Curse of the Undead Review

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If the last film was YES! tier then this one is I want my Money Back tier. This film is just so bad and since it is a vampire film I expected a bad result from the start. It was still a little worse than I had anticipated. The Wild West angle is actually far more interesting than the Vampire one and you know how I’m not really a fan of the former either. It’s all pretty tragic to be honest, but at least the ending will go down as a classic.

There is a town where a mean man named Buffer is messing with everyone. All he wants is to be able to have a nice beer every day and bully an old man. That’s his only wish and so the town allows him to do whatever he wants. Things take a turn for the worse when the old man is murdered and then Buffer is forced to murder his son in self defense. Dolores decides to place a wanted ad to avenge them and a wandering gun for hire named Drago shows up. Dan advises Dolores against this since hiring someone to destroy someone else is pretty similar to doing the job yourself. You will have effectively committed murder. Dolores doesn’t care and even claims she’ll pray to the Devil if necessary. Dan realizes this is a lost cause and goes to the Sheriff to try and work something out. Little does he know that Drago is a vampire!

I think the main reason why I didn’t mind the Wild West setting this time was because it didn’t feel like one. You don’t see a lot of sand or anything since they stay in town the whole time. It was a nice fusion of genres and the film handled it well. The locale is one of the only positive things I can say about the film. Beyond that, I also liked the Sheriff. He still deserves some blame for not actually trying to stop Buffer sooner. He took quite a while to get involved and it was too late by then. At least he was very tough though. He didn’t back up for anyone and stood his ground at gun point. The way he handled the band of bandits was pretty admirable so it’s a shame that he went out on such a sour note. He was just a really good character.

Prepare for the onslaught of negatives now though as they are quite extensive. First off, Dolores is a very annoying main heroine. She faints quite a few times and always makes the wrong choices. I’m not against her hiring someone to take Buffer down since the authorities weren’t doing anything about it, but letting him into her house was mistake number 1. The next one was going right to sleep and not noticing him messing with her. She also didn’t notice that she had bite marks on her neck even though I feel it would be pretty obvious. I’m confident I’d notice something like that on my neck and clearly it means she hasn’t washed it in a while. She then proceeds to faint several more times so Drago has his fun and she even sides with him instead of Dan. She made no good choices and was just a struggle to watch.

Drago is even worse as he’s a vampire who doesn’t know what he is doing. I don’t even think he had a master plan so much as he just wanted to suck everyone’s blood while also having fun doing it. He acted as if he was on her side to gain her trust but why? He would leave her alive so he could keep using her I guess, but it was a pretty random move. Furthermore, if he can hypnotize people, he should do it to everyone so he’ll have a life long supply or blood for all of his needs. He came off as rather distasteful and there was no way to like him. It’s a shame since he could have been a decent character in theory. The idea of a lone gunman coming into a town and liberating it is nothing new. Of course, when the two sides are the bully and an evil vampire, you know that the battle is lost before it even begins.

Dan is an okay character I guess, but he seems content to stay as an observer until something happens that he doesn’t like. He didn’t really help to solve the Buffer problem until the gunner showed up and then he made his move. By then, it was a little late for words. He did a good job in the final battle though so I have to give him credit there. He’s certainly better than pretty much all of the other characters by default. The Sheriff was really good as well as he didn’t let any of the others mess with him. Buffer wasn’t a likable character of course. You couldn’t feel sympathetic to him either since he was a villain the whole time. Perhaps he wasn’t as bad as the vampire, but that’s a pretty low bar to set.

The dialogue and writing for the film wasn’t bad, but it never became an engaging watch. We also got an incredibly random, but dark origin story for Drago during the film. Apparently he murdered his brother and then murdered himself so his punishment was to obtain super strength, high speed regeneration, and immortality so he can murder other people. Pretty interesting punishment. Another thing that hurt the film was just the amount of times Drago had his way with the heroine when she asleep. Those scenes are very dubious and hard to watch. Add in the fact that he’s brainwashing her and it sinks the film to new lows. At this point she basically doesn’t have a choice in the matter. The film was already past saving, but these scenes really ended up hurting the score more than the rest put together.

Overall, This was a pretty bad vampire film. I expected nothing less though. It has some pretty decent scenes and as I mentioned the human moments weren’t bad. The posturing at the saloon wasn’t bad and the various bar moments, but the vampire just brought the whole thing down. The film also just liked being dark like when the kid died or the origin story. It was pretty unnecessary the whole time. If you want a good vampire film…I recommend just looking for something else. The odds of finding a good one are extremely low. It’s almost a contradiction.

Overall 1/10

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Bonnie and Clyde

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It’s time for another film based on true events. For once, it’s not about a moment of great importance in history or even about a heroic protagonist who helped reshape the rules and standards of life as we know it. Instead, this film is about two outlaws who were not heroic in any sense of the words and got their thrills out of robbing and committing other crimes. As such, you can imagine that it was not really my kind of film as I never care for villains as the protagonists.

Bonnie was originally a waitress who wasn’t involved in a life of crime. That changed when she met Clyde who tried to rob her mother. Bonnie was intrigued and decided to join in. While the pair initially committed small crimes that didn’t involve murder, they eventually grew bolder and bolder. Once they crossed the final line for the first time, it was relatively easy to keep going as they grew worse and worse. Ultimately this would be their undoing as they made too many enemies and got caught in a trap. You couldn’t feel any sympathy for them at this point since they were completely evil and it was a good way to remind the audience that crime never pays. You end up paying for the crimes..with your life!

I’m sure that the film is fairly faithful to how the pair acted back in the old days. Neither character is likable in the slightest. You just feel bad for their victims like the guy who was shot in the face. It’s why working in a bank isn’t exactly my favorite job in the world. It’s tough to deal with robbers and you never know how it’ll turn out. The film puts a lot of emphasis on how sketchy the two main characters are. Aside from breaking the law and all, they also smoke, drink, and do everything you’d expect two villains to do. The “romance” if you can call it that is fairly prevalent as well. The leads have all the wrong priorities the whole time.

The film certainly was on the gritty side. It had that old grainy look to it that most early color films had. It automatically helps a film appear to be more gritty and especially if that’s how the film is trying to be. You can especially see this in horror films and it’s why the modern ones are usually more chuckle worthy than anything. It’s the one time Indie can try to shine as their films are usually low budget and can still attain that grainy feeling. It’s not as if I’ll like a horror film anyway, whether it be grainy or clear, but definitely something to think about. Of course, an old grainy wild west film with two villains as leads…that was never going to end well.

I mostly don’t take too many shots at historical/documentary films like this one since they’re usually uplifting stories with good morals. As long as the adaption is on point, it’s all good. This one’s a bit of an exception since their are no good morals or stories to take from this one and I don’t even see why this story had to be adapted. Why should we honor criminals with their own film? I definitely don’t understand it and so even if this film is fairly accurate to how they would have acted, I can’t say that I’m a fan. This just wasn’t my kind of film.

As a side note, it’s always interesting to see the old style of cars that everyone uses here. I sort of like the design, but at the same time the colors always seemed faded. It’s like colors just didn’t stand out back in the day, but I don’t see why that would be. Had we not developed shiny colors at this point in history? It seems like something that would be fairly easy to do. I can see not having bullet proof windows and all of that fancy stuff, but shiny colors had to have been one of those easy inventions that just hit someone like a bolt of lightning someday. It just seems like walking around in those days with faded out colors made everything else seem fake as well. In theory all of the colors should still be sharp so maybe we had sharp colors and films just couldn’t properly see them? Like I said..it’s something to think about and you should think about it during the film since it’s more interesting than the actual movie.

Overall, You should avoid this Bonnie and Clyde film. I don’t see how any film could manage to make them likable anyway since the story is just about how they’re evil and kept on shooting people and stealing money. Switch out the names and you just have two very generic criminals in the olden times. There were many criminals in the Wild West as you can see from any old film. True, this might not be quite the same Wild West as it wasn’t that old and uncivilized compared to other eras, but it’s old enough where I just generalize and call it that. If you really want to learn more about Bonnie and Clyde, then this is probably a decent way to do so. At the same time, you could probably just watch a documentary instead and in this case it may work better. We don’t need to learn all that much about their friends and personal life. A documentary will just stick to the facts and probably be more concise about the whole thing.

Tombstone

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It’s time for another historical film based on true events. This one deals with the good ole Wild West and has some famous shoot outs like the one at O.K. Corral. There’s quite a bit of action in this film since it’s fairly long with a large cast to boot. I’ll be covering another Wild West film that’s even longer with a bigger cast, but this one is a solid step ahead. It definitely has more hype for each of the battles since they’re set up well.

The main part of the plot takes place in Tombstone. A group of outlaws known as Cowboys have been terrorizing the place. They murder and steal all the time without fear of retribution because they outnumber the cops and are pretty quick on the trigger. The situation changes when a retired cop named Wyatt enters town along with his pal Doc Holliday. Now that the sides are more even, the new sheriff, Virgil decides that it’s time to take the Cowboys down once and for all. The two sides have a big fight with the cops emerging victorious. The criminals aren’t done yet though and decide to go for low blows by targeting their wives and innocent bystanders all around. Wyatt has had enough by this point and after sending the injured away, decides to destroy all of the Cowboys.

The climax has a lot of action as a result as there were many Cowboys. I didn’t realize quite how many until this sequence as the massacre took a while and the heroes had to go to many different areas. Wyatt is pretty skilled and good at dodging enemy fire, but he was still a little outmatched against the main bandit. Fortunately for him, Doc Holliday managed to get to the villain first and won in their big gunfight. Wyatt wouldn’t have lived through the experience without his friend and Doc Holliday did steal the show on quite a few occasions.

He was always eager for a fight and had the skills to back it up. He was the only figure that the villains were openly afraid of and they all ducked their fights with him throughout the movie. They never had a problem facing off with Wyatt and the others, but when Holliday would show up they’d make some excuses and get out of there. He felt like a good anime character in that respect as you rarely see characters so confident and battle hungry in films. It was a nice change of pace. The rest of the heroes were pretty good as well though. Wyatt stuck up for justice as well and could hold his own in a fight. Virgil helped spur the heroes on as well in the initial battles. While he may have lost by the end, he lasted a while.

The film was good at switching up the tempo as well. The rainstorm near the end where the characters were trapped in the tavern and being picked off one by one was pretty atmospheric. It was easy to forget that the characters were even in the desert at that point as it just felt like a completely different movie. One of the positives of being a long film is that you can dramatically change the tone and have enough content on both sides where the adventure feels even longer. The villains definitely had a powerful counter attack at this point.

While the film was pretty happy for most of it, it also got pretty dark during other moments. The scene where they have to operate on one of the characters was pretty violent as well. This definitely was the wild west as the heroes couldn’t rely on anyone else for help. They had to do everything by themselves and had no protection from the enemy as a result. It was pretty tense throughout with everyone being in trouble. The film has a happy ending, but it was difficult to get there.

The writing for this film is pretty solid as there are quite a lot of memorable lines. You’ll remember them well even after the film is over. Writing can certainly help to make a difference in a film like this. The villains are all rather unlikable, in particular the one who is always drunk. The writing does a good job of keeping him as a threat though without making him silly or incompetent. You want the villains to at least be a reasonable threat the whole time. It was also nice to see some of them defect and join the heroes as well so they weren’t all soulless yes men who eagerly went down the dark path.

On a side note, the bar tenders must have had nerves of steel back in these days. It seems like fights always break out over there and everyone had guns back in those days. I really would not have wanted that job since it seems so dangerous. I’m sure a lot of bandits and outlaws would not pay their tab and it was probably hard to enforce that. I imagine the average lifespan of a bartender was quite short, but then again, it probably was for any occupation. I can’t think of a single safe one in this environment. They were all rather lethal.

Overall, I’m still not really a fan of westerns in general. It’s not my favorite locale and I just prefer the cleaner city kind of atmosphere where the characters are constantly in air conditioned environments and you can forget that the great outdoors even exists. That being said, Tombstone is probably the best one that you can expect to find. It’ll be hard for a Western to topple it and this one is also educational at the same time as you’ll learn a bit about history in the process. Doc Holliday would certainly be proud of his portrayal in this film if he was still alive since he was given a lot of props and respect throughout. It’s an intense film and a lot certainly happens. Especially if you do like westerns, you should check this film out ASAP.

Gun Blaze West Review

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Gun Blaze West was a short series that was abruptly ended before it could get past 3 volumes. It was a reasonably fun series so that’s too bad, but it didn’t really do anything to separate itself from the pack. The series probably should have also started with the post time skip plot and then had a flashback for Viu’s origin once the series had gotten popular. That’s the safer method I’d say. We don’t have a whole lot of Wild West manga titles so this does still help to fill that need. (Is it really a need though?

Viu has always wanted to be an awesome gunman. Unfortunately, he simply didn’t have the skills for it as a kid. A wanderer named Marcus showed up one day and said that he’d train Viu if he could run to a mountain and back before the sun set. It was the only way to prove that Viu could physically handle the rigors of being such a fighter. After all, having great aim is good, but it’s not enough to win tournaments if that’s all that he has. Unfortunately, Marcus is then seemingly murdered by a villain named William and Viu’s life is changed forever. After avenging Marcus, Viu trained for several years until he could pull off the run. Now it was time to go enter the legendary Gun Blaze West and prove that he is the greatest gunman in the world.

The actual plot is rather generic, but we’ve seen many great action titles come out of a standard plot. Viu’s mentor dying and the long time skip are rather reminiscent of Beet, but the latter also had 5 star fights and writing to back it up. Not to mention that Beet also had superior art. I was a little worried at first because if Viu had not grown up there was no way that I could accept him beating professional fighters. After the time skip, it was at least a little believable.

Viu is a reasonably good character. He likes engaging in fair fights and never backs down from a challenge. He’s pretty noble and will defend others if they aren’t strong enough to do so. He doesn’t overthink the situation like his partner Will does and that helps him a lot. He’s a good character and hits all of the right notes, but that was where the buck stopped. He did have a good rage mode though so the author squeezed that in before the series ended. Will is the main partner during the series and he’s usually more annoying than helpful. He’s the kind of guy who sees a villain pick a fight with the heroes and then call both parties out for being disruptive when it’s obvious who is at fault in the moment. He hesitates a lot and doesn’t really like fighting all that much at first. He does get better at that, but I still don’t think he’ll last too long using a rope in a gun fight. It’s just not going to work.

Colice is the final member of the trio, but ironically she doesn’t get to appear all that much since she was introduced so late. She was clearly meant to be a main character in the long run. She’s fairly skilled and is confident of her skills. Luckily Colice got to have her own fight before the series ended so she was able to back up her tough talk. She probably has the most personality out of the three main characters and I believe she would have helped the series out quite a bit. I was a little surprised when Marcus died so early on, but apparently the author was going to bring him back anyway. There’s a lot of hinting for it at the end of the series so much that they basically say it in the final page. Honestly, I don’t see how he would be all that relevant later on since he wasn’t very strong, but maybe he was going to turn evil for that added emotional value.

The Baron is the final boss of the series even though you never would have guessed it at first. It was just the series getting cancelled that suddenly made him the big boss. He’s fairly powerful and should have easily beaten Viu. The good thing about this is that he probably would have appeared again later on and this way he would still be relevant as far as his power level is concerned. He was the final boss, but acted as an instructor and can’t be counted as one of the villains. Those guys are coming up.

I feel like the author completely didn’t care about the villains and just added them because he felt that he had too. The first major villain was William and that’s not a name that will strike fear into your heart. William is not event that tough since Viu in his kid days was able to take him on. Next is Kevin. Wait…Kevin? Yes, I’m serious and the less said about this guy the better. He’s simply not that interesting and is another generic gun fighter. Honestly, this is what would have been a tricky part for the series. With so many gun villains running around, the author has to put a lot of effort into them so that they don’t all end up being the same. Giving them generic names like William and Kevin sure isn’t helping.

The only villain in the series that I actually liked was Thunderarm. He’s a cool Android/Cyborg who wants to obtain Gun Blaze West and will do anything that he can towards this goal. He has a pretty good fight with the Baron and it’s probably the best fight scene in the series. His electrical attacks were very potent and he was a nice change of pace from the other fighters. It’s a shame that he probably would not have appeared again, but it was nice while it lasted.

This series was cancelled so fast that the plot had barely started. The first two volumes are mainly pre arc shenanigans and then the 3rd was for explaining how things would work. We only got to wrap up the very first challenge and then the series ends with the heroes heading off for the next mission. It was probably pretty sad for the author to see it all end like this without a proper conclusion. I suppose the author probably could have tried to rush it all into that last chapter, but felt like the ending would have been cheaper than having them just get ready to roll out. At the very least, the ending that was chosen does leave room for a sequel series if the author ever wants another attempt at this.

Gun Blaze West’s artwork was pretty decent. It’s not amazing, but it’s not quite as rough as you would expect. You can follow the fight scenes just fine and the character models don’t get all crazy during the fight scenes. It’s not exactly Bleach, but it’ll work well enough. At most, some of the characters do look unintentionally silly, but that would have likely corrected itself over time. The Wild West setting is hardly my favorite though so I can’t say that the scenery is all that fun to look at. I like to think that a gun series in NYC would have done a little better and could have had a grander scale.
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Overall, I had fun reading this series. It’s nothing great, but it’s not bad either. It didn’t really make any mistakes and while the specifics of the series can be forgettable, I doubt you’ll forget the premise or the main characters. It’s a shame that the series was cancelled, but I suppose if they never cancelled any titles, we would have missed out on a lot of great ones over the years right? I’d recommend checking it out and since the series is only 3 volumes, it’s not as if it’s a great time commitment. Just watch for volume 3 and you’ll be able to tell that the series was cancelled. It just abruptly ends. At least the author still has Kenshin and its spinoffs.

Overall 7/10