The Cat’s Eye Review

It’s time to check out a horror anthology from a while back. This one has 3 stories so each one gets around 30 minutes to play around. Anthologies are one of the hardest genres to pull off because with the stories being so different it is more likely that one of them will make a mistake. The second story is definitely the best one but the other two don’t do enough to keep this film in the green. Now lets look at all of the stories in turn.

The first story is about a company that strives to help people get away from their smoking addiction. Morrison heads over to this place after having it be recommended to him by a friend. Unfortunately the place is a lot more extreme than he would have ever guessed. Vinnie is the head there and he informs Morrison that they have a 100% clear rate. Each time Morrison smokes a cigarette something bad will happen to his family. If he makes a mistake one too many times then they will all be destroyed. Vinnie seems to have agents everywhere and Morrison now must end his addiction instantly or it’s game over.

Of course addiction is extremely difficult and one of the toughest things to stop. It’s why around the world we have so many clinics and treatment centers. Many believe that can stop whenever they want to and there are a small subsection who can do it on their own. Fact of the matter is that many need some assistance to stop and that’s why Morrison has a tough time here. He was seeking help in the first place so now that he has to effectively end it on his own it’l be extra hard since he had admitted to himself that he couldn’t do it. All that said, it’s still tough to see him sneaking a smoke when he knows that his wife will be the one paying the price now. When someone else is in trouble I believe that gives you the extra motivation to get through.

Morrison does try to attack Vinnie once and comes close to grabbing the gun. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful and that was really the last attempt he would be able to make. The short has a grim ending since Vinnie effectively wins and now Morrison has directly endangered others by recommending his service. I don’t like how buddy buddy they are by the end. I suppose we can assume that Morrison has resigned himself to his fate and is trying his best to live with this, but there’s no reason why he has to be their friends and chatting like old buddies. There’s a twist at the end, but it shouldn’t have been a twist for Morrison unless he’s one of the most gullible guys around. It’s a tense special but with Vinnie continuing to endanger others with his unnecessarily grim punishments it does end on a sour note.

The second special introduces us to a rich man named Cressner. He finds out that his wife is cheating with a guy named Johnny and decides that both of them have to go. For Johnny he figures that it’s time to mess with the tennis pro first. He tells Johnny that he can survive this if he walks around the building. The exterior of the building has a ledge that is wide enough to walk through, but the building is very high up and there is a lot of wind. One misstep would mean instant death and Cressner is following the whole time from inside the building to make the walk even tougher by splashing water and firing off his gun. Can Johnny make it all the way around and will this give him some time to reflect on why cheating is wrong and will always catch up to you?

This one’s my favorite special as the plot is more fun and at least we get to see Johnny fight. One thing that does hurt right away though is the fact that Johnny was cheating with the guy’s wife. Two wrongs don’t make a right of course, but Johnny is really not in the right here. The guy shouldn’t be going after people who are taken and it ultimately ended up costing her as well. The ending is solid though as Johnny takes them both on and gets a gun at the ready. You can probably imagine how he will plan his comeback against Cressner. Then you’ve got a determined bird who shows up to make the walk even more difficult. It is hard to see why they don’t just try to kick it away sooner, but maybe they were worried that the motion would cause them to lose their balance. It’s probably a good risk though since the pecks would eventually have the same effect.

Then you’ve got the final story. So throughout these 3 stories there has been a cat around. His name is the General and he is trying to find a kid who has been calling to him on the Astral Plane. Her name is Amanda and she is being attacked by a monster under her bed. Naturally the parents don’t believe this and to their defense this monster is pretty smart. He seals the entrance to his world each time and through reality manipulation makes it so that the hole leads to nothing if the parents check. That’s why she needs a specialist. The monster frames General, but the cat isn’t quite ready to let that be the end. Can he stop this monster?

This story isn’t quite as solid. Amanda is too young to really hold her own as a main character here. She does her best to explain the situation, but naturally it doesn’t work too well. The Dad seems to suspect that something isn’t quite right, but he doesn’t speak up most of the time so he may as well not know. Then you have the Mom who really doesn’t like the cat and gets a lot of villainous music. I do feel bad for the bird so I can see why she got upset. Why did the bird have to be taken down like that, he was just an innocent little guy trying to survive day by day. Letting a cat in so close to the bird does feel pretty risky even if General turned out to be good. The monster is pretty intense and gives us as decent an action scene as you can try to have between a cat and a monster. It’s not really my cup of tea though and I’ll take the hand to hand fight from the second special.

Overall, The Cat’s Eye’s 3 stories all vary. If I were ranking the stories I’d give the first one a 3, the second a 6, and the third a 4. The first one’s just a little too grim with that ending and the third one’s mainly based around animals and kids which is not a recipe for success with the cat getting injured and the bird dying. The middle story is fun enough even if Johnny isn’t really a main character that you can reasonably root for. If you like short stories like this then this is a good movie for you to check out. There don’t seem to be many anthologies these days as I suppose TV shows handle that for you. If you want a quick 30 minute experience then you would watch a show. So unless you are a big short story fan then you should probably check out something like the original Ghostbusters instead.

Overall 4/10

Pet Sematary Review

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

There are some films where you can reasonably tell if you’re going to like them just by the name. This is definitely one of those. You probably already know that animal violence is the quickest way to doom your film and this one has a whole plot built around it. Throw in your usual amount of horror violence and visuals to get a film that was never going to break even. I will admit that the ending is pretty hilarious in a grim way, but that’s not enough to actually make me recommend this title.

The film starts off with Louis and his family moving into a new town since he has been hired as a doctor. Unfortunately someone dies almost immediately and warns Louis that things aren’t right around here. Louis then has a lot to drink and sees the dead guy named Pascow show up. Pascow lets him know that he shouldn’t bring people back to life. Louis also meets up with his neighbor Jud who introduces him and the rest of the family to the Pet Sematary where many animals have been buried. If you go a little farther into the spooky part of the forest you can bury them and even bring these beings back to life. After the family cat is hit by a truck Louis brings him back. When his son is hit by another truck Louis decides to do this as well, but what if what comes back isn’t really the kid?

I’ll give the film credit for building a pretty good atmosphere at least. The scenery in the film all looks pretty good and likewise with the area beyond the graveyard. The lighting effects age pretty good as well. Pascow also makes for an entertaining ghost because he still keeps his sense of humor. Ultimately he only helps to an extent as I suppose he doesn’t want to get mixed up in all of this. Without him Louis probably would have been even more doomed, but granted, Louis isn’t the type of guy to listen to others. He goes with his gut for better or worse.

Louis isn’t the smartest character even if he does mean well. Messing with the regeneration thing right after being warned in a dream wasn’t particularly smart. Then the ending is the real kicker. I think it’s because the film handles the whole ending seriously and unironically but you can’t help but think of it as a parody. I suppose I won’t say anything about the ending specifically, but it’s almost hard to believe the character doing this. Even if just doing the act is fine, at least you’d expect this character to be prepared or ready for action. What Louis chooses to do is basically the worst option that he could have picked. Now, you could try making the case that he was prepared and just wanted to end like this, but then the yell at the end makes me doubt that.

Jud is definitely an odd character. I think he would have worked better as a villain. He seemed like he just wanted to sabotage everything for the group at times. Other times he appeared to be genuine I guess and that’s how the film played his role, but then why even tell Louis about the pit of regeneration? He must have known that things would ultimately escalate from there. He knew how his pet went crazy so once theirs did there was a good chance that someone would die and then they’d use the pit again. He also handled the climax pretty horribly.

Rachel is a nice enough character, but she also doesn’t do well in the climax. I’ll give her credit for figuring out something was wrong and heading back to the house, but she probably should have found some excuse to bring along some backup. As it stands she didn’t have much of a chance. Her parents weren’t much help of course, but they were pretty emotional the whole time and it’s hard to expect them to know anything about the supernatural. The thing is, you shouldn’t need any backup here. The villains are extremely weak.

You can probably put two and two together with the kid involving the climax. All I’ll say is that you better get ready to suspend a whole lot of disbelief. The climax would be funny if it wasn’t so violent. This is definitely a pretty intense horror film so get ready for a whole lot of over the top violence. The animal violence is surprisingly tame in comparison as the cat dies without too many visuals, but it still doesn’t really help matters. Then Rachel gets an origin story out of the blue where we find out that she had a dying relative and decided not to help her. We’ve just added some shade to her character for no reason. Now, the film introduced this so she could show up in the climax, but it definitely feels awfully convenient that this person’s spirit traveled all this way. I always wonder why the evil spirits are so strong and the happy ones always fade away so quickly. This subplot was completely unnecessary and was just here to make the film more gritty.

We get a pretty long speech by Jud with a ton of extra details that nobody wanted nor cared to hear. It’s just a bunch of tragic stories to explain the misspelled cemetery and to make the film extra dark. Louis probably should have noped out of there at that point instead of joining Jud for drinks. Of course, Louis was pretty arrogant for a good chunk of the film so he probably didn’t really care anyway. He never figured any of it would be enough to harm him.

Overall, Pet Sematary plays out exactly as you would expect it to. It’s certainly not my kind of movie and I’d advise steering clear of it. If you want a good horror film then check out Zombie Island instead. Any film built off of animals dying would never really have a future. This movie checks off all the typical horror cliches and never really tries to do anything more than that. You won’t be able to take the climax seriously and the only hype scene in the film is the ending. Ironically if the sequel were to take place right after this one then that would probably give it a chance at doing good since this could become more of a zombie invasion kind of film. Alas, it doesn’t look like it decided to go that way.

Overall 1/10

Sometimes They Come Back Review

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

When you see a film from Stephen King you typically get the feeling that it’s not going to be good. The guy loves making his books as gritty and over the top as possible. Not saying that he can’t have a good book, but I get the feeling that the vast majority are pretty bad. This one definitely continues that streak and is just so dark and gruesome that you’ll want to take out a few hot pockets to make it through this film. Sometimes the Razzie nominations come back, but sometimes they don’t.

The film starts with Jim moving back to the town that almost ended his life many years ago when bullies destroyed his brother. He swore that he would never come back, but the cash lured him in. That’s how it always starts. You’ve got a nice life situation, decent pay and a good atmosphere. Then someone offers you extra money to do something dangerous and you take it…not knowing that it will be the end. Jim took this risk and as a result his family is now in danger. The teens who attacked those 20+ years ago and got hit by a train are now coming back to life. They are murdering kids in Jim’s class (Jim’s a teacher) and taking their place. Nobody can stop these guys since they have regeneration and super strength. Gradually they all come back and Jim is forced to have one last confrontation with them. Can he prove that he has grown stronger over the years or will he have to beg them for some help?

Well, where to start here? I guess lets talk about tired horror trope #78: Overpowered villains. As always the main characters can’t really do anything against these villains. They are stronger than humans and bullet proof. What can Jim reasonably do about all of this? He does try to defend himself at times but they just beat him with a single punch and call it a day. He’s just plain stumped at that point and it’s hard to even point the blame at him. Of course the moral is that he has to move on, but whether he does that or not students are going to keep on dying. It’s a lose-lose situation and the worst part is that the students had nothing to do with this, but are still defenseless. Jim is unable to prevent any of them from dying and even by the end of the film nobody will ever really know what went on there. Jim even drags one guy out of retirement only to let him be promptly murdered. None of these deaths are painless or peaceful at all either. The villains make sure that these guys really have it.

Then we also have the fact that Jim’s guilty conscience shouldn’t even be guilty. Basically, he stole the car keys from the bullies so after they murdered his brother he ensured that they would die as well. So..was he not supposed to have picked up the keys? The bullies made it clear that they were going to destroy Jim next. It’s also not as if it was pre-meditated, Jim just grabbed them in the heat of the moment. The whole thing makes you shake your head. Then, while the bullies got super powers and such the brother doesn’t get anything so when he comes back from the dead he promptly gets beat up again. Shouldn’t he have also been powered up to be able to match the others? Something just doesn’t seem right about all of this. The villains always get the props with this.

So, the film is super violent with literal dismemberments and overly dark/tragic. What else could go wrong? Well, that is about it. The rest of the movie just doesn’t help its case with its poor script and unlikable characters. The film can feel rather long at times and there isn’t much to like. That’s always the worst part for a film like this, there are no positives to be found. Without those then the film really has no hope of being good. No worries though, the film does squeeze in the annoying kid trope. So, the mother and the kid know that these teens are trying to destroy Jim. They naturally lock the doors. Then someone knocks on the front door so the kid runs up and opens the door. The Mom should have stopped him for starters and for seconds there should have been some common sense here. Why is this kid so terrible? It’s why I don’t like having kids in films. They make the worst possible mistakes constantly. The only consistent thing about them is that they will never make the right move. Leave fighting zombies to the professionals.

Overall, This is definitely not a film that I would recommend. It plays out like just about any other slasher with the zombie bullies just destroying everyone in their way. Jim can’t stop them and only a demonic train is able to help him out here. It ends up effectively being a time loop only in this version extra people die in order to power up the loop further. Definitely not something you want to see in such a loop. There’s nothing particularly charming or fun about this film to hold it together. We also get a ton of flashbacks so if you start to forget how the brother died, no worries you’ll see it a bunch. If you have to watch a horror/thriller about changing the past then watch Flashpoint instead. Still not a great movie, but it is an improvement.

Overall 0/10

Dark Tower Review

Time for a very traditional action film. By that, I mean that this film basically checks off all of the boxes that you would expect for an action movie but it doesn’t really do anything original. It’s a reasonably good film, but one that does have some issues. You can see how it likely cuts out a bunch from the book as they don’t explain much. I’m fine with no explanations as it’s fun just filling in the blanks on your own and finding out fun facts on Reddit. The main character is annoying though and Elba’s character probably should have been the lead without a sidekick. Lets take a step back and look at the plot real quick.

A kid named Jake has been able to see into another world lately. He can sort of see the future, past, and alternate realities. Unfortunately he’s not wise enough to keep this to himself and gets so obsessive about it that everyone starts to believe he is crazy. So when the aliens actually do come in to take Jake down for the count, nobody believes him. He manages to escape to the other world where he meets a traveling hunter named Roland who wants to destroy this guy named Walter who murdered all of his friends. Roland doesn’t want to make any friends, but Jake was never going to give him an option anyway so it is what it is.

The other world is basically just a large desert planet so there isn’t much to look at. The film is visually uninteresting so the best scenes are when they head back to Earth. Any scene with the kid and his parents is annoying, but the characters wandering around and eating hot dogs is a little more passable. The film doesn’t have a whole lot of humor as you may expect but when it does you just want Jake to stop talking and overreacting.

As you can probably tell I didn’t like Jake right from the start. It’s pretty common for the young protagonist to let everyone know that he has hallucinations and as a result nobody trusts him. It just seems like Jake should have taken a hint early on that nobody else was seeing these things or noticing that the world was going to end. It’s not like Jake even knew this either. All he knew was that he was having strange dreams and should have thought of a plan himself. Keep acting normal and play the game until he gets a better hand. Then Jake is just a liability throughout the adventure even after meeting up with Roland. He tries to guilt trip Roland and just doesn’t seem like the kind of companion you want on your team. My review may be a little rough on the poor kid, but I think he just wasn’t ready for this level of combat. It’s like I always say, the kids should stay at home while the grownups handle the fight.

Roland is a decent main character but he does come off as rather generic. I can roll with him deciding to take down Walter as a last act of revenge considering that saving the world is pretty out of the question at this point. The problem is, you can take him about as seriously as Drax The Destroyer since it would be an extremely simple matter for Walter to defeat him. Walter has advanced telekinesis at his disposal. While his mind games don’t work on Roland, he still has many ways to destroy him. Roland is fighting a hopeless battle in which he is greatly outnumbered. Naturally you want to put the hero in a bad spot for most situations, but once it gets too absurd you can only try to predict what form of plot hax will help him out.

Walter is the big villain and the only other character of real importance here. He’s a pretty charismatic guy and probably the most interesting character here. He has a pretty solid plan and came close to destroying everything. While he needs to learn how to play the match ups a little better and camp more against someone with a gun, he seems reasonably intelligent. You always want to have a good villain to make a film more exciting so having him here was definitely a smart move. There are other supporting villains, but they are really just here to reinforce Walter’s image. We do get a giant monster, but considering it wasn’t bulletproof you knew who the victor was ultimately going to be.

The film can be rather dark as the villains have already captured most of the kids and use them to destroy the tower. Fortunately the film doesn’t overdo it in focusing on this angle. You get the feeling that this movie exists in a universe that is surrounded by a lot of dark elements but keep those in the books. We get the atmosphere which is the important part. It’s not a fun movie by any stretch and it’s serious throughout, but at least we don’t get much forced comedy or subplots. As I mentioned, the supporting characters never get to do much so the screen time is always with the leads. The pacing is fairly quick and the film never drags on. While the ending is rather sad, the characters don’t dwell on it and are actually really happy all things considered. It’s likely their way of coping which makes sense.

If you do like the supporting characters then you should prepare yourself. The film is rather mean spirited towards anyone who hangs around the main characters. That’s actually a bit of a trope you’ll notice after a while. If you help the main character then you’ve likely just triggered a bunch of death flags. They can’t be bothered to come back and save you so it’s definitely Game Over at that point. They at least helped out in the long run so that’s good.

Overall, There’s not much reason to watch The Dark Tower. There’s no one area that you can point to and explain why it did this well. It doesn’t do anything particularly well, but I suppose it doesn’t do anything particularly bad either. It’s just an average action film and one that will hold your attention well enough after you finish it. It didn’t really leave much of an impression on me, but I wouldn’t mind a sequel I suppose. Just give the heroes some power ups so they’re not just random people with guns. It’ll make the fight scenes against super powered villains a little more believable. If you’ve run out of fantasy films and want to see another one then this is a reasonable film to pick up. Who knows, maybe you’ll enjoy this new world.

Overall 6/10

The Running Man Review

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

I wasn’t too familiar with The Running Man, but the plot definitely sounded like a lot of fun. A corrupt dystopian world has come up with a reality show where assassins chase convicts around. Seems messed up enough for this future. Then throwing in Arnold Schwarzenegger into the picture just makes the whole thing that much more epic. I can safely say that the film was pretty fun and is one that you won’t want to miss.

Ben used to work for the government, but when he defied their orders to murder a bunch of innocents, he was sent to prison. He helps some other convicts escape and decides that instead of trying to beat the system, he’ll simply find a way to survive it. He breaks into his friend’s home, but it is now owned by a lady named Amber. She doesn’t take kindly to being threatened so she gets the cops to lock Ben up. He is now going to be forced to be in The Running Man, where he will have to outrun several hunters who are each armed with deadly weapons. His two expendable “friends” (They aren’t, but the show thinks that they are so why not let them believe that right?) have also been thrown in though along with Amber. Can Ben take these guys down and figure out a way to shut the show down or is it simply too late for any last second heroics?

One thing you’ll notice about the film right away is that the soundtrack is on point. There are quite a lot of fun themes that play during the film and it certainly amplifies the experience. A good film gets that much better with a dynamic soundtrack and they really make the action scenes come alive. The visuals also look pretty good. Considering how old the film is, the effects have aged pretty well and I like how they envisioned 2017 to be. The city looks realistic enough even if it’s not quite so run down. I imagine that this film must have gotten a pretty decent budget back in the day.

The characters are also solid. Ben makes for a great lead. He’s heroic and dependable. Sure, he’s not quite willing to risk his life to join the rebellion at the beginning, but he doesn’t turn his back on others once he is forced into the game. He also doesn’t murder the villains once they are unarmed. If it’s the fastest way then he won’t hesitate to do so, but he won’t go out of his way just for revenge….for the most part. Ben’s a strong fighter and the heroes would have been doomed without his military expertise. I have to say that he pulled off the role quite perfectly as few actors can be as convincing.

The main villain, Killian is also pretty good. He knows how to work the crowd and does a good job of building up the suspense. He doesn’t even let Ben get to him as he knows that this will bring the ratings up. He talks a good game to everyone and while he is a ruthless boss, you’ll be okay as long as you stay on his good side. Mop the floors at your own peril since it can certainly get you into heaps of trouble. The sub villains were all right as well. The only bad one is Dynamo as he fulfills every overweight villain cliche in the book. He’s awful petty and also isn’t much of a fighter. Once you get past the suit, he’s the kind of villain who begs for mercy. The others at least had more dignity than that. Chainsaw put up a good fight before going down and I also liked Sub Zero. It was an interesting take on the guy compared to the Mortal Kombat version. Not as deadly, but fun all the same. The Fire villain was also pretty good since he got quite a bit of foreshadowing and hype. He probably should have moved a bit quicker though. Captain Freedom probably had the most personality from the minions and I like how he simply refused to get into the ring. Nobody was about to talk back to him.

Amber isn’t the best of heroines. She spends most of the film running and panicking. You have to give her some credit for getting away from Ben though. If you put yourself in her shoes, she totally did the right thing. Kidnappers always tell you stuff like “Don’t try to escape” and make a bunch of threats to keep you in line. She took a big risk by making a break for it and yelling and it paid off. While it didn’t work out well for Ben, at least she made a move. Too bad she couldn’t keep up that confidence for the rest of the film right.

If I had a minor nitpick for the film, it’s that the costume in the poster doesn’t really match the one in the film. At the very least I don’t recall the spikes being quite so big. It’s not really a negative just something that I noticed. The film’s camera work is pretty good. Sometimes it can be a little tough to see what’s going on in the background with the low lighting, but I feel like that was made to capture that CSI Miami kind of atmosphere as everything is a little grittier and more life like. Fortunately it was just in the camera work as the actual film isn’t really gritty at all. Some characters get stabbed and such, but at least in the version that I saw it wasn’t explicit or anything.

There is some unfortunate fanservice as we get a really long dance sequence. I suppose it’s a parody to the fact that if society did go downhill we’d be seeing that in every show. It’s fortunately not a huge deal though. The ending to the film is also pretty funny. I was personally expecting it to go down a slightly different path as the guy in the tube lands safely but then sees Captain Freedom and has to try and escape from him. How it was handled worked well enough as well though.

The writing is pretty solid with classic lines like “I’ll be back” and more than a few one liners from Ben. I love puns and one liners as you may know from my comic reviews and the film pulls it off well. It’s just another drop in the bucket to help this film reach “great” status. The climax is also pretty great even aside from the ending. The banter between Ben and Killian was really good and I liked seeing the heroes finally infiltrate the TV station. They were pretty well organized and it added some extra action and excitement to the ending. Even Amber got to win a fight on her own. The film carefully balanced the epic and funny moments with the serious atmosphere.

Overall, The Running Man is just a fun film. It really breezes by to be honest and the pacing was on point. It never dragged on and still managed to bring in a lot of content. We got to see Ben before the game, during it, and even become a resistance fighter afterwards. None of the pieces felt rushed either and it shows that you can still pull off quite a lot in under 2 hours. I certainly recommend watching this film. It’s not quite as well known as it could have been. It has all of the elements that you could want in a big action film.

Overall 8/10

Firestarter Review

Note that this review is of the edited TV 14 version. All thoughts below pertain to this specific version as a review of the original would likely be more negative.

I’m sure that we’re all familiar with Stephen King. His books are definitely popular and he has written a ton of them. They’re about as mainstream as you can get for older fiction and many of his titles have naturally gotten films and miniseries. Firestarter came out quite a long time ago so we’ll see if the story is as chilling and action packed as it used to be back in the day. I can say that the sound effects really hold up!

“mm mm mm mm” is a sound that you’ll never forget after watching this film! Well, the plot involves Andy McGee and his daughter Charlene as they try to evade the cops. ….Just kidding, these guys are actually from “The Shop,” but they are just as deadly. Andy possesses telepathy and some brief telekinesis or the technology equivalent while Charlene has advanced pyrotechnic abilities. Charlene is said to have the power to blow up an entire planet (Once she’s older) and Andy can definitely become a threat depending on who he comes into contact with. The Shop must recapture these individuals and use their abilities to create more meta humans and take down America’s enemies. All in a day’s work eh!?

The film definitely feels dated for some of the scenes, but I’m always ready for a retro adventure. The feel of the film also tips you off that it’s aiming at older audiences with the few death scenes that we get. The film actually isn’t very violent considering, but the guy who starts to blow up at the hospital and the wife’s demise keeps things in perspective. Most of the other deaths happen with special effects thanks to the fire that is being thrown around.

The fire effects are pretty fun to watch and you’ll feel like you’re watching a TV show with super humans. No matter how old or new the show is, live action episodes tend to be fighting on the same level so a fire blast in the 80’s from Charlene can hold up just as well as a fire blast from a villain in Agents of Shield or The Flash. It’s a good or bad thing for the medium depending on how you look at it, I enjoy the effects so I’d say that it’s pretty good and fire is one of the basic elements so it’s natural that it would be perfected fairly early in TV history.

The fight scene with Charlene at the end it pretty intense since we’ve been waiting for her to fight! The action scene is longer than I would have guessed and it’s also more impressive than I could have thought as well. Bullets definitely aren’t a good bet against her and Charlene is basically invincible at this point. The only thing that she has to worry about is the time that it takes for her to power up.

Charlene is about as decent as a kid can be, but I still don’t really care for protagonists that are kids. It works better in anime I’d say. In a film, it’s just hard to take a child seriously and Charlene is also very gullible when the situation starts to get dangerous. I felt bad for Andy because if the powers had been reversed, things could have been a lot different. Charlene’s powers are incredible, but then she decides to never use them against someone again….during a moment where the situation is even more dangerous than usual. It’s good not to destroy someone of course, but she should still use scare tactics and hurl fireballs to keep the enemies guessing.

Andy is a pretty decent main character although he doesn’t think things through as much as he should. His final scene comes to mind as a number of other commands would have been more effective than “Jump.” “Drop The Gun, Give Me The Gun, Throw The Gun, Shoot…..all of your bullets away,” etc. Beyond that, it’s hard not to like Andy when you consider his power. It’s very catchy since he basically says “mm mm mm mm” directly into your mind as he overcomes it. It was likely a directorial choice to add the sound effect, but maybe they asked Mr. King about it. Either way, it made his power a lot more interesting since that was a lot of fun. Andy definitely could have trained a little more though. He really scrunches up his face whenever he uses the ability so you can tell that he can’t keep it up for very long. (I felt bad for the Cab Driver since he’s going to go home a lot poorer than he thought!) Andy’s original scene in the hospital is super cheesy, but I’ll let it slide this time. He’s definitely a product of the 70’s/80’s and he’s got the accent to top it all off. He’s better than your average protagonist. Thinking about it….Andy may just not be hero material. After someone shoots Charlene with a sleeping dart…he doesn’t move away and Andy lets the guy shoot him as well. His reflexes are very slow.

John Rainbird is one of the main villains and he can definitely hurt the overall score. I dare say that he ended up bringing the score down from a 4-5 to 3 in the end. His scenes as he pretends to be a janitor are pretty painful to watch and you’re just waiting for him to take a loss the whole time. Again, Charlene was way too gullible here. John also has some mild resistance to the telepathy, which was disappointing, but it was partially Andy’s fault. John doesn’t have any redeemable qualities as a villain and he just pulled the film down.

The heroes get driven to a house by a nice resident at one point and I liked the guy. He was pretty sharp on the uptake and he was ready to defend the heroes. He was skeptical at first, but I would have been as well. The important thing is that he ultimately decided to help out and show the heroes what a true gunman is. He may have been knocked out of the fight pretty quickly, but the important thing is that he really tried.

Hollister could be called the main villain I suppose. He seems to be the highest ranking villain at “The Shop” and his ambitions are pretty great. He starts to play second fiddle towards the end though and he’s intimidated by John’s threats. He’s a much better villain than John, but I still can’t say that he was great. His plan was risky from the get go and he didn’t handle the Charlene situation very well. At least he takes a good amount of time out of his day to work on his haircut. It’s a start. We also have a doctor who is introduced at one point, but his most memorable scene is when he’s driving away on his trolley as he continues to look back to where Charlene is. It wasn’t his best move!

There isn’t really much of a soundtrack aside from the “mm mm mm mm” noises during the telepathy sessions. The effects are good though so that helps out as well. I don’t think it will end up being a terribly memorable film, but it was worth the trek. One final thing that reminds you that this is more of a retro film is one of the decisions that the villains make. As Charlene is blowing up a bunch of cars…a few of the men run towards one. This would prove to be their final mistake as it ended up exploding, but you have to wonder what they were thinking. They were seriously outgunned.

I do have to give the film a big thumbs up for one scene. Towards the end of the film, everything is burning so we think that the horses may be toast. Luckily, Charlene saves them and the camera makes sure to show you that they got away safely. It was a classy move on the film’s part and it shows that you can definitely avoid animal violence if you really want too. That was definitely a solid move.

Overall, Firestarter is an intriguing film. I dare say that it feels like an old school slasher during some parts of the film and more like a slice of life in others. The two main characters aren’t bad, but the villains range from slightly under average to terrible. The guy with the shotgun was pretty great although it was sad that he couldn’t do a little better in the gunfight. This is the film for you if you want a Supernatural type of adventure with escaped convicts and action. Still, you’ll have more fun watching DBZ Cooler’s Revenge if you want a story of a Saiyan overcoming hardship as he shows the world that he is more than human. As a sidenote, it’s interesting to wonder how Charlene would fair against the Avengers from the 2012 film. We can assume that a fireball would likely crush Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Captain America. Iron Man’s armor has been shown to be weak against fire and Thor had to dodge machine gun fire so I’m not sure how he would fair. Hulk could end up being the final obstacle and then it all depends on how long Charlene can evade him. Given time, I believe that she could defeat him as well. Still, I guess I would side with the Avengers if they all fought against her at once. (This is assuming that she is already in her awakened state of course, so no charge up is necessary)

Overall 3/10