12 Angry Men Review

12 Angry Men is certainly a classic film. It’s one that just about everyone’s heard of and it’s very well known for its quality writing and interesting plot. It holds up very well on a rewatch and is just as engaging as it ever was. The movie manages to stay engaging even with the characters never leaving the main room for the majority of the film. This is definitely how you want to do a jury film and it’s hard to picture any film doing it better.

The case that the 12 Jurors have to rule on involves an alleged murder. Supposedly this kid on trial murdered his father before being captured by the police. The evidence is mainly based around testimony from a lady who saw the murder from a train, and an old man who stepped out of his apartment in time to see the kid run off. When the jurors go into the room to deliberate, 11 of them immediately believe the kid is guilty. They just don’t see how you can go against two direct witness testimonies like that but one juror is not convinced and still has some doubts. Can the 11 convince him to give out a verdict of guilty or can he get them over to his side?

After all, the only way you can rule guilty is if you believe that there is no room for doubt here and that this had to have been what happened. Also, a jury must be unanimous in its decision so if there is one person who disagrees then you have to keep debating until that is no longer the case. After a period of time if no agreement can be made then it is considered a hung jury and a new group will end up being selected.

The movie does a good job of still leaving the case up to your interpretation as the characters disclose their facts. It’s fair to say that one side will appear to be more likely than the other by the end or at least that there has been some established room for doubt. If you still believe that the accused is guilty then that’s fair as well, the film doesn’t really try to force you into saying that one side is flat out wrong or not.

If you’re voting for the side that says the accused is innocent, you do have a lot of things working in your favor. After the characters broke down the testimony from the old man who says he made it to the door in time, it does seem like it would have been difficult to make it to the front door in time. The timeline doesn’t add up without something being different as reported. Likewise the angle of the stab wound was different from how you would expect someone to use it and the train was moving very quickly.

On the side that says he’s guilty, you’ve got the fact that the knife was on the scene of the crime. It seems to be a rare knife although the main character was able to get one which puts that into question. You do have the direct alibi’s of the two witnesses and while the side that says he is innocent would say that they are lying, it’s just as possible that they aren’t and their time limits were off by a few seconds.

So whichever side you pick, there’s some good arguments to be made. The film isn’t really about seeing which side is right though so you won’t find that out by the end. It’s all left rather open which is also fair since in most cases as the jury you’ll never truly know if the person was guilty or not. You just make the ruling as best you can.

As mentioned, the writing is definitely great here. The time really passes by even though it’s 100% dialogue based. The characters may not have names but they all have core personalities. One of the best members was likely the chairman who did his best to make sure that everyone was taking this seriously and working in an orderly fashion. It’s not easy trying to take charge but someone had to do it.

You had the advertiser who was having a good time. He got distracted very easily compared to the others but he didn’t seem malicious or anything. The guy just seemed to always think of new ideas. There’s the main character who really wanted to give the case the importance it deserved. When the others were ready to leave in 5 minutes he held firm. You have to give him a lot of credit for sticking his ground even when he was outnumbered 11 to 1. It’s not an easy thing to have to face the crowd like that, especially with some of them being really tough about the whole thing.

One of them just wanted to go and see his Baseball game after all so he wanted a quick guilty verdict so he could leave. Then you have the one who is really against kids due to some personal issues. These two make this an even tougher situation since they are hardly going to be listening to reason. The film was smart not to make them the only ones on the guilty side though or you’d run the risk of making one side so antagonistic that it doesn’t appear to be a fair fight.

The main reasonable member in that camp was the guy with glasses who likes to look at everything logically. He feels it’s less of an assumption to take the testimonies and evidence at face value as opposed to believing they were all lying and/or incorrect. The best back and forth exchanges are often the debates with him as each side has to carefully take in each item and discuss it thoroughly. That’s exactly how these kind of discussions should go down.

Overall, 12 Angry Men really ends up keeping your attention at all times. It’s really a simple plot when you think about it and this underscores that any plot can make for a great movie if the execution is done well enough. The crew in charge of the movie held nothing back and so this ended up being quite the hit. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to check out a good movie. No matter what genre you may like, this one is just good cinema and can appeal to anyone. I’d be up for more jury based films. It may be tough to beat this one but an attempt should at least be made as there is a lot you can do with this concept.

Overall 8/10

One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 Review

I’ve had this game for quite a few months now and I finally managed to beat it! The game wasn’t that hard, but it was just tricky to make time to play it. This is definitely the definitive One Piece game at the moment and I even found it more fun to play than the Unlimited Red title. That one was also excellent though, even if the story mode wasn’t absolutely amazing like this one. Pirate Warriors 3 just had that epic feel about it and can hold its own against Ultimate Ninja Storm, Raging Blast, and Soul Resurrection.

This game covers the entire One Piece series up to the latest arc. There’s a fake ending here as the arc hadn’t ended at the time, but that’s fine since it still works as a solid ending and some of the big enemies of Luffy’s past (Blackbeard) get to show up as well. I’m pretty sure that the game’s writers liked Kizaru as his role in this game was certainly beefed up. If you don’t know the plot of the One Piece franchise, it takes place back in the golden age of pirates. The legendary Gold D Roger left some treasure and a kid named Luffy wants to find it. He assembles a crew and sets sail. Naturally, the pirates are outlaws so Luffy has to deal with the government as well as many evil groups of pirates who would stand in his way.

There’s a lot to do in this title and that’s always a good thing. Naturally, story mode will take up the bulk of your time and it’s decently long. There are 22 levels and they all range from 30-60 minutes. You’re certainly getting your money’s worth there and you can choose to replay the levels at different difficulties to try and fill in a treasure map on each chapter by completing various challenges. Each character can be leveled up as well and the coins that you get through the levels can be used to unlock super attacks or just increase some stats. If you want to play as a different character during the levels then there is also a free mode that you can get into.

As is becoming the fashion with these big beat em up games, there is also a mission mode adventure where you play through abridged versions of the story mode levels. There will be secret bosses here that you don’t run into in the normal story like Shanks. This mode is a lot longer than the story mode and likely more difficult although it’s hard to say for sure. If you’ve got the time, this mode is definitely worth checking out.

There’s also a shop where you can spend your money. Typically it would be a huge grind to buy everything, but this is surprisingly not the case in this game. You earn a lot of money in Story Mode just by completing the levels and this increases exponentially when you get S ranks in any chapter. I managed to buy all of the soundtrack themes, costumes, and bought most of the movies. I nearly cleaned out the shop and that’s without just about any grinding. (I did grind for a little while, but mostly spent the cash on level ups for other characters) You don’t want to forget about earning those PS4 trophies while you’re at it either. They seem pretty fair for the most part, but very, very time consuming. I don’t see myself getting the Platinum here anytime soon, but you never know.

That’s enough about the replay value and features. You get the jist of it. This game will capture your attention for quite a while. Next up, let’s talk a little about the gameplay. That’s the most important part for any video game and it is excellent here. I’ve never met a beat em up that I didn’t like and this can hold its own with any other. You have your standard attacks and power moves that you can link up into many different combos. Every character has a special attack and four special variations of normal moves. Then you’ve got double special attacks and final smash techniques. Every time you use a final smash with one of your teammates, they’ll stick around for the next one. If you play your cards right, this means that you can do a final smash technique with your whole crew by the end. Granted, you’ll never actually need to do this (Except for a trophy) but it’s cool to look at.

The gameplay is nice and fast paced. I’ll admit that I do miss the combos from the younger days though and I wonder how that works in Free Mode. The final few levels force you to play as the older Strawhats and while their attacks are ridiculously OP at times, I just loved how smooth the classic ones were. You’ll certainly be able to pick out a favorite character in terms of gameplay by the end and then you can focus on mowing down the enemies. If you defeat a lot of them in one hit, you’ll get a lot of ! bonuses, which are helpful for S ranks.

I liked the soundtrack a lot although it is very limited. It’s not nearly as engaging as the themes that you will hear in something like Transformers Devastation, but one theme can always make a difference. That’s what happened here as I love the “tense” music theme that plays whenever a villain appears. You know that things are about to get serious and the other themes aren’t bad either. The graphics are also pretty solid. It’s not quite Sonic Adventure 2 Battle or the streamlined style of Mario, but the Cell shading still looks decently good for the cutscenes. I’ll admit that it looks better for the gameplay though, but I’d love it if One Piece could borrow the flashier look of Dynasty Warriors Gundam or something like that. I dunno, something about the graphics just kept it a solid spot under most of the big titles that we get nowadays like Super Smash or Gundam, but they’re still not bad by any stretch of the imagination.

Overall, with the solid array of bonus content to keep you busy, this is a must have that is worth the high price. If you have not gotten into One Piece yet, this game is a great starting point as you can instantly get near the end of the franchise as you will almost be caught up. The gameplay is great and the game succeeds on the technical levels as well. It’s decently easy even when on hard mode, but that’s just because it’s hard to find that right balance of making it hard without being impossible. You still have to fight tactically on hard mode and grinding will have to be done to clear the game on that level. I look forward to seeing what the game does for the next installment. Hopefully they add a multiplayer option to the game though. Even if it’s not a vs mode, a co-op mode is always a nice option for the gamers. When you really dip deep into why this game is so good, it’s because Pirate Warriors 3 is just a lot of fun. Defeating the enemies by the dozens never gets old and you can easily lose yourself for a few hours at a time here.

Overall 9/10

Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01 Review

Judge Dredd is a fairly big name in the comic world, but I have to say that I was never familiar with the character so I can’t say that I was impressed. He was just another variation of Batman right? This collection showed me that Judge Dredd is definitely a legitimate character and he’s very well written. He definitely shares some traits with Batman, but his heavy usage of the classic handgun is already one big difference. This is a great way to become a fan of the character and get started on the franchise!

This collection brings together dozens and dozens of Judge Dredd issues. Maybe even 100+! This is because most of the Judge Dredd comics were only 2-4 pages back in the day so the adventures were very quick. As you go deeper and deeper into the book, you can see how the issues started to get longer and longer. One thing is for certain, continuity was always important to the series. Past issues are constantly references and no character development is lost. These issues are very tightly connected so it makes for a great read in this collection form.

The setting for the story is that everything is taking place in the future. The Earth has been reduced to three cities and Judge Dredd is stationed on Mega City 1. There are 800 million civilians living there and most (if not all) of them are criminals. Luckily, the city is kept safe by an organization of judges who fight to keep the peace. They have been granted virtually unlimited power to deal with criminals and Judge Dredd is known as the best of the best. This reputation is well deserved as Judge Dredd continues to prove why he is the best throughout the collection.

The first big arc in my opinion is the one about Call Me Kenneth. He is a robot who breaks free from the current robot code that no robot may hurt a man and they must obey humans no matter what. The humans are pretty smug about this and they love to tell the robot to blow themselves up or melt themselves. Call Me Kenneth won’t have any of that and he quickly frees many other robots from this code. It becomes a full scale war between the Judges and the Robots as things escalate quickly. The battle is no joke as thousands of civilians perish and over 100 Judges as well. It’s safe to say that this was the toughest battle that Judge Dredd and the other heroes had to face. I was also surprised at how many casualties were involved and they don’t lessen as the comics continue. The villains definitely aren’t playing around here.

Call Me Kenneth is a pretty good villain and one can mildly sympathize with him. You can’t really sympathize with his actions by the end, but he does have a point that robots should have freedom. Very few do and most of them are essentially treated like slaves. Unfortunately, Call Me Kenneth goes too far when he enslaves his own robots as well. It basically makes the whole thing pointless if you think about it. So, that really hurt his character development and he wasn’t quite as likable after that. I do like his design though and he made for a powerful enemy.

Another reoccurring villain is Whitey. He’s the very first villain to appear in the collection and he takes out a Judge with ease. Judge Dredd makes short work out of him, but Whitey got his 5 seconds of fame. He later appears again when he breaks out of jail, but it’s a very short escape since Judge Dredd is always on the job. (The man doesn’t even take Christmas breaks!) He was a pretty interesting villain since he stands for the one shot villain who one would expect to never appear again, but he didn’t stay down for the count. I also find the name to be a little humorous and I may have him battle on this site’s fight section soon.

Judge Dredd is a great main character and he’s much better than I could have guessed. He does destroy many of his foes, but this is typically by accident. Usually, he shoots his enemies, but he doesn’t aim at any of their vitals so they get to limp off with dignity as they’re sent into prison. He’s as serious about crime as Chase is from Transformers Rescuebots and I’ll admit that I read all of his lines in that voice. Judge Dredd is portrayed as an expert in the collection and that never really fades. Throughout all of the adventures, he’s only defeated a handful of times. He typically defeats his opponents with ease or with a pretty great plan at the ready.

Judge Dredd’s passion for the law is a great advantage to have over the common miscreants, but it can also be a dangerous weakness. An example of this is when he allows a few criminals to run amok because he had to wait for a new badge. Knowing that it is illegal for an average citizen to take the law into his own hands, Judge Dredd had to wait until he was reinstated. He also quit when the other Judges would not deactivate the various robots. They were too confident that they would never turn evil…right before the war started. Judge Dredd’s punishments for crime are pretty serious as he fines someone over 200000 credits just for stepping on the curb. It is a crime though so you are supposed to do the time…

Judge Dredd may have one other weakness and that’s his selection of friends. He’s a Judge so he’s as emotional as stone, but he did allow a few to get close to him. One was his best friend at the academy, but I forgot his name. Unfortunately, the friend became corrupted and he started to murder people while disguised as a mutant. Dredd was forced to destroy him and strike his name from the school’s honor roll. Deja Vu occurred when Dredd’s cloned twin arrived and Dredd quickly mowed him down as well. Luckily, Dredd did make one really good friend although he’ll never admit it.

Walter is Judge Dredd’s best friend and it means a lot to the robot. Walter is the only robot who has been granted freedom I believe, but he doesn’t care for it. He just wants to be with Dredd and he even gives him presents at Christmas. Walter definitely gives the Judge a lot of trouble since he’s certainly not one of the stronger robots out there, but he gets the job done. Without Walter, Judge Dredd’s social life would truly be nonexistent. He does have a cleaning lady who is around to help from time to time, but her role is incredibly small and she’s basically written out of the series once Walter appears.

Half of the collection is spent on Mega City 1, but the scenery changes when Dredd is assigned to the Moon. It makes for an interesting change of pace. I definitely prefer Mega City 1, but Judge Dredd’s new uniform is pretty cool. It’s also good to see him slap the local authorities into shape as he began to uphold the law once again. The Moon Saga had many plots including illegal super races and an evil Santa Clause.

Once Judge Dredd made it back to Earth, he had to deal with the ultimate car…Elvis! Elvis manages to snap away from his coding when it got damaged and he quickly went the Call Me Kenneth route as he woke up many other cars to the realization that destroying humans was fun. The Judges now had to deal with another war, but this one was likely not as lethal to the local civilians. Elvis isn’t quite as smart as Call Me Kenneth, but he does get the jump on Judge Dredd when he invades the latter’s home. He uses this as a shield against the authority and it’s a pretty bold plan. Can the authorities put him in his place?

The art for the collection is in black and white as per the norm, but it definitely works very well for this series. Everything is pretty clear so you can tell what is going on and the only characters who can appear to be very similar at times are the judges. I don’t care for the book’s actual binding because there were a few times where it was impossible to make out a few words because they were exactly in the middle of the collection. You can always tell more or less what the characters are saying because it’s only a few words, but the words shouldn’t be so crunched up together.

The dialogue is one of the strong points in this collection. Just about every line from Judge Dredd tends to be pretty epic. He’s really focused on making sure that everyone acts in accordance with the law and it’s cool to hear the various laws of the future. The villains are also ready with old slang and new terms to combat the Judges verbally. It’s a good way to stall for time I suppose.

Overall, This was a pretty great start to the franchise. I can certainly see why Judge Dredd has a lot of fans and I can safely say that he’s a lot more likable than Robocop. Mega City 1 is certainly a rough place since there’s always someone out to get Judge Dredd, but that’s what makes the issues so interesting. The universe is built pretty well as there are already many plots that can be explored in the future. The other two Mega Cities, The mutants underground, the whole robots issue, etc. The cast is relatively small as well, but the main heroes are both likable. Walter grows on you as the issues go and you almost feel bad for him. (Maybe not always…) I hope that Call Me Kenneth and Whitey return soon since that would make for a fun rematch. I highly recommend this collection to any comic fan and it really has no weaknesses. You can finally meet one of the bigger comic book characters and find out what true justice is!

Overall 8/10