Saturday, 25 February 2017

John Wick: Chapter 2 - The scoop and digest

Does this just go through the motions, or can Chad Stahelski deliver a sequel worthy of 2014 original?

Keanu Reeves - John Wick/The Boogeyman
Riccardo Scamarico - Santino D'Antonio
Ian McShane - Winston
Common - Cassian
Ruby Rose - Ares
Laurence Fishburne - Bowery King

Not long after the events of original bloodbath, JW plows through baddies and hunts down his stolen motor at chop shop owned by Abram Tarasov (Viggo's brother and uncle of Iosef).

After sparing Tarasov's life, JW goes in peace and retires.

Italian crime big cheese Santino pays JW a visit and reminds he is obliged to repay a historical favour.

He refuses to honour 'marker' and Santino reacts by blowing house to kingdom come.

In New York, JW chats with Continental hotel owner Winston, who reminds no kill can take place on Continental ground and promise attached to any marker must be fulfilled.

The former smacks of Highlander, as immortals mustn't violate tradition of duelling on Holy ground.

JW meets with Santino and agrees to assassinate his sister Gianna, so seat can be claimed on the High Table, which I suppose is the crime lord equivalent of King Arthur's Round Table.

Following the suicide of Gianna, numerous henchmen are dispatched with relative ease, but Gianna's bodyguard Cassian provides stiffer opposition.

Fight is 'paused' when they crash Continental party and after a drink, Cassian warns this ain't over.

Santino places a $7m contract on JW's head and while peeps try and claim the bounty, they spectacularly fail.

Cassian and JW resume fisticuffs and out of professional courtesy, a victorious JW slams knife into rival's aorta, that will only kill defeated rival if removed.

Is this actually true?

Maybe.

Underground boss The Bowery King guides JW to Santino's location.

JW leaves a trail of human destruction in his wake and finally confronts Santino at the Continental.

Despite Winston's warning, JW shoots Santino dead.

JW becomes 'excommunicado' and Winston gives him an hour's head start before open contract is announced globally.

Marked man flees on foot with his dog.

Bang bang thank you mam

Frenetic gun ballet is flamboyant, exciting and expertly staged.

Scraps don't hold up as well, but hardly bore.

Okay, action doesn't touch The Raid 2 (or original), but then again - what does?

At the beginning, Tarasov speaks of how JW killed x amount of men with a pencil.

Hitman does just that later on.

Cute.

Who knows if done on purpose, but one man and his dog certainly whiffs of I Am Legend.

Climatic battle inside hall of mirrors?

Enter the Dragon.

A third is already in the works and will surely bring series to a conclusion.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Flying fish - what a coincidence!

After a long, long lay off, it's back.

Scouting for Girls Greatest Hits vs Lakeshore Entertainment logo


Children jumping into the drink?

Deny the principle.

Please note picture hanging in 1966 Hammer spoof classic Carry On Screaming.
Sid James was forced to pull out due to illness and replaced by Harry H. Corbett (in his only Carry On appearance).

Bless This House aired in 1971, and ran until 1976, with feature length spin-off appearing in 1972.

Guess who played the lead role?

Yeah, Sid James.

ITV sitcom had jack shit to do with Carry On and was directed by William G. Stewart, who would later host popular C4 gameshow 15 to 1.

I'm not even sure if 90s American TV series of same name was a remake?

American Horror Story: Freak Show (teaser trailer) vs Sheeva (debuted in Mortal Kombat 3)


Hmmm....

Real Bout Fatal Fury Special (Hong Kong stage intro) vs Ghost in the Shell


Random as shit.

American cartoonist Chris Ware says Stewie shares stark similarities to Jimmy Corrigan.


However, this is really fucked up.

Arnold (original comic strip) vs Bob (Sid the Sexist character)


You've gotta laugh.

If the much anticipated remake of Resident Evil 2 is canned - I'll never forgive Capcom.

Fingers crossed then.

After injecting the G Virus into his own body, Dr. William Birkin becomes stronger with every skin he casts off.
Dr. Birkin (Rainer Schwarz) appears as a minor character in David Cronenberg's 1979 psychological horror The Brood.
Before you ask, Christian name is never revealed.

Question:

How are Crying Freeman, Suikoden and Resident Evil CODE: Veronica/X all connected?

Answer:

108.

Here's why.

Yo Hinomura is a member of Chinese crime organisation 108 Dragons.
In most games, a total of 108 warriors can be recruited.
Hunk's Report (not to be confused with Hunk Profile or Hunk File from The Umbrella Chronicles and The Darkside Chronicles respectively), mentions 108 check points.

Mopping up, Zombie 108 is a film.

Awesome.

In Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell, Christine (Alison Lohman) 'shames' Sylvia Ganush by refusing her a loan and after failing to lift the curse of gypsy button, demonic hands eventually pull her under train tracks.
Inferno Scorpion is condemned to hell in Mortal Kombat spin-off Shaolin Monks.
Fatality ends with a great Terminator 2 reference.


Keeping with subject matter.

"He he he, I drag your soul in the evil world."
I assume Genan's bizarre pre-duel taunt from Samurai Shodown II is referring to hell.
In the climax of atrocious 2016 horror The Forest, yūrei drag Sara (Natalie Dormer) underneath the Aokigahara Forest floor. 
Here's Tong Po from cult 1989 Van Damme flick Kickboxer.

In film's credits, he's billed as 'himself', but Michel Qissi actually played the seemingly invincible Muay Thai psychopath.
He reprised role in Kickboxer 2: The Road Back and goof was corrected.
I reckon there's a remote chance baddie took chunks from Sagat.

The method in my madness?

Unlike sequel, he served as end boss in 1987 original, and only had Tiger at his disposal.
Going back to Kickboxer.

Poster confirms the champion "Tiger" Tong Po.
Even his tattoo doesn't explain nickname, because body art displays a Chinese dragon.

David Bautista played villain in the scrap happy, but charmless 2016 reboot Kickboxer: Vengeance.

A few years before the disappointing Blair Witch, Adam Wingard impressed with the blackly comic slasher You're Next.


In totally different circumstances, corrupt cop Captain Hulland (Andrew Bloch) reads the same message in 1990 Steven Seagal shit storm Hard to Kill.
They just keep coming.

Believe it or not, this is an actual still of General Hummel (Ed Harris) serving in Vietnam, from Michael Bay's 1996 action thriller The Rock.
Now things get rather silly.

Released exclusively for DOS in 1993, SEAL Team is recognised as being the world's first tactical shooter.
Box art for home conversions of Wolf sequel Operation Thunderbolt was predominantly used from 1989-1992.
Be my honoured guest to stare at all three until the cows return home, but main guy is DIFFERENT every time.

(On your behalf).

WHAT THE FUCK?

Adapted from Bryan Lee O'Malley's series of graphic novels, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was a bucket load of fun.

Scott leaves Ramona's fourth evil ex Roxy Ritcher 'Plok' on snow covered floor.
Was this a SNES reference too far?


(Frowns).

Renny Harlin's Cliffhanger has its critics, but yours truly is a huge fan.

In the tense opening scene, Gabe (Stallone) cannot prevent Hal's girlfriend Sarah (Michelle Joyner) from plunging to her death.
Above looks practically the same as poster for Last Embrace (which represents climax above Niagara Falls).

Glasvegas don't get the recognition they deserve.

Iconic chevrons make third album instantly recognisable.

Later... When The TV Turns To Static
Artwork:

Creative Director - James Allan
Graphic Designer - Brian Wishart

Okay boys and girls, look at television display that regularly appears in Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe.


Both were brought in 2013, but first series amalgam of Screenwipe and Newswipe was broadcast months before album.

Who knows, maybe I've revealed a Secret Truth?

Seedy vampire bar the Titty Twister in Robert Rodriguez's fangtastic From Dusk Till Dawn was based on Colonel Kurtz' compound from Apocalypse Now.

Alright, pussy, pussy, pussy! Come on in pussy lovers!
Now compare tweaking of mammary duct to mysterious 1594 painting.

Gabrielle d'Estrées and One of Her Sisters - unknown artist
Can you handle one more?

I certainly hope so.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter - The scoop and digest

2002... (sighs).  I'll never forget it.

It was the year when Paul W. S. Anderson took Capcom's hugely successful survival horror series to the big screen.

Soon after, news broke out that it was a pile of tremendous shit.

Virus was a box office success, taking millions worldwide.

A string of terrible sequels followed and Hollywood refused to sterilise all concerned.

Can franchise end on a high?

Milla Jovovich - Alice / Alicia Marcus
Iain Glen - Dr. Alexander Isaacs
Shawn Roberts - Wesker
Ali Larter - Claire Redfield

A flashback sequence reveals Professor James Marcus*, original founder of Umbrella, created the T-virus to save his daughter Alicia from dying of premature ageing.

*In 2002 Gamecube prequel Zero, he was a 'Doctor' and described as being the first general manager of Umbrella.

After business partner Dr. Isaacs fails to convince Marcus to use his creation for military purposes, Isaacs gives Wesker the nod to kill him.

Three weeks after Retribution, Alice stumbles across the Red Queen who tells her she must return to the Hive in Raccoon City and retrieve Umbrella's antivirus, or humankind can kiss its ass goodbye.

Serum will destroy anything infected with the T-virus (including Alice), as mutagenic toxin still courses through veins.

On her way to destination, Isaacs captures Alice, but she manages to escape.

We learn mutated Nemesis guise from Extinction was actually a clone.

Alice joins a bunch of survivors (including Claire Redfield), and undead army is wiped out.

They decide best way to get to the Hive is via huge crater, dubbed the Pit.

Wesker sends in the hounds, but fails to scupper progress.

Red Queen explains reason for betrayal is video uploaded to her databank contained evidence that Isaacs planned to unleash the T-virus to cleanse the world and rebuild it in Umbrella's image.

Although artificial intelligence can't hurt an Umbrella employee, she is also programmed to value human life, hence where Alice comes in.

Honestly, who the fuck writes this shit?

Alice plants bombs and confronts the real Isaacs.  A haggard Alicia trundles in and Alice is dejected to learn she's just a copy of Marcus's offspring.

"Albert Wesker, YOU'RE FIRED!"

Just so we're clear - I'm not taking the piss.

Red Queen can now attack, trapping Wesker inside door.

Isaacs and Alice lock horns, with the former apparently winning.

However, grenade snatched during mortal combat poops on party and antivirus is secured.

In subsequent explosion, Isaacs bites the dust at the hands of clone.

Antivirus wipes out remaining zombie onslaught and Alice survives because healthy cells remain.

Knowing world won't be cured overnight, her fight continues.

Shambles

Fuck me sideways.  This was more hideous than any biological weapon.

Cinematography ensure absurd action sequences make little sense and morons obviously dreamed up prosaic plot.

Morgue monster and flying beast are surely based on Regenerator and Kipepeo of Res 4 and 5 fame respectively, but other than that - it's staple diet.

Pathetic

Alice has 48 hours to save humanity.

Is it me, but does the whole idea smack of 1985 classic Commando, as like Matrix, Alice checks countdown on wristwatch?

(Rolls eyes).

Alicia (The Old Man) 'firing' Wesker (Dick Jones)?

Directive what the FUCK?

Isaacs cheats by activating Predictive Combat System (or something very similar), so already knows Alice's strategy.

In DOA: Dead or Alive, hammy baddie Donovan (Eric Roberts) is able to absorb whichever fighting technique, as long as special sunglasses are worn.

Coincidentally, message is displayed on-screen, which I know to be Fight Prediction Complete.

Although Corey Yuen was director, that asshole Anderson helped produce.

With that said, should we scream rip off?

Most definitely.

If live action is to be rebooted, please get somebody who gives a toss about source material.

In the meantime, third CG movie Vendetta looks awesome.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Rings - The scoop and digest

Not to be confused with Jonathan Liebesman's sequel short of same name to The Ring, F. Javier Gutiérrez practically ignores The Ring Two and picks things up 13 years after 2002 American original.

Matilda Lutz - Julia
Alex Roe - Holt
Vincent D'Onifrio - Burke
Johnny Galecki - Gabriel
Bonnie Morgan - Samara

Two airplane passengers learn each have watched Samara's tape and realise seven-day deadline is up.  Samara shows up and forces plane to crash.

Isn't she only supposed to kill those who've watched footage?

Cheating bitch.

2 years later, college Professor Gabriel buys VCR from a yard sale and plays tape found inside.

Members of Gabriel's private experiment The Samara Enigma watch and record themselves, before copy of death sentence is made and passed on to somebody else, called a 'tail'.

After doomed student Skye appears on video chat, Julia goes looking for boyfriend Holt.

Skye fails in getting Julia to become her tail and dies.

Refusing to let Holt kick the bucket, Julia voluntarily watches the video.

Extended cut makes file larger than usual, and consequently, cannot be copied.

Mandatory phone call marks hand with mysterious symbol and with time already ticking, visions and location of Samara's burial give her a fighting chance of getting out of this alive.

It appears Samara is leaving Julia a trail of breadcrumbs for soul to be set free.

Julia and Holt start to join the dots and find unmarked tomb inconveniently empty.

They're brought before a blind man who spins them a yarn about Samara's whereabouts.

Before Gabriel can warn Julia about Braille translation, he's killed by bizarre accident involving fallen telegraph pole.

Hmmm, it's almost like The Omen.

Julia finds evidence inside church's hidden chamber how after falling pregnant, Samara's mother Evelyn was imprisoned by a priest underground for 8 months.

Burke isn't very impressed with revelation and drum roll...

Former priest and Samara's father blinded himself on purpose to secure immunity against vengeful daughter.

Clouting fruit loop buys enough time to find Samara's skeleton and cicada swarm summons lady pants through Julia's phone.

She restores Burke's sight and promptly murders him.

Remains are burnt, apparently lifting curse.

Not really.

Back home, Julia coughs up a huge clump of hair from which a fly is born.

Holt translates Braille via Gabriel's voicemail as 'rebirth' and Julia's video suddenly goes viral.

As Julia gazes at pretty self in mirror, Samara stares back.

Yawn

Hollywood needs to stop churning out such unnecessary bullshit.

Exploring Samara's backstory was mildly interesting, but how mystery unfolds is spectacularly predictable and running time delivers zero horror.

Creepy girl emerging from well and crawling through CRT was once very effective, but now...

Incorporating present day tech from first canonical Rasen sequel Sadako 3D does nothing to reinvigorate a franchise well and truly dead in the water.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Ring and Rasen

Ahead of F. Javier Gutiérrez's Rings and ignoring Manga, let's playback history of cursed videotape.

Ring

Contrary to popular belief, original novel was first adapted in 1995 as television movie Ring: Kanzenban and was largely authentic to source material.

Hideo Nakata's 1998 remake Ring is what most know.

12 episode mini-series Ring: The Final Chapter was based on book, but not connected to any film.

Rasen (based on 1995 novel of same name) and Ring were released in Japan simultaneously, but as 'first' sequel bombed, was quickly replaced by Ring 2.

Nevertheless, 13 episode series followed The Final Chapter.

1999 South Korean adaptation The Ring Virus copied scenes from 1998 film (particularly the ending), and changed baddie from Sadako Yamamura to Park Eun-Suh.

Gore Verbinski ripped up the stereotypical rule book of shite American remakes with The Ring.

Villain of the piece was altered to Samara Morgan.

Prequel

Set thirty years before 1998 film and based on Lemonheart from book anthology Birthday, Ring 0 was brought in 2000.

Video games The Ring: Terror's Realm (Dreamcast) and Ring: Infinity (Wonderswan) both came out in the same year.

While I can't comment on the latter, the former was absolutely horrific (and not in a good way).

The Ring Two

Picking up 6 months after The Ring and immediately after Jonathan Liebesman's impressive short Rings, (which bridged the gap between 2002 original and this), Nakata's nonsensical 2005 sequel was separate to his own 1999 sequel Ring 2.

Brainchild of God awful 2014 Turtles reboot introduced subculture of seeing how long people could last before copy of tape is made and passed on.

Groups taking a butchers upload their experiences and called 'Rings'.

Rasen returns

14 years later, the forgotten fights back.

WTF, right?

First canonical sequel Sadako 3D was released in 2012, with Sadako 3D 2 following a year later.

S provided the basis for both.

Sadako vs. Kayako brings us bang up to date, and since it's a crossover of both iconic franchises, also serves as a sequel to Ju-on: The Final Curse.

Discounting the remainder of Birthday, Loop and Tide are the only books from Koji Suzuki's super six not yet adapted for the screen.

How did latest instalment fare?

Find out next week...
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