action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi, video game

March 26th, 2018 Movie – TRON: Legacy

tron legacy

Sometimes, patience pays off when it comes to sequels. Take today’s movie for instance. Ever since TRON came out, fans have been clamoring for a sequel but it really took off at the beginning of the century and in 2005, Disney finally decided to get serious with it. Now when I first heard about the sequel, I was really excited. I mean, TRON was so amazing in it’s special effects that I hoped the improvements in technology would make this movie just as amazing. So let’s see if all the patience paid off with today’s movie, TRON: Legacy.

The plot: In 1989, seven years after taking over Encom, Kevin Flynn is telling his son Sam about the Grid and his adventures in there. He also tells him how he worked with Tron and Clu to build a new Grid when something amazing occurred, a miracle Flynn says, though he doesn’t go into detail. Flynn leaves for work but the next day he disappears, throwing his company into chaos and causing the board to seize control of the company from Flynn’s partner, Alan Bradley. In the present day, Sam makes his way to Encom Tower one night and sneaks into the building during a late night board meeting. Inside the board meeting, Chairman Richard Mackey is touting the success of Encom to the board before mentioning their latest operating software’s upcoming release, praising it’s developer Edward Dillinger (son of Ed Dillinger), then says that Encom will be traded on Japan’s Nikkei index, resulting in Encom stocks trading worldwide 24/7. Meanwhile, Sam breaks into the server room, unintentionally tripping an alarm, and as the security searches for him, he uploads the master file for Encom’s newest operating software onto the internet before making his escape. As the board members discover what happened, Sam makes his way to the roof, revealing to the security guard that he is Sam Flynn, who happens to be the majority share holder in the company, and then does a base jump off the building but as he tries to make it to his motorcycle, he is captured by the police. After bailing himself out of jail, Sam returns to his apartment to find Alan waiting for him. After congratulating him on his annual prank, Alan tells Sam that he received a page from Flynn’s office at the arcade, even though the service had been cut off years ago, and suggests Sam go check it out, tossing him the keys to the arcade. Though he thinks it is a waste of time, Sam decides to head to the arcade and after looking around and finding nothing, he starts to leave but finds himself drawn to the old TRON video game. Deciding to play it for old times sake, Sam notices scratches on the floor and discovers a hidden room behind the console. Searching around, he finds a running computer, that had been idle for 20 years, and starts trying to access it only to accidentally activate the laser behind him, which blasts him. Not sure what just happened, Sam leaves the building only to realize that he has been transported to the Grid, just as a Recognizer approaches him and he is captured. When the Recognizer lands, one of the soldiers scans Sam and the other captured programs and Sam is sentenced to “Games”. He is taken to a chamber, where 4 Sirens remove his clothes and give him a uniform and an identity disk. Sam asks what he is supposed to do now and Gem, the head Siren, tells him to survive. Sam exits the chamber to find himself in an arena and forced to compete in disk wars with other programs, as a ship approaches and a masked figure watches from above. Sam kills 2 programs and then attempts to escape but ends up in a different arena, where he is forced to face off with the Games’ champion, Rinzler. As Sam and Rinzler fight, Rinzler gets the upper hand but before he can finish him off, Rinzler notices Sam bleeding from a cut he received and realizes that he is a User. The leader demands that Sam identify himself and when Sam says his name is Sam Flynn, the leader has Sam brought to him. In the leaders chamber, the leader unmasks to reveal the face of Kevin Flynn and Sam is shocked to see his father alive but after talking with him, realizes that it is Clu, not his father. Clu decides to kill Sam in a light cycle duel, facing him in a 5 on 5 team battle, but as Clu prepares to finish off Sam, a strange car enters the arena and rescues Sam. After escaping the arena, the driver unmasks to reveal a woman, who introduces herself as Quorra, who says that Clu’s forces won’t be able to follow as they are not designed to go off grid. Quorra takes Sam to a home in the mountains, where Sam is reunited with his father, who is shocked to see Sam in the Grid. As they eat, Sam and Flynn catch up briefly before Sam asks why Flynn never came home. Flynn tells him that when he first started working in the Grid, he brought over Tron, which Alan had built, and then created a new version of Clu, hoping that between the 3 of them they could build the perfect system. Then, one day, he discovered ISOs, isomorphic algorithms, which Flynn did not create but somehow appeared on their own. Flynn felt that they could help unlock some of life’s greatest mysteries but Clu saw them as an imperfection that needed to be destroyed and led a coupe against Flynn. Tron was killed trying to help Flynn escape and Flynn ended up trapped in the Grid when the portal closed, as it would only stay open for 8 hours and could only be opened from the outside world. Sam says that they should just leave now while the portal is still open but Flynn tells him that Clu wanted someone to open the portal, as he was planning something and needed a new player on the board in order to draw him out of hiding, saying that Clu needed his identity disk in order to try and leave the Grid and go to the real world. Flynn heads to bed and Sam feels frustrated that he doesn’t seem to want to try and leave and Quorra tells Sam to go find Zuse, as he helped her out during the fights and she felt he could be trusted. Sam heads to the city and is met by Gem, who takes him to the End of Line club. Back at the house, Flynn discovers that Sam is gone and decides to take Quorra and go after him. Meanwhile, Clu’s major-domo, Jarvis, tells him they found Flynn’s light cycle and traced it back to it’s origin so Clu, Jarvis, Rinzler, and 2 soldiers head to Flynn’s house only to find it empty. At the End of Line club, Gem introduces Sam to Castor, the club’s owner, who reveals that he is Zuse and seems surprised to learn that Quorra is still alive. Zuse tells Sam that he is someone that likes to play the angles, just as 4 of Clu’s soldiers drop in through the ceiling. Sam decides to join in the fight against the soldiers and Quorra appears to help him but she is injured in the fight. Suddenly, Flynn shuts the room down, allowing the resistance to defeat the soldiers and he tells Sam to grab Quorra and they go to leave but one of the soldiers manages to grab Flynn’s disk before they leave, only to be killed by Zuse, who grabs the disk for himself. Flynn chastises Sam for his actions but decides that the only thing they can do is go with Sam’s idea to make a dash for the portal so they board a solar sailer heading to the wastelands. While they are travelling, Flynn works on trying to help repair Quorra, revealing that she is the last ISO, and afterwards, he talks with Sam for a bit before heading off to meditate. Meanwhile, Clu shows up at the club and speaks with Zuse, who offers a deal to give Clu the disk in exchange for control of the city but Clu simply takes the disk and then blows up the club, killing Zuse and Gem. Back on the sailer, Quorra recovers and as they continue riding, Sam and Quorra end up bonding. Flynn sees them and smiles but his smile fades when he sees a Recognizer close by and sees the sailer pulling into a waystation that shouldn’t be there. Telling Sam and Quorra to hide, they see that Clu is using the station as a launching base for an army and realize they have to get to the portal to stop Clu. Seeing Rinzler close by, Quorra hands her disk to Flynn and then runs out to act as a distraction so Flynn and Sam can escape. When Rinzler captures Quorra, Flynn recognizes his moves and mannerism and realizes that Rinzler is Tron, who wasn’t killed but repurposed by Clu. Clu has Quorra taken to his chamber, along with Flynn’s disk, and he then speaks to his army, and Sam and Flynn realize Clu figured out how to bring programs over to the real world. Sam tells Flynn that they have to get Flynn’s disk and Quorra back and tells Flynn to get them some transport to the portal. Sam makes his way to Clu’s chamber, dealing with the guards along the way, and then grabs Flynn’s disk from where Clu had it kept. Grabbing Jarvis, Sam asks where Quorra is just as Rinzler arrives with her and Sam faces off against Rinzler, allowing Quorra to knock him off the platform. Freeing Quorra, Sam grabs a set of glider wings and jumps out of the tower with her, then races to the light jet that Flynn grabbed. As they leave, Clu enters his chamber and kills Jarvis for allowing them to take the disk, then he, Rinzler, and some of Clu’s soldiers activate their own light jets and give chase. With Quorra piloting and Sam manning the rear guns, they begin battling Clu’s soldiers and manage to kill them. When Rinzler attacks them, Flynn calls out to his old friend, causing Rinzler to fall back as his memories of Flynn reemerge, then crash into Clu in order to save Flynn. As Clu and Rinzler fall, Rinzler goes to grab his spare control stick but Clu grabs it from him and uses it while Rinzler plunges into the waters below, with his uniform reverting back to it’s original coloring. Flynn, Sam, and Quorra arrive at the portal only to find Clu waiting for them and Flynn goes to face him, apologizing for his part in their fallout. Clu attacks Flynn and when Sam goes to defend him, Flynn grabs Quorra and tells her she knows what to do. Quorra moves in front of Sam, pushing him back towards the portal while Flynn tells Clu to ignore them as he is after Flynn’s disk. Clu grabs Flynn’s disk only to discover that Flynn had switched disks with Quorra. As Clu’s ship appears, Flynn yells at Sam to take Quorra out of there and then merges with Clu, causing an explosion that destroys Clu’s ship and the portal area. Back in the real world, Sam downloads the details of the Grid onto a memory chip, which he wears around his neck, then heads out of the secret office. In the arcade, Sam sees Alan looking around and explains that he paged him there to tell him they are taking back Encom, with Sam making Alan the new chairman of the board. Outside, Sam sees Quorra by his motorcycle, who asks what they will do now, and Sam says that they will do what his father asked and change the world, then he has her get on the bike and they ride off, with Sam letting Quorra experience her first sunrise.

TRON: Legacy met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 51% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Tron: Legacy boasts dazzling visuals, but its human characters and story get lost amidst its state-of-the-art production design.” While Jeff Bridges was always slated to return, none of the other characters from the original movie were written into the movie. However, public outcry from Bruce Boxleitner and fans of the original movie caused the writers to add him in and his performance was so popular, he returned to play Tron in the animated series TRON: Uprising. The movie was a box office success, earning $400 million off of a $170 million budget and a sequel was planned but has since been placed on indefinite hiatus while Disney considers rebooting the series.

After years of wait, I have to say that I enjoyed this movie but felt like it could have been better. The acting was good, with Jeff Bridges doing a great job returning as Kevin Flynn/Clu, though it felt like a little bit of The Dude had made it’s way into his portrayal of Kevin Flynn. Bruce Boxleitner was also good returning as Alan/Tron, while Gerrett Hedlund (Sam) and Olivia Wilde (Quorra) were equally good but my favorite character was Michael Sheen (Zuse), who was the most entertaining character next to Flynn himself. The story was pretty interesting and I liked how they acknowledged the time difference from the original movie to this one, such as the computer in the secret office showing the 20 year idle screen. I will agree with the critics that the movie did kind of lack some character developement, but mainly regarding Sam and Quorra, who came across as kind of bland despite their being two of the main characters. The special effects were incredible and definitely showcased the advancement in technology since the original movie. I also liked that they tried to incorporate a lot of aspects from the original movie into this, from the Recognizers, tanks, and light cycles, to aspects of Encom tower and the laser that zapped Sam. A good follow up to a cult classic and one that is worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Advertisements
Standard
action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi, video game

March 25th, 2018 Movie – TRON

tron

When you think of Disney, everyone will always think of their animated features first and foremost, although recently some people might say that the MCU and Star Wars movies might be more prominent. However, even before they bought those franchises, Disney would occasionally make their own foray into the realm of science fiction. Today’s movie is probably Disney’s biggest cult classic film as I don’t think I have met too many people who have seen it that have not enjoyed this movie. I remember watching this on VHS years ago and 5 year old me thought that it was absolutely fantastic. To this day, I still enjoy it and as soon as it was available on DVD, I would buy a copy of it. So now let’s have some 80’s retro enjoyment with today’s movie, TRON.

The plot: At Flynns, a popular video arcade, people line up to play a series of popular games. Inside one of the games, a program called Sark is racing a light cycle against the player and ends up winning the race by crashing his opponent into the light wall. LAter, Sark returns to his control ship and speaks with Master Control, the main system program for Encom’s computers, tells him that he absorbed some military software and wants Sark to battle their programs and defeat them in order to fully integrate them into himself. Elsewhere, a banking program is placed into a cell, where he meets Ram, another program, and Ram explains that they are there for believing in the Users, the people that programmed them. Back in the real world, Kevin Flynn, a former programmer for Encom, sends his hacking program Clu into Encom’s systems looking for some files he needs. In the system, Clu, accompanied by his data sprite Bit, is riding in a tank into the high clearance memory when he is confronted by a squad of Recognizers. Clu attempts to fight his way through them but ends up crashing his tank, then yells at Bit to get out of there before he is captured. Clu is taken to see Master Control, who tortures Clu to find out who programmed him but when Clu refuses to talk, Master Control has him erased and then contacts Ed Dillinger, the Senior Executive Vice President of Encom. Dillinger returns to the home office and access his computer to talk with Master Control, who tells him that Flynn has been snooping around the system looking for the files and Dillinger suggest suspending the higher level access to try and keep Flynn out. In his cubicle, Alan Bradley finds his access has been suspended and goes to see Dillinger, who tells him the issue and says it will only be for a few days. He then asks what Alan is working on and Alan tells him his program is called Tron; a watchdog/security program that will ensure that systems are not accessing files they are not supposed to. After Alan leaves, Master Control contacts Dillinger and tells him that he doesn’t like the idea of an independent program running around in his system, as he has appropriated countless outside programs. Alan heads down to the research lab to see his girlfriend Lora, who is working on a project with her mentor Dr. Walter Gibbs that consists of  a laser and program that will digitize solid matter and reconstruct it into the computer. Alan tells Lora about level 7 access being suspended because someone was hacking the system and she says that Flynn had mentioned trying to get into the system and had the proper access. The two head to Flynn’s arcade and talk to him and he admits that he had been trying to hack into the system. He explains that he had invented the video game Space Paranoid and several others while he was working at Encom but one day he found his files missing and 3 months later, Dillinger presents the games to the board and advances up the ranks. Flynn has been trying to find the files in the Master Control Program’s memory to show as proof but with level 7 access suspended, he won’t be able to do so. When Alan mentions his Tron program, Flynn says he could forge a level 6 access if he had physical access to the system and Lora says they should go right now. Heading back to Encom, Flynn hacks the security door so they can get into the building unannounced then separate, with Alan heading to his terminal to get ready to activate Tron while Lora taking Flynn to her station so he can hack into the system. Meanwhile, Dillinger is meeting with Gibbs, who is arguing about cutting the programmers access and complains about how the company has changed since he first helped found it. Afterwards, Dillinger is talking to Master Control, who says he plans on hacking the Pentagon and Kremlin, threatening to release the file about Dillinger’s theft of Flynn’s intellectual property to the Times if Dillinger tries to stop him. Lora shows Flynn her terminal then heads up to meet with Alan, leaving Flynn to try to get into the system. As Flynn starts working at the terminal, Master Control speaks out to him and warns him to stop but when Flynn continues on his task, Master Control activates the laser and blasts Flynn, transporting him into the computer system, where he is captured by Sark’s men. Master Control contacts Sark and tells him he wants Flynn placed in the games so he can be killed and when Sark balks upon hearing that Flynn is a user, Master Control threatens to shut him down unless he does as instructed. Flynn is taken out of his cell along with the other newly captured programs, and Sark addresses them and says they will all be competing in the games for the chance to join his men in service to the MCP. As they are walking back to their cells, Flynn sees a program fighting against 4 of Sark’s men and asks Ram who he is and Ram tells him that it is Tron. Later, Flynn is forced to compete in a game against another free program, playing a form of paddle ball on a series of rings, which disappear when the ball hits them. Flynn manages to get the upper hand on his opponent but when Sark orders him to finish the game and kill his opponent, Flynn refuses. Sark then kills Flynn’s opponent and considers killing Flynn but recalls Master Control’s orders and has him escorted to the next game. Flynn meets up with Ram and Tron, who Flynn is surprised to see looks like Alan. When Flynn calls him Alan, Tron remarks that that is his user and Flynn lies, telling him that his user sent him here to help him take out the MCP. Flynn, Tron, and Ram are sent into the light cycle grid and compete in a team battle against 3 of Sark’s men in a 3 on 3 match. During the course of the match, one of Sark’s men crashes into the wall and causes an opening, which Flynn escapes through, following by Tron and Ram. The three manage to avoid the Recognizers and tanks that Sark sends after them and then look around the area. Seeing an input/output tower in the distance, Tron says he has to head there and make contact with Alan or else they won’t be able to get close the the MCP. As the three head out, they are attacked by a group of tanks and Flynn and Ram’s light cycles are destroyed while Tron, thinking they are dead, continues to escape, pursued by Sark and his men. Flynn and Ram survived, though Ram is seriously injured, and Flynn carries him into the wreckage of a Recognizer and lays him down before passing out himself. After resting for a bit, Flynn notices that some of the Recognizer’s systems have come online and he discovers he is able to rebuild it, using his knowledge as a User, to do so. Flying off to meet with Tron, Flynn tells Ram that he will get him some help but Ram motions for him to come closer. Stopping the Recognizer, Flynn approaches Ram, who recognizes him as a User and begs him to help Tron and as Flynn promises, Ram smiles before he derezzes. Meanwhile, Tron has reached the tower and contacts Yori, a program that looks like Lora in the real world, and when she recognizes him, she embraces Tron then leads him to Dumont, who can help him contact Alan. Back in the Recognizer, Flynn finds himself struggling to control it due to damage it had previously sustained, while a Bit begins floating around his head and commenting on his driving. Flynn eventually crashes into the outskirts of the tower and goes looking for Tron but is forced to hide when Sark and some of his men walk by. Noticing a straggler, Flynn knocks him out but as he goes to move the body, Flynn realizes that his circuitry has instinctively changed colors to mimic one of Sark’s men. Meanwhile, Tron and Yori manage to sneak into Dumont’s chamber and convince Dumont to help Tron contact Alan. With Dumont locking Sark’s forces out of the tower, Tron is able to contact Alan, who places the information needed to shut down the MCP onto Tron’s identity disk. Tron and Yori leave the chamber just as Sark and his men manage to break through and capture Dumont for helping Tron. Tron and Yori board a solar-sailer simulation to make their way to the MCP’s core and Tron fights off Sark’s men who try to stop him, unintentionally knocking Flynn off the ship, though he manages to cling to the simulation’s side. As they sail along the information beam, Sark’s control ship attempts to catch up to them but Lori is able to speed up the simulation and escape. As he heads back to Yori, Tron notices Flynn, who calls out to stop Tron from attacking him, and Tron helps him aboard and smiles to see his friend still alive but is saddened to learn of Ram’s death. Tron introduces Flynn to Yori and Flynn tells them that he is a User, which surprises Tron and Yori. When they find their progress stopped by a power surge from the MCP, Flynn uses his body as a gateway to link the simulation to another data stream, allowing the power surge to destroy the two Recognizers that were following them. Tron and Yori are surprised to find that Flynn isn’t derezzing and believe that he is a user but as they continue towards the MCP, Sark’s ship broadsides them and destroys the simulation, seemingly killing Tron while Flynn and Yori are captured. The two are placed in a cell with Dumont and when Sark enters, he is shocked to see Flynn is still alive. Sark orders Dumont taken to his landing shuttle, and tells Flynn that after he leaves, the ship will derezz, along with everyone left on board but unknown to Sark, Tron is still alive and clings to the outside of the shuttle. Sark leaves and the ship begins to derezz but Flynn is able to keep it from completely being destroyed, and saves Yori so she can help him. At the MCP, Sark has the religious zealots taken into the MCP, where Master Control begins to absorb them into himself. Tron shows up and begins fighting with Sark, eventually dealing him a fatal blow but when he goes to attack Master Control, the MCP brings up a shield, then uses his power to resurrect Sark into a giant. When Flynn and Yori arrive, Flynn has Yori steer the ship close to the information beam, then jumps into it, distracting the MCP long enough to expose an opening in the shield. Tron throws his disk through the opening and into the MCP, where it is eventually destroyed. As Tron, Yori, Dumont, and the others watch, the I/O Towers change colors, showing that they are no longer under the control of the MCP. Meanwhile, Flynn is blasted back into the real world and as he gets his bearings, a printer begins printing out the information Flynn had been looking for and he cheers at the success. The next day, Dillinger walks into his office and accesses his computer only to see the information about his stealing Flynn’s games has been displayed to every computer in the building and he sits down, realizing his career is ruined. Some time later, Alan and Lora are on the roof of Encom tower waiting for their new boss to arrive and as the helicopter lands, Flynn gets out and hugs his two friends, saying “Greetings programs”, referencing his time in The Grid.

TRON met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though perhaps not as strong dramatically as it is technologically, TRON is an original and visually stunning piece of science fiction that represents a landmark work in the history of computer animation.” The movie was considered a failure, despite earning $33 million off of a $17 million budget, but the video games developed based on the movie would prove to be a major hit and would actually out-gross the movie. Tron was actually disqualified from receiving an Oscar nomination for special effects because at the time, the Academy felt that using computers was “cheating”. TRON would develop a cult following and aside from various video games, it would get a film sequel almost 30 years later, as well as an animated TV series that would bridge somewhat bridge the gap and lead into the sequel.

Yes, this movie is somewhat dated but I still love this movie. The acting was great, with Jeff Bridges (Flynn/Clu), David Warner (Dillinger/Sark. Master Control), and Bruce Boxleitner (Alan/Tron) doing great jobs in their roles. I also thought that Condy Morgan (Lora/Yori) and Barnard Hughes (Gibbs/Dumont) were equally good, though they unfortunately seemed to come across more as supporting characters. The story was a pretty good action/sci-fi movie as a whole, while also doing a good job of showcasing the fears that some people felt in the 80’s, and still do today, about computers starting to gain more control and self autonomy, to the point where they could eventually replace people. The special effects for the time were incredible and considered groundbreaking, especially the blend of computer animation with human actors. I loved the color scheme used in The Grid, with the bright colors mixed with the bland backgrounds making for some vivid imagery during some scenes. Yes, there might be some nostalgia involved but this is still a movie that is well worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

Standard
adventure, comedy, movie, movie review, video game

December 6th, 2017 Movie – Super Mario Bros.

super mario bros

Believe it or not, today’s movie could be considered a momentous event, albeit one of a dubious nature. See, today’s movie is honestly the first movie based on a video game, which means it is the founding father of all the awful renditions we have endured for the past 24 years. Now I know some of you might be thinking, “What about Tron?” Well to be fair, that was a game based on a movie but I will delve more onto that subject next year when I review that movie. Anyways, if it wasn’t for Super Mario Bros., we wouldn’t have had such “wonderful” movies like Double Dragon, Street Fighter, or Doom to grace the big screen so let’s all give the appropriate thanks for that.

The plot: 65 million years ago, a meteorite struck the Earth, causing a parallel universe to be created; one where dinosaurs evolved into humanoid creatures. In the present day, a woman drops off a mysterious container at a church before heading back down into the sewers. As she makes her way through the tunnels, she encounters King Koopa, who asks her where the rock is but the woman causes a cave-in, killing herself while trapping Koopa on the other side. Years later, Mario Mario and his brother Luigi Mario, two struggling Brooklyn plumbers, are heading out to a job but are beat out by the plumbing company owned by Anthony Scapelli. Meanwhile, a Scapelli construction company is being held up from working on their project by a court order, granting a university access to the site when dinosaur bones were discovered there. Scapelli visits the site and speaks with Daisy, the student in charge of the dig, and makes veiled threats that she better be finished by the end of the day, commenting on the rash of disappearing girls and saying she could be next. Daisy goes looking for a phone so she can call the university to get more security for the site, unaware that she is being followed by two men, Iggy and Spike. Daisy finds Luigi on a pay phone, who is love struck by Daisy and hands her the phone and a quarter to use. After her call, she thanks Luigi, who offers her a ride and she accepts and they drive her back to the dig site, with Luigi inviting her to dinner after they get there. Daisy accepts and goes to dinner with Luigi, Mario, and Mario’s girlfriend Daniella, where Daisy and Luigi grow closer after learning that Daisy is an orphan and Luigi’s parents died so he was raised by Mario. After dinner, Mario takes Daniella home but when he leaves, Iggy and Spike kidnap her, thinking she is Daisy. Meanwhile, Daisy invites Luigi to the dig site to see the fossils they uncovered when they see two of Scapelli’s men breaking a water main to sabotage the dig site. Luigi heads home to get Mario and the two work on fixing the pipe but once they are done, Iggy and Spike knock them out and grab Daisy. When they come too, Luigi and Mario go looking for Daisy and see her being dragged into a wall of rock. Luigi manages to grab her necklace and follows after her, with Mario accidentally following after him. The two end up in the parallel dimension and see Daisy getting carried away but are unable to follow her. Meanwhile, King Koopa learns that Iggy and Spike captured Daisy but when he hears that the Marios have the necklace, he issues a reward for their capture. Mario and Luigi are about to get mugged but are saved by a woman named Bertha, who takes the necklace and uses a pair of stompers to jump to the other side of the road and walks away. As the dejected brothers try to figure out their next move, a street musician named Toad tries to cheer them up but he ends up being arrested and when the cop notices that Mario and Luigi are plumbers, they end up being arrested as well. The Marios are taken to the police station and Koopa, pretending to be their lawyer, asks them about the rock and when they refuse to tell him about it, Koopa decides to have them devolved. He takes them to a the devolution chamber, where they witness Toad being devolved into a goomba but when it is their turn, Mario and Luigi manage to attack their guards and trap Koopa in the chair, where he is temporarily subjected to the devolution process. As Mario and Luigi make their way out of the police station, Luigi notices the fungus appears to be trying to give him something but Mario pulls him away before he can grab it. The two steal a police car and make their way out of the city through the tunnels but when they exit the tunnel, they almost crash off a cliff but are saved by the fungus that had ensnared the car. Back at Koopa’s tower, Daisy is in the holding cell with Daniella and the other kidnapped girls when Lena, Koopa’s assistant, takes her and explains that Daisy came from their world and her father was the king before Koopa devolved him and took over. Koopa takes Iggy and Spike to the devolution chamber and has them evolved to make them smarter, then sends them out to find Mario and Luigi. Iggy and Spike locate Mario and Luigi but the Marios capture them and ask them about Daisy and the rock. Iggy and Spike explain that the rock was a portion of the meteorite that separated the two worlds and once it is joined with the meteorite, the two worlds will merge. Mario and Luigi explain that the rock was stolen and Iggy and Spike says they know where Bertha can be found. The 4 manage to sneak back into Koopa City and head to the club, where Mario is able to get the rock from Bertha. Lena and some goombas arrive at the club to arrest them and Lena manages to get the rock but the Marios escape with Bertha’s help. As they make their way through the city, Luigi spots another object in the fungus and grabs it this time. The two head into Koopa tower, where they turn off the heat to the building in order to freeze up the goombas. Meanwhile, Daisy befriends Yoshi, the royal pet dinosaur, and the goombafied Toad when Lena, upset that Koopa is casting her aside, tries to kill her but Yoshi saves Daisy but gets stabbed in the process. As Daisy runs, she encounters Iggy and Spike and they take her to see her father, who has been devolved into the fungus that has been spreading across the city. Daisy locates the Marios and directs them to her, where she introduces them to her father, then tells Mario about Daniella and the other girls so he heads out to rescue them. Koopa learns that Daisy and Luigi are in the King’s chamber and that Lena has apparently betrayed him so he orders her arrest and heads down to capture Luigi and Daisy. Mario reaches the girls and knocks out their guard, then they use a mattress to make their escape through the air ducts, dealing with the goombas that were following them. Their mattress bursts out of the air ducts into the city, where it crashes into the goombas escorting Daisy and Luigi. As Daisy and Luigi go check on them, Koopa prepares to shoot them but Mario uses a stomper boot to knock him off the rail and into a metal bin. Mario goes after him and causes him to drop the rock, which Lena grabs and heads into the tunnels. Luigi, Daisy, and the girls go after her while Mario continues to face off against Koopa. When he pulls out the object Luigi grabbed, Koopa and all the other people recognize it as a Bob-omb and react in fear. Mario activates it and sends it after Koopa but it ends up falling when part of the walkway crumbles and Koopa smiles as he prepares to kill Mario. In the tunnels, Daisy and Luigi send the girls through the portal while Lena places the rock into the meteorite but the forces from the meteorite propel her into the wall with enough force to skeletonize her. Daisy realizes why Koopa needed her and asks Luigi to help her get the rock from the meteorite. Meanwhile, Koopa, Mario, and some goombas are transported to Earth and watch as some of Brooklyn’s buildings merge with Koopa’s world. Koopa tries to use a devolution gun on Mario but misses and changes Scapelli into a chimpanzee. He attempts to attack Mario but Mario uses a mushroom to block it and then uses it to disarm Koopa. Daisy and Luigi remove the rock, causing the worlds to separate again and Mario, Koopa, and the goombas are taken back to Koopa’s world. Luigi and Daisy encounter Toad, who hands them some devolution guns, and then Bertha hands him some stomper boots, which he uses to get to Mario. The two brothers use the devolution guns to attack Koopa, just as the Bob-omb, which had continued moving, makes it underneath the walkway and explodes, sending Koopa back into the container. He emerges transformed as a dinosaur but the Marios continue firing the guns at him, devolving him into primordial ooze. The people cheer at Koopa being dead and the king is transformed back into his human form. Daisy escorts Mario and Luigi back to the meteorite and uses the rock to open the portal and allow them to head home but tells Luigi that she can’t go back and the two kiss before Mario and Luigi head back home. Three weeks later, Mario, Daniella, and Luigi are preparing to eat dinner when Daisy shows up saying she needs their help and Mario quickly grabs his and Luigi’s tool belts as they get ready to help her.

Super Mario Bros. was heavily panned by the critics, holding a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Despite flashy sets and special effects, Super Mario Bros. is too light on story and substance to be anything more than a novelty.” John Leguizamo has stated that both he and Bob Hoskins hated working on the film and knew it would turn out bad but made the best of it.  The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $20.9 million off of a $48 million budget.

Yeh, this is not a good movie in the slightest sense of the word but it does have a couple of entertaining moments. The acting was ok, with Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo doing decent jobs in their roles. I also liked Samantha Mathis (Daisy) but thought Dennis Hopper made for a pretty lousy Koopa. The story was a real mess, as it honestly couldn’t seem to figure out what kind of movie it wanted to be; a family friendly one or a more serious, adult movie. I think this was probably the biggest fault with the movie as if they had stuck with one format over the other, it could have made for a better movie. The special effects were ok but I felt that they could have been better, though I did think it was funny that the devolution guns were really just painted up Super Scopes for the Super Nintendo. A trend setting theme for Hollywood but unfortunately, the trend pretty much kept going down hill.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Standard
action, crime, martial arts, movie, movie review, video game

December 4th, 2017 Movie – Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li

street fighter the legend of chun li

You know what needs to happen, a prequel story to Street Fighter that has no relation with the original movie. Ok, I am completely lying about that and yet that is exactly what we got with today’s movie. Now, as soon as I saw the trailers for this movie, I knew it was going to be a “steaming pile” and had no desire to see it in theaters or rent it. Then I got bored while wandering through Movie Stop one day and ended up buying it. To be honest, I think the only reason I bought it was because I was buying some video game based movies and decided to go full on terrible in my purchases. Well, let me get some antacid ready as I watch today’s movie, Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li.

The plot: As a young girl, Chun-Li is forced to travel a lot due to her father’s job but while they are at their home in Hong Kong, her father Xiang begins teaching her wushu. One night, when Xiang returns home, he is attacked by Balrog and some men and he manages to hold them off but when Chun-Li comes downstairs to find out what is happening, Balrog grabs her and Xiang surrenders so he will let her go. Bison enters the room and tells Chun-Li to listen to her father and head upstairs and she watches from her window as Xiang is forced into a car and her mother is struck by Balrog when she tries to stop them. Years later, Chun-Li has become a young woman and is performing a piano concert in Hong Kong and when she returns back stage, her friend says a gift came for her, an ancient scroll. As Chun-Li takes the subway home, she sees some men beating on someone before leaving him lying on the ground and as Chun-Li approaches him and asks someone to help, she notices the web tattoo on his hand. Meanwhile, Bison meets with the heads of the local branches of Shadaloo and says that he will be taking over control of all of them and when the men laugh and leave the building, Bison has Vega kill them all. He then receives a flash drive from Balrog and takes it to Xiang, whom he has been holding captive all this time, and tells him it is photos and a recording of Chun-Li’s concert, which he gives to him in exchange for his continued work for him. After Chun-Li’s mother dies, she decides to find out more about the scroll she received and as she is walking along the streets of Hong Kong, a street sweeper, bearing the same web tattoo, forces her into a shop. Inside, the owner examines the scroll and tells Chun-Li that she should go to Hong Kong and seek out a man named Gen, and Chun-Li realizes that Gen was the one she had helped and forced her into the shop. Meanwhile, Thailand police detective Maya Sunee is joined by Interpol Agent Charlie Nash and they discover the heads of the crime families and Nash tells her that Bison is the one behind it in order to consolidate power. Chun-Li travels to Bangkok, where she lives on the streets, and constantly searches for Gen but has no luck. One night, she sees some thugs beating someone and yells at them to stop, then proceeds to get in a fight with the men. Chun-Li beats them but passes out due to exhaustion and Gen shows up and carries her away. When she regains consciousness, Gen tells Chun-Li that they have been watching her and know where Xiang is being kept. Chun-Li is shocked to learn that Xiang is still alive and asks where he is but Gen tells her she is not ready to know. He then starts to explain about Bison and Shadaloo, saying he used to be part of the organization but now chooses to help those that Shadaloo hurts. He then offers to train Chun-Li in his style of martial arts, warning her that her anger will keep her from realizing her potential and Bison would easily capitalize on it. Meanwhile, Bison has kidnapped the families of various property owners of the slums around the waterfront in order to buy up the property for his own ends. Nash and Maya are keeping tabs on Bison’s operations and follow Bison’s secretary Cantana after she leaves the meeting. Unknown to them, Chun-Li was also watching Shadaloo and follows Balrog, where she overhears him discussing a shipment called the White Rose and asking for it to get into the city without going through customs. Chun-Li continues her training with Gen, who comments on her improvement. That night, Chun-Li heads to the night club where Cantana is and, given her fondness for women, manages to attract her attention and lead her into the bathroom. Once there, Chun-Li attacks her and manages to get the location of where the White Rose will be arriving and gives Cantana a message before she is forced to quickly leave when Cantana’s bodyguards start to break into the restroom. Chun-Li heads to another part of the club, where she ends up being attacked by the bodyguards and some other men, but she quickly defeats them and quickly runs when Nash and Maya, alerted to the commotion, head into the club and see what she did. The next day, Nash and Maya try to find Chun-Li but realize that the people in the area are protecting her. Meanwhile, Chun-Li asks Gen to tell her about Bison and he tells her how Bison had grown up an orphan and became a thief as the years passed. Seeking to get more power, he took his pregnant wife to a hidden temple and transferred all of the goodness in his soul into his unborn child, then kills his wife and cuts the child from her womb. Gen then sends Chun-Li out to get some groceries, wanting to get her out of the house as he knows Shadaloo men are coming. When the men get there, Gen is able to defeat them but Balrog fires an RPG at the house, blowing it up. Chun-Li had just returned and is knocked back by the blast and when she tries to find Gen, all she can find is his medallion and she weeps for the loss of her master. Meanwhile, Bison hires Vega to ensure the White Rose arrives untroubled and to kill Chun-Li. As Chun-Li is walking the streets, she senses someone following her and takes off running along the rooftops before quickly hiding. When Vega approaches where she is, Chun-Li fights with him and quickly beats him, leaving him tied up and hanging off the roof of a building. The next day, Chun-Li heads to the harbor and questions a dock worker as to when the White Rose is supposed to arrive. Meanwhile, Nash returns to his task force headquarters to find that it has been disbanded under orders from above and Maya tells him that he was right about Shadaloo’s influence. Chun-Li heads to the dock to intercept the shipment only to be captured by Bison and his men. Chun-Li is taken to a warehouse and tied to a chair, then Xiang is brought into the room and the two are left alone to talk for a few minutes before Bison enters and breaks Xiang’s neck before leaving. Balrog orders two men to kill Chun-Li but she is able to knock them out and escape. As she makes her way through the streets, Balrog and his men spot her and give chase and start firing at her but some of the crowd begin chasing after them. When Chun-Li is shot trying to prevent Balrog from shooting a kid, the crowd begins throwing things at Balrog and his men, forcing them to leave. Chun-Li ducks into an alley, where she is found by Gen and he takes her away to tend to her injuries. After she is healed, Chun-Li returns to the dock worker, who apologizes for leading her into a trap, and learns when the White Rose is really arriving. Chun-Li then heads to see Nash, telling him of the White Roses arrival and asking him to help her take down Bison. Nash arrives at the dock with his men and are soon joined by Maya and some of her men but as they see Bison arriving, Nash notices a bomb in the building and they quickly evacuate before it explodes. Bison’s men then begin firing on the cops, who are forced to defend themselves but Maya is injured during the fight. Elsewhere, Gen heads onto the boat and encounters Balrog, who reveals that the White Rose is a girl before Gen uses liquid nitrogen to kill him. Meanwhile, Chun-Li is on the boat looking for Gen when she spots a girl and tells her to stay where she is. When Chun-Li finds Gen, he tells her what Balrog said and Chun-Li realizes that the girl she saw is actually Bison’s daughter, Rose. The two go find Nash, who has a helicopter ready and they head off after Bison, who had managed to grab Rose and get away during the confusion. Chun-Li, Gen, Nash, and one of Maya’s SWAT team members head into Bison’s headquarters and attempt to find Bison and Rose, taking out the guards along the way. Gen encounters Bison, who easily defeats him, while Nash finds Rose and takes her out of the building. When Bison enters Rose’s room, he finds Gen waiting for him and the two fight again but when Bison throws Gen out the window, Gen’s leg is impaled on a piece of rebar. Before Bison can finish him off, Chun-Li attacks him and after a vicious battle, she summons a ki blast to knock him off the roof they are on, then jumps down onto him and breaks his neck. Nash approaches her and tells her to leave while he deals with the fallout with the authorities. Some time later, Chun-Li returns to her home in Hong Kong when Gen approaches her and shows her an article about an upcoming street fighter tournament. He says that they need to recruit some more fighters and mentions a prospect in the tournament named Ryu but Chun-Li says that she won’t join him as she is home now.

It may be hard to imagine, but Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li did even worse than it’s predecessor, only earning a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The combination of a shallow plot and miscast performers renders Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li a perfectly forgettable video game adaptation.” The movie marks the third fighting video game franchise that Robin Shou has been a part of, as he had played Liu Kang in the Mortal Kombat movies and the pirate leader in D.O.A.: Dead Or Alive. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $12.8 million off of an $18 million budget.

Oh yeh, this is definitely one of those movies that is famous for being terrible. The acting was ok at best, with Robin Shou (Gen) and Michael Clarke Duncan (Balrog) doing good jobs in their roles but the actual stars, Kristin Kreuk (Chun-Li) and Neal McDonough (Bison), actually being pretty boring with their roles. The story was a horrendous mess, only loosely following the story in the game, that being the fact that Chun-Li was after Bison for revenge for her father, but several of the major characters in the game, outside of Bison’s men Balrog and Vega, are not seen or mentioned, except for Ryu at the end. Some of the fight scenes were ok but a lot of the special effects looked cheap, which hurt the scenes they were used in. If you really want to watch this movie, do yourself a favor and smack your head against a brick wall a few times first, so you can be rendered unconscious before the movie starts.

Rating: 1 out of 5

 

Standard
action, adventure, movie, movie review, video game

December 3rd, 2017 Movie – Street Fighter

street fighter

The early/mid 90’s was an interesting time in movies as Hollywood took notice of the renewed video game craze and decided to make movies based on popular video games. Today’s movie is one such movie, taking advantage of one of the most popular games to come out of the 90’s, Street Fighter. I will be honest, as soon as I saw the trailer for this movie, I had a feeling this was going to be terrible. Then a few years ago, I decided to buy this terrible movie; a) because I was in a video game movie buying mood and b) because I am a glutton for punishment. So let’s deal with the punishment of today’s movie, Street Fighter.

The plot: In the Asian nation of Shadaloo, a civil war has broken out between the forces of the Allied Nations, and General M. Bison. As Chun-Li Zang reports on Bison’s kidnapping several relief workers and the soldiers that guarded them, Bison, who is watching the broadcast, is having the soldiers brought to him and challenging them to fight him, quickly killing them when they attack him. When Colonel William Guile arrives at the newly captured capital city and Chun-Li attempts to interview him, Guile proceeds to taunt Bison, prompting Bison to break into the television signal and speak with Guile. Guile has Sergeant Cammy attempt to trace the signal using Chun-Li’s news van, Bison tells Guile that he has 3 days to come up with the $20 billion ransom for the hostages or else he will kill them all, then disconnects the signal as Guile tells the workers and his friend Charlie that he is coming to rescue them. Bison approaches the last soldier, Carlos “Charlie” Blanka, and orders him to be taken down to the laboratory, where he has his captive scientist Dhalsim work to turn Charlie into the first of his genetically modified super soldiers. Later that night, Ken Masters and Ryu Hoshi pose as arms dealers in an attempt to con Viktor Sagat by selling him toy weapons but Sagat reveals that he is onto their scam. As punishment, Sagat has Ryu face off against his unbeaten champion cage fighter, Vega, with Ken fighting next, but before the fight can start, the warehouse is raided by Guile and his men, who arrest everyone for violating curfew. As Guile holds a meeting to plan their attack on Bison to free the hostages, it is interrupted by a Shadaloo assassin attempting to kill him. Since their trace was only able to narrow down Bison’s base to a general area of the country, Guile tries to figure out a way to locate Bison’s base when he notices a fight break out in the prison yard between Ken and Ryu vs Vega and several of Sagat’s men. Guile has Ken and Ryu brought to him and convinces them to help him in exchange for their freedom. As Sagat, Vega, Ken, Ryu, and several other prisoners are being transported out of their, Ken and Ryu stage a fight in order to secretly grab the keys to their shackles. After freeing themselves, they toss the keys to Sagat when he offers to get them out of the city, then Ryu and Vega jump out and hijack the truck to escape. Guile attempts to stop them but Ken had grabbed a gun from one of the guards and shoots Guile as they make their escape. After finishing her report on Guile’s death, Chun-Li, her cameraman Balrog, and her driver E. Honda, are checking the signal on her tracer when they get interference from another tracer, with the signal coming back to A.N. HQ. Chun-Li sneaks in to figure out what is going on and discovers that Guile had faked his death in order to get Ken and Ryu into Sagat’s good graces so they could be taken to Bison’s headquarters. Guile orders Chun-Li to be detained, as he is aware her interest in Bison is due to a personal vendetta, but Chun-Li manages to escape and meets up with Balrog and Honda at the thieves market. There, they masquerade as performers doing an acrobatic act while Bison and Sagat are completing their arms deal. Knowing that Ken and Ryu are secretly working with Guile, Chun-Li lures Ken into her tent and when Ryu follows, Honda and Balrog grab him and tie them up. Chun-Li tells them she plans to kill Bison and Sagat and gives them an opportunity to escape. When Ken and Ryu reenter the main tent, they find themselves in the middle of a stand-off between Bison and Sagat’s men, as Bison had attempted to pay Sagat in “Bison dollars”, which are worthless. To save themselves, Ken and Ryu are forced to inform Bison of Chun-Li’s plans, just as a pre-recorded announcement occurs and Honda pushes a truck full of explosives down the hill towards Sagat’s weapons and ammo. Bison orders an evacuation and everyone is saved, while Chun-Li, Honda, and Balrog are captured. When they arrive at Bison’s headquarters, he orders Zangief to show Ken and Ryu around and get them some clean clothes, Honda and Balrog are taken to the interrogation room, and Chun-Li is taken to Bison’s quarters. Guile, finally learning where Bison’s base is, plans his assault but the Deputy Secretary of the A.N. orders him to stand down, as they want to pay off the ransom, but Guile and his troops disobey the orders and continue to head out to attack Bison. Meanwhile, Ryu and Ken go to free Balrog and Honda, only to find that they had already freed themselves, and convince them they are trying to help them escape. The 4 go to rescue Chun-Li, who had attacked Bison and almost defeated him but the distraction of their arrival allows Bison to escape and knock them out with sleeping gas. As Guile, Cammy, and T. Hawk make their way to the headquarters in their stealth craft, Bison detects them and manages to blow up their ship but the three escape and head towards the base. Meanwhile, Dahlsim had attempted to save Blanka’s mind by altering the programming and when he is discovered, the guard attempts to kill him but their struggle accidentally releases Blanka, who quickly kills the guard. Guile sneaks down into the temple through a sewer entrance and enters the lab, where he is confronted by Blanka but the two recognize each other and Blanks stops fighting. Blanka asks Guile to help him and Guile is prepared to shoot him to put him out of his misery but Dahlsim stops him, saying he doesn’t have the right to kill him and he should be going after Bison instead. When the deadline passes and the ransom isn’t paid, Bison orders Blanka’s cage brought up so he can kill the hostages but when the cage opens, Guile emerges and quickly attacks Bison and his men. As he holds off Bison’s men, Guile tells Ken, Ryu, Chun-Li, and Balrog to go free the hostages while Honda begins fighting with Zangief. As Guile’s troops arrive to assist in the battle, Dee Jay, Bison’s computer technician, sneaks away while Sagat and Vega, seeking revenge, go after Ken and Ryu. Bison and Guile begin fighting each other, telling their respective troops to leave them. As the fighting continues, Ken decides to leave and save himself, saying he did the job that Guile wanted them to do but Ryu refuses to leave without helping the hostages. Dee Jay sneaks into Bison’s quarters and finds his emergency stash of money but quickly hides as Ken comes in, looking for the same thing. Ken grabs a statue but when he tries to find a way out on the monitors, he sees Ryu enter the gym, with Sagat and Vega entering behind him, and races off to help him. Ryu is double teamed by Vega and Sagat at first until Ken gets there, and Ryu faces off against Vega while Ken fights Sagat. The two friends are able to defeat their opponents and as they leave, Ken thanks Sagat, saying if he hadn’t of met him, he might have become just like him. Chun-Li, Balrog, Cammy, and T. Hawk free the prisoners and make their way out of the base, encountering Honda and Zangief on the way and tell him to leave as well. Zangief calls Honda a coward and sees Dee Jay attempting to flee only to learn that Zangief had been misled by Bison and that he is actually a bad guy so Zangief helps the others escape. Meanwhile, Bison and Guile continue to fight and Guile eventually manages to electrocute him, seemingly killing him. However the electricity activates Bison’s suit, which revives him and allows him to access conductive electro-magnetism, allowing him to fly across the room and attack Guile. As Bison prepares to administer the final blow, Guile kicks him and directs him into a monitor bank, causing it to crash to the ground while part of the roof falls on top of him due to the temple’s self destruct being activated. Guile heads down to the lab to get Blanka and Dahlsim out but they refuse to leave, with Blanka saying their is no place for him up there while Dahlsim wants to stay to atone for his part in what happened to Blanka. Dee Jay escapes with the money and is joined by Sagat, who breaks open the chest and laughs when he finds it is filled Bison dollars. Guile manages to make it out of the temple before it explodes, much to the relief of his friends, and the news reports about the fall of Bison’s army but unknown to everyone, a solar cell activates Bison’s suit and his hand is seen punching through the rubble, with a computer program loading up World Domination.

Street Fighter was highly panned by the critics, holding a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though it offers mild entertainment through campy one-liners and the overacting of the late Raul Julia, Street Fighter’s nonstop action sequences are not enough to make up for a predictable, uneven storyline.” The post credit scene of Bison’s hand emerging from the rubble was cut from the theaters, out of respect for Raul Julia (who died two months before the movie premiered) but was reinserted when it went to video. Despite the poor reviews, the movie was actually a success at the box office, earning $99.4 million off of a $33 million budget

Oh yeh, this was incredibly bad. Surprisingly, some of the acting wasn’t that bad, with Van Damme doing an ok job as Guile and Raul Julia, while not quite as intimidating as the character in the game, definitely made his last role memorable. The biggest problem was really how the characters differed from the video game version. The story was honestly a convoluted mess, with them trying to have too much going on to make this an effective movie. The fights and special effects were as weak as the story and really hurt the movie’s ability to be entertaining. Another movie to be added to the pile of disastrous video game movies.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

Standard
action, adventure, drama, movie, movie review, video game

March 22nd, 2017 Movie – Assassin’s Creed

assassins creed

Now it has been few months since I have watched a movie based on a video game. The weird thing is, considering the advances in video games over the years, you would figure that a movie would turn out really good. However, most of the times, these movies are absolutely terrible. When today’s movie came out in theaters, I didn’t get a chance to see it because other things kept coming up, which seems to be happening a lot recently. However, I had several friends tell me that I would probably enjoy it so, being me, I decided to take them at their word and pre-order it. So let’s see if my friends were right as I watch today’s movie, Assassin’s Creed.

The plot: In 1492, Aguilar de Nerha is accepted into the Assassin’s brotherhood and tasked with defending Prince Ahmed de Granada from the Templars. If he is captured, the Templars could learn the whereabouts of the Apple of Eden, and with it gain control over all free will. In 1986, young Callum “Cal” Lynch is attempting to jump his bike over rooftops but fails and falls onto a pile of mattresses that he set up in case he failed. Returning home, he finds that his father, Joseph, has killed his mother and when dozens of cars show up to grab Joseph, Joseph convinces Cal to run. Thirty years later, Cal is in prison facing execution for suspected murder but instead of being killed by the drugs, he wakes up some time later in a lab room, where Dr. Sofia Rikkin explains that his death was faked by the Abstergo Foundation. Struggling with the after effects of the drugs, Cal tries to run and Dr. Sofia tells the guards not to touch him. Cal eventually comes to an open air garden and stands on the ledge overlooking the city. One of the men in the garden tells him to jump but he doesn’t and Sofia begins talking to him when security guards, under orders from her father Alan Rikkin, tranquilize him. Cal is prepared for going into the Animus, where Sofia explains that he will be reliving the memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha, where Abstergo hopes to learn the location of the Apple. In 1492, Aguilar and a squad of assassins reach the village where Prince Ahmed is hiding and manage to stop the Templars from executing some of the villagers and razing the village. Maria, Aguilar’s partner, manages to drive off with the prison cart that Ahmed is in and as Templars, led by Ojeda, chase after her, Aguilar grabs a horse to follow. Aguilar and Maria manage to kill some of their pursuers but when the cart is about to go over a cliff, Aguilar manages to free Ahmed from the cage and avoid falling to his death, just as Sofia orders Cal pulled out of the Animus. That night, Alan questions Sofia about why she pulled Cal and she tells him they have to go slow and build his trust. Some time later, Alan meets with his superior at Abstergo, Ellen Kaye, who says she is pulling the plug on the Animus project but when he tells her that they are close to finding the Apple, she allows it to continue. Back at the facility, Cal is experiencing hallucinations of his time in the Animus and Sofia tells him it is called the Bleeding Effect. When Cal questions what she is doing, she shows him how she has tracked his lineage to Aguilar and explains that the other “patients” are also descendants of assassins. Sofia also tells Cal that her mother was killed by an assassin and instead of turning to violence, like Cal, she turned to science and hopes to use the apple to rid the world of violence, which she sees as a disease. Later, Cal is at the cafeteria and meets Moussa, who is the somewhat leader of the assassin descendant’s in the program, and some of the other descendants feel that Cal is going to lead the Templars to the Apple. Alan pressures Sofia to place Cal back into the Animus and she reluctantly agrees. In his cell, Cal sees an hallucination of Aguilar and begins fighting with him, and he starts thinking he is crazy as the guards come to place him in the Animus. Cal begins singing nonstop and Sofia tries to get him to focus but he continues singing. Back in 1492, Aguilar, Maria, and some other assassins are about to be burned at the stake but Aguilar manages to free himself, then Maria and the two escape. In the present, Sofia watches Cal’s actions and realizes that he is syncing up with Aquilar. Back in 1492, Aguilar and Maria race across the rooftops, fighting Ojeda and Templar soldiers along the way, until they eventually reach a tower, where they preform a leap of faith to escape. The leap causes a violent reaction in Cal, forcing Sofia to pull him out and Cal ends up temporarily paralyzed and as he recovers, he ends up bonding with Sofia. Some time later, Alan pays a visit to Cal and speaks with him and says that he wants the Apple. He then takes Cal to a room full of people that are no longer able to go in the animus and says that Joseph is there, then hands Cal the Assassin’s blade that Joseph used to kill Cal’s mother. Leaving the room, Alan returns to Sofia’s lab, and Sofia tells him this is wrong but Alan says that Cal had to enter the Animus of his own free will in order to get the job done and now he will want to go there to destroy his father. Cal confronts Joseph and Joseph explains about the Apple and that his mother chose to die so she would not be forced to give away it’s location. Cal then tells Joseph that he is going to find the Apple and give it to them in order to destroy him. Later one of the descendants tries to kill Cal but Cal is able to stop him and as the guards take him away, the descendant yells at Call that he is going to kill the Creed. Cal willingly goes back in the Animus, where Aguilar and Maria are watching the Templars force Muhammad to give them the Apple. Once the Templars have the Apple, Aguilar and Maria use smoke bombs to help them ambush the Templars, killing most of them and grabbing the Apple but when the smoke clears, Ojeda has a knife to Maria’s throat while Aguilar is similarly threatening Tomas de Torquemada, the Templar leader. Maria chooses to die in order to keep the Apple safe so Ojeda kills her. Aguilar stabs Tomas then fights with Ojeda but Ojeda overpowers him. Before Ojeda can kill him, Aguilar uses Maria’s hidden blade to stab him, then finally kills him but Tomas manages to unseal the door, allowing more guards to enter. Aguilat manages to escape and eventually gives the Apple to Christopher Columbus, telling him to take it to his grave. Suddenly, Cal is surrounded by visions of his Assassin ancestors, which confuses Sofia and the guards in the chamber. Meanwhile, Moussa and some of the other descendants start a riot and begin fighting their way towards the Animus chamber. Alan orders the facility to be purged, then leaves with Sofia and his head of security as the rest of the security forces kill Joseph and dozens of other Assassins. In the chamber, Cal sees his mother, who tells him he is not alone and has him recite the Assassin’s Creed, causing him to fully embrace his heritage. When Moussa and some other Assassin’s enter the chamber, Cal helps them arm themselves and fight off the guards before they eventually make their escape. At Columbus’ tomb, Alan retrieves the Apple but Ellen tells Sofia that she knows who really found it and says that her time will come. At the Grand Templar Hall in London, Sofia and Alan argue over his lying to her about the reasons for finding the Apple, as she now knows he looked for it only to kill the Assassins, not to benefit mankind. While the Templars are gathering, the Assassins have managed to sneak into the hall and remove the parts they each secretly carried into the hall to assemble an Assassin’s hidden blade, which is given to Cal. As Alan starts to give his speech, Sofia walks away but then stops as she sees Cal approaching and the two talk briefly before he heads past her and kills Alan and retrieves the Apple. As the assembled mass all run from the temple, Sofia approaches her father’s body and says that she did this and after Ellen speaks to her, Sofia leaves with Abstergo’s head of security and looks up into the night, while elsewhere in the city, Cal and the other Assassins stand on a rooftop and renew the Assassin’s vow to protect the Apple.

Assassin’s Creed met with poor reviews from the critics, holding a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Assassin’s Creed is arguably better made (and certainly better cast) than most video game adaptations; unfortunately, the CGI-fueled end result still is still a joylessly overplotted slog.” The Leap of Faith performed in the movie was done with the use of a stunt double, instead of digitally as the production team wanted to make certain elements of the film as real as possible, and the 125 foot jump was one of the highest free falls performed by a stuntman in 35 years. The movie was a modest success, earning $240.5 million off of a $125 million budget.

I will admit, I did expect a bit more from this movie, but all in all it isn’t a bad movie. The acting was good, with Michael Fassbender (Cal) and Marion Cotillard (Sofia) doing a good job in their roles. The basic story was pretty good, and I liked that they used original characters that could be tied into the universe established in the video games but I agree that it did get kind of bogged down by too many plot elements. I mean, you had the story line in the past but in the present, you had three different sub-plots going on; the main one with Cal and Sofia, the Alan/Abstergo/Templar subplot, and the Assassins’ descendants subplot. All of this going on really did slow down the pace of the movie as they tried to work everything in. The fight coordination and special effects were pretty good and did help try and keep the pace of the movie going. Not the best movie out there but it is a good movie to sit and veg to if you are in the mood for an action flick.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

Standard