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

December 13th, 2017 Movie – Superman IV: The Quest For Peace

superman 4

We have come to the last movie in the original series and boy, what a way to go out. Now I admit that I did have a chance to see this movie in theaters when it came out. However, when I was presented with the choice of a 4th movie in a franchise, I decided to go watch Jaws: The Revenge instead, and I honestly don’t feel the slightest regret in my choice. Well, I might as well get this over with and watch today’s movie, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.

The plot: On a Soviet space station orbiting the Earth, a cosmonaut is singing while doing maintenance on the outside of the station while his fellow cosmonauts joke with him about is singing. Suddenly, some space debris hits the station, causing the station to spin while knocking the cosmonaut off the station and sending him into space. Superman shows up and stabilizes the station, then retries the floating cosmonaut and takes him back to the station and helps him inside before flying back down to Earth. In Smallville, Clark is wandering around his family’s farm getting ready to sell it as his mom , Martha Kent, had recently died. Heading into the barn, he sees his old spaceship and sees a glowing crystal and hears his birth mother Lara’s voice, telling him that it is an energy module and it’s power can only be used once. After Clark grabs the crystal, the spaceship dissolves just as Mr. Hornsby, the real estate agent, shows up. Clark meets with him but tells him he refuses to sell the farm to a developer, as he wants to sell it to someone who wants to have a farm. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor is working at a prison rock quarry when his nephew Lenny shows up and helps him escape. Back in Metropolis, Clark heads down to the subway but just misses the train that Lois is on. As the train heads down the track, the engineer suffers a heart attack, causing the train to go out of control, and Clark, hearing the trouble, quickly changes into Superman and stops the train, saving everyone aboard. When Clark arrives at the Daily Planet, he learns that the Planet has been taken over by David Warfield, a tabloid tycoon, and his daughter Lacy. During the course of the day as David starts making his changes to the Planet, they see a televised speech from the President, saying that he was going to be increasing the country’s nuclear arsenal in response to Soviet’s activities. When a classroom hears the speech, the teacher suggests writing to their congressman to tell them how they feel but one kid, Jeremy, writes a letter to Superman instead. Elsewhere, Luthor and Lenny head to the Metropolis museum and steal a strand of Superman’s hair that he had donated. After grabbing it, Luthor tells Lenny that he plans on using it to make a being that is stronger than Superman. Back at the Daily Planet, Lacy has taken a liking to Clark and attempts to seduce him and convinces him to help her with some stories about various clubs in the city. Lois interrupts them and brings the letter Jeremy wrote to Superman and gives it to Clark to read. Lacy gets excited about the idea of using the kids letter to boost their circulation, and David brings Jeremy to Metropolis to show him around the city while printing a front page story about Superman saying “Drop Dead” to the kid. After seeing the headline, Superman heads to the Fortress of Solitude to consult with the Kryptonian Elders about the situation, and they tell him to not interfere and he can always go to a new world where there are no wars. After Clark returns to Metropolis, Lois meets him at his apartment, as they were supposed to go to a press dinner together, and he reveals that he is Superman to her again. They fly off for a while and after returning to his apartment, he discusses Jeremy’s letter with her before wiping her memory again. The next day, Jimmy Olsen is taking pictures of Jeremy around the city when Superman shows up and they head to the U.N., joined by Lois and Lacy along the way. Inside, Superman speaks to the delegates and tells them he plans on ridding the world of every nuclear weapon, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd. As Superman collects the various nuclear weapons and throws them into the sun, Luthor meets with an American and Soviet general and makes plans to attach his device onto one of their missiles so that when it is thrown into the sun, it will create a being that will kill Superman and allow them to renew their arms race. The generals agree and once the missile is thrown into the sun, the Nuclear Man is born and flies back to Earth. Arriving at Luthor’s hideout, Nuclear Man starts to turn on Luthor but Luthor has him walk out of the sunlight, causing the Nuclear Man to depower and Luthor tells Lenny that he derives his strength from the sun and that the lack of sunlight is his only weakness. Meanwhile, Lacy is still having Clark join her at various clubs and while they are working out in her gym, she says they should tag along with Lois while she interviews Superman and make it a double date. Clark arrives at Lacy’s apartment and constantly manufactures situations to disappear so that he can change into Superman and vice versa. Suddenly, Clark hears a piercing noise and sees Luthor appear on a view screen downtown, telling Superman that only he can hear or see him and tells him that he has a bomb placed on a nearby building. Superman leaves Lacy’s apartment, and flies to the building to find Luthor and Lenny waiting for him. Luthor then introduces Superman to the Nuclear Man, telling Superman that after Nuclear Man kills him, he plans to use Nuclear Man to help restart the arms race, where he will make millions. The Nuclear Man and Superman start to battle across the world, with the Nuclear Man causing several disasters during the course of their fight. When the Nuclear Man grabs the Statue of Liberty and drops it from the sky, Superman grabs it and flies it back to Liberty Island, but Nuclear Man scratches him and infects Superman with radiation sickness. As the weakened Superman falls to the ground, Nuclear Man kicks him into the sky, while Superman’s cape falls to the ground. Later, David makes Lacy the new publisher of the Daily Planet and shows her Superman’s cape, which he had bought from the person that grabbed it, laying on her desk. Lois enters the office upset over the paper’s headline, “Superman Dead?” and quits, then grabs the cape off of Lacy’s desk. Lacy apologizes to Lois, saying she knew nothing about it, and asks if Lois has heard from Clark, as he hasn’t called in and she is worried about him. Lois heads to Clark’s apartment and breaks in to find Clark still sick from the radiation sickness, though he passes it off as the flu. Lois talks with Clark about her feelings towards Superman and leaves Superman’s cape with him. After she leaves, Clark takes the energy module and uses it to heal himself. Meanwhile, the Nuclear Man sees a picture of Lacy and becomes attracted to her so he flies off to grab her but finds Superman standing in front of the Daily Planet. When Superman refuses to tell him where Lacy is, Nuclear Man begins attacking the nearby people until Superman relents and agrees to take him to her. Superman manages to trick Nuclear Man into an elevator, where he loses his powers, then grabs the elevator and takes it up to the moon. As Superman leaves, a crack in the elevator door allows sunlight in, powering up Nuclear Man and he renews his attack on Superman, eventually pounding him down into the ground on the moon. Nuclear Man then flies back to Metropolis, grabs Lacy, and flies off with her. Superman digs himself out of the moon’s surface, then pushes the moon in front of the sun to cause an eclipse, then rescues Lacy from the depowered Nuclear Man. Superman then grabs Nuclear Man and drops him into a nuclear reactor, causing the reactor to power up to super levels. Later, Perry White gets a loan from the banks to buy the majority shares of the Daily Planet, forcing David out as owner. Later, Superman gives a speech in front of the U.N., saying that he could not be the one to stop the wars on Earth and that they needed to make sure to do that themselves. Superman then captures Luthor and Lenny, placing Lenny in a boys home while taking Luthor back to prison before flying off to new adventures.

Superman IV: The Quest For Peace was completely panned by the critics, holding a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Superman series bottoms out here: the action is boring, the special effects look cheaper, and none of the actors appear interested in where the plot’s going.” The failure of this movie at the box office caused The Cannon Group Inc., who had produced the movie, to put their plans for a Spider-Man movie on hold. Technically, the movie was a box office success, as it earned $36.7 million off of a $17 million budget, but it was considered a critical and commercial failure and it would be almost 20 years before another Superman movie would hit the big screen.

Good lord, this movie was terrible. I honestly feel bad for DC comics to have to be associated with this one. The acting was ok but honestly, several of the actors just didn’t seem to have their hearts into this one. The story was a mess and felt like they just kind of threw a bunch of ideas together and see what sticks. The special effects were really the worst aspect of this movie. I know this movie suffered from a lack of budget compared to the other movies but there was still issues with these. The green screen effects, even something as benign as Superman flying around, were simply awful. I also still didn’t like the additional powers that Superman was given, such as telekinesis and special eye beams that were able to restore the Great Wall of China after Nuclear Man destoryed parts of it. Anyways, this is one of those movies that always winds up on a “Worst Movie Ever” lists and definitely earns it’s place there.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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December 12th, 2017 Movie – Superman III

superman 3

Continuing with the exploits of the Last Son of Krypton, we come to today’s somewhat infamous entry into the franchise. Now this is a movie that honestly left a lasting memory in me back when I was a kid, mainly because one scene really creeped me out. To date, this has been the only Superman movie I have seen in theaters, not that I haven’t had opportunities to see any of the more recent movies in theaters. Anyways, let’s get on with today’s movie, Superman III.

The plot: Gus Gorman, a chronically unemployed man, is at the unemployment office and learns that his benefits have run out after his being out of work for 36 months. When he asks a man in line for a light, he sees an ad for a computer programming school and decides to enroll, where he discovers he has a knack for computer programming. Meanwhile, Clark Kent arrives at the Daily Planet and as he speaks with Perry about going to his high school reunion and doing a story on it, he learns that Lois is going to Bermuda for a story. Meanwhile, after finishing the programming school, Gus gets employment at Webscoe but when he is disappointed in all of the taxes that are taken out of his paycheck, he decides to embezzle from the company by rerouting the fractions of cents from all transactions into his account. Elsewhere, Clark is on a bus to Smallville with Jimmy Olsen when the bus is stopped due to a nearby fire at a chemical plant. As Jimmy sneaks in to take pictures of what is going on, Clark changes into Superman and asks the fire fighters how he can help. After rescuing some workers from the roof, Superman heads inside to ensure everyone is out and finds one man staying behind to look after the canisters of Beltric acid, saying if they heat up they will release an acidic cloud that could eat through anything. As the fire continues to rage, Superman rescues Jimmy, who had broken his leg when the ladder he was on broke. When the water runs out from the fire trucks, Superman heads to a nearby lake, freezes it, then carries it back to the fire, where the heat from the fire melts the ice and turns it into rain, which puts out the fires. At the reunion, Clark sees his high school crush Lana Lang and goes to talk with her, and she takes him out to the dance floor to avoid dealing with her drunken ex-boyfriend Brad Wilson. Clark stays in Smallville for a few more days, continuing to hang out with Lana and her son Ricky. Meanwhile, Gus’ actions are discovered by company owner Ross Webster, who blackmails Gus into helping him destroy the coffee crops in Colombia, as the Colombian government refuses to do business with him in his bid to control the coffee market. Ross and his sister Vera want Gus to use the Vulcan weather satellite to create a storm that will take out the crops and when Gus suggests they access Vulcan through a low level computer so it won’t be traced back to them, Ross sends him to Smallville, where a Webscoe subsidiary Wheatking is based. When Gus gets there, he convinces Brad, who is the night security guard, to let him in by bribing him with liquor. After Brad passes out drunk, Gus heads to the main computer room and after a couple of attempts, accesses the Vulcan satellite and has it create a hurricane to attack Columbia. Ross, Vera, and Lorelei Ambrosia, Ross’s psychic nutritionist, see the news about the hurricane and Ross starts celebrating but Gus shows up and tells him that Superman had stopped the hurricane and saved Colombia. Ross is upset that Superman might interfere with his oil plan but Lorelei mentions Kryptonite and he comes up with a plan. Ross has Gus use the Vulcan satellite to analyze the remains of Krypton so he can discover what Kryptonite is made of so that their labs can manufacture some to use against Superman. When Gus analyzes Krypton, he finds one of the elements is an unknown substance so he substitutes tar as the substance in the report. Superman agrees to show up at Ricky’s birthday party but the town of Smallville decides to hold a festival in his honor. During the festival, Gus, disguised as an Army officer, shows up and awards Superman for saving the town from the chemical fire and hands him the synthetic Kryptonite but Superman suffers no effects from it. Later, at Lana’s house, Superman starts acting strangely, choosing to flirt with Lana and delaying going to help with a traffic accident. Superman then straightens out the Leaning Tower of Pisa and blows out the Olympic Flame, causing the nations of the world to censure his actions. With Superman no longer being complete good guy, Ross feels that he will no longer be a hindrance to his plan. Ross has Gus order all of the oil pumps to start working and reroute all of the oil tankers to a spot in the middle of the ocean. Gus refuses at first unless Ross agrees to build him a supercomputer based on his own designs. When Ross agrees to build it, Gus uses the computers to do as Ross asks but one of the tankers refuses to follow the new orders. Realizing this, Ross has Lorelei seduce Superman and convince him to turn the tanker around but when he stops the tanker from continuing towards Metropolis, he ends up causing an oil spill. Meanwhile, Lana gets tired of dealing with Brad and realizing she needs a change, decides to move to Metropolis with Ricky. When they get into town, they see Superman getting drunk at a bar and causing a commotion and Ricky pleads with Superman to go back to being a hero as he flies off. Superman ends up heading to a junkyard and screaming in frustration, scaring off the workers. Suddenly, Superman separates into his good self, in the form of Clark, and his current evil self. The two personas begin fighting in the junkyard, with Clark eventually winning as he strangles the evil self until it disappears. Clark then changes into Superman and flies off towards the ocean, where he returns the oil to the tanker and repairs it. Superman than heads to Lorelei’s apartment, where he sees a video message from Vera inviting him to come get them. Superman flies to Glen Canyon, where Ross had the super computer built, but comes under fire from the computer’s defenses. As Superman heads inside the cave where the computer is, the computer analyzes him and is able to create a Kryptonite beam to use against him. Not wanting to be known as the man who killed Superman, Gus manages to cut the power to the computer but the computer becomes self aware and begins absorbing power from the nearby power lines to continue attacking Superman. Gus uses a fire axe to disable the beam projector but the computer blasts him away, knocking him unconscious. Superman recovers and flies away while Ross, Lorelei, and Vera try to escape the computer but Vera is captured and transformed into a cyborg. Vera attacks Loelei and Ross when Superman returns, carrying a container of Butric acid, and saves them. The computer doesn’t register the acid as a threat as it attacks Superman but as it drags Superman inside it’s core to try and turn him into a cyborg, the heat from the super computer heats up the acid and it ends up destroying the computer. Superman frees Gus and takes him out of there to a nearby coal plant. Superman grabs a piece of coal and crushes it into a diamond, then tells the workers that Gus would be a good hire but Gus opts not to work there and decides to walk to the nearest bus stop. In Metropolis, Clark heads to Lana’s apartment, telling her Superman can’t meet her for dinner but asks if she would like to go to dinner with him instead, to which Lana happily agrees. Clark then gives Lana the new diamond ring, which he had made to replace the one she was forced to pawn, when Brad shows up, having followed Lana to Metropolis. Brad attacks Clark in a drunken, jealous rage but Clark is able to dodge him and Brad ends up falling onto a room service cart and rolling into the elevator. The next day, Perry is congratulating Lois on the story she wrote while on vacation and as Lois is talking with Clark about his story and offers to take him to lunch, Clark tells her he is going to lunch with Perry’s new secretary, Lana. Later, Superman flies back to Pisa and restores the Leaning Tower back to it’s original position then flies off to orbit the Earth to look for new adventures.

Superman III was panned by most of the critics, holding a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “When not overusing sight gags, slapstick, and Richard Pryor, Superman III resorts to plot points rehashed from the previous Superman flicks.” Both Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder expressed their disgust over the firing of Richard Donner, with Reeves considering not returning for the movie, but he was eventually convinced to return when he was offered the ability to make some rewrites to the script while Kidder’s role was reduced to only a few minutes of screen time. Despite the bad reviews, the movie was a mild hit at the box office, earning $80.2 million off of a $39 million budget.

I am 50/50 on my feelings towards this movie. On the one hand, there are a couple of good scenes that are in this movie but overall, it’s kind of a let down. The acting was ok, with Christopher Reeve (Clark), Annette O’Toole (Lana) and Richard Pryor (Gus) doing great jobs in their roles. The story was a bit of a mess, and I think part of that was that they tried to put too much slap stick elements in it in an attempt to lighten the mood some, but it hurt the overall story. That being said, there were some good elements in this movie. The synthetic Kryptonite angle, which mimicked aspects of Red and Black Kryptonite, and the fight between Superman’s good and evil personas was definitely the best part of the movie. Meanwhile, the scene where Vera was turned into a cyborg is still a little unnerving but I felt like childlike memories might have made it more vivid than it really was. The special effects actually seemed better than in the second one but there were a few aspects that could have been better. All in all, it has a bit of a bad rep but this can be entertaining to watch.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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December 11th, 2017 Movie – Superman II

superman 2

As successful as Superman was, I don’t think there was any doubt that a sequel would be made. The funny thing is, the sequel was actually being filmed at the same time as the first movie but was put on hold before it was finished, as the studio wanted to get the first movie finished and see how it did before they completed work on the sequel. Now I don’t remember if I saw this in theaters but I do remember watching it on TV with my dad years ago and the kid in me thought it was awesome to see Superman fighting some other Kryptonians who were just as strong as him. So let’s see if this feeling still holds up with today’s movie, Superman II.

The plot: On Krypton, General Zod, Ursa, and Non break into a facility, killing the guard and breaking one of the crystals inside, but they are quickly captured, where a trial is held and they are banished to the Phantom Zone. Years later, Clark Kent arrives at the Daily Planet only to learn that a terrorist group has taken hostages at the Eiffel Tower and threaten to blow up Paris with a hydrogen bomb if their demands aren’t met. When he learns that Lois Lane has been sent there to cover the story, Clark quickly leaves the building before changing into Superman and flies off towards Paris. In Paris, Lois arrives at the Eiffel Tower but when she hears about the bomb, she sneaks into the Eiffel Tower and climbs underneath one of the elevators so she can get closer to the terrorists for a better story but her purse strap gets snagged on one of the struts, trapping her underneath. The terrorists release the hostages and send them down in one of the elevators while sending the bomb up on one of the others, which happens to be the one Lois is trapped underneath. When the terrorists leave the elevator, the police detonate explosives the placed in the junction box, sending the elevator crashing down but accidentally causing the bomb to be activated. Superman arrives in Paris and quickly flies down and stops the elevator from crashing, rescuing Lois, then flies the elevator car up into space to let it explode safely. When the bomb explodes, it sends shockwaves out that knock Superman back but he quickly recovers and flies back to Earth. However, the shockwaves also strike the Phantom Zone prism as it flies by Earth, freeing Zod, Ursa, and Non. The three Kryptonian fly to the moon, where they proceed to attack and kill three astronauts before flying down to Earth. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor and his henchman Otis, make plans to break out of prison, with Eve Teschmacher’s help by piloting a hot air balloon, but Otis’ weight is too much for the balloon so Luthor kicks the ladder off, leaving Otis behind as he and Teschmacher fly off. Clark and Lois are sent on assignment to Niagara Falls, posing as newlyweds to expose a honeymoon scam. While they are walking by the falls, Lois starts to get suspicious about Clark when Superman shows up to save a boy who fell off the railing and Clark is nowhere to be seen. At the same time, Luthor and Teschmacher head north and eventually reach the Fortress of Solitude, where Luthor learns of the existence of Zod, Ursa, and Non. Learning that there was a chance the three could escape the Phantom Zone, Luthor realizes that the strange alpha waves he had been detecting were the criminals and makes plans to contact them. Back at Niagara Falls, Lois voices her suspicions to Clark about his being Superman and decides to jump in the falls to prove her theory. As she makes her way down the river, Clark rushes along the bank and tries to save Lois without revealing his secret identity, eventually using his heat vision to sever a tree branch for her to use to stay afloat before she is able to get to shore. As she is chastising herself back in their hotel room, Lois asks Clark to hand her a brush and as he moves towards her, he trips over a bear-skin rug and his hand falls into the nearby fire. When Lois checks his hand and realizes it is unharmed, Clark finally comes clean and Lois says that he probably did so subconsciously. Realizing that they need to talk, especially after Lois says that she loves him, so he takes her to the Fortress of Solitude so he can explain everything. Meanwhile, Zod, Ursa, and Non arrive in the small town of East Houston, Idaho and quickly take over the town. When the military arrives to deal with them, the three Kryptonians easily defeat the military and then head to Washington to force the President to surrender. Back in the Fortress, Superman speaks with the image of his mother and learns there is a way to remove his powers and make him mortal, so he can live his life with Lois, but she cautions him that the process is irreversible. Clark agrees to go with it and enters a chamber that is filled with red solar radiation, removing his powers from him. Lois is shocked that he gave up his powers for her as the two end up sleeping together before making the journey back to Metropolis. When they stop at a diner to eat, Clark gets into a fight with a man harassing Lois and ends up getting beat up. As Lois helps him to his feet and tends to him, they see a televised broadcast of the President surrendering to Zod before pleading for Superman to help them. As Zod comes on camera and calls out Superman, Clark realizes the danger that he has placed on the Earth by surrendering his powers and decides to head back to the Fortress to see if there is anyway to get them back. Making his way up North, he finds the Fortress apparently destroyed by the process that removed his powers and calls out to his father, only to notice the green crystal that built the Fortress glowing on the ground. Meanwhile, Luthor arrives at the White House and informs Zod that Superman is the son of Jor-El, which angers Zod and the three Kryptonians head to Metropolis and attack the Daily Planet to draw him out. As they threaten Lois and Perry, Superman, having regained his powers, appears outside and draws the three villains outside to fight. The three Kryptonians battle with Superman throughout the city, and Zod takes advantage of Superman’s weakness by constantly attacking the people in the city. Realizing the battle couldn’t continue without hurting someone, Superman flies away, drawing reproach from the crowd below. Zod returns to the Daily Planet to declare his victory and tells Non to kill Luthor but Luthor says he knows where Superman is going and so Zod tells Non to stop and they take Luthor and Lois to follow after Superman. When they arrive at the Fortress, they renew their attack on Superman, who manages to use several tricks in order to grab Zod but Non and Ursa grab Lois and threaten to rip her in half unless Superman releases Zod. Superman reluctantly does so and Luthor approaches the group, only for Zod to say that he has outlived his usefulness. Luthor approaches Superman to ask for his help and Superman tells him to get the Kryptonian into the chamber so they can steal their powers. Luthor immediately warns Zod of the trap and Zod forces Superman to go into the chamber and then tells Luthor to activate the chamber. The room is bathed in light and when Superman exits the chamber, Zod orders Superman to kneel before him and swear fealty to him. Superman kneels but when he grabs Zod’s hand, Superman easily crushes it before picking him up and tossing him into a wall, where Zod falls into a crevice. Non tries to attack Superman but when he tries to fly, he fails and falls into another crevice while Lois knocks Ursa into a third crevice. Luthor realizes that Superman had switched things so that he was protected in the chamber while Zod and the others were exposed outside and Superman admits he knew that Luthor would try to double cross him which is why he didn’t tell him the truth. Superman flies Lois back home, and supposedly takes Luthor back to prison, and the next day, Clark goes to talk with Lois at work. Lois admits how hard it is knowing that he will always be flying off to save people and she can’t react any differently to him at work or outside without accidentally revealing who he is or how she feels about him. Clark kisses her and uses the kiss to wipe her memory of the last few days so that she doesn’t remember that he is Superman. Clark then leaves to go get Lois a hamburger and ends up running into the man who beat him up, where he easily beats the man this time. Superman then flies an American flag back to the top of the White House, apologizing to the President for being late and promising he will be there they next time they need help, then flies off to orbit the Earth.

Superman II met with high praise from the critics, holding an 87% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The humor occasionally stumbles into slapstick territory, and the special effects are dated, but Superman II meets, if not exceeds, the standard set by its predecessor.” The movie was about 75% filmed at the same time that Superman was filmed but when the studio went to finish the movie, director Richard Donner was no longer directing it as he was fired over disagreements with the studio. However, there were roughly 24 minutes of unused footage that Donner shot which were incorporated into an alternate DVD release titled the Richard Donner cut. While not as successful as it’s predecessor, the movie was still a box office success, earning $190.4 million off of a $50 million budget.

Ok, child me kind of died a little inside because this didn’t really hold up over time. Still, it wasn’t that bad of a movie. The acting was good, with Christopher Reeve (Clark), Margot Kidder (Lois), and Gene Hackman (Luthor) doing great jobs reprising their roles. I also liked Terrence Stamp (Zod) and Sarah Douglas (Ursa) but my favorite was Jack O’Halloran (Non), as his child-like innocence mixed with the Kryptonian powers made for some great, and sometimes funny, scenes. The story was pretty good though, as I haven’t seen the Donner cut, I am curious to see how the two versions compare and differ. However, one thing I didn’t like is the additional powers they seemed to give Zod and the others, such as the finger beams or the somewhat telekinetic powers they had. Also, and I apologize if this upsets anyone, but what was up with the stupid expanding chest shield thing that Superman threw at Non? The special effects honestly didn’t stand up to the test of time, as they truly look dated when watching it now. Still, this is a fun movie to watch and honestly better than some of the more recent efforts.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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December 10th, 2017 Movie – Superman

superman

As the year comes to a close, I find myself coming up on a week full of superhero movies. And not just any superhero, but movies featuring the man many people consider to be the first superhero, Superman. Now I remember first seeing this movie as a kind on TV and enjoyed the hell out of it. I have watched it several more times over the years whenever it would come on TV but never thought about buying it on DVD. Turns out that was a good thing as my mom ended up buying me the box set of movies for me for Christmas one year. So now it is time to go up, up, and away with today’s movie, Superman.

The plot: On the planet Krypton, Jor-El presents the evidence to the Council against General Zod, Ursa, and Non, a trio of Krptonians who attempted to overthrow the Council and rule in their stead. After being pronounced guilty, Zod asks Jor-El to join him or else he will get his vengeance on him and his heirs but Jor-El condemns them to imprisonment in the Phantom Zone. Afterwards, Jor-El speaks with the council about his belief that the planet will be destroyed soon but they refuse to believe him and threaten to imprison him in the Phantom Zone if he causes a panic. Jor-El promises to keep quiet over the matters, then heads to his home, where he talks with his wife Lara about sending their son Kal-El to Earth so he will survive the planet’s destruction. Finishing construction of the crystalline life pod, Jor-El and Lara place Kal-El in the pod, as well as a crystal containing all of the known knowledge of Krypton, then sends the pod to Earth, just as the red sun expands and causes Krypton to explode. As Kal-El travels through space, Jor-El’s voice speaks to him, telling him about Earth and the differences he will face when he gets there. Kal-El’s ship crash lands in a field outside Smallville, Kansas, where a passing couple, Jonathan and Martha Kent, see the spaceship crash and think it is a meteorite. When they check the site, they found Kal-El, now a toddler, starting to climb out of the hole in the ground and Martha, who had always wanted a child of her own, pleads with Jonathan to keep the boy to raise. Jonathan starts to argue against it but as he is changing a flat tire on their truck, the jack slips and and the truck starts to fal on him but he is saved by Kal-El, who is easily lifting up the front of the truck. The Kents decide to keep the boy and raise him as their own, calling him Clark. As years pass, Clark is now a teenager and has a crush on his classmate Lana Lang, but it is an unrequited love as she is dating someone else. After racing home after school one day, he talks with Jonathan, who is working on some farm equipment, about the struggles he is facing fitting in with everyone while he has to hide all the things he can do. As the two head back up to the house, Jonathan has a heart attack and collapses to the ground, with Martha’s scream alerting Clark to what happened. After the funeral, Clark agonizes to Martha over the fact that he has all of these powers but couldn’t save Jonathan’s life. That night, Clark hears a voice calling out to him, guiding him out to the barn, where he finds a glowing green crystal in the remains of his spaceship. The next day, Clark says goodbye to Martha, telling her that he spoke with a neighbor to make sure she had someone helping her, and she tells him both her and Jonathan knew the day would come and tells him he always has a home there before the two embrace. Clark makes his way up to the North Pole, and after being guided to a particular spot, he throws the crystal out into the frozen land, where it sinks into the snow and causes a massive, crystal structure to appear. Heading inside, Clark activates some of the crystal banks and is greeted by a holographic image of Jor-El, who tells him of who he is and proceeds to teach him about his powers and responsibilities over the course of 12 years, after which Clark is shown to be wearing a blue and red suit with a red cape and the House of El family crest on his chest. Clark heads to Metropolis, where he gets a job at the Daily Planet as a reporter, meeting his editor Perry White, photographer Jimmy Olsen, and fellow reporter Lois Lane. Lois isn’t too happy about Clark being assigned to her beat, attempting to embarrass Clark in front of Perry, but Clark starts to win her over with his good natured ways. After leaving work, Clark is talking with Lois when a man attempts to mug them and Clark tries to talk the man out of it. When Lois drops her purse and kicks the man when he goes to pick it up, the mugger accidentally fires his gun and Clark quickly catches the bullet, then pretends to faint so Lois won’t think anything strange occurred. Meanwhile, two police detectives follow a man named Otis, hoping he will lead them to his boss, the notorious Lex Luthor. As they separate, one of the detectives follows Otis down to some subway tracks, where Otis heads into a secret doorway, but when the detective tries to follow, Luthor, who was watching from hidden cameras, activates the hideout’s defenses to push him away from the door and into the path of an oncoming subway car. Inside his lair, Luthor’s girlfriend, Eve Teschmacher, isn’t happy with Luthor killing the cop or their living underneath the subway but Luthor says it is all part of his plan. Some time later, Lois heads up to the roof to catch a ride via the Daily Planet’s helicopter to the airport for a story but a cable becomes ensnared in the landing struts, causing the helicopter to crash back onto the roof and dangle over the edge. Clark is leaving the building when he notices the commotion on the street as everyone is looking up at the helicopter and, seeing Lois in danger, he quickly heads into a building’s revolving door, spinning ti faster than the eye can see as he changes into his costume and flies off. As Lois falls out of the helicopter, Clark saves her, the grabs the helicopter when it falls and places them both back on the roof. As he starts to fly off, Lois asks him who he is and he tells her he is a friend, then he flies off while Lois faints on the rooftop. Clark then heads off and stops some other crimes, as well as helping get a little girl’s cat out of a tree, then rescues Air Force One when a bolt of lightning takes out one of the engines. Later, Clark heads back to the Fortress of Solitude in the arctic, where he speaks with Jor-El about what he did and Jor-El cautions him to keep his secret identity intact, otherwise people would be asking for his help 24/7 while his enemies would try to hurt him by going after his loved ones. The next day, everyone is talking about the flying stranger and Perry orders his reporters to get details on the mystery person. While Perry is talking, Lois opens a card she received, asking to meet at her place that night and she realizes it is from the stranger. That night, Lois dresses up for her interview and when Clark appears, she asks him some question while also flirting with him. During the course of the interview, Clark lets slip that he has a problem seeing through lead, and reveals that he is from the Krypton. Clark then takes Lois flying through the sky before returning her back to her apartment and flying off. After he leaves, Lois decides to call him Superman, and starts working out the idea for her story when Clark shows up, reminding her that they were supposed to go on a date. After Lois’ interview is printed, Luthor, Otis, and Teschmacher read the article and Luthor realizes he knows how to stop Superman. He shows them an article about some meteorites that were found and tells them the meteorites are from Krypton, which would be toxic to Superman now, and they could hide them in a lead cigar box so that he can’t see inside. Some time later, Luthor and Teschmacher cause a distraction in front of a military convoy carrying a nuclear missile, allowing Otis to sneak on board the truck and reprogram the missile but when he meets back up with Luthor and Teschmacher, Luthor realizes that Otis screwed up so they cause a distraction on another convoy so that Teschmacher can reprogram that missile correctly. The next day, Lois is out on assignment in the West, doing a story on a land fraud scheme as someone is buying up a lot of worthless land, with Jimmy going with her. Perry calls Clark into his office to talk to him when Clark hears a high pitched sound, followed by a message from Luthor, telling him that he will be releasing a gas that will wipe out half the population of the city. Clark quickly changes into Superman and leaves, then flies over the city and searches for Luthor’s hideout. He eventually locates it and burrows underground into the subway tunnels and heads towards Luthor’s base, easily making his way through his defenses. When he arrives at Luthor’s base, Luthor explains his plan to Superman, telling him how he bought up the land out west, then plans to detonate a 500 megaton bomb inside the fault, setting off an earthquake that would destroy the West Coast of California while making his property the new West Coast. Luthor then explains that he hijacked the military missiles and has one of them heading to the fault while the other is heading towards Hackensack, NJ. Superman looks for the device to detonate the missiles and thinks Luthor has it hidden in a lead chest but when he opens, he discovers contains a piece of Kryptonite that Luthor had stolen from a museum. Luthor then attaches the chain with the Kyptonite around Superman’s neck and throws him in his pool to drown. As he walks off, Teschmacher says her mother lives in Hackensack and asks Luthor to stop the missile but he refuses. Teschmacher goes to the pool and tells Superman she will save him if he saves her mother first before saving the West Coast and when he agrees, she dives into the pool and saves him, kissing him before removing the Kryptonite from around his neck. Superman flies off and manages to catch the missile heading for Hackensack, flying it up into space to detonate harmlessly, but while he is doing that, the second missile strikes the fault and activates an earthquake. Superman rushes there and works on repairing the damaged fault, then deals with the disasters that were caused, including fixing the Golden Gate Bridge, and stopping the flood caused by the broken Hoover Dam. While this is going on, Lois’ car falls into a crevice and she ends up suffocating from the dirt falling into her car. When Superman finds her car and drags it out, he pulls her lifeless body from the car and after holding it for a few minutes, cries out in grief and quickly flies into the air. As he is flying, he hears the voices of both Jor-El and Jonathan speaking in his head, giving him conflicting thoughts on what he should do, but Superman refuses to let someone he cares about die again. Superman begins flying around the Earth, causing it’s rotation to reverse, which causes the recent damage to the area to be as if it never happened. Once that happens, Superman flies around the Earth to restore it’s rotation back to normal then flies down to ensure that Lois is safe. After speaking with Lois and Jimmy for a few minutes, Superman flies back to grab Luthor and Otis and take them to prison, then flies off to orbit the Earth, looking for more people to help.

Superman was well received by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Superman deftly blends humor and gravitas, taking advantage of the perfectly cast Christopher Reeve to craft a loving, nostalgic tribute to an American pop culture icon.” This movie marked the first time that the “S” on Superman’s chest stood for a Kryptonian family crest, an idea, along with several other aspects, which has since been integrated into the comics and subsequent adaptations. The movie was a box office success, earning $300.2 million off of a $55 million budget.

I will admit that it has lost some of it’s appeal to me over the years but this is still a pretty good movie. The acting was good, with Christopher Reeve really turning in an iconic performance as the legendary character while Gene Hackman was almost as good as Luthor. Marlon Brando (Jor-El), Margot Kidder (Lois), and Jackie Cooper (Perry White) were also good. The story was good in regards to the origin story and Superman making his way to Metropolis, making the one change of having Superman never using his powers as Superboy and only using them when he gets to Metropolis as an adult. However, one aspect of the movie that I didn’t like, and even as a kid I knew didn’t make sense, was the whole Superman flying around the Earth and reversing it’s rotation. Even back then, I knew that what he was doing wasn’t going to be able to turn back time. That aspect aside, the rest of the story was good and very enjoyable. The special effects really were pretty good and they did a great job with the inside of the Krypton city, though the outside did look a little cheap. A good movie and one that really set the standard for all other films to follow.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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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

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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

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

November 24th, 2017 Movie – Starship Troopers 2: Hero Of The Federation

starship troopers 2

I got to hand it to my friends, they really know what I like. See, a couple of years ago, my friend Chad called me up and asked if I had today’s movie. Now, as you know, the original Starship Troopers is one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies but I did not have any of the direct to video sequels. Chad then explained that his grandfather was getting rid of some movies that he owned, and while Chad kept the ones he wanted, he did not have any desire to keep this one. Knowing me and my love for sci-fi, and bad movies, he figured he would see if I wanted it, to which my response was “Duh”. So that is how I came to own today’s movie, Starship Troopers 2: Hero Of The Federation.

The plot: After the capture of the brain big on P, the emboldened Federation forces have pushed forward into the Arachnid Quarantine Zone to try and eradicate the bugs from the remaining planets. On one of the planets, General Jack Shepherd and his forces find themselves being overwhelmed by the bugs and call for an evac but their request is denied. Lt. Dill, their psychic soldier, has a vision of them being overrun and killed by the bugs and Shepherd orders Sgt. Rake to protect Dill and lead the evac to Hotel Delta 1-8-5 while he stays behind with 4 soldiers to cover their retreat. As the soldiers make their way across the barren planet, a sand storm picks up, blowing several of them away while Corporal Kobe, who was the only team member with a radio, is mortally wounded by a bug. As the get inside, Rake tells Pvt. Sahara to check on getting the door closed while some other men establish a defensive perimeter. As some of the men work on tending to Kobe’s wound, Dill has another vision of a swarm of bugs approaching them. Spotting a radio room, Dill orders Rake to have one of her men use it to call for an evac but she ignores him and continues to focus on Kobe. When Dill pulls rank on her, she tells him that it won’t work without power to the place and Dill orders her to get someone to fix the power. After Kobe finally passes, they check the radio room only to find that it was destroyed and begin searching the building. Hearing a banging sound coming from somewhere further in, they head down to the basement and find Captain V.J. Dax locked inside the incenerator. Sahara finds Dax’s records and starts reading out his commendations but Dill grabs the file and learns that Dax had killed his superior officer and he and Rake both decide to keep him locked inside the furnace. Rake’s men get the power restored just as the men outside detect an army of bugs heading right for them. The soldiers head outside and Dill starts spreading the men out in defensive positions but Sahara and Rake both feel like he is spreading them out too thin. As the bugs start attacking and killing off some of the men, Sahara heads back inside to the furnace and asks Dax to give her his hand. After he agrees, Sahara closes her eyes for a few minutes while she holds his hand, then lets him out of the furnace. Dax activates the perimeter defenses then heads outside and takes command of the remaining soldiers, much to Dill’s annoyance, telling them to keep firing until the defenses activate, launching several explosive barrels around the perimeter which annihilate the bugs. As the dust clears, Dax has Sahara and Private Billie Otter go with him to restore the perimeter fences, with Dax giving Billie his knife when Billie admits he lost his. While Billie works on splicing the cables, Sahara sees Sanders and 3 men coming towards them, being chased by 2 bugs, and she and Dax begin laying down cover fire until they get safely past the fence, which electrocutes the bugs. Sanders thanks them and then helps the men carry their injured companion back to the hotel, but Sahara doesn’t recognize any of the people with Sanders. Inside the hotel, Sanders tells the others how their teammates were killed and he was saved by the two soldiers and their comatose companion. Sanders introduces the new soldiers; Medical Officer Corporal Joe Griff, Technical Sergeant Ari Peck, and Private Charlie Soda, who is in an unexplained coma. When Sanders asks Dill about the evac, Dill shows him the busted radio and Sanders asks Peck if he can get it working. Peck says he will get to work on it, refusing to rest first, and Sanders then turns to Dill and questions him about his actions resulting in the deaths of several of his men. As they prepare to get some rest, Dill chastises Sahara, telling her that her actions in releasing Dax could see her court-martialed. When Sahara reveals that she tested highly as a psychic but her gift became unstable, Dill mocks her some more until Dax shows up and the two argue begin arguing over Dill’s blind loyalty to the Federation. As Rake and Griff check the mess hall for some food, Rake comments on Griff’s eating a sugar cube, not noticing him pocketing some more cubes, while Privates Jill Sandee and Duff Horton sneak off to fool around. Some time later, Soda comes out of her coma to find Sanders and some of the others checking on her and after they leave, she shares a look with Griff. When an accident in closing the doors causes the power to go out again, Dax orders everybody out on the perimeter in case of an attack but Peck manages to jury rig the power back on but says it is wonky and may cut out again. As the soldiers start to relax, Shepherd approaches Dax and offers to temporarily restore his rank if he agrees to help them get off the planet and Dax agrees, which further angers Dill. As a watch is set up on the perimeter, Soda approaches Dax and attempts to seduce him but he refuses her advances, having her do push-ups to burn off her excess energy. Later, a naked Soda wakes up Sahara and is leaning over her as she is lying in her bunk but moves away when Billie and Horton enter the room. Sahara gets up and goes to leave, questioning Horton on if he knows what he is doing, before leaving with Billie. Horton shuts the door to the room as Soda approaches him and the two embrace before Soda kisses him, but Horton has a surprised look on his face as she does. Outside the room, Sahara tries to stop Sandee but she sees Soda kissing Horton and storms off, bumping into Griff on her way out. As she stands outside, Griff approaches her and the two start talking before Griff starts kissing her. Some time later, Rake comments on the new couples to Sahara before she heads off, while Sahara heads outside to give Dax some breakfast and talks with him. Some time later, Griff relieves Private Tor from watch and as Tor heads inside, Peck asks him to give him a hand. When Tor gets on the floor under the console, Peck attacks him, revealing that his eyes are glowing red and his skin turning black. Tor fights back and bites off Peck’s fingers when he attempts to cover his mouth and rips Peck’s arm off but Griff holds him down while Peck vomits out a bug, which forces open Tor’s mouth and crawls inside. As Tor begins convulsing, Peck picks up his severed fingers and throws them away, as well as the arm that Griff hands him. Griff then gets on the intercom to inform everyone that they have comms, and Shepherd has Billie contact fleet to arrange a pick-up, then gets on the comm himself as the fleet officer refuse the request at first. In the morning, Sahara is woken up by a nightmare and proceeds to vomit before heading down to the mess hall and seeing several soldiers acting strange. When Griff goes to grab some sugar cubes, Sahara accidentally brushes his hand and has a vision of a swarm of bugs, causing her to spill some liquid. As she goes to clean it up, Rake hands her a towel and Sahara asks her advice but Rake shoots it down as her hormones being out of whack due to being pregnant, which shocks Sahara. Meanwhile, Griff and Soda stare at Shepherd before Griff leaves and heads to a locker, where Peck’s deteriorating body was being kept, and grabs Peck. Taking Peck to the men’s barracks, where Billie and Private Brick are getting dressed. Griff rips open Peck’s head and pulls out the bug inside before throwing it on the floor of the room, then locks the door as Brick kills the bug but the larvae hatch and infect the two men. Sahara goes to tell Dax about her vision and they go to tell Dill, with Sahara revealing that she is pregnant. Dill tells her that pregnancy tends to heighten psychic abilities and says he had the same vision, which affected his ability to lead the men. Dax and Dill come to an agreement and Dill goes to speak with Shepherd while Dax and Sahara return to watch. When he gets to Shepherd’s quarters, he finds a nude Soda covered in blood in Shepherd’s room. Finding Shepherd unresponsive, Dill holds his gun on Soda, as well as Sandee and Horton when they enter the room but he doesn’t see Billie coming up behind him and slitting his throat. Later, Rake arrest Dax, as he is accused of Dill’s murder, and locked back in the furnace, where Soda drops a bug inside to infect him. Meanwhile, Billie goes to infect Sahara, who is able to fend him off briefly until they are interrupted by Rake. Griff, Horton, Sandee, and Billie then gang up and infect Rake before Billie turns his attention back to Sahara, locking himself in the room with her but she fights him off and is able to kill him and the bug inside him. Meanwhile, Rake uses some drugs to keep the bug from taking over her mind, knocking out Sandee and killing Horton and his bug before heading down to save Dax. After killing the bug attempting to infect Dax, Rake shoots herself in the head so she doesn’t turn on them, as Sahara shows up and unlocks Dax’s restraints. Seeing the grub coming out of Rake’s skull, Sahara grabs it and is able to learn the bugs’ plan; to have the infected Shepherd infect the Federation’s top military commanders in order to ensure the bugs’ victory. Realizing they have to kill Shepherd, they head out, running into Soda and setting her on fire along the way. The power suddenly goes out and they encounter Sandee, who attempts to blow them up, before eventually finding Shepherd, Griff, Tor, and Brick, with Shepherd taunting them about why they will die before he heads to the roof as the others attempt to kill Dax and Shepherd. Dax tells Sahara to follow after Shepherd and he manages to kill Brick and Tor but Griff opens the door, allowing a bug to come in. Dax shoots the bug, and begins struggling with Griff before the bug impales Griff through the head and approaches Dax, who starts shooting at it. Sahara chases Shepherd to the roof, where she sees the bugs swarming to the top of the hotel. As Shepherd attacks her and starts to strangle her, the evac shuttle arrives and calls out to Shepherd. Before Shepherd can get on, Dax arrives on the roof and shoots Shepherd, knocking him off the roof. Dax then carries Sahara to the shuttle, telling the men that she has vital information and must be protected. As Dax turns to face the approaching bugs, Sahara tells him that there are too many for him to handle but Dax says murderers don’t get to go home and that she has to tell command what she saw and about the new bug. Sahara cries out as the shuttle takes off and she sees Dax fending off the bugs as long as he can before he is overrun. Some time later, Sahara is holding her baby boy and watches as Dax’s sacrifice has been turned to a recruitment video for the Mobile Infantry. As the recruiting sergeant looks at her baby, he tells him to hurry up and grow as they need more meat for the grinder, causing Sahara to stare at him in horror before running off.

This is such a letdown of a movie compared to the original. The acting was ok, with Richard Burgi (Dax) and Colleen Porch (Sahara) doing a great job in their roles. The story was honestly a little weak and look like it borrowed more from the Heinlein novel, “The Puppet Masters” than Starship Troopers; what with the whole alien bugs taking over human minds to advance their own agenda. I also think they did this movie a disservice by offering up the fan service of having Kelly Carlson walk around naked in the majority of her scenes; not that she isn’t attractive, but that it was really unnecessary for the most part. Stuff like that is what helps gives direct to video movies the bad rep they currently have. The special effects were good but definitely not to the scale that the original had, as they obviously didn’t have the budget for it. It’s a definite time suck movie but it’s one that you really should avoid.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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