Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends Movie Review

Posted in Action Adventure, Anime, Fan Service, Manga, Movies, My Stuff on September 29th, 2014 by thelonegamer

Rurouni Kenshin ends with style.

And here it is. Just a few weeks after Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno hit theaters in Manila, the third flick of Kenshin ‘Battousai’ Himura (played by the androgynous Takeru Sato) arrived, finishing the story of the Japanese swordsman with the cross-shaped scar. Of course, being a fan of the anime, I really didn’t buy into the ‘cliffhanger’ of Episode 2- Kaoru and Kenshin both thrown into storm-tossed seas? Meh. Kaoru missing? As if. This was all setup for the Final Battle you just knew was inevitable, and all that matters really was that it would kick ass like no other. Perhaps with that in mind, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends pretty much throws in all the action into this sequel’s second half (or final third) in its two-hour running time.

Now, if you’re watching RKTLE, it is assumed you have watched at least the 2nd flick, if not both preceding movies. This means pretty much you are invested into director Keishi Otomo’s film adaptation (or are with someone who is). The movie eases into the flow right from the end moments of the prequel- really, you can watch the two movies back-to-back. Kenshin, who jumped into the roiling seas to rescue his lady love, Kaori Kamiya (Emi Takei), who was kicked off the decks of the Rengoku by the baddies. Unfortunately, he fails to find her, himself only barely surviving and getting washed up on a beach the morning after. Serendipitously, he is found by the one person in the world that matters- his Master and teacher in the Hiten Mitsurugi Style of Swordsmanship, Seijuro Hiko (Masaharu Fukuyama). After he awakens (three days later), Kenshin pleads with his master to teach him the Final Technique of Hiten Mitsurugi, in order to defeat Shishio.

What happens next is- well, little in the course of about an hour or so, as Kenshin spends what seems to be an eternity getting beat up by Seijuro’s tough love training. Meanwhile, the rest of the Kenshingumi (Sanosuke Sagara, Yahiko Myoujin, Megumi and the Aoiya Ninja) are at a loss with their two leads missing. Shishio and his minions are chilling on their giant battleship, shelling a town and extorting the Japanese government into declaring Kenshin culpable for his past crimes and sentencing the Rurouni to a public execution. Because, well, reasons. This never happened in the anime or manga (heck, why would Shishio bother? Oh well) but I guess it gives the many dozens of actors playing policemen more action to do. Heheh.

Once Kenshin finally emerges from his training sabbatical, things begin to pick up. Everyone converges for the final third, which gives way to a seemingly non-stop all-action final battle extravaganza which gladly makes all the wait worth it. The bloody brilliant confrontation between Shishio and… well, EVERYONE is freakin’ cool and caps off this flick with style.

There are, of course, many points that fans may grip with. With a finale that has so many characters, it is almost a given that there will be shortcuts. Whereas the 2nd movie snuck in two major battles with two of Shishio’s fearsome ‘Ten Swords’ (Juppongatana) henchmen, The Legend Ends is barely able to match that- aside from the given rematch between Kenshin and Sojiro Seta (which I found quite satisfying though Ryunosuke Kamiki eventually acting like he had a brain tumor was kinda a bit over), we only see about to other of the Ten Swords in action- blind swordsman Usui, who was a considerable baddie in the anime and manga is only given a couple of kinda-scenes, but at least he gets offed by the same guy.
Then there’s the fight between Sanosuke and Anji, which fills in at least the quota for Sano to show some funny action. But everyone else- blink and you’ll miss some of the Ten Swords being led away by the cops at the end.

But then, this is all about the Battle between Shishio and Kenshin, and this is the heart of the movie- it’s a long and knockdown, drag-out bloody to the hilt battle that starts off one-on-one then moves to two on one and finally FOUR on one before it boils down to the last moment. The most impressive parts are whenever Shishio swings his fiery sword though, with Kenshin’s signature Amakakeru being slightly expected, but the end was impressive nevertheless.

The cast is still in fine form, but I award the best performances to Tatsuya Fujiwara’s Shishio who just screams badassand stands up favorably to his manga and anime incarnations, down to the final, evil death laugh. The best villains don’t fade away, they BURN away.

That all said, I guess Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends is yet another third part of a trilogy that is sadly inferior to the second flick (Kyoto Inferno is the best-paced with the most consistent action). A bit of a top-heavy gargantuan, The Legend Ends impresses with a bombastic finale, but it was more of the enemy kicking ass and didn’t have enough of the good guy ‘Yes!’ moments that would have made this more crowd-pleasing. And No Kamatari in action, dammit!

Still, if you watched the first and second parts, this is a no-brainer watch, and I say you need to watch it in a theater full of like-minded Kenshin fans. Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends is now showing in Metro Manila theaters.

Tekken 7: Savate Fighting Style?

Posted in Arcade, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Movies, Tekken, Tekken 7 on September 23rd, 2014 by thelonegamer

Action from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

We’ve all heard about the upcoming new female character Catalina for Tekken 7. She’s going to be a sassy, vocal combatant, prone to taunting her opponent. She’s going to be noob-friendly. AND by the way, she practices a martial art called Savate. Savate is a French kickboxing style that emphasizes the use of the feet- which is different from Muay Thai which uses also the shins and knees.

So how does Savate look in action? You can probably find a lot of clips online to show this, but I think one cool clip can be seen in the Marvel Comics’ sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. At the start of the movie, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) battles an acrobatic, high-kicking Georges Batroc (Georges St.Pierre) AKA Batroc the Leaper, who should be using Savate. Pretty cool stuff, I have to say. Will Catalina be as slick as that? Well, as Cap says, ‘Let’s see.’

The Lone Gamer’s Movie Review: Rurouni Kenshin Kyoto Inferno

Posted in Anime, Movies, My Stuff on September 9th, 2014 by thelonegamer

Now when do we get our live-action Revenge Arc?

When I saw the first Rurouni Kenshin live-action flick a couple of years ago, I was satisfied and inwardly pleased- but I honestly didn’t expect a sequel. Well lo and behold, two years later, we will not be getting a sequel but TWO sequels, in the form of a two-part epic adapting the series’ most beloved story arc (both in the manga and in the anime series).

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno starts off the tale strong, with a small army of Japanese Meiji-Era police on the prowl to capture a notorious criminal named Makoto Shishio (an unrecognizable Tatsuya Fujiwara or Nanahara for you Battle Royale fans). Though led by the cigarette-smoking former samurai Saito Hajime (Yosuke Eguchi), the police are pretty much massacred and Saito left all by his lonesome to chat with Shishio, who makes an impressive and suitably demonic first appearance, surrounded by hanging bodies of dying constables and backed by his own cultish group of chanting monks and blade-twirling henchmen.

The ball is soon thrown to our man, Kenshin Himura (Takeru Sato), our androgynous, gentleman retired-super assassin, who has been living the quiet life in the Kamiya Dojo with Kaoru Kamiya (Emi Takei). With every police detachment sent to apprehend Shishio being wiped out, the government’s head, Home Minister Okubo (Kazufumi Miyazawa) turns to the legendary Battousai. It turns out that Shishio was Kenshin’s replacement after he turned Rurouni. Though Kenshin is advised by everyone he cares about to refuse the mission, events soon take it out of their control (and of course we wouldn’t have much of a movie then would we?).

The first chapter of the Shishio Saga adaptation includes Kenshin’s acceptance of the quest to rid the land of his successor, his first journey into Shishio’s occupied territories and his meetings with several important allies and villains- including Makimachi Misao (Tao Tsuchiya), a feisty young kunoichi or ninja, and the staff of the Aoiya Inn in Kyoto- all former Shogunate Ninja, and Cho the Sword Hunter (Ryosuke Miura), the first of Shishio’s minions he fights. Also lurking in the sidelines (but thankfully having the direction sense of Ranma 1/2′s Ryouga) is Aoshi Shinomori (Yusuke Iseya), another former ninja-turned swordsman looking to challenge the Battousai.

I have to say that this is a very Japanese film in style, flavor and feel- anyone not familiar with the source material may feel a bit out of it- particularly because the flick doesn’t explain much… it just assumes you have watched the first film at least, or are a fan of the anime/manga. Which is FINE since otherwise, you wouldn’t be watching. Heh.

At more than two hours, this costumed, period epic and anime adaptation will surely please Rurouni Kenshin fans and those who enjoyed the first film- it pretty much is an improvement on everything- the story pacing is faster (but still a bit leisurely), the action a lot better and visually more punchy (the high points being the fight between Kenshin and Sojiro, the village battle and of course, the Kyoto finale) and the costumed characters even more anime-ish (and in this case that’s a plus) from Shishio’s bandaged, mummy-like visage to Cho’s blonde coifs that would make Paul Phoenix and Guile bristle with jealousy. You just gotta love it.

Of course, the film ends with a MAMMOTH cliffhanger, but thankfully we don’t have to wait too long- Part 2, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends, is set to arrive here in Manila on September 24.

I feel so lucky that RK is so beloved here in the Philippines we Pinoys get a special release so soon after Japan. Heheh. Till then, I may find myself rewatching the anime over and over till late September. All I can say is, I can’t wait to see Kenshin finally, FINALLY, do THE stance. Heheh. Can’t. Freakin’. Wait.

The Lone Gamer’s Review: X-men Days of Future Past

Posted in Action Adventure, Movies, My Stuff on May 26th, 2014 by thelonegamer

It all comes together here.

The X-men movie series has had its ups an downs. The first one was a fair attempt at doing an X-motion picture but it played too safe and was… uh… boring. X2 was filled to the rim with action but heavy-handed and a bit tiring. X3 The Last Stand was a dark horse, hated by most (I actually kinda liked it) but made lots of changes that pretty much crippled the franchise. So when X-men: First Class arrived many saw it as a reboot. Well, surprise, surprise- all the X-films are connected, they are supposed to fit together which kinda boggles the mind.

But with X-men: Days of the Future Past, somehow, someway Bryan Singer manages to tie this mismatched package of films together, solve the problems that shot this series in the foot previously AND come up with easily the best film in the franchise and one of the best superhero flicks yet seen (this after that Superman Returns nightmare. WOW!)

Adapting one of the most acclaimed story arcs in the X-men comics, Days of Future Past tackles the multi-issue epic in about two hours and- well, largely succeeds.
We see in the near future (2023) that the world has gone to hell in a Terminator-esque Rise of the Machines kind of way, with Sentinels- giant evil robots- having taken over, exterminating every mutant they can find and enslaving or oppressing everyone else (since normal humans have been proven to actually birth mutants, hah).
With this nightmare scenario now real and defeat imminent, the last few mutants- led by old foes Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) enact one last, desperate plan- to send back someone into the past (well, their consciouscness at least) to somehow prevent the single crucial event that caused the whole problem in the first place. That’s called nipping things in the bud.

Logan AKA Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) both volunteers and is decided, thanks to his healing factor (which keeps his brain okay despite the whole process of being sent back so far in time pretty much frying his grey stuff) and the fact that he never seems to age. He awakens in his younger body waaaay back in 1973, his mission to somehow get the younger versions of Professor X and Magneto (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, respectively) to stop a determined Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating the Sentinels’ creator, Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). Of course, time is against the good guys as while the days count down to the fateful event, time continues to move onward in the future, with the Sentinels ever coming closer and closer to the mutant rebels.

There are so many awesome things in X-Men DoFP, one being that it brings together the two ‘teams’ of Professor X and Magneto (well, kinda). Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are still their sedate, serene old versions which we know and love, but really- it’s their younger, more energetic and passionate selves that are a joy to watch. James McAvoy’s younger Xavier is broken, unstable and hopeless (but not hairless- hey, why so sad, dude?), while Fassbender’s Magneto is so square-jawed and badass you really just want to follow him into battle, if only he wasn’t such a damn ass. Seeing them slip into their roles again, which they do like freakin’ silk stockings, is wonderful.

Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine isn’t so much the center as he is our avatar and a bit of an outsider, and in this movie he has to rein in a lot of the violence you know his character is given to- something he accomplishes gamely, and it does reiterate that even with all his flaws against the comic book (he’s really much too good-looking but hey, ladies will love the X-men just for him) but I think the series is blessed to have him as its frontrunner.

Though I miss Rebecca Romjin-Stamos‘ original, Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique is intense and always a joy to watch (who knew naked blue babes were so… um… interesting), and this film like none before give her so much more to do- the character is both villain and anti-heroine which works. Another big surprise and awesome bit of the movie is Evan Peters‘ Quicksilver- a young mutant speedster recruited for the mutant cause who saves the team’s bacon in a 2-minute slow-motion scene that is spectacular, hilarious, cute and jaw-dropping at the same time. Let me just say that Jim Croce’s ‘Time in a Bottle’ song is sure to become a new hit on the iTunes Store very soon.

The film also surprises that it brings together almost everyone of note from all the previous films- and while some are reduced to almost-cameos, everyone who appears has a purpose and makes an impact, and adds to the overall result- which is a truly wonderful ensemble work of superhero cinema that has satisfies excellently with gobs of action and special effects as well as humanity, characters to root for and a story to absorb you. And oh, it’s all so much freakin’ FUN.

X-men: Days of Future Past is not only the best X-men film yet, it’s also one of the best Superhero films, period. I walked away from this with a smile, my faith in humanity and the future restored. Don’t let this gem pass you by- go watch it in the theater and enjoy the present.

The Lone Gamer Reviews Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Posted in Comics, Fan Service, Fantasy, Movies, My Stuff on March 31st, 2014 by thelonegamer

The First Avenger returns for what may be the best Marvel movie yet.

I’ve been a fan of Marvel Comics for most of my life, but honestly, never been much of a Captain America fan. It’s not that I didn’t like him- he just seemed to be the least interesting. He really didn’t have much in terms of powers- just lots-better-than-normal strength and speed, combat training and, well, that shield. Panels, or even the early movies that tried to portray Steve Rogers, could never really properly show how badass the character could be (well, the same could be said of any superhero). The first Captain America movie was a pleasant surprise to me, warming me up to the character just as much as Iron Man and Downey did with that hero. The Avengers made me like Cap a lot more. This film made me a bonafide fan finally.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a very interesting hybrid of film- supposedly its a Superhero flick, but the characters pretty much seen are on the non-superhuman (or just semi-super, as Cap is) side of the power scale. With the prime focus being on Cap and his relationship with SHIELD, the world’s ‘Good’ Spy Organization, it’s as much techno-thriller or espionage action film than your usual tights and capes movie. It’s like James Bond on steroids.

The opening, with Captain America (Chris Evans) and the Black Widow (Scarlett Johanssen) going on a Hostage Rescue/Kick Terrorist Butt mission on a hijacked SHIELD ship sets a good tone to expect of the film’s action- lots of super-fast, super-brutal hand-to-hand melee that is freakin’ awesome. What I said about Captain America never looking badass before? The first few seconds of him storming the ship and taking out mercs second by second sets that up. The fight with Batros the Leaper (an old Marvel villain, btw) hits it out of the park.

From there, things start rolling and there’s never really a dull moment. Steve Rogers is still not cozy with SHIELD’s way of doing things- to say it is ‘Pro-active’ would be putting it lightly. It keeps him at odds with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), SHIELD’s pragmatic director. But it soon becomes apparent that there’s more working behind the scenes than even Fury was aware of, and it soon ignites in a violent assault by enemies unknown that soon puts Captain America behind enemy lines in the middle of his own country.

I don’t want to post any spoilers about the storyline, save that it’s smart, quite updated to today’s war on terror vibes and has lots of twists and turns that will keep you guessing for a while, as well as nods and references to past movies in the Marvel series that will make you gasp, smile and feel glad that you watched them all. There’s action all over the place, great character exposures from not only Cap but Black Widow (Man, Scarlett is at the top of her game in this one) and in particular Nick Fury (FINALLY we get to see the world’s Top Spy kick ass) the newly-introduced Sam Wilson AKA Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and more. Perhaps sadly the least developed is the titular Winter Soldier (played by Sebastian Stan), but man does he look goddamn badass and scary everytime he shows up.

Engaging and exciting throughout with an explosive endgame, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is among the best of the Marvel Comics’ movies to date- easily this is one I can watch over and over for all the cool action and the twisting story and the tons of cool characters. It just makes me want MORE. Keep it up, Marvel. You’re doing great.

TIP: Do not miss the mid-credits scene. The end credits scene is a bit disappointing though. Oh well.

Guardians of the Galaxy World Premiere Trailer

Posted in Action Adventure, Fan Service, Fantasy, Movies on February 19th, 2014 by thelonegamer

Aw, yeah.

Okay, let me get this out. I was a big comic fan years ago (these days I’m a bit too busy to read much but still), and even then- Guardians of the Galaxy wasn’t that big a title in the Marvel Universe. So it’s quite something that Marvel Studios would go all out for a movie on this relatively obscure comic. Still, I guess the title is as clear as it can go, and who can go wrong with a Sci-Fi comedy/action SFX-heavy flick?
Have to say as well that this Guardians’ team is nothing like the comics I remember- the Guardians I remember were Vance Astrovik, the crystalline Pluvian, Martinex, the Jovian Charlie-27 and Yondu the Centaurian. The issues I remember reading had these mismatched cosmic commandos battling the reptilian Badoon, who had conquered Earth.

Of the current lineup in the film, I recognize Rocket Raccoon, who had his own obscure series, and Dave Bautista‘s Destroyer is probably a redo of the character Drax the Destroyer. The others- all new to me.

In any case, the movie looks slick as rain-soaked black concrete, and if the story’s good this may be something to see. I will make it a point to see this when it comes out later this year.

Musing About The Next Star Wars Films (Return of the Geriatric Heroes)

Posted in Fan Service, Fantasy, Movies, My Stuff on January 23rd, 2014 by thelonegamer

News to ponder about the future of a Galaxy Far, Far Away.

So many things have happened to the Star Wars franchise recently, and I have to admit that while I have had harsh words and thoughts about the Prequel Trilogy and pretty much most everything George Lucas did after the original three films, I am STILL a freakin’ Star Wars fan. Always will be. So I do care what happens to it from here.

Disney now owns the rights to make new films. J.J. Abrams is gonna direct. Both of these are actually positives for me. Storytelling is a strong point, and Disney’s wholesome overall character fits well with the relatively ‘clean’ character of SW. As for J.J. Abrams, I love his work on Alias, Mission Impossible and others as very heavy into character nuances and personality (him and Whedon are my faves).
With that out of the way, I still have to wonder- even with the endless realms of adventure and stories that can be done with Star Wars, what will the roles be of the Old Gang AKA Han, Luke and Leia?

All three actors- Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are in their late 60s or early 70s, not exactly built for adventures at Hyper-light speeds. I goddamn love Harrison Ford, but watching him in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was painful. Mark Hamill? Best heard instead of seen. Carrie Fisher? Yikes. Queen Mother Leia I guess?

Kidding aside, I think the roles of the original heroes should still be pivotal to the films as they can allow, and hopefully not just for nostalgia like Leonard Nimoy’s Spock in the new Star Treks. But I am almost sure they’ll be sharing the limelight alongside a younger cast of newbloods and younglings.

I have to wonder though- will Han be still wearing the trademark leather vest? It’s not vital though, I say- Han IS Harrison Ford no matter what he wears. As for Luke- all in black, with a heavy, deep jedi hood for mystery (and hiding those wrinkles) would kinda make him look like the Emperor but a good guy. And Leia- all white, plus Amidala’s geisha makeup may be a good look. Heheh.

Anyways, there’s a galaxy of possibilities and I for one am happy that there will be new Star Wars coming in the years ahead- and that the same performers who brought it to life for us Oldies are still there to be along with us. I’d have it no other way.

Another Live-action Tekken Movie in the Works? UPDATED!

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, Movies, My Stuff, Tekken on January 14th, 2014 by thelonegamer

More live-action Tekken coming?

Recently there has been some rumor going on that the director of Ong Bak is working on a new Tekken movie. Even more, this new film will be prequel to the previously-released 2009 film. YIKES!

Well, apparently this is going on without the blessing or even knowledge of Katsuhiro Harada, Mr. Tekken himself. When asked by a fan about this supposed film on Twitter, Harada answered:

I don’t know. And We don’t know. A lots of wrong information there

Well, that’s no surprise. The Tekken Team were quite disapproving of the first film after all, disassociating themselves with it like nothing. You can check out my review of the live-action Tekken right now. For more info on the supposed upcoming movie, check out Fighter’s Generation’s article.
The 2009 Tekken starred Jon Foo as a revenge-driven Jin Kazama in a bleak future ruled by the Mishima Zaibatsu through the Tekken Tournament. Certainly not the best fighting game movie around, and certainly not that faithful to the franchise but hey, it’s better than Legend of Chun-Li. More on this if and when it happens.

UPDATE: False alarm, folks. The source of the original info, actor Kane Kosugi (DOA: Dead or Alive) was mistaken when saying he was going to star in a new Tekken movie. Kosugi’s official website has just issued a correction (and apology) that the actor will be starring instead in a film called ‘Agent X’, which will be produced by Crystal Sky (which produced the first Tekken film).

And the Tekken World breathed a sigh of relief as calm returned. But for how long..?

Halloween Musings: What Makes a Scary Game?

Posted in Game-related Events, Gaming, Movies, My Stuff, Survival Horror on October 30th, 2013 by thelonegamer

Important rule in surviving horror. Don’t. Look. Back.

Horror is a tricky thing to do, whether it be in movies, books or, yes, games. It’s very easy to go overboard with buckets of gore, slime and layers of prosthetics before you realize in the end, you’ve created not a scary game but a monster-action adventure. Nope, HORROR and scares, suspense, I believe, is not limited to just simple ugly monstrosities going RAAAR… there are things that make horror more effective and deeper. Particularly now, in games, where we’ve pretty much probably seen it all when it comes to monsters- scaring gamers desensitized by years of splatting beasties with plasma guns and rocket launchers is going to take more than the usual.

I think one big mistake games (and their producers, marketers and designers) make is by showing their cards much too early. Almost always in the weeks, months and even years before a game hits shelves, articles in magazines or online have already revealed or shown in detail the opposition they’re going to face. Yeah, it’s different to stare at a zombie sketch or render in a magazine, and when you actually face it in-game… but still, you know what to expect, and you’re kinda prepared.
How about a scary game where the marketing never really shows the enemies you will face? It’s not new, but not often this is done- I think keeping things in suspense in this way is a very important aspect that can keep a scary game’s frights fresh till the time is right. No peeking at the gifts under the tree, after all.

The best scary games know how to set the stage. It’s like cinema, only with the gamers as the stars. Remember in Aliens, where the marines arrive on the stricken colony, where everything has gone Mary Celeste on them. There are signs of struggle, tables and food left in a hurry, menacing messages left by the vanished. Of course, games can’t always take an hour or two with nothing happening before the monsters show, so pacing has to be far faster but doubly effective. In such scenes, music or perhaps the absence of it may be key as well to putting gamers in suspense and expecting the worst.

Perhaps the most tried-and-true scare in any media is the Jump Scare- literally something will pop out in front of you, from out of some crates, behind a door, throw up its three hands and go, BOO! This may also be seen as a pretty lazy or cheap way to get scares, and it’s really more surprise than anything else (unless the gamer has already been creeped out beforehand). The best jump scares will still get you even if you know they’re coming.
Perhaps the most effective Jump Scare for me in film is the scene from the original Alien, where Captain Dallas meets his end. That final bit still makes me go GAH every time- even if it’s the textbook BOO scene.

Man, I refer to the Alien movies so much, don’t I? Perhaps because it’s pretty much a perfect example of atmosphere, buildup and reveal in scares- well, more the first film than any one else- forget everything after Aliens.

Asian Horror and films like The Ring and Ju-On showed the world a new kind of scare- not necessarily the jump scare with gory monsters, but the creep out slow burn scare, the disturbing and the off-kilter.
Yeah, the Grudge didn’t really translate well into games (the Wii Game was laughably horrible but great for laughs) but granted, it did have some good jump scares. Psychological horror it was not though. That’s because Asian horror relies a lot on the victim having a history that ties them to the scares- not something you can easily do with games, not without a bit of backstory or establishment.
I think a good Asian Horror-style game can be done and done well- such as with the very scary old Siren and Fatal Frame games on the old PS2.

Games like The Evil Within and anything coming down the line have a challenge on them- how to scare the gamers in this day and age. Still, it can be done, as games like Amnesia and Outlast have shown they can capably do (haven’t played these games though). Though I feel TEW relies a bit too much on fantastic situations and monsters to be completely scary. PC games have a lot more potential for really creepy games to come, given the menagerie of horror titles already available. But we’ll see. For someone like me, who loves to get creeped out, the best scary game is the one that keeps me awake until the wee hours- ’cause I’m too scared to go to sleep. Heheh.

Happy Halloween, Gamers!

World War Z Movie Review: That’s a LOT of Zombies!

Posted in Action Adventure, Movies, My Stuff on July 9th, 2013 by thelonegamer

Resistance is Futile!

Okay, I never really read the original World War Z novel by Max Brooks, but I got a gist of what it was about thanks to Wikipedia. While the original source material is more like an alternate history tale, the film version starring Brad Pitt is a more conventional action-thriller/apocalyptic virus tale that has some nice imagery and atmosphere to keep you glued to the screen.

Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is a former UN Special Investigator (which seems to mean that he’s kinda like McGyver) who has since retired and is content to just raise his two daughters with his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) in Philadelphia. One day, while on the road with the brood, Gerry is witness to the sudden outbreak of apocalyptic chaos in his neighborhood, and it is only by the seat of their pants that he and his family are able to fly out of Philly before becoming drafted into the ever-growing Zombie Horde.

On a bunch of ships far out at sea, the UN has established their impromptu headquarters to combat the menace. Gerry’s friend and current UN Deputy Secretary General Thierry (Fana Mokoena) and Navy Commander Mullenaro (David Andrews) want him to accompany a young doctor and a team of SEALs on a mission to somehow find a cure for the supposed zombie virus. At first, Gerry refuses, not wanting to leave his family, and it’s only the threat of them being taken off the ship and left somewhere else that Mr. Lane agrees to help save humanity.
From there it’s Gerry and some red shirts off to various flashpoints to find clues to the puzzle, with the deadly zombie infestations hounding them all the way.

The ‘zombies’ in WWZ aren’t your slow, shambling types- which is a huge departure from the book. They’re like the rage zombies of 28 Days Later, on crack. The schtick is that they seem to have a hive mind directive in a way, and their main goal is to propagate their virus. Which means, they swarm and chase humans to bite and infect them, then run off to find someone else to bite. That means there’s little real gore or no scenes of zombie chomping- and it makes me see the WWZ zombies as another version of The Borg. ZomBorgs!

The film works best and is at its most gripping and terrifying at the opening, where the peace and tranquility of everyday life is shattered by these rampaging zomborg groupies. The desperation and fear is the scary thing, as well as other people who may or may not impede you.

Ironically the zombies themselves aren’t THAT scary- they’re not that gory save for their blank eyes and their weird yelps, but the menace and threat that anyone they bite will turn into one of them in seconds brings the dread and the chills.

The concept that other nations are better prepared (but perhaps not as prepared as they thought) is fascinating, which is shown at one point when Lane arrives at Israel. The speed at how things get effed up at one point is another high point of terror in the flick.

Perhaps one thing that just kinda hit me wrong in the script is how they portrayed Pitt’s character as a bit too much attached to his family- no that’s being nice- Gerry Lane is very selfish for quite a bit of the film. Hey, I am all for him being the loving dad, but man, this is a Zombie Apocalypse, and he REFUSES to help because he can’t leave his wife and two high-maintenance kids alone WHEN THEY’RE ALREADY IN THE SAFEST PLACE ON EARTH? Why did it have to take a bit of coercion for him to say, ‘yeah, I’ll do my part in saving the human race’?
This continues later in the flick (that I see a million miles away coming) when Pitt’s loving wife calls him and he forgets his cellphone is not set to silent while they’re on a STEALTH mission.

Lane: I’m all right honey- oh, I just lost my whole team because you alerted every zombie in the neighborhood but that’s okay since I’M still alive. Oh, and next time I’ll call you, okay?

At least this issue is kinda addressed at a certain point. Anyways, moving on, Pitt is perhaps the only big star face in the movie- Matthew Fox apparently played a soldier who rescues Lane in the early part of the movie, but it’s a blink and you’ll miss it moment. The only other recognizable faces are David Morse as a CIA operative and David Andrews (who also played an officer in Terminator Rise of the Machines). Refreshing though is a kick-ass female Israeli soldier named Segen (why does that remind me of Metal Gear?) played by Daniella Kertesz who becomes Lane’s Girl Friday later on.

Overall, World War Z is a competent action thriller; it’s more of a virus movie than a zombie movie, and is entertaining for its concept even if a lot of jump scares and events are predictable and the movie loses any tension a bit too early in its climax. I enjoyed it though and hell, this movie also gave me hope that in such a zombie plague I have a hope of surviviving. Heheh.