War of the Colossal Beast Review


It’s impressive that the first Colossal Man movie got a sequel but unfortunately this one isn’t quite as good. The decision to turn Glenn into a mindless monster was definitely an odd one and doesn’t work as effectively. Part of the fun in having a giant man is seeing him interact and how he adjusts to this. The first film may have been leading up into having him turn mindless but going all the way with it was definitely a big mistake.

The movie follows Glenn’s sister Joyce who has been trying to locate him for a while now. It’s actually a bit of an odd choice right off the bat. Why aren’t we still following his fiancé Carol? I suppose the real life reason would be that they couldn’t get the same actress but I feel like that wouldn’t have been a big deal. Either way Joyce functions in pretty much the same way as it’s her turn to play detective this time. She does well in tracking Glenn’s possible whereabouts until she actually gets to the right place.

Ultimately there isn’t a whole lot she can do to stop him but she gets the government on the trail so that they can capture him. Unfortunately a cure will be difficult as always so they are basically delaying the inevitable as he is still a big threat that could hurt just about anyone. The government’s main liaison this time is Mark and he makes it clear that the army will take care of Glenn if he poses a threat. So getting them involved was a bit of a risk but it was still Joyce’s only realistic option. Otherwise Glenn was already being a threat anyway.

Again this is weakened by the fact that he is so mindless now though. He can only just roar endlessly the whole time so there is no chance for dialogue or anything like that. He’s just completely lost his mind and that doesn’t make for an interesting villain. You could only pull that off if this was a creature with a really cool design, but a giant human? No shot at making that work out, it’s just not in the cards. Also I thought the design wasn’t as good. In this film they try to show that he’s deteriorated a bit due to the accident from last time but also the radiation. So now part of his skull is showing at all times and so he looks rather beat up. It’s more on the gruesome angle than actually looking really cool though.

The other characters are decent enough. Mark does well in his role and he seems like a good guy. There is a limit to how much he can actually do here but at least he is trying the whole time. It would have been easy to have just ditched Glenn to his fate but he is actually trying to make things work out for everyone. Then you have Dr. Carmichael who is like pretty much every other doctor in these old films. He seems reasonable enough but can’t really work miracles.

I actually liked this old guy who appeared at the start of the film as his driver got scared by Glenn so he had to find the kid. This was really just a way to kick the film off so he doesn’t have a big role or anything but I liked his energy. The guy was determined to get his money back and sue if needed. The kid who got scared was more on the annoying side. I thought all the scenes of him being too afraid to talk at all were really overblown. The movie just had a super slow start as a result and once we got to move past that it was for the best.

The movie still has good writing like the first film but around the board it’s just a bit weaker. The pacing only gets good after the opening scenes and of course Glenn is a big step down with how mindless he is. I definitely would have liked for him to have still had his character. Then the cast as a whole would be a bit weaker although it’s close. So with all of that going against it, there was never any chance that the movie could have beat the original. That wasn’t going to happen but I would still call it a good movie. If you ignore that the first one exists, then it is a perfectly serviceable title.

It doesn’t do anything special but it makes no big mistakes. There’s no moment where you’re really shaking your head here and that’s the positive point of making what I would call a very safe film. You’re not taking any risks or putting yourself out there so the floor is stable but the ceiling may just not be as high. You’re not going to score an 8 with this approach but you won’t likely score a 4 either. It just puts you in an area with smaller variety.

As a final note, it’s a little hard to believe that the Colossal Man was able to hide for so long though. Again, remember that he is basically mindless and he is absolutely huge. Where was he hiding for so long? It was clearly long enough where the government thought he was dead and nobody believed the giant guy could be around. It just strikes me as unlikely that this guy could be slipping around, even if there weren’t security cameras and such back then. They probably should have just said he could shrink or something but of course then it would be a whole new movie. Only other option would be to have this film take place a little sooner, like the next day or something. Even then I question how he made the trip over to Mexico undetected unless he can breathe underwater.

Overall, You’ll enjoy this film if you’re up for a fairly generic creature feature film. This one does have more action than the first so you will actually get to see the Colossal Man in action. It helps to counter the fact that it loses in virtually all other areas. It has less replay value than the first one without a doubt but it still gets enough right to be worth a watch. It has actual flashbacks to the first movie which is nice for continuity. So because of that I would recommend watching the first title before this one. They may be good as stand alone adventures but it still feels like you would get the added boost by watching the first one before this. It may make you end up comparing them a lot but that will just have to be unavoidable here.

Overall 6/10

Grease 2 Review


Sometimes a movie will at least start out good and you see the potential slowly get squandered away but this time you could really say that the movie was no good right from the start. It immediately feels very weak and is just ripping ideas off of the first one. It’s not subtle about doing this either and so it’s just weaker than the first film in every way along with a historically bad song thrown into the mix. You’ll definitely want to skip that one as quickly as possible.

The film starts off with everyone heading back to school and a lot of singing has taken place. It’s been a while since the events of the first film but things are more or less the same with how you have the gang of guys and the gang of girls who are all supposed to pair up. Well, Stephanie is through with this and breaks up with her counterpart. She wants to be with someone dashing, someone who is like a true mystery man. That seems like it’ll be difficult though and then a new transfer student named Michael appears.

He’s a nice guy who he doesn’t quite fit in with the gangsters. The thing is that he likes Stephanie and wants to find some way to get her to appreciate him. She doesn’t give him a chance normally so then he decides to become a superhero. The cool rider of her dreams. All it takes is a leather jacket and a helmet to cover his face. Now Stephanie can’t get enough of him. Should he keep up the deception so that they can get married or will he have to come clean and risk it all?

There’s not a ton of plot here though as that setup is interrupted a whole lot by a ton of random songs and characters messing around. There’s almost no focus here and as I mentioned earlier, a lot of the gags and such are directly ripped from the first film. This one doesn’t have any real originality and it shows. The songs are also much weaker. In particular the reproduction song has to stand out as one of the worst songs of all time. I don’t recall hearing a song in any movie that was quite this bad.

The scene goes on forever too and goes well beyond the point of the teachers appearing to look incompetent. This guy should have been fired right out of the gate. The principal also doesn’t really get any big hype moments the way that she did in the sequel. She is around for this movie but doesn’t do a whole lot beyond just glaring and standing around. Feels like a true waste of her character in the meantime. Of course that’s basically the case for anyone here. Frankie returns but her role is so small that she may as well not have returned. She really doesn’t add anything to the story.

Right off the bat the romance is really bad here. Stephanie is super mean to Michael throughout the entirety of the film because he’s just too nice and she wants someone who’s a delinquent. It’s quite telling that she fell for Michael in his alter ego form immediately. That’s because the romance is super shallow. She’s not falling in love with the person but the ideal/mask behind the guy. Nah that’s not a good look for her at all. So by the end you definitely aren’t rooting for them to get together.

I think the film could have done something good with her character but it was squandered. She just comes across as too mean. Also, one of the big drama moments here is that she is given an ultimatum that if she won’t date one of the other gang members then she has to stop wearing the gang clothes. She seems sad about this…but just toss it? It should be a no brainer since she has already decided that she doesn’t like any of those guys. Being in the gang never seemed too important to her either so the whole thing was a bit odd.

As for Michael, well I’ll give him some props for being determined but should he really want to try to date someone who can’t stand him? The level of aggression here was really something so even if he can trick her into liking a different form of his, it doesn’t really seem like a good deal at all. He would always have to be on guard and even if later on she liked the normal form as well, you may have doubts on if she really likes him or just the superhero form.

There’s just a lot of reasons not to care for the romance. I suppose at least you will care more about them than the side characters who really have nothing to do here. It seems like after the main characters left in the first film, the gangs have gotten extremely weak now. It’s actually played for laughs how they now get picked on by a rival gang. Come on, that’s disgraceful. So they’re getting picked on while in their own home turf and they are still more determined to stop the cool rider than the other gang? That’s why they will never be in first place, their priorities are all mixed up.

Michael certainly learned fast too since he was able to easily out speed both gangs and pull off incredible jumps. This guy was a living legend after only a day or two. At least this will buy the rest of the gang some time to finally get good but it’s not like any of them are likable enough to root for anyway. Then in the girl gang the only one with a big role is one character who wants people to stop treating her like a kid. In a better movie this could have led to a lot of very emotional moments and big character beats but in this movie it was just there as fluff. It ultimately doesn’t get all that important as the movie just dashes to the end.

If you take away the musical aspect then this could be better but unlike the first film I wouldn’t even say there is a whole lot of potential here. At least the first film had quality dialogue, an interesting setup, and just a lot of promise. This one wasn’t trying hard to make a plot right from the start so even if you take away the awful songs, it’s not like it would be positive. I would still take that as a consolation though.

Overall, Grease 2 is one of those ultimately lazy films that figures it can strike lightning twice without having to actually do anything. It’s just an extremely weak movie all around and it’s probably for the best that they hadn’t made a third one right after this. I would say to stay far away from this one. Even if you’ve seen the original and liked it, you’ll want to avoid Grease 2. It’s possible that liking the original would actually make this one feel even weaker since you’ll have seen what it could have been like.

Overall 2/10

Dusk Diver 2 Review


It’s good to have Dusk Diver back in action. I thought the first Dusk Diver was quite a bit of fun even if it was real short. Well this game continues with that action while also being longer so that’s a good thing. In some areas the budget does begin to show itself and I think the game could have masked that more but either way you’ll have a fun time here.

The game starts by explaining that Yang has somehow kept her abilities after the first adventure. Additionally her teammates can still turn into animals at times so clearly some ties to the gates have stayed in place. The heroes have to look into this but in the meantime a mysterious kid has appeared in the other world and the government is starting to act really shady as they create a lot of barriers. When you throw in another faction that wants nothing more than to destroy the world, the heroes know that they are going to be in for a tough time here.

I wouldn’t say the plot itself is amazing compared to the average RPG but there’s enough in here to keep you engaged. It has a bit of a slow start but once the dark diver shows up then the game really starts to cook. I’d say that it also went all out in the climax with the big villains and fights there. You can see all of the potential here and how this would make for a great anime. Throw a solid budget at it and there will be no looking back. There’s still a lot of comparisons you could make here between Yang and Yang from RWBY. Their personalities are different but the similar power set and character design will always be fun to note.

The gameplay is your classic beat em up style. You control one character and try to destroy all of the monsters. Beating all of them allows you to then proceed to the next area so you keep on repeating those steps. You can buy new moves as you earn ability points and you also upgrade your weapons. You can even control how you level up by personally picking the attributes that you want to increase. The max level is higher than 100 so you can expect to go very far here. I made it to around level 100 before beating the game.

My only critique on the gameplay style would be that the enemies have a lot of health so it can feel like they are damage sponges at time. You aren’t in any real danger but beating them can take quite a bit of time. The combat system is rather basic too so you’ll really spend most of your time spamming the same moves over and over again. Not exactly the most explosive gameplay style. I always like beating enemies so it works out well enough but they probably could have done more with this.

The graphics are definitely solid. There aren’t a lot of cinematics here but the ones that we do get are fun. I like the lyrical song that plays when you unleash your final smash during some of the big bosses too and overall I’d say the soundtrack is good. The game succeeds on those technical areas. One odd thing is how the text boxes can’t keep up with the game is in the middle of a cutscene. You have to turn auto off and manually click through or it’ll be as if the characters are constantly cutting each other off.

Throw in a typo or two as well and those are the kind of cracks you don’t see as much in a AAA game. There is a lot of content to go through here though so they didn’t skip out on all the bonus content. I even beat the game without getting a significant amount of the trophies here. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like there is a level select and a lot of the trophies are miscible so I would have to go back to the start anyway. I’m hoping New Game+ at least lets you keep the collectibles so you aren’t completely starting from scratch but I’m not sure exactly how that works.

It does add to the replay value though so you can bet that you will be here for quite a while. This is no longer a game that you can just pick up and complete in a batch or two. My advice when playing is to max out your power right away so you end the battles easier and then save your gems so that you can quickly level up your weapon as soon as you have beaten the chapter. It’s always a good idea to do this since the boost is big. Additionally, make sure you eat food as often as you can and always buy something different. I bought every food dish I could find in the city and it paid off with a ton of extra EXP.

You also get passive stat boosts so there are really no downsides to doing this. You want every advantage that you can get in a fight after all. While the game isn’t super difficult, you can still be given a good run for your money if you aren’t careful. There was a boss or two where I just won with barely any health left. It’s very cheap to buy items though so don’t be afraid to buy a ton of potions and revives. Those always come in handy.

Overall, Dusk Diver was a lot of fun. In some ways I absolutely think they could have done more with it and I really zoom in on this because my expectations for the series are quite high. The concept is just so good and I always like this kind of gameplay after all and the characters are fun so right off the bat that’s a lot of advantages for this title. With more of a budget I think they can take this to the next level but we’ll see if they do that for a 3rd game. The new concepts and characters were all fun to see. There’s a lot more you can do with this world as well now that it has gotten so much development and build up. Especially since you could say this game ends on an even more open note than the first. There’s no reason why the series would have to end when you take that into consideration. If you want to play through an action title with a lot of combat then this should be right up your alley.

Overall 8/10

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift Review


I had quite a few issues with the first Final Fantasy Tactics game. I thought the whole laws system was pretty bad because it really disrupted the flow of the game and the penalty for breaking the law was too steep. You had to reset the game a whole lot. This game was evidently keeping the laws in so I was a bit concerned but fortunately it’s all been overhauled. My issues from the first game have all been greatly reduced. I won’t say the game is without issues but when you improve the gameplay, it stands to reason that the game itself will almost always be better.

The game starts with the main guy being pulled into the world of Final Fantasy. Now he has to try and find a way out but in the meantime he’ll meet some friends and try to stop some villains. It’s a classic save the world story where at the end you figure the kid will go back to Earth. Yes, this is virtually thee same exact plot as last time. I was surprised that there wasn’t a different angle here. If anything the main character has less character than last time so I would actually say that the plot is a bit weaker. Considering that you usually play RPGs for the plot as much as the gameplay, that was a bit of a heavy blow.

I wouldn’t say the story ever really gets to be all that engaging. There are a lot of sub plots thrown in like a treasure thief who is always rather crafty so you don’t know if you can trust her. Then you’ve got the mature right hand man who seems to have a shady backstory where he may have worked with the villain group. Some interesting tales in there but nothing that really stands out. It doesn’t help that the game uses a day system with tons of optional missions so after a wile it feels like most of the game is filler. There are 300 missions in the game but I believe less than 30 of them are actually the story ones.

The majority of these missions are dispatch types which you send out your minions to go and complete. As a result there is no story to be had in those. Some are hybrid missions where you could dispatch or beat in person. If you go in person I’m sure there would be some bits of story in there but why do that when you can send your minions off? It’s a lot quicker to do it as a dispatch and just walk back and forth to have the days go by so the mission is auto completed. Tactics gameplay is always long by definition so dodging battles this way is what you will want to do.

So lets talk about the gameplay. If you’re unfamiliar with tactical gameplay, the idea is to move all of your characters across the gameboard so they can either make it to the goal at the end or attack opposing players. Everyone has a set number of tiles that they can move across and then you either attack or use an item. You win when everyone is bumped off. When the level starts you can activate a bonus like extra power but a law will then appear and you must follow it. If you break the law then the bonus will go away for the rest of the match. This is a big improvement over how it used to be. In the first game if you broke the law then your character was sent to jail and you have to break them free which took multiple fights. You had to actually fight people in order to free the captive which was no good. It was such a big waste of time whenever that happened and it’s why you would ultimately just reset the game instead of going through all of that work.

So here the law system can actually be ignored entirely because losing the bonus isn’t a big deal. It’s also one less thing to worry about because the gameplay is super detailed as it is. For example, there is a class system here outside of the level ups and you can unlock new classes by fulfilling requirements. This is really difficult and I barely unlocked any by the end. It’s definitely not for the casual players but at the same time, you will then come to a real hurdle by the end of the game because the difficulty level just spikes up. I was barely able to beat the final boss and that’s mainly because I found a cheese strategy.

Basically the boss can’t see you if you’re far enough so you have to get just close enough to hit her with arrows. She will gain full health infinitely whenever she gets too low so the trick was to get her down to about 30% health and then rush her after her turn. This way you beat her before she fully heals. Otherwise I couldn’t find a way to get around that move. Also, aside from getting full health each time she would also put a lot of curses on your characters which really made things tough. Then there’s a second phase which was also intense. I’m not confident I could win again if I had to do a rematch since it came down to the wire.

Tactics gameplay feels very satisfying to win but also very annoying to lose because of how long each round is. I put many hours into the game as a result of how long it was. I definitely advise you to do as many dispatch missions as possible to level up your crew. Whatever you can do to get stronger for the final bosses is well worth it. You need to be strong if you want to clear it.

The graphics are okay, I wouldn’t say they really take advantage of the newer gen portable consoles though. This doesn’t look much different from the GBA game and there are no cutscenes here. You’d think that this game should have some nice looking cinematics by now but it wasn’t to be. The soundtrack is also more on the bland side. I couldn’t really recall any specific tune from the game because it’s all just standard fare. The kind of music you would have heard many times before but without a nice twist.

The game does have a ton of content to get through though so no matter what price you got the game for, it will be a fairly good deal here. Outside of the main plot there are a lot of side content missions and such to complete which will further extend the timer as well. There’s no way to really speedblitz through this game on your first shot so just enjoy the full experience and have fun. It is a game that was made with a lot of effort, that’s for sure. While the story may not be all that exciting, I appreciated that the game fixed a lot of my issues with the first title through quality of life features.

Overall, Tactics 2 is a big improvement over the first one. It’s still not ready to take on the mainline games or rivals like Pokemon, but I would be up for playing a third installment some day. Lets just get a different story in one of these days. This game was on my backlog for a super long time so it feels good to finally have this one completed. Now I’m one step closer to being fully caught up with the whole franchise.

Overall 7/10

Pac Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 Review


I had this game on my list for so many years before finally taking the plunge and buying it. The TV show wasn’t great to say the least but the series always had a lot of potential in video game format. How can you mess up a solid platformer experience right? In the end this one’s not great by any means and just goes through the motions but I would say it’s a smooth experience and a title you’ll want to check out.

The story starts with Betrayus plotting a whole new scheme. This time he really may take over the entire planet. Pac Man and his friends will have to try and take this guy down a few steps but when it turns out that Pac’s parents may be hostages that changes things. Pac will have to handle some fairly high stakes here and make difficult decisions but whether he makes the right ones remains to be seen.

The story’s definitely not going to be the selling point here. I mean it’s cool that the cutscenes are fully animated and all but at the same time it’s still going for the show’s vibe which is a comedy that’s not super funny. At times it can be just campy enough where it turns into being funny though. This may not be the proudest version of Pac Man for his fans but at least he’s a good kid at heart. If he was just a little smarter then things would have been easier for him. At least one credit you can give to the guy is that he’s always ready to jump into action.

There are 5 worlds here and each one has about 10 levels. Then you have challenge levels in most of the worlds and also a hub world where you can talk to people. So there’s a reasonable amount of gameplay here but I still wouldn’t call the game very long. I beat it in about 2 batches. Each level is bite sized so even though there are a lot of them, you shouldn’t have too much trouble here. At most the glitches might slow you down. I ran into level ending glitches 2-3 times where I was caught in an eternal death loop and just had to quit out. Another time I jumped far enough where I made it to the next checkpoint but I bypassed the power up I needed. So with no way to go forward or backwards I was just stuck.

I would say the gameplay is very smooth outside of the glitches though so you could say I just had a little case of bad luck here. The various power up forms do help to spice up the gameplay. I’m not a big fan of the magnetic form as I felt like it would just slow things down whenever it appeared but the rest are fun. The bosses all have actual strategies and unique features to them so those were handled well. You may even find yourself losing a life or two here and there.

You’re never in danger of a game over though as you accumulate lives faster than you can lose them. In that way I think the game was a little too generous. I’m sure it was aiming fairly young given how the story is but you could ramp up the game’s difficulty level just a bit if you ask me. The Platinum trophy looks easy to obtain though which I’m glad about. One day I see myself going back to this one to get that Platinum.

In terms of graphics I would say the game holds up well. It has a colorful atmosphere to it that just tends to age well. The character designs are good and the levels are on point. Then for the soundtrack it’s a bit limited but you’ll remember the songs from the show which is certainly nostalgic. The series really did well on a technical level, it just wasn’t able to ultimately seal the deal and that’s why it works better as a game. There is less to mess up you could say.

At the end of the day this is a fairly simple platformer and not one that you would buy over Mario and Sonic. That said, it is certainly a good game and if you can find it for a good price then it’s worth it. I’ll never forget seeing it compared to Mario Galaxy way back in the day. I wouldn’t say this one is quite as good and polished as Mario but it’s a platformer that should be able to hold its head high. Throw in a more engaging story and I dare say it could have really started to do some numbers. At the end of the day the story just wasn’t super engaging here.

Overall, Pac Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a period in time that is pretty much forgotten at this point. Now Pac has gone back to his roots with the World series and I don’t see the Ghostly Adventures ever playing much of a part again. I’m afraid that this era is probably completely over and technically that’s a good thing. It would have been nice if we could have gotten just one more game to end the saga though. That would have been enough to tie everything together instead of the loose ends. I suppose you can always imagine how it would have played out though.

Overall 7/10

The Fate of the Furious Review


The series rocks on with another big installment. Of course this time there would be no Brian which is a shame since he was a solid member of the crew. That may even be what makes the film a bit weaker because otherwise he would have had a massive role here based on the plot. This is still a really solid film to be sure but does trail behind the last two. Ultimately that’s not saying much since those were so great though and this series continues to be consistently great.

The movie starts with Dom taking down a street racer and redeeming the guy in the process. Now he runs a clean ship and Dom is proud of how things have turned out. He’s out of the biz now and just wants a normal life. Unfortunately that is not in the cards at the moment. A lady named Cipher appears and shows him something on her phone before confirming that he will now betray his family and work for her. Surprisingly Dom agrees to the terms so whatever she has on him must be massive. When he starts stealing nukes and EMPs, the crew is forced to assemble once more but can they really take out their former leader? Their only shot is to team up with Nobody, Hobbs, and Shaw. With every hype character in one room surely they can beat him!

That alone shows how much cache Dom has though. If you need the entire cast to even stand a chance against him then there was no doubt on who the big boss was. Personally, Hobbs and Shaw have both proven themselves to be a match so you’d figure that this would be easy but I suppose it’s more difficult in a race than a fight. Dom does have the best driving skills of the cast, I think that’s fair to say so it’s hard to actually catch him at that point. Still, the gang will give it their all.

One of the early scenes that really stood out was when Shaw breaks out of jail so he and Hobbs have a big chase throughout the compound. It was a really good action sequence where we got a lot of different combos and attacks. You feel bad for the guards who are ultimately at the wrong place at the wrong time. They really didn’t stand much of a chance here and particularly Shaw was making sure to destroy his opponents. You get the feeling that a few may have died against Dom too with how hard he was hitting.

This is something that you can’t help but remember when we start to go through the redemption arc for Shaw. I mean it’s pretty cool to see him fighting with the team and he’s a great character either way but I feel like the characters themselves would be super mixed about the whole thing. Ultimately it feels like there is a ton that he will have to atone for even if he is directly helping the heroes.

Then for Hobbs, he gets a lot more to do in this film which is good. The banter between him and Shaw is hype as always and Hobbs always knows how to pick the strongest looking car in the lot. He also did give Dom a few chances to surrender before going all in so I thought he handled the situation as well as he could have.

The rest of the crew is always around for their moments to shine as well even if they can’t keep up quite as well. You have Roman who is still the comic relief here but he actually does get a pretty big moment to help balance that for once like when he shoots a bunch of villains who were approaching him. Perhaps the only reason he hasn’t been dominating is because there haven’t been enough gun fights? Tej and Ramsey have a good dynamic as they each think of plans to help out. I did find it funny how the God’s Eye was already surpassed though, that definitely didn’t take long considering how much hype it got. That was the ultimate global hacking machine after all and it was taken down so quickly.

As an aside, the scene where they bust in and take out the entire cast was great though. Here you have all these big heavyweight fighters who can theoretically take down an entire army and they all get served up by a concussion grenade. I guess you really don’t want to mess with those things. It was a great way to give the villains some hype though and also felt like a scene out of a comic book movie. Even the layout of the area reminded me of Agents of Shield.

Letty doesn’t get as much to do as I would have expected here with the whole Dom going rogue angle. She does have her big moment where she grabs the briefcase and buys a bit of time but we don’t get the whole “Now it’s personal!” dynamic that you might have expected. Usually that would probably have been some kind of big fight and a lot of back and forth. Still, Letty and the crew never started doubting Dom which was important.

Nobody returns and he looks great here again. The guy is still just a lot of fun at all times and he gets results. He’s someone that even the main characters won’t want to cross. Then we’re introduced to his junior coworker in this film who tries hard but can’t get that same level of respect. And it’s not even close, that guy gets insulted throughout the movie. I thought he was rather decent myself but he does go in a little too hard on playing by the rules which doesn’t work out too well when you’re surrounded by this unit.

As for the main villain Cipher, she is quite a bit weaker than the last few villains. Her plans are wide scale but ultimately there’s not a ton to her. Cipher is really lucky that she is in possession of something to keep Dom off of her because otherwise she just wouldn’t last here. Anyone can be tough with a bit of blackmail, it’s the really strong villains who don’t need it.

Her right hand man Connor felt doomed from the start. He tries to talk tough to Dom but right from their opening scene you knew that he wouldn’t be able to back it up. These two are just in different tiers of power and Dom was absolutely not going to go down with family on the line. Once fighting was an option that was going to always be game over for the guy.

One older character appears here for a big role but I won’t say who since you could probably guess a lot from that. It was nice to see her return but unfortunately her role didn’t allow for any big moments. So she didn’t look bad because there wasn’t much that she could have possibly done but I wouldn’t say that she looked very good either. She was just fighting a losing battle here.

Finally we have Dom and of course the big question would be, was the blackmail enough to justify him going rogue and nearly murdering everybody? I mean just by working with the villain he nearly took everyone out. I always tend to be very skeptical of the hero in a scenario like this and I wouldn’t say Dom is exempt from that. His options were limited but I feel like he could have clued the team in somehow, especially since he had a lot of time. As long as he could trust them not to say anything then it would be easier to plan something out. Unfortunately it didn’t go that way so I think for once he was the one who didn’t believe in family hard enough.

Ultimately he still gets to take names and look hardcore as always though. At one point he basically has to go up against the entire team which was a lot of fun. I always like seeing a group vs 1 fight like that and it’s not like these are scrubs. Technically they’re very skilled too…just not skilled enough in this instance. Better luck next time and all of that.

Overall, Fate of the Furious is another great installment. It may not beat the others but it still has a lot of epic moments all throughout the film. It may even be the darkest one since some of the originals. I still say that loosely of course since I wouldn’t consider this film dark by any stretch but it has its moments and is certainly going for more of an emotional feel to it. We’ll see if 9 is able to top this one but ultimately I think that will be difficult. In a way it’s always tough for a sequel to beat a film that’s an 8 or up because that’s a lot to live up to.

Overall 8/10

Furious 7 Review


The Fast & The Furious is back! The series may have had a shaky start with the first 4 films but since then it’s really been firing on all cylinders! I can see why it became such a global hit and this title keeps up that same energy. It follows up on the cliffhanger ending from the last film and really sets things up to be a high tier bout of excitement from start to finish. This is one title that you don’t want to miss!

The movie starts off with a bang as Hobbs breaks into a hospital and murders just about everyone as he vows to avenge his brother who is in serious condition after being taken out by the heroes in the last film. He then breaks into Hobbs’ base in order to get info on Dom and the crew. He’s now determined to take them all out one at a time. Dom isn’t hiding and has no intention of waiting though. He’s just as eager to take Shaw down to avenge his friend Han and so the battle is set. Tracking Shaw won’t be easy though so they are going to need the power of the God’s Eye, a super hacking device that can track anyone in moments. The only way to get this is to save Ramsey, the creator of the program who is being held by Jakande and a bunch of terrorists. This won’t be easy.

You always want to start a film off with a dynamic beginning and that’s exactly what this film does. It was also nice to see it all tie in together with Tokyo Drift and the previous films. You could see how this was meant to be the really big film. Of course I’m glad that the series kept on going but it will be difficult for them to match 7. I don’t think any future film will be able to defeat it but we’ll see. There’s always a chance.

Really the only issue with the film is that it can still be a bit indulgent with the fanservice. You always have the characters heading to a beach or an area like that with a lot of slow-mo and zoom ins that don’t add anything to the plot and just make you shake your head. That may be a staple in the franchise at this point but it’s one that we can definitely just ditch and the films are better off for it. Fortunately it’s usually just a scene or two to check that box off and then we’re back to the action.

Now the fight scenes are a big part of why the films are so big. Hobbs vs Shaw is one of the big match-ups here and that was a good way to start the film off. The battle is very evenly matched so the whole time you’re interested in seeing how it’s going to end out. Later on we also have Dom vs Shaw in another really solid fight. The choreography is always really good and you can feel the blows. It’s a bit ironic that all of the best scenes don’t involve the cars but sometimes that’s just how it goes.

The car scenes are still a lot of fun as always though. Who doesn’t like a big car chase right? Then you’ve also got the heroes fighting off planes as well and a lot of great jumps and falling stunts. You may not buy that all of this can happen but the important thing is that they do happen. So it makes for a lot of fun scenes and with Shaw constantly on Dom’s tail, there is always a sense of danger going on here.

I’d also say the soundtrack is really good. The movie always picks a solid song that fits the location they’re at. It makes for a lot of variety and that’s something you always remember from the films. Tokyo Drift in particular had a really strong soundtrack since it took place in Japan but all of them have been really solid so far.

As for the characters, Dom is a great main character as always. He fights for his family and never gives up. You can always count on him to have your back no matter how tough things get. Dom’s also a great fighter and likes to battle with honor so he’s not going to go for the cheap shots or anything like that. He has a lot of great dialogue throughout the film. One thing the films always take advantage of is making sure to give everyone their hype so each character feels like they’re some kind of champion. Eventually you have several characters in the same room who are all talking tough and it’s extremely entertaining.

Hobbs is still the strong rival here but unfortunately he is gone for most of the movie. It’s a shame that he had to be written out early but at least he got his big fight scene first. He also gets some good moments near the climax. So his role is a bit on the smaller side but it’s impactful and you’ll enjoy all of the moments. Of course Dom’s crew is around as always for some backup. Roman is still yelling constantly and gets in a little over his head but still helps out as best he can. You feel bad for the guy with how everybody keeps on throwing shade at him but he never lets it get to him.

Tej mainly likes to be the one ribbing Roman but ultimately they’re good friends. Letty is still struggling with her memory loss but fights alongside Dom in the meantime and hopes to eventually get them back. She’s still got her skills from the old days. There’s a new character in Ramsey which now means that the team has two geniuses. She’s a fun character who gets the hang of things quick so I was glad about that. When characters are slow on the uptake it usually means that the pacing has to slow down so people can explain things.

Brian gets a fun role here as you would expect. He has a rivalry going with one of the villains so they fight two times and next to Dom he’s definitely the most capable fighter on the crew. He also isn’t tricked as easily as the others and made sure that Dom didn’t leave him behind. He’s a character who will definitely be missed in the future installments because he really did add a whole lot to the dynamic. This movie gave him a solid final role at least.

Then we have the mysterious Mr. Nobody. I liked his inclusion as well as the group that’s basically SHIELD. With the films getting crazier and more out there it makes sense to eventually add in a group like this. Nobody also doesn’t feel like your average government lackey and instead has a lot of charisma. He has a lot of confidence in himself and you need that when talking to these guys. Nobody never backs down and always has a plan so it’s hard to go against that. I look forward to seeing more of the guy.

Naturally Shaw is a great villain as well. He gets a lot of hype and really gets down to business. No matter who he’s fighting, the guy goes in hard. He has to be the most powerful villain in the series and I don’t see that changing. Of course if we count Hobbs then that’s a different story but even in the first film he was still an officer trying to bring in wanted criminals so he was more of an antagonist. Shaw is a lot of fun here and really enhances the film.

We’ve also got another villain in Jakande and that helped to keep the crew busy in the B plot. He’s a solid leader. We don’t really get to see him fight in hand to hand but with his guns he does keep everyone busy. His group was an interesting third party that showed up to mess with everyone. The more factions the better I always say so that worked out.

There isn’t much of an update to the standings of the franchise as a whole with this one because it’s pretty easily divided. The first 4 films were below average and not very good while films 5 and up are a blast. You can really see how the films started to focus more on the action which was a really good idea. There is never a dull moment in these films, you can absolutely be sure of that. They’re long but because of that you can cram a lot of battles into that. Typically each film has 1 race too but that’s usually not the focus here. The heroes have bigger things to do.

Overall, Fast 7 is a great film that I would absolutely recommend. It’s got a lot of nonstop action and excitement all the way through. The soundtrack and visuals are really good and most importantly, the character cast is excellent. The series has really built a ton of super memorable characters by this point who all bring a lot to the table. The continuity here is also taking advantage of the previous films to throw in a lot of callbacks and easter eggs. If you’re an action fan then this is a movie that you don’t want to miss out on.

Overall 8/10

Flatliners (2017) Review


It’s been quite a while since I watched the original Flatliners. I wouldn’t say it was a particularly good film to say the least. This one does improve upon it in some way and so while it’s not as ambitious, it’s a more stable film. The main characters still aren’t particularly likable here though and the whole plot only kicks off because they make the wrong calls.

So the movie starts with Courtney figuring that she should probably try to die real quick to see what the afterlife is like. She plays on Jamie’s feelings for her to trick him into going downstairs and invites Sophia as well. The idea is to put her under and after she’s dead, revive her in under a minute. This way her brain activity is unaltered and in theory she will not suffer from any side effects. That’s the complete plan here and they pull it off but only thanks to Ray showing up at the end to save the day. Now Courtney is a super genius who is heading the class and the other students except for Ray all want a turn. Is there a downside to doing this?

Short answer is yes, of course there is a downside. This wouldn’t be much of a movie without one right? So they’re opening the doors to the next world and by doing so, their personal demons are appearing. Each of the characters has had some kind of trauma or made a big mistake back in the day and it’s coming back to haunt them. Unless they can face their fears, this will be game over so they have to move fast.

One big difference here is that their fears don’t seem as dangerous here. Perhaps they are and the heroes just didn’t give them enough of a chance but in the first film these dreams were knocking the stuffing out of the main characters. They would come out of nowhere and just turn violent. In this movie they mostly just sort of stand there in the distance and glare at the heroes. Rarely do you feel like they’re in a lot of danger. The closest might have been when Marlo was in the basement with the lights off but even then the spirits didn’t take her out. You feel like the ones in the original film would have pulled that off.

Of course the film is greatly toned down from the original so that does work wonders for this one. No animal violence or anything crazy like that. The film isn’t all that violent either, it’s fairly tame. So in that way it’s a very different kind of horror film because you keep waiting for the main characters to be taken down and then it just doesn’t happen. I guess you could say that the heroes are very lucky in that respect since they wouldn’t last nearly as long in other settings.

The ending of the film misses a really big chance to go for a twist ending though. The way the scene was shot it felt like something was coming and there were a lot of interesting ways this could have gone. I was thinking about a certain character just popping out to get everyone or something like that but instead it’s played straight with a fairly happy ending. Not exactly what you would expect for a horror film either so this one really is unique.

Of course, the issues come with the fact that this one is still eager to make the teens as annoying as possible. The romance is very weak with a lot of affairs all around. The characters can’t stay professional with each other for a single moment. They also choose to all go under and effectively take the easy way to being geniuses. This comes complete with a lot of crazy parties and everything though. The characters confirmed they take drugs so they were able to recognize this as a similar effect. There’s no real point to the scenes at all though. It’s a really weird side effect but one that could have been shown a lot differently than to have everyone go mental like this.

Courtney deserves most of the blame for being the one to start up with this idea. It was a bad idea right from the jump and she pressed ahead anyway. Of course everyone else is guilty for jumping in as well. Only Ray stayed strong and tried to warn them against this. He also seemed to have the strongest moral compass like trying to tell Marlo to correct her mistakes and all. You have to give him props for trying even if ultimately she was tough to convince. He is easily the best character and someone who actually cared about being a doctor. The rest seemed to just be messing around a lot.

Jamie is the flirt of the group who is constantly having affairs so there’s no way you were going to like him. His big mistake from the past is also an absolutely massive one that just makes him look even worse. It’s another one of those moments that’s really hard to recover from. Same for Sophia who looks really petty in how far she took things. Wrecking someone’s life in an instant is not something that you can easily take back. Based on how the characters acted before being forced to relive their fears, I have my doubts that they learned much of anything.

Of course the literal threat of death shocked some sense into them but it’s sad that it took this much. Then of course Marlo had her big mistake that quite directly ruined someone’s life. Yeah none of these characters are good role models. In a way the film is almost like a Christmas Carol in how the characters reflect on their pasts, just with a horror element to it. This one is able to be a lot more direct about the second chances kind of message to it since the body count wasn’t quite the same as in the first one. With less scares you have time for more character development.

It’s just that once you make the character bad enough, the development isn’t really going to save them at that point. That’s why you have to really hold back when making the characters delinquents in the beginning because otherwise this is what you get. You could be forgiven for not realizing that this is a horror film by the way because there are barely any scares here at all. Sure, you get the fake jump scare for the elevator but for the most part the scenes are fairly light. The scariest moment was probably Jamie biking through a dark street by himself in one of the dreams and even that wasn’t all that intense. You keep thinking something is going to happen but nothing does which is a common event in the movie.

Overall, Flatliners beats the original but it’s still not a good movie. At the end of the day the characters are annoying and the writing is weak. The romance isn’t any good and it feels like the movie is a little confused about what it wants to do. It even takes a long while for the actual plot to start. They don’t start hallucinating about their past until you’re very deep into the movie so the pacing could have used a little work too. The concept of having to confront your past or face destruction is an interesting one though. In the right hands I think you could definitely do something really good there. These just weren’t the right hands apparently.

Overall 4/10