surprising to see Deadpool as one of the first characters to get his own manga one shot, but I suppose he should have a lot of international value. I wonder if the movies did well in Japan. The final scene of the manga is definitely pretty fun and it’s something I would like to see more characters do. Since nobody in this world knows who Deadpool is he can really go crazy with trolling everyone. We get a quick guest star near the end which was fun. I think the artist could definitely do a good job with this character as well. If you haven’t read this story yet then you should check it out. It’s quite fast and a solid enough read on its own.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Crystar Review


It’s time to look at a video game that I hadn’t actually heard of before. It’s a pretty new one and doesn’t appear to be super mainstream so I’ll cut myself some slack here. It’s definitely got an interesting cover and with a name like this you can’t help but get a little interested. It’s definitely a pretty good game with a solid plot. I’d definitely be up for a sequel to this one.

The game starts off by introducing us to Rei and her little sister Mirai. They both wake up in a demonic world and don’t know how they get there. Unfortunately this leads to a monster showing up and the only way for Rei to defeat him is to open up a contract with the two leaders of this realm. They reveal that this world is Purgatory and that doesn’t bode well since Mirai ended up getting destroyed during the chaos early on. Her soul is now flying through purgatory and if it reaches the gears of revival she will be lost forever. Purgatory’s rulers give Rei a simply contract. They will give her the power to fight through the underworld and save her sister but in exchange she must destroy the Revenants that plague the world. Rei is determined to do whatever it takes to save her sister so while she doesn’t trust these self proclaimed demons and thinks the contract is suspect, she doesn’t have much of a choice. 

As you can tell the game’s plot is pretty deep as usually I could summarize the whole thing in one paragraph. As you may guess from the term purgatory this is a world you only enter if you are dead. The only exceptions are that revenants can suck away living humans into this demonic world in order to eat their souls. Technically revenants can also go after other revenants and dead souls, but a living one is worth a lot more so it speeds up their quest for revival. One they have attained enough for revival they will be able to go back to the real world and resume their life or potentially use their power to destroy it. It’s why the Executors (People who have signed a contract) are told to destroy them to keep the balance.On one hand, you’ve gotta take these guys down because they are eating all of the good souls as well. When someone dies if they forget their identity they become butterflies. Ones that retain some identity eventually level up into becoming a special butterfly or a revenant.

Ironically the ones with the strongest wills are the ones who are hunted. Strong mental fortitude is one of the most important traits for a soul to have in order to escape this place. So there are a lot of things to think about when targeting all of these souls but at the end of the day there doesn’t seem to be another way to save Mirai. For my two cents on that, the people are already dead and the ones who are mindless are just monsters at this point. Most of the revenants are completely evil as well and it would be hard to take them to prison. I do think it’s the right move not to destroy the good ones but of course it is tough since they all tend to lie quite a lot to get you to lower your guard. 

As for the gameplay, it’s a 3D best em up. You travel through maps that are created like a maze as you search for the exit. You rarely have to fight enemies but I recommend taking on most of them since the level ups are important. If you get to some of these bosses at a low level they’ll just end up crushing you with no mercy. One hit would be enough to finish you off and that’s not putting yourself in a great position. If you just fight all of the enemies you come across during your route in the game then you’ll be just fine when it comes to these challenges. You’ve got your standard attack, power attack, and a bunch of special moves. The power move is extremely slow though so I don’t recommend ever using it. It just never comes in handy and is so much slower that the slight increase in power is not worth it. This is partially due to the fact that you can dash cancel your standard combos. What I’ll do is throw out 3-4 hits and then immediately dash to continue the combo. A lot of games that use a dash feature end up having this feature so I always try for it. You always feel like this can’t be intentional because it really extends the combo, but if it’s there then I’m gonna use it. 

I ended up beating the game at a relatively early level as I hadn’t even hit 30 yet. It wasn’t bad though and I could still deal a good amount of damage. The equipment you have is the important part and I also bought a lot of food to amp up my stats during the fight. Leveling up will certainly help you beat bosses easier but it also makes the levels a lot longer so you just have to decide how to want to play this. I got to enjoy using all 4 characters throughout the game. Rei is definitely the most balanced one and my favorite for taking on minions. When the bosses would show up I liked Kokoro because while her attack range is terrible her power is through the roof. When she lands hits the bosses definitely feel it. Sen’s a good all around attacker so she’s good to switch in as well. Nanana is pretty broken with her projectiles but they deal an extremely low amount of damage. Put it this way, you can beat any level/any boss with ease using her, but it’ll take a super long amount of time. Keep her on the bench for emergencies.

The graphics are definitely solid here. In game it’s got a very goth/end of the world feel to it. It makes for a good atmosphere and the colors really stand out. I was also happy to see a full anime intro to the game which was pretty cool. The soundtrack is also pretty good. It’s not super extensive or anything, but it complements the game well. The game is definitely pretty somber the whole time so don’t expect to see too many bright colors or happy themes. The happiest theme is probably when Rei is at home, at least that part feels pretty normal.

As I mentioned the story is pretty dark. The same goes for even the normal levels as every enemy you face used to be human. When you destroy them they tend to throw curses at you hinting at how they died. Pretty much everyone has a tragic backstory here with everyone’s souls constantly crying at you. Crying is how you get stronger so prepare for a ton of that. I dare say it crosses the line a bit when one of the animals gets involved. The game handles it as well as something like that can be handled since there’s no blood and at least it happened painlessly in the human world, but I still did have to strike away a star for this. It really wasn’t needed in the game and the whole thing would have been better off without it.

As for the characters, they are all pushed to the breaking point as the game goes on. Rei definitely handles this the worst from all of them. I still don’t really buy into her stabbing the wrong person by accident the way she did. I’d like it if the game implied that someone forced her to do this, but surprisingly that didn’t happen. The whole game was someone’s plan so it’s reasonable to say that she did something, but it’s hard to confirm that. Regardless Rei cracks quite a lot as the game goes on. Everyone is always messing with her, but you still have to put a lot of blame on her.

Kokoro is a fun enough character aside from her Rei antics. She does a good job of moving past her origin story and keeping a lid on things. She’s a dependable ally to have. The climax of her character arc is similar to Captain America: Civil War’s so you’ll have to choose which side you’re on. I have to say that I’m on Kokoro’s, but it’s written well so you can understand where both characters are coming from. Sen’s a good character who’s justice angle is solid. She’s probably the most heroic out of the group although by the end her justice appears to waver. It’s a personal situation, but doesn’t change the fact that it goes against her ideals. Then we have Nanana who gets a smaller role than the other 3, but is a lot of fun.

She probably gets the roughest hand out of the group though because most of her scenes are people being mean to her. She’s always nice in response though so it gets pretty emotional. For supporting characters we have Mephis and Pheles. They’re more annoying than anything, but I suppose you need cryptically evil characters to balance things out. The one with glasses at least plays it straight though and gives some actually useful info. The other one just trolls 24/7. There are more characters but you should really play the game to get the full scoop. It has so much story that it’s like watching an anime or a movie.

There’s a lot of replay value here. For starters the game has 4 different endings. Beating the game once took me around 11.5 hours. Fortunately you don’t need to beat the whole game again for the different endings, but I fully expect you’ll be at 30+. Then if you want the Platinum it’ll take even longer. So there’s definitely a lot to enjoy even after you beat the game here.

Overall, Crystar is definitely a really solid game. It’s certainly very different from your average beat em up game. The whole thing really felt like Madoka from the abstract drawings to the contracts with the demons. I dare say that the game is even more grim as nobody really gets a happy ending here. Granted, I only played the default ending so I’m sure the true ending probably gives everyone a better conclusion. I’d definitely recommend checking this game out, but if you don’t like sad stories then this one won’t be for you.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special Review


It’s time to look at the classic He-Man Christmas special. This one is definitely pretty well known as a solid special from back in the day, but I hadn’t gotten to check it out til now. I can safely say that it does hold up remarkably well. You really don’t even need to know much about He-Man outside of the general premise and you’ll be fine here. It’s got a good dose of action and wit which makes for an enjoyable experience. It definitely reminds me of how much I miss the classic show.

The special starts off with Orko getting into a spaceship that he wasn’t supposed to enter and being blasted away. He-Man and She-Ra find out about this afterwards, but by then the mage is already all the way on Earth. Fortunately for him he bumps into two kids and they explain to him what Christmas is. By this point the heroes made a teleportation beam which takes them home, but Skeletor shows up and kidnaps the kids. The heroes will have to hurry and save them before CHristmas passes them by, but can the kids show Skeletor what it means to be a nice guy in the meantime?

This special wastes no time as it throws you right into an action scene. We get to see why He-Man is such a confident guy as he completely wrecks his opponents. He would have actually lost despite his impressive showing if not for She-Ra stepping in. They really do make quite the team as they cover each other’s back from sneak attacks. When they are together it’s hard to picture any opponent stopping them. The character cast is incredibly strong which is part of why the special is so good. He-Man’s always got a good one liner for everything. The puns and witty dialogue just don’t stop and I haven’t seen a film with writing this good in an extremely long time.

Meanwhile She-Ra has a very catchy theme song which plays almost every time she is on screen. It’s got a really great beat to it and it’s something you can listen to for a while. Surprisingly He-Man didn’t have a tune of his own, but I’ll assume that in the show he had one. Both of them have good transformation scenes where they say their catchphrases though. There are a few other heroes but other than Orko none of them are that important. Orko also doesn’t contribute nearly as much as the main two so he is pretty forgettable. His magical abilities seem to be quite weak as just saying a phrase can deactivate them. No wonder he is always getting into trouble.

Then we’ve got an ensemble of villains. The one that everyone should be familiar with by this point is Skeletor. He’s got a really iconic design and he’s strong enough to put fear into any opponent he goes up against. Even He-Man should be a little wary of taking him on one on one. His voice really seals the deal for the character as well. Now, his scenes with the kids may be a bit cheesy but he does need to take them in alive so making them coats made sense. I also do like that he grumbles about everything even if he ends up helping out at the end. A good villain isn’t afraid to help people out if it’ll further his goals and this tells me that Skeletor has a lot of confidence. Just look at Darth Vader, Garou, or Shego. They’re villains to the core, but they did step up to help someone out when the time was right. It’s just something that a quality villain will do. I’ve always liked Skeletor and I was pleased with his portrayal here.

There are other villains though like She-Ra’s main antagonist Hordak. I’m not really familiar with him, but he does have a pretty cool design as well. He seems like a second rate Skeletor, but one who could probably hold his own. He may have lost to the robots, but he still seemed like a pretty cool villain. Then you have Horde Prime who doesn’t actually get to appear but he does have an intimidating voice. I really didn’t know anything about this guy so it would be cool to see him show up at some point. The He-Man universe is definitely filled with a lot of interesting characters. Finally we can’t forget about the Monstroids. These guys had cool designs and were really having their way with the heroes. They were definitely surprise hits and I won’t be forgetting them anytime soon.

The animation here is really good and feels like peak 80s-90s animation. You’ll get a Cybertron vibe from the Monstroids planet as well. The fight scenes hold up and it’s always good to see He-Man and She-Ra just wrecking their opponents. It’s easy to see how they could keep up with the Justice League when they’ve fought each other over the years. A good special should be accessible to new viewers while also being fun for long-time fans and I’d say that this one really managed to satisfy this. It certainly got me more interested to take a look at the TV show from back in the day. I suspect it would be a whole lot of fun and would probably even beat out the various competitors from back in the day except possibly for Transformers.

Overall, This He-Man special is one that I highly recommend watching for Christmas. I don’t care if you’re familiar with the series or not, it’s just good wholesome fun. This style of writing you don’t see much anymore and it’s a shame. I liked the unbounded heroism and confidence that you see in the heroes here. They’re not self aware or parodying themselves, they just know that they are strong enough to keep the peace and stop the villains. It’s why they are symbols of hope in the universe. Hopefully we get a new He-Man film at some point because I’d love to see what these two could do with some modern effects as well.

Overall 8/10