action, comedy, fantasy, movie, movie review, science fiction

October 16th, 2018 Movie – Ghostbusters (2016) (a.k.a. Ghostbusters: Answer The Call)

ghostbusters 2016

Oh, the shitstorm that was stirred up on the internet when this movie was announced. Ghostbusters is one of the greatest comedies to come out of the 80’s and while the sequel didn’t quite catch the same magic, it was still a good movie. A third movie had been talked about and rumored for years during the 90’s but nothing ever came of it. Then, over 20 years after the Ghostbuster were seen on the big screen, there was finally some serious talk about a third movie being made. However, when it was announced that it was going to be a reboot instead of a sequel and that it would star a female cast of Ghostbusters, the internet was lit up with people calling out in protest over the move, which led to many calling out the protests over their misogynistic tones. In any case, I wound up not seeing Ghostbusters (2016) in theaters but I did rent it off redbox as soon as it became available. I had considered buying it but that point became moot because it was one of the free gifts in my ultraviolet account so let’s see what I thought about this reboot.

The plot: As a tour group is going through the Aldridge Mansion in New York City, the tour guide is leading a group through the mansion when a candlestick suddenly falls by the basement door where Gertrude Aldridge had been locked away. That night, as the tour guide is closing up, he reveals that the candlestick was a prop used to scare the tourists. Suddenly, the basement door knob starts turning and the tour guide hears the sound of a woman screaming and banging on the door. The tour guide is then telekinetically attacked and as he tries to escape, he ends up running down into the basement, which is now unlocked. Realizing where he is, the tour guide tries to escape as green slime begins bubbling up from some cracks in the ground and a strange smoke heads towards him. The next day, Erin Gilbert is preparing to lecture at Columbia University when she is approached by Ed Mulgrave Jr, the owner of the Aldridge Mansion, who is holding a copy of the book she wrote years ago about the paranormal. Wrin tries to deny it but reluctantly admits it is her and asks what he wants. He tells her his belief that the mansion is haunted and asks that she check it out but she refuses, then asks how he got a copy of the book as she thought she had destroyed the only two copies. When Ed tells her that it was on Amazon, Erin goes to check for herself, keeping the results hidden from Dean Filmore when he enters her office to talk about her upcoming tenure hearing. Erin goes to see Abby Yates, her former partner that she had co-written to book with and Abby is unapologetic about putting the book for sale. Erin is introduced to Jillian Holtzmann, Abby’s new partner, and the two proceed to tease Erin about not believing in her old research. When Erin tells them why she is there, Abby and Holtzmann quickly grab some equipment and leave their lab, with Abby promising to take the book down until Erin gets tenure if she introduces them to Mulgrave. When they arrive at the mansion, they talk to Mulgrave and the tour guide across the street, then Abby and Holtzmann head inside, with Erin following after them. As they explore the mansion, Erin steps in some green goo and thinks that Abby and Holtzmann are pulling a prank on her by opening the basement door but Abby and Holtzmann swear they didn’t open the door. Suddenly, the ghost of Gertrude Aldridge exits the basement and Erin attempts to talk to it before the ghost spits ectoplasm on her, then flies off out of the mansion. Erin, Abby, and Holtzmann are excited about what happened but when Abby posts the video of the encounter online, Erin’s superiors see it and Filmore fires her. Erin goes to Abby and Holtzmann’s lab and complain to them about their video getting her fired. Abby says that they can now study ghosts full time, showing her people commenting about on their video of other hauntings, but when they go to ask for more money from the Dean of the college they teach at, he fires both Abby and Holtzmann. Meanwhile, subway ticket booth operator Patty Tolan is working her shift when a man approaches her and speaks with her briefly before wandering onto the tracks. As she goes to search for him, she sees a strange device on a electrical panel, which explodes, just before a ghost appears and frightens Patty away. The man, Rowan North, returns to his job at a hotel, discussing the sites where he has planted devices and says he has more to plant to break down the barrier. Erin, Abby, and Holtzmann go looking for a place to work out of and eventually find a place over a Chinese restaurant. As they get set up, Kevin Beckman shows up to apply for their receptionist job and Erin is attracted to him but Kevin seems to be somewhat of an idiot. As they discuss hiring him, Patty shows up at their office to tell them about the ghost she saw. The three head down to the subway station, which Patty explains was underneath the old prison where they electrocuted inmates. As they head down the tracks, they find the debris from the device that Rowan had planted just before the ghost appears again. Erin uses Holtzmann’s device to try and capture it and manages to snare it but when a train is approaching, they are forced to run while the ghost gets stuck on the incoming train. Elsewhere, Rowan has some guests complain about the ectoplasm that is dripping along the walls from the hotel, with one guest having a ghost possessing a rash on her back. Later, Rowan heads out to set the next bomb to destroy to barrier, going to a rock show where Ozzy Osbourne is performing.The girls return to their office to examine the pieces of the device they collected when they notice that Patty had followed them and wants to join them. When she tells them she can get them a car if they let her join, the girls agree but are not excited when she returns with a hearse. After Abby tests out Holtzmann’s portable version of her weapon, they see a news story talking about them, where famed paranormal debunker Martin Heiss calls the video of the ghost they encountered a fake. Erin says that she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks because what they are doing matters, just as Kevin takes a call about a ghost at the theater. As they go to leave, Erin sees her boyfriend Phil outside and goes to speak with him but ends up leaving with the others when Holtzmann pulls up in the now customized hearse. When they get to the theater, the owner explains what happened and takes them to the lower level to try and find the ghost. The girls separate and Abby discovers the device Rowan left while Patty encounters the ghost, which has possessed a mannequin. Patty leads the possessed mannequin back to the others, where they use their proton packs to destory the mannequin but the ghost escapes and heads upstairs towards the concert. The girls chase after him and continue trying to catch the ghost, with the crowd thinking it is part of the show, but they eventually catch it. As they leave the theater to a crowd chanting Ghostbusters, Rowan is watching the news report on them and tells them to enjoy their victory while they can. Back at their lab, the girls are celebrating their successful capture of a ghost when Martin Heiss shows up and questions whether they really caught a ghost or not. Despite Abby trying to stop her, Erin gets fed up with his skepticism and releases the ghost, which grabs Martin and throws him out the window while it flies off. As the police question the Ghostbusters, Agents Hawkins and Rourke from Homeland Security show up to escort the Ghostbusters to the Mayor’s office. Once there, Mayor Bradley and his secretary explain that they know the Ghostbusters aren’t frauds and are aware of the ghosts in the city but want the Ghostbusters to stay out of it while Homeland does their job. As the news labels them frauds, Abby tells them they can’t let what others think stop them, listing other locations where ghosts have been spotted. Erin gets an idea and plots the locations on a map, discovering that the events are occurring on ley lines. As Abby goes to call Homeland about their theory, Erin discovers the lines intersect at the Mercado hotel and Patty tells them the history of that area, and the deaths that have occurred there. When she looks at the hotels website, she recognizes Rowan as the man that spoke to her at the subway and the Ghostbusters head out to investigate. When they get to the hotel, they head to the basement and find Rowan preparing to activate a giant device to destroy the barrier. Abby tries to talk Rowan out of his plan but he goes to activate the device, killing himself in the process. Holtzmann manages to shut off the device and discovers that Rowan had been reading Abby and Erin’s book but as Jennifer thanks them for saving the city, she tells them that Homeland will “fake arrest” them while she speaks with the press and says it was just a sad stunt by the Ghostbusters. Erin gets fed up with everyone calling them frauds and after attacking a man calling them fakes, she tells the others that she needs a break. Heading home, she starts looking through Rowan’s copy of their book when she sees the notes he wrote in it and his plan to kill himself in order to become a ghost and lead the army of ghost to purge the world of humanity. Erin tries to call the others and warn them about Rowan but when she sees a news report that Mayor Bradley is having a meeting with world leaders, she heads there to warn him but is thrown out of the restaurant. Meanwhile, Rowan possesses Abby, who begins destroying the Ghostbuster’s equipment. When Patty and Holtzmann try to stop her, they manage to free Abby from Rowan but he possesses Kevin, who heads back to the hotel and activates the portal. As ghosts swarm the city, Abby, Holtzmann, and Patty head out to the hotel to shut down the portal but the Ecto-1 ends up being stolen by Slimer. The three continue on foot but are attacked by a series of ghost balloons, ending up being trapped underneath a balloon of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man but Erin saves them. At the hotel, the possessed Kevin takes control of Agent Hawkins, Rourke, and police and national guard attempting to stop him, forcing them to dance for his amusement before freezing them in place. When the Ghostbusters show up, he summons some ghosts to fight them but they are able to defeat the ghosts and make their way into the hotel. Rowan taunts them for a bit, eventually leaving Kevin, and transforms into the ghost from their logo, then growing super-sized and begins attacking the city. Realizing he is too strong to attack, the Ghostbusters decide to try and fire into the portal and cross the streams in an attempt to close it but the proton packs aren’t powerful enough. Seeing Slimer driving the Ecto-1 towards them, Patty suggest using the equipment on top of the car, which is essentially a nuclear reactor, and they fire their proton packs at the car, steering it into the portal while shooting the equipment and causing it to explode. The explosion causes the portal’s energy to reverse and the ghosts are sucked back into it. Rowan is able to hold on but the Ghostbusters shoot him and he falls into the portal but grabs Abby and drags her in as he falls. With the portal closing, Erin ties herself off with the cable from a winch and jumps in to rescue Abby, while Patty and Holtzmann pull them both back before the portal closes. As people try to explain what happened and if the Ghostbusters had anything to save them, Jennifer approaches the Ghostbusters and says that while they will continue to disavow that what they do is real, Mayor Bradley wants to fully fund the Ghostbusters so they can be better prepared if something like this happens again. Erin has the Mayor help them buy an old firehouse to use for their new base and as they get themselves set up, Leslie tells them to come out to the roof, where they see various skyscrapers in the city lit up to say that they love the Ghostbusters. Later, as they are relaxing in Holtzmann’s lab, Patty is listening to an audio tape of what was recorded during the event and asks them who Zuul is.

Despite the initial backlash before the movie came out, Ghostbusters (2016) met with mostly positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 74% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Ghostbusters does an impressive job of standing on its own as a freewheeling, marvelously cast supernatural comedy — even if it can’t help but pale somewhat in comparison with the classic original.” The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $229.1 million off of a $144 million budget (but is considered a bomb due to the high marketing and production costs) and while there was some initial talk of a sequel, the disappointing box office has put the idea on hold. However, IDW Publishing announced a 6 part mini-series that would team up the original Ghostbusters with the 2016 crew, with a second series continuing the adventures of the 2016 Ghostbusters.

Ok, the original movie is one that will never be topped, but this wasn’t as bad as many people thought it was going to be. The acting was good, with the 4 main women doing great jobs in their roles but Leslie Jones (Patty) and Kate McKinnon (Holtzmann) really stole the show with their performances. The writing was ok but I feel like this movie focused too much on the comedy aspects and not enough on the story itself. I think a part of that is due to the writing, as Harold Ramis, who co-wrote the original movie with Dan Aykroyd, was a genius when it came to writing comedy movies and his writing style made his movies memorable, if not outright iconic. One thing I did like was all the nods to the original movies, with 5 of the original actors making cameos in the movie, as well as showing the firehouse and several references to lines or scenes from the original movie. The special effects in the movie were pretty good and I liked how they decided to get creative in the uses of the proton pack, with them using them almost like whips and flinging the ghosts into other ghosts was pretty neat. So it is not as good as the original movie, and I honestly don’t think they were trying to out do it, but it is a fun movie to watch and a pretty decent entry into the franchise.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

action, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

October 14th, 2018 Movie – Deep Blue Sea 2

deep blue sea 2

I know, I know. I missed another day. Well, it is kind of a good news/bad news situation. The bad news is that my new job is not your normal 8 hrs a day, 5 days a week job and there will be times that I am working 10, 12, or more hours a day, as well as working one or both days on the weekend. Unfortunately, yesterday was one of those days and after work, I got cleaned up and hang out with some friends because I have been somewhat cooped in the house the past few weeks. The good news is that this weekend was my last weekend that I will be working for the foreseeable future so I should be able to get these last couple of movies taken care of. Now today’s movie is honestly a sequel that is somewhat unnecessary but is also a long time over due. See, if they were going to make a sequel to Deep Blue Sea, they should have done it years ago, not almost 20 years later. Well, I heard about this movie coming out a while ago and immediately made plans to pick it up once it was released. So let’s see what trouble awaits us with today’s movie, Deep Blue Sea 2.

The plot: 8 miles off the South African coast, a pair of men that are illegally hunting sharks for their fins when they hear a broadcast from Trent Slater warning them to clear the area. One of the men wants to go back but his partner convinces them to stay, just as their boat is bumped by a large shark. The two men get ready to catch the shark when they notice 4 more sharks swim next to it, then all 5 sharks swim in formation towards the boat and strike it, knocking the men into the water, where they are both killed. Trent arrives at the scene too late to save the men and as the sharks approach him, he uses a device to get them to break off their attack and follow him back to their floating lab Akhelios. Once there, he tells his coworker, Mike Shutello, about the sharks getting out and that hey have to figure out how they did it. Meanwhile, Dr. Misty Calhoun, a shark conservationalist working for 5 Oceans, is finishing up a class when she is approached by Craig Burns, who works for Durant Pharmaceuticals. Burns is there on behalf of Carl Durant, the company’s owner/CEO, to consult on a project, with Burns offering her $50,000 up front with the promise of more funding for 5 Oceans if she agrees to come out. Back at Akhelios, Trent goes to see Aaron Ellroy, the sites’ computer technician, and asks him about how the sharks could have escaped the enclosure and as they look at the video feed, they discover a tunnel that was dug underneath the electric fence. Aaron asks if they should tell Durant but Trent says not yet, as he has an idea on how to deter the sharks. The next day, Misty meets Burns at the docks, where he introduces her to married couple Daniel and Leslie Kim, a neuroscientist and neurobiologist respectively. Misty is curious about what is going on and discusses it with Daniel and Leslie but they aren’t too concerned. Burns takes them out to Akhelios on a motorboat and as they head inside, Trent is working on creating a barrier by the tunnel to keep the sharks from getting in. He returns to the lab just as Misty and the others enter and Misty asks him about the rings and after Trent answers, she notices that they are keeping bull sharks in the enclosure. Durant chooses that moment to enter and Misty questions him about the sharks, warning him that they are a disaster waiting to happen. Durant tells her he will explain everything and invites everyone to head up to the surface and as they do, Trent tells Misty that they need some more people like her telling the truth around there. On the surface, Durant throws Aaron into the water with the sharks and as Misty dives in to save him, Durant waits to the last possible second before telling Trent to call them off. As Misty and Aaron reach the platform, Misty is shocked at what she witnessed and asks Durant how he did that and Durant says he will explain everything inside after she changes into some dry clothes, while Aaron complains to Trent that the sharks were toying with him. Inside, Durant slips into his quarters and drinks from a vial of liquid when Burns enters and tells him about the sharks escaping. Burns is worried about the liability if the public learns that their sharks got out and killed someone but Durant is more excited that the sharks were able to solve a problem, meaning that their formula is working, and says that when he is done with his research he will kill them. When everyone assembles in the wet lab, where Durant explains that he has created a compound that can boost intelligence, testing them on the sharks. Wanting to show them an example, Durant has Trent sedate Bella, the alpha female of the group, and he and Mike bring it up into the wet lab. As Josh Hooper, the 4th crew member monitors Bella’s vital signs, Durant explains that what he is hoping to accomplish is save the human race but Misty thinks he has a God complex. As Durant speaks with the Kims, as he had used some of their research in his project, Misty talks with Hooper and learns that Durant had been taking the serum himself. Meanwhile, on the surface, the other 4 sharks manage to snag the boat that is tied up in the enclosure and push it towards the generator, causing it to short out and spill the fuel drums next to it. Back in the wet lab, Durant approaches Misty and Hooper and Misty asks why she was brought there. Durant explains that Bella has been showing some unexplained traits and Misty tells him that she is pregnant. Hooper and Durant don’t believe it and ask why it wouldn’t show up on their blood tests and Misty says that since they are altering the animals DNA, it might not have picked it up, to which Durant admits she might be right. Meanwhile, Trent is alerted to what is happening on the surface and after examining the situation, tries to signal the sharks but they don’t respond. He heads back inside just as the sharks begin attacking Akhelios and tells Aaron the situation. Hooper is getting a saliva test from Bella to confirm if she is pregnant but as he reaches in her mouth, she regains consciousness and attempts to bite him but he manages to get to safety and drop her back into the enclosure. On the surface, the generator finally explodes and causes power to go out on some of the fences. Meanwhile, Burns is writing an email describing Durant’s behavior since taking the drugs when the explosion occurs and as he wanders the corridors, the hull breaches and he is knocked off his feet by the influx of water. As the others access what happened in the wet lab, they see Burns body float by and are shocked. When they check the computers, they notice that all of the sharks are in the lagoon and Durant wants to know what killed Burns. Misty sees Bella swim by and notices that she is no longer pregnant and says that the drop into the wet pool must have triggered labor and her pups killed Burns. Realizing that they have no way of calling for help down there, Mike decides to try and swim to the surface to use the sat phone there but as he is swimming, one of the sharks bangs into him and knocks him unconscious. Trent swims out to rescue him and Misty gives him CPR to revive him but as Mike then leans over the wet pool to taunt the sharks, one of the sharks leaps out and bites his head off. As everyone reacts in shock over his death, the pressure in the complex begins to buckle, causing the wet pool to explode outward, filling the lab with water and separating everyone. Misty and Trent end up together and as they try to figure out a way out, Misty asks him how he ended up working with Durant and why he stayed. Durant ends up on his own and heads towards his quarters, where he drinks the last of the formula he had on him. As he leaves, he encounters Misty and Trent and as they tell him there is no way to the surface now that everything is flooded, he tells them that there is an access that is used for maintenance work that they can get to, but then gets into an argument with Misty when she says they need to destroy the sharks before they reach the open ocean, as he wants to save his research. Elsewhere, Aaron and Hooper ended up together and make their way to the crews quarters but when the swarm of shark pups approaches them, Aaron manages to get onto a mattress that is above water while Hooper ends up being killed. Daniel ends up on his own and after avoiding the pup swarm, he starts looking for Leslie. Misty, Trent, and Durant reach the pump room where the maintenance hatch is but as Trent heads inside, Misty hears Daniel calling out for Leslie and goes to try and find him. While she is looking for him, Trent closes the door and breaks the lock, trapping her on the other side. Trent notices what he has done and punches Durant, then goes to the door as Misty gets there. He tells her what Durant did and she tells him to go to the surface and call for help. He tells her to try and find another way out and promises to come back for her, then argues with Durant over his actions. Leslie had been knocked unconscious by the wave surge but when she comes too, she goes looking for Daniel and finds him but ends up being killed by the pup swarm. Trent and Durant reach the surface and Trent calls for help while back in the complex, Aaron manages to avoid the swarm briefly by floating on the mattress but when they attack the mattress, he makes a break for it and encounters Daniel, snapping him out of his shock. The two men make theor way through the complex and find Misty, who had used a blow torch to cut away the lock the air duct. As they all hug, Misty asks about the others and they tell her that they didn’t make it. Misty tells them about the way out and they open the door but when Misty hears the swarm approaching, she tells them to go, then uses the blow torch to try and keep the swarm at bay. When the swarm goes around her and enters the duct room, she warns the others, then makes her own way to the surface. Aaron and Daniel climb the ladder but when the water starts rising, Daniel ends up being bit in half by the swarm. Aaron makes it to the surface, followed by Misty, who had swam up through the wet lab. When a Coast Guard drone flies towards them to confirm Trent’s call, but as the wave to show they need help, Bella leaps out of the water and grabs the drone, dragging it underwater. As the structure starts to sink underwater, Trent spots the boat and says that they need to swim for it and they reluctantly get into the water and swim for it. Suddenly, Aaron is dragged underwater and Bella appears between Misty, Trent, and the boat but it ignores them and swims straight for Durant. Durant dives underwater and screams at Bella, seemingly chasing her off but as he surfaces and gloats, Bella swims underneath him and kills him. Misty and Trent reach the boat and as they try to get it started, one of the sharks approaches them and moves to attack them but they both fire flare guns at it, setting it on fire and it sinks to the bottom of the ocean. As Trent works on getting the boat started, Aaron surfaces and while Misty helps him on board, he explains how he avoided being killed. Trent gets the boat started and they go to leave but Misty stops him, saying that they can’t allow the swarm or the other sharks to escape to the open ocean. Trent then pulls out a key he grabbed from Durant, and reveals that Durant’s paranoia over anyone stealing his secrets would help them as he pulls out a second key, then pulls out a box that contained a self destruct panel. Using both keys, Trent activates it and they all watch as Akhelios blows up. Misty, Trent, and Aaron believe the explosion killed all of the sharks but three weeks later, an injured Bella and the swarm are seen swimming near a populated beach.

As far as sequels go, this wasn’t bad, but I expected a bit more from it. The acting was good, with Danielle Savre (Misty), Rob Mayes (Trent), and Michael Beach (Durant) doing good jobs in their roles. The story was almost exactly like the original movie, with a corporation using sharks for scientific research, only the research was different; with the original being for a cure for Alzheimer’s while in the sequel, it was simply for a way to make people smarter. One thing I was disappointed with is that this is pretty much a sequel in name only, as there is no reference to the original movie whatsoever. This was a let down as there was plenty of ways they could have worked some sort of reference to the original movie into this sequel, and even with it being an almost exact copy, it would have helped with some set up. The special effects were not as good as the original movie, and we don’t really get such a great death scene like Samuel L. Jackson’s from the first movie, but they were still good enough to make the movie entertaining instead of hurting it. It isn’t as good as the first but this is still an entertaining movie and worth watching if you are up for some sharky good entertainment.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

action, movie, movie review, thriller

October 11th, 2018 Movie – Jason Bourne

jason bourne

No, your eyes are not deceiving you about the date for today’s movie. For the first time in over four years, I did not review a movie on the day I was supposed to. The reason for this is due to the fact that I found out I a class I signed up for for work started right after yesterday and by the time I was finished, I was pretty much exhausted and ended up going to bed almost as soon as I got home. I may try to double up on the weekend if I can in order to pre-write Wednesday’s reviews but if work continues like it has, then I might just have to deal with not doing a review on Wednesdays for the immediate future.

Now, on to today’s movie. The Bourne movies have been some pretty entertaining movies to watch and I enjoyed all of them, though was a little disappointed with The Bourne Legacy. However, when I heard that a new Bourne movie was coming out, with Matt Damon reprising the role of the title character, I will admit that I did have much interest in going to see it. I felt like the movies had pretty much run their course and, unlike the James Bond franchise, there was only so much you could do with the character. So if that was my feelings on the subject, why would I own today’s movie, Jason Bourne. Well, this was yet another one of those free movies that I received when I signed up for my ultraviolet accounts. So let’s see if this movie is any good.

The plot: 10 years after exposing Operation Blackbriar and disappearing off the grid after being shot, Jason Bourne has remembered everything about his past and has isolated himself from the world, spending his days earning money by bare-knuckle fighting on the Greece/Serbian border. Meanwhile, ex Treadstone handler Nicky Parsons heads to the headquarters of a hacktivist group in Reykjavik, Iceland, and uses an old CIA device to hack into the CIA files on their Black Operations. At CIA Headquarters in Langley, Heather Lee, the head of the CIA’s cybersecurity division, is alerted to the device trying to breach their firewall but when she heads down to check herself, she discovers that the device has actually found a back door into their system and has her team trace it while she attempts to upload a malware program onto the device. In Reykjavik, Nicky is looking through the Treadstone files and discovers that Bourne’s father was involved with Treadstone. After closing out the file, she notices that someone is attemptign to track her device, just as the CIA locate where she is hacking from and shut the power down and Nicky quickly burns the device and leaves. In Langley, Lee is able to track the device’s past uses to Christian Dassault, the leader of the hactivist group, and through him, is able to discover that Nicky was the one that was using the device. Lee informs Robert Dewey, the new Director of the CIA, and Edwin Russell, the head of National Intelligence, and tells them that Nicky was the one behind the hack and if they allow her to lead the team to catch her, she will get not only Nicky, but Jason Bourne as well if he is still alive. Dewey reluctantly agrees to let Lee lead the team but secretly contacts an Asset in Rome to tell him about Bourne’s possible involvement and sends him to Athens. In Athens, Bourne is involved in another bare knuckle fight when he spots Nicky in the crowd and after he wins, he finds a note with an address on it in his bag. In Langley, Lee and her team track Parson’s via CCTV and send in some CIA agents to capture Nicky and anyone she meets with, while the Asset also lands in Athens and makes his way to where Nicky is. Nicky meets with Bourne during a violent anti-government protest, using it as cover for their meeting. Nicky tells Bourne about hacking the CIA for Dassault and what she found and Bourne is annoyed, as he feels that this has nothing to do with him anymore. As Nicky tells him about what she saw concerning his father, Bourne sees the CIA team tracking her and tells her they need to move. Bourne allows himself to be spotted, figuring that they will follow him, then tells Nicky to meet him at the Statue of Athena. The two separate and Bourne is able to knock out the agents but another team tracks Nicky. Bourne knocks out a police motorcycle cop and steals his bike, then heads out to rescue Nicky, taking out the CIA team in the process. The two go to escape but the Asset shows up and chases after them and when they manage to cause him to crash, Lee tells the Asset where they are heading and he is able to shoot Nicky, causing Bourne to crash. Bourne recovers and tries to get Nicky to cover but she tells him no, then goes to throw something to him but the Asset shoots her again, finishing her off, while the key she was going to give to Bourne clatters to the ground. In Langley, Dewey tells Lee to track down Dassault, as he will possibly lead them to Bourne and when Lee asks him if the Asset knows Bourne, Dewey tells her that when Bourne exposed Blackbriar, the Asset was undercover in Syria and ended up being captured and tortured when he was exposed. Bourne takes the key Nicky had and uses it to open the locker where she stored a weapon and the USB drive with the files on it. Using Nicky’s notebook, Bourne is able to track down where Dassault is in Berlin and heads there. Meanwhile, Aaron Kalloor, the CEO of a social media company called Deep Dream, is giving a press conference in Washington D.C. and afterwards, he meets with Dewey, who had secretly funded Deep Dream and plans on using the company for mass surveillance in tangent with the CIA’s newest assassination operation, “Iron Hand”. Kalloor tells Dewey that Nicky’s hacking of their system has him worried and he no longer wants a part of Dewey’s program but Dewey attempts to calm him down and says he is already involved. In Berlin, Bourne meets up with Dassault and hands him the USB drive, telling him to open it, unknowingly activating the malware and alerting Lee to their location. Bourne starts going through the files and discovers that Nicky was right and his father was involved with Treadstone and that he was placed under surveillance for recruitment into the program. Dassault attacks Bourne but Bourne is able to knock him out, then looks up where to find Malcolm Smith, the Treadstone surveillance officer that was watching him. Suddenly, the files are deleted, as Lee was able to remotely access the computer and delete them, and Dewey tells her to call Bourne. Bourne picks up the phone and both Lee and Dewey try to convince Bourne to come in but while Dewey stalls him to allow their team to get there, Lee texts Bourne and warns him about the incoming team, allowing him to escape. Later, Dewey, his assistant Craig Jeffers, and Lee are meeting with Russell and Dewey says that Bourne seems to be going after Smith and he wants the Asset there to take Smith out, as well as Bourne. Lee argues against it and tells Russell that she believes she can get Bourne to come in peacefully if she meets with him face to face and Dewey tells her to go ahead and try, but then tells the Asset to kill Bourne when he gets the chance. Meanwhile, Kalloor is served with a federal injunction to prevent him from altering Deep Dream and he tells his aide to get all of the recordings regarding every meeting he had with Dewey, including the off the books meetings, but his aide calls Dewey and alerts him to Kalloor’s intentions. In London, Bourne calls Smith and tells him to meet him in Paddington Plaza but Lee and her team tail him, handing the Asset a tracker and comm device so they all stay in contact but the Asset leaves the tracker and comm device on the roof he is assigned and follows Smith without Lee’s knowing it. . As Bravo team follows Smith, the Asset, under Dewey’s orders, kills them in order to make it look like Bourne is killing them, then kills Alpha team as well and Dewey takes control of the operation from Lee. When Lee notices that the Asset isn’t moving on her screen, she realizes that she was played and tells her team to get to Paddington Plaza. Smith reaches the plaza and tells Dewey, who is in contact with him, but Dewey wants him to stay there in order to lure Bourne out, so the Asset can kill them both. Bourne creates a diversion and a panicked Smith attempts to leave but Bourne grabs him. The Asset is unable to get a clear shot just as Lee arrives and sees Bourne leaving with Smith. Bourne questions Smith about his father and Dewey tells Smith not to answer but Bourne injures him and continues questioning him. Smith finally admits that Bourne’s father did not want him in Treadstone and he was killed and it was made to look like a terrorist attack in order to get Bourne to join Treadstone. Suddenly, the Asset shows up and shoots at Smith and Bourne, killing Smith and knocking Bourne off the roof. The Asset goes to see if Bourne is dead or not and finds that Bourne has disappeared and wants to go after him. Dewey tells him no, that Bourne will be going after both of them, and that he should head to Vegas, as they have a problem with Iron Hand, not realizing that Bourne had grabbed Smith’s comm device and heard what Dewey said. Bourne hijacks Lee’s van and tells ehr to drive, then questions her about Dewey and Iron Hand. Lee tells him about them and says that she can help Bourne get to Dewey, as she wants him gone just as much as he does, and hands him a passport and phone. Bourne flies to Vegas and as he goes through customs, Lee hacks the servers and is able to get him through without flagging any security measures. Bourne arrives at the hotel where the conference is taking place and as Kalloor enters the area, Bourne looks around at some of the tech on display and grabs some samples. He texts Lee and tells her to meet him by the elevators but as she is waiting, Jeffers approaches her and tells her that Dewey wants to see her, and Bourne secretly slips a tracking device into her jacket. Following Lee, Bourne is able to record the conversation she has with Dewey and they head off backstage for the show, where they meet with Kalloor, while the Asset gets in position to take out Kalloor. As they get ready to go on stage, Jeffers tells Dewey he has a high priority message coming in and Dewey tells them that he will be on stage momentarily. As Kalloor begins talking, Jeffers tells Dewey that Bourne arrived in Vegas 2 hours ago and Dewey realizes that Lee is helping Bourne and decides to take her out as well. Lee, noticing Dewey’s change in demeanor, secretly texts Bourne that something is wrong and he rushes towards the conference room. On stage, Kalloor is about to tell everyone the deal he had made with Dewey and Dewey orders the Asset to kill him, then Lee. Bourne shows up and figures out where the Asset is and spoils his aim, causing him to only wound Kalloor, while Bourne fires at the Asset and wounds him. Panic ensues and Bourne flees from the security detail while Jeffers tries to escort Dewey out of there but Dewey tells him to take him to the penthouse. Dewey gets there and pulls out a gun before waiting for Bourne, who eventually shows up. Bourne says he knows about what happened in Beirut but Dewey tries to convince Bourne that he secretly wants to come back to work for him. Jeffers shows up and tries to kill Bourne but Bourne kills him, only to be shot by Dewey and when he moves to finish Bourne off, he is killed by Lee. Bourne helps Lee cover up her involvement in Dewey’s death, then goes to leave when he sees the Asset, who is making his own way out of the building. The Asset kills a police officer and steals a S.W.A.T. truck but Bourne steals a car and gives chase, After a dangerous car chase, Bourne and the Asset end up fighting in the basement of a hotel and Bourne eventually kills the Asset. Some time later, Lee meets with Russel and tells him that Dewey was living in the past and his methods suffered for it and when Russell names a new Director, she wants to be it. Russell asks about Bourne and she tells him that she has Bourne’s trust and she can bring him in and if not, then he will be put down. Lee leaves Russell and heads to a park, where she meets up with Bourne and asks him to come back in. Bourne tells her to let him think about it and walks off and Lee heads to her car. When she gets there, she finds a recording device on the passenger seat and when she plays it back, she hears the conversation she had with Russell regarding Bourne and realizes that any trust she had is gone now and she has no chance of bringing him in.

Jason Bourne met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 54% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Jason Bourne delivers fans of the franchise more of what they’ve come to expect — which is this sequel’s biggest selling point as well as its greatest flaw.” Matt Damon and Julia Stiles were the only characters from the original trilogy to reprise their characters in the latest movie. While David Strathairn, Joan Allen, and Edward Norton’s characters are still alive at the end of The Bourne Legacy, they are never mentioned in this movie. The movie was a box office hit, earning $415.5 million off of a $135 million budget, making it the second highest grossing film in the series behind The Bourne Ultimatum.

This was a pretty decent movie but I still feel like it was rather unnecessary. The acting was good, with Matt Damon and Julia Stiles doing good jobs reprising their roles of Jason Bourne and Nicky Parsons respectively. I thought that Tommy Lee Jones did a good job as Dewey, as did Alicia Vikander (Lee) and Vincent Cassel (Asset). The story honestly felt pretty weak. I mean, I liked the idea that after so much time had passed, Bourne got his memory back but instead of offering something new for a plot device, they turn to the same old thing; something from Treadstone’s past that has a direct bearing on Bourne’s past and he gets dragged into the matter. The action scenes were pretty well choreographed and while the slow, methodical pace serve the previous movies pretty well, in this case it just made the movie boring as everyone knew how things were going to play out. It’s an enjoyable movie but does nothing to add anything new to the series.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

action, adventure, animation, comic book, movie, movie review

October 9th, 2018 Movie – Big Hero 6

big hero 6

Another free movie for signing up for a service. Got to love how that works out. Anyways, I don’t care how old I get, I still enjoy watching cartoons, whether it be a TV show or an animated movie. Now with Disney pretty much owning the rights to Marvel, you just knew at some point that there was going to be an animated move based on a Marvel comic book. However, while Disney has done several cartoon shows on Disney and Disney XD based on the more popular characters, their first feature film focused on a lesser known comic. My guess is that since the live action MCU was doing so well, they didn’t want to risk turning people away from those movies. Whatever the reason, there was an animated super hero movie in theaters and I for one couldn’t wait to go see Big Hero 6.

The plot: In the futuristic city of San Fransokyo, 14 year old Hiro Hamada participates in an illegal robot fight, hustling the champion Yama out of his money. When Yama grabs Hiro’s bot and tells his men to teach him a lesson, Hiro is rescued by his older brother Tadashi, who chastises him about participating in illegal fights, just before they get arrested by the police. The boy’s aunt Cass bails them out, the chastises both of them, as she had to close her cafe down early to bail them out. When Hiro plans on going to another bot fight, Tadashi says he will take him there but instead, takes him to the science lab at his university. At the lab, Tadashi introduces Hiro to his friends and classmates (Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred) then shows Hiro the project he is working on, a robotic nurse named Baymax. Hiro is impressed with Tadashi’s project and when he learns that Professor Robert Callaghan, who is one of Hiro’s idols in robotics, is Tadashi’s teacher, Hiro begs Tadashi to let him know how he can get in to the university. Tadashi tells Hiro that Callaghan has a contest every year and the kid who impresses him the most gets in but when Hiro sits down to come up with an idea, he draws a blank. Tadashi tells Hiro to not give up and Hiro eventually comes up with an idea for the expo. When they get there, Tadashi and all his friends wish Hiro luck and he presents his invention, microbots. Hiro amazes the crowd when he shows everything the microbots can be used for and after his presentation is done, he is approached by Alistair Krei, the CEO of Krei Tech. Krei wants to buy the microbots from Hiro but when Callaghan tells him that he doesn’t trust Krei, Hiro tells Krei that they aren’t for sale. Callaghan tells Hiro he has been accepted to the school and Aunt Cass says she will treat everyone to dinner at the cafe. Tadashi tells her he and Hiro will join them in a bit, then he pulls Hiro aside to talk with him. Suddenly, they hear alarms going off and people screaming and they turn to find the expo is on fire. When he learns that Callaghan is still in there, Tadashi goes in to help him and Hiro decides to go as well but he is knocked back when the building explodes, killing both Callaghan and Tadashi. Several weeks later, Hiro has fallen into a state of depression over Tadashi’s death, refusing to register for his classes. As he is moping in his room, he stubs his toe and accidentally activates Baymax, who tries to assist Hiro. Hiro tries to get Baymax back in his case but during the process, discovers one of his microbots in his hoodie he was wearing at the expo. The microbot seems to be trying to go somewhere but Hiro says that it must be broken as the other microbots were destroyed. Baymax takes the microbot and decides to see where it is trying to go and Hiro chases after him, eventually reaching an abandoned warehouse. Deciding to head inside, Hiro discovers that someone is mass producing his microbots when the microbots suddenly activate and attempt to attack them. Hiro and Baymax try to run away and see a man in a kabuki mask controlling the microbots, just before they are shoved out a window. Baymax saves Hiro and they go to the police to report what happened but Baymax begins running out of power and Hiro leaves, as he doesn’t want Aunt Cass to know he didn’t sign up for college. When he gets home, Hiro realizes that the man in the kabuki mask had set the fire at the expo to cover up his stealing Hiro’s microbots. Wanting to bring the guy to justice in order to avenge Tadashi, Hiro decides to use Baymax to accomplish the task, downloading karate onto a memory chip and inserting it into Baymax, then fashioning him a suit of armor. Hiro and BAymax use the microbot to track the killer, finding him at the docks but before they can attack him, they are confronted by Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred, who had been contacted by Baymax earlier. When the man in the kabuki mask attacks them,  Hiro tells the others to let him and Baymax handle him but Baymax is overpowered and the others grab Hiro and force him to leave with them. They kids attempt to escape but end up crashing into the ocean, only for Baymax to save them all. Trying to figure out where they should go, Fred takes them to his home, which is a mansion, and he reveals that his parents are rich. Hiro tries to figure out what the symbol on the item the kabuki man was carrying means and Fred says that it is probably Krei, as he had attempted to buy the microbots at the expo. Hiro decides to go after the kabuki man again and the others agree to help so Hiro works on designing them all super hero outfits and weapons. After testing everyones’ super suits, Hiro takes off with Baymax and tests his new armor, then scans the city to locate the kabuki man, finding him on an isolated island. The group heads out to the island and as they look around, they discover that the island was once a test lab for Krei Tech. The find video showing that Krei was testing a teleportation device but an accident occurred and the test pilot disappeared through the portal. Suddenly, the kabuki man attacks them and they attempt to get the mask away from him, as Hiro says that it is what is controlling the microbots. Hiro manages to knock the kabuki mask off the man only to discover that it is Callaghan, not Krei. A shocked Hiro asks Callaghan how he survived and Callaghan tells him he used to microbots to survive the explosion, telling Hiro that Tadashi’s death was his own fault. Enraged at the betrayal, Hiro tells Baymax to destroy Callaghan, taking out his healthcare chip in order to allow Baymax to attack without mercy. Go-Go, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred try to stop Baymax and succeed when Honey Lemon puts the healthcare chip back in Baymax but doing so allows Callaghan to escape. Hiro is upset at the others and leaves with Baymax, hoping to repair his scanner so they can find Callaghan. When Hiro attempts to remove the healthcare chip again, Baymax refuses to let him, asking if this is what Tadashi would want and showing Hiro video of Tadashi as he was building Baymax. Go-Go and the others show up at Hiro’s garage and Hiro apologizes to them. Honey Lemon tells Hiro they found something on the island and pulls out a flash drive, which shows that Callaghan was at the teleportation testing. When they scan through some of the other video files, they realize that the test pilot was Callghan’s daughter Abigail and that he blames Krei for her death. At Krei Tech, Callaghan attacks Krei and then reveals that he has grabbed the portal and puts it back together, causing it to begin sucking Krei Tech into it. Hiro and the others show up and try to get Callaghan to stop but when he refuses, they go on the offensive. Callaghan is able to capture them but Hiro comes up with a new plan, getting the microbots sucked into the portal so that Callaghan no longer has a weapon to use. The plan works and they are able to stop Callaghan but the portal is still active and Krei says there is no way to stop it. Hiro says that they should run but Baymax says he detects life coming from within the portal and Hiro realizes that Abigail is still alive so he jumps onto Baymax and they head in to save her. Making their way through the portal, they eventually find Abigail’s ship and head back to the portal but when some debris is heading towards them, Baymax shield Hiro and Abigail’s ship with his own body. Baymax’s armor is damaged and when he notices the portal is closing, he tells Hiro that there is another way to save him, placing his rocket fist into the ship’s engine. Hiro doesn’t want him to do this, as he doesn’t want to lose Baymax, but Baymax says he will always be with him so Hiro reluctantly deactivates Baymax, just as he launches his rocket fist. Hiro makes it through with Abigail, just before the portal explodes, and when the others ask about Baymax, Hiro shakes his head no. Callaghan is arrested as Abigail is sent to a hospital for treatment while Hiro and the others leave the scene. Some time later, Hiro has taken over Tadashi’s lab at the university and as he places Baymax’s rocket fist on a shelf, he sees the healthcare chip in the fist. Realizing what this means, Hiro rebuilds Baymax and when he is activated, the two hug. Hiro and Baymax continue to act as superheroes to the city, with the others joining them and calling themselves Big Hero 6. Some time later, Fred is talking at a picture of his dad when he discovers a hidden room full of superhero equipment and when his dad shows up in the doorway, Fred hugs him as his dad says they have a lot to talk about.

Big Hero 6 met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Agreeably entertaining and brilliantly animated, Big Hero 6 is briskly-paced, action-packed, and often touching.” According to Scott Watanabe, the movie is set in an alternate future where after the 1906 earthquake, San Francisco was rebuilt by Japanese immigrants using techniques that allow movement and flexibility in a seismic event. After the city was finished being rebuilt, it was renamed San Fransokyo due to it being a city with Japanese and American architecture combined. Big Hero 6 was the highest grossing animated movie of 2014, earning $657.8 million off of a $165 million budget and would win the Academy Award for Best Animated Film.

This is such a great movie to watch. The voice acting was great, with Ryan Potter and Scott Adsit doing great jobs as Hiro and Baymax respectively. All of the other characters were equally good but I loved the cameo of Stan Lee being Fred’s dad, and the fact that they made him look like Stan Lee was even better. The story was really good, showing a lot more depth than I honestly would have given Disney credit for in a super hero movie. I loved the character development they showed with Hiro, going from reckless teenager to responsible kid, from wanna-be superhero to an angry, revenge seeking kid and back again. Hiro’s development drove the movie almost as much as the main story itself. The animation was great and some of the background animation and scenery was incredibly vivid and colorful. A great Disney movie that is well worth watching and definitely one that will end up being one of their all time greats.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

action, comedy, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: June 29th, 2014 Movie – Cheerleader Ninjas

cheerleader ninjas

So allow me to tell you the tale of my own stupidity. Years ago, a conversation occurred among my friends in which the movie Ninja Cheerleaders came up. A few days later, I was wandering around Fry’s and decided to see if they had a copy of it, as I decided that I wanted to see why George Takei regretted it. Well, as I looked through the DVD’s, I noticed this movie on the shelf and for some reason, thought that it was the movie I was looking for. Seeing that the movie was only $1, I thought it was a great deal and decided to pick it up but when I got home, I realized I had made a grave error. Now this was all on me, as I could have looked at the back of the box to see if I had the right movie but I did not do it so I was stuck with Cheerleader Ninjas. Well, one can only hope that it is a good movie, right?

The plot: At a meeting of the Catholic Mothers With Too Much Time On Their Hands, the Head Church Lady tells her two members about the perversions that can be found on the internet, calling it a gateway to homosexual sex cravings that can poison their children. She then says that she plans to fight the evils of the internet by starting locally and getting rid of the Happy Valley High cheerleaders, as they are symbols of lust and sexual desire to young boys, and plans on working with the evil Stephen to destroy them. Meanwhile, Angela is leading the Happy Valley High cheerleaders in some cheers to practice for their big game against their rivals, the Blessed Virgin Sacrifice. As they are doing their routines, The “Internet Invaders”, Maverick, Chubby, Flamer, and Alarm Geek, are watching and videotaping the girls. Maverick says that Angela is the love of his life but Chubby tells him that she doesn’t even know he exists then says that they have to post the footage they shot online. After cheer practice, Angela and her friends Heather and Ophelia are walking away from the football field when Ophelia notices a poster with them next to the Internet Invaders. The girls are upset at being linked to the geeks and Angela decides they need to go talk with them. Meanwhile, at Blessed Virgin Sacrifice, Stephen is talking to his class (Bethany, Abigail, Chloe, and Hannah) about how to run a cheerleader death camp when the Head Church Lady and her followers walk in. The Head Church Lady comments about his wanting to destroy the Happy Valley High cheerleaders and he reveals that he had tried out for the cheer squad the year before but they rejected him and he vowed revenge. Back at Happy Valley High, Angela, Heather, and Ophelia head over to see Todd, the head of the school newspaper, and confront him about the poster but he tells them that it wasn’t him and points them in the direction of Maverick and his group. The girls head over and confront the geeks, telling Maverick and his friends to get rid of every flyer on campus or else they will torture them. After the girls leave, Chubby and Flamer tell Maverick that the flyers were a cheap way to get Angela to notice him but Maverick swears that he had nothing to do with them. As the girls go to leave campus, they run into their principal, who introduces them to a transfer student named Jane and says that she wants to be a cheerleader. After the principal leaves, the girls talk with Jane about why she wants to be a cheerleader, then give her some pointers. Later, the girls are getting ready to leave when they are attacked by Bethany, Abigail, Chloe, and Hannah. Angela, Heather, and Ophelia are getting beat but Jane shows up and saves them, then tricks Bethany and the others into leaving by having Alarm Geek ride up with a police siren blaring. Later, Stephen meets with Head Church Lady, who gives him a picture of the Pope to put up on every page of the internet and when he says he needs a computer expert to do that, she tells him to do whatever it takes. Angela and the girls head back to the geeks hideout, as Angela had seen Maverick working on a web page for a ninja master the last time they were there. Maverick says that he will give the address to them if Angela goes out on a date but when she refuses, he settles for her just acknowledging he exists in school. Meanwhile, Stephen meets with Mr. X, who is already aware of Head Church Lady’s plan to put the Pope’s picture on every webpage and is already working on doing that. He also gives Stephen Angela’s college application, telling him there is information inside that will ruin her reputation but he can’t use it unless it’s the last resort. Later, Stephen goes back to his class and tells Bethany and the others to grab a computer geek. Angela and the girls speak with Todd briefly, then go to see Maverick and his group, with Angela saying hello to Maverick, before they head off to meet Loda, the ninja master, for their training. After they leave, Bethany and her group show up and tell Maverick and his friends that they are having computer problems, and convince them to help them. When Maverick, Chubby, and Flamer arrive at the girls dorm, Bethany and the other girls proceed to seduce and torture them to try and get them to put the Pope’s picture on the internet. Maverick refuses at first but when Bethany shows him how he can get a date with Angela, he quickly agrees to do it. Later, Stephen takes the computer disk with the code to Mr. X, who begins working on changing the code for his own benefit. Meanwhile, Angela and the others go through with their ninja training and when they return, they find out that Angela’s picture is all over the internet. Their principal orders them to work with the gees to fix the internet and Angela and the cheerleaders think that Maverick and his group are behind this but when they proclaim their innocence, Jane says that Bethany and the others could be behind this. They go looking for Bethany and the other girls and have another fight with them, only this time they are victorious. After Bethany and her group leave, Angela is told that she has to go on a date with a kid from the Death Wish Foundation and it turns out to be Maverick. She reluctantly talks with him but during the date, Maverick is hypnotized by a display on his computer. Angela snaps him out of it and Maverick realizes that someone changes his worm program to become a zombie slave virus, turning anyone that uses the internet into a zombie slave. The two head back to the geeks’ lair, where the other geeks have also been hypnotized, and Angela fixes them by unplugging the computer. The girls realize Stephen and the other girls have something to do with this and they head off to find them, while Maverick and the geeks come up with their own plan to help. Angela and the cheerleaders confront Stephen and the girls, who bring in some pom-pom girls and mascots to help fight. As Angela and the cheerleaders start to win, Mr. X call Stephen and tells him they are ready, and Bethany and the girls suddenly morph into a giant robot, which begins smashing the city. Maverick and the geeks use their holographic program to fight the robot, eventually turning the cheerleaders into another robot to fight them. The cheerleader robot wins and Stephen and the girls race back to Mr. X’s lair, with Angela, the cheerleaders, and the geeks right behind them. Once there, it is revealed that Todd is the true mastermind behind everything and though Maverick thinks he has stopped the zombie virus, Todd has the final code, which Heather unknowingly uploads onto the internet. As Maverick works on stopping the virus, Stephen taunts Angela, revealing that she plans on majoring in computer science in college. Everyone is shocked that Angela is actually smart and she tells them that she can be both smart and a cheerleader, then stops Todd’s plan by simply unplugging his computer. The police arrive to arrest Todd, Mr. X, the Head Church Lady, and the Blessed Virgin girls, but Angela tells them she has a better idea for what to do with Stephen. Some time later, Angela and Maverick both have significant others, while Stephen has been made one of the new Happy Valley High cheerleaders.

Oh God. This movie is so horrible. I honestly don’t know why I still have this movie in my possession. This thing should be shattered, burned, then the ashes should be flushed down the toilet. I mean, I love low budget B-movies but this movie is absolute garbage. The acting was ridiculous. The story was garbage. The special effects were terrible, though I guess you could give them some credit for the multiple uses of blow up dolls and sex toys in this movie. There honestly isn’t anything redeeming about this movie. Look, there are plenty of times where I have watched a movie for this blog and, even when I know it is a bad movie, I try to find some redeeming aspect to it. That shows in the fact that there have only been 3 movies that I have given a 0 score on here. Unfortunately, I can’t really find anything redeeming with this film so we have the 4th 0 score in my blog.

0 out of 5

action, martial arts, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: June 28th, 2014 Movie – Chase Step By Step

chase step by step

Well, this is the last movie from the Martial Arts box set. In fact, it is the last movie from any of my box sets. Man, I kind of need to go through all of the movies from the Mills Creek box sets and see how they all ranked. However, in order to do that I will need to review and rank this movie, Chase Step By Step. Now I remember a little bit of this movie from when I first watched it but the only thing I can say for sure is that it seemed to be the type of old school martial arts movie that I always enjoyed. Now lets see if my memory is correct.

The plot: As the performers of a circus are practicing their acts, the manager receives a message from a friend, saying he is sending 1000 gold pieces to be donated to the drought relief efforts in his home village and asks that he arrange an escort for it. In the drought stricken county, the governor and his cabinet are discussing the gold shipment and when they learn that there will only be 2 escorts, Yin Ling and Sao Wu, the captain of the guard recommends that they arrange an escort of their own. The governor agrees and tells the captain to assemble his best men but the captain says his men won’t be adequate for the job and suggests going to see his teacher, who should have some students that are more capable. The captain goes to his old teacher’s school and tells him the situation and the teacher assigns his two best students, Chin Wei and Gon Su(?), to the task. Meanwhile, Yin Ling and Sao Wustop to rest and eat when two bandits attempt to steal their cart but Yin Ling and Sao Wuuse their martial art skills to easily beat them, then continue on their way. The two bandits head back to report to their leader, who asks the direction that they were heading and if there are any inns near the area. Yin Ling and Sao Wu reach a town and stop at an inn, getting separate rooms for the night. As Sao Wu is preparing for bed, the inn’s hostess knocks on Sao Wu’s door and asks to come in. The hostess speaks with him briefly and, noting the suitcase of gold, offers to put it in the inn’s safe but Sao Wu refuses. As the hostess argues with him about it, Sao Wu accidentally rips her dress and offers to shield her as they head downstairs so she can change. As they leave his room, they pass Yin Ling and Sao Wu tells her to watch the suitcase but as he heads downstairs, he doesn’t see the look of jealousy that crosses her face. That night, the hostess tells the bandit leader about the suitcase and she says she can get the suitcase from Sao Wu , as he likes her. Later, the hostess goes to bring Sao Wu some tea and as they are talking, Yin Ling spies on them, then quickly ducks back to her room when Sao Wu notices someone outside and goes to investigate. While he is out, the hostess has an assassin enter the room, who attacks Sao Wu when he returns. Sao Wu is able to fend him off and Yin Ling, hearing the commotion, helps him kill the assassin. When they return to Sao Wu’s room, Yin Ling notices the suitcase is missing but Sao Wu says he knew they would try to take it and reveals that he had hidden the gold. At the bandit’s headquarters, the leader is upset to find the suitcase is full of rocks and kills the hostess. The next day, he attacks Sao Wu and Yin Ling himself but they are easily able to overpower him. The bandit leader goes to the school that the captain of the guard graduated from, revealing that the teacher is the real bandit leader, and the teacher decides on a new plan of action. Later that day, Sao Wu and Yin Ling see a young woman being attacked by 4 men and Sua rescues her, then offers to let her go with them until she gets home but once again, Yin Ling gets jealous. Later, the teacher meets with the woman and her father, revealing that they are some of his agents, and they come up with a plan to separate Sao Wu and Yin Ling. Sao Wu receives an offer to dinner from the woman and despite Yin Ling saying it is probably a trap, he goes anyways. Once there, the woman and her father continue to offer Sao Wu drinks until he gets drunk and passes out. Meanwhile, the bandit leader and some men enter the inn and the leader attacks Yin Ling. Back at the woman’s house, the woman kisses Sao Wu, who is pretending to be asleep, when a bandit whispers for her to get out. The woman goes to leave but Sao Wu grabs her and she ends up being killed by the knives the bandit threw, intended for Sao Wu. Sao Wu goes after the bandit and the two fight, with the bandit eventually being killed when he is impaled by his own sword. Back at the inn, Yin Ling manages to beat the leader but when she is attacked by two more bandits, the leader manages to snag her with some rope, threatening to kill her if she doesn’t tell him where the gold is. Sao Wu returns and rescues Yin Ling, then the two deal with the bandits but afterwards, Yin Ling slaps Sao Wu and leaves, saying he can continue without her. Meanwhile, the bandit leader heads back to the teacher’s school, where he is chastised and the teacher assigns another man to try and get the gold. The next day, Sao Wu takes the chest of gold to the river but the bandit, disguised as a ferryman, signals his men to attack him. Sao Wu manages to fend them off, killing the leader in the process, but three men manage to grab the chest and get it onto the ferry. Yin Ling is walking on the hill on the opposite side of the river and sees what is happening. She starts to walk away but, seeing the chest of gold being stolen, she jumps from the cliff and lands in the boat, killing two of the men and threatening to kill the third unless he pilots the boat where she wants. Sao Wu manages to kill the rest of the men on shore and calls out to Yin Ling but when she makes no move to bring the ferry to shore, he grabs a pole and uses it to pole vault to the ferry. Sao Wu tries to apologize to Yin Ling, telling her that she had saved the gold, but she is still mad and knocks him in the water but when Sao Wu pretends to be drowning, she goes back to rescue him only for him to drag her in the water as well. Later, as they are drying their clothes, Sao Wu and Yin Ling continue to argue but agree to put their differences aside for the sake of the mission. Continuing on their way, they are met by a stranger who wants to challenge them. Yin Ling attacks him first, with Sao Wu jumping in, but then Sao Wu decides to continue moving forward with the gold while Yin Ling distracts the man. When he reaches a chasm that has a vine stretched across to cross, Sao Wu takes the cart across, using his circus acrobatic skills to keep it balanced, and Yin Ling gets some distance from the attacker and jumps onto the cart. As they make their way across the vine, the attacker and a second man attempt to knock them off the vine by throwing rocks at them. When they reach the other side, the attacker and his accomplice renew their attack on the pair. The attacker uses a bladed disk to cut Sao Wu several times but Sao Wu is able to knock him down, then strangle him to death, while Yin Ling kills her attacker. As Sao Wu and Yin Ling continue on their way, they come across a militia, led by the captain and the teacher, who had been sent to meet them and are wary about it but the militia shows a letter from the governor, assuring them of their intentions. Sao Wu wants to continue to the city but Yin Ling says that they should leave the gold with the militia while they go about their own business and Sao Wu is persuaded to go along with her so he hands over the cart. Sao Wu tells them he will be by later to get a receipt for the delivery and the teacher tells him they will be having a dinner to celebrate the delivery that night. Sao Wu and Yin Ling head to the home of their teacher’s brother, who notices Sao Wu’s injuries and decides to tend to them so Yin Ling says that she will go get the receipt for the gold. At the teacher’s home, the captain says he needs to get the gold to the mayor’s house so it can be distributed but the teacher says he won’t allow the gold to leave his home. The teacher attacks the captain, then orders his men to kill him but the captain is able to fend them off, until Chin Wei and Gon Su get involved and kill him. The teacher opens the chest of gold and makes plans to move it but Yin Ling arrives and confronts them. The teacher has his men attack her and while she is distracted, Chin Wei and Gon Su leave with the chest. Yin Ling continues fighting, helped by the man who accompanied her, but the teacher attacks him and severly wounds him, forcing him to leave while the teacher then attacks Yin Ling. The injured man returns to the house, where his master leads him away to tend to his injuries, then asks what happened, trying to keep Sao Wu from hearing. The man tells him what happened and Sao Wu, who had overheard them, races off to help Yin Ling. Sao Wu arrives at the house and Yin Ling tells him to deal with the teacher while she goes after the gold.  After talking briefly, Sao Wu and the teacher head up to a nearby hilltop to begin their own battle, with Sao Wu winning when he is able to knock the teacher off the cliff. Meanwhile, Yin Ling races off and catches up to Chin Wei and Gon Su, where she begins fighting with Chin Wei. Gon Su takes the cart and tries to run Yin Ling over with it, with Chin Wei attacker her while she is distracted, but she is able to avoid the cart and Chin Wei tells Gon Su to leave with the gold. Yin Ling catches up to Gon Su and continues fighting Chin Wei, with Gon Su tossing a sword to Chin Wei for him to use. Chin Wei continues fighting with Yin Ling and when she knocks the sword from his hands, he begins throwing knives at her, eventually pinning her to the ground by her hair but Yin Ling Jerks her hair free, sending the knife flying into Chin Wei’s chest. Meanwhile, Sao Wu catches up to Gon Su and begins fighting him and, with Yin Ling helping, manages to kill him, then Sao Wu and Yin Ling take the cart of gold and head back into town to finish their mission.

Well, I was right in my memory that this was the type of old school movie I enjoyed. To top it off, this was actually a pretty enjoyable movie. The acting was pretty good as far as I can tell, while the dubbing made things pretty funny, primarily between Sao Wu and Yin Ling. The main story was pretty good, as I liked the idea of them being constantly harassed and hounded by bandits that were after the gold because it made for a more exciting movie. However, the whole unrequited love angle that seemed to be going on between Sao Wu and Yin Ling was a little odd since it didn’t seem to get resolved, but it did make for some interesting situations. The fight scenes were pretty good and I liked the choreography that they had between the various fighters. A good bit of mindless entertainment that is great viewing for a lazy afternoon.

Rating: 3 out of 5

action, adventure, horror, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: June 27th, 2014 Movie – Centipede!


Sometimes, I think I should go back to my old way of buying movies. The times when I would pick a theme, then go through Amazon and basically pick the first 2-3 (or 5-10) movies that fit that theme and I didn’t already own. That is how I came to own this particular movie. I love natural horror films (meaning movies where the killer is an animal of some sort) and I was going through a massive binge of movie buying/watching. I had already bought several shark, dinosaur, and reptile movies so I decided to switch things up and go with the creepy crawlies. I picked up several movies at that point, many of which I had seen before on Syfy, but when it came to Centipede!, this was a brand new movie for me and I was excited to watch it.

The plot: In Andhra Pradesh, India, two geology students, Rekha and Ravi, explore a cave in the area to try and find the site of some illegal dumping for their professor. As the explore the caves, Rekha finds the evidence she was looking for and Ravi decides they should take the opportunity to fool around when they are attacked by a large centipede. In New Hampshire, David Stone greets his friend Jake, who teases him about his upcoming marriage into high society and how he has not been spending any time with his friends. Jake then tells David that he has an idea on what to do for his bachelor party, saying that he has arranged for a caving expedition in India with his old friends and David agrees to go. When they arrive in India, David is shocked to see that his ex-girlfriend Sara is there with her boyfriend Dirk and he comments to Jake about it but Jake feigns innocence in not telling David about her. When they get outside, they meet the rest of their group, (Owen, Zoe, and Matt) and they head to their hotel, as they plan on getting an early start in the morning. The next day, they head out towards the cave, unknowingly passing by the jeep that Rekha and Ravi used on their way. The eventually meet with their guide, Kafi, outside the cave and as they camp out for the night, Kafi tells them the legend about the cave, then admits that it is something from the tourist bureau to make it more interesting. As they prepare to get some sleep, Jake goes to talk with Sara, who was sitting by herself staring at the sky, and Sara tells him she knows that Jake is trying to get her and David back together but says it won’t work but Jake says he isn’t too sure. The next day, the group hikes up to the cave entrance and head inside, and as they prepare to descend into the cave, Jake says David should go first but Sara rushes over the edge, forcing David to race her. As David waits for the others to join them, Sara decides to look around the cavern and is shocked by the appearance of Kafi, who tells her that he took the steps down as he is afraid of heights. The group then proceeds to explore the caverns and have fun until they reach the bottom of the cave, which Kafi says is over 3 miles below the surface and the group then breaks open some champagne and begin to have a party for David. As they begin drinking and telling stories, Jake and the others convince Sara to do a dance for David and she eventually does so but after a while, Dirk gets jealous and starts dancing with her. Meanwhile, Matt leaves the group to go use the restroom but when he hears a strange noise, he decides to investigate. He eventually finds Rehka’s equipment and as he continues looking around, he is attacked by the centipede. Trying to fend it off, Matt grabs a flare from the ground and lights it but when the centipede continues it’s attack, he accidentally sets off some explosives that were close by. Back with the others, David thinks he hears Matt screaming over the sound of the music but before he can say anything, the explosion occurs and they are forced to try and avoid being caught under the falling rocks. As they make sure everyone is ok, they discover that the entrance way to the chamber has been closed off by the cave in. When they ask Kafi if there is another way out, Kafi admits that he doesn’t know as he had never explored the area they were in. David spots an opening and says that they might be able to climb down it and make their way to an opening they saw earlier. As they argue about what to do, Zoe asks about Matt and they go looking for him, eventually finding him when David finds the detector that Matt had brought. As they pull his body from the debris, they notice the wounds on him and Owen says that they were not caused by the rock slide, but looked more like bite marks. David, Dirk, and Sara head over to the opening, where David and Dirk hold the rope while Sara rappels down. Meanwhile, Owen finds Rehka’s PDA and after looking through it, tells Jake and Zoe about what she had listed, saying the area showed signs of high amounts of centipede venom. Outside the cave, Rehka and Ravi’s teacher, Professor Jones, arrives at the area with a police squad and when they notice that the area had suffered a cave in, the man in charge orders a digging team to the area. Back in the cave, the group reaches the bottom and separate to try and find a way out; with Sara, Dirk, and Owen going one way while David, Jake, and Zoe go another direction. Kafi stays in the center area with the tracker when he hears something and decides to investigate. Sara finds an opening that looks like it might be a way out and she decides to climb up it, while David, Jake, and Zoe also find a possible way out and Zoe begins climbing out. Sara and the others head back to get Kafi and the others but when they find Kafi is gone, they start looking for him. AS Owen goes looking for Kafi, he encounters some freshly hatched centipede larva and is attacked by them but Kafi saves him. David and Jake heard Owen’s screams and go to try and help him but when they leave, Zoe is killed by the centipede. Kafi and Owen run into David and Jake, who are joined by Sara and Dirk, when they hear Zoe scream and David and Jake go looking for her, telling the others to start up the opening Sara had found. Using the tracker, David and Jake search for Zoe and go to where she is supposed to be, only to find the centipede there. They quickly run back to the others and head up the opening but as they are climbing, they hear the sound of a radio, as outside, one of the officers is trying to call out on the radio to see if anyone in the cave can hear them. AS the sound of the radio gets louder, Owen thinks that help is coming when the rope suddenly starts pulling him back and he is attacked and killed by the centipede. As the centipede continues pulling on the rope, dragging them all down, Kafi hands David his knife, which David uses to cut the rope. They manage to get out of the cavern and quickly cause a cave in to keep the centipede at bay. As they catch their breaths, Dirk argues with Jake about Owen’s death, as he was Dirk’s brother, Seeing a pool of water, David decides to see if there is another way out but as he is gone, the centipede starts to break through the barricade. When he tells them that there is another passage, they start making there way there, with Dirk telling them to go while he tries holding the barricade. After they all swim through the passage, Dirk lets the barricade collapse and uses a stalactite to cut the centipede in half but both of the halves continue to live so he quickly swims after the others. When he reaches the other side, he tells them about what he did, just as one of the halves moves through the water towards them. They attempt to avoid it at first but when they fall into the water and it attempts to attack them, Kafi stabs it with his knife while Sara shoots it with a flare gun, killing it. As the body floats to the surface, they hear the radio static and realize that the centipede had swallowed a radio. Sara uses Kafi’s knife to cut it open and they make contact with the rescue team outside, who tell them where they should go. As they make they way towards the exit, the other half of the centipede attacks them and kills Kafi. David tries to help him but when the centipede comes back for them, he yells at the others to get out while he heads through an another opening. Sara, Jake, and Dirk reach the bunker that they were directed too and find it is filled with barrels of toxic waste. As Jake radios to the people outside about what they found, Sara, believing David is still alive, heads down a hole in the floor to go look for him. As Sara is looking, David suddenly grabs her but he motions for her to be quiet, as the centipede is close by. Jake and Dirk go looking for them, alerting the centipede to their presence, and David uses a flare to hold it at bay so they can get back up the hole. Dirk starts trying to move barrels to form a barricade but when the police tells them they are about to blast the bunker door open, the centipede moves up the hole and kills Dirk. David and the others move to the door and take cover, with David luring the centipede by the door so that it can be killed in the explosion. As David, Sara, and Jake exit the cave, Jake thanks Inspector Chief Kumar for saving them, while David tells Sara that his wedding is off, and they embrace. They move to kiss each other but the centipede appears, killing the geologist that had helped them escape. As the police open fire on it, David and Sara head to the explosives truck and hook up a detonator to some dynamite. David then lures the centipede to the truck but it squirts some venom at him and he falls back into the truck to avoid it. The centipede rears up to attack him and David tells Sara to blow it up with him in it but she refuses. Jake begins shooting the centipede, giving David enough time to get out of the truck, and Sara blows it up, finally killing the centipede. As the police move forward to examine the dead centipede, David and Sara embrace and kiss while Jake collapses in exhaustion and swears off adventures.

Considering that I had no opinion going into this movie, I actually was pleasantly surprised by it. The acting was decent for the most part, though I will admit that, while it might not have been intentional, it did feel like the police and workers were kind of stereotyped in their speech. The story was honestly not that original, with a batch of toxic waste mutating an animal into a giant killer but the somewhat unique location, an underground cavern, did add a bit more suspense to the plot. The whole high schoolish love triangle between David, Sara, and Dirk was honestly so transparent that there was no way that anyone could avoid seeing that they would end up together, which was incredibly disappointing as it really didn’t add anything to the movie. The special effects, while on the weak side, were still fairly decent and about what you would expect from a B-movie. A decent movie that was a nice change of pace from my usual B-movie choices.

Rating: 3 out of 5