20 Million Miles to Earth Review

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It’s time to look at a really old creature feature film. Unfortunately this isn’t one of the better ones and is in fact a particularly weak one. It resorts to bottom of the barrel tropes like animal violence and so the film quickly goes downhill. from there. You just can’t add in animal violence and expect to do well. Also, it doesn’t help that the monster didn’t really have a great design. He looked sort of like the gill man when he should have gone for a more authentic Godzilla design. I suppose you can’t win them all though.

The basic plot is that a group of local fishers are having a good time when they notice a rocket crash land into the water. They quickly head on over to investigate it and they are able to save one of the people inside. The others all died to a plague from Venus, but they still did take the time to take one of the animals over from there. Unfortunately a local boy named Pepe stole the animal and sold him (Keep in mind that the animal is till in egg form) to a local scientist for a pair of fake guns. The army doesn’t know this and is intent on finding the animal quickly. Turns out that they won’t have to look far though as the oxygen on Earth is having a peculiar effect on the creature and it is now growing very rapidly. If it keeps on going at this pace then thousands may perish. (Seems like hyperbole but one of the characters said so.)

It’s very by the books as far as the plot is concerned. The creature goes on a rampage and starts breaking stuff so the heroes have to put an end to it. The humans are all consumed by greed though and so they keep letting the creature get away. They want to contain it rather than destroy the beast because it can be useful for scientific study. This continues even when the monster is murdering people. One guy is literally getting bit to death while they just watch because they don’t want to hurt the monster. The big irony here is that bullets don’t work on the creature anyway so they were worried for nothing. It still makes you wonder about their principles though. The Italian government were the ones in the right here as the Americans just looked pretty bad the whole time. Even once they captured the beast to keep zapping him the whole time they let him break out and then a bunch of other people perished. So much for that eh?

Pepe is also a very annoying kid. In fact, he’s pretty much exactly what you expect whenever a kid shows up. They just tend to be rather annoying the whole time as they hide things from the grownups and keep trying for more and more money. He just holds everyone back. I’d say that the main fisher was probably the best character. He’s the only one who actually wanted to help the people from the crash while everyone else was too busy trying to escape. Certainly not the bravest thing to do in the middle of that. Of course, these characters aren’t here to be likable and they typically aren’t all that smart either.

Take Marisa, the doctor in training. She is in charge of looking after the 2 people from the crash, but one of them is unfortunately dying. The first guy, Calder quickly tries to wake up the second one to get answers, but she keeps telling him to leave the guy alone. Decent advice I guess, but since the guy is dying it isn’t like there is actually going to be a later. Then it makes sense to get all of the answers right away. She goes back and forth with Calder on this quite a lot until a random romance pops up and you wonder why once again romance was forced into a film for no real reason. It certainly didn’t add anything to the film and aside from a few very brief scenes it never actually goes anywhere. It’s just around for kicks.

The actual doctor isn’t very intelligent either. First he leaves the moving egg by itself as he goes to take a nap. Then after putting it in the cage he goes to sleep again and the monster has almost grown too large for his cage. What he does next is leave once again to go talk to Pepe and then decides to take a long trip to Rome. Did he really think that the monster would simply stop growing or that it would peacefully let them take it to Rome? Clearly this guy must be a self proclaimed doctor since I would expect him to be a lot smarter if his degree was actually legitimate.

The writing isn’t terrible, but it’s just nothing inspired. You could take some of the dialogue here and place it into almost any other monster film. It will work just fine because of how generic it is. Anyway, all of that could have been forgiven if not for the animal violence. As if once wasn’t bad enough they decide to go through with this twice. Perhaps it is the only way to show what a threat this monster is supposed to be, but picking on the humans would have been a better way of getting that across if you ask me.

Overall, I have to give this film a hard thumbs down. The creature isn’t very interesting and the characters are nothing special. Not only are they not quite as on the ball as a classic lead from other films, but their priorities are completely misplaced. The fact that they are okay with a bunch of people dying if it means that they get to study the monster just shows that these guys have no scruples. The whole situation makes it hard to root for the heroes, but you can’t root for the monster either so then what is there to do? Not much except to quickly shut off the movie. I’d certainly advise you to stick away from this one unless you want to get bored. If you need to see a film about a monster, go watch one of the Godzilla films. Those tend to deliver on the action front which this one could not. Also, who thought it would be a god idea to make the monster look really old and weak by giving him a mustache?

Overall 2/10

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Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers Review

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It’s time to look at a really old alien film. This is the kind of flick that will remind you why aliens are so scary in the first place. They can’t be reasoned with and just want to take over every planet that gets in their way. You don’t want to mess with these guys and the humans have to desperately scramble to stop them. It’s an entertaining film that may not have the best lead, but still hits most of the right notes.

The film starts off with Russell sending another rocket into space. It’s been a futile mission as so far each missile has been sent right back down to Earth. At this point he is just wasting money and a general tells him this, but the lead refuses to listen. He will keep on sending the missiles into space and nobody can stop him! As he drives away with Carol, a UFO shows up which changes things a bit. They are now readying their invasion force to take over the Earth. Russell will have to build a super laser to shut them down, but can he really invent such a thing or is he already doomed?

As you can tell I thought Russell was rather slow on the uptake. If a bunch of missiles keep losing contact as soon as they are sent out, why would you send more without actually fixing anything about them? The main characters finally decide to add a camera to the last one so they can find out what is happening, but shouldn’t a camera have been there right from the start? It seems to me that for a mission of such importance you would want to document everything at all times.

Russell’s big slip up was in meeting up with the aliens privately. Carol and the army guy do manage to catch him so they all end up being threatened by the aliens as a team. I’ll give the army guy some credit for actually firing at the aliens while in the ship. They might as well go down swinging right? Russell is the one who puts the group in danger constantly. For example, he knew that a little energy orb had been spying on him for the last few weeks and that random lights would show up in the sky, but he thought nothing of them. It seems like nothing would cause him to show even a little bit of the usual alarm that you would expect from a reasonable main character. He may get to run the victory lap at the end, but he certainly put the Earth in quite the predicament.

Meanwhile I can’t say that I was a big fan of Carol. Mainly because she was quick to rat out Russell when he was trying to escape the base. Whether she agreed with him or not, such a call would probably have him arrested and it’s not like she had a better idea. When you make a call to betray someone like that, it’s a big decision. The characters forget about this pretty quick, but that could have been a very damaging moment for them.

I do have to give the army some props for shooting the aliens right away. Obviously that isn’t usually a good idea since the aliens hadn’t actually done anything yet, but we weren’t going to be pushed around this time. Usually when the army shoots first it turns out that the aliens were actually good guys so this was a good way of flipping that around real quick. Too bad their tech was so much better than ours as otherwise it could have been a pretty even fight. We didn’t hesitate to fire off our rockets and heavy armaments either so the world was ready.

There is some plot hax in the climax though. As I mentioned the aliens do have the superior tech here including ships that can run rings around ours. Their speed is so great that they can appear from nowhere to disintegrate us and then vanish again. How is it that they didn’t notice the humans plotting against them? At the very least you would expect them to have the main characters under surveillance until the invention was built. Leaving the humans alone (Even after they broke the alien spy probe) was just not a smart idea. Even once they knew that the humans were turning violent they sent in one robot instead of blasting the place to smithereens. The humans got lucky and they know it.

We do get some decent action sequences at the end though as we shoot down all of their UFOs. You’ll end up feeling bad for the landmarks though as the aliens make sure to crash into them every time one ship is shot down. By the end of the fight I feel like the city will look a whole lot different. I suppose some damage is expected when saving the world though. I also like to think that the aliens made sure to intentionally hit these spots just to at least get a little petty consolation victory. If only they had just tried destroying us all when they had the chance!

Overall, This was a fun movie. It’s a classic Alien Invasion story filled with suspense and action. The writing for the movie is certainly on point even if the main characters are annoying. The characters you will be rooting for the most will be the government agents. They don’t plan to go down without a fight and talk tough whenever they are on screen. That’s exactly what I like to see and even the Aliens admitted that in a battle for the Earth we would keep fighting til the last man. Humanity got its props here.

Overall 7/10

Abbott and Costello Go To Mars Review

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The next film to discuss is an Abbott and Costello film. It has certainly been a while since I reviewed the last one and this movie features aliens in it so how could it not be good? Unfortunately it is one of the weaker installments. Still a good film but one that definitely suffers from a weak climax. The whole time you can’t help but think that they should have stuck to Earth.

The film starts with Orville swinging a plane around. I suppose he is either a volunteer teacher with the orphanage or more likely, he is just a kid at heart and always comes over to play during recess. It is unfortunate for him though because the kids are all a lot smarter than he is and they love rubbing this fact in his face. This leads to Orville accidentally throwing the plane through a window. The cops manage to show up but Orville outruns them to a corporate office where he impersonates a distinguished rocket expert for as long as he can. This just doesn’t fly and right he real one tries to beat him up. They fight a while but then Orville jumps in the space ship and blasts away with the custodian. One thing’s for sure, he’s not on Earth anymore…right?

One thing that is always risky for a film is to use up the best scene early on but that’s exactly what this one did. The fight between Orville and the expert was really solid as the sound effect for each slap was as good as it gets. You felt the power and weight of each blow to the point where the final one actually knocked Orville through a wall. If that’s not power then I don’t know what is. I have to say that I was rooting for the old guy so I’m glad that he took the win.

A good chunk of the film is the two characters (A guy named Lester ends up coming along) running around and panicking at everything. They don’t really understand what a mask is but in their defense the masks seemed to be rather high quality. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the film’s budget went to them. Rather than pull off a bunch of quick jokes this film opts to just play a few of them for as long as possible. This isn’t really a sound strategy since if you don’t like the joke then the scene will last forever and even if you do like it you may find the joke starts to get repetitive. It’s definitely a rather tough balance but for the most part this series usually gets it right. This one was just a little less interesting.

It was still pretty good when the heroes were running away on Earth. It went off the deep end once they got to Venus. The planet is apparently an Amazonian paradise that has eradicated all of the men. Naturally Orville is able to charm them into letting him stay somehow. The whole plot is just sad as the characters convince him to cheat in order to convince the Queen to bring back the ban against men. While concocting such a plan is probably a good idea, they should have had a different strategy. Pretty much every scene on Venus was brutal and as you might expect the romance was terrible.

Then we have the random subplot where two crooks decide to impersonate the main characters until they can imprison them and head to space. Clearly these guys are rather fearless since they aren’t afraid of being blasted into dust for their arrogance. They don’t really add anything to the film though. It seems that the movie was trying to play them off as dark versions of the main characters but they just felt really redundant from the start.

None of the characters are smart of course which is the whole point of the series but you still can’t help but feel bad for the inventor of the rocket. He waited his whole life for such a chance only to have the main character steal it away. That’s just cruel and especially when you consider how much money it would have cost to build another one in those days. That’s probably the end for his career.

I also feel that I have to point out the stock footage that is used in this film. You wouldn’t really expect such a thing out of a big name title like the Abbott and Costello series right? The scene where the rocket enters the Lincoln Tunnel happens twice and maybe the film was pretty proud of that special effect but you never want to play a scene twice like that. (With a few exceptions I suppose)

Overall, This was probably the weakest in the Abbott and Costello films. The whole second half felt unorganized and rather pointless. The first half was good but it just didn’t last long enough. What we did see back on Earth just makes the whole film more tragic since you see all of the potential that it once had. If you are a big fan of the series then I would recommend checking it out. If you have not seen any films in this series then it probably isn’t a good idea to start with this one as it won’t necessarily give you the right idea if the series. It just doesn’t have that usual charm you would expect from this series.

Overall 6/10

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Review

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It’s time to look at the Terminator game. This one is based on the 3rd film and also acts as a prequel. It’s a story that naturally takes place in a rather dark environment since Skynet broke the lights. I was a little worried since my tv can’t handle the darkness all that well. Level 2 was incredibly difficult for that reason but after fiddling with the settings for a while the levels were finally bright enough to see. It’s a fun game that may not do everything right but succeeds in enough areas to be called a success.

The game starts off with you playing as the Terminator and blowing up a bunch of robots. The humans have reprogrammed you to be on their side. Then they learn that Skynet is sending their best assassin to the past to eliminate John Conner and his wife. They send the Terminator in pursuit but can he really defeat what is essentially a more upgraded version or himself?

As you might assume this is a 3D shooter. You grab various weapons over the course of a level and blow up all enemy robots on your way to victory. Each level will have a series of objectives and upon completing them you will move on to the next level. It’s important to realize that the mission is the priority so you never have to worry about defeating all of the enemies. If you are supposed to destroy a building and are about to die then quickly destroy it anyway as the success will sometimes override your death. That helped me out once or twice.

If you ever run out of ammo you can swing the base of your gun or throw some punches but that shouldn’t happen with how much ammo is usually going thrown around. Just remember to pick it up every time you defeat an enemy and you should be fine. My favorite weapons are the ones that leave a nice explosion as even if they don’t defeat the enemies they will knock them over which gives you time to finish the job. What you don’t want is to be put in a situation where all of the robots are blasting at you since your health bar will be torn to shreds. One of the weapons allows you to equip two at once which is handy since you knock them down with one while you blast them with the other. Finally, if you’re about to die anyway I recommend using the missile launcher since it will beat any enemy in a single hit and even a lot of the large robots will go down in 2. The catch is that it only has 3 ammo and fires really slowly so don’t use it if you are surrounded.

The gameplay changes into a 2D brawler for boss fights and that was a real highlight. The levels are few, but you can tell that some effort was put into them. You can toss the enemy around and can mix up your punches and kicks for various combos. It definitely got me thinking that a Terminator fighting game would be really good. There is just so much that you can do with the concept and I’m sure it would be a success. The boss fights aren’t particularly tough for the most part, but I did come close to dying in the last fight.

The graphics are pretty solid. The energy effects are nice and vibrant while the levels are nice recreations of the movie. The character models are a little more on the humorous side to be honest but they still at least resemble who they are supposed to be. Assuming your TV is on point you will definitely be able to appreciate the effort here. Unfortunately there isn’t much of a soundtrack but what was there was pretty sound. It works pretty well for the action scenes.

The main campaign should take you a few hours. There are 22 levels in the game and their length varies significantly. Some levels can be around 10 minutes or longer while others are barely a minute. In some cases a level will just take longer than it should because you might end up getting lost as the compass isn’t always 100% reliable. The toughest level in the game is certainly the escort mission where you have to protect John. He has the A.I. of a level one computer as he will walk into the line of fire without a gun and will die to a pair of bullets. That stage must have taken me at least 20 tries. Another aspect that makes this level tough is how you aren’t allowed to destroy any of the humans firing at you. This means you can only shoot each human once which is tougher than it sounds as it isn’t always obvious that you have already hit them once. The best advice I could give here is just to take it slow.

There isn’t a great deal of replay value after beating the story. All that I can think of is trying to find the second mini game to unlock. I don’t know about you but that isn’t a huge incentive for me to be honest. Still you can probably get this game for a cheap price and if so I would definitely recommend it. Yeah, the game is basically a cash in but it’s a fun one that put in some effort. You won’t regret the purchase.

Overall, Terminator has always been a really fun franchise. You don’t have to stretch your imagination to see how it would lend itself well to a video game. Hopefully a new Terminator game comes out soon because now there is only one modern title that I am missing. Ah well, I still have that one to look forward to at least. That was likely my last mech game for a while so at least the genre ended on a high note.

Overall 7/10

Sword Art Online: Mother’s Rosario Review

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Time to look at another Sword Art Online manga. The last one didn’t go very well so of course you may be a little skeptical about this one. Fortunately this is adapting one of the better arcs of the series and the manga didn’t try to add any iffy scenes to mess with it. It’s a solid arc but also one of the more somber ones so prepare yourself for an SAO story like no other.

The series starts with Kirito and the crew hanging out at his (and Asuna’s) cabin. Kirito fell asleep of course and everyone else starts feeling sleepy as well. To stay awake, Lizbeth tells Asuna about a new swordsman who has been destroying opponents left and right. He goes by the name “Absolute Sword” and seems to be the strongest fighter ever. Even Kirito was (yeah right) soundly defeated by him. Asuna decides that she wants a crack at this fighter and heads over to fight him. The big twist is that Absolute Sword is a girl with the same first name as Asuna’s last name. Asuna puts up a good fight so Yuuki asks for her help in defeating a boss with Yuuki’s crew. Asuna is thrilled at the opportunity but will she be strong enough?

Meanwhile Asuna has human world troubles as well. Her Mother wants her to go to a different school since the current one is rather lackluster. Asuna doesn’t want this because she has already decided to support Kirito in her future path. Naturally this is very upsetting for the Mother since that doesn’t really even count as a career path. Asuna’s video game hobby has also started to turn into an obsession as she loses track of the time and starts to prefer being there than in the real world. Asuna’s Mom has to put an end to this, but how?

I already went into this for the anime version but I’ll quickly touch on the plot here as well. Asuna’s Mom is absolutely right here. The only chink in her argument of always looking out for Asuna is that she has set her up with potential marriage options one or two times. This seemingly goes against the rest of her message about being independent. Still, she has no problem with dropping that tactic when Asuna brings it up and I’m inclined to believe that Asuna had never expressed her disapproval for it before. Asuna seems like someone who won’t mention any objections to something in the moment and will just use it as ammo in the future which is definitely no good. Beyond that, Asuna is the one who is losing every argument. She could have brought up valid reasons for wanting to stay at a sub standard school but I wouldn’t say that hanging out with friends is one of them. The Mom was also willing to let her keep using the NerveGear but then Asuna started getting increasingly irresponsible with it so of course the Mom wouldn’t be a fan. So in the end, Asuna’s plot is definitely not as engaging as the Yuuki one.

As for Yuuki, she’s a fun character to add to the mix. It is good to finally have another high level fighter who can battle at Kirito’s level. At this point there really aren’t any heroes who can give him a good fight. At best Asuna can maybe be good for sparring practice, but with Yuuki Kirito can’t afford to hold back. Wanting to win one last big battle before going away is definitely a solid goal and one that I can get behind. The rest of her crew are fairly generic and not very memorable so I can’t say quite as much in their favor, but ultimately Yuuki is the only one who matters. They are just there to fill in the ranks. It’s a shame Yuuki doesn’t stick around since she would really give the main cast a boost.

Kirito mostly gets the shaft in this trilogy since it is all about Asuna and her development, but he still gets his share of hype moments. One such scene is when he rushes into the boss area and holds off hundreds of other players on his own. It’s an amazing scene that was extremely intense in all 3 mediums. (Book, Anime, Manga) It may not be Kirito’s adventure, but at the same time I am not surprised that he got the best scene in the adventure. His fight against Yuuki was a lot of fun as well of course and the series did a good job of playing up how smart Kirito was as well. He figured out Yuuki’s secret immediately and then even found out where she was in the real world all in a very short amount of time. It is almost scary just how good he is.
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As for Asuna, she is fairly good here. I never disliked Asuna before this as she was solid in Arc 1, didn’t do much in arcs 2-3, so she was about the same now as she was in the past. She had lost some confidence as you might expect thanks to recent events, but regains it by the end of this adventure. She is still a strong fighter and I have to agree with the peanut gallery that it was odd how Asuna went for a mage role instead of a front line fighter. It seems like she enjoys the latter a whole lot more. Yuuki gave Asuna a valuable lesson on how being polite and talking things out won’t always work so sometimes you have to just jump in and start fighting. The sky’s the limit from there.

The art looks fairly good here. It’s the character designs that are a little off. In particular Kirito and Asuna look a little chibi or maybe just younger than usual. Aside from that, the artist does a good job with the fight scenes and it doesn’t look like a cash in. The trilogy has quite a few different fights and they are all visually engaging. Unfortunately while the trilogy does manage to stick away from fanservice, we do get one such bath scene as even on its best day it appears that the series can’t play it straight here.

There’s not a whole lot to say here since this is basically identical to the anime version so in a sense I already reviewed this saga. As long as the medium did it justice then there is no reason why it would be weaker than the anime version. If anything the pacing is better here since you can read faster than characters can talk so the exposition goes by at a nice pace. We already understand that Yuuki’s situation is rather tragic so you don’t need to know a whole lot about it beyond that. It will be nice to see Asuna use the new combo that Yuuki gave her in one of the anime seasons someday. We have the movie, but that wasn’t exactly a one on one fight and I’d like to see it in more of a traditional combat setting.
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Overall, Mother’s Rosario is definitely the most serious of the SAO arcs. It’s certainly pretty sad to have a character who is doomed to die from the start since there’s no way that could end up being a happy ending. At least the series never tries to give you any false hope that she might survive as that would have made everything turn out badly. As it stands, Yuuki’s backstory is definitely very tragic but at least the trilogy handles it well. The series is actually light hearted for about 80% of the chapters and Yuuki isn’t too mopey about her future either. She takes it all in stride. I’d recommend checking out this manga, especially if you usually don’t like the series since this one takes it in a very different direction.

Overall 7/10

Leprechaun Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.
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It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a horror slasher film with the antagonist bumping off everyone he runs into. It’s definitely a tried and true formula for failure that many franchises have gone for. I can’t say that Leprechaun did anything to try and save the genre, but I suppose I will give it some props for at least embracing the fact that the film was never going to be good and making everyone over the top. If a film is going to be bad it may as well have some fun moments right?

The film starts off with a drunk guy beating up a Leprechaun and stealing his gold. Unfortunately it seems like the guy may have cheated so the little villain wants his gold back. The drunk guy doesn’t care about this though and locks the guy up. A year passes and some new people are moving into the house. The heroine doesn’t like the place right off the bat, but the neighbors convince her to stay. Then the Leprechaun is let out of his box and the heroes start to get murdered left and right. Can they learn how to fight in time to stop this guy or will it be curtains for them? Either way their days may be numbered.

As I said, the film is very by the books. If anyone who isn’t one of the main characters shows up, he/she is doomed. We have the greedy store owner who tries to talk tough to the Leprechaun and he is quickly destroyed by his own toys. We have the overconfident police officer who immediately starts to make fun of the Leprechaun’s size and he is done away with. The villain really didn’t like him though and makes his death the longest by far. Then we’ve got other guys running around, but you get the basic idea. Even those who survive don’t get away without a few bites and scratches.

Of course the film is super violent as you would expect. They make sure to throw a bunch of blood in every possible scene to the point where you may wonder how much of the budget was spent on the paint. That’s already going to limit the film’s possible score, but that’s not its only weakness. There is also the fact that the writing is very lackluster. Good luck finding any remotely good lines in this movie. The characters panic a lot and none of them are very smart. They don’t really know how to fight and even figure that splitting up is in their best interest. Hint…it’s not.

As far as the Leprechaun goes, he isn’t a very intimidating villain. Of course that is likely intentional, but you almost want to snicker whenever he is on screen. The characters seem to get this inclination as well, but it never goes well for them. The villain has some basic magical abilities like teleportation and telekinesis, but his abilities are very weak unless he is with the gold. Even once he is back to full power the guy never seems very impressive. Shotgun bullets will put him down for minutes at a time. Judging by how effective they are, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few shots at once would put him down for good. Either way, his regeneration isn’t amazing. The guy has some basic super strength as well, but it is rather inconsistent throughout the movie. He’s a step below some of the cooler designed monsters like from the Grudge, but higher than the normal humans like good ole Jason.

Tory, Nathan, and Ozzie are the 3 main characters. Tory likes to be in high class places where the area is already clean and she doesn’t have to fix it up. Naturally this place in the middle of nowhere wasn’t exactly her style, but she tries to work with it after a while. She isn’t a terrible character and the film actually avoids going into the romance trap for the most part. She is rather easy to manipulate though as when Nathan tricks her into staying at the house. Tory could have been a lot worse which is probably the nicest thing to say about her. Nathan is your typical male lead. He’s fairly well built so naturally it’s more of a shock when the Leprechaun is able to overpower him. Nathan actually does try to fight back though which is a welcome change of pace from everyone else here. He was actually winning his initial confrontation with the Leprechaun even without a gun and once he had it then the match was over. To write him out the film had him get caught on a bear trap to limit how well he could fight. Ah well, he was still doing good for the most part beyond that.

Then we have Ozzie who isn’t very smart at all. He convinces the cops not to come to the house by calling since he always calls for fake incidents. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway though since the Leprechaun would have just switched his voice like he did later on. Ozzie also managed to swallow the coin somehow which is still rather hard to believe which causes the Leprechaun to not be very happy. The kid who hangs out with Ozzie is a little more reasonable. He points out that nothing can stand up to a 57 Magnum. Still, he is annoying beyond that and seems to think that even in the midst of a monster destroying everyone he should keep a few secrets. This kid needs to get his priorities straight.

Overall, Leprechaun is not a good film. There are some films that are terrible but enjoyable and this is not one of them. It’s not as bad as some films where the whole duration is unbearable as this film isn’t terrible 100% of the time. Still, it’s brutal and graphic enough to wreck any of the decent scenes in the film and the lack of quality writing hurts it as well. It’s safe to say that I don’t recommend this film and I’d sooner recommend watching Inspector Gadget if you want to see toys used as weapons. This film just has to get the hard thumbs down. Maybe the sequels will manage to beat it, but I can’t say that I have high hopes for the films in general.

Overall 1/10

Pajama Party Review

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It’s time to look at another beach-esque adventure. This one is at a local pool for most of it and there is a Pajama Party at the end, but it’s still fairly similar to the last two films. By now you know if you either like the genre or don’t. It certainly didn’t switch my mind as it is more of the same from the last film even down to the same premise. Throwing in the aliens was a decent move I guess, but I can’t say that it was a very interesting plot point so maybe it was just fluff in the end.

The film revolves around an alien named Gogo. He is sent to Earth as an advance scout for Mars as they plan to take over the planet. They selected him to be the first scout because Gogo isn’t very smart and will confuse the Earthlings. Gogo is oblivious to this so his self esteem is surprisingly intact for the duration of the movie. The Earthlings decide to call him George since it’s a much more traditional name and he approves of this. Plans change though as he falls for Connie. Thing is, Connie is taken by Big Lunk, but wants to make him jealous so she decides to play along and pretend to be into Gogo. Meanwhile some corporate villains want to steal Big Lunk’s aunt’s treasure so they send in their special operative Helga to get the information out of him. Naturally she figures the best way to do this is to get together and Lunk has no problem two timing Connie. With this love rectangle can there even be a winner?

Right off the bat you see the problems that are just inherent to the genre. For starters we have the constant rebounds between the characters that make you wonder how genuine any of them are. If they are willing to ditch their partners so quickly you can’t help but wonder if they will leave the new ones as soon as they see a better option. It’s hard to feel bad for any of the characters since this is the case. For example, Connie is frustrated that Lunk is always ignoring her so I suppose we are led to believe that this was not always the case. Nothing in the film suggests that he changed in any way though so it means that she didn’t mind his behavior at first and it is only now an issue. Meanwhile, you have to assume that maybe Lunk just never liked her all that much since he is very quick to get enthusiastic about Helga. The romance here is just all wrong.

Naturally the film takes the low road and adds in a ton of fanservice now. We get poorly timed camera zoom ins and a lot of dancing that is more about damaging the film than proper form and poise. It’s nothing to be even remotely surprised about, but it hurts the film all the same. The villains’ plan to use romance to get to the heroes is always iffy at best as well and didn’t help their case either. It was interesting that we got 3 different villain groups though. Even for this series that is a little crazy. There was Eric Zipper and his gang, the Martians, and the people from Corporate. Naturally the corporate villains were the best ones as they brought in some fresh air to the series.

The leader was actually pretty competent and always got a lot of good one liners in. He had a habit of beating up his 2nd in command quite a lot to show that he wasn’t to be trifled with. Unfortunately he is surrounded by incompetent henchmen so ultimately he was always doomed. Then there is the “Cowabunga” Indian who can’t speak too well. Naturally he doesn’t look very good and there is actually a big plot twist about him. He still looks better than the other henchmen though as that guy is the one who gets beat up a lot. I think his best scene was his debut appearance as the boss keeps talking to him about the plan and the henchmen manages to say the wrong thing each time and keeps getting punished. You’ll feel bad for the guy there since he was trying to be careful with his phrasing.

Eric Zipperman and his gang are about the same as always so you’ll either like them or not. They get beat up a lot, but always have the coolest outfits in the film. These guys look like they play for keeps and surprisingly they actually knew how to fight pretty well this time. While they lost in the end that was mainly because GoGo stepped up and used his magic wand to stop them. Otherwise they were actually overpowering the teens at one point which I was not expecting.

As for the Martians themselves, they didn’t have much of a plan for conquering Earth. I didn’t see much of an army at the base. Considering that the teleporter worked both ways, you’d suspect that we’d have seen soldiers on Mars when corporate went there. Instead the place was empty so I’m assuming that the army soldiers just deserted the Martian cause. Likely the right move to be honest since they probably wouldn’t have been able to defeat the teenagers if we’re being honest.

This film definitely struck out and it’s unfortunate since for the most part it does have some reasonably humorous moments. It throws out so many jokes that some have to land after all right? I do like that Big Lunk was fine with the friend zone for a while, but it’s too bad that he relented in the end. If you cut out all of the pool shenanigans, romance, and fanservice then this is a quality film. The problem is that we’re talking about a totally different movie at that point. The film has to live or die by the mistakes it made and unfortunately this one just couldn’t cut the mustard.

Overall, Pajama Party is one of those films that won’t be remembered all that well. It will just fade into place next to the other Beach movies where the heroine tries to get the hero jealous. Of course in this film the plan didn’t even remotely work and she actually just gave in to the rebound. That’s a bit of a twist compared to the other films, but it’s not exactly one that would help the score of the film. It was doomed fairly early on anyway so I guess it’s not like the film had much of a chance. They just need to do something a little more classy like a sweater party movie. I’m sure the film would find some way to mess that up though. If you want a good party movie then I suggest you look elsewhere.

Overall 2/10

Luck & Logic Review

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Well, it’s time to look at a new Bushiroad production. The others that I have reviewed have all been excellent for the most part with the occasional 7/10 which is still pretty solid. Unfortunately this is the first negative installment from the company. Luck & Logic falls into the unfortunate fanservice trap which is really what nails it. The low budget doesn’t help much either, but that’s the kind of thing that really just limits a show from getting a higher score as opposed to bringing it down. Still, not every show can be a winner I suppose.

The show takes place in a future where monsters constantly invade the planet through rips in time and space that come from another world. Earth has monster hunters who merge with their partners to stop them. The issue is that there are only a handful of agents in every city and do the monsters always seem to have the edge. Still, there is currently a balance and the system works well enough. Tsurugi was a hero in Hong Kong, but he was forced to enter overdrive to stop the villain and this led to his partner being scattered forever and he barely survived. See, every person is made up of cards and the cost for using this super ability is that you lose all of your cards. If you friends don’t find them in time then you will permanently lose your self. One card is your memories while another is your emotions for example. Since there are dozens of cards to find and they are all pretty important, it is easy to never be the same after such an event. Tsurugi was lucky enough to stay intact though but he is transferred to a new unit where he will get a new partner. Will he fit in with the group and continue to protect the world from monsters? He sure hopes so!

So on the surface this is another classic “Defend the world from monsters” story. It is fairly episodic as each monster is usually defeated in a single episode. There are some underlying plot elements that continue though and it all leads up to the final 3 episodes which is the big plot related fight. That sounds about right for a 12 episode show like this one. The early episodes are all about getting to know the characters. The pacing is solid and the show certainly doesn’t drag on as you can probably guess. There isn’t really anything all that unique about the show, but so long as the execution is on point you don’t need to do anything super special. Unfortunately the show’s main gimmick is what gets it into trouble.

So, as I mentioned you have to merge with a partner to activate your super form which lets you fight the monsters. This form runs out of stamina almost immediately though so try to end the battle within a few minutes. Also you have to be completely in sync with your partner or the transformation will fall apart. The very iffy thing with the transformation though is that you have to kiss your partner or make a whole lot of contact in general, but basically every team goes with the first option. Naturally you can see how this would be a problem. It’s a pretty iffy excuse to just have the whole cast get in on the action and even conceptually it makes you wonder just how tough this is for the characters.

Take Tsurugi and Athena. They know each other for a few hours and then they are suddenly made to be partners and have to undergo the transformation. It’s all rather drastic. Unfortunately the series doesn’t even make the transformations rather tame like Sailor Moon and they have quite a lot of fanservice. Seeing as how the transformations happen in every episode, you can see how this would drag the show down a bit. One of the final episodes is probably the most drastic as everybody transforms back to back in that episode so it’s whole minutes of everybody just transforming. This gimmick is ultimately what hurt the show the most as there just isn’t really getting around this. Both the fanservice and the concept of what you have to undergo in order to transform is pretty bad.

Thanks to these scenes, the series had a real fanservice issue. Then we also had the typical anime character who is obsessed with bringing down the show. In this case the “old man” character was Tsurugi’s dad who is always messing around and trying to get his son to do the same thing. It’s one of those running gags where you have to wonder how people actually find it funny. It’s just grating and fortunately the guy doesn’t appear all that often which is a good thing. With the major issue out of the way now, lets look at the cast.

Tsurugi is the main character here and he is known as the best agent in the world. He was able to overtranz (It’s pronounced like Tranz instead of Trance so that’s how I like to spell it) and live after all which isn’t something that just anybody can do. That being said, maybe anyone could do it as two other characters in the series do the same thing and survive, not to mention that Tsurugi also pulls it off a second time. Tsurugi can’t help it if he is the best and naturally he quickly becomes the leader of the group much to the sadness of the former commander. He’s a nice enough guy who gives pep talks and tries to keep morale high. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much character beyond that and of course I still find it iffy that he had an original tranz partner that he never mentions or seems to care about at all. That person likely didn’t live through the experience or lost her memories but that’s why moving to a new tranz partner is so iffy. He also tends to overreact when Lucifer shows up but I guess he is a big deal.

Athena is Tsurugi’s tranz partner and she seems like a nice enough character. She does hide her connection to Lucifer from the others but I think the heroes made a mountain out of a molehill on this one. It’s not like they were teaming up or anything. She is a very loyal partner to Tsurugi and since he was her first covenentor I don’t have the same problem with them tramping as I did with Tsurugi.

Tamaki used to be the leader of the squad before Tsurugi stepped in and took her throne. She definitely doesn’t take this well and I can understand why she wouldn’t want to be taking orders from someone who came out of nowhere but that’s just how it goes sometimes. In real life that happens all the time as well. She does eventually get past this though and is an okay character. It’s just unfortunate that she looks weak. To an extent all of the characters look really weak, but Tamaki stands out in particular as she doesn’t have any real offensive abilities. She can heal herself and others which is really useful in most circumstances, but not in a 1 on 1 fight like she was forced into during the last 2 episodes. Still, she is good at tactics. Her partner Venus is the worst of the hero partners. To counterbalance how stoic and unmoving Tamaki is, Venus turned out to be a serious flirt. Surprisingly the show doesn’t focus on it much which is a good thing, but since that is her main personality you can see why she wouldn’t be one of my all time favorite characters or anything like that.

Chloe is definitely the best member of the main characters as she is always ready for a fight. Unlike the other characters who are basically all yes men, she thinks about what is being told and decides whether to believe it or not. She is a detective part time as well and her fire form is one of the stronger abilities in the show. Chloe may not uncover all that much in her detective info gathering but the attempt is really what counts. Ultimately, Chloe has more personality than the rest of the cast and fortunately it is a good one. Valkyrie is Chloe’s partner but like the other monsters she doesn’t get a lot of personality. I guess she seems like an okay character, don’t expect her to get too many lines though.

Olga is the big rival of the series and always talks with a lot of confidence throughout the series. You can barely believe your eyes while this is happening since he is the only agent to not have a partner yet. As a result, while he has the very powerful ability of reading the future, there just isn’t much that he can do about it. It was fun to see him admit that Tsurugi was smarter than he looked when the main character admitted that Olga was an incredibly skilled agent. Naturally as Olga was desperate for power this made it easy for Lucifer to begin his plan. I do think that the conclusion to Olga’s character arc was a little rushed though. He goes from being public enemy number 1 to being the leader of the group in the span of a few days? I don’t know, when people try to destroy the world you expect a different kind of reward than that. I don’t want to make the group sound too naive so I should mention that they have bombs floating around Olga’a head in case he ever tries anything. I guess that’s better than nothing.
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Lucifer is the big villain of the series but he was probably made to be a little too powerful the whole time. Without a Tranz partner he was already stronger than the whole hero group and then he got a partner and got even stronger. There was no way he could possibly have been defeated at the end and the fight should have been over in a snap. Granted, Olga wrecked his chances at the end and Lucifer should have just tried to end everything on his own. He certainly isn’t a very cool villain either as he loves his nightclub experiences too much and a subplot is that he has grown a bit of a cult. People get to tranz with him to have a bit of a thrill. I know that the heroes can’t do much about this since he would beat them up but it would have been nice to have seen them try to stop him, but they never made a single move. The monsters of the week were typically cooler characters even if they were basically just around to get stomped. At least they all showed up again at the end of the show…it wasn’t just to save budget.

Asuha is the sniper of the group. She can turn invisible which is always a good tactic and her bullets pack a punch. She also has a more legitimate character arc than most of the other characters as she waits for her mother to show up every night. It breaks curfew but why should Super powered fighters have one anyway? It’s easy to see why Veronica lets it go since losing one of the few fighters that the heroes have just wouldn’t be tactically wise. Next to Tsurugi, Asuha is definitely the most useful member of the group. Her partner is Artemis. Artemis has a more important role than some of the other partners and can always be counted on to at least back Asuha up when the going gets tough. She can be a little abstract and random at tones but never becomes too annoying.

Yukari is probably the worst member of the group by far. She can’t really fight at all and her partner is always making fun of her. She allows him to think that he is her master during the show and never really claims her dignity back from that. Even her costume is fairly half hearted. She is supposed to be the nicest character in the show but once again “nice” became synonymous with being weak which is unfortunate. So much for that eh? Maybe if she kept herself from crying in the last episode that would have at least shown some character development in her defense.

Veronica is the field commander for the Logic troops. She may not be the highest ranked overall but is considered to be extremely powerful. She gets a lot of hype throughout the series but unfortunately never lives up to it. Like most of the cast she seems to just have one technique at her disposal. In this case it is her bombs and such a technique can only carry you so far in a fight. Fact of the matter is that she runs out of stamina about as quickly as everyone else and her bombs have no real effect on any of the really powerful opponents. Veronica is a reasonable leader nonetheless and is at least quick to jump into action compared to other leaders like her boss. The head of the organization doesn’t even seem to have a monster of his own at the ready.

Nemesis is Veronica’s partner and always seems to be very powerful. We never actually see this but it is certainly very implied. Even though Nemesis is very old she still acts like a kid and enjoys having fun just like everyone else. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if she has a darker side to her. Not that this show had time to delve into anything like that though.

Shiori is Tsurugi’s sister but she doesn’t get to do a whole lot during the series. She does get Tsurugi to promise that he will always win in a fight though which he uses as motivation to get past any obstacle in his way. She is a big improvement over his father.

Unfortunately the animation is a mixed bag. On one hand the actual visuals look really good. The character designs are sharp and the colors make it clear that this is a modern show. However, the show does seem to be rather low budget so when it comes time for the fight it suddenly dips in quality. We get a bunch of CGI and there is barely any real animation. The characters aren’t moving and instead seem to be frozen in place half the time. Most battles revolve around the monster shooting a blast and then Tsurugi blocks it. Don’t expect a lot of fast scenes or anything like that, the action scenes are basically turn based battles. It feels like a budget issue as opposed to a director choice, but you never know I guess. The soundtrack is rather generic and I don’t really remember it having any notable themes. Ah well, I guess there weren’t too many chances to play it even if there were a bunch of good themes since the fights never lasted too long.
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Overall, Luck & Logic definitely didn’t have enough luck to actually end up being a good series. It had some decent ideas, but having two characters merge was not a good one or at least not in the way that they pulled it off. They should have just fused DBZ style whether it be through the earrings or with the dance. Either way I could definitely buy into that and it would have solved a lot of the show’s problems. If you don’t mind the fanservice then this is a reasonable action anime to check out. At the same time, there are a bunch of shows that use the same concept but to better effect. The final episode does give you a glimpse at what the show could have been with a proper budget and better fight scenes as it feels a little like the climax of Buso Renkin or the beginnings of a Saint Seiya fight. Having the whole show be like that would have been hype. If you want to check out a better show in this genre, go watch Devil Survivor. That one has a lot of monsters and action but stays classy throughout.

Overall 4/10

Pacific Rim Uprising Review

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I remember watching the first Pacific Rim a while back and enjoying the concept of Kaiju vs Robots. The film had a relatively low budget so you couldn’t see large portions of the fight since it was at night but the whole thing was pretty epic. It was a solid film and I was certainly ready for the sequel. This film looked to increase the action based on the trailers so I was definitely all for that. It’s a solid sequel and one that almost matches the original film.

It takes place 10 years after the first film where the heroes closed the rift and saved the world. The world is ready to move on to automated drones so it appears like the pilots are about to be phased out. Are drones really a practical alternative though? They seem to turn evil in every sci-fi film. Meanwhile, we have our new main character. His Dad may have been leading the charge against the enemy but this guy just wants to have a bunch of parties and stay out of the action. Unfortunately he attempts to follow a thief so that he can steal the stolen items but he is apprehended by the cops and forced back into the program. A dark Jaeger appears at the summit he is supposed to protect and this begins the most climactic fight of his life. Can our heroes save the world one last time?

The action definitely lived up to the marketing which is nice. All of the fights take place during the day so there are no shortcuts like having most to obscure the robots. The two battles between Gypsy Avenger and the evil robot are excellent. Even if Gypsy does seem outmatched when it comes to the mechs, the humans know actual hand to hand combat which is finally important. After all, you would expect that to give you a big advantage in a fight right? Martial arts amp up your normal attacks so why it when inside a mech suit? The climax battle is great as well with the 4 Jaegers against the 3 Kaiju. Admittedly the Kaiju don’t look nearly as impressive as in the first film and only one of them appears to be able to fight back.

Still, they do get to roar quite a bit and I can always get behind that. Being able to absorb kinetic energy is always a great ability as well. Either way, the action scenes are definitely the highlight here and remind you of exactly why we needed a new Pacific Rim. I also do find it ironic that the Jaegers seem so much more streamlined and efficient then the Transformers. The Jaegers can still be a little slow at times, but they can maneuver through right windows and have a good array of abilities. They are really only limited by the pilots. Unlike the Transformers they aren’t constantly tripping or falling over. Granted, they can be knocked down rather easily by the Kaiju, but they get right back up.

The soundtrack isn’t bad but it isn’t memorable either. It won’t be one of the things that you will be talking about as you exit the theater but the visuals and loud sound effects help to mitigate this. I never count a lack of a soundtrack as a negative that would affect the score either unless it is painfully bad to listen too. Now it’s time to talk about the writing. Well, it’s certainly not great but it isn’t bad either. The dialogue could certainly be a lot worse and while the characters are rather generic they are written reasonably well. It’s definitely still night and day when compared to Transformers.

I’d say that the only scene where you will be cringing a lot is when the main character heads to the kitchen to have Ice Cream. He is extremely unhygienic which makes it gross rather than amusing. He eats from the ice cream bowl and puts his hand in the sprinkle jar. I feel bad for anyone else who enjoys the ice cream in this place. Surprisingly there aren’t too many over the top scenes like that which I was definitely glad about. There is a random subplot where one of the cadets is being mean to Amara and that was unnecessary, but not badly handled. If anything, the bully suddenly becoming nicer was rather rushed, but I guess getting beaten and forced into a choke hold by a little kid in front of everyone may have helped to crush her ego a bit.

Jake is a decent main character. He’s rather annoying at first as you can’t sympathize with him though. He doesn’t even need to steal or be a crook but just does it for the extra money. The whole currency exchange that he had going seemed rather illogical so maybe he just spent all of his money. Either way, he doesn’t get good until after the first showdown with the enemy. Then he finally wisens up to the fact that he needs to get it in gear and actually start fighting as opposed to constantly complaining and whining. You can probably tell that I’m not a huge fan of the guy so maybe saying that he is a decent character is a mild stretch. He is a lot better in the second half though so that helps to nage the opening at least a bit.

Then we have Nate who is Jake’s co-pilot and he is all over the place as well. He gives Jake an incredibly hard time throughout the film, but will also occasionally let it be known that he thinks Jake could be one of the greats. By the end of the film they are old pals again and the tension just seemed rather fake. Of course, I am on Nate’s side here since Jake did apparently abandon him for no good reason and then his next partner also abandoned him so it’s been a tough time for that guy.

Amara is essentially the kid from the recent Transformers film except 100x better. Instead of just talking tough and getting in everyone’s way, Amara is actually very capable on her own. She built her own Jaeger which is extremely impressive. I can’t give her enough credit for that because it must have taken a very long time so she was persistent and also had the skills to break into a government restricted area. Yes, you have to suspend your disbelief for a lot of the film, but what else is new? She sort of vanishes for a good chunk of the film, but returns in time to help for the climax. She’s not perfect, but Amara is probably the most reasonable character in the film and maybe will be the one that you can sympathize with the most. While everyone else is playing defense she is preparing for the next battle.

Then we have some returning characters from the first film like Newt. His interface with an alien was rather weird and pretty iffy at best, but aside from that one scene he is definitely a strong character. He delivers most of the snappy one liners and really doesn’t care about anyone, but himself. You can’t help but admire his self confidence and the fact that he is always the biggest person in the room. (When it comes to ego anyway) He’s an exaggerated character, but in a good way and his humor tends to land a lot more than the other characters. There is also Hermann who is basically the more stoic boring counterpart who uses his tech to help the world. He’s cool and all I guess, but you just can’t picture him putting up much of a fight compared to Newt.

Then we also have Liwen who is the head of corporate and feels like an antagonist in this film because of her ideals. She wants to use her drones to make the world a safer place where pilots aren’t constantly dying. They are now safe away from the dangers. It mirrors the real world issues of drones as they are safer for the pilots, but also bring with them a ton of security risks like the fact that they can be hacked or malfunctioned. They aren’t a complete substitute for normal Jaegers and Liwen tries to make this point, but the other characters basically just yell at her the whole time to drown out her points. Yes, I’m on Liwen’s side here. Apparently in 10 years we were only able to build a small handful of Jaegers to defend the main base and the UN Summit while she built hundreds of them in the same time frame. I think it’s obvious which ones are more efficient and they also seemed fairly strong if you ask me. Again, we do need a blend of both, but if we really want to win a war with the aliens then Liwen is the world’s only chance.

Finally, Mako also appears in the film for a bit as a guest star and she’s a cool character as always. Mako’s intelligence is given a lot of credit here as she is able to spot key facts about the enemy in an instant. While her role was small, it was important and she had a more lasting impact than many of the other characters. Does anybody actually remember the names of any of the Cadets? Those guys never got any real development (Which is a good thing if you ask me) and were just around so we could have more Jaegers. Development just wastes time if it’s used on too many characters, but that’s why Mako is good since she already had her character development in the first film and here you got to understand her character in a flash. Maybe a third film could flesh out the other pilots, but again…that’s unnecessary. Lets stick to the fighting.

You’ll never get bored during the film because it’s just very exciting. At times the film goes a little too overboard in trying to show how hopeless it is for humanity though. There are some points where it should really be all over for them, but the villains have mercy or don’t make the right moves. When the mini robots came swarming in they could have easily destroyed the Jaegers by going inside the circuits or something like that. It’s always a very annoying strategy by the villains, but it works. Why didn’t the evil Gypsy blast the 3 robot reinforcements who were being carried over? They were sitting ducks while landing so he could blast them or just stab all of their processors. Why did the villain just wait by his lonesome in the arctic for a fair 1 on 1 fight when he could have lured the heroes somewhere else? If he hadn’t been in the arctic then the heroes would have been absolutely lost.

Of course, the arctic fight was one of the best scenes in the film. Second only to the first fight so I am glad that the battle happened. I know that the whole point of these films is Robots against Monsters so I should be glad that we still get those at the very end, but honestly that robot fights were the best part. This is why I would love a Gundam film at some point with a proper budget. I don’t know why but Transformers just never has good fight scenes like the Pacific Rim films. Perhaps it is the terrible designs or the fact that most of the Transformer robots just punch each other instead of mixing it up with lasers and cannons, but the fights in Rim are a lot more satisfying. I’m starting to get off topic though.

I may give Pacific Rim 1 the slight edge overall, but it is extremely close. The more I think about it, the more the second film may have the slight edge, but it’s been a while since I saw the first movie. Rim 2 isn’t the greatest movie of the year and likely will have a tough time getting the 2nd spot, but I’d wager that it will still end up being one of the better films this year. If not top 5 then certainly top 10. It just doesn’t really make any big mistakes while doing a lot of things right like the action scenes. No animal violence, no excessive violence, the language was a lot more restrained than in other films, etc. It’s just a solid all around movie.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to actually talk about the monsters all that much, but in my defense the film barely shows them either. They’re basically just a footnote in this movie as they exist just to get squashed and beaten up. They don’t seem to have much intelligence compared to the older monsters and aren’t even much of a threat next to dark Gypsy. This will be sad for big Kaiju fans, but at least we have the Godzilla films coming up. The monsters have good designs and the fight is cool so I’ll give them that.

Overall, if you haven’t watched Pacific Rim Uprising yet then I think it is time to fix that. The fight scenes here are very good and are easily the best giant robot fights we have seen in live action. That might be a low bar, but that’s not to say that these fights were not impressive under any criteria. They really did a good job of capturing how well these robots can fight. While they may need more firepower to really tack on the damage to someone like Godzilla, they should be prepared for any monster that the aliens have in store for them. The ending will definitely get you hyped for a possible third film.

Overall 7/10

Futureworld Review

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That tagline is definitely a little dicey. It’s clever in its own way, but I get the feeling that it wouldn’t really fly nowadays. Here’s the problem, we don’t actually see the twist about fake people until the very climax of the film. Were the posters that came out before the film actually spoiling the entire movie so casually? All of the various posters that I’ve seen for the film have other lines more or less with the same premise. I’m surprised that the film would do such a thing since while it doesn’t come out of nowhere it is still treated as a rather big twist near the end of the film.

The film starts off by showing us Chuck the reporter. He’s a tough guy who always gets his scoop. He is the one who wrote the original piece on Westworld which destroyed whatever reputation the place had left after it murdered all of the guests. Well, he gets a call from someone who claims to have a scoop on the place, but just as Chuck arrives the guy is murdered. Chuck decides to go back to that amusement park and has to work alongside Tracy on the project. The two don’t get along but don’t mind quickly going past the friend zone anyway just to be contradictory. Westworld has reopened all of its sections except that one and now Futureworld is the main attraction. Chuck suspects that everything isn’t as it appears to be though and decides to check it out.

The elephant in the room is certainly how the place could still be operating. It is a huge leap in logic that the film never even tries to defend. The CEO talks about how they got some bad publicity but shrugs it off as if there was just a minor technical malfunction. Over 50 people died, but apparently the world doesn’t care as it is still quite busy. Surprisingly enough, World Leaders from around the planet are attending which is certainly fortunate for the company but would anyone really allow someone important to go to such a potentially dangerous place? I really don’t think so.

The main characters are also pretty unrealistic. As I mentioned a romance quickly starts between the main characters and it’s about as rushed as can be. It makes no sense and is just there to fulfill a quota. Tracy herself also comes across as way too mean and bold. She talks back to her boss and doesn’t care that he could fire her. Tracy goes out of her way to try and love Futureworld which is quite sad since she should at least stay objective about the place. She also can be a little slow on the uptake like when she fought her doppleganger. She is absolutely shocked even though she just saw the mech a few scenes ago. I’ll give her credit for somehow winning the gunfight though. That was still pretty impressive of her since I assume that the robot has a quick trigger finger.

As far as Chuck goes, I do like how antagonistic he is to everyone. He tries to get along with Tracy, but doesn’t give Mr. Duffy and corporate the same effort. After all, he’s not here to make friends with them, he’s just here to get a story. After seeing his informant murdered so casually it makes sense that he would be rather obsessed at this point. Still, he’s not very smart. At one point he grabs his gun and is ready for anything. In the next scene he puts the gun down to make a phone call and then gives his back to the door. Naturally this is when Mr. Duffy walks in to snatch the gun and hold him at gun point. Chuck only wins because Duffy isn’t very smart and doesn’t even bother to check the rooms properly even though he suspects that Tracy is there.

For more scenes that will make you roll your eyes we do get a scene with the Gunslinger from the original film as Tracy goes for a rebound. Is it still a rebound if you get together with someone in your dreams? Absolutely, it’s just as valid cheating as if you were doing it in the real world, maybe even more so. It was definitely a scene that really didn’t feel necessary with the rest of the film and should have been cut out to be honest.

I guess the biggest problem with Futureworld is that it can be rather dull. There aren’t any real action scenes until the very end of the film. Most of it is just the characters wandering around. The beginning of the film started it off with a lot of tension and suspense, but it all dissipates by the time the film gets around to actually doing anything. The writing is also not that good so you can’t expect it to hold the film up either. That’s probably the biggest reason why Futureworld doesn’t end up being all that great. You need solid writing to pull this off. I also have to say that the actual Futureworld looked so boring that only a few minutes are actually spent on the spaceship. The rest of the film is just them in the labs or wandering around Westworld.

A sequel to this film would probably be more exciting. We now know that the whole island is filled with robots and run by other robots. Since their scheme to conquer the world may take a backseat after the story gets out, fighting will be their only option. It’ll be Terminator level action scenes happening everywhere although since the robots aren’t bullet proof the ending will be a lot different. Still, at least it’ll have more going on for it than this one had. For all of the first film’s faults, at least it was never all that dull.

Overall, Futureworld isn’t a great sequel, but to be fair Westworld wasn’t a good movie. Lets put it this way, Westworld has the far superior premise, but Futureworld has the better execution. It’s not by much though and the films are rather close to each other in quality. I think I would give Futureworld the edge overall, but it’s close if we look at it purely from how entertained you’ll be. If you can get past the annoying characters and the rather slow moving plot then it’s not all that bad. The film doesn’t do anything all that original this time around, but at least it avoids easy mistakes like animal violence since mainly there are just a lot of robots around. I wouldn’t recommend this film unless you’re a big sci-fi fan and like robots. Then I suppose that it’s probably worth checking out.

Overall 5/10