Friday, 28 August 2015

The Fast and The Furious (1 and 2)

[Day 29 of Blaugust 2015!]

The Fast and the Furious

As seen by a non-car enthusiast.

A band of skilled thieves are hijacking shipments on the road because they have the stunt driving skills to do so. Who cares if it's quite reckless, has more variables and is way more dangerous than stealing stationary targets right? Anyway, the cops send forth an undercover agent (Paul Walker) to infiltrate the group of their top suspect: one Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), who also happens to be involved with illegal street races and such. Complications arise when undercover man starts falling for Dom's sister.

You did not just give away spoilers, did you?

Obviously this flick is for car buffs, which is why I totally skipped out on the entire series previously as I don't even like driving. However, I quite liked the acting, the action filled story, and the pretty good automotive stunt work which is kind of essential in a film such as this. I was a bit impartial to the "gangsta" type music, but I suppose it is most suited to that scene so that's fine. I do give it bonus points for good use of red herrings and having a nameless truck boss who totally kicks everyone's butt at the end. All up I give it three tires out of five, though I'm in no rush to see it again.


Turbo-Charged Prelude

This six minute music clip (because there are no spoken lines) follows Paul Walker's trek down to Miami which is where the next movie takes place. There's literally nothing that happens so unless you are a fan of this franchise, Paul Walker, or cops wearing plastic bags on their hats then you would be better off skipping it altogether. For those who enjoy "completeness" you can find it here.


2 Fast 2 Furious

Dey B 2 gansta 4 me.

Really title? Really? Anyway, the cop from last time is back, and since he is still racing in "underground" races this immediately attracts the FBI to recruit him for another undercover job which involves transporting dirty money for some cartel guy. Some silly one liner reason is thrown out as to why this is -the only way- to bust said cartel fellow, but hero cop can't do it alone so he recruits an old buddy (never seen before) who hates his guts.

This new character gets a thumbs up from me as his character progression is pretty likable, as does the pretty cool Tej. I suppose I should also mention that the female cast is more sexualized here too, for no other reason than "hey, they're hot". Might be a problem for some, but that's nothing compared to the rest of the problems.

Appropriate garage attire.

While I do appreciate that the "team" is smaller now and thus has less superfluous characters than number one, there are problems with the actual driving portions for me, which is probably worse if you are a car fanatic. Yes, there are mass driving stunts near the end but for the most part there's heavy use of pretty good FX during the earlier drives. I still would have preferred to see actual driving though? Also, there is a hell of a lot more talking while driving. Ever see a comic panel where Wolverine is in mid air about to stab someone and somehow manages to say three sentences? It's like that. Stupid.

In addition to a weaker story than the first movie I give this outing 2 tires out of 5, and isn't 1 I want to watch again.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Nameless: Florin

[Day 28 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

A few weeks after their foray into the sewers, Drisana and Nessa were once again summoned to the Peacekeeper's office. The last time they had been there was when they received their reward stipend for alerting the Peacekeepers to the danger beneath the city. A large force of them along members of other units, guilds and mercenaries were assembled and raided the underground to cleanse it of all evil, and most probably treasure, but the girls decided to sit it out - having had enough bloodshed and enough gold to get by comfortably, for a while anyway. Curious as to what more the Peacekeepers wanted with them, they hesitantly returned to the main headquarters in the city square. A familiar face opened the door for them as they arrived.

"Nice to see you survived," Drisana said to Buster, his once mangled arm now in a cast. The bald man smiled as he ushered them in. Florin appeared beside him from a side door and gave them both a quick bow. "Did you miss me ladies?" he asked with a smirk.

"In your dreams, Kiefer. Why are we here?" asked Nessa, once again getting right to the point.

"Because I summoned you," replied another man further in with long, black hair. He stood an entire head taller than Kiefer and judging from his uniform was of much higher rank. "I am Commander Florin. Please take a seat."

After they all got settled, the commander continued. "While the threat to our city has been removed, it seems the plans of the Shadowstar cult extended farther - including our neighbouring city of Dranner. My scouts have reported that the entire city has been over run by horrible creatures, seemingly being drawn there by some malevolent power. We need to find whatever is controlling these beasts and put an end to it now, before there are too many to contend with."

"You want us to go there..." began Drisana.

"Yes! By all accounts the two of you have the most experience in fighting the cult so far and I would like all the expertise I can muster to keep my troops safe. Do you know how many men died cleaning out the ruins below? Only a third of the entire expedition made it back, and half of those are going back in to defend the yet unexplored deep roads that connect to the underground ruin. Quite frankly we are short on time and man power. The two of you helped save this city once, I am simply asking that you do it again while there is a city still left to save. If money is what you care about then I can assure you it will be worth your while."

Drisana looked at Nessa who also was thinking it over.

Finally, Nessa whispered to her. "It's what Nerith would have done."

Drisana sighed. "Fine, we're in."

The commander smiled. "Excellent. Prepare yourselves and rest well. We will move out at first light."

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Nameless: Belief

[Day 27 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Pale and tense from the sight of the giant's face, Nessa managed to relax when Drisana put a reassuring hand on her shoulder and realized that she was looking at a statue. A whole row of large stone statues that, while not as large as the giant himself, all bore his exact, crazed visage. Nessa breathed a sigh of relief and hoped none of her allies realized the warm trickle down her leg was not perspiration. Fortunately they were all examining the odd stone work.

"These look like something we ran into at Shadowstar," spoke Drisana as she advanced carefully.

"Looks like they were put here recently too," muttered Kiefer as he ran a finger along the edge of the stone. "There's not as much dust on them."

"Golems," spat Hortag as he found a small panel hiding a magical gem. "Best we destroy them now while they lie dormant."

Kiefer needed no further prompting as he and the rest of his team began pulling out the magical stones. Nessa watched from outside as Drisana also began to help them. That's when movement at the edge of her vision caught her attention. A floating orb of eyes and teeth had turned the corner and was coming straight for her! Without hesitation, Nessa dove forward into the statue warehouse just as a blazing beam scorched the area she was just standing in.

Seeing this, Hortag, Dorhum and Buster quickly stacked up on the side of the door while Kiefer and Drisana pulled Nessa behind one of the statues. Before Nessa could speak any warning the monster had reached the door and blew apart the statue next to them with another blast. Taking this as his cue, Buster charged around the corner with his heavy mace but as he swung the floating creature took the initiative and caught his arm in its sharp teeth then spinning around like a top, released the poor fellow into another statue, sending a whole row of them toppling over.

Hortag and Dorhum charged it next and while the older man used his pike to prod the monster's mouth, Dorhum rolled underneath it and spun around with all his might - hacking right into his enemy with his battle axe. Having never encountered such a beast before they didn't realize the repercussions of such an act as the spherical creature popped into a misty green poisonous cloud. Kiefer had stood up to run to their rescue but Drisana held him back firmly as there was nothing more he could do other than watch his two subordinates cough, vomit and defacate uncontrollably before finally collapsing into steaming melted puddles of flesh on the ground.

A sudden blast from the other side of the statues betrayed the presence of another eye beast, but this one was popped easily as Nessa threw a sword cleanly into its center. Unwilling to risk encountering more of these Kiefer quickly regrouped the team atop the conscious Buster, and pulling out a magical medallion which looked very similar to one the girls had seen before, concentrated and in an instant all four of them were back at Kiefer's office in the city.

"Get him to the healers," ordered Kiefer as he began to run for the door. "I need to alert my commander!"

"At least he believes us now," muttered Nessa as he left.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Nameless: Deeper

[Day 26 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

As they followed the eight legged creature, the tunnels became even more dense with thick webbing to the point that each member of the party had to take great care where they passed or be caught by the sticky strands and worse, possibly summon more spiders. Eventually, Drisana found what she was looking for. A large section of floor from the tunnel had collapsed into a lower level that seemed to be hewn from stone. They gingerly climbed down one at a time and from their faces Drisana could see that even Kiefer's team had never seen this forgotten ruin before. It was then she had the feeling that she was being watched.

Glowing red eyes peered from the dark. There was more than one spider. The team barely had time to prepare as the gigantic insects attacked, with their venomous bites. Fortunately this meant they had to stoop down and put their faces right where the adventurers could stab them. While Drisana and Nessa managed to slay one together, Kiefer and his entire team proved that they weren't just some inexperienced chumps, managing to slay one each. The remaining spiders must have decided they were too dangerous and retreated into the darkness where they would hold the advantage. Kiefer wasn't stupid enough to give chase, instead opting to push on into the ruins where slowly the tangle of webs gave way to moss coated corridors.

A familiar clicking noise alerted the girls right away as they shepherded the team behind the nearest corner. Carefully peering around they were surprised to see not giant ants but man sized mantises patrolling the passages up ahead. They also were brandishing what seemed to be crude bone weapons. Not willing to alert these creatures to their presence, Kiefer signaled the team to go around another way with less moss, finding another set of stairs going down.

This section of the ruin seemed abandoned entirely, which was a good change of pace as it let them relax somewhat.Knowing that they were getting fatigued, Kiefer signaled them to stop and got Buster to help him try open one of the ancient doors nearby in hopes of finding a secure place to rest. As the doors rumbled open Nessa tossed a torch in and saw a terrifyingly familiar, huge bearded face with crazed eyes: the giant that devoured Sharon at the Temple of Shadowstar.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Nameless: The Rats Nest

[Day 25 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"The Rats Nest" was aptly named thought Nessa as she kicked away yet another giant rat in the winding maze of sewer tunnels. Other strange humanoids lived here too, but they were easily fought back or simply bypassed as they slept. According to Kiefer there was another group who handled population control but even they failed to kill all the prey down here. Nessa just figured they were sloppy hunters, but she kept that to herself.

Drisana had told Kiefer early on that whatever they were looking for would probably be at the deepest level so eventually after taking a number of ladders deeper down into the depths, they found themselves in what looked like extremely decrepit tunnels that were no longer used. "Last floor," muttered Buster as they arrived. Apart from layers of spider webs, it didn't seem like there was anything until Drisana spotted glowing red eyes watching them from the darkness. Not a pair of eyes. Eight of them. Hanging upside down, the monstrous spider began crawling towards them but a few loose bricks thrown by Dorhum dissuaded it to retreat into another tunnel.

"Don't worry, none of us be spider food," said the heavily bearded fellow, clearly proud of his rock throwing skills.

"What does that thing eat down here?" asked Drisana.

"Rats, bats or... perhaps of those wandering creatures from upstairs," suggested Hortag.

"Like us?" asked Kiefer slyly.

Drisana wasn't convinced. There were no bones here to indicate any of those had been down here recently. The spider was also far too large to have climbed up the narrow ladder pipe to hunt on higher floors and too big to just be sustained by wandering vermin. Undeterred, she began walking after it. Seeing this, Dorhum quickly ran in front of her to block her path.

"Whoa lady, are you crazy?" he asked.

Drisana grinned and picked up another loose brick.

"I trust you'll keep us safe," she said with a smirk as she pushed it into his chest.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Jurassic Attack / City

[Day 24 of Blaugust 2015!]

Jurassic Attack

Aka. when CGI fails to blend with live action.

Some soldiers on the hunt for an evil general stumble upon an uncharted crater deep in the amazon. One filled with DINOSAURS! Not just one type either, there's a whole bunch here and they are pretty decently animated. Unfortunately, they are also not well shaded and really don't interact well with the live action bits going on around them which makes it even more ludicrous to watch. To be fair, some of the gunfire also makes no noise for some reason so if the real life bits aren't interacting well with itself I suppose there's really a problem huh? :P

I'm totes real man.

The plot, which involves a pretty optimistic outlook on the number of survivors in aircraft crashes, is a pretty stock standard escape the predators scenario and just to tick that B-grade movie also fulfills the requirement of having any female cast member have shots in their undies. There's also bad acting to be had as well as the slightly bigger problem that the main protagonist is a douche bag. I was starting to like the "bad guy" more and more as the movie went on. Anyway, if you are looking for a "so bad it's good" movie this might fit the bill but taking it on the level I'm giving it one CGI dino out of five, and stamping my don't bother watching stamp on it.


Jurassic City

Totally unrelated to the first movie, yet could have been.

A secret government agency has been keeping dinosaurs captive in a secure site, but when it's proven the site is not as secure as it needs to be Captain "grenade launcher" is sent to divert a transport bringing more dinosaurs (from where exactly is never specified) into the parking garage of a detention facility which happens to also house a recently apprehended serial rapist/killer and a bunch of really moronic girls.

Hey dinosaur! Want to get into the spa with us?

You can tell the quality of the film when at the five minute mark they already get to the section of mandatory female undressing. Like Jurassic Attack, the dinos are actually animated passably - however they fail to interact with the live action stuff convincingly. It also features characters who you are actively willing to get killed which is never good especially if they are the protagonists. It's kinda sad since I am a Ray Wise fan but I have no choice - don't bother watching this movie. I give it one CGI dino out of five.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Nameless: Ladies First

[Day 23 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Kiefer scratched his beard as he read the unfurled manuscript in the candle light. After letting out a sigh he turned his attention to the two women sitting across his desk. He noticed one was missing a few fingers on her left hand.

"So you believe there is some sort of danger lurking in the sewers beneath this city? Something that might have come from Shadowstar temple?" he asked them.

Drisana nodded. "Those scrolls we brought back should be proof enough, but if you still don't believe us go send someone to check our story. Even if the dragon is decomposing, the hole in the side of the tower should still be there."

Kiefer sighed. As a peacekeeper of Deepwater it was his job to look into matters such as this, and while the scrolls were indeed compelling he couldn't be sure of their authenticity. Running a hand through his messy hair as he leant back in his chair he finally said "If I decide to check this out, are the two of you willing to tag along?"

"Yes," Drisana said without hesitation before looking at Nessa, who just nodded quietly while holding the stubs of her missing digits.

"Alright then," replied the peacekeeper as he stood up from his chair and looked to the solidly built, hairless man guarding the door. "Buster, get the boys. We're going into the rat's nest first thing tomorrow morning."

"As for the two of you," focusing back on the women. "You can stay in the cells here tonight. It's not the cleanest but it's safe, free and I'll make sure Dorhum brings you a meal as well."

Despite his tone both girls knew that it wasn't an invitation, however they were simply too tired to decline.

The sun had only just begun to rise when Dorhum, a large man with an overgrown beard, pulled open the large metallic grate leading into the sewers upon the watchful gaze of Buster and Keifer. At the same time Hortag, a more elderly gentleman with silvery hair handed Drisana and Nessa their previously confiscated equipment. Seeing Nessa fumble with her left handed blade the old timer also offered her a plain wooden shield - a much easier piece of equipment to handle with three fingers.

"All set?" asked Kiefer as they finally approached the entrance. Nessa nodded.

"Ladies first."