animation, horror, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: May 17th, 2014 Movie – Blood: The Last Vampire (2000)

blood the last vampire

Ahh, it has been a while since I have watched an anime movie so I am kind of glad to be rewatching one today. Now when it comes to this movie, I honestly don’t remember exactly why I got it. My best guess is that I was in a mood after getting Vampire Hunter D on DVD and decided that why stop at one vampire anime when I can have two. Now it was released by Manga Entertainment and I had enjoyed several of their other releases so I figured that Blood: The Last Vampire would be just as enjoyable. Now let’s see if it still is.

The plot: In 1966, a young girl named Saya is carrying a large cylindrical case on a subway train, with the only other passenger being a man in a suit. As the train moves through a tunnel and the lights start going out, Says rushes towards the man, pulling out a katana from the case, and killing the man as he tries to escape into another car. When the train stops at the next station, two men, David and Louis, meet with Saya and ask her where the chiropteran is, which the man she killed is supposed to be. David begins briefing Saya on her next mission, while Louis checks on the body but he rushes out to say that it looks like she killed a regular human. David ignores Louis and continues briefing Saya, who is shocked to learn that her assignment is on an American Air Force base. When Louis keeps going on about Saya’s possibly killing a normal person, muttering “Jesus” when they keep ignoring him, Saya gets enraged and grabs him by the mouth, lifting him up into the air but David convinces her to let him go. As she leaves, David decks Louis and tells him not to piss her off, as she is the last of the original ones. Meanwhile, outside Yokota Air Force Base, a young woman is found dead from apparent suicide and the townsfolk believe she was dating one of the soldiers. The next day, Saya is walking by an antique shop and notices a pair of katanas inside that are marked not for sale but she continues on her way towards the high school on the base grounds. At the same time, Nurse Makiho Amano arrives at the school and as she heads to her office, she notices Saya and questions her before taking her to the principal’s office at Saya’s request. Inside, they find David waiting for her with the principal and the principal dismisses her to her class but warns that not a lot of work will be done as they are preparing for the Halloween party. After Saya and David leave, Makiho starts to question the principal about the Saya, as well as the party, but the principal says he is tired of hearing her arguments and to get back to work. Meanwhile, David is talking with Saya and tells her that another body was discovered and they need to find the chiropteran before it goes into hibernation, where it won’t be able to be traced. In class, Sharon, the girl next to Saya, tries talking to her but when Saya tells her to leave her alone, she leaves with her friend Linda. As the school day ends, Saya is looking around the school when she senses something and heads to the nurse’s office, where she finds evidence that the chiropterans are feeding there. When Makiho walks in, she is startled by Saya’s being there and drops the papers she was carrying but Saya leaves before she can say anything. The next day, the students are getting ready for the party but Sharon tells their teacher that Linda isn’t feeling well and asks to help take her to the nurse’s office, unaware that Saya is listening to them outside the door. Makiho goes to get Linda some medicine for anemia but when she turns around, she finds Linda sitting up in bed and both her and Sharon’s mouths are moving but no sound is being made. Suddenly, Saya bursts into the room and kills Linda with her sword but when she goes to kill Sharon, Sharon manages to deflect the blade with a cabinet, snapping the blade’s tip off but injuring herself in the process. As she escapes, Saya turns to Makiho, who is screaming in shock, and slaps her in order to calm her down, then warns her to forget what she saw there. The wounded Saya grabs a banner to wrap around her wounded arm and screams out into the night and elsewhere in the city, a bartender hears her and leaves the bar and heads into an alley, where she starts a fire before transforming into a chiropteran and heading off into the night. Driving around in their car, David is shocked to learn that there are three chiropteran in the area and tells Louis that they have to step on it and make sure they don’t lose any of them. Back at the school, Makiho follows the blood trail from Sharon’s arm to where the dance is being held and discovers the changed Sharon pretending to be in costume. Saya suddenly appears, having broken into the store to grab one of the swords, but when she attacks Sharon, she discovers the sword is a fake. Sharon knocks Saya away and grabs Makiho before exiting the party but Saya attacks her again and causes her to release Makiho, whom Saya yells at to run. As David and Louis track the other one heading towards the base, Makiho runs from the school and ends up encountering a guard and trying to explain what is happening. The guard doesn’t believe her, as it is Halloween, but as he follows Makiho back towards the school, he is attacked and killed by the other chiropteran. Saya manages to wound it by throwing the remains of her sword into it’s eye and then grabs the guards gun before leaving with Makiho. Heading towards the base, another guard tries to stop them but Saya knocks him out and then drags Makiho into the motorpool to hide. Saya heands Makiho the gun, then tries to explain their situation while searching for a weapon. When Makiho tries giving her the gun back, Saya tells her that it won’t kill a chiropteran but she might need it to kill herself. Suddenly, the chiropteran break into the building and move to attack them. Makiho, reaching the breaking point with what’s happening, begins firing randomly at Sharon, hitting some gas cans and causing an explosion that knocks Sharon unconscious and sets the building on fire. As the other chiropteran heads to the roof of the building, David shows up and tries to get inside only to find that the chiropteran have used the guard’s body to lock the door. A recovered Sharon attacks Saya and Makiho goes to shoot herself but Saya yells at her to get in the jeep and drive through the doors. Makiho does so, knocking herself unconscious in the process, and David manages to make it inside and throw Saya a new sword, which she uses to finally kill Sharon. The other chiropteran cries out and begins changing again, growing wings, then flies off towards a cargo plane that is about to take off. Saya and David chase after it in the jeep, radioing Louis and telling him to grab Makiho before the authorities do, and Saya manages to wound it before it can grab onto the plane and escape. When David stops the car, Saya heads back to the dying chiropteran and after staring at it for a while, she allows some of her blood to drip into it’s mouth, which finally kills it, then leaves with David as more guards arrive. The next day, Makiho is being questioned about what happened but as all of the bodies have vanished, along with Saya and David, she has no proof to back up her story. As she is dismissed, she is showed a picture and asked if the girl in the picture looked like Saya and Makiho is shocked to notice that the picture is from 1892, and the word Vampire is written on it. As Makiho watches the motor pool being demolished, she thinks to herself that she did learn the truth about Saya and the chiropterans and wonders if she is still fighting them. As she drives away, she listens to the radio, where the news caster is reading the cover story that David and Louis’ team created to explain what happened, with the Viet Cong being blamed for the destruction, resulting in more American forces being sent to Vietnam in retaliation.

Ok, the first time I watched this movie, I will admit that I was a little confused about the plot. Watching it again now, almost 20 years later, I actually understood it a lot better and enjoyed it even more, but it is still not close to one of my favorites. The voice acting was pretty good though the mixture between Japanese and English among some of the people was a little weird to get used to. The story was interesting, as they don’t quite come out and say that Saya is the last vampire, referring to her as the last original. They also don’t really explain how the chiropteran came to be or why Saya is the one to hunt them but by all appearances, they are simply an offshoot of vampires and Saya feels like it is her job to eliminate them. The other thing I thought was interesting, and I didn’t catch this when I first watched it, was the setting for the movie and how it tied into the Vietnam War, making you wonder if the people that David, Louis, and Saya work for intended to blame the Viet Cong for the attack in order to start the war. The animation was honestly a little duller than I expected, not dull in a lack of excitement to it but dull as far as the color scheme. This was actually a good thing as the muted color scheme helped make the movie a little more dramatic in it’s telling. It’s a good anime and worth giving a watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: May 16th, 2014 Movie – Alligator II: The Mutation

alligator 2

So, you might be wondering why I had been reviewing movies that start with the letter B, then suddenly go to the letter A. Well, the original purpose for my watching all of my movies was a) to see how long it would take, and b) to check and see if any needed to be replaced. Well when I watched Alligator back at the beginning of my endeavor, my disk was scratched up and would skip throughout the movie. Now replacing this was going to be a bit of a problem because the DVD had become out of print and any copy I tried to find online was for way more than I was willing to pay. Then, I suddenly found a pot of gold in my search for a replacement. I located an all-region Blu-Ray disk that featured not just the movie I wanted, but the direct to video sequel that came out a decade later, and the best part was it was cheap. So I bought it and happily enjoyed twice as many killer alligator movies. That is how I came to own Alligator II: The Mutation.

The plot: In the outskirts of Reagan Park, business owner Vincent “Vinnie” Brown hires some men to take the toxic waste one of his companies, Future Chemical Companies, produces and dispose of it in the sewers. Meanwhile, two local men are fishing in the nearby lake when they are suddenly attacked and killed by an unseen animal. The next day, Detective David Hodges heads to the police station and learns about the men’s disappearance and starts looking into the matter, ignoring rookie officer Rich Harmon when he offers to help. Learning that a severed foot was found in the lake, he questions the medical examiner about what he knows. Learning that some biological samples were sent to his wife Christine, Hodges calls her to find out what she learned, and is reminded about their dinner plans for his birthday that night. After hanging up on her, the medical examiner tells him that some derelicts had gone missing in the last several days and suggests something might be travelling through the sewers between where the derelicts were killed and the lake where the recent attacks occurred. As Hodges looks around the lake area, he notices one of Vinnie’s salesmen attempting to convince some of the local to sell their homes, as Vinnie is trying to buy them out so he can develop high end apartments in their place. Hodges arrives home late, much to his wife’s displeasure, and as he attempts to make it up to her by eating his ruined meal, he shows her some pictures that the medical examiner had taken of the wounds and she says that they look like the result of an alligator or crocodile attack. Hodges calls Chief Clarence Speed, while asking Christine to see how big of an animal they are dealing with, and discusses his theory with him. Speed tells that there isn’t enough proof to support his theory or to shut down Vinnie’s proposed lake party the next day, so Hodges decides to go see Vinnie himself. Heading to the arena where Vinnie is watching a wrestling match with Mayor Anderson and motions for Anderson to step aside with him. Heading backstage, Hodges tells Anderson about the alligator and that they should cancel the lake party but Vinnie joins them and says that they will not be cancelling the party and convinces Anderson to get rid of Hodges. Anderson reluctantly tells Harmon, who is his police detail protection for the evening, to place Hodges under house arrest and as they leave, Anderson warns Vinnie that he won’t be able to push Hodges or Speed around but Vinnie tells him to use his position to influence Speed. Hodges manages to trick Harmon and ends up locking him to a toilet stall, allowing him to get away. AS he leaves the arena, the mayor’s daughter, Sheri Anderson, arrives to try and convince her father not to get involved with Vinnie but when he refuses, she decides to try and speak with Vinnie herself and ends up punching him. As she is leaving with the police VIP escort, they hear Harmon asking for help and as the officers tease Harmon, Sheri decides to help him only to be filmed by the press doing so. Meanwhile, the alligator attacks some more derelicts, killing one and injuring the other one. At the lake, Hodges is approched by Reuben and his gang and Rueben tells him about Vinnie forcing people out of their homes and rumors of killing people and Hodges tries to explain that it is an alligator but Reuben won’t believe him. At the station, Anderson has Internal Affairs suspend both Hodges and Harmon and Speed tries to talk him out of it. When Hodges calls Speed and tells him about the latest attack and asks for help, Speed volunteers Harmon to help him, though Harmon is not happy about the situation. When Harmon leaves the station, Sheri, who had gone to talk to Speed on Harmon’s behalf, catches up to him and as they talk, Harmon starts flirting with her and they end up going out for drinks. They return to Harmon’s apartment only to find Hodges waiting inside for Harmon and after confronting Harmon over his drinking, Hodges has him take a quick shower so they can head out and Sheri decides to go with them to help. The three meet up with Christine, who had been analyzing the saliva from the alligator attacks says she found growth hormones and adrenaline mixed in with it and says it probably came from Future Chemicals. Meanwhile, Vinnie has hired Hawk Hawkins and his group of alligator hunters to track down and kill the alligator discretely so that it won’t ruin his planned party. Hodges and Harmon head into the sewers and when they encounter the alligator, they realize how large it is and quickly run for it. Making their way into a side tunnel, they use some dynamite to try and kill it but it has no effect on the giant alligator. Hearing Christine and Sheri calling out to them, Hodges and Harmon quickly escape the sewers and when they find out about the hunters, they head over to try and warn them while Christine attempts to find some drugs that might kill the monster. In another part of the sewer, Hawk and his crew find the alligator’s nest, as well as barrels of waste from Future Chemicals. When Hodges radios down there to warn them, Hawk thinks he is nervous that he might upstage him and taunts Hodges but says they are coming up to talk about the waste they discovered. When they are attacked by the alligator. One of Hawk’s crew manages to escape and Hodges manages to rescue Hawk but the alligator kills the rest of Hawk’s crew, including his brother. Hawk apologizes to Hodges and convinces him to let him help kill the alligator and when Hodges accuses Vinnie of creating the monster with his polluting, Hawk says he can confirm that. Hodges talks with Speed about closing down the lake carnival and asks if he was able to get through to the National Guard but Speed tells him he wasn’t able to, then tells Hodges to make sure the alligator doesn’t get out of the sewers until he can clear the place. Speed takes off but Vinnie, with Mayor Anderson accompanying him, follows him and has his driver cause Speed to crash, much to the mayor’s horror. Meanwhile, Hawk tells Hodges that the alligator will be searching for a new lair since it’s home was invaded and Hodges says they need to find a way to kill it before it reaches the lake. They make another bomb and hang it in a tunnel that the alligator is most likely to go through to the lake but the alligator simply swallows the bomb. Christine and Sheri show up with a syringe gun filled with a poison that might kill the alligator but she says she doesn’t know if it will set off the bomb. Hodges tells her and Sheri to go clear out the lake if it hasn’t been cleared already while he, Harmon, and Hawk chase after the alligator. At the carnival, Vinnie is upset to see that the place is practically empty and that Reuben and his gang have kept people from selling their homes. Mayor Anderson speaks with Vinnie on the ferris wheel, saying he regrets their partnership and is going to end it but Vinnie kills him. When the alligator shows up and attacks the carnival, Vinnie grabs the signed contracts and goes to escape but is confronted by Reuben and his gang. When Hodges steps in to keep anymore bloodshed from happening, Vinnie goes to shoot Hodges but Hodges avoids the shot while Reuben and his gang shove Vinnie into the lake, where the alligator kills him. Hodges, Harmon, and Hawk head out in a boat after the alligator but as a helicopter arrives to help with the search, the alligator attacks their boat and knocks them into the water. Harmon is rescued by the helicopter while Hawk ends up getting killed. Hodges goes back to the boat to get the syringe gun and manages to stab it into the alligator when it swims over him but the alligator doesn’t die. Harmon has the helicopter head back to pick up Hodges before the alligator eats him and as it makes it’s way back into the sewers, Hodges and Harmon head back to finish it off, taking a bazooka that the helicopter had picked up from the armory with them. As they enter the sewers and head to it’s lair, they see the alligator heading towards them and Hodges manages to kill it with the bazooka. As Hodges and Harmon leave the sewers, they hear the crowd chanting Hodges nickname, “Solo Lobo”, as they embrace Christine and Sheri respectively. Harmon tells Hodges he will see him around and Hodges acknowledges Harmon as his new partner. As Hodges and Christine leave, Reuben yells out that Vinnie is dead and the crowd works to remove all of his banners from around the park.

When it comes to horror movies, I realize that sometimes, a sequel can seem pretty similar to the original but this was almost exactly like the original. Even with that going for it, this was still about as average of a movie as you could get. The acting was ok, with Joseph Bologna doing a pretty good job as Hodges. I also liked Ruchard Lynch (Hawk), Dee Wallace (Christine), and Brock Peters (Speed) but I thought that Steve Railsback’s portrayal of Vinnie was honestly too stereotypical in his actions to generate any real emotions towards him. The basic plot was almost exactly the same as the first movie: alligator ends up in the sewers, has a lifetime of chemical hormones dumped on it, causing it to grow to enormous sizes. A police detective is one of the first people to realize what’s going on and a hunter is brought in to kill the alligator but ends up being killed himself. Even the man that inadvertently created the alligator being killed by the alligator in a sort of karmic death was the same. The only real differences was the location to be honest, and the fact that the young police officer that partners with the older detective lives this time. The special effects were honestly not the greatest, as there were a lot of times that the alligator looked like a plastic model. An ok movie to watch but a real let down as a sequel.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, movie, movie review, western

Flashback Review: May 15th, 2014 Movie – Blazing Saddles

blazing saddles

Ahh, one of my favorite westerns of all time. I remember the first time I saw this movie years ago as a kid and I will admit that I did not get many of the jokes. However, the farting scene for some reason stuck in my head and made me laugh. Now I would have the chance to watch this many times since then and as I got older, I was able to understand more of the jokes which made this movie even funnier. Now I had this movie on DVD but it was one of the movies my ex-wife had bought so when she left and took her DVD’s with her, I made sure to pick up my own copy of Blazing Saddles as soon as I could.

The plot: In the Old West of 1874, a group of workers are busy laying down a new rail line but the workers aren’t too fond of the overly racist crew giving them orders. When the foreman, Taggart, sends two black workers, Bart and Charlie, ahead as there were reports of quicksand in the area. Bart and Charlie drive a hand cart down the line and end up stuck in quicksand and when they call out for help, Taggart and his assistant use a rope to save the hand cart, leaving Bart and Charlie to fend for themselves. As they manage to crawl to safety, Taggart figures out where they will need to re-route the railroad line and orders his assistant to send a telegram with the information but Bart grabs a shovel and hits him in the head. At the office of Attorney General Hedley Lamarr, Taggart is telling him of the new route through the town of Rock Ridge and Hedley decides to take advantage of the situation to try and grab the land for himself so he will be rich. When he tries to figure out a way to get rid of the townsfolk, Taggart says he and his men can ride through town, beating and raping everyone in town, and Hedley agrees to let him do it. When he notices Taggart is injured, Taggart tells him about Bart and Hedley speaks to the executioner and squeezes Bart in to be hanged on Monday. Taggart and his men do just as they say and the townsfolk hold a meeting to figure out what they should do. Roused by the gibberish of Gabby Johnson, they decide to stay in town and wire the governor to send them a new sheriff. At the Governor’s office, Governor Lepetomane is going over the days business and when his assistant hands him a telegram from Round Rock asking for a sheriff, he assigns Hedley to send them a sheriff. Not wanting to hinder his plan by sending someone competent, Hedley notices Bart in line to be executed and comes up with an idea. Sparing Bart, Hedley takes him to see the governor, who is shocked at Hedley’s suggestion but Hedley says that by being the first man to hire a black sheriff, Lepetomane would become famous and could manage to swing a cabinet position. Geared up for his new job, Bart heads out to Rock Ridge and the townsfolk start to give him a warm welcome until they realize what color his skin is. When Bart starts to read the notice from Lepetomane about his appointment, the townsfolk all pull guns out and point them at him and he is forced to pull out his own gun and hold himself hostage in order to fool the people into letting him get into the sheriff’s office alive. As the day passes and Bart gets settled in, the drunk in one of the cells starts moving and Bart introduces himself. As he helps the drunk out, the man introduces himself as Jim a gunslinger once known as “the Waco Kid”, and the two share a brief history of each other. Meanwhile, Taggart and his men learn about the new sheriff, but not his identity, and decide to send Mongo, a large, dim-witted brute, to kill him. The next day, Bart heads out to make the rounds, trying to win the town over, but is disheartened by their constant insults. When Mongo rides into town and starts beating up the people in the saloon, Bart heads out there to deal with him, using a box of exploding candy to knock Mondo unconscious. Later, Taggart is with Hedley saying he doesn’t know how Mongo failed to kill the sheriff and Hedley decides to use a different tactic to beat Bart. Back in Rock Ridge, the townfolks start to warm up to Bart, though they try to keep it secret from everyone else, and Jim decides to take him to see Lily Von Shtupp perform. Unknown to him, Hedley has approached Lili, whom he has used before to seduce people, and has told her to seduce and leave Bart in order to reduce him to an emotional wreck. After her performance, Bart is given a note to see Lili back stage and he ends up staying the night with her but the next day, it is revealed that Lili is the one that has become enamored with him and tries to get him to stay with her. When Bart returns to the sheriff’s office, Jim tells him that a telegram came ordering Mongo to be released per Hedley’s orders. Bart wakes up Mongo, he easily breaks the chains holding him, and tells him he is free to go but Mongo doesn’t want to leave, as he likes Bart since he is the first person to beat him in a fair fight. Bart and Jim asks Mongo if he knows why Hedley is interested in Rock Ridge and Mongo says it has to do with the “choo-choo”. Bart and Jim head to where the railroad tracks are being laid out and Charlie and the others are happy to see Bart is still alive but are shocked when he tells them that he is the sheriff of Rock Ridge, as Charlie tells him that the railroad is going through the town. When Taggart and some of his men show up and try to kill Bart, Jim quickly shoots their guns out of their hands and they are forced to run away. Hedley and Taggart tie up Lili to question her about what went wrong and when she says that Hedley will need an army to beat Bart and Hedley decides to do just that. In Rock Ridge, the townsfolk learn about the army recruitment and want to leave town but Bart convinces them to give him 24 hours to find a way out of this. Sneaking in to where Hedley is interviewing people, Bart and Jim disguise themselves as a pair of KKK members but when Bart’s skin tone is revealed, they are forced to run. Sneaking into the railroad camp, Bart and Jim tell Charlie to get all of the workers and gather supplies, then meet him outside of town. At the meeting place, Bart explains to the townsfolk that they are going to build an exact replica of the town in order to fool Taggart and his army, with the railroad workers helping in exchange for some land to call their own. The townsfolk don’t want to at first but realizing they have no choice if they want to survive, they agree. In the morning, the decoy is finished but they realize that they forgot to include people so Bart, Jim, and Mongo go to stall Taggart’s army while they quickly build some people. With the decoys finished, everyone watches as Taggert’s men head into the fake town. Bart goes to blow up the town but the detonator fails so he has Jim shoot the dynamite to set them off. With Taggart’s men disoriented by the explosions, Bart leads the townsfolk to fight with the ruffians as the camera pans up to show them in a Hollywood sound stage. On another stage, a musical number is being filmed when the fight breaks through the wall of their set. As the director yells at the men, Taggart punches him and the men in the musical join in the fight. The fight spills into the studio cafeteria, where people start throwing pies at each other. Hedley happens to be at the cafeteria and when he sees what is going on, he quickly ducks out of the building, though not without getting hit by a pie himself. Hailing a cab, Hedley heads to a theater and goes to watch a movie, only to see Bart riding up to the theater on the screen. Hedley tries to leave but Bart confronts him and after Hedley tricks him into dropping his gun, Bart manages to avoid getting shot and kills Hedley. Jim comes up and congratulates Bart on killing Hedley, and the two decide to get tickets to see how the movie ends. In the movie, Bart is leaving the town, much to the townsfolk’s dismay as they have grown to love Bart, but Bart says that With Hedley dead, the town has become boring and doesn’t really need a sheriff anymore. As Bart leaves town, Jim decides to go with him and the two ride off for a ways until the meet up with a limousine and hop inside and are driven away into the sunset.

Blazing Saddles met with mixed reviews initially but has since come to receive high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Daring, provocative, and laugh-out-loud funny, Blazing Saddles is a gleefully vulgar spoof of Westerns that marks a high point in Mel Brooks’ storied career.” CBS and Warner Brothers would produce a TV series titled Black Bart as a means to keep the broadcast rights for Blazing Saddles and any future sequels but the episodes were never aired (aside from the pilot that starred Louis Gossett Jr.) and when management changed within Warner Brothers, the plans for a sequel were dropped and the unaired show was canceled, though 4, 6-episode seasons had been filmed. The movie was a smash hit at the box office, earning $119.6 million off of a $2.6 million budget and would receive three Academy Award nominations. Widely considered to be one of the greatest comedies of all time, the movie would end up selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2006.

Let’s not mince words here, there is some racist humor in this movie but it is still an incredibly funny movie to watch. The acting was great, with Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder doing great jobs as Sheriff Bart and Jim respectively. I also thought that Harvey Korman was fantastic as Hedley Lamarr while Slim Pickens was great as Taggart. The story had a deeper meaning beyond the comedy, using satire to highlight the issue of racism that existed in the past and how it was “overlooked” when Hollywood made movies about the Old West. Yes, Mel Brooks was pretty blunt with the racism but that was to prove his point and actually did help with some of the comedy. The comedy was Mel Brooks usual blend of quick wit, play on words, and slapstick that worked to almost pure perfection in this movie. It may seem dated and is definitely crude but this is still a great comedy and one worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: May 14th, 2014 – The Blancehville Monster (a.k.a. Horror)

the blancheville monster

Well, I find myself rewatching an Italian-Spanish horror film from the Chilling Classics box set. To be honest, I don’t recall much about this movie so it will almost be like I am watching it for the first time. Anyways, this movie is supposedly based off a couple of Edgar Allan Poe stories so there is some hope that this won’t be a complete train wreck of a movie. Well, might as well see if I remember anything about The Blancheville Monster or if it should just be relegated to the scrap heap of bad idea movies.

The plot: Emilie De Blancheville, accompanied by her friend Alice Taylor and her brother John Taylor, is returning to her family’s castle after being away for years in what she called “exile”. When they arrive, Emilie is shocked to find a new butler, Alistair, attending to them and asks what happened to Joseph but Alistair says he doesn’t know. As Emilie pauses in the foyer, not having been in the house since before her father died, her brother Roderic starts coming down the steps and pauses to watch her. When Emilie sees him, she rushes to greet him and introduces him to Alice and John, saying that she brought them to help her celebrate her birthday, which is in 5 days. As Alistair escorts Alice and Taylor to their rooms, Alistair and Emilie embrace as Alistair cries over her father’s death but is shocked when she sees Eleonore, the new housekeeper, standing behind him and Roderic asks Eleonore to escort Emilie to her room. As Emilie and her friends sit down to dinner with Roderic, they hear a strange scream over the sound of the storm outside but Roderic tries to pass it off as either the wind or one of the villager’s dogs. As they are finishing, Dr. LaRouche arrives at the castle and Roderic introduces him to Emilie and the others before leaving him to fend for himself for dinner while they head to another part of the castle. LaRouche asks Eleonore to stay with him and after the others leave, the two argue over a scheme they are planning, as LaRouche wants out but Eleonore forces him to stay on and asks for something from him. Later in the night, Alice is woken up by the sound of that strange scream again and decides to explore the castle searching for the source. Hearing it coming from one of the towers, she makes her way up there and finds Eleonore injecting a disfigured man with some drugs. Alice flees the tower before screaming and fainting, where she is caught by Roderic. When Alice wakes up again, her room is exactly as it was before she left, including a figurine that she broke being whole again. When she sees Roderic, she screams in fright at first and then tells him about the man in the tower. Roderic tells her there is nobody in the tower and goes up there with her to prove it and convinces her that it was all just her imagination or a dream that she had. The next day, Emilie, John, Alice, and LaRouche when Emilie and John decide to sneak off on their own, with John professing his love for Emilie and kissing her. Meanwhile Alice and LaRouche are talking and discuss Emilie’s father’s death then mentions that some people might have some old fashioned prejudices about Emilie being in love with John. When the group return to the castle, Roderic asks to speak with LaRouche alone, where he tells him that he wants to come clean with Emilie about the truth regarding their father. Roderic and LaRouche return to the others and Roderic tells Emilie about how her father survived but was disfigured by the fire. Roderic apologizes to Alice for deceiving her and she tells Emilie what happened last night and that Eleonore was there. Eleonore tells them that she was trying to give him a sedative to keep him restrained, as he was a danger to Emilie. Emilie doesn’t believe it but Roderic tells her that their father believes an ancient family prophesy that doom would befall the family if a female descendant reached the 21st birthday but swears that he will find their father, who escaped to tower, and keep her safe. That night, Emilie’s father, Count Blancheville, sneaks into the castle and speaks to Emilie in her sleep, telling her to follow him to her doom and an entranced Emilie begins walking out of the castle to the catacombs. Count Blancheville tries to get Emilie to enter a tomb but she ends up fainitng instead, just as LaRouche and another man enter the catacombs and quickly take her back to her room before anyone realizes she had left. The next morning, Alice goes to wake Emilie and finds her groggy and not sure of what happened to her the night before. When Alice notices the condition of her gown and slippers, she says Emilie must have gone outside during the night but Emilie says she doesn’t remember anything and asks Alice to leave her alone, then apologizes for her outburst. As Alice leaves she notices a book on hypnotism and brings it up to John, who grows more concerned with Emilie’s well being. As they prepare to go to bed, John and Alice find Emilie wandering the halls in a trance and when they try to stop her, she starts screaming, bringing LaRouche, Roderic, and Eleonore to them. When John lets Emilie go, she rushes back to her room and John explains what has happened. He accuses Emilie of being subjected to hypnotism and LaRouche being responsible for it. Roderic, John, and LaRouche head to another room, where LaRouche admits to studying hypnotism but swears he isn’t using it on Emilie. He says that she is suffering from a poisoning of the spirit over everything that has happened and suggests she spend as much time outdoors as possible and John agrees with his theory. When Emilie returns downstairs with Alice, LaRouche suggests going for a walk in the garden and Emilie agrees and quickly takes John’s hand. LaRouche escorts Alice, who is upset that Roderic is unable to join them. Before they get far, some masonwork falls from the top of the nearby tower and almost hits Emilie. When Roderic and Eleonore arrive, John tells them he saw someone at the top of the tower but when Roderic checks, he finds no sign of anyone there. As Emilie and John continue to walk, LaRouche tries talking with Alice to get her to change her opinion of her and reveals that Roderic, whom Alice fancies, is in love with another. When John carries Emilie to her room after she fainted, tensions start flaring up as it draws closer to her birthday. When Emilie has a dream about marrying John only to be dragged away from him, she wakes up screaming to find Eleonore standing over her with a glass of liquid, telling her to drink it. Alice rushes in to stop them, followed by John and LaRouche, and Eleonore refuses to answer about what the liquid is but drinks it herself, then tells them to give Emilie her medicine themselves if they don’t trust her. Later that night, Emilie again goes into a trance and heads to the catacombs but John follows her. When he tries to get her to come back with him, he is attacked by Count Blancheville and left unconscious while Emilie, who was roused by John being attacked, tries to run away only to get caught and strangled. The next morning, the Blancheville’s old cook is invited to make Emilie’s favorite cake for her birthday but when they head up to her room, they find her eyes wide open while she lays unmoving. As Alice and Roderic react in shock to her death, Eleonore is told about John being badly wounded and Alice goes to check on him. A funeral is held for Emilie and as Roderic gives the eulogy, Emilie is shown to be alive but in a coma-like state as her thoughts scream out to her brother that she is alive. With the funeral over, Emilie is placed in a tomb in the catacombs under the castle and sealed in, all the while screaming out in her mind that she is alive. As everyone leaves, Emilie suddenly starts moving around in her coffin before waking up and screaming at being trapped. Outside, LaRouche starts talking to Alice and telling her not to be mad at him as he wants revenge on Emilie’s killers as well. He explains how he was brought there to tend to the injured count after the original doctor died and he suggested a nurse, Eleonore, brought to help him. Alice is unsure as to what to make of what is happening when some rubble shifts in the burnt abby and they see a hand sticking out. LaRouche goes to check it and discovers Count Blancheville’s body buried there and he says he has been dead for 2 days, then tells Alice to stay there while he rushes to the castle. In the castle, Eleonore is standing over John’s body, preparing to kill him but she can’t bring herself to do it. The disfigured man enters and says that he has to die and then kills Eleonore when she refuses to stab him. Grabbing the knife, the man moves to kill John, who had awoken and struggles with the assailant. Ripping at the man’s face, he discovers it is a mask and the attacker is Roderic, who had hoped to pen the murders on his father. When LaRouche shows up and shoots at Roderic, he manages to get away but as he reaches the abby, he is suddenly confronted by a bloodied Emilie who says to come with her and he ends up falling to his death down a well trying to get away from her. Some time later, a carriage is leaving the castle, with Emilie, John, Alice, and LaRouche inside. LaRouche asks when Emilie and John plan on getting married and John says he will leave that to Emilie. When Emilie asks about Alice, she says she isn’t sure if the man she wants wants to get married as he hasn’t even asked her and LaRouche says if she means him, he will happily say yes, bringing a smile to Alice’s face.

Yeh, this is a pretty boring movie to be honest and was a little hard to stay awake for. The acting was ok I guess while the dubbing was fairly decent considering when this movie was made. The story was boring but I will say that while I did pick out the brief nod to The Cask of Amontillado, with Emilie’s being buried alive, I can’t say that I noticed any other nods to his works. To be honest, I have only read a couple of his works and feel like I should read some more of his stories as those that I did read were good. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects while the drama in the movie was actually pretty good, but the story itself was still boring. It’s a bit hit or miss on if this is a must watch movie but I will say that if you happen to see it, it is worth giving it a chance.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: May 13th, 2014 Movie – The Blair Thumb

the blair thumb

Well, I have a busy, and somewhat mixed up schedule for work this weekend, as I will be working all weekend but don’t go in today until 4:30. So that gives me time to try and get as much done over the weekend for the upcoming movies I have to watch. Now, let’s get right into today’s movie, as it is a pretty short movie. The last of the Thumb movies that I own, I remember buying this as a spur of the moment thing during a late night shopping excursion. Not sure why to be honest, but I just felt like it would be funny to own The Blair Thumb.

The plot: Three students, Stressy, Jish, and Vic, are heading out to the woods to work on Stressy’s film project about the Blair Thumb. Heading to the town of Thumbsville, formerly known as Die, they start by interviewing some of the towns folk about the Blair Thumb; with a woman carrying a possessed baby saying it’s an evil spirit in the woods, while an old man says that kids kept disappearing in the woods similar to a David Copperfield act. After interviewing a pirate and a one eyed man who were not helpful, the group get some supplies, with Jish and Vic becoming excited over getting a giant marshmallow, before heading to the local cemetery to film their first scene. After celebrating a successful shooting, they make their way into the woods, where a pair of fishermen tell them the story of thhe Blair Thumb capturing a pair of twins and switching their bodies around. Continuing into the woods, Jish and Vic get upset and start screaming when Stressy shows her map is hand drawn but Stressy calms them down when she shows them that the car is right where they left it, as they only started walking a few minutes ago. The group eventually reaches Hangnail Rock, where Stressy films her telling the next part of the legend. When it starts to rain, the group quickly set up camp and head inside the tent but are frightened by some strange noises just before a shark shows up in the tent and attacks them. The next day, Stressy tries to pass off what happened but Jish and Vic are still scared and when Stressy says that she lost the map, they both end up running screaming and crashing into a tree. As they wander around in circles, they eventually come to where they had parked only to find that Stressy’s car is missing. As Stressy goes to film what happened, she sees a giant symbol made of sticks hanging from the trees, just as it suddenly goes dark. That night, Jish is playing a joke on Stressy and Vic while trying to explain what had happened when something suddenly grabs him. Stressy and Vic chase after him but when they find no sign of him, Vic says they should turn off the lights and stay still so they aren’t grabbed as well, then uses the opportunity to feel up Stressy. The next day, Vic and Stressy find Jish’s body, or at least the lower half of him. As Stressy apologizes for what happened to the camera, they suddenly hear Jish’s voice crying out in the woods and they follow the sound to The Death House. Inside, they make their way to the basement and are shocked to discover Frankenthumb living there. Frankenthumb apologizes for killing Jish, saying he has a bad brain, and when Vic asks if he could let them go, he tells them no but says they can party first and they all party, with the top half of Jish floating over to join them.

This was a short and funny spoof and actually was not that bad of a parody. The voice acting was good, with Megan Cavanagh (Stressy), Jim Jackson (Jish), and Steve Oederkerk (Vic) doing good jobs in their roles. The story did a decent job of parodying The Blair Witch while adding their own bit of fun to it. I especially liked the fact that they had the running gag of the one eyed thumb who tended to just go “woo-hoo” in this movie as one of the people the interview. The green screen effects with the mouths were good but there were times where it seemed like the faces would accidentally be cut off on the edges somewhat due to the size difference between the thumbs and the faces being transposed. A funny bit of silliness and a good way to start off a busy weekend of work.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 12th, 2014 Movie – Blade Runner

blade runner

Sometimes, a classic movie will come along with most people not even realizing it and that was definitely the case with this movie. I remember seeing this on TV years ago when I was a kid and honestly not understanding one bit of what was going on, but liking the scenery and imagery in the movie. Years later, when I had another chance to watch it, I was actually impressed with the storytelling involved in the movie, though it would be a few years later that I read the Philip K. Dick novel the movie was based on. Any time this movie was on, I would try to watch it so it was only natural for me to give in and buy a copy of Blade Runner so that I could watch it whenever I want. Now I just have to stop myself from trying to buy a 4K Blu-Ray copy of it.

The plot: Early in the 21st century, the Tyrell Corporation created the next stage in advanced robotics called Replicants, robotic beings that were practically identical to humans. Intended for use off-world for planetary exploration and colonization, the Nexus 6 model was designed to have superior strength and agility, and equal intelligence to humans. When a rogue group of Replicants rebelled and attempted to overthrow a colony, Replicants were deemed illegal on Earth and a special police force, deemed Blade Runners, was created to kill them on detection. In Los Angeles, in November of 2019, a Blade Runner named Holden is administering the Voigt-Kampff test, a test designed to distinguish replicants from humans based on their emotional responses, to a man named Leon but as it commences, Leon kills him during the second question, as he is a replicant. Some time later, a retired Blade Runner named Rick Deckard is sitting down to eat at a street-side restaurant when two police officers appear and tell him he is under arrest, under orders from his former superior Bryant. Reluctantly going with the officers, Deckard is taken to police headquarters and Bryant tells him that he has 4 replicants that have somehow made it into the city. Deckard tells him he is retired and says to get Holden to do it but Bryant says he is dead and when Deckard goes to leave anyways, Bryant subtly threatens him to force him to say. As they watch the video of Holden’s death, Bryant explains that 6 replicants had initially escaped but 2 were killed during the attempt. Bryant then tells Deckard to kill Leon and the other three Replicants; Roy Batty, Zhora, and Pris. As these are newer models, Bryant wants Deckard to go to the Tydell Corporation and initiate the test on a Nexus 6 model. When he gets there, CEO Eldon Tydell wants to see the test fail and asks that he give it to his assistance Rachael. Deckard agrees and after a lengthy test, Tydell asks Rachael to leave the room. Deckard says she is a replicant and admits that it took longer than normal to make the determination. Tydell explains that Rachael was an experiment; giving her memories to form as a cushion to provoke some emotional responses. Leaving there, Deckard and Raff, the police officer assigned to drive him around, head to the hotel where Leon was staying at, unaware that Leon sees them from the street. Leon meets up with Batty, and the two go to see a man to find a way to beat the test. Meanwhile, Deckard returns to his home to find Rachael waiting for him outside his apartment. Inviting her in, the two talk for a while, with Rachael saying she isn’t a replicant and Deckard arguing she is but then feeling pity on her and telling her he was joking and she wan’t one. They continue talking, with Rachael trying to prove she is human by showing him a family photo but when Deckard says that it is Tydell’s niece’s memories, she gets upset and leaves. Meanwhile, Pris is wandering the street and decides to rest in an alley when she is startled by a cab driver named J.F. Sebastian. The two talk briefly and when he learns that she has no where to go, Sebastian offers to let her into his place. As they head inside, Sebastian tells her he lives alone except for his friends, toys that he creates. Later that night, Deckard is going over the photos he took of Leon’s hotel room and as he examines them, he finds a strange scale and has his computer print a physical copy of it. Deckard then tracks down the man who created the snake and is pointed in the direction of a club in Chinatown. After talking with the club owner but getting nowhere, Deckard calls Rachael and invites her there to have a drink with him but she refuses. As he sits at the bar drinking, Deckard hears an announcement for one of the acts and decides to question the performer after her show but she turns out to be Zhora and attempts to kill Deckard before making a run for it. Deckard chases after her and eventually kills her. As the police show up to retrieve the body, Deckard doesn’t notice Leon watching him in the crowd. Deckard goes to buy a drink but Raff shows up and escorts him to Bryant, who has added Rachael to the list of Replicants for him to kill. After Bryant leaves, Deckard spots Rachael in the crowd and starts to head towards her but Leon shows up and grabs him. As Leon begins beating Deckard, Deckard tries to shoot him but Leon knocks it from his hands and continues beating him. When Leon goes to kill Deckard, he is suddenly shot in the head by Rachael, who had grabbed Deckard’s gun. Deckard takes her back to his place and they share a drink while he discusses his “business”. When Rachael asks if he would come after her if she left town, Deckard tells her no and says that he owes her one for saving him. Exhausted from everything, Deckard lays down and starts to fall asleep but when Rachael begins playing a piano piece he wrote, he wakes up and talks to her some more and she goes to leave but he stops her and forces her to kiss him. Back at Sebastian’s apartment, Pris has changed her appearance and asks Sebastian what he thinks and he tells her that she is pretty. When she asks what is wrong with him, he tells her that he has Methuselah Syndrome, he is aging prematurely and unable to leave the planet. When Roy shows up and tells Pris that Leon and Zhora are dead. As Sebastian talks with them, he says that he sympathizes with them and offers to help them, as he is in contact with Tydell and plays remote chess with him. Tydell and Roy head to Tydell corporation and after getting permission to come up to Tydell’s penthouse, Sebastian introduces Roy to him. Roy wants Tydell to extend his life span beyond the 4 years that is programmed but Tydell says that it is impossible. When Roy talks about all of the things he has done, Tydell says that it isn’t important as he was intended for and had done great things but Roy ends up killing him. Seeing what happened, Sebastian heads for the elevator but Roy catches up to him and when the elevator reaches the ground floor, Roy is shown to be in it alone. Later, Deckard is told of Tydell and Sebastian’s death and heads to Sebastian’s home to check it out, having called first and gotten Pris on the vid-screen but she had quickly hung up. When he gets to Sebastian’s place, he heads inside and ends up ambushed by Pris, who pretends to be one of Sebastian’s creations. Deckard manages to kill Pris just as Roy returns and when he sees Deckard, he quickly leaps out of the way before Deckard can shoot him. Roy taunts Deckard before reaching through the wall and grabbing his gun hand, disarming him and breaking his fingers for revenge for his dead friends. As Roy continues to taunt him, Deckard tries to run from the building, eventually trying to jump over to the next building but he is unable to make it and ends up hanging onto a beam jutting from the roof. Roy makes the jump and stands over him gloating but when Deckard starts to fall, Roy grabs him and pulls him onto the roof. As Deckard backs away, Roy sits down and starts talking to him, as his body finally falls apart since he has reached the end of his lifespan. As Deckard recovers, Gaff appears and tosses him his gun but as he walks away, he says that it is too bad she won’t live, indicating Rachael. Deckard heads back to his apartment and finds Rachael asleep on his bed. Asking her if she trusts him and having her say yes, Deckard decides to leave with Rachael but as they leave, he notices an origami unicorn on the floor and remembering Gaff’s folding origami animals at Bryant’s office, Gaff’s words play back in Deckard’s head as they leave.

Blade Runner initially met with mixed reviews from the critics but since that time, has become highly praised, currently holding a certified fresh rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Misunderstood when it first hit theaters, the influence of Ridley Scott’s mysterious, neo-noir Blade Runner has deepened with time. A visually remarkable, achingly human sci-fi masterpiece.” Philip K. Dick only saw the first 20 minutes of footage before his death but he was impressed with it, saying tat they captured his interior world perfectly, even though director Ridley Scott and screenwriter David Webb Peoples had never red the novel their movie was based on. Blade Runner was a disappointment at the box office, earning $33.8 million off of a $28 million budget but would develop a cult following and influence numerous sci-fi movies, video games, anime, and TV series. This led to it being selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1993 and 35 years later, a sequel would be released.

This is a fantastic movie and easily one of the best sci-fi movies to ever come out. The acting was great, with Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer doing fantastic jobs as Deckard and Roy respectively. I also liked Daryl Hannah as Pris but kind of thought that Sean Young was a little “meh” as Rachael. The story was different from the Philip K. Dick novel, with one of the main differences being that they don’t really mention the fact that almost all animals on Earth have died. However, the story in the movie, focusing on Deckard chasing down the replicants, was compelling enough on it’s own, especially if you facet in the philosophical argument as to whether the replicants were actually alive or not in terms of human life. Rutger Hauer’s ending soliloquy being especially poignant in that regard. The imagery and scenery in the movie were incredible and still hold up to this day. Definitely one of the must see movies in the sci-fi genre and in general.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 11th, 2014 Movie – Blade: Trinity

blade trinity

Ahh, the end of franchise and was it a good ending or tragic. Well, for the Blade series, I honestly feel like it was tragic. When I first saw commercials for this movie, I was not the least bit interested in seeing it. At the time, I was kind of surprised with myself as it seemed like this movie might be a lead up to having more of the Midnight Sons characters showing up in the movies, which would mean a Ghost Rider movie could soon happen. But I honestly had no interest in seeing this movie in theaters, though I did get the novelization of it, and only got Blade: Trinity on DVD just so I could complete the set of movies. One of these days, I really have to stop doing that.

The plot: In the Syrian desert, a team of vampires led by Danica Talos investigate an ancient tomb that had recently been uncovered, as she believes it to be the resting place of Dracula, the first vampire. Breaking through the floor into a previously unexplored chamber, one of the team members locates a body buried beneath them, just as the ground suddenly begins to open up at their feet. Suddenly, a gauntleted hand reaches out of the opening and grabs one of the team members and drags him into the opening and as Jarko Grimwood and the other man pull him back up, they find his head has been removed and he quickly turns to ash. When an armored figure emerges from the ground, he causes the vampires to drop their lights in surprise and as the darkness flickers around them, Danica screams out in fear. Some time later, Blade and Whistler take out a den of vampires in New York but when Blade shoots the last vampire with a silver stake, he is surprised to see he doesn’t turn to ash. When Blade approaches the dying man, the man taunts him by saying he was human and had helped set Blade up, as Danica is filming the interaction unbeknownst to Blade. As the authorities show up, Blade quickly leaves while Danica returns to her hideout to start editing the footage she shot and sends it to the FBI, who begin to hunt down Blade. Finishing her work, Danica heads down to see Dracula, who had been feeding nonstop since arriving in New York. Dracula tells Danica that she shouldn’t have woken him but she says that his people need him, to which Dracula scoffs at her and calls her  shadows of their former selves. Meanwhile, Whistler goes to pick up some newspapers, unaware that he is being followed by the FBI, and when he gets back to their hideout, he tells Blade that his recklessness has caused them to have to worry about the rest of the world, not just vampires. He then tells him he worries about Blade being on his own, as he is getting older and won’t be around much longer, and tells him that they can’t keep doing things on their own and will need to have friends to help them out. In another part of the city, a young mother is waiting for the subway when she is attacked by 4 young vampires but when they take the baby from her, it is revealed to be a doll, and the woman quickly attacks and kills the vampires. Back at their hideout, Blade asks Whistler what he is worried about when they are suddenly raided by the FBI. Whistler shoots some of the agents while initiating a data protection program on their computers, causing their contents to be transferred to another location before exploding, ensuring the data can’t be traced. Whistler ends up being killed as he initiates the last program, warning Blade to get out, before activating the self destruct of the hideout but as Blade recovers from the blast, he finds himself surrounded and reluctantly surrenders, as Whistler’s death fully hits him. At FBI headquarters, Blade is placed in an interrogation room and questioned by the FBI when they are interrupted by Dr. Edgar Vance, who is there to examine Blade. Vance argues that Blade should be taken to a mental facility while the FBI and New York Police are arguing over jurisdiction. Vance injects Blade with a drug to make him weak, revealing that he is a familiar, and tells Blade he won’t be there long. As Blade falls under the effects of the drugs, Danica and her men show up to take Blade with them when suddenly, a vampire’s disintegrating body smashes through the observation room window. A man named Hannibal King appears, killing another vampire and giving Blade an inhaler based version of his serum to counteract the drugs effects, telling him he is there to rescue him. Danica and another vampire escape while Grimwood fights with King before Blade recovers and kicks him through a wall. Telling King to leave, Blade grabs his gear and follows after him, taking out officers on the way. Reaching an intersection, they encounter Abigail Whistler (the woman that killed the vampires earlier), and she helps them deal with the cops as well as Grimwood and his men but Blade suddenly disappears through an air duct, leaving King and Abigail to fend for themselves. They manage to make it outside and as the police surround them, Blade jumps out a window, having gone back to get his sword. Suddenly, an SUV shows up, with he driver telling them to get in, and they make their escape, with Abigail shooting Grimwood in the eye to keep him from following them. Blade is taken to their headquarters and they explain that they are the Nightstalkers, (King, Abigail, Sommerfield, her daughter Zoe, Hedges, and Dex) a sleeper cell of vampire hunters meant to serve as Blade’s reinforcements should he need them. After King introduces them all, Blade says they are kids acting like this is a joke and asks what makes them think they are qualified and King tells him that he used to be a vampire. In her office, Danica is angry about their losing Blade when Dracula shows up and decides to go into town and see things for himself. Wandering the town, he enters a sex shop, where they sell Dracula merchandise and, feeling like the clerks are mocking him, he throws the make through the store window before biting the female. Meanwhile, King infroms Blade about the vampires that tried to capture him (Danica, her brother Asher, and Grimwood) and informs him that they had resurrected Dracula, as they feel he can help them with a “final solution”. However, King explains that they have their own final solution that could destroy all vampires on the planet but they need Dracula’s blood to finish it as they need his pure blood to finalize the serum but warn that it might also kill him as well. The next day, Blade, King, and Abigail go hunting after vampire familiars in an attempt to get a lead on Dracula, who they have started referring to as Drake. When one of the familiars receives a call from Dr. Vance, they head to his office to confront him only to find Drake there, having killed Vance and chosen to impersonate him to see Blade for himself. Grabbing King to use as a shield, Drake taunts Blade before stabbing King in the shoulder, then jumping out a window. Blade chases after him and eventually catches up to him on a roof, where Drake is holding a baby he grabbed earlier. Drake then speaks to Blade, saying that neither vampire nor human deserves to live and when Blade says he will stop him, Drake challenges that notion before throwing the baby in the air, forcing Blade to catch it while he escapes. AS King recuperates at the headquarters, Abigail finds out part of what Danica’s “final solution” is, a series of farms that house comatose patients whose blood is siphoned off for vampire consumption. When they head there, they find that Chief Martin Vreede knows about the place and agrees with what they are doing, and Blade kills him, then forces the scientist overseeing the farm to shut it down, as the people are already brain dead and unable to be revived. Meanwhile, Drake infiltrates the Nightstalker’s base, killing Hedges, Sommerfield, and Dex while taking King and Zoe captive. When Blade and Abigail return, they search the place and find the bodies of Dex, Hedges, and Sommerfield and as Abigail cries out on grief, Blade tells her to use the pain. In Danica’s office, Danica, Asher, and Grimwood are interrogating King and trying to get the information on the Nightstalker’s secret weapon against the vampires, with Danica saying that she will turn King and force him to feed from Zoe if he doesn’t tell them. Back at the hideout, another member of the Nightstalkers arrives and takes them to his hideout, where a video message from Sommerfield is loaded up. Sommerfield says that she has a working version of their Daystar virus but it isn’t tested so she doesn’t know what effect it will have on Blade and, armed with the virus, Blade and Abigail head out to rescue their friends. Back at the office, Danica, Asher, and Grimwood continue to interrogate King but he tells them that his friends are coming, as revealed by the atomized silver that has suddenly started being pumped into the air conditioning system, affecting all of the vampires. Blade appears and when Grimwood challenges him, Blade kicks him through the door, allowing Danica and Asher to escape. Abigail enters the room and frees King, then hands him his weapons while she goes off to rescue Zoe. Blade begins killing several vampires before finally coming face to face with Drake, who challenges him to a sword fight. Meanwhile, King encounters Grimwood’s Pomeranian Pac-Man and two Rotweilers, all of which have been vampirized, and manages to lure them into falling out a window but when he falls back into the room he escaped from, he ends up having to fight and kill Grimwood, only to have Danica attack him. Elsewhere, Abigail manages to rescue Zoe, then goes to help Blade, killing Asher and some other vampires before trying to get a shot on Drake with the Daystar arrow. When Drake bests Blade and moves in for the killing blow, Abigail shoots the arrow but Drake is able to catch it and drops it to the ground. Drake turns his attention back to Blade but Blade grabs the arrow and jams it into Drake’s chest. With Drake infected, the virus becomes airborne and infects and kills every vampire, including Danica. Drake begins to succumb to his wounds and tells Blade that the vmpires kept trying to create a new vampire when one already existed in Blade. He tells Blade he will leave him a parting gift and warns that the future of their race lies with him but sooner or later, the thirst will win. Drake and Blade both collapse and Abigail and King leave as the FBI show up, finding the ashed remains of several vampires and Blade’s body lying dead on the floor and declare the case closed. Some time later, the doctors go to perform an autopsy on Blade only to have it change into Drake’s body as they watch while Blade, having survived the virus, continues the fight against vampires.

Blade: Trinity was panned by the critics, holding a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Louder, campier, and more incoherent than its predecessors, Blade: Trinity seems content to emphasize style over substance and rehash familiar themes.” Though it was the last movie in the series, Blade: Trinity was the first movie in the series to have Marvel Studios logo appear at the beginning of the movie. This would also be the last movie made using Blade, as the live action film rights would revert back to Marvel in 2011. While having the biggest budget of the trilogy, B was the lowest performing movie at the box office, earning $128.9 million off of a $65 million budget, and would also be the shortest movie in the series.

Man, what a let down this movie was. The acting was ok, and I do mean ok as even Wesley Snipes didn’t seem too thrilled to be in this movie. I liked Jessica Biel as Abigail but thought Ryan Reynolds was too annoying as King ( glad he finally got cast as the comic hero he seems to have been born to play) and Dominic Purcell was kind of bland as Drake/Dracula. The story honestly felt weak and sloppy. Having Dracula be revived to defeat Blade should have been a bigger deal but it honestly felt like a side plot, as the main focus seemed to be placed on the Daystar virus, and Drake was simply an essential ingredient. This is tragic because Dracula should always have a bigger impact in any movie he is in, and even though he and Blade only tangled a couple of times in the comics, I feel like the movie should have done a better job with it. The special effects were honestly a little better than the previous movie but I feel like even though the technology advanced, they misused it and didn’t do as good of a job as they did in the first movie. It isn’t the complete train wreck that I thought it would be but it is still not that good of a movie all in all.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 10th, 2014 Movie – Blade II

blade 2

4 years after Blade first hit the screen, Marvel was starting to become a movie powerhouse; as X-Men and Spider-Man both debuted as major hits. At the same time, Marvel decided to do a follow up to the movie that brought them to the ball, so to speak. Yes, everyone’s favorite half-breed vampire hunter was a back with a new adventure and a new menace to face. Now I did not see this in theaters and actually ended up seeing it for the first time on TV years later. Now let’s find out what all we are in store for as I re-watch Blade II.

The plot: Two years after the death of Deacon Frost, a man named Jared Nomak goes to a blood bank in Prague to donate some blood but as he is taken to a back room and answering the nurses questions, she informs him that they discovered some strange results in his blood test. Leading Nomak into a secure back room, Nomak becomes nervous when the nurse orders him restrained, as a doctor proceeds to don a glove of hypodermic needles and prepares to drain his blood, as the nurse, doctor, and security guards are all vampires. Suddenly, Nomak begins laughing before suddenly attacking and biting into the doctors. As the guards begin shooting at him, he is unaffected by the bullets and throws a guard into a wall while grabbing the second one, who is trying to escape. Looking up into the security cameras, Nomak declares he hates vampires, then opens his mouth wide, and the scar on his lower jaw opens up to reveal he is some sort of mutant vampire, before he kills the last guard. Meanwhile, Blade is in Prague hunting down a group of vampires, killing all but one of them. Approaching the last vampire, Blade asks him where Whistler is, as he had failed to kill himself in time to prevent turning and the vampires found him and kept him alive. Forcing the vampire to lead him to where Whistler is kept, Blade kills the vampires in the building, telling the vampire he coerced that he will “catch him later”, then approaches the tank that Whistler is being kept in. Freeing Whistler, Blade takes him back to their hideout and administers the cure that their associate Dr. Karen Jensen, but Blade’s new partner Scud says that he would be better off killing him. The next morning, Blade opens the blinds in Whistler’s room and finds that Whistler has survived the cure. As Blade starts to fill him in on how long he has been missing and introduces him to Whistler, the power suddenly goes out. Scud’s intruder alarm detects two vampires breaking in and Whistler and Blade arm themselves for battle. The vampires enter the room and Whistler starts shooting at them but they quickly disarm him. When Blade confronts them, he is able to hold them off until one of them says that they did not come to fight, only to deliver a message from the ruling house of vampires. Introducing themselves as Asad and Nyssa, they take Blade, Whistler, and Scud to the home of Eli Damaskinos, who greets Blade and says he respects his accomplishments in stopping Deacon Frost. Eli’s familiar, a lawyer named Karel Kouman, tells them that just as vampires are considered a virus upon humans, they have encountered a mutation, showing him the video of Nomak’s attack at the blood bank. Blade feels like he should thank Nomak for making his job easier but Nyssa explains that the vampires Nomak kills become mutated creatures like him, calling them Reapers. Eli tells Blade he wants him to lead a group of vampire warriors called the Bloodpack, whose original purpose was to kill Blade, and hunt down Nomak and any other mutants and kill them. Talking among themselves back at the hideout, Blade says that he knows the vampires will double cross them the first chance they get but says they should work with them for now. Some time later, Nyssa and Asad introduce Blade to the Bloodpack (Reinhardt, Chupa, Lighthammer, Verlaine, Priest, and Snowman) and when Reinhardt taunts Blade, Blade taunts him back before sticking an explosive device on the back of his head. Blade then tells Nyssa that if Nomak is hunting vampires, he will be goign to large gatherings of them and Nyssa suggests they head to the House of Pain. When they get there, Blade tells Whistler to take a position on the nearby rooftop, as he won’t pass for a vampire, and Whistler argues against it but reluctantly does so. Entering the club, Blade starts putting cameras on the walls so that Scud can see from their mobile command center in his van. As the Bloodpack and Blade move around the club, Nomak is in the sewers underneath and senses Blade’s presence above him. As it gets close to daylight, The scattered group encounter several Reapers, with Blade and Nyssa encountering Nomak. Blade manages to shoot Nomak in the head with his gun but the bullet has no effect on Nomak, who renews his attack on them. Outside, Scud is attacked in the mobile command van but when he contacts Whistler for help, he gets no response. When Scud is able to kill a reaper with UV light, he informs the others and they manage to kill some but Priest is bitten by one of them, as is Lighthammer but he lies to Verlaine about the wound and says it is only his back that was injured. Blade confronts Nomak and during the fight, injects him with EDTA but, like the silver in his bullets, it has no effect on him and Blade is finally able to force him to retreat by reflecting sunlight on him. When Priest starts to turn into a reaper, Blade shoots a hole in the ceiling, exposing him to daylight in order to kill him. Meanwhile, Scud argues that Whistler abandoned him but Whistler shows them a trapped Reaper, and explains that is what made him leave his post. At Eli’s home, Karel tells Eli the results of the attack and warns Eli that he is playing a dangerous game but Eli says the risks are worth it, even if it means his daughter dies as well. At the hideout, Nyssa is studying the captured Reaper and when she notes that it is dying, Blade theorizes that it’s metabolism is burning out too fast for it’s system to handle, but Nomak is different as he is the carrier for the virus. As Nyssa performs an autopsy, she tells them that the only way to kill them is with sunlight. Blade tells them that they will go hunting in the sewers at sunrise, as it is the only advantage they have against the Reapers, but Asad and the other members of the Bloodpack are not happy as they are vulnerable as well. Later, Nyssa speaks to Blade alone about the way he speaks to her and the Bloodpack and says that they are on the same side in this fight. Meanwhile, Whistler and Scud come up with some UV grenades to use against the fight and as Blade and Nyssa go over the plan, using pheromones to lure the Reapers into a kill zone for the grenades, Blade tells Nyssa to be sure she takes cover when the grenades go off. Blade, Whistler, and the Bloodpack head off into the sewers, they split up into groups of three to track the Reapers. Snowman, Lighthammer, and Verlaine are in one group but as the move through the tunnels, Lighthammer finally turns and kills Snowman, then goes after Verlaine but she can’t bring herself to attack Lighthammer and instead, climbs out a manhole cover, using the sunlight to kill them both. Meanwhile, Whistler is with Chupa and Reinhardt but they use the opportunity to attack Whistler, and Chupa continues beating on him while Reinhardt goes on ahead, unaware that Whistler activated a pheromone pack to lure the Reapers to them. When Reinhardt locates some reapers, he goes to set the bomb but the switch is stuck and he is forced to retreat. Meanwhile, Chupa is attacked by the Reapers and killed, allowing Whistler to escape. Blade, Asad, and Nyssa are ambushed by some Reapers and Asad is killed but Blade uses a UV grenade to kill the Reapers, telling Nyssa to take cover so she isn’t killed herself. Meeting up with Reinhardt, who says that he is the only one left, Blade pours some pheromones on him so that the Reapers will be inclined to chase him, then heads back to the bomb to activate, eventually killing all of them in there. Whistler manages to survive and encounters Nomak, who tells him that he wants Whistler to deliver a message about the truth of what is going on. Meanwhile, Blade finds Nyssa, who had survived the explosion by diving into the water, and cuts his wrist to feed her some of his blood so she can heal but he finds himself captured by Reinhardt and Eli’s soldiers, unaware that Nomak has seen everything happening. When Blade comes too, he finds that Whistler and Scud were captured as well and Whistler tells him what Nomak said. Eli enters at that moment and he tells them that he had been working on creating a supreme race that was immune to all of their weaknesses and admits that Nomak is his son. When Reinhardt shoots Blade in the leg, Blade goes to detonate the device but nothing happens. Scud suddenly starts laughing and reveals that he is Eli’s familiar and the device was never meant to explode but after Reinhardt removes it and tosses it to him, Blade says he was on to Scud once they turned him, then blows him up. Reinhardt orders Blade subdued and Karel takes Blade away so they can harvest his blood while Reinhardt proceeds to beat on Whistler and Nyssa confronts her father over what he has done. As Blade lies near death, he whispers Nomak’s name and when Karel questions him about it, Blade tells him he is coming for revenge on the people that made him. When Reinhardt sees Nomak fighting the guards on the monitor, Whistler is able to use the distraction to knock him out and escape, then rescue Blade. Whistler takes Blade to a blood pool so he can regain his strength, but Reinhardt tries to stop him but is too late as Blade drops into the pool. Emerging from the pool, Blade defeats the guards and kills Reinhardt, then heads off to stop Eli and Nomak while Whistler destroys Eli’s remaining genetically modified embryos. Nomak makes his way after Eli and as Eli tries to leave with Nyssa in a helicopter, she seals the building, trapping them inside so that Eli can pay for his sins. Nomak approaches Eli and kills him, saying he won’t infect him with the virus. Nomak then approaches Nyssa, who tells him to finish it, and he chooses to infect her but as he is biting her, Blade interrupts them. Blade attacks Nomak and stabs him with his sword but Nomak breaks the sword and after pulling out the blade, begins attacking Blade. The two engage in a ferocious fist fight and Nomak appears to have the upper hand but Blade grabs the broken blade from his sword and manages to stab it into Nomak’s chest, piercing the bone plate protecting his heart. Falling to the ground, Nomak decides to commit suicide and continues pushing the sword into his heart and after he dies, Blade approaches Nyssa. Nyssa says that she knows she is dying and asks Blade to let her see the sun for once, chosing to kill herself that way. Blade takes her onto the helipad and holds her as she burns away, while Whistler watches behind him. Some time later, the vampire that led Blade to Whistler heads into a peep show booth but as the curtain goes up, he finds Blade there waiting for him and Blade quickly kills him.

Blade II met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 57% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though Blade II offers more of what worked in the original, its plot and character development appear to have been left on the cutting room floor.” Throughout the movie, Scud wears a T-shirt featuring the logo of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, a reference to Mike Mignola’s “Helboy” comic; a series which driector Guillermo del Toro and actor Ron Perlman would work on a live action film version of two years later. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $155 million off of a $54 million budget, making it the highest grossing movie in the trilogy.

It might have made more money and gotten slightly better reviews, but while I did think the movie was entertaining, I liked the first movie better. The acting was ok, with Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson doing great jobs reprising their roles of Blade and Whistler respectively. I also though Ron Perlman was great as Reinhardt, while Leonor Varela and Luke Goss did equally good jobs as Nyssa and Nomak. The story was interesting, as I liked the idea of the mutated vampires that were immune to most of their weaknesses. I also liked the whole “enemy of my enemy” aspect to the movie, and how Blade used both the vampires’ ego and Nomak’s desire for revenge to his full advantage, though it almost cost him and Whistler their lives. I liked the majority of the special effects and fight scenes, but there were some times where they looked too fake, almost like it is something from a video game, that really detracted from whatever scene they were in. It’s entertaining but falls short of the first movie.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 9th, 2014 Movie – Blade

blade

Before the X-Men and Spider-Man movies hit the big screen, and years before the MCU was even an idea in a producer’s mind, this movie was Marvel’s first real foray back onto the big screen. Yes, I know that technically Men In Black would be first but they were part of an offshoot that had been bought and not necessarily part of Marvel proper. Anyways, I was a fan of Blade and the rest of the supernaturally inclined anti-heroes that were part of Marvel in the mid 90’s so when I heard that they were doing a movie based on Blade, with Wesley Snipes starring in it, I was absolutely on board. Opening night me and several of my friends went and saw Blade in theaters. We then had a late dinner afterwards where we got some absolutely terrible service but that did nothing to take away from how much fun we had watching Blade.

The plot: In 1967, a pregnant woman is brought into the hospital, bleeding out from a bite wound to the neck. As the doctors work on saving her, she goes into labor and she delivers a baby but ends up dying from her wound. In the present, a woman brings a date to a secret rave in a meat packing plant but as the party commences, the sprinklers suddenly begin releasing blood onto the people dancing around. As the young man freaks out from all of the blood everywhere, he realizes that everyone in attendance is a vampire and starts freaking out even more. As he tries to escape, he is pummeled by the crowd until he runs into Blade, a vampire hunter that the vampires refer to as “The Daywalker” due to his half-breed nature. As some of the vampires begin fleeing the club, Blade begins killing the vampires that fight against him, until he is down to just a vampire named Quinn. Pinning Quinn to a wall with silver stakes, Blade sets him on fire, then checks the young man when he tries to run away, ensuring that he wasn’t bitten, but Blade is forced to run himself when the police and fire department arrive. Quinn’s body is taken to the hospital morgue and Dr. Curtis Webb sends a blood sample up to Dr. Karen Jenson, a hematologist, as the blood has some weird aspects to it. Karen agrees to examine the body and goes down there with Curtis, but as they discuss their former relationship, Quinn suddenly comes back to life and proceeds to bite Curtis, then attack Karen. As he starts to drink Karen’s blood, Blade shows up and stops him, cutting off his hand as the two begin fighting, but when security shows up and shoots at Blade, Quinn uses the opportunity to escape. Blade starts to leave Karen but when he suddenly thinks about his dying mother, he instead decides to take her with him. When the police show up in force, Blade rushes off with Karen and heads to the broken window Quinn escaped from. He throws Karen out the window to the building on the other side, then jumps over there himself, before grabbing her and escaping the police. Blade takes Karen to his hideout, where his mentor Whistler is working on making some more weapons. Whistler chastises Blade for not killing Karen but agrees to help her, injecting her with liquid garlic to try and stop the infection but tells Blade that he gives her a 50/50 chance of surviving the night. Meanwhile, a council of vampire Elders is discussing Deacon Frost’s nightclubs and the danger they create. After having Frost enter the chamber, they chastise him for the clubs and attempting to break the treaty they have with the humans but Frost, who leads a faction of younger, and non-pure blood vampires like the Elders, says that they should break the treaty as the humans are their food, not their partners. Later, Gitano Dragonetti, the head of the House of Eberus, confronts Frost in the archive room, where he is attempting to crack the dead language on some of the ancient pages from the records, and asks him what his game is but Frost refuses to answer and dares him to retaliate against him. Back at Blade’s hideout, Karen wakes up and after exploring a little bit, she sees Whistler injecting Blade with a serum that keeps his vampire hunger in check when they spot her. After preventing her initial escape attempt, Whistler explains about their war with the vampires and warns her that she should leave town so as to avoid being targeted, as she has been marked. Blade takes Karen back to her apartment but as she begins packing a bag to leave, a police officer appears in her apartment. Karen is suspicious of the officer, especially when he begins asking questions about Blade, and when he tries to attack her, she sprays him with a special mace that Whistler gave her to defend against vampires. Karen is surprised to find it doesn’t work but Blade appears and tells her the officer is a familiar, a servant to a vampire that hopes to one day become a vampire himself. Revealing that the officer works for Frost, whom Blade has been tracking for years, Blade tries to interrogate him to learn Frost’s location but Karen ends up stopping him from hurting him and the officer gets away. Knowing he will be back for his car, as he was delivering blood to Frost, Blade stakes it out and Karen joins him, as she figures the best way to find a cure for herself is to stay with him. Blade and Karen follow the officer to a vampire safehouse, and Blade arms Karen with some weapons before they head inside. After making his way past the guards, Blade confronts the officer again in the club’s kitchen before noticing a refrigerator marked do not open and tells the officer to give Frost a message for him, then lets the officer go while he heads inside the fridge, which houses the vampire archives. At his penthouse, Frost has finally finished translating the ancient texts, which contains the ritual on how to summon the vampire blood god La Magra. When the officer shows up Frost’s penthouse and tells him what happened, Frost kills the officer, to the delight of everyone there. Back at the archives, Blade and Karen encounter Pearl, the obese vampire historian, who was having a video call with Frost and begs him for help. Frost dismisses Pearl and taunts Blade before Blade destroys the monitor. Blade and Karen then question Pearl about the text she had translated for Frost, using a UV lamp on her when she refuses to answer. Blade takes the hard drive from the computer, then opens the vault to find the actual ancient scrolls but Quinn, Mercury, and some other vampires arrive and capture them. Quinn goes to torture Blade but Blade had secretly been in contact with Whistler, who shows up to rescue them. Blade, Karen, and Whistler make their way to the subway, but when a bomb that Blade had left in the archives explodes, Whistler appears to be thrown onto the tracks but Blade tells Karen he can take care of himself. Blade and Karen jump across the tracks before a train comes but Quinn follows them and begins attacking Blade. Karen helps Blade beat Quinn, resulting in his losing another hand, but when he sees Mercury and some more vampires coming, he grabs onto a passing train to help them escape. In Frost’s penthouse, Quinn and Mercury are arguing about whose fault Blade’s escape is when Frost says not to worry as they will deal with him later, telling them they have work to do. Frost, Mercury, and Quinn kidnap Dragonetti and take him out to the beach, where Frost proceeds to pull out his fangs before leaving him to burn to death as the sun rises. Frost then heads to the council of elders and informs them of Dragonetti’s death and tells them that he needs 12 volunteers, and has them taken away. At the hideout, Blade is preparing to go get some more serum when he sees Whistler and Karen bringing in some lab equipment, with Karen saying it was to help her find a cure. Karen shows Blade an anticoagulant called EDTA and places a drop on a sample of vampire blood, which causes it to violently explode. Blade asks if that is her cure and she says no but says that he could use it to explode some vampires. Karen then takes a sample of his blood while Whistler gets to work on the hard drive they took from Pearl. As Blade goes to buy some serum, he encounters Frost in a park, who is using sunblock to be out in the sun and is holding a child hostage. Frost tries to convince Blade to join him but Blade refuses and is forced to let Frost escape in order to rescue the child. Back at the hideout, Karen figures out a way to cure a vampire bite and uses it on herself but tells Whistler it won’t work on Blade, as it is part of his DNA, when Frost and his men show up and capture Karen while torturing Whistler. When Blade returns, he finds a badly injured and bitten Whistler, who tells him about the prophesy and Frost taking Karen, then asks Blade to give him a gun so he can kill himself. Blade does so and walks away while Whistler pulls the trigger, then he watches the video that Frost left for him, telling him where to go to save Karen. Arming himself for battle, including filling some syringe stakes with EDTA, Blade heads out to find Frost and kill him. At Frost’s penthouse, Frost and Mercury are taunting Karen but she counters back with the fact that she discovered a cure and she could cure Frost, as he isn’t pure blood. When Blade shows up and begins fighting the guards, he makes his way to Frost’s room only to discover that his mother is still alive and as she talks to him, Frost uses the distraction to capture him, revealing that he was the one that bit Blade’s mother and created him. Blade and Karen are taken to the Temple of the Eternal Night, so that they can enact the ritual and Frost taunts Blade some more before having him taken away. As Mercury takes the Elders to where they need to be for the ritual, Frost and Quinn take Karen to a room that has openings for a pit. Telling her about how sometimes people don’t become vampires when bitten, but become zombies instead, then shove her into a pit where she comes face to face with a zombiefied Curtis. As Curtis approaches her, Karen is able to knock him back, then uses a bone fragment to climb out of the pit. Blade is placed into a sarcophagus and restrained with special restraints intended to bleed him dry. As his blood drips from the sarcophagus into special drains in the floor, Mercury begins placing the elders into position underneath openings, where Blade’s blood proceeds to drip onto them. Meanwhile, Karen frees Blade from the sarcophagus, but, without his serum to help him, she tells Blade to feed from her in order to save himself. In the lower level of the temple, the ritual commences as the blood drips on the elders before merging on the ceiling into one drop that falls onto Frost’s head. A bolt of lightning then strikes the temple and electrocutes the elders before causing their skeletons to emerge from their bodies and fly around before entering Frost’s body, empowering him and completing the ritual. Upstairs, Blade feeds on Karen before letting her go, then kills his mother when she tries to stop him, before heading down to deal with Blade. Quinn goes to attack Blade but he quickly decapitates him, then proceeds to fight with the other vampires and kills them while Karen ends up killing Mercury. Frost then pulls out a sword of his own and challenges Blade and the two start fighting, with Blade seemingly winning when he cuts off Frost’s hand and slices him in half. However, Frost’s newfound powers allow him to heal those injuries and he easily is able to overpower him. Seeing the EDTA on a ledge above him, Blade throws his sword in a crack in the ledge, allowing the trick handle in the sword to split the shelf and drop the syringes into his hand. Blade then proceeds to throw all of the syringes into Frost, causing a severe reaction that makes him explode, killing him for good. Blade and Karen leave the temple and Karen says she needs to get back to the lab to cure herself and Blade says that there is still a war going on and if she wants to help, make him a stronger serum. Some time later, in Moscow, a vampire goes to attack a young woman when Blade appears and rescues her.

Blade met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 54% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though some may find the plot a bit lacking, Blade‘s action is fierce, plentiful, and appropriately stylish for a comic book adaptation.” Much like Harley Quinn in the Batman universe, Whistler’s character was originally created for Blade’s limited appearances in the Spider-Man (1994) animated series, but Marvel liked the character so much they decided to write him into the Marvel Universe. Despite the mixed reviews, the movie was a box office hit, earning $131.2 million off of a $45 million budget, and would spawn two sequels as well as a TV series based on the character.

You know what, this is still a fun and entertaining movie to watch. The acting was good for the most part, with Wesley Snipes doing a great job as Blade. Kris Kristofferson (Whistler) and N’Bushe Wright (Karen) were also good in their roles and while Stephen Dorff was ok as Frost, I liked Donal Logue and Arly Jover, Quinn and Mercury respectively, a lot better. The story was good, but there were several parts that had comic me just yelling internally at the screen. In the comics, Blade was affected by his mother’s death but that only made him immune to a vampire’s bite and gave him an affinity for the supernatural, it did not make him a half-breed. Later on, he wound up getting the vampire powers but that happened after the movie came out. I also didn’t like how they portrayed Frost, as in the comics he was an older man who had become a vampire while trying to find the secret to immortality, which gave him some unique abilities on top of the normal vampire powers. I personally would have loved to have seen his doppleganger making powers make an appearance in the movie. The special effects were pretty good, though I will admit they do seem a bit dated at this point in time. A good Marvel movie and definitely a sign of what things would soon follow for Marvel Studios.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 8th, 2014 Movie – Black Water Gold

black water gold

Years ago, while on a family vacation, I remember seeing some sort of movie about a people searching for treasure and being chased by pirates or something. Unfortunately, I never found out the name of the movie so I could watch it again later. So any time I see a movie about people diving for treasure and bad guys trying to get it for themselves, I always watch it to see if it is the movie I saw but so far, no luck. Now I had bought the Creature Features collection for some other movies but when I read the description for Black Water Gold, I thought that maybe I had lucked out and finally found the movie. Alas, that was not the case so the search must continue.

The plot: Ray Sandage is scuba diving and attempting to poach some fish at a reserve to sell to a customer when he hears a commotion coming from the water’s surface. Looking up, he sees a large boat chasing down a smaller boat, with the men in the smaller boat jumping to safety before the larger boat runs into and destroys the smaller one. As the men begin trying to swim the safety, the larger boat circles around and the people on board begin shooting at the swimmers, killing them both, before leaving the area. Ray swims over to the wreckage of the smaller boat and after checking the name, pokes around and takes a dive bag from it before leaving the area himself. Swimming to shore, he makes his way to his dune buggy to get out of his gear but when he sees a police boat in the area, he quickly grabs his tanks from the beach, gets in the car, and leaves, as he is on a restricted beach. After managing to evade a cop that has harassed him before, Ray returns to his boat and examines what he had found on the wreckage, only to discover it is artifacts from a sunken ship called the Hidalgo. Knowing the significance of the discovery, and the riches it contains, Ray contacts his friend Christofer Perdeger to talk to him about helping in figuring out exactly where the wreckage is. Christofer says they will need to bring in Alejandro Zayas, a historian and diver who has been researching the Hidalgo in hopes of finding it himself and says that he will take the credit and 80% of the reward, leaving Ray with the remaining 20% and Ray reluctantly agrees. Elsewhere, Roger, the man that killed the others, heads to the boat owned by Lyle Fawcett and tells him and his female associate Thais about what happened and Lyle gets upset, as the men they killed were the only ones that knew where the Hidalgo was. Christofer goes to see Zayas, who is diving in a cave and shows him the gold piece that Ray gave him and Zayas excitedly agrees to help them. The three men, along with Christofer’s assistant Eagan Ryan, head to Nassau and while Christofer and Zayas begin trying to figure out where the Hidalgo might have sunk, Ray, using a fake name as the police are looking for him, attempts to rent a boat and supplies. As he speaks with Mr. Kefalos, who had rented the boat that had been destroyed, Ray tries to subtly find out where the men had been diving but Kefalos is suspicious of Ray and doesn’t reveal anything. Later, Kefalos goes to see Lyle and tells him that the man that killed his men is there, as he had received word from the police and was told to keep a look out for him. Lyle and Roger go to the cabin, under the guise of calling the police, and Lyle chastises Roger but says that this could work in their favor. Meanwhile, Christofer and Zayas are going over the letters from the survivors of the Hidalgo and have determined where it must have sunk. Getting their gear loaded onto the boat, they prepare to sail that night but, after a run in Ray had with the police and his getting Eagan involved, Christofer wants to delay sailing out and clear up the issue with the police. Zayas argues against it and when he refuses to budge, Ray knocks him out and then tells Zayas to head out. After Zayas and Ray put Christofer in the cabin, Eagan cares for him and explains how he had ruined his own diving career saving her when she had too much nitrogen in her system and had started going down too deep. In the morning, Lyle, Thais, and Roger are having breakfast while discussing Ray and the others with Kefalos, and Lyle is upset about the fact that the original information about the Hidalgo he had gotten from Kefalos appears to have been wrong. Ray and the others reach Black Key and as Ray and Zayas begin suiting up to go diving, Ray and Christofer end up arguing about their methods, with Christofer getting angry that he can’t go himself. Ray and Zayas don’t have much luck and Zayas says that he wants to check out an underwater cave that is close by. Ray and Zayas argue about his going to the cave, and later Christofer argues about his reasoning as well. When Zayas says that Christofer shouldn’t hate him because he can no longer dive and suggests sending Eagan down there with him, Christofer admits his mistake to Eagan and agrees to send her down. As Zayas and Eagan explore the cave, Ray dives down to search the surrounding sand for artifacts. On the surface, Lyle’s boat arrives and Roger and the crew begin firing at Christofer, the captain, and the young deck hand Jason, forcing them into the water. Hearing the shots, Ray, Zayas, and Eagan swim up to their friends and drag them underwater, sharing their own air supply from the scuba tanks, and take them into the cave for safety, which has an air bubble inside. On the surface, Lyle has Roger place some dynamite on the boat and they blow it up, planning to radio in a false claim about an accident, but Kefalos, who had accompanied them, is uncomfortable about the ordeal. After waiting for the boat to leave, Ray and the others swim to shore and Jason goes to look for some fresh water and supplies. Meanwhile, Christofer’s hearing has been severely damaged after being forced to dive down but he is able to tell them that he knows where the Hidalgo is and that the cave was the secret. Jason returns and says that there is a village nearby with boats that will help them so they ehad there. The next day, Ray asks the village chief to send one of his boats to Nassau to alert the authorities about what is going on when they get word of Lyle’s boat returning. Ray then has some of the fishermen head out and start chumming the water to fish for sharks, preventing any of Lyle’s men from being able to dive safely. Meanwhile, Ray, Eagan, and Zayas prepare to head out themselves to search for the compressor from their ship so they can recharge their scuba tanks. The three go in at night so there would be less chance of being spotted but unfortunately, Roger sees the torches they are using and alerts Lyle, who decides to head out there to deal with them. Ray, Eagan, and Zayas find the compressor and start using some of the remaining air from their tanks to fill up a balloon so they can float it to the surface. Meanwhile, Christofer, the captain, and Jason notice that Lyle’s boat had spotted the others and, grabbing a rifle, they start making their way out into the water to help their friends. When Lyle and Roger have spotlights directed down into the water, Ray and the others quickly put out their torches and split up to avoid Roger and Lyle, who go after them with spear guns. Ray manages to swim through a tunnel and uses the compressor to block the other entrance but as he swims back to the surface, he finds the Hidalgo. On the surface, he finds that Christofer and the others have taken over the ship and he tells him about the discovery. The next day, the police are arresting Lyle and Roger for the deaths and Thais tells Ray that she will testify on his behalf to clear up the matter. Christofer and Zayas agree to work as partners on researching the Hidalgo and the artifacts within while Ray decides to take his share of the money and leave the area.

This was a pretty disappointing movie to be honest. The acting was good, with Aron Kincaid (Ray), Ricardo Montalban (Zayas), Bradford Dillman (Lyle), and Keir Dullea (Christofer) all did good jobs in their roles. Lana Wood (Eagan) was ok but I thought that France Nuyen’s character of Thais was the most interesting one. The basic plot of the story was just that, basic. People find evidence of a sunken treasure and go to look for it while some other, more ruthless, people are after it as well. However, the story just kind of felt lazy and boring, without any real drama being felt throughout the movie. The special effects with the diving was ok but over all this was just boring as hell. So it wasn’t the movie I was looking for and wasn’t even that good of a movie as compensation.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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