Tag Archives: Japanese

Hobo With a Shotgun…

Okay, let’s try to tackle this cacophony of a train wreck with scene after scene making me yell out loud, “WHAT.” How do I even approach this? I think a good review of this would be to analyze the plot to really dig into the absurdity that is Hobo With a Shotgun.

Shot in the style of Grindhouse/Pulp Fiction/all of Quentin Tarantino’s crap, I really wish Jason Eisener had gone for a more original approach to this film. But hey, it’s a style people like that pisses me off, but that’s cool… I guess…

Anyways, plot. Hobo w/ a Shotgun (Rutger Hauer) rolls into a dead end town with no real goal other than to buy a mower. I know, you’re already wondering, “What the freakin’ Hell?” Suspend your disbelief, please. Hauer ain’t gotta have a purpose to buy a lawn mower. Anyways, first thing Hobo encounters, Drake

Why does this movie exist?

(Brian Downey) and his sons, Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman) have taken some dude and hung him by a manhole cover like a noose. Legs all hanging in the gutter and the manhole cover cheesily bending to allow him to move, they attach a barb wire noose around his neck and use Drake’s car to decapitate the dude. I thought, “Okay, I can roll with this.”

Rutger Hauer, you unbelievable bastard...

Then, Hobo gets pissed when his can cart gets picked off by Drake’s car. And Drake owns this town.  So you can be sure the final confrontation will be between Rutger Hauer, one of the strangest men in Hollywood, and Brian Downey, a no name actor. And for shame, former Disney Channel star Gregory Smith, you deserve to get your penis shotgunned off.

Drake, you sneaky old cod.

So Hobo roams around this shithole town, knowing that justice needs to be delivered. Who’s gonna do it? It’ll be him, but we have to wait 45 MINUTES FOR THIS. Crap. Slick takes this hoe (Molly Dunsworth)  back to his arcade full of cocaine and Hobo rescues her in the nick of time with his hobo prodding stick. After turning Slick into the police and expecting justice, Slick and Ivan screw his life up a bit more and toss him into the trash. (Insert retarded cheesy line here.) Being found by the prostitute who never makes a buck the entire movie (she was currently being talked to by a cop who wants to hurt himself more than have sex), she takes him back to her decent house with an empty picture frame and gets lectured about the majesty of bears.

I must be dreaming this scene can't be real...

Hobo goes to buy his lawn mower after recuperating and eating glass and witnesses a robbery at the pawn shop. So what does he do? Buys a shotgun and shoots every following bad guy in the stomach. Classy. Rutger Hauer mumbles the entire film and you’re supposed to understand his mindless ramblings. Didn’t get a damn word. Not a one.

There are some more lines about skate rape, a bus full of burn victim children, a town lynching of hobos, and then a final confrontation between these two

The useless prostitute, Abby.

juggernauts in full armor and prostitute with soldering iron skills. The town gangs together to rally the Hobo, the prostitute runs train on the juggernauts, and Hobo gives a touching speech to a hospital room full of frightened babies. People die, Hobo kills Drake, police gun down Hobo, credits roll in the blood. Moral of this waste of time story? Don’t let Hobos near any run down cities. Don’t let them buy lawn

Rutger Hauer. Scaring babies for far too long.

mowers or cart around tipsy shopping carts. Or even be in movies. (Other than Japanese ones.) I gotta say it, but despite the ridiculous antics of this film, I didn’t once laugh. I was distressed and felt like I was on a bad acid trip. Complete 0 out of 10. This truly was a skate rape.

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Chocolate: Not Your Typical Muay Thai Film

In my searchings through the Martial Arts section at F.Y.E, I came across a Thailand Martial Arts films I had not heard of before. It featured, on the cover, a young girl, poised with swords in hand, the most intense look on her face as if to say, “Yeah, I’ll rough you up a bit, Van Damme style.” This immediately piqued my interest.  So I got it, took it home, and watched it with my best bud, E.

Let me just say, this is a major statement in the Martial Arts entertainment/otherwise industry. Not only does a girl do Tony Jaa like moves in this film, but she beats up guys 3-4 times her size. With a ridiculously good idea at its base, this solid films sets you up for an action packed Muay Thai styled film that didn’t disappoint, and never left an opportunity for a great new location for an action sequence.

So Zen (Yanin Vismistananda) is the subsequent child of a West Side Story love

Look at those moves. Wow, Yanin.

affair. One parent Thai and one Japanese, this love child of two warring factions is born autistic. Not only is she born autistic, but her concentration allows her to catch things thrown at her from all angles and allows her to pick up Muay Thai fighting techniques from the dojo next door and from T.V. (some great moves from Tony Jaa’s films, obviously a planted element from same director, Panna Rittikrai)

Literally. Destruction.

When things start to heat up with old wounds opening, Zen must protect her mother Zin (Ammara Siripong). The cancer eating away at her is expensive to treat, and Zen and Moom (Taphon Phopwandee) must team up to add an element of suspense and comedy to this film about how tweens can do anything. Collecting old debts and pissing off No. 8 (Pongpat Wachirabunjong) and getting her father Mashashi (Hiroshi Abe) involved, who knows what lengths an autistic girl will do to protect her family of attrition.

There are some really great elements in this movie that shine through in all of

I'm just gonna keep showing you these.

Prancha Pinkaew/ Panna Rittikrai’s work. First of all, fight locations. This movie has fight scenes in a ice factory, warehouse, slaughterhouse, and tea house, all in one. Using the layout of the locations in combination with Yanin and the stunt actor’s skills makes for a deadly combo that is played out poetically on film. Jumping over boxes, avoiding ice hooks and blocks, what could be better than imagining this all happening in an actual real life situation? This girl knows her stuff, and it shows hard.

How is this not a 12 year old girl?

And that’s another thing that impressed me so much. Yanin Vismistanada, a 24 year old Thai girl, master of Taekwondo with a 3rd degree Dan blackbelt, looks like a 12 year old. Looks can be deceiving. He moves are fluent, her Tony Jaa imitation is flawless, she’s got the works. Discovered on the Born to Fight set in 2003 by Panna Rittikrai himself, this girl is destined to eventually equal/surpass Jaa himself (or at least Dan Chupong).

Simply the best.

With some fantastic English spoken by both Thai and Japanese men (still needed subtitles though) and quite a few transvestites, speaking to Thailand’s rich heritage, this movie has a combination unlike anything I’ve ever seen. An inspirational movie speaking to how children can do whatever they wanna do, this movie is a definite need in anyone’s growing Martial Arts collection. I give this movie, in comparison to all other Panna Rittikrai/Muay Thai movies I’ve seen, a definite 9.5 out of 10.


Blassreiter: Emotionally Fueled Motorcycles

The title of my review says everything about this anime. I fell in love with the graphics, the 3-D battles, the back story. And I was taken away by the emotions behind the characters. The anguish of the foreigner in a land that doesn’t accept them for who they are. The man in love who cannot tell the woman he loves how he truly feels. The orphan abandoned and left without a help in the world. This German set anime (talk about a country of hate and anguish) is tastefully portrayed with a religious background and a head full of steam. With every new character arc (from Gerd to Malek, Hermann to Amanda) you are lead by your heartstrings to the heartbreak you are meant to see, and some you are not.

The idea behind Blassreiter is one of mecha, with a sci-fi drama backdrop. The line between man’s science and God is

An Amalgam's go to vehicle. Can you feel the emotion?

blurred. No longer is it the struggle between machine and man, but a meshing of the two. Man’s ultimate goal. In futuristic Germany, a crack team of soldiers known as the XAT (Xenogenesis Assault Team) has been given the task for  the bast decades to find and eradicate as well as protect the citizens of Germany from what are known as Amalgams (Demoniacs to the public.). These Amalgams are humans who have been transferred using some scientific disease into machines capable of attaching themselves to electronics and vehicles.

It is only common for these Amalgams to be created from dead bodies. Until one day, after being involved in an Amalgam attack, Gerd Frentzen (Christopher Sabat) is given the chance to regain his

legs and race again. But the price it pays is that he becomes a living Amalgam. And the fate of all Amalgams? Bloodlust, insanity, and death. It is up to the XAT to discover the cause of a living Amalgam and what this would mean for the furure of Germany and the rest of the world. But the Amalgams go deeper than a mere nuisance. And I’ve only covered the first 6 episodes. You have to watch the rest for yourself.

Gerd Frentzen (Christopher Sabat)

As I said before, this anime has some pretty spectacular 3-D animated graphics that blew me away. Any scene with an Amalgam or vehicle is given a special touch of full-breadth motion and fluidity. Combine this with a 2-D background and characters and you have an interactive combo right there. What could be better than this you say? Well, the character creation is top notch. The characters (and there are quite a few) deal with so many different emotions and personalities. There are the soldiers of the XAT, dealing with betrayal, duty, and what it means to be a soldier. (A very German thing, the honor of fighting for one’s country.) The humans turned Amalgams and their struggle with their humanity. The original Amalgams and their struggle with their pasts and their duty to the furthering of humankind and its evolution. God’s role in this anime is huge. (Another attitude of a prominently Protestant country.)

And then there’s the skeletons in Germany’s closet. The race hatred. The problems with German old

The amazing graphics behind Blassreiter.

family citizens of a higher class and the lower class foreigners given a chance for a new life in Germany, but given the scraps of the other classes. The hatred, the xenophobia. It all plays out on a tasteful stage. But even as this issue fades out to a respectable end, Germans are given a nod of respect for the strides they’ve made since the blood of the past has begun to dry and flake on their hands. And I give a nod of respect to the Japanese for the nod to the Germans.

The premise is interesting for a mecha. In a world moving forward, what is the point in which humans must pull back and examine their humanity versus their

What is behind the Amalgams?

technological drive? Anti-sci-fi (?) in a mecha is an interesting approach, and I welcomed it, being a mecha anime fan myself. (If I haven’t covered this before, non-anime fans/fans to be, mecha is mechanized (?) anime, dealing with machines and robots, i.e. Gundam Wing.)

Joseph (Todd Haberkorn), a character of anguish.

There should also be some credit given to the voice strained voice actors who lent their emotion to this anime. Watching this dubbed, I was amazed with the power given to the characters purely through voice. Joseph Jobson (Todd Haberkorn). Almost unrecognizable, but gives that brooding hero voice with a disturbed and tragic past to perfection. Hermann Saltza (Travis Willingham). This guy swore and yelled more than any other voice actor I’ve ever heard. I give him credit for days at a time (probably) of a hoarse speaking voice. His emotions and pain came to the table and delivered. Gerd Frentzen (Christopher Sabat). I give him credit because he is the amazing Christopher Sabat (as you know, I’m a big fan.). His voice of gruff torture and anguish spoke to me as usual, and kept me grippingly emotional. And Amanda Werner (Jamie Marchi). Her torrent of emotional confusion and desperation was quite excellent. And that’s only a few. But isn’t that enough to get you watching this anime? Get to it. 7.8 out of 10.


Paprika: The Inception Anime

So based on my new obsession with anime, my mom picked this little anime film up for me from the library. I had not expectations and I was delightfully surprised. This anime film, which got positive reviews across the board in 2006, is an anime about dreams. In my opinion, anime is one of the few mediums that can accurately depict dreams. (Nice attempt Christopher Nolan, but this film came 4 years earlier than your Inception.) If I had seen this before I had seen Inception, I would’ve considered Inception a rip-off (sort of is). But it’s comparing apples to oranges. And that’s the way in which this anime stands out.

Paprika is a story that appears to take place in modern day. A Japanese technology company has created a piece of technology known as the DC Mini. These apparatus is used by psychologists to analyze the dreams of patients firsthand in order to diagnose and treat their patients. The one problem? The machine hasn’t been finished. And then it’s stolen. So the members of the company must go on what appears to be a wild goose chase in order to find who stole them before dreams become fused with reality.

That’s what makes this film unique. At any moment, the characters in the film could be dreaming, awake or asleep, and the

What's going on here? Probably why it's rated R...

mind-bending elements that present themselves in this film as the characters navigate the dreams is done beautifully. The film incorporates a love of parades, movies, and the thrill of flight all in one. Although I myself do not dream in terms of surreality, I could appreciate the elements of dreaming used that most people experience. The vivid colors and feeling of a warped reality and drawn beautifully and the movements of the characters are animated fluently and gracefully, something I’ve found that some anime have trouble with. (I guess it all depends on the budget and skill of the artists…)

Yuri Lowenthal. Fat, but good.

The voice actors are decent, most notably is Yuri Lowenthal. I didn’t pick up on his voice immediately, but he is one of those A-list voice actors that get a lot of work today. I think now would be a good time to explain voice acting in terms of skill. In the past (1970’s to 1990’s I believe) voice actors were picked more often for the sound of their voice rather than their acting skills. (It’s like choosing a sports announcer.) But in recent decades, voice actors are being chosen for their versatility and their acting skills. It’s this change that has given a lot of credit to an industry that is not seen as all that credible in America. In a more dramatic sense, in comparison to cartoon voice actors, these actors can perform dramatic as well as comedic and everything in between. And this gives us a better viewing experience because sound is half the battle in anime. Big league hitter companies in anime dubbing are ones like Funimation and Aniplex.

Paprika. Worth the jump.

Other than that, there is a certain cute element to Paprika. If you watch the ending romance you’ll understand. Characters are thrown into each other’s dreams and the underlying feelings that are discovered help bring a happy ending. I do enjoy those snapshot films where a problem arises and returned to normal through understanding and conflict resolution. A “slice of life” if you will. And that’s what Paprika is. A little slice of dreams. 8.1 out of 10.


Neon Genesis Evangelion

I need to say this right now about the original Neon Genesis Evangelion. This is hard to watch. It’s harder to watch dubbed, at least, from my experience it is. I feel the director/writer Hideaki Anno said it best about the show. “It’s strange that ‘Evangelion’ has become such a hit – all the characters are so sick!” And to me, that’s not “sick” in a good way. These characters, to put it better, suck. The main characters of this anime somehow don’t develop as the show progresses. And their back stories and personalities are just as bad. I don’t mean to put down a classic anime, but this show had problems from its inception.

Okay, basic plot. Shinji Ikari, in the first episode, comes to Tokyo-3. He’s there because his father asked him

Shinji. Pouting and whining with no comfort from Rei.

to come. This sounds odd you say? Well it is. Shinji has not seen his father for years, basically they became estranged after his mother’s death. (And Shinji’s father was implicated… sort of… not really… I’m not sure…) His father, one of the creators of N.E.R.V.,  has created these “machines” known as Evangelions. EVA’s for short. And these machine’s soul purpose are to destroy Angels. These Angels have been hitting the Earth for the past 15 years. Known as 2nd impact, this Angel that comes to Earth is defeated, but not before major devastation is wrought. And because of the 2nd impact, Earth has been changed and N.E.R.V. and a coalition of countries have been tasked with defending the Earth.

Evangelion. A cast to hate due to their "sick"ness.

And it doesn’t stop there. Just wait til the last 2 episodes. Either it will bore you or fascinate you. Either/or, it will confuse you. In typical mecha WTF fashion, this show will confuse you. And/or frustrate you with its characters. First of all, scum of the Earth #1 is Shinji’s father, Gendo Ikari. He neglects his son, and then doesn’t care if he lives or dies. Quite the father figure. There’s Asuka Langley Soryu, the most annoying German/Japanese girl on the planet. If she’s not berating Shinji with insults and back-handed comments, she’s most likely speaking terrible German (That voice actress has no idea what German is.) And she hates her life. Basically. So that’s another strike against her, among countless strikes. Rei Ayanami is another classically boring character that is hard to comprehend. Her monotone voice (it’s explained) mixed with emotionless conversation makes her scenes hard to watch. Misato Katsuragi is a whorish female major with nothing more to do than worry about others and become promiscuously unsavory. Quite the combo, including a ridiculously sloppy apartment.

And those are just to name a few. And, as I said, the one bane of this show is that none of these characters change throughout the entire anime. Not a one. They all remain in their own worlds of self pity and pettiness until the end. And if that’s what other people got from this show, I’m sure that is also portrayed across the board, subbed or dubbed. I watched the dubbed and pretty much regretted it. It being a 1995 anime, precursor to the golden age of voice actors going on now, these voice actors are hired more for their voices than their acting skills. I will give credit to 2 though. Kyle Sturdivant does a great Greg Ayres impression without even knowing it as Kaworu Nagisa (can’t explain, too far in). And Aaron Krohn does a great job as Ryoji Kagi, Misato’s love interest and all around stud. Everyone else was most likely just in it for the chance to “attempt” to voice act. I’m not quite sure.

The EVAs are cool, I just don't know what to say about the show...

Other than that, I would give the show in total a 5.2 out of 10. The concept, above all, is actually very interesting. I have a soft spot for mecha anime, and this is considered one of the best and most original. It is a classic. But I’m not sure it suits everyone’s taste. And that’s why they re-did the ending and added the movies for a different perspective on Neon Genesis Evangelion. The comments on symbolism and religion are quite prominent. But not until the end. The psychological/philosophical musings became redundant, as it seemed they were just lines to fill time more than actual reevaluations of the meaning of life. But I am interested to see the takes that were made after the original. So we’ll just have to wait a while and see what’s in store. And I’ll make sure to make a review to fill in all my “fans” with. But seriously, if you view my blog weekly/daily, why not subsribe? It’d let me know what people wanna see me review and what people’s interests are. Thanks for reading always, it’s a real treat inviting you to The Abyss.


Rush Hour 3: And Chris Tucker Rides Out on the Horse He Rode in On

And sadly, the Rush Hour series draws to a close. In Detectives Carter and Lee’s last hurrah, the duo meets up after the untimely assassination attempt of the ambassador from Rush Hour that Detective Lee was assigned to protect. Lee (Jackie Chan) is determined with the help of Carter (the infamous Chris Tucker) to find the people responsible behind this attempt. As usual, another old man is behind it, (Max von Sydow) and there’s another attractive girl for Chris Tucker (Noemie Lenoir). Although not the best of the trilogy (Rush Hour 2 fo life.), this one holds its own as another great Brett Ratner piece.

What has always surprised me about the Rush Hour series is just how great and accurate the locations are that Lee and Carter travel to. We have L.A. in the orig, Hong Kong and Las Vegas in the second, and now L.A. and Paris in

Paris, Biatch!

the third. Just like the Bourne Series, these movies span the world and keep the action coming. (But Matt Damon cannot perform the functions of both Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, and in that way, lack somewhat.) The B-roll footage all around picturesque Paris is quite cool, including shots of a recreated Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumphe (I hope that’ s how it’s spelled…). The stunts are really notable in this film, and I love how they end the movies with bloopers of Jackie Chan hurting himself doing his own stunts.

Notable actors? There are a few. We have as I mentioned Max von Sydow as the evil old man (quite cantankerous). Most notably I remember him from Minority Report, but he’s been in the biz for a while now.

Not actually brothers.

There’s Hiroyuki Sanada as Kenji, the badass orphan brother of Detective Lee. (They’re not actually brothers at all, they just grew up on the streets together. Which is weird, because Jackie Chan is Chinese and Hiroyuki is Japanese. It’s quite noticeable.) There’s also Yvan Attal, a traditionally French actor who made an appearance in this movie as George, the taxi cab driver. I do like it when they use actual actors from their places of origin in travel movies like these.

Other than that, this movie functions purely as a nice little closing to the Rush Hour series. The Triads are defeated when the list is found, Lee and Carter went through their rough patches and became even closer, it’s all good. It’s just truly a feel good movie. Besides a couple of parts. I would put this on Ross LaManna and Jeff Nathanson, but it might partly be the fault of Chris Tucker’s delivery. There a quite a few racist remarks that are made towards Iranians, French, and even a feel of American supremacy while Lee and Carter parade around France. It’s almost unbearably awkward. I would watch out for it, but at this point, Chris Tucker is untouchable.

 

Chris Tucker. Untouchable

The stunts are good, maybe better than the other two. Brett Ratner again directs the movie to the best of his ability, that’s fine. Chris Tucker is hilarious (to an extent) and there are some hot and steamy scenes in this you won’t wanna miss. I’d give this one an average rating in comparison to the entire series. 6.6 out of 10.