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Sniper Elite 3 (2014)
A Solid Entry Of A Popular Series.
I've never been big on games that lets you target enemies from afar; I prefer up close and personal combat, but having played this for the first time in years a year ago, I was really impressed and enjoyed the game immensely. Sniper Elite 3, a prequel to the 2nd game in the series, is a step up in many ways.
The first thing you'll notice about the 3rd game is it's graphics. From the desert sands, rocky caverns, underground bunkers, and enemy bases, Sniper Elite 3 boasts some impressive visuals with splendid attention to detail in the environments with smooth animation and lighting effects; which even surpasses that of the Splinter Cell series. One has to wonder if Rebellion took design cues from Ubisoft's flagship stealth series, which has yet to see a seventh installment. You have to see it for yourself. It's THAT good.
The gameplay is similar to Splinter Cell in that you move from Point A to B, observing the environment for enemies and using various strategies and tactics to take them out like shooting an explosive barrel near groups of enemies, setting traps with trip mines to blow up tanks. You can also target grenades on the enemies with explosive results. There are various missions with optional side quests, but how you complete them is entirely up to you like using noise to mask your shots. In actuality, if you want to just snipe for the hell of it, you can do it, but doing so makes the game more challenging. And boy is it challenging, due in part to the game's stunning AI. They'll go in cover, call reinforcements, use squad tactics,etc. Some enemies use different attacks, depending on whether they spotted you or not. Sometimes, they'll use sheer numbers to overwhelm you. Each strategy you use has advantages and disadvantages; i.e getting caught out in the open with very little cover as well as trying to go guns blazing will likely get you killed. But with an assortment of silenced pistols, machine guns, grenades, rocket launchers based on their WW2 counterparts and using a bit of skill and strategy, you'll see your way through. It's not gonna be easy, but the effort is worth it.
The voice acting is worthy of praise; especially for the main character, Karl Fairbourne, with deep gravitas by Tom Clark Hill, who sounds remarkably similar to Sam Fisher, voiced by Michael Ironside. Enemies sound appropriate relating to their countries of origin; namely German and Italian troops with their languages actually being spoken in their native tongues, which really enhances the feel of being behind enemy lines during WW2.
There are a few things that would've made the game better. First, the level design could use more variety, but since it's set in the deserts of Africa, that's understandable. You do get to duke it out with enemy snipers, but they have no personality; like someone akin to Batman's Joker. Plus, the enemy's faces could be varied.
But despite all these issues, Sniper Elite 3 is a great game in it's own right, but Sniper Elite 4 completely blows it out of the water. Since I'm new to the franchise, I would love to see more of the series for years to come.
By the numbers, but still somewhat enjoyable.
Ever since I've saw the independent thriller film "Family" released way back in 2006, I've started to take an interest in Renee Humphrey's films. She's a talented actress, but in her earliest appearances in film, you can see how she's really grown throughout the years; here, she plays a young girl searching for her sister in a seedy part of Los Angeles. Let me tell you, out of all the films I've seen throughout the years, none have captured the grime, destitute, sleazy streets of Los Angeles so perfectly and you really get a sense of danger and uneasiness as the film goes along.
And speaking of the film, it's an enjoyable thriller, though nothing too special despite raving on the performances from the main cast. C Thomas Howell does an admirable job as a no-nonsense cop who gets tangled with the young girl and the journey is filled with twists and turns with all kinds of shady characters in seedy locales. Some questionable gaps in logic aside, it's their relationship with each other that really gets you hooked in, even if at times it becomes a bit formulaic. The final showdown between the cop and the high profile pimp is gripping, if not underwhelming, but for this nice little thriller, you can't go wrong. Worth a watch on a rainy day or to just past the time.
Wonder Woman (2017)
Wonder Woman, a superhero, beloved by millions of adoring fans from all over the world, FINALLY makes her TRUE cinematic debut; excusing the limited amount of screen time in BVS, which was awesome, BTW. Having grown up on the TV series, various cartoons starring the Amazing Amazon; especially the incredible Justice League animated series and feature films, I can say wholeheartedly that this is by far her best movie.
Raised as a princess on the fabled island of Themyscira, Diana sets out to be a hero among the world of man, which has been fraught with brutality, violence, and war. Will she succeed, or fail? When Gal Gadot was cast as the titular heroine, many doubted she could pull of the role; mainly due to not just acting, but also the physicality of it as for years, Wonder Woman has been depicted as tall, muscular, and voluptuous. Keep in mind, that was and is the comics version, but when she showed up in Bvs, everyone was BLOWN AWAY!! Not only is she physically capable in the role, but also bringing to it emotion, heart, vulnerability, and of course, good 'ol fashion asskicking.
Most of the other cast are really good in their roles. Chris Pine, David Thewlis, and Connie Nielson, all turn in great performances as Steve Trevor, Hippolyta,and Sir Patric respectfully. I really enjoyed the scenes set during World War 1, as the costumes and mannerisms, and weaponry are historically accurate. But like with any comic book movie, several liberties are taken, which is to be expected of the genre, but do nothing to dampen the overall experience. The only issues I can think of are certain scenes that have no explanation; especially when one of Diana's beloved friends meets an untimely demise, no scene of presenting the Lasso of Truth, and WW's iconic spin. Had those scenes been in the movie, it would've been really awesome; not only for paying homage to the comics, but the iconic TV series starring Lynda Carter as well.
Action, romance, humor, some touching moments, but still that rocket-fire fuel of comic book action is all here and there and the direction of Patty Jenkings really makes it come to life on the big screen. Wonder Woman is the best film starring the titular heroine we all know and love. Though it's a bummer we didn't get a end credits scene, the film's box-office success is more than assurance that this won't be the last we see of Wonder Woman.
Go see this film. It's really good.
System Shock (1994)
Inventive, terrifying, and engrossing!!
If you ever thought that video games can't be anymore engrossing and terrifying at the same time, look no further than Looking Glass's blockbuster FPS/RPG hybrid PC game System Shock. For its' time, it was the most critically acclaimed game of all time; creating legions of veteran players and the fandom endured for many years to come. Though dated by today's standards due to admittedly clunky controls and standard graphics, but at it's core, the gameplay holds up, even to this day and having just played it for the first time, I immensely enjoyed it. Make no mistake, SS is a hard game and being the seasoned gamer that I am, at times I got stuck and had to consult a strategy guide to get me through some troublesome sections; more than once I admit. But no matter how tough things got, it grew on me and stuck with it till the very end in to my final encounter with the malevolent cyber entity known as SHODAN, one of the best video game villains ever created in the gaming world. With her chilling, distorted voice and cold demeanor, SHODAN will send shivers down your spine when you play the game for the very first time.
So if you want a classic game and not bothered by it's archaic design and clunky controls, give it a shot. However, if you can't get past it's dated gameplay elements, play System Shock 2 instead; a VAST improvement over the first game in every way. And that's not all, Night Dive Studios, which released an "enhanced" edition of SS, is pleased to announce that a remake of the first game with much better graphics, while staying true to it's core gameplay and atmosphere, is in development to be released sometime next year. So if you haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet, right now's the time to do so. Best retro PC game I've played in years, along with Earthworm Jim and Myst.
A Marvel film like no other. An astounding achievement in humor and action!!
They said it couldn't be done. They said "Deadpool" will never be made and I, as well as others, almost agreed. After his abysmal performance in X-crement Origins: Wimperine, the potential of The Merc With A Mouth, was almost terminated without fanfare. Good ol Wade Wilson just couldn't get a break.
Well, after so many trials and tribulations, Deadpool was finally given the green light and lo and behold, he bursts out of the comics and onto the silver screen with spectacular results so vulgar, so violent, so crude, yet so refreshingly simple, that it set the bar for R-rated comic book movies; quite possible for years to come. This film proved that violent superheroes...actually...make that anti-heroes can be immensely profitable; judging be the film's juggernaut box-office success. As an origin story, Deadpool is great, showing us a side to the Merc With A Mouth with a violent, vulgar side to the character, but also surprisingly, with human depth; something Origins failed to achieve. Character development and human pathos combine to make a troubled and flawed jerk with a heart of gold, a very likable and relate-table jerk with a heart of gold.
Yes, the action is bloody, yet great with slo-mo effects and yes the humor is vulgar and narcissistic, but it fits the character very well. But most importantly, is the acting and Ryan Reynolds NAILS it perfectly. I can think of no other actor that is much suited for the role and he is simply perfect; with his manic personality and spot on wisecracks. The film simply wouldn't work without a hard R rating. Thankfully, the studio let the filmmakers run wild in high octane adventure and explosive gravitas.
Props to all involved in Deadpool. It's smart, stylish, and refreshingly original. I'm glad they had the balls to make a R-rated Marvel comic book movie and they achieved it. One of the best films of the year and I can't wait for the inevitable sequel. A second and third viewing is definitely not out of the question. Great film, great cast, great direction. Simply put. Great R-rated comic book movie!!
After the disappointing prequels, Star Wars is back on track.
I know people hate the prequel films; who doesn't. I for one didn't hold Episode 3 in high regard either, but it was at least watchable, to a certain degree. I guess some are not as jaded and cynical as others, but to each his own. For a while, it seem that old magic of the OT couldn't be recaptured or restored to the rightful vision. It seem that Star Wars was doomed to be something of ridicule, rather than the cultural phenomenon that it once was; starting especially of course, with the first film to the last of the OT. But having said that, after coming from seeing TFA, I'm very pleased to report that the force is strong once again in the new film, Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens!! Gone is the cringe-inducing dialog, gone is the stiff, wooden, mechanical acting of the prequels(though they had their moments, but ultimately,uneven)gone is the overuse of CGI without a purpose or support to the story. What is here is what the OT was all about. Well-written characters, superb and at times humorous dialog, great action scenes, but most importantly, a great plot. Without spoiling it, there are numerous twists and turns and even some Easter eggs thrown in for good measure, that while as to remind longtime fans, but surprisingly, add to the overall narrative and it makes the film equally coherent as well as entertaining; something the prequels never achieved despite the high quality production values in accordance with the visuals.
Some old faces show up along with some new ones. Leia and the gang are back. It's a treat to see Han Solo again, now with a cynical and world-weary outlook after the music stopped; figuratively speaking. The lead character, played by John Boyega, is both effectively acted and wholly convincing as a former Stormtrooper who does a complete 180 in his place in the galaxy and for better or worse, it's very fun to watch. Daisy Ridley was good as Rey, but I'd hoped to see a little more of her. But I was fascinated by Kylo Ren. Not only does he look imposing, but also menacing as the new Sith Lord on the block, with shadowy and ominous Supreme Leader Snoke, to back him up in their evil path to universal conquest of the galaxy.
Sure some of the dialog is hammy and at times corny, as well as some gaps in logic, but that's what to be expected of Star Wars. Why some hold the OT over this film is beyond me,but I guess some people are not satisfied with what this film has to offer.
The only gripe I have is while that some scenes are nice and homage the original trilogy, the film-makers played it a little too safe; not offering more new and unexpected, not being bold enough or try new things. Though this implies that they don't want to repeat the same mistakes as the prequel films, they could've flexed their muscles a little more and go for something more epic and grander than having to rely on homage to what was already established before.
So in conclusion, this is a very well-made and solid film and although veterans of the series may not view it in the same light as the OT, Some,like me, takes a fresh approach. The force is strong again with this one. Hopefully the next film will be bolder, darker, and more daring than ever before.
Max Payne (2001)
Max Payne is simply incredible.
Several years ago, I've seen this game in magazines and TV commercials; normally, I play FPS and racing games, but TPP games? Not so much. But I was instantly hooked on them when MDK,a third person action game created by Shiny Entertainment; known for the excellent Earthworm Jim games among others, was released back in the mid '90s. And boy was it a hit, with it's highly innovative and quirky level design, atmosphere, game-play, and graphics. Loved it to death. Having recently played Max Payne, I gotta say I was quite literally blown away.
Max Payne is a cop with nothing to lose; having lost his wife and infant daughter to a gang of junkies hooked on a deadly designer drug known as Valkyr, that causes mental instability and uncontrollable rage. Three years later, Max transfers to the DEA to uncover the truth about the death of his family. After slaughtering his way through hordes of unsavory organize crime figures, Max begins to uncover a web of lies and corruption that go far deeper than he had suspected. The plot takes twists and turns, which leads him to the ultimate showdown with his most hated nemesis: A corrupt corporate executive.
Without spoiling much of the plot, I'd say it's dripping with neo-noir and crime drama grittiness with a small pinch of, surprisingly enough, science fiction with fantastical elements dealing with Norse mythology and dark fantasy. Not many games are able to blend these elements together, but this game pulls it off really well, with tight and well-written punchy dialog with excellent voice acting complemented with sublime comic-book style cut-scenes that flesh out the world and characters. Needless to say, I was really immersed in this dark and gritty world. Some of the dialog is cliché, but really, what would you expect from a game of this caliber that borrows from Hong Kong action films and hard-boiled detective film noir; which this game has in spades.
Speaking of Hong Kong action, the most widely praised aspect of Max Payne is it's game-play. Never has a game blended Asian cinema into a virtual environment so successfully and experiencing it for the very first time is simply jaw-dropping in it's execution, which is flawless in every way. For a game released in 2001, the game still holds up well, even to this day, where next-gen consoles and PC's are able to deliver very stunning and graphically impressive 3d graphics; which almost has a photo-realistic feel with level design that feels really palpable and plausible, giving the player a real sense of gravitas and verisimilitude. Controls feel tight, responsive, never skipping a beat; even when there's lots of action going on. Although I purchased both the console and PC versions, I went with the PC version; since it allows user-created content, which I've yet to discover. But you really can't do wrong, though both versions are identical, I'd say that the PC version is far superior to the console versions in every way.
It's a great game, but I wish it was longer because the games premise and plot is really interesting. That's the only gripe I have with this game; other than that, Max Payne is one of the best action games I've ever had the pleasure of playing for the first time in years. If you want a game that blends Hong Kong action with a gritty storyline with excellent graphics, then Max Payne is the game to get.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
The best Mad Max film I've ever seen.
I'll keep this straight and to the point. For YEARS I've waited for a film that lives up to the originals. Although Beyond Thunderdome was decent in it's own right, the film lost it's dark and gritty edge due to it's PG-13; a bane on dark, gritty post-apocalyptic films. Well, fear not for I am happy to report that Fury Road, is every bit as dark and gritty as it's predecessors. Tom Hardy does another incredible job as the world weary Max, a man with nothing to lose wandering the arid, desolate Australian wasteland, with little pockets of civilization here and there. Well, the term "civilization" is aptly used loosely here because most of them are anything but "civilized" as these roving band of savages try to eek out a bleak existence by any means necessary and this is the perfect backdrop for the story. With little twists and turns here and there, along with the impressive visuals and riveting action, Fury Road is a crystal clear reminder that CGI and MTV style action does not and should not take the place of a well-written story. Hopefully, a sequel is made. I'm that pumped for it. Best Mad Max film I've ever seen in years. Mad Max is back and he's better than ever.
Chris Nolan outshines himself once again.
If there ever was a time that movies can be magical, thought-provoking, emotional, humorous, and at times, dark and disturbing, then this would be it. A work of genius on all levels, Nolan's latest bundle of joy is "Interstellar", one of the best films I've ever seen coming from the impeccable caliber of Nolan's pedigree for bringing out best acting performances against the backdrop of stellar and awe-inspiring visuals.
The plot goes like this. Earth is in a bind and the only way to save what remains of humanity is to travel to the farthest reaches of space, to find the answers to mankind's salvation. But along the way, stunning revelations and deep character emotions are brought to the surface as the fate of humanity hangs in the proverbial and perpetual balance.
I won't say too much about the plot, and although it starts slow(which to some viewers may be off-putting but for me it was perfect)the more it unravels the more exciting and enthralling it is to witness. And all of this wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for Nolan's impeccable directing, sharp and well-written dialog, along with the best performances from Matthew McConaughey, Michael Cain, and of course, Anne Hathaway. With this caliber of acting talent, nothing can go wrong;especially a film of Nolan's making. There is action, but it is not as prevalent in Nolan's earlier films, and for me, that is refreshing; making the audience focus more on the story and characters, rather than the wham-pow theatrics of other films. There's a time and place for such things, but here, it is all the more welcome.
Although I'm sure some will say that this film borrows from other films, and to an extent, I somewhat agree. But this film is something really special to see. Not only do we get discussions on sacrifice, the nature of mortality and morality, heroism, and longing for a more innocent time, but also on many scientific theories on wormholes, interstellar travel, the vast and often, loneliness of space,and hope in the face of despair and anguish, and Nolan handles these themes with style and grace with many heartwarming moments of warmth and love. As a fan of science-fiction, I love this film wholeheartedly. And even I was convinced that some of what's in the film could one day become science fact: What if man can travel much farther in space then we are capable now? What if we can discover 3 to 4 dimensional space? And what if we can achieve time travel? These are questions that this film leaves, and though there are no easy answers, it is nonetheless, absolutely RIVETING to even think about such possibilities as to what can be achieved.
I'd say this film is like a Greek tragedy of man challenging the gods and whether or not they will succeed in such a feat. But after seeing this film and being absolutely BLOWN AWAY by it, I'm just anxious to see what Nolan and co come up with next. "Interstellar" directed by acclaimed director Christopher Nolan, is one of the best films I've seen this year and is bound to be a timeless classic.
Best Godzilla film in years!!!
Wow, what an incredible movie. Granted, the characters are a bit one-dimensional, but the human drama and sense of peril is much more believable than Roland Emmerich's shlock 1998 remake; which despite having some entertaining moments, never captured the dark tone of the 1954 classic monster flick that introduced to the world one of the most beloved and iconic monsters of all time, the G-Man!!! I came in with low expectations, but when all hell breaks loose and the situation becomes more and more dire, that's when things get REALLY exciting. The fight between Godzilla and the Mutos, is nothing short of exhilarating. I only wish that the fights were longer and more intense and not so much focus on the human characters, but in the case of this film, it's justified in getting the audience to have sympathy for the human protagonists, but me personally, I was more enamored with the G-Man, than the humans; mainly stemming from the fact that I'm a HUGE Godzilla fan, and have been wanting to see a film in his original glory for years. Thankfully, it delivered, and by the box-office business this film is doing, we'll be seeing the G-Man in another massive monster mash in the future.
Great film. Best one in the franchise I've seen for a long time.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Surpasses the first film in many ways than one.
Having just seen ASM 2, I say wholeheartedly that the second film is leagues BETTER than the first film. There's more drama, suspense, some dark moments, but perhaps the same comic-book like feel; something that Sam Raimi's films had, but never really delivered on it's premise. Thankfully however, Mark Webb and co, gave us a film that will be remembered for ages.
Even though there are three villains in this film, they are all superbly developed and well acted, something Sam Raimi's infamous Spiderman 3 SPECTACULARLY FAILED TO DO on SO MANY LEVELS. This film when you watch it gives you the sense that the movie is more understandable and therefore plausible in it's premise and execution. True, there are some rough spots in the film, but that does not in any way, shape, or form, take away from the experience.
One has to feel bad for Shailene Woodley, who was supposed to appear in the film as Mary Jane, Spidey's love interest for the uninitiated, but given how many characters and subplots are in the film, this was a wise decision on the film -makers part; after all, we wouldn't want to suffer through the same fate as Spiderman 3, would we? And unlike James Franco's take on Harry Osborne, Dane DeHaan gives a MUCH better performance. With his menacing stare and cold, blue eyes, he felt really intimidating as Spidey's future foe.
The action scenes are really spectacular and no pun intended, AMAZING!!! Never once was I bored throughout the entire runtime of the film. It's properly paced and intrinsically plotted with hints and bits of pieces for die-hard Spidey fans to discover; with some Easter eggs thrown in for good superhero measure. Tight direction and well choreographed, there's a great sense of tension and excitement to behold the on screen hijinks. I liked some of the slow-motion shots and they highlight the action; giving the film depth in it's perception of character and action-driven scenes and although not everyone will find them to their tastes, I think they work wonderfully in showcasing Spidey's acrobatic abilities which are greatly taken from the awesome source material.
So is The Amazing Spiderman 2 better than the first one? The overall answer is an AMAZINGLY enthusiastic YES!!! Mark Webb has done a really good job on giving us a sequel that goes in-depth of Peter Parker's psyche while also giving ample screen time to the villains and other character's involved in the titular hero's life. If the ending is anything to go by(which I will not spoil by any means) then we can expect more greater things to come in the overall narrative of this rebooted series. For once, three villains on screen are given screen time of character development and to be fair, it was a huge risk, but the risk payed off thanks in part to the well-written(and at times, humorous) plot and screenplay. Best sequel to a beloved superhero I've ever seen and by the impressively AMAZING box-office results, roll on Amazing Spiderman 3!!! Great job everyone!!! Great and AMAZING job!!!
Captain America is back and better than ever!!!
Having just seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I gotta say this sequel surpasses the original in so many ways. In it's place of an adventure yarn filled with WW2 action is a modern day political thriller with a dash of Cold War with superhero theatrics that work wonderfully with it's main cast and well-written and gritty script. I liked that the film touched on themes such as privacy, loyalty, rediscovering your past while also facing the future, and many dangers. So if you liked the first film, you're gonna love this sequel. It's a well made film that really ups the stakes for Cap and his allies and enemies wrapped up in a nice package of political intrigue.
SiN Episodes: Emergence (2006)
A brief, but fun shooter.
The original action-packed FPS "SiN" was a truly groundbreaking game of it's time; featuring real-world locations, tight controls, a damage system that targets specific parts of enemies,a sexy villain and much more. However, it was sadly overshadowed by the critically acclaimed Half-Life. Then came the expansion pack, Wages of SiN, that continues the adventures of John R. Blade, as he fights Gianni Manero, a mob boss that is trying to take over Freeport City with his army of mercenaries and mutants in Elexis Sinclaire's absence. Though, it's only 3 hours long, it at least satisfied the appetites of fans of the series.
Now comes SiN: Episodes. The game was released on the promise of more stories to come in the future. Many plot points are strongly hinted at throughout the game, such as Jessica Cannon's mysterious connection with secondary antagonist Victor Radek, the whereabouts of Elexis Sinclaire, and her plans for Blade, but sadly they are to remain unresolved since Ritual Entertainment, the creators of the series, went bust several years ago. A reboot of the series was planned at some point, but it remains to be seen whether or not to be in progress. With so much potential for a franchise utterly gutted, I was left(among with many fans) cold.
Despite being the only episode released thus far, Emergence has a lot of good things going for it. The controls are tight, gameplay is challenging, the graphics are nice, crisp, and decent, and the sound and voice acting is top-notch; the major gripes being that the SP campaign is too short, not a lot of enemy variety, and only 3 weapons to carry. In one of the later levels, you get to see Freeport City with VERY strong hints that exploration of the city(for the first time in the series) would be possible. But due to Ritual now being a casual games company, sadly such possibilities are dead in the water. As for the story, it's very comic-bookie in nature, with a dash of Robocop and Demolition Man, with some funny social satire jabs at corporatism and big business. Had the series continued, we might've gotten a deeper perspective of Freeport City and the main characters as well. If Lara Croft can get a well-deserved and more refined revival, then so can John R. Blade; a relatively obscured hero of the FPS genre whose presence is strengthened by the charismatic, yet ruthless dark-haired Elexis Sinclaire, a combination of brains and beauty that is without a doubt, a PERFECT match for Blade.
Having played this on PC, I gotta say, for what it is, it's a fun shooter. It's a real shame that it should've been a true sequel to one of my favorite FPS. With a full sequel, the world of John R. Blade, would've been fully fleshed out and more coherent(how Blade was captured by Sinclaire remains unclear)with more variety; especially with the enemies and locations to fight in. I haven't played Half-Life yet, but from what I heard, it's a fantastic game that SiN equally should've gotten the praise and admiration that it deserves. Still, it's cool to play as a bad-ass action hero blasting mutants like nobody's business and SiN fits that role perfectly.
Underrated, but fun shooter.
So Half-Life achieved widespread critical acclaim upon release in the late '90s, but SiN received little attention due to the various bugs and no doubt it was overshadowed by the latter, but SiN is a game you should definitely play because it's a fun retro-First Person Shooter, and a really good one at that.
You play as Colonel John R. Blade, a vulgar, trash-talking cop who wants to know who is putting out a DNA-altering mutagen drug called U4, a clever anagram for euphoria(nice to have a game with lots of personality)/ After investigating and tracking down one of her cohorts, Tony Mancini, a mob boss in fictional Freeport City, he soon learns that it was none other than Elexis Sinclair, a rogue geneticist/mad scientist with a sexy allure, with gorgeous looks and a killer body(by '98 PC game standards). But there are many twists and turns in the plot that keep things very interesting.
What's really fascinating about this game is that Elexis Sinclair has both beauty and brains to match; a perfect foil for Blade. And the rest of the cast round out this sci-fi story terrifically, especially J.C., Blade's resident computer hacker who works for Hardcorps, a private security force that has taken over local law enforcement in Freeport City. Their constant banter with each other makes for some interesting and hilarious moments, and it gives this game a sparkle of charm in a sea of serious, modern FPS. The story and writing is great and comic-book like with a dash of Demolition Man and Robocop for atmospheric good measure. The level design is concise and cohesive. In fact many of the locations in the game have a realistic layout, making it seem as if it can take place in our world; a nice touch and the weapons have lots of punch in the sound department.
I recently bought this game along with Sin: Episodes. It's an episodic game series, but sadly only one episode has been released so far due to Ritual Entertainment closing it's doors; leaving the franchise in indefinite limbo. It would be nice to see the series on the next-gen of consoles because the story has a lot of potential to be something really great. An expansion pack, called Sin: Wages of Sin has been released, but it's a bitch to get it working on current PC platforms. So if you're willing to buy this, prepare to do a lot of tweaking in order to get the game to work.
Sin is a great, FPS that is charming in it's characters and plot. Although the graphics are dated by today's standards, they're nevertheless colorful and smooth with lots of nice looking environments that still look good even to this day. If you want a retro First Person Shooter, then look no further than Sin.
Almost Human (2013)
I just seen the first episode and I gotta say I'm really hooked on this show that's filled to the brim with human drama, action, humor, suspense, and mystery. But it's the human interactions between the two leads that makes the show very interesting and really thought provoking as well. Karl Urban(of Star Trek, Lord of The Rings, and of course, the utterly stellar "Dredd" fame) is really great in the role of a hard-as-nails cop who doesn't take too kindly to synthetic androids; one in particular, played by Michael Ealy, who is the complete antithesis of Urban. Ealy's character, Dorian, despite being an android, is very believable and convincing; conveying emotions that are(no pun intended) almost human. It'll be really interesting to see how their relationship plays out in subsequent episodes.
There's a lot of mystery and intrigue going on in this show so much, thankfully kept at the minimum to keep the audience guessing at the true motives of some of the characters while also giving the proceedings a heavy dose of suspense in a fantastically realized world and though it draws heavy inspirations from classic science fiction films, it weaves it's own plot and twists to keep things interesting and fresh. There are some plot points that I felt were rushed, but overall, this was a great episode to kick off the entire series. Be warned, there are some bloody scenes that are really intense, but the special effects, for a TV series, are really good and has a sense of hyper verisimilitude that, ironically enough, isn't too far-fetched. How long will it be before life-like androids begin to roam among humans in everyday life? If you don't think it's possible, then check out Raytheon, or DARPA, which are actively researching and developing this cutting edge technology. More importantly, there are lots of moral issues that should be discussed such as technology being too powerful, being replaced by androids, and as well as finding out what it means to be human and what separates man and machine.
I'd say "Almost Human" is an intelligent and thought-provoking series that within it's narrative, raises lots of questions, and though there's really no easy answers, the journey to find them is an exciting ride for those willing to undertake. I'm already anxious to see what's gonna happen next. Here's hoping that the show is successful for an entire season.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)
Well-written, tense, and incredible.
Whedon has done it again. Not only has he given us the greatest superhero ensemble piece that is The Avengers(among Firefly, Angel, and the excellent Sci-Fi epic Serenity, and other things of this caliber)but also this new and exciting take on an established and soon to be shared "Marvel Universe" known as "Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D".
This new show delves into the lives of the human aspect of the mysterious organization among it's super-powered brethren(watch the earlier Marvel films as well as The Avengers to get up to speed)with lots of thrills and character drama that Mr. Whedon is so lovingly known for as example of his earlier work. The show has a lot of ground to cover as this is the first episode of a series, as more plot and character development will be explored in future episodes, but the premiere episode is really good. Not going overboard, just finding a nice balance between action and story. Other superhero shows have tried and failed; most notably "Heroes" although the first season is simply incredible, but Whedon's new series knows what it is and is building on it tremendously. Keen viewers will notice several Easter eggs pertaining to certain characters in the Marvel universe which I will not spoil, but for those new to this show, will be quite surprised.
I'm impressed with what this show has to offer. With a great foundation to build on, it's really shaping up to be something special. The last moments of this episode will leave you breathless and anxious to see what Whedon and co will come up with next. Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is one of the better superhero shows out there on the airwaves; providing a nice balance of character pathos and movie-caliber action.
Riddick is back and better than ever!!
After brushing his shoulders off from the ambitious but critically panned Chronicles of Riddick(though I liked the director's cut)Riddick is back in his prime; more brutal and badass than ever before. Gone is the mythological stuff that was previously present, and in it's place is a tight, well-written storyline that feels similar in tone to the first film, but nevertheless is it's own beast of a film.
Surprisingly, and to some which may be unexpected, Riddick actually has a soft spot. Considering that he's essentially a hardcore convict and murderer, the amount of heart that he shows to the alien dog is fascinating to watch as he explores the desolate planet's ruins to seek shelter from the harsh landscape and the vicious alien creatures that inhabit it. And the villains come off well-developed as well, with loads of humor, but also doesn't let us forget that they are cold-blooded and ruthless, who are more apt to stab you in the back for momentary personal gain.
Also worth mentioning is the small scale of the conflict. Not too OTT action scenes which are well made, personal character studies(one gets the impression that Riddick secretly wants to die, but something is holding him back from doing so, which may be resolved in the sequel)and above all, a much better story with lots of twists thrown in. A far cry from Chronicles of Riddick, which many people were not to kindly off, but to some, has it's merits on it's own terms.
The real question is: What's next for Riddick? Hopefully, this film does good business and gets a sequel that will further flesh out the intergalactic badass's character and universe. Riddick is back and better than ever!!
Pacific Rim (2013)
One of the best films I've seen this year. A unique blend of Japanese mecha and kaiju that pays homage to those films, Pacific Rim is a film that not only dazzles the senses, but it's also a human story at heart and that's the most important part of any film that has the fate of the world hanging in the balance with epic battles at the forefront. I found this film MUCH BETTER than the Transformers films. Though those films had epic action scenes, the big difference is that you can ACTUALLY see the action; no quick-style-MTV-ADD-riddled editing. The action flows organically along with the story, which is both exciting, fresh, and well-acted. Some of the characters were underdeveloped, but the leads are impressive with great performances throughout.
Pacific Rim is one of those films that simply make you say, WOW!!! A really fun time at the movies and a nice change of pace from the gritty blockbusters in theaters now. I hope they get a sequel going because I'm really excited to see what their gonna come up with next.
World War Z (2013)
World War Z is more about the visuals than the characters.
With the summer blockbuster movie season in the swing, audiences expect all the usual trappings that come along with such; i.e huge explosions and no plot. That's what you'll get with World War Z, a film that is flash and substance, cranked to insane levels with bucket loads of CGI and little regards for smooth and cohesive narrative which could've elevated it beyond just action and special effects.
I'm not familiar with the original novel on which this film is based, but from the looks of it, it seems to be aimed at only a specific demographic; that is those that crave mindless action above all else. There's nothing wrong with that, but I suppose those(like me) that want story and character development ALONG with action, will be disappointed as World War Z, to them, only resembles the original novel IN NAME ONLY. Superficial performances from some of the lead characters, save for Brad Pitt, dull the experience immensely as a film of this caliber demands hard, vicious violence and tense, frightening atmosphere, that, unfortunately enough, are sparsely sprinkled about in this film. There's no doubt that some of the film's action scenes are impressive, but one gets the feeling that because of it's PG-13 rating, a bane of zombie flicks, are so tame that to call it a TRUE zombie flick would be an act of blasphemous disservice. Ultimately, it would seem that with so many rewrites to the script and filming of scenes, it clearly became a case of "too many cooks spoiling the broth".
The potential for something like this to be greater than the sum of it's parts were here, but the execution of such potential into something natural, organic, and emotionally and intellectually engaging, falls equally and devastatingly flat on it's cinematic ass. World War Z once again proves the inept and ADD-riddled filmmaking process of Hollywood is once again, cropping up and utterly ruining a film's potential to be something great. I'm not sure if I want to see this film again; I'll wait for the director's cut. IF indeed such A CUT exists, then I suspect it would be an overall improvement over the theatrical release, but since it's too early in the game for such a thing, I've no choice but to conclude that World War Z, ultimately, pales in comparison to it's much superior counterparts "28 Days Later" "Night of the Living Dead" "The Walking Dead" and to a certain extent, even the bloody yet comedic romp "Night of the Comet" and other notable films of this tried-and-true genre. If a sequel is made and judging by the latest box-office numbers, I don't fail to see why. Only ardent, die-hard fans can hope for the next film that features more blood and guts, more heroism, and most importantly, more character development.
Crysis 2 (2011)
An epic sequel to a ballistically entertaining shooter.
After being really impressed with the original Crysis, I was INSANELY curious to see what the next game would bring, and boy was I happy. Not only is the story more focused, tighter, and epic in scope, not only does it has the most beautiful graphics on any platform, and not only does it has the most stellar production values, but it also has the most ballsy and entertaining action set-pieces that I've ever had the pleasure of seeing and playing through.
The new hero is a Force Recon Marine known as Alcatraz, who had the unfortunate yet coincidental task of being the last hope for humanity armed with the technology of the future; the likes of which no ordinary man, albeit a soldier as ever witnessed in the history of mankind. A physically fractured soul due to injuries sustained in battle, Alcatraz is locked and loaded, but what is the true nature of his mission and what fate does it hold for mankind? The first game's story had an action/sci-fi movie-like plot that was good, even though it left a few unanswered questions concerning it's context. Now with Crysis 2, we learn who created the Nanosuit, its origins, background information about it's original protagonists, and much more. However, Crysis 2 has a lot of dark themes in it's narrative, biological warfare, civil unrest, martial law, private military forces and their morally ambiguous agendas, and identity crisis(no pun intended). It's true that some characters may be underdeveloped, but that's saved for the sequel, which I'm sure will tie up some loose ends, but the story is actually really gripping; kept my attention for the whole duration of the game.
But Crysis 2 wouldn't be a Crysis game without action set-pieces. Out of all the FPS game's I've played, the series hands down has the most exciting and entertaining of them all. From massive destruction to some horrific scenes of human suffering and decadence, no other game in this genre has conveyed post-apocalyptic alien invasion scenarios like this one; for which I was thoroughly impressed. This no doubt helped along with the games stunningly beautiful visual effects that are so cinematic, you actually feel like you're in a Hollywood blockbuster action/sci-fi film. The sandbox style of play is back, though not as prevalent as in the previous game, but you still have many options on how to attack your enemies. The level of tactical decision making is key to your success and one of the series' finest aspects.
I'm not so sure about the multi-player. I've played several sessions(this was on Xbox Live) but I'm an old-school gamer who likes action and story, and Crysis 2 fits the bill nicely. There are glitches like enemies freezing in place and some inconsistencies with sound, but it doesn't mar the game one bit. Speaking of sound, this game has the most impressive sound effects I've ever heard; from the powerful roar of the machine guns to the massive scale destruction of the urban environment, the game is a treat for the ears, especially if you have a surround sound system cranked to the max. And it also helps if you have a widescreen TV equipped with 3D. I've never seen the game in 3D, but even without 3D, the game is still impressive and a blast to play so for those of you who have a set up, get this game to truly experience what it has to offer.
I really enjoyed Crysis 2; even more than Crysis 1. Heck, I enjoy both games, but Crysis 2 story won me over, simply because it's more epic in scope. Having beaten 2, I'm more pumped than ever for Crysis 3. No other series gave me the feeling of being a bad-ass super-soldier with the feel of a big-budget blockbuster action movie!! Kudos to Crytek for delivering one of the most ballistically entertaining FPS on the market!!
Iron Man Three (2013)
A real ass wiper.
After the disappointing Iron Man 2, I came into this film with high expectations. Needless to say, I am profoundly and utterly in shock at how average the movie is. It's not that it's all bad per se, but the screenwriters thought that by putting lots of comedy in an action movie juxtaposed with the seriousness and verisimilitude of a Tom Clancy novel that this would work. It didn't. The little side-kick kid was absolutely terrible; although I don't know if it was a cheap gimmick to get more parents with their kids to see it, or cater to that specific demographic, I'm not sure. But they need to stop. I wouldn't have minded if said side-kick was a teenager or someone in their early 20's, THAT would've made a whole lot of sense. All I could say is what was Shane Black thinking?!?!?! This film would've been a lot better if they skimmed the comedy bits and focused more on the story and characters; especially the villains. Although the special effects and action are really impressive, they cannot make up for the uneven and disorienting screenplay.
I don't know what to think. Should you skip this movie? Tough choice, but all if you want is something to pass the time, then go for it.(I recommend the matinée) If you're the kind of person that wants story and character development above all else, then you will be disappointed. It's a shame really because Iron Man is a really cool superhero and the first film was a blast to watch. It's MILES ahead better than this one. You're probably better off watching the first film, or wait for Star Trek: Into Darkness or the eagerly anticipated Man of Steel. Iron Man has depth and integrity along with a high dash of wit and charm. Yes the charm is there, but there's no juicy meat.
Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
A solid action flick.
After the disappointing "Die Hard 5" I came into this film with high expectations and needless to say I was really impressed. Not only does this has great action scenes and not only does this has a well-written script and acting, but it also has a very plausible storyline. Who would've thought this up? No one in particular but Antoine Fuqua makes it work very smoothly. Some of the characters seem underdeveloped, but I can overlook that in what is a very competent action movie, the likes of which hasn't been seen since..well...Shooter. "Olympus Has Fallen is another great flick by Mr. Fuqua. Can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
Best animated series of Blade ever.
When I first heard about this new series, I had no idea that it was also part of a an ongoing project of anime produced by Marvel based on X-Men and Iron Man. So out of the three of them, I chose Blade because I'm a huge fan of the character; having first seen him in the stellar "Spider-Man: The Animated Series" and then on the big screen with the equally impressive first "Blade" film.
I didn't know what to think. I thought it going to be a lazy cash-in on a once-obscure superhero, but it turned out to be much more than I expected. It's got all the great elements of the films and comics, and then some. What I like more about this series is that, unlike the films, the writers actually take the time to explore Blade's past. Blade is much more developed in this series; something even the films, save for the first two, the third film failed to do. In this series, Blade comes across as a tortured and much more sympathetic hero, making him a much more rounded character. And the supporting cast is equally impressive, especially the spunky, street-wise Makoto, who really grew on me as things went on. She and Blade are like kindred spirits; both have lost a loved on in the past, but push forward for the greater good which makes them heroes.
But no superhero epic would be complete without villains and this one's got a lot of bite(no pun intended)with a vast assortment of baddies for our heroes to encounter, including the big bad boy himself, Deacon Frost. Needless to say, the Deacon Frost in this series, is equally brutal and sadistically evil as his film and comic book counterpart at the same time. But surprisingly, his back-story makes him a sympathetic character as well, despite his evil nature. But Frost has bigger and nastier plans for humanity and it's up to Blade, Makoto, and several allies(including some surprises that will make fans giddy with excitement)to stop him at all costs.
What follows is a deliciously delightful dessert of action, suspense, thriller and horror with a side of dark humor, thrown in for good measure. The action scenes are really impressive, but my only complaint is that it's a little too tame in places, making it seem "PG-13" like despite the fact that Blade is a gruesome and bloody superhero. At least in Blood+(another equally impressive series)the vampire slaying is shown very vividly. Blade on the other hand, plays it safe; presumably to reach a wider audience. I like my vampire slaying shown in full force, not in quick-cut motion, which may turn some people off. Also, the techniques that Blade shows off when killing his enemies, becomes a little repetitive after a while, but it's the well-written stories and plot that makes up for it.
While not as bloody as the films and other vampire-slaying epics like Blood+, Marvel Anime: Blade, is a worthy addition to fans of the character. This series has won over any skepticism I had before viewing this series, and I enjoyed the ride. Great characters, great stories, great art, simply great series. A second and third viewing is not out of the question.
A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
I kept an open mind, but so much was left to be desired.
In the early '80s and '90s, the "Die Hard" series of films were all about entertainment. Sure it's not a thought-provoking piece of art, but it's art done with class, integrity and art; these films were made at a time when action films were..actually..action films. They had no quick-style MTV editing that tries to pass itself off as "action", they were done with pure and honest craftsmanship with stunt men willing to put it all out for all to see. And for that aspect alone, they did a commendable job.
So now I look at A Good Day to Die Hard, with all the trappings that action films are known for and ostentatious hijinks that scream Michael Bay-esque action that reeks of his earlier films to date.
Bruce Willis plays McClane to a hilt, but that's all there is. No heartwarming moments, no instances of morality, no deep insights into why he kills his enemies, John McClane is just that. John McClane. A bravado of words and action that homages the earlier films.
The movie at times tries to be gritty and funny at the same time, but with such an inane screenplay and unfunny jokes, it becomes quite apparent that this film was simply not meant to continue the series. To try to adapt an relic of the '80s and '90s into a modern context with current technology, doesn't work anymore. The only exception to this is Rambo, where he was fighting against a brutal regime in Southeast Asia. It worked because the setting was raw in it's brutal intensity; plus Rambo is a timeless hero and much more plausible. John McClane is just a beefed-up Jack Bauer without the hero's legendary outbursts of anger when something goes wrong or impedes him from saving the day. Not once is there a chance for the viewer to root for McClane. He remains lifeless and stiff; the very opposite of his portrayal in the earlier films.
In an attempt to distance itself from its PG-13 predecessor, the film makers decided to make this film rated R. Yet it hardly saved the film from it's mediocre direction. I suspect this was due to the large backlash from audiences of Live Free or Die Hard, a film that was only a Die Hard film in name only, not a "true" Die Hard film, which is evident in the director's inability to handle the material.
I tried to keep an open mind, after the execrable LFODH, but after this, I hope Bruce and co. just hang up the wife beater for the final time. No more. John McClane is a hero of the past and should be left there for all time's sake.
Night of the Comet (1984)
The most endearingly comedic zombie apocalypse film I've seen.
I love zombie movies; mostly on the serious side, but after looking here on IMDb for something a little funny yet scary at the same time, I decided to give this film a try and needless to say I was very surprised.
How anyone can come up with the concept of two materialistic, air-headed valley girls(well at least one of them) set against the back drop of post-apocalyptic Los Angeles is beyond me, but with a well-written script and above-average acting, it surprisingly worked, even on a meager budget. That speaks volumes about the quality of this film despite the fact that it was made in the '80s, especially at a time when films were made with heart and soul unlike today's films were special effects and MTV-style editing has replaced story and character development. I simply fell in love with it, didn't like it the first time that much, but a second viewing of this film made it very pleasurable. Only gripe was that they're wasn't enough zombie killing action. That's due to the fact that the film was made on a meager budget. With a bigger one, it could've made the action much more satisfying But despite that one criticism I enjoyed the film. And hopefully they'll be a sequel at some point in the future, but keep the digital effects at a minimum and focus on practical effects and more of what made the first film such a classic.
A rare gem of the '80s, Night of The Comet is one of the funniest zombie movies I ever had the pleasure of watching. Not many directors can come up with a recipe of impressive film making like this one, but Eberhardt made it possible, even, again, on a meager budget. With everyone on board including the two lovely leads Catherine Mary Stuart and Kellie Maroney, with a serious yet sensual femme-fatale like performance from veteran actress Mary Woronov, as well as the sinister Ivan E. Roth, Night of The Comet is simply a blast to watch. I loved it. I can see why it's such a beloved classic; the concept is simply genius.