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

Flashback Review: May 27th, 2014 Movie – Boa (a.k.a. New Alcatraz)

boa

Well, it is Dragoncon time again and what better way to start the day off than with some B-movie goodness. Now I remember catching this movie on Sci-fi (yes, Sci-fi back before the name change) during a batch of snake movies one weekend and to be honest, my first thought was, “Is…Is that…. Dean Cain in a giant snake movie?” This honestly caught me by surprise and it would not be the last time that he would appear in a B-movie, several of which I now own and enjoy watching. For now, let’s just sit back and enjoy the craziness that isĀ Boa (a.k.a. New Alcatraz).

The plot: In the middle of Antarctica, a secret super-max prison is being built, funded by the world’s nations. The hopes are that the advanced design and brutal conditions outside will make it virtually inescapable for the world’s worst criminals and terrorists. As construction has fallen behind schedule, Warden Fred Riley and his chief of security, Sgt. Quinn, goes to speak with the head of the construction crew, Scott Poluso, to find out what the delay is in getting heat and power to all of the building and is told that they have a hollow space in the ice sheet they were drilling in. Ignoring the crews concerns, Riley tells the men to drill though it but when an explosion occurs, they unknowingly awaken a giant boa that had been in hibernation in the hollow space and it begins making it’s way up through the tunnel. Elsewhere, Dr. Robert Trenton is teaching his last paleontology class before heading off on a research trip with his wife, Dr. Jessica Platt-Trenton. As they leave the campus, Robert asks if they are making a mistake in walking away from tenure and Jessica tells him that she isn’t ready to settle down and have a baby just yet. Meanwhile, Yuri Breshcov, a known arms dealer, is flying in his plane over the Indian Ocean when 2 fighter jets use an EMP missile to force his plane to land at Diego Garcia, the largest U.S. military base in the region. After his plane lands, Yuri is transferred to New Alcatraz, where Riley tells him that he is there due to his purchasing two nuclear missiles. After finishing talking to Yuri, Riley is contacted by Poluso to come check out something. When Riley and Quinn get there, Poluso shows them a tunnel that was seemingly dug overnight but they have no explanation as to how it was done. Noticing that it heads to the heat exchange pipe and could serve as a way out, Riley orders a guard placed there and Poluso and his crew to seal it back up. A few days later, Jenkins is standing guard by the hole when he hears something and reports it to Quinn. Quinn tells him to head into the tunnel to investigate while he wakes up Poluso and Goodman to join him. As Jenkins examines the tunnel, Quinn sees something entering the tunnel on the monitors and tries to warn Jenkins but Jenkins is killed by the Boa. When Poluso and Goodman get there, they ask Quinn where Jenkins is and he tells them he is in the tunnel and but he lost communication with him and asks them to check on him. Poluso refuses and as he turns to Goodman to complain, he feels something drip down on his head and when he checks to see what it is, he finds it is blood. Looking up., he sees the boa coiled around the pipes in the ceiling just before it drops down and kills him and then Goodman. Some time later, Robert and Jessica are at their dig site arguing over their possibly losing their grant when they are approached by the military and told of the situation in Antarctica and that they are requested to assist them. Jessica jumps at the chance and a reluctant Robert agrees to go with her. On the flight to Antarctica, Robert talks with Major Larsten, who is leading the military team there, about the situation and he tells them about the princess and the supposed snake that is killing people. After a rough landing, they prepare to disembark and the pilot tells them that the plane will be there for 12 hour and after that, it has to leave or else the wheels will be frozen and unable to move. Larsten leads his team, as well as Robert and Jessica, out and uses a tracker to find the door to the prison and when they reach the door, they are forced to override the lock. Heading inside, they are confronted by Quinn and his men and Riley shows up to ease the standoff. He then explains the situation to Larsten, Robert, and Jessica, saying that the snake has killed 6 people so far and wants to make sure Larsten and his men are able to kill it. Larsten leads his team out into the tunnels and Riley guides them to where the snake was seen, using the monitors to help them try and locate the snake. When one of Larsten’s men is killed, he asks Quinn to gather his guards and join him in the tunnels and Robert and Jessica decide to go with them. As they head down the tunnel, Robert tells Quinn to stop the cart they are on, saying that the snake would be able to sense the vibrations from the cart, and that they should go on foot but Quinn refuses to walk and leaves Robert and Jessica there while he and his men drive away. Larsten and his men accidentally shoot one of their own when Riley mistakenly says the snake is coming towards them and when the snake does appear, it kills the rest of his men. Larsten shoots at the snake but ends up startign a fire and releasing some gas in the chamber. As he runs for safety, he tries to warn Quinn to turn back but Quinn and his men, as well as Larsten, are killed in the blast. Robert and Jessica reach the chamber and see the boa eating the bodies and as Jessica takes some pictures, Robert grabs her and leads her away. The try to escape up a ladder but the snake attacks them and traps Jessica on the lower level. Robert tries to save her but the snake snaps at him before eventually slithering away and when Robert drops back down, he finds no sign of Jessica anywhere and believes she is dead. Robert returns to the control room and tells Riley that the only chance they have of getting out of there is with the prisoners’ help and convinces him to let them out. When Riley speaks to the prisoners and gets them to swear not to harm them if he lets them out, Yuri agrees to it and keeps his word when some of the prisoners attempt to hurt Riley. As the group try to figure out their best way out of their, Yuri suggests splitting up into two teams and heading for the tunnel the snake had made, as each route is through an area that the snake is known to frequent. Riley and Robert take Kelly Mitch and Patricia O’Boyle with them while Yuri leads the other prisoners. Kelly constantly provokes Patricia and as Robert and Riley try to calm her down, Kelly finds one of the motorized carts and drives off with it. Riley chases after them when he sees the snake ahead and as the snake kills Kelly, Riley begins shooting at it and causes another explosion that kills himself. Robert and Patricia turn back and Robert contacts Yuri to tell him what happened but the signal is weak. Yuri and his team lose one member to the snake and as they reach the large central chamber, they encounter Jessica, who had survived by crawling through the air vents. Yuri and his men take her with them and as they make their way to the tunnel, two of the prisoners are killed, leaving Yuri and Jessica as the only ones left in the group. Reaching the tunnel, Jessica wants to wait for Robert but Yuri tells her that he will come back for him and they have to get on the plane now so he heads up the tunnel and places a charge to open the ice sheet so they can make their way to the surface and board the plane. Robert and Patricia reach the tunnel and, seeing that it has been opened, they start making their way towards the outside but the boa follows after them and grabs Patricia. As the snake starts dragging her back down the tunnel, Robert tries to help her and shoots at the snake but when that is to no avail, he shoots and kills Patricia to put her out of her misery. Robert manages to make it onto the plane, where he is surprised to see Jessica alive and on board, and Robert thanks Yuri for saving her. The plane takes off but the boa manages to get on board, killing the co-pilot before bursting up into the cargo hold. Robert, Yuri, and Jessica try to get off the plane, with Yuri tying some rope around it’s neck, then tying it to a parachute. As Robert opens the cargo doors, Yuri deploys the parachute and the snake is sucked out of the plane but manages to snag Yuri with it’s tail and take him out with it. Robert and Jessica close the cargo doors and ask the pilot if he can still fly the plane and when he is told the snake is gone, the pilot says he can still fly it and they make their way home.

This movie was a decent movie but it could have been better. The acting was good, with Dean Cain (Robert) and Mark Sheppard (Yuri) doing good jobs in their roles. I also thought that Grand L. Bush (Quinn), Craig Wasson (Riley), and Elizabeth Lackey (Jessica) also did good jobs, though there were times that Jessica’s character was kind of annoying. The story was pretty good but the pacing was incredibly slow. They spent close to an hour setting up the movie and it felt like they had to kind of rush the rest of it to fit the run time. The special effects were pretty good in regards to the snake, though the “snake vision” was a bit much and honestly not really necessary. A fun movie to watch once you make it through all of the set-up.

Rating: 3 1/2 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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