Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Allegiant Review


All right, it’s time to finish off this trilogy. Divergent has had a good start, but all good YA movie titles must end at some point and now this one is over. The true finale was cancelled though so it ended a little sooner than expected, but that’s all right. Unfortunately it does end on a bit of a whimper compared to the first two. There are a lot of good moments here so it’s still not a bad movie, but it really does feel like this arc is a bit of a re-tread in a lot of ways. You’ll start to see how futile the main characters’ rebellion is.

Tris and Four have finally stopped Jeanine and brought the world to a more peaceful place. That was the plan at least, but the new leader Evelyn already seems to be as corrupt as Jeanine. She has shut down the borders so everyone is locked in the tower once more and has decided to execute all of the people who were under Jeanine’s regime. Tris decides that she has had enough waiting and along with Four, Caleb, Peter, and Christina they break through the border to the outside world. This world promises to be a utopia, but is it really so perfect?

This is the kind of plot that can be quite frustrating most of the time. For starters, Tris and Four have already been through quite a lot. Whether or not you think the romance has been handled well, you’d expect them to have complete confidence in each other by now. Unfortunately the villains are able to create a bit of a rift between them and sucker Tris throughout the movie. Usually in these situations I would say that both characters deserve 50$ of the blame, but in this case I have to say that it is all Tris. Tris has been shown to be a very smart character in the past two films and doesn’t just believe what she hears.

Instead she falls for every trick in this book. She comes across as very naïve and nearly costs Four his life by walking away with the villain. She doesn’t even seem to consider that he is actually right and we do the whole “No time to talk” part where if she just stopped to listen then the whole thing would be over. This is definitely Tris’ weakest film. Now, even if she had listened to Four there is no guarantee that she could have done a whole lot to stop the villains of course, but at least she would have been in a position to do something. By ignoring all of the issues it just gets worse for everyone else.

Meanwhile, this is Four’s best film yet though. Throughout the series he has been portrayed as one of the best fighters in the series and this one doubles down on that. He takes out a whole plane full of armed guards and tends to beat up everyone who gets in his way. He just leaves a wave of destruction in his wake and it’s pretty satisfying. He figures out the truth about the place very quickly. In part it’s because he didn’t trust them from the beginning, but that is the right outset. Look, you’ve grown up in a dystopian future where everyone’s been lying to you from the start. Why would you go somewhere else and assume that it would be better? I’m sure Four was hoping the place would be great, but he didn’t just suddenly take them all at their word. That was the right call here.

Meanwhile, this is Caleb’s film to try and make a big comeback. He looked really bad in the last film to the point of being borderline irredeemable. In this one he knows that he owes Tris his life several times over and is doing his best to atone. It’s clear right now that he does regret his actions so he looks a lot better here, but I’m still not a fan of the character. Even now he gets a little too absorbed in the data part of what’s going on and loses sight of what’s important. He does come through when it counts though so you do have to give him some credit.

Then you’ve got Peter. He’s been super manipulative throughout the films and has been a fun villain. I don’t think it’s likely that you will like the character, but I do enjoy him as an obstacle for the heroes. He’s consistent with how overconfident and arrogant he is. No matter which side he is helping you can bet that Peter will be doing his best to tick everyone off and play them against each other. You can’t even say that his role here is all that unexpected since he has made it clear in the past that you can’t trust him. It’s a shame that we aren’t getting the next film because they’re definitely setting up for a really big fight between him and Four. As it stands Four would crush him if it’s a fair fight so Peter will have to come up with a plan. Peter’s a jerk, but that’s a trait that works really well for a villain.

Then you’ve got David who is the main villain here. The film kind of toys with the idea of him being an old man who just doesn’t know what is going on, but never really goes for that because almost immediately they make him look shady. The problem is that you can’t really take him all that seriously as a villain because he’s just an old guy who can’t really fight. He has the country in his pocket so he is tough to stop, but that’s about it. As a result his final scene is more humorous than threatening. I dare you not to crack a grin as the film ends because it is definitely going for a very ominous moment that will keep you up at night getting ready for the sequel, but it’s hard to take seriously.

That being said, the heroes really should have no chance in a 4th film if you ask me. What can they possibly do? The heroes are outnumbered by an insane amount and are also outgunned. They have basic guns, but the villains have high tech robots that can do just about anything and even come complete with barriers. Still, having a cliffhanger is better than not having one so even if I couldn’t take David seriously, I do like that the film made the attempt.

Then we have Evelyn and her civil war plot. She may protest quite a lot, but at the end of the day she basically is Jeanine 2.0. She may have different views, but she goes about them in the exact same way so you can’t really say that there are a bunch of differences between them. I do think she is a more interesting villain than Jeanine though and she is pretty serious about her goals. Evelyn does get manipulated a little easier than Jeanine though so if I were comparing the villains in terms of who is better at the role, Jeanine is definitely more successful.

Evelyn somehow manages to blow her lead against the Allegiant so badly that they outnumber her at the end and are about to claim victory. That’s pretty crazy since she should have easily been able to win even without using the gas at her disposal. I feel like it was just an excuse to quickly throw in why the gas was necessary, but it didn’t add up. Maybe something was cut out from the book here.

Going back to why this film was weaker than the others, I really think it’s all about how Tris was handled. She’s one of the highlights of the series and I felt like her character took a few steps back. Right when David started not allowing Four to accompany her she should have known that something was up. She also should have protested and just not met up with David in that case. There are many way she could have handled this better. I’m also not sure about her just sitting back and not even speaking out against the trials near the beginning. Inaction is never a good thing.

Also, as I mentioned it’s like we’re back to square one. The heroes beat one dictator, but now they’re up against another and are outnumbered again. They’re going to be the rebellion yet again only with double the trouble this time. They can handle this plot reasonably I’m sure, but not much would probably happen until the next film. The pacing here is good, but it all just feels futile because you never feel like they’re going to come out on top here. There’s not much they can do as just a city against the rest of the world. Even the random jello scene (Completely unnecessary) at the beginning shows how they could have easily choked all of the heroes right there and it’d be game over. Their tech just doesn’t play fair.

As always the fight scenes are definitely top notch though. Pretty much any scene with Four in it is a great moment. The airplane fight where he uses all of the enemy weapons against themselves is particularly brilliant. Those guys definitely didn’t have a chance. Surprisingly I’d say that the little drones didn’t really make for more enjoyable fight scenes likely due to the fact that the barriers are extremely overpowered against ordinary guys with guns.

Overall, Allegiant continues to build the world and does introduce a lot of new elements into the mix. Unfortunately, they don’t always feel necessary and this is a story that really feels like it wrapped up pretty nicely in the last film. I’m not really sure we needed another civil war to bring the factions back. Of course it is realistic because people never want to ditch the old ways. It probably should have picked one plot (Outside world or civil war) and stuck to that though, have the other plot pick up afterwards. It may not have been the big finale we may have hoped for, but at the same time this trilogy was considerably better than I was expecting so that was good.

Overall 6/10

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Divergent Review


I remember seeing the trailer to the second film in this series many years ago. It was a pretty solid one and definitely gave the series a more interesting vibe to me than the competitors like Hunger Games. Still, now that I’ve finally seen it, does the movie live up to the hype? I do think it’s a pretty fun movie, but nothing particularly special. There’s enough here to keep you marching towards the sequel.

The film introduces us to a world where people are divided into sub categories based on a test result and then their own choice via blood oath. There are a handful of titles in the world, but the one that looks the most enjoyable to the main character Tris is the battle faction Dauntless. She undergoes the test, but the result gets glitched out and she is told to keep this a secret. Tris doesn’t like the way this is going, but it does mean that she can effectively choose whatever faction she wants. She naturally chooses Dauntless and after a harsh initiation barely manages to get in. She finds out that she is what they call a “Divergent” who is smarter and more emotional than the average human. Unfortunately the government doesn’t seem to like divergents so she will have to keep this under wraps. It’s a lot of pressure but she’ll just have to keep this in mind as she also struggles to stay in Dauntless as the commander decides to keep on weeding out the lowest ranking members.

It’s a pretty interesting future setup. Naturally you’ll have a lot of questions about how humanity arrived at this point, but the past doesn’t have to be explained all that much as you can just take this at face value. Of course you can probably anticipate some of the upcoming twists relating to the world structure as a result. In general I like the world that’s built here. It’s a lot more interesting than both Maze Runner and the Hunger Games since we actually have some future tech here and you can tell that we’re still in the future. I think it defeats the purpose of a future setting to have everything look really old so Divergent doesn’t fall into this trap.

It’s also got a reasonable cast. I like Tris wayyyyyyyy more than Katniss or that guy from Maze Runner. A point in her favor is that she is quick to adapt to what’s going on rather than panicking. In her first moments as Dauntless she is told to jump off a building, jump off a train, climb a tower, and do all kinds of crazy stuff. She just gets it all done without complaint. Now this doesn’t mean that Tris is completely fearless, she admits as much during the film, but she always puts on a brave face which is important. You have to act the part if you want to eventually live it out. Tris calls several characters’ bluffs and steps up to protect her friends when they’re about to get diced. She’s just a great lead and does a good job of carrying the film.

As for the main guy, Four is fairly good. He’s a solid fighter and doesn’t approve of Eric’s harsh methods of teaching the recruits. However, he doesn’t do anything to stop Eric so I can’t give him all that much credit yet. He likes Tris so he coaches her and helps the lead out, but he doesn’t do that for anyone else. Towards the end of the film he gets better at doing his own thing though. One thing that may be a bit overdone is how many times he grabs Tris to turn her around when she’s trying to leave. It’s borderline becoming a running gag by the end of the film and it even carries into the next installment. I guess he really needs eye contact when talking to her. Four’s definitely fairly gruff and mean to everyone who isn’t Tris but he’s still solid overall.

The other characters start to get a little dicey. You’ve got Eric who’s the commander of the Dauntless. He’s obviously corrupt from the start and is happy to murder his fellow comrades. In this grim world where everyone’s mean and thinks about themselves you’d think that someone would have rebelled by now. The guy has quite a lot of control and seems to be pretty much untouchable. Then you’ve got Al who’s pretty nervous the whole film and cracks by the end. He’s definitely a terrible character. Tris’ brother is pretty annoying as well as he is quick to ditch Tris and everyone else for his new job. The guy has a very inflated ego and is brainwashed with ease.

Christina is a good ally at least. She goes out of her way to help make Tris feel welcome in the beginning. She does make some dicey decisions to antagonize Eric and Four without a plan though. It’s played off like she doesn’t know better, but by that point I feel like she should. Then you’ve got the antagonistic Peter. It’s actually pretty hard to get a bead on the guy since sometimes he’ll seem like a friend who just goes a little too far with his jokes while in other scenes he seems downright villainous. He does add some personality to the cast though and is a good addition. Finally you’ve got leader of the government, Jeanine. She makes sure that everyone stays in their lane and definitely has big plans. She’s fairly generic, but handled pretty well. It’s nothing that you haven’t seen well, but the writers did handle her character with care so it’s not like she’s just going through the motions.

I definitely have to give the film a thumbs up for the writing. I’m not going to say that it was exceptional, but it did take shots at something that a lot of films let slide. Lets go back and imagine this scenario. You’ve just been selected to join the meanest, most corrupt squad in the land. You’ve just seen as Four and Eric have yelled, bullied, and beat up anyone who dares challenge them. Are you going to continue to antagonize them? Well, a lot of the characters would say yes to that. In their defense, you usually get away with making sarcastic remarks in most other films. Even the mean characters will just shoot you a glare for doing that. Not so in this film. One character remarks later on in the film that the guns look pretty weak so naturally Eric shoots her to prove that it wasn’t. Another one asks Eric if she can give up even after he told them numerous times not to give up or bad things would happen. He ends up throwing her over a cliff. Another guy says he won’t go pick up his dagger so Eric uses him as live dagger throwing practice.

It feels like these characters just never learn. They come across as extremely slow on the uptake. It’s handled pretty realistically with the consequences for this though as naturally the villains won’t let it slide. A lot of the film is fairly dark and mean spirited like this as being in Dauntless is definitely portrayed as being a life threatening situation. Still, the film never goes too far with it so it doesn’t actually hurt the film.

One weakness the movie does have is the inevitable romance between Tris and Four though. It really is just there to fill in all the usual tropes, but it all happens very fast and there’s no real reason for it. Four basically did save Tris’ life multiple times so it’s not unreasonable that she would fall for him, but at the same time with the stakes so high it’s not really the right time or place for it. It also eats up valuable time that could be used for other aspects of the movie. Most of the movie is well paced, but it gets a little rushed by the ending. I actually thought the film was going to end before the raid on the enemy base, but the movie actually managed to squeeze it in.

So we’re introduced to a whole new group of characters who are part of a resistance and they want to break into the villain stronghold. You would expect that this would be a very long sequence of planning and such, but the heroes basically just walk right in. To put this in perspective, they even get the main villain at gun point. If they shoot her then the whole trilogy is basically over in an instant. For reasons that elude me they decide to spare her. Sure, it’s the hero move, but that isn’t really one of their top priorities most of the time and they’re trying to win a war right? Well, that catches up to them in the sequel. It’s a fun climax that actually is pretty hype, but it all just happens so fast.

While we don’t see them much, Tris’ parents were decent. The dad didn’t get to do a whole lot, but the Mom had some pivotal moments and definitely made a difference. She also reminded Tris to stay strong and the heroine did good when confronted with one of her old allies. You can’t just knock out mind control so easily so she made the right call in ending the fight in a single shot. Naturally going for a non fatal wound would be ideal, but it is definitely tough to aim like that in close quarters. The fight scenes throughout the movie are really solid. The hand to hand is on point and even the blaster battles look good and aren’t dragged out.

Overall, Divergent is a pretty fun film. It’s actually surprising how solid it is, I wasn’t expecting it to be all that good. You may have to suspend some disbelief for how dangerously the Dauntless like to live though. They let Tris ride down a roller coaster where there are at least half a dozen spots where you can die if you don’t move at just the right moment. I feel like a lot of trainees would have died in those spots and there’s really no reason to do such things. There shouldn’t be many people left alive in that faction if they continue like this. Still, it’s a solid way to start the series and it’s just a lot more exciting than you would expect at first. It actually lives up to the thriller genre and at this point it’s looking like the series to beat as far as the YA movies based on books go. I’ll have a review up for the sequel soon.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Men In Black: International Review


All right gang, it’s time to look at the Men in Black’s latest outing. It’s definitely a franchise that pretty much everyone is familiar with although it hasn’t been the most consistent of titles. The first film was really good and the second was still solid. The third one was a pretty big dip in quality though and this one is more in line with that. It’s a decent movie, but one that you probably won’t bother to see twice.

The film starts out with a tease with Agent H and T heading off to fight the Hive. The scene ends real quick though so you never get to see the fight, thereby making it a bit of a waste of an intro. The scene wasn’t bad, but the sudden ending just invalidates the whole thing. We then cut to a flashback taking place before the intro which was also a flashback. We’re introduced to Molly who managed to escape having her memory wiped since everyone thought she was asleep. She then makes it her life’s mission to find the MIB. After tracking them down and being recruited she is given her first assignment. Agent M is to work with H and what should have been a routine escort mission quickly becomes a planetary crisis. Is M ready for this?

First off, the script is pretty solid. I do like the fast paced banter with the leads here. This style of humor’s been working pretty well for Chris’ various cinema characters lately and Agent H is no exception. He’s always got a comeback for everything and the rest of the characters follow suit. One good example of this is Pawny who takes every opportunity to take shots at H. While not all of the insults will land there are quite a few solid ones in there. One involves referencing how H was choked which was the ultimate comeback. There’s no counter to that. There is a whole lot of comedy in the film, but it rarely gets annoying. At most you’ve got some laugh scenes that last too long or too many jokes in a small time frame, but with the writing it didn’t really feel like an issue.

I think where the writing breaks down is how MIB just feels more about spectacle than realism here. I’m sure there are issues with them you could nitpick in the earlier films too, but here they’re just very apparent. One is how the heroes constantly show off the alien tech everywhere. There’s one scene where H and M quickly blast a few humans with the memory wiper, but ignore the hundreds of other people in the area. I guess there’s no time to blast them all, but then it’s almost pointless to blast the few. Molly’s whole origin story is pretty telling on how easy it is to avoid the MIB. I feel like more people should know about them at this point. As for a total nitpick, the train scene is a little odd. This is a secret MIB train that only the agents know about so why does it keep changing from an MTA train to a sci-fi one? Once it’s already underground with aliens boarding I don’t see the purpose in keeping it transformed except for the shock value scene of spooking M.

The film is also very predictable. To an extent most films are, but some just feel more telegraphed than others. This one is like Captain Marvel in that respect (Maybe it’s just a sci-fi thing) but you’ll be able to predict all of the twists before they occur. I won’t even hint at the main twist, but the instant one character brings up the possibility you just know that it’s a certainty. Then there’s one character who appears for an instant near the beginning so you know it’ll tie in later on. They say that the destination doesn’t matter and it’s all about the journey so if we take that as true then this wouldn’t really hurt the film. Honestly I don’t hold predictability against a movie since I do think it’s all in the execution. It wouldn’t hurt to mask what’s going to happen a little better though.

Now for the characters. I think Chris Hemsworth is quickly becoming like Tom Cruise or Dwayne Johnson in that he’s quickly becoming an actor who is playing himself rather than a character. There’s a debate to be had on whether that’s a good thing or not (Hint, it’s usually a good thing) but regardless it makes for H being a pretty entertaining character. He definitely has his share of iffy moments and he goes a little too far in being the irresponsible lead. You can see what the film is going for with the character, but I think he plays the trope a little too far. Now, the film does open the door to an explanation for this, but the film only halfheartedly entertains the idea and never goes through with it. Unless we actually get a sequel this will just be something for fan theories and headcanons so I can’t give him a pass. He’s an entertaining character, but definitely not a heroic one.

M is pretty solid. She’s definitely his polar opposite as she has lived her whole life just to join the MIB and as a result has no real life. This is almost a bit tragic to be honest, but I always like when a character has a one track mind like this. She’s a quick learner and while she isn’t as quick to think on her feet, she does have a lot of general knowledge on aliens and such. M has done her research so she adds some brains to the operation. She fills in her role pretty well.

Agent C is also a solid character. He’s thrown into one of those roles where he’s made out to be the annoying figure in the film, but that’s all if you look at it through the main characters’ lens. If you think about it objectively he is just doing his job and doing it well I might add. Every action he takes makes sense and it’s also perfectly understandable why he is a little jealous about how H gets to break all of the rules. I liked him quite a bit. Then you’ve got Agent T who is the classic boss type character. He’s pretty stern and down to business. A solid character all around, but naturally I liked him best during the flashback opening where he was a field agent.

As mentioned earlier Pawny is mainly here to crack a lot of jokes. He does come in handy on many occasions though and I think a good comic relief character needs to know when to step up. Pawny did just that and as a result he is a very complete character. He easily could have been a very annoying one so I think we got to give him some credit for avoiding that fate. Then you have one of the villains named Riza who is around for a quick fight scene. I do like the idea of a 3 armed fighting style and thought the fight was pretty well handled. Her actual plot wasn’t though. I won’t say much here, but keep in mind that her island is known as a lair of certain death and is the toughest place in the cosmos. So…why doesn’t she have more guards or security so people can’t literally strut around the place? Everything’s connected to one lever??? You’re gonna be suspending a lot of disbelief here.

There are also the two villains from the trailer who can turn into a space like vortex. They have cool designs and I like the moveset, but the film doesn’t give them a whole lot to do. In a way they just feel like they’re filling in space which is never what you want to happen. I think so much more could have been done with them, they don’t even really get named by the end of their appearances.

The special effects are definitely on point. There are a lot of scenes where the movie gets to show off the energy effects and such. There aren’t too many fights, but I did like the first action scene which took place in the city. The city’s always the best backdrop and as I mentioned the villains’ powers have good visuals attached to them. There were even some Terminator influences here with how they could manipulate metal. Then the soundtrack is superb as always. The main Men in Black theme is just really good and tends to fit in with everything. It makes any scene feel a lot more intriguing automatically.

Overall, Men in Black International was pretty reasonable. It’s a good film, I just wouldn’t call it very good. I think it’s a nice example of a film that didn’t necessarily do anything wrong (No animal violence, no excessive violence, the script was reasonable, etc) but it doesn’t really stick out. There are films that tackle the same subjects and plots that just handle them a lot better. This movie is the kind of title that makes for a fun experience at the theaters or watching at home the first go around, but there’s not a whole lot to say about it afterwards. You’ll enjoy it, but then move on to the next thing. There’s nothing great about it or super good in general. Still, I would recommend checking it out. Honestly, just being an enjoyable film isn’t such a bad thing. It wouldn’t be the first title I’d check out, but if you just want to watch a nice movie with some action scenes then this will be up your alley.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Flash Gordon Review


It’s time to look at the legendary Flash Gordon movie. This is definitely a retro sci-fi film that pretty much everyone has heard of at this point. It’s definitely a pretty good movie that’s aged pretty well. Despite the film mainly having a light tone some parts do get pretty dark which is that rare back and forth you don’t see as much nowadays. I’m definitely cool with that, but basically Flash Gordon really gets around and tackles the sci-fi genre from all sides.

The film starts with Flash and Dale on a flight. Unfortunately their plane goes down thanks to some fire hail and a weird storm that came out of nowhere. They meet up with a crazy scientist named Zarkov and he forces them into a ship with him as the 3 head towards the planet of the invading alien race. The guy definitely is crazy and a villain as he forced them in, but I suppose at the very least you do have to give him some props for actually being right here. It all was an invasion and all those years he was right for worrying about it. No excuse though. Now these 3 unlikely heroes have to save the world or die trying!

Flash is definitely a fun hero. He’s basically the classic lead you would expect from a classic action film. He may not have any professional experience, but he’s got natural leadership skills and is quick on his feet. The scene of him using football skills to take on the villains was definitely pretty fun. The guy’s confident and also nice to a fault. If anything you may get frustrated with how forgiving he can be at times, but that’s just how he rolls. Flash is here to save everyone and he’s quick to put his life on the line to help his friends and even total strangers.

Then we’ve got the heroine Dale. She’s also got a strict moral code that she lives by which she refuses to break. I do like when heroes have an honor code and the same goes for villains, but at the same time I do think she put herself in a pretty bad spot right from the start. Why promise the villain that you won’t try anything if you know that he’s gonna break his promise? Not going through with the poison plan was a bit iffy. Still, I guess Dale was a good character.

Then you’ve got Zarkov. He’s pretty strong willed and certainly has the deepest voice of the cast. That makes his scenes pretty fun even if the character himself can’t quite keep up with the rest. You can’t really forget that everyone’s in trouble because of him. He also is directly responsible for Flash losing round 1 so if he hadn’t made that mistake the heroes may have won a whole lot sooner than they did.

Next up is Aura who is the daughter of the main villain. Unlike Ming, she isn’t pure evil though. It may not be accurate to call her a pure hero at first as she saves Flash for her own reasons, but at the very least she doesn’t like his cruel methods. She definitely suffers the most from all the characters though and you’ll feel pretty bad for her during the various scenes. Her moments are the only parts where the film does tend to get pretty dark. Considering how much work she did to help the heroes I would have liked for her to have had a bit of a happier route. The torture scene was particularly brutal.

The villains definitely aren’t quite as solid as the villains. You’ve got Klytus who is Ming’s right hand man. He just wants to be with Aura though so that doesn’t make for the greatest villain motivation. He’s just petty and you can’t root for a villain like that. Then you’ve got Barin who likes tricking Klytus and not following his orders. This makes him look even worse to be honest. She’s not bad, but doesn’t really have much of a role next to the others.

Ming is the main villain and he’s one of those classic spoiled kings who can’t really fight much. He has a pretty OP ring which helps him fight a bit, but beyond that he is dependent on his allies. Considering that all of his allies are constantly looking for an excuse to betray him the guy can’t rest easy. In particular there are 2 generals who are always rebellious. First is Kala who doesn’t like Ming, but he’s too scared to do anything. He spends most of the film trying to destroy Flash and grumbling a lot before finally being forced on board. Likewise for Vultan who talks a big game but is too scared of Ming to do anything.

Actually maybe I should take that back because all of the villains in this film seem to be cowards. They probably wouldn’t even try betraying Ming if there was any chance of them getting caught. No wonder he enjoyed such a long stint as the leader. Good thing Flash came when he did eh?

The special effects have definitely aged pretty well. The space battles are a lot of fun and it feels like a scene from Star Wars. The music here is definitely pretty fun. The classic Flash song definitely pops up a lot and the timing is pretty solid. At one point the heroine asks rhetorically who could possible save them and then the song starts with the lyric “FLASH!!!” as he shows up in a meanwhile scene. The song loves to keep on repeating that lyric in particular so expect to hear it quite a lot as the film goes on.

In general the writing is pretty solid here as well. The character cast may not be amazing for the most part, but Flash and Aura are really all you need. The film’s pacing is pretty quick. It’s a long movie, but it doesn’t drag on. The romance may not be particularly solid, but it doesn’t play a big role in the film. It’s just kind of there to check off the box.

The film does end with a pretty cool cliffhanger as well. I imagine it probably won’t ever be resolved, but it was still neat to see. I think a nostalgia sequel could actually do pretty good so the film companies should definitely think about it. It may be hard to get a scene quite as cool as Flash using Football to take down the villains, but it’s worth the attempt.

Overall, Flash Gordon is a pretty good sci-fi film that holds up well. Any character who isn’t Flash will probably annoy you at times, but he puts them in their place. The film’s light, but can get a bit violent at times like in Flash’s spike battle. It’s really a film that can change elements at any given time which is pretty cool. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would recommend checking it out. Just remember that Aura could have left at any time, but chose to be a hero and paid the price. She proved her heroism more than any other character except for Flash.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike Review


All right guys, this is a milestone game. It’s my final entry in the Star Wars series! There’s still one or two games I need to get someday, but now I have at least beaten all of the ones that I own. Rebel Strike is definitely a good one to ends things off with. It’s not the best Star Wars game by a longshot, but it’s definitely a quality title all the same. It’s a classic aerial shooter title with some ground elements thrown in as well. While those parts feel more button spammy than the rest it does help make the game feel more complete.

The game’s plot roughly covers the trilogy as per usual. It seems to start with the second movie rather than the first though, I’m guessing Rogue Squadron II probably covered that one. The Rebels are losing ground against the Empire so their only chance is for a young jedi named Luke and another aerial fighter to take back their home and win the war. During the game you get to pick your path as you progress through the story. Depending on which level you pick will determine which character you play as. It’s a pretty interesting way to go forward for sure.

There are around 10-12 levels in the game although if you pay through all of the routes then you can add a few more levels. (Only 2 routes and 4 levels are shared) Most of the levels have the normal aerial combat gameplay. It’s pretty fun as usual although definitely a lot less polished than the others ones I played which is almost odd. Good luck trying to lock on to anyone as the enemies move too quickly. There was a long tutorial level to start the game off so maybe I missed a few things, but it seems to be like there may not even be a traditional lock on. The enemies also camouflage into the space sky really quick. It’s hard to get a read on them so at times the best thing to do is to just blast wildly. You can also turn infra red on which helps but it doesn’t look quite as fun when used for long periods of time. That said, I’d give a thumbs up to the gameplay overall.

The next gameplay style in the game is the human combat. This is the best part of the whole game so it’s a shame that it only shows up 2-3 times. You basically play as Luke or Han and go around blasting people. It’s definitely a style where spamming the A button is enough to get you through, but it’s very satisfying. It’s extremely simple and feels like you’re back in the arcade. Just run around blasting everyone until you get to the end of the level. There’s nothing more that you need to get to the end and if you ask me that’s exactly how it should be.

Finally you have one level where you’re on a scooter. This is the worst level in the game so I’m glad it only popped up once. The goal is to ride to the end of the level and take out all of the scouts along the way. There are about 11 and then one that you can’t beat until the cutscene plays. The level is annoying for a bunch of reasons, but one of those is the fact that the level explicitly tells you to eliminate all of the enemies. It even gives you an attack to help with that. So what’s the scam? Well, if you attack them then they start attacking back and they’re a lot stronger than you. The best way to win this one is to actually not even try ramming into them. If you just fly peacefully to the end you can just turn right and left and the guys will fall into trees. It feels cheesy and I doubt it is really the intended option. This level just wasn’t made all that well.

The graphics here are pretty good. We actually get some scenes from the movie as well which is always pretty fun. The space levels are a little hard because of how everything is covered by the shadows. I don’t really think this was intended so I will say that this does hold the graphics back a bit though. As for the soundtrack, it’s all themes that you’ve already heard a few hundred times before. They’re still good, but there’s nothing really new to talk about here. Star Wars uses the old themes as a crutch so I look forward to hearing some new tunes once that EA game comes out in the near future.

There isn’t much replay value here, but it’s still a little better than some of the other games. You can go back and play the other paths to experience the full story. There are also some unlockables and you can try to earn a gold medal. Ultimately this may not be a whole lot so I would say to keep that in mind. The main campaign is only a few hours long as well so this is the kind of game that won’t really last very long. That means that the gameplay has to be tight and I thought it was. As long as you like aerial fighter games then you’ll be fine.

Overall, Star Wars Rebel Strike is definitely a good one to get. It’s to be expected though since it did come out for Gamecube. That console is still the ultimate gaming machine and I don’t expect that will ever change. It was really a pivotal moment in gaming history. Star Wars Rebel Strike may ultimately be lacking a little polish in some areas, but its core fundamentals are strong and that’s what counts. If you haven’t played this game yet then it’s worth buying, especially if you can find it for a good price. If it’s overpriced and out of print then I would just suggest getting a different Star Wars title. Most of them have a similar feel to this one so the price is key.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Replicas Review


It’s time to look at a film that I really only knew of because everyone was constantly taking shots at it. I’m used to amazing films getting bad reviews so that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but on the other hand there are numerous films that are panned for good reason. You never know what it’s going to be like until you watch it. Replicas is definitely not a great film, but I wouldn’t call it terrible either. Yes, there are big plot holes and the characters can be weak, but at the same time the film avoids making “the big mistake.” It does have any soul destroying moments like some films tend to have so that’s good….right?

The film starts off with William having some trouble trying to set up his A.I. robot. He’s been trying to load a human consciousness into one, but they all reject the body and go away. The whole company is going to be shut down if he doesn’t get results soon so William decides to go on a vacation with his family. While his wife Mona tells him to slow down William has no time for such luxuries and speeds down a pitch black highway during a casual hurricane. Naturally he crashes in the water and his family all die. No worries though, William’s co-worker Ed has been cloning animals for years and cloning people is basically the same thing. They clone the family except for William’s youngest daughter since they ran out of tubes. William erases her memories from everyone else since the brain is really just one big computer chip and life goes on.

Unfortunately the numerous problems with this plan start to surface as people who have a real brain and aren’t clones remember that William used to have a daughter and wonder why nobody else remembers her. Then you’ve also got the fact that William’s company is actually an evil terrorist group who wants to use the clones to conquer the world. William’s gonna have to use his A.I. program to stop them, but as he does this he’ll have to wonder why he spent so many years working on a dead-end A.I. project when he could have been cloning people for big profits all this time.

Look…I know this film has dozens and dozens of plot holes and irrational character choices, but another way to look at it is that you’ve just got the least intelligent cast of characters out there. Look at it through that lens and then you’ll be fine. There are hundreds of ways that William could have handled the situation better. He could have actually told the family a lie that would hold up rather than counting on them to not notice that almost 3 weeks have passed. He could have remembered that they all had lives and let people know so it wouldn’t appear that they vanished. He….could have slowed down in the storm, etc. Keep in mind though that he’s a crazed genius who couldn’t make a robot. He spends the first half of the film refusing to make any choices so Ed has to do everything. He’s just not ready for this madness.

There’s less excuse for Jones and his gang though. There’s one scene where they’re chasing the heroes and the heroes run into a hospital to remove the GPS trackers in their body. Mona works at the hospital so at least it is believable that she would know how to do this. However the villains follow them in through the back but don’t bother going to the front to block the exit? They don’t even bother breaking the car so the heroes can’t drive away. None of it makes any sense. Then they have 0 reaction times when the robot appears. I’d also argue that William has no reason to show Jones mercy and make him rich by the end. Why? Why do this?

Ed’s a reasonable friend, but the kind of guy you ultimately can’t trust. He’ll help you out of course, but when the chips are down he falls like a log. He did almost all of the work so either way William would have been doomed without him I suppose. Mona is actually pretty smart compared to the other characters even if I’m not sure how much that means anything next to these guys. She notices that something is wrong and once she figures out the deception she rolls with it as best she can. Mona doesn’t freeze up or anything which is always crucial in high pressure situations. I get the feeling that she would have handled this better than William in general.

The special effects for the robot are pretty bad, but beyond that I thought the visuals were pretty sound. The writing may be pretty bad in terms of structure and logic, but the script could have been a lot worse. There are some reasonable funny scenes in the movie. While the intro is tragic the film doesn’t dwell on it too much. It also doesn’t go for the easy fanservice during the tube scenes which I’m definitely grateful for. I think a good chunk of what makes the film salvageable is the ending. The ending is on point and if it had ended in just about any other way I think the film would have had 0 chance of recovering. There are certain tragic elements that will just end a film if the ending doesn’t do something to help it.

Overall, Replicas was actually decently good. It was entertaining and actually did have a pretty compelling plot. There was no animal violence or anything real sketchy here. The plot holes are enormous and you will have a hard time believing that William is a genius, but the good part is that you’ll feel pretty proud of yourself as you imagine how many ways you could have done a better job. The film is a little long, but I wouldn’t say it drags much. The first half is just a little on the slow side, but the film definitely speeds up later on. Once the villains start appearing it almost feels like a completely different movie. I’d actually recommend checking this movie out, you may just be surprised at how you enjoy it.

Overall 6/10

Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

A Certain Magical Index III Review


It’s time to look at the next season of Index and this one finally wraps up the original saga. We get a few different arcs here, but the big one is definitely World War III. Index is definitely a franchise that has gotten a lot of media over the years as the spinoff Railgun got 2 seasons, Accelerator is getting a show, and in general there have been a lot of novels and manga. It’s definitely a pretty fun series with a good plot even if it is held back quite a bit by the fanservice. That’s the case here as well as the first half of the season has quite a bit of this but then World War III gives us the best arc in the series. All in all, it’s a show worth checking out.

The first arc is about Touma heading over to France to recover the document of C. It’s a mass hypnosis document of sorts that has been used to turn everyone against Academy City. He’ll have to deal with Terra though, one of the 4 members of the Right Seat of God. Fortunately his old ally Itsuwa is here as well so together they’re able to fight a lot better than they could individually. They may also have more allies than they know.

There are a few mini arcs between the main ones with Accelerator and his group tracking down other nefarious groups. They seem to be trying to get other countries to fight against each other and to cause a divide in Academy City so they can’t let this happen. These arcs are usually only 2-3 episodes long, but they’re definitely quite solid. The whole vibe of the show feels so different here as it all takes place at night where the true Academy City shows its colors. Then you cut back to Touma and the happiness of the daytime. Academy City is definitely as shady as it gets.

Touma gets to fly to a few other countries to fight off the threats until we get to the big arc. The season ends with World War III. At last the tensions between the various countries have caused everyone to attack each other. At this point we’re following 3 different characters so there are a lot of plots to unpack here. While the 3 characters don’t all get to meet each other at the same time, each of them do meet the others individually. I suppose they’re probably saving a meeting of all 3 for the sequel show. Well, I’m not positive that Touma and Hamazura met here, but I think they did. Touma’s mission here is to take down Fiamma. Fiamma aims to crash a large meteor known as the Star of Bethlehem and basically wipe everyone out before saving the survivors with his power. Accelerator wants to find a cure for Last Order and also needs to stop a rampaging angel so Last Order will remain safe. Meanwhile Hamazura mainly wants to keep ITEM safe from the various government groups who are after them. They’ve all got different goals, but they end up at the same place.

One thing that’s always been very good about Index is the exposition. Exposition can be a mixed bag of course, but on the whole I tend to like it. Throwing info dumps around is a nice way to quickly expand the world. I know that for some it can just be rather boring, but I think that’s actually a rare case particularly if it’s about abstract concepts and lands as opposed to someone’s sob story. If it’s the latter then it’s gonna get pretty boring. Pretty much every character in Index goes on long winded rants about cosmic events, and various religious artifacts that have amassed a lot of power in a short amount of time. It’s cool to recognize the events that are being talked about even if they are not exactly accurate from real world events. They’ve gotta put that sci-fi spin on them after all.

Index has also gotten to the point where there are enough characters and plots for the series to really have fun mixing characters together. This is especially evident in one of the early mini arcs with Accelerator as you had 4-5 different factions running around. Even in the show various characters would start mixing up the groups. “You’re from ITEM!” “No, I’m from GUN.” “GUN is actually FORM” and stuff like that. It’s convoluted, but the more convoluted the better. It’s also pretty good for replay value. This is Index at its best, just throwing more and more info at you even during the battles.

Index definitely has its share of fun battles as well. For the most part Acelerator tends to have the best fight scenes although my overall favorite fight in the season was Acqua vs everyone. He was fighting off a whole army, Kanzaki, Touma, Itsuki, and a few others. That was just really impressive. The show does have a lot of plot hax with the fights though and probably has some of the more inconsistent power levels that I’ve seen. This is because Touma is the main character and that’s something that has always been a little dicey. Keep in mind that he is basically just a normal kid whose right hand can nullify all magic. That’s definitely very handy of course, but it doesn’t help against villains who have super speed and crazy attacks.

As a result his final fight in the series doesn’t really make any sense. Especially since the show went out of its way to stack the deck against him. Touma is standing on a pillar and there is nowhere to run or dodge to. His only real option is to fall to his doom and that’s not really much of a choice if we’re being honest here. Somehow during the fight he always lands on the same pillar though and Fiamma never thinks to just cut the pillar beneath him. There are hundreds of ways that should have been enough to beat Touma but it never happens. This is never really an issue with the other fighters as they all have super powers. Touma is really just the one who throws in the plot hax. I do think Acqua’s rival got a little nerfed by the end but that’s more debatable.

The animation may not be quite as impressive as Railgun or the earlier Index seasons, but it still has its moments. The company has been having quite a bit of trouble lately, but I’m sure they did their best. The fights that count still look really good and the openings look solid. In particular the final opening of the season is excellent and the best opening in the series. The animation style also does make Touma look a lot older. Not sure if it’s an intentional effect of the animation, but it does work pretty well since Touma acts a lot more mature than he used to be. He’s more of a hero here. In general the season also has a much darker look than the first two which makes sense since I’d call this the darkest season. As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty solid as well. My favorite theme only shows up once, but the rest of the battle themes are still pretty solid. The show definitely delivers on this front as well.

Now lets talk about the characters. Touma is the lead as always and I dare say that this is his best appearance. He makes a lot of good speeches as always and does a better job of keeping himself out of sticky situations. The first half of the season is still tough for him, but for the most part he stays strong. He’s also very resolute in trying to save Index after she is put in a dicey spot by Fiamma. He’s willing to make the heroic sacrifice when need be and in general is definitely a solid hero here. He may be a bit naive like with shooting Fiamma to Earth first, if the guy was still evil then he could simply start his murder spree all over again. Touma always believes in the good in people though which I suppose isn’t a bad thing.

Index doesn’t get a whole lot to do here. For most of the season she is stuck at home and once she enters the fray she is quickly taken right back out. She’s definitely a character who ultimately wasn’t that important in the series and could have been swapped out. Considering that she has a bunch of knowledge stored inside of her it would have been nice to have seen her finally fight for real at some point. Meanwhile Mikoto unfortunately also shares the same fate of not being very important in this season. If anything you could say that her role here is basically filler. She did finally learn about Touma’s amnesia, but doesn’t actually do anything with that knowledge so it doesn’t feel like this matters. She even lets him go off to a fight when she very easily could have followed him to try and help. She just accepts his decision to try and do everything on his own. It’s a noble call on Touma’s part, but as a real friend Mikoto should have absolutely stepped in to help instead of simply leaving. You know that Touma would have never just walked away.

Accelerator gets a pretty big role here and he’s definitely still one of the best characters. Before this season he actually was #1 but someone finally passed him, you’ll see who that is soon. Accelerator definitely looked awesome regardless though. While he still doesn’t like to be called a hero, his days of being a villain are basically over. Aside from one outburst he has where the guy almost turns back into his old self, Accelerator does a lot of good in this season. He saves a lot of prisoners on multiple occasions and does all he can to save Last Order. His abilities still seem to not have an upper limit so as the series progresses I expect he’ll become more and more valuable to the heroes. He’s definitely nobody’s pawn though and even when he’s tied up the guy is calling the shots. All of his scenes in this season are dynamite and it’s worth mentioning that all of his mini arcs were quite good.

As with Index, Last Order doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time here. Still, she’s reasonable enough I suppose and does her best not to be a burden. She just wants to have a peaceful life even if the government refuse to let that happen. Misaka Worst is a minor villain who shows up at one point, but seems to have become a bit of a supporting character. She’s definitely pretty cool and I’d like to see her fight more in the future. An evil version of Misaka is definitely a good idea and while her abilities don’t seem all that impressive, she was fighting Accelerator. Otherwise I’m sure she’d be doing quite well.

Monaka is an old lady who knows quite a lot because she was in a position of power for a long time. She’s retired, but the villains haven’t so people are still out for her life. As it stands she has a very painful time in the series as she gets shot and then has to shed some skin in order to help the heroes infiltrate the villain base. She’s not my favorite character though and takes a long time to make a decision. Meanwhile I still don’t like Tsuchimikado who is always acting vague and keeping secrets from Touma. He should just spill the beans already and comes across as a faker. At the end of the day he’s a government lackey more than he is a friend so he’s not someone that Touma should trust. He also doesn’t really have much of a power set so he’s not that good in a fight.

Itsuwa is one of the nuns who aids Touma when possible. Her abilities aren’t all that great, but she can definitely still fight and does aid Touma as best she can against Terra. The heroes are outmatched there, but she never gives up. She is around for several of the other fights as well. Terra is one of the big 4. He’s openly corrupt and enjoys harming everyone he fights against. He even brings innocent civilians into the mix which is something Acqua wouldn’t tolerate. Terra’s ability to change whatever matter is coming against him to 0 is very handy. It has some obvious weaknesses of course, but in a one on one fight it is very hard to see him losing. He made for a pretty good villain.

Then we have Acqua who is the best villain as well as the best character in the series. The voice that was chosen for him is perfect and I always like villains who have an honor code. He’s definitely a solid fighter and does realize when he is on the wrong side. Acqua bows to no one and makes time to help everyone he can. He even jumps to obscure towns to help fight off the government when possible while everyone else was busy dealing with the large scale threats. Acque goes where he is needed and the guy has a lot of determination. He’s one of the more impressive characters in the series and in a fight he can take down just about anyone. The guy’s also really knowledgeable which isw helpful since in Index you need to be able to comprehend all of these abilities and traps very quickly.

Vento is another one of the four. She appeared in season 2 and doesn’t have much of a role here, but she does show up for a fight real quick. Her opponent quickly takes advantage of her big weakness though and that is the fact that she fights with a cross in her mouth. There’s a lot of ways that this can go wrong and it gets pretty violent for her. In general Vento just doesn’t seem as impressive as the other 3 although her large constructs are pretty handy for defense. I can’t say that she’s one of my favorite members of the four though.

Finally you’ve got Fiamma who probably gets the biggest role of the 4. He is debatably the main villain of the series after all. His right hand is similar to Touma’s except that it destroys anything that it touches rather than nullifying it. He makes for a good villain and the guy is definitely very confident. He makes a lot of plans and always has backup ideas as well so taking him out of the picture is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.

Hamazura is not quite as heroic as Touma but makes more of an effort than Accelerator. At the end of the day he’s fine with murdering people and doing what he has to in order to protect his comrades. He’s not particularly invested in the missions so much as he just wants to protect his friends. He’s a fun character to have around but he’s definitely a lot more iffy than the other characters. He tends to make some dicey comments and is usually guilty of getting himself in trouble. Nobody to blame but himself in these cases. I also think his decision to try and team up with Mugino at the end was super risky and realistically they all should have been blown up at that point.

Etzali is a pretty interesting character and his plot probably gets the least amount of screen time here. He has a backstory involving him being a part of a shady organization from a while ago. It seems like they got even worse after he left as now they force their memebers to turn into monsters while trying to wield super powers. He definitely got out at the right time. This part never really gets any closure and I wonder if it would probably get finished in the sequel series or something.

Awaki doesn’t do a whole lot here, but her teleporting is definitely as handy as ever. It’s a great ability to have and really lets you bypass a whole lot of security measures that you would have to deal with otherwise. She gets a pretty fun fight against one of the villains. Really there are a lot of extra villains I won’t be mentioning here because the season has a ton, but I’ll still be mentioning the big ones at least.

One of those is Kakine. He’s the second ranked Level 5 esper and his abilities are pretty nice. He’s able to keep up with Accelerator to an extent after all and that’s not something that just anyone could do. He’s a pretty solid villain and gives Accelerator a really good fight. He certainly did better than the other teleporting guy as there Accelerator was winning without his powers for the most part. Either way Accelerator wasn’t about to lose here though.

Takitsubo spends most of the season knocked out or injured. She’s not quite as good as Last Order or Index, but she isn’t bad. the girl means well even if she is a little out of her league here. With crazy strong individuals running all around the place her enhancement pills are good, but they just won’t cut it. Then you’ve got Mugino who used to be the determined leader of ITEM, but now she’s gone completely crazy. She seems to be losing her sense of self as she becomes more and more like a zombie. In her final form she is barely even alive anymore. It’s interesting seeing her as a total villain, but that’s why it is pretty hard to accept her turning at the end. She brutally took care of Frenda after all..how do you come back from that? Kinuhata doesn’t get nearly as much of a role as the others, but she’s definitely a fun villain. Her abilities are handy and in a 1 on 1 fight she’s probably the only one who could possibly hold her own against Mugino.

Well, Frenda also doesn’t get much of a role here. She meets her fate pretty early on. She’s always been a fun character so it was unfortunate to see this happen to her. She probably should have tried to escape or stayed strong earlier, but I guess she probably never suspected that things would escalate so quickly. Then you’ve got Lessar who joins the cast near the end. She seems pretty crazy and while the character had potential at first she goes off the deep end later on. Lessar becomes incredibly obsessed with Touma and basically loses all of her potential. A shame that her character arc had to go that way.

Meanwhile you’ve got Aleister who is still as mysterious as ever. He doesn’t do much here so that’ll probably be saved for the sequel. He’s still content to watch everything from his water jar. Then you’ve got his alien double running around who seems to be a 4D being who can barely even talk in a way that humans can comprehend him. It’s hard to say where they are going with him, but his plans seem super risky. He needs Touma alive and yet there are so many times where the hero nearly died. You’d think he would pay a little more attention in that case right? When the double does show up he tends to be pretty invincible so far. Only Accelerator likely has much of a chance against him unless they can get Touma to grab him. It’ll definitely be tough though.

Then you’ve got some of the season 1 cast running around. Kanzaki definitely isn’t as impressive as she used to be. She seems to lose every important fight that she gets into here. I suppose the power creep was just too intense. She’s still a good character, but one that desperately needs a power up. Hopefully she will get that soon and she also needs to stop letting Tsuchimikado troll her all the time. Then you’ve got Stiyl who I never found to be all that impressive anyway. He does a good job against Index…but it’s Index. He seems to be a little too obedient though. Kanzaki disobeys the group when she feels like it, but so far Stiyl hasn’t done that. You’d think that he would be ready to ditch the group since they were prepared to end Index. He’s friends with Index right? A threat like that should make him take notice.

Carissa is my favorite of the various princesses. While her methods may be a bit extreme, she is definitely looking out for Britain in a way that the others clearly aren’t. Her abilities are pretty impressive since she wields a sword that gives her an incredible amount of power. She has a lot of fire and determination. Carissa also does battle with some other princesses who look pretty cool but we never get to learn much about them. Then you’ve got the Knight Leader who was able to do battle with Acqua on even ground. After that fight he never looks quite as impressive again, but it was still a great role and he was one of the best villains here.

As mentioned the series’ only real weakness is the fanservice. It pretty much vanishes after the first half although then you’ve got Lessar trying to mess with Touma in World War III. Her scenes quickly become annoying. The season felt a little more violent than the last two, but it’s hard to say for sure since it’s been a while since I saw season 2. At the very least you can expect the characters to really go through the wringer here. Several characters are shot point blank and others take so many injuries that they basically bleed out. It’s definitely no Titan, but it does get a little intense here. The scene has some pretty shocking moments like when Mugino took out Frenda. You just wouldn’t have thought that something like this would happen so it changes the whole dynamic of the show up to that point.

While I wouldn’t go as far as calling the whole show very dark, there are moments where it gets pretty serious. Going back to the animation style, it works really well as a result because while the first two seasons were pretty optimistic, here everyone is quickly forced to adjust to the situation. It’s war now and the casualties start to build up. There are moments of levity here and there, but the season maintains a steady serious tone. By and large this season probably works as a good example of a “dark” show that isn’t super gritty. It’s always hard to maintain that balance and to this day Madoka Magica is the best example of it.

The pacing of the season is definitely very fast. The events really go by in a flash so you want to absorb everything you can right away. It does help the series always stay exciting though. With the exception of the early Touma episodes, there is always something happening around the corner. There are so many groups and villains that you’re always wondering who is going to show up next. It’s a really good thing if you ask me. There are some fights that I would have liked to have been a little longer like Touma vs Accelerator, but as it stands most of the fights seem to last for a good amount of time.

Overall, Index Season 3 was definitely a good way to wrap up the series. World War III definitely felt like the big climactic event that it was supposed to be. Everyone got to throw their hat in the ring and we got a lot of cool fights and plots going. The season does get hurt a bit by the first half which suffers from the usual issues, but it’s still a good season in the end. You’ll probably have a better time if you watch the other two seasons first since you’ll really be able to appreciate all of the storylines, but I think you’d be able to hang in there with this season if you follow all the exposition. Just try to keep all of the names straight.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Varan The Unbelievable Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Masters of the Universe Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Predator Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 2/10