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Angry Birds (2016)

Angry Birds (2016)

An Angry Birds movie? Really? I wasn't expecting much from it when I first heard of it, but decided to watch it anyway and... it wasn't bad!

Action. Wit. Smooth animation. Great voice acting. Groovy music. Relations, and rage, and relatability! It's got a little bit of everything, and seems to follow that magic formula that just makes animated movies like this so damn FUN! :D It's both harmless and violent at the same time too; true to the traditions of the Angry Birds franchise.

For example: Bomb doesn't actually die when he explodes, and in the end even the Pig King lives to see another day, which makes me wonder... sequel? I wouldn't mind one.

It wasn't extraordinarily amazing, but all in all it was an animated movie well done, and the Angry Bird world's a both creatively new and fun one to be in. For a while. Just like when I first started playing the game this felt like a quick, easy, but not too long-lived addiction. Simple fun for all ages.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

New Killers In Town (1990)

New Killers In Town (1990)

Time for an old HK Action gem! Just a random one picked from a bundle, and as it turns out not a bad pick.

It's not Jackie Chan or Jet Li level, but the martial arts and stunts are really not bad. The actors put themselves in harm's way to bring things to the next level, and it seems like all that really sets the known titles apart from ones like this is a consistent; somewhat relatable plot.

I mean how normal is it for a couple of martial artist brothers to go to the big city, start living with a female cousin who also happens to train martial arts under her very martial artist father, and start working in a restaurant, and get involved in the drug trade when the cousin's friend has her arm broken at a disco because a girlfriend of a thug thinks she might be competition in a roller skating competition, and then when the sister steps in and helps her win they take one after the other hostage and kill them off, all the while the remaining family members seek vengeance? The police are nowhere to be seen, and the early movie backstory is obviously there mainly to make you feel for certain characters when they get killed.

It feels messy to say the least - like the poster above. But then again it's a tale from a foreign time and culture, so who am I to say if it's realistic or not? This might've been the way of life for a lot of people back then, even if it seems to me more like a bad story. I appreciate it for the element of old, the arts, the relations and the action - not so much for the script.

Still, the gap is slim between a movie like this and old Jackie Chan or Jet Li movies. The budget's similar. The story's not that out of the ordinary - it's the kind that'd only fare well within this genre, and maybe this one generation, but here it seems to thrive.

The main characters all know the arts. The action's gritty and full of fiery explosions and fights (though also a lot of running away from fights) that make it feel like sometimes they really could have been seriously hurt - which they most probably could, too. Of course I hope they didn't, but it's those risks that give movies from this era their sense of realism, no matter how bad the actors or script is otherwise... and this one wasn't that bad.

Another thing I really like with movies from this day and age is how full of energy all the characters are, making the modern actor often seem almost apathetic in comparison. All the bane of IT society am I right?

It's all of this with a little whiff of comedy and characters you grow to like. It's the HK action way, and I do like it. It's not perfect, but the fights were better than expected, and the actors aren't all a bunch of no-names either. Take Moon Lee and Sophia Crawford for example, or Eddie Maher, who plays the main villain here and whome you might have seen in quite a few other villainous HK move roles, not to forget Siu-Ho Chin and his brother (whose name I couldn't pinpoint on the IMDB page - information for titles like this is sparse to say the least). They're all real fighters.

Chia-Liang Liu's one fight was a real highlight too. He's probably the most known name in the movie, and you might recognize him from Legend of Drunken Master and a boatload of other titles. Watch that if naught else.

The cast was good. The action was good. The script was... not that important. It's a solid HK action movie either way.

Also: apparently some movie covers claim this title stars Jackie Chan. Most probably a marketing gimmick of old. It's not true.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Avenged (2013)

Avenged (2013)

A deaf girl is brutalized by a murderous gang who are then hunted by her when the bloodthirsty spirit of an Apache warrior inhabits her lifeless body.

I wish I could have given this movie a 5! It really deserved it. The scenery. The build-up of emotions. The grindhouse vibe. It's as close to The Adventures of Johnny Tao as I've gotten in a long time, with a little Planet Terror mixed in, and it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole movie.

These grindhouse movies all seem to feature someone with a handicap btw, whether it be a missing leg, an eye patch or, in this case: no hearing. It felt like a strange choice in this case - more functional than visual, yet it turned out to be a handicap that somehow lent the script even more strength.

I feel for Zoe. I feel for Dane. I feel each cry of anguish, and pain, and vengeance, and though the fighting choreography isn't flawless they bring out so much grit in those scenes too. The blood flows. The cuts run deep, and yet the characters don't laugh death in the face and make it all seem silly, or turn it all into a mindless bloodbath - there's fear and anticipation in each scene, an uncomfortable such, a sad one, like Deer Hunter meets Machete. Okay I may be going overboard with these comparisons now.

Both main characters and villains put on a great performance though; Amanda Adrienne Smith and Tom Ardavany in particular.

It is a bit drawn out on some parts, but everyone pours in so much emotion into their acts that the wait pulls you in more than it annoys. Plotwise it's like a mix between I Spit On Your Grave and Wrong Turn... and something else. It's gold. It's the first movie in a long time I've watched from start to finish without wanting to skip a second. The angles were just right, the tension was just right, and the grime was just enough to keep you watching no matter how uncomfortable it got, and both intro and outro soundtrack brought in and let out the feels.

Unfortunately some of the special effects just don't hold, and some of the ghostery goes too far. The car flip was the big let down towards the end, it breaks the atmosphere, and the drawers were a bit overplayed. Until the end it had been walking the perfect path, and it keeps going that way soon after but... just can't give it the High 5.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Killing Hasselhoff (2017)

Killing Hasselhoff (2017)

Well this was... pretty silly. Entertaining too, though. I can't lie. It's a light-humored farce about a regular small Asian guy who desperately needs money, featuring Ken Jeong as that one guy, and David Hasselhoff as the potential source of that money, as the former one half-assedly attempts to kill the latter for a prize in a deadpool.

Of course Hasselhoff is totally oblivious to the nature of these devious plots (as oblivious as he is to the existence of the main character, for that matter) until the very end, at which point it all works out for the best... for everyone.

It's a decent comedy. No throw-up party humor, and nothing too crude or crazy. Those birds were pretty cool too. I just wish they'd stop going below the gowns for movies like this (it's a fad fad), and making clowns out of all the main characters. There's no class in that. And then Beiber pops up at his ending cameo and concludes with: 'No, you're the fucking man'. Really? Not necessary. At least Hasselhoff's got that otherwise missing element covered. People need to get with the right times. The old times.

I didn't know so much about Hasselhoff until just recently btw. The new Baywatch movie (with his surprise cameo), and now this, and... it feels like all is falling into place. Both that and the infamous (in name only as I've yet to see it) Night Rider were before my time, but maybe it's nigh time to revisit those classics I'm just recently reminded of? He seems like... a legend. Or rather: an interesting guy.

Betcha those were some interesting times. With class.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Resident Evil 6 -The Final Chapter (2016)

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016)

It's the final arc of the Resident Evil franchise! Finally!

As usual it all starts with a flashback, and we're told, among other things, that the T-Virus was not created by Dr. Ashford for his daughter Angie, but for Alice - the daughter of Dr. Marcus. Continuity out the window. The time frame is wrong too, and nothing from the last stand seen at the end of the previous movie remains, not even a trail of smoke, so for a while I thought I'd missed a whole movie in the series. The ending premise in the previous movie? Totally gone. Irrelevant. No final showdown... instead they build up a brand new backstory to make it all make sense, and it's back to the old desert and deserted dystopia. It's more Walking Dead than Resident Evil, though they try to bring it back to humble beginnings soon enough.

The cuts are still way too many though, the inconsistencies riddle the plot, and of course there's a 72 hour countdown before the last few bastions of humankind seize to be and Umbrella take over the world for good... within which our main protagonist Alice has to save all of humankind, and of course the timer's down to mere minutes before it's over. Of course the main antagonists make some incredible mistakes as well, allowing her to win when really she should have had no chance. And another character favorite appears out of nowhere because... well why not? It's all for the views. None for the origins.

The Red Queen can't go against Umbrella either, so she asks Alice to do so at the start of the movie, and tells her how. For starters: see something wrong with that?

I've been growing tired of this series since a few sequels ago. They keep tarnishing the RE name, leaving important plot elements and reoccurring characters for dead, and always starting the movies the same way... yet when I start watching I still get sucked in. Into the action. The Madness. The crazy-elaborate special-effects and sets - even though everything else about it is just shit.

Too much packed into too little space. Jump scares. Trap after trap. Dead and loose ends, and then it's suddenly back to origins. But you've made a mess bigger than you can climb out of at this point. Even if the sequels thrill and entertain - keep you on your seats, only the original one will ever be the real classic here. The one that truly stayed true to the RE realm. The actors do a good job but... I wonder if they played the games. I wonder if they're aware what a great big mess this movie franchise turned into.

And don't get me started on the clones, memories or super powers. It's not just not true to the games, but to so much in the previous movies, too.

Even when it's over they leave things open for potential mindless sequels, but I hope this really is the end. I wouldn't mind a reboot if they do it the right way, but for now it's been a long and exciting... but tiresome trip.

Good riddance.

 rated 3/5: not bad

American Assassin (2017)

American Assassin (2017)

Here's an action movie. American. Spy stuff. Professional style. Realistic in a gray way. Dark. Pretty violent. Pretty mediocre. Pretty good but... not particularly memorable? The final scene was something else, but apart from that I'm not sure this one will stay in my mind a long time.

Dylan O'Brien was good in the lead role though, and Michael Keaton! In a movie like this?! I wouldn't have expected it, but he fits right in. In his role he looks a bit like Kevin Costner and... Luke Goss? The main actors were great, the girls too, the rest... decent.

I think the main flaw in this movie, to me, is lack of emotion. It could have had more of that. It could have evolved the characters more. The initial vibe's similar to the one in Atomic Blond, yet it just never warms up.

Well it warms up a little, but it still seems to take place in just a cold, concrete, modern world. Even when there's woods and water I don't really like how they make it out to be. Maybe just because it doesn't take me away from reality... it's all the same. It's dull. Good action, good act, good movie, but it doesn't really stand out. It is what it is.

 rated 3/5: not bad

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