Tag Archives: badass

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

In continuation of the Ezio Arc of the Assassin’s Creed series, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood: is a slight continuation of the events of Assassin’s Creed 2. In considering this a half-stop between AC 2 and AC 3, this game delivers a whole new amount of gameplay almost identical to AC 2. Taking place entirely in Rome, Ezio climbs and leaps from the historic buildings of Rome and the surrounding countryside. You can rebuild Rome from the tyrannical rule of the Borgia family and attempt to take back what rightfully belongs to the people. In the vein of a Robin Hood story, you use the money from the government to buy the tools you need to take back Rome. The fight is on.

What lacks in this game in comparison to Assassin’s Creed 2 is the slow moving plot. The second game moves so fast with Ezio’s plot and how he becomes an Assassin, it leaves little to be done in the second. It’s all about the revenge story in this one. The Borgias have remained in power by Ezio’s inability to finish the job and he’s paying for it now. With the help of the Assassin’s Guild and a new feature which allows you to send and use Assassin’s to do your

Just a bit of the historic gold.

bidding, its up to Ezio Auditore and crew to save Rome.

This gameplay is identical to the gameplay in Assassin’s Creed 2. There are a couple of exceptions. The free running is a bit more advanced with some better gloves for climbing and some more advanced moves in traveling through the extra areas in order to collect the armor of Romulus. The synchronization experience in the game is a bit frustrating with having to attempt to achieve 100% with every mission. A lot more of the missions in this game dealt with not being detected, a fact which frustrated me to no end. If the job is achieved, I would like it to be up to me how it is done. If I want to kill everyone and then deal with the target, what’s wrong with that?

Abe Lincoln joke anyone? Maybe an Assassin from the Guild killed him too… In AC 5…

Anyways, the rest of the game is just as fun as the second game. The Subject 16 missions are just as fun and challenging as the first, indicting the entirety of the world’s powers in what appears to be a power grab by the Templars that control the world. The artwork and historic building information makes me feel smarter while I’m playing a video game. I love games like this with basis in history that allow you to function as a badass Indiana Jones and solve the mysteries behind some of the world’s biggest marvels. With art, weaponry, and Leonardo Da Vinci’s weaponry, history becomes kick ass.

The voice acting is phenomenal as usual in this game. The workers at Ubisoft have their shit on lock with the amazing cast they get to pull of the Italian tinted accents of all the characters in the game. The emotions and actions of the characters are appropriate and, unlike many other video games, the characters are realistic for the subject matter of the game. And, for once, this game has a main character who is above the age of 25. In his mid 30’s, Ezio can still kick as much ass, but the fatigue actually wears on him. The same goes for 50 year old Ezio in Revelations. Let’s talk about character development and just how well this game pulls that off.

Ah yes, the Borgias… and notice the crossbow I forgot to mention.

The Brotherhood has arrived.

With all these elements in my all time favorite game series, Assassin’s Creed is one of the most well thought out games of all time. The creators in every country behind the games come together under different ethnicities and creeds to create a masterpiece of a game. They bring the accuracy of different religions and histories in order to be as accurate as possible. And thinking about the fact that these characters are based on real historical figures is just the icing on the cake. So hunker down and get into Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, its a perfect slow down point in the game that allows you to seep in the glory that is Ezio and the Assassins.

 

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Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance

The second I saw this trailer in theaters and Ghost Rider is pissing fire, I lost my mind. First, I am a huge Nicholas Cage fan and love all of his work, good or bad. Second, I am a huge fan of the Ghost Rider comics. And this movie came up just at the right time. The first one didn’t do it for me. It gave me a small taste of the Ghost Rider I’m familiar with from the comics, but wasn’t true enough. This one, thankfully, redeemed that for me a bit.

In this installment of what I hope turns into a yearly thing, Ghost Rider is back. With a vengeance. Etc., etc., etc. And this time, Johnny Blaze is trying to hold back his powers. Knowing that, if he unleashes them, The Rider will kill those he loves and hates, Blaze must hold back the demon. This works for a time but soon, his powers are needed to save the world.

Nic Cage is back, with a more badass bike.

At the start of this film, in a nondescript location, Moreau (Idris Elba) is a drunken vigilante priest set out to warn a castle full of monks that they are no longer safe and cannot protect a young boy named Danny (Fergus Riordan) who is said to have the Devil within him. He must be kept from evil before the day of reckoning, and, of course, that’s not gonna happen. A swat-like takedown ensues and Danny and his mother Nadya (Violante Placido) are forced to leave the safety of the castle. Moreau performs a dastardly move and protects Nadya and Danny for a while.

Guilty.

Meanwhile, after Moreau escapes from his lofty predicament, he seeks out the help of Johnny Blaze, The Ghost Rider (Nicholas Cage). Confining himself to a shed in the middle of Europe somewhere, Blaze vows never to allow his powers to be used again. When told of Danny’s situation and the promise that Moreau can help remove his powers, Blaze agrees to let The Rider out one more time.

Nadya and Danny are on the run from Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth), a no good gun runner and overall punk who is in league with Rourke, The Devil (Ciaran Hinds). He is successful in kidnapping him a number of times and it is up to Moreau, Nadya and Blaze to save him before it’s too late.

How is this drunk man driving?

I was more impressed with this movie more than the other one. Scott M. Gimple, Seth Hoffman, and David S. Goyer wrote a better script/plot that allowed for more elements of The Ghost Rider universe to enter. Johnny Blaze’s conflicted feelings come into effect in this movie. Although Peter Fonda didn’t come back for Mephistopheles (The Devil), Rourke was a poor substitute. Hinds’ decrepit body was no appeal for a diabolical devil. Blackout was a good addition to the series, although the decaying thing isn’t really a part of it, and Blackout is more a factor in the Danny Ketch/Ghost Rider series. Including Danny as a suggestion for the continuation for the Marvel Knight’s Ghost Rider was exciting, but that Fergus kid was a strange one.

Good old Johnny Whitworth is back!

The writers got most of the powers right, and even added a new one. Leaving out the Penance Stare was a bit disappointing and I really enjoyed that in the last film. But what was cool about this one was the ability for The Rider to create any vehicle into a Hellfire machine. I know it’s not true to the comics, but the CG suggestion of it was pretty badass. What they should have brought in was The Rider’s shotgun which projects hellfire. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

I think where most people got hung up on this movie was Nic Cage’s performance. His performance comes off as over the top manic, and, if he had toned it down, things may have gone over better. His age is also a factor in the movies. A much younger Johnny Blaze probably would’ve been better. And the “Cage stigma” on the film probably stigmatizes the whole thing, but hey, as least it was a more truthful approach to Ghost Rider.

A little bit of the Nic Cage madness.

Other than the Cage’s acting, I was impressed with Idris Elba’s performance in this movie. This English actor badass from the 5th season of The Office as Charles Miner and his hit/award winning show Luther, his acting really attempted to tie down the movie in a more dramatic superhero style. Violante Placido wasn’t bad, although hard to pinpoint where she was coming from in this movie. The most exciting part for me in this movie was the return of Johnny Whitworth to my knowledge in the film world. After having not seen him since The Rainmaker, I was happy to see his good lookin’ mug again. And Ciaran Hinds just came across as some decrepit pedophile, no thanks to a strangeness in his character’s lines.

Get a taste of them comics, G.R. fans.

Other than that, I’m glad that The Rider returned. And Nicholas Cage thought, “Hey, I’ll reprise the role and give the people a show.” With a darker outlook on the Ghost Rider series, I really appreciated this one more than the other. And hope for more. Much more. This Ghost Rider gets a 7.5 out of 10.


Predator: Some of that Schwarzennshizz.

Here’s The Abyss back again for a quick review on an oldie but a goodie, Predator. In happening upon Predator in a friend’s movie collection, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity not to watch this one again. Let me just say that, when it came to the Alien and Predator series, I watched those bad boys in order. And then watched AVP 1 & 2. I immersed myself in the horror/sci-fi genre and it felt real nostalgic to come back to it after so long. And it doesn’t hurt to love the Govenator.

So let’s travel back to a wonderful time when Arnold was still a huge action star and not involved in politics. A time when Carl Weathers was ripped as balls. A time when Predator was a badass. Oh wait, he still is. In having to choose between the two successful baddies of the AVP series, I will always lean towards the Predator species. Superior hunting skills? No need for vast numbers to eradicate from within the human species? Sign me up for that. Although I get a bit hesitant to say I like the way Predator looks with those mandibles in comparison to Alien, but I like the way Peter Cullen did the voice effects. I’ll take blades over acid

What a rag tag group of hardasses.

blood any day.

So, coming from an operation gone wrong standpoint, (a helpful suggestion from Arnold himself) Dutch (Schwarzenegger) and crew get dropped into hostile territory. Somewhere in the vast wilderness of Central America, the military has recruited a handful of elite operatives for a rescue mission. Some officials were downed in their chopper (“Get to the choppa!”) and they must be rescued from some bad news drug smugglers. So throw in some Carl Weathers in his prime as C.I.A. Dillon and a Native American spirit dweller (Sonny Landham) and you have yourself a gruesome, action packed, guys gettin’ vaporized horror thriller.

Pretty dope. A bit strange with that face though...

Now, when you think about Predator and the cast that was assembled, you have to wonder about the steroid requirement on set. And the fact that there wasn’t one. Arnold was bustin’ his dogs out hardcore for some guerilla warfare with Carl Weathers not far behind (it must’ve helped being Apollo Creed). You got Jesse Ventura as Blain. That absurdly crazy man was in Vietnam, the WWF, and a political activist, all in one life. Let’s talk accomplished. Add Bill Duke, the insanely gargantuan Bible thumper of the group with a bad attitude, always mumbling about noises and the Holy Spirit. Everybody else’s bodies kind of dropped off the radar after that, because you only need 4 or 5 big bodies to really take on a single Predator.

And let’s talk about the heartbreak that would’ve made this movie even better. Van Damme was supposed to play Predator. His kicks and karate know-how

That's a big gun, Bible Thumper. Gonna fell some trees?

would’ve left everyone on set in shambles. But he just had to complain about the awkwardness of the suit and its clammy feeling walking around. Where’s Seagal when you need him? Steven never complains. With that tragic loss, the movie turned to Kevin Peter Hall, creature enthusiast. Whether it be Predator or Harry and the Hendersons, this guy gave it his all until he died. Although you could tell that costume was mad awkward to maneuver.

Ventura and Duke. The big old crazies.

Overall, the story is simple and easy to follow. With a film like this, or Alien (which is a bit more complicated) you don’t need too much to go on. It’s more about the visual effects and aspect anyways. Despite a ridiculous initial battle scene with the guerrilla warriors that left not a single man in Dutch’s platoon scarred, the movie fell into what I would consider a Hollywood realm of possibility. The acting didn’t matter so much and the believability of an elite force just barreling through the woods with giant ass guns, firing from the hip and felling trees with their biceps, didn’t help much either. But this series has become quite iconic in its scope in pop culture today. Everyone gives it up for Arnold and his attempts at becoming a beloved American actor. Not acclaimed, but loved all the same. His lines will forever stand out in my mind.

He's wondering where Van Damme is...

And to create such a creature as they did who is loved and recognized by a considerable number of sci-fi fans. I applaud those who attempt his costume, if at all at conventions. So, if nothing else, appreciate this movie for its novelty. Overall, even for its time, it just falls through the cracks of what is considered a classically good movie. But a cult followed movie? This fits right in. So let’s take it that way and appreciate Carl Weather’s screams in vain as his arm is severed by Predator’s heat laser. Get some of that Schwarzennschizz. A solid 6.8 out of 10.


Darker Than Black: Badder Than Badass

Thinking back to the days in which I spent less than a week watching Darker than Black, I only have fond memories. As it was with Basilisk (another anime I’ve reviewed about individuals with unique powers) so it was with Darker than Black. The idea of the Contractors and their Payments is really what sold me on the show. In a “post-apocalyptic world” in which the stars have forsaken us in place of demigods on Earth, a world of humans and the mythic becomes meshed into one. With its ridiculous beginning with two normal humans chasing down a Contractor. In an instant, with the breaking of some fingers, the Contractor goes flying off into the sky with his ability to defy gravity and control it to his will. Tell me that isn’t something badass-worthy.

Basic plot of the show: So this mysterious gate appears in Tokyo that appears to hold some mystical powers that alters the face of the earth. In South America, a team of changed human beings prepare to take out what is known as Heaven’s Gate, its twin in Tokyo known as Hell’s Gate. In a gigantic explosion with no known explanation, Heaven’s Gate is destroyed and the pasts of those involved become altered. It is up to Hei (Jason Liebrecht) to discover his past in

Hie and his ladies.

connection to the other Contractors around him.

It is these other Contractors that hold the key to exactly what it means to live in this new world of powers and new discoveries. The art of astrology has become relevant again as the Japanese government uses it in order to keep tabs on the Contractors of Japan. With the denotations of mere letters and numbers, the true names of the Contractors are not known, leaving the government at the mercy of the superhuman beings. Hie and his team consisting of Yin (Brina Palencia) a lifeless doll and tracking system, Huang (John Swasey) the team organizer, and Mao (Kent Williams) a former Contractor, now cat, travel the streets of Tokyo, performing missions given by The Syndicate. Through these missions, Hie and the others begin to discover their role in the Gates and what has been going on the last 10 years.

Yin, one of the more interesting characters.

The structure of the show is quite interesting. Although a continuous plot for Hie is not really put into effect until the last 10 episodes or so, the suggestion of a tying plot is frequently referenced to. Most of the beginning of the show flows between the Japanese government and its agents and a private investigator, intermingling Hie and his teams story. On the government side, Misaki Kirihara (Kate Oxley) is the head of an investigation team within the Public Security Bureau. Although she holds importance over the others, her subordinates Yusuke Saito (Chris Sabat) and Yukata Kano (Todd Haberkorn) provide support and comic relief in their roles. But the true comedy of the show comes from Gai Kurasawa (Brandon Potter) and Kiko Kayanuma (Brittney Karbowski). These two own their own private detective agency that comically coincides with just exactly what’s happening with Hie and the Contractors. Whether it’s looking for a cat or collecting stories on the true stars, Brandon Potter relentlessly blunders through as Gai and leaves a hilarious path of turmoil in his path.

And credit needs to be given to the Contractors of the show. November 11 (Troy Baker) is a ridiculously cool Contractor in league with MI6 and the British Intelligence Agency. With his ability to create ice from water spontaneously, November 11 comes across as a suave Bond character with the help from Troy

What a Bond you are, Nov. 11.

Baker. Maki (Maxey Whitehead) is a troubled little boy in league with, well, I’d rather you watch and find out (the plot comes in at this point), with the ability to create explosions with his hands, not unlike Kimblee of Fullmetal Alchemist (my favorite character, mind you and something I am currently re-watching). His troubled past leaves him struggling to be somebody among the wrong people. And a bit of an unspoken badass in the show, Wei Zhijun (Robert McCollum) pays with his own blood in order to lay waste to whatever it touches.

Ahhh, the power of blood.

Now these are only a few in a long string of Contractors that all have great backstories and well developed episodes. With about 2-3 episodes per character interaction, this eats up a good majority of a show. I had wished for a bit more of a straight-ahead plot the whole way through, but it didn’t detract from how good the show is. The voice acting is decent to good and really carries a lot of the show with the emotional scenes that creep up. What really captures me in this show is the excitement of a new Contractor and discovering their power and Payment. (I only capitalize because of those words’ importance.) The show, I guess, is really character driven and that’s the true charm of the show. The dark (hint hint) elements of the show don’t overburden the show or push it into the overdramatic, which really balances out the quality and amount of material the show covers. I really enjoyed myself while watching this and would suggest this to anyone who likes a good crime thriller action anime/film. Enjoy! 8.8 out of 10!

What's hidden behind that mask?


Bleach: Shounen on a Giant Scale

With the new circuit of conventions on the East Coast comes a new batch of cosplays to plan. And what caught my eye this summer, as my girlfriend suggested was Sosuke Aizen, main antagonist of the hit shounen series (still running) Bleach from Japan. (As all anime are usually from  there.) Not knowing a thing about the character I would attempt to portray, I thought, heck, let me take a stab at watching some Bleach. I had no idea what was in store for me for the next 5 weeks. With incredibly long battle scenes of at least 2-3 episodes in length, filler SEASONS and the occaisonal humorous episode, this show throws a lot at you in what I feel is a reasonably paced amount of time. And the more you watch, the more you feel for certain characters and the more you feel like talking about it all the time (I wish I had a Bleach buddy to discuss the finer things with…). With such a cult following (very similar to Naruto) Bleach has become a staple I feel any anime fan should at least tune into every once in a while.

Ichigo and Rukia. Strange love twisted relationship?

So I’m not going to delve to deeply into the story, so I’ll keep it restricted to the first couple of seasons. I already ruined one spoiler for you, so I hope it doesn’t deter you from watching at all. Ichigo Kurosaki is a typical 15 year old high schooler. Well, almost. He has the ability to see spirits that haven’t crossed over and he doesn’t really know why. But this hypersensitive awareness to the Other has caused him a bit of trouble. Which turns into a lot of trouble. That he may inevitably face for the rest of his life.

One day, while walking home from school (insert whistling skip here), Ichigo encounters something he’s never seen before. (Which, based on how often it happens in his hometown of Karakura Town, I’m surprised he hasn’t seen it before…) Rukia Kuchiki, a black robed Shinigami Soul Reaper is battling what appears to be a skull-masked monster. After a few episodes, in her weakened state, she can no longer battle and lends almost all of her power to Ichigo. In a sudden flash and transformation, Ichigo is transformed into a Soul Reaper himself and embarks on countless adventures of struggle and strife.

Due to Ichigo’s acquirement of Rukia’s powers, Rukia is taken prisoner by her brother Byakuya Kuchiki and Renji Abari, and sentenced to death. Ichigo and his friends, Orihime Inoue, Yatsutora Sado, and Uryu Ishida, must all band together and reach the Soul Society, afterworld in which the 13 Court Guard Squads reign supreme over all souls and the dealings with the Hollows. (Hollows end up being a main form of opponent of Ichigo in the first and successive seasons, just in different forms.)

Ichigo fights to save Rukia!

After coming to and entering the Soul Society’s inner chamber, known as the Seireitei, Ichigo and Co. must battle hordes of Soul Reapers, both weak and powerful. Beginning his own path to strength, it is with and against the Soul Society and the Court Guard Squads that Ichigo finds his place in such a new world. With new enemies and challenges that seem to pop up out of nowhere as the seasons go, it may seem (as Ichigo’s voice actor said reluctantly, yet happily, that the show may never end, but at least he’ll continue to get paid for it.)

An immense amount of badasses.

All-in-all, with such an expansive cast with so many characters, this show is unbelievably immense in its scope and plot. And it’s mainly due to the writing and characters behind it. Although many fans may think the show should’ve ended long ago, I’ll have to see once I get farther (I’m on episode 212.). But there needs to be a lot of credit given to the vocal cast of this show. This show, although it would be just fine subbed, may credit it’s American fan base success to Johnny Yong Bosch, voice of Ichigo Kurosaki, our hero. With his deeply troubled teen facing a whole lot of changes in life way beyond that of anyone else due to its mythical quality, Bosch adds an at times playful yet at most times serious voice to a complex character.

Seeing as there are so many characters, I can’t really give credit to all those who lends their great voices to the show. So, for starters, Derek Stephen Prince is owed some credit for his snarky, unabashed portrayal of Uryu Ishida, the

I enjoy this fan pic. (Uryu Ishida)

last of the Quincies. And, although he may not speak much, Jamieson Price gives a greatly underappreciated voice as Yatsutora Sado, the deeply softspoken Hispanic wonder. Gin Ichimaru, voiced by Doug Erholtz, is another voice that stood out to me with its snake-like charm and venomous words as another worthy opponent. Karen Strassman gave a semi-heartbreaking performance as Momo Hinamori, the lieutenant of Sosuke Aizen (voiced by Kyle Herbert), a woman in love with duty and the will to follow. Byakuya Kuchiki is amazingly voiced by a badass, Dan Woren. His I-don’t-give-a-shit attitude really shines through with that heart of gold underneath with

Byakuya Kuchiki, how fantastic

Woren’s voice. David Lodge, a voice actor I’m not that familiar with, adds a new voice I haven’t heard before with the grave undertones of Kenpachi Zaraki. And last but certainly not least comes Liam O’Brien. His amazingly recognizable voice lends itself perfectly to the soft spoken Jushiro Ukitake. And that’s only to name a few. After a while, characters voices become synonymous with the character portrayed on screen in perfect sychronization.

Now, the animation is the good and bad thing about this show. As it progresses, through the past few years, it has gotten better. It’s never been completely terrible, but I admire and try to find anime that have a more fluid style to their action scenes. This show has improved, but I find there are more stationary shots dealing with dialogue and explosions than actual fluid swordfights. Although a part of this show deals with powers and sword attacks not in the short term, there is an element of strategy among the characters I can admire.

Something to look forward to in Bleach.

Apart from being in the top 10 longest running anime, it would be nice to see this show concluded in a way that won’t have been conceived out of a sense of pressure due to its length. I would rather have a harmonious ending with all the seasons fitting together in what becomes a well planned final battle between the characters that matter. Also, I wouldn’t mind if some of the main good guys perished every once in a while, it seems like (with most anime of this style) that no main characters ever die. It might add an element of drama not before captured in this show. Just a thought.

A solid 8.3 out of 10.

 


Dynamite Warrior: Dan Chupong’s Back, With Fireworks!

As I promised another badass Dan Chupong film, with some intense use of firepower! In this one, as it suggests, Dan

Dan Chupong. Ready to spark it up.

Chupong is the Dynamite Warrior, Jone Bang Fai (Bang is right). Appearing out of nowhere at the beginning of the film, Jone Bang Fai launches his dynamite-fueled rockets at a pack of thieving buffalo herders. With direct impacts and a few good, swift kicks, Dan Chupong dispatches the thieves and takes the buffaloes for the poor farmers who need the buffalo to attend to their farms.

And therein lies the genius behind this film. With a hint of Disney magic (from Hell), Dan Chupong becomes the Robin Hood-fox, and steals from the evil and gives to the just. With his skill with explosives and Muay-Thai, Jone Bang Fai becomes a force to be reckoned with. But not all is well in Nottingham Forest. Lord Wang (Leo Putt) has struck a deal with the American manufacturers of the West and plans on stealing all the buffalo to force poor farmers into utilizing the tractors. Did I mention this is early to mid 19th century Thailand? With this evil plan, Lord Wang plans to make a fortune and bow his little slice of Thailand to his will.

Dan Chupong. Rocket rider.

But there are a few men who wish to stand up to his tyranny. An “evil” group of magical warriors, led by Naai Jan (Jaran Ngamdee) blocks Lord Wang’s plans from seeing their full fruition. His fellow warriors, a lion and a monkey (well not exactly… they have the fighting styles of those animals…), he taps them on the head and they become lethal warriors, unable to quell their thirst for violence and blood. With Naai Jan and his fighting force, it appears they can’t be stopped. Unless Dan Chupong stands up to these behemoths of pain, no one can truly be safe. But oh, the twists.

And how many twists there are. You really have to check out the film for all the suspense and…

And there's these guys. Legendary director/stuntman Panna Rittikrai on the left!

unfortunately… hilarity that ensues. There’s talk of period blood, virginity, and an awkward relationship that mirrors the idea of incest. It’s all rather a freak show wrapped up into one action packed film. But that doesn’t change the fact that this film still kicks ass. Ignore the poorly dubbed acting (rather unfortunate I couldn’t get a chance to watch it otherwise). Ignore the strange overuse of fireworks. And the strange magical and mythical twists. This movie stands out with its plot and bare knuckle brawls. No holds barred, stunts and blunts, beat-down of an epic proportion film. With a crossover of the small amount of Thai action film stars, you see parallels between Dan and Tony Jaa, but it doesn’t detract from the film. It enhances the appreciation and experience. And that’s what counts with this film. It’s all about the presentation. That’s why I give the good ole Dynamite Warrior at 6.6 out of 10.