Happy Death Day 2U Review


The sequel is now upon us. The first film had a cool concept but I didn’t think it lived up to the potential it had. This one does a much better job of handling the adventure. It may have mostly thrown away the horror elements from the first film but you’ve still got the various murders, there’s just much more things happening in this film. Maybe too many since one plot just vanishes.

The movie picks up right where the first film left off. Tree has escaped the loop and is finally together with Carter. Ryan isn’t thrilled about this since that means his room is still off limits but he heads to his lab to finish working on the time travel machine. Unfortunately the teacher doesn’t like this and shuts the project down. Ryan is promptly murdered by a guy in a baby mask and ends up going back to the start of the day. Looks like he is trapped in a time loop now and the only one who can possible help him here would be Tree since she has a lot of experience with this.

I would say that the decision to make Ryan the main character is an awful one since he was such a terrible character in the first movie but this title actually has a good fake out about this. So don’t worry Tree is still the main character here. Plus she still keeps the character development from the first film so she’s a much better character through and through. This time around she actually acts like a lead and does a good job of taking down the enemies.

The story goes in a few different directions from the plot I outlined above so get ready for some twists. In a way the movie has to try and make the scenario a bit harder on Tree because otherwise she would solo this experience on her second playthrough. She takes down one of the villains within minutes and with her gun she takes another one down rather quickly. It’s nice to see her just jumping into action here.

At the same time, I also feel like the movie doesn’t take that far enough. At one point the characters need to use a bunch of time loops to try different theories and suggest that Tree just destroys herself a bunch of times at the end of the day since it’ll be less painful than getting murdered. I was against this plan from the start. It’s used as a comedic montage where she keeps dying over and over again but half of those deaths seem just as painful if not more so than actually getting murdered. (Jumping into a tree shredder is such a gruesome way to die)

Jumping out of a plane is probably the easiest death but why do that when you can still just take down the murderer? So we need the machine to work in order to stop the time loop but at the same time, why not take the chance to try and take the murderer down a few more times? Alternately, shoot yourself with the gun since it would be instant but I think just using each attempt to take the murderer down would be more satisfying. Presumably Tree still has to die to reset the loop but if she’s wrong then this will help the timeline more.

Now there is a bit of a subplot where there’s a doppelganger of another character from a different dimension who is trying to murder Ryan. It feels the most random because nothing comes of it and that whole plot just vanishes early on in the movie. I think the movie probably should have just skipped this plot entirely and it would have not changed anything. The idea of multiple universes is explored in detail later on anyway and there are a lot of ways you could set up the machine being broken like the principal throwing something at it.

There is a scene after the credits though which sets up things for the next film. If the 3rd film actually follows this plot then things are about to go in a really different direction. I got some Dreamscape vibes from it with how large scale this may end up being. It’ll be interesting to see how that goes. in that case this would probably be a complete sci-fi thriller as opposed to any remnants of horror sticking around but we’ll see how that goes.

This time I thought the writing was greatly improved from the first film. Maybe it’s because the film is leaning more into being a full comedy this time but I’d also say that it’s really because the characters are more likable. I already spoke about Tree but it’s true for the rest as well. This time Ryan isn’t completely one note the way that he was in the first film. He actually gets some development this time around which is good. I’m still not a big fan but this is a world of difference.

His two assistants are okay, there’s not much to them but they have some okay banter. Carter still seems way too easy with how he has a girlfriend but is ready to have affairs with other people. So while Tree has gone away from her cheating habits, they seem to still be strong with Carter. Even Danielle ends up appearing as a much more reasonable character this time around. She ends up helping the team when it counts and is also more understanding of Tree with regards to missing meetings and such. She’s nice enough where you will feel bad for her by the end.

Lori also gets a brief appearance which may not make her look all that great morally but it’s still some extra development. The heroes and villains all get more to do this time around and that’s one of the benefits of being a sequel since you can go over events quicker with no intro to slow things down. Someone like Tombs is still just a crazy killer with no character but he’s more of a plot device than a character anyway. Even Gregory’s wife gets to do some things this time around, her character certainly went in a different direction than I had expected that’s for sure.

So with the writing being my main issue from the first film, this was an immediate jump. I also just like Tree taking a more active approach here and really taking it to the villains. Speed running through the loop scene from the first film was also nice. It’s almost nostalgic seeing some scenes from the old film before everything appears distorted. There aren’t really any memorable tracks here but you can’t win them all.

Overall, Happy Death Day 2U is a very different film from the first film and in all of the best ways. If you came for the horror then you’re out of luck because that is really gone. You only get horror vibes for maybe the first 15 minutes of the film when it’s giving you the fake plot. This is done really well though with the proper amount of scares and tension. I haven’t seen the trailers, but I think it would be a missed opportunity if they showed much footage beyond that. The idea of having Ryan as the main character is a scary one but it would make the whole story changing that much more effective. I feel confident in saying that the real movie here beats the fake out version from the intro. As more of a sci-fi fan I was cool with the changes here. We even have a lot of big emotional moments as well which can always be a bit hard to take seriously when you’re already filled to the brim with comedic, thriller, and sci-fi moments but the movie has a little of everything and makes for a good watch.

Overall 6/10

Eden Review


Eden’s a show I hadn’t heard of before. It’s fairly short at 4 episodes so this almost could have just been a full movie. The animation feels very RWBY inspired which is a good thing and this ends up being a fun title to check out. Having Sara be the only human in the present setting was a bold move but one that works out well.

The show starts by introducing us to the far future where humans seem to no longer exist. Two robots named A37 and E92 are completing their tasks as normal when they come across a baby named Sara. They are supposed to immediately alert the high council to dispose of the human but they can’t bring themselves to do so and instead raise her as their kid. She grows up with them and while she isn’t thrilled about always having to be in hiding, she still has a good life. One day, she discovers a robot and a message. It would appear that the human race is still alive but trapped in stasis. Sara will have to find the unlock code to save them and she will have to do this quickly or they will never wake up again. This is going to be dangerous but it’s a mission that she is ready and prepared for.

A and E make for interesting characters since they are pure robots. We’re not talking about androids who have human emotions or anything like that but robots who do their best to understand what is going on. They’re inherently good robots as we see them taking a stand compared to most. Perhaps the fact that they are protecting Sara at all suggests that they do have true emotions. They can be rather awkward and don’t always know the best way to talk to her but I’d say they did a very good job of raising her.

The whole plot is very wholesome and I like the way that it was executed. Potentially it could have been a bit dull at first before the danger elements come into play but Sara is a good character and the robots make for solid supporting ones. It ends up being a solid dynamic either way. As for Sara, she’s a good lead and one who isn’t even that unreasonable. She does take some tremendous risks like jumping from high heights because she knows that her robot friend will catch her. I don’t blame the parents for being worried about that and of course Sara likes to venture fairly far away from her home.

She’s ready to jump into action when she finds out about her mission. It’s not an easy one either since the world is filled with robots that are after her. They’re fairly powerful ones too led by the mighty Zero. Zero has a design that really stands out here. It’s sort of like the Shredder from the TMNT 2003 show. He has a futuristic armor and a really booming voice so you can see why everyone follows him. Among the robots he seems to have the most character as well.

As the show goes on we learn more about Zero and more about the world at large. It’s pretty easy to see how Zero ended up going down the path that he did. In any show or movie where the villain makes the case that the world would be better without humans, it’s always hard to debate their point. Take this instance, with humans stuck in stasis, the world has become a utopia with no crime. Life and nature have prospered as well. If the humans return then Zero says they will bring war and crime back with them as well as polluting the Earth.

It’s not as if they would change and the issue is that he’s right. Now you can still root for the humans to return and everything but it will be sad to see the Utopia go away. That’s mainly the conflict at the end of the series. There is also a quick mecha battle near the end of the show but action definitely isn’t the main part of the show. It’s a fun little battle with the fighters but the emotional battle is really what the focus is on.

As mentioned earlier, I did like the animation style here. It may not be quite as polished as RWBY, you can see how the animation is a bit more stilted, but the art and backgrounds are definitely on point. I’ve always wondered why more titles don’t try to go for the colorful CGI style that RWBY has so I’m glad that this one finally embraced it. The character designs are memorable and I like the world that it’s based in. It all just looks very descriptive.

Eden is really a family drama title at its core. Sara learns what it means to really have a family while in the past segments we have someone feel the pain of losing one. These two focuses act as complete contrasts to each other and also show us how each character made it on both sides. So while I say this is a light hearted title there are definitely quite a lot of sad moments throughout. Enjoy the first two episodes while you can as they’re really about showing the happy times first like Sara growing up. I thought it was a good move that she grew up so quickly as well since she’s able to do a lot more as a teen compared to being a toddler.

The flashbacks about the final humans before they all went into stasis definitely have the most sad moments throughout its run. You can tell that not everyone will get a happy ending which makes sense. They each have their own struggles to go through after all. I didn’t really have any issues with the show by the end of its run either. It’s a pleasant little title with all the proper elements an adventure needed. The writing was on point and the conflict was solid.

I will say the only part that felt like it was edging towards a plot hole was how inconsistent the timer was. There’s a timer that consistently shows how close the humans are to being locked in stasis forever. Each episode has the timer appear a whole lot but it just doesn’t make sense based on how much time was there before her time skip and afterwards. I think they either shouldn’t have shown the timer when she was still a baby and only showed it afterwards or just set it to a different time. With a calculator it shouldn’t be hard to have set that up properly especially since it is so crucial to the story.

It’s a small thing overall though and my head canon is that the A.I. was just malfunctioning at times and showing the wrong values. That seems like it should be within the realm of possibility. If you want to go a bit farther, it’s hard to see Zero and the robots not stamping out the two protecting Sara instantly but I suppose for a while she just wasn’t on their radar. Also, Zero’s minions don’t seem to be very intelligent and just have basic skills developed so that would make sense. His personal A.I. would be the only exception there. The heroes have an A.I. too and they even have a very brief skirmish which was fun. The two A.I. were always entertaining so it’s too bad that they didn’t appear a bit more.

Overall, Eden is a fun title and really gets the adventure/journey across well. It’s a fairly personal story that it just pleasant to watch. It’s definitely got a rather somber end so I won’t say it’s a huge feel good title but throughout the 4 episodes there are a lot of fun moments. You can also interpret the ending as still being happy in a sense as Sara won’t give up and will create more experiences but to me it would have been perfect if one more thing could have been fixed in-universe. Ultimately the title is really about Sara experiencing the world for herself and seeing that robots can be a real family just as well as a human one. A & E really did a great job for as long as they could and this was an impressive effort considering that they had no formal training before now. If you’re looking for a good family drama title with some action elements at the end then this is a good one to pick up. It really feels like a solid one shot movie that gives you a complete experience from beginning to end.

Overall 7/10

Dreamscape Review


If you were able to weaponize a dream that would have to be one of the more dangerous prospects out there. How can you defend yourself if you’re still dreaming? Well, this film delves into that and it makes for a very interesting watch. It’s the kind of sci-fi concept that’s cool to check out and the film keeps it engaging by throwing in some monsters too.

The movie starts off with Alex using his psychic powers to win at the horse races again. Unfortunately he’s not too subtle with his constant winnings and so people are starting to hunt him down to get some of those profits. This leads to him being desperate enough to get into a car with some shady characters who take him to Professor Paul. Paul was a part of the group that originally ran the tests with Alex and got him these psychic powers.

Well, the experiments have continued and they need Alex once again. Alex was always one of the most promising cadets after all so they need him now. The idea is that Alex can jump into a person’s dreams and help them contend with previous traumas or even just give the scientist some info based on the dream. Ideally this is a way to help humanity because you can end nightmares and other forms of stress. Unfortunately, the government has other plans for this.

If you die in the dream you die in the real world so what better way than to use this for an assassination right? There is a particularly disturbed guy named Tommy at this lab and he has psychic abilities that rival Alex’s own. Alex will have to decide if he stays at the lab to help the patients who really need him or if he should get out before he is in some real danger.

Now when I say psychic powers, I should emphasize that we’re talking purely mental here so don’t expect people to be throwing trees. Alex can see through trading cards and into the mind to an extent. He can go into someone’s dreams but he can’t go into their minds like that when they’re awake or at least not to a serious degree. He can pull out some thoughts from the top of their minds at least.

Alex is a solid main character and I can see why he ran off the first time. It definitely doesn’t seem like this is the kind of place where you would be safe for too long. They’ll use you for the intel and then you’ll be taken out. Growing up in such a facility is probably why Alex is very tough in the present. He’s always got a barb ready for the other characters and has a lot of bravado. He ultimately does decide to help a little kid who was having nightmares even though a lot of other people died earlier.

So Alex does have his heroic qualities as well. Mainly the only scene I really didn’t like is when he went into Jane’s dream to have an affair when she had been declining him in the real world. It’s definitely a low move and it’s hard to see how their romance was still able to flourish despite this in the present. That seems like it would be a relationship killer to me.

As for Jane, well she tries to keep things professional but Alex isn’t interested in that from the start. Jane’s not on board with the more shady elements of the job so she does have more of a moral compass than the other staffers but there wasn’t a whole lot to her character. You’ve got Paul who wants to keep the experiments on the level but he ultimately reacted a little too slowly. Maybe if this was less of a charged area he would have been okay but the instant he stayed late at night and said no to the villain I knew it was game over. It was a tense scene when he walks into the hallway though. The guy just didn’t act until it was too late but he does at least have a backup plan set into motion by then.

Bob is the main villain here and the guy is rather intense. The film plays out a bit like a government conspiracy title at times and he does a really good job in that role. You can tell that he’s willing to do anything in order to have that weapon. These corporate kind of villains always manage to be very interesting and this guy’s no exception. Then you have the crazy Tommy who is all too happy to join in with this.

He’s a guy who always liked using his psychic powers for evil so it’s a perfect fit. Alex is really the only person that Tommy can’t intimidate. In the fight scenes that take place in the dream, I like how creatively Tommy uses his abilities. Really he could have murdered Alex in an instant if he wasn’t so busy toying with the guy the whole time. It’s why you never want to play with your food.

There’s also Charlie who is definitely the most random character in the film. Somehow or other he knows about what is going on with the dream wars and manages to track Alex down. The guy must have a lot of connections but at the same time he had no exit plan which doesn’t go over very well for him. Choosing a crowded location was a good idea but ultimately it just wasn’t safe enough. I was glad about his inclusion though because the conspiracy scenes are some of the most tense ones in the film.

Finally there is also the President but he’s not the smartest member in the group. I don’t think having bad dreams would be enough for me to subject myself to a super risky dream experiment that is still in the trial phase. Nah, I’m definitely not doing that. He also comes across as weak with how he isn’t able to touch Bill even though he was almost murdered. This guy’s the President? I don’t care about red tape at that point, you blast Bill and then cover it up. He should at least have that much power.

The film definitely has a really intense ending on two fronts. First is Alex’s final decision and battle which is a really effective scene. Then you have the final moment which will make you really think everything over again like Inception. My view is that the ending isn’t quite real, but it’s hard to say how far back it goes. Depending on how far back we’re talking…well that could be depressing for Alex.

An area where the film really excels is with the actual dreams. I liked the visuals we had there from the Nuclear aftermath to that creature that Alex had to fight. The dreams had a solid atmosphere to them and even the opening dream with the guy getting cheated on had a very grainy look to it that let you know this was a dream right away. I could have done without that crazy dream but it certainly felt weird enough to fit right in.

Overall, Dreamscape is a solid thriller. It has that classic 80s feeling as well where something just isn’t right but it’s hard to put your finger on it. Everyone seems dodgy and the whole area seems unsafe. You get the feeling that Alex is always being watched even when no one is around. That general atmosphere of unease is hard to nail and the film did a good job with it. I’d recommend checking this out if you want to see how the world of dreams can be a very dangerous thing.

Overall 6/10

Venom: Let There Be Carnage Review


All right, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of checking out a new comic book movie. You can expect a whole lot of excitement, action, and teasing for future films. This one even has a scene after the credits start so make sure you stay in your seats. It’s definitely one that you won’t want to miss and I’m glad that we’re starting to get such important post credit scenes again.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Kasady and Frances as they are locked up in a jail for being psychotic monsters. They bonded there though and quickly became each other’s only friend. Unfortunately for Kasady, Frances is taken away to Ravencroft. We then jump 20+ years to the present where he asks Eddie to see him one last time before Kasady is put to death. Eddie doesn’t know why he’s picked but Kasady basically wants him to print out a message. Eddie agrees but he really has bigger issues at the moment.

While Venom & Eddie mostly know how to get along with each other now but things still aren’t going great for the main character. Eddie’s ex girlfriend has gotten engaged to the rebound guy from the first film, Venom’s been getting more impatient and nearly messing up their secret identity over and over, the cops don’t like Eddie, etc. The last thing he needs is the attention of a serial killer, but he’s in too deep to escape now. Can he survive amidst all the carnage?

So right off the bat I like the banter with Venom and Eddie a lot. A positive of being a sequel is that they are already merged from the start of the film so the movie is able to lean into that dynamic right away. It’s always fun to have Venom throwing his little remarks in throughout the conversation. He gets a lot of good burns in on the opponents and certainly isn’t shy about using his abilities. Surprisingly he even gets some scenes where he looks really intelligent like when he does Eddie’s job for him by inspecting Kasady’s room.

Venom can move quickly, use the computer well, cook, etc. Granted, he is a symbiote that has existed for thousands of years but even so it’s always impressive to see him be able to do all of this. He comes across as a very fun guy and is the standout character in the movie. He likes to think of himself as a lethal protector and it’s a very apt title. He’s certainly no hero as he doesn’t mind murdering just about anyone but he does seem to have good intentions and does obey Eddie’s no murder rules.

Venom acts like a kid half the time but he is always up for a good conversation. When the going gets tough you can definitely expect him to step up even though there is one scene where he really gets scared by Carnage immediately. That’s probably the only moment in the film where it seems like he has 0 resolve. It’s a scene mainly played for laughs but I would argue he was a bit out of character there.

As for Eddie, well he’s a lot of fun as well even if he’s not as good as Venom. Eddie’s humor really comes from him being a punching bag. In any scene he is in, Eddie looks out of his depth, incredibly nervous, unsure of what to do, etc. It’s hard to even see how this guy’s a reporter as he doesn’t seem to have any skill for it. Any detective work he does has to be pointed out by Venom first or he has to have been given the clues already. Venom seems to think he should get most of the credit for Eddie’s current position and I don’t doubt it.

This is a little hard to believe but Eddie may seem even more incompetent at just about everything than in the first film. He gets sad easily and gets wrecked in every possible fight. I do like when he tries to fight Venom mano a mano though. The whole fight is crazy because how can you beat someone who is fused to yourself and can do anything? The short answer is that you can’t but Eddie puts up a good try anyway.

So, I like Eddie because of how bad he looks. I’d say the best way to think about it is that he’s the ultimate underdog and it’s easy to root for someone like that. It’s clear that Eddie isn’t a bad person, he’s just not great at making decisions or anything like that. Both Eddie and Venom ultimately are trying to do their best here and are basically two average joes just trying to survive. (Well, Venom’s not normal but you get my drift)

The rest of the characters are mainly solid. Anne’s role as the main heroine isn’t very big but she makes the most of her moments. She comes in handy with helping Eddie at a crucial moment in the story. I’m not really sure if the whole dinner idea was a good one because it almost feels like the worst possible way to break the news of taking another step in her relationship but the intent was positive. Anne also talks very tough to the villains so she isn’t really afraid of anything. I’d definitely be up her getting a symbiote at some point so she can fight more.

Meanwhile Dan is still there as the rebound guy and he seems nice enough. He even manages to help out a bit. He doesn’t like Eddie all that much but you can’t blame him since Eddie seems really unhinged whenever the guy is around. From Dan’s point of view Eddie really does not seem like a good influence to anyone. The film doesn’t have much romance in it but I will say that at this point any chance of Anne and Eddie being together should be over. You can’t rebound twice and Dan’s a nice guy even if he’s a total pushover. Seriously you have Anne openly flirting in front of him even if it’s for a plan and the guy half heartedly protests.

I’ll give Dan props for being a good person but everyone’s always dunking on him. Anne even having a lot of fun near the end and remembering the good ole days. I just think the film would be going too far in putting him down if they were to break up so hopefully they stay together. Anne and Eddie can just be good friends who have a solid dynamic. It seems like a foreign concept in most Hollywood films but they can and absolutely should be friends without having to go past that.

Then you’ve got the cop Mulligan who can’t stand Eddie either. He seems to feel like Eddie is responsible for everything but he has no proof of anything so all he can do is antagonize Eddie as much as possible. Thing is, I feel like Mulligan could have played things so much better and then he could have been working well with Eddie. Instead he decides to become his enemy which really doesn’t work very well at all. Makes for a good obstacle I suppose, but more from Eddie’s point of view since I like how he just ticks everyone off.

Then we have the villains. First up is Frances who has the sonic powers. It’s cool to see some traditional super powers here, really makes it feel like a comic book movie. I was glad that when she meets up with Kasady she took the powers in stride. It’s always annoying to see a character suddenly turn on the hero because the powers look scary. Kasady’s no hero but from her point of view he suddenly returned to save her so I was glad that she actually seemed happy and grateful. It feels like the natural reaction here and the two trust each other a lot.

I did find it odd how she seems so ready to use her sonic powers even once she realizes that it actually hurts Kasady’s symbiote though. Maybe it’s just a habit so she doesn’t think about it much? Then you have Kasady who is about as insane as you would expect. He’s one of those guys who was seemingly always twisted. He tries to give a half hearted origin story later on but Venom isn’t really buying his excuses and I can’t say that I am either. Once you become a mass murderer that’s pretty much it.

Carnage is definitely the more interesting villain though. We don’t see quite as much of his personality in the film but whenever he shows himself you know that things are about to get wild. His sheer power is quite up there and all of his stats across the board are impressive. Carnage is also very confident and a symbiote of his word. These are all traits that make him a very solid villain.

Outside of the characters I also liked how the whole intro scene pre title card was handled. First off, the soundtrack really stands out. The logo is colorful and this all feels like something that could have been the intro to an animated film. It quickly sets up the motivation for the main villain as well as gives us some foreshadowing for what is to come. I’m not always on board with starting the film with a non action scene but this one works out well enough.

Even outside the intro scene I would say the film’s soundtrack is very good. There’s even a brief rock theme that plays while Kasady is in the car. The action scenes are also really good. I was even on board with Carnage tearing through the asylum and taking everyone down. Massacre scenes can often go with grit over style which ends up wrecking them or get drawn out too much to where it can get boring since the humans have no chance. This one handles the scenes really well. With the exception of the tongue scene which is more grotesque than stylized, I would give the scene a solid win.

Then of course you have the big Venom vs Carnage battles and those are just as good as you would expect. They really show off the power both fighters have and also how versatile their movesets are. I admit that I would like to see Venom use his tendrils more creatively in combat the way that Carnage does but even in the comics that has always been Carnage’s specialty. Perhaps if Venom finally gets to fight a non symbiote then we’ll see some more of that. Either way, the fights are considerably improved from the first film and I liked those, but these are just better.

Venom’s power is so impressive I’d even say he could beat most of the Avengers right now. If we consider the current Avengers roster to just be Spider-Man, Captain America (Wilson), Ant Man (Scott), Winter Soldier, and Hulk then Venom could actually give them a fairly good fight. Basically Venom could potentially solo but it all depends on how Spider-Man and the Hulk do. Spider-Man’s spider sense should theoretically make him very tough to beat but it depends on if he uses it well which is always tough. For the Hulk he would win if it’s close quarters combat but if Venom could stay at mid range and try stabbing then it’s tough. I feel like I have to give it to the Avengers if it’s the whole team but it’s closer than you might think.

The film’s short length also works out well enough as everything goes by quickly. I always say that a good film can always be longer and a bad film should be shorter so in this case I’d rather it was a full two hours. It’s a very entertaining film so I’d have been on board with a longer time frame. More scenes means more banter and more fun. This part of the universe is just fleshed out so well like even with the shop keeper sort of being like a pal to Eddie. I’m really glad that the end scene to the first Venom film is acknowledged here.

So there’s a lot to like here but of course the film isn’t perfect so it stands to reason that there are some negatives too right? Well, first up, we do have some animal violence. Yeah it’s basically off screen but it’s still unnecessary when we find out that Eddie has Venom eat chickens. See, Venom feeds off of a certain chemical that is only found in sentient brains and chocolate. It makes sense why he always wants to eat people but finding out that he is eating chickens in the meantime is just sad. They should have just had a scene where Venom refuses so Eddie has to buy him more chocolate. A film is always going to lose some brownie points from me for having a scene like this.

Otherwise it’s close to an 8 but I have a few more issues. In terms of plot holes/logic issues I really only have 2 that stood out to me. Everything else seemed fine including the power levels and such. The first thing that didn’t make any sense to me was actually from the opening scene. So the shady group is here to take Frances away because her powers are way too dangerous. So they take her into a car…and don’t do anything to restrain her mouth when she has sonic abilities?

This either means that this group was not told of her sonic powers from the bosses who ordered them to find her or they just thought it would work out. If it’s the first option than how did they expect the group to take Frances down? There are so many ways she could have escaped if not for a lucky gunshot. If it’s the second option than that’s just as bad. If she’s so dangerous that she has to be brought to the worst prison in the world then she’s dangerous enough to overpower a few guards. So the first scene felt like a stretch and it was only there so we could get the bullet wound scene.

The second is more of a spoiler scene so I can’t go into detail but someone gets powers at one point and it doesn’t make sense how it actually happened. The way the scene played out just doesn’t leave any room for this to be possible. I think there has to be a scene that was cut out from the film at some point but how this made it past the editing room is beyond me. This would raise way too many questions if this were possible because I would argue it could and should have happened to more people.

While the film is short and I wouldn’t say it really dragged on much, I didn’t find the solo Venom adventure to be too entertaining. If anything it’s rather grim how he seemingly murders people semi accidentally while on his adventure. Certainly losing more and more hero status right? See, the film’s at its best when Eddie and Venom are together to banter so splitting them up isn’t the right move. In real movie time I’m guessing it wasn’t a very long time but if it had been any longer it may have hurt. I don’t think that’ll happen again since they had their big fight now though so we’re good on that front.

Eddie also lost some points for me when he is constantly suggesting to Venom to eat the chickens that they adopted. Not a very nice move. In terms of violence the film is rather tame as I mentioned. Only the tongue scene is a bit grotesque and the scene with Mulligan’s eye being pushed in seems super painful but it’s a quick moment. Beyond that especially since the symbiotes can keep on regenerating, it’s super stylized as I mentioned earlier. Both characters can really take a lot of punishment and keep on ticking.

Now this is an action/comedy hybrid so both aspects have to be good and this one really was. As a final note, the humor in this film is better than in the first film. I thought that it grabbed what the first film did and then improved upon it quite a bit. The first act alone has a whole lot of humorous moments because the script is really on point. There’s one obligatory scene where Venom has to say the edgy word once because it’s expected at this point but otherwise it’s witty from start to finish.

Also, I really like how Eddie just seems crazy to people on the outside. Seemingly he has to talk out loud for Venom to hear him even though Venom can speak telepathically. So Eddie’s just bantering with him out loud but everyone can only hear his voice so everyone’s always giving him weird looks. This starts almost immediately with Venom arguing with him in the rest room and on the prison grounds and just never stops. Actually, forget that, Venom can probably hear Eddie telepathically since he finishes the guy’s sentences sometimes but probably pretends that he can’t just to make Eddie look foolish. That’s definitely the kind of trick Venom would play on him.

This might be a hot take but you could cut out all of Kasady’s scenes and the film might be even better. Now granted, I would still want the Carnage fights but if he just showed up out of nowhere at the end that’d be fine with me. The Eddie scenes are really where all the fun is at while Kasady’s just insane the whole time. It’s not that the Kasady and Frances scenes are bad or anything either, but the Eddie and Venom scenes are just that much better.

I will say this, it was smart of the film to show Kasady’s backstory in a children’s drawing kind of way because fully showing it probably would have hurt quite a bit considering what is implied with the dog at the end. If this was on screen I’d be a lot harsher since everything he does in that montage is intense but as a children’s drawing it doesn’t hit in the same way.

All right, final thoughts before closing this review out. The final scene after the credits is really solid. It opens up a lot of possibilities and you can interpret how future events will go in a lot of ways. No matter what happens, I do think we absolutely need a Venom 3 though. This series should be a trilogy at the minimum because there is so much more that can be done here. Venom has a lot of iconic villains that you can grab. I wouldn’t mind if they stick to symbiotes but you can also grab other kinds of villains as well.

Overall, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is definitely very good. It really embraces being a comic book movie from the cool 90s type logos to the solid soundtrack and how casual everything is. Venom creating a giant arm just to flick Eddie off in the middle of the street? Nobody notices or cares and that’s the kind of small detail that’s just fun. I’m not going to say the movie’s great as I still had my share of issues with it but the positives absolutely outweigh the negatives. The overall atmosphere of the film is just really good, particularly when it’s the Venom scenes. I like how several characters know about his secret identity but it all feels rather grounded. You feel like Eddie’s a big fish in a small pond and right now he can do just about anything but he always limits himself. Of course crossovers are the best and inevitably when he gets to fight some big names that’ll be fun too but in the meantime if you were to recommend a modern Superhero saga to someone who just wants an origin story with no real connections to anything then this would probably be the top film to recommend. The film also has an incredible amount of replay value. I could watch it a second time shortly and still have fun. That’s probably due in part to the short length but you also have to give the film credit for just being a lot of fun. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d definitely say you should change that.

Overall 7/10

Alien vs Predator Review


This is a movie I saw many years ago and I remember always being on team Aliens. I’ve always been partial to that group. Perhaps it’s because I’m more familiar with them, that they came first, or it’s just more fun to root for the monster. That hasn’t changed over the years either and after watching the movie I can really explain more why I prefer the aliens. See, while they are sentient, they are really just beasts at the core. They run on instinct and take everyone down. The Predators are actually an advanced alien race that really do whatever they please and tend to look rather corrupt. The whole film only exists because they like to hunt prey and use humans as sacrifices. Not exactly the group you would be rooting for.

Lets take a step back though. The movie starts with Charles locating a mysterious temple. It has details from various cultures and suggests that humanity actually united to create this a while back. He is older at this point and wants one last thing to be remembered by before he dies. So Charles assembles a group of the greatest scientific experts on the planet along with the ultimate guide in Alexa. She is skeptical at first but eventually decides to get on board. Little does this group realize that they won’t be the only sentient life in this area.

One thing that really separates this one from the average Alien and Predator titles is that the movie really leans into the cool sci-fi aesthetics. The scenes showing how the Predators are watching the temple, the alien ship, etc is all so much better than you would expect. This is a Sci-Fi film where you can see how advanced the technology is as opposed to us not seeing more of it. Usually it is fine to keep the Predators more secretive but in a vs film like this, I think this is the right approach.

So the visuals are unmatched and I thought the soundtrack was decent. I won’t say great since I don’t think you’ll even remember a bunch of the tunes by the end but they work well enough during the movie. The writing is good and the fights with the Aliens vs Predators will always raise your hype before they start just trying to get extra gritty.

Where the film falters is where most of these horror films falter. It tends to get excessively violent, particularly with the chest bursters that return from the Alien films. It seems like you can’t go through any alien film without having at least one of these scenes right? If you get rid of those entirely it would be a good move and just stick to the Xenmorphs. This is still a horror film at its core even with all of the in-fighting between groups but you don’t need the bursters for the scare scenes.

As the main character Alexa does well here. She points out that this is a very bad idea but ultimately ends up helping out because if she doesn’t then people will likely die. They may die anyway but at the very least if there weren’t any aliens she would have been able to keep everyone on the straight path. These guys also aren’t exactly the best at following orders so they need a tough commander.

I’m a bit iffy on her teaming up with the Predator so quickly after learning that they used humans as cattle but with the Aliens being mindless I suppose there wasn’t any chance of making peace with them either. Ultimately Alexa kept her wits about her and was fast to react. Alexa even manages to deal some real damage by the end so kudos there.

Charles is not nearly as likable. I get wanting to make a big discovery in the end but then once we find out that he’s sick, it’s a bit much. He’s putting everyone’s lives on the line just for the discovery? The guy’s rich, he could just wait until everyone has actually checked the rooms and made sure it’s safe before walking in. I’d say that would have been a whole lot better.

Maxwell’s his main right hand man and the guy can fight but I didn’t get why he was so antagonistic the whole time. It feels like that kind of comes out of nowhere and of course that never ends well for the humans in these things. It was good to have a gun at the ready though. We’ve got other characters here as well like the lady with a gun, the guy who just wants to go back home to his kids, etc. You’re mainly just wondering if any of these guys will survive aside from the main character or if it’s game over.

As for the battles, like I said I was rooting for the Aliens here. Effectively they are the underdogs as the Predators always plant them in positions where they should lose. When the Predators are on the losing side they just nuke the planet. Seems like they’re sore losers on that front eh? Fortunately for the Aliens they still have the advantage of berserker strength and their continued evolution. The Alien Queen looks really impressive in this movie to be sure.

Before the final battle we get a few skirmishes between the Aliens and Predators with each side taking some wins. Both sides also have a main fighter you could say. One alien in particular handles himself well as he gets up after being slashed and one of the predators takes a few of the aliens out as well. It helps build you up to the climax.

Then of course we do have a twist ending because those are absolutely necessary. Not just in horror but for any film, it’s just that horror tends to do them with the greatest effectiveness. Lets just say that it’s a really effective way to end the film as you understand the implications of this very well. Albeit it, you feel like it could potentially be a plot hole because the scanners should have sensed something. They would have to right? These scanners were shown to be extremely advanced throughout the movie and did notice an alien when it was inside of someone earlier. It should be the same concept but….maybe they got overconfident. I’ll chalk this up as a plot hole but a fairly small one at least.

Overall, Alien vs Predator definitely delivers on the kind of action that you would expect to see from two savage races fighting each other off. I’m also always a big fan of seeing crossovers come out. At the end of the day that makes for a lot of good fun when you get to the inevitable conclusion. It would be nice if it didn’t have to be so graphic though and of course the humans are stuck in the middle as well. If you can get past the violence then there’s definitely a solid film in here but it loses enough points where it ultimately isn’t able to sustain itself in the green. The best complement for the film though is that they really do nail the special effects. It’s the best that the franchise has ever looked.

Overall 3/10

Zipman!! Review


Time for another series that got cancelled before it could really get rolling. It has a cool concept and solid action so it’s a shame that it didn’t continue. I wouldn’t say it stands out a ton or anything but it was a quality title and it’s always a shame to see those go down for the count. So lets do a deep dive into the inner workings of Zipman.

The series starts by introducing us to Kaname as he attends his brother Koshiro’s funeral. It’s a somber day for everyone as Koshiro was a well known CEO who really revolutionized the world of robotics. He just had a genius that was extremely rare in any era. Kaname and Koshiro used to compete with each other to see who could make Cheena smile. She’s the main heroine of the series and unfortunately both of them fell for her at the same time so one day she will have to choose. Fortunately, she doesn’t realize that both of them like her.

Well, one day a giant robot attacks the city and Kaname is approached by another robot that claims he is actually the soul of the dead Koshiro. They can fuse in order to fight these monsters but Koshiro warns that it will be dangerous so they shouldn’t do this. Kaname is fine with the danger though and so their big era of battles finally begins. Can they stop this villain organization and ultimately get Koshiro’s body back?

The series certainly starts off quickly enough. We’re introduced to the main characters right away and get a good feel for the setting within the first chapter. This is effectively a normal world. Sure, some robots are starting to be created but nothing super advanced yet. Kaname is your average guy who enjoys anime and manga a lot. He has a very scary face so he has a hard time making friends but Cheena is all he really needs anyway so it doesn’t bother him.

The series got cancelled with 17 chapters so it didn’t last very long. Right now you may wonder how this could turn into a big action series with such a normal backdrop but by the final chapter the whole status quo has changed which would help with a sequel. There are different directions the series could go as well like if it wants to end up being a serious action title with a lot of big fights like My Hero or if it was going to be more of a slice of life comedic title.

Lets jump right into the good parts of the series. The art is solid. It’s not great or anything as it tends to get a little confusing during the fight scenes due to how similar the characters look and their big weapons but it ultimately does the job. The non combat moments are when the art is at its best and this is an easy page turner. Art is the first battle a manga has to win after all so it’s good that this was on point.

Then you have the character cast which is decent. Unfortunately like Candy Flurry the series has a bad habit of not really naming the characters though. The first villain gets a name but none of the others do. Who knows, maybe that’s a trend among titles that end up being cancelled? Without a true name it’s a lot harder to find the villains memorable and that can be an issue. After all, it makes it harder to talk about them since you always have to describe the villain first.

The first main villain is named Cutie Charm. So, how the villains work here is there is a group called Zip Down that has offered people the ability to become their favorite mascots. It’s pretty much a suit with a zipper that you walk into in order to become the character. The series even gives us a few big guest stars this way which will probably be tricky with copy right but their names aren’t used I suppose. Optimus Prime and Godzilla are two of the biggest characters to show up. Unfortunately the series ended before Prime could take a step and Godzilla was taken out in one panel so it was more like a tribute to the fan.

So back to Cutie Charm, the robot is built after the magical girl but piloting the robot is your average guy. He’s fairly insane since he looks up to all of these heroes and yet he’s working for the villains. Kaname has to give him a stern lecture. This villain may not have been great but he was the most memorable villain in part because he was the first one. It’s also a pretty interesting gimmick to have all of the villains be robots that people are piloting. I wonder about the logistics of some of the suits like the big Godzilla one but I suppose I shouldn’t worry too much about that. I guess it’s like a virtual reality simulator.

The weakness to each of the suits is to grab the zipper. If you steal the zipper then you obtain that robot’s special ability and you can attach it to your own mecha. You want to collect all of the zippers to be the absolute strongest around. The next villain was a tough fighter with a giant wrecking ball. She was reasonably tough and gave Kaname a good fight with how she could switch weapons so quickly. There was also more of a puppet master fighter but that guy wasn’t here to get any big wins.

As the chapters went on I think the author didn’t want to spend so much time climbing one tower so the next fight with the flying monster was handled off screen despite that guy’s hype of being a mastermind of sorts. The leader of the mini arc who was a fire robot got a good role. Not only was his fight probably the longest in the series but I always like a good fire move. He’s another insane guy who calls himself a hero but wants to murder everybody. These guys are not doing their favorite mascots proud I can tell you that.

Kaname had good advice for the first villain which was to rewatch the show. That’s probably good advice for all of these villains to be honest since their shows seem great but the so called fans in the suits just aren’t following it. A fun villain towards the end of the series was the guy based on Goku from the old legends. So he had more of a traditional design compared to the DBZ one but had the super strength and speed you would expect. His fight against Kaname was short but it showed the guy’s power as his punches were stronger than 1 million horsepower which is insane.

The guy may have been bluffing though but he did block Kaname’s strongest attack with his foot which is no easy feat. Finally you have the leader of the villains, the Chair Man. We don’t know a whole lot about his motivations or desires except that he wants everyone to have their own suit. I suppose he wants to rule the world or something but it’s clear that the series wasn’t ready to do a whole lot with him. It just kind of happened and he ended up being a big player because of how the series ended abruptly. His fight was even super short so it’s hard to say that he was much of a threat.

Of course the main 3 characters are the big ones here. First up, Kaname’s solid. His whole competition with Koshiro about trying to make Cheena smile definitely could have been worse. He doesn’t take Koshiro’s death particularly well but that makes sense since they were so close. Kaname’s your classic hero who is always ready for a fight and likes to just jump into the fray. Making him a big anime fan as well as a nice touch. He’s certainly a character you’ve seen before but the execution is done well.

Then you have his brother Koshiro who is a lot less likable. My main issue with him is that he’s always calling Kaname a “Devil Gorilla” which is supposed to be endearing I suppose but it’s a bit much. He’s constantly insulting Kaname and telling him that he just isn’t ready for this. It’s not what you’d expect considering this was their big reunion. Koshiro acts like Kaname is just a nuisance throughout the whole series until the final chapter where he finally loosens up. Throw in the fact that he gets mind controlled at one point and it’s a rough look for him.

As for Cheena, she’s a very active kind of heroine and I can see her contributing a lot if the series went on longer. Cheena was also quick to try and do some detective work of her own in order to clear Koshiro’s legacy and even kept at it when Kaname bailed. She may be a bit oblivious regarding the main two characters but that’s probably for the best so the series doesn’t get too dramatic too quickly.

That wraps up the character roster and so you have some good dynamics there. We don’t get a whole lot of school life beyond 2 chapters or so but you can see this working really well. The light tone works well for the series and if the author was going to go through with more character references for the villain group that would be a lot of fun without a doubt. The series stayed away from crude humor, fanservice, or any real negatives either. It’s just a solid and safe series.

So what could it have done to avoid being cancelled. Well, as mentioned the villain group definitely should have actually named each member. There’s no reason in this day and age for there to be a villain where I don’t know who he is. Have them announce it or just use a text box out of universe so we can see who this is. It makes the characters more memorable without a doubt.

Next up, Koshiro shouldn’t be nearly as mean as he is. The guy is just a big bundle of negativity in every scene that he is in. From how the characters describe Koshiro it seems like he was a nice guy so why the switch? Perhaps dying changed him but it’s way too sudden since we didn’t get to know the guy before he died. Giving him a better relationship with Kaname would have been a good idea and would lead to a better dynamic as well.

I think those two changes would really go a long way here. There are a lot of small things you can always change of course but those are the leading examples. I suppose a final option is you could also show some of the real world reactions to the giant robot events. Keep in mind that this is a completely normal world so when a giant robot shows up suddenly and starts breaking buildings I would expect some pretty big reactions. Kaname just goes to school like normal the next day and you’re wondering how nothing has changed. By the end of the series half of the school building has been obliterated and nobody seems to care. Part of the issue here are the sudden time jumps.

A big thing in the series is how Cheena doesn’t know about their secret identities as Zipman but then they tell her off screen so we miss the initial reaction completely. Likewise with the time skip at the end where robot suits are common place and everyone uses them now. Those are really big things to just skip all of a sudden and I think that was the wrong move. Time skips are cool and all but you don’t want to use them to skip big events like this. It should be used to skip past boring moments you don’t want to see.

I’m also not sure what the point was of using the term Jackman for a few chapters before the main characters inevitably changed their name to Zipman later on. I would have made the show called Zipman from the start and it would have been perfect. It’s a harmless little thing but I just didn’t see the purpose of it. In terms of humor the series is more low key but it has some moments like when a random construction worker decided to attack the giant robot. Yeah that’s going to work really well…..

I think one of the best things you can say for Zipman is that it’s a peaceful series. That may not be what you’re looking for in an action title but what I mean to say is that it’s very easy to just read it chapter by chapter. You’ll be engaged in what is going on and the clear art/fun script just makes it a page turner. It’s not great or anything but you won’t have any issues blasting through the series. Whether it was 17 chapters or 100, if it kept this atmosphere up you would always be able to count on it as a consistent title.

Overall, Zipman!! is a solid title. It’s certainly a series that ended just as things were getting good. The dynamic of having the brothers actually team up to fight villains sounds a lot better than the whole piloting system. After all since Koshiro was sentient, how does the piloting even work? If both of them try to move will they just short circuit? It makes a lot more sense to have them just be totally separate. Right now My Hero Academia’s got the whole superhero angle covered but maybe this one will make a comeback some day when MHA is completed. You never know I suppose.

Overall 7/10

The Terminal Man Review


This one’s definitely more of a mean spirited film. You’ve got someone who’s sick and is trying to use some experimental technology and there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of gratitude. Nobody seems good at their jobs and even the lead doesn’t make sure to stay in the right areas to at least try more treatments. It ends up being a whole combination of errors where everyone is left in the wrong spot.

The movie starts with Harry being admitted into the hospital. He suffers from blackouts in a Jekyl & Hyde kind of condition. Before going under he will start to smell something metallic and then that awakens his violent form. In this mode he tries to destroy everyone and every thing in his way. Eventually the blackout will stop and he goes back to his normal mode but not before a whole lot of damage has been done. Right now that’s the burden that he has to endure.

Well, the hospital (I’m calling it a hospital but it might be more accurate to call it a private institution) has a solution. They will implant a chip (uh oh) into Harry which they claim should prevent the blackouts from occurring. It’ll do this by sending signals to his brain that forcibly stop this from occurring. Well, we’ll see if it works. If it doesn’t, then the world may have to prepare to try and stop Harry on his mad quest for vengeance.

Right off the bat you can see how things are not going to go very well for Harry. The scientists while not looney, just seem more interested in their computer chip than for the actual person. Harry’s effectively an experiment for them and they enjoy messing with his head by making him feel all kinds of emotions the whole time. It’s certainly not how you would want the experiment to go on and it just sets the tone from there on out. You have the guys gossiping in the background, the scientists laughing, etc.

Also, as a side note I do think it’s probably never worth putting a chip in your head. This is a rather extreme situation though so at least I can see why he did it. It seems like other treatments had been tried in the past and none of them worked so this was sort of a last ditch effort. It should always be a last ditch tactic so that part seems correct. Of course, the chip doesn’t work very well as you can probably guess.

The main mistake Harry makes is in leaving the facility. If he had stayed there then perhaps they could have found some way to treat him. I can’t 100% blame him for leaving though since as I described this was not exactly the best place to be treated in. So I totally get his wanting to get out of there as soon as possible. The main problem is that he is aware of his blackouts even though he doesn’t remember them. So going to hang out with friends or going to public places seems like it’s the wrong course of action.

Those are absolutely the last things that he should be doing here. The film also makes Harry appear to be a very intimidating guy even before the attacks. He doesn’t seem very stable. This is likely a byproduct of the various attacks but at the same time it also means that you’d expect security to be watching him a little more closely. It’s hard to see how he just escaped the facility in an instant like this.

I’d also have to blame Harry for going to Janet’s place when he knows that the attack could come at any second. It almost seems like he went there with the express purpose of threatening her in which case he was becoming more of a villain by the moment. Either way I didn’t care for him as the lead very much. He’s definitely going through an extremely rough condition so you feel bad for him but some of his decisions were pretty bad. If he at least stayed in the facility then perhaps some alterations could have been made to the chip to help him out. Or at the very least maybe they could have removed it if it was busted.

Janet is the main scientist who gets a role and she was not thrilled with this idea from the start. Unfortunately she was heavily outvoted so it didn’t matter. She does her best to help Harry and even by the end she is trying hard but there’s just not a whole lot she could realistically do at this point. She is a single employee in the facility and while her rank appears to be pretty high, she is still bound by the rules. Additionally, if the chip doesn’t work then it doesn’t work, at that point it’s really just a matter of deciding what to do next.

The film also has a very long surgery scene which could have absolutely been trimmed down. I wonder if it was just that long to show how the surgeon was very relaxed about the whole thing. He was busy taking shots at psychiatry and making jokes even though this is a super serious surgery. You’d think that he would have been more somber and regal about the whole thing instead of the way that he acted. Harry really couldn’t catch a break here.

So the film falters with the lead not being very likable and also with how mean all of the scientists appear to be. Or at least most of them. It can also be fairly violent with the background to the attacks as well as when he goes on the attack in the later part of the film. There aren’t quite as many victims as you may suspect but each one certainly goes down in a rather violent fashion. The only one who may have lived is the priest. It’s a little debatable due to how the scene is cut but I think if Harry had actually gotten him it would have been a bigger deal.

Overall, This is certainly not a feel good kind of film. It’s about Harry essentially hoping for a miracle to finally end his condition and it doesn’t work. From there the film just keeps up the more depressing tone until the end. There just wasn’t anything he could do and we saw Harry slowly lose his mind until it was just gone by the end. I’d certainly avoid this one if you’re trying to get someone interested in being a doctor. It won’t give off the right first impression. Ultimately there just isn’t anything to really get you invested in the film or to get you to have fun during it.

Overall 2/10

Judge Dredd 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

Judge Dredd always had a pretty interesting setting. To an extent it’s sort of like what would happen if Gotham City didn’t have Batman and had to exist that way for another 50-100 years. By the time we did get a true crime fighter then the place would probably be too far gone to actually be saved. That’s the kind of environment the film takes place in and it actually works rather well. The film does a really good job on the effects.

The movie starts by showing us another gang war in the streets. Fergie got roped into this by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So when Judge Dredd shows up and takes everyone down, Fergie is sent off to jail as well. See, there’s no court system or anything like that (Unless you are a Judge) so if you’re taken in by the law that’s game over. Gone are all of those legal establishments. In this distant future, the Judges serve as jury and executioner. What they say will go and so the world is perpetually unhappy and in a lot of inner wars.

To really illustrate the kind of place this is, the first scene has everyone using giant blasters. Given how unsurprised everyone is, you also see how this is a fairly regular occurrence. You’re either able to try and stay out of the spotlight or you better have good gun skills because it’s game over otherwise. There’s an opening message at the beginning of the film that explains the lore a bit as well.

Then you have the city backdrop which is really nice. Mix that in with the cool sci-fi guns that are coded to your DNA and the effects team should definitely be given a thumbs up here. It’s all aged rather well and the Judge costumes are also on point. I dare say that it will be very difficult for the next films to top them here. They’re really on point and my only complaint is that they aren’t used very often.

It’s what I call the “Adam West” syndrome where you have a great concept but don’t actually use it for most of the film. This came into being with how they made two animated Adam West films and in one film Batman turned evil while I think Robin turned evil in the other one. As a result you really didn’t get to have the fun dynamic/type of story you were hoping for. It’s like this with Judge Dredd as well. It’s a great kind of adventure story to see him patrolling the streets and taking down criminals but after the first chunk of the film that is gone forever.

This is due in part to the main plot. See, the general plot of Judge Dredd is that he has been framed. Someone is using his weapons and since they are tied to DNA that means he must be the one who has been murdering people and committing crimes. Dredd believes in the law 100% so he’s also not really sure how to defend himself. A good chunk of the film is Dredd learning that maybe the law isn’t infallible and trying to work his way back into the city.

So the second half is still a pretty fun adventure but it isn’t really “Judge Dredd” the way that the first chunk was. I dare say that the film would have risen up to great status if it had just stayed like the opening bit. Ah well, maybe next time. The action stays solid in both halves although you do feel like the other Judges should be a little stronger.

Basically if you aren’t Judge Dredd then you won’t be doing very well here at all. We see around 100 Judges get destroyed by sneak attacks, bombs, and a giant robot. Given how Dredd is able to handle all of these guys you would just expect a little better. The film does warn you early on that some of these guys are weak though with how the cadet goes down.

So Dredd’s a great main character. He’s definitely all about the law even if he is rather strict with it. The guy was practically made for the job and takes it extremely seriously. Even when he is asked to go back to school the guy assumes it’s for some more hand to hand skills. He’s eager and that’s what you want to see in a main character. I definitely had no complaints.

Then you have Barbara who is the main heroine here. She’s a Judge as well and can certainly fight better than most of the others. I’d give her a thumbs up as well. She’s someone that Dredd could actually count on and that’s big in this kind of world. She did her best in the trial and gets a lot of good moments. The cast is fairly small so it’s important that the big characters did well.

Then you have Fergie who is the main comic relief. He gets a lot of good lines as well. The guy’s at his best when he’s rubbing the situation in to Dredd since he got captured early on. Fergie is not the kind of guy to drop a grudge, I can definitely tell you that. It gets a little cheesy when he actually defeats an opponent later on though so I always say you should keep comic relief characters away from the actual battling. Still, he served his role well enough.

Finally you have the main villain Rico. He’s the only one I wasn’t sold on. I think it’s in part because the guy relies on a ton of luck in order to win his battles. Without things going perfectly he should have lost early on. I find it hard to believe that he was even able to escape prison. That whole sequence will leave you shaking your head. It’s a good thing one of the villainesses liked him to get some babies ready for the experiments or that would have been another hurdle.

All of the villains seem to trust Rico despite the fact that he is completely insane. It just makes you wonder why. The worst is the villainous judge who was on board with the plan from the start and directly caused the deaths of 100+ judges. At the last second he suddenly wants to have some second thoughts. Cmon now, Rico was definitely not going to allow that to happen and this guy should have known that.

The only other decent judge was Judge Fargo and even he was a little too quick to believe in Dredd’s guilt. The guy needed to stand by his pupil through thick and thin. There are also a few random bounty hunters and thugs running around but these are all of the important characters to make note of. The rest are there to flesh things out of course.

Overall, The writing is on point with the film and with the fast pacing it is over in the blink of an eye. There are definitely some violent moments when people get blown apart but surprisingly it’s quite a bit more mild than you might have expected going in. Get ready for one character to go down shockingly quick after they show up near the end though. It’s almost funny in an ironic kind of sense since you were expecting big things here. If you want to check out a classic comic book film with some good action and adventure then I would recommend checking this one out. It’s aged pretty well.

Overall 7/10

Outbreak 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

Time for a look at a film involving helicopter battles and a race to stop a deadly virus from destroying the entire planet. Films about outbreaks usually start off on the backfoot since you can expect a lot of rather gross imagery from the infected and probable animal experiments until they get the formula right. Still, if the film can get past that then the sky is the limit.

The movie starts with showing us how a village was completely wiped out by a powerful virus. That was nearly the end of it but then in the present the virus has returned. It attacks a village and manages to take most of the villagers down. Sam and his team try to get some research but after they leave the place ends up getting bombed to avoid any evidence from getting out. The bombs were not big enough though and the monkey escapes via some illegal animal capturing. The Monkey lands a quick slash on a few people and escapes again. The virus is now spreading fast and Sam wants to work on a cure but the government seems oddly hesitant to do anything about this. What are they hiding?

Outbreak straddles the line between being a conspiracy title where the government is trying to murder everyone (I definitely like to think we wouldn’t quickly just bomb a whole village) and a horror film where the virus is always one step ahead of the humans. Just when they get close to stopping it, it mutates into a new strain and runs off. It’s an opportune time to check this film out right now to see all of the parallels. One thing you have to say for the film is that the writing is on point. Sure the Helicopter battle may be a little dramatic but aside from that you could rename the virus to Covid and almost re-release this as a new film.

Sam is a decent main character as well. I mean, he’s not going to be shaking up your world or anything but he plays the role well and does his best to help out at all times. He may be getting stonewalled by the government but he keeps on trying even if it means disobeying orders. He’s really determined throughout the film and never loses his resolve.

Then you have his ex-wife Roberta who is trying her best as well. She sends Sam the information he needs and also takes a lot of risks on the front lines as she tries to help in developing the cure. Salt is a newcomer to the force who looks pretty bad at first but he does look solid by the end. I was definitely not impressed initially but when push came to shove he stepped up. He did a great job of flying the helicopter at the end.

I liked Sam’s best friend Casey as well. Casey really was a pro at this as well and was really the only person who could tell Sam to calm down at times. Not just anyone could do that and he was also quick to defend Sam or help him out discreetly like when the lead didn’t realize that his suit had a tear in it.

Then you have the two higher ups in the government. First is Ford who is one of the guys hiding a lot of information. He’s more interested in covering himself than in actually stopping the virus initially. Now, he is placed in a tough position and eventually he starts doing the right things but it does take him a while to come around.

McClintock is even more stubborn about this though and ends up being a full antagonist willing to murder other U.S. citizens just to bury his secret. He’s certainly not the kind of guy you want to have a boss but he makes for a good villain. The guy talks tough and has a ton of confidence which are both traits that you always want to see in the villain. This guy doesn’t even hesitate when trying to shoot everyone down.

So we’ve got good characters and a solid cast as well. The pacing is on point and you’ll certainly be engaged throughout. The writing is good and the film really takes its time explaining the threat and how this virus needs to be stopped. I also did enjoy the final action scene. It gave the film an explosive climax the way you’d like in these things.

My only real issue is of course with a virus naturally you’re going to see a lot of people really deteriorating as the virus travels through them. That means that the bodies aren’t always pleasant. Then you have characters puking and all. I was really worried at one point because it seemed like a monkey was about to die but fortunately that wasn’t the case. The film took the high road there which was great.

So Outbreak is a solid movie but it’s one that doesn’t have a whole lot of replay value. You’ll watch it once and enjoy it well enough but the slow pacing to show off the virus also means that watching it a second time feels out of the question. So I’d say it sort of ranks right in the middle.

Overall, If you want to watch a scenario of what if a virus showed up to threaten the world then this is a good flick to check out. You’ll see all of the different reactions to it in the film. One of the funnier scenes is when the government throws a big party and Sam is not exactly known for his low voice so Ford has to keep pulling him to the side so that nobody hears about the impending doom. After all at a party that’s probably the last thing they want to hear. The overall message at the end of the film is really that the government needs to crack down on the animal poachers and that’ll stop viruses from spreading all around. The poachers ended up dying anyway since they were at ground 0, but ideally you want to stop the situation from happening at all.

Overall 5/10

Life 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

Life is one of those films that plays out pretty much as you would expect. The main characters are considerably out of their league when they venture into outer space. Now, it may not be because of aliens, but I certainly wouldn’t want to go into space myself. It looks really constricting and of course you can’t just head home if you don’t like the experience. You’re stuck up there for a very long amount of time. Maybe at best you can ask everyone to put you back in stasis or something.

So the movie picks up with a group of scientists aboard a spaceship picking up what could be the first sign of life outside of Earth. It looks a bit like an amoeba but one that is quickly growing. Derry is thrilled and gets a little too obsessed with his research to the point where he starts disregarding safety protocols. Unfortunately this allows the alien known as Calvin to escape his cage and begin his massacre of the crew. Can they band together to stop him or will they ultimately be crushed?

Yeah so this is basically Alien only instead of fighting a powerful Xenomorph the heroes are battling with an Amoeba that gradually grows. The more Calvin grows, the more he begins to look like one of those mini Clover monsters from Cloverfield. The design for his final form actually isn’t bad. Sure, it’s not as threatening as the Xenomorph or anything like that but it does have a scary looking face.

Additionally, the fact that it can change shapes and move so fast makes it potentially more dangerous than a Xenomorph. At least with the Xeno you will die instantly when it tears through you while this monster tends to take its time with the prey and drag everything out. Yet another reason why you don’t want to be enemies with this guy since it definitely won’t be ending very well.

The crew are okay at best. First you have Derry who is very annoying. We have safety precautions for a reason and the instant he threw them away that was it. Additionally, even after Calvin has murdered at least 2 people you still have this guy saying how this could be a learning experience and everything. Really? That time has long since passed if you ask me.

Adams was the best member of the crew but unfortunately, he doesn’t last very long. At least he was trying to go on the attack, Calvin was just too fierce. For his bravery, Adams’ only reward is the most painful death in the film. Certainly not the way that you would want to go out and it’s always a disturbing way to die with the villain basically going inside of you.

Then there is Golovkina who also goes out in a super rough way. She had to make a tough call at the end and even if it didn’t work out, you can see why she made that decision. Bringing Calvin anywhere is a super big risk so at least in the vacuum of space you figure it wouldn’t be too bad. Calvin’s just too fast for any of that.
In any horror/survival film there has to be one character who just cracks under pressure. It’s a cinematic necessity and that’s Murakami’s role in this one. He splits from the rest of the crew to go to the life pod and as a result doesn’t really know what is going on until it’s too late. It’s too bad because he did all right for a while but couldn’t stick the landing.

Jordan is someone who really prefers being in space than on Earth. It’s an interesting character trait and one that you can understand. Again, I’m not a space guy but I can see why you’d want a break from all the fighting and war on Earth. Then you have North who came up with a lot of the safety protocols so it’s probably annoying for her to see how they aren’t quite working this time.

The effects aren’t bad. There’s just not a whole lot you can show in space so prepare to feel confined without a lot of cool backdrops or anything like that. Space scenes can also be rather slow since it’s hard to maneuver out there. Ultimately it’s just that the space setting isn’t very solid to me but it does what it can I suppose. Where the film really ends up shooting itself in the foot is with how gruesome it makes all of the deaths. You’d almost rather this was just a normal Xenomorph biting everyone.

This monster effectively drains your life force and explodes you from the inside out. Mix in the space effect where everything floats and you can see how the film gets a little creative there. They also manage to squeeze in some animal violence since of course there is also a mouse on board and Calvin can’t have any of that. There’s no reason that the mouse should have been here. The instant he appeared I knew that the little thing was doomed and that’s just not right. I wanted him to have a good time and hopefully get out of there in one piece. That would have been ideal but it was never a real possibility.

The ending was effective though as the kind of horror twist you’re always expecting. It plays out a little differently than I had guessed but certainly hits with the same intensity. The heroes underestimated Calvin one last time. It would lead into a sequel quite well as we get the government involved. I’m thinking the sequel would beat the original because Earth makes for a much more interesting setting. Alas, sequel are never guaranteed so we’ll see if that ever happens.

Overall, Life doesn’t add anything new to the equation. The setting limits how much fun it can really bring to the table and the movie focuses too much on how brutally Calvin can murder the crew instead of making this more of a slow burner thriller. Alien had better designs and ship layout even though it came out so long ago. The idea of finding aliens in space is always interesting and you should be engaged for a while but you can’t help but feel that the film left a lot on the table. There is so much more you can do with this concept without having to make it so brutal. Ultimately this is one that you should skip.

Overall 2/10