Varan The Unbelievable Review


It’s time to look at an old classic in Varan The Unbelievable. Varan is a film that you’ve likely heard of if you’re a big Godzilla fan. On the other hand, if you’re not really into the Godzilla mythos then the odds of you knowing about this film are slim to none. It’s a very classic Kaiju film that plays it by the numbers. At its core the main point of the film is seeing Varan take on the humans, but I’d say that it’s a bit weaker than the average Kaiju film. The humans just aren’t that good.

The plot of the film revolves around a guy named Jim who heads to Japan to run some experiments. His tests involve potentially eroding the water supply of a nearby village so he tells them all they have to leave. Naturally the villagers don’t want to just pack up and go just like that so the army has to get involved. They send tanks and a lot of man power for this mission which increases tensions. Jim’s wife warns him that this is a bad idea, but he won’t listen to anyone. By this point his ideas are simply too important to him and anyone who says otherwise simply doesn’t understand his passion. There’s nothing that can stop him…nothing but Varan!

Varan is definitely a fun Kaiju. For some reason I always thought he looked a lot more like Titanosaurus, but his actual design is still pretty solid. Once he appears the film certainly becomes a lot more fun. He really takes it to the army and shows that he isn’t to be trifled with. Varan also lasts a very long time ad he doesn’t go down until the final minutes of the film. Even then it’s hard to say if they really destroyed him since that’s partially up to interpretation. He did lose though, which does mean he is one of the weaker Kaiju out there. Sure, the humans came up with their own special formula as per usual, but losing to the army is not something you want to do. Humans are pretty creative when they’re in a pack though so it’s no shame to lose to them.

What holds the film back is Jim. It’s impossible to root for him because his experiments were never justified. Why does he have to do them in this lake where a village is depending on the water source? Apparently there were other locations that he could have chosen so by the end it feels more like pride is the only thing keeping him there. He could have easily just picked a different spot when the inhabitants clearly told him to go away.

As the villagers escalate their attacks on Jim and Anna you’d think that Jim would finally consider leaving. Even Anna mentions that she is now scared of what may happen and the police chief hints that Jim should leave as well. Jim does nothing of the sort though so it becomes clear where his priorities are. Even though he manages to have a change of mind by the very end of the film it feels like it is too little too late. By then his character is already down for the count in my book.

The writing is pretty reasonable here. It’s not the best dialogue, but it’ll do. The film’s pretty quick and the pacing manages to keep up so the scenes don’t drag. I wouldn’t call the first 20-30 minutes without Varan boring, but I definitely would freely admit that they could have used a better cast. The action scenes are fun though. It’s pretty dusty in the climax so it can be hard to see, but it’s not like you need HD graphics to see that the government is firing a lot of shots at Varan. He shakes them off for a while, but every creature has its limit.

Overall, Varan The Unbelievable is a classic Kaiju film, but it doesn’t have the same level of charm as the others. It is interesting how different the plot seems to be between the sub and dub versions of the movie though. The character names are super different and the Wikipedia summary for the Japanese version seems like it might as well be a completely different film. I’d recommend checking out the English version if you want to see the impact that Jim has on the story. It may not be a positive one, but it’s an impact nonetheless. I’d recommend checking it out even if it wouldn’t be at the top of my list.

Overall 6/10

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Masters of the Universe Review


It’s time to take a look at the really old He Man film. It’s definitely one of those movies where you may wonder a bit why they went the route that it did. Surely the movie could have done something else like stay in his world the whole time right? Well, it was definitely an interesting experiment even if it didn’t fully pan out. It’s engaging in its own way at times, but one of those movies that doe shave some moments where it drags.

The film starts off with Skeletor and his minions finally conquering the world. It’s all thanks to a new world hopping device that he got thanks to a little gremlin. One wrinkle in his plans is the fabled hero He Man. Now, “fabled” may not be accurate, but we’re never given a good reason why he wasn’t there from the start. He’s pretty nonchalant with his friends when they find him randomly running around in the dessert. From the intro it sounds like he’s been gone for along time so the whole thing doesn’t make sense. Still, the odds are too great even for He Man so he heads to Earth to make a new device to bring him back. He’ll have to protect two teenagers by the names of Julie and Charlie though as they have the device and Skeletor’s minions are now after him. It won’t be easy but He Man can do it!

If I may be so bold, part of the problem here is the fact that the earthlings are pretty annoying. They are slow on the uptake and all they do is hold He Man back. Think about it, some of the best scenes were the ones from the beginning. We got a lot of cool gun fights and jumped right into the thick of the action. It’s like a war was going on and we got to see the climax of it. It may have been a little weird to see He Man pull out the gun, but I guess even he knows when he needs the extra firepower. The villains look like Stormtroopers and the whole thing could have been like a scene out of Star Wars. Trust me, if the whole film had been like this then it would have been very awesome indeed. It’s the He Man film that we needed.

Also, the fight scenes do hold up pretty well. It’s nice to see He Man just throwing everyone around and dominating the cast of villains. He is basically Superman after all so he should be cleaning shop. He Man’s definitely a solid main character even if he is a bit insensitive. There’s one scene where Julie has just been through a traumatic experience but He Man and the other characters all laugh when the troll drives in on his crazy car. The movie definitely does not always know how to time its comedic moments, I’ll grant you that.

Back to the humans though, I can’t say that Julie is the most engaging character. Her relationship with Charlie is also a bit odd as the first scene sort of implies that they are on the verge of breaking up. She wants distance from him and can’t wait to leave, but that plot flies out the window once the villains attack. She’s also incredibly gullible and naive as there is a certain scene where her mother appears that will make you roll your eyes. It’s one of those moments where you just gotta shake your head. Then you’ve got Charlie who definitely doesn’t seem like the most helpful guy around. He ditches Julie to get some info on how to get rich and after that he spends most of the film complaining about the current situation. The only human who pulls his weight around here is Lubic.

He’s the classic detective who is on a power trip. He wants the device for himself and has no idea on what is going on so he calls the cops and gets ready to take everyone down. He won’t listen to you about who is on the right side so he just blasts everyone who gets in his way. It’s not necessarily a bad outlook if you want to come out on top, but as a detective you’d want him to do a little more due diligence. I do like these parody type characters though so I was definitely rooting for him. He’s just a fun guy to have around.

As for Skeletor, he was handled pretty faithfully I must say. The design is on point and he was given a lot of respect as the villain. He did manage to capture He Man’s planet and that’s no small feat. He probably should have sent all the armies to Earth to fight He Man right from the start though. Finishing him off should be top priority since I doubt anyone else can fight all that well. Instead he insists on the villains taking He Man in alive for some reason. Skeletor never was the smartest villain though.

The ending is definitely emotional I suppose. In general if you ignore all of the scenes with the troll then the film did a decent job of taking itself seriously and giving us good action scenes. The writing actually isn’t all that bad either. Really the only scenes that drag are when the humans show up or when the troll steps in. For the most part the film manages to keep itself on the right track and that’s good. The scene of the heroes fighting while inside the electronics store is pretty surreal for sure.

Overall, Masters of The Universe is a pretty reasonable film. It’s not going to win any awards, but I wouldn’t call it a bad film either. It’s definitely on the cheesy side and the effects may not hold up to the newer titles, but the film doesn’t have any game breaking negatives. It’s a fun little fantasy story that I could still recommend to fans of He Man or just to people that want an exciting little adventure. Aside from one scene where someone takes a pretty hard hit to the face and bleeds more than you’d expect, the movie is also pretty tame. I do think a modern remake of He Man will likely blow this one out of the water, but in the end I’d say that it may have even been slightly better than I had expected it to be.

Overall 6/10

Predator Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 2/10

Gorgo Review


It’s time to take a look at one of those old giant monster films that you may have seen back when you were growing up. This monster also looks a whole lot like Godzilla which was pretty interesting. The red glowing eyes make him appear to b quite sinister and we’ve even got a lot of buildings being squashed. It could be thought of as a Godzilla spinoff of sorts and I’d say that the film holds up pretty well. It doesn’t really make any big mistakes.

The film starts with Joe and Sam crashing on an island where they decide to get some fuel and supplies so they can sail off again. Unfortunately, it won’t be easy as the villagers don’t take kindly to outsiders and won’t talk to them. Joe locates the village leader who also refuses to help, but it turns out that this is because he has a vested interest in keeping people away. Joe and Sam quickly blackmail the guy out of some of his valuables and also decide to take down the famed Gorgo while they’re at it. If they manage to beat him they’ll become rich!

I actually saw this one alongside another Kaiju film which I’ll be reviewing soon. They were both pretty similar although I’d say that this one was a little better as we got more monster action. Sometimes with these films you get worried because the monster doesn’t appear much, but fear not! Gorgo gets a lot of screen time and it felt like he got to show up almost right away. Once he does appear he is here to stay so you can look forward to a whole lot of nice monster carnage.

Now, it’s always a little dicey to see humans preparing to capture a Kaiju. For one thing, it shows that they don’t even remotely fear the monster which is definitely not good for the Kaiju’s confidence. Additionally, it should be pretty hard to take down a monster like this. I’m still a bit worried that in the new Godzilla film we actually might see the government take down Godzilla early on only to release him to fight the others once the danger is near. While Gorgo puts up a good fight, he ultimately isn’t able to stop the humans.

Now, in Gorgo’s defense, he’s a monster so it’s not like he knows strategy or anything like that. There is only so much he can do once the humans have a way past his size. Gorgo has a great design and a cool roar. He’s a fun Kaiju through and through so I wouldn’t call him a pushover despite losing. It would have been nice if he could have outsmarted the humans or something, but this isn’t really that kind of film. Not saying that it can’t happen, but that the scenario was pretty unlikely from the start. There is a cool twist involving Gorgo though as nobody ever said he was the only creature out there.

It’s always nice to see a Kaiju team up and this film actually gives us one. Lets just say that Gorgo knows people in high places. The humans probably should have quit while they were ahead. I feel like the movie never really wants you to root for the humans though because it never even tries to make them all that likable. They just want to get rich, that’s basically all there is to their characters. Take the one scene where the museum guy shows up and asks them to bring Gorgo to him. They pretend to do so in order to keep up appearances, but then they head to the circus instead for the big bucks. You don’t want to trust Joe or Sam, they just want to be rich. Admittedly the museum guy didn’t seem all that smart though. I can’t think of any actual reason why they would want to listen to him. He was going to pay them pocket change, nothing that could really help them and they don’t seem like the scholarly type.

Gorgo is a pretty short film and so even with a basic plot synopsis I’ve already told you a great deal. If you like the classic Kaiju films then I expect you’ll like this one. The writing is on point and Gorgo can hold his own as an antagonist. If there is any weakness here it is in the fact that there aren’t two opposing Kaiju so we don’t get to have a big fight scene between them. That would have been pretty awesome. Still, we did get to see Gorgo lay waste to the city and that’s always a staple of the genre.

Overall, Gorgo is a solid movie. I have nothing bad to say about it. It’s a bit straight forward in that you can probably guess most of the film right away. There aren’t a whole lot of twists and turns although there is one which I thought was executed really well. It’s a shame that Gorgo has basically vanished from the public eye. I feel like he had potential to be one of the next big Kaiju out there. He’d probably need some new abilities to hang with the more modern monsters, but that would be easy enough to accomplish. Ah well, odds are you haven’t seen this film yet so I’d recommend changing that ASAP!

Overall 7/10

Valley of The Dragons Review


It’s time to look at an old film with a pretty misleading title. The beginning had a good premise but once the time travel occurred it quickly fell out the window. Now, I do like time travel but I prefer to go forward in time rather than backwards. If you ask me it’s just a lot more fun that way. There’s not much in the past that interests me, at least not when you get into the caveman era.

The film starts with two guys about to have a duel to the death. Apparently, they seem to like the same maiden and naturally one of them has to die for this. They ready their guns and move a few paces to take their shot but that’s when an earthquake occurs and scatters them to the winds. When they get back up they appear to be on a new planet. They’ve done their first dimension jump and are in the distant past where “dragons” currently roam. Now, you can make the case that it’s past Earth or another planet but it doesn’t really matter. There’s a scene where they notice that the stars don’t match so it’s probably a new world. They each end up going to different cave factions that have been warring with each other for eons. Can they help the two teams make peace or will they all die against the monsters?

As far as the dragons are concerned you shouldn’t get your hopes too high. Their appearances are few and far between. If we’re being honest the big one doesn’t appear til the end. Most of the little creatures running around are the kimono dragons which are basically just lizards. They aren’t exactly all that scary. The big one is fun enough but definitely pretty mindless and lets the heroes attack him over and over again until they eventually take him down. If he had done just about anything else then he could have won. The monster still did rack up a decent body count I suppose.

One weakness with the film is definitely the whole caveman element. I’ve never cared much for the trope of having the main guy try to teach English to these guys. For one thing, Hector isn’t all that understanding and gets frustrated pretty quick. Does he really expect them to learn English overnight? His voice can also be a bit annoying but that part’s not bad as it fits the character. He’s supposed to be annoying.

The other guy (Michael) is a lot more patient with the cave people and becomes the leader real quick. I suppose I would probably say that he is the better character of the two as he had more personality. He also became a leader real quick and did most of the hard work in the climax. I wouldn’t say either character was all that great, but he got the job done.

The writing was reasonably solid I suppose. The scenes with the ancient people weren’t that good but the banter with the two leads was pretty decent. It’s always god to have a dynamic where the two characters initially want to destroy each other but are then forced to work together. It is a bit clichéd I’ll admit but as this was back in the 60s it pulls this off unironically.

Then it almost goes without saying that the romance element is very weak here. The cave women basically throw themselves at the main two guys since they dominate the pack so easily but it’s all so fast and doesn’t feel real. We even get jealousy plots and also see why the two factions are warring from the start. Without the main two guys keeping them in line it is pretty clear that the two factions can’t control themselves and would be picking fights constantly. Having one “strong but not smart” character is enough for most films, make that the majority of the cast and then the movie has really got a big problem to deal with.

I can’t really say that the pacing was all that good either. While it almost goes without saying that a boring plot will drag on, this one really goes as slowly as possible. One scene in particular that really takes forever is when the heroes are trying to stab the giant monster. It’s the same action over and over again for at least 10-20 minutes with no variation. After a point it just comes across as having no real meaning and the scenes are complete filler. The action isn’t filler, but redoing it over and over certainly is. You could tell that the writers had run out of material by the end.

Overall, Valley of the Dragons is a film that was pretty decent for the most part but the actual plot holds it back quite a bit. It should have been a film about the leads getting trapped in some kind of vicious world for sure, but not one this far back in the past. If it was more modern we could have gotten around all of the scenes of them trying to teach the people everything and more banter instead. Of course by this point I am describing an entirely different film, but you get the gist of what I’m saying. If you don’t mind the past element then I think you’ll reasonably like this movie since it’s the main thing holding it back. Just don’t go in expecting a lot of actual dragons.

Overall 4/10

Alien 3 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 look at the next installment in the Alien franchise. I must admit that I’ve never been a big fan of the series. While it did spawn a lot of super memorable alien designs like the Xenomorph, it just can’t hold up under pressure. This film didn’t do any better I’m afraid since right away a dog appears. That’s the ultimate red flag for any film, especially one with aliens/monsters. The films just can’t seem to resist and neither could this one. The film was dead before it ever began and that doesn’t change as the film goes on.

The film starts off with everyone from the second film dying since one of the Xenomorphs managed to make it aboard the ship. Fortunately, Ripley survived as she is the main character. The ship crashed in a giant space planet, which is used as a place for convicted criminals who would get the death penalty otherwise. I admit that for a while I forgot that this was on another planet because it may as well be Earth to be honest. It’s not like it really makes much of a difference. Now Ripley needs to just wait until a ship arrives that will take her back to Earth, but the problem is that the Xenomorph is somewhere on the planet. She wants to destroy it before leaving or it’ll keep on spreading. Meanwhile the rest of the prisoners want to murder her because they’re still evil. Can she unite the team in time to stop the alien or are they all doomed?

It really doesn’t help that this film has terrible supporting characters. From the start we’re introduced to the fact that a lot of the prisoners are still evil and certainly aren’t ashamed of the fact. They’re just here to mess up the heroes and cause trouble. They even attack Ripley at one point until another guy comes in to corral them. When there aren’t any characters to like then that’s a problem. There are only two of these prisoners who are given any real development.

First off is Jonathan. He isn’t violent like the others, but he was drunk while operating a while back and caused a lot of people to die. As a result he was charged with being the doctor in this place. While he is more perceptive than most of the other characters I definitely wouldn’t call him a good one either. One big problem here is the fact that he was told not to get too close to Ripley and immediately goes past the friend zone. This is a good chance to point out that the romance definitely wasn’t particularly good here. It’s extremely rushed and doesn’t actually serve any kind of purpose in the story. It’s just here for shock value to be honest and if you take it away then everything would still play out the same. Jonathan ultimately doesn’t add much either as Ripley never gives him the courtesy of knowing how he’s gonna die.

Since there is a hostile alien on board that’s going to murder everyone shouldn’t Ripley have just told him to watch out? At least maybe he would have lived that way. By the end it seemed reasonable that she should have told him. The other main character is Leonard. He may be a big prisoner but he has bought into the religion preached there and is trying to turn over a new leaf. That being said, he’s still okay with murdering people. He definitely has a pretty grisly end, but at least he was helpful I suppose. The actual leader of the crew was certainly not interested in making this easy on the characters.

As expected the actual script is pretty terrible as well. There’s a lot of language throughout and the sad part is that it’s pretty much expected at this point. It goes back to the unlikable cast part. Then the film’s also super violent as expected. Everyone goes down as violently as possible and they’re all picked off one by one. None of them have any chance against the aliens. If that wasn’t bad enough, then you’ve got the animal violence as the dog goes down. The film was already pretty hard to get through and when you add all of these elements up you’ve got a stinker on your side.

Meanwhile you’d expect Ripley to at least be decent right? Unfortunately she certainly isn’t. Again, I think letting Jonathan know would have been fair since she forced him to spill the rest of the details. Then she also goes outside by herself in a hostile environment when everyone warned her that the prisoners would try attacking her. She just doesn’t actually listen to anyone and keeps getting herself in trouble.

It goes without saying that this is the weakest Alien film I’ve seen. Hopefully the next ones are stronger, but I can’t say that I have particularly high hopes of that. The series died a long time ago and you could argue that Aliens was its last chance to really make a difference. How do you top the “This time it’s War!” tagline for future titles? As it is we’re basically just retreading old ground at this point. There’s not much point to the films and without a new dynamic it’ll be stuck in place. If the films want to be good they need to at least cut out the animals, give us a better locale, and absolutely the film needs to have better writing. That’ll at least give the film a fighting chance even if I still don’t like its odds.

Overall, This is a pretty dreary film and there’s nothing around to spice things up. The actual locale isn’t as interesting as the first two films. There’s also a lot less alien action for the most part. Aliens had a bunch of them running around at least which was fun. I also prefer the dynamic of soldiers fighting off aliens as opposed to people just trying to run away from them. The former leads to good action scenes while the latter is just needlessly dark. I feel the same way for all genres. There’s no enjoyment to be had in a fierce villain murdering a bunch of non combatants. I want to at least pit him against people who can try to fight back even if they have no chance.

Overall 1/10

Digimon Adventure Tri: Future Review


We’ve finally made it to the final installment in the Digimon Tri series! There were quite a lot of plot threads still dangling so does this one manage to finish them off? Well, it does end the main plot, but for the most part we still don’t know a whole lot about what was going on in the back end. Perhaps it’s intentional as the Digidestined are also left in the dark for the most part. So, I wouldn’t clal this a rushed ending, but I wouldn’t say it is a super satisfactory one either. It’s ultimately a fun sequel package that will have a good amount of replay value, but I do think the next follow up will likely be far better so long as it goes back to its roots. The film does end with a nice potential cliffhanger. Whichever option it chooses should work out pretty well.

So last time Tai seemingly died when the cliff caved in due to an unnatural earthquake caused by the Digi souls and the rulers. Matt is now the temporary leader and the group decides to head back to the human world once again. They’ve basically been playing ping pong across the two worlds if you think about it. Unfortunately Meicoomon has digivolved once again and is now a cosmic being that seemingly can’t be stopped. The heroes are ready to accept their end, but if they’re going to die anyway they’ll go down fighting. Even if there is a chance for victory it may have to come at the expense of Meicoomon. Is there a way to save her or will they have to sacrifice the one for the many?

One unfortunate part about having Meicoomon be so powerful here is that fact that we can’t get any real fight scenes as a result. Meicoomon’s final form is too large to really take shots at the opponents and at the same time it’s so durable that it doesn’t need to dodge opponent strikes. This leads to a bit of a stalemate where the heroes can talk to it, but don’t do much else. There isn’t really any kind of big fight here so much as we just get a quick strike. It’s too bad since the films usually had such good fights when they did show up. I suppose as the finale the thought battles were the most important part here. So lets talk about those.

Throughout the series one of the subtle debates has been if the heroes should destroy their Digimon partners if they were to ever turn evil. Their bonds of friendship are strong, but apparently not absolute. Well, Meiko has been asking the team to destroy Meicoomon if necessary but they were confident that it wouldn’t come down to that. Well, in this film quite a few of the characters decide to go ahead and do this even while Kairi objects. Kairi’s objection is rather half hearted though as she says she’ll never forgive them, but then follows that up by saying that she won’t try to stop them or anything like that. If you really think it’s wrong then you should do something. Either way it’s not really a good look for the heroes. There wasn’t much of a choice by the end of course and mainly I would blame Meiko for not trying to stop them. For the other heroes they’re basically acknowledging that their bonds to each other are more important than Meiko. Everyone’s got to make a choice and they made theirs. Meicoomon also seemed pretty corrupt from the start so maybe he was all gone but it does feel like the villains got a bit of the last laugh here as a result.

Think about it, by the end the villains managed to murder a bunch of people, they’ve convinced the humans that all Digimon are evil, and then they convinced the heroes to destroy one of their own. Now when the factions ever decide to return, whether it be Homeostasis, The Digi King, or Gennai, they’ll have quite a lot of confidence here. Gennai also gets away with way too much here. He shows up to taunt the heroes quite often and they usually just stand in watch. Case in point, Gennai shows up in this film to reveal that he let Tai and the professor live just so they can choose which one of them gets to escape. None of them even try to attack Gennai as they just get resigned to their fate. The Digidestined seem to have lost most of their fire by the end and if that was part of the villains’ plan then they really did succeed.

With Tri over and the benefit of hindsight, I think the problem here may have been that Tri attempted too many things. The writers clearly had a bunch of ideas they wanted to throw around, but there’s just not enough time for all of them. This would have worked better if it was a full TV show. I also think some parts of the plot are swept to the side, but don’t make sense if you think about them. Think of all the kids who were kidnapped/vanished thanks to the villains? We’re talking dozens to maybe even 100+ and nobody found out? The government was covering for the villains because they’re naturally evil as well, but surely the parents would have said something. The original main characters know the 02 cast as well so it’s even more suspicious that they weren’t able to find anything out. Maybe the government got the parents as well (Can’t recall if they had a cameo) but the more people you kidnap the harder it is to hide that. The 02 cast also never actually get to appear so that’s a shame for their fans.

The animation looks nice as expected. We get some fun visuals with Omnimon’s form at the end. It’s definitely a powerful moment and for most of the film the world is covered in darkness so the colors do tend to pop out. Unfortunately for the soundtrack my favorite theme didn’t show up this time. In general the soundtrack is pretty subdued but it works well enough for the scenes it is present in.

Overall, Digimon Adventure Tri certainly won’t go down as one of my favorite parts of the franchise, it’s probably one of the weakest honestly. Still, it was an interesting experiment into what Digimon could be like if it was trying to be more Slice of Life/Cerebral instead of being more of a classic Shonen. (Honestly it probably holds up even better if you don’t think of it as a Digimon film. Think of it as standalone with no preconceived notions of what kind of fights and action should be in and you’ve got a good plot based anime film) It is a title that’ll make you think and force you to choose sides since there are usually quite a few options to choose from. Typically all you need to know is that Matt is right and Tai is wrong. I still think the first Tri film did a great job in setting up a mysterious premise and re-introducing the characters. Ultimately the follow ups just couldn’t completely cash in on this. The films fortunately do stay away from a romance angle that the various installments were hinting at. Even by the end it’s still lightly hinted at, but at the end of the day there’s a good chance we won’t see Meiko again so there’s nothing to worry about there. This is a good film to check out regardless of whether you’ve seen the other Tri titles or not, but you’ll likely be more than a little confused if you just skip to this one. I’d recommend watching them all in order.

Overall 7/10

Star Wars Lethal Alliance Review


It’s time to take a look at a Star Wars game that is likely forgotten to time by now. Lethal Alliance was one of the few Star War titles that I did not own before now. It was in the way of my marathon so it’s good to finally own it. You can expect more Star War reviews soon but lets not get ahead of ourselves. Lethal Alliance is a very solid game that is held back a bit by sloppy gameplay mechanics. (The game also crashed during the second last level but that was more due to my PSP’s faulty battery than the game) I do like the ideas behind the game and the plot is solid.

The plot follows a girl who is trying to enact revenge on one of the high ranking members aboard the Death Star. To this end she has made an alliance with the rebellion and will aid them as long as their goals are aligned. She will quickly find out that this goal is a lot more difficult than it appears as there are many enemies in the Empire and overcoming them will not be easy. She has no Force abilities, but has a lifetime of combat experience and gun skills to aid her. Throw in her motive of revenge and she is ready for the task.

The gameplay is sort of like Bounty Hunter as the main character uses a gun to fight most opponents. You can also switch to the Lightsaber when you’re in close quarters combat, but for most of the game it is a lot easier to just gun spam. The title gives you a lot of freedom in how you fight though so I’m not saying that it is impossible to fight that way. You can certainly find quite a lot of success with the blade as well. You also learn new moves after every few levels although I never really used them. It’s nice to have options of course, but give me a good one and I’ll likely just start spamming it.

What hurts the gameplay is the platforming part. I feel like it was tacked on after the fact. It’s hard to turn without moving quite a bit which ultimately ends up with you falling off the cliff. At that point you have to go all the way back to the last checkpoint which can get annoying after a while. I also think this aspect of the game doesn’t add anything since the combat moments are the best anyway. Likewise there are some times where you control the drone and they aren’t challenging or inventive so I feel like it was just a waste of space. More content isn’t always a good thing after all.

It’s a shame since the combat is air tight. While playing as a Jedi is always the best I also like playing as these bounty hunters. It’s a pretty fun change of pace and you get to deal with overwhelming odds. Of course, this lead has a lightsaber so it’s a little different. One of the best parts of Bounty Hunter was having to fight a Jedi master while only having guns and normal armaments to fight with. It’s just such a cool concept even if you should have no chance in such a scenario.

The graphics definitely look good. It’s going for a bit of a realistic look so we don’t get a lot of flashy visuals, but there’s a good amount of detail. We also get some cutscenes which is always fun. One of them is unintentionally humorous though as you get ready for a big fight with the main villain and then the heroine wakes up in jail. I suppose you can’t always win all your fights with ease. Still, she managed to rebound after that and did her best to keep on going forward. I definitely think she succeeded as a lead and I liked the twist at the end. Her character is ultimately pretty important in the mythos although it was likely completely retconned by now. While the soundtrack isn’t the most original as it loves to re-use movie themes (Like a lot of the games for this franchise) you never get tired of hearing Vader’s theme. The voice sounded like him too so it’d be pretty neat if they managed to get the same actor to voice him.

The game is fairly short and there are no collectibles/no post game so there isn’t any real replay value to be found. It’s long enough where I wouldn’t feel cheated if I ended up buying it at full price. Nowadays it’s certainly cheaper provided you can find it in stock at least.

There are two points in the game that are a bit annoying though so watch out for them. One is a puzzle element in a level where you have to find a way down from a high up building. I don’t even know how I made it down (I just kept jumping til I landed on something) and it didn’t feel much like a puzzle so much as just a poorly designed level. Then the other iffy part is the final boss where the only way to beat him is to use one of the many abilities you learned through the game. Problem is that I never used this one before. It took forever to finally learn how to activate it and that dragged the game out a bit. Surely the game could have let me know how to use the combos or some kind of guide right? You’re expected to remember them all.

Overall, Lethal Alliance is a pretty fun Star Wars game. It’s a shame that it basically fell under the radar though. I think that’s probably because in general the PSP never got all that big (relatively speaking) so the games are typically not brought up day to day. Still, this is one game that has aged very well and it would be cool to see a big budget remake for the PS4 or something. If you haven’t played this game yet then I highly recommend changing that.

Overall 7/10

Megalo Box Review


It’s time to look at a pretty recent anime that came out. I hadn’t seen any boxing titles prior to checking this one out so that was definitely pretty cool. It’s definitely a quality title that does a good job of illustrating the kind of world Joe is in. It doesn’t lose sight of the main plot during this though so it consistently moves at a good speed. Really the only bad thing about the show is the opening and in the grand scheme of things that doesn’t mean a lot.

The show takes place in the future. Boxers now use cybernetic enhancements to fight known as “Gear.” It’s like a robotic backpack that extends to your fists. Some have it ingrained in their bodies while others use the basic gear. Joe has been fighting in an underground arena for all his life and he’s sick of it. He has to throw fights to win and as such he is unable to really test his skills. His big chance occurs when they announce the Megalonia tournament. He decides to enter and gets into the tournament with a fake id thanks to some help from his coach Nanbu. Still, the more Joe climbs up the ranks the more it seems like he can’t escape his fast. What will end him first? The top ranked boxer Yuri, or his dark past?

Right away you can tell that Megalo Box did a good job with the atmosphere. It’s going for a very realistic setting despite being in the future. For the most part it actually feels like the past, but it just shows the natural progression of how the rich have gotten even richer while the poor continue to fade away. It doesn’t go too far into making the place tough to look at either though. I’m not a big fan of deserts of those kind of backdrops because I like seeing the more high-tech areas. As such the best looking scenes are often in the ring or at Megalonia. Still, the show did a good job with the setting.

The soundtrack is also top notch. The themes all capture the moments that they’re placed in. They help up the intensity without feeling really forced or anything like that. It’s probably one of the best soundtracks that I’ve heard in quite some time. The animation is also pretty solid. It’s nothing extremely high end, but it’s all pretty smooth. I don’t recall any bad looking episodes so it was pretty consistent the whole time. It continues to give 12-13 episode titles a good name. They seem to consistently have some of the best animation, pacing, and music available. Something about only being 12 episodes seems to help enormously with the budget which makes sense. I think it creates a cycle where the best writers/animators try to get onto those shows and so they continue to excel.

As I mentioned, the show does falter with the opening though. It’s just pretty terrible which is surprising. It’s going for a meta look at Joe at a literal dog and other such stuff, but it doesn’t really give you a good impression of the show. If you showed me the opening I would have told you that the show was likely terrible. There’s just no potential in the opening or anything to grab your attention. The music for the song isn’t particularly catchy either. I definitely don’t agree with the approach the show was going for with this intro.

The character cast was solid so lets quickly talk about them. The best character is the reigning champ of Megalonia. His name is Yuri and he’s pretty much the rival/main antagonist all in one package. I like his confidence and he’s the kind of opponent who is fighting for something. He’s not just a random obstacle to face nor is he a boxer who turned crazy. The guy just likes a good fight and is also trying to reward the faith that the leader of the corporation put in him. He’s a good guy and also just wants a clean fight. He won’t accept a win any other way. We don’t get to see him fight much at all (mainly because of the show’s length) but he is definitely a scene stealer.

Then you’ve got Joe who was close to taking on Yuri for the top spot here. He’s always looking for a fight and is a very aggressive character. A lot of times the main character can heavily influence how good a show is and I think Joe also contributed to Megalo Box’s quality. When the villains try playing mind games with him Joe is often able to get past this without help. Where other characters would start guilt tripping themselves Joe is able to stand strong. A good example of this is when a guy who lost his legs in a war shows up to guilt trip Joe. Joe doesn’t buy it and after explaining that it has nothing to do with him just goes in for the win. Joe is fixated on getting to the top and doesn’t let anything get in his way. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have any doubts or trials, but he does a good job of getting past them.

Then you’ve got his coach Nanbu. That guy isn’t quite as solid as the first two. Mindgames always work on him and the villains tend to have a lot of leverage on him so he’s not someone that you can really count on most of the time. He’s also got the toughest road to follow in the show as bad things seem to happen to him constantly. A lot of it is trouble that he really started though so you can only sympathize with him so much. Long story short, he’s a decent mentor character, but definitely not one of my favorite characters. Then there’s the kid Sachio who isn’t quite as bad as he could have been. He’s still a little out of place among the main members of the cast though. He isn’t nearly as smart or witty as the others so he ends up just being around to throw tantrums when he doesn’t get what is going on. I don’t think he ever really needed to stick around.

Yukiko is the rich leader of the company sponsoring the tournament. As such she does serve as one of the main antagonists. Unlike Yuri she is not about fair play and will succeed no matter what the cost is. Still, she is reasonable for the most part. She does share some of the usual prejudice against the lower class but is at least willing to provide a safe haven for the kid. She got a good amount of closure in the ending. Fujimaki is the leader of the thugs and someone who helps the main characters quite a bit. He’s an annoying antagonist who gets in the way a lot, but he is certainly good at his job. I was glad that the random villains couldn’t hack his fake ID so easily since that would have made him look bad. As it stands, his plan was pretty solid although expecting Joe to just backout at the end wasn’t too realistic. He’s easily the most evil character in the series. I think if Nanbu and Joe had talked to Yuri then maybe they could have avoided some of this, but it was a complicated situation.

Through his journey to the end Joe did manage to fight some other notable characters as well. There were two in particular. The first is Aragaki who was Nanbu’s first pupil. He has good reason to be upset since everyone basically ditched him. He’s still not all that reasonable though with how he’s targeting Joe though since he’s not just using him as a scapegoat. His fight is definitely an intense one though and one of the more memorable bouts in the series. Then there is Mikio who is actually a pretty great antagonist. He’d be second only to Yuri from the villain side. What really works for his plot is the fact that Mikio is a wild card. He wants to take down both Joe and Yuri while foiling Yukiko’s ambitions at the same time. This would also destroy all of Fujimaki’s plans. Basically if he wins then everyone else loses.

I always love it when a third party steps in. There’s just so many ways they can wreck everyone’s gameplan. Still, you’ll know right away whether he has any chance of succeeding just because there’s only so many wrinkles that a show can have before getting back on track. This isn’t the kind of show that’s going to subvert the ending to such a degree. From episode 3 or even earlier you know how the final fight is going to go down. There’s no room for someone like Mikio there. I did like his armor though and overall he is a charismatic fighter. This isn’t the kind of show that will likely get a season 2, but if it ever did I could see him getting a role.

As far as the ending goes, it’s pretty lackluster. Fortunately the rest of the show is solid enough where it doesn’t really matter but I feel like it did everything wrong. I don’t really like Joe’s intentions at the end. It’s not that they’re bad, but it seems really out of character. Was his final fight that intense/satisfactory? Then Yuri’s end is also really not satisfying at all. I felt it was pretty excessive. Nanbu’s life is also basically wrecked so that’s too bad for him. Then there’s the outcome of the final fight which I wasn’t a big fan of. The show goes out of its way to reassure you that the outcome would have been different if one of the fighters hadn’t done something drastic before it started, but I was still hoping it would go the other way. The conversation with the army that serves as a red herring also heavily hinted this was the case. It’s done intentionally to keep you guessing, but once you know the outcome then the conversation makes absolutely no sense. Ah well, the ending could have been a lot worse.

I do have one other complaint, but this one’s more about power levels. At the start of the show the gear is hyped up quite a bit. It’s considered madness to get into the ring without gear and expect to walk away with your life/the win. Well, when Joe does this for almost the whole series it doesn’t seem to be much of an issue. Sure, the punches hurt a little bit more, but that’s about it. I don’t know, I was expecting much more of a difference. It feels like everyone could just fight without gear without many side effects. Sure, as a competitor you take whatever edge you can in order to secure the win so it makes sense from a narrative perspective why they would use it, but the gear should offer more of an advantage. Joe could have still won by dodging hits. The irony is that he always takes a lot of hits in every match so if the gear was even remotely stronger than a normal punch Joe definitely should have been dead in several of those fights. So I think the gear mechanic wasn’t really handled as well as it should have been.

After all, the show was epic even without it. All of my favorite hype scenes didn’t even involve gear. One if the first confrontation with Joe and Yuri where they nearly spar. It’s an intense moment and while Yuri actually did have the gear on under his jacket, it’s just about Joe defying authority. I also liked the stinger with Mikio showing up to blackmail Joe and then the sucker punch. It’s too bad Joe couldn’t have fought him right there though. That would have been fun. Then we also have Joe crashing the announcement party to try and throw himself back in the tournament. Again, Joe’s just a great character who is always trying to get in on the action. It’s impressive how much he does in only a few episodes.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Megalo Box very highly. It’s a very complete anime title and one that has no real weaknesses. The character cast is strong and the anime looks/sounds very good. The plot is pretty memorable and the episodes offer great cliffhangers so you’re always ready for the next installment. Megalo Box does more to keep its events memorable in 12 episodes than some do in 26. It’s going to be very hard for another boxing anime to top this one. Not saying it’s impossible of course, but this one really knew how to keep boxing exciting and fresh.

Overall 8/10

Digimon Adventure Tri: Coexistence Review


We’re now nearing the end of the Digimon Tri series. It was definitely fun to see the heroes back again in these adventures. That being said, with this film the series is really turning into more of a total seinen as opposed to a shonen. It was always like that to an extent with the more faded color scheme and theatrical animation approach as opposed to the vivid hype of the average anime, but at least the plot was super engaging and we did get hype fights. Coexistence does throw in a fight at the end, but most of the mysteries are starting to lose their allure and this installment has the slowest pacing. It’s still a good film, but mainly because it’s part of the franchise.

Last time Meicoomon went on a rampage and the Digidestined were unsure as to what to do. Fortunately the Digimon runs out of there and the heroes are run out of the Digital World shortly after. Now that they’re back in the human world they know that they need to get back to the Digital World to end this once and for all. Until then though they have to try to reconnect as a team and remind Meiko that she is one of them now. Can their bonds be forged anew or is it too late for the team?

As I mentioned, this film is really mostly about the dialogue. That’s not a problem as this is true for most of the Tri films. I think what works against this film more than with the others is that a good amount of the dialogue isn’t all that interesting. Ironically the worst scenes are typically the ones with the Digidestined as they all try to cheer up Meiko. She spends a great deal of the film crying and feeling sorry for herself. She ultimately comes up with the wrong decision as well as she tells the group to destroy Meicoomon. So much for being friends forever right? Meicoomon is going off the deep end, but even so she needs to hope until the end.

Then we have Tai still being scared and afraid to fight. I’m ready for him to finally get past that. By the end of the film he’s maybe changed, but we won’t really know since the next film will have them back in the Digital World and he doesn’t care about the collateral damage there. At least he did agree that they won’t destroy Meicoomon so that’s a start. Matt is still the main voice of reason here and he should be the leader. Meanwhile Kairi gets a bit of a bigger role as Homeostasis uses her as a vessel to talk to the heroes. It is one of the main factions in the film and finally steps in here. I’ve been waiting for it to show up so that was pretty neat. It has a good voice for sure.

The best part of the film is naturally when all of the factions finally meet up in the end. You’ve got Omnimon from the Digidestined side, Alphamon from back in film 1, Jesmon, and Meicoomon. Alphamon had a great fight in the first film so it’s definitely great to have him return. Jesmon’s been in the background throughout all of the films as well so him stepping in was definitely appreciated. Then Meicoomon’s been getting stronger as well so it makes for a very satisfying final fight. It is a little sad that the other DigiDestined can’t even really contribute at this point, but only super mega Digimon can really do anything at this point. It’s definitely a great way to start wrapping up the film since you always want to have at least one big fight in the film.

This war of factions is also the most interesting part of the film. The King of the Digital World is at odds with Homeostasis and then you’ve also got Meicoomon. This is the part that I want the series to focus on. It’s also interesting that nobody’s really worried about the 02 cast yet. I’m wondering if they’ll appear in the next film or if they’re just doomed at this point. It would be sort of funny in a way if they just don’t appear or even get referenced in the next one. It’s a bit dark, but really shows how the fandom just moved past them. The Adventure 01 cast is what everyone wants.

We’ve also still got the subplot of the government lady who lost her partner a while back. I feel like her plot may have ended here although it’s a bit ambiguous so she could still return in the next one. She definitely really cracked on the way to trying to see her old Digimon again though. At least she packed a gun. It’s a pretty interesting scene that is a bit tragic, but at the same time it’ll likely bring her to the reunion she was hoping for.

With kids still being missing from across the planet I’m waiting for the news to hit the public. By this point I’d expect the armies to start mobilizing and for the armies to step in. That’d make for a pretty cool development although that may end up being too many plots to have juggling around. Right now it’s all been left to the task force but with Digimon appearing all around the world it can only be so contained. It looks like the next film will be in the Digital World so either we’ll have a subplot with that or when the heroes take out the threat at the source it’ll knock the rest out.

The animation is pretty consistent with the last ones. The fight scenes definitely look really good. The rest of the aspects of this animation aren’t quite as solid as it’s all just very washed out, but it’s good enough overall. I also think the soundtrack is fine. The best theme from the first few films doesn’t return here unfortunately, but we’ve still got enough energy to go through the action moments. Hopefully in the final film we get to see the Dub Evolution theme as a nice tribute or something like that.

Overall, Coexistence does suffer a bit from the series fatigue here. It’s the second last film so the writers are saving all of the big events for the next title. As a result this one is really biding for time compared to the last few. I’d consider this the weakest of the Tri series, but overall it’s still a good film. Parts of it may drag a bit (Meiko breaking out her southern accent and then dropping it again) or even come close to being boring, but the final fight does help to raise the film back up and I do think the final part should give a more satisfying conclusion. Hopefully we get a longer fight in the final battle as there should be a lot of action. Quite a few villains/factions are still on the loose so I’m expecting them all to pull out everything they’ve got left. After all, they won’t get a second chance to do so.

Overall 6/10