Tag Archives: swords

Hot Fuzz: Guns a Blazin’

This movie may hold its place solidly in British Comedy, but this movie has one of the best final action sequences of all time. As a kid I fantasized after watching The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, etc. about busting in on some thugs and being strapped to the teeth. You know that scene I’m talking about:

I’m one of those guys who can make the auto gun noise with my mouth and dived onto my bed while shooting two finger guns through the air. I love all action movies and guns, swords, and martial arts really get my blood flowing. When you have an homage/spoof/comedy movie like this that lets out the little kid in you who fantasized about riding into town on a horse and lighting up the bad guys, you have come to the right spot.

You may not have come to the right spot if you don’t like a bit of British humor… or at least 2 hours of it. If you’re anticipating the final showdown and you have to wade

The Sandford Police Service.

through two hours of well crafted action jokes and situational comedy, that might kill it for you. Not for me.

So this is another in the Cornetto Trilogy from Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, and they just keep getting better. Their next one on the list to end the trilogy is “The World’s End”. Maybe more zombies? Who knows… All I know is that they are fantastic. For the childhood that I had where Star Wars, action films, cartoons, and sci-fi knowledge was a everyday thing, this hits home. Very close to home. And I loved it.

Heaven’s fallen Angel.

Simon Pegg plays Police Officer Nicholas Angel (No. 777, if you didn’t get it already). He is the best on the force in London (he’d rather I say “police service” because it comes off as less aggressive) and is making all the other officers look bad. With the recommendation of all three superiors (Cameos by Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan, and Bill Nighy), Nicholas says goodbye to his former GF (played by Cate Blanchett in a white CSI outfit) and heads to Sandford Gloucestershire. (A fictitious name for a police situation town when running drills/scenarios.)

When Nicholas comes to Sanford, he is blown away by the life of the small town chum. The police station sees no action and Sanford is considered the safest town in England. Headed by Constable Frank Butterman (Jim

Friends forever.

Broadbent) and his son Danny (Nick Frost), Nicholas stumbles upon a bunch of “accidents” that could be nothing short of murders. Who is he to suspect? And who is he to trust? And finally, who is he gonna shoot up first?

I saw this movie in theaters after falling in love with Shaun of the Dead, I had to see it the first weekend out. I about died laughing every 15 minutes of the movie (usually more often). This movie has a lot more punchlines per minute than Shaun had, but every bit just as good. They watched over 150 action films to get the script to be just right (insert their own British flavor and Bam!). This movie went to great lengths to be successful, and rightly so. It delivered on all movie going levels. Entertainment. To the extreme.

There are a lot of great British actors in this movie as well. Obviously the buddy buddy duo of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. You’ll never see two other actors onscreen who seem like they’re two best friends doing exactly what they wanna do.

Lunch. Dat. Shit.

They are living their dream making these movies. As I mentioned before, my idol Steve Coogan had a small part beside Martin Freeman (Tim from the Office) and Bill Nighy, the funniest old British man. The Andes as they were referred to, Paddy Considine (you might recognize him as Ross from The Bourne Ultimatum) and that great famous son, Rafe Spall. He lost a lot of weight and did some growing up to play the other Andy in this film, and I loved him.

This movie has the wit and fast cuts you’d expect from an action film. All the guns, action, and cheesy action comedy (combined with some really clever comedic work) make this one of the best comedies of the 2000’s (right beside Shaun). You won’t see comedies this entertaining and perfect come along that often, and also featuring a former James Bond, Timothy Dalton. It looks like a lot of fun was had with this film (with plenty of homages to other films) and it really is a laughable thrill ride with slangin’ guns. Perfection in a barrel. 9.7 out of 10.

 

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Tokyo Gore Gore and More Gore Police

I think I just appropriately changed the title. Because I was expecting gore, but not the magnitude I was given. I was relentlessly pounded with blood and carnage to such an excessive degree that I was in awe and stitches from all the laughing, at the same

Ah yes, the ever popular school girl…

time. This movie is satirically poking fun at the horror/gore genre, even putting gore in the title. It never takes itself too seriously (although some of the actors onscreen may have to deliver some of their lines with a straight face) and it has all the fun you’d ever want from a fantasy/anime/comedy/horror film (look at all those genres in a line…). I was fascinated and swept away by this Japanese wonder.

For as much of a plot as there is here goes nothing. Ruka (Eihi Shiina) is a member of he futuristic Japanese police force. In a similar situation to RoboCop, the police have been revamped with privatization. This is all in order to defeat

You love to see the woman from Audition in some hand rain… (That’s what it was tagged as…)

anime-like creature villains known as Engineers. Created by an evil mad scientist (Itsuji Itao), these Engineers have key-like tumors placed into their bodies (like a macabre Kingdom Hearts) that allow them to regrow injuries into gory and grotesque weapons. Ruka is a special member of the task force that is sent out to handle these demons with her always trusty katana. What a relief that swords are more effective against evil in the future than guns are…

After discovering an evil plot and a hidden past, Ruka must embrace who she is and destroy everyone in her path. This leads to a whole lotta ridiculous gore (basically things you can’t do to or with the

Slugma woman!

human body) and some of the funniest dismemberment scenes I’ve ever witnessed in a film. I was loving it and never wanting the blood spurts and cut in half bodies to stop (that’s a classic M for Mature anime scene for ya). This movie makes no real attempts to take itself seriously, and I was happy to see that. When you watch the scene in the Engineer bordello, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Just all that gore…

This film is also interspersed with dark infomercials that pop up on the T.V.’s throughout the film. There’s proper swords for Hara-kiri (Japanese ritualistic suicide), mini-kawaii boxcutters for wristcutting (Kawaii meaning cute), and a whole lot of anti-suicide ads. I’m not sure what some of them were for, but maybe it just meant that suicide or mutilation leads to the creation of more Engineers? Strange…

This movie literally has some of the most messed up gore I’ve ever seen. Entering into a reality of warped body image, this movie can do what it wants. Anybody who is an Engineer can recreate themselves into a warped version of themselves with weapons of personality attached to themselves. A venus flytrap for legs, a

There’s no end to the weird.

katana arm, chainsaw on a chain… and my favorite I can’t mention that you’ll have to see to believe. I said before that A Serbian Film left me in awe and despair. This film had the same amount of disturbing scenes, but it was all done with a smile on its face. I like this one far better.

Yay!

Everything is over the top and there’s far more blood than you’d actually think can be in one human body. It’s all tongue in cheek with unrealistic corpses and bottles that can take your whole face off. This movie can’t even go a whole 5 minutes without another dismemberment. I loved every minute of it. It is truly one of those cult classics that ranks up there with Evil Dead in the way it’s presented. So if you like horror/gore movies like that, you have to see this. A big word up for Tokyo Gore Police. 9.1 out of 10.


Black Lagoon: Viewers, Meet Your Maker

Oh, the wonderful women of Black Lagoon.

In a bust out and mind expanding experience, this show kicked my ass and said, “We won’t apologize for that.” Black Lagoon, in its entirety and breadth, covers Western cowboy shootouts, Piracy and the high seas, and in-your-face American splendour violence with guns and swords. There’s nowhere this show won’t go, and all of the women have big boobs, just how male viewers want it. I don’t care that the show jumps from arc to arc like a pogo-ing hoodlum. This show delivers heaps of entertainment and doesn’t give a single damn for it. With anime like this that can take a modern action movie

Sexy Lara Croft anyone? Thank God for you, Two Hands.

and slap it with their Desert Eagles, I get behind that anime 100%.

With this dazzling introduction, I had better “WOW” my readers, right? Well strap into your El Camino there, Wild Bill. This show will clash cars in the air, and unleash more shells than the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans combined. More carnage, more elite killings than anything I’ve seen since Christian Bale unlocked the gates of Hell in Equilibrium. And its done more graphically. As I’ve always said, what a cartoon can depict, when done maturely, can be more gruesome than any movie can depict. And you don’t need stunt actors or movie make-up special effects. This show depicts mass carnage on a monumental scale, and the main character has the mouth to back up the high content rating.

The crew of Black Lagoon (minus Benny).

Who is the main character, you may ask this post? Well, Revy (Maryke Hendrikse) provides the tomboyish, action star who looks quite similar to Lara Croft in this rollercoaster ride. Hendrikse provides an unlikeable, demeaning voice to Revy that let’s you know she wasn’t brought up by any Chinese American tycoons. She was backstreet, cat alley, chopshop material from day one. And she has the backstory and sailor’s mouth to prove it. She has a soft spot like any action star needs for the audience to connect with her, but it’s a small one at that. For her character in particular though, you may wanna check out the subbed version, her dubbed is a little bit harsh.

But be sure to check out the dub in general for everyone else! This Canadian dubbing team has worked on Gundams, Death Note, and various other anime worth checking in on. Hell, Ocean even did

The wonderfully frightening and sexy Roberta.

the original Dragonball dubbing! For a lot of the lines and attitudes to come across as cool, I was happy to see that the dub shows that. Even a lot of the lines in the original and in the manga were written in Japanese/English, showing that it was always meant to be transferred into an English context. And with all its praise for spaghetti Westerns and American action films with its references, it was only a matter of time.

As gritty as it gets for Rock.

So, yes! The dubbed version. You have Brad Swaile as Rock, the male lead of the show. Used in contrast to the rest of the characters in the novel, Rock is dropped in to a world he would never survive in. As chronicler of this tale, Rock acts as a moral compass in this show that has no meaning or need for direction. His white collar lifestyle and good guy attitude should’ve gotten him killed at this point, but the port town of Roanapur is amused with what he has to offer. He’s determined to change things, and this is an interesting role for a main character whom you’d expect to be pissing himself 90% of the show (the other 10%, would involve the other end).

 

Look familiar?

There’s Dutch (Dean Redman) and Benny (Brian Drummond), respectively, the leader and muscle of the squad with his big black attitude, and the brains behind the operations with his American ideals and his Jewishness (which I didn’t get at all in this show). Dutch is a fantastic leader and motivator for the team, staying neutral at all times so as not to jeopardize his crew and endeavors. Benny lays low like Rock does, leaving the crew to 50/50 on manpower and gun control. With the rest of the cast of Roanapur’s finest, there’s bound to be bloodshed, booze, and boobs galore.

The tag says “She’s back.” Perfect.

What this show follows is an erratic plot of gigs and tradings that the Lagoon Company gets themselves into. At first, it was just Dutch, Revy, and Benny. But after a botched job that lands Rock in their laps, the Japanese get involved and that’s where the show turns into a Japanese man’s perspective on the seedy underbelly of the Southeastern area of Asia. There are heists, Nazis, shipments of drugs and guns, and fights between the clans. I don’t want to give too much away, but every clan becomes involved at some point in the show, with one of Black Lagoon’s dealings or another. There’s a great secondary cast of mercenaries who always populate Roanopur, but there’s one character you have to look out for.

That character is Roberta, the maid. This Columbian maid has come to find her charge in one of the arcs. After that, she becomes one of the most badass characters in the show. She’s calm, cool, and collected, and never leaves anything to chance. She won’t die, and there’s so much more I could be telling you that I’m leaving out. Let’s just say she’s so amazing that they made an OVA storyline about her. Get some of that Columbian underground.

One of the great secondary characters!

I can’t talk highly enough of this show. It has everything an adrenaline junky is looking for, and then some. Action fans of the world unite and check out this anime, especially if you have no idea what an anime is. The plot and dialogue is insightful enough for a gun toting anime, and there are some unbelievable things that will surprise you. Entertaining to the end, Black Lagoon is one of those few shows that I watched everything related to it. Even those cute and funny little omake episodes they made that’re on Youtube. Everything about this show screams badass. And it should make you scream too. So check out this pumped up gun ride on the high seas. It was never more f#$%ing cool to be a pirate. A 9.5 out of 10. 


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.


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.


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Decent Tides

So I thought I’d give the last of the Pirates movies a go and I found I wasn’t disappointed. Despite a staggered cast without Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly, this movie still finds a way to deliver. (I guess they really weren’t that much of a loss. But really, what have they been doing lately?) Johnny Depp has taken up the sword and three-cornered hat again as Jack Sparrow and he doesn’t disappoint. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides picks up with Sparrow’s last excursion on the high seas in pursuit of the Fountain of Youth. And despite the years, this movie is just as good. (Don’t bother with the 3-D.)

So Jack Sparrow has been caught again by the English and it looks like it will be a short drop with a sudden

Cruz and Depp. Match made in Heaven?

stop. But Jack has a plan. He’s back in London for one reason. To discover who’s impersonating him and why. And he does find that out. It’s Angelica, his former love. (Jack Sparrow has many former loves, but I guess that’s beside the point.) He really did love Angelica (Penelope Cruz) and this fact ropes him into her wild adventure. And her wild adventure comes with baggage. Major baggage. Angelica has acquired the help of Blackbeard (Ian McShane), the new Barbosa and ruthless pirate of the sea. Their goal is the Fountain of Youth, and its Blackbeard/Angelica vs the English (plus Barbosa) vs the Spanish Armada vs the one and only Captain Jack Sparrow.

What a wild ride...

And what a thrill ride it is. The chases, the mermaids, the magical island (Florida, I think) and the start of an actual myth that has kept the world searching. It all adds up to an amazing little roller-coaster of action and adventure. I’m sure it’s fine in 3-D, again, it’s just as good in 2-D, and the special effects really shows it. (I expected something with zombies, but I was disappointed.) The mermaid scene is quite cool and all the stunts look top notch. And the acting is what you expect from a Pirates film.

Johnny Depp is classic Jack Sparrow. Penelope Cruz is kind of annoying (I don’t picture a hispanic female pirate would have anything to do with the Pirates movies) but I guess she fulfills her purpose. Geoffrey Rush was amazing as Barbosa, the whole reason I love Pirates of the Caribbean. His witty,

Geoffrey Rush. You show that Jack Sparrow.

devil-may-care attitude and  amazing personality really brings a whole other level to the rapport of the films. Ian McShane (a respectable actor) really leaves something to be desired. I felt as if he was doing his own imitation of Barbosa, and it just wasn’t as good. Sam Claflin plays a small part as some sort of pastor who falls in love with a mermaid. A comment on religion vs magical realism? You tell me. And Richard Griffiths, good old Uncle Vernon of HP, plays a small part as King George.

Rob Marshall (Director of Nine and Chicago… what?) Delivers a good addition to the Pirates franchise. The story is sound and gives another reason for everyone to go to Disney World and have a go on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. And it sure is worth it. If the movies are any attest to the ride and the entity that is Pirates of the Caribbean, you should check this movie out (DVD or in theaters, doesn’t matter.), it’s worth viewing. 7.6 out of 10.


Samurai Deeper Kyo

Okay, just finished this anime, have to review it. For sure. This show was great. It was like Dragonball Z with samurais.  The story follows Mibu Kyoshiro, a medicine man who we find out to be Demon Eyes Kyo, the slayer of a thousand men. Pretty intense right? Well a bounty hunter girl named Shiina Yuya wants the bounty on his head, and from there, their journey begins. I saw a lot of comparisons to other anime in the past I’ve watched. My favorite character Meigeira. Although he is not included in the manga, he is a great addition to the anime. If I had to compare him to a character, I would consider him a more merciful Scar from Fullmetal Alchemist. Akira, which appears later in the show, is a great character, on par with Trunks from Dragonball Z. Saizo and Sasuke, two loyal followers of the effeminately voiced Sanada Yukimura are what I would refer to as a combo resulting in Piccolo, my favorite anime character of all time. To be honest though, the main character Kyoshiro/Kyo, didn’t appeal to me at all. The whole, “I’m the bad guy with a heart of gold,” just wasn’t what I was looking for. The fight scenes were great, very DBZ like, although when I first saw swords I thought, “Yes, let’s get some intense fighting scenes going.” That wasn’t the case, but still very badass. The move styles were on par with DBZ and anything else of the sort. (Sorry, huge DBZ fan.) The freeze frames on the action with dialogue were great and took the show into a whole new form of media. The music was a bit corny, but once you’ve heard those songs at least a dozen times, they grow on you, including the theme. All in all the show was a great journey into what it would be like if Samurais were more than just humans. Definitely an 8 out of 10. Highly recommended. (Also, mention of the abyss in there, an actual one, not my review blog.)

Here’s an AMV to give you a little taste of Samurai Deeper Kyo. (Thanks to AlchemistOfRoses for the vid.)