1 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Blade 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 to look at one of the original comic book films from back in the day. Blade is largely forgotten nowadays although it seems to have had a bit of a resurgence in recent years. It’s a vampire film which naturally does limit how good it can be to a large extent. Unfortunately the comic book aspect of the movie was unable to do enough to take it back to the next level. It makes all the usual mistakes of a vampire film and ends up being rather similar to Resident Evil. Resident Evil would ultimately have the edge though with its top tier soundtrack and a more interesting plot. Come to think of it, zombies may also beat vampires for me although it’s close since both don’t make for particularly good movies.

The movie starts off with one human being lured away to a vampire party. They are about to finish him off when Blade appears and destroys the lot of them. Unfortunately he decides to toy around with one of them a little too much so he manages to get to a hospital and murder a bunch of people as well bite Karen. Blade takes Karen over to his base where the Whistler tells Karen that it’s all over. She’s already dead and they’re not going to help her. Karen’s not thrilled about this so she decides to stick with the gang. At the very least she should be safer with the pros right? Blade doesn’t have much time to guard anyone though because he’s on a quest to avenge his mother and himself by murdering Frost. Frost is the one who turned Blade into a vampire after all and this is the closest that the hunter has gotten to being on his trail.

Right from the start Blade introduces itself as a film that is going to go all in with the violence and vampire action. The first scene probably has more blood almost all of the other comic book films. The violence never lets up either as we see people eaten and blown up. The TV edit does cut away from a lot of the direct moments which is quite telling considering how violent the film still was. Automatically there’s no way the film was going to get a very high score because of how excessive it all is. Definitely be sure you’re cool with the violence if you plan on checking this one out.

I’ve also never been a fan of the drinking blood angle which is pretty hard to avoid in a vampire film. It’s part of why those films are always destined to lose if you ask me. While it can be possible to do a good vampire story (Records of a Fallen Vampire) it is very difficult and not particularly likely. The villains aren’t particularly fun either. You’ve got Quinn who is the main comic relief of the villain group. He is always in a party mood and doesn’t take things too seriously. This never bodes well for him in a fight and you know from the start that he has absolutely no chance against Blade. He’s just completely out of his league.

Then you have Frost who can be a decent main villain in some Blade stories but he doesn’t work here. They really play up the fact that he’s a much younger vampire than the others so he’s always fooling around. The guy is pretty smart and does take the vampires to new heights that the old ones wouldn’t have reached. He definitely gets some points there and is a reasonably strong villain. Ultimately he’s not nearly as charismatic as he thinks he is. The rest of the villains don’t really get much of a role. For the most part they’re just here to get blown up.

For the heroes we’ve really got 3. First is Whistler who is the mentor figure of the movie. You can probably tell how his story will end up the instant he is introduced. He’s human so there’s not a whole lot that he can do against vampires with their special abilities. Still, he doesn’t back down from a fight which is really important in this kind of thing. He’s a bit of a downer though as he doesn’t even try to give Karen any hope. Karen is a solid heroine though. She does actually get involved in some of the fights and adapts pretty quickly to using a gun and other such tactics. I was glad that she spent more time being pro active as opposed to running or something like that. She was even able to work on a cure right away. Karen contributes quite a lot to the cause and that’s why she’s a pretty solid character. I’d be up for seeing her in sequels someday.

Then we have the main character Blade. He feels sort of like a more brutal Batman at times with how he will suddenly appear and start taking out the enemies. The main difference of course is that Blade murders his opponents. At first he tends to spare the humans although in some fight scenes it’s really hard to tell if he spares anyone. By the end though he is all out of mercy and just takes everyone out. He’s a pretty great lead. Blade’s serious and down to business throughout the movie. The film did a really good job with this portrayal and I’d say that Blade is pretty much perfect. I also like all of his tools and weapons. It makes for a pretty good arsenal in these battles.

The fight scenes are pretty good in the movie as well. When it’s not going out of its way to be particularly gritty we have some solid hand to hand action and swordplay. The scene of Blade arriving in the climax was handled particularly well as he got down to business. His opening fight against the vampire army was also solid. The movie helps to enhance these scenes with a solid soundtrack as well. We get some pretty fun rock themes for the battles. They have a nice retro feel that you don’t really see quite as much anymore in the modern films. For some reason rock music doesn’t seem to be as popular for the average fight scene which I don’t understand because the fast tempo should always be in season.

Overall, Blade is definitely what you would expect from a vampire action film. The action can be good but ultimately the film is held wayyyyy back by the vampire angle. It goes way too far in being overly dark and gritty. I can’t recall the last film I saw which was quite this violent. The body count is pretty high and you usually won’t be able to go more than a few minutes without something super violent happening. The film can be having a fun little scene and then you’re thrown into the next villain scene or something crazy happening. Pretty much any villain scene will end with something violent happening. These instances certainly add up so I wouldn’t recommend this film. It’s all just too excessive. If you want to watch a good supernatural action film then it’s time to watch the Avengers 2012 instead. It delivers on all of that without going overboard. We’ll see if the next Blade films are able to improve from this one or if they will ultimately make the same mistakes.

Overall 1/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Cloverfield Review


It’s time to look at a film I haven’t checked out in a very long time. Cloverfield was definitely not a monster film I enjoyed very much the first time. I thought the party scene took forever to get through and shaky cam has never been my style. It’s definitely a little better the second time around so I’d bump my score up a bit from the first time. Ultimately this film still could have been way better if we had a standard camera and got to see it more from the government’s point of view or one main character. Think Rampage or Godzilla 1998. That said, Clover still has a pretty intimidating design and seeing the Statue of Liberty get taken down is still an iconic scene.

The film starts off with the main characters at a party for Rob. He’s finally got the Vice President job he’s always wanted. So all of his old friends are there including his brother Jason and best friend Hud. Jason is supposed to record everyone giving Rob a quick message but doesn’t want to do it himself so he gets Hud to do it. Hud’s apparently not the most serious person around since Lily has to stress to him that this is serious a few times. Still, Hud gets a few messages on board before the first Earthquake happens. The main characters head outside and get a glimpse of the monster. They all start to head out of the area but then we find out that Beth has been injured and is unable to head out of her apartment. The heroes must head back into the danger zone to rescue her. Will they be able to do this?

So the film’s main gimmick is the classic shaky cam. So Hud’s carrying the camera around the whole film which is how the viewers see what’s happening. Naturally the guy stumbles a lot and while he’s running around the camera also tends to move so it’s not the clearest picture. That makes sense of course in context but as a directing decision I can’t say that it’s a good one. It’s a lot better to have a focused view so you can really get what is happening. Part of the fun in these monster films is seeing the monster break all of the buildings. You can’t help but feel like you are missing most of the action since we’re following these characters. It’s similar to how we missed the first big Godzilla fight in the 2014 film because the guy decided to take the train and we got a big time jump. The gimmick definitely does hold the film back to an extent.

The other main thing holding the film back is the writing which is pretty bad. The characters are all introduced as being very unlikable right from the jump. First you’ve got Hud who gleefully tells everyone who will listen that Rob had an affair with Beth. It’s really none of his business and it’s easy to see why Lily didn’t want him to know initially. He basically proves her right that he’s a pretty bad person. Jason also should have known that telling Bud wasn’t a good idea and it’s not something they needed to know. Jason’s also the one who dumped the responsibility on Hud so that wasn’t good. Marlena is all right, although she’s mostly just along for the ride compared to the others. I’m actually surprised she even went with the group since among them she had the least amount of reason to do so.

Rob and Lily are definitely the best characters here. Lily was at least keeping a level head during this and was one of the first to jump in and fight the mini monsters. She was quick and decisive which is important in a crisis. Rob was also pretty loyal to try and go save Beth amidst all of this. He didn’t handle the party particularly well but at least this was a really good scene for him. If the script were a little better then I think the characters would have benefited from this quite a lot. Instead a ton of language is thrown in throughout which seems to be cliche for disaster films as everyone keeps on panicking throughout.

For the positives, Clover’s design is solid as I mentioned. The destruction effects have also aged pretty well. It’s all very realistic looking and a nice view of how things could be if a giant monster were to attack the city. Certainly it would be pretty devastating and crazy outside. Even if you escaped the borough there’s no way of knowing if you’d really be safe or not. For all we know this is just the first creature of many and you don’t know if the government created it or if it’s an alien. The film doesn’t really answer any of these questions and that’s probably for the best. The mystery and suspense is part of the fun and knowing the answers to these questions would take away from all of that. It was also nice to see the government’s missile strike to try and take him down. It did look like it did some nice damage even if Clover didn’t ultimately go down.

The atmosphere is also pretty good. The film’s pretty bleak and has that end of the world vibe without trying to get too depressing. Hud can over dramatize things at times but that seems to be his core character anyway. The smoke cloud after Clover’s initial attack reminded me of the visuals from Batman V Superman as well. You’ll definitely be interested in seeing what happens next. The ending should have had more if you ask me. There is a brief extra moment if you stick through the credits but I need more intel. They said that the area was formerly known as Central Park so are they saying formally because it no longer exists or because this recording is from way in the future? As I mentioned we do want to keep the mystery so don’t explain it much but give more of a stinger. I want to see a bunch of monsters running around or something like that. Of course, it may have made the wait for the sequel even tougher but it’d be worth it.

Overall, Cloverfield is a pretty engaging film. It does have its weak points which keep it from ranking higher though. The first person camera look just doesn’t work for movies and the writing needed to be better. The film doesn’t drag on though which is good as it’s a pretty quick film that always stays on point. The mini clovers were a little on the weak side since the heroes were able to down them but at least it helped to give them a chance while keeping in the danger factor so that worked pretty well. It’ll be cool if we actually get a sequel to this someday. The various spin-offs don’t really count to me since we haven’t actually seen what happens at the end of the events of this film. Despite the title being thrown around everywhere I feel like the other films don’t have anything to really do with this one beyond some small connections to technically put them in the same universe. If you like a good monster destruction film then this one is worth checking out. It is a unique perspective to see this from the ground level civilians as opposed to a professional.

Overall 5/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Doctor X Review


It’s time to look at a very old film. This is probably one of the oldest films I’ve seen at this point which is definitely saying something. Even though it’s from the 30’s it still feels pretty modern compared to some I’ve seen. It certainly has aged better in some respects than the original King Kong for example. The sound quality is definitely clear and the visuals work well enough. It’s definitely not going to remembered as one of the better murder mysteries but I would say that it was fairly decent. A little predictable in places to be sure though.

The movie starts off by introducing us to the Moon murders. Basically someone is going around and eating people in the dead of night. It happens whenever there is a Full Moon and unfortunately there seems to be a full Moon almost constantly in this town. The cops figure it has to be someone from Xavier’s institute since the murder weapon is there. Xavier is certain that none of his professors have done this but introduces them to the cops. All of the scientists are pretty quirky and have suspicious personas. Dr. Wells has often studied cannibalization and is fascinated by it. Another one doesn’t want the police around for some reason and the others range from rude to distant. The cops rule out Wells because the guy only has one hand and the victims were all strangled but are unable to further deduce who it could be. Xavier gets the cops to agree to give him 48 hours to run his own experiments and find out who the guilty party is. Will he really be able to crack the case.

Figuring out who the murderer is shouldn’t take you longer than 5 minutes once we’re introduced to all of the suspects. There are at least 2 big things that sell him out as the culprit. When you watch the film let me know if you spotted them. Still, the film keeps on going as the characters try to put the missing pieces together. Xavier’s idea to get everyone to a secluded place to find the killer is a good idea until you think about it. If one of these guys is the murderer then what’s he going to do about it? Most of the professors are quite old so it’s not like they could fight the guy off. This plan also has to hope that the murderer doesn’t make a move and agrees to strap himself to a chair. Additionally, the villain could also have the strength of will not to suddenly throw himself into a fit of rage after watching a play. The fact that everyone is convinced that the villain would expose himself like that is a bit much.

The main character here though is the reporter Lee. He gets a lot of screen time. He’s very earnest about his work but definitely is not the most skilled agent. He tends to bump into just about everything and makes a lot of noise in the process. He does show up when it counts though and the final fight is pretty fun. There’s a lot of back and forth as he gets thrown around but keeps on getting back up. His fire idea was also pretty good. I’m not sure about his rushed romance with the heroine Joan though. It always seems suspect when they get together after one of them just had their life saved. Almost feels like gratitude going too far. Movies tend to always have rushed romances like this though.

Joan was ahead of her time in some ways though. I like the fact that she actually had a gun with her when confronting Lee the first time though. You definitely should have a gun with you when confronting would be burglars. She also foils Lee from stealing some pictures for the newspaper as well which is definitely good. Keep in mind that even after this deceit and such she falls for him. On the flip side, she does panic quite a lot. Screaming upon finding the father in his own room was rather odd. The dialogue makes absolutely no sense in that scene. Then later on she is unable to move while the villain is getting ready to move. She was not tied up or anything so why wouldn’t she at least put up a fight or attempt to escape? Joan definitely froze up at the worst possible time.

Overall, Doctor X is definitely a slow boil horror film as they examine all of the possibilities. It’s a pretty interesting film at least even if you already know the answer. The suspense will really come from trying to figure out how many victims the villain will get before he is caught. Some of the characters can be a bit annoying though like the butler. He went quite overboard in trying to scare the maid the whole time and she certainly made it easy on him. You’d think that Xavier wouldn’t be tolerating any of this but he doesn’t do anything about this. If you’re up for a classic horror film then this one could be up your alley. It’s not the best but I’ve certainly seen worse and it does avoid the animal violence error. Even the actual murders are largely off screen or not really violent which is nice since you never know what to expect if a film’s old enough.

Overall 6/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Targets 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 far more negative.

It’s time to take a look at a pretty old horror/thriller film. It’s got two main plots that have a big contrast both in tone and quality. The plot about the old movie star was actually pretty interesting and if the whole film had been about that then I think it would have been quite good. Unfortunately the other plot about the serial shooter ends up holding the movie back considerably though. Ultimately the film isn’t quite able to rise back up and make a comeback.

The first plot starts with Byron announcing a sudden retirement. This throws the studio into chaos since they were really counting on him for a few more horror pictures. He’s their main guy and without him these other movies are doomed. Sammy is particularly crushed since he had a movie all lined up. Byron is convinced to go through one last presentation though and heads off to a drive-in theater to do it. Unfortunately this is the same location that the wandering murderer Bobby is going to appear at. Bobby one day cracked and went off to buy some guns and shoot everyone down. He manages to get quite a lot of people down for the count before Byron is forced to step in. Can Byron take Bobby down or will the 40+ year age difference make him lose this fight?

As mentioned, the Byron plot is pretty solid. The story of an actor who has grown tired of the biz is a classic. We see him try to push everyone away but his secretary isn’t having any of that. She’s definitely a very loyal worker and always has his back. Byron’s a pretty charismatic lead as well and his scenes are pretty interesting. You do have to know when to call it a day and he was pretty old so it makes sense that he would want to retire and finally enjoy life a bit. I definitely don’t blame him for leaving. It was sudden but no more so than when a company tells you to skedaddle as well. It was nice that the film was actually using real films for Byron’s character though. I’ve seen quite a few Karloff films over the years and so the footage they showed of the two movies were for films that I had actually seen. I thought that was a real nice touch and helped to make the experience feel a bit more real. It adds some realism to the context of Byron getting ready to retire.

The Bobby plot though is going for more edge. He murders his family and then heads to a highway where he murders a bunch of other people. It takes forever for someone to take him down and his scenes are the equivalent of a guy just shooting at people who can’t fight back in the slightest. There’s nothing particularly entertaining about his plot and it just makes the film drag on. The tone and pacing of the Byron plot was excellent while this one is a perfect contrast in that sense. Bobby also can’t hold his own plot because he has no real charisma. The guy is meant to be very plain and in that sense the film succeeds. There’s nothing interesting about the guy and so a whole plot about him was destined to fail. This plot is definitely also a little more violent than the Byron one. You do actually see everyone getting shot whether it be from a zoomed out distance or up close.

The final confrontation of the film also can’t end up being too exciting because Byron is super old. There’s not really anything he can even try to do against Bobby realistically. The film’s trying to go for some deep messages in the end or to show that Bobby is super insane, but realistically he would have won that battle. His sudden breakdown there seemed awful convenient for everyone. The slow reaction of the staff was pretty realistic though as they initially figured the sounds were from the movie or something and didn’t get with the program for quite a while.

Overall, Targets is not a film that’s aged particularly well. It tried to ambitiously have two plots where the characters ultimately have to meet up in the end but it just didn’t work out. You can definitely have two plots meet up at the end for nice results but it’s very difficult in a single movie. If you do it, you also have to ensure that both plots are pretty interesting or it’s just not going to work. Off the top of my head I can’t even think of any big films I’ve seen recently with two plots like that. I think the closest would be Infinity War but that was a sequel so it’s a lot easier for a bunch of plots to converge like that. I’ll try to think of more films where that actually happened, but needless to say this will not be one of them.

Overall 3/10

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

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

Sonic the Hedgehog Review


It’s time to finally take a look at the legendary Sonic movie that came out recently. Sonic has always been the greatest video game series of all time as soon as Sonic Adventure first came out. Once Sonic Adventure 2 Battle arrived the series cemented itself as a legend. Despite that we hadn’t gotten a big budget film like this one. Well, that’s finally all changed. It’s definitely a pretty fun film and a good way to get Sonic out into the mainstream. To an extent he’s already there as you often see kids playing the mobile games so it makes sense to launch a movie now since they’ll all check it out. If not for Covid this very well could have cracked 700K and I know the sequel will do incredibly well.

The movie starts off with a quick action sequence as Sonic is evacuated off the planet by a wise bird. Sonic barely escapes the Echidnas but his Mom figure is unable to make it through with him. Sonic’s last words of advice were to make sure that nobody saw him and to always teleport to a new planet if something happened. His rings allow him to go anywhere he is thinking about. Sonic makes a good life for himself on Earth but he is still pretty lonely. One day he gets a little too fired up and launches an EMP that takes out a quarter of the country. Dr Robotnik is called in to find Sonic and this guy has never failed a mission.

Meanwhile the human main character of this movie is Tom. He has always been a pretty great police chief in Green Hills but he wants something a little more exciting. Now that he has been approved for a position in San Francisco he is ecstatic but that’s when Sonic shows up. Tom helps him out but he is now labeled as a terrorist. Tom’s too deep in to back off now so he will have to help Sonic find his rings in San Francisco so he can escape to another plane. Will he be able to do this or will Robotnik get to Sonic first? It’s definitely not going to be an easy journey.

This is a comedy adventure movie so it’s a blend of both but the first genre is likely the most important. Sonic’s always been able to achieve a good blend, just look at Sonic Boom which to date is probably Sonic’s most impressive show. They’ve all historically been solid though and as expected Sonic works in this medium as well. The gags involving Sonic running around and playing by himself against himself are really solid. I like all of the speed effects and the humans are good too. Rachel is Maddie’s sister and works well as the character who is always trying to escalate things. She panics a whole lot and really doesn’t like Tom. She’s absolutely as exaggerated as you can get but it works well.

Most of the characters here are extremely quirky and they make for a memorable cast. Eggman’s right hand man was a lot more fun than I expected him to be. Part of why he succeeds is because he takes everything in stride. While some characters would be puzzled the whole time or panicking this guy never does. He just follows Robotnik’s lead and does whatever he can. Robotnik can be a bit extra at times for sure, but he’s a fun character. A lot of the best moments with him are his banter with Tom. Ultimately I imagine it will become more of an exchange with Sonic but for now this works. Tom really gave it to him with those punches. I also liked Robotnik’s montage while testing out Sonic’s quill for power. We even got a quick dinosaur thhere.

As the main human, Tom gets a lot of screen time so you’re definitely hoping that he’ll be good. Fortunately he works out quite well. The film is going for that buddycop feel and he gets a lot of fun dialogue with Sonic. He can also fight surprisingly well as seen in the bar. His wife Maddie is also pretty good. I’ll give her props for not panicking the whole time the way a lot of characters do when they see an alien. Maddie is just ready for the experience and doesn’t really let it get to her. There are a few more characters but the final important one is Sonic. His character has been through quite a lot like with the design issues. Ultimately this design is way better than the first one they were going for. It’s definitely not quite up to the real Sonic design from the games but as this is definitely aiming to be a much younger version of Sonic than what we are used to, it works out pretty well. I can’t quite imagine Sonic acting quite the same way if he looked more like his adult self.

It’s a lot of fun seeing Sonic use his speed to save the day. We also got some Quicksilver type scenes of him messing with the room. Sonic’s very entertaining and I’d say that the film did him justice. As you can see, the cast here was solid and the writing was also pretty good. Most of the jokes land and the film is just a lot of fun to watch. The pacing is quick and you’ll never be bored here. The effects are also solid for the action scenes we do get. There aren’t a whole lot of them, but they work quite well. The best one is naturally the high speed chase with Robotnik at the end of the film.

While the film has a lot of things going for it, there are a few elements that do keep this to being a very good film rather than hitting the elite level. First off, the power levels are pretty bad. This is almost inevitable for a speedster based film but it’s especially noticeable here. Are we to believe that Sonic can be hit with a tranq dart, an explosion after he gets the button off, or that he can’t outrun Robotnik’s robot at the end of the film? None of these scenes make sense in the same context as the bar scene existing or the missiles on the roof. Both of those scenes show Sonic as being so crazy fast that time is basically stopped and there is absolutely no way anyone can catch him. Even if Eggman has one quill and part of the power his robot simply wouldn’t be that fast. I think the film saw the Quicksilver scene and wanted to do their own version as well but little did they know that scenes like that always bring up a ton of plot holes.

My other issue is that Sonic was a little too weak here. He is shown to physically have the strength of a toddler. He lands a lot of direct punches on people in the bar brawl and they do no damage. That doesn’t really make sense to me. With speed comes power. The Flash shows this often since building up momentum and throwing a punch always does more damage than a normal one. It’s the same concept so super speed automatically gives you super strength but a lot of films don’t really think about this. These two aspects of the film aren’t huge in the sense that they’ll cripple the score or anything like that. They’re just very noticeable and I think the movie could have done better here.

The soundtrack here is also pretty good. There are a lot of solid danger themes here and they flow well with the action scenes. One thing I was shocked about though was seeing the Final Fantasy VII theme in the film. Seriously, watch the scene where Sonic and Tim are in the car trying to fend off the various robots Robotnik keeps sending out. It’s a sped up version of the main battle theme. I have to see if someone made a comparison video on Youtube yet because that was really cool. It’s a battle theme that has withstood the test of time so naturally hearing it in a theatrical film like this is definitely worth it.

Overall, Sonic The Hedgehog is a very fun film. It sets up some good plot elements for the future as well. Make sure you stick around after the credits for a quick stinger. I’m hoping it doesn’t take too long until the sequel comes out because I’m ready for more Sonic hype. There are quite a lot of ways the sequel can go. Personally I’m expecting a return trip to Sonic’s home world but I’m also game for Metal Sonic showing up or Shadow The Hedgehog. We need to get close to the events of Adventure 2 Battle, that will be great. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you definitely need to check it out. It’s really just a lot of fun and has a high amount of replay value.

Overall 7/10

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

The Killer Shrews Review


It’s time to look at a classic creature feature film from a long while back. They definitely made quite a lot of interesting titles like this in those days that’s for sure. It’s a pretty fun film for the most part although it hits the usual snags like animal violence. I’ll give the film credit for avoiding having any of this on screen for the most part but I still had to deduct quite a few points. Ultimately within the genre I would say that this one is pretty average. It doesn’t do anything particularly inventive or exciting but I do give the film props for using an animal that hasn’t been done before. There are a lot of animals out there so you may as well give each one a movie.

The movie starts off with Thorne and Rook making it to an island on their boat. They’ve been instructed to drop off a bunch of supplies and then pick up a passenger named Ann. Unfortunately the waters have been quite troubled so they aren’t able to leave til the next day. Rook stays behind to guard the ship and Thorne heads to the locals’ home. Everyone seems to be in a hurry for Thorne to leave and he doesn’t appreciate that. After someone gets murdered and everyone starts to be very cryptic Thorne demands answers. Well, it turns out that the shrews on the island have mutated into giant monsters of sorts. They’ve gone from tadpole size to dog size. This is all due to experiments and as an added bonus they also have an incredible amount of poison in their fangs. A single slash or cut from the animal will prove to be instantly fatal. Thorne’s partner is dead and at this rate the rest of the cast will follow their fate. Can he possibly get to the boat with the others before it’s too late?

The film offers the heroes one ray of hope which is that shrews can’t swim. If the heroes get back to the boat then they will be safe. The tough part is getting there since these animals are so fast and if you make contact with them at any point then you will be doomed. It adds a nice level of danger without making the situation impossible for the heroes. You can also think about how you would have handled it. The final plan is pretty inventive. I would have been a little hesitant because I can picture them nipping at your heels but it was better than just trying to run and gun it through the forest. Everyone always seems to trip over themselves in such a scenario.

The cast can be a bit on the week side though. There are quite a few people at the hut but most of them don’t get much of a role. You’ve got the scientist who is really into his work and barely has any time to really talk to anyone else. He barely gets any scenes but at least the guy is dedicated. Even up to the end he is writing down symptoms. You’ve got Mario who seems like a nice enough guy and at least he didn’t fall for the mindgames. That being said, he still didn’t contribute much. Ann’s father is a pretty big character and he seems reasonable if you ignore the fact that his experiments are part of what got us into this mess at the start. Refusing to leave also puts everyone in harm’s way. Rook was a fun character although he just doesn’t get to appear a whole lot. You definitely feel bad for him since his death was the most tragic. If only he had stayed on the boat.

The real big characters here are the main 3. Jerry is the drunk rival who wants to be with Ann but gets dumped early on. You can’t blame Ann int he slightest since apparently Jerry tried to ditch her for the monsters at one point. We actually see him do this a lot later on as well. The guy is actively one of the main antagonists in the film and doesn’t seem to care that their lives are already in danger. He’s super petty throughout and there’s definitely no reason to like this guy. This whiny kind of character makes for a decent villain I suppose. I would have liked to have seen some characters try a little harder to stop him from locking Thorne out though.

Ann is a decent heroine. She does move on to Thorne rather quickly though so as expected the romance in this film is pretty weak. It all moves at typical Hollywood speed which is just a little faster than how you would picture an actual situation taking place. She could be a little too scared throughout the movie as well. So I definitely wouldn’t say that Ann was a bad character in the slightest but she doesn’t particularly standout either. As for Thorne, he’s a good main character. He stands up for himself against the others and is always pretty prepared. He doesn’t panic a whole lot and quickly assumes the leadership role. He wisely doesn’t give Jerry a gun again until the very end. Honestly at that point I probably still wouldn’t have given it to him because Jerry blew too many chances.

The movie’s very short so you’ll definitely be feeling how quick the pacing is. It works well since no part of the film really drags on. It’s really a classic thriller type of template. The shrews themselves make for a solid threat. They’ve got a nice design and those teeth are definitely real sharp. You do not want to mess with these guys in the slightest. Unfortunately as mentioned in the intro they do tend to go for the animals a bit which does hurt. The horse dies and even when the heroes start to destroy the Shrews that takes some points away because they look like nice enough animals. Ultimately a film about evil animals is pretty much always doomed because it’s just hard to end the threat without ending a few of the animals. The film is about as fun as your average creature feature film but this ultimately holds it to a lower score.

Overall, The Killer Shrews is a fun enough film. It follows all of the usual story beats and executes them well enough where you’re on board the whole time. I was kept entertained as the film went on. The writing was solid so the interactions never got boring either. I like the fact that the Shrews are said to not be able to swim early on in the film because it very quickly gives you a tangible goal for how this is all going to play out. The heroes have a goal and they just have to aim for it. This way the movie never feels aimless as every scene is getting you closer to the next part of the goal. If you really like creature feature films then you should check this one out.

Overall 4/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Days of Heaven Review


It’s time to look at a film about the olden days. It’s filled with deceit and drama as the characters keep making tricky choices. Unfortunately the film doesn’t do much to pique your interest and the narrator’s emotionless delivery doesn’t help matters. This film ultimately fails at being entertaining and ends up dragging itself out quite a bit.

The movie starts with the main character (Bill) murdering his boss so he is forced to flee his job along with his wife Abby and sister Linda. The three of them join a roaming group who go around and pick wheat during the harvesting season. Bill quickly grows bored of this as well though and decides he wants to be rich. He convinces his wife to have an affair with the land owner since Bill found out that the guy is expected to die soon. There are many ways this can and will backfire so you just have to try and predict which way will present itself.

Really the main character traded his morals here for some quick funds. It’s definitely a bad choice all the way around particularly because Bill is asking Abby to do the hard parts. If you’re going to do something risky then it should be something that you are doing on your own. When you put the burden on someone else just so you can feel better then that’s really not a good look. From this point on it’s just hard to sympathize with the guy at all.

It’s pretty much inevitable that Abby and the rich guy hit it off after that. Bill can’t bear to watch this but since Abby and the guy are married Bill should have known this was coming. So the main plot is definitely no fun and in a way the rich guy is really getting the short end of the stick because from his point of view he didn’t do anything crazy. He just had to learn one day that his wife was cheating on him.

Meanwhile you have Linda who doesn’t talk a whole lot in the movie. She is the narrator though so in that role she easily gets the most lines. The film would have done well without a narrator though. Pretty much all of the dialogue told through this doesn’t actually amount to anything and it really drags on.

The whole movie suffers from this though. It takes ages for things to happen in this movie and without any likable characters the film can’t survive by being a slow burner. It’s not a technique that just any film can use. I’m also not a fan of the general setting, I much prefer films that take place in more of a city environment. This is more like the Wild West or the prairies and it doesn’t make for great backgrounds or scenery.

The Locusts are pretty intense though. They definitely know how to take a whole field down in one crispy combo. That said, the extended scenes of everyone trying to swat them away get dull rather quickly. While you know that’s what they are going to have to do, this is where a quick montage does wonders of a brief time skip to the fire since we need to see the next confrontation. It still doesn’t help the movie get nearly as intense as it tries to be though. Even the climax which is a chase scene through the forest with a ton of guys in pursuit with guns can’t make the film all that exciting. The film just didn’t have heart.

The ending’s also more of a shake your head kind of moment. The characters all move on in their own ways. One heads underground, another boards a train, and one decides to escape school. I can understand the first option because that’s just how it goes and the second at least makes some sense to try and give back to the world. The final option just seems a little forced. Finally this character is in a good environment and won’t have to worry about finding enough to eat anymore. It’s all looking pretty good but now it’s back to the road? She’s also with a pretty bad role model so that doesn’t seem very promising either.

Overall, Days to Heaven is definitely not a film that I would recommend. There just aren’t any real positives or incentives to watch this movie. The characters aren’t particularly likable and the story is fairly boring. There aren’t any real exciting scenes or big moments that will have you on the edge of your seat. Some witty dialogue could have helped to bump this up but the movie doesn’t have any of that either. It is very serious from start to finish with everyone typically mumbling or not speaking unless they have to. If you want to watch more of a standard drama like this you’ve definitely got better options out there. You just gotta go and find them.

Overall 3/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Death on the Nile Review


It’s time to look at a mystery film. Both versions of Murder on the Orient Express were quite great. I do tend to enjoy a good mystery after all and a boat is a decent setting. It’s definitely not as good as a train setting but it’s close enough. This is a solid film although it can’t really hold a candle to the Orient Express. It would have been hard for any film to follow that up though and I’d say that this one does give it a good shot. There are a good amount of suspects and the film is fair in letting you decide who the culprit is.

The movie starts off with Linnet finally heading back home after being away for a while. She is quickly introduced as a very rude person who flaunts her wealth with no remorse. Her friend Jackie convinces Linnet to hire Simon as the head of the estate because Jackie and Simon are engaged but both don’t really have any money. This is a pretty iffy request if you think about it and while it’s not personal, that’s why you don’t hire friends. Regardless, Linnet hires Simon, but turns the tables on Jackie by quickly stealing him away. The two of them get married and now Jackie stalks them wherever they go. Linnet and Simon decide to get on a cruise to get away from her but Linnet is quickly murdered. Fortunately, Poirot was on the cruise and now it’s up to him along with Colonel Race to get to the bottom of this. It’ll be tough though since everyone on the cruise has reason to murder Linnet.

One thing about this film is it does take a loooong time for the murder to happen to the point where I’d almost consider that to be a spoiler. Still, it’s technically the main plot so I included it in the summary but if you go in blind it’ll probably be extra fun although you would suspect it early on. I think parts of the opening could have definitely been trimmed to get to the murder and investigation a little earlier though. We need a lot of the scenes to establish motives and all, but parts still could have been trimmed up some. It wouldn’t be necessary depending on the cast but most of the suspects aren’t all that interesting here compared to the first film.

The film successfully shows Linnet to be a rather mean person. I do think that her reactions were a bit extra the whole time though. Just having Jackie show up everywhere shouldn’t freak Linnet out each time. Just take it in stride already. I do have to question how Jackie has enough money to follow them everywhere though. She apparently didn’t have much money earlier and I don’t recall any scenes saying she inherited a ton of money or anything like that. These details are minor in some respects, but in a way the whole case depends on these two details which is a bit iffy. There are a lot of other things Linnet could have done that would have changed everything. I think in part that’s what also makes this a weaker case than the first movie. Everything has to go absolutely perfectly for the murder to work out to the point where it’s less believable than the events of the first film.

Naturally I won’t say who the murderer is, but when the method of the murder is explained it’s rather hard to buy into. It seems as if everyone on the ship was deaf and didn’t have very good eyesight. I can’t say much more than that without it at least hinting as to who the murderer is, but I wasn’t sold. Even considering that though, the film does give you a fair chance at figuring out the murderer. You just have to decide whose motive is best and also how well each of their alibi’s stick. Since every character has an alibi you get to determine which one doesn’t hold true. It’s a pretty fun mental exercise as the film plays out. So even if the ending may be a bit tricky, the case itself is nice and engaging.

Poirot makes for a fun lead. He’s definitely very confident at all times which is really good for a detective. Who wants a detective who doesn’t believe in his skills and gives luck a lot of credit? Poirot also enjoys messing with the others quite a bit and also likes a nice meal. He doesn’t let a bunch of murders get in the way of his appetite. Race makes for a fun sidekick as he follows Poirot around. While he may not be quite as quick to figure things out as the sleuth, Race is definitely helpful here because without him Poirot wouldn’t be able to just run around everyone’s cabins so easily.

Lets take a look at all the suspects now. First up is Jackie who has threatened to murder Linnet quite a bit over the course of the film. She has a gun in her possession and the motive is naturally so that she can be back together with Simon. Simon’s motive is easy, the guy doesn’t have a dollar to his name and so if he murders Linnet then he gets everything. The guy is obviously flighty given how easily he leaves one engagement to the next so maybe he’s found someone else. You’ve got Louise who has worked for Linnet for many years. Unfortunately for her Linnet hasn’t given her any inheritance yet to go and be with a guy who’s already married. Linnet tried to explain why this would be foolhardy but Louise wants her married man and may do anything to get some money.

Then you have Andrew who has been stealing money from Linnet for years. Now that she’s married it will be a lot harder to do so without getting caught despite the husband admitting that he loves to sign things without reading them. If Linnet gets bumped off then nobody can ever prove that he swindled the money from her in the past and he will be home free. Schuyler is an old lady who loves precious gems like the ones Linnet owns. There’s no way Linnet would ever part with them so perhaps knocking her off would be the best way to grab them. That would settle the matter pretty quickly. Then you have Schuyler’s maid whose family was ruined by Linnet’s father. This forced the maid to lose everything and work as a maid to a cruel boss. The maid refuses to even talk to Linnet.

Salome writes a lot of romance books but she is being sued by Linnet for some similar characters. Salome doesn’t have a whole lot of money and wouldn’t survive this lawsuit so one way to end things would be to take Linnet down once and for all. Rosalie is Salome’s daughter and her motive is pretty similar. If she can take Linnet out of the picture then her mother won’t go bankrupt and their lives can resume as normal. Jim is a guy who doesn’t like rich people very much and especially not Linnet. He mentions several times that somebody should bump her off so perhaps he nominated himself for that role. If he were to take her out then the world would be closer to being balanced once more. Finally, we have Ludwig who has been taking a lot of heat by Linnet for various treatments he has given that did not work out. Several of his patients have even died and if this publicity keeps up then he will be destroyed. The only way to stop her from talking would be to silence her.

So those are all of the suspects and motives. As you can see there are a ton of suspects here. Part of why the film is so long is that it tries to develop all of them. Some of the characters look real similar too so it can be easy to mix a few of them up. Still, the more suspects the better because that gives you more options and makes picking the correct culprit a whole lot more difficult. One tough thing though can be that at times some of the accents are a little tough to follow. Race comments on that quite a few times since Poirot loves to troll him by speaking in French. It’s always suspicious when someone isn’t talking in English.

Overall, This is a pretty fun film. The first half is a bit on the slow side but once the murder happens then the film picks up as you would expect it to. The writing here is definitely pretty solid. While I do have some issues with how the death ultimately occurred I still wouldn’t say that it is totally impossible either. It just comes across as very convenient the whole time. I had no other real issues here. If you want to see a solid murder mystery with a lot of moving pieces then I definitely recommend checking this one out. You can’t really go wrong with a quality mystery after all.

Overall 6/10

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

Transporter 2 Review


It’s time to look at a sequel to the original Transporter. That film was pretty fun and so is this one. It’s fairly short as far as theater films go so everything is always moving at a quick pace. It’s pretty fun and definitely continues the series on a high note. We even get some rock music during the big fights which is always a good decision. I don’t have many real big complaints for this one. It’s a solid action film that will help you spend 90 minutes and you’ll be ready for the third film. This isn’t quite Mission Impossible, but it’s capturing some of that same energy.

The movie starts by showing us that Frank has accepted the role of being a chauffeur for a rich family. It’s a favor to a friend since usually he doesn’t do this kind of work. Still, he gets along with the kid pretty well. Unfortunately, the kid ends up getting kidnapped by some thugs. Frank already made a promise that he would protect the kid so now he has to get ready to keep it. He’ll have to beat up a bunch of people in order to accomplish this but that’s not really a problem for him. Frank knows that he’ll always get the job done.

The premise is pretty simple and that works well for the series. Right from the start we get some big car chase scenes and action segments. Frank was maybe a little slow on the uptake with the fake doctors but he still managed to make it in time which was good. After that the villains had a hostage situation at the ready so that was hard for him to get out of. From there Frank just has to make the most of his connections and fighting skills in order to beat everyone up and save the day. He is already used to this kind of thing after all. The best scene in the film is probably the opening one. I always like a solid intro where the hero beats up the mob that tries to steal his car. Frank makes it look pretty easy.

The villains aren’t really anything to write home about though. Lola is one of the main villains and her twin gun style is fun to watch. The guns have an almost sci-fi feel to them and they certainly hold a lot of ammo. As a character she’s not very interesting though and seems to mostly be there for the fanservice. At least she’s not disappointing though. I admit that I expected a lot more from the boss, Gianni. Gianni’s first scene is him beating up a ton of people in Kendo and this is obviously meant to show that the guy can fight. You may be expecting a big confrontation with Frank like in the first film. However, this guy really pales in comparison to that villain.

We do get a final fight with Frank but Gianni only lasts as long as he does because of airplane shenanigans. As a fighter he doesn’t look very good and I was surprised at that. The build up just went to waste on him. So I’d say that the villains were noticeably weaker than in the first film. As for the supporting cast, we get the french cop but he doesn’t do a lot here. He’s a fun enough side character though so it’s good that he was around. The kid’s parents have a bit of a subplot where they are disagreeing on things quite a bit. Jefferson is rather distant and Aubrey isn’t having a good time. Ultimately their kid being kidnapped helps to put things in perspective for them. I am glad that we didn’t get a random affair with Frank though. That would have just been a terrible idea for sure.

The soundtrack is pretty solid as I mentioned. The random rock music that shows up was great and I’d like to see more of that. All of the fight scenes are pretty fun as well. While they aren’t quite as sophisticated with hand to hand techniques as in the first movie, they still hold up quite well. I also like how sleek the cars are. Frank’s really got an excellent car with lots of defenses and good top speed. The car chases are also pretty fun and we even get close to some Fast and the Furious stunts here like jumping from building to building.

Some parts of the film are glossed over a bit though. For starters, the virus does get transmitted to a bunch of people. Even though we now have the vaccine there’s no way everyone would get it before the fatal 24 hours. Considering that a lot of the people infected were fairly high rank, there would be a global crisis for sure. The events of the film were pretty timely with what’s going on right now so that was definitely an interesting coincidence. Regardless I suppose the important thing is that the virus was stopped so I suppose the film didn’t really need to stay and think about that too hard. As I said, the film was pretty focused and fast moving so it didn’t really take time to stop like that. In general that’s a good thing so I won’t fault the film here. You can definitely stop and point to things that don’t make a lot of sense like the cop who is able to access secure files at the police HQ. There’s no way such a computer won’t have any passwords protecting it. If you stop and think long enough you can point to many such moments in the film, but at the end of the day it’s pretty fun and that’s what really counts here.

Overall, Transporter 2 is pretty solid. You’ll definitely get your fill of action and thrilling moments. Part of the charm in the series is how fast is moves. There’s always something happening. The ending scene is also pretty fun as a nice cliffhanger/here we go again kind of feel. That kind of ending is pretty ideal. It’ll be tough for the third Transporter film to beat this one. I actually would take this one over the original. The original Transporter did have better villains and was certainly longer but this one had a more direct story. I also thought that Frank was a lot more heroic here whereas in the first he really only helped once he was forced into it. Frank’s clearly changed quite a bit over the years. If you like action films then this is definitely one you’ll want to check out.

Overall 7/10