Eraser Review

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

Eraser is a very classic kind of action film. It’s a title you just don’t see a lot of nowadays with the solo hero going around proving why he’s the best in the biz. There aren’t a lot of subplots or conspiracies going on, not a lot of subplots or an ensemble cast. It’s just a straight forward action title with one twist that the audience knows almost from the jump. It works well though because the execution is on point and if not for one scene I dare say this one would have been very good. Still, it does hold its own in the middle.

The movie starts by introducing us to John who works as an Eraser. Basically he helps someone erase their identity and go into witness protection. He works alone and that has always worked well since nobody can slow him down this way. He’s like a one man army and always produces at the highest level possible. This time he’s going to have a tougher time though as he has to protect a lady named Lee before it’s time for her testimony. Thing is, she didn’t sign up for such a dangerous job and so she isn’t cooperating too much. John will have to figure out a way to make this work because there are many forces at work trying to prevent her from testifying.

With a film like this I think it’s important that the person who is being protected be a likable character. You don’t want someone who is going out of their way to make things tougher on John or someone who is made to be antagonistic. I suppose there are some interesting developments you can have with that, but I would definitely prefer you just have a good character right from the jump and that’s what this film does.

Lee’s resistance to ditching her old life is understandable since it was all thrown at her as a surprise. The government decided not to let her in on the loop until she was after the point of no return. It’s definitely not a good way to go about it and John calls them out on this. Once Lee is attacked and realizes that she will have to vanish, she gets reasonable from there on. So that’s why I wouldn’t take any point away from her. I thought she was quick on the ball and still a reasonable character all the way through.

As for John, well he’s your classic hero and a really good one at that. This character type is always fun as we really get to see how skilled he is. John does fall for one trap but we can cut him some slack because while the whole thing is obvious to the viewer, he has been working with these guys for a while so you’re bound to make a mistake at some point. Only reason I was a little surprised is I thought that the film was hinting that John had figured out the treachery ahead of time but I suppose it was just showing that he had some suspicions. That’s fair.

I guess I shouldn’t say who the main villain is. The film gives it away early on but it’s still hard for me to say if that’s part of the general premise or if it should still be treated as a twist. I’m not really sure so I’ll play it safe here. I thought the villain was rather solid. He wants to be rich and so he’ll do anything for money. It’s a classic motive that’s as old as time but it’s one that still has a lot of bite to it. I thought it worked pretty well here and the guy does have a certain level of craftiness to him even if he can’t hope to win in a straight fight.

The movie is really fast paced with a lot of action at every corner. The action scenes are cool and there is also a lot of really fun dialogue here. It’s got that proper blend of action and humor that you like to see. The characters keep things light but you can always tell that the stakes are high. We get a lot of different sceneries as the characters are always on the go and so you’re just going to have a lot of fun here.

Of course as I mentioned earlier, the film does make one mistake and that’s when a bunch of alligators showed up. Now, you know as soon as this happened that there was going to be an issue. Any animal appearing means that there will probably be some animal violence. Is that a bit jaded? Possibly I suppose but I’m sure the stats would back me up on this. One of them ends up getting shot dead in a rather brutal scene as we see it close up. That was a powerful shot that directly took two stars off the final score. It’s a shame that one moment like that can destroy so much momentum but that’s just how it can go in these things. Of course as a disclaimer if a scene like that won’t take you out of the movie then I can still cautiously recommend it to you, but I wouldn’t do a blind recommendation like that to just anyone. This scene would quickly prevent that.

As a final note, the film also just looks really good. I wouldn’t say that’s surprising as a lot of old films still look good, but I thought the effects and everything were particularly impressive. In this film the villains use guns that can fire at the speed of light which is rather incredible. A cool shockwave visual is used here so you can see the ripples around each shot. It helps the guns feel really sci-fi based and I would say it works really well. You can definitely see how these guns could upset the balance of the planet although it makes it a little hard to believe that John could keep on standing after going up against such high tech weapons. Just a bit of a stretch when you think about it.

Overall, Eraser is like a blast from the past. It’s the kind of film you’re surprised didn’t get more popular because it really had all of the tools needed in order to break out into the mainstream. Ultimately this didn’t end up happening at least as far as I’m concerned since I’ve never heard of it before. Perhaps the alligator moment knocked it out for a lot of people but that’s not the kind of moment you would typically expect to cause a big stir. Either way this could have had a lot of potential for sequels and stuff but I guess that just wasn’t to be this time. It’s always fun finding fast paced action films like this from back in the day, we’ll see how the next one turns out.

Overall 5/10

The Expendables 2 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

Expendables 2 definitely does a good job of taking all the good things from Expendables 1 and then moving that over to the next level. I’d say it’s the better film in just about every area which is really impressive right out of the jump. It’s not every day that you find a film which can do this. The movie is long so everyone has their chance to do something and you won’t have any big complaints by the end.

The movie starts with Barney and the gang pulling off yet another mission with the greatest of ease. These guys are a tough unit to beat after all. Especially now that Gunner’s back with the group and not going crazy. They even have a new member in Billy who has proven to be useful. Billy wants out though and says that the next mission will be his last. He’s not wrong and gets murdered by the new villains on the block. Church effectively forced Barney into this mission so the guy’s upset but he also just wants to avenge Billy no matter what anyone says.

The only lead is the researcher they rescued during this mission, Maggie. She explains that the villains have a box containing a computer with the locations of a bunch of Plutonium. The heroes are going to have to try and find a way to get one step ahead of these guys and then take the win. They’re outnumbered and outgunned, but never out fought so Barney and the gang are ready to win. Can they pull this off?

In the last movie it’s fair to call it the Barney and Christmas show since the rest of the team really didn’t do much of anything until the end. Well, this film makes sure to change that so it feels like a group effort right from the jump. I think that was a good idea because even though I’m a big fan of the main two, I can see how it would be disappointing if you were waiting for the others. The only exception to this is Yin who leaves the team early on and never returns.

The first big improvement here is that Church and Trench actually get onto the front lines here. After all their tough talk, it’s good to see them back it up. If you had any doubts before, you don’t need to have them now because both characters are absolutely locked and loaded here. They aren’t holding back and have a lot of great banter between them. Using each others catchphrases was a fun little thing to do and they really mow down a ton of enemies. One scene even involves dropping a gun under the car they’re driving so the other guy can pick it up. Certainly not something that’s easy to do.

Expendables 2 is very much a film where everyone gets their hype and that works out well. As always Barney makes for a very solid main character as well. He doesn’t back down to anyone and just keeps on fighting. I feel like there was even a Rocky reference with the punch combo he landed on the villain. It was probably the most impressive exchange he had in the whole film. The final fight also lives up to the hype of being the last battle and it’s why you always want to have a strong enemy to go up against.

Lee does well in his role too and takes on the other big villain here. He’s still the best guy Barney’s got on the squad and someone he can always count on. I like his confidence and I dare say Lee has more attitude than the rest of the fighters. That’s saying something since each of the heroes has quite a bit of attitude up their sleeve. Lee just outshines them all when it comes down to it.

I’m still not a big fan of Gunner though. I think it’s just hard to come back from what he did in the first film. Being a full on traitor is not just a simple mistake. It’s a huge deal if you ask me. Can’t really get around that personally. Toll and Hale still don’t do much but they have bigger roles than last time so it’s certainly a start. Then you have the new member Billy but he doesn’t last very long. Also, you seriously know exactly how things are going to go for him the instant that he says this is his final mission. You don’t walk away from that.

As for Maggie, she looks good here. She knows how to defend herself and can fire off the gun as needed so she doesn’t hold the team back. Barney was worried about this as the beginning but she was able to put his fears to rest which is good. Then you have the latest guest star Booker. He gets two scenes here that are both pivotal. The guy is clearly an expert fighter and knows how to defend himself even without a team. The fact that he can do so well solo is really impressive and shows why he is not someone that you want to mess with.

As for the villains, they’re an upgrade over the first film’s guys. Both of the main ones can fight. First you have Hector who is the right hand man of the villain leader. The guy is a good fighter and keeps it close with Christmas. This makes for a satisfying end to the fight and the guy was certainly evil but worked well in the role. Meanwhile the main villain was also fun. He could certainly fight really well and was definitely ruthless the whole time. Not quite on the level where I’d call him a really memorable villain or anything but he’s definitely approaching that point.

Expendables 2 really makes sure that you’re at the edge of your seat throughout the film. The action is nonstop and the writing is really good. Every character here is a big shot and talks tough in every scene. That makes for a lot of good banter and the movie is able to balance it out well so that everyone gets their hype. If you’re a villain then you do not want to mess with any of these guys or you end up paying for it. The movie never deviates from the kind of experience you think you’re going to get here and that’s not a bad thing. This isn’t the kind of film to have a lot of twists and everything but to just give you a lot of great action scenes.

I did have just one issue with this one though. In the first film you have the villains taking people hostage and I was glad when the heroes just fired anyway to take the villains out first. In a hostage situation that is the right response in most situations. You don’t just drop your guns because then the villains can quickly shoot you and then shoot the hostage anyway. I don’t see any scenario where dropping your gun is the right option. In this film they lost that character development and dropped their guns…so the villain murdered the hostage. It reminds you of how futile that whole thing was. So the big lesson here is if someone tells you to drop your gun, you’re better off going out in a blaze of glory than actually dropping it. It’s similar to the whole “Don’t get in the car” when the guy with a gun tells you to or anything like that. The situation will only grow worse and worse if you follow those orders to better to make a break for it and at least have a chance to survive.

Overall, Expendables 2 was definitely great. I’d certainly recommend it. I think it’ll be very hard for any film to top this one with the amount of big name action stars running around and taking names. Even though there is a third film, this is the one that you would want to consider the peak. The others just aren’t quite ready to be at this one’s level just yet. If you like action and want to see a lot of characters sizing each other up and getting ready for battle, then this is the title for you!

Overall 8/10

Predator 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 a lot more negative.

It’s time to look at the 80s movie that started it all. I’m not the biggest fan of the Alien series but I always thought the Xenomorphs were cooler than the Predators. Their design just can’t be beat. Still, I hadn’t seen their solo movies before so it was time to change that. It basically plays out like you would expect. It’s a lot classier than Alien 3 but at the end of the day there are unavoidable errors that the film will bump into due to its nature.

The film starts off with Dutch and his group getting called back to base. The commander quickly explains that they have to go into enemy territory and free the hostages that were captured after they wandered past the border. Also, the group has to take local pencil pusher Dillon with them. Dutch isn’t happy about this but orders are orders. Unfortunately as the group gets deeper into the jungle they start to realize that this mission wasn’t what they were expecting and the real enemy may not even be human.

It takes them a long while to actually realize that there is a Predator around and even longer to realize that he is wearing a cloaking suit. While this is annoying it isn’t unreasonable considering how far fetched the whole thing would seem at face value. As a result the heroes don’t really stand a chance for a while there.

The Predator is fast and has a cool cannon, but he isn’t bullet proof so if you can get the shots off quick enough then you’ve still got a chance. Problem is that his cannon is basically automatic so it is hard to fire before he gets his shot. Also at night he absolutely has the advantage since he can see while the others have to fumble around.

The Predator definitely does have more character than I expected. Again, I saw him in the crossover but I don’t remember the Predators laughing there or copying voices. In this one they can do all of that which is pretty neat. In particular the laugh is definitely pretty fun. On the whole I definitely like the Predator more than I did from the crossover. I still prefer the Xenomorphs but these guys are worthy rivals.

Unfortunately the film does step into the unfortunate error of adding in a bit of animal violence. As always it is a very forced scene that should never have made the cut in the first place. The boar didn’t ask for this! It’s not a terribly long scene but it definitely doesn’t help matters. Also holding the film back is naturally how violent it is. With characters getting skinned and being mangled throughout you can expect a whole lot of violence. It’s fairly tame before the Predator shows up but then he starts it all with a bang.

The character cast isn’t too bad though. I definitely did like the main character Dutch. I never knew that the meme of the handshake was from this movie so that was pretty cool. Dutch was a good leader who could think on the fly and kept coming up with new plans over and over. He’s definitely the kind of guy you want to have around as he won’t desert you no matter the situation. It’s easy to see why he is known as one of the in the field. It’s clear that he and the group weren’t gonna lose to the other humans. He doesn’t get to let loose with too many puns and one liners this time around, but the ones that we do get are pretty good.

One of the more annoying characters is definitely the friend from the old days. Dillon definitely become just another government drone you can’t trust by this point. He also isn’t used to recon missions like this one so he is pretty sloppy at times. Even once Dillon finally decides to go for his hero move by the end it is simply too late for him to be likable. Better than nothing I suppose.

Predator definitely gets some respect for developing so many of Dutch’s squad here. Usually in these films you get the main character but then the rest are basically expendables. While Dillon wasn’t very likable he certainly did get his character arc. Likewise, Mac got a lot of screen time as he tries to avenge one of the other members of the group. He definitely did get a little overconfident in the end which cost him big time though. Never underestimate the Predators! Then there’s Billy who knows something isn’t right from the start but doesn’t do enough about it. In his defense, there is only so much you can really do. I do think he handled the ending pretty badly though. I’m thinking his rationale was to fight the Predator one on one without a gun so in close quarters he would have a chance, but that was never going to happen. It’s off screen so we don’t know if the Predator went the honorable route or not, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he just shot the guy.

Also the premise is just a lot of fun. It’s basically like the Hunger Games except it’s one guy against everyone else. You’ve got the numbers advantage but the person doing the chasing always has some advantages of their own. It’s easier to pick people off when they’re in a group. The whole survival aspect will keep you at the edge of your seat. It’s why it is a shame that the film is so violent since you could just keep all the murders off screen and that would help a lot. This could easily be the kind of horror film that actually ends up being really good. Even the writing isn’t as terrible as you’d expect although the TV version does make it look a lot better than it actually is since they block most of the iffy parts.

Overall, Predator makes for a fairly enjoyable watch at times but definitely is still not a film I would recommend. Even edited down for TV the violence is pretty over the top. It’s definitely a very brutal survival film and as long as you can get behind that then you’ll like it. I’m thinking that the next Predators film will probably have a tough time matching up to this one though since this one probably took the franchise as far as it could go. Still, it’s never over til it’s over!

Overall 2/10

Total Recall Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such. A review of the unedited version would likely be far harsher.

It’s time for an old action film. I mean, it’s not that old compared to some of the films that I’ve seen, but 1990 is definitely not in the current decade anymore. It’s definitely an exciting flick where the thrills never stop…but it’s not a good movie. Think of it like a classic horror film or an engaging zombie thriller where you’re entertained and invested while watching it, but afterwards you still admit it was a bad movie. This film makes far too many mistakes for it to get anywhere near a positive score, but at the very least you won’t be bored.

Doug is your classic film protagonist. He wants to leave his construction job and head to Mars. Unfortunately, there is a bit of a civil war going on there with terrorists constantly launching attacks and destroying civilians. As such, Doug’s wife rejects his request. Doug decides to do the next best thing, pretend to go to Mars. He had to a memory altering place so they can implant the fake memories. Unfortunately, the procedure doesn’t work as planned when Doug’s memories of the past come to the surface. Now everyone wants to murder Doug while he finds a recording of himself saying that he is a hero. Doug has to go to Mars for real this time and save the planet. Does Doug have what it takes to accomplish this mission?

While the film is action packed as I mentioned, it does have a very boring intro. The first 10-15 minutes feel like something out of a romance film as the characters exchange very poorly written dialogue with each other and everyone in the audience cringes. We finally move past this brutal intro and the film really starts once Doug has the procedure. You have to question what kind of guy Doug is even before it though. The memory altercation is essentially a way for him to cheat on his wife without actually doing it as he goes on a spy mission and has to do a lot of edgy things. Why do they have to make the leads so morally dubious? Couldn’t Doug have chosen the happy pizza salesman option or something instead of the double agent? It’s hard to be too sympathetic to Doug from the start.

Anyway, the fast paced nature of the film is pretty good from here on out. We get the classic chase scenes where Doug is chased by the villain organization. Fortunately for Doug, he knows how to use a gun and can handle himself pretty well. He makes use of an illusion device to get the drop on the villains and Doug is effectively a one man wrecking crew. He destroys dozens of guys on his own. He also doesn’t tend to backup from any threats as he fears no one.

I thought the soundtrack was fairly good. Not downright amazing or anything, but I recall enjoying it during the film. It wouldn’t do to have low budget themes during a big action scene right? The effects also hold up decently well for the overall landscape and gun design. There’s not much room for it to actually shine since by and large the place looks pretty realistic even though it’s the future.

Time to start looking at the negatives now. First of all, the film is incredibly violent. It tries to be grotesque whenever possible and playing the maximum grit card. Characters get burned so hard their eyes start popping out. Others have limbs getting severed or are blasted full of holes. The characters who survive get deep cuts into their skin which the film tries to show as much as possible. There’s rarely any happy scene aside from the main character as everyone has to suffer from being trapped without air or burned. There are no alternatives. If you try to help the main character, you’re probably doomed.

There’s also animal violence to look out for. Poor rats are shot for absolutely no reason and then a bunch of Goldfish meet a similarly fatal fate. There’s no reason to get the animals involved and that’s just poor writing. Speaking of poor writing though, the script is absolutely terrible and would fit in with the average horror movie. The amount of language in this film is crazy. Fortunately the TV airing I saw managed to air them all out, but with how often they had to do this you get a pretty good feeling on how much language was there. It’s a crutch that lesser writers use to make everyone sound edgy and realistic. In actuality, it just makes the film look amateur-esque compared to the big hitters. I’d expect nothing less though.

It also feels like the stories that take place in the future always focus on the wrong aspects. Instead of looking at how we’ve changed the world with science and how our weapons are better, it focuses on how society is more deprived now. We have very sketchy bars that have survived and they’re always about messing around instead of ordering a good burger. This film isn’t the only one guilty of it, but it doesn’t help to mitigate the damage either. These scenes are pretty bad and the romance in the film is laughable at best. The only thing the film was particularly good at was the action scenes and even those were wrecked by the gratuitous violence. The film should have quit while it was ahead, but then it would only be about 30 seconds long since it opened on a bad note.

The head honcho of the villains was fairly decent in his role. He just wanted to make a lot of money and keep up his success. Naturally he’s evil and all, but at least his reasoning for why he was evil was more original than some other villains. His main lackey wasn’t the greatest though and always got humiliated whenever he’d appear. Technically he is a competent’s just that Doug is better. I didn’t like the leader of the rebellion, but his design was also pretty terrible once again just to mess with the film. The main heroine was all right I suppose but she didn’t have a lot of time to do much. At least she did well against Doug’s fake wife.

Overall, the reasons above are why the film’s just no good. It ultimately crosses the line from epic to edgy and it does this with no remorse. I certainly wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone and you’d be better off watching Jingle All The Way to see Arnold get into some good fights without worrying about the negatives. I don’t have a whole lot of hope for the remake either but surely it should be a little better than this one…..right? If not, maybe the film needs to try and focus on the whole concept of Total Recall a little more instead of everything else. Being given fake memories could be pretty cool, but that part never really happens at all. The film tries a misdirect at one point that the whole thing is fake, but I don’t think you’ll buy it at that point. I do have to give Doug some credit there though. He absolutely never believes the villains and always laughs at their attempts at a plot twist. He usually does get convinced or almost convinced once they activate their feigned outrage and start to show him videos, but he starts out on a solid note. I feel like there is a good and engaging movie hidden in here somewhere, but it just never broke out into the light.

Overall 2/10

The Running Man 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 likely be more negative.

I wasn’t too familiar with The Running Man, but the plot definitely sounded like a lot of fun. A corrupt dystopian world has come up with a reality show where assassins chase convicts around. Seems messed up enough for this future. Then throwing in Arnold Schwarzenegger into the picture just makes the whole thing that much more epic. I can safely say that the film was pretty fun and is one that you won’t want to miss.

Ben used to work for the government, but when he defied their orders to murder a bunch of innocents, he was sent to prison. He helps some other convicts escape and decides that instead of trying to beat the system, he’ll simply find a way to survive it. He breaks into his friend’s home, but it is now owned by a lady named Amber. She doesn’t take kindly to being threatened so she gets the cops to lock Ben up. He is now going to be forced to be in The Running Man, where he will have to outrun several hunters who are each armed with deadly weapons. His two expendable “friends” (They aren’t, but the show thinks that they are so why not let them believe that right?) have also been thrown in though along with Amber. Can Ben take these guys down and figure out a way to shut the show down or is it simply too late for any last second heroics?

One thing you’ll notice about the film right away is that the soundtrack is on point. There are quite a lot of fun themes that play during the film and it certainly amplifies the experience. A good film gets that much better with a dynamic soundtrack and they really make the action scenes come alive. The visuals also look pretty good. Considering how old the film is, the effects have aged pretty well and I like how they envisioned 2017 to be. The city looks realistic enough even if it’s not quite so run down. I imagine that this film must have gotten a pretty decent budget back in the day.

The characters are also solid. Ben makes for a great lead. He’s heroic and dependable. Sure, he’s not quite willing to risk his life to join the rebellion at the beginning, but he doesn’t turn his back on others once he is forced into the game. He also doesn’t murder the villains once they are unarmed. If it’s the fastest way then he won’t hesitate to do so, but he won’t go out of his way just for revenge….for the most part. Ben’s a strong fighter and the heroes would have been doomed without his military expertise. I have to say that he pulled off the role quite perfectly as few actors can be as convincing.

The main villain, Killian is also pretty good. He knows how to work the crowd and does a good job of building up the suspense. He doesn’t even let Ben get to him as he knows that this will bring the ratings up. He talks a good game to everyone and while he is a ruthless boss, you’ll be okay as long as you stay on his good side. Mop the floors at your own peril since it can certainly get you into heaps of trouble. The sub villains were all right as well. The only bad one is Dynamo as he fulfills every overweight villain cliche in the book. He’s awful petty and also isn’t much of a fighter. Once you get past the suit, he’s the kind of villain who begs for mercy. The others at least had more dignity than that. Chainsaw put up a good fight before going down and I also liked Sub Zero. It was an interesting take on the guy compared to the Mortal Kombat version. Not as deadly, but fun all the same. The Fire villain was also pretty good since he got quite a bit of foreshadowing and hype. He probably should have moved a bit quicker though. Captain Freedom probably had the most personality from the minions and I like how he simply refused to get into the ring. Nobody was about to talk back to him.

Amber isn’t the best of heroines. She spends most of the film running and panicking. You have to give her some credit for getting away from Ben though. If you put yourself in her shoes, she totally did the right thing. Kidnappers always tell you stuff like “Don’t try to escape” and make a bunch of threats to keep you in line. She took a big risk by making a break for it and yelling and it paid off. While it didn’t work out well for Ben, at least she made a move. Too bad she couldn’t keep up that confidence for the rest of the film right.

If I had a minor nitpick for the film, it’s that the costume in the poster doesn’t really match the one in the film. At the very least I don’t recall the spikes being quite so big. It’s not really a negative just something that I noticed. The film’s camera work is pretty good. Sometimes it can be a little tough to see what’s going on in the background with the low lighting, but I feel like that was made to capture that CSI Miami kind of atmosphere as everything is a little grittier and more life like. Fortunately it was just in the camera work as the actual film isn’t really gritty at all. Some characters get stabbed and such, but at least in the version that I saw it wasn’t explicit or anything.

There is some unfortunate fanservice as we get a really long dance sequence. I suppose it’s a parody to the fact that if society did go downhill we’d be seeing that in every show. It’s fortunately not a huge deal though. The ending to the film is also pretty funny. I was personally expecting it to go down a slightly different path as the guy in the tube lands safely but then sees Captain Freedom and has to try and escape from him. How it was handled worked well enough as well though.

The writing is pretty solid with classic lines like “I’ll be back” and more than a few one liners from Ben. I love puns and one liners as you may know from my comic reviews and the film pulls it off well. It’s just another drop in the bucket to help this film reach “great” status. The climax is also pretty great even aside from the ending. The banter between Ben and Killian was really good and I liked seeing the heroes finally infiltrate the TV station. They were pretty well organized and it added some extra action and excitement to the ending. Even Amber got to win a fight on her own. The film carefully balanced the epic and funny moments with the serious atmosphere.

Overall, The Running Man is just a fun film. It really breezes by to be honest and the pacing was on point. It never dragged on and still managed to bring in a lot of content. We got to see Ben before the game, during it, and even become a resistance fighter afterwards. None of the pieces felt rushed either and it shows that you can still pull off quite a lot in under 2 hours. I certainly recommend watching this film. It’s not quite as well known as it could have been. It has all of the elements that you could want in a big action film.

Overall 8/10

Jingle All the Way Review

I’ve seen this film many times over the years, but that was before my reviewing days. I finally got a chance to rewatch it the other day and the film holds up well. It’s a fun Christmas film that you can certainly watch time and time again without the story getting stale or losing its charm and for me it’s probably the most iconic Christmas film thanks to how many times its been viewed in my household.

The film follows Howard, a rather successful business man. His problem is that he tends to forget about everything else once he’s at work and this leads to him not getting his son Jamie a gift for Christmas. He can’t afford to lose this opportunity though since tensions are already high since he missed Jamie’s karate promotion. Howard goes on the hunt for the Turbo Man toy that Jamie wants, but he will have to contend with Myron. Myron is a cynical delivery man who wants to get the toy for his son at all costs and he’s not above using cheap tactics to get it. Criminal organizations and mean spirited police officers also stand in Howard’s way, but he has the determination to keep on going. He is on the clock though since his corrupt neighbor Ted is trying to pull the moves on his wife while he’s gone. Run fast Howard!

From the start of the movie you can tell that it’s going to be a fun adventure. The clip from the Turbo Man show was pretty fun and a nice homage to the Power Rangers. Howard may have forgotten about Jamie’s event, but at least he was working while the rest of his staff was having fun at the party. Howard’s a hard working guy…things just don’t always work out very well for him. He does make it up to Jamie pretty quickly. His next mistake was maybe a little worse as he had weeks to get the toy, but forgot until the very last night. I can definitely see why it would be hard to find a toy by then, just look at the Nintendo Wii from a few years back. It was incredibly difficult to get that toy and it seemed like every store was out of stock. I pulled through of course.

The main part of the film that makes for good entertainment are the battles between Howard and Myron. First off, I have to acknowledge that Myron is the best character in the film. I’ve always had a knack for attracting people like him in real life so I’m pretty familiar with the type. He could talk about anything for days and it’ll always be complaints. One of these characters once called me a casual as a result and I just let it pass through me. I’m only a casual when it comes to my Godzilla knowledge and even then I’m mainly just a casual to get people to let down their guards. Myron is a charismatic character from the start with his speech about how toys are made to be cheap on purpose nowadays and how it’s all a conspiracy. I’m always eager to hear about conspiracies and this guy was full of them. Things escalated quite a lot from there as Myron and Howard would bodyslam each other and get into a lot of chaos.

Howard typically took the high road or at least the less painful one. Myron slammed him into CDs, blasted him with pepper spray, threatened Howard with a gun, threatened Howard’s son, etc. Howard hit him with a toy car, got a mob to tackle Myron, and slammed a door in his hand. You can easily tell who the more unhinged one is here. Myron is always ready for a truce when he’s losing though and Howard was all too ready to except the quick shot of Miller Time. It wasn’t enough to quench his thirst though.

While not quite as great as Myron, Howard’s still a good main character as well. Once he infiltrates the villain organization, he definitely gets into the fight. He’s also a quick thinker and manages to get out in one piece. His only failing is taking a shot at the reindeer. That was pretty uncalled for and he should have just run for the hills. I didn’t really mind him deciding to get even with Ted. Breaking into the house would help teach Ted a lesson before knocking him out with the toy. It doesn’t really help that Liz refused to listen to him at all during the scene though. Howard sure does drink a lot though. He went through quite a few bottles before coming back to his senses. He may not be perfect, but he can certainly hold his own film.

Ted is the worst character in the film and that’s probably intentional. He is always flirting with Liz even though she’s married. Liz probably should have gotten Howard to step in a little sooner, but at least she ultimately gave him a stern rejection. There’s not really anything good to say about Ted and his polite facade never gets all that convincing. I wasn’t a big fan of Liz either though. It felt like she was upset for about 90% of the film. If anything, Howard seemed to have a better Christmas than her even though he was the one who kept getting attacked by just about everyone. Jamie was a little worse though. I always feel like the little kids are pretty unreasonable and he is no exception. While he can’t really guess how much effort Howard is putting into the search, he isn’t making things any easier by going on tantrums. He just needs to accept the fact that Howard can’t usually keep his promises and it’ll help him learn to expect the unexpected.

There was a Cop who got a fairly large role in the film. He came across as a jerk the whole time though so it’s hard to sympathize with him when a bomb blows up in his face and his motorcycle is destroyed by Howard. The guy was basically asking for it, but I guess you can’t say that he’s not determined. The guy certainly went all out. There aren’t really any other big characters as the cast is relatively small. The rest of the people who show up are typically just people trying to make life hard for Howard. The little kid, the store owners, they all believe that this is some kind of fun joke.

Jingle All The Way has a nice soundtrack, which helps the film out overall. You’ll get to hear a nice array of classic Christmas themes as the film goes along. It’s definitely good to have and I’m always on board for that. While there are no real fight scenes to test the effects, the climax of the film plays out a bit like a real Turbo Man clip with Howard getting to take down Myron once and for all. That was a fun way to end the film and you’ll just feel bad for the actor who got knocked out by Myron. The poor guy never even saw it coming.

Overall, It’s easy to see why Jingle All The Way is such a solid film. It has rapid pacing and the writing is on point. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and embraces the battles between the two leads the whole time. The only weak part of the film is the Ted plot as it seriously did not need to be here. Liz also handled the whole thing as badly as you can imagine. She shouldn’t have let him even help set up the lights, much less be in a position to put up the Star while Howard was watching. It added the extra drama, but I don’t think the film would have changed much if he wasn’t around. Well, I definitely recommend this film. You may have missed out on the chance to see it for Christmas, but it’s a fun enough film to watch anytime. Also, it is snowing today so now might be a good chance to check it out right?

Overall 7/10

Terminator Genisys Review

All right, I managed to see the latest installment in the Terminator series! The trailer was one of the best ones that came out this year and it’s why I had rather high hopes for it. This certainly seemed like it would be an improvement over most of the films that came out. The fact that they made it more of a summer blockbuster aimed at just about everyone was an instant advantage as I wouldn’t have to wait a few months for the TV airing. It’s certainly fun and was nearly the best film in the series, but the writing holds it back. Still, this is definitely a good film to check out!

The plot is essentially a re imagining of the first two films with some time elements that change the future. The Terminator arrived early and helped Sarah live through the events of the first two films while also getting Kyle up to speed. The mission is to destroy Skynet in the future before the true future occurs. Kyle agrees that this is a good call although he disagrees on when they should destroy Skynet. Once the heroes get that sorted out, they embark on their most dangerous battle yet!

As you may have heard, reviews have not been kind to this film. It’s also not doing very well in the box office and that isn’t even too surprising when we go back to the trailer. It’s the kind of trailer that almost looks too good and the general audience definitely wouldn’t like it. Go back to Man of Steel, The Amazing Spider Man 2, and other films like that. Even I Frankenstein and Spider Man 3 would count to an extent. If there is a lot of CGI, action, and essentially comic book/video game styled plots running around, then it is typically doomed to bad reviews. For films like these where the action is at this level and the trailer looks exciting, you can bet that it will be doomed. Not necessarily at the box office as they still do tend to do well, but the reviews will be harsh. So, for a big anime/video game/comic/action fan, they’re typically a good sign that the film will be quite good. Terminator didn’t disappoint.

Before I really get into talking about the film, I’ll quickly take a look at the big negative that I had with it. The writing was terrible, specifically the script. There’s a lot of excessive language to be found here. You’ll hear the s word for what feels like dozens of times and even the more extreme word appears once. These moments really hurt the film and I had to take a whole star off of it as a result, which took it from being the best film in the series to number 3, as it falls behind the legendary T2 and the less critically renown T3. It still clobbers the original Terminator film as well as Salvation, but it’s a missed opportunity. Even if the film is going for a realism effect, you wouldn’t expect the average joe to be swearing this often. It’s like the characters have the word on standby so that they can say it whenever they are surprised, scared, or excited.

The romance is also handled rather poorly, but long time fans of this site will not be surprised at this. There’s really no reason for the 2 main characters to like each other except that this is a theater film and it is expected. It’s worse when you consider the fact that Sarah knows that she is supposed to like Kyle. There’s just no way that this would work after that and she shouldn’t even like him since Kyle isn’t the nicest guy on the block. He nearly jeopardizes the world and he’s very slow on the uptake. As per usual, there is also some fanservice here because the characters have to go into the teleporter while naked because clothing throws the system out of place. I still find it amusing that the new ball effect from the third film is completely ignored nowadays. It was a decent effect, but the original is still the best as it’s short and to the point. I’m not sure how one character’s truck manages to endure the lightning blasts when one bolt causes a car to be ripped in half later on, but…that’s just how it goes.

That’s really it as far as the negatives go. One area where the film is mixed on as it’s not particularly strong or weak in is the characters though. As with the first film, I still don’t like Kyle at all. He comes off as very defensive since he’s always pointing his gun at the heroes and he completely overreacts with the original Terminator. Falling in love with someone over a picture is incredibly shallow and I could go on and on about why he is such an unlikable main character. This guy just doesn’t have what it takes to hold his own film. Sarah isn’t a whole lot better, but she is a definite improvement. I liked her a lot in T2 because she was a very tough heroine who got the job done. (Although I wasn’t a big fan of her in the original film)

In this film, the writers clearly tried to go for that as she still has a gun and fights Terminators several times, but she’s not as battle hardened or skilled in combat. She does still spring traps and beats the average hero (Kyle….) but the romance plot at the end hurts her case a lot. Especially considering that it was a whole plot where she was trying to defy her fate. Going along with it at the end just didn’t seem like a smart option at all. Giving her an extra action scene or two would have certainly helped her case along with less panicking when danger arrived. I think that her character would have been a lot more likable if Kyle was not around as the dynamic between her and the Terminator was good. They had some good teamwork against the first villain so seeing more of that throughout the film would have been enjoyable and the banter between them could have made the film even more fun.

John Connor makes for a decent character. His transition happens fairly early on in the film so you won’t have to worry about him being the generic war general for too long. I didn’t care for him in that form all that much, but he wasn’t too bad. He was just way too vague and should have told his army troopers a little more if he really wanted them to prevent the time travel from happening. After that, he certainly gets a lot more power and we needed one of those insane characters who thinks that he is a hero right? He’s certainly not the John Connor that you’ll remember from the other films, but he actually does beat the other 3 portrayals of John rather easily. This one meant business and he was also more charismatic.

Naturally, the original Terminator is the character who steals the show. He gets in some quality burns on the main cast and most of his dialogue scenes are the best parts of the film. Unlike the third film where he admits that he is an obsolete model, he constantly denies it here as he faces off against the new and improved Terminators. He is older and his parts are starting to break, but he has a lot of determination and puts up a good fight in every scene. He’s very likable and acts a little more like his appearance in T3 than T2 as he still has a big sense of humor and is constantly showing signs of emotion. It’s a good sense of character development for him. In the audience, people laughed when he showed off his grin for the first time. It’s why I wish they wouldn’t spoil humor scenes in the trailer sometimes as it would probably have a bigger impact if you weren’t expecting it.

Humor aside, The Terminator also knows how to get the job done. He still makes sure not to destroy any civilians even while in self defense. He’s very intelligent and a great fighter. While the newer models have special abilities like shape changing and regeneration, The original Terminator still has the edge in physical power over most of them. He overwhelms the opponents through physical strength and that’s always a good tactic although having regeneration would probably be a little more fun for him so that he wouldn’t have to get pounded so often. Finally, we have a fun character who’s named Detective O’Brien. He does a good job of instantly outshining most of the cast as he takes the situation in stride (Unlike Kyle) and helps the heroes out of a jam. For decades, people called him crazy, but the detective never lost hope in his assumption that the heroes were time travelers. You just gotta love the guy and I’m glad that he got to help out without getting killed off right away.

The soundtrack is certainly good as well with the classic theme showing up. The scene where the original Terminator first shows up to take care of his past self was definitely intense. While I agree that he is no match against his younger self, I would have liked a more even battle. (When the fight first started, I had the opposite opinion, but when we saw just how old and broken the current version was, the opening fight scene felt more accurate to me) The music definitely has more emotion than you would expect from the average film.

The film’s tone and atmosphere really help it to be a blast. I’d say that it’s very similar to The Amazing Spider Man 2, which is certainly one of the most underrated films to have come out in recent years. Unlike the past Terminators to an extent (Because 3 was a little similar to this one) this film is a lot more upbeat and cheerful than the older ones. There’s essentially nonstop action and the characters are constantly moving. There are several scenes that were so good they felt like they could have been a climax in another title and the film never takes itself too seriously. While this hurts it critically, it greatly increases the replay value and enjoyment during the film. There are no really violent scenes unlike the first three films, which is certainly a positive. This way you can really focus on the action.

As great as the tone was, it wouldn’t have been enough without some good action scenes. The fights here are the best ones that we’ve seen aside from the big brawl in T3 where the Terminator fought the TX. (Too bad she couldn’t appear here, but it’s too soon in the timeline) Each of the big fights, Terminator vs Terminator, Terminator vs T1000, Terminator vs Final version Terminator, were all really great. They easily beat most of the fights that you will be seeing in theaters and I’d say that the fight scenes here were the best of the year. Beating out the Age of Ultron climax as well as the final showdown in Jurassic World. I don’t see Ant Man or Star Wars topping these, but it’s always possible. These are likely some of the best fights that we’ve seen since Man of Steel, but it’s a tough fight as the Winter Soldier in 2014 had some good ones as well.

Some scenes you will already be familiar with like the one where the Terminator jumps off of a helicopter, but it doesn’t take away from how good the scenes are. Genisys really did a good job of showing off the effects and the design for the final boss in particular is really good. It almost goes without saying, but the film’s pacing also benefits a lot because of this. With all of the nonstop action, the film gets to cram in a whole lot without dragging out. The film’s only 2 hours, but it has at least 3 hours worth of content into it and you’ll never be looking at your watch. Something is always happening, whether it be a funny scene or an intense one.

As for the time travel elements, this naturally leads into intriguing territory where you can try to fit in the pieces yourself. Nothing relating to time travel would be a negative for me as I get to make my own theories on what happened. Even if there are things which would be counted as plot holes, it wouldn’t hurt the film as it’ll just make you grin and try to connect the dots. Also, it’s not like a plot hole would matter all that much since all someone needs to do is send another Terminator in from the future and everything will change. As long as time travel exists here, the cycle will never end and Skynet will never be truly defeated, as much as the characters would like for this to not be true.

My main issue with the time travel is one of the final scenes as a kid is given a message. It happens way too late in the kid’s life so it shouldn’t have existed in the first place if you ask me. It’s a time loop, but it still should have happened years sooner so it could have made a difference. As it is, the future will never happen as a result of what happened. Now, what I did like about this film is that they explained that even if a character destroys his parents before he is born, he will still exist. This is a theory that I’ve always agreed with as the character is already alive so a shift in the past should not affect him in the future because his life is already written. In a sense, you are immune to the time shifts because you are now out of time. On that note, the film got it down perfectly.

As for the rest of the time travel, it’s a little iffy on how the T-1000 arrived so quickly. If you ask me, he arrived too soon. In a way, you could just say that the first 4 films never happened to save yourself the hassle. As soon as the original Terminator was sent to the past, everything changed. Why did the heroes wait so long to stop Skynet? Surely, they could have destroyed key facilities and kept on delaying the project for decades at a time right? Maybe it was just flashier this way. Maybe the characters didn’t think that they had what it took to prevent such a disaster. Either way, I felt like the plan to stop Skynet wasn’t really thought out so well on their part.

Of course, it was still awesome to see the first film live again through the opening. Since I just saw the first four films, it was really fun to look at the visual cues and try to fit this in the timeline. I really just prefer to consider it as an AU to the previous films as they no longer fit in the current timeline as their reality has shifted. They did happen, but they don’t matter to the main cast anymore. One cool part is that the sequel to this film probably won’t even need to worry about time travel as things may happen linearly now….right? While it is possible, I’m assuming that time travel will definitely come into play. After all, a big plot point that has not been concluded yet is, who sent the original Terminator to the past to stop the first four films from ever happening? The answer hasn’t even been hinted at yet and I’m just really hoping that it is not John or Kyle, but a completely new character. The problem is that with time travel, it could literally be any character from any timeline so the writers can have a field day deciding who did it.

Naturally, you’ll need to stick around through the credits to check out the final scene. It should have been a little longer so that something more could happen, but I can always appreciate a good cliffhanger. Marvel started the epic tradition and I feel like all companies should keep on going with it. It’s a nice way to build up some hype for the next film and just for yourself if the sequel gets cancelled since things aren’t looking very good for it right now. The next film has a lot of potential if it does come out now since the fights may be a little higher tier and we may get some more answers. I’m also wondering what Skynet’s next play will be. They ended up having the last laugh in T3 and T4 so I suppose that it’s about time that the humans got a quick victory since they haven’t had a glimpse of it since T2.

Overall, Terminator Genysis is a really fun film. This definitely reminds me why I love the concept behind the franchise so much. While it is not a film for everyone, you will greatly enjoy it if you are looking for a really action packed film that never lets up and is always hitting you with a mixture of humor and intensity. The soundtrack is fun and the film never drags on. Another good thing about Genisys is that there aren’t any really bad scenes that will make you wince although the romance at the end comes close. Kyle makes for an underwhelming main character and Sarah is not quite as tough as she should be, but at least she contributes and you will greatly enjoy the detective. The Terminator steals the show as you would expect and the final boss is a legitimate threat. Skynet’s true form isn’t quite as fun as the one in T4, but I have a feeling that Skynet’s true form in the next film will be more threatening. You can tell that this is only the beginning for the heroes, but I have a feeling that the Terminator franchise will not be able to top this film going forward. Hopefully they can surprise me. As long as the writing quality does not deter you, this is definitely the film to check out. Once you see the action scenes, you won’t regret it!

Overall 7/10

True Lies Review

This is of the edited TV-14 version of the film and all thoughts below should be read as such. A review of the uncut version would likely be more negative as edited versions help to address my complaints for a product…typically.
It’s time for another Arnold film and this is one that I definitely hadn’t heard of before. It essentially tries to be a James Bond film and I have to wonder if Cameron has ever seen one. That is one formula that you really don’t want to emulate and this film falls into a lot of the same holes that the Bond films create. True Lies ended up being below average and a film that I would not recommend, but it was decent for the most part. It simply could not recover from its mistakes.

Harry is a double agent who works for a very secret organization. His family does not know about this and they think that he just has a very boring job. His wife knows that Harry is passionate about it though so everything was going well until the Terrorists struck. Harry must now try to stop them even if it may expose his identity and Helen decides to get into an adventure of her own, but this ends up being a bit of a dangerous move. Will she be able to succeed or is she doomed? Those are the main plots of the film.

Let’s dive into the main negative, which crippled the film. That would be Helen’s plot as she essentially decides to abandon her family and practically cheat on Harry as she meets someone who claims to be a secret agent. She stops him after the guy tries to make out with her, but he still succeeded for a little before she stopped him, which was awful. From there, she also accepted a mission to be a hooker and we had a painfully long scene of her dancing for the villain in disguise. It was all just terrible and that scene alone guaranteed that this film would get a negative score. That was just terrible and I don’t think that any film could recover from such a thing.

The Helen subplot was just not necessary and it took quite a while to finish. Harry was also way too mean during those moments as well like when he forced her to take up the mission and do all of those degrading things. He was not a good main character by any stretch of the imagination nor was she a good heroine. She was ready to abandon her family and travel to another country on a whim, that’s just not smart and she also appeared to be very naive.

As for Harry, I’ve already explained how he’s a pretty bad hero. He also flirts with the enemies in classic James Bond style. At least James Bond isn’t married, but Harry is so he really shouldn’t be messing around. He doesn’t actually do anything, but the flirting is still unnecessary. He can accomplish his mission while being stone cold, that’s what the villains do right? He’s a good fighter and typically knows how to beat a group of enemies with a single gun. As an agent, Harry is probably even better than James Bond since 007 managed to lose to a random thief in Skyline while he was at his peak. I don’t think it’s even debatable which agent is more adept at hand to hand combat.

The film’s fairly light toned as it is a mix of comedy and action throughout. There is even a scene where a character drops a gun and the bullets take out about a dozen men. Harry takes care of the rest and he gets an epic one liner as he takes down the leader of the villains. There were no real interesting villains as the main one is very generic. At least the film used him to make the terrorists look rather inept, which is always good and I wouldn’t want him to be likable anyway. One of his foot soldiers is the lady who is around to distract Harry, but she never really gets to try this and just acts to make Helen jealous.

As you can see, most of the characters are pretty bad. Even Harry’s daughter is rather sad as she actually steals money from people and it’s a very unnecessary addition to her character. She is presented to be overly rude and that’s considering that Helen and Harry are already not the greatest of leads. Harry’s partner is the “funny” guy of the group and he gets a ton of burns and one liners, but he also has a number of them that just make him look bad. I definitely didn’t like him either although he’s certainly more charismatic than the other players.

It’s too bad because the film actually started out really well. The opening scene was like a James Bond film, but without going too far and the snow action scene was good. Of course, the first sign that this film was going to take a plunge was when Harry hit two dogs into each other. That was when I knew that the film didn’t really stand a chance and animal violence is always a sign that the film’s writers did not know what to do. It’s just unnecessary and rather sad. I really don’t mind the fact that this film didn’t get a sequel. It would ideally be better than the first film, but that’s still not saying much.

At least, I got to see another meme in the making. When Harry punches the fake agent while they are in the car, I instantly recognized the scene. It was used a lot online back in the day and I always wondered where it came from. Now that I’ve seen that one and the one from the Planet of the Apes, I’ve seen just about all of the big meme/gifs from the olden days. The main one that I’m missing now is the slow clap gif and I may still have scene that film. The actor in it looks familiar at any rate.

This film could not win so it’s good that Cameron already has a good resume with other films. It will be ironic if James Bond comes back to defeat True Lies with its upcoming film and the scary thing is that there is actually a possibility of that. The next James Bond film looks like it could finally be decent and it has more potential than all of the old ones with the exception of Skyfall. Skyfall wasn’t great, but they cut out most of the romance plots that have plagued the series and this one looks to continue that. Of course, Mission Impossible was always a better James Bond than the James Bond films so it’s all a little moot.

Overall, This is an old blockbuster that really couldn’t match up to the newer ones. Arnold and Cameron were around, but they simply couldn’t produce another winner this time. With such a large budget, they should have put more funds towards making the characters more likable. This review actually came across as even more negative than I had planned, but sometimes retrospect can make a film age even worse than you may have guessed. At the moment, it’s hard to think of any real positives. The film was fun during a lot of the moments, which would have to be its only real pro. It’s easy to watch for the most part and the pacing wasn’t bad, but when you have to endure the Helen subplot for well over 20 minutes…it just gets to be a little too much.

Overall 3/10

Terminator 3 Rise of The Machines Review

This is of the edited TV-14 version of the film and all thoughts below should be read as such. A review of the uncut version would likely be more negative as edited versions help to address my complaints for a product…typically.
It’s time to take a look at the third Terminator film! The second one was very enjoyable and really captured the feel of what a Terminator film should be like. The villain was impressive and the time travel aspects were handled well even if I had some questions on it. The third film wasn’t quite as big as the second film and certainly not as legendary, but it actually holds up to the second film. They’re very close and while I may give the second film the slight edge….it’s very close. Both of them outdo each other in various ways and I’ll compare them again towards the end of the review.

Sarah Conner is gone and John must now fend for himself. The problem is that John wasn’t prepared to attack the world on his own. He has managed to scrape by somehow, but now Skynet has sent another Terminator after him. The original Terminator is around to help John against the TX, but can the older model really prove to be effective at this point? Judgment day is at hand and the humans will have to get ready for what is about to happen. Only John can save the world, but can he even save himself?

As with the last film, John makes for a very poor protagonist. It’s hard to root for him when you consider the fact that one of his very first scenes is him getting locked up in a cage and swallowing some intriguing pills. He doesn’t get much better than that as his personality is simply unlikable. It’s like he was only half listening to Sarah’s warnings and he barely even seems to remember the Terminator from the second film. Granted, it’s another version of the character, but I expected more of a reaction although he clearly does remember the cyborg since he references the second film several times. I don’t know, he just didn’t feel consistent in that area and he never became likable.

Kate is the main heroine and she probably gets the saddest role in the film. The TX naturally takes down her fiance so that she essentially has no choice but to hook up with the main guy. She moves on from the Fiance in about 5 minutes so I don’t think that the relationship was that serious anyway, but it still makes her look bad. She really had no reason to like John since they hadn’t seen each other in years and the Hollywood effect (As I like to call it anyway) should have just let her off the hook here. As just friends, it would have worked out a little better.

Enough about the humans though. John and Kate are really the only two important ones. Kate’s father does have a role involving Skynet though and the fan favorite Dr.Peter also makes a quick guest star appearance for another fun scene. Beyond that, the Terminators really take on most of the important scenes so let’s talk about them. The classic T-800 is still a very likable character. He remembers what happened in the second film thanks to a sort of unified mind or something like that.

The fight is certainly tough for the Terminator since he’s really outgunned at this point. The TX is supposed to be superior in every way so only plot hax can protect the T-800. He’s still the best character in the film, but I have to admit that the fight scenes were really stretching logic at times although I’ll go into that more in a second. If you liked The Terminator in the first two films, you’ll likely enjoy him here. He gets more than one great burn and most of his scenes have him doing something cool like “Talk to the hand!” or “You’re Terminated” There was definitely a lot of memorable material here.

The TX is the first female cyborg to be shown and she makes for a merciless villain. Technically, she is easily the strongest Terminator that we have seen at this point and her weapons are very impressive. A single hit from her energy gun can destroy most Terminators and her instant regeneration is about as good as the T-1000’s. She can take over other pieces of technology and just acts more like a modern robot villain in general. She was certainly an imposing figure and made for a good enemy to the T-800. Even if she was a little overpowered to be honest.

Unfortunately, this film has more plot hax than the first two by a long shot. As mentioned, the TX is supposed to be superior to the T-800 in every way and she proves that in several scenes. Yet, the T-800 is able to physically overpower her during the big showdown and he actually lands a number of hits. It’s like watching a Mario player in Super Smash fight someone who doesn’t know how to DI. The Terminator simply keeps hitting and flipping her and she doesn’t really try to fight back. Eventually, she just seems to realize that she’s in a fight and disposes of him rather quickly. Perhaps she was toying with him since the Terminators do have a little personality at times, but the film didn’t play it off that way. She also had many opportunities to destroy John, but didn’t. One example is when she was on the car that he was in. Simply firing her energy blast would easily destroy him along with the vehicle. Such a minor explosion would barely harm her after all, but instead she tried throwing some punches and got knocked off of the car. Rookie mistake TX….

While the plot hax was around, the fight scenes were still the best in the franchise. The film producers/directors must have realized that CGI is the way of the future as the battles are like watching the Man of Steel if it was made a few years ago. The characters are really landing heavy blows on each other and they even have some decent speed feats. The action scenes are certainly ahead of their time and while you won’t enjoy them if you don’t care for CGI, CGI fans like myself (Only for live action) will definitely get a kick out of the bout. The TX should have won without much of a fight, but it’s more entertaining this way I suppose. Their battle was certainly the highlight of the film.

I found this film to be less violent than the second one and it feels like the series is getting a little tamer with each installment, which is always good. Of course, keep in mind that I am reviewing the edited version. The film can also still be intense at times like when the TX impales someone and drives while in that position. That scene was definitely pretty gruesome and the body count does get rather large at times. The implied violence can also get to you so naturally, you should know that you are about to watch a pretty intense film when you start this one. The soundtrack is also great and I have to say that it might even be better than the second’s. It’s very fast paced and the classic theme also shows up to increase the intensity. Most of the tracks really fit the scenes and while you won’t remember them for long, they are enjoyable while present.

In the end, how does this film stack up against the second one? Well, T2 has the edge with the main protagonist as Sarah is much better than John. T2 has less plot hax in the fight scenes and it was also a lot more epic as the stakes felt more real and theatrical. T3 was really epic as well, but in a way, you could tell that it was the sequel that was meant to be more comic bookey. Not a real word, but that’s a good way to describe it. While T2 was more of a thriller, T3 felt like a comic book film with super villains fighting the main lead. Even just looking at how the Terminators teleport onto the scene. T2 had the much cooler entrance as the Cyborgs just appear while T3 has a black bubble that appears first, which looked decently interesting, but it wasn’t quite as epic. T3 easily had the best action scenes of the trilogy and I dare say that it had better one liners for Arnold although most of his lines tend to be really cool. As such, it’s a close battle and both films are neck and neck, but I’ve got to give T3 the slight edge here. It’s hard to say whether T3 will always have the lead or not as one may age better than the other, but it’ll be interesting to see.

I’ve also got to give T3 props for the ending as it was fairly incredible and the kind of ending that you don’t see very often anymore. At least, not without a “Part II” or a direct sequel. While Salvation would end up rolling along, this was still an ending to a complete film and one that was fairly surprising. I was expecting more plot hax to be honest like the bomb plan actually working, but I loved every bit of the ending. It was all part of the plan and the heroes were just being led along. I’d love to see another ending like that sometimes, but it’s hard to handle correctly. We’ll just have to see if anymore films have it in them.

Overall, Terminator 3 was better than I ever could have anticipated. The fights were a lot of fun and the humor was handled well. It felt like a complete film and a very interesting one that used time travel to its fullest. Skynet never gives up and the quick pacing of the film keeps the audience guessing. The pacing isn’t quite as good as T2 as it slows down sometimes, but it’s typically fast enough. If John had been a better main character, the film would have been that much better. I definitely recommend this film to Terminator fans and you may be pleasantly surprised upon watching it. I wonder if the upcoming Terminator film will manage to have a stronger Terminator than the TX. Somehow, I doubt it, but that would be interesting to see.

Overall 7/10

Terminator 2: Judgment Day Review

This is of the edited TV-14 version of the film and all thoughts below should be read as such. A review of the uncut version would likely be more negative as edited versions help to address my complaints for a product…typically.
It’s time to look at the sequel to the first Terminator. This was the big film and you could say that this is what really put the franchise on the map. As well received as the first film was, the second would show us what the series could do with a real budget. We could get some more action now and a new villain who may even be stronger than the Terminator! I enjoyed this one more than the first and it got rid of one of my main negatives with the first film.

Sarah may have survived her last ordeal, but she is now being kept in an asylum as the police don’t really believe the fact that she destroyed a Terminator. They just think that it was a random guy with a cool pair of shades who managed to take everyone down. When The Terminator does appear again, Sarah prepared for the end, only to fnid out that he is on her side now along with her son, John Connor. Sarah doesn’t have much time to celebrate this as she decides to destroy Skynet before it is ever created. Can she get past the new Super Terminator from the future?

First off, the film did a good job of being very action packed like the first one. The Terminator shows up and quickly starts to mess his opponents up and then we meet the new and improved Terminator. With two enemies gunning after her, Sarah wouldn’t have stood a chance. Luckily, the first Terminator is on the side of the heroes for now. Like the last film, something is basically always happening and the film keeps up with a quick pace. With the budget improved, the liquid Terminator can really show off his strengths.

Time to talk about one of the plot devices, which I thought was a little iffy. In the first film, Kyle mentions that Skynet sent a Cyborg into the past so the humans countered with him. In this film, we find out that Skynet actually sent two Cyborgs and we used the time loop to our advantage to reprogram the first one and send it after the second. Hmmmm……I don’t think that this adds up too well. I guess you could say that we were able to reverse engineer the Terminator from the arm and chip that survived the first film, but how did the main characters get it? Also, adding in the fact that two Cyborgs were sent just seems like a mild retcon. Reprograming the original Terminator is another iffy part.

Regardless, plot holes rarely hurt films and they are just fun to look at. You can also make the case that they aren’t plot holes and that I just need to refill my Popcorn and continue with the review. Just keep that in mind since in Genysis… seems like more time twists are going to occur.

The Terminator is an iconic character and I’ve always known him as a good guy so it’s nice to see him be a protagonist here. He’s still a Cyborg and doesn’t really feel emotions, but he starts to get the hang of them by the end. He seems like a nice guy even when he’s shooting everyone as he is still trying to help John. Deciding not to destroy humans anymore was also a pivotal part of his character development. This film was also where he got his famous sayings and iconic weapons like the Mini Gun. (I love that weapon in just about every shooter. It’s just so good!) He was definitely the best character in the film.

Now, I know that many people consider Ripley Scott to essentially be the ultimate female protagonist of her time. She was tough and knew how to fight. Alien did come out before the Terminator films so it’s a valid reputation although I was never very impressed by her. That being said, I’d say that Sarah is much more impressive than Ripley and especially in the first part of the film as she breaks out from the Asylum and helps the Terminator fight against the new one. (I’ll just call him the T-1000 from here on out) She did start to lose some of her edge in the second half as she panics when trying to destroy Skynet and the dreams overtake her, but by and large, she was a very impressive hero. Not backing down from the T-1000 shows just why I consider her to be in the top 3 female movie protagonists. (Humans only and only counting her depiction from this film. Let’s ignore what happened in the first film)

There are a few dogs around like last time and they manage to stay uninjured. I wanted to quickly reassure all of you that the film didn’t make the big mistake of including animal violence. That would have been quite sad. Unfortunately, John is a very unlikable character and easily one of the worst in the film. Just about every scene where he has a “tough” moment is sad. He is in the rebelling phase and he actually steals money from people to use at the arcade. He’s certainly no hero and I can see why the Resistance is getting blasted by the Terminators. The film tries to push the argument that the humans will win and the Terminators are scared, but I can’t picture the humans winning. They simply don’t have what it takes at this point.

As for the T-1000, he’s a good villain. He starts to show some mild emotion at the very end like when he shakes his finger at Sarah, but for the most part he is not very emotional. His liquid metal abilities make him quite the threat and it’s safe to say that The Terminator doesn’t stand much of a chance against him in a fist fight. The original Terminator does seem to physically be stronger than the T-1000 though and he was winning in pure fisticuffs until the T-1000 started to use his Liquid Abilities. With them, he is very hard to destroy and his regeneration is also impressive. He made for a very good villain and it’s going to be tough for the future films to top him.

The soundtrack is excellent and I would expect nothing less from the Terminator series. As much as I enjoyed the music in the first film, this one managed to top it. A lot of the themes are very epic and make you feel the intensity of the scene. The iconic main theme is also very pronounced here and I can see why it is still remembered today. A good soundtrack really makes all the difference in a film and Terminator 2 certainly did a good job with it.

One of the things that holds the film back a little is still the fact that it can be pretty violent at times. Thanks to me seeing the edited version, it wasn’t too bad. Usually, the screen would cut away when a character got stabbed so while you can tell how the character was destroyed, it’s not brought to the screen’s view too often although you can usually see the corpse in the background as a quiet shock moment. Naturally, the film could have certainly trimmed the violence down without affecting the story and the film could have easily been PG-13 level if they really tried although I’m not sure if the rating was around back then.

There was one scene that nearly made me take away a star though. To show that the Asylum is not a safe place, we get a scene where the guy in charge of guarding the prisoners is actually a psycho himself. The scene literally has no point to it and it just serves to show us that there are always shady characters around. It was still a pretty distasteful scene though and nearly brought the film down. Had it gone any further than what was shown, I certainly would have had to cripple the score a little more. Luckily, it never went that far.

I did actually feel bad for the two guys who tried to help John when they thought that the Terminator was about to attack him. They came to help only to get some broken bones out of the ordeal when John thought that it would be funny to inflict a little pain. Once again, John proved that he was definitely not a very heroic protagonist and someone that you couldn’t root for. I can only hope that he is better in Terminator 3.

The best scene in the film is probably when the Terminator meets up with the T-1000 in the Asylum as the heroes finally manage to find Sarah. That’s where the film really got interesting and the death race got going. That’s the kind of moment that I hope to see in Batman vs Superman or in the Infinity War. Two big characters finally meeting up and the other characters as witnesses. That scene will definitely be remembered as a classic.

Overall, Terminator 2 was a worthy successor to the first film. It’s really going to be tough to top this installment as we had a great villain and good heroes in Sarah and the Terminator. John was a really bad character, but at least he wasn’t too integral to the plot so it was easy to ignore him. The sci-fi elements are always fun to watch and the opening scene with the future really showed off just what the series could do with a big budget. I definitely want to see more of the future soon since that plot looks super interesting. In Florida, they had a ride where a great part of the movie inside took place in the future. Something like that would make for a great film. There may be a few plot points that I found iffy, but you can safely jot it down to the time travel aspect. I definitely recommend this if you saw the first Terminator film and if you’re looking for an intense time travel film, this is what you’re looking for.

Overall 7/10