Originally posted at slangards.multiply.com on Apr 28, '09
The only thing I know about David Mack's Kabuki (the comic series where this figure is from) is that it features a female martial artist that looks asian and wears face paint. Don't really know why she does it, don't much care. I have no idea who Scarab or Akemi are. I haven't the slightest clue why a teddy bear is included with this toy line. The only thing I did know when I bought this figure is that it looked like a bad ass comic book assassin with a ton of blades that she couldn't possible hide on her person since she was wearing a skintight leather suit. With boots. And spikes. ooooo...
Originally posted at slangards.multiply.com on Apr 27, '09
Once in a long while, there's a story that is just so unbelievably good that you literally can not stop until you've reached the end. Of all the movies, TV shows, comics, and books I've read, there are only a few that become part of the geeky slush that fills my brainpan. The Star Wars saga (if you ask "Which ones?" I will smack you), Transformers (again, mention Bay and I will smack you), Claremont's X-Men, The Dark Knight Returns... Those are a few of the yarns that make up the framework of what I am.
The stories above were all introduced to me during my formative years, when I still wanted to be a colonial marine or a debonair archaeologist with a fedora. Unfortunately, I no longer have the same sense of wonder I once felt when the Enterprise broke the past the Warp barrier in "Where No Man Has Gone Before". Nowadays, I approach each new story, each new book with a degree of cynicism that borders on the pessimistic.
Which is exactly how I felt about the Nickolodeon cartoon series, Avatar: The Last Airbender.
But thanks to the Interweb, and some horribly mangled tagalog phrases directed at various vendors of the not so legal variety, I was able to score one. The cover is much like the poster in the image; it doesn't give you any idea what the movie is or what kind of audience it's aiming at. Apparently, it's mostly Lionsgate's fault since marketing for the film was virtually nil. The bulk of the campaign was done by the Filmmakers so I wouldn't be surprised if the poster/DVD cover was done on the cheap.
The basic idea of Repo is that the world has undergone a great plague that has killed off millions. A mega-corporation called GeneCo capitalizes on the needs of the survivors, peddling human tissue and organs. Those that can't afford the surgeries are granted financing plans, but if they fail to pay, their organs are reposessed by the corporation's assassin, Repo Man.
I realized pretty quickly that I wasn't going to like this film. The art direction is more Goth than Cyberpunk, the music is more Deathrock than Opera, and the acting is more... well, Paris Hilton is in the cast. 'nuff said.
If you thought this would be a cross between Blade Runner and Moulin Rouge (raises hand), you're shit out of luck. It's more of a cross between Saw II, Saw II, Saw IV (all directed by Darren Lynn Bousman as well) and those off-broadway plays that Joey starred in during the first season of Friends. The movie borders on torture porn, but with music.
I'm no expert, but I figure that a musical should have some very catchy tunes to it. I gotta say that this movie has some of the most horrendous un-singable songs I've ever heard. I remember after I watched RENT that I couldn't stop singing "La Vie Boheme" and "Come What May" was ringing around my head for months after Moulin Rogue. And who can forget "The Internet is For Porn"? The songs here are mostly either Anthony Stewart Head screaming or Paul Sorvino reading his lines.
Here's a sample from "Mark It Up" where the three heirs to the GeneCo throne are discussing who will succeed Rotti Largo:
Pavi: my brother and sister should fuck!
Catchy, huh? The rest of the lyrics are more of the same, set to Goth punk/rock. It's sort of like listening to to a loop of Evanescense tracks while watching a Carotid Endarterectomy in your underwear. It's really that uncomfortable listening to this stuff.
The film is striking, there's no denying that. While I was watching Repoman do his thing, I was thinking how to make a custom toy of the character. And there are some nice ideas that, if fleshed out and executed with an eye more toward story and less on gore, might have proven to be entertaining.
Bottom line, if you like the Saw series or the Hostel series, you might like this. Otherwise, don't bother.
|Genre:||Action & Adventure|
I know, right?
The idea of Crank 2 is Jason Statham running around Los Angeles with only a few hours to save his life. In order to do that he needs to do some very bad things. This includes a lot of murder and mayhem, and some public indecency for good measure. It's supposed to be like Speed mixed with a bit of 24, but with logic thrown out the window.
That's the idea anyway. The execution doesn't really deliver. The first one came out of nowhere and it had alot of things going for it. It was a non-stop ride that DEMANDED you leave your brain at the door. It had Statham who, in my opinion should be getting more work as a leading man in action vehicles. He brings any movie he's in a certain cool that just makes you want to cheer. Even clunkers like the Transporter sequels made you want this guy to win. Then it's got Amy Smart in sex scenes in public.
The second one has all that, but somehow, something went very very wrong. Now I don't mind going into a cinema during the third reel and waiting for the beginning after the break. But in this case, the last half of the movie was so inarguably ridiculous, so patently preposterous, I didn't bother staying to see the beginning. Amy Smart sex scene or not, Geri Halliwell cameo or not, I didn't want to wait another 30 minutes to sit through this crap.
And it's not just the story. Now if you've taken a film class, they'll tell you the camera shake from hand held camera work is used to create an uneasiness in the viewer. But the director has the camera on some guy's shoulder the ENTIRE movie! Talk about queasy-making. Plus it seems that the cameraman AND the editor AND the director AND the actors... pretty much everyone involved down to the caterers are all on crack. The whole movie is like some bad trip full of cuts and odd angles and over the top acting. It's a total mess.
It's amazing, but despite having two very beautiful actresses (Amy Smart and Bai Ling) in the cast, they manage to make them both more unnattractive then I have ever seen them. I found myself wanting to shot Ling myself and Smart is little more than the girl in the short dress showing off her legs in the street. Both act like ridiculous caricatures.
Even the action is kind of blah. Sure there's ALOT of it, but it's boring unimaginitive stuff made even worse by the crazy camera work. During the last scene, a guy pulls out a pair of nunchucks! He proceeds to do the requisite nunchuck twirling, hits a guy once with it, and then throws it away. I don't know if it was supposed to be a joke or what, but it fell totally flat.
The effects don't help either. There's a scene with a guy on fire beating the crap out of people. Instead of a stunt guy, they digitally "painted" the flames in. Absolutely awful. And don't get me started on the reveal at the end. I don't want to spoil it, but it is undeniably, the worst worst worst effects job I've seen in a long time. Not only is it a bad effect, but it's worse than the end reveal of "Knowing" which was the mother of all cop outs.
Bottom line; don't waste your time. If you're a fan of Smart and want to see her pole dance, then wait for the DVD.
|Genre:||Action & Adventure|
This is a PUNISHER movie.
If you know anything about him, it's clear Frank Castle isn't the typical superhero. Do you actually expect to have a nice an shiny PG-13 movie about a man who executes criminals without trial? The man lives in the sewers with enough firepower to support a couple of wars. The Punisher isn't going to have any dilemmas about "with great power comes..." blah blah blah. There's no stuggle to control his inner animal. He's not facing adversity because he's different from everyone else.
The Punisher is a guy who kills bad guys.
It's really that simple. In the movie, there are short references to his origin (family was having a picnic, witnessed a mafia rub-out, were shot, lone survivor) which is really MORE than you need to know. If you want an idea about what this movie is about, go back to the old westerns and classic revenge pictures. You've seen "Deathwish" right? Charles Bronson? No? "Get Carter"? What's wrong with you! "Taken"! You've seen that right?! Liam Neeson torturing some dude who took his daughter? Yes! That's what this is. A bad man out to get badder men.
And does he ever. Gosh I can't describe how much fun it is to watch him go at it. The gore in this movie isn't like in "Hostel" or "Saw". There's a certain freedom granted to a character that is out to do evil to evildoers. You can't judge him like you would the bastards in torture porn films. When Frank puts his fist THROUGH a thug's face, you'll gasp, but then you'll cheer. Because that bastard deserved it. I'm not saying it's right, I'm saying that it's that kind of movie.
I've heard people say that you can't make a Punisher film, but this is a damn fine one. After watching it, I pulled my copy of Thomas Jane's Punisher from a few years back. Let me tell you, that thing was utterly craptastic. Not only did it take liberties with his origins, it relocated him to Miami of all places. There are reasons why CSI Miami is the worst one. Everything about this movies screamed "I am the ass end of Hollywood action film making. Kill me please".
Watching Punisher War Zone on the other hand screams, "Grab a bucket of popcorn and freeze frame me when Frank blows this guy's head off with a shotgun!"
Now if only it had Dolph Lundgren and Louis Gossett Jr. in it.
|Genre:||Action & Adventure|
Me, I'm a sucker for instant gratification.
I watched it a few days after it hit the Net and rough cut missing 10 minutes or not, I liked it. I'm sure all the purists and fanboys will egg me and call me an asshat, but if you look at it as a completely separate piece of work, it's fun. It's no timeless classic, I grant you, but it's genuinely entertaining.
All the things you've heard about from the studio are true. You'll see the wires supporting the actors, you'll see the raw animatics rather than the finished cgi, and you'll see scratched in subtitles where there's supposed to be ADR. There are scenes where it's obvious that Wolvie's claws are supposed to be in frame but are not, and there are scenes that are obviously missing elements completely because the matte painters haven't composited them in.
On the plus side, I like their casting. I still think Jackman is a great Wolverine. I don't care if people say "But he's not SHORT!". Who the hell cares if he's not 5'3". Why does he need to be? Because he's short in the comics? That's idiotic. This isn't the comics. It isn't an indie film. It's a Hollywood action spectacular. Get your head out of your ass.
Liev Schreiber as Sabertooth is another great decision. I gotta say, I'd never have pegged him as a choice for the Marauder, but after seeing him in the movie... woah. He's not as disturbing as Ledger's Joker, or as over-the-top as West's Jigsaw. He's just an animal that lives to kill. Which is exactly what Sabertooth has always been. It's nothing like that big, dumb ox in the first X-men movie. He plays it more like an addict with an escalating need for his choice of poison, which of course happens to be tearing people apart with his bag lady nails. You can tell he's having a lot of fun.
By now you should've already heard what they did to Deadpool. I won't spoil it for you if you haven't, but it's one of the things I didn't like. Casting was good; Ryan Reynolds has the same wagging tongue as Wade, so fits right into the role, but later... well you'll see. O really hope some of that 10 minutes of extra footage is going to be more of Reynolds mouthing off. He has far too little screen time.
The biggest problem with the flick is the same problem that I had with Last Stand. Too many fucking mutants. As if the Weapon X team with Sabertooth, Wolverine, Deadpool, et al wasn't enough, they throw in a bunch of other people who don't need to be there. Sure Gambit's cool, but he's a poorly concealed MacGuffin if I've ever seen one. Same with Cyclops. Would it have affected the movie in the slightest if they did not include either? Nope.
Since it's an effect driven "event" film, I suggest you don't go into it expecting anything deep. Don't kid yourself. It's a fluff piece to capitalize on the popularity and salebility of the Wolverine character, so the studio (and Marvel... and Hasbro) are going to do everything in their power to maximize the reach of this movie. If you want a dark, bloody romp, go see Punisher War Zone. This is more of your Hollywood summer action blockbuster. Lots of testosterone, bullets (or claws), explosions, fights, effects...
Just not a whole lot of story.
Either way, I'm definitely gonna watch this in the theatres and hope the don't mess up any of the good stuff since this version was leaked.
Originally posted at slangards.multiply.com on Apr 16, '09
Smokescreen is yet another repaint of the Universe Prowl mold. We've already got the Silverstreak repaint in wave 3 and I've done a review of both of them. Since there's doesn't seem to be ANY retooling between the three, I suggest you read that one if you want to read about details of the articulation or sculpt.
The back of his card says that Smokescreen's a master of misdirection. In the TV series, he was a rally car that put out copious amounts of smoke when ever the 'Bots needed to make a run for it. It wasn't the most glorious role a guy could have in the army, but I'm sure he saved many of his fellows tails. Let's face it, if the Transformers were for real, Optimus and friends would get their butts kicked alot.
Originally posted on Apr 16, '09 at slangards.multiply.com
If you've read my Ironhide review than you know most of what you need to know about this toy. It has all the range of motion that Ironhide does (including the superb balljointed ankles), the G1 faithful robot design, the cool gun, etc.
It still shares the same problems as well, with an ugly, ugly vehicle mode, horrible windows, and unpainted rims. Thankfully, they remembered to paint his face this time.
Thankfully, I didn't have to pay Red Hulk Wave prices for these babies. Instead of p9k, I shell out p6.4k. As someone recently pointed out to me, (in mocking tones) "that's expensive". To which of course I replied, (in geeky pontificating voice) "No it's not! That's only p800 per figure. I paid almost p1,300 each for my Red Hulk figures. I'm actually saving here!".
If I try really hard I almost believe it.
I'm still loving the packages on the Hasbro Marvel Legends. If you're careful, you can open 2 sides of the clamshell, pull out the tray and get access to the figure and Build-A-Figure (BAF) piece without destroying the card. If you like displaying toys in their packages, you can slip them right back in anytime. Of course, if you're an MOC collector, these still suck since they are so easily damaged. Virtually all units that are available in retail outlets here have bent cards since the series is being sold by set only and is wrapped up tight in a plastic bag.
Let's go in order of suckage to awesomsauce. First up is Beast. I know, I know. Say what? Everyone and his mother wants to get an Astoninshing X-Men Beast. It's the reason half of them bought it in the first place! I say unto thee, *phbbbt*! He is the suck.
He is everything I hate about the things Hasbro changed in the Legends line. Sloppy paint, mediocre sculpt, awful AWFUL articulation. The one here has decent paint (though the lines still aren't clean), but I saw a few examples with really crappy color bleeds. Being unable to really pick and choose a nice one makes it even worse.
If you place him next to the X-Men Classics Stealth Beast variant, you'll see what I mean by sculpt. Even if you don't take the paint wash into consideration, the older one looks much more realistic. This one looks like it was just won at a carnival. If I had the skill, I'd rather custom my own from the XMC beast.
His articulation is unbelievably bad. Really horrendous. The poses you see below are the extent of his ability really. Sad, considering he's supposed to be ultra agile. Going from head to toe: His hair makes head movement non-existent. His hip joints are blocked by the pants so movement is limited. lack of thigh cuts or their equivalent means he's contained to having his legs open wide, in a half-assed lotus position, and standing. He doesn't even have the weird ball/hinge joint Hasbro seems to be so proud of.
Next up is Black Bolt. I hear he's one of the big characters in the MU right now, with a new title, War of Kings coming out, so it's another toy alot of people want. You'd think they would have put more effort into putting out a good product. Not so much. He's not the total failure that Beast is, but it's pretty close.
He shares the same body as Adam Warlock, and while I liked that figure, it wasn't for his body (...it was for his sense of humor! ba dum bum ching!). So old Blackagar Boltagon shares the same articulation problems, but doesn't get the retro gear or the 80's do. To make matters worse, his wings look like an after thought. The one I opened looks awful, with tattered edges right out of the box. If you fold them up, they don't look right at all. I suggest putting him in a flying position att the top of your shelf and leaving him there for all eternity.
Nova is one of those figures I just can't decide on. Somewhere between the suck and the meh. I think he's using Moon Knight's body, but that's in the plus category. It's a great looking design that has tons of articulation. But it looks as if they did some re tooling with it in the hands and feet area. His hands are both articulated, but he can't make a proper fist. He looks great flying though.
He's another big deal character in the MU right now, heading up the Nova Corp (this still sounds like total knock off on the Green Lantern Corp). I don't know why they didn't put more effort into him.
The next one up is Punisher. This is the figure that made me really want this set. I was never really wowed by the previous punisher toys, but the prototype shots of this one really got me. It's based on Tim Bradstreet's version of the Punisher which is very distinctive. He looks a hell of alot like the Ray Stevenson movie version.
There are two versions in the series, the classic black and white one, and one in camoflage tones and face paint. Since I didn't have a punisher toy at all, I opened both. There are a few details that I don't like, but overall it's a win for Hasbro.
Though he's got excellent articulation below the waist, there are some missing joints above. One, he doesn't have a waist. His body turns, but it's dependent on the stomach crunch joint. It works, but not well. Two, he's got the stupid Hasbro combination joint for elbows which limits his poses with the guns. Bugger. Another thing is that his skin pics up dirt and stains like nothing I've seens since Kingpin's white coat! It turns grey almost immediately from dirt on your hands. I have to keep cleaning him.
They really should have included a few more accessories with him. If any character needed more gear it's Frank. In the Punisher #4 cover, he's got a web-belt and is loaded for bear. A shoulder harness with another pistol, an assault rifle and a few grenades would have made this guy the pick of the litter. It's gonna be hard finding things that will fit. His hands are sculpted to hold his own guns and other Legends weaponry doesn't fit, even if they're in scale. Still, with a little work and some judicious toy hunting, I'm sure I'll be able to equip both my Punishers for their own little war on crime.
Tigra is the surprise wild card for me. She was going to be one of those that I'd consider selling in a few months, but after trying the toy out, I found that it's well made with decent sculpt, articulation, and paint.
Next to the other female Legends, I think toy making is coming a long way. It's really improved from Hasbro's first attempt with Emma Frost and looks much more natural and feminine. It's even an improvement on She Hulk from the Fin Fang Foom wave. You need to watch out for paint though. Of the two I saw, one has noticably cleaner register lines than the other.
Articulation isn't the best, but if sacrificing a few joints gives you a more feminine figure, then so be it. That may be a double standard, but with female figures, I think sculpt is much more important than adding a double knew joint.
Last, but by far the best... Daredevil.
Since I already had the Frank Miller Daredevil (Face Off), I wasn't too keen on getting another, but again, it was a nice surprise to find out that this was a great toy that brought together everything. He really is the best of both worlds, retaining the super articulation of Toy Biz, while getting an improved more realistic design.
Daredevil is another character that has gotten quite a few incarnations in plastic. None were ever really that great. You had the Ben Affleck one, the one with the big head, the one from the boxset, and the face off one that looks... odd. I'm glad to say that this IS the definitive Daredevil.
The only problem is that the string that connects his billy clubs is loose and tends to get un-tied alot.
Thats it. One thing. The rest is pure awesome.
Ok, I said last, but I forgot the entire reason this set is a must have; HOLOCAUST... or Nemesis. I like "Holocaust". It sounds scarier.
This guy is just amazing. He's not a Pitt sized BAF, but maybe a little bigger than the Red Hulk. Pretty good, size he's supposed to be a normal sized guy in a suit. The material he's composed of is a transluscent plastic, though not as clear as the one pictured in the test shots released by Hasbro last year. Still, it works great. There are little blurry dots all over that simulate the energy that is supposed to be contained in his suit. Kewlness.
Like the Red Hulk, he shares the same kind of soft ratcheted joints. They dont "clack!" like the old BAFs anymore. It's a great improvement. I don't get scared posing him now. Everything stays im place wonderfully once posed.
He's got a few surprises. One, he's got an extra joint on his wrist. Lord knows Hasbro didn't need to give us one there, but there it is. He also has a removable helmet/faceplate thing. It flips up and back to expose his skeletal remains (which are fully sculpted by the way). yuck. To top it off, his skeleton neck has a compound joint that allows the head to look in any direction! score!
He is surprisingly stable and can hold a bunch of poses that look great with the AOA Sunfire figure. If they had a few more AOA characters, it would be quite a display. BLINK, Hasbro! BLINK!
There are more hits than misses in this set, and if you have p6.4k to drop on toys and are a fan of some of the characters here, I say get it. If all you want is one character, you may need to just wait for a collector to get tired of it and sell it off at a slightly higher price.