Redout: Lightspeed Edition Review

Redout is definitely a game that I can’t say I knew a whole lot about before getting it but it ended up being quite solid. It’s effectively an F-Zero type game. Granted there is no story mode here so you are really going to be focused on the races and going as fast as possible. There is a whole lot of content to be played through here so you’ll have a lot of bang for your buck. Especially considering how cheap the game goes for now. It’s definitely a title that you won’t want to miss out on.

The main mode you’ll be sticking to is Career Mode. Basically you will start off with a bunch of race options for class 1 vehicles. You will start to race on those and as you obtain medals you will earn EXP to level up. Once you have enough EXP then you will make it to the next level and then you gradually unlock more classes. There are 4 classes in total and the final one is unlocked at level 22. So at that point you can say that you have all of the content here ready to play. You don’t have to actually complete all of the stages in order to unlock the final class as it’s all about EXP. You could theoretically keep on playing the same level to grind out EXP although it would take much longer so there would be no point. Additionally I think the game is wise to that plan because I was farming gold on one level and then I suddenly started receiving 0 gold from there.

The reason gold is important is because that’s the only currency in the game so you have to budget out what upgrades to buy. An upgrade is around $10,000 for example, then power-ups are around $9,000, and a new car can go from $9,000 to $90,000. Everything gets more expensive based on the class of car/power-up you want and money gets scarce quickly. Each new car for class 1 and class IV get you a trophy so you’ll probably want to buy those right away. I ended up still needing to buy around 2 more cars by the end so maybe I’ll head back one day just to grab those silver trophies.

Ultimately if you want the platinum then you will need to beat all of the levels though. At least the base game levels. You will see some for the Mars DLC on the screen and you don’t need to worry about those unless you end up buying the DLC. So that’s one thing to keep in mind here. Beating all of the levels would definitely be really challenging. I played some of the tougher ones and kept on dying because it feels like you can just never move fast enough no matter what you do. It’s really tough to keep pace with the other racers but I suppose in the end that is part of the fun. Trying to keep outdoing yourself as much as possible.

The racing controls are fairly basic but one difference is that you use your right joystick to strafe which helps with the turning. This is the part of the game I likely didn’t master and feel like if I understood that mechanic better then I would hold my own a lot better. You also have the power-ups which are different based on which ones you equip but I have to admit that I never understood those so I intentionally chose passive ones. That way I wouldn’t have to even worry about activating them. In my races against opponents I never really got hit by anything so the whole thing’s a mystery.

This game could serve to have a real tutorial. I feel that’s pretty rare to say but that way I could be sure that I was playing the way the game expected me too. Instead I was sort of just driving as best I can which is good enough for the lower levels but really mastering the game’s specific mechanics is probably the only way I would be getting anywhere near the top. The graphics are really good though. Everything is colorful and vibrant the way you would expect for a sci-fi racer like this. I also enjoyed the soundtrack. There are some decently emotional songs in there but for the most part it’s very fast and techno the way you would expect it to be. It matches up well with what the game is going for.

There is also a lot of replay value because of all the purchases that I mentioned and the levels here. There really are quite a lot of levels so you should have plenty to do for a very long time. Just keep on plunging ahead to the goal and you’ll be at the end in no time. Even when you lose you earn a good amount of XP and Gold which I like because then it never feels like your race was a waste. There was always a purpose to entering each event and some other games can definitely take a few pointers from this one in that regard. You should always get something for your trouble.

Overall, Redout is a pretty fun game. The racing gameplay is on point and while I may not have understood part of it, the overall experience was still on point for me. There is a whole lot of content to enjoy here so you certainly won’t be bored all the way through. It may not stand out compared to other titles but it’s so cheap that you should really give it a chance. After all at worst you may just think it doesn’t stand out but at best it could be the next big racing game for you. It makes no real mistakes and I do like the simplicity of the level up system. Get stronger to race better cars. It’s extremely straightforward and so when you lose you just have to take a look at your car and rethink how you play the stage. There aren’t any big gimmicks to worry about.

Overall 7/10

Demolition Man Review

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

The Demolition Man is a fun movie with a humorous premise and so it starts out of the gate really well. There are definitely some plot conveniences that make the story a little hard to actually believe but so long as you can get past that then you should have a good time here. Ultimately the movie just goes by really quickly with all of the fighting and fun banter going on throughout.

The film starts off with John cornering the notorious criminal Simon. Unfortunately while John takes Simon down, he was unable to find the hostages and then the government finds them among the wreckage. Thinking that John is responsible for this, they put him into a stasis sleep for 100 years while they will modify his behavior while he is in the tube so that he can be a nicer person. They do the same for Simon. Well, 36 years later Simon ends up being woken up early somehow and he even has all of the security codes needed to break out and begin causing a lot of mayhem across the state.

Here’s the problem, the state has grown rather lax over the years to the point where nobody even knows what violence is anymore. The state is in a utopia of sorts where everyone gets along and has a good time so of course there is no reason for people to know how to do anything with an actual crook. Everyone has been brainwashed to an intense degree. So with no other options the cops are forced to wake up John ahead of schedule as well. They warn him not to cause any trouble and John is already rather upset at being put into deep freeze after stopping the madman. At least he has one supporter in the cheerful cop known as Lenina. She is a big fan of the retro days and looks up to him as a hero of sorts who will save her from the boring status quo. Can he navigate through the future to save Simon?

Lets get my one main issue out of the way first. The timeskip was way too short. 36 years is not enough time for everyone to have completely forgotten about the old days. The way they talk about viewing old cassettes about the old days and talking about it as if they were myths, you’d think that it has been 100+ years at the very least. All of the dialogue supports this as well so it feels like maybe it was a last second decision to have the jump be only 36 years? At least that’s the way it feels to me because that number just makes no sense at all. Even on a purely government level because you can’t just change the way the whole government works on a dime like that. Now granted, the film is vague on if it’s the whole world or just the state which is like this. I like to think it’s just the state but of course if it’s the world then that makes this even harder to buy.

So this is the single biggest issue in the film on a logical standpoint because way too much happened in a short space of time. For the rest of the film just pretend this takes place like 100-200 years in the future at least and the whole thing flows much better. Trust me on that! The film also isn’t very violent and they show a good amount of discretion there. The most intense scene is probably someone losing their eye which was rather painful but it’s pretty tame beyond that.

As always we do have to force in a real quick romance out of nowhere which is one of the weaker elements here. The movie absolutely did not need a romance and it shows. They should have kept John and Lenina in a mentor/mentee kind of relationship which would work really well. You get some fun banter that way and then everything works out. I’m also skeptical about love turning into something completely virtual because inevitably people would not allow that to happen since it’s no fun. So here is a point where you have to assume that everyone is constantly being brainwashed or taken into the shop for repairs to keep them from thinking about things that go against the system. Yes this premise keeps failing more and more as you think about it.

Well, logic aside, it’s nice to see John show these guys just how out of touch they are. Simon was running rings around everyone because they couldn’t do anything to stop him and so John shows the world how to fight back like in the good ole days. The fight scenes are on point and John makes for a good main character. He’s always on top of things and knows how to handle any situation. John is quick on his feet and is certainly the only one who can hold his own with Simon. John gets annoyed at the government but he doesn’t use that as an excuse to let everyone fend for themselves. He still gets in there to do his best to protect everyone and that’s what you like to see. At the end of the day he is a hero after all.

Simon also works well as a villain. I like just how insane the guy he. He really makes the most of this new era and tends to have some of the best comedic dialogue here. He pokes a whole lot of fun at this pacifist future that tries to control him. When the most a future officer can do is tell him to stand down, then Simon knows he is in the clear. He can beat a whole army of these officers because they can’t fight at all and have probably never been to the gym a day in their lives. You’re not going to beat a super villain with that lack of effort. It’s just not going to happen and the whole time you are waiting for Simon to betray the other villains and just become the leader. He’s definitely not a follower and that’s clear even from just watching him for a few minutes. If Simon isn’t leading the charge then you know that he is absolutely planning something wild.

Of course part of the mystery here is in who freed Simon and what their plans are. All I can say is that the main villain isn’t all that engaging here. Simon is really the star on the antagonist side and the ringleader’s main draw is really just the whole twist of who he is and how he set up the pieces just right. Otherwise there just isn’t all that much to him. This is a film that is really just revolving around Simon, John, and Lenina. I suppose you have the police chief who is always complaining as well but he’s not that important in the end.

Lenina does well as John’s partner and you can always appreciate her enthusiasm. She is eager to get in there and make a difference which is more than I can say for most of the other characters. She may have trouble getting her history right but she tries hard and that dedication will serve her well here. She’s also the only officer to take shots at how relaxed everything is in the future as everyone else seems to have just come to accept this. She still has some freewill left.

Overall, Demolition Man is a pretty good film. The premise has a lot of potential for fun moments and the film capitalizes on this. A longer time jump would have solved all of the logic issues this film has but I guess they just didn’t think of that. If we ever get a remake or a sequel that’s the only change I would make. Beyond that this is a film that has aged well so if you check it out then I wager you would enjoy it. It’s a very classic kind of action film and one that always has a lot of replay value.

Overall 7/10

Starship Troopers Review

This review is of the 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

Starship Troopers is definitely a very well known film even if it’s one that you might not know the details of. It’s the title itself that is more popular than anything and the franchise has withstood the test of time. It fully embraces the sci-fi nature of the adventure and this feels like a true Star Trek type adventure. It can get a little overly violent at times and you should definitely expect a big body count. There are parts of the film that work better than others but at the end of the day I’d say it was solid.

The movie starts off by explaining the situation which is that the bugs are slowly taking over large parts of the universe and the federation isn’t having any of that. They are always recruiting more people to stop these monsters but that also means that the body count is rather high. A lot of people don’t make it out of the situation in one piece which is what makes things tricky. Johnny’s parents don’t want him to enlist because they are wealthy so they could shield him from having to go and fight. Johnny wants to do his part though and additionally his girlfriend Carmen is enlisting so this way they can be together.

Unfortunately they are assigned to different platoons so they will need to try and make a long distance relationship work. This will be tricky though because Carmen’s commanding officer is a guy named Zander who has a lot of natural charm. Meanwhile Dizzy has always liked Johnny but he never really noticed her since he only had eyes for Carmen. Carl is the only one standing apart from all of the drama and he is determined to do his part for the war effort. This is a huge war against the bugs and so it makes sense that the friends wouldn’t all be together. That would probably be a little too convenient right? That’s actually something the movie does really well which is to build a realistic environment and world that shows the scope of this battle.

One thing Starship Troopers does right here is establishing all of the characters and giving them each things to do. They all have individual goals of their own outside of what they are doing as a team. Sometimes it can be easy to zero in on the main character but everyone gets their time to shine here. Now some characters like Carl do look really suspect in the end though. It’s hard to tell me that the sacrifices were really worth it. Carl ends up being a very logical type of character who believes the ends justify the means and I tend to be at odds with characters like that. After a point sacrifices just get too numerous even if you do win in the end.

Johnny was a decent character but he made a whole lot of mistakes. I would say 1 or 2 too many as the movie went on. The scene where he takes off someone’s helmet to try and repair it before that guy gets blown to smithereens was a bad look. It seems like this is textbook safety 101 not to remove a helmet during a live firing session so that just wasn’t good. Then later on he’s still chasing after Carmen even when it’s clear that she’s moved on. Yeah it probably sucks for him that they had to break up like this but try to take it with class. Instead he picks a fight with Zander and the whole thing wasn’t a good look for him. He does put up a good fight there so physically he is strong but it wasn’t the best battle to fight.

Meanwhile Zander seemed rather reasonable the whole time. Yeah I thought the romance was weak since it felt like a total rebound but as a character he’s just really confident in himself and has the skills to back it up. He’s very similar to Johnny since they’re both rather cocky but Zander has more experience under his belt and you figure that he won’t be making any critical mistakes during clutch time. That’s what really separates the two of them.

Dizzy is definitely more on the tragic side since her feelings for Johnny are basically shut out for most of the adventure and then things get tricky later on. She was always good at giving him moral support though and seemed like a good friend. As for Carmen, well breaking up with Johnny and moving on so quickly was definitely not doing her any favors here. I feel like moving on that quickly just isn’t good and it was a little overly optimistic to assume they could go back to being good friends right off the bat. It’s really not a relationship change that can be accomplished so quickly and she should have given Johnny more space. He didn’t take this very well of course and at the same time it’s fair to say that rushing up to him as if they were still good friends was too soon.

By the end of the film the heroes all have to put aside their differences to take down the bugs though. The war is what matters above all else and these bugs are strong. Half of the landing parties are decimated on site because the bugs are largely immune to the guns except for if you hit them in very specific places. It is difficult to do that though and so the body count continues to rise real fast. This is mainly where the violence comes from as the characters are eaten and quite literally ripped apart. You feel like the main characters needed better weapons badly because otherwise it’s like you’re entering just to get slaughtered.

The film does acknowledge the propaganda the federation puts out to the new recruits. It was handled in an interesting way where commercials just take over the movie from time to time and they’re all about how cool it is to become a soldier. The whole world is built that way and it makes for an interesting dynamic. Most of the commercials are fairly cringe although I suspect that is the point here.

It’ll be fun to see Johnny as more of an experienced pilot. There’s a lot more you could do with this premise and way more battles that are to be fought. The aliens continue to improve after all and the humans have to follow suit or they will quickly be surpassed on the evolutionary ladder. It adds an extra layer of tension to the adventure as opposed to these being mindless monsters so that’s a good thing. You also had a number of solid supporting characters like Jonny’s teacher and the head drill instructor. All of this combined to help make the film a more complete package.

Overall, Starship Troopers is a good movie. If you’re a little queasy about violence then it may give you pause but beyond that the movie delivers on the sci-fi aspects and there are a lot of fights. The movie also fleshes out the world around the fights a whole lot which I thought was a very good idea. It’s an important way to make you more invested in the overall experience and it succeeds. We’ll see if the other installments in the franchise can top this one or not.

Overall 6/10

Logan’s Run Review

Now I will say that the film has a good poster so lets start off with a solid positive here. Unfortunately that’s where things begin to fade really fast. This film has a very interesting premise though, it should have been a great movie but it really loses all its steam once the characters go outside when it really should have been the opposite. That’s the tragic part here and this is a film where I’d actually like a remake someday which I think could execute the premise better.

So the film takes place in the future where nobody is allowed to live past 30. Everyone has a click built into their hand in the form of a gemstone and that’s how people know when your time is up. The government pulled a fast one though and convinced people that they weren’t dying but were instead being reborn. When you see the bodies blowing up that’s just how the transfer goes. There is a full time job where you work as a “Sandman” and your role is to murder people who try to escape the merry go round of death. Unfortunately for the runners the Sandmen are very good at their job and so they do tend to crush just about everyone who gets in their way.

The main character here is Logan. I should note that every character has a number at the end of their name signifying how many times they have been renewed but just to keep things simple I’m going to bypass that for now all right? So Logan is a proud sandman but he does ask a lot of questions which annoys his partner Francis. Francis says they shouldn’t worry about the details and they just do what they’re told. Well one day Logan meets a girl named Jessica who has connections to the underground resistance and he starts to have more doubts. The government tasks Logan with going undercover into the resistance to snuff them out but instead he becomes a runner since the government fumbled the ball.

I think Logan would have gone all in as a traitor but they sped up the time on his gem so that he would be “renewed” sooner which messed Logan up and that led him to get a little desperate. Understandably the resistance doesn’t trust him much since Sandmen never become runners so Logan and Jessica are mainly on their own. Up to this point I wouldn’t say the film was great or anything but it did have some interesting ideas. It struggles a bit with some fanservice issues and Logan not being a very sympathetic character. (He was cackling and having a blast tormenting the first runner that he helped murder) Still this was living up to the premise and you were curious where things would go from here.

Well, from there they go to the “real world” outside the dome at least and it’s basically Earth except everyone is gone aside from an old man. This is where the pacing of the movie just dies and you are frozen in place. The old man talks to them about basic facts that of course Logan and Jessica wouldn’t know while they are astounded by everything. The scenes drag on for an eternity and the whole time you’re just waiting for something to happen but it never does. You’re just completely frozen in place the whole while. I understand that the movie was trying to show how different the world was but this is definitely a show don’t tell kind of scenario.

Because as the viewer we know everything being discussed, it’s really boring to see it all slowly broken down. It’s all so very slow and that’s the problem. The movie never recovers its steam after this. We get a quick fight with Francis which was a good way to end that plot but then it’s back to walking around with the old man. The movie ultimately just didn’t go in the direction I was expecting and in this case it ended up backfiring as a whole. I just don’t think the payoff worked well at all.

I did like the robot that showed up in the ice area though. It actually seemed to be rather effective considering how many people were stopped there. Give me more cool robots like that. It reminded me that this was a film taking place in the future as you could easily forget that once you were above ground. Now another area that the film could have improved on would have been to make the main character a little more likable. Make him not be such a big jerk at the beginning of the film. Have him question things including why they should murder runners. You could maybe have him still complete the mission but he shouldn’t be enjoying it or toying with the guy at all.

It’s a small but sizable difference that would make him better. The fact that he is using the futuristic version of Tinder didn’t help matters either since it shows the kind of guy he was. He may have grown up in a society without morals but it would have been nice if he was just a bit better. He was certainly way more grounded than Francis but that isn’t saying much. Meanwhile Jessica was a good heroine but even though things worked out in hindsight, I do think she believed Logan a little too quickly. As the viewer we see Logan changing but in universe there’s no way I’d believe him for a second.

Still at the end of the day the villains only lost because the computer really wasn’t very smart. If it just hadn’t done something as drastic as stealing years away from Logan then he may not have been so quick to truly become a runner. I guess it helps his cover story but why not just lie to him when he asks if he will get the time back? If the robot can’t lie then that is definitely a pretty big weakness for it.

Overall, The title is pretty fitting for this film but it should have stayed fast paced. If more of the movie was some kind of grand chase scene then that would have really helped with the momentum. You can absolutely still introduce an old human to help them see that you can grow past 30 but speed up the dialogue. Give the guy some real personality and I dare say that you could do a whole lot with that. Instead this ends up being a movie that lost its way and I would definitely say that you can give this one a full skip. There really isn’t much here for you.

Overall 3/10

Freejack Review

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

Freejack is definitely a film with a lot going on. It’s a pretty fun sci-fi title with a unique view on the future. Sure we’ve seen some of these elements before like body snatching and the dystopia world but it mixes in enough of these to feel different. I also think it had a fun script at times. It’s not perfect though with my main issue being that the main character can be a bit annoying and it feels like he’s trying to sabotage the group after a while.

The film starts with everything going really well for Alex. He has a fiancé who is already thinking about marriage and he’s a top racer. Unfortunately he is snatched into the future by some kind of sci-fi device and barely lives through the experience. They try to stab him with some kind of other sci-fi device so he runs off and hops in a cab but the driver tries to murder him so he runs off into the city and meets up with his best friend Ian. Unfortunately Ian betrays him for money so he finds his fiancé but then she sells him out to the government so he’s all on his own. Why is everyone against him? Alex knows that he will need to do something or he’s about to die unceremoniously and alone but if there’s one thing he’s always been good at, it’s improvising…in theory. Can he survive this experience?

I will say it’s a bit funny how everything turns out badly for him at first though. Seriously when the cab driver is trying to take you down as well then you know you’re in a real pickle here. Now you do have to cut Julie some slack for not believing that Alex was back from the dead. There is a good reason for this which is that in the future “Freejacks” (Or they might just be called Jacks) are bodies of dead people that have been purchased by someone in the future. So for example, Alex was “bought” by a rich person so he was taken away right before he died and in fact he would have died in a car crash if he wasn’t warped into the future. According to the law that means he is legally dead and would be possessed by someone.

The reason the mind transfer didn’t happen is because Alex escaped at the last possible moment but there’s no reason for Julie to actually believe that. It would seem like a real longshot but ultimately she does believe it is him. He’s rather sore about the initial reaction but I think he should have been more understanding all things considered. His worst moment is after that though. He’s still sulking and gets drunk at a bar where he talks to a camera crew which lets the villains know where he is. Cmon that’s just not smart. I get that he’s in shock still at everything going on but the one thing you shouldn’t do is heavy drinking then because that’s just going to get you in a lot of trouble.

Alex is good at driving though so I’ll give him that. One of the best parts of the film is a car chase early on where the bounty hunter Victor is after him. There’s a lot of back and forth as each one tries to get the edge and I like how Victor hacked Alex’s computer so he’s trash talking the whole time. The movie is definitely at its best when it is enjoying the banter between the characters and I think having more of the film take place on the road would have absolutely been a great idea. Trust me on this that would have been a really good idea.

The film also excels with the ending though. Without going into details there is a classic scenario where the villain starts the mind transfer but then the machine breaks. So the characters have to figure out if it’s Alex or Ian in the body and the way they get around this is fairly clever. The ending is just a blast with a certain character looking great and a lot of “playing it by ear” going on among various characters. I would go as far as to say that the ending was great to be honest and it was really a spectacular way to finish things off. A strong ending is important for any film so this ended on a high note.

Julie was a good main heroine. She did a solid job of really rising to the top ranks of a company while Alex was gone and she had a firm hold on her life. She didn’t let Alex’s disappearance break her and she was able to move on. It’s definitely the right approach and she helps out throughout the film. At times she is definitely more on the ball than Alex to be honest as the guy even nearly gets himself shot to death in a bar. I mean it’s good that he didn’t back off when the drunk guy made eye contact with him but it would be a really rough way to go. You didn’t die saving the world but looking at someone the wrong way? Not very hype on the tombstone.

Ian is sort of the main villain. I say sort of because I would give that to Victor in terms of screen time but Ian is the head honcho. He’s an old guy who wants to be immortal but he does have charisma so I thought that the film did a good job there. Victor steals the show though as he talks tough to everyone. He starts breaking random objects in the office of the guy who hired him which shows just how much confidence he has. I also liked the scene of him testing his right hand man and then saying he was actually testing the lie detector. Like I said there is a lot of very clever dialogue here.

The only real weak point here is the main character because he was really annoying at times. Technically I like the character type the film was going for. The very aggressive lead who is super confident and ready for action. He never backs down from a fight and those are all great traits but he could have been a little smarter. It would have made the whole film a lot easier for him as well since he gets lucky quite a few times otherwise. While the romance is okay, I think it’s going to be hard to make it work after the time skip since there should be close to a 15-18 year age difference now. That’s a fairly long gap even though you know the person. That said, I think a sequel would be very interesting given how this film ends. I think there’s a whole lot you could do with that.

Overall, I rather enjoyed Freejack. It’s a film that is having fun with the premise and showing us a dystopian world without being too gritty about it. You absolutely wouldn’t want to live in this future and that’s obvious as the characters walk around town but we don’t really dwell on that. Most of the film feels like it’s the main character running from place to place and trying not to get caught so the pacing is always really quick here. I also give it points for being very unique so if you’re looking for a solid sci-fi title then this one fits the bill.

Overall 7/10

Stargate Review

Stargate is one of those films I didn’t really know anything about so when I watched the film the execution was quite a bit different from what I was expecting. I think it should have embraced the sci-fi nature of the story more and yet instead we’re stuck on a sand planet with no real tech for most of the film. I don’t know why so many sci-fi films like going to pre tech planets for a good chunk of the adventure, Star Wars, Dune, Star Trek The Movie, and Stargate now. I mean it defeats the entire purpose of seeing all the cool tech right?

So the movie starts off with Daniel being recruited by the government to help with some kind of super secret project going on. Basically there are some hieroglyphs with special messages and there is also a mysterious gate. If they can figure out how to use it then this could be a massive discovery. Daniel solves this pretty quickly which activates the gate and so he is picked to be a part of the team that goes through it. His expertise will be absolutely critical here after all. Plus if his theory is right they will need to activate a gate on whatever destination they end up in if they want to return. Unfortunately when they land they don’t see the missing part of the gate so it could be anywhere. The team is now stranded and they will have to find a way back before their supplies are shot.

Right off the gate the group is pretty mean to Daniel. They’re all giving him a tough time throughout and sure they are upset because he had more or less assured them that he would be able to get then home. This turned out to be more of a bluff but it would still be nice for the group to at least have some kind of unity right? If you can’t get along while on an alien planet then I’m sorry to inform you but you’re definitely going to be doomed. Surviving is hard enough on its own when you have the whole group, let alone when you’re all split up like this and sabotaging Daniel like when they threw all of his papers away.

As the film goes on most of them gradually start to soften up and be more reasonable but it was a rough beginning there without a doubt. Daniel doesn’t make for the best character though as he generally isn’t super confident and sort of stumbles around a lot. He is a genius which is why he was able to decode the puzzle. So the guy’s skills are legit but I think he could stand to be a little tougher and more self sufficient. The army commander Jack was a lot more interesting. Now he does start off a bit more antagonistic but the guy is also seeing the big picture and trying to stay alive out there.

I wouldn’t say he makes all of the right decisions but he is also put in a pretty tough position. He was basically given secret orders that would be super controversial if the world knew about them so he has to play things pretty close to the vest. It’s a lot of pressure for anyone to have to real with. He fights hard to the end and never waivers in setting up his attack. The rest of the squad are mostly on the forgettable side and a lot of them start to get bumped off once the villains get serious anyway.

The villains here had an absolutely epic introduction as they showed up in their full armor and were ready for action. I liked the robotic designs and their energy attacks which really stood out. Unfortunately they were not able to keep their momentum up because it turns out that these were robotic suits and that underneath them these guys just looked like ordinary humans. Yeah….not the most interesting design they could have chosen that’s for sure. These guys end up feeling really forgettable as a result but it was also such a let down because it’s another area that could have looked really cool visually on the sci-fi angle and they fumbled the ball on that one.

This film is going with the Egyptian origins for the villains so for example the big boss is Ra. Of course he isn’t actually the god from the myths but an alien that showed up back when humanity was still in its early stages and he was so advanced that they all treated him like a god. Ra enjoyed this and so he basically set up the whole culture. Yes, the pyramids and such did arrive thanks to aliens! That’s always a fun little nod but still they should have given Ra a really cool design. Instead he basically takes the form of a human when instead I’d have loved for him to actually look like Anubis or any number of other sci-fi type designs.

Any scene back at the village with the aliens would tend to be a little dull as well because you could remove the term “sci-fi” from the genres and you wouldn’t know the difference. The village has no tech at its disposal and since both sides can’t understand one another it makes for a lot of slow paced scenes. The foods the heroes have to eat were also pretty gross although it was smart to accept since turning away food could definitely be seen as a slight. I was just waiting for them to get back to the actual alien plot with cool sci-fi elements and all of that.

The climax does have some real action though even if the humans should have been immediately defeated. This was another case of villains that were created to be too powerful so they end up getting really nerfed by the end. You just don’t buy that they could possibly be defeated in the way that they were. They were stronger and faster than the humans in addition to having the better tech. So when you consider all of that….well that should be it. In the end they let their guard down too much and pay the price for it. The effects are good though and I can say that for the whole movie. It’s all aged well visually which is why they should have focused on that aspect more.

All told, this is still a decent movie but one that should have been pretty good instead. It’s a tale of two halves here. Anytime the sci-fi elements are around then you are bound to have a lot of fun but when they’re at the village you end up getting bored. The romance is also really weak considering that the two characters barely know each other. I find it hard to believe that the romance would happen so quickly especially when the humans are busy trying to get back to their world. There is just no time for any of this.

Overall, Stargate was really not what I was expecting but I can see the potential for how you could turn this into a really fun franchise. It just needs a few more steps into the right direction and then it will really be set. If the sequel can just double down on the action elements and have a portal to a more advanced world then we will be in business. If you’re up for a sci-fi film that forgets it is one for large parts of the film then this is the title for you but otherwise I would say to skip it for now.

Overall 5/10

Aliens Area Review

I finally checked out Aliens Area which sure got cancelled awfully quick. It’s a shame because it did sound pretty fun from the premise although after reading through it I can see why it was cancelled. Ultimately it doesn’t deliver on the action you’d be expecting and while it’s not a bad thing to try and be different from the usual action experience, it didn’t feel like the series really knew what it wanted to do. You end up just being really confused by the end and wondering what the whole purpose was. The ending is rushed due to being cancelled of course so that part doesn’t really count but even before that it didn’t really have a focus.

The basic story starts with Tatsumi taking care of his siblings. His parents died a while back so he’s on his own but he’s done a pretty good job of raising them so far. Money is real tight though and then one day he is attacked by an alien. He manages to fend it off with his mysterious arm which worked out really well because otherwise he was definitely going to be in a true jam there. Somehow his arm was able to stretch as if he was Monkey D. Luffy. A guy named Hajime appears and explains that he is the leader of a group that looks into aliens. He wants Tatsumi to join and it pays well so his family will be looked after now. Tatsumi agrees to this but can he keep his new job a secret from the kids and is he really ready for this?

The core premise is solid enough. It’s sort of like Men in Black, this organization deals with aliens. Often times that is done through force but sometimes they will let the aliens know that they are breaking the law and that’s that. What makes things more complicated is that there is another group known as A3 and their mission is to simply destroy all aliens. They figure it will save more people in the long run and in some ways they think it’s more just as the main org will deal with aliens peacefully but they rarely help out on the follow-up. So often times if they provide housing for example, if the alien bombs out then he is exiled anyway. It seems like the manga was going to run with this as a fairly big subplot because Tatsumi had his share of issues with the organization. They do seem extremely shady. They aren’t straight up murdering everyone like A3 but it would be a stretch to fully call them heroes.

The series ended with 20 chapters so there wasn’t time for a whole lot of missions. After the first chapter we have Tatsumi accompany Hajime on a mission. This one had them protect an alien princess from the greatest assassin in the universe. I may as well add now that this is already a mistake. You can’t have the best in the universe appearing this early in the story unless he is going to win. The problem is that Hajime defeats him rather easily….so just like that the power creep has gone absolutely crazy. It does work well as an initial battle to teach Tatsumi the rules of how to fight and all. It’s just the context of knowing that they just defeated the greatest assassin in the universe that is a problem. You can’t convince me that this was a good idea, it just doesn’t make sense. The assassin loses all of his hype immediately.

Of course he returns later as an ally but by that point you still don’t think he’s nearly as strong as his reputation once was. It’s still a solid intro arc and shows Tatsumi more of what the aliens can be like and what their missions are but it wasn’t executed quite as well as it could have been. I do like Tatsumi’s arm since he seems like it would have a lot of uses in combat. He uses it here to block a blast that was aimed at the princess. This leads to my next issue though…he doesn’t get to fight. Aside from the punch he landed in chapter 1, he never gets another fight after that. 20 chapters should absolutely be enough for the main character to do something.

Instead he ends up feeling like a side character in his own manga. Maybe Hajime would have ended up becoming the main character but the way the manga presents him is as the mentor figure. Tatsumi even went through some training so they were gearing up to some fights and took too long. This is a pacing issue that you have to blame on the actual manga because there was no excuse not to have him fight earlier. Just throw in some minions for one of the bad guys and we’re set.

To an extent the series wanted to be subversive with how Tatsumi was always ready to fight but then sometimes it would be a peaceful thing like a parking ticket. I think that’s good for a few gags but it wouldn’t be enough to cover the series longterm. This one wasn’t built to be a slice of life adventure even if the author wanted to pull that off afterwards. You have to learn into the battles because that’s what everyone is looking for here. Having another group was already a good start and you could do a lot with the aliens but the series just wasn’t preparer to do that.

Right off the bat I think what the series should have done was skip to the next arc first. Basically the heroes head into a bar where a girl there knows about aliens which shouldn’t be possible since the heroes mind wipe everyone after a mission. Well, she has been taking care of aliens and so Hajime wants to remove her memories and take the aliens while Tatsumi isn’t a fan of this. As payment for staying free the lady gives them intel on the other group but ends up getting murdered by a high ranking member of A3, Yutaka. This leads to Tatsumi being upset but Hajime saying they can’t make a move due to their job descriptions. This would have been a good way to introduce the hero group from the start and have Tatsumi quit for a while or declare that he will change the group. Give us a good reason to root for him like that and then the whole series would get more emotional.

That doesn’t happen though and the problem here is that every arc gives us more and more reason to dislike Hajime and his group. The whole group just looks incredibly shady and unlikable so why would we root for them? It feels like Tatsumi has to work for them or they will erase his memory so it’s not like he wanted to be here either. The biggest red flag though is when Hajime introduces us to the heads of the group. These are the most powerful members in the whole organization and most of them have completely disposable designs. You know those random characters in any show who don’t stand out and you know they are background characters immediately? That’s the kind of design I’m talking about here and that’s crazy because these are supposed to be the top tier epic characters. It just didn’t make any sense at all. Maybe by then the author knew the series was over but it didn’t feel like a ton of effort was put in there.

Even when Hajime introduces Tatsumi to his squad, the characters don’t really stand out there either. They’re okay designs I guess but you won’t remember any of them. Despite that, the art is actually really good. This feels like a very experienced artist who knows how to draw a good action scene. It’s just the designs that need work but otherwise this one is solid all around on the art front. The fights are good which is what you are reading the series for, it’s just a shame that the rest wasn’t quite as solid. Then this could have had a really good future.

Ultimately Tatsumi is a good main character. He can be a bit too passive and follows orders without making enough complaints but he is new to the alien world so I’ll cut him some slack. Give him a little extra time and he should end up doing a lot better in the long term. His overall motivation of wanting to protect his family is a sound one and so I wasn’t bored when he was on screen. He should have held his own easily enough. Then you have Hajime who is good at what he does. In terms of personality I find him to be a little too shady to the point of being a villain. Some characters act tough but you know it’ a bluff. With this guy I didn’t get that impression. Instead he seemed really serious about what he was saying and that’s a bit concerning. This is definitely not the guy you want to have your back.

The way he uses the gravity powers was interesting. Basically the way the power set works in this world is that the humans have manipulated the alien tech in a way to simulate super powers. Each person can use 3 equipments at once and Hajime opted to use 3 gravity sets at the same time. This lets him attract objects, negate gravity, and jump around using that as a way to propel himself forward. The fighting style with this was fun and he uses a cane which is a rare weapon for any fighter. Just make him a little more heroic and we’re in business.

There is a whole group of people working with the heroes but most are totally forgettable so we don’t need to get into those. Yumeko is the only one with a fairly big role as she ends up being a tough mentor for Tatsumi. She believes in using power to get her message across and definitely beats Tatsumi up quite a bit. The guy can never catch a break when she is there but she is also quick to help him out when needed. She’s a fun character and I expect her role would have only grown bigger as she appeared more.

Finally you had the main villain Yutaka but he is a character who gets hurt big time by the series ending fast. Basically in the final arc he decides to randomly take down all the villains on his own and cause a giant explosion to wipe out a bunch of aliens. Naturally this would wipe himself out as well and more aliens would still exist so it’s like he’s finishing his goal halfway. They do give us a reason foe why he suddenly made such a drastic move and it was a sad plot twist that he learned about. It still doesn’t make this feel any less rushed though. The final arc is the big invasion as the heroes rush the villains but it doesn’t feel earned and we don’t know almost anyone yet so it’s hardly emotional either. In the end Yutaka goes out like a chump and just isn’t cool at all.

I had a lot of issues with the series so this one probably came across as rather harsh. It’s because this should have been a really good title but ended up fumbling the bag almost immediately. In a lot of ways I dare say it was trying to be like Kaiju No 8 but without a lot of the things that made the other title so successfully. If you see this one in stores if it gets a physical release then I would recommend checking it out. You’ll still be entertained without a doubt even if you do see the lost potential floating around throughout the adventure. There is just so much that they could have done with this series but ultimately didn’t.

Now if the series did want to go for less of an action angle while still being serious throughout, then the only option would be to be more of a horror/suspense title. You saw that octopus image from earlier? The series has its jump scares like that and part of the tension is that aliens can be anyone. Some wear human puppets so you can’t tell and they can jump you at any time. Having the main character infiltrate different establishments while looking for them could have been a good idea. It’s absolutely an angle that the series could go for but it is fairly incompatible with huge power levels so again I would say that you remove the whole best assassin in the universe getting immediately defeated in the pre arc aspect out as soon as possible.
Overall, Aliens Area should have focused more on the aliens and the combat. Ultimately this one didn’t last very long but at the very least the art is good and the action scenes are fun when we get them. The series also has some crazy horror visuals that come in from time to time so it is trying to do a whole lot but never finds its footing in the end. sometimes you have to go slow and just knock one thing out at a time. If they ever brought this manga back I’d still be interested in seeing it continue. It is good…it’s just not Very good.

Overall 6/10

Virtuosity Review

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

Virtuosity is one of those films that reminds you of the dangers of virtual reality. I still think we’re probably a good 20-30 years away from anything quite this advanced but hey if it ever does happen then I could see at least parts of this film being really realistic. You just know that the A.I. will be used in dubious ways almost right away. Honestly it’s the best argument against VR being a big thing because someone will immediately find a way to turn the pain sensors back on and just like that you are in a tough spot.

Well, the film opens up with Parker going through a training mission where he enters a computer world and has to try and take down an A.I. Parker was once a police officer but he murdered the killer who took out his family and is now serving hard time. This will help to reduce the sentence at least but the training doesn’t go well as SID (The A.I.) murders Parker’s partner and the lead barely gets out of there. It turns out that the training simulation wasn’t quite so safe eh? Well, SID breaks out anyway thanks to one scientist being a sucker and SID’s creator being a villain anyway. SID is now determined to torment Parker as much as possible. Why is it so personal though?

The film explores a connection with Parker and SID right away. The answer to this question becomes clear fairly early on and it’s really just a lot of bad luck for Parker. I mean the film probably would have been tough for him either way but the chips just happened to fall in a way where things were just as bad for him as they could have possibly have been. He’s already in jail which is pretty rough in itself and now having to deal with a powerful A.I. like this is just throwing extra salt to the wound. Not playing the game with SID isn’t an option either because the guy will hunt Parker down and frame him if that’s what it takes to keep the battle going.

Good luck trying to destroy SID as well because the guy has super strength and a whole host of supernatural abilities that put him above the rest of the rank and file. He can regenerate and move really fast too. In a way the film makes him just a bit too powerful because you know there is no way the heroes should be able to really do much of anything to him. It would just be hard to buy at that point but that’s just how it goes I suppose. For the most part this is more of a chase film than an action one but there are some fights and you may shake your head at those.

I do really like the visual effects used for the cyber world though. We don’t spend a whole lot of time there but the intro scene was very effective. You know that something is wrong right from the start with how everyone has the same kind of shirt on. Then the shooting starts and you realize this isn’t exactly the real world. I would have been cool with the whole film taking place in virtual reality to be honest even if it probably would have been tough on the special effects team. It’s why we need that Sword Art Online movie already but I guess we’re going to have to wait a long while for that one.

SID makes for an intense villain. The guy is completely insane but the thing is that he knows it. So he’s still really clever with his attacks. He just enjoys making everyone feel terrified and we get a whole scene where he creates music using people’s yells. That was certainly very twisted. The scene drags a bit too I would say. With a villain like this, you’re more interested in the banter with the main character as opposed to seeing him just terrorize the civilians who can’t fight back.

Parker is a good lead. He definitely had his share of trauma and baggage over the years. He doesn’t regret what he did to avenge his family by any means though but it does mean that he has had to put up with an awful lot in every category. It’s why he had to crush the first prisoner who tried to mess with him so that hopefully he wouldn’t have to get into any other fights after that. It’s really the rule of the jungle out there and if you aren’t the most powerful then you are going to be in a whole lot of trouble. He works well as the lead and never gets bitter about the whole thing either. At the end of the day he is still trying to save lives at every opportunity.

Madison is the main heroine here and she does well. She may tend to get in the way a little at first but by the end she is actively contributing and doing her best to help out. Her son ends up getting into trouble so she really has to take a big role in the climax. The climax is handled well with the elaborate trap used at the end and Parker having to use his past experience to deal with it. The voice clips were also a lot of fun as you hear some lines on loop and it ends up being memorable.

I was a little mixed on the film by the end because I really liked the premise but I think they could have done more with it. Of course you could do more with the virtual reality for sure but also more with the interactions. SID still kept his powers while in the real world somehow so I’d like to expand on that and see what else he could do. Giving him the memories and personalities of various serial killers was an unexpected move but it’s not a bad idea to really make this villain as terrifying as possible. The character cast is good too although for most of the movie I felt like the researcher got off easy. Yes most of the characters didn’t know that he planned this out but you’d still think that he would be getting some heavy blame here since this is his creation. Even if he hadn’t helped SID out, this was going to be inevitable after a while and every company needs a fall guy. I wanted more of corporate’s reaction to this.

Overall, Virtuosity was an interesting movie to be sure. It had its fun moments and it never dragged on. The way Parker’s family was bumped off was also an especially tragic one to really make him feel a lot of guilt. It was done tragically but without being overly violent which I thought was clever. The film can be a bit violent to be sure but it’s not as excessive as you may think and so it doesn’t take away from the overall story. I would recommend this if you are interested in seeing more of the virtual world.

Overall 6/10

Solo Leveling

Solo Leveling is a pretty huge series to the degree of Tower of God and God of High School. It’s off to a fun start so I can absolutely see this being the next 9 star series as it goes on. The first volume does a good job of introducing you to the world and setting up the mechanics. I’ll have a review up for this series as soon as I’ve finished it.

Overall 8/10

The Final Countdown Review

The Final Countdown is a film that’s pretty good but at the same time you feel like it sort of cheats on the premise. Almost 90% of the film is setting up for the actual plot to happen and then it suddenly ends. I’d like a remake that actually goes all in here and lets the heroes play around with the time travel a bit. This is one of those rare instances where I’m convinced a second watch will always be worse than the first viewing but on the initial viewing you should still have a good time here.

The movie starts by introducing us to Captain Yelland and his ship as they are just leaving Pearl Harbor. A guy named Lasky has been invited aboard to basically see how things are done abord the ship and see if any protocols are to be updated. He’s an efficiency expert you can say but all of a sudden the ship goes through a portal and warps back to a few days before the events of Pearl Harbor. They must now decide if they should try to change history and stop the tragedy from occurring or let it play out so as to not affect the timestream.

While that may be the main plot, the characters aren’t debating if they should act or not for most of the movie because they don’t realize what is happening until the end. So for the most part the characters are just trying to figure out what is going on but since its obvious to the viewer the whole time this doesn’t have as much bite. It’s an interesting film but one that just feels a bit misleading in what the focus will be on. This probably would have worked better as a series or with some sequels so we could actually get back to the plot. Instead the film ends on a bit of a whimper. There is one cool aspect to the ending but I really wanted to explore the changes to the timeline and how that would have affected everyone.

I liked Captain Yelland though and he had the right response. Ultimately he says that they can’t worry about what’ll happen down the line and have to save everyone they can in the present. He was prepared to do what was needed and it’s not like the allies would lose a lot on this. They are from far enough in the future where it would be supremely easy to take the win here and you have to do it. He also kept calm the whole time and never really panicked. This is the kind of man you want to have at the helm of the ship because you can count on him to get results.

Owens is the most annoying character here though. His viewpoint is the classic “We shouldn’t mess with history” not realizing that just by being in the past you’ve already changed things. Deciding not to help your own country avoid one of its largest historic tragedies would be downright criminal. Then he tries to say that it’s not like they could change the past anyway but they evidently already did by saving a senator. The situation isn’t one that can be immediately understood and that’s why instead of giving up right from the jump you should try to do your best. If you get to go to the past, don’t question the logic of how it happened and just do your best to make sure everything turns out all right. That’s the only winning attitude to be had here.

Then you have Lasky who mainly proves to be a thorn in everyone’s side. Owens is reasonably upset with him because Lasky keeps breaking into his office to look at things. Lasky is not someone who is particularly great with boundaries after all. He just does what he wants at any time. On one hand at least he is ready to change the future but on the other hand he just seems to want to stir up trouble instead of helping sometimes like when he nearly tipped off the senator and secretary that they were being tricked. That’s exactly what you don’t do in that situation.

Senator Chapman is an interesting character as he’s technically a good guy and trying to figure out what’s going on but he functions as an antagonist here. After all he’s from the past and doesn’t know anything about the future. The main characters aren’t too forthcoming on that front so they come across as being extremely suspicious. I don’t even blame him for drawing a gun later on because from his point of view they’ve just taken him to a deserted island and there is no guarantee that he would ever get off. It’s just a shame that everything turned sideways so nobody really got to win.

Laurel was also reasonable here. She has a pet dog to worry about which is stressful and the whole situation is overwhelming but she does her best in coming to terms with it. I’d ay she did a better job of that than most characters would in her place. So the side characters were fun and the exchanges with past and future characters is really what you’re here for. That’s why it’s a shame that this isn’t the focus. I want to see them change the past and what repercussions come of that. The fact that they waited so long to help the Americans on the boat was also a shame since fatalities happened before they could step in.

You have to fight injustice no matter what era you are in. So when over 40 minutes is just the characters sitting around and talking it feels like a big build up to something that never really happens. I was really surprised when the film just ended all of a sudden. I can tell you that it was not the ending I had been expecting for the film at all. It’s all a cop out but I’ve said this several times already so lets not get too repetitive here. Even with the ending I still enjoyed the film quite a bit. The dialogue is smart and the premise is still really interesting. I’d absolutely like to see someone else take a crack at this and it’s why I love time travel in general. It opens the door to so many different storylines and possibilities. Particularly a war setting since 30 years can be a difference of night and day in terms of firepower and utility.

Overall, The Final Countdown has a climax that never actually occurs which does hurt the film a bit and completely obliterates its replay value. That said, it is still a very suspenseful watch for 90% of the feature so that’s enough for me to recommend it. The film even does have a quick fight scene but that one was a bit forced since the villain never should have been in a situation to grab the gun. That was just sloppy of the heroes, they should have worked a bit harder/smarter to prevent that from happening. Even the gun scuffle near the end wasn’t a great look. At the end of the day if you underestimate your opponent you will absolutely get burned.

Overall 7/10