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May 31st, 2016 Movie – Rebirth Of Mothra III (a.k.a. Mothra 3: King Ghidorah Attacks)

rebirth of mothra III

So I close out May with the last of the Heisei Mothra movies. This movie was one of the harder movies to find back in the day because while the first two movies got a VHS and DVD release, this one never got an official release in the US. It did get a Sci-Fi channel premier, coincidentally on this very day back in 2003, which is how some of the non-die-hard fans knew about this movie. Granted, I was not one of those people and wound up buying it on VHS years ago and recently, when they released the entire trilogy on Blu-Ray, I bought that, which is how I come to be watching today’s movie, Rebirth Of Mothra III (a.k.a. Mothra 3: King Ghidorah Attacks).

The plot: On Infant Island, Belvera breaks into the temple and opens a box that contains the Elias Triangle, a sacred treasure of the Elias. When Moll and Lora confront here, a sphere containing three triangles emerges from the box. Belvera grabs the triangles and tries to escape on her mechanical dragon Garu Garu but the Elias quickly call Fairy, who rams into Garu Garu. Belvera drops two of the triangles, saying that the Elias will need them as the King of Terror is coming, then flies off. Moll and Lora examine the two triangles, which say Wisdom and Courage, and discover that the triangle for Wisdom fits in the hilt of Moll’s dagger, transforming the blade into a sword. In space, a giant meteor approaches Earth when it suddenly breaks apart and the fragments enter the Earth’s atmosphere. A man returning home from work notices the shooting stars and tells his family when he arrives home. They head outside to watch and witness a large meteorite crashing into the nearby forest. The next day, everyone is getting ready to leave but the parents wonder why the oldest son Shota refuses to go to school. In the forest, Moll, Lora, and Fairy investigate the meteorite and discover that it contains the essence of dinosaurs in it and she realizes that the monster that killed the dinosaurs has returned. At a school, a classroom sees something approaching but when it passes overhead the children mysteriously disappear, as do some children playing in a park and Belvera, who is investigating what happens says that it is King Ghidorah. Meanwhile, Shota rides his bike to where the meteorite crashed but finding the police trying to keep reporters and onlookers out of the area, he sneaks into the woods to try and make his way there. The Elias see King Ghidorah and, noticing that the children have vanished, they summon Rainbow Mothra to battle the space dragon as Ghidorah attacks the nearby city. In the forest, Shota uses a cave to make his way deeper into the forest and comes across a giant, pulsating sphere, which is where Ghidorah is keeping all of the children. When Ghidorah returns, Shota quickly hides, as the children inside the sphere try to hide as well. Rainbow Mothra appears and begins attacking Ghidorah but her attacks seem to have no effect as Ghidorah flies off in pursuit of the giant moth. Ghidorah attacks Rainbow Mothra and easily overpowers it, knocking Rainbow Mothra to the ground then grabbing her by the wings and repeatedly slamming her to the ground. The Elias and Fairy try to help and Ghidorah simply stares at them before throwing Rainbow Mothra into the woods before heading out to attack the city. Fairy manages to avoid being struck by Rainbow Mothra but as Moll asks if Lora is ok, Lora, having been infected by Ghidorah’s evil when it locked eyes with her, attempts to strangle Moll. They both fall off Fairy and fall towards the sphere but Fairy is able to rescue Moll while Lora is sucked inside. Belvera investigates the dome and, seeing all the children inside, decides to steer clear of it when she is attacked by strange tendrils which grab her and Garu Garu and drag them into the dome. Shota is using binoculars to look at the dome and notices that his younger brother and sister, Shuehei and Tamako are trapped inside. He doesn’t notice the tendrils approaching him but he is saved by Moll and Fairy, who explain what is going on. Meanwhile, Shota’s parents arrive at the school after hearing the news reports of the missing children and when they hear that the children were spotted inside the dome, Shota’s father tells his wife that Shota knows how to get there using the Wind Cave. Back in the forest, Shota, Moll, and Fairy enter the Wind Cave and travel through it until the come to Rainbow Mothra, and Moll tells Shota it is ok to approach her. Inside the dome, Belvera is trying to repair Garu Garu when Lora suddenly appears. When Belvera questions why she is there, Lora grabs the triangle from around Belvera’s neck and after placing it in her dagger, she attacks Belvera. Shota’s parents make their way to the forest and when they see Shota’s bike, they head towards the cave entrance and start to make their way inside. Moll tells Shota that Rainbow Mothra plans to go back in time to when King Ghidorah first appeared on Earth and try to kill it then but Moll is worried since Mothra will be unable to return to their time. Rainbow Mothra flies off, transforming to Aqua Mothra to better travel through time and Moll begins singing in order to lend her strength to Aqua Mothra as she makes the journey. When Aqua Mothra makes it into the pass, Moll falls off of Fairy and Shota races to where she falls. Moll asks Shota to free Lora from Ghidorah’s influence, as Rainbow Mothra will need her power in order to defeat Ghidroah, and gives him her sword to give him courage before she turns into a statue. Shota makes his way to the dome and after preparing himself, taunts Ghidorah, who quickly sucks him inside the dome. Inside, Shota begins looking for Lora, Shuehei and Tamako when suddenly, acid starts emerging from various openings in the ground as Ghidorah prepares to eat the children. Back in the past, King Ghidorah is feeding on dinosaurs when Rainbow Mothra begins attacking it. Rainbow Mothra seems to have the upper hand but Rainbow Mothra is still not fully recovered from it’s wounds, and Ghidorah manages to get the advantage. Inside the dome, Shota manages to find Lora but Belvera warns him to stay back. When Lora tries to kill Shota, Belvera pleads with her to stop and Shota tells Lora it was Molls last request that she help Mothra. Lora changes back to normal and collapses and Belvera watches as Lora’s sword merges with Moll’s. Belvera manages to get free and has Shota hand her the sword, which she combines with her own to form a powerful sabre. She explains that the three powers of Wisdom, Courage, and Love can work independently but are meant to work in unison, then Belvera attempts to destroy the dome. Back in the past, Rainbow Mothra manages to blast off one of Ghidorah’s tails, which quickly burrows underground, but Ghidorah proves to be too strong and she finds herself mortally wounded. In the present, Lora comes too and after Shota tells her that Rainbow Mothra needs her help, she begins singing, lending her strength to Rainbow Mothra. Rainbow Mothra manages to escape Ghidorah’s death blow and grabs Ghidorah, flying the monster towards a massive volcano and dropping it inside, killing Ghidorah when the volcano explodes. Rainbow Mothra is thrown by the force of the explosion and crashes to the ground and three ancient versions of Mothra approach her and begin encasing her in a cocoon. In the present, Ghidroah and the dome disappear and Shota is reunited with Shuehei and Tamako. They join Lora and Belvera at Moll’s body but Belvera thinks it is strange that even though Ghidorah and the dome disappeared, nothing seemed to have changed. Suddenly, Ghidorah appears out of a giant fireball and begins taking the children again, in spite of Shota’s parents efforts to save them. Belvera tells Lora that they are the only ones that can fight Ghidorah and the two ride off on Fairy to confront Ghidorah as Shota, Shuehei, and Tamako watch. Suddenly, the mountainside breaks away to reveal Mothra, now covered in armored plating, emerging from her cocoon. Armored Mothra easily overpowers Ghidorah and finally kills the space monster, after which it transforms into Eternal Mothra. As everyone is gathered by Moll’s body, Eternal Mothra speaks to Belvera and Lora, and they place the sabre in Moll’s hands, where it disintegrates and restores Moll’s life. Belvera comments about not always agreeing with her sisters before she flies off on Garu Garu. Shota, Shuehei, Tamako, and all the captured children are reunited with their parents and Shota and his family wave to the Elias and Eternal Mothra as they fly back to Infant Island.

Now while I was on the fence with the Mothra movies, today’s movie was definitely the best one of the set. The acting was pretty good and the main characters seemed to show more emotions than they have in the past. The story was good and I liked that they had Mothra fighting a fan favorite in Ghidorah. The special effects were pretty good regarding the monsters, but when they went to the past, the effects with the dinosaurs looked kind of week and there were still some times where the rear screen effects didn’t look that good. One thing that i did find funny is that it felt like they kind of ripped of The Legend of Zelda with the whole Elias Triangle plot point. Still, this is a very solid kaiju movie and one that is well worth watching.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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May 30th, 2016 Movie – Rebirth Of Mothra II (a.k.a. Mothra 2: The Undersea Battle)

rebirth of mothra II

It’s funny how certain memories about things will always stick with you. With this movie, the one thing that constantly comes to mind and makes me laugh is something my baby brother Blake said when he first watched this movie. Now way back in the day, I would constantly be watching my two youngest brothers, which was fine as it allowed me to induct them into some of the finer things in life, such as punk and ska music as well as Godzilla movies. Anytime I got a new movie, I would generally watch it with them. So when I first got today’s movie, the three of us wound up watching it and Blake, being the young Blake that he was, busted out laughing and said “The furball peed on that kid” when Gorgo healed Yoji’s wound. Anyways, that’s the memory that always comes to mind whenever I watch today’s movie, Rebirth Of Mothra II (a.k.a. Mothra 2: The Undersea Battle).

The plot: The Elias, Moll and Lora, are watching Mothra Leo fly over the ocean around their island when the wind suddenly picks up and they sense something coming. Deep underneath the ocean, a monster is seen roaring out as two fisherman, who are commenting about the pollution in the ocean, see some strange starfish-shaped creatures called Barem and when one of the fishermen tries to get one of them off the boat, it attacks him with an acidic substance. In a elementary classroom, two boys, Kyohei and Yoji, are trying to use a caterpillar to scare a girl in their class, Shiori Uranai, but it backfires and the caterpillar ends up getting thrown down the teacher’s shirt. As the two kids are about to be punished, a sudden quake starts shaking the school. Meanwhile, , two more fisherman encounter a strange furry creature that leaps out of the water and onto their boat. When one of them knocks it away from him and back into the water, they find a gold bracelet on the boat and wonder if it came off the creature. Shiori returns home after school and her mother, who runs a beachside hotel, has her go an pick flowers for the hotel. While she is picking flowers, she accidentally grabs the strange creature and runs off screaming. As she is hiding behind a tree, she discovers the creature hiding on the other side and, after seeing the gold bracelets on it’s tail and believing it might belong to someone, she places it in her basket. Meanwhile, Kyohei and Yoji are playing in the ocean when their inflatable raft when a Barem punctures the raft. Swimming back to shore, the two bullies see Shiori and chase after her but when they see the creature in her basket, they ask what it is. Suddenly, a voice tells them it is a Gorgo, and the kids look up to see Belvera riding on her rebuilt miniature dragon. Belvera demands gorgo but Shiori hides it before handing the basket to Belvera, then quickly runs away and when Belvera chases after her, with Kyohei and Yoji following. Riding on Fairy, the Elias try to stop Belvera but Belvera is able to knock them away. As Belvera has her dragon fire on Shiori, Shiori throws Gorgo to Kyohei and Yoji and the kids manage to make it to the beach, where Belvera chooses not to follow due to all of the people. As the kids catch their breath, Shiori notices that Yoji’s knee is bleeding and Gorgo urinates on it and the wound instantly heals. As the kids are walking along the beach, they are approached by the Elias, who tell them about Gorgo and Ninai Kanai as well as Dagahra, a monster that was created by the civilization of Ninai Kanai to feed on pollution and is able to create Barem. Meanwhile, the two fishermen are still searching for Gorgo when they run across Belvera, who uses her power to get them to help her capture Gorgo. Shiori, Kyohei, and Yoji head to their school with Gorgo, the Elias, and Fairy. While the kids look up information about Ninai Kanai, Moll and Lora talk about how they must stop Belvera. The children agree to help Gorgo and use their teachers prize canoe to head out towards the civilization once was. Stopping when the see some underwater ruins, Gorgo leaps into the water and swims down into the temple, causing a portal to open and transport the kids into the temple as well. Unknown to them, Belvera and the two fishermen had been folowing them and they see the temple as well. When the children recover from their arrival in the temple, Kyohei sees some Barem approaching them but suddenly, the temple starts to quake as it suddenly surfaces. When the Barem move to attack, the Elias and Fairy appear and manage to blast them away, then warn the kids to be careful as they explore the pyramid they are in. Meanwhile, Belvera sees Dagahra approaching, with a trail of Barem following after him, and has the fishermen hurry inside the temple. When Dagahra starts attacking the pyramid, the temples automated defenses start attacking it and the Elias tell the children that they are going to summon Mothra to defend the pyramid while they go and find the treasure of Ninai Kanai. Chased away from the pyramid, Dagahra begins attacking a nearby island, with Belvera cheering it on in it’s attack on mankind. Back in the Pyramid, Kyohei and Yoji scout ahead but when they hear Shiori scream, they find the two fishermen have grabbed her and taken her to an elevator and they chase after them but are unable to find them in the maze of passageways. Meanwhile, Mothra Leo arrives and Dagahra begins attacking it, then takes to the sky to continue the attack as well as renew it’s attack on the pyramid. Mothra Leo is able to battle it away from the pyramid but the two monsters appear evenly matched. Meanwhile, Shiori and Gorgo manage to get away from the fishermen and end up traveling through the labyrinth of passageways, eventually meeting up with Kyohei and Yoji and they three kids follow Gorgo deeper into the pyramid. Outside, Belvera taunts Mothra Leo as Dagahra, who had dived back into the ocean, begins rapidly spinning and causes a massive waterspout to form around Mothra Leo, covering it in Barem which begin sapping it’s strength. The Elias try blasting the Barem off Mothra Leo but Dagahra quickly takes advantage of the situation and slams into Mothra Leo , knocking her into one of the pyramid’s outer towers and causing her to sink into the ocean. Inside the pyramid, the children come to a giant mural, which seems to depict the history of Ninai Kanai. As the battle continues underwater, the pyramids defenses begin attacking Dagahra again, burying it under some rocks which gives Mothra Leo enough time to get away but as it surfaces and starts to fly away, but ends up crashing onto the roof of the building. Meanwhile, the pyramid starts to close the entrances and the children find themselves facing the two fishermen. The Elias try blasting all the Barem off of Mothra Leo but at it’s urging, the head inside to save the children. Suddenly, a passageway opens up and everyone, including Belvera, head inside to find a massive chamber. Seeing so massive jewels in the foreheads of some statues, one of the fishermen and Belvera grab two of them but don’t notice that the chamber suddenly seals the doors. When a projection of a princess appears asking why they seek the treasure of Ninai Kanai, The Elias say it is to save the Earth from Dagahra but Belvera wants to save the world from humans, arguing that they are destroying the Earth. The princess speaks to the children and tells them about how Ninai Kanai built a secret treasure to defeat Dagahra and gave it a heart but the civilization sank before the treasure was used. Realizing the treasure is Gorgo, Belvera tries to grab it but is knocked away by the energy coming from the princess. The princess tells the children to take Gorgo to Mothra Leo, then helps them as they escape, with the kids helping to save the two fishermen, who in turn end up saving the kids as they all escape. Outside, Dagahra continues attacking Mothra Leo and the pyramid but Mothra Leo adds it’s energy to the pyramids defenses to keep driving Dagahra back. When the kids and fishermen finally reach the outside, Gorgo starts glowing and Shiori hugs it one last time before it jumps into the air above Mothra Leo and explodes, causing a rainbow mist to fall over Mothra. The mist dissolves all the Barem on Mothra Leo and reenergizing it, transforming it into Rainbow Mothra. Rainbow Mothra begins attacking Dagahra again, then flies quickly over the ocean, causing it to split apart in it’s wake and leave a dry path to the mainland for the kids and fishermen to head to safety. Rainbow Mothra then transforms into an aquatic mode, allowing it to continue fighting Dagahra underwater. As the battle between Aqua Mothra and Daghra continues, Aqua Mothra suddenly splits into dozens of smaller versions, which fly into Dagahra’s mouth and begin destroying all the Barem inside Dagahra. Without the Barem, Dagahra loses it’s power and Aqua Mothra uses it’s power to launch Dagahra into the air, and then, after transforming back into Rainbow Mothra, it tosses Dagahra into the Pyramid, where they both are destroyed in a massive explosion. The children and fishermen make it safely back to shore and The Elias tell Shiori not to be sad as Mothra flies off. The children hear the princess’ voice, calling them the future of the planet as Shiori reveals a pearl in her hand that transforms into an image of the Earth, which she says was a gift from Gorgo.

I was kind of sad to hear that this was Tomoyuki Tanaka’s last movie, as he died a few months before this movie was released. Tomoyuki worked on almost, if not every, kaiju film that Toho made, from the original Godzilla all the way to this movie, as well as dozens of other films including 47 Samurai and Yojimbo. While he did not produce the two Heisei Mothra movies, he was the writer/creator for them so in short, Toho’s kaiju movies owe a lot of thanks to his work.

This was a little better than the previous movie but I think they spent a little too much time borrowing from other movies instead of doing a better job being original. The acting was pretty decent but it is always hard to tell with dubbed movies. The story was interesting, feeling somewhat similar to Godzilla Vs Hedorah in the whole speaking out against pollution aspect, though it wasn’t as blatant in this movie. However, I think it was a little weird for the Mothra movies to borrow the Showa era Gamera idea of constantly having kids involved as central to the plot, considering the Heisei Gamera movies had steered away from that and were doing incredibly well. The special effects were very good with the monsters but there were times with the rear screen editing that it looked really out of place or in some cases stupid. A little better than the first one, but there is still room for improvement.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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May 29th, 2016 Movie – Rebirth Of Mothra

rebirth of mothra

So in 1995, Toho killed off Godzilla, albeit in pretty spectacular fashion. But now, there is a slight problem in the world as what are they going to do to fill the void left by the King of the Monsters. Well, why not fall back on their second most popular monster. Yes, Toho decided to do a trilogy of films starring Mothra, hoping to cash in on the fact that Godzilla Vs Mothra: The Battle For Earth was the most attended movie in the Heisei series. A big portion of that was Mothra’s popularity among women, who making up the larger portion of movie audiences in the 90’s. So let’s see how Toho does with today’s movie, Rebirth Of Mothra.

The plot: A logging company is clear cutting a forest when they suddenly uncover a large fossil. The workers all gather around as Mr. Goto, the site’s foreman, climbs onto the fossil and, noticing a strange seal on top of the fossil, uses a screwdriver to remove the seal, causing the ground around them to quake. Elsewhere, Moll and Lora, the two Elias that worship Mothra, sense the seal’s removal but so does their sister Belvera. Entering the chamber where Mothra is resting, after creating an egg to house her offspring, the Elias summon Fairy, a small miniature version of Mothra, and fly off towards logging site. Reaching the site, they land on top of the fossil, and comment on how the chamber housing an evil monster was opened and they need to find the seal before Belvera does or else she will attempt to release the creature and use it to destroy humanity. Meanwhile, after having an argument with his wife about not being home, Mr. Goto returns home late that night and, after attaching the seal to a chain, places it around his daughter Wakaba’s neck while she is sleeping. The next day, MR. Goto is called back to the site after a news story breaks concerning the fossil. Meanwhile, Wakaba uses strange powers to attack her older brother Taki and chase him out of the house. Peering into the window, Taki sees his mother tied up and gagged on the floor behind the couch while Wakaba is eatign snacks and watching TV. Suddenly, Taki hears a voice speaking to him and turns to find Belvera riding a miniature dragon facing him. Belvera briefly attacks Taki, then has a dog chase him up a tree, where she mocks him and says she controls Wakaba, before heading back inside. The Elias see Taki’s predicament and after sending the dog away, rescue Taki when he falls out of the tree. Approaching Taki’s house, the three see Belvera as she watches the news story about the fossil at the logging site. The Elias have Fairy fly into the house and they begin attacking Belvera while Taki moves Wakaba to safety behind the couch and works on freeing his mom. When Belvera manages to briefly trap Fairy under a rug, Taki tries capturing Belvera in a butterfly net but Belvera drags Taki and his mom through the house until they are unable to hold onto the net. Belvera then has her dragon blast Fairy before she flies out the window. The Elias apologize to Mrs. Goto for damaging her house and they then explain that 65 million years ago, a space monster called Desghidorah had arrived on Earth and attempted to drain it of all it’s life energy but their ancestors managed to defeat the monster and seal it away. They want to get the seal back so the can ensure the creature doesn’t escape but with Fairy injured, it is unable to fly. Meanwhile, Mr. Goto arrives back on the site to discover his men trying to keep a film crew off the site. Suddenly, explosions start rocking the area where the fossil is and a giant rock formation rises from the ground. Mrs. Goto buys plane tickets to where the site is and disguising the Elias as dolls and Fairy as a toy, they are able to take them to the dig site, but they are too late as Belvera has taken command of Mr. Goto and makes him drive a bulldozer loaded with dynamite towards the fossil, damaging it enough for Belvera to release Desghidorah. As the rock formation violently starts to break apart, the workers and camera crew scramble to escape from the falling debris, except for the journalist, who stays behind to film everything. As Belvera watches, she is suddenly attacked by the Elias, who are riding on a kite controlled by Taki. Taki manages to strike Belvera’s dragon, causing Belvera to fall into a tree and drop the seal. The Elias slide down the kite strings but as they grab the seal, they realize they are too late to stop Desghidorah from emerging. Using the seal to heal Fairy, the Elias lead Taki and Wakaba to safety and they watch as Desghidorah, a massive three-headed dragon-like creature begins absorbing the energy from the forest. The Elias ask Wakaba to guard the seal for them and, after finding Mr. & Mrs. Goto and telling them where their children were headed, they call out for Mothra to come and battle Desghidorah. Hearing the Elias, Mothra flies out and begins battling against Desghidorah but due to her weakened condition, she is soon overpowered and Desghidorah manages to grab Mothra by the wing and fling it to the ground. Sensing it’s mother in trouble, the larva hatches from the egg prematurely and makes it’s way towards the battle. Back in the forest, Taki and Wakaba make it to a nearby mountain, where they can still see Desghidorah, when Belvera attacks them and reclaims the seal. Suddenly, a tendril of energy knocks the seal from Belvera’s hand and Taki manages to grab it. Turning around, Taki and Wakaba see Mothra lying on the mountain in front of them and they decide to use the seal to try and help heal Mothra like the Elias did to Fairy and manage to give Mothra a little bit of energy. Suddenly, they see the larva arrive and begin attacking Desghidorah, using its silk to try and trap the monster but Desghidorah is to strong and easily breaks free. Desghidorah grabs the larva with two of it’s heads and begins repeatedly slamming it on the ground. The adult Mothra manages to free the larva and the two Mothra’s begin fighting Desghidorah but Desghidorah proves to be too much for the two insects. Belvera commands Desghidorah to focus on the larva and the larva attempts to camouflage itself in order to hide but Desghidorah starts blasting the forest and finds it. The adult Mothra distracts Desghidorah and leads it towards a dam and Desghidorah blasts the dam while attacking Mothra and ends up being pushed away by the rush of water. The adult Mothra grabs it’s larva and flies off but ends up crashing into the sea. The larva tries to save it’s mother but the adult Mothra is too injured and it sinks to the bottom of the sea. As the larva swims away, the Elias tell Taki that it is going to transform into an adult in order to fight Desghidorah, then they ask Wakaba to hold onto the seal for them as they fly off to follow the larva. Reaching a hospital in Hokkaido, the Gotos see a news broadcast talking about Desghidorah and how all the vegetation in the area seems to be dying. They also see a broadcast about the larva reaching an island known for it’s forest of trees that are thousands of years old. The journalist is on the phone talking about how the oxygen in the area is getting thin and when he tries to get his phone back, he notices Mr. Goto and starts blaming him for releasing the monster and saying they are all going to die but Taki says that Mothra will save them. On the island, the larva heads towards the oldest tree in the forest and begins building a cocoon around itself as it begins to absorb the energy from the tree. As the Elias begin to sing, the cocoon burst open and hundred of tiny, multi-colored moths burst forth and converge to from a new adult Mothra. Heading to face Desghidorah, the new Mothra, dubbed Mothra Leo, proves to be faster and more powerful than it’s mother and easily overpowers Desghidorah and proceeds to trap it back into the earth. Taki and Wakaba, who saw the report of Mothra Leo arriving, head back to the forest and throw the seal to the Elias, who use it to restore the seal and keep Desghidorah from breaking free. Belvera, who was being carried by Fairy, manages to slup free and escape into some tree roots and the Elias explain to Taki and Wakaba that she is their sister. As Taki and Wakaba are given the chance to fly on Mothra, they witness Mothra using it’s powers to restore the areas Desghidorah drained, then rejoin their parents as the Elias and Fairy thank them for their help in saving the Earth before flying off with Mothra back to their home.

I do love a good kaiju movie but this was kind of disappointing. I know a lot of times that it is hard to tell about the acting in a dubbed film but in this case, the acting honestly didn’t seem all that good. Part of that could have been the camera work as it seemed to do a lot of close ups on some of the characters, particularly Moll, Lora, and Belvera as they are fighting. The story was interesting, albeit a somewhat typical fantasy plot of a giant monster that once attacked the Earth and was told might be released form it’s imprisonment. The special effects regarding the monsters were pretty good and while I did like the upgrade in powers for the adult Mothra and Mothra Leo, I don’t know if I liked the idea of the Mothra larva being able to shoot and energy beam from it’s chest. That honestly seemed a little much. As for some of the other camera editing, some of the blue screen/rear screen involving the Elias and Belvera looked pretty bad. If it had been a little cleaner and not as glaring, it would have helped make for a better movie. All in all, it’s not the worst kaiju movie I have ever seen but for one that came out in the 90’s, it did not really impress.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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May 28th, 2016 Movie – Mothra

mothra

A new decade brought about the latest terrifying monster from Toho; a giant….moth? Yes, the company that you brought you Godzilla decided that it’s newest monster would be a giant moth and surprisingly, it became a big hit. In fact, Mothra is Toho’s second most popular kaiju, following Godzilla himself of course. The first time I ever saw Mothra (the kaiju) was in Destroy All Monsters and then later in Mothra Vs Godzilla. It would be several years before I would randomly happen onto Mothra’s solo movie showing on TNT but I was lucky enough to have a blank VCR tape ready to record so I could add it to my early collection back in the day. So here is today’s movie starring one of the few monsters that have a winning record against Godzilla, Mothra.

The plot: A Japanese ship called the Genyo-Maru is caught in the center of a typhoon and winds up being carried off course towards Infant Island, an island that was the subject of atomic bomb testings, when the ship ends up breaking apart and sinking due to the storm. The next day, a search and rescue team head towards the island and find four survivors on the island. The survivors are taken to the National Synthesis Nucleus Center, where the doctors find that the survivors don’t show any signs of radiation on them, which the doctors say is impossible. As the doctors bring the survivors in to question them, Michi Hanamura, a photographer for the Nitto Newspaper, takes there picture and when one of the doctor’s tries to take the camera and kick her out of the room, she calls out for her boss Senichiro “Sen-chan” Fukuda, a reporter that also snuck into the meeting. The head doctor allows them to stay and Sen-chan asks how the survivors were able to survive on an island with such a high radiation count. The survivors say that they were given red juice from the natives, surprising everyone since they thought the island was deserted. When the story is printed, Sen-chan goes to see Dr. Shin’ichi Chujo, an anthropologist specializing in Polynesian cultures, to ask his thoughts on the expedition to the island but Chujo says he has not been spoken too about it. A few days later, and expedition is planned but the leader of the expedition, a capitalist named Clark Nelson, bans reporters from accompanying the expedition, which arouses Sen-chan’s suspicions. Sen-chan sneaks on board the ship but is caught by Nelson, who threatens him with a small pistol until Chujo saves him when he shows up to question Nelson’s order to turn over all research to him first. Sen-chan is allowed to go on the expedition and when they reach Infant Island the expedition dons radiation suits and heads out to explore the island. Heading towards the interior, they find a lush jungle hidden in a valley and proceed inside. The group spreads out and Chujo ends up finding a cavern with strange plants growing inside it and some ancient writing carved into the wall. On his way back, he is attacked by some carnivorous plants and manages to trigger the alarm on his suit and just before he passes out, he notices two small women singing to the plants. Sen-chan and the others find Chujo and take him back to the ship, where he recovers but nobody seems to believe him about the girls. The next day, Chujo plays the sound of the alarm, which attracts the two woman, called the Shobijin, to his location, proving to the others that they exist. The Shobijin start speaking in a musical dialect and Chujo is able to figure out that they want them to leave their island alone. Sen-chan figures they mean the atomic testing and Chujo promises that no more bombs will tested on the island. The Shobijin smile and go to leave but Nelson has his bodyguard grab them. Sen-chan, Chujo and the others tell Nelson to release the Shobijin but he refuses. Suddenly, the group is surrounded by natives and after the others refuse to fight for him, Nelson has his bodyguard release the Shobijin and the natives retreat back into the jungle. Returning to the mainland, Sen-chan goes to see Chujo and shows him the file on Nelson, speculating that Nelson might be an illegal art broker. Chujo shows Sen-chan the pictures and engraving he made of the writing in the cave and when Sen-chan comments about a symbol that constantly appears, Chujo translates it into meaning Mothra. Meanwhile, Nelson heads back to Infant Island and manages to capture the Shobijin and when the natives appear, his men start firing at them as they head back to the ship with them . One of the natives heads towards their temple, calling out to Mothra and when he collapses, the cavern starts shaking and part of the wall collapses, revealing a giant egg. Back in the mainland, Nelson has the Shobijin performing in a show, where they sing a strange song as performers due an island dance around them. Sen-chan, Michi, Chujo, and his little brother Shinji attend the show, and Sen-chan and Chujo talk during the performance about how the country of Rolisican was hesitant to form the expedition due to financial difficulties until Nelson footed the bill. After the performance, they try to get Nelson to return the Shobijin to the island but he refuses and after Sen-chan says he will print a story about how they are being mistreated, he allows them to see the Shobijin for a few minutes. Entering the room where the Shobijin are being  kept, they see them in a large birdcage and apologize that they are unable to free them just then. The Shobijin thank them, shocking Sen-chan and the others that they can speak their language. The Shobijin say that they wish to return to their home and that Mothra will come and rescue them, regardless of what it will do to the city, which the Shobijin says fills them with great sadness. Back on Infant Island, the natives begins praying to the large egg and a giant caterpillar, which heads to the sea and starts swimming towards Japan. After Sen-chan’s story about the Shobijin breaks, Nelson and his lawyer try to get it retracted but the editor refuses. Suddenly, Sen-chan shows the editor a report of a large object heading towards Japan and says that it is Mothra coming to rescue the Shobijin, but Nelson doesn’t believe it. When Mothra sinks a ship on it’s way to Japan, a press conference is held and Sen-chan and Chujo try to convince Nelson to return the girls but he refuses, saying that the girls have nothing to do with the monster. Chujo and Sen-chan manage to speak with the girls, after Sen-chan deals with the men guarding them, and they say they have no control over Mothra and that she will simply come to where they are, regardless of how many people get hurt. Realizing that telepathy might be how Mothra is tracking the girls, Sen-chan and Chujo go see Dr. Harada, who is working on a material that would be able to block telepathic waves. Meanwhile, the Rolisican Embassy announces that they are supporting Nelson, just as Mothra is sighted off the coast of Japan. Gas bombs and fire are used to try and stop Mothra and she is seemingly killed. Sen-chan, Chujo, and Harada speak with Nelson, giving him a case of the special metal to place over the Shobijin’s cage in order to try and prevent Mothra from causing any further damage should she return and Nelson takes the case but believes he won’t need it. As they are leaving, Nelson receives a call saying to cancel the show, just as Michi arrives and tells Sen-chan that something is going on at a nearby dam. Heading back to his office, Nelson has his bodyguard place the case over the Shobijin’s cage, then places them inside a suitcase so they can leave, Meanwhile, Sen-chan, Chujo, Harada, and Michi head to the dam and help with the evacuation just as Mothra appears in the lake and destroys the dam. When he returns home, Chujo finds a note from Shinji saying that he is going to take the Shobijin from Nelson and return them to Mothra. At the theater, Shinji manages to evade Nelson’s men and grab the Shobijin’s cage but before he can leave, Nelson returns and Shinji ends up being bound and gagged. Sen-chan tells his editor that the Rolisican government has changed it’s mind due to fear of losing ties to Japan and ordered Nelson to release the Shobijin. Sen-chan and the police head to the theater, where they are joined by Chujo, who came looking for Shinji. Entering the building, they find no sign of Nelson or the Shobijin but Chujo and Sen-chan find Shinji and free him just as Michi arrives and tells that Mothra is heading towards Tokyo. The JSDF tries to stop it but their weapons have no effect on the giant caterpillar. Mothra heads towards Tokyo Tower and begins scaling it but it is unable to handle Mothra’s weight and ends up breaking and Mothra begins forming a cocoon among the wreckage. Meanwhile, the search is on for Nelson, who has managed to disguise himself and make it back to Rolisica. Meanwhile, the Rolisican government sends the JSDF their strongest weapon, the atomic heat cannon, which they use to attack the cocoon, causing it to burst into flames. At his home, Nelson hears the report of Mothra’s apparent death and takes the special case off the Shobijin’s cage and laughs as the continue singing for Mothra. Back in Tokyo, Mothra emerges from the cocoon as a multi-colored moth and takes flight towards Rolisica, causing the authorities to realize that Nelson must have the Shobijin there. Nelson hears a news report that the police have been ordered to arrest him on site and he has his men get ready to leave, despite their protests that they will be arrested almost immediately. Sen-chan, Michi, and Chujo board a plane for Rolisica, as they have been asked to try and speak with Mothra but on the way, they learn that Mothra has arrived at New Kirk City. Nelson and his men try to get out of town but when they find their path blocked by the evacuating people, who recognize Nelson and try to prevent his escape. Nelson tries to shoot his way out but ends up being killed by the police while his men are arrested. Sen-chan, Chujo, and Michi arrive and open the suitcase the girls are in but they don’t remove the special case as they don’t want Mothra to destroy the small town. When the church bells start ringing, Chujo notices the sun shining behind the cross and realizes it looks similar to the symbol for Mothra. Sen-chan and Chujo come up with a plan and have the symbol drawn on the airport runway, then have the local church bells start ringing, attracting Mothra’s attention and causing it to land on the runway. Sen-Chan, Chujo, and Michi head towards Mothra and release the Shobijin, who thank them and hope that their lands can live in peace before climbing on Mothra and flying back to Infant Island. Watching them leave, Sen-chan realizes that this will be a great story and plans to call the editor but Michi realizes she didn’t take any pictures, causing Sen-chan, Chujo, and the authorities to laugh.

Mothra met with mostly praise form the critics, holding a 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Though there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most people liked the tone of the movie and felt it was a good blend of fantasy and science fiction. This movie actually marked a turn in how kaiju were perceived in Toho’s movies, with monsters capable of being seen as protectors instead of merely creatures that cause wanton destruction. Many people felt that Rolisica, particularly New Kirk City, was based on the US but Toho revealed years later that it was actually a combination of Russia and the US, as shown by the country’s flag, which was a combination of the stars and stripes as well as the hammer and sickle. Mothra’s popularity made it a mainstay in the Godzilla movies, showing up in 10 Godzilla movies as well as 3 solo movies of it’s own in the 90’s. However, much like every other Toho movie, Mothra was delegated to the drive-in theaters, where it wound up sharing a bill with The Three Stooges In Orbit.

Mothra has never been my favorite monster but I can still appreciate both the monster and the movie. The acting was pretty decent although I will say it was kind of odd (since I was watching the subtitled version) to hear Jerry Ito (Nelson) going back and forth between English and Japanese. The story was pretty good as it showed an actual motive for the monster attacking the city instead of it just being a random event, making the case that the monsters had more intelligence than most people would give them credit for. I also thought the name for the major city in Rolisica being New Kirk City was pretty funny but I can’t really say why. The special effects were pretty good and I liked the introduction of the atomic heat cannons in this movie, though I liked them better in future movies when the props would be used as the maser cannons. All in all, this is a good sci-fi/kaiju movie and worth watching, even if you aren’t a Godzilla nut like me.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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May 27th, 2016 Movie – Mosquitoman (a.k.a. Mansquito)

mosquitoman

I know that there are a couple of people who will see today’s movie and refuse to look at it because they have already mentioned how much they hate this movie and how bad it is. But I choose to look at it a different way. See, this is let another one of those movies that goes onto the “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose Against…” list because, you guessed it, Corin Nemec stars in it. So let’s get into today’s movie, MosquitoMan a.k.a. Mansquito.

The plot: A prison transport bus is transporting Ray Erikson, a convicted killer, to a medical research facility run by Dr. Aaron Michaels and Dr. Jennifer Allen. At the facility, they are attempting to combat the deadly Gillen Virus by dosing infected mosquitoes with controlled levels of radiation in order to kill the virus in them, then releasing the mosquitoes so they will breed with other mosquitoes so that the virus will be eradicated. Jennifer and Aaron argue about whether they should release the mosquitoes, with Jennifer wanting to run more tests, unaware that Aaron had secretly approved to have Ray brought there to be a test subject. When the transport arrives at the lab, the guards fill out the paperwork for Ray’s transfer but Ray, who had managed to unlock his restraints, grabs one of the guards’ guns and proceeds to shoot the guards before taking Jennifer’s assistant Liz hostage. Ray forces Jennifer to open the lab door and when the security guards try to get in, he shoots Liz, then grabs Jennifer, taking her into the tent where the mosquitoes are kept. Jennifer bites Ray’s arm and he tosses her across the desk, where she falls to the floor unconscious. The guards enter and begin firing at Ray but when they hit some of the tanks in the tent, it causes the radiation chamber to explode, covering Ray in the gel containing the radiated mosquitoes. Jennifer regains consciousness and presses the button to remove the excess radiation from the room, wiping off some of the gel that was on her arm in the process. The guards enter the room to check on her and find that Ray has managed to escape through a service hatch. Outside, Ray makes it into the parking garage but collapses in pain as his arm suddenly starts to mutate into a clawed limb. Leaving the lab, Ray breaks into his ex-girlfriend Tia’s apartment and when she gets home, Ray asks for her car but he suddenly starts mutating and transforms into a man-sized mosquito larva and kills Tia. Back at the lab, the police arrive, led by Jennifer’s boyfriend, Lt. Thomas Randall and his partner, Detective Charlie Morrison. While Charlie questions Aaron, Thomas checks on Jennifer, who says she is fine, then speaks with Charlie. When Charlie tells him that the escaped prisoner was Ray Erikson, Thomas tells Charlie that he helped capture Ray and warns him that Ray killed 12 people before he was caught last time. Thomas takes Jennifer back to her apartment, unaware that the Mansquito is observing them. As Jennifer is brushing her teeth, she notices a discoloration on her arm but thinks nothing of it and decides to check her research data to keep her mind off things. In the morning, Thomas is woken up by a call from Charlie, telling him about Tia’s death and he gets dressed to head over there. Jennifer wakes up as he is getting ready and notices the discoloration has spread up her arm but doesn’t say anything to Thomas before he leaves. At Tia’s apartment, Charlie comments about the blood loss in Tia’s body and Thomas has a sample of some fluids on Tia’s couch taken to the lab for testing. Meanwhile, Jennifer heads back to the lab, where a drunken Aaron berates her and blames her for losing all of their work. When Jennifer says that he was the one that went behind her back to test the mosquitoes on Ray, Aaron mocks her and tells her to leave. When Jennifer leaves, the Mansquito bursts through the skylight into Aaron’s office and kills him, then heads to the R&B club, where it kills several more people. Thomas and Charlie are called into the scene at the club and Thomas feels like something is odd about all the deaths and decides to question Jennifer about it. Thomas takes Jennifer to dinner, where he questions her about the explosion and experiment before taking her back to her apartment. Noticing that she has been craving a lot of sugar, Thomas comments about it and she says it is probably just a stress reaction from the lab incident and the two kissing. As they are undressing and making out, Jennifer scratches Thomas’ chest and starts sucking the blood coming from his wound when his phone starts ringing and interrupts them. Thomas is called off to the site of more victims and after he leaves, Jennifer heads to the bathroom, where she spits out Thomas’ blood before she notices her arm bleeding and she suddenly starts convulsing as sores start appearing on her back. At the latest crime scene, Thomas studies a map of the abandoned subway tunnels and realizes that all of the crime scenes happened close to the tunnel entrances. Deciding to check out one of the tunnels, Thomas discovers more bodies before encountering the Mansquito. Thomas shoots the Mansquito but it has no effect and the Mansquito throws him around until Thomas manages to use his stun gun on it to chase it off. Thomas tells Charlie what happened and has him warn people about what it it while he heads to the lab to talk to Jennifer about it. Meanwhile, Jennifer is checking her blood and realizes that she is mutating when the Mansquito suddenly appears and as it approaches her, she ends up fainting. Thomas finds Jennifer still passed out and, seeing the condition of her arms, takes her to the hospital. At the hospital, Jennifer tells Thomas that the Mansquito was trying to mate with her, as it sensed she was transforming like it had. Meanwhile, the Mansquito kills a police officer guarding the hospital, then sprouts wings and flies to the roof of the building and heads inside. Thomas is called outside about the missing officer and leaves Charlie to watch Jennifer. Meanwhile, the Mansquito heads down into the hospital, attacking the police officers and S.W.A.T. team as they try to stop it. It eventually reaches Jennifer’s room and starts to grab her but Charlie distracts it long enough for her to get away while it kills Charlie. Jennifer manages to get outside, where a police officer finds her and places her in his car but she kicks him out of the car and drives off. Meanwhile, Thomas had grabbed a machine gun from the back of the S.W.A.T. van and makes his way inside, eventually finding the Mansquito in the blood lab and fires a grenade into the lab, causing the tanks inside to explode and seemingly killing the creature. Thomas is pulled free from the rubble and when he learns that everyone was evacuated, he heads to the lab, figuring Jennifer would go there. At the lab, Jennifer sees that one batch of altered mosquitoes survived the explosion and releases them, hoping that her data was right and they would eradicate the virus. As she is about to kill herself, Thomas shows up and says the Mansquito is dead but she tells him it is still alive, just as it appears in the lab. Thomas tries fighting it off and manages to injure it but as it prepares to kill him, Jennifer lures it away into the tunnels. Jennifer tries fighting it and gets knocked aside but Thomas shows up and uses his stun gun to attack the creature. Seeing the effect electricity has on it, Jennifer grabs onto the Mansquito as it tries to fly away, then grabs a power cable and uses it to electrocute herself and the creature. The next day, Thomas is writing up his report on the incident while watching a news report that discusses how the Gillen virus is suddenly disappearing.

I know a lot of people think this movie is terrible but it actually isn’t as bad they make it out to be. The acting was decent with some of the people and pretty bad with others. I really liked the story as it was kind of a throwback to the classic bug movies of the 50’s, where radiation results in a giant bug that kills people. I liked the effects involving Jennifer’s transformation, primarily her seeing the blood flow in people, as those looked really good. As for the Mansquito itself, it kind of reminded me of the creature from the remake of The Fly. It was one of the better monster designs from the early Syfy original movies. I know that a lot of people don’t like this movie but it can be worth a watch if you are in the right mind for it.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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May 26th, 2016 Movie – Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

mortal kombat annihilation

Long work days are never fun. What is even less fun is having to watch a bad movie before starting said long work day. Now don’t get me wrong because I do enjoy the occasional, or sometimes frequent, bad movie but today’s movie is almost Batman & Robin scale of being bad, and nobody should start their day off with something like that. Still, if I get it over with now, then my day can only get better (hopefully), so let’s get this over with and watch today’s movie, Mortal Kombat Annihilation.

The plot: Picking up where the first movie ended, Liu Kang, Kitana, Johnny Cage, and Sonya Blade have met Raiden at Liu Kang’s temple when a portal from Outworld opens up and Shao Khan’s fighters arrive on Earth, followed by his general’s and then Shao Khan himself. Kitana is shocked to discover that one of Shao Khan’s generals is her mother Sindel, who she thought was long dead. Shao Khan announces that in 6 days, he will destroy the Earth by having it be absorbed into Outworld. Raiden fights with Shao Khan to prevent that but when Raiden starts to get the upper hand, Shao Khan uses a whip to grab Sonya and drag her to him. With his boot on Sonya’s throat, Shao Khan demands that Raiden surrender or else he will kill her. Johnny Cage tries to attack Shao Khan and Shao Khan easily stops him and then threatens to break his neck. Raiden uses his powers to trap Shao Khan’s generals and says he will kill them if Johnny dies but when Shao Khan doesn’t back down, Raiden offers his life in exchange for Johnny’s but once Raiden releases his generals, Shao Khan snaps Johnny’s neck. Sonya and Liu Kang rush to Johnny’s lifeless body while Shao Khan blasts Raiden with an energy ball. Shao Khan then has Johnny’s body displayed on a statue and orders his men to kill Raiden and the others while he leaves with his generals. Raiden leads Liu Kang and the others to a secret chamber and uses his powers to seal the entrance. Once they are safe, everyone starts wondering how this is happening and Raiden says he believes that Sindel is the reason he was able to open a portal and if they can reunite Kitana with her, they might be able to close them. Leading the group to some bellashperes, which use the inner winds of the Earth’s core to travel anywhere on Earth, Raiden wants Sonya to contact Jax and she refuses, saying she doesn’t mind getting killed but she doesn’t want anyone else to die for her, but Raiden says that as a team they can beat Shao Khan but she needs Jax’s help. Meanwhile, Raiden sends Liu Kang and Kitana to find a shaman named Nightwolf, saying that Liu Kang will need his help in order to defeat Shao Khan. In his castle, Shao Khan sees his father approach and gloats about their impending conquest of Earth. When his father asks if Raiden was killed, Shao Khan says he got away and his father gets upset, saying that if the Elder Gods find out he used his powers to keep the portals open, they will both be punished and warns Shao Khan not to under estimate the power of the human spirit. Leaving the bellasphere, Liu Kang and Kitana start making their way to the surface when they are attacked by Smoke, a robotic ninja, and some of Shao Khan’s men. Liu Kang battles Smoke while Kitana deals with Shao Khan’s men but when Smoke is about to fire a missile at them, Liu Kang and Kitana are surprised to see Sub-Zero appear and freeze Smoke, allowing Liu Kang to kick him off a ledge before the missile explodes. Sub-Zero tells them that they have to leave and when Liu Kang questions how he is still alive, Sub-Zero takes off his mask, saying the man Liu Kang killed was his older brother. Sub-Zero he was helping Kitana because legend says she is the key to stopping Shao Khan. Kitana asks Sub-Zero to join them since they have a common enemy and Sub-Zero uses his powers to form an ice bridge but as he starts crossing it, he is attacked by Scorpion. Sub-Zero and Scorpion fight and when Scorpion appears to get the upper hand, Liu Kang leaps to help Sub-Zero and Scorpion teleports away, only to appear behind Kitana and teleport away with her. Liu Kang wants to go after Kitana but Sub-Zero tells him he isn’t ready before he disappears and Liu Kang reluctantly continues looking for Nightwolf. Elsewhere, Raiden has taken Sonya to a medical research facility that Jax is at and tells her to meet him at the Temple of the Elder Gods, where he is going to ask the Elder Gods how Shao Khan is able to invade the Earth. Sonya heads inside the facility and finds out that Jax had cybernetic enhancements attached to his arms to make him stronger. They are attacked by Cyrax, another robotic ninja, and some more of Shao Khan’s men but they easily defeat them. Looking at Cyrax’s body, they notice a strange tattoo on his shoulder, which suddenly comes alive and disappears, before they notice the self destruct on Cyrax and manage to escape before the building explodes. Elsewhere, Shao Khan is speaking with his men and kills Rain after learning that Rain had failed to kill two of Earth’s warriors, then appoints Sindel as his new general. Liu Kang arrives in the desert and is attacked by a wolf, which transforms into Nightwolf. Nightwolf explains that it is his Animality and says that for Liu Kang to beat Shao Khan, he must find his own Animality. Nightwolf tells Liu Kang that he must pass three tests, then knocks Liu Kang unconscious so he can enter a dream state to start the first test. In his dream state, Liu Kang has visions of his failures and begins to doubt himself but Nightwolf’s voice enters the dream, telling him to find the inner fire that drives him. When Liu Kang wakes, he finds himself alone while the ground is covered in snow. When a half naked girl appears and tries to kiss him, Liu Kang refuses her, saying his heart belongs to another. Suddenly the girl attacks him transforming into an assassin named Jade, while the snow covered land transforms back into the desert. Jade and Liu Kang fight and when Liu Kang gets the upperhand, Jade says he passed the second test. Liu Kang says there is still a third test but Jade says they need to rescue Kitana and leads him to the Temple of the Elder Gods. Meanwhile, Sonya and Jax are walking through the land, noticing how everything is dying due to the merger, but Jax is going frustrated with Sonya’s cryptic remarks and refusal to tell him anything. As the two start walking in different directions, Sonya is attacked by Mileena but she manages to defeat her while Jax beats a demonic statue that had come to life and tried to attack Sonya. Raiden meets with the Elder Gods to ask how Shao Khan was able to open the portals and they tell him that Sindel is the key to closing the portals but only when Shao Khan is destroyed will the Earth know peace. The Elder Gods then ask Raiden if he is willing to give up his immortality to help the humans. Outside the temple, Sonya and Jax meet up with Liu Kang and Jade, and they are forced to run from Shao Khan’s extermination squads. Raiden meets up with them and manages to open a portal to Outworld before Sindel uses her powers to destroy the temple they are standing in front of. In Outworld, the group sees the results of the merger and Jade tells them of a secret passage she used to escape Shao Khan’s fortress and says they can use it to rescue Kitana. When Sindel and a couple of Reptile’s attack them, Liu Kang heads off to rescue Kitana while the others try and capture Sindel. Raiden is blasted through a wall by Sindel and he is forced to deal with two of the ninjas but after defeating them, he finds that Jade had managed to defeat Sindel. Meanwhile, Shao Khan is giving a speech to his warriors when Liu Kang manages to sneak into his fortress. Seeing Kitana in a suspended cage, Liu Kang goes to free her when he is attacked by Baraka, a denizen of Outworld with blades that come out of his wrists. Liu Kang briefly knocks out Baraka, then is forced to defeat two more of his species before continuing to fight Baraka on top of Kitana’s cage. Liu Kang finally kills Baraka and frees Kitana and when Sheeva, a female Shokan (like Goro), enters the chamber to stop them, Liu Kang and Kitana make their escape after dropping Kitana’s cage on top of Sheeva. Rejoining the others, Kitana attempts to free Sindel from Shao Khan’s control but Sindel mocks the fighters and leaves, as does Jade after admitting she betrayed them. Wondering what to do next, Raiden tells them that the Elder Gods lied to him about Sindel and admits that he is now mortal. When Sonya notices a tattoo on Raiden and after telling Raiden about the tattoos on Cyrax and Mileena, Raiden tells them the tattoo is a family crest and that his father is an Elder God and Shao Khan is his brother. At his fortress, Shao Khan has Jade killed and then orders Sindel to prepare for an assault from Raiden and the others. Heading towards Shao Khan’s fortress, Liu Kang notices his home has merged with Outworld and the group sees Shao Khan there with his remaining generals. Raiden appears before Shao Khan and his father, Shinnok, and begs them to stop but Shinnok has Shao Khan kill Raiden. Liu Kang and the others attack Shao Khan and his generals; with Jax taking on the centaur Motaro, Kitana taking on Sindel, and Sonya taking on the ninja Ermac while Liu Kang faces off with Shao Khan. Shao Khan’s forces get the upper hand but Jax, Kitana, and Sonya manage to defeat their opponents. Liu Kang manages to use his Animality but Shao Khan transforms into his Animality to fight back and Liu Kang manages to pull him off the top of the tower that they were fighting on. Both of them turn back to human and Liu Kang notes that Shao Khan is bleeding, indicating that he is mortal. Shinnok tries to kill Liu Kang himself but he is stopped by the other Elder Gods, who decree that the battle must be settled in Mortal Kombat. Liu Kang manages to defeat Shao Khan, and the Elder Gods send Shinnok to the Netherrealm while Shao Khan is killed when his crest dissolves. The Earth is returned to normal and Sindel is freed from Shao Khan’s control. The other Elder Gods revive Raiden and have him take Shinnok’s place in their pantheon and Raiden tells the group that he will be watching them before he leaves.

Mortal Kombat Annihilation was heavily panned by the critics, only earning a 3% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that “With its shallow characters, low budget special effects, and mindless fight scenes, Mortal Kombat – Annihilation offers minimal plot development and manages to underachieve the low bar set by its predecessor.” While it did make a small profit, the movie was considered a flop with it’s earning over $51 million off of it’s $30 million budget. As a result of this, the proposed third movie for the series was postponed and eventually cancelled, in spite of some people saying they would be reprising their roles.

There is bad, and then there is BAD, and this movie is definitely the latter bad. I mean, the first Mortal Kombat was a decent movie but this was kind of a joke. The acting was just terrible, with most of that being due to some terrible dialogue. The story was more or less taken from the third Mortal Kombat game but it still just came off as weak. The fights were ok but honestly kind of weak compared to the first movie. Of course, since this movie was going to be watched by a predominately male audience, I understood why they did it but I thought it was stupid to turn the fight between Sonya and Mileena into nothing more than a glorified mud wrestling match. If you find yourself watching this movie, quickly turn it off and watch the first one instead. You will thank yourself for it.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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May 25th, 2016 Movie – Mortal Kombat

mortal kombat

12 hour work days suck and a week of them is going to be pretty brutal but it will make the weekend that much more relaxing if I manage to survive. Now I don’t think there is a single kid that was alive in the early 90’s that did not play, or at least see someone play a rather violent arcade game called Mortal Kombat. Man, were the parents and censors in an uproar over this game because of the fact that after beating your opponent, you could perform a “fatality” on them, which were often rather brutal ways to kill your opponent. So with all the press surrounding the game, and since there were already movies in the works for two other popular video games, Super Mario Bros. and Street Fighter, it only made sense to try and make a movie based on this game. So let’s see just how good of a job they did with today’s movie, Mortal Kombat.

The plot: Liu Kang, a Shao-Lin monk from the Order of Light who had left his temple, wakes from a dream where his brother is killed by a man names Shang Tsung and re-reads the letter that informed him of this and asks him to come home. Elsewhere, Sonya Blade, a Special Forces officer, leads a team into a club in order to locate Kano, a leader of the Black Dragon crime syndicate, who had killed Sonya’s partner. Inside his office in the club, Kano receives word that Sonya is there and lets Shang Tsung know, who tells Kano to make sure Sonya gets on the ship but warns him not to touch her. Johnny Cage, a martial artist turned actor, is leaving the set of his latest film after a stuntman screws up the scene when he is told that there is someone there to see him. Johnny approaches the man sitting in his chair and is surprised to see his former teacher there, who comments about the press giving him a hard time and says that the best way to prove them wrong is to enter and win a special tournament that is held once a generation. His master hands Johnny the invitation then leaves but once he is out of sight, he transforms into Shang Tsung. Meanwhile, Liu Kang has returned to the temple and when his grandfather tells him that after Liu Kang left, his brother had stepped up to take his place for the tournament and Liu Kang berates his grandfather for filling his brother’s head with nonsense. At an assembly of the monks, Liu Kang announces that he plans to go to the Mortal Kombat tournament and defeat Shang Tsung but the temple leaders refuse to allow it since he had left the temple. Suddenly, Raiden, the god of lightening, walks into the assembly and chastises Liu Kang, saying that he had already ran away from his destiny once and that he is still running. After Liu Kang is easily beaten by Raiden, he says that he is going to the tournament, with or without the temple’s consent, and leaves and as they watch, his grandfather says he isn’t ready and Raiden says there is no choice. In Hong Kong, Johnny meets Art Lean, another fighter entering the tournament, as well as Liu Kang, though they get off on the wrong foot. When a strange boat enters the harbor, they board the boat, as does Sonya when she sees Kano getting on the boat as well. After running into Johnny while looking for Kano, Sonya starts searching below deck and meets Shang Tsung, who welcomes her. When Liu Kang and Johnny show up to help her, Shang Tsung summons Scorpion and Sub-Zero, two ninjas that were deadly enemies but now under Shang Tsung’s power. When the two ninjas make ready to attack the group, Raiden appears and fires two balls of energy to knock the two ninja’s out before chastising Shang Tsung for having his men attack Raiden’s fighters before the tournament starts. After Shang Tsung leaves, Raiden explains what is going on, about how the Emperor of Outworld will invade Earth if his forces win 10 tournaments in a row and so far, they have won 9. Arriving on a mysterious island, they see a strange woman on a nearby hillside watching Liu Kang and after the continue walking, Shang Tsung tells Reptile, a lizard-like creature that can turn invisible, to watch Princess Kitana. The tournament fighters are treated to a feast before Shang Tsung has the assembled fighter watch a demonstration, where Sub-Zero faces another of Shang Tsung’s fighters and kills him by freezing him solid. When everyone leaves, Liu Kang follows Shang Tsung and Sonya and Johnny follow after him. They soon come to a chamber, where they see Kano talking with Prince Goro, a 4-armed creature who rules a subterranean kingdom in Outworld. As Shang Tsung shows up to warn Goro about Liu Kang and Kitana, Liu Kang and the others leave, but Shang Tsung hears them and sends his men to attack them. Finding themselves lost in the underground maze, Liu Kang sees Kitana and goes to follow her but he finds himself briefly attacked by Reptile before it disappears. Johnny ends up leading the group back to where they saw Kano and Goro, where they defeat Shang Tsung’s men that attack them but when more men appear ready to fight, Raiden safely leads them out of there. The next day, the tournament begins, and when Liu Kang defeats his first opponent, he can only watch as Shang Tsung absorbs the soul of the defeated fighter. Shang Tsung has Sonya fight Kano, who Sonya manages to kill. Meanwhile, Johnny fights Scorpion in the woods but after the snake-like creature that Scorpion shoots out of his hand dies, Johnny tries to finish off Scorpion but ends up being teleported to Scorpion’s Lair. Johnny continues his fight with Scorpion and when Scorpion takes off his mask, revealing that he is nothing more than a skeleton, and begins to breath fire at Johnny, Johnny uses a shield to defend himself, then uses the shield and a spear to defeat Scorpion and make him explode. Liu Kang fights with Kitana, who gives him hints about how to win his next fight, when Shang Tsung stops there fight and chastises Kitana. Liu Kang is then brought to a temple, where he ends up fighting Sub-Zero but when Liu Kang gets the upper hand, Sub-Zero begins using his powers to project a freezing bubble that starts to expand. When the bubble knocks over a bucket of water that Raiden had placed there before the fight, Liu Kang realizes what Kitana had meant and flings the other bucket at Sub-Zero, which turns into an ice spear when it hits the freezing bubble and stabs Sub-Zero, causing him to freeze up and die. With his warriors starting to lose, Shang Tsung has Goro enter the tournament and he begins to kill the fighters, including Art. Later, Raiden talks with Liu Kang, Johnny, and Sonya and says that Goro and Shang Tsung can be beaten but first, they will have to overcome their fears that they have. While Liu Kang tries to meditate, Sonya tries to talk Johnny out of challenging Goro but Johnny insists, saying that he didn’t want what happened to Art to happen to Sonya. Johnny tells Shang Tsung his request and Shang Tsung agrees, saying that he will challenge the winner, or another of his choosing should Johnny win. Johnny faces Goro and as Goro goes to strike him, Johnny quickly does the splits and punches Goro in the crotch. While Goro roars in pain, Johnny runs off and Shang Tsung tells Goro to follow after him. Johnny comes to a dead end overlooking a steep drop and hides until Goro shows up, and Johnny continues to fight him before eventually kicking him off the cliff. Hearing Sonya scream, Johnny races back in time to see Shang Tsung dragging Sonya through a portal to Outworld, saying he chooses her to be his opponent. With Raiden unable to follow, Liu Kang and Johnny are forced to follow alone and make their way to Outworld. As they head to the Emperor’s palace, Liu Kang senses something watching them and manages to grab the invisible Reptile before throwing it down into a statue. The statue suddenly absorbs Reptile, transforming him into a green-clothed ninja that quicly begins attacking Liu Kang. Liu Kang manages to defeat the ninja, then kills Reptile when it manages to get free from the broken statue. Kitana meets Liu Kang and Johnny, then tells Liu Kang what to prepare for when he faces Shang Tsung as she leads them to the palace. Inside the palace, Sonya is chained to a wall and Shang Tsung tries to get her to accept his challenge but she refuses, saying her friends will come for her. When Liu Kang and the others reveal themselves, Shang Tsung tries to challenge Johnny but Liu Kang challenges Shang Tsung, forcing the final battle to be between the two of them. The two men begin fighting but when Liu Kang starts to get the upper hand, Shang Tsung summons some of the warriors he defeated to battle Liu Kang. Liu Kang defeats the warriors, then heads off to fight Shang Tsung but when Shang Tsung transforms into Liu Kang’s brother, it distracts him enough for Shang Tsung to get the upper hand. As Shang Tsung starts beating Liu Kang, spikes begin rising from the floor below but Liu Kang fights back and some of the souls Shang Tsung absorbed start to leave him. Liu Kang eventually succeeds in defeating Shang Tsung, knocking him off the balcony and impaling him on the spikes below. As Shang Tsung’s body rots away, a pillar of light forms as all of the souls Shang Tsung absorbed are free to go to the afterlife and Liu Kang is able to say goodbye to his brother. Returning to Earth, Liu Kang, Kitana, Johnny, and Sonya head to the Temple of the Order of Light, where Raiden greets them and congratulates them on their success. Suddenly, storm clouds appear overhead and the temple is destroyed as the face of Shao Khan, the emperor of Outworld appears and Raiden and the others prepare to fight.

Mortal Kombat did not get a lot of positive reviews from the critics, earning only a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Despite an effective otherwordly atmosphere and appropriately cheesy visuals, Mortal Kombat suffers from its poorly constructed plot, laughable dialogue, and subpar acting.” The audiences didn’t seem to care, as the movie would be # 1 at the box office for three weeks in a row and would ultimately make over $122 million worldwide, making it the 4th highest grossing video game movie of all time as of 2014. The soundtrack for the film, primarily a mix of techno and industrial music, also enjoyed success as it would go platinum after two weeks of being released.

As far as video game movies are concerned, this wasn’t bad but it could have been better. Admittedly, the acting was a mix of being decent and being pretty bad but I will give props to Robin Shou (Liu Kang), who also had to serve as fight choreographer for some of the fight scenes. The story was pretty good, staying fairly close to the video game while making some changes to it that honestly didn’t detract from the movie. Some of the computer animations were good, especially the backgrounds but I was a little disappointed with Reptile’s lizard form. To be honest, my favorite part of the movie is the soundtrack but this is still an entertaining movie, in spite of it’s flaws.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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