The Brides of Dracula Review

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The Dracula movies have a pretty negative reputation and it is admittedly one that it has earned. They typically just aren’t all that fun and forget to be engaging. This one doesn’t even have Dracula in it. Now that could be a good sign, but it barely even matters since a new Dracula has surfaced in the town. It’s essentially the same story as always, but with a different cast for Van Helsing to deal with. He barely escaped from his last confrontation so does he even have a chance here?

It starts off with Marianne deciding to take a carriage through a forbidden part of town. She is going to become a school teacher and doesn’t want to be late so this is the quickest route. Unfortunately her driver leaves right away so she is forced to spend the night at a bar. The owners don’t want to take her in though and they seem pretty scared so she accepts a shady old lady’s offer to stay at her mansion. There she sees a guy being tied to his room so she frees him and then faints in the road. Van Helsing finds her and takes her to the school, but the vampires aren’t done with her yet. She has released the most powerful one yet and he aims to convert all of the people in the town. Can Helsing put an end to this?

The film’s very convenient a lot of the time and especially in the opening. It seems like the old couple knew something about the vampires or at least that the family couldn’t be trusted. I can understand that, but why were they so vague about it the whole time? Why did it take hours to rent a cot? If they know that the old lady has been kidnapping previous tenants then shouldn’t they tell the cops? The family owns the whole town so that’s a little iffy, but based on how isolated they are the whole time, I like to think that they don’t have complete dominion over the whole place. Ah well, this leads Marianne to go to the castle. Naturally, everyone keeps on lying to her so she decides to just pick one of them to trust and she picks the captive. Turns out that he couldn’t be trusted, but the old lady would have likely murdered Marianne anyway since she had been feeding sacrifices to the vampire anyway.

This is where Van Helsing should come in, but honestly it takes him a real long time to show up. When he finally does pop in he isn’t as impressive as you’d expect. He tends to go into battle unarmed except for a small cross which the vampires always overpower. After that he just looks shocked and dazed as they toss him around. Van Helsing really can’t hold his own against any of the villains and he certainly looks out of his league. Fortunately for him, the vampires basically end up destroying themselves by lighting the castle on fire and being too slow to escape it. One of them basically just falls down and dies. Van Helsing got lucky and this should increase his reputation, but his luck is bound to run out sooner or later.

He can be an annoying hero because it almost feels like he is helping the vampires at some points. For example, after one of the victims has been terminated by the vampires, he knows that she will rise at night. The plan is for him to be there in wait so he can stab her as soon as she wakes up. Unfortunately it seems like he forgot to set the alarm or something so he arrives there 20 minutes to late which gives her time to escape. The same thing happens again later on as another victim appears and Van Helsing decides to make a few stops first. By the time he gets there the situation had already been resolved in the vampire’s favor. You had to wonder what he was doing the whole time? Certainly this should have been his top priority right? He was probably posturing and stroking his ego though so I guess we’ll just have to let it slide.

Marianne isn’t likable because she’s rather gullible and oblivious to everything. That makes it really hard to root for her since she is practically begging to be bitten the whole time. The vampire isn’t any good either as he just seems like a guy who can’t control his own bloodlust. He just wants to drink and he would be your average “It’s Miller Time” Budlight character if he wasn’t a vampire. I did like how he was kidnapped early on though. I guess an old lady can put up more of a fight than Van Helsing sometimes.

The film gives a lot of time to various subplots and characters that are ultimately pointless as well. One really random scene introduces a doctor who likes to smell mystical water and use a lot of pills to keep himself from getting sick. He’s a comic relief character who likes money, but vanishes as soon as he appears. What was the point of the scene? I dunno and I guess you just have to leave that part to your imagination.

Beyond that, the film commits to all of the typical tropes of a Vampire film. They drink people’s blood and keep on building an army. Everyone is too stunned to do anything about it and the vampires take a lot of victims before they finally go down. Blood sucking has always been pretty wince worthy and certainly doesn’t get any better here. None of the villains are likable in the slightest and I didn’t like any of the heroes either. When you have a bad cast there is not much that can ultimately help the film. You need a likable cast.

Overall, This film is just like any other Dracula film. You could watch another version and swear that it was the same film. There is nothing even remotely original here and everyone seems to have a higher opinion of themselves than the reality. To keep things in perspective…Van Helsing lost to an old lady. She rushed him and stole the cross so that the vampires could take him down. That was just plain embarrassing and she was definitely an odd character. I’ll assume that she was mind controlled for most of the film and then got turned into a vampire because most of her behavior just doesn’t make sense otherwise. Unless she was just plain crazy I expect. I advise you to stay far away from this film. You’re better off watching a classic title like Scooby Doo or something. Even Batman vs Dracula is a big step up if you really need to see something with a vampire. This film will just leave you trying to fill in all of the holes in the writing to make the movie more interesting, but all you’ll be left with is pieces of ineligible paper.

Overall 2/10

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Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 19h 12m
Gold 26731
Boos: 18
Ghost Container 5672W
Gloomy Manor Gems 12/13
Haunted Tower Gems 6/13
Old Clockworks Gems 4/13
Secret Mine Gems 1/13
Treacherous Mansion Gems 3/13

Level Stats Clear Time, Ghosts Captured, Rank

A1 9m 25s 6 2Star
A2 13m 37s 17 2Star
A3 11m 36s 10 2Star
A4 26m 48s 15 1Star
A5 16m 15s 14 2Star
AB 4m 6s 1 2Star
A6 10m 36s 18 2Star
B1 19m 25s 11 1Star
B2 47m 4s 20 1Star
B3 10m 2s 9 2Star
B4 12m 51s 16 2Star
B5 9m 19s 13 2Star
BB 11m 37s 14 3Star
B6 –
C1 11m 11s 10 1Star
C2 11m 21s 16 1Star
C3 15m 12 2Star
C4 10m 35s 6 2Star
C5 31m 59s 22 1Star
CB 13m 20s 31 2Star
C6 –
D1 38m 31s 9 1Star
D2 11m 12s 8 2Star
D3 22m 28s 12 1Star
DB 4m 43s 1 2Star
D4 –
E1 9m 30s 11 2Star
E2 21m 47s 17 1Star
E3 16m 46s 13 2Star
E4 7m 30s 0 1Star
E5 12m 8s 52 2Star
EB 2m 15s 1 3Star
E6 –

Transformers: The Last Knight Review

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If you ignore the fact that Prime looks obviously evil in the poster…it’s hard to disagree with the message. If one planet is going to die then shouldn’t it be Earth? Those guys are always picking on the Autobots and destroying themselves anyway. Even if the Transformer movies have not been all that good historically they do certainly have great posters and trailers. If nothing else, they always do a good job of drawing you in. On that note, I went to the theaters to watch this latest installment, but could it hold its own against the last few and even surpass them? Time to find out!

Well, the film starts off with a prolonged action scene back in the days of the 12 knights. It’s as boring as you’d expect with very generic bombs being thrown and people stabbing each other. Films like this one keep reminding me why action scenes should all take place in the modern day alongside big buildings and cool effects. The drunk Merlin gets the Autobots to help him so they destroy the other side. Merlin is even given the staff of power which has the ability to destroy and recreate whole planets. He literally takes it to the grave.

We cut away to the present day where a girl by the name of Izabella is saving a few kids who broke into a government protected site with killer machines running around. They shoot to kill and that includes kids, but fortunately Cade and his resistance pals like Bumble Bee show up and finish off the government robots. The kids run off, but Izabella stays with Cade since she wants to fight. The two characters trade sob stories while Cade has a beer (The film made sure to show that it was a Budlight) and then Mr. Edmund shows up to tell the heroes that they have to find the scepter of power and stop the incoming invasion. He has also located and brought in a lady named Viviane who is a descendant of Merlin and the only one who can wield it. Naturally Viviane and Cade don’t get along, but none of the characters do. Can they at least stop the invasion or will their not so subtle insults against each other take top priority? Oh yeah, Megatron’s also around.

This is 100% a Michael Bay film. You can tell because it follows all of the classic tropes. The only good one is that we get a ton of explosions. There’s constantly something catching fire and blowing up. Everyone gets to be in an explosion at some point or other and that was interesting. Well, interesting isn’t the right word, but at least it’s something to catch your attention even if you know that it’s just trying to cover up the lack of a plot.

Unfortunately the other cliches are here. Naturally when Viviane is brought to the castle, she decided to bring along a rather inappropriate outfit for business. It’s not as if it would be a huge deal but of course Cade brings it up and they have a pretty sad conversation about it. Keep in mind that these two were enemies at first, but Cade quotes a random philosopher once they’re okay. He shows off his 6 pack once and they are immediately past the friend zone. The flirting and fanservice were pretty sad and while not as bad as in previous films, I had a feeling the film would bring this into the picture.

Then there’s the writing. I don’t want to say it was the worst yet, but there must have been over 50-100 s words in the film. It was used in almost every single sentence. It’s as if the keyboard warriors from reddit and twitch were the main characters in this film. It was incredibly awful and took you out of the film every time. Why does everyone have to use swear words to express every idea that they get? It’s painfully bad and would have doomed the film to a low score even without all of the other negatives.

It’s also hard to know who to root for. The Autobots are anything but likable. They spend the first half of the film doing more damage to each other than the Decepticons possibly could. Bumblebee even destroys one of his fellow Autobots for no good reason. I don’t remember his name but it was one of the minicons, Bumblebee just crushed him without remorse. The others don’t get along either so there’s a ton of threats among them. We get about 20 minutes of the Autobots just yelling at each other and the humans deciding to follow their example. The insults get pretty personal throughout and one guy even brings up the race card to counter Cade. Well, I shouldn’t say “even” that was another guarantee in this film. Viviane doesn’t get along with her parents and relatives either for more drama and they care more about her love life than the alien invasion. Edmund is constantly threatening to destroy his butler and his butler tries to choke Cade to death, but is stopped at the last second. These are our heroes.

Think about that for a second. Our heroes are the ones who keep threatening each other, actually destroy one member, blackmail other members, and basically just live to destroy. They destroy Decepticons not for honor or victory, but just because they like to murder stuff. Optimus Prime isn’t exempt either as his terribly conceived plan to head to Cybertron winds up getting him frozen. Fortunately, he crash lands there and the ice chips off. I think he suffered a severe concussion though because he doesn’t remember that Cybertron was destroyed so he rushes over and attacks the metal lady who’s there because he thinks she destroyed it. She casually beats him in one hit with her lightning and forces him to kneel before her. She then easily mind controls him to turn evil and be her slave. It’s hinted that it’s mind control since he grew a red scar and she did the same to Megatron. Oh yeah, Megatron gets mind controlled so he’s a subordinate yet again.

Prime doesn’t stay evil for long though as a quick “Martha!” sort of line gets him to turn good again. The heroes decide to kick him a few times while he’s down so he learns a lesson though and everyone just stands there and watches it happen. I get the feeling Prime isn’t too popular on Earth sometimes even if the Autobots claim that they look up to him. While Quintessa (The metal lady) was pretty awesome and it was nice to see her wreck everybody, the film forgot about that. Instead of blasting Viviane and ending the film in an instant, she orders Megatron to do it and doesn’t do anything herself. She gets blasted by Bee and that’s basically the end of her story. It’s a sad way to go.

Hot Rod is actually in this film, but you’ll barely care since he’s nothing like his classic self. He’s just a guy with a french accent who likes blasting stuff. His time stop ability is useful, but he rarely ever remembers to use it so he may as well not have it. The Decepticons are all fairly generic. We have a scene inspired by the Suicide Squad where we see him release his favorite cons and they all team up, but half of them die in their first action scene and even Megatron himself isn’t all that impressive. He seems about as durable as your average con and has slightly more firepower. He never really seems like a threat.

Despite the writing being so bad, some of the humans are all right. Izabella is reasonable for a kid. At least she knows what she is doing and managed to survive for so long as the government base. Her robot even looked a lot like Bumblebee and I could have sworn that it was him the whole time. Why do they have the same design? If Bumblebee had died in such a random way like that I’m sure the fanbase would have gone nuts though. I didn’t really care for Viviane much though. She seemed to overreact a lot and the 180 personality shift once she got along with Cade was sad. Cade also wasn’t that great as he drinks too much beer and also takes things too personally. The whole plot with his daughter was made to be way too dramatic.

The government is also bad as always. They decided to turn against all of the Transformers yet again. Sure, they’re all pretty mean, but why pick a fight that you can’t win? Their weapons are finally strong enough….well who are we kidding. Their weapons are always strong enough to beat Transformers. They’ll still lose in the end if they go with a frontal assault so it’s just not a smart move. It’s a rather half baked one. The only good member of the army was the physics guy who kept mocking the heroes for relying on magic. He’d point out that magic wasn’t real and that the team should use physics to win. It didn’t work of course as magic is the whole point of the film, but the guy made some good points and had a lot of excellent burns.

The film relies pretty heavily on being half comedy and action. Unfortunately, the humor doesn’t work very well. The funniest scenes were the unintentional ones like the heroes constantly bickering or Optimus Prime getting frozen just by flying. The actual humor just tends to fall flat like the flirting and all of the characters acting like jerks. I suspect the guy on the telephone trying to be a knight was supposed to be funny as well, but it didn’t really work. Also, how come this guy seems to know everything? I like that he didn’t panic like the others and just decided to hang out at the beach instead of stressing out, but it felt like filler. Of course, over half of the film is basically prolonged to extend the run time. I suppose there could be some charm in seeing the characters all insult each other in a reverse friendship kind of way. Perhaps Bay is going for that as you just enjoy all of the insults, but even that would need better writing. Bad writing holds everything back.

Aside from the opening action sequence, the fight scenes aren’t bad I suppose. They all start to blend together after a while and we don’t really get any prolonged fight though. Most fights end with a few hits. Bumblebee vs Optimus is probably the only really long fight in the movie and that would probably be the best one. The ending was rather anticlimactic though.

This film does have an after credits scene by the way so you should stick around for that. It’s the kind of scene that would be hype in a different series but not for this one. The villain that they’re hyping up is not someone I want to see. I was practically wincing there because I assumed that by grabbing the scepter they had hopefully destroyed this person too. Ah well, at least the cool person who is giving out the intel should be a good villain. Perhaps that is all I can ask for.

Overall, Transformers delivers another blunder. It’s just a bad film that is crammed in with every plot imaginable. The plots could have been good except the writing is terrible. The script is so bad it hurts and the characters are all made out to be villains or unlikable. The romance is as rushed as it ever was since the characters have only known each other for around a day or less. The film can be funny at times but for all the wrong reasons. There’s just no reason to have hope for another film, but they’re going to come out anyway. I like to think that the next film will be better, but it’s hard to even think that at this point. I suppose the films deliver on being mindless action blockbusters where you just try to enjoy the experience and keep it moving, but all of the films feel the same in that regard. They’ll hold your attention but never come close to being a good film. If the next film wants to be better, it should finally make the Autobots heroic, Strengthen the Dinobots a bit so they don’t keep losing, strengthen all of the Transformers so humans aren’t constantly beating them, and make the humans more likable. The films may just be doomed though and your best bet is looking at the original animated series again. At least that one was quality.

Overall 3/10

Return of the Fly Review

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It’s time for the sequel to the original Fly movie. For the most part it’s not bad as the film goes on. The pacing is decent and the plot is fairly good, but the film ends up falling into a massive pot hole with an animal violence scene. Beyond that, it can also be annoying to see the heroes lose so badly to one opponent the whole time. It’s certainly a rather unique film and while you feel bad for the main character, you also can’t help but wish Francois could have said “I told you so” at one point.

Phillipe is in shambles over what happened to his father. After all, how can anyone take the fact that their father turned into an insect and died? Francois warns him not to go down the same path, but Phillipe laughs him off and decides to rebuild the experiments room and do the exact same things his father did. He wants to prove that the concept is sound and his father grew careless. He hires Alan as an assistant and they decide to live in the house of his child hood friend’s house and they’ll work in her basement. She doesn’t seem to mind and even though a romance may be lightly hinted, the film never takes that anywhere. I was pretty impressed although, that’s probably because the main heroine and her mother barely appear at all. They’re in the film, but their role is quite small. You wouldn’t be wrong to say that they were filler characters.

So, lets get the elephant out of the room first since it is of massive importance. What destroys the film is a scene with the rat as he grows human hands and feet. Alan ends up crushing him in a very long, drawn out death scene that is shown to be exceptionally painful to the rat. Animal violence is one thing and animal death is another, but a scene this intense and long is something else altogether. The film was in the grave from this point on in the film and it’s not as if anything could possibly save it. Even if the film was decent otherwise, it was doomed at this point.

Still, lets look at the rest of the film. The Alan subplot felt wildly out of place to be honest. He’s actually an international fugitive who earns money by ripping off inventions and giving them to local crooks. The cops have been after him for years, but the guy is too slippery. Fortunately he got a steady job over here just in time to rip Phillipe off. One of the cops did a good job of finding him, but ended up choking his accomplishment away by getting shot so easily. That was definitely not a great moment for him. It’s too bad since the cops never seem to win in these things. Ah well, at least he tried. Things don’t end well for Alan in this film but he still looked a little too good during the middle. He took down the cop, Francois, and Phillipe back to back to back. It was a little too much hype for one guy, but I can see why he evaded capture for so long.

Phillipe isn’t a very likable main character since he intentionally decides to bring the experiments back. He knows that they were the end of his father so why go through it again? It seems to be more about pride than anything else so it’s hard to say that his soul was really in it from the start. As such, it’s a little hard to sympathize with him at times. I suppose he gets his revenge and a pretty happy ending though so he probably won’t regret it much. On that note, the ending was surprisingly happy. I certainly wasn’t expecting that, but it’s a good thing I’d say.

The film didn’t really have a role for the two heroines or Francois. Francois offered words of advice, but Phillipe ignored them all and then Francois spent the rest of the film getting wrecked and blackmailed. It wasn’t a very flattering appearance for him. The design for the fly monster and the mini fly wasn’t bad. It’s certainly interesting even if it doesn’t make for a downright epic design. I suppose we’ll take it since it’s fairly unique although almost the same as the first film.

Return of the Fly’s main issue aside from the animal violence is pretty much that nothing happens for large chunks of the film. It’s very dialogue based which isn’t a bad thing, but it comes across as more uneventful than deep. We didn’t need more action, but more likable characters. All of the dialogue just doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere and since none of the characters are developed, we don’t need to hear about their childhoods. I also don’t get why Phillipe is so scared of flies when he didn’t actually live through the events of the first film. It would have made more sense if Francois was the one who was scared of them.

Overall, Return of the Fly suffered from one major scene. It’s a bit of a shame for it since it probably could have scored a 5 or a 6 otherwise. It can be a little dull, but the writing was still fine and it didn’t make a bunch of mistakes. It could just be a little annoying to watch Alan trick everyone, but seeing Phillipe connect the dots was fun. That would certainly have helped to an extent. Still, the rat scene was in very bad taste and one of the worst animal death moments I’ve seen in a very long time. That sunk the film all the way to the bottom. One scene can absolutely change a film and this one is living proof of it. I highly advise staying away from this film and never looking back!

Overall 1/10

Samurai Jack (2017) Review

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Samurai Jack is one of the best American cartoons out there. If we don’t count super hero shows like Justice League then it takes the title quite easily. The show had awesome fights and episodes that were nonstop action the entire time. It may have ended rather suddenly with no real ending, but that’s fine since you could always imagine your own ending. Still, everyone was rather hyped when they announced that the series would finally be getting a conclusion. Everyone…except me. From the start this was promoted as a far darker, grittier, more violent take on the classic show to fit in with the modern times. I had a bad feeling that this show was not just going to be bad, but terrible. Unfortunately…my fears turned out to be correct.

This new season was fairly misleading as the first episode was actually really good. We got a nice fight scene and it was against a robot so there wasn’t any blood or anything. I felt like things would maybe be okay. Right after that is where the show went downhill and never recovered. Episodes 2-3 are the most action packed and intense episodes of the show, but are also overflowing with over the top violence. Jack also ends up murdering a few of his opponents who were brainwashed girls who were raised to despise him. The fact that they are rather young is there to increase the grit factor.

Episode 4 was more like a classic Jack episode. It still couldn’t be bothered to avoid some animal violence, but was a big step up from the last two episodes. Episode 5 was the final episode before the show lost its focus. We see the Scotsman have a very pointless return as he gets one shotted by Aku and Jack is tricked into thinking that he murdered a bunch of kids. Honestly, I thought they were dead too so props to the show for not going down that rabbit hole.

Episode 6 is about cameos as Ashi meets up with a bunch of old allies. You can say that it’s filler as it’s just a homage for old fans, but the good news is that this means we didn’t have to see any unnecessary grit. I think this may be the episode with a pretty wince worthy line, but more on that later. Episode 7 leads us back to grit as it’s one of the most violent episodes. Ashi murders a bunch of villains and you’ll just want to fast forward to the next one.

Episode 8 is one of the worst episodes. This time it’s because of the very forced romance and the fact that it doesn’t work at all. Jack’s wayyyyyyy older than Ashi and as people had been pointing out on the sub reddit for weeks, it couldn’t work. The show surely wouldn’t go down that path right? Well, they did even though everyone was hoping for a more father-daughter bond which would have made more sense. Episode 9 still has some of this plot to deal with, but luckily the second half is better as Aku steps in. Episode 10 is extremely rushed with a rather lackluster ending and one of the more anticlimactic final fights. The season ended as it ran….a disappointing and unnecessary final season.

Lets look at the negatives more generally now. First off is obviously the violence. Samurai Jack was originally a kid’s show, but this season decided to get extremely violent and dark. You could barely go a single episode without some kind of animal violence. Whether it be a bird getting stabbed, a dog being slashed to the verge of death, or random bugs squashed there was something always happening here. Animal violence is always a big no-no and having it show up over and over again certainly doesn’t help the show’s case. Naturally, the human fight scenes were just as bad. It gets to the point where you actively hope for an episode with no action and that’s where the show goes to the other extreme of having an episode that’s all about walking and talking. The only good fights are the one against Aku and robots, but those are typically quite brief.

To make the show a little more dark as well, Jack destroys the brainwashed daughters of Aku as I mentioned earlier. They were only added to the show so that Jack could justify his choice to destroy them and so he could stop being such a dramatic hero who saved everyone in his path. This was their only purpose which meant that the writers didn’t even care about their power levels. They started out as being incredibly strong and much quicker than Jack, but ultimately turned into light weights that Jack could defeat with ease.

The show’s writing also drops down quite a few levels. Just to keep up the edge factor the show has Scaramouche use a p word to describe someone’s head and it felt so out of place and unnecessary. It was about as forced as Wolverine’s catchphrase in virtually every X-Men film. The whole romance angle was also written quite poorly. Jack’s sudden lack of confidence and debates with his inner self were just as hard to watch. Aku was really the only character who stayed in character during this season. He was great and definitely a highlight here. Without him, I wonder how the show would have fared.
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To expand on why Jack isn’t a good character here, he has to compromise on his ideals far too often and doesn’t seem to have a shred of will power left. He decides to commit suicide after not being able to save a bunch of kids, but all that will do is doom even more people. He decides not to help a village that is being destroyed because he’s tired of being a hero. By the time he changes his mind and goes there, everyone is already dead. Jack even got a bunch of clever nicknames on Youtube as a result since he certainly seems to have gotten more ruthless over the years. His new (pretty bad) design didn’t help matters either. They really dropped the ball on this.

While Jack may have been butchered as a character, he still got some pretty good lines during the season. “It always seems bad at first, but then I find a way” or “I will give you a new choice. Turn back now or stay and face your destiny.” Those may not be word for word, but they were pretty intense. The latter especially as it comes from the preview for one of the first episodes. It was the most exciting preview and easily one of the best Toonami previews of all time. The music for that one was also pretty awesome and it will make you wish for some good tunes in the actual show.

Ashi is the main heroine and she’s a pretty decent character. She gets the short end of the stick on this show, but it was nice to finally have another supporting character who could fight. It’s a shame that we then had to throw romance into the picture and that we couldn’t see Ashi’s true form appear more. She was a good character and probably the best member in the series. She’s as brutal as Jack thanks to her origin and also mows everyone down during the course of the series. She got significantly weaker after turning good, but that’s to be expected. I like the concept of her character more than the execution, but she definitely wasn’t bad.

Scaramouche was great in the first episode. He made for a really good villain and his tuning fork is a potent weapon. That being said, his character was wasted in the rest of his appearances. The show just didn’t know what to do with him. His voice really helped to sell the character if you ask me. I already talked about how great Aku was so I don’t really need to go into it. He was just on point and while the show made him a little too powerful, (Jack can only win with plot hax) it made for an interesting dynamic. Aku is evil, but he doesn’t seem like a mean guy compared to the other villains. It’s something that I wouldn’t mind more titles playing around with. To an extent, Fairy Tail did this with Zeref for a while, but then he suddenly became full psychotic while trying to convince people that he was a nice guy.

The animation is basically the same as the old Jack show. It’s a little more streamlined and modern as the colors are sharper and the contrast works well. That being said, it’s still not my kind of animation and I wish they’d switch it to something more modern. The show looks very dated and I’ve seen 90’s shows that look a lot sharper. Just check out DBZ or Pokemon. The fight scenes are also a big step down from the old series. That one could have fights that lasted the entire episode and they happened multiple times. All of the fights in the 2nd half of the series are short and the first half felt long and intricate but also super violent and bloody.

There isn’t really much of a soundtrack here. The classic Jack end theme is still around for most of the episodes which was pretty cool. I’m not really a fan of the theme song either. I typically don’t care for narration in my openings as it should just be illustrated through the lyrics and animation. If the show can’t do that, then it just needs to try again until it can pull this off.

The show is only 10 episodes so you’ll be able to get through it in a breeze. I can’t say that there is any real replay value to be found here at all. It may help convince you to re watch the old series again though so that would definitely be a good side effect of watching this one. At the very least, Samurai Jack serves as a cautionary tale to other old cartoons that fans want to get a new season. Odds are that the new season won’t be able to live up to the original episodes and it’ll just throw mud onto your cherished memories.

Before ending this review I should at least come up with one positive fro the show. It’s not a 0 so it’s not as if the show had 0 potential. What it did do well was establish a pretty apocalyptic atmosphere. It’s clear that Aku has won the war when the season picks up. Everything that I say here refers to the first 3 episodes by the way. The rest of the season became a complete trainwreck. The episode with Ashi and Jack teaming up in the factory was the final episode to try and salvage itself. Still, the first 3 episodes were pretty hype. There was a nice level of intensity and flare to each episode and the fights had real stakes. While the daughters of Aku were nerfed, they still felt like a nice threat. Seeing Jack use a variety of weapons instead of his sword was also interesting since he is a master in virtually every form of combat. If the episodes had been handled in the same vein as the original show, I think that these three episodes could have easily reached a solid 9. It wasn’t to be, but at least Jack never got boring during this trilogy. It really should have come out as some kind of 70 minute movie.

To address the ending, I can safely say that it wasn’t satisfying. As mentioned earlier, I wanted a big final fight. Even if we ignore the fact that we got cheated out of that, it’s just pretty mean spirited to Jack. The show basically just got him a companion just so they could take her away at the end so he could die alone. Jack also got over it a little too quickly in that last butterfly scene. I would have much preferred it if Jack had simply gone to the past, defeated Jack in a very long drawn out fight, and then became King. It would have been so much more effective and concise. That or have a big team up with Aku against a new villain, but I somehow feel like fans wouldn’t like that option very much.
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Overall, Samurai Jack deserved another season, but it didn’t need one. This season could have had a lot of potential since you can always make another story arc for Jack since he is immortal and the world is extremely large. Unfortunately this season couldn’t even decide what it wanted to do and half of the season felt like filler. The show could have ended on a more epic note after the first 3 episodes. It would have been a pretty conclusive ending. It even could have adapted episode 10 just without Ashi. Make no mistake, the show wouldn’t have gotten a positive score or anything since that would fix nothing, but you wouldn’t be missing out on anything by cutting the other 6 episodes out. The poorly constructed romance and pointless cameo of the Scotsman could have been left on the shelf. Next time you think about watching this show…don’t.

Overall 3/10

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Review

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It’s time to review the final DK Country game and possibly the final main DK game of them all. The Country series has been pretty solid for all of the installments so it’s nice to see what the Wii U can bring to the table. The game is a little shorter than Returns and noticeably easier as well, but it’s still a quality platformer. One nice mechanic that they added was the dash and now I can’t imagine playing a DK game without it. It makes the characters so much more versatile and deadly in the levels.I certainly had a blast spamming it and it’ll remind you of the 3D Sonic games.

The plot involves a group of ice creatures deciding to take over a mountain. This angers DK and his pals because they want more bananas and they don’t grow in frigid temperatures. Thus, DK and friends decide to beat people up along the way and eat what they can. Still, can they defeat this Bowser impostor or will the trials be too much for them? The story definitely pales in comparison to the last game though for one key reason…the first 4 worlds are filler. They have nothing to do with the plot and there aren’t even any ice levels in them. For a game that’s called Tropical Freeze, this was a little odd. Once you enter the final 2 worlds then the ice levels start to show up so that was neat. Either way, the level variety is always fun, but I wish the plot could have worked with that a little.

The gameplay is the 2D platforming that you would expect. That being said, as mentioned earlier we now have a dash mechanic. It is incredibly handy as you can cross large distances with the move. It’s also not too automatic or easy so it feels like a legitimate technique that you’ll want to master. If you learn it just right, you’ll find yourself blasting through the levels. The gameplay is very smooth and you can definitely know that this is a AAA game right off the bat. I was very happy to trade in the Wii remote controls for a more proper All Pro and Gamepad setup as well. It’s night and day comparing the two styles for this platformer.

While the levels are significantly easier than DK Country Returns, it’s not really fair to say that it’s too drastic. The main reason for this is that I just got done completing the former so it’s possible that I’m just more prepared for whatever the DK series throws at me right now. It’s like playing Dark Souls 1 and 2 back to back. 2 will probably feel a lot easier than 1 did initially. I do think that Tropical Freeze probably had the tougher bosses though. It’s a close one, but the last boss for example would certainly be rather difficult to defeat in one player mode. He has a lot of health and it’s hard to predict his horn attack. It almost feels purely random. I don’t think any of the bosses are inherently unfair though. They’re tough, but you just need to keep on going at them until you win.

The soundtrack isn’t bad. There are no super hype themes like the Returns villain jingle, but they’ll get you through the stages. The boss theme that plays when a boss first shows up is similar to Mighty No 9’s main boss theme which is pretty interesting. There’s a good guitar/drum solo that works well for that. I don’t really recall any of the stage themes, but they were pleasant enough. The graphics also look pretty sharp for the title. It brought back the Shadow levels and the elements all look really sharp. The characters also look good in the cutscenes. Nintendo never disappoints when it comes to the technical aspects and they rarely do with the gameplay either.

There’s a good amount of replay value here as you’d expect. Collecting all of the puzzle pieces in the levels will certainly take a good amount of time. There are quite a few of them in each level after all. Most of the levels require repetition to really get them down so it’s more about the time than the difficulty. I believe you unlock an extra world if you do that so that’s a nice incentive. It’ll certainly give hardcore DK players a few extra hours to have fun with. The main game will only take you a handful of hours as well. 6-8 I’d imagine, but that’s a pretty decent length for a platformer. Having 8 worlds helps a lot, but 6 will do.

Overall, Donkey Kong has brought us another pretty solid game. If you want to really experience the difficulty as the true DK experience, make sure you choose to play as DK. If you want to coast through the levels a little easier, make sure to pick Diddy Kong or Dixie. They can cheese you through just about any obstacle. I look forward to seeing another Donkey Kong country game rise to the surface. Hopefully the plot will be a little better even though I know that is rarely Nintendo’s goal. As long as the gameplay is good, I suppose the rest doesn’t matter quite as much and Nintendo certainly knows how to handle gameplay. I never got to play as Cranky, but that’s fine. I get the feeling that his special ability wouldn’t have been all that great.

Overall 8/10

Ratchet and Clank Full Frontal Assault Review

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The Ratchet and Clank marathon continued as I dive into the big anniversary game. Full Frontal Assault decided to take a gamble and completely switch up the game design. It didn’t work if I’m being honest although this is the kind of game that would be perfect for online death matches. A nice Call of Duty kind of mode where you have to breach your opponent’s network of weapons and security could be awesome. After all, Full Frontal Assault is essentially a capture the Flag game and those are always best with a multiplayer option. Still, the game is fun enough.

Someone has finally grown tired of Captain Qwark always betraying the universe and being accepted back so gracefully. This kid decides to do something about it and sneaks out of his basement to hatch his evil plan. He has a wide array of tech at his disposal and also has a lot of resources. None of this makes any sense, but lets roll with it. Qwark asks Ratchet for help and the duo have to quickly defend the universe against this new nemesis. Can they do it!?

So the gameplay is a mix of the usual Ratchet and Clank games with the Locke’s quest dynamic. You start the level in your stronghold. Once you obtain money from nearby crates and enemies, you can set up landmines, cannons, and barriers to protect yourself. You then go out into enemy territory and conquer all of their forts. You’ll want to go back to your base from time to time to keep it strong and prevent enemies from destroying it all. No worries, you are given alerts when enemies are approaching and even a graphic that shows how close they are. Since you have your rocket boots, catching up is never a problem. Still, I wouldn’t cut it too close if I were you. No matter how many defenses you have, the enemies will certainly bust through them at some point. Luckily, taking them down is fairly easy tbh.

Naturally, the 3D shooting is as good as ever. I’d actually say that it’s significantly better than the last game so that part’s fun. The weapons are limited again, but all of the good ones are back. I naturally went for the machine gun weapon right away since it’s so good, but you should definitely check out the rest. Apparently the metal blades are really handy as well. Having the boots from the start is definitely another great asset to have.

The graphics are pretty good as always. Ratchet and Clank has always had a good reputation in that area so I’m glad that they aren’t slacking off. The explosions are a treat to see and while it may not have the best graphics in the series, that just speaks to how good the older ones were. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is fairly mild and I can’t think of any good tunes. Ah well, so it goes.

One problem with the game is that it is very short. I beat the game in around 2.5 hours which is a little sad. The levels weren’t downright easy, but I did clear them without any real difficulty. As I mentioned earlier, it’s easy to beat the enemies to the base and at that point you’ve as good as won the whole set. They just won’t be able to deal with your skills. Even the wrench is surprisingly powerful in this game although you’d have to be really desperate to take that out. The guns are just so much more effective. I was able to get 2/3 medals in just about all of the stages and all 3 in one of them. I’m definitely going to gun for the Platinum at some point since it really seems achievable. There aren’t many trophies as it is and the Platinum is supposed to only take another 6-8 hours. Probably less since I already have a bunch. The replay value will help justify the current price, but I would have been pretty disappointed if I had bought it at launch.

I think the low content is enough to chop a star off of the score. That in turn with the weak plot and tower system. The Capture the Flag concept was still a good idea. It may need a little fine tuning, but since you got to keep the 3D combat, I was pretty well satisfied. The game could have messed up by making the opponents too durable. As it is, the tank perfectly fulfilled its role as taking that thing down is incredibly difficult. Man, it sure does have a lot of health doesn’t it?

Overall, You have to keep in mind that this is a spinoff game. It’s not nearly as packed with content or as engaging as the others. The main villain is complete comic relief and there’s barely even a plot. Still, it’s a fundamentally sound game when you look at the gameplay and the graphics. I had a blast during the game which is why I was able to beat it all in one playthrough. It’s just that kind of game and it can still hold its own against any platformer…you know…until it ends. I’d recommend checking this game out and since it is only around 10 bucks you won’t be losing a lot of money anyway. They better work on making sure that the next games are longer though. At the very least, I saw that All 4 One is back to a more standard length of 12+ hours so that’s a good thing. I’ll try to play that one soon, but the disc kept freezing on me. Ah well, then it might be time for Jak!

Overall 7/10

Ratchet & Clank Into The Nexus Review

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It’s been a while since I really got to enjoy a Ratchet and Clank game. I tried playing All 4 One a while back, but the game kept freezing on me. I suppose it’s bound to happen when you buy as many games as I do, but that one along with Rayman advance not working definitely stung a little. I get the chills just thinking about those games. Into The Nexus was always notable for being very short and I can see why. You really breeze through the game. Considering that I took it down in a few hours while managing to die at least once in every level…it’s very short. I mainly just kept dying because I would forget about certain gimmicks. There were a lot of controls and no manual in the game so if you forgot how to do something…it becomes button mashing time. Still, it is a very solid game despite the length and there is a reasonable amount of replay value to be found here as well.

Ratchet and Clank are serving as escorts for a pair of dangerous villains that need to be brought to jail. Unfortunately, they break free and murder two of Ratchet and Clank’s friends as they head off to destroy the universe. Ratchet decides to disobey orders to retreat back to home base and pursues the villains. This time it’s personal and Ratchet isn’t playing games. He’s armed to the teeth and is ready to make the hard calls. With the whole universe in the balance, Ratchet may learn that sometimes you need to have a backup weapon at the ready. Luckily, Ratchet always has a bunch of guns.

While the gameplay appears to be the same as always on the surface, it’s less polished. You’ll quickly get used to the 3D shooting style as it’s made to be easy to pick up and play. I love 3D games and Ratchet & Clank has always nailed it. That being said, this one is missing a lock-on feature. You can use L1 to “focus” which is like locking on, but it won’t follow the enemy. You always have to manually aim while fighting. It’s not a big deal, but it can be a little inconvenient if you’re used to having a lock-on at the ready. Due to the size of the game, the weapon selection is also a lot more limited. You have less than half of the weapons that an average Ratchet & Clank game has along with half the gadgets. They each only have 3 base levels as well so you’ll max out the weapons quite easily. It seems like there are an extra 3 levels that pop up later on though so that helps. This makes the Platinum Trophy easier I suppose, but it still sounds reasonably difficult.

The weapons that we do get are pretty good though. They’ll all old I believe so don’t expect anything new, but all of the good weapons made it back. All you’ll really need are the bombs and machine gun, but I do recommend buying the missiles and metal discs once you are able to as well. Earning money certainly isn’t hard in this game and just enter a few tournaments if you want some quick cash. It’s definitely worth the trouble. There are 5-6 worlds in the game and each one can be completed in under an hour. The tournament planet was probably the shortest plot-wise, but since there are bonus tournaments, it ends up lasting a little longer.

As always, the graphics were definitely on point here. The animations were very smooth and the character designs were as sharp as you could expect. The energy attacks all look really good and I enjoyed the level designs as well. The game did a good job of grabbing the classic stage traits like a City level and a forest one as well. That’s definitely a good thing since every Ratchet game should have at least one City world. Those always look fantastic. The soundtrack never really stood out to me though and I couldn’t recall a single tune afterwards. Music is probably one of the only areas that isn’t a strength for this series.

As mentioned, there is some decent replay value. Getting all of the trophies will take some time and that helps make the game worth the price. Even without the replay value, I think the game goes for around 10 dollars now. That’s certainly not a lot of money for an AAA title. The plot may not be as grandiose as the others, but it’s still engaging. As far as the platformers go, it destroys most of the competition. Only Jak can really keep up with it consistently and I’d still give Ratchet and Clank the edge.

One thing that I can definitely get behind for this game is that the level up system is so smooth. Aside from your weapons, you can also level Ratchet up. It’s not particularly long or time consuming to power up, but you still don’t have to unless you want too. The bosses are definitely beatable if you want to go straight for them. There are also constant check points so even if you lose, you never have a long way to go. I think the phrase that I’m looking for is “Quality of Life” mechanics for this game. You never get lost for hours and hours like LoZ and you never have to go back through a long area with unskippable cutscenes like Orphen. Into The Nexus is a game that’s made with the gamer’s needs as top priority and it’s something that I’d like to see more games achieve. It’s easy to see why the series is known as one of the all time greats.

Overall, This felt like a little treat for Ratchet & Clank fans to hold them over until the next full installment. I’d think of this as more of a spinoff than a full fledged game. Think of it as the mini adventure to keep you ready for the next big title like what Kingdom Hearts does. Of course, KH spinoffs are still typically at least 20 hours long, but we’ll let that slide for now. It’s short, but that doesn’t mean that Into The Nexus is any less of a good game than you’d expect. While it’s not as polished and complete as the others, I still had a blast playing it. The time really flies when you’re blasting the opponents. I’m definitely looking forward to playing the next game although I hear that it switches up the format a little. Hopefully it keeps in the fun and intensity of this game.

Overall 8/10

Dracula’s Daughter Review

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Now it’s time for the sequel to Dracula. I’ve never been much of a vampire fan to be honest, but you probably know that by now. Vampires just don’t make for good antagonists and the whole blood sucking thing doesn’t even work well conceptually. Luckily, this film mostly doesn’t bother with that. I mean, people do get drained, but basically off screen as this is more about will power and such. It’s not a bad sequel, but one that could and should have gone a different route.

Van Helsing successfully destroyed Dracula, but before he could escape the scene of the crime he was apprehended by a pair of cops. They arrested him and now Van Helsing is probably going to be found guilty with a punishment of murder unless he can prove that vampires exist. He’s not faring too well on this. Meanwhile, Marya has been cursed by Dracula and must continue to destroy people. She seeks the help of Doctor Jeffrey to help her, but he doesn’t believe in Vampires and is too busy with just about everything else to pay her any heed. Well, Marya doesn’t accept answers like that and quickly gets to work by kidnapping Jeffrey’s friend. Jeffrey better be quick on his feet or it’ll be game over.

The alternate route that I mentioned involves the beginning. We see Helsing dig his own grave deeper and deeper as the court date gets closer and I would have liked a nice little court scene. The trial of Helsing could have even been made the main plot if the writers handled it well. It was still amazing just how annoying and oblivious Helsing was. I probably would have been rooting against him in the court case because of how he was antagonizing everyone. It felt like he was just doing it on purpose after a while and I had to question his intelligence. Maybe Helsing finally just got too old and simply couldn’t take the pressure anymore. If so, it was rather tragic, but luckily the other characters ended up saving him in the end.

One unfortunate part of the film is that the moral at the end is rather negative. Marya does her best to fight her vampire genes as well as Dracula’s telepathy, but in the end she loses. Seriously…she just can’t overcome it despite Jeffrey’s half hearted advice. I was hoping she would be able to just use will power and overcome the curse. I didn’t actually think it would happen since this is a Dracula film though, but it was a little sad that all of her efforts were ultimately futile. I can’t say that Marya is a likable character anyway though. She should have fired her servant a long time ago since he kept egging her on and trying to keep her evil. She should have suspected something long before the end of the film and really sowed the seeds of her own demise.

Jeffrey is the main character and he’s certainly not that good. He’s always running all over the place so he has no time to properly talk with anyone. Not to mention that he is certainly an “Eye for an eye” kind of character who will accept your resignation but then force you back into the job if he needs you. His advice didn’t work anyway and there’s just not much to this guy. He doesn’t even know how to put on a tie despite having to use them for parties and other events for years. He has never really progressed, which is alarming. At least his secretary Janet is fun enough. She trolls Jeffrey by calling him and pretending to be from the Zoo and just generally lies to everyone. Why tell the truth can you can mess with someone? That seems to be her motto and it works pretty well until she runs into the vampires. At that point, she was probably doomed regardless of what tactic she used.

It would have been fun for this film to have added in Dracula in some capacity. I mean, that could have backfired just as easily, but it may have helped the plot a little. After all, most of the film didn’t really have a plot as Marva fought a futile battle against herself and defeated all of the Jims (Red Shirts) in the mean time. The characters who died off weren’t very smart either as one followed a sketchy fellow over to his mansion in the middle of the night. If someone asks you to come home with them for a “modeling job” I’d hope that you would say no. It doesn’t get more suspect and suspicious than that if you ask me. It’s not as if the film is boring for the most part, but I wanted more activity. The main plot with Jeffrey was actually more interesting than the Vampire one because at least the constant trolling back and forth was entertaining. The film should have stuck with that plot or Helsing’s instead of Marva’s.

Overall, Dracula’s Daughter is a decent film. It can move a little slowly at times and the characters aren’t particularly interesting as it is. The film can move a little slowly though and it’s not exactly a thrill a minute. While there is no animal violence to bring it down like The Invisible Man sequel, it is not quite as good as the former. Invisible Man is a lot more fun and the plot is more fast paced. So, if you like a slow burning horror film without too many scary moments then this is a good film for you. It’s more about being atmospheric and slightly unnerving which may or may not work. If you want a film that gets to the point a little quicker, then check out I Frankenstein. It gets right to the point with no delay.

Overall 5/10