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May 25th, 2015 Movie – Hellraiser 3: Hell On Earth

hellraiser 3 hell on earth

You know, when it comes to horror movies in the 80’s and 90’s, there really weren’t a lot of original movies. A lot of them were part of a franchise. I mean, you had Friday The 13th, Nightmare On Elm Street, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (technically those last two started in the 70’s but they did carry over). The Hellraiser franchise was not one of my favorites and to be fair, I thought the character of Pinhead looked pretty stupid. But I will say that Clive Barker is definitely capable of creating some “creepy ass shit.” Now I am sure some of you are wondering why I have this movie if I was not a fan of the series. The answer is….don’t know. I just do. So let’s go ahead and get right into today’s movie, Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth.

The plot: After the events of Hellraiser II, the Pillar Of Souls is sold to J.P. Monroe, who uses it as decoration in his nightclub called The Boiler Room. Days later, Joey Summerskill, a young TV reporter, is doing a story on a local emergency room when she witnesses a young man brought in with chains attached to him. When the chains suddenly rip the boy apart, Joey’s only way to figure out what happened lies with the Terri, the girl that came in with the victim. Joey tracks down Terri who claims that she found the kid in an alley outside the club and that the kid was claiming the chains out of a box that he had stolen from the statue. They go searching for more clues and discover video tapes from the Channard Institiute of one of Pinheads previous victims, Kristy Cotton, who claims that the box is the only way to send Pinhead back to Hell. Meanwhile, Monroe has just finished having sex with a random club patron when she is suddenly attacked by chains coming out of the statue, with the chains ripping off her flesh before dragging her to be consumed by the pillar. This allows Pinhead to regain some of his power and he convinces Monroe to bring him more victims. Monroe tricks Terri into coming back to his place and he tries to get her close to the tower but she knocks him out with some brass knuckles. Pinhead then convinces Terri to release him by pushing Monroe closer to the pillar and in return, he will give her the gift of dreams. When Pinhead is released, he proceeds to go down to the club and kills all of the patrons there. Meanwhile, Joey is contacted by the spirit of Elliot Spencer, Pinhead’s human side, who tells her what Pinhead’s plans are and that the only way to stop him is to reunite Spencer and Pinhead into one being. Joey heads to the club but when Pinhead orders her to give him the box, she runs, causing Pinhead to reanimate some of the corpses as new Cenobites to chase after her. They eventually trap her in a construction site but the box suddenly opens, sending the Cenobites to Hell. Joey is tricked into giving Pinhead the box but Spencer shows up and forcibly fuses with Pinhead, allowing Joey to stab Pinhead in the heart with the box and sending him to Hell. Joey then buries the box in the cement floor of the construction site to hopefully seal it away for good.

Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth received some pretty negative reviews, earning only a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics complained about the departure from the previous films as well as the weak plot and character design. I have to say that it is amazing what references make it into popular culture since many fans criticized the Cenobites as looking like “knock-off Borg extras.” The movie did pretty poorly at the box office, earning just over $12 million in the U.S.

Yeh, this was a pretty bad movie. The story was pretty over dramatized but the plot was incredibly weak. The acting was pretty awful with some of the actors not even giving any real inflection to their voices to add any emotion, just bland speaking. The effects were decent at times but they hardly made up for all the shortcomings in this film. To be honest, this should only be watched if you want to watch the entire series but otherwise, you should really skip this one.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review – February 16th, 2014 – Alien Resurrection

alien resurrection

So you want to make a new movie for a franchise but the main heroine was killed off in the last movie. How do we solve this problem. Well, we could have a brand new hero/heroine to try and breathe new life into the franchise. Or we can find some way to bring the original heroine back to life so that everyone will know who to root for in the movie. Well, this is a sci-fi movie and the sci-fi genre has one thing in common with comic books; nobody stays dead forever. So for today’s movie, Alien Resurrection, they brought back the star of the series for one more fight with her nemesis.

The plot: 200 years after Ellen Ripley sacrificed herself to end the alien menace, military scientists on board the USM Auriga have managed to use some of her blood from before she died to not only clone her, but also clone the Alien queen embryo that was growing inside her. However, due to the cloning process, the Ripley clone is found to have enhanced strength and reflexes, acidic blood, and some sort of psychic link to the Aliens. When the crew of the Betty arrives with a shipment of kidnapped humans for use in the scientists experiments, they run into Ripley. One of the crew members, Call, recognizes Ripley and sneaks back into the lab to try and kill her but she gets caught. As security rounds up the rest of the Betty’s crew, the adult Aliens that are in captivity manage to escape, damaging the ship in the process. When they realize that the protocols call for the ship to head back to Earth, Ripley, the Betty’s crew, and the few survivors that are with them must find a way to destroy the Auriga before it makes it to Earth and unleashes the Aliens on a new planet. While trying to escape, Ripley discovers a room filled with failed clones of herself and incinerates them all. As the survivors make their way to the Betty, the Aliens begin attacking and killing off several of them. Eventually, Ripley winds up being captured by the Aliens and taken to their nest, where she discovers the queen has also gone through changes due to the cloning process. The Alien queen gives birth to a hybrid Alien, with more human characteristics than any of the others. The hybrid kills the Alien queen then attacks some of the cocooned humans while Ripley uses the distraction to escape. She makes her way to the Betty and her and the remaining survivors go to take off but one of the cargo bay hatches is still open. Call goes back to close it and discovers the hybrid has made it onto the ship. The hybrid closes the hatch then attacks Call and kills DiStephano when he comes to help her. Ripley arrives and stops the hybrid from attacking but then uses her acidic blood to destroy a port window, causing the hybrid to be sucked into space while Ripley and Call manage to hold on. In the end, the Auriga crashes into the Earth with a huge explosion and as the Betty scans the wreckage, Ripley and Call contemplate what they should do next.

Alien Resurrection received mixed reviews from the critics, earning a 54% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which was better than the last movie. Many critics felt that this was a desperate attempt to cash in on the franchise and it should have ended with the previous movie. However, some critics did like the movie calling it “less frightening but as fun as ever.” The audiences didn’t seem to mind too much because it would go on to make over $161 million in worldwide box office.

This was a decent movie, but it still lacked the magic that the first two films had. I thought the way they brought back Ripley’s character was done pretty well, as well as the story behind the Alien hybrid. The cast did a decent job with their roles but none of them really stood out, even Sigourney Weavers performance seemed less than enthusiastic. I will say that I did like Ron Perlman’s performance although I will say that he does seem to play the same character in almost every movie. The effects were decent although I thought the design for the hybrid was pretty weak. All in all, it wasn’t a bad movie and I did think it was better than the 3rd one, but it just seemed like everyone was tired of the Aliens so they kind of half assed the performances. It’s not bad as a sci-fi movie but aside from wanting to watch the entire series, it is not really a “must see” movie.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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May 24th, 2015 Movie – Hell Comes To Frogtown

hell comes to frogtown

When you think of wrestlers that have made movies, of course most people will think of Dwane “The Rock” Johnson. But years before he was even a blip on the screen, there were some other wrestlers that were making their names in Hollywood. Now, because of his cameo in Rocky III, most people think that Hulk Hogan was the first wrestler to star in a movie but they would be wrong. Technically, Andre The Giant could be considered the first with his role in The Princess Bride or Jesse Ventura with Predator, but the first wrestler to really headline a movie was Roddy Piper. Today’s movie, Hell Comes To Frogtown, is one of the earlier movies that he starred in.

The plot: In a post apocalyptic world, the Earth’s population has been decimated and many of the men have been rendered sterile by the radioactive fallout. Med-Tech, the female run provisional government in the region, has tracked the nomadic Sam Hell by following the trail of pregnant women he has left and conscript him to aid them in their mission to repopulate the area. Sam, along with Med-Tech officers Spangle and Centinella, is being sent to the mutant reservation area to infiltrate Frogtown and rescue a group of fertile women that have been captured by the city’s leader, Commander Toty. Along the way, Sam finds out that the “protective codpiece” that he is forced to wear will shock him if he gets to far from Spangle, whose earrings control the device, and if he tries to remove the codpiece, the codpiece will explode. When they make it to Frogtown, Sam and Spangle go in and meet up with Sam’s friend Loony Tunes, who introduces them to a tradesman, Leroy. Before they get far, Commander Toty’s second in command, Bull, shows up, knocks out Sam, and takes Spangle to Commander Toty. While Sam is being held prisoner, Bull manages to cut the codpiece off and it does explode in his hands, stunning him long enough for a resistance leader to rescue Sam. However, Bull kills the resistance leader forcing Sam to kill him. Sam saves Spangle, rescues the captured women, and makes his escape but is being pursued by Toty and his men. The group manages to lose Toty but are held up by a disguised Captain Devlin, who has been secretly been supplying the mutants with weapons in exchange for Uranium. Sam manages to kill Devlin and then, believing Spangle and the others to have been killed by Toty, fights and kills Toty. He then spies Spangle and the women, who had hid when Toty showed up, and the group get into Toty’s vehicle and head back home.

This is a funny movie to watch. The actors were decent and Roddy Piper definitely seemed to have some fun with this role. The plot was ok but the way they told the story was pretty ridiculous. The special effects were definitely not top of the line and the makeup used for the frog people was pretty bad in some cases. Another thing was the attempt to sync the lip movements of the frogs to what they were saying was pretty atrocious at times. But that helped to make this movie so much fun to watch. One of those movies that is great to watch on a lazy weekend afternoon.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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May 23rd, 2015 Movie – Heavy Metal 2000

heavy metal 2000

19 years after the original movie came out, a direct to video sequel was released, with some similarities and some differences. For the similarities, there is the fact that this was inspired by a print media, in this case a graphic novel. The differences are that instead of several short stories linked together, this is only one story, and the hard rock/alt metal music in the film actually fit more with the title of the film than it’s predecessor’s did. However, did these differences make it as successful of a film? Judge for yourself as I write about today’s movie, Heavy Metal 2000.

The plot: While on a mining expedition in an asteroid, Tyler comes across a green crystal which happens to be the key to a legendary fountain of immortality, but drives the one who holds the key insane. After grabbing the key, Tyler kills his companion then heads back to the main ship where he kills the captain and most of the crew. On his search for the fountain, Tyler comes across the planet Eden, whose inhabitants, the Edenites, have traces of the immortality fluid in their bodies. Tyler has his ship invade Eden, killing or capturing all of the Edenites, but when one of his men, Germain, tries to save one of the Edenites, Kerrie, Tyler leaves him stranded on the planet. Julie, Kerrie’s sister, managed to survive the attack and after finding and threatening Germain, agrees to team up with him to locate Tyler. They track Tyler to a space station and when Julie finds him in a club, she proceeds to shoot him several times but Tyler’s wounds manage to heal due to the ampules he is drinking. A gunfight ensues and Tyler winds up blowing up the club but Julie manages to escape. Julie and Germain get in their ship and manage to use a tractor beam to latch onto Tyler’s ship as it makes a warp jump. Tyler tries to shake off the their ship but his efforts cause both ships to drop out of hyperspace and crash onto the planet Oroboris. When Julie wakes up, she finds herself alone but soon meets up with the sage Odin and his companion Zeek, a small rock creature. Meanwhile, Tyler has discovered that most of his crew have died in the crash and almost all of his ampules of immortality fluid have been destroyed. He orders Dr. Schechter to extract the fluids from Kerrie’s body while he and the rest of the surviving crew explore the planet. They locate a race of reptilian creatures and manages to take control of them when he kills their leader. Julie, Odin, and Zeek track Tyler to the city and Julie manages to infiltrate the city and once again tries to kill Tyler but before she can accomplish this, Zeek breaks in, grabs Julie, and flees with her. On their way back to the citadel, where the fountain is located, the trio discover Tyler’s ship and Julie is able to rescue her sister before blowing up the ship. When they make it to the citadel, Julie and Kerrie are reunited with Germain and Julie learns that Germain had tried to save Kerrie. Preparing themselves for war, Julie, Kerrie, and Germain stand with the guardians of the fountain as Tyler’s reptilian army storms the citadel. During the fighting, Tyler’s second in command, Lambert, is injured and when he tries to take Tyler’s last ampule, it shatters and Tyler kills him in a fit of rage. Tyler heads towards the fountain but Julie manages to reach him and the two fight, with Julie stabbing Tyler several times but he eventually is able to knock her down and use the key to open the fountain. However, before he can enter, Odin manages to distract him, which allows Julie to finally kill Tyler. Julie tries to destroy the key but Odin stops her, revealing that he is the last of the Arakacians, the creatures that created the fountain, and goes to claim it himself. Zeek gets there and takes the crystal, sealing Odin inside the fountain chamber, and after saying goodbye to Julie, heads to outer space where he buries the crystal inside another asteroid.

Heavy Metal 2000 was pretty much despised by the critics, as shown by the 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 0%. That’s just sad. Many of the critics felt that the sequel failed to catch the energy or magic of the first film and that instead of dragging it out to a full length feature, it would have been better as a shorter story that was part of an ensemble. Like it’s predecessor, the movie did release a soundtrack but it also failed to get any recognition outside of the fans of the bands involved in the soundtrack.

This was a rather disappointing sequel. Aside from the various scenes of nudity and gore, there really wasn’t anything different than what you would see on your average cartoon. For a feature film, you would expect more effort into the animation. I did like the some of the voice acting as Michael Ironside did a great job with Tyler and Billy Idol and Julie Strain were decent as Odin and Julie respectively. The story was ok but I agree with the critics that it seemed stretched out too long and would have been better as maybe a 25-30 minute short instead. The music used in the film didn’t really have the synchronicity that the first movie had. It mainly seemed to just be put there because it was loud and had some harsh tones to the music. If you really want to watch it go ahead, but this is definitely a far cry from the original film.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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May 22nd, 2015 Movie – Heavy Metal

heavy metal

Years ago, I was up late watching TV and during the course of my channel surfing, landed on an anime movie. Now we will get into that movie at a later date because today’s focus is on the movie that aired afterwards. Now when I first saw today’s movie, the first thing that hit me was that the soundtrack was really good. The second was that I needed to get a copy of this on VHS (yes, this was before DVD’s) because I felt like some stuff had been cut out in order to show it on TV. So I bought it and watched it many times over the years and have enjoyed it every time. So kick back, relax, and enjoy today’s movie, Heavy Metal.

The plot: A space shuttle orbiting the Earth opens it’s bay doors and an astronaut driving a convertible corvette is released and descends to the planet below. Once the car lands, the astronaut drives off to his house where he greets his daughter with a gift, the Loc-Nar. However, the Loc-Nar disintegrates the astronaut and speaks to the young girl, claiming to be the sum of all evils that has influenced societies throughout time and space. Instructing the girl to look at it, the Loc-Nar proceeds to show her several examples of what he has done. First is a futuristic New York City where a cab driver, Harry Canyon, must help a young woman escape from some gangsters that are after the Loc-Nar. But when she sells it to the gangster and agrees to split the money with Harry, the Loc-Nar’s influence causes her to turn on Harry, forcing him to kill her. It then shows her the story of Dan, a young boy who has been transported to the land of Neverwhere and transformed into the warrior Den and finds himself caught in the middle of a revolution with the two leaders fighting over the Loc-Nar while Den tries to save another Earth girl named Katherine. It then shows the trial of Captain Sternn, where key witness Hanover Fiste has picked up the Loc-Nar and it transforms him into a rampaging brute who is going after Sternn until Sternn pays Hanover the bribe money he promised him befor ejecting him from the space station. The Loc-Nar then shows the fate of the crew of a WWII B-17 bomber that has finished a bombing run but the only survivors of the attack are the pilot and co-pilot. The Loc-Nar rams into the plane and reanimates the dead crewmen as zombies, which kill the co-pilot but the pilot manages to bail out only to land on an island filled with downed airplanes and even more reanimated corpses. Next, an alien ship accidentally abducts a young woman from the Pentagon and while the ship’s robot manages to convince the girl to have sex with him, the alien pilots get high on “plutonium nyborg” and wind up crash landing into a space station. Finally, the girl is shown the Loc-Nar transforming a tribe of outcasts into mutated barbarians who ravage a nearby village. Before their death, the village elders summon Taarna, the last member of a warrior race known as the Taarakians. Taarna searches for the barbarians so she can avenge the villager’s deaths but winds up being captured. She is able to escape but when her mount is wounded, she is forced into a one on one duel with the barbarian leader. She manages to kill him and then flies to the volcano where the Loc-Nar has landed and then sacrifices herself to destroy the Loc-Nar. Back on Earth, the Loc-Nar is destroyed, demolishing the house in the process. As the girl watches, a young Taarakian mount lands near her and she climbs on it’s back and flies away, with her hair changing color and a Taarakian mark appearing on her neck, revealing her to be the next Taarakian and destined defender of the universe.

Heavy Metal was met with mixed reviews from the critics, earning a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The general consensus among the critics was that “it’s sexist, juvenile, and dated, but Heavy Metal makes up for its flaws with eye-popping animation and a classic, smartly-used soundtrack.” The audiences seemed keen to see it as it would make over $20 million in box office sales. Unfortunately, legal problems with the copyrights for some of the songs in the film would cause an almost 15 year delay before the movie was able to be released for sale. The soundtrack had a similar problem, being released on LP in 1981 but then not released on CD until 1995.

Teenage me thought this movie was awesome. Adult me still likes the movie, but has to admit that he likes the soundtrack a little more than the movie. For a movie based on a magazine, this is a good movie to watch. Yes, there are a lot of animated boobs in this movie, but there were a lot of cartoon boobs in the magazine so it is merely the animators imitating the source material. The plot revolving on one central story being broken up by several short stories was interesting although I will admit that I have no idea what the “So Beautiful And So Dangerous” had to do with the main plot except for the fact that the Lo-Nar was in the girl’s necklace. The soundtrack was awesome and the songs really fit with the scenes they were used in, making for a great blend of music and animation. The animation wasn’t the best around but again, it really seemed to fit with the original drawings from the magazine so I will give it a pass. A good movie that should be watched at least once.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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May 21st, 2015 Movie – Heathers

heathers

Why is it that dark comedies tend to become cult classics? Is it because they use humor to showcase a darker aspect of humanity that most people don’t deal with? Or is it because they use the dark side of humanity to find new ways to make us laugh. Who can really say. I will say that these movies tend to receive a lot of praise from the critics. If you doubt me, let me remind you of a little film from 96 called Fargo. Now today’s movie, Heathers, was also well received by the critics, but whether it was worth it is up to you.

The plot: Veronica Sawyer is friends with the Heathers, the most popular and feared clique in Westerburg High, but as the school year progresses, she is tired of them and wants to return to her old life and friends. When she meets Jason “J.D.” Dean, she becomes drawn to the newcomer and winds up starting a relationship with him. When Veronica embarrasses Heather Chandler (the leader of the Heathers) at a frat party, Heather vows to ruin Veronica’s reputation at school. The next morning, Veronica goes to Heather’s house with J.D. with the intention of making Heather puke but she gives Heather a cup full of drain cleaner by mistake and accidentally kills her. Not wanting to be arrested, Veronica forges Heather’s handwriting to write a suicide note. Heather McNamara asks Veronica to go with her on a double date with Ram and Kurt, two members of the football team, but while Heather is having sex with Ram, Heather leaves Kurt lying drunk in a field while she goes off with J.D. The next day, Veronica learns that Kurt had spread a rumor that she performed oral sex on both him and Ram. Wanting some revenge, she makes plans with J.D. to embarrass them by faking their deaths as gay lovers, but to her horror, she realizes that the bullets they used were not fake and she and J.D. have really killed the two jocks. As the students and faculty seem to be elevating the status of the dead teenagers, other students begin to attempt suicide, including Heather McNamara. Meanwhile, Heather Duke has been assuming the leader’s role left by Heather Chandler’s death and has been assisting J.D. in getting a petition signed by every student at the school. Veronica is fed up with J.D.’s actions and breaks up with him. When J.D. shows up at her house to kill her, he finds Veronica hanging from a noose in her room. Thinking her dead, he tells her about his plan that the petition is actually a mass suicide note and he plans on blowing up the school during tomorrow’s pep rally. Veronica goes to the school and finds J.D. setting up the bomb in the boiler room. The two struggle and Veronica winds up getting J.D.’s gun and shooting him, causing J.D. to inadvertently stab the bomb, which deactivates it. Veronica heads outside and is shocked to see that J.D. has followed her out and has the bomb strapped to his chest. When J.D. asks what Veronica would have done if he had blown up the school, she pulls out a cigarette and sticks it in her mouth, causing J.D. to laugh as the bomb goes off, killing him and managing to light Veronica’s cigarette. As Veronica heads back inside, she briefly confronts Heather Duke before talking to Martha Dunnstock, a girl that was bullied by the Heathers, and invites her to watch movies with her on prom night.

Heathers was highly praised by the critics, earning a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus among the critics was that it “took a chainsaw to the conventions of the high school movie, changing the game for teen comedies to follow.” However, it did not fare well at the box office, earning a little over $1 million off of a $2 million dollar budget. However, when it was released on video, it had strong sales and rentals which helped make it the cult classic that it is.

This is a great movie which shows the darker side of high school, one which most movies at the time shied away from. Winona Ryder and Christian Slater had pretty good chemistry together, which actually wound up with them getting into a real life relationship during the filming of the movies. The plot was pretty good and the writing, while corny at times, did make for a lot of the laughs in the movie, as well as having several memorable lines that came out of this film. The theme of teenage suicide was definitely a bit dark but the film did a good job of pointing out that it is something that happens in high school. A great movie that is worth watching.

Rating:4 out of 5

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May 20th, 2015 Movie – The Headhunter

the headhunter

Ok, for once I am somewhat excited to watch one of the movies in this Martial Arts collection.Why, you may ask? Because today’s movie stars Chow Yun Fat. That is a pretty good reason right there. Now, granted, this is one of his earlier films so there is a chance that It will suck. But when you consider what the actor will accomplish in the long term, it seems to be worth the risk. Of course, it was still a giant pain in the ass to find information on this movie since it has 3 different titles, but that is a horse of a different color. So let’s get right into today’s movie, The Headhunter.

The plot: Nguyen “Andy” Dich is a refugee from Vietnam that is living in Hong Kong and working as a stuntman in the film industry. Wanting to make enough money to help his family, he also works as a hit-man for a local syndicate. After performing a hit, he notices reporter Vicky Lee and winds up falling in love with her. After getting news that his family was killed while trying to get out of Vietnam, Andy becomes tired of his life and wants to change. Wanting to get out from under the syndicate, he tells Vicky about the syndicate’s head and about poison gas that he is creating. When he finds out that a reporter is onto his operation, he orders Andy to kill her but Andy refuses, so he has an accident occur on the film Andy is working on, with Andy suffering burns to his face and body. While he is in the hospital, Andy is attacked by Kim Tai-Yung, his former c.o. in the Vietnam army, who blames Andy for his capture during the war. Andy and Vicky manage to escape but Andy’s friend Kenny is killed by the crazed former officer. When Andy has recovered, he meets with the syndicate’s head and winds up involved in a fighting another hit-man while the syndicate’s head goes after Vicky. While Andy kills the other hit-man, Vicky winds up being saved Kim Tai-Yung but he goes after her as well. Andy kills Kim and then, wanting to stop his killing life, forces Vicky to kill him so that he can finally be free.

This could have been a lot better, but alas, it was a let down. The dubbing was ok but none of the actors were really exciting to watch. The plot was a confusing mess and rather difficult to follow. The camera work and editing were also pretty bad as was the lighting. The action was ok and while it was about the only good thing this movie had going for it, there wasn’t enough of it to really help this movie. Worth watching if you really want to watch every movie that Chow Yun Fat but otherwise you can probably pass on this one.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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