Archive for March, 2015

The Terminator

Posted: March 31, 2015 in Movies
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Terminator is a 80’s classic. It is one of the best action films from the decade. With a film like this you get so much from the look of it. Yes it’s dated but it looks dated in a way which compliments the film and all of the effort that went into it – remember this was released 31 years ago guys in 1984 – creating the brilliant special effects and the first-rate action on display from start to finish.

The film is a sci-fi flick at heart. A future world exists in which machines have developed into the dominant species on a nuclear leveled 2029. What is left of humanity is locked into a brutal war with these machines. Facing defeat the machines send a cyborg assassin back in time. It’s mission to kill the mother of the leader of the resistance, therefore wiping out his existence! Fortunately resistance soldier Kyle Reese is also sent back to 1984, with orders to protect one Sarah Connor. An unassuming waitress who just so happens to be the future mother of humanity’s last hope. The film starts with a bang and does not let up until the credits roll. It does not let go. Who will reach Sarah first? Kyle or the Terminator?

James Cameron is action royalty. No one can quite capture the level of action and excitement he makes look so effortless on-screen. From frantic shoot outs – Tech Noir showdown take a bow – to edge of the seat car chases through downtown L.A. Cameron makes it all seem like one big sweeping brush of ease. A James Cameron film is an experience onto itself. The Terminator being a perfect example of such. That said, equal praise must go to Stan Winston, Hollywood legend whose SFX work on this film is stunning even today. The look of the future war and the Terminator once it’s in its final form is pure jaw dropping stuff and it instantly became a cinematic icon. Add to this an outstanding synch score from Brad Fiedel that gives the film an unmistakable score and as the years past a theme which would join the likes of Jaws and Indiana Jones as one of cinemas most recognizable themes.

Naturally a lot of the films strength is due to the great performance from Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator. Without Schwarzenegger there is little doubt the film would not be the same. Equally as good are both Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn as Sarah and Reese. Hamilton makes Sarah instantly likeable without being obvious, turning in a layered performance and toughening up before our eyes with ease when required to do so. Biehn, while not as psychically strong as Schwarzenegger, instead relies on his natural screen charm which allows him to bring the right balance of earnest determination to his mission and shades of vulnerability as he excellently shows Reese’s struggles with interacting with a time period that offers up things he never could have imagined. Yet totally believable when the time comes for him to defend Sarah.

A timeless classic and one I watch a lot.

Tekken 7 welcomes Josie Rizal!

Posted: March 31, 2015 in Video Games
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Josie’s style looks to be a form of kickboxing and Eskrima and she stands out as being the first character of the series to be of Filipino descent. In fact her costume even uses colours associated with the country’s flag.

I like the design. Josie was one of the characters who leaked a little while ago but I didn’t want to report on her and guess what she may bring to the game. Now we have some official shots and a great reveal trailer! Josie isn’t actually in the game yet. There’s no time release date set for her as of now but Jin should be available now with Devil Jin out some time next week.

What do you guys think about Josie?

Here he is! Apparently certain conditions have to be met in order to face off against Jin. If said conditions are met the player will face him instead of Heihachi in Arcade mode. Check out more shots below. I like his new design and I can’t wait to see some footage of him in action!

Streets of Rage 3

Posted: March 25, 2015 in Video Games
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Streets of Rage 3 is one of the hardest games ever made. Ever. It’s solid. It will destroy you, after leading you in with a promise of something akin to its two previous entries only to totally annihilate you and leave you bloody and broken on the floor. Yet still you’ll return. Unable to walk away, deluded into thinking you will be able to tame this beast of a game.

It came out in 1994, by which time I’d left my Mega Drive and jumped onto the Snes bullet train. Truth be told I only got to play the game properly for the first time two years ago when I bought the SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection for the PS3. Haha. One of the first things I noticed about Streets of Rage is the music. The soundtrack is mental! Nothing like the first two games which I felt had – to this day – real progressive dance inspired soundtracks which gave the first and second game such a strong identity when they first came out. The music in Streets of Rage 3 sounds like noise! Random noise which (thank you Wikipedia) it turns out it was! Yuzo Koshiro had made a “Automated Composing System” for the game, which basically had the system randomly producing notes. It’s defo an acquired taste; think junk yard techno! It does grow on you but I missed the more straight forward tunes from the first two games.

Character wise we get series main stays Axel and Blaze (Adam is relegated to cut scene cameos only), part 2’s Skate and newcomer Dr.Zan. Dr.Zan is a cyborg (?) and can electrocute his opponents. The returning characters carry across all of their moves from the previous games and gain some much appreciated extra movement with a handy roll which allows you to move up and down the screen and therefore avoid attacks and motorbikes. A new run mechanic greatly adds to a more controlled sense of freedom that you have over your character that was missing in earlier games. The player gets a bigger story mode too, the game asking you to make decisions which may affect the overall outcome of the game as you play depending on what choices you make.

The graphics, while I’m sure they are more detailed than in the first two games – the strobe light effects in the nightclub section are amazing – don’t look as good at first. The character models for one seemed much more detailed in Streets of Rage 2. Maybe it’s just me but I think I preferred the look of Streets of Rage 2 over part 3. The game is tough, as I said earlier and I can’t event beat the second stage hahaha! No lie. So I can hardly call this a review but I certainly wanted to just share some of my thoughts on Streets of Rage 3. A game that I love/hate for sure.

X-Files to return *headexplodes

Posted: March 25, 2015 in TV
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Big news this week is of course the announcement from Chris Carter and FOX that The X-Files will be back, with production set to begin this summer on a six episode order. Series stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny are back as Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. Honestly. Never believed I’d get to write that.

This is great news. Mostly due to the fact it doesn’t have to happen, no one associated with the show NEEDS this, everyone is doing really well in their own careers and that makes this announcement more special because it reeks of a genuine creative return from all involved. Not a desperate attempt to cash in on the brand.

Too early to know what format the show will take – as in case of the week or one major arc that will play out over the six episode event. The same goes for other returning cast, yet I wouldn’t count Skinner, Daggett and Reyes out.

Are you excited for the return of The X-Files? I am. I am so happy.

Die Hard with a Vengeance

Posted: March 24, 2015 in Movies
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John McLane is about to have a very bad day.

Die Hard with a Vengeance is my favourite Die Hard movie. I love it. I can still remember when I first got my hands on it back in what? ’96 maybe when it came out on VHS ( good old video cassette haha) in the UK. So either late ’95 or early ’96. I’d been eager to see the film since the trailers had been playing during the summer of ’95 non stop. I couldn’t go see the film at the time because I was too young which was annoying as you can imagine. Since my parents are boss though I had no trouble seeing it when it hit the video shop 🙂

Don’t get me wrong, Die Hard is its own thing. The original film is a classic but for me it’s just slightly short of perfect. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? I can’t help it. I adore the original flick, it’s earned its classic status (big fan of Die Harder too!) but the third film just has some extra bit of magic to it. For a start the bag guy is great, his high stakes game of Simon Says with John McLane and Zeus is the edge of the seat, stakes through the atmosphere gripping. A series of “do this…..get there in time….answer correctly” or a bomb goes off. :O Then you add to all of that mayhem Simon’s link to the original movie and his terrifying right hand lady and you have a movie which nails it’s main bad guy to someone on par with the originals villain.

Bruce Willis brings his A-Game to McLane in the movie. McLane is washed up, back on the drink with no sign of Holly and nursing one bad migraine when we first meet back up with him. Right away we see he’s not in the mood for work let alone the day that’s about to follow! Haha. He defo goes through the ringer in this movie and Willis nails it. Samuel L.Jackson plays Zeus, a complicated guy with some strong opinions who just so happens to get dragged into the mayhem. The chemistry between the two leads is brilliant. They are so good together. They’re sort of forced into working together to bring down Simon and it’s a rocky relationship to say the least. As I said above the main bad guy, Simon, is played by Jeremy Irons. He’s great. He’s menacing and likeable and it’s this layered performance that really helps build up the role into something special.

John McTiernan does a great job on directing duties. Of course he made the original movie and what a job he did! So it’s great that he came back to make this one after sitting out Die Harder. The action never disappoints and it’s always (modern cinema take note once again) clear. You make out what’s happening without being made to feel like you’re being tossed around every which way. The taxi cab sequence through Central Park is just flat-out boss, as is a race against time to  evacuate a school before a bomb can go off. All of the action is done really, really well.

Overall this flick is just yet another example of how great the 90’s were for the action genre. What a decade for this sort of genre. I’m very happy and grateful I got to experience all of this as it was happening! And of course, if you’ve somehow never seen this (or ANY of the first three movies) then check ’em out. ASAP.

Great to news to wake up to. I’m glad to see Vivica back as Jasmine. She looks great (pictured above with director Roland Emmerich) and looks like she could still out run those damn aliens.  She joins returning cast mate Jeff Goldblum and series newcomers Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Honestly if they can get Bill Pullman back (he’s expected to return but not locked in just yet) the trinity of him, Goldblum and Fox more than makes up for the lack of Will Smith. It’s a shame Smith couldn’t return but it’s great to see other original cast members back for the second invasion!

Final Round 18 Tekken 7 news

Posted: March 22, 2015 in Video Games
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Hey fight fans! 🙂 Final Round 18 is taking place this weekend and one of the many highlights was that Tekken master Katsuhiro Harada was on hand to reveal some great info regarding the latest King of the Iron Fist Tournament. Without further pause here are the main highlights of what he had to say.

* Time release characters. The first one is set to drop at the end of the month (29/03/15) and we can expect a new one every two weeks. Reason for going back to time release is so casual players aren’t overwhelmed by a large roster. Makes sense. I wouldn’t have minded a smaller roster and yes, even at the risk of one of my mains not making the cut.

*The leak. Yes, last week saw the leak of 3 time release (assumed) characters. I didn’t bother covering this because to be honest they looked incomplete and Harada stated as much. Further explaining that neither of those characters are in for sure and could have been older assets.

* Home console release may be sooner rather the later. When quizzed about making a possible beta version of the game available to the west Harada stated it wouldn’t be ideal for a fighting game. He felt the best solution would be to get the game out on consoles as soon as possible.

* Why bother making an arcade version anyway? Well it’s simple. If Namco wanted to produce for console only they wouldn’t be able to produce a game full of the extras Tekken fans have become used to. No story mode, mini games etc. The arcade version (don’t forget arcades are still big in the east) allow Namco to take home almost as much profit as a console release. They can then use this revenue to put into the console port AND add all those great extras. It also helps them out when they want to produce another installment. It’s a business at the end of the day. Harada went on to point out how the Capcom model works the way it does ( Ultra Mega Amazing Street Fighter 4) because sadly they don’t have the same presence at arcades and therefore they need to keep updating the game and get more revenue in order to keep it fresh AND be able to make future installments.

* Twitter trolls. He hates getting bombarded on Twitter with character requests etc. I have to say it must be annoying and I can see where he’s coming from there.

* The slow mo effect was Harada’s idea and he felt it was a great way (I’d have to agree too) of capturing that edge of your seat tournament feeling. It’s a boss feature and very dramatic.

*Lack of diversity in the roster. Japan is an island and the team don’t want to just go on and make race related stereotypes. A lot of research needs to go into cultures they don’t fully understand and so at times it makes more sense to just not go there so as not to offend anyone.

The footage streamed from the show was brilliant. Honestly I think Tekken fans are going to be in for a serious treat when the game hits consoles early (my guess) next year.

Wow. How about these guys then? It’s an odd mix up to be sure but that’s no bad thing. I’m made up to see Jason Voorhees. It would be beyond cool if they had a Crystal Lake DLC stage to go along with him. Imagine the stage fatality! I could see Jason tossing his victim into the lake with Mrs Voorhees finishing them off! Predator is very welcome. Him and Jason will no doubt be dealing out some extreme violence. Tremor, well I’m a pretty hard-core MK fan and I had to stop and pause. Who is he? I’ve heard the name but far as I know he’s never been in the other games right? Finally Tanya, she certainly has her own fan base so I’m happy she’s in for them, she seems a bit more rough to how she’s normally represented though! I’ll defo be picking up Jason and Predator.

Breakfast Club 30 years strong!

Posted: March 20, 2015 in Movies
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Here are the leading ladies of The Breakfast Club looking great 30 years on from the landmark (and arguably best teen) movie ever made. Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy both attended a screening of the movie at the recent SXSW Festival. Don’t they look great?