Sunday, 28 August 2016

A Fistful of North Star

Ignoring video games (many of which remained Japanese only), anime television show, spin offs and particularly 'wonderful' live action film, 1986 feature length adaptation of manga is what most probably know.

It's pretty obvious some characters were based on those introduced in Mad Max: The Road Warrior.

Jagi vs The Humungus


Barona vs Wez


Kenshiro himself was inspired by martial arts legend Bruce Lee and Mel Gibson's Max Rockatansky.


Speaking of eyebrows, what better place to begin?

(As Billy)

Double Dragon Advance (GBA) and Double Dragon II: The Revenge* (PC Engine CD)


*Remake of NES game.

Guy Kazama (Last Alert, PC Engine) and Hayate (Savage Reign, Neo Geo)


Young whippersnapper Aki was another to wear fantastic catepillars.
Rolento (Street Fighter Alpha 3) vs Colonel


At least Capcom had the good grace not to employ eye-patch.

But SNK and Konami, well, kinda did...

Heidern (The King of Fighters series) and Bobby (Martial Champion)


Ha ha ha!

The Evil Monarch (Sengoku 2) vs Raoh


Kevin Rian's NPC sidekick Marky (Garou: Mark of the Wolves) vs Bat


Yes, those goggles seal it.

Miscellany

I have no idea if Fist was the first to portray licking exercise, but video games soon climbed aboard.


Two. P (Final Fight CD)
Fallen or Revenger Balrog (Cannon Spike)
Gen-an (Samurai Shodown)
Birdie (Street Fighter Alpha)
Jack (World Heroes Perfect)
Apart from standard attacks, Ken uses two signature Hokuto Shinken techniques.

Feet

ATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATAT!!
Chun-Li's Lightning Kick (Street Fighter series)
Kyle's special (Violent Storm)
Ricky's special (Mutation Nation)
Robert's Genreikyaku (Art of Fighting series)
Fists

ATATATATATATATATATATATATAT!! HO WATA!
Ryo's Zan Retsu Ken (Art of Fighting series)
Dragon's One Hundred Blows (World Heroes series)
Grater's special (Ring of Destruction: Slam Masters 2)
E Honda's Hundred Hand Slap (Street Fighter series)
Salamander's special (Martial Champion)
Leonardo's Ultimate Attack (TMNT: Tournament Fighters, SNES version)
My next major anime project will be Akira.

Excited?

You better be.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Lights Out - The scoop and digest

Trivia attack.

What does this and The Babadook have in common?

They're both adapted from respective director's horror shorts.

James Wan helps produce David F. Sandberg's feature length debut.

Teresa Palmer - Rebecca
Maria Bello - Sophie
Gabriel Bateman - Martin
Alexander DiPersia - Bret
Alicia Vela-Bailey - Diana

At a mannequin warehouse, man is stalked and soon killed by an entity only visible in darkness.

Albeit in different setting, opening scene with co-worker Esther (Lotta Losten) basically re-enacts horror short.

Bitchy stepdaughter Rebecca unsuccessfully tries to drag brother Martin away from depression prone mother Sophie.

Boyfriend Bret makes canvas hum rancid.

Adults don't usually have 'imaginary' friends, but Sophie begs to differ.

Rebecca escapes unharmed during meeting with apparition and discovers 'Diana' scratched on room's floor.

When admitted to Mulberry Hills for depression, former mental patient Sophie befriended Diana who suffered from a rare skin disorder, rendering her extremely sensitive to light.

She died from overexposure during a medical experiment (as revealed in flashback when Rebecca finds Paul's box of research), and Sophie made the big mistake of discarding companionship like yesterday's chip paper.

As Sophie is her only connection to physical world, nasty ghost kills anybody attempting to cure negative state of mind.

Rebecca wants answers, but Sophie vehemently denies the truth.

I guess she can't handle the truth.

Sophie passes Rebecca note reading 'I need help' and twigging Diana is controlling mother, lights are turned on.

Diana traps Martin and Rebecca downstairs and basement is enveloped in darkness.

Black light shows Diana's obsession with Sophie scrawled on wall and having already escaped, Bret brings police.

Excuse me, what the fuck are they gonna do?

Hmmm, perhaps less than nothing.

Sophie saves family via a bullet to the head which causes Diana to disintegrate and vanish.

In the aftermath, it's implied Diana may live on through Sophie's offspring.

Good but not great.

Time of day offers no protection from vengeful antagonist who's naturally the nucleus of precisely staged boo moments.

Build up is obvious, but Rebecca examining disfigured mannequins and Diana spinning around make neck hairs stand on end.

Scare tactics don't always work, as baddie suddenly appearing in close quarters or dragging somebody away wears anorexic.

Story has purpose, but poor script and lacklustre performances forces us not to give a monkey's toss about who survives and dies.

Okay, I felt some sympathy towards Sophie.

In truth, only lesser characters kick the bucket.

Here's a few titbits.

Lotta Losten helped with horror short, so why do credits claim otherwise?

Obscure deal between husband and wife?

Diana isn't exactly fond of light and areas covered by darkness drain G's health in excellent last gen action video game Shadows of the Damned.

Martin's bedroom is a less than subtle advert for DC Comics.

Despite various imperfections, one of the best horrors in recent years already has a sequel confirmed.

Best keep a torch and shitload of batteries handy.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

The Shallows - The scoop and digest

I thought it best to see this on the big screen while ass still can.

In Mexico, medical student Nancy (Blake Lively) is given a ride by genial local Carlos to revisit a secret beach which she and late mother previously surfed years ago while pregnant.

Riding the crest of a wave, language barrier doesn't prevent conversation taking place with two geezers.

After video chatting with sis and dad, Nancy gets wet again, but guys call it a day.

Shortly after noticing the carcass of a Humpback whale, she's bumped off board and great white gives leg a nibble.

Enter the survival horror...

She manages to climb onto dead mammal, but temporary safety is selfishly interrupted by hungry beast.

At isolated reef, she uses wet-suit to make tourniquet and spends the night with wounded seagull.

Regrettably, relationship with feathered friend doesn't blossom like Wilson the volleyball.

As morning breaks, Nancy observes a pissed up guy on beach who instead of helping, robs her of belongings.

Don't worry, thieving bastard gets comeuppance when adding board to loot.

That my shit stain is called karma.

Surfing dudes return from earlier and become further meals.

Retrieving helmet housing GoPro cam, she records a message for family, tosses it into the sea and sends Steven Seagull (an obvious pun of Steven Seagal), packing on broken surfboard.

For those who don't know, James Buckley voices Hastings Direct character Stephen Seagull.

Yeah I know, who else would make that reference.

Knowing high tide is imminent, our girl makes haste through a smack of jellyfish and clambers upon nearby buoy.

She finds flare gun concealed inside compartment and fails to attract the attention of distant vessel.

Pesky fish refuses to quit and because of whale blubber creating oil trail, another flare simultaneously causes ocean's surface and shark to ignite.

Understandably pissed off, it takes apart floating platform.

Clutching remaining chain gives Nancy speed boost to ocean floor and after putting everything behind attack, shark is skewered like kebab on metal rods of buoy's mooring.

Alerted by his son (boy from beginning), Carlos finds Nancy in the shallows who regains consciousness.

While surfing in homeland of Texas, father says mother would have been proud.

Immediately comparable to Australian horror The Reef and even minimalist psychological trip Open Water, Jaume Collet-Serra's impressive directorial run continues.

I feared the worst after the first 20 minutes, but taut and entertaining final hour hurtles by.

Blake Lively delivers a strong and believable performance and importantly, menace from below is ubiquitous.

We don't get a proper look at monster until exciting climax and I think we can all agree CGI supersedes Sharknado.

Applying details such as mating scars female great whites visibly bear and black eyes rolling over white, Scott E. Anderson's creation is a digital delight.

Considering said predator can reach speeds in excess of 30 mph, sluggish pursuit before death smells strongly of freshly laid bullshit.

Bruce swims 'backwards' in Jaws, but as with every other mistake in my favourite film of all time - I don't care, I love it.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Suicide Squad - The scoop and digest

For the first time in extended universe, Zack Snyder makes way for David 'Training Day' Ayer to have a crack as writer/director.

Will Smith - Deadshot/Floyd Lawton
Margot Robbie - Dr. Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn
Jared Leto - Joker
Viola Davis - Amanda Waller
Joel Kinnaman - Rick Flag
Jay Hernandez - El Diablo/Chato Santana
Cara Delevingne - Enchantress/Dr. June Moore
Jai Courtney - Captain Boomerang/Digger Darkness
Karen Fukuhara - Katana/Tatsu Yamashiro
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje - Killer Croc/Waylon Jones
Ben Affleck - Batman/Bruce Wayne

Following Superman's death in Dawn of Justice, intelligence big cheese Amanda Waller introduces us to the dangerous likes of Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Deadshot and El Diablo.

Were bios stylized and/or ripped off from Lollipop Chainsaw?

Despite obvious danger peeps pose, they're soon removed from Belle Reve penitentiary and placed under Colonel Rick Flag's command.

Injecting nanite bombs inside respective necks of Task Force X ensure dogs are kept on a tight leash.

Captain Boomerang, Slipknot and Katana complete unsavoury crew.

By now, Joker has already made his presence felt in flashback with Dr. Quinzel.

After touching a cursed idol, Dr. June Moore was possessed by an evil supernatural entity coined Enchantress.

Pissed at imprisonment, Enchantress relocates to Midway City with army of creatures, where she summons brother Incubus and begins constructing a weapon.

Here's a tip, don't break her heart...

As far as expendable assets are concerned, city is under terrorist attack.

Around this time, Harley texts Joker who forces tech guys to disable girlfriend's bomb.

Using bullets and melee, minions are taken care of and actual target Waller is found in a safe room.

Joker hijacks a chopper and welcomes Harley aboard, but Waller's men shoot flying machine down.

She survives the crash and Joker apparently dies.

Holding back floods of tears, life goes on.

Enchantress' cohorts kidnap Waller and Flag destroys detonation gadget, thus relieving the group of any further participation.

Nah, they've got a point to prove.

With a little help from SEAL team, Croc plants a bomb set to go off under Incubus.

El Diablo finally embraces fiery rage and sacrifices himself by pinning target down, just as bomb conveniently goes bang.

Baddie overpowers all concerned but Harley fakes allegiance, slices open Mayan priestess and takes beating souvenir.

Croc throws another bomb into swirling shitstorm of trash and Deadshot pulls the trigger.

Flag has the balls to crush Entrantress's heart and frees the Doc.

Do yourself a favour and look up Jim Henson's The Storyteller and how title character dies in The Heartless Giant (adapted from an early German folk tale).

Maybe you've already guessed ridiculous coincidence...

For services rendered, Waller agrees to cut each sentence by 10 years (with specific privileges).

While Harley makes cup of Espresso, Joker unexpectedly arrives and rescues lover.

"Let's go home."

During mid-credits, Bruce Wayne is willing to protect Waller, in exchange for top secret dossier detailing plans to expand metahumans.

Or [cough] Justice League.

Analysis

What promised so much is only average.

Humdrum action never quickens pulse and story couldn't be more generic.

Editing is disjointed and I'm quietly confident a shitload of scenes were cobbled together from cutting room floor.

Pros

Ben Affleck picks up from where he left off and brief involvement gets a big thumbs up from me.

Apart from being one of the most desirable women in Hollywood, Margot Robbie has great fun as unstable temptress and gets all the best lines.

From clobber to personality, I think most will agree Jared Leto's portrayal is akin to his psychotic comic book counterpart.

Cons

Will Smith was pretty good in I Am Legend, but unfortunately gets back to boring basics and mentions film title in the dumbest way possible.

"We're some kind of Suicide Squad."

Okay, script is David Ayer's fault but whatever.

What's with Enchantress doing all this weird hula dancing?

Just stick a bastard grass skirt on her already.

Killer Croc grunts on the sidelines, Katana is wasted, Slipknot is killed off almost immediately and providing you like lumps of wood - Joel Kinnaman delivers a spellbinding performance.

The Clown Prince of Crime may be good, but he's hardly in it.

Like tattoo on forehead - decision is 'damaged'.

At the end, he and cronies turn up inexplicably wearing SWAT uniforms.

Errr.

A heartless Entrantress is Mia possessed and attempts to deceive Deadshot by becoming his daughter.

Evil Dead 2013?

Soundtrack album

Most don't appear in film (WTF?) and all the best tracks from celluloid including Sympathy for the Devil (The Rolling Stones), Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (AC/DC), Paranoid (Black Sabbath), Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes) and The House of the Rising Sun (The Animals) are missing.

Panic! at the Disco's cover of Bohemian Rhapsody is found on CD but Queen's original is used for film.

That makes sense, right?

WHAT A CROCK OF SHIT!
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