4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Legend of the Lone Ranger Review


It’s time to look at another adaption of the Lone Ranger. Unfortunately this movie was not good. In fact, I’d say it was a bad movie. I’ve certainly seen much worse and I wouldn’t say it’s terrible or anything like that but it’s just not that engaging, interesting, or fun. It really doesn’t do much to make you think of the Lone Ranger as a solid franchise or anything like that. Ultimately it just drives you away from the franchise entirely. Maybe someday they will make a good Lone Ranger film but perhaps the series just doesn’t translate well into cinema without mixing up the plot a bit. Throw in some sci-fi or something and that could help.

The movie has a whole lot of time jumps and origin stories thrown in. It starts off by showing us John as a kid though. His parents get murdered so he heads with Tonto into town. Another relative of John’s shows up though and takes him back to civilization. John then meets up with his brother and the rest of the Rangers. They’re betrayed by one of their own though and they all get slaughtered except for John who is saved by Tonto. John once again gets to be a part of the tribe and now he is determined to avenge his brother and the rangers by taking down the leader of the villains, Butch. Tonto agrees to come along so now the Lone Ranger won’t be alone this time. The two of them set off for an adventure filled with action and hype.

Right away one problem with the film is that John effectively has two origins/sob stories here. Why do you gotta murder his parents which causes him to join the tribe and then murder his brother and the rangers later on? It seems to be like they did this to give John a reason to go back to the tribe but why take him away from them in the first place? Didn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me and if anything it just drags on the film quite a bit. You really did not need to go down this route and if the film had just avoided that then I believe it would have had better pacing. There’s not a lot that would have saved the film from its next flaw though.

It’s just rather boring. It’s hard to find any really great characters here and the plot is as slow as molasses. It takes eons for anything to happen in this film to the point where you’re tired out by the climax. Considering that this is a wild west film where everyone is corrupt, there aren’t a ton of gunfights either. One of the longest action scenes is when John is on a wagon that is attacked by wagons. The other characters try to shoot at the bandits. What does John do? Nothing. He just stays seated until the others are bumped off at which point he goes to the front and surrenders. That’s a great way to ensure you survive of course but it’s not the kind of action you expect from the hero of the story. I had to do a double take on that because I was absolutely not expecting this. I suppose the Ranger does what he wants though.

The only character I’ll give major props to was Tonto. He was a very loyal friend who had John’s back at every turn. He’s someone you can count on and I appreciate the fact that he was always there. He may not have been a terrific fighter or anything like that but loyalty is ultimately worth more than skill. Tonto showed that John didn’t have to do everything on his own and that’s a good thing because John was not ready to handle this. I do like the mask though. It may not be a very inspired costume but it’s definitely an iconic one at this point. Who knew that putting on a mask could do so much to make you a hero right?

As for Butch, he’s your classic villain in a wild west setting like this. He wants to be rich and cause chaos. Taking out the President will certainly achieve both objectives. This guy has enough men to launch an attack on pretty much any location that he pleases. There’s really nothing to him beyond that. He’s just another guy for John to eventually mow down once he gets past all of the guards. The President was pretty fun too. I’m always up for getting the President involved. I would have liked to have seen him really mix it up with the villains though like something out of White House Down. That would have been a blast even if it would have maybe gone against the tone of the film a bit.

In general I’m not a big fan of wild west films but I’m sure you can do them well if you really try. We needed more humorous scenes at least like the one where the ranger talks about how it’s not the bullet that destroys you but the fall. Then he is promptly destroyed by a bullet and was at ground level so there is no fall to be had. It’s one of those visual irony scenes that works pretty well because of the timing. I mean, it may be tragic in part but I’m pretty sure this was played as a funny moment or at least the movie knew that it was being ironic. With more writing like that and a focused plot this film could have been good. It’s not even like it made any super big mistakes.

The movie just comes across as rather boring which is something that you never want to be. The last thing a movie wants to be known for is not being engaging. The songs this film had are pretty uninspired and it doesn’t sound like the singer was really into it either. That doesn’t help. Then you’ve got some scenes that go on for quite a long while like John trying to get used to the horse or getting knocked out yet again and having to be nursed back to health. The movie will probably be more engaging if you’re really into nature and just like seeing the backgrounds but for me I need to be having a lot of activity on screen.

Overall, The Legend of the Lone Ranger is a film that just didn’t work out. It forgot to actually include any thrills along with the plot. The backgrounds get very repetitive and the old setting doesn’t work either. The writing isn’t particularly impressive nor is the cast very memorable. The Lone Ranger may be a decent concept but this film definitely didn’t show me any of that. Don’t get me wrong, this still beats the newer Lone Ranger film but that’s really not saying a whole lot at all. I’m confident that the next Lone Ranger film will be able to beat this one. It has to….right?

Overall 4/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Tangled Review


It’s time to look at a pretty big Disney film from back in the day. Tangled may not have soared to quite the same heights as Frozen but it still made a name for itself in its own right. The tale of Rapunzel is definitely a classic to be sure so it’s nice to see a full fledged adaption. The movie has solid songs, strong writing, and pretty good animation so it’s a solid all around package. I’m definitely in the camp that says Frozen still wins the rivalry between the two but Tangled is certainly a solid film that doesn’t back down to anyone.

The movie starts by showing us the origin of Rapunzel. Her mother was gravely ill so the kingdom used the legendary flower to restore her health. This resulted in Rapunzel being born with incredible abilities. Her hair has the ability to heal injuries and even to dial a person’s age back. It must be used regularly though as it can only stall the age from occurring for so long. A lady named Gothel kidnaps Rapunzel one day and hides her in a tower not too far away from town. I do question to an extent how the kingdom never found her but realistically I suppose it is a long journey and you can’t catch everyone. Rapunzel grows up for many years trapped in the castle with Gothel who has tricked her into thinking that they are mother and daughter. One day a thief named Flynn tries to hide in the tower to avoid getting caught by the military and is promptly knocked out by Rapunzel. Since Gothel will never let Rapunzel go, the heroine has decided to force Flynn to escort her to the annual party in the kingdom. Flynn doesn’t want to do this but it’s not like he has much of a choice. Gothel will have to try and tear these two apart while keeping the facade up but it will be difficult.

You’ll recognize most of the usual story beats. The stories are all pretty popular so the goal is always to just execute the ideas well and I’d say that Tangled succeeds in this mission. As always there are a good amount of songs and the film is always doing something interesting visually so that you have something to watch while the songs are going on. That’s always low key been something Disney does way better than everyone else. Part of the fun in the live action Aladdin film was how many different special effects they could throw at you in a single song. You gotta admit, a lot of films don’t really go the extra mile there. There’s also so much you could do with Rapunzel’s hair that it would be a shame to miss the opportunity.

Rapunzel is a solid heroine. I like how independent she is and the fact that she knows self defense. She did actually take Flynn down for the count when he first appeared rather than panicking or anything of the sort. She also hatched a good plan and made herself a quality deal. Rapunzel’s hair having actual super powers is another feather in her cap so to speak. I suppose her powers merit more comparisons with Elsa and they are fairly close in how cool each character is. Rapunzel gets tricked perhaps 1 too many times but ultimately she makes the right move. I do have to question how she was taken out near the end of the film but I’ll assume it was a cheap attack.

Then we have her partner Flynn who is solid and gives us a lot of the comedic wit in the story. He’s certainly no hero when the film starts as he actively robs the capital. His overconfidence is also what leads him to get caught as he could have just stolen the crown but naturally had to make sure everyone knew he did it. Villains striving to get the credit they think they deserve is definitely nothing new and often sabotages them just as much as the heroes. He gets a solid character arc with Rapunzel though and it’s handled pretty well. One thing that will always elevate a film is good banter and this one certainly had that.

Gothel works as a solid villain. She may be a bit on the obvious side at times with how she doesn’t even pretend to be a nice mother to Rapunzel. I’m not sure what her rationale is, but it’s not unrealistic. I wouldn’t have minded a more nuanced take on her character but I think the film didn’t want to take a chance on her becoming sympathetic. At her core, Gothel is a petty thief who literally kidnapped a baby so that’s the end of that. She also earns extra points for actually stabbing someone. Gothel’s one of the more serious Disney villains we’ve seen. Maximus is the main animal character here and he’s definitely a lot of fun. The horse is incredibly determined to complete his mission of tracking down Flynn and you have to give him some major respect for following the thief for as long as he did. Maximus does a whole lot to complete this task and it’s really impressive. He was definitely a scene stealer if you ask me and the best character in the film. You just can’t top this guy.

With good writing and animation to back this film up it was definitely bound to be as good as it was. There’s really no weakpoints to the story and I would consider it to be one of Disney’s better ones. One of these days I ought to write an editorial ranking them all but there have been so many Disney princess stories that I’ll need to make sure I have them all straight. I’m still waiting for a big crossover film someday. They’d probably have to stick to adding maybe 6-10 in order to keep the story focused but I’d definitely be game for that.

Overall, Tangled is definitely a quality film and one worth watching. As always Disney has constructed a solid cast around Rapunzel and the film is enhanced by the solid song selection and good graphics. This is a nice story from start to finish with a good focus on the plot and solid pacing. Rapunzel herself may come across as a little slow on the uptake at times but since she has grown up in a super limited environment by a character who is known to be cunning then it does make a certain amount of sense. You can only do so much when put into a position like that. I’d definitely be up for a full sequel someday. There’s definitely more that you could do with this franchise.

Overall 7/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Pokemon: Twilight Wings Review


It’s time to look at a recent Pokemon web series that ended. It’s always nice to get some new animated material. Pokemon recently did something similar with Pokemon Generations although that one was way too ambitious in scope and ended up being rather disappointing. Twilight Wings from the start is going for a much more inspirational/somber feel to the shorts. These aren’t about big action scenes or colorful backgrounds. It’s actually all very subdued which is where the somber part comes from while also showing that everyone is trying hard to get ready for their futures. It’s a fun little collection of shorts.

There are 7 shorts in all and they’re all under 10 minutes. So if you merge them together this could be around a 40 minute OVA or something like that. Each short changes main character except for the first and last shorts which are about a kid who is rather sick but wants to be a Pokemon trainer. His friend’s definitely a good kid to have around as he tries his best to make sure that the main character is able to get closer to his friend. The rest of the shorts vary in plot and will always have an ending scene that teases the lead of the next main character. I’ll talk briefly about each short.

The first one I already went over. It’s one of the weaker ones in the collection but is fun enough. It’s always nice to see the kids have a happy ending especially when they’ve clearly been through a lot already. The second one is about Bea who is training for her next fight. She actually spars with her Pokemon which is pretty impressive. Unfortunately she gets stuck in a cave in, but this helps her remember that her strength is with her friends as a team and not by doing everything on her own. We get a little action here which is always pretty neat so this was a solid followup.

Then we have one about Hop who is admiring how great Leon is as per usual. His Wooloo feels bad about this and runs away though so now Hop has to find him. Sometimes it can be obvious that the main character is in the wrong but this time I think Wooloo was making a mountain out of a molehill. It showed that Hop was as close to Wooloo as ever though by having him chase after his friend. This was one of the shorts going for a more emotional angle and it worked well. Hop may have been one of the least impressive rivals in Pokemon but it doesn’t take away from him being a pretty good guy in general.

The 4th short is about Nessa as she tries to balance her career of being a model and a gym leader. People say that it can’t be done and she will have to choose one. Ultimately she chooses to keep going in both fields and will prove her doubters wrong. It’s part of why she is one of the better gym leaders as it takes a lot of drive to maintain two careers at once like this. I was glad she didn’t choose to sacrifice any of them.

Next one’s a slice of life short about Oleana as she tries to deal with Chairman Rose’s rather impromptu ideas. He tends to vanish or get sidetracked very easily. It’s clear that she’s got a tough job on her shoulders. Another good special but a lot more low key compared to most of the others. Then we have the short with Allister which is the weakest short in the series. Still not saying it’s bad or anything but the gym leader’s personality doesn’t work for me. The character doesn’t really talk and the kids don’t have enough snappy dialogue to really make the atmosphere work. It’s hard to hold your own episode after all.

Finally, we end with the kid finally getting to meet Leon. Leon helps him realize that his dream to simply meet Leon wasn’t what he was actually meant to do. The kid really wants to go out there and beat Leon and so the champion gives him a little hope that he can pull this off someday. It’s a fun way to end and while the gym leaders seem to not understand Leon (Some going as far as to say he was holding back or not taking the fight seriously) at least they all understand his strength. I like the idea of an unbeatable champion like Leon because it makes the fight with him feel all the more grand.

So those are the 7 specials. Due to the length of the specials the summaries of each special pretty much tell the whole story but I tried to keep them brief. The series is so short that you should really go ahead and check them out. Especially since it’s only 7 episodes in total. They’re all fun and it’s a nice, calm series to check out. The animation style is going for the washed out look which isn’t exactly my favorite but I think they were going for a look to try and resemble the games a bit more than the anime. Something like Generations is going a lot more traditional with vibrant colors but since this one is going for that somber atmosphere perhaps they thought it would be a little distracting. The brief fight scenes we get still look good though with a lot of shockwave effects to show the scale of the attacks.

This is more about the stories than the visuals or soundtrack though so it makes sense that this would be the focus. I can’t really recall any particular big themes either but we had no long fights that would have taken advantage of them anyway. Twilight Wings thrives on the fact that it makes no real mistakes. After watching each episode you’ll be satisfied with what you saw and can easily binge the rest of it or do one episode at a time. Hopefully we get more Pokemon web series like this in the future. I think these bite sized portions are always a good idea for any series. They help to expand the franchise and give each character more development. They could also work as brief character moments in a future game. Imagine the next Pokemon game having 5-7 minute cutscenes that play out showing a character’s origin. I think it would work rather well.


Overall, Pokemon: Twilight Wings is a solid series. I would definitely recommend it whether you are a Pokemon fan or just a general viewer of media. You don’t have to be a fan to appreciate the themes it’s going for. At the end of the day it’s about showing that you make your own path and to keep going when things are getting tough. None of the characters in the series give up and it ultimately ends up benefiting each and every one of them. The payoff may not always be as great as literally becoming champion of the world but you can still get some personal victories in the meantime. Of course aside from more mini series I would still like to have either a bug budget anime version of Pokemon Ruby (Or Omega Ruby so we get Zinnia) or Pokemon Adventures. It’s time we get more media and it’s Pokemon so it would sell really well.

Overall 7/10

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

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad Review


It’s time to look at a classic Sinbad film. Believe it or not but I’ve never really seen a Sinbad movie before. He’s one of those classic characters that I certainly know about but that’s about it. The guy’s effectively been a mystery to me. I’m also not typically a big fan of pirate films because I’m not a huge fan of the water. You typically can’t have great fight scenes there and while the ocean might look nice, it can get old. Fortunately this film is actually quite good though. I’d definitely say that it will keep your interest pretty well and has aged very well.

The film starts with Sinbad deciding to rest a bit on an island. His crew has been on a long voyage to get the princess Parisa back to the kingdom where she and Sinbad will be married. Their visit to the island is a short one as it turns out a Cyclops lives there. A magician known as Sokurah joins the crew but insists that they go back to the island because he clumsily dropped his magic lamp. How do you drop a lamp that is pretty much all powerful? The lamp has some limits like the fact that is can’t directly attack but its use is still only limited by your imagination. Sinbad says it would be foolish to go back to Sokurah has to think of a plan. His plan is to shrink Parisa down to the size of an apple. Sinbad must now go back to the island to reclaim the Lamp which will allow Sokurah to turn her back to normal. Can Sinbad really stop the Cyclops?

Pretty fun plot but I give Sinbad too much credit in it. Put it this way, Sinbad actually doesn’t realize that Sokurah shrunk her down. He seems to think it was some kind of crazy coincidence even though Sokurah was about as obvious as he could be. Seriously, it seems like he would have had to draw a huge sign or something given how slow on the uptake everyone is. This guy pits the two kingdoms against each other with ease. Part of the issue is that Parisa’s father is quite gullible indeed and thinks Sinbad’s kingdom is to blame. I get the kingdom rivalries and all but this was just too obvious.

I guess you had to get Sinbad back to the island somehow though. His portrayal here is a bit different than what I was expecting but not in a bad way. He’s actually not the kind of guy to take on any risk. He chooses his battles and that’s worth noting. It’s why he initially says that going back to the island is crazy. It’s not so much that he’s afraid of the Cyclops but why fight a battle that you don’t need too? There is wisdom in what he says.

I liked Sinbad. He’s a pretty good guy and a solid fighter. His best scene is probably when he has to take on the whole crew once they start a mutiny. I was expecting a few people to turn on him but just about everyone? That was intense and a great fight scene for sure. Sinbad had a few allies but they never really got much of a role so it’s hard to tell if that was a homage to his original crew or just some loyal fellows.

Parisa is also pretty solid. I did appreciate the fact that she tried helping despite her size. She was good with helping unlock the heroes while they were in the cage and any contribution is a good one if you ask me. She was much better than the two kings. Her maid was also pretty unreasonable so Parisa comes across as the voice of reason here. I’m not sure what they would do without her.

As for the villain Sokurah, it’s hard not to like that guy. He’s so obviously evil the whole time. You half expect him to start cackling at any given moment. Yet, his powers are very real. If he can do all of these things like altering someone’s shape and shrinking others, I feel like he could have taken down the Cyclops a lot easier than he did. Maybe he has a size limit but even so if he had hyped up his magical powers sooner the kingdoms may have actually helped him. Kingdoms love raw power so they would very quickly have him as an ally.
Finally we have Barani but he didn’t work so well as a Genie. I didn’t like the fact that he would always say that he would try to grant a wish. Don’t try….you’re a genie!! He should be able to just do it and in the end he always does so I question why it was so difficult. Barani is just underestimating himself at this point.

Ultimately a big reason as to why the film was so good is because the writing is on point and the pacing is solid. The script is quite solid and gets us a lot of good banter with all of the characters. As I mentioned, it’s also just aged really well in general. Sinbad has a lot of good fights like with the Skeleton or the crew. It’s all ahead of its time in that respect. It’s also a pretty surreal film like when the Ogre first shows up. It can be a bit sudden and unexpected if you aren’t familiar with Sinbad because of how realistic it all appeared to be at first. We even get a monster fight near the end which I was definitely not expecting.

Overall, I dare say that this is the definitive version of Sinbad. I haven’t seen any other Sinbad films so this might feel a little early to say but it’s just that good. It hits all the right beats of what a Sinbad film should contain. How can you go wrong right? The film is also over in a flash. It doesn’t drag on at all and its fairly close to getting an 8. There are some films like this where I’m tempted to give an 8 but I guess it would need a bit of an extra push. Still, there’s nothing wrong with being a 7 because that just means you were very fun. This title has a lot of replay value and I would recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

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

Hopscotch Review

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

It’s time for a look at a more comedic kind of spy film. It’s a pretty clever premise and one that the film executes pretty well. What you’ve got here is effectively a parody of those big films you tend to see about spies like James Bond or Jason Bourne. The fact that this one predates some of those installments just makes it all the more impressive. I think the whole scenario lends itself pretty well to humor as there’s quite a lot you can do here. It also reminds you why when you are in a pretty tricky position your boss really ought to actually show you to the door on the spot so things don’t get dicey. It wouldn’t have done much in this case though so the film handled itself well there too.

The film starts with the CIA working on a Russian case. That’s when Kendig walks in and busts the operation while also letting Yaskov go. His boss isn’t thrilled about this while Kendig explains that he always lets the boss go so they can read their movements a little better. That is a risky gambit in itself so I can understand Myerson’s reasoning for being upset to an extent but either way he’s not portrayed as a reasonable character here. He just wants to sack Kendig and is willing to do whatever he has to in order to do it. This was the excuse he needed so he demotes Kendig to office work. Kendig decides to leave in retaliation and decides to write a book exposing everything about the CIA to all of the other intelligence agencies.

Just to torment the CIA, Kendig decides to send in the novel one chapter at a time to the newspapers. Now the CIA wants to silence him and Russian intelligence definitely wants their hands on Kendig. He’ll have to try to outwit everyone as he keeps on travelling around the globe. He’ll need some help though so he visits his old friend Isobel and convinces her to get on board with this plan as well. She’s reluctant at first but finds the whole thing rather amusing and ultimately agrees to assist. They’ll have to tread carefully. They’re mainly dealing with the CIA so it’s not like they’re fighting some random villains but if they’re caught it’s definitely game over.

Isobel is definitely the standout character here. She’s a really great partner to have and does a good job of supporting Kendig the whole time. She’s also got a whole lot more to lose than Kendig at this point as she has built quite a nice life for herself. Everything was on the upwards trend but with the CIA she could end up losing out on everything. Still, she stays strong throughout and even helps out on the missions even if it means losing out on sleep. The movie wouldn’t have been quite the same without her.

Kendig is also a solid main character. It’s fun to see how sarcastic he is the whole time and always has a witty comeback at the ready. I think it goes a long way into also showing just how solid the writing is in the film. It’s consistently good all the way through and this film could not succeed if the writing was not on point. The humor plays a big part into the execution and the movie manages to nail that. The characters are just a lot of fun.

Myerson makes for a solid antagonist. He just wants to take Kendig down no matter what he has to do. Even at the end he shows no real remorse for possibly shooting Kendig down. That really solidifies the fact that he was completely on the other side of the fence by then. He would do whatever he needed to do in order to stay on top. The man he had in charge of the Kendig case was also pretty good. His name was Cutter and he looks up to Kendig so this was pretty tough for him. There’s also not a whole lot he can do here since Kendig always seems to be one step ahead of him. Cutter’s still learning after all and it’ll take him a while to make it all the way to Kendig’s level.

If I had a complaint, it’s that I would have liked to have seen the international reactions a bit more. I think they could have really played that up quite a bit. The closest we got was the European response as their Prime Minister couldn’t stop laughing at the whole thing. I wanted to see more of that because it would make for a lot of great interactions. One scene that was also handled really well was when the CIA arrived to try and blackmail the paper into not publishing the novel. This publisher was pretty intelligent and wasn’t about to fold. He already had a lot of plans underway and that’s exactly how you have to handle such a situation. He was determined to let the freedom of the press do its thing.

Overall, Hopscotch definitely surpassed my expectations and ended up being a great film. It’s really got everything you could want in such a title. The humor is on point and the writing is solid. The pacing is on point and quite a lot happens without the film ever dragging out. Kendig always finds a new way to keep on humiliating and embarrassing the other characters. You have to admire the guy’s creativity here. He’s able to think quickly even when he actually does get stopped by one of the police groups at one point. It’s clear to see that he was quite the field agent which shows how he would know all of these techniques in the first place. Yes, if you want a good spy thriller taken from a different angle than the usual fare then this is definitely one you should check out.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Mob Psycho 100 II: The First Spirits and Such Company Trip Review


It’s time to look at a quick Mob Psycho OVA from a while back. It’s always fun to see the gang return and hopefully we get a proper sequel at some point. This one gathers the characters in a new environment and Reigen gets to be the main character so you can’t really top that. The new villain even gets quite a bit of hype. It’s a reasonably sized special at around half n hour so you’ve got time to have some fun here. It’s really a good chance to hang out with the cast in a fun environment.

The special starts with a lady showing up and asking Reigen for help. Her inn is being haunted as travelers who attempt to go there fall into another dimension during the trip. As a result the Inn is losing business and she has also grown rather ill. Reigen figures this is probably fake, but the lady agrees to pay for the trip and all expenses so he agrees to help. Serizawa is now a member of the team and Reigen also invites Ritsu and Teruki in addition to his partner Mob. They all get on the train but after dozing off, Reigen awakens to find that only Serizawa remains. Not only are the other characters gone but they seem to be trapped in the car. Whenever Reigen attempts to leave he ends up right back where he started in a loop. He is clearly getting nowhere fast and that’s starting to worry him. Still, he has to keep a brave face on in front of Serizawa. How long can Reigen keep the two of them alive?

As always Reigen is in over his head on this one but I always like how he is able to fake his way through it all. He doesn’t know that everyone else escaped because of their psychic powers so he’s just doing his best to think things through rationally. Throughout it all he still has the drive to save half of the food for Serizawa despite starving to death. At his core Reigen’s still a good guy as always. He’s one of those interesting characters that you can count on for the big stuff although he will cheat you in the smaller ways. It makes for a pretty unique character trait if you ask me. You don’t really see a whole lot of characters who are quite like that.

Reigen’s also just a lot of fun and is a big part of why the adventures are so enjoyable. He’s always quick to double down on his deceptions and just doesn’t give an inch no matter what. It’s really quite impressive when you think about it. You also feel bad for him as the others are never around when he needs them. A big example of this is when he’s ready to have a pillow fight near the end since he was just sleeping for days and nobody wanted to do it. They tend to leave him high and dry all the time which is pretty unfortunate.

Meanwhile Serizawa gets a pretty big role here too as he’s nervous about working for Reigen. His whole character has always been that he gets extremely nervous in all scenarios so you can’t really blame him. Part of why Reigen is so endearing is because he’s ready to help out in times like this and does his best to help Serizawa regain his confidence. Mob and the others don’t get much of a role although they quickly help out a bit in the final fight. I thought this made the villain look good since he was able to survive a hit that was launched by the whole gang of Espers all teaming up. You have to admit that not just any villain can do that. I don’t think it’s meant to be a serious feat and just an excuse for some action here but we take those.

The animation looks solid. The style naturally means it won’t touch most of the other current animations right now, but at this point I’m pretty used to it. The colors look solid for the energy blasts too. The soundtrack is taken from the show and works out pretty well here. As the OVA isn’t long the pacing is also pretty tight with the plot moving from part A to B without any issues. This is just a fun journey and one that you’ll definitely have fun with. At the end of the day this is the kind of plot that would work with almost any series. A lot of the time I think it would be fun if we could hang out with the characters a little more after the main story is done and this is definitely one way that you could do it.

Overall, I’m not going to repeat that long name, but this Mob Psycho OVA is quite good. It’s a good reminder that you don’t always need to have a super big climax filled with tons of explosions to make for an epic adventure. Sometimes all you need is just a nice scenario to have the gang back together with some fun dialogue. As expected Mob Psycho delivers on that. It’s a very fun adventure that will really breeze right past you. I’d definitely recommend checking it out and it’s the kind of title that needs no context. If you haven’t jumped into Mob Psycho yet but have been thinking about it then this may be a pretty good way for you to start.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Seven Deadly Sins Review


It’s time to look at a manga that at this point finished quite a while ago. It’s a very long series though so the review would be pretty long too so I held off on it for a bit. This is one of those titles like Fairy Tail that is quite tragic. It has a terrific climax and a lot of hype moments. Unfortunately it is held back by fanservice issues which prevented it from being the next big thing. It’s a manga I will have fond memories of though even if it could live up to its full potential.

The series starts off with Elizabeth searching for help. The knights have become corrupt and the only ones she can turn to are the Seven Deadly Sins. Despite the name they used to be Britain’s finest warriors. Unfortunately the group has been split apart and they are all wanted for capital crimes. She runs into Meliodas who now runs a tavern. He agrees to help her and while the guy is incredibly sketchy, Elizabeth figures she will need his help. The first arc is mainly about gathering all 7 of the members to stop the Knights and bring Britain to peace once more. This won’t be an easy task, but if anyone can pull it off, it is Meliodas and his merry crew.

The second main arc involves the return of the Ten Commandments. These guys are some of the deadliest villains to ever walk the planet. They also seem to have ties to Meliodas. The Sins may be strong, but all of them are weaker than the weakest Commandment. It adds a nice sense of danger to the whole mix since the heroes all have to get massively stronger. It’s cool because the series started on the premise that the heroes were the strongest people around and now you’re throwing in villains who are way more powerful than them. Needless to say, the series’ power levels start to get pretty insane the more the series goes on.

Finally we get involved with the holy war. The Angels have returned to slay the Demons. The only problem is that they appear to be just as evil and corrupt as the monsters they fight. This forces Meliodas and the others to wonder who to ally with. Meliodas also has to come to terms with his demonic past as everyone is trying to control him. The Demon King also shows up for a pretty intense final battle that also became a bit of a running gag among fans. Let me tell you, reading this weekly was a blast because of that. The comments are just so much fun and they just never miss a beat.

So lets rewind a bit and talk about the series as a whole. For starters, the art is excellent. It’s one of the clearest manga I’ve read and I would consider it to be top tier in that respect. You can really follow along with the fight scenes and the character designs are on point as well. This makes for a pretty great mix at all times. Solid artwork is half the battle after all and it helps you get across the epic scenes a lot better than it possibly could if the art wasn’t all that good. The series is also quite long with a good amount of replay value and plots to keep you interested.

The character cast is quite strong with a lot of solid villains in this case. I’ll talk about the characters more in depth later on. The fight scenes are particularly intense and the series is known for them. My favorite fight in the series was Meliodas vs the 10 Commandments. There’s one fight early on where he takes the whole group for a spin which was pretty neat. He also came so close to winning that it cemented him as being the fiercest fighter in the group. Unlike many titles where they try to keep the main characters balanced at first, Meliodas was always head and shoulders above the other members of the team. He consistently shows why he is the leader and it all makes sense.

Now where the series goes wrong is the fanservice. It’s unfortunate because it mainly stops after Arc 1. It’s something that would occur less and less frequently as the series went on. Depending on the scale of it the score wouldn’t have been totally crippled but as with violence, fanservice has tiers to it. Quick camera angles and unfortunate tripping is one thing, but Meliodas tends to get pretty physical with Elizabeth which is the real problem here. It’s played off as a comedy plot which I could never believe the series would even attempt to do. She never gives him any kind of consent and always gets embarrassed by his advances. He pays absolutely no mind to this. It would be a far darker plot if taken seriously and we learn some twists that are supposed to make this better. Basically they are destined to be together and Meliodas has been together with many different versions of her. So he’s skipping the formalities since he considers them to be a couple already.

That’s just not how it works though and those scenes are really tough to get past. Eventually they do get together but by then the damage to the series is done. Ban’s romance with Elaine is also pretty bad. The series tries to make it more wholesome by the end but it just doesn’t work. I’ll take that over the Meliodas stuff though. So regardless, that’s what holds the series back. The series is long and the plot doesn’t occur all that often but I still cannot overlook it. It’s something that the series chose to do and now it must live with the score.

The series does a good job of fleshing out the world and the characters within it though. We learn a lot about Britain and it’s fun how the series uses actual characters from the legends like King Arthur and such. It sets up a sequel series pretty well since we should be getting pretty close to the knights of the roundtable now. The series also had a pretty good job messing with the readers during the ending. It pretended to be ending and then threw in a few extra fights for good measure. Part of why it worked so well is because now there was no way to know when it would end. If anything I was expecting the Light god to show up but sadly she never did. Now there’s a character who has been getting a lot of hype but has yet to really do anything yet. I expect her to get a big role in the sequel to make up for this.

Seven Deadly Sins also keeps up the intensity with each volume. There’s never really a dull moment. I’d say it rivals Fairy Tail with how enjoyable each volume can be. It’s certainly at a higher level than Toriko for example although that series may still have the best climax. It’s tough because most SJ titles like to end with a huge climax. It makes sense because that’s a good way to ensure that the journey was worth it. You didn’t read all those volumes for nothing. A series should always have a very climactic finale and that’s exactly what this series did.

Ok, so lets look at the characters. First up is Meliodas who is the leader of the group. He’s one of those guys who is so powerful that he has a hard time taking anything seriously. At times this can end up being pretty risky for him because he can lose before he has a chance to go all out. As a hero he’s only okay. His whole plot with Elizabeth holds him back and he can be pretty meant to Hawks the whole time. I actually liked him best when he was in his dark mode. Not the part where he was being mind controlled, but dark of his own control. The scene of him walking into the base and taking down both Estarossa and Zeldris was masterful. Again, Seven Deadly Sins really knows how to pile on the hype and really take everything to the next level. You’re guaranteed to see some big stuff in each adventure.

Then you have Diane who is unfortunately known as the weakest member of the Sins. Technically Gowther would be far weaker physically but she has a number of hax at the ready. Diane is a pure physical fighter. She can manipulate the Earth which helps her evade attacks as well as amp up her abilities. She’s a bit of a tragic character as she likes Meliodas but doesn’t stand a chance from the start. She’s a fun fighter to have on the group though. I feel like she should have gotten another powerup though. I think it would have helped to balance things out quite a bit.

Next up is Ban who serves the role as the rival in this one. He isn’t nearly as solid as most rivals though. What holds him back is that he can be a little too crazy the whole time. He’s always trying to murder Meliodas and doesn’t even seem heroic the way the others are. His whole regeneration thing is pretty cool though and I’ll miss that one. If anything he feels a little weaker when he doesn’t use that ability towards the end of the series even though he is technically more powerful. Sometimes you really just need to try and stick with your classic abilities to really stay at your best.

King isn’t much better and now you can see why I consider the villains to be the main strength of the cast. King’s true form is pretty bad so he usually uses a made up one. I like his fighting style though as he zips around at super speed and his projectiles definitely mean business. It’s hard to get past his defenses at all. He gets a lot of development but for the most part I couldn’t take his character too seriously. His final form is pretty neat though and was definitely a solid upgrade for the character.

Then there is Gowther who has a complicated backstory. There are a lot of twists and turns related to her character. You can also throw some betrayal in there as well. She is okay but half the time she ends up making things a lot tougher for the heroes. She rarely seems to contribute quite as much in a battle sense and I ended up growing tired of her pretty quick. If you want a solid character who’s unpredictable, that’s Merlin’s job. Now she is a great member of the team. Her abilities are basically absolute and she has a plan for everything. Next to Meliodas she probably is the strongest member of the group. Her barriers are incredibly durable and she appears to have a spell for every possible contingency. As a result you just can’t catch her off guard. The ending to her arc feels a bit forced but overall she was a fun character. I dare say that she ended out as one of the best heroes.

Finally there is Escanor who is the final Deadly Sin. His character is a bit like Hulk and Bruce Banner. By night he is a very meek guy who can’t fight for beans. He’s as scrawny as they come and will run from a fight. During the day he becomes more of a Superman type persona with absolute confidence. The brighter the sun, the stronger he gets. At his best he was even able to give Meliodas a good fight. Escanor is definitely a very fun character. His character’s end was also pretty forced considering that the heroes were absolutely wrecking the villain before he decided to use a forbidden move. Still, he does like to show off so this was his chance to outshine everyone once more. He always brought the hype with him and his fight with Estarossa was definitely a blast.

Elizabeth is the main heroine of the series and definitely gets to appear quite a lot. She doesn’t really tend to fight for most of the series although towards the end she got a new title that was meant to evoke fear into everyone. For the most part nobody took it very seriously since even after all of that she didn’t do much but it was still a cool thought. I do like her angel mode as she does get a big power boost from that. It’s also good to see her being more assertive since prior to getting her memories back I always found her to be way too passive. She also shouldn’t have put up with Meliodas’ antics.

Hawks is the main comic relief character of the series and I’d say that he does pretty good in that role. He knows how to help run a tavern quite well and does help out on occasion. He never really gets any respect but deep down they’re all friends. That said, Hawks is only good in those short doses. As a main character he just can’t hold his own. Not the way that Arthur could. King Arthur is one of those characters who you would expect to look amazing here but surprisingly he doesn’t do a great deal. He finally starts to unlock more of his power at the very end of the series but it’s more of a tease than anything. That said, he quickly became one of my favorite characters in the series. He’s certainly my favorite hero. The guy tries really hard and is always earnest in his attempts to learn more. I fully expect he will continue to improve.

Dreyfus is one of the original villains and I remember him being pretty fun. It can be easy to mix him and Hendrickson up a bit though. Ultimately I preferred Dreyfus as he seemed to have more willpower to me and was also more powerful. Hendrickson tended to get in the way and was a virtual hostage at times. That really doesn’t help his case much at all. Gilthunder was another early villain and part of why I remember him so well is the famous lightning throw scene. Meliodas was able to catch a throw that went across whole towns. So even though Gilthunder was taken to school there it was a pretty hype scene for sure. Guila was also a fun villain. I feel like she ultimately didn’t really live up to her own hype, but it was nice that she got some closure to her story and even had a bit of a redemption arc going for her.

Chandler and Cusack were pretty powerful demons which makes sense since they were the mentors of Zelris and Meliodas. I remember being surprised when they showed up since it was pretty last second but right away they showed why they were to be feared. They aren’t really meant to be very well liked villains but I liked their designs and they were pretty loyal to their masters. Chandler could be a bit shady since he wanted to murder Elizabeth but at least he was rooting on Meliodas to take down Zeldris. It’s also a bit funny there since their power levels apparently even surpassed that of those two.

The Demon King is the big villain of the series as you would expect. He steals a whole lot of bodies and fights the heroes in a variety of different ways. Never have I seen a main villain get quite so mocked chapter after chapter. It is definitely a very different approach much like the series as a whole. Typically you would expect the big boss to be cleaning shop and the heroes just barely manage to defeat him after a lot of friendship speeches and stuff like that. Not so with this fight as the heroes were completely wrecking him from the very beginning. If anything they weren’t even taking him seriously as they chatted while beating him up. The Demon King begged for his life on multiple occasions and people just lost respect for the guy. I still like him though. He may not have been supremely powerful, but at least he talked tough and was pretty manipulative. You can’t get much better than that.

Derieri has a pretty cool power. Every hit increases the gravity against you and it stacks as well. That makes for a pretty dangerous combo. She reminded me a bit of Caulifla. She certainly enjoys a good battle. Derieri may not be the strongest member of the 7, but I found her to be one of the most enjoyable ones. Typically she would teem up with Monspeet who had some pretty good abilities involving changing places. Honestly he was doing very well in his fight. Derieri ended up holding him back to an extent there but it was a worthy effort. He also seemed to not be quite as evil as the rest and was willing to live a quiet life away from all the violence. He didn’t quite manage to get that wish though.

Drole is another villain who was in a partnership. He tended to work pretty well with Gloxina. They didn’t really get as much character development as the other members although they got to be in the flashback arc which helped. They weren’t bad. In general I wouldn’t say that any member of the 10 Commandments were bad, but these two were less memorable. Galand was one of the best members though. For starters, he had a great design. He was also the first member to attack the heroes so we really got to see what he could do. He reminded me a bit of Berserker from Fate Zero only this guy talked a lot more. Unfortunately this did mean he would end up being the weakest member of the group but you can’t forget his entrance.

Estarossa gets a massive role. It’s hard to forget him taking down Meliodas in one hit. That’s definitely an intense way to make a debut in a title like this. He’s easily one of the most powerful villains and he gets several super forms. He has some twists involving Mael of the Archangels as well which was pretty interesting. I liked Estarossa for a while but once he became obsessed with Elizabeth he did drop down quite a bit. Meanwhile Mael was reasonably fun although he definitely didn’t seem very heroic. Not very surprising considering the Arch Angels were so extreme though.

Then we’ve got Zeldris who is one of my favorite characters in the series. his wind abilities are quite impressive as they were able to keep the whole cast at bay. While he isn’t as strong as Meliodas, he does keep their battles close and does keep improving on his own terms. He is on the side of the villains, but at least he has a good reason for doing so. He wants to bring Gelda back to life and since the heroes won’t help with this he was forced to turn back to the villains. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to bring her back even if it means stopping the heroes. I always like a character motivation like that and Zeldris was just a lot of fun.

Finally we have Ludociel who is the leader of the Angel unit. He’s a pretty powerful guy but also a very corrupt one who isn’t above sacrificing a bunch of humans to get his way. He’s really not the kind of guy that you want to have on your squad. He may get you the win but it’ll come at a tremendous cost. After a while, the cost for victory is too high and it’s simply not worth it. I did like having another faction though. I’m always a fan of having more than 2 groups because it makes for some pretty exciting battles.

Overall, Seven Deadly Sins definitely had a lot of adventures in it which is why this review was so long. It’s a series that you will definitely get quite invested in as you read through it. Without the whole Meliodas stuff this would be an easy 8. Unfortunately it is present. If you think you can get past that whole plot then I’d definitely recommend this series. It’s got a lot of action and hype scenes so there’s definitely no reason to skip out on it. Each arc really starts off with a bang and the art is just so high quality. It’ll also help you be prepared for the sequel which should come out at some point. Once it does I’m definitely expecting big things. If you aren’t able to get past the iffy stuff, then I’d recommend checking out Black Clover instead as a really solid action series with a lot of moving pieces.

Overall 4/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Transformers: Cyberverse Review


It’s time to look at a recent Transformers show that ended. I suppose it’s always possible that they’ll announce a season 4 in which case I’ll review that separately but I get the feeling that this show is done for good. It’s a reasonably fun show and one that was trending upwards. Each season was better than the last which is always incredibly difficult to do. The show made it easy as the first season was pretty underwhelming with a Bumblebee subplot that took too long to form. By the end of the show it can proudly hold itself along with the rest. There are few Transformer shows it would beat but I would still say it was pretty good.

The first plot is mainly about Bumblebee’s memory loss. Something happened to all of the Autobots but we don’t know what that is. Whatever it is, Bumblebee is completely mindless now and acts pretty crazy like Crash Bandicoot. Windblade has decided she will fix his memory but to do so they will have to take on a lot of Decepticons and relive memories that Bee may have wished he could forget. We need Bumblebee’s memories, but the heroes may end up wishing they didn’t remember what’s in store for them. That’s really the full plot of season 1. Bumblebee gets his memories near the very end of the season which then ties into season 2.

Ultimately what really holds season 1 back is that Bumblebee can’t hold his own story. In most of the various Transformers shows he just isn’t very entertaining. Robots in Disguise did the best job with his character, but that’s really the exception. Once Bumblebee gets his memories back he’s a lot better but during season 1 he’s pretty annoying. Ultimately Windblade has to hold these episodes on her own. Additionally there really isn’t much of a plot here. The episodes are all pretty much stand alone adventures which are decent, but on a 15 minute runtime limit there isn’t much they can do.

Season 2 is mainly about the big battles between the Autobots and Decepticons. Now that all the Autobots are awake they are ready to fend off the attack. What they don’t know is that the Decepticons have had a schism as well and now Starscream is in command of his own mini fleet. He aims to get the All Spark and obtain unlimited power. Both Optimus Prime and Megatron may have to team up if they want to have any hope of stopping him. The tough part is really what comes afterwards because Prime knows that he definitely cannot trust a Decepticon. Can the heroes manage to stop Starscream while also constantly watching their backs against Megatron and his forces? It’s definitely a pretty difficult balance that they have to worry about the whole time but fortunately we have some pretty hype characters here to help out like Hotrod.

This season was quite the improvement over the first. The cast got expanded quite a bit and I remember being surprised that Prime was back to being a main character. I shouldn’t be, but it feels like he rarely is anymore. Both of the Rescut Bot TV shows, Robots in Disguise, then Cyberverse. It had been years since he was a true main character. Well, this show brought him back into the running and that was neat. We got to finally have the classic Autobot vs Decepticon battles once again. Surprisingly I don’t think the writers liked Megatron all that much though. Typically their rivalry is very evenly matched but in this series it was quite lopsided. Optimus Prime would easily crush Megatron and is treated as being way stronger than the other bots. It’s a good thing for Prime but it makes Megatron look really bad. He never truly recovers from that and even in the final season he ends up feeling more like a sub boss.

Finally we have Season 3. While 2 ended with a big cliffhanger about the Autobots heading to a Cybertron that was already taken over by the Decepticons that actually gets resolved pretty quick. We then get a pretty big timeskip here. I miss not being able to see more of how that plot resolved, but I’d say it was worth it because the third season really starts with a mystery feel. Another alien race has taken over the planet and enslaved all of the bots. Only a few resistance fighters are left, comprised of both Autobots and Decepticons. They will have to learn how to work together to stop this threat. Along the way we slowly find out answers about how this all happened and there’s even a twist on who the big boss is. It’s an excellent arc and definitely the peak of the series. After this the series ends with an extra quick mini arc that’s super rushed but does deliver on a solid ending.

So as you can see, the show was steadily improving as it went on. That’s a good thing because it does show that the series was starting to find its stride. It’s a shame that it didn’t keep going on but 3 seasons is a solid amount of time. Certainly enough time to give it some solid replay value for the future. I’m still not a fan of the 15 minute episodes style though. I really think that all of the titles should aim for the classic 22-25 minutes. Keep in mind that it’s 15 minutes with commercials, I’m thinking it’s probably closer to 12-13 if you time them. It’s a style that I’ve never agreed with. You work with what you get and the show did a good job with them, but I can’t help but feel like it would have been better otherwise. This series couldn’t quite keep up with the G1 shows, Beast Wars, Robots in Disguise, or Prime. It beats the Rescue Bot shows but that’s not too hard. I think I would ultimately take this one over Animated though although it’s a pretty close one. The boost this show got from season 3 definitely helps a lot.

The animation is good. I like the fight scenes and the show actually does give us some choreography with the sword battles. We have good long range battles as well and I’m just glad to have fights. The battle of the Titans from season 3 was another highlight. We got to see what these guys could really do next to the average robots. They were treated as being super powerful even if one was being manipulated the whole time. I do think the heroes shouldn’t have had a shot once the villain leader busted out the one hit laser. The show definitely does have its share of plot hax but what show doesn’t right? The soundtrack is more on the generic side though. There are no memorable tunes to point too. This isn’t surprising.

As for the writing/tone, the show is basically your average Saturday Morning cartoon material. It’s pretty light hearted and filled with fun adventures. That’s why I applaud season 3 for actually taking itself seriously. This show won’t be remembered as great but I do think the episodes did a good job of being entertaining. They also certainly don’t drag out within the 15 minutes. Mix this all together and you’ve got the makings of a pretty good show. I don’t really have any serious negatives that would hold it back. It does enough where I can recommend it to anyone who wants to have a fun little adventure. It’s not great, but it’ll do the job.

The characters are largely portrayed in the same way as usual. Prime is shown to be a great leader and fighter. This is one of his best portrayals and he really feels accurate to his G1 counterpart. Bumblebee is pretty annoying in season 1 as I mentioned and tends to get in trouble a lot. I already spoke about how Windblade is pretty solid and she definitely gets a critical role in saving the day. Grimlock doesn’t look very good here and I feel like the shows do not know how to handle his character. Basically he’s very smart in bot form and when he transforms into a Dinobot he loses his intelligence.

Hot Rod gets a big role here and even performs the heroic sacrifice at one point. His dark form is also pretty neat. He’s still one of my favorite Transformers out there so I’m always happy to see him getting his due respect. Cheetor was a surprising addition to the cast from Beast Wars, but he servers his role as mediator pretty well. He comes across as a little weak and pretty slow to react to what’s going on though. He definitely could have done better. I’ve already spoken about how Megatron is surprisingly weak in this series. His personality is still solid but it’s hard to take him seriously when he’s always getting completely dominated by Optimus Prime.

Shadow Striker is one of the highest ranking Decepticons in this show and she looks pretty good. She gets quite a bit of character development as the series goes on and is willing to bend the rules a bit. Soundwave and Shockwave have an ongoing rivalry throughout the series. It’s a pretty fun subplot and they take turns getting wins over the other. I’d say Soundwave gets the better of that rivalry since he lasts a whole lot longer. His glitching out gimmick in the final season was an odd choice but he definitely looks really good overall. The guy gets some props for basically being the second in command.

Starscream gets a big and satisfying role here as well. The guy is as power hungry as ever and doesn’t give up until he’s on top of the food chain. I’ve always liked him for that reason. He never quits and while he may not always get the last laugh, he gets a lot of victories in the meantime. I was very pleased with hos he looked here. Then you have Dead End who was a pretty interesting Decepticon. I liked the guy. He may not be particularly skilled but he always talks a good game and doesn’t let anyone walk all over him. I think he helped the dynamic a lot in the final season. Clobber also gets a big role in the final season. She’s the really strong but not too smart kind of character. Clobber was certainly helpful although she’s not really my kind of character. I liked her better than Macadams though who preferred to just sit back and do nothing. He may as well be a villain if you ask me since he would always refuse to help the heroes. Not much of an ally to have if you ask me.

Overall, Transformers: Cyberverse is a title that had a good run. It’s got solid animation and a few good story arcs. Since the show continued to get better and better you were bound to have a good time as long as you make it through season 1. Season 1 does definitely start off slow but it’s all up hill from there. It was good to see all of the classic Cybertronians again. Windblade has definitely been getting a big role in a lot of Transformers titles now and she holds up well as a main character. I’d say that she is even better than Arcee. Meanwhile Hot Rod and Optimus Prime get great roles as well. I’d like to see them phase Bumblebee out as the main character but as long as it’s an ensemble cast like this show I think it’ll ultimately be okay.

Overall 7/10

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Seven Samurai Review


It’s time to look at a classic film that came out all the way back in 1954. People will remember that year as the Godzilla debut but this film also made some waves as well. It would later inspire other big films like The Magnificent Seven which grabbed this formula and improved upon it. Seven Samurai is a film with a decent premise but one that drags on quite a lot with padding being thrown in for most scenes. This film would have benefited from cutting out around 90-120 minutes and would have resulted in a movie with tighter pacing and a more engaging story. As it stands, it’s a reasonable movie if you really like the old samurai setting but otherwise I would highly advise checking out The Magnificent Seven instead.

The movie starts off with the villagers wondering what they should do. A group of bandits show up every year and steal all of their food and crops. If they strike again these guys probably won’t be able to survive. Some of them think they should just roll over and die while others think they should fight. They reach out to the village elder and he tells them to recruit some Samurai. It’ll be tough because they have no money and almost no food but it’s their best option. They manage to reach out to one samurai named Kambei for help. He tells them that they will need 7 Samurai in able to pull this off. Gradually they locate the rest of the samurai and head to the village to get ready to fight the Bandits. Will this group of fighters really be enough to take down the villains or are they all marching towards their graves?

So the main problem with this film is really the length. It’s well over 3 hours and you need to have a pretty good excuse to make your film that long. Very few films have gone for such a length because it’s so difficult. A lot of big blockbusters nowadays could easily stretch themselves out to 3 hours and you could see it working well like Mission Impossible, Avengers, Batman V Superman, etc but even those usually end up cutting content to stay under the 3. 3 hours is just a very long time and you have to have dynamite characters and a great story or it will inevitably drag out. So I always say that having a long runtime is not necessarily a good or a bad thing. All theatrical films should aim to at least be 2 hours but if they really know that they don’t have enough story for it than cutting it down to a shorter length is fine. That’s really what Seven Samurai should have done because the plot isn’t built for 3 hours.

What I described above is really the main plot. It’s very direct and you don’t need a lot of time for it. As a result we get a ton of what I’d call filler scenes. Characters just walking around, making faces, laughing with the locals, etc. There are so many scenes here that could have been cut entirely and other scenes that could have been trimmed down. You could definitely make this roughly a 90 minute film while keeping in all of the key scenes. It’s what the movie should have done because it’s not as if it does many things wrong. My negatives with the film are rather brief other than the length. It just made the film rather boring at times and you would often be waiting for the film to get to the next moment.

Another issue here is really that there wasn’t much of a villain. None of the bandits are given any real character development. They have absolutely no presence in the story and you would be hard pressed to remember any of their names if they even got any. This is a problem because that makes this a samurai film with no real fight scenes. There are general action scenes where the two forces collide, but there is no true battle scene where the heroes use their blades in battle. Every “fight” is just a one and done slice that ends the match in an instant. I would have liked to have seen some actual fights here as that would have made the film a whole lot more exciting.

Seven Samurai also goes out of its way to make the villagers really unlikable. You have one subplot where the father forces the daughter to cut off her hair and physically attacks her when she gets together with one of the samurai. Nobody does anything about this and it makes the samurai look pretty bad for just watching the whole time. I’d have liked at least one character to have stepped in and totally put a stop to it. At the end of the day they yell at the guy a bit but don’t do much more than that. That ties in a bit to the characters angle.

From the main characters the only real solid one was the quiet samurai who is really good at fighting. He murdered his first opponent after being forced into a fight and from there he took down a bunch of other enemies. He is definitely treated as the most powerful samurai in the film and that is pretty clear after his initial scenes. The others are strong enough I suppose as they all contribute. Kambei is also a reasonably solid lead and is good at making the plans. We don’t really get to see him fight much but you know that he is skilled.

How much you enjoy the film will probably also depend on how you enjoy the setting. This is taking place in very old times of course so don’t expect to see any sleek buildings or a modern Tokyo/NYC type environment. The characters are struggling to survive in a poor setting so everything can be pretty muddy and desolate. You definitely feel the desperation in all of the characters here since they’re about to fight in a life or death battle and the people they’re protecting don’t even trust them. It really puts the Samurai in a tough spot.

I’d say the best part of the film is the soundtrack. It can be a little overly dramatic for the scenes that are playing but I think a good soundtrack works even if it is misplaced. For example, a cool rock song will sound just as awesome whether it’s played during an emotional scene or a battle moment. So either way I liked the classic opera theme that would play when the characters were thinking. It was like a subtle darkness approaching kind of message. This theme shows up quite a lot and I was always happy to see it appear.

Overall, Seven Samurai is a decent film but one that is incredibly dragged out and is best to watch in short batches. The writing is okay and the film would have been greatly improved with some more action scenes and more interesting characters. With all the time we had I think you could have developed all of them with more personality. I’d like to see some in-fighting and that would have been a good way to accomplish both goals at once. Ultimately I don’t think you’ll remember most of the characters much after finishing this one but at long as you have one standout character that’ll help. So check this one out if you want to see a classic team up film but otherwise you can just jump ahead in time and check out a different title.

Overall 5/10