2 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Review


It’s time to look at the final chapter in the Resident Evil saga. Unfortunately it is not all that good and throws away the entire premise that the last film set up. It’s a shame because the films always tend to have pretty amazing cliffhangers and more often than not the sequels manage to capitalize on them. Unfortunately this one turned out to be an exception to that. It feels a lot like the desert film previously and not a whole lot happens. The whole first half is basically filler so once the main plot occurs we have to go at turbo speed. I feel like they just wanted to end everything so there wasn’t a whole lot of effort behind this one.

Last time Alice regained her powers and prepared to fight off the invasion of the Red Queen along with Wesker, Jill, and the U.S. Military. The final shot there was great with an epic background and guaranteed action for the next film. Unfortunately this film borderline retcons that similar to how Blade 2 retconned 1 a bit. It’s not an official retcon here of course as there are small references to how that was all a trick but it still makes no sense. So according to this film, Wesker basically brought Alice and the others over to murder them so he gave Alice a fake serum. We can assume Wesker murdered all of her friends but how did he not destroy her? Wesker has super speed and super strength enough to effortlessly dodge bullets and crush people with a single blow. The film never bothers to address this in any kind of way. I like a good mystery myself but it just made no sense and this film may as well be a reboot to be honest.

Back to the plot though, Alice is now travelling aimlessly through the desert as she fights off giant monsters. The Red Queen shows up and says that she has actually betrayed the Umbrella corporation. The villains have invented a cure to take down the zombies and it is airborne so it can cure the entire planet. It’s a lethal cure though so it’ll murder anyone who is infected and only the humans who are not tainted will survive. They mention at the beginning of the film that only 4000 or 40000 (Can’t remember which) humans are still alive so it’s not a great amount. Still, they can eventually start to regroup but Alice needs to find the cure within 48 hours or everyone will be dead. Remember this because it will be important later on. Alice will have to head back to Raccoon City to find the cure which certainly won’t be easy. Fortunately she runs into yet another resistance group who is here to help.

There sure are a ton of resistance groups since Alice finds one in every film and promptly gets just about all of them murdered. The plot is very thin here and riddled with holes. I’ll get into that in a minute so lets get the standard stuff out of the way first. First off, the film is definitely super violent as always which holds it back quite a bit. Zombie films really aren’t my thing since they’re just an excuse for the film to get as gruesome as possible since they are no longer human. There’s a lot of nonstop violence here that’s for sure. The film skips its obligatory fanservice moment this time though which I was glad about. That’s something that the films definitely did not need in the slightest.

Unfortunately with the story being the way it is it’s hard to get invested in the film as well. It’s easily the least interesting film in the series aside from the desert one. Most of the film is just Alice wandering around another desert until she makes it to the facility. Then we get some solid fights but that’s about it. The film ends and you’re wondering what the point was. It even starts to drag a bit and that’s unfortunate since the film isn’t even very long. The worst part is that it got rid of a lot of the amazing music themes that played during the previous films. Why would they get rid of the umbrella elevator theme when they actually brought the elevator back into play here? That was a huge missed opportunity.

Alice is still a great main character though. She’s very no nonsense and takes down quite a lot of zombies. Alice may have lost her powers but not her fighting abilities. The scene of her taking down a whole group while tied up upside down was really something else. It’s really not an exaggeration to say that she may be the best film heroine out there. I may even do an editorial for that at some point on top 10 female leads or something. What really helps here is her consistency. She hasn’t had a bad film and is always right up there in the thick of the action without backing down.

The rest of the cast is quite weak and to be honest they don’t get much of a role. I doubt anyone will remember the members of her squad aside from Claire who gets to return here. Claire looks decent at least but seems to vanish for almost all of the fight scenes. As for the villains, it’s hard to take Isaacs seriously. Good for him that he got super powers though but it makes his fights look even worse. You’re telling me that with bullet timing speed and super strength he seriously couldn’t beat Alice? I’m glad for the Alice hype of course but when you stop to think about it for more than a second then it really makes no sense at all. Don’t even get me started on Wesker. That guy was portrayed as being absolutely unstoppable. A pure beast of combat through and through, yet he wasn’t able to do anything in this film. The movie had absolutely no idea what to do with him considering that he only appeared for a few minutes in the entire film. Wesker also isn’t as confident as usual and is portrayed as a lackey for some reason.

Okay, so let’s talk about the plot now. At the beginning Alice mentions that there aren’t many humans left and the Red Queen confirms that within 48 hours they will all be dead. So that’s why Alice needs to grab the serum right away. Well, she does and in typical cinematic timing she does it with a few seconds left. There should only be a small handful of humans left then right? The 48 hours were basically up before the Red Queen was able to stop the zombie attack. I guess we could say that she underestimated the humans which is reasonable so there could be more left, but Alice says the cure will take years to travel the globe. Even if the Red Queen can somehow stop the zombies from attacking…which is a bit sketchy in itself, years is a long time. Realistically the human race is pretty much wiped out and that’s how the film should have ended. The Red Queen telling Alice that she is now the last survivor of the human race aside from the people present (Really just Claire) would have been a pretty powerful moment.

Then we have the fact that the villains seem desperate to destroy Alice. Again, they could have finished her at any time so why continue to let her live? Why even let her get near the facility instead of blowing it up? Since there were only minutes left and they had cameras on the heroes the whole time they could have escaped through the back as well. Having Wesker at the ready would have been good too. There are just too many reasons why Alice’s desperate assault on the base should not have worked. The writers stacked things a little too heavily against the heroes which made for a completely unbelievable scenario all the way through. I really couldn’t buy into it personally.

It’s hard to nail down exactly why the film failed on all fronts aside from what I’ve listed, but I think the final part is that it no longer felt like a Sci-Fi. The film scrubbed all sci-fi elements away from the series for some reason. We lost all of the cool themes, the great designs, and the whole atmosphere that made the series resonate as a Resident Evil title. You could have taken the name away and this had almost nothing to do with anything. Just take a look at the first scene of the last film with the excellent fight aboard the helicarrier or the climax against the cybernetically enhanced metahuman. This film had none of that and wound up being quite underwhelming.

Overall, It may feel like this was just more of the same based on the score. Admittedly it’s not like the series would drop a whole lot more because it’s already pretty low. That being said, the other films were at least very interesting and compelling. A lot of times the silver lining for me is even if a film ends up being pretty terrible I can at least be engaged the whole time. Particularly with the more intense zombie or vampire type films. This one just didn’t do it for me. The plot is about as strong as a couple of straws and the fact that the film retconned so much just felt like a really bad move for me. I just couldn’t see the film recovering from that and unsurprisingly it did not. Still, in the end if I look at the franchise as a whole I think it did a good job of adapting Resident Evil to the films. It took a lot of liberties but did construct a solid narrative. I doubt there are very many films that could come close to matching the epic cliffhangers that this series had film after film. I’m hoping the reboot will be able to match this one but as lightning only strikes once I have a hard time seeing it match this series. It’d be cool if they brought Alice back though.

Overall 2/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

The Promised Neverland Review


It’s time to look at a manga that ended pretty recently. The Promised Neverland is a very different Shonen Jump title. It’s a lot darker than most and is going for a full horror vibe. Don’t expect to find big super forms or hyper fights running around in this title. It’s more of a slow burner with the heroes trying to escape the demons, at least for most of the series. The series peaked rather early on with the final arcs getting to be a bit much with the plot armor. It’s an interesting series but one that I’m not really a fan of.

The plot starts by introducing us to Emma and the other kids who currently live at an orphanage. They have to take many tests each year which gives them various scores. The 3 smartest kids by far are Emma, Norman, and Ray. They are geniuses at this point. Unfortunately their lives are turned upside down when they find out that one of the kids has been murdered. It turns out that their home is actually a breeding ground for demons and they murder all of the kids. Emma now needs to find a way to save everyone but that will naturally be a difficult task. Can she accomplish this mission along with Norman and Ray?

You can already see how this series will be pretty dark. The heroes literally live on a farm where they are the meals. You also have to live with the knowledge that there are other farms out there with kids who won’t be quite as fortunate as the main characters. We get some pretty interesting mental battles between Norman and Ray during this arc which are typically the highlight. They’re definitely the smartest characters in the series after all. Norman is definitely a bit smarter than Ray though and tends to come out on top.

The second arc changes things up a bit as they finally escape the place. They manage to make it to another farm where Lord Bayon has trapped a bunch of other kids. The rules of this farm are different as it is a pure survival game. Everyone already knows that they are the prey in this case. Every day a few more kids are lost. Emma decides to help their commanders Oliver and Lucas take down the demons. The heroes are through with running and this time they’ll be taking the fight to the villains. Can mere human kids really take these guys down though?

We get quite a bit of solid action here and the heroes learn how to fight back against the demons. It’s definitely the best arc in the series. Granted, this is also where the power levels initially start to get a bit wonky. So the demons have a weakpoint that can be shot. It’s good since that lets the heroes do something but half the time they only win because the demons barely move. There’s no way they could hope to defeat these demons in a straight fight even with a weakpoint. The battle with Leuvis was great for sure, but it’s one that he definitely should have won. That was one reason why it was fun to throw the adults in here, you can definitely see them doing a bit better.

I’d say the third arc is probably protecting the base but it’s almost more of a transition arc. I’d say this could basically lead us to the final arc. We’re introduced to the concept of metahumans who have been developed to stop the demons. The problem is that they are still outnumbered. If they can murder the Demon Queen then this long fight will finally be over. The problem is that Emma doesn’t really want to murder the demons. She wants a world of peace and her inaction threatens to jeopardize the heroes. Will they have to take her down to ensure a better tomorrow?

This final arc definitely added quite a bit of new elements to the series. One of those things was an alien/god who would show up and it all got very meta. It’s an interesting angle even if it doesn’t feel like it’s from the series. A positive element was the metahumans. These guys have actual powers in the form of strength and speed so now this was a group I could see actually taking down the demons. I also liked that Norman’s group was taking a more active approach. They were shutting down farms left and right in what was a very effective campaign during the war between humans and demons. They were really doing just fine on their own so the whole time it felt like they absolutely did not need the main group. If anything it felt like Emma and Ray were holding them back. If they had stuck to just the metahumans running around and fighting I think it would have helped with the power levels.

Lets talk about Emma. She’s a character who changes quite a lot as the series goes on. Unlike the other kids she is not willing to make any sacrifices. She wants to save everyone without a doubt. It’s a noble cause even if the others give her grief about it. She’s a little more unhinged than most leads and the manga does a good job of showing this with the various zoom ins. The art really knows how to get very dynamic. That said, her resolve starts to get a little shaky in the final arc. Suddenly she doesn’t want to destroy any of the demons either? At some points it’s really a decision of whether you save the kids or the demons but you couldn’t possibly do both. This request is a bit more unreasonable on her part. I can’t fault it morally because it’s good to be able to save everyone but it does ruin all of the plans. Without plot armor her decisions would have definitely destroyed the rest of the group.

It just seems like a very different perspective on her part. The demons ruined everything for the heroes and they all couldn’t stand them. A big part of what changed Emma were the two nice demons who helped her out but even so, it was pretty surprising to see. Her final decision was also pretty selfless although it definitely did totally go against what everyone else would have wanted. A selfish choice to help out others, that’s one I can agree with. So Emma’s a good character, but a little too extreme at times. Of course all of the main characters tend to be extreme in some way or another.

Norman gets a really big role in the series. At his core he’s more merciless like Ray but he always tries to help Emma out as much as he can. He’s the brains of the group and does a good job of making sure Emma succeeds in whatever she wants to do. He looks pretty great throughout the series. If anything, if Emma hadn’t shown up I feel like he probably had everything under control. I can also see why his subordinates were pretty upset at the change of character. Then we have Ray who is the best member of the 3 if you ask me. He’s definitely got solid ambition. He’s easily the most rational of the 3 even if Norman is the smartest. Ray always goes for the highest chance of success even if it means sacrificing some people. Ray still does his best to be heroic though and Emma helps change him on that. He has no problems eliminating the demons though.

Then you have Isabella who is the first big villain we see. After all, she’s looking after the children and getting them set up to be eaten. She’s rotten to the core. So you can probably guess how her character arc will go during the series and all I can say is that it isn’t really earned. She did break Emma’s bone intentionally and that’s not even counting the people she actively delivered. While she can make for a good villain, it’s hard to see her as a sympathetic one. Then we have Krone who shows up early in the series. She’s pretty intimidating and also has some good tactics up her sleeve. She can’t compete with Isabella in terms of wit but does a good job regardless.

After the main 3 kids, most of the others weren’t particularly solid at least from the first house. Don and Gilda always felt like they were just getting in the way. They would ignore the wise advice from the main 3 to go ahead and do their own thing. Just because it works out doesn’t mean it was the right move. They’re always a few steps behind. Phil is another kid who gets a roll although he’s one of the youngest so he’s not exactly out in the field. Mostly his character was fun out of universe as there were many theories about him. None of them ever actually happened though so his role is extremely small. It makes sense though since having him fight would be odd.

Mujika is one of the two special demons that meets up with the main characters. She’s not much of a fighter as she is typically known as more of an intelligent demon. She tries to stay ahead of things in that sense so that she won’t even need to fight with the others. Her partner Sonju is the main fighter. Sonju is able to take down several demons at once. The guy’s pretty shady and doesn’t mind murdering humans either. He comes awful close to taking down the kids at one point. He’s not as bad as the rest though so that’s definitely a start. I thought he was one of the more interesting demons and a solid rival to have around. It would have been cool if he could have gotten a few more fights.

Then you have Leuvis who is a solid villain. he likes to have a good fight and I always like that about a villain. He’s willing to let the kids get prepared or whatever they need to make things interesting. It does make for a lot of plot armor on the heroes’ side but that’s to be expected. Regardless it was probably one of the better fights in the series. That arc also introduced us to some new kids and even two adult characters who would go on to be some of the best characters in the series. It reminds me that if the series was based around the adults it probably would have been quite a bit better.

First off is Yugo who initially doesn’t like the kids but gradually gets used to working with them. While he eventually mellows out I can’t say that he starts as anything less than a full villain. He actively did try to murder one of them after all. His fight scenes with Lucas against the government were quite solid. One thing’s for sure, Yugo was never the kind of guy to go down swinging. He went full blast from the jump. Lucas is just as solid if not more so. He never gave up the fight and kept on going the whole way. He’s not quite as skilled as Yugo, but it’s close and he definitely is very good at planning.

Then we have Oliver who is probably the most experienced member of the new kids. He’s a solid fighter and is also a bit older than the others which helps him stay ready for what’s about to come. He’s not on the same level as the metahumans who pop up but that’s okay. He’s strong enough. For the metahumans who appear we’ve got 5 main ones. First up is Vincent who is all about following the plans. He does whatever Norman says. After all, it tends to work out. He’s not really a fighter but he makes sure that all of the characters are in the right spot. I suppose it makes him a little redundant since Norman is smarter but it’s always good to have a backup.

Cislo is pretty fun. There’s not a whole lot to him but he loves murdering demons just like the others. He’s pretty strong and a capable guy to have around. Same for Barbara only she is even more zealous about this. She just loves destroying demons to the point where she eats them. I thought she was definitely the best member of the group. She was always right there on the front lines and could put up a great fight. Finally there’s Zazie who is also strong although he’s a bit more on the mindless side. The powers came at a huge price for him which was pretty unfortunate. He definitely made sure to come through when it counted though.

Ayshe had a sad backstory where she was raised by wolves and definitely does not like Norman or the metahumans. She doesn’t really care for demons either though so she doesn’t really have any friends. She’s a solid fighter though. Ayshe probably gets a smaller role than most of the other characters but the scenes she is in are quite solid. Finally we have the Queen who is of course the strongest demon. She gets a few super forms and looks good. Unfortunately she is way too powerful for this series though. The instant she appears you know that there is no way the kids will be able to do much of anything here. There is no realistic way they could hope to take her down so the final battle gets a little interesting. Either way I did like her as a final boss though. She did a good job of leading the demons even if she should have stepped in sooner to crush the humans.

The art for the series is pretty good. There’s quite a lot of detail in all of the shots. As mentioned earlier, the author did an especially good job of drawing Emma. For some reason Emma became less and less sinister as the series went on though. I don’t think she got any “evil” shots after arc 2. It seems like the author maybe had a different plan for her but ultimately decided to make her more of a hero in the end. I liked the more morally dubious Emma who was willing to blow everyone up to make a point. It did make her look a bit sketchy but that was the point. I can’t be the only one who feels like the Emma in the final arc is a completely different character right? Emma not dishing out veiled threats to people just doesn’t feel right.

Neverland can get pretty dark though so definitely keep that in mind if you start the series. Not only is there a considerable bodycount here but a lot of the people who die are kids. That’s ultimately what holds this series back. When people die it’s pretty fine if they’re main combatants. Context is key of course, but in general having a kid die is a pretty tricky element. Especially a series based around that whole fact. The whole farming thing is about as grim as it gets. You’re unlikely to find another series quite so dark. Attack on Titan’s up there though. It’s in a different way but I would say that it’s pretty comparable.

The series definitely stays pretty interesting throughout. There’s quite a lot of suspense built into it with twists at every corner. As with most mysteries you’ll have to see what you preferred, the build up to it or the payoff. A lot of times the best part of a mystery is the opening act because it’s fun to not know anything. I wouldn’t say any of the twists are bad though. I would have gone in a very different direction with the ending though and added 1 more arc but I suppose the series definitely didn’t want to drag itself out. At least like this people can point to it as a series that’s complete so you can now marathon it from start to finish.

Overall, The Promised Neverland delivers on being a very different kind of manga title. It’ll probably go down as the definitive horror title in Shonen Jump. That said, as horror is already not my genre it’s not surprising that it lagged behind the other manga titles. I’d be down for a sequel series that’s more of a sci-fi thriller with everyone trying to move forward in the new world. I think that could be pretty interesting. That said it’s not like the franchise needs to continue. The ending ties everything up. There are open plots that could be continued but if they don’t you can easily assume what happened on your own. So if you like horror titles then check this one out, otherwise I’d say to go and check out another modern Shonen Jump title like One Piece.

Overall 3/10

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

Lake Placid 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 a horror film from a while back. It’s actually got a few sequels so I’m sure just about everyone knows the tale of Lake Placid. It’s not the kind of film that you’re likely to forget anytime soon. Unfortunately it falls into the quick traps of a lot of animal violence as well as weak writing throughout. This is not a thriller that will be ranking very highly at all. I like to think it had a shot, but the result was very predictable all things considered. When your main villain is an animal it’s just hard to get past that. The film never even tries anyway.

The film starts with Kelly having a pretty bad day because her man was stolen by her best friend. She is then sent out to find out how a giant tooth was discovered belonging to a seemingly extinct race of gator. She is greeted by Hank and Jack who are currently working the case. Both of them don’t really want her in since she’s not really part of this and to their defense, she really doesn’t seem prepared at all. From the start she complains a ton about everything and makes it all very difficult on the heroes. Still, they can’t convince her to leave and so the group heads to the spot of the murder. A giant gator ate half of someone and so they aim to stop him before more victims arrive.

Another wrinkle in the case is good ole Hector. He worships Alligators and wants to make sure this one is taken alive instead of murdered. He loves danger and risking it all. The guy’s pretty insane but the heroes put up with him because he is the world’s leading expert in all things gator. He puts up a lot of traps and things of that nature. The heroes are certainly about as divided as you can be. I can’t think of a main cast that bickers this much except for Suicide Squad or something like that. They’re all fighting absolutely nonstop.

First problem is of course the animal violence as I mentioned. Quite a lot of them die when up against the gator including a nice cow. The film tries to save face at the very end of the film by having the final cow escape. I was glad to see that but it doesn’t excuse the dead bodies earlier or the part of the origin story where we learn someone had been feeding animals to the gator. It’s all about as morally bankrupt as you can get from the villain who isn’t even arrested at the end of the film. You’ll have to suspend quite a lot of disbelief there since this person is responsible for several murders.

The other issue is that the writing is definitely quite obnoxious. Hector is the biggest reason for this. He’s created to be a very blunt character who is always saying something inappropriate. He somehow seems to have a lot of luck regardless. The heroes shouldn’t have been listening to him at all with his crazy theories and how he kept holding everyone back. I was ready for him to leave as soon as he appeared. Pretty much any scene with him is a thumbs down. Meanwhile Hank is a much better character although a lot of his scenes are the “banter” between him and Hector which limits his potential. At least Hank was serious about his job though. He did his best to stop the gators, it just so happens that he wasn’t prepared for this level of monster. Nor were most people I imagine.

The only parts of the writing that could be fun were with Jack and Kelly. She loved to complain a lot which he would typically have a quick comeback for. Naturally this turns into the usual rushed romance, but ignoring that it was a fun dynamic. Kelly is a fun character. She’s a solid example of someone who’s made to be annoying in a good way. She’s always complaining about something but I’d say that it actually worked out pretty well for her. At least the lines are sound. Meanwhile Jack is also a solid character. He’s got plans and doesn’t put up with as much foolishness as most of the other characters.

As for the gator himself, it was a pretty fun design. Nothing particularly unique mind you as it was effectively just a giant alligator. That is the whole premise of the film though so it makes sense. It’s not like it was supposed to be an alien hybrid or anything like that. I wouldn’t have minded if they did something to make him look a bit more unique though. We get a quick jump scare at the end of the film but it’s resolved so quickly that I feel like it was almost a bit pointless. There should have been an extra fatality there to make this new threat feel more real. I feel like that would have worked better.

Overall, Lake Placid is definitely not a film that I would recommend. Choosing a gator as the main villain was a pretty solid move because we haven’t really had a lot of films with them. For some reason it’s not the monster that is usually used for these films despite having such an intimidating design. I think that’s a bit of a mistake because he could easily hold his own film. Of course, that’s only if you have to make a film about an animal as the villain. Clearly you should try to avoid such things. If you don’t mind terrible writing and animal violence then check this film out. Otherwise I highly recommend Air Bud instead as a much more wholesome film with quality moments.

Overall 1/10

2 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Blade II Review

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

It’s time to look at the sequel to the original Blade film. This time we’ve got him in an actual group so you can expect some of the other characters to get big fight scenes as well. I’d definitely say that this one improves upon the original for me. It’s not by a whole lot as there’s only so much you can do with a gritty vampire film. Still, I’ll take any improvement I can get and we got more special effects with the fight scenes so get ready for some sped up superhero action!

The movie starts off by slightly retconning the ending to the first one. Despite being in a near death state and then shooting himself, The Whistler managed to survive somehow and the vampires have kept him alive for kicks. Blade finds out and frees him. Shortly afterwards Blade is attacked by a pair of vampire ninjas who reveal that they have come to ask for his help. There are a few super vampires running around that are immune to silver and garlic. Defeating them will be nearly impossible without Blade. To this end, they will make him leader of the Bloodhounds which is an elite fighting force that was originally meant to destroy Blade. This is a fragile alliance at best, but Blade figures he should take down the super vampires so they team up. Are the vampires hiding something from him?

There’s definitely a lot of action in this film and the choreography is on point. Blade has definitely nailed the whole “slow walk towards the villains” routine as this point since he does it so often. I do have to give the films a lot of credit for how smooth his outfit looks. It’s very accurate to the comics and honestly it looks pretty crisp. Whenever Blade shows up you know he’s about to take down a lot of monsters. Those fights are always a lot of fun and accompanied by solid rock songs. The Blade series has had a pretty dynamite list of songs and this one is no different. I miss the early 2000s rock that we used to get for the various fight scenes. It still happens sometimes but it is certainly a lot more rare.

The special effects have also improved since the first film. I already spoke about the fight scenes but even the vampires getting blasted away. It’s all pretty neat. My favorite fight in the film was Blade against the two Ninjas. It’s an example of solid choreography with some back and forth action compared to Blade just absolutely dominating the random minions who can’t fight back. Those fights tend to be pretty fun as well but you really can’t compare the two. An even match like this ends up being quite satisfying even if surprisingly Blade may have lost. It depends on how fast he regenerates since his hit would presumably be fatal since it was silver and the ninja attack wouldn’t be, but it would have been a clean shot that could be fatal anyway.

The plot of having to team up with the villains is also pretty interesting. It’s always a very tricky dynamic trying to work with someone who could back stab you at any point. I also like that Blade keeps the upper hand for most of these interactions. He humiliates one of the vampires when they start getting smart and throughout calls all of the shots. Whenever they point a gun at Blade he does the same to them. The early banter are some of the best parts of the film. I consider the plot to be a little more interesting than the first film’s as well. It does have the benefit of being a sequel so we already know the characters.

Now to the negatives which are effectively the same as the first film. For starters the film is incredibly violent. We see a lot of characters get drained and murdered by the vampires. Characters are stabbed and tortured as well. The violence never really ends in these films which can be a drag. It takes away from the moments of the film that actually are good. I have to say that the opening of the film makes everyone look bad no matter how you look at it. It feels like the guy is a bit of a sucker when he’s being led down a series of halls into a locked room with suspect characters. I don’t remember the place looking so shady when donating blood. I get that this is a special place but even so it was obvious that it was a trap. Then it makes the trappers look bad since this is way too obvious. Anyone who is “caught” in the trap is suspect themselves so it was never going to end well for someone.

The writing is okay. There’s quite a bit of language that this version fortunately skips which does help to a degree. It still seems to be a bit of a crutch for the writers. I also have to dock some logic points for how they don’t even bother trying to explain why Whistler survived. There’s just no way he would have lived through what happened and as hard as the film tries to do so, there’s no way they can explain it. I suspect that’s why they don’t even bother. I don’t even see why the plot needed to be brought back since Whistler doesn’t even do a whole lot during the film. Him leaving his post at one point was also an odd red herring. Why not bring your communicator for when your partners are being bumped off?

Overall, Blade II brings in a more interesting plot as well as better fight scenes than the first film. This does result in a better experience for me. That being said, it still can’t shed the vampire roots of the film. I don’t see how the films can get much higher without toning that aspect down a bit. The violence can be quite excessive. Even though none of the vampire members were particularly likable it was still pretty neat to have a whole group structure. It’s probably the closest we’ll see of Blade on a team for quite a while. Ultimately I could see him getting a new movie or show at some point though. If you really like vampire films then you should check this one out I guess since it delivers on what you’d expect with everyone getting bumped off in gruesome ways left and right. On the other hand you can definitely do better.

Overall 2/10

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

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

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

The House That Dripped Blood Review


It’s time to look at a horror anthology. I’m not big on horror films and I’m not big on anthologies so I can’t say that I went into this one with high hopes. That said, it was actually quite a bit better than what I was expecting to the point where I could call this a good film. Maybe not an amazing film but better than over 90% of the other titles I’ve seen in the genre. This is how you should handle atmosphere and scares. It feels a bit like the Twilight Zone episodes of old.

The base plot connecting all of these segments is about an inspector trying to find an actor who has gone missing. He talks to a real estate agent who calmly explains to the inspector that the house is pretty sinister so bad things happen there. The inspector isn’t impressed but decides to stick around as he listens to a few stories. Did the house really cause all of these murders or was it in the wrong place at the wrong time? One thing’s for sure, a lot of bad things do tend to happen here.

The first story is about a writer who decides to move into the house. The house is in really bad condition but he feels like this will actually help him in coming up with ideas which is a decent rationale I suppose although I’m not sure it’s worth buying a house for a few months though. He begins his next murder book about a strangler and gets so engaged in the material that he starts to see the guy around. Is he going crazy or is the strangler actually here? This may end up being the last book he writes.

This was a pretty good way to start the saga. We got some twists and turns and there was a good amount of tension here. You can interpret the ending a few different ways. Personally, I took it as the guy who was hired was legitimate but what he didn’t count on was the spirit still residing in the house from the picture which ultimately took him over and gave us the twist ending. The writer definitely seemed a little crazy from the start which is the only way this plan could have worked from the start. If he had a bit more control he would have realized that something was up.

The next story is about the main guy heading over to a wax museum. One of the statues looks a lot like a lady he used to like. He stares for a while but then the owner drops some cryptic threats about it so the guy decides to never return. Unfortunately an old friend of his stops by and insists that they return. The guy has no self-control either so he keeps on going back to the place and the owner doesn’t like that very much. This is sort of like an abridged version of the Wax Museum films but handled a lot more tastefully. It’s a little hard to believe how badly the guy does against an old man with an axe though. You can probably see the ending coming and it’s harder to feel as sympathetic to the characters with the bad moves they make. The main guy warned his friend and at that point he shouldn’t have gone back in. It’s a little harsh but if someone keeps trying to jump into a fire you can’t follow them.

Next up was the weakest story if you ask me. A guy moves in with his daughter and she seems to be afraid of fire for some reason. The guy hires a tutor who starts to get close to the daughter but for some reason the father always prevents the tutor from getting the daughter any gifts. Eventually the daughter gets a wax doll and the father’s journey begins to reach its end. We learn some twists about the daughter but I can’t say that they justify the father’s actions in the slightest. If anything he created a self fulfilling prophecy here by being so mean to the kid. It reminds me of a villain in Fairy Tail. If you know that this character can destroy planets, why teach that person to resent everyone right away? It makes no sense and just speeds up everyone’s demise.

Then we have the classic vampire story which involves the actor. He is working on a new vampire film so he stops by a store and buys a cloak. Unfortunately whenever he wears the cloak he is overtaken by an urge to bite people. He decides not to wear it anymore but what if someone else wears it? I’m not a big vampire fan, but the story was reasonable. Mainly what made it so good was the big plot twist at the end. It was a “big brain” moment from the villains as we realize that they were always in control. It’s a very different take on how this kind of story would end and I definitely appreciated it. It also means that the villain may have even had better acting skills than the main guy.

Finally that takes us to the climax where the hardened inspector thinks this is all hogwash. I suppose that’s a reasonable reaction to this, but in a less reasonable take he rushes off to the house in the dead of night and goes straight to the basement. He actually does better in the fight against the villains than I expected, but at the end of the day you already knew how that was going to end. It was a pretty fun way to end.

One thing against the film though is that ultimately it’s really hard to pin any of this on the house. It was just an innocent bystander the whole time that was probably hoping these people would stop moving it in. It didn’t actually do anything in pretty much any of the stories. The Wax was just a crazy guy running around, (maybe the Wax location was haunted) The one with the girl was because she had powers, and the vampires already had their plan. I’m willing to defend the house in this case because I do think it was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and didn’t mean for any of this to happen.

The writing is pretty solid here. As mentioned, it does a good job of building up the atmosphere without suddenly trying to make everything gritty and violent. That’s exactly how you’re supposed to do this. It’s a very tasteful array of horror stories and the length helps to prevent any of them from dragging on although I do think some of these could have worked as a whole film. I just doubt they would have been quite as effective. These still had time for the various plot twists and such which is really the important part if you ask me.

Overall, The House That Dripped Blood is a bit of a misleading film but it’s solid nonetheless. None of the stories are particularly bad and the best ones are quite solid. That makes for a pretty all around story since each story is pretty different. If this sounds like it’s up your alley then you should check it out or if you want more of a grounded horror movie. I think the part that will stick with you the most is that if you have an evil cloak that grants super powers and evil urges you should probably burn it or at the very least insist that nobody wears it after you. Even if you may have been able to take it off, it doesn’t ensure that the next person will be able to.

Overall 6/10

Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

The Hug Review


It’s time to look at a quick special known as The Hug. This was a pretty recent horror short from 2018 and it borrows from the 5 Nights at Freddy’s concept. What if there was an evil pizza place where the mascot goes around murdering people? In less than 5 minutes there is only so much that this special can do to show off the premise so you have to fill in the gaps yourself. There are definitely a lot of implications here not just for the worker but for the store in general.

The short has a kid celebrating his birthday party at a local pizza place. He finally won some ticket on one of the machines so he wants to have a shot performed for him by the animal robot. The store owner says the robot is out to lunch so the kid has to wait. The kid doesn’t listen and opens the curtain. The machine asks for a hug and it turns out to be a fatal one as the machine eats the kid. The pizza owner tries to investigate but gets scared off by the machine’s true face. That is ultimately how the special ends.

So…did the pizza owner know that the machine was evil? It’s pretty sketchy that they continue to power on the robot every day if that is the case. It also makes the owner a true accomplice. The owner’s phrasing here is also key as he said that the machine was eating. Machines don’t eat so that means the owner was feeding him something. We can only hope that he feeds it a steady diet of veggies and pizza but is that really the case? The owner was my favorite character on the surface as he seemed concerned and at least did try to help. It’s just that the more you think about it, the more likely it is that he is completely responsible for what happened. In that case it’s hard to like the guy.

The film makes the kid was unlikable as possible before he gets eaten. He disobeys the rules and just isn’t a very nice guy in general. It’s still pretty dark for the kid to get eaten like that though. Since the short ends so suddenly you can try to make the case that they got the kid out of it afterwards. I’m not sure how much weight that theory holds but the guests do outnumber the robot so perhaps they would be able to pull something like that off.

Overall, The Hug is definitely a fun little horror title. It reminds me of the classic Goosebumps adventures where the hero wouldn’t always win in the end. The film doesn’t last quite long enough for things to get too overly dark so it works out well enough. If you’re a big horror fan then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one. It shows that you can do quite a lot in 4 minutes. The special introduces the characters, gives us some tension in the scenes, and even brings in a villain who has a very unique design. Be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart!

Overall 6/10