Robocop 2014… Yep, it’s time.

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So, I managed to watch the remake this afternoon. Being an avid fan of the first two movies from the 80’s and the subsequent TV series and the mini series developed in Canada. So I’ve seen the entire run. I may like and even love the timeline in place, despite the events of 3, and the pacification of Robocop in the 90’s TV series. The mini series I love, despite the improbabilities of the hackers in it. Well, now that I’ve established I know the source material, at least in terms of what we’ve been shown over the years.

With the remake, they try to go into new territory, while at the same time, following the old continuity as an example. I even like some of the ideas and concepts brought up, and over the movie isn’t horrid. Although some of the new actors are kind of painful to have on-screen. Thankfully, the main actor playing Murphy/Robocop, isn’t entirely devoid of acting skill. He maybe still relatively new, but he has some skill.

Unlike the actress playing his wife or the actor playing his son. I’ll give the kid a pass, since he’s a kid and he’s still learning. Her on the other hand, it’s her inability to convince us as the audience that she is suffering, and showing some strength. The only time we see her give a damn, is right after (Spoiler) her husband is left in critical condition from a car explosion. Where she is barely in the room, when they tell her that he either will die on life support, or be turned into a cyborg to live.

This is one of the odd concepts they try to bring in, which is “How do we make a cyborg in a family setting, work with the situation?” Although as we see in the movie, they don’t even give it a chance. They give him a few minutes with his family, before he goes to be put to sleep for the night, and readied for his big reveal later on. The best acting in the movie comes from every one else, which is kind of sad if you think about it.

I personally would’ve rather had an ok ensemble cast, with an insanely brilliant lead actor. As he could carry the movie, the original had this. We had a bunch of up and coming actors as the ensemble, and we had a relatively unknown, but still very good actor in the form of Peter Weller in the original. He carried that movie, not to mention the writing helped. In this, they tried to help with the writing, unfortunately, the editing and the combination of so many concepts introduced, is where things are going awry.

We have two opposing arguments in the movie, that they put in there from both the original movie and today. Can we trust our lives to a machine? The original movie brought it to light how our lives could be controlled by corporations. It hit the core of that idea right on the head, since we kind of do live in a world dominated by corporations.

In this one, the corporation takes a back seat, and its all politics, and news coverage. Then we have the corporation wanting Robocop to be more drone-like, like the original. Before, it was a push of the button at a computer, reprogramming him. Wiping his memory and making him totally autonomous, or so they believed.

Here we see another problem with the movie, the corporation still wants him to be autonomous and machine, but the people and the politicians want him human. Where the old movie had governments as on the side of the corporation and needing a new way to handle the grueling times. This one, they say that, but we have no evidence that crime is really that bad. Aside from the one criminal character that is making weapons deals from stolen police evidence lockup.

Aside from that, which is more of a federal issue, and not a local law enforcement problem. It’s a matter of justifying the use of a robot in an urban setting. They just don’t show enough justification for having him out there in the first place. So it makes their whole argument pointless. So putting aside logic, in the sense that it is a movie.

Moving on to music, its solid and it gives us dramatic tension, while paying homage to the old movie’s theme song. Which is nice, since I enjoy the old music. Special effects are pretty solid, and very little CG is over used. At least to me, I’m sure there were several key action sequences where the CG was present, but its mixed so well with the practical, that its hard to notice. Only once fight scene showed a CG robocop that was obvious to the naked eye, that was over the top. It happens, even in the old movies they used miniatures for the big fight scenes. As it would’ve killed Peter Weller from being jostled around so much.

My only big issue with the movie, is that it tried to be too much like the original in the end. After a while, the film seems to realize that “Oh shit, we’re nearing the 2 hour mark, and we haven’t resolved anything. So the pace quickens and they mash in the last half of the original movie into the ending, by having one sequence of Robocop going against the corporation and having a crap ton more of the references from the old movie put in, with Lewis helping him escape.

Since I bring Lewis up, let’s discuss how the filmmakers decided to take the Sarge from the old movies and merge him with Lewis. No, I’m not kidding. Lewis is now a black man, instead of being a tough as nails woman. Not to mention giving him very little to do, but be there for cannon fodder.

Then there’s the police chief, cool on them for making her a woman. It’s common practise now to see a woman in a command role. Unfortunately, she’s just there to serve as a lynch pin in the movie. Nothing hugely important to being a woman in a commanding role, she’s just there to be a bureaucrat that is hiding something.

The villains in the movie, are set up to be the man whom killed Murphy. Then the movie resolves that storyline (Oops, it’s not who we think it is). Even though its more likely that he was, since the movie sets it up that way. Then the movie does that divide from being cool, modern and different to being like the original and says “Nope, he’s not the villain, Michael Keaton is.” With no justification or reason established.

I knew it was coming, since the movie was rehashing the important bits from the Original. I was onboard for most of the movie, until that divide from the murder investigation plot turns into the old plot. The thing is, in the old movie it worked better because we had set up. We have key dialogue sequences between executives talking about how they shifted police forces to have “Ideal candidates” placed in high risk situations to get what they wanted.

We knew that OCP was the bad guy in that movie. This one, we have none of it, we get everything set up to just be about Murphy’s murder and that the major criminal element in the city is his villain. I would’ve accepted that storyline as the main plot, more than them trying to pay homage to the old movie. They could’ve left the Homage to a possible sequel, and made the corporation the bad guy in that one. At least then it would’ve made more sense.

Oh, Samuel L. Jackson is in the movie. Yep, He’s black Bill O’Reilly. I kid you not, I knew that going into the movie. I saw the trailers, and his tie raid at the end of the movie felt so out-of-place, but so in character for the way he’d been playing it. The only reason he was even in that role, was to have that patented “Sam Jackson” badassery on-screen for that small bit. It just doesn’t fit with the theme of “This is the future.” With Samuel L. Jackson’s bits in the movie, that’s the present, technically.

Why do we need to be reminded of Bill O’Reilly if you’re trying to use story about the future, to illustrate how the future is progressing. Is that something to help us relate to the story. Instead of using Murphy’s Humanity like the original does? If so, you failed on that, haha.

I was planning on hating this movie, going into it. As I’d seen reviews for it, some liked it, some hated it. Me being a huge fan of the old continuity, was ready to hate it. Since modern hollywood is nothing but remakes, and small indie films that are pretty good. This is just Meh, it has moments, but overall needs to be spread out more. Hell I could see this movie’s concepts being done in a mini series and it doing better. Give it to HBO and it would be the next Game Of Thrones. I’m not kidding. If they gave it to HBO and turned it into a mini series, it would be awesome.

It’s not horrible, just it needs work. If they want to salvage it I mean. I liked some of the characters, like Gary Oldman’s character, Dr. Norton. I even liked Jackie Earle Haley’s character Mattox. They were the strongest actors in the movie, and it showed.

Even Michael Keaton, enjoyed what he was doing. Even though his character was a bit annoying at times. I consider that more of an intentional thing. Not to mention, Jay Baruchel playing the jittery, marketing guy was good. So the movie has some positives, it just needed to be fleshed out in the ending, and push the corporate enemy story to a possible sequel.

Final thoughts, if you’re curious or an action movie buff, you’ll probably like this movie. You can probably rent it or watch it on Netflix. I just happened to get a DVD copy to watch. It has issues, although it could’ve been avoided or resolved differently. It is not as good as the original, nor is it as brutal. With that, I’ll sign off. I was not hoping for much in this movie, but it was ok. I’ll see you guys on the next one.

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I, Frankenstein… the Underworld clone?

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So recently, I managed to watch I, Frankenstein. It is probably the most Underworld movie I’ve seen in a while. Even though it maybe like Underworld’s movies, it’s not done by Len Wiseman or his Wife, Kate Beckinsale. It is almost a clone of the first movie, in the sense that we have 2 opposing forces that are “Hidden” from the human world, battling it out in an ancient and secret war.

Kind of sounds familiar, right? Well how about something that isn’t like either side, but isn’t human. Still sounding the same to you? Now picture Bill Nighy as the leader of one side, that isn’t quite the good guy. Now picture the featured werewolf from Underworld, the one from the trailer, yes that one. Picture him as Nighy’s number 1 henchman.

Still sounding familiar to Underworld? I kid you not, this is such an underworld clone, its silly. Frankenstein’s monster being a gift to humanity from Dr. Frankenstein as the monster possesses the ability to not die of old age, basically live forever.

Now instead of the Werewolves using his blood to make them immune to the effects of silver, there’s a book that Nighy needs to make an army that can’t be killed. Ok, seems logical. As he’s a demon Prince, working to make more indestructible vessels for his kin. The Gargoyle order is led by 2 people, Gideon; the general of the order, played by Jai Courtney from Jack Reacher and A Good Day To Die Hard.

The other is Leonore; the pseudo-queen of the order and albino Gargoyle, that doesn’t fight in the movie (Seriously, she is just there to talk and take up screen time). She is played by Miranda Otto of the Lord Of The Rings The Two Towers and Return Of The King. Seeing her in this movie makes me think “Where’d all your money go from LOTR, that you have to star in an Underworld clone?”

As Sarah Lewis of the Cinema Snob crew put it “It’s a beef cake movie.” We get to see Aaron Eckhart and a bunch of burly men brawl on-screen for an hour and a half. With a half-assed plot put together. You know what the sad thing is with this entire venture? It’s based on a graphic novel! I get that it could be an accurate representation of the comic, but if it isn’t I am still calling it an Underworld Clone. Whether that was intentional or not is another story.

There are too many similarities to Underworld, especially with a good chunk of cast members from the first movie and only 1 of them was a well-known and respected actor. The other two or three were side characters, we didn’t give a sh** about.

Not to mention the hypocritical argument of the movie. “You fought a demon in front of humans. We fight in the darkness.” Ok, let’s analyze this for a moment. Adam (Frankenstein’s monster), fights 1 demon, in an alleyway at night. Only 1 human was present, and it was a cop doing his job, and not being a complete idiot.

The funny part is coming, a few minutes after the lecture to Adam, the gargoyles go out and have a brutal battle involving numerous demons and gargoyles, in the street, outside of their giant church, with people’s apartments all around. Being loud, roaring and big spectacles of light and fire in the streets. So wait, you fight them in darkness, except when the Demons unleash a giant horde on you. What the F*** lady?

That argument bugged me, the logic just escaped me when it happened. I found the movie had decent action, and it’ll probably appeal to people who enjoy gothic art styles and those that enjoy beefcake on-screen. It’s kind of sad that the best acting in the movie is done by Aaron Eckhart, he put more effort into this movie, than everyone else. He didn’t need to, which is kind of odd.

I’m sorry this turned into a rant, but the movie so much a clone. That would’ve made more money when the 3 Underworld movies were being made, than now. Or they could’ve titled it Underworld 4: Frankenstein. No one would’ve cared, it would’ve been just as believable that way.

With that, I’ll sign off, and work on some video editing. Have a good one.

300: Rise Of An Empire

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Hey, so I forgot that this was supposed to be a Side-quell to 300. It’s a movie. Basically Rise Of An Empire explains a little more of Xerxes and his back story. After which, it is before during and after the events of 300. While we had the glorious-ness of Gerard Butler to keep us going in this movie. In this one we have Themistocles, played by Sullivan Stapleton.

Kind of interesting that the writing of the movie states that the entire war is brought about by Themistocles himself. As Xerxes and his father once attacked Athens before, and when Themistocles was merely a solider, he took aim with a bow and arrow, and killed Xerxes’ father. So the entire war is based on revenge, interesting to say the least.

I love pseudo-historical movies based on mythology. Some work, some don’t, the 300 movies work for me. Even though this one has issues. The first movie left me inspired, where as this one is a bit of a bland mess. The movie’s only saving graces are the action scenes, and well Eva Green. The action scenes are good, but sloppy, with relying on CG blood to try to “Enhance” the 3D experience. All it does is make the movie look fake and uninteresting. Although some practical effects exist, just not many.

As I said, the only saving grace is Eva Green and her delivery of a completely insane woman, hell-bent on revenge. Her character, Artemisia is a Greek woman, whom was orphaned by her fellow Greeks, and sold to a slave ship. There she was beaten and raped until she was cast out on the streets of Persia. There she met her mentor, the Persian Emissary, played by Peter Mensah. Here we get the best fight scenes in the movie.

Which show off Artemisia being trained by him to fight as the Persians do. Later on, we see Eva Green light up the screen in both her acting talents and her exhibitionist way of going topless in the movie. It’s nothing new for her, as she filmed a movie completely nude previously.

The movie does set up for a possible sequel, but I doubt it will happen as this one flopped, and rightly so. It took them so long to make this movie, that no one cared to see it. If they had released only a year or two after the first 300 and kept Gerard Butler in for some more scenes, except those from the first movie, it would’ve done better.

Then they could’ve done their pseudo-trilogy with it and made a ton of money. Overall I’d say give it a rent, or a stream on Netflix if you’re either really bored, or into the first movie. This was short I admit, but the movie isn’t that enthusiastic, aside from Eva Green.

I should point out the music is done by Junkie XL, and he does a great job of making good battle music, and he even took the main theme and blended it with the lyrics from Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. It sounds pretty cool, give it a listen on YouTube. There are plenty of videos for it.

With that I’ll sign off and work on the next review.

Godzilla 2014

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Sorry for the long delay, life kind of got in the way for the most part. As the title says, I recently saw Godzilla 2014. Brent and I were curious to see what it was like, so we went on a Tuesday matinée. We did see it in 3D, despite my usual misgivings. Nothing was huge about the 3D in the movie, in fact I barely remember wearing the glasses. The movie just didn’t fully utilize it. In terms of a classic Godzilla formula, the guys over at Legendary Pictures did a fantastic job. The movie has tension, and builds upon it. Godzilla doesn’t even make his first appearance until half way through. It’s mostly about the new monsters, and the humans affected in their wake.

We also get the see Elizabeth Olsen (A sister of the twins), flex her acting muscles with her on-screen husband and lead, Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Both of which we’ll see in Avengers 2: Age Of Ultron as Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver. They also appeared in a cameo as the twins during the credits of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. As such, the human story is rather blah for the most part. Since most people are there for the King of the Monsters himself.

The movie also features the awesome Bryan Cranston. Unfortunately his character is killed off before the end and focuses on his character’s son, Ford (Taylor-Johnson). The only reason Cranston is in the movie, is to play a character that has essentially lost everything after the new monsters, known as the M.U.T.O. (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). The Muto first appears in Japan, where Cranston’s character is working with his wife.

This just happens to be a Nuclear reactor, that the Muto wants to feed off of. The way it works, is that the Muto feed off of the radiation of the nuclear devices and grow stronger. This also comes to its primary weapon, as Godzilla has his Nuclear Firebreath, the Muto have an EMP Wave. One slam of its electric hoof into the ground, and anything within a 10 mile radius is shut down. I don’t want to completely spoil things for anyone, so I’ll leave things there for the mechanics of the movie.

Godzilla’s fight scenes are epic. When we finally get to him battling the Mutos (Spoiler: there’s 2 of them). He is an aging King Of The Monsters, and the movie does some subtle fan service to remind us of previous movies and tropes. The fights are the big pay off to his building. The trailer makes it seem like the humans are battling him; much like it is during the 1998 “Zilla” movie. I like what they did with this movie, I’ve seen my fair share of the classic movies as well as 2000, and I happen to enjoy this one as much as the old ones.

98’s zilla has its charm, albeit not Matthew Broderick. I’m thankful it got a spinoff cartoon series and his character was rewritten to be less annoying. Not to mention the show was Zilla battling other monsters including Mothra. Which was cool to see a cartoon that had actual monster battles.

I would highly recommend this movie to anyone whom is a fan of the classic Godzilla movies. Give it a rent, buy it or stream it over Netflix. You won’t be disappointed. This is one a few reviews I’ll be writing over the next day or so. I want to get caught up with my blog, so there will be a few more reviews coming. Also more gaming coverage of Left 4 Dead 2. Before I forget, there will also be E3 impressions from the 5 press conferences. With that I’ll sign off, and work on the rest.