action, comedy, horror, sci-fi, The Asylum

January 13th, 2019 Movie – The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time

sharknado 6

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and that includes the phenomenon known as Sharknado. Yes, when it was announced that the latest Sharknado movie would be the end of the series, I will admit that I was pretty sad to hear about it. I mean, ever since the first movie took the world by storm (pun somewhat intended), Every summer I would get a week of brand new shark themed movies to go along with the latest installment in the series. It is going to be very hard to let go of something that awesome. Anyways, after the last movie, and learning that the next installment would be the end, I was curious to see exactly how The Asylum was going to close out this franchise. Let’s see how they did with today’s movie, The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time.

The plot: During the Cretaceous period, a velociraptor is curious about a large, shark fin shaped rock but it quickly runs off when the rock explodes as a jeep drives through it. Inside the jeep, Fin Shepard turns to talk to his adult son Gil but notices that Gil has vanished. Suddenly, a hologram recording of Gil appears and tells Fin that due to the energy involved in time travel, a person can only go back in time once or else they vanish. Telling Fin that the time travel device is built into the pilot wings that Gil threw to Fin, Gil explains that Fin has to go through time and stop all of the past sharknado’s from happening if he wants to prevent the world’s destruction. When the recording ends, Fin goes looking for the bag that contains the cyborg head of his wife April only to see a dinosaur grab it in it’s mouth and run off. Fin drives the jeep after it and finds himself in a stampede, slamming on the brakes before he joins the dinosaurs in going over the cliff into the sea below. As Fin looks down the cliff, a megalodon breaches out of the water, causing Fin to step back from the cliff’s edge. A tyrannosaurus appears and Fin manages to avoid it and when it turns to attack him, the megalodon leaps out of the water and grabs the tyrannosaurus, dragging it into the sea. Fin then turns and faces the dinosaur that grabbed the bad and attempts to get it back when a masked figure suddenly leaps down from a nearby cliff, attacking the dinosaur with knives and forcing it to drop the bag and run off. As Fin grabs the bag, he is shocked to see that the masked figure is Nova, and she if joined by Bryan and a non-cyborg April, who rides in on a pteranodon. Fin is shocked as everybody had supposedly died and they explain that Gil had saved them all before they died and brought them there to help Fin stop the first sharknado. A meteor storm occurs just as the first sharknado appears and the group decide to use the meteors to destroy the sharknado but they aren’t powerful enough. Fin jumps onto the back of a megalodon caught in the vortex and as he forces it to swallow some of the meteors, he spots Gil riding on another shark and calls out to him but Gil disappears through time. Fin jumps back onto the pteranodon and Bryan hits a meteor into the megalodon, causing an explosion that destroys the sharknado. When a time vortex appears, they fly through it, thinking that they are returning to the present day but find themselves in the medieval kingdom of Camelot, and that Bryan has suddenly become a woman. The sorceress Morgana shoots down the pteranodon and attempts to take them prisoner but she is called off by Winter, who escorts them all to the castle, saying their arrival has been foretold. Winter introduces them to Merlin, who tells them that Gil had been studying with them for 10 years and Winter goes to fetch him only to see him sail off into an approaching sharknado. When she reports what happened, Fin and April want to try and save him but Nova tells them if they stop Gil from traveling through time to search for his parents, he won’t grow up and pull the others out of time to help Fin stop the sharknados from occurring. When an alert sounds from the bag containing the cyborg April’s head, everyone is curious about what is in the bag and Nova tries to grab it from Fin, only for the bag to open and the head rolls along the floor and lands at April’s feet. Fin explains to April that it was the only thing left of her when the world is destroyed and April tells Fin she forgives him but decides to hold onto the head. Fin and the others go to stop the sharknado but are stopped by Morgana, who tells them she has a potion that will destroy the sharknado but will use it only if Merlin agrees to remove the spell around Excalibur. Merlin agrees and Morgana uses an arrow to send the potion into the sharknado but instead of destroying it, it causes the sharks to start breathing fire. Fin and the others rush to defend the castle and Fin decides to try and use Excalibur, pulling it from the stone and revealing it to be a chainsaw sword. Fin uses Excalibur’s magic to stop the sharknado, with Morgana being killed in the process, and they then seal themselves into a large cauldron and are fired from a catapult so they can go fast enough to travel through time. They arrive in colonial America, with Bryan returning to being a man again, and they begin to wonder if their attempts to stop the sharknados might do more harm than good but when they see a sharknado approaching the colonial fleet, they decide to stop it before America ceases to exist, only to be captured by colonial soldiers. They are taken to General Washington’s camp and after explaining to Benjamin Franklin that they are there to help save the colonies from the sharknado, they are allowed inside to speak to Washington. Fin and Bryan explain their plan and after Washington allows them to proceed, Fin has the army fire their cannons into the sharknado, timing their attack to coincide with the lightning strikes to cause the cannonballs to become electrified. After destroying the sharknado and sending the British fleet retreating, Fin and the others try to figure out a way to get home but Nova, having encountered her ancestor, rushes off to talk to him. Nova hands her ancestor a note to be passed down to her grandfather but Fin takes it from her ancestor, causing an argument between him and Nova on her desire to change her past and save her grandfather. Fin and Nova rejoin April and Bryan so they can leave but Bryan, due to his being a history teacher, decides to stay behind and ensure America is put on the right path. With Franklin’s help, the three head off to the time vortex, where they end up landing in the Old West, where they come between a stand off between Billy the Kid and the town sheriff. Surprised at the arrival of the carriage, Billy is disarmed by the sheriff and runs off and the sheriff arrests Fin for his role in helping Billy escape. As Fin is taken to jail, April and Nova hide in the carriage and are shocked to see Skye appear. In jail, Fin speaks to another prisoner, who was supposed to be rescued by Billy the Kid, and as the prisoner is taken from his cell to be hung, Fin realizes that the prisoner is a grown up Gil. Nova and Skye break Fin out of jail and Fin explains that they screwed up and Gil is about to be killed and Skye goes to rescue him, just as a sharknado approaches. Fin and Skye rescue Gil, who races off into the vortex, while April and Nova use cyborg April’s head to destroy the sharknado. After a standoff with Billy the Kid, who wants to go to the future, Fin, April, Nova, and Skye get onto a train and use it to travel through the time vortex. They end up on the Santa Monica beach in the 1950’s and as a sharknado approaches the beach, they rush to save the people on the beach only to be shocked when they see Fin’s parents, Gilly Shepard and Raye Martin, working to stop the sharknado. After the adult Gil makes it through the vortex and the sharknado is destroyed, Nova sees the prototype capacitor that Gil had left behind and shows it to Fin. They see the date on it is the date of the first sharknado that hit Santa Monica and realize that that is their next destination and borrow Gil’s Cadillac to make the trup but Nova reprograms the capacitor to take them to 1997 San Francisco so she can try to save her grandfather. Fin tries to talk her out of changing her past but Nova refuses to listen to him and heads off. Nova reaches the charter boat that her grandfather owns and heads on board, with Fin and the others getting on board as well. The group head out into the ocean and as Nova watches her grandfather interact with her younger self, Fin again talks to Nova about what she is planning on doing. Nova argues her reasons for saving him, and after noticing the ripped up note she gave her ancestor framed and mounted on a wall, she rushes to warn the captain, inadvertently causing the boat to crash on some rocks. Realizing that she is the reason her grandfather died, Nova starts to freak out but Fin helps Nova’s grandfather and younger self escape on a raft. Nova attacks some sharks to give them time to escape and ends up falling overboard, with the cyborg April’s head falling with her. As a shark attacks Nova, April tries to save her and ends up getting dragged overboard, where both her and Nova are killed. Realizing that the only way to save them is to keep stopping the sharknados, Skye grabs the capacitor while Fin hooks a shark and the are dragged behind it, allowing them to warp to the future but instead of the year 2013, a malfunction causes them to end up in the year 20013. They find themselves attacked by a robotic flying shark and once Fin kills it, they are captured by an army of April clones. The clones take them to their base, where they are confronted by the repaired cyborg April, who reveals that she had perfected time travel and rescued April to use her DNA for cloning her army. As Fin rushes to April, Skye confronts the cyborg April and ends up encased in carbonite, then tells Fin that she brought him there to be her queen. Fin tries to attack the cyborg April, who tries to stop him by showing him robotic versions of his children Matt and Claudia, as well as a robotic Nova, but Fin continues his attack, killing the replicas. Cyborg April attacks Fin but her attack also disables the stasis chamber that April is in, who leaves the chamber and begins attacking her cyborg doppelganger. The cyborg April easily overpowers the original but as she attempts to kill her, her power strikes the capacitor just as Fin grabs it, sending him back to 2013. Fin lands on the boat owned by Captain Santiago, whose crew has just brought cyborg April’s head back to the surface. When Santiago orders his men to throw it overboard, Fin convinces them not to and the cyborg April is happy to see that Fin came back for her. Santiago goes to kill Fin but as the sharks on the edge of the sharknado begin killing his crew, as well as his traitorous business partner, Fin convinces him to work together to destroy the sharknado. Santiago and Fin use Santiago’s weapons to attack the sharks but Santiago is swept up by the storm and killed. Cyborg April’s head says that her lasers are recharged and they have to destroy the sharknado or else time will unravel but before Fin can aim her at the sharknado, Gil appears. Fin is happy to see his son and embraces him and Gil tells him that he can fix everything but he needs the capacitor. Fin moves to hand it to him but when Gil messes up the Shepard family motto, Fin realizes he is an imposter. Gil is revealed to be the future cyborg April, who tries to get the capacitor from Fin so that he can’t destroy the sharknado. Fin and cyborg April’s head are sucked up into the storm, with cyborg April’s head being swallowed by a shark. Fin and future cyborg April struggle for control of the capacitor and when Fin is knocked away by some debris, future cyborg April laughs as time begins unraveling. Suddenly, the shark with cyborg April’s head appears and destroys future cyborg April, then tells Fin they have one shot; activating her self destruct button in her head which will either destroy the sharknado and restore time or wipe out the universe. Fin kisses the cyborg head, activating the self destruct and April’s head explodes, restoring time. In a sharknado free 2013, an explosion is heard off the coast of Santa Monica and the patron’s of Fin’s bar wonder what it could be. As Nova, Matt, and Fin’s brother-in-law Martin Brody stare out the window, a shark suddenly slams against the glass and Nova feels sorry for it, as she loves sharks now. Fin and April, who is pregnant with Gil, are planning to retire to Kansas and are turning over the bar to Martin, who tries to convince Nova to stay but she is going to college thanks to a loan from Fin. Bryan tells everyone to check out the TV, where the see a political add for Skye, who is running for President. As Gemini enters the bar, and Wilford and May Wexler talk with April about the baby, Claudia hands Fin a letter from The Colonel, which contains his flight wings, in case he doesn’t make it back from space in time for Gil’s birth. Fin offers a last round on him to everyone at the bar and giving a heartfelt speech about how much they all mean to him. Just as he finishes, April’s water breaks and the Shepards, as well as Wilford, May, Nova, and George (a regular bar patron of Fin’s), head out the door to go to the hospital, while a TV weather report has Al Roker telling the audience that there is not a cloud in the sky anywhere in the world so people should go out and enjoy it as there won’t be another like it ever again.

So I had a lot of expectations going into this movie and while it did hit several things that I wanted it to, I was honestly a little disappointed and felt like they could have done more. The movie was the same ridiculous fun that all of the others have been, and all the returning characters did great in their roles. Ian Ziering was great finishing off his role as Fin Shepard, while Tara Reid and Cassandra Scerbo were just as good reprising their roles of April and Nova respectively. I actually think April was written a little better in this movie, as she did more than just scream all the time. I liked that they brought Judah Friedlander (Bryan) and Vivica A. Fox (Skye) back and the interaction with the other characters was pretty good. Some of the cameos were pretty funny, such as Neil deGrasse Tyson playing Merlin and Dee Snider playing a sheriff, but most of the cameos felt a little flat, as if they were running out of ideas on how to make the most of them. I will say that I was kind of glad that they used some archive footage from the first movie to have John Heard’s character George show up at the end. The story was ok but the way they brought up time travel into things actually made the story feel rather disjointed. I did think it was funny how they tried to reference Back To The Future a couple of times during the movie, such as the capacitor looking like the flux capacitor as well as Gil telling Fin he has to be going 88 mph to start the time travel. The special effects were ok for the most part, though there were times where they honestly were a little worse than I was expecting, but that makes these movies that much more fun to watch. So it was a good way to end the series but I still think that they could have done a better job with it.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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

blade runner

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

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

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

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

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Flashback Review: April 24th, 2014 Movie – Big Trouble In Little China

big trouble in little china

Ok. I have been a fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for a long time, both as a wrestler and as an actor. That being said, I will never forgive him if his plans of remaking this movie ever come to fruition. I wish Hollywood would stop with the whole remaking everything possible instead of trying to come up with more original ideas. When it comes to this movie, this is one of those movies that I have always loved watching because it is so ridiculous. Ever since I first saw the trailer, where Kurt Russell’s character knocked himself out, I decided that this was a movie I had to see. I managed to watch it on HBO years ago and every time it came on TV, I would watch it. So of course I had to pick up a copy on DVD so I could watch Big Trouble In Little China whenever I wanted.

The plot: Egg Shen is talking with his lawyer, who asks him if he knows the whereabouts of Jack Burton, but Egg tells him to leave Jack alone, as they were in his debt. The lawyer persists in finding out what happened, as Egg is being blamed for the destruction of a city block in a ball of green flame, and Egg says it was magic, revealing himself to be a sorcerer himself, and starts telling the lawyer what all happened. Some time earlier, Jack Burton is driving his truck, The Pork Chop Express, outside of San Francisco to make a delivery and as it is being unloaded, he gambles outside of the warehouses with his friend Wang Chi and several other people. Jack ends up winning $1148 over the course of the night and as morning breaks, everyone else leaves to start work but Wang convinces Jack to stay for one more bet, offering double or nothing. Wang proposes to cut a bottle in half with a large knife and Jack takes the bet but when Wang goes to cut the bottle, the bottle ends up flying towards Jack, who quickly catches it, citing his reflexes. Jack asks Wang to pay up but Wang says he doesn’t have the money on him and asks Jack to stop by his restaurant later, as he has to go to the airport first, but Jack says he will give Wang a lift, as he wants to ensure he gets paid. At the airport, Wang is there to pick up his childhood sweetheart Miao Yin, who he intends to marry, but as they are waiting for her, Jack notices a woman, Gracie Law, and heads over to talk with her. As they are talking, members of a Chinese street gang called the Lords of Death push by them and Gracie gets nervous about why they are there. Gracie moves away from Jack and spots her friend, another Chinese girl, and calls out to her but the Lords of Death move to grab her. When Jack tries to intervene, one of them pulls out a knife and baton and moves to attack him, allowing a second member to sweep Jack’s legs out from under him. Miao Yin shows up but ends up being grabbed by the Lords of Death, who escape from the airport. A pissed off Jack decides to go after them and Wang tells him that they have a club in Chinatown. After following Wang’s directions through some alleys, they find their path blocked by a funeral procession of the Chang Sing. Jack starts to back up when he notices some other figures approaching and Wang says they are the Wing Kong, the rivals of the Chang Sing. A massive fight breaks out between the two gangs when suddenly, a burst of green fire erupts from the ground and the Three Storms (Thunder, Lightning, and Rain) appear and kill three members of the Chang Sing, before moving forward to continue fighting. Wang tells Jack to get out of there and as Jack drives forward, the Three Storms move out of the way but Jack ends up running over David Lo Pan. Stopping his truck to inspect the body, Jack discovers that Lo Pan is still alive and hsi eyes and mouth suddenly start glowing, temporarily blinding Jack. Wang helps him get away and splashes water on Jack’s eyes to restore his vision when they find themselves approached by the Lords of Death and are forced to run, only to discover that Jack’s truck has been stolen while the Three storms are slaughtering the Chang Sing. Making their way back to Wang’s restaurant, Jack is on the phone with his insurance company about his truck when Wang’s friend Eddie Lee shows up and tells him that the Lords of Death stole his truck. Gracie shows up, saying she feels bad as the reason Miao Yin was taken was because of her and tells them that She was taken to the White Tiger, an illegal brothel the the Lords of Death run. Jack, Wang, Gracie, and Eddie head over to the White Tiger and Jack heads inside on his own, leaving the others waiting outside. As they are waiting, Gracie sees another car pull up and heads over to it, as it is her reporter friend Margo, and she tells her what is going on. Inside, Jack tries to find out if Miao Yin is there when suddenly, the building starts shaking while outside, Wang and Eddie see a giant green cloud over the building. Suddenly, the Three Storms appear, blowing a hole through the roof and they grab Miao Yin, who was being held in a secret room, and fly off with her. Realizing that Miao Yin must have been taken to Lo Pan’s place, Jack and Wang head in there disguised as telephone repair men and attempt to locate her only to be captured by the Rain. Rain tortures them briefly before tying them up and taking them to see Lo Pan, who appears as a decrepit old man. Lo Pan asks Wang about Miao Yin, and Wang realizes that Lo Pan intends to marry Miao Yin in order to appease the God of the East, then sacrifice her in order to remove the curse that he was inflicted with. Suddenly, Lo Pan sees Gracie, Eddie, and Margo on the monitors and he has Jack and Wang taken away, while Thunder ends up capturing the others. Jack and Wang are taken to a cell but Jack manages to free himself and Wang, then quickly pretend to be tied up again when Thunder enters with Eddie. Jack jumps onto Thunder, holding his knife to his throat, while Wang helps Eddie down and they go to leave when Thunder suddenly starts expanding, sending Jack flying off of him and into one of the wheelchairs he and Wang were tied to. Jack goes rolling backwards down the hall, knocking out some Wing Kong fighters that were coming to deal with them, and Wang and Eddie quickly lock Thunder in the room and head out after Jack before Thunder gets free. The three go looking for Gracie and Margo and find them locked in cages along with several other girls and as Wang and Eddie deal with the guards, Jack frees all of the women. When Thunder arrives with more Wing Kong warriors, they all make a run for it, diving into a pool of water and making their way through the sewers. After climbing back up to the warehouse that Jack and Wang first entered, they go to leave only to find their way blocked by more Wing Kong warriors but Jack and Wang manage to deal with them. Jack and Wang create a distraction so they cna lead everyone past the front guards but Gracie ends up being captured by a strange, orange furred monster. Outside, Jack and the others find Egg and Wang’s uncle Chu waiting for them in Egg’s tour bus and the manage to get away but realize that Gracie is missing. Gracie is taken to the room where Miao Yen is being held and Lo Pan approaches her and uses his powers to mesmerize her, just as Miao Yin is, as Gracie has green colored eyes like Miao Yin. Back at Wang’s restaurant, Egg shows up with the surviving members of the Chang Sing and they head out with Jack and Wang to stop Lo Pan, making their way through the underground sections of the city and deep under the earth towards Lo Pan’s temple. Meanwhile, Lo Pan has the Three Storms initiate the test for Miao Yin and Gracie, both of him pass, and he has them prepared to be married to him to appease the God of the East, then will sacrifice Gracie and keep Miao Yin for himself. Jack and the others reach Lo Pan’s temple and encounter a beholder, which Lo Pan uses to watch for intruders. Seeing what the beholder sees, Lo Pan taunts Egg Shen until Jack shoots at the beholder, driving it away. Jack and the others reach Lo Pan’s office, wondering where everyone is, and after finding the secret elevator, Egg gives everyone a magic potion to help them in the upcoming battle. They take the elevator down and see Lo Pan in the midst of the wedding ceremony and Egg tells them all to wait until the wedding is completed, as Lo Pan would be mortal and able to be killed. When they spot the wounded beholder nearby, Wang stabs it with his sword but Lo Pan sees them and has the Wing Kong attack them. Wang and the others rush to meet them while Jack ends up knocking himself out briefly before joining the fight. As Wang fights with Rain, Egg uses his magic to save Jack from Thunder, then begins battling Lo Pan. Their battle ends in a stalemate and Egg leaves with Miao Yin and Thunder, while Lightning attempts to seal the door behind them, then leaves himself. Wang manages to kill Rain then chases after Miao Yin, while Gracie, having snapped out of the trance, gets Jack and the go after him, dealing with the orange furred creature in the process. Taking the elevator back to Lo Pan’s office, Jack and Gracie end up kissing before the doors open, and they go looking for Miao Yin. They find Lo Pan talking with her and Thunder and Jack approaches them, joined by Wang. Jack and Wang attack Thunder and Thunder ends up chasing after Wang, leaving Jack to deal with Lo pan. Jack throws his boot knife at Lo Pan but misses and Lo Pan lets go of Miao Yin and picks up the knife. Complimenting Jack on the knife, Lo Pan throws it at him but Jack manages to catch it and throw it straight back, embedding the blade in Lo Pan’s head and killing him. Jack then goes to help Wang, who returns to the room with Thunder in tow and when Thunder sees Lo Pan’s body, he begins swelling up and ends up exploding. Thunder appears and Jack and the others run away, getting help from Egg to escape while Egg ends up killing Lightning by dropping a statue on him. Making their way through Lo Pan’s building, they find Jack’s truck and get in, driving through the warehouse doors and getting away, as Miao Yin and Wang kiss. Back at Wang’s restaurant, Jack, Wang, Gracie, Miao Yin, Egg, Eddie, Margo, and Chu are celebrating their success and Egg leaves, telling Jack he had promised himself a vacation when he finally defeated Lo Pan. Wang hands Jack a check for triple the money he owed him, saying he earned it and Jack approaches Gracie and talks to her about selling his truck and settling down. She offers an alternative of his getting a bigger truck with a sleeper compartment big enough for two and he says he will think about it, then leaves. As Jack heads down the road, he is talking on his CB about his experiences, unaware that the orange furred creature had stowed away underneath his truck.

Big Trouble In Little China met with mixed reviews from the critics on it’s release but has since received more positive results, holding an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Brimming with energy and packed with humor, Big Trouble in Little China distills kung fu B-movies as affectionately as it subverts them.” 20th Century Fox hired James Carpenter to direct the movie and rushed it into production, as they wanted to release it before a similarly themed movie, The Golden Child, came out. This fulfilled Carpenter’s wish to direct a martial arts movie but the mixed reviews from the critics left Carpenter disillusioned with Hollywood and influenced his decision to return to independent film making. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $11.1 million off of a reported $25 million but has since become a cult classic.

This movie is so fantastically ridiculous to watch and so much fun as a result. Kurt Russell was great as Jack Burton, while Kim Cattrall (Gracie), Dennis Dun (Wang), and Victor Wong (Egg) were also good. The story was interesting, trying to mix a martial arts movie with a fantasy/sorcery movie and it made for an interesting blend of styles. I also loved how Jack was trying to make sense of everything that was going on before finally just accepting it, while Wang was struggling with the fact that all of the stories and fairy tales he was told as a kid were coming true. The special effects were pretty cheesy at times but a lot of the fight scenes were decent and helped make them enjoyable. This really is a fun movie and one that is worth watching if you are in the mood for some not so serious entertainment.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, comedy, movie, movie review, sci-fi

January 22nd, 2018 Movie – Tank Girl

tank girl

Ah, the fun of the Indie comic turned into a movie. Even in the mid-90’s, more and more studios were trying to make a go at making movie’s out of comic books. While the two big comic companies were always a big draw, the mid-90’s seemed to try making more movies off of some smaller comic book properties. Some of the movies, like The Crow and The Mask (1994) were successes, but some others didn’t fare as well. Today’s movie, Tank Girl, unfortunately falls into the later category but when it came out, I still had every intention of seeing it.

The plot: In 2033, the Earth is a barren wasteland due to a comet having struck the Earth in 2022, causing it to stop raining for 11 years.  Rebecca Buck (Tank Girl) is wandering the wasteland looking for a present for her boyfriend Richard when she comes across the remains of a Ripper attack on some Water & Power workers and scavenges what she can from them. Heading back to the compound where she lives, Rebecca goes to find Richard and starts to fool around with him until they are interrupted by Sam and another kid that live there. Meanwhile, Kesslee, the owner of W&P, is congratulating his men on the fact that they control 95% of the desert and the water it contains, but then chastises the captain in charge for failing to capture the last 5% before killing him by draining the water from his body, then putting Sgt. Small in charge. Back at the compound, Rebecca is on guard duty when Sam shows up and offers to get Rebecca some food in exchange for the “danger ball” that she found. Some time later, someone approaches Rebecca from behind and, thinking it is Richard, Rebecca starts teasing him by cutting holes in her stockings and ripping them. When she turns around, she discovers it is a W&P soldier, with more of them raiding the compound for stealing water. Rebecca manages to kill the soldier that surprised her and several others but is too late to prevent Sam from being taken and Richard killed. Rebecca is soon captured and the raid’s leader moves to kill her but stops, at the request of his men, and he shoots Rebecca’s ox instead. Rebecca is taken to W&P headquarters, where she is put to work digging new tunnels for the water pipes. Later, as she is showering off the dust, she helps out a female mechanic nicknamed Jet Girl, who is being sexually harassed by Small, by kissing her and saying she is her girlfriend. The next night, Rebecca decides to try and escape and, seeing a tank, decides to try and steal it but gets locked in when she sets off the security system. Rebecca is rescued by Jet and when Rebecca asks her to put in the security codes so they can escape, Jet tells her that the tank is not operational. Rebecca says they should just steal another tank but Jet tells her that nobody escapes W&P. The two are unaware that Kesslee and Small were watching them on a security feed and Small wants to kill them but Kesslee wants to continue to try and break Rebecca. Small approaches Jet as she is working on a jet and tells her that her flight status has been revoked and the hangar is now off limits to her. Kesslee places Rebecca in a freezer for a while before placing her in the pipe. When the Rippers attack another W&P outpost, Kesslee decides to have Rebecca search for their lair and has her brought out of the pipe. Taking her to the outpost’s remains, KEsslee has Rebecca tagged with a locator chip and has his men send her down into the subchamber they discovered but before she heads underground, Kesslee and his men are attacked by the Rippers. A W&P jet is flying nearby and the pilot sees the attack on his viewscreen but as he calls it in, Jet, who had stowed away, activates his ejection seat and sends him flying off, then takes over flying the jet. At the outpost, Rebecca has survived the attack and discovers Kesslee’s arm but no sign of the rest of him. She heads towards a tank when Jet arrives, happy to see her friend alive, and after saying they should leave, gives Rebecca the codes for the tank. The two head towards an old amusement park to hide out and as Rebecca is goofing around, she sees Sam’s Ripper statue, as well as the Doris Day bust she made for Rebecca. When the owner tries to capture them, Rebecca gets the upper hand on her and asks her where she got the statues. With the help of Jet’s lie detector, the force the woman to tell them what happened to Sam and Rebecca wants to go rescue her. Jet says they can’t go driving around in the W&P vehicles but the woman says they can use the items in her garage to modify them. Meanwhile, Kesslee has survived the attack, though his face has been gutted as well as his losing his arm. A cybernetics doctor named Chet’sai is brought in to replace the damaged parts with cybernetic versions. While this is occurring, Small tells Kesslee that Rebecca and Jet have taken the bait and Kesslee tells him to make sure they get Sam before they do. At Liquid Silver, the brothel that Sam is being held at, the owner sends Sam to a client that has a fetish for small girls. Sam manages to trick the pervert by having him set off the danger ball then makes a run for it, only to run into Rebecca. Rebecca tries to get Sam out of there but the owner sees them and has her guards attempt to capture them but stops when Jet shows up and holds a gun to her head. Deciding to have some fun, Rebecca forces the owner to start singing “Let’s Do It”, getting all of the dancers and crowd to join in, but the club is soon raided by Small and some W&P soldiers, who grab Sam and head back to their headquarters. Rebecca wants to rescue Sam but, realizing that it will take more than just her and Jet, she decides to try and track down the Rippers and enlist their help. Rebecca and Jet go looking for the Rippers and eventually find their sub-chamber only end up being captured. The Rippers dose the girls with nitrous oxide and start questioning them, but the girls are too stoned to answer anything seriously. One of the Rippers, T-Saint, wants to kill them as he thinks they are spies but some others, especially Booga and Donner, want to spare them, so the leader, Deetee, puts it to a vote and the girls end up spared. As they are held captive, Rebecca starts a friendship with Booga and learns that they are an army experiment to create super-soldiers by combining human and kangaroo DNA. When the war ended before they could be used, Johnny Prophet was told to kill them, as he was the one to create them, but he refused and took them out into the desert to live instead. When the Rippers get workd of a W&P shipment coming in, they decide to give the girls a test by having them confirm the shipment so they can figure out what to do. Rebecca and Jet head to the outpost and start taking some pictures of the crates but T-Saint wants further proof  so they pretend to be photographers shooting a men’s calendar in order to get closer to take pictures of the weapons inside the crates. T-Saint tells them to steal the crates to prove they aren’t spies so Rebecca and Jet do so but the brakes on the truck fail as it heads for a cliff. Rebecca manages to disengage the cab from the trailer but the trailer continues heading towards the edge of the cliff, with Rebecca still on it, when Booga shows up and grabs Rebecca, then jumps to safety with her. Back at the Ripper’s lair, Deetee holds a toast for the newest members of their community and Rebecca and Booga get closer to each other. The next day, the Rippers open the crates to find them filled with dirt except for the last one, which contains the body of Johnny Prophet, causing the Rippers to yell out in grief. Rebecca and Jet help the Rippers come up with a plan to attack the W&P headquarters, painting Jet’s jet back to it’s original colors and flying the Rippers inside the base while Rebecca heads there in her tank. Parasailing behind her tank, Rebecca storms the front gate and blows her way in while Jet manages to convince the air traffic control that they have a faulty plane and gets them inside one of the hangars. As the group meet up, the Rippers can hear that there are over a hundred soldiers massing to fight them. Deetee says that they fight better in the dark and when Jet says there are power boxes at the end of the corridor, Deetee sacrifices himself to take out the power box, throwing the base into darkness. Enraged at Deetee’s death, the Rippers begin attacking the soldiers while Rebecca goes to save Sam but she encounters Kesslee. Kesslee tells Rebecca that Sam is in the pipe, which is slowly filling with water, and he then grabs her and reveals that he had secretly had her bugged, meaning that he knew their plans the moment they made them. Rebecca manages to avoid him and knock him off the railing they are on, causing his cybernetic arm to get stuck. When Rebecca tries to knock him out, her fist goes right through his head and Kesslee reveals that his head is a holographic projection. Kesslee gets free and continues attacking Rebecca when her tank bursts through the wall, knocking him into a grate which gets electrified. With Kesslee trapped, Rebecca has her tank finish him off only to find out the tank is out of ammo. Rebecca gets inside and uses beer cans for ammo, which Kesslee is able to block, but she then uses them to dump a bucket of water on his head, temporarily shorting out his head. Rebecca approaches the disabled Kesslee and before he can do anything, places a water siphoning device on him and sucks all the water out of him. As the Rippers continue to kill the soldiers, Small decides to try and run but ends up being killed by Jet. Rebecca finds Sam and manages to get her out of the pipe but they find themselves surrounded by W&P soldiers. Suddenly, Booga appears and tells them that he took the bullets from their guns and Rebecca kisses him, saying that it was a great idea. In an animated sequence, Rebecca and the Rippers destroy W&P to allow the water to flow freely to everyone, with Rebecca driving her tank off a waterfall, with Booga skiing behind her.

Tank Girl met with mostly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 37% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “While unconventional, Tank Girl isn’t particularly clever or engaging, and none of the script’s copious one-liners have any real zing.” Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett, the creators of “Tank Girl”, talked poorly about the experiences in making the movie, as well as all of the edits and scenes that were cut, including a scene of Rebecca and Booga reclining in bed after having sex, despite the fact that the studio spent $5000 on a prosthetic penis for the scene. The movie was a box office bomb, earning $6 million off of a $25 million budget.

This movie is crazy, ridiculous, and a lot of fun to watch. You know how you can see a character and immediately say, “This actor/actress would be perfect for this character?” That is exactly how I feel regarding Lori Petty and this role, as she was perfect as Tank Girl. I also liked Naomi Watts (Jet), Ice-T (T-Saint), and Jeff Kober (Booga) but I was kind of disappointed with Malcolm McDowell (Kesslee). I have honestly never read the Tank Girl comics so I don’t know how closely the movie follows them but the story itself was pretty entertaining, feeling a lot like a comic book in how the plot was laid out. The special effects were ok, though I wasn’t too impressed with the Ripper’s make-up, and I also liked the cut-aways that featured some artwork from the comics, which helped with the whole comic book feel of the movie. It is an entertaining movie and can be a lot of fun to watch due to it’s zaniness.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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comedy, movie, movie review

October 19th, 2017 Movie – South Beach Academy

south beach academy

This right here is what you would call an unwanted bonus movie. I say that because I had no intention of buying this movie, it just happened to be the second movie in a double feature disc that I bought. Now I bought this disc because I wanted Rock ‘N’ Roll High School Forever and this was the only way I could get it. I have my ideas on what this movie is about so let’s see if this movie matches them as I watch South Beach Academy.

The plot: Harry Spencer is sneaking onto a yacht to rescue his girlfriend from Johnny Staccato, a minor mob boss. As he confronts Johnny, Harry monologues about how he wound up in this predicament. One week ago, his brother Billy came to town and met a girl named Harley, who he managed to get a date with. Harry teaches volleyball at South Beach Academy, which is owned by his uncle Gene. Gene has placed a bet with Johnny on the volleyball match that is going on and keeps telling Johnny’s muscle, Pigiron, to increase the bet. During the match, Harry sees Shannon McSorely running on the beach and is amazed when she hits an errant volleyball back into the match. Shannon stays to watch the match, which Harry’s team is winning, until all of the bets are in. Johnny’s muscle signals the girls on his team and they immediately start beating Harry’s team, eventually winning the match. Afterwards, Harry goes to talk with Shannon, who tells him he was set up to lose that match and reveals that she used to be on the US volleyball team. Billy shows up and interrupts them but quickly leaves as Harry arranges to meet with Shannon later. As they walk along the pier, she tells them about how she got conned into a scam which resulted in her not being able to compete in the Olympics. Later that night, Billy and Harry go to a bar, where Harley works as a singer, and while Billy goes closer to the stage to watch Harley, Harry sees Shannon and goes to talk with her. The next day, Johnny shows up at the academy to collect his money and offers Gene a rematch, saying if Gene’s team wins, he will forgive his initial bet and give him 2 million dollars, but if Johnny’s team wins, he gets the deed to the academy. Harry tells Gene not to do it, and Gene says he will just pay Johnny the money in the morning but when Johnny continues to taunt Gene, Gene ends up making the bet. As Harry talks with Gene later about the bet, Gene says he knows Shannon used to be an Olympic volleyball player and was hoping Harry could get her and her former teammates to play for his team. Harry reluctantly agrees to talk to Shannon about it and she is angry that he wants to use her like that but finally agrees, as Johnny was the one that ran the scam on her and she wants to get payback. As Harry and Shannon go try to recruit the other members of the team to help, they are attacked on the beach by some of Johnny’s men but are helped out by Shannon’s former teammate Dominique. After meeting the last member of the team and getting her to join, the girls start practicing for the match. The night before the match, Shannon invites Harry to her house for dinner and they start to make out but Shannon stops before it goes too far, wanting to wait till after the match. After Harry leaves, Shannon finds Johnny in her house and when Harry calls Shannon later that night, Johnny ends up talking with Harry and revealing that Shannon has been working with him. The next day, the match commences and Harry’s team tries their best without Shannon but are losing. When Pigiron goes to taunt Gene, Shannon uses that time to try and explain herself to Harry, saying that Johnny had promised the information to free her brother from jail if she went along with his scheme. However, because of her feelings for Harry, she decides to go against Johnny’s wishes and play for Harry’s team. Harry’s team mounts a comeback and starts to win but Pigiron returns and grabs Shannon and takes her away and Harry goes after her, which brings us to the start of the movie. As Johnny brags to Harry about how he has been manipulating Shannon, Shannon manages to kick Johnny in the face and knock him out. Harry and Shannon return to the match and Harry’s team wins. At the celebration party, Harry reveals that he had taped Johnny’s confession which they can use to free Shannon’s brother and Harry and Shannon end up walking along the beach and having sex, as well as Billy and Harley.

Yup, this is exactly what I thought it would be; a cheap, boring T&A movie. There really isn’t much going for this movie. The acting was pretty bland and honestly did nothing to get me interested in the movie. The story was poorly written, and the pacing was kind of a messed, bouncing between the main story and Billy’s constant showing up in a strip club. Harry’s narrating the movie at times was pretty annoying, while Corey Feldman was honestly annoying all the time. His “calling” the volleyball match was absolutely ridiculous. Another thing that was kind of annoying but also funny at times was the random scenes involving a “drill sergeant” who was teaching girls various beach activities throughout the movie. This is the kind of movie that you would expect to watch late at night when you were teenager but not exactly worth watching now.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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