Friday, July 08, 2005

Land of The Dead -- Just another zombie movie

All the hype about this movie led me to expect something different. The world is overrun with zombies ,or 'Stenches', who appear to be trying to act out their former roles when they were alive. This imitation behavior leads to more learning and lifts the zombies to the intelligence level of cannibalistic mongoloid cavemen.
Despite all these new features in a zombie movie it does nothing to make this feel like a different zombie flick. Now this is probably a good thing as it could have really sucked with all these elements, but I was still looking forward to a real change in the zombie genre. All you really end up with is a Mad Max or Tank Girl movie with not so dumb zombies in it. There's a big Tank called Dead Reckoning (which looks a lot like the souped-up trucks in the Dawn of The Dead remake) that gets plenty of screen time blasting zombies with chain guns and launching sky flowers to distract zombies. Plenty of dismemberment and people getting eaten alive which goes without saying of course.
The acting isn't fantastic but it doesn't suck too bad either. The ending is pretty open with no certain consequences, just the idea that life and undead life goes on.
This is a move for zombie fans who just want more zombie gore. Anyone expecting anything new will feel somewhat disappointed.

Friday, July 01, 2005

DefJam Fight for New York -- WWF and rappers, a surprising success

This game has been out for two years and didn't blip on my radar until I sampled the first game Def Jam Vendetta. The sequel improves on it 100% with a character builder for story mode and a huge selection of fighters, most of whom are real live rappers that you can unlock and play as in different game modes. The fighting system is reminiscent of WWF wrestling but much deeper and it doesn't just focus on wrestling but also landing combos on your opponent with a variety of punches and kicks.
What really makes Def Jam unique is that this is a fighting game with an actual story for its story mode that you can follow without reading any history from the manual. The story isn't fantastic, but it's entertaining and provides the setting for underground fighting rings in New York. The music is from the artists who are portrayed in the game: Snoop Dog, Redman, Ludacris, and even some oldies like Flava Flav. Needless to say the music fits the game.
The arenas you fight in can be fully utilized to turn the tables on your opponent. Smash him into a wall and then kick him against it repeatedly, jump off rope posts or steel supports to perform flying attacks, or even throw your opponent against his own Hummer's windshield. Another element in the ring is the audience. They provide you with weapons such as bottles, wrenches, pool sticks, pipes and a lot of other miscellaneous crap. The crows will also hold your opponent for you to perform a tag attack or just plain beat him up with stuff. The game is a little difficult at first but when you get used to the unusual controls and fighting style the game becomes almost repetitive and easy until you reach the far end of the game.
I'm not a big rap fan but that didn't stop me from enjoying this innovative fighting game. Grab this one.

War of The Worlds -- Now includes patriotic agenda!

Think of this movie as Saving Private Ryan mixed with Jaws. Spielberg uses his war movie experience to create a realistic and tense feeling as alien tripods vaporize the populace of every major city in the world. There are also the brief horrifying moments of surprise and imminent doom.
Tom Cruise manages to not annoy by being an action hero. He instead comes through as he should; a crappy weekend dad named Ray who just wants to survive invasion with his whiney kids intact. Tim Robbins plays the same guy he did in Mystic River and the same thing happens to him, he goes nuts and gets killed for it. The use of extras was excellent. Humans behaved as they usually do in rare and dangerous events. People panic, gather in large and easy-to-wipe-out groups, become mindlessly selfish, and generally do stupid and mindless acts of blind terror.
What was different about this update to War of The Worlds was that instead of just showing us invasion, Spielberg shows us phase two of the Martians plan for dominating earth.

*Spoiler Alert* We knew about blowing up cities, but we didn't know they had any interests with us personally. We learn that the Martians (tripedal ripoffs of the aliens from Independence Day) will attempt to terraform Earth by planting vines from Mars and fertilizing it with our blood. The process includes getting picked out of a basket and having a tentacle stab you with a hollow needle and sucking out your blood which gets sprayed out of the tripods vents. It was and awesome scene. I can't think of a better way of owning the predominant race of a planet you're conquering.

So if you're going to watch this movie for fun's sake and not think about it, by all means enjoy yourself. Those of you who analyze the films you see, I have annoying news.

First off, the patriotic agenda. There are several scenes that seem to symbolize that it wasn't just germs that save Earth, but the spirit of freedom living in each and every American.
When Tom runs out of his house to check out the thunder storm you see that every house on his side of the street all have American flags waving from them. Another scenes features the Minute Man statue in Boston with decaying Mars vines all over it, but the rest of the city has healthy Mars plants. This may or may not annoy you, but come on, the world is in peril, not just the USA.

Someone in the movie mentions the theory that these machines were put on earth millions of years ago so that when the plans were finished the Martians could begin their invasion. Why the hell wouldn't they invade when there was practically zero resistance on earth those million years ago?

*Spoiler Alert* Somehow Robby, Ray's son, manages to survive a front line dissolving of American tanks and makes it Grandma's house in Boston. And Grandma's house in a trashed Boston is untouched and everyone is fine. WTF!? Did we just step into a fairy tale just a little bit? They didn't even kill off the rich step-dad.

This movie is in no way smart, it's just an above par action movie that's fun to see but frustrating to think about.