Thursday, 21 May 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road - The scoop and digest

30 years after Beyond Thunderdrome (and Tina Turner), Director George Miller finally overcomes 'development hell' and reboots his own post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Mel Gibson's time has passed.  The road warrior has a new face.

Plot details and/or spoilers will be baron and desolate.

What a lovely day for:

Tom Hardy - Max
Charlize Theron - Imperator Furiosa
Nicholas Hoult - Nux
Hugh Keays-Byrne - Immortan Joe

In a world shy of hope and dominated by despair, ex cop Max is haunted by visions of failing to protect his family.

Our man is captured by the War Boys and designate him as blood donor to treat poorly geezer Nux.

Leading an army of hundreds and thousands, tyrannical dictator Immortan Joe rules the Citadel roost while his five wives (specially selected for breeding), are 'employed' to pass on the warlord gene.

Furiosa is ordered to collect fuel but her and armoured shithouse War Rig takes a slight detour with expectant mothers.

Joe is naturally pissed and sets out to retrieve stolen property.

Muzzled like Hannibal Lecter, poor old Max rides on the hood of Nux's vehicle who continues to supply the red stuff.

Don't worry, he's not a vampire.

An explosive battle ensues and after waking from the devastation of a sandstorm, he and Furiosa lock horns.

After a brief scuffle, Max attempts to steal the Rig.

Kill switch eh? Clever girl.

I guess there's enough room for Furiosa and the power of five after all.

Joe and co's pursuit is temporarily thwarted by a recently collapsed canyon, as detonated by a biker gang.

However, monster trucks can climb such obstacles...

Still peeved at not receiving gasoline, the biker gang target revenge but are dealt with accordingly.

Nux scrambles aboard the Rig and shielding Furiosa, one of Joe's heavily pregnant wives is tagged and subsequently flattened by husband's vehicle.

Furiosa speaks of a childhood memory, where she was born.  Lush and verdant - a 'Green' place.

They pass a swamp, inhabited by crow-like creatures on stilts.

During a meeting with members of Furiosa's former clan, she is horrified to learn that birthplace is anything but caw blimey...

In a moment of clarity, Max convinces them to floor it back to the Citadel.

Sounds like a cracking idea, but there may be trouble in reverse.

Is he insane in the membrane? Apparently not.

Max fights with Joe's son Rictus and Furiosa attaches a chain to spinning wheels, ripping Joe's face off.

Nux commits suicide by destroying the Rig and Rictus is killed in the process.

Arriving at the Citadel, the production of Joe's body is met with jubilation.

Furiosa is apparently welcomed by young War Dogs and Max melts into the crowd.

Adrenaline-pumping exhilaration gives us little opportunity to breathe.

It would be easy to let metronomic CGI handle stunts and effects, but as the vast majority are practical - I heap kudos.

Crew cut and slapped with warpaint, Theron is a near revelation and hits all the right notes as spunky survivalist.

As head honcho, Hardy lacks charisma and even seems disinterested.

Maybe I missed a brilliant performance?

Hoult is neither likable or irritating, so I guess watchable.

Did we need mutants straight from The Hills Have Eyes?

Bollocks!

Returning from 1979 original, Keays-Byrne is transformed from Toecutter to oxygen reliant Joe, whose mask may draw comparisons to Bane.

While set-pieces are often spectacular, this isn't The Raid 2.

Although rumoured, Gibson not making a cameo appearance is disappointing.

Set to exhaustive repeat, this is basically a 2 hour chase sequence - which is perhaps the slight problem.

So far from perfect, but nobody can grumble about the ingenuity of action and gyroscopic cinematography.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

A tasty quesidella of video game miscellany that mix nicely with others

Savour each sip and enjoy every bite as seamless variety once again takes centre stage in the most action-packed entry yet.

Unless stated, all screens are from insert coin and Boris Vallejo provides the meat of artwork.

To begin, nearly the same, but different titles and names.

Boogeyman and Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure (SNES)


Shang Fei (Dynasty Wars) and Xiang Fei (debuted in Real Bout Fatal Fury 2)


Shao Khan (debuted in Mortal Kombat II) and Shere Khan (The Jungle Book)


The fearsome tiger was drawn by my good self years back.

Buju (Urotsukidoji: Return of the Overfiend) and Buchu (Yie ar Kung-Fu)


Exterminator and The Exterminator


Exterminator
Broken Sword (franchise) and The Broken Sword



Burning and The Burning


Colossus and The Colossus (eventually credited to Asensio Julia, student of Francisco Goya)


Only a vowel separates this final pair.

Sex Machine (Tom Savini) from Robert Rodriguez's cult classic From Dusk Till Dawn.
Six Machine (Viewtiful Joe, Gamecube/PS2)
The following are all unrelated films.

Torment, Tormented and The Torment;
Abduction, Abducted and The Abducted; and
Fear, In Fear and The Fear.

Get this.

Collection, The Collector (1965 or 2009) and The Collection.

The Collection is actually a sequel to The Collector 2009, so Collection is fuck all to do anything. Also, The Collector is a supernatural Canadian TV series.

Stupid but true.

I could go on but...

Dangun Feveron is your typical Cave bullet hell shmup with a 'disco' theme.

Fancy going Nightclubbing with Iggy Pop?

Trainspotting? Maybe later.

Okay, in the meantime...

Streets of Rage 3 aka Bare Knuckle 3 (Mega Drive)
Fatal Fury Special (Neo Geo)
Final Doom (Various)
The Revenge of Shinobi (Mega Drive)
In the slow-burning, but totally absorbing PS3 adventure Heavy Rain; Madison seduces shady nightclub boss Paco Mendez by performing a sexy dance at the Blue Lagoon.   
Same principle, different taste.

1. Substance

Actraiser (SNES)
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts (SNES)
2. Ending

Axelay (SNES)
Hellfire 
3. Things are about to get uzi.

Mechanized Attack, SNK 1989


Operation Wolf, Taito 1987


Sega's Line of Fire pulls the trigger of familiarity.


Resident Evil and Haunting Ground were made practically at the same time, so it's no surprise that Ashley and Fiona from respective survival horrors look very similar.


Equally, Rebecca in the phenomenal Gamecube remake of Resident Evil could easily be a distant relative of Fiona.


Complete with bandana, live action Rambo wannabe (Linda) gave us a smile and little else in the 1996 PS1 original.
Going further back in time, the masters are at it again.

Anonymous gratitude from blonde in Forgotten Worlds.
Last Duel was also released in 1988.
Moving on, open mouthed and sharp toothed.

Wolfen and Airbourne - Black Dog Barking


Posters for Attack the Block and Wilderness


Brace yourselves, because the following are in for a shock.

In underrated 1986 comedy horror classic Chopping Mall, Killbots (created by Robert Short), go on the rampage after an electrical storm.

"Thank you.  Have a nice day."
Dick Miller might as well have changed his name by deed poll to 'Walter Paisley'.
Endo (Al Leong) gives Riggs (Mel Gibson) an unwanted charge in Lethal Weapon.
Stallone prison farce Lock Up sees model prisoner Frank Leone transferred from Norwood to Gateway that Drumgoole (Donald Sutherland) describes as 'the worst shithole in the system'.
The corrupt warden is placed in, but doesn't meet a sticky end...  
In the Pit of Despair, Westley (Cary Elwes) is tortured by 'The Machine' in fantastic Rob Reiner fairytale The Princess Bride.
For shits and giggles, PDC thrower James Wade is also nicknamed 'The Machine'.

Revolver Ocelot takes great pleasure in charging protagonist's torso in the sublime but short-lived Metal Gear Solid on PS1.
After a succession of trademark Van Damme spin kicks, Moon (Bolo Yeung) from Double Impact succumbs to x amount of volts.
Amongst other things, the 1993 SNES port of Total Carnage was heavily censored and didn't include the arcade's amusing electric chair sequence.

Here's why Nintendo got their knickers in a twist.




Horrified? Offended? You should be embarrassed.

Aside from Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons, 1986 heavy metal horror Trick or Treat, (not to be confused with 2007 horror anthology Trick 'r Treat), antagonist Sammi Curr was also powered by electricity which means in principle, Wes Craven stole the idea for Shocker and Howard Pinker.
Cover art doesn't have much to do with 1996 point and click Toonstruck, but artist made a decent job of representing Christopher Lloyd.
The execution of John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) in The Green Mile brought a lump to everybody's throat.
According to state law, a prisoner sentenced to death by electric chair, who survives three jolts of 15,000 volts each for 45 seconds, must be set free.

While that is pure fiction, it sets an interesting premise for Uwe Boll's below par 2007 slasher Seed.

Sufferton serial killer Max Seed (Will Sanderson) just won't die and predictably seeks bloody revenge on those responsible.
I know it's only a film, but prisoners have their head shaved so barnet doesn't ignite. 
Lasting for several minutes, Seed systematically bludgeons a woman tied in a chair with a lumberjack's axe.  To be fair, CGI is kinda effective.

1991 System 3 S.C.I. thing Turbo Charge on C64 featured great graphics, a sense of speed and attractive in-game screens.

However, running out of fuel with more just up ahead was really FUCKING ANNOYING.

The ending is thusly.


Head of lion, wings of bat and tail of scorpion is how mythological creature manticore can be represented.

Check out boss and/or regular enemy.

Actraiser (SNES) and Cadash


Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA)
Presenting the famous cover of Janet Morris's book High Couch of Silistra.
Out of five, Konami is the only fan of what I suggest.

For more coincidence, the wheels are turning.

Actraiser (SNES)
Kenseiden (Master System)
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi (Mega Drive)
Ocean stole from Sonic with the title screen of SNES game Mr. Nutz, not to be confused with less linear and far superior Amiga effort subbed Hoppin' Mad.


Dracula in Namco's Vampire Night clearly screwed Hanged Man from The House of the Dead.


Starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, What Lies Beneath is a supernatural mystery thriller.

I've just directed the sequel - What Hides Underneath.

Nitin Sawhney - Human and Red - Faces


The Frighteners and The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery


Mindshadow and The Evil Inside


Spandex is flexible and stretches like a bitch...

Errors of the Human Body and The Pact


Ignoring the 2010 remake, did both steal the 'Freddy coming through ceiling' effect from A Nightmare on Elm Street?


Err, possibly?

Flesh was one of the original stories to appear in 2000AD.

'Hag monster' Old One Eye ate her son Satanus.

Offspring was later cloned by scientists as an exhibit for a national dinosaur park, which sounds absolutely nothing like the idea for Spielberg's Jurassic Park...

Here's more eye candy.

Mike Wazowski (Monsters, Inc and Monsters University)
Well Despicable Me, look at Minion on the right. 
Using 'another' CD, PS1's RAM and some kind of incredibly clever programming technique, dictates which critter you'll create, raise and breed in Monster Rancher.
Shuma Gorath (Marvel universe)
I believe Marvel Super Heroes was his video game debut.
A conversation about Space Harrier will inevitably lead to mentioning the solitary eyed wooly mammoth.
Like rock, tree or structure, its job was oncoming obstacle.
Stop motion magician Ray Harryhausen brought the cyclops to life in 1958 classic The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.  The poor bastard goes down fighting with a dragon.
During the title sequence of Treehouse of Horror XXIV, Chief Wiggum references and parodies the one-eyed beast.
I'm not sure if One-Eyed Jack is supposed to be a direct parody of Sinbad, but whatever, he's a much earlier example.
Now visual aid appears in talking tackle.

End boss Lord Saddler reveals his true colours in Resident Evil 4.
When yer' ready pal...
An example of the Makai, the race of demons, in Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend.
Screaming Mad George provides the special effects for disgusting and impressive 1989 social horror satire Society.
Body horror From Beyond is worth more than your average H. P. Lovecraft adaptation.
Horror anthology The Theatre Bizarre was released in 2011 and Zero, single from Yeah Yeah Yeahs album It's Blitz! was conceived in 2009.



What the fuck?

You wouldn't think it, but DVD art can even steal from video games.

Examples include:

Deranged vs Silent Hill: Shattered Memories


The Battery vs Lost Planet 3


Could it be any son of a bitching similar?

Before pushing start, Kratos and God of War extends situation.


Much of what I bring is sick, but this will make you vomit.

Behold the 2009 remake of 1986 psychological slasher The Stepfather.

Admire geezer standing not so menacingly with blade at stairs peak.


Hey boys and girls, check this out.


HOLY SHIT!

Are you actually suggesting that whoever was responsible for artwork, basically ripped off an iconic camera angle from John Carpenter's 1978 seminal classic - even though it's a blink and you'll miss it moment?

(Nods head).

Wow, that's incredible.  You must be a professional.

(Frustrated growl)...

Resident Evil: Revelations did an awesome job of box-lifting Condemned 2: Bloodshot.

Its episodic sequel took 'inspiration' from BBFC nightmare Manhunt 2.


Also used in-game during Daniel's flashback of the Pickman Project
Want more burglary?

Okay.

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare vs Tatsunoko vs Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars


On a lesser scale, Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe looks much the same when Mortal Kombat 3 became competitive.


Take a sneaky peek at The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.


Now compare 'split' to Evoga's Rage of the Dragons and SNK's The King of Fighters '95.


As tools, the overriding difference between Hatchet and Axe is the former can single-handedly deal with a situation and the latter gets moody unless held by two.

Oh yeah, you'll find the former is a franchise starring horror legends Kane Hodder and Robert Englund while t'other, is a standalone 1977 oddity that occasionally disturbs.


Surely it's 'impossible' to associate cover art with Commando.

You'd think so, but wait.

Before the explosions, preposterous stunts, gunfire and body count rises, this still is from the beginning.  I shit you not.
Men with golden guns.

Dead to Rights (PS2)
Deadstorm Pirates (PS3)
Steve Burnside holds a pair of Lugers in the zomtastic Resident Evil Code: Veronica.
Re-released for PS2 and Gamecube, extra cut scenes with Wesker hit the X spot.  
Best described as an oriental House of the Dead, Sega Golden Gun had you talk to peeps and buy items from a shop.
Of that title - how fucking original.
Stand up and show the utmost respect for a British legend.

The immortal knight Christopher Lee as antagonist Scaramanga in 1974 James Bond adventure, The Man with the Golden Gun.
Sticking with, but altering the trend, Uncharted: Golden Abyss was a PS Vita exclusive.

Originating on GBA, Golden Sun is a series of fantasy-based RPGs.

In film, you can have Goldeneye, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army and The Golden Child.

Etc etc.

Just for the hell of it, two more.

Secret char Gold War Machine becomes playable after entering a code in Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes.
A golden idol is the carrot for Indy to risk life and limb in Raiders of the Lost Ark, still one of the greatest films of all time.
It's called karma asshole.
General nuisance Red Arremer later starred in his own spin-off series Gargoyle's Quest.  In 1988 sequel to Ghosts 'n Goblins, Ghouls 'n Ghosts, he waits patiently to swoop.


His background is perfect for a juicy ref.

Pyramid of Skulls - Paul Cézanne
Maybe this sketch inside the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis from The Evil Dead was inspired by Paul Cézanne's piece? 
Without getting into Snow White or WOW, here's my pick of dwarfs.

John Rhys-Davies as Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Voiced by David Buck, the look of rotoscoped animation in 1978 is aptly demonstrated.
Beginning as table top RPG, Dungeons & Dragons became a phenomenon.

Not too long after its inception, most should remember the classic 80s cartoon series.

Dubbed 'Requiem', the final episode was written but as the show was cancelled, never shown.

Selfish bastards.

Suffice to say, the live action adaptation was fucking atrocious and shame on Jeremy Irons for starring in such a piece of shit.

Unfortunately, Michael Caine and Jaws: The Revenge wasn't a bad dream...

Adapted from Dragons of Despair, 1988 computer game Heroes of the Lance (Amiga version shown) sees Caramon (warrior), Goldmoon (cleric), Riverwind (outcast of Que-Shu tribe) and Flint Fireforge (Hill Dwarf) are four of eight playables attempting to recover the Disks of Mishakal.


FPS Slayer on 3DO blew me away and one of few highlights in Panasonic's fantastic flop or self-proclaimed Interactive Multiplayer.

Capcom secured the rights to create two coin gobbling outings.

Tower of Doom (1993)
Shadow over Mystara (1996)
Although similar to Arthurian based action Knights of the Round and more so Magic Sword, 1991 fantasy scroller The King of Dragons wasn't anything to do with TSR, but employed chars and monsters straight from a D & D adventure.

So unless some kind of deal was made behind the scenes, foundations were already laid in preparation for a licence they hadn't yet obtained.

100% muscle but level does not advance too quickly?
Well, I suppose you gotta take the rough with the smooth.
In Sega's hack and slash classic Golden Axe, those concerned had every right to be pissed off with Death=Adder, who bears a striking resemblance to Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer.

He (my brother) died screaming you fuck.
His great grandson Gillius Rockhead featured in 1994 one on one spin-off The Duel.
Exploring the juiciest video game references in Wreck-It Ralph concludes a journey of eclectic proportions.

Villains such as Neff (Altered Beast), Kano (Mortal Kombat), Bowser (Mario) and Clyde (Pac-Man) are given the chance to empathise and get things off their CGI chests.
"Aerith Lives" and "All your base are belong to us" relate to Final Fantasy VII and a phrase more broken than shattered glass from the Mega Drive port of Zero Wing.
While translation deserves its place in folklore, I think Samurai Shodown II states more spectacular bullshit.

Is this spiel referring to central protagonist Haohmuru?
Either way, 'his' bloody life makes no fucking sense.   

"All creature will die and all the things will be broken.  That's the law of samurai."

Shakespeare would blush.

Red mushrooms force iconic sound bite and make Mario Super.
In Mario Kart, have a boost on me 
Exclamation mark and 'noise' indicates an enemy has spotted Snake in Metal Gear Solid.
Oi Ralph - GET OUTTA THERE!
Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start is the Konami cheat code.
Gamers believed Sheng Long was a hidden char and became the basis for Gouken.

Featuring mash ups of Sonic and 8 bit Mario, Director Rich Moore says the ringleaders for ending sequence were Clay Kaytis and Malcon Pierce, with his Animation Team running with them.  Art Directors Mike Gabriel and Ian Gooding also contributed.

'Executive Produced' is surely their own personal swipe at 'Engrish'. 
Ken's stage was presumably somebody's favourite background, hence why Blanka comically electrocutes Ralph in the U.S.A. and not his homeland of Brazil.
Or, they simply didn't care.
Ralph and Vanellope lend Ryu a hand to 'break car'.
Oh sorry, that's Final Fight.
Note the boat and inanimate flag has been edited out.
Call me arrogant, but few would notice something REALLY weird about Ryu.


Please compare victory pose to arcade (left) and SNES original (right).


You can see neither are the same.

So is it arcade's improved sprite seen in Champion and/or Hyper Fighting?


Close, but no cigar.

For some fucking bizarre reason, it's actually lifted from one of three console ports.

Three?

Yes, because each are identical.

From left to right and for clarification purposes, here's the proof in pixels.

PC Engine (Champion Edition), SNES (Turbo) and Mega Drive (Special Champion Edition).


It begs the question - why bother going to the trouble of crossing arcade with console?

Finally, if you look very, very closely - arcade's clenched fist has four fingers, but home console only displays three.

You can stop calling me a mega geek now.  Ha ha ha!

Until the next meal is served...
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