Tag Archives: parkour

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I think it’s important to come back with a bang. More accurately, a Gyllenhaal. In one of the best homages to a video game, this film takes the concept of the Prince of Persia series and takes another element everyone loves. Parkour. Combine a gameplay feel and straight ahead roller-coaster plot and you have yourself the next best thing to The Pirates of the Caribbean. Never mind the

We meet again, Sir Ben.

lackluster acting and portrayal of a country/nationality that doesn’t exist, Jerry Bruckheimer’s name is on this one. And if he did POTC, how could this be bad?

You may sense some sarcasm in the way I wrote that last paragraph. But, in actuality, I didn’t mind Prince of Persia. I had watched my girlfriend play a bit of the games (specifically Sands of Time) and I got a precursor to Assassin’s Creed that was a bit too much of a coincidence. Loving that idea and the inspiration that I’m sure AC drew from Prince of Persia, I was more than happy to sit down and watch the film. And what I got was exactly what I thought I was going to get. An adrenaline ride with pretty graphics and average characters. Think… The Mummy meets Indiana Jones, or something.

Get a load of that chest…

I think that’s what people need to realize when it comes to video game movies or action movies in general. What you expect is what you get. If you think this is gonna be an entertaining movie about a great video game, then you will get that. If you’re thinking Oscar worthy action thriller, you will be sorely disappointed. Please, critics out there, stop classifying all movies in the amazingly stellar films category. It ruins it for all of us with your snarky and harsh reviews, thus making everyone feel they should believe what one person’s opinion says in print. That’s B.S.

So, that straight ahead plot I was talking about. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Dastan, a made up name for the main character of the Prince of Persia series (he is the Prince after all). You wouldn’t be surprised how many times they use the title of the movie in the actual movie. Anyways, Dastan is a street rat (not far off from Aladdin) who is

Jakey’s angry face.

taken into the care of the King (Ronald Pickup) and treated as his son after an act of courage. After years of success and conquest, Dastan and his brothers, Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell) have come again to another city, the city of Alamut, in order to conquer it on what seem legit reasons. Oh, but the plot thickens.

Yeah, Arterton, you should be off camera for this shot…

After capturing the priestess Tahmina (Gemma Arterton) and promising her to Tus, the King and his subjects celebrate a misinformed victory. The King is poisoned by the framed Dastan while the King’s brother Nizam (Ben Kingsley) stares on in horror. He flees with Tahmina and a dagger he won, only to find it has the powers to control time. With such a great power, well, you know the rest. It is up to the banished Prince of Persia to save the ones he loves and stop the destruction of the world. The typical main points in any action film.

Of course, there were the obvious faults in the film. Jake Gyllenhaal is putting on a strange English accent and portraying a tanner race that no longer exists. Everyone speaks in either an English accent or some strange Middle Eastern tinged accent. The one actress in this film is annoying and godawful. What is there to say for action movies like this when one

Parkour to the extreme!

that is a decent video game remake has the worst female presence? Either get a better actress, or realize that most action movie females are there for sex appeal. At least there’s Lara Croft (but those shorts/tight fitting tanktop aren’t really helping…).

But I would say I was surprised that this film didn’t go for the cheesy lines as often or the special effects taking over the action. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it looked like Jake Gyllenhaal did all his own stunts. The parkour was entertaining and the sword fights are what you would expect from a Disney film. If you kick or punch someone, they’re down for the rest of the film. I had just as much fun watching the film as I did joking about it. Bruckheimer must be doing something right to keep my attention for more than 2 hours like he did…

Homage to a dastardly hero.

It was nice to see Tony Kebbell again, although his character was just a gruff and always yelling side character to the main plot. And I don’t know how/why Ben Kingsley does it, but he gets roped into these average films when he’s been Ghandi for crying out loud. Bloodrayne, The Love Guru, and The Last Legion? How does he do it? But seriously, get rid of that female actress. She added nothing to the film, and I didn’t mind the ending they had before the last 20 minutes. Get some of that, Arterton.

Overall, I’m sure, this film isn’t the greatest. It is entertaining though. For those of us out there who find Jake Gyllenhaal to be a hunk, traversing over Agrabah’s rooftops and allowing his flowing mane to pierce the skies, this film was no probelm-o. There’s nothing wrong

Give him a lick, he tastes just like sexy.

with mindlessly being entertained, as long as you are aware that it’s all in good fun. That’s what this movie was. Good fun. For Alfred Molina to show up again after the supposed “disgrace” of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (same year), it takes guts. And I’m sure they all had fun doing it regardless. Gotta say, a lot of those costumes looked ballin’. 6.3 out of 10.


District 13: Ultimatum

Dope.

In this sequel to the French action film, Banlieue 13, also known as District 13, there’s more parkour and straight up ass kicking to the extreme in this film. Taking place 3 years after the events of the first, Ultimatum is a movie that really makes me wanna go back and watch the first. That’s how good this movie was, it makes me wanna watch the first one (although I understood what was going on) just so I can connect the two and rewatch the second one. That’s what’s good with this film. Word.

In this film, David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli reprise their roles as Leito and Damien, the hard hitting cop and parkour specialist. In this movie (and I’m assuming it’s a continued story from the first) there’s still a District 13 in France,

Dave and Cyril, Damien and Leito, back again.

comprised of thugs and gangsters from every major European nation. There’s the Jews, the Blacks (Africans, I’m pretty sure), the Asians, and so on and so forth. In a symbolic representation of the tensions felt between races, this movie really speaks to race relations in a modern society, if left unchecked. With these problems plaguing the French government, the DISS (also known as the Department of Internal State Security) has some big plans for this district.

After busting some dumb thugs who see a man in heels and a wig and assume he’s a woman, Leito (Belle) takes them out one by one with a medicinal gun. He drops them down this¬†conveniently¬†placed sewer grate and looks good all the while doing it. I don’t think it means I’m gay that I found him to be attractive as a woman, I had no idea at first that he was a man, which I think is a bit of a bravo for the makeup crew on this movie set. The movie industry does wonders. Afer a job well done, Leito goes back to his flat and bangs his black girlfriend. Then he’s kidnapped for a drug framing. And this is where the conspiracy starts.

Just a taste of the parkour in the film.

While in jail, Leito calls on his best friend Damien to help get him out, which he thankfully agrees to. With some great parkour moves and some investigating of his own, Damien and Leito discover a plan that will rock all of District 13. Will they be able to stop the dastardly plan? It’s all up to Damien and Leito and their French stunt skills.

What I really liked about this film was the realistic stunts. And the way those realistic stunts flow in between a well delivered plot with some good rapport and dialogue. Leito goes from shoving his foot down some punks’ throats to Damien jumping effortlessly from building to building in order to save the day. And who knew that parkour could save someone’s life? The last scene is quite mind blowing and full of adrenaline pumping destruction from every gangster in the film. Any scene between Damien and Leito is a natural conversation between friends, although I know nothing of the French dialect and its intonations. Just two friends destroying and having a good time doing it.

The classic batch of gangsters.

The idea behind the movie is pretty cool, and I’ve not seen that many French films before. Luc Besson has written some badass films in the past (Transporter Series, The Fifth Element, etc.) and this movie is no exception. You know that old stereotype about French being sissies? Watch this movie and tell me that to my face with a straight look. I was impressed with the wide ranging cast of ethnicities and the

‘Bout to kick some ass, all while savin’ a Van Gogh.

deliverance in lines. There’s a bit of that cheesily delivered lines, and some lines you wouldn’t believe people in government wouldn’t ever say, but this action movie doesn’t go overboard. And that impressed me. With a movie like this that can keep you entertained at every turn with its fast paced filming and action, you can’t do anything but want more of it. And that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. Impress me some more France. I’m listening. A solid 7.3 out of 10.


Misfits: Series 2

The Misfits are back for series two, even bigger and stronger than ever. By this point (and I hope those people who follow me have watched it) you know the ASBO 5’s powers. There’s Kelly and her ability to hear people’s thoughts. Alisha and her irresistible sex appeal through touch. Simon and his invisibility, Curtis and his power to turn back time under stress, and Nathan’s immortality that is discovered at the end of the season. I really enjoyed that aspect of mystery in the show and going on the journey of discovery with the Misfits in finding their powers. And, lo and behold, Nathan has the best power of all.

But I have a theory about these powers. Due to Kelly’s insecurity with her self image and fighting attitude, it is her punishment that she hears what other people think, especially her. Simon’s invisibility almost goes without saying, due to his lack of social abilities. Curtis wishes to go back and fix the mistakes he made, as is depicted in the first season. Alisha exudes sex and is treated thus, and Nathan, well, the phrase sticks and stones may break my bones is ironically applied to him. This wonderful analysis of the characters and the back stories we discover is why this show is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

That's what I like to see, Nathan.

And yes, I gave last season a 10 out of 10. Is it a stretch to say that the second season is even better? More strangers with powers, more life and death situations, AND a new masked parkour artist out to help the Misfits. What could be better? A bit of video game violence and cheese never hurt anyone, and adds to this series tremendously. Nathan is still making my sides hurt with his ridiculously offensive quips, and Alisha is as sexy and sassy as ever. Kelly has her smart mouth and Curtis is classic as well. And Simon, well, Simon is Simon.

Oh, and all the twists in this show! Everything connects, things you won’t expect will happen, and you’ll be tragically, yet happily surprised by the end. This show does not spare feelings and will make you care for these characters. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand more times. Get on Hulu and watch this show. Now. You won’t regret a minute of it.

Ohhh Simon...

I don’t want to reveal too much at this point about the show because of every episode’s potential to blow your mind. I really enjoy the length and breadth of every episode and how much is delivered entertainment-wise in each episode. I will tell you that this season takes place towards the end of their community service. And you may say, “Hey, the series must be over when they leave, right?” I would tell you I wish it were so, especially because of Nathan’s departure, but the show must continue for some reason. With a third series filmed and a fourth planned, let’s hope this show ends gracefully at some point.

But until then, watch on and discover why I rant about this show for paragraphs at a time, not saying a single bad thing about it (other than that Nathan leaves after the second season…) and loving every minute of it. It’s well worth the watch, and I’ll have to give this bad boy an 11 out of 10 because of how highly I thought of the last season in comparison to just how damn good this one is. Misfits Series 2 breaks my charts. Redonkulous.

Get some of that ASBO 5.


Baby’s Day Out: My Slapstick Childhood Returns

I love this movie poster.

The second I saw that this film came on Netflix, I pooped my pants, very similar to what Baby Bink would’ve done (although they’re 18 now…) . This movie made me laugh so hard when I was younger and I really found it to be an endearing movie for children of all ages. Heck, I’m 21 now and I enjoyed it just as much as when I was 8. The Worton twins are adorable and have great movie presence for how young they are. It may have taken a lot of shots to get those adorable faces to do what they wanted, but they got the right shots. My childhood was not soon forgotten when I watched this movie again. I remembered every part.

Baby’s Day Out is the story of a baby in a suburb of Chicago. With his well-to-do family always wanting their child to be the center of attention, Laraine (Lara Flynn Boyle) and Bennington (Matthew Glave) want Bink’s picture in the newspaper. (They use such pretentious names to show that all they care about is high class image and money.) Three no-good lousy crooks find the photography company and take their place, posing as professionals. Their names? Joe Matengna, Joe Pantoliano, and Brian Haley. If only they could’ve gotten a third Joe/Italian gangster to fill out the trio…

The dastardly trio.

Baby Bink is kidnapped and the crooks demand a ransom. With the FBI on the job (such a high class mission right?), it’s only a matter of time before Baby Bink is found. But Baby Bink doesn’t need their help. He has the power of comedic timing and slapstick comedy and wit on his side. And this is the exact point where a lot of critics were lost on finding this film redeemable. It is cheesy, but at least they got a good cast to fill out the humor. Look, this is Joe Pantoliano, before Joe Pantoliano was Cypher from The Matrix. Yes, he did good work before, and after, but that was when Pantoliano came into my awareness.

Look at this cute baby. Staring death in the face.

And I have no problem with the cheesiness of this film. It can be cheddar for all I care, this movie appeals to the child’s audience and the child in all of us. And my inner child tells me I loved slapstick back in the day. This movie delivers it well, just like Home Alone. And apparently this did well in the box office… And in Southeast Asia… Weird.

So bring in the wonderful elements of great Italian actors, slapstick, and a cute baby, and this movie is gold. It is so endearing and the music sweeps you away into the children’s book that Bink is reliving. That’s what I liked about it, that element of magical whimsy. The magical sense of adventure that lies in the bottoms of all of our hearts is reinvigorated by a baby crawling around Chicago. Who knew?

This gets a bit ridonkulously funny.

And there are so many great scenes! The apartment rooftop scene screams of parkour gone wrong. (Just watched District 13: Ultimatum. Can’t get Parkour out of my head.) Matengna delivers his big boss with a boo-boo lines so well and, surprisingly, Pantoliano is a great buffoon. I love that he’s bald in this like he always is, it gives a great slapstick element to the trio. My favorite scene in the Primate house is wonderful and gets me every time. Not to mention the fire crotch scene (you’ll get what I mean when you watch this too and relive your childhood). With all things good and cute in this movie, who wouldn’t want to watch this for the coo’s and awwwww’s, mixed with a laugh in there for all ages? It’s a wonderfully nostalgic experience. A well worth it 8.6 out of 10 (by my childhood grading scale).

Look at this cute face. Check it.


Assassin’s Creed II

Now I haven’t done a game review in a long time, but this game needs to be blogged about. I’m a huge fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise and I now have recently acquired all the games. It’s not just the gameplay, that’s pretty standard throughout the games. For me, it’s the plot. The intricacies of the game and the secrets uncovered are just earth shattering. This particular game takes place in Italy, more particularly, Venice. With accurate building schematics and a bevy of real life characters altered to fit the contexts of the game, there is nothing that stands in the way of this game being just as good as the first and just as good as all the others.

This games kicks off with a little bit of a continuation from the last. Desmond Miles is a test subject under the jurisdiction of Abstergo, known as the Animus project. There’s this bastard, Warren Vidic, who has kept you holed up for way too long. The entire first game takes place in this testing laboratory in which there is no outside contact and no concept of what exactly is going on. Desmond is forced, through

The city is yours. Lay waste to it.

futuristic technology, to relive the past lives of his ancestors, members of a special assassin’s guild. First it’s Altair, and now it’s Ezio Auditore da Firenze. I’m gonna give a nod to Roger Craig Smith for the voice acting on that one. Ezio is a strong protagonist who really thrives on the revenge of his family’s death and he will do absolutely anything to fulfill it.

How is this not breathtaking?

And, through the course of the game, you parkour, slice, and lay waste to the guards and streets of Italy as you travel from your home base of your Uncle Mario (“It’s a me, Mario!”) and all over Florence, San Gimignano, Forli, Venice, and Rome. Let me tell you, the sneaking and wreaking of havoc all over the Vatican is something to remember. It almost makes me want to travel there in order to find the secret hidden underneath. The famous buildings all over every city is quite exquisite and down to the last detail correct. There’s an element of National Treasure/Indiana Jones (more the latter) in all of the hidden seals you must find in order to unlock the armor of Altair, sealing your memories of the two assassins together.

Let’s talk about the gameplay here. Okay, the free run system, I would like to argue, is one of the most advanced and best of any game currently on the market. Flowing consistently through every game, Ezio can run through the streets and, at any moment, you can be scaling a building and jumping from rooftop to rooftop. For those of you who know the game, you feel like a combination of Spiderman without the tights, and Batman with all his gadgets, just a bit more lethal though. And that’s another thing. Weapons. There is a damn shizzload of them. Throwing knives, double hidden blades (even poisoned), and swords and maces out the whazoo. With lots of different armor combos and capes to conceal and run train, this game leaves no battle up to chance.

Talk about intricacy...

Speaking of battling in the game, there’s a whole new stock of finishing moves to discover. With every weapon comes a new way to kill. You can even pick up the weapons of fallen enemies in order to exact your revenge. I gotta say, try the pike, its magnificent. And another nice thing about the game is that it’s one difficulty. That leaves it accessible to those who can figure out how to play the game and doesn’t get much more difficult. The achievements are easy to unlock and master, leaving you with a heightened sense of achievement. I can really appreciate a game that doesn’t make an achievement secret or ridiculously hard to master. There is only one achievement that I find to be the bane of my existence. The feathers. How is that a fair task to put to Ezio? Those feathers are impossible to sight in a free run on the map and to collect 100 of them? Those with a lot of free time can try to figure that out…

But this all comes back to the plot and characters. The Medici family, Borgia and all the villains

Awwwww yeah da Vinci.

politically connected. The tragic story of the Firenzes and the use of Leonardo da Vinci in the game. It’s just a big eye opener. For sure, you have to discover the secret video files in all of the hidden areas of the cities. It’s connection to the origins of the world and the suggestion to the end of it really blew me away. It may seem a bit hard to follow or, on the flipside, contrived and a bit hard to believe, but, in the end, it really made me want to believe what I was witnessing. And I can’t wait to play the next two. These games just keep getting better. A definite 10 out of 10.

Get to work. It's time to run train.