Saturday, 28 November 2015

Cheapo DVD Review: Tekken - Kazuya's Revenge (2014)

You may possibly remember that at the start of the month I declared a grandiose plan to review every single one of the DVDs I'd just bought. Well after a bit of a detour, it's time to return to that project.
For DVD #11 we're reviewing a Prequel nobody asked for.


 A young man wakes up in a strange room with no memory. Luckily there isn't a tiger in the next room or a traffic cone on top of the wardrobe but he does get armed goons kicking in his door. After a bit of a fracas, our amnesiac hero's day continues to get worse when he's captured by a mysterious old bloke called The Minister.   His life choices now boil down to "Kill people" or "Get your head blown off"
 Since the Man With No Past is really good at martial arts and stuff, option 1 is easy enough.
Problem is, he doesn't actually want to kill people...

  Can I just point out that the Amnesia angle would work better if the DVD title didn't give away Mr X's frigging name. 
 The viewer now knows who he is and if the viewer has played the games, which is quite likely, then they also know who the mysterious old bloke is that keeps popping up in flashbacks.

  Let me just take a minute to clap sarcastically. 

Oh well done, marketing people. Give yourself a cookie. 

The original title was Tekken: A Man Called X.  Maybe you should have stuck with it.  

  Maybe you should also have had a bit more fighting. This movie is based on a fighting game after all. 

  There's entirely too much footage of Kazuya wandering about the city looking fed up, as well as too many overlong flashbacks and this just slows things down way too much. 

I have a few other issues as well. A certain character is introduced and given a backstory then gets forgotten about. A subplot takes up time but goes nowhere. What was the point of that?

 Getting back to the fights, they are disappointing. The choreography is old-school martial arts, without  wirework, SFX or much flashy editing and that can work if it's done well. Some of my favourite cinematic punchups are like this, in fact.  It's just that for some reason,  I wasn't impressed. Tekken 2 needed some quality violence to make up for the lack of quantity and in that, it fails.

  Then we get to the climax which actually annoyed me. 

Kazuya and his new ally bust into the bad guys HQ and we all know how that's supposed to work. 
First you take out the mooks, then you take out one or more henchmen - a great chance to have two different fights go on simultaneously - then you face the Big Bad in a final showdown, kick his face in and walk proudly away clutching manly injuries, while Bad Guy HQ may or may not burst into flames for no apparent reason. 

  A vital part of this is that the henchmen should have been established earlier on as a genuine threat. Would the end of Return of the Jedi have been so good if Darth Vader had thrown a sickie and Luke had faced some random geezer instead?  Search your feelings. You know the answer. 

Tekken 2 drops the ball on this big time. Two characters we know are badass are brushed aside in seconds  while Kazuya ends up fighting a couple of blokes we've never seen before, that have no history whatsoever.  
 That's just sloppy and it bugs me.   

To cap it all, the Big Bad just casually wanders off. It makes more sense once you discover that Tekken 2 is actually a prequel  but personally I don't think you should have to visit Wikipedia to find out what the ending is all about.  

To sum up: Tekken 2 is too slow, not particularly interesting and has a rubbish payoff.  

How much did I pay for this: £3.50
Was it worth it: Not really. If you're not a fan of the games then there's no real reason to watch it. If you are a fan of the games then Tekken 2 might just annoy you.
Maybe they should have done a prequel about  the Williams sisters instead. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Anime From The Vaults: Love City (1986)

In which I dig out an anime cassette that I haven't watched in ...(counts on fingers)...about 10 years.
  Tokyo, somewhere in the future.  "Headmeters" are powerful espers who can do all sorts of cool psionic shit - flying, blowing stuff up, all that jazz. Kei was a failed attempt at creating a Headmeter who has done a runner with his daughter Ai,  ex cop Raiden and a large cat that's way smarter than it ought to be. 
 Kei's bosses want Kei back or dead. And they really want Ai back since she's some sort of living psionic booster.
  In the process stuff gets broken, people die messily and some seriously weird shit happens. 

  During the initial anime boom the various companies quickly established a House Style. Manga Video tended towards SciFi and Horror aimed at the "Lad" crowd, the bloodier the better (Urotsukidoji, Fist Of The North Star) . Anime Projects released gentler, subtitled material forthe more hardcore Anime fanbase (Urusei Yatsura, Oh My Goddess)  while Kiseki sat somewhere in between the two (Black Magic M66, Plastic Little)

 And Western Connection released a bunch of stuff that they could get hold of cheaply. quickly slap subtitles on and dump onto the market with infamously poor tape quality.

 Even so, sometimes they released some decent stuff. The Lupin III movies and Devil Hunter Yohko were definitely worth buying. Ladius...um...not so much.
  So I had to wonder how well "Love City" would stand up after all this time.

For an anime from the 1980s, Love City holds up surprisingly well although some bits better than others.

 The animation isn't bad, especially given the era, although it is a bit strange seeing certain characters mugging like they just popped in from the "Urusei Yatsura" comedy next door.
 Espers making people explode followed by borderline slapstick is just odd.

Does this look like a man in a Dystopian SF/Horror?

On the subject of weird, there's some creative ideas in this OVA, starting with the aforementioned Headmeters
"Why are they called that?" I hear you ask cautiously.
  Every time a Headmeter uses their power, a handy guide appears on their forehead. Head...Meter. See?

 The serious looking redhead above is K2. Later on she gets a costume change.

 If I haven't said it already, this is not a comedy so don't ask me why she's dressed as a bunny. 

One of the villains is a wrinkly old dude in a robot suit. 

The mental image you just had is wrong. 

Here he is. 

 I don't know what that liquid is but I'm fairly certain it's at least 40% piss. 

Then there's this bit. 


We haven't got to the ending yet. The ending is where it gets really weird. 

 Allow me to go off on a tangent for a minute.  I've been watching anime now for about 20 years so I'm kinda used to it. 
But back when this stuff was just starting to trickle into the UK there was nothing around to compare. "Mindblowing" is not the word. Anime introduced me to whole new levels of bizarre. 

  The storyline is fairly simple by contrast. Bad guys want the girl. Good guys want to stop them. Bad guys want to bring about a messy armageddon. Good guys want to stop that too.  Simple but it's done decently and with some little wrinkles to keep things interesting. 

It goes without saying that the climax involves flesh squirming and mutating in ways that only happen in horror anime. Luckily there's no tentacle rape involved, which as far as I'm concerned is a bonus.  

To sum up: Love City is very much a product of it's era and is not without flaws. That doesn't mean it's without merit and if you like your anime bloody and a bit strange then Love City might be worth keeping an eye out for.   


Friday, 20 November 2015

Anime: Highschool DXD (Seasons 1-3)

   When it comes down to it, one of the major reasons I started this blog was to give me somewhere to go "Here's the cool thing I just discovered. Let me tell you about it." especially where anime was concerned.

 So...
This is something cool I've discovered. Let me tell you about it. 

Picture originally sourced from http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/

 Teenage perv Issei Hyudo has finally managed to get a date with a cute girl and it's been going great so far...

Right up until she rams a glowing spear through his chest. 

  Dying, Issei's last thoughts are of the beautiful redhead he saw that morning.

The next morning Issei finds himself alive and unharmed.

After a confusing day that involves being stabbed again, Issei awakens unharmed as before, except now he's naked.
So is the redhead lying next to him.

 Her name is Rias Germory, she is a Devil and Issei is now her servant.

  One night I found myself Youtubing Anime Vines (Short, funny vids usually with inappropriate audio tracks) In the process I began thinking "Hmm. Wonder what that anime is..it looks fun. So does that one...WTF is that?"  Which in turn  lead to me going away with a short list of anime to check out. 

 I'm trying to remember exactly why I decided to start with Highschool DXD.


Oh yeah. That would be it. 

  I ended up watching all three seasons in the space of a week because it turns out that while this particular anime might be heavy on the fanservice, there's lots of other stuff to like as well.  

  I'm not exaggerating about the fanservice. The opening credits start with the female cast butt naked, for crying out loud. I'm also convinced that the guy who drew the eyecatch panels (that bookend the commercial break) thought he was working for a porno anime because they go well beyond the usual anime cheesecake to the point where it gets uncomfortable.
   On the positive side, the hero's obsession with boobs leads to him developing some "special attacks" that have to be seen to be believed.

If that hasn't put you off, we'll move on.

  As Issei gets used to his new life, he meets the rest of the Gremory household (also devils) and develops his latent powers. It turns out that our slightly-depraved protagonist has a dragon-spirit living in his arm which enables him to do all sorts of spectacular attacks. In traditional anime fashion, as the series progresses, Issei gets more and more powerful. The rest of Team Gremory aren't exactly pushovers either, being either powerful magic users or superpowered.
 Which means epic anime fights. You know the sort of thing - lots of powering up, plenty of wilful property damage and, alright, female characters getting their outfits shredded.

 It never seems to happen to the blokes, for some reason. Whatever. 

  One of the things I did really like about Highschool DXD is the characters. For a series set in a school that could be described as part fighting anime, part harem show, I was amazed that everybody is likable. 

  Issei is overly dedicated to boobs but other than that, he's easy to root for being neither a cocky wanker, a doormat or a sex-assault waiting to happen.

  The other thing that annoys me about certain anime is female characters treating their male associates like disgusting human beings - even people they're supposed to be friends with - and resorting to violence three times an episode. (What? You said something I didn't like? Let's beat you bloody. Oops. Turns out it was a misunderstanding. Too bad.)

   So it's a refreshing change  Rias and the other girls seem to be quite fond of their newest member, which is where the "harem" bit starts to come in later on.  It starts off with a two-way rivalry between rias and ex-nun Asia, then Rias's lieutenant Akeno gets in on the act once she gets to know Issei better.
   The thing is, you can sort of see where they're coming from. Remember what I said about Issei being likable?  He gets some really nice character moments with the rest of the team.

 You know, for a bunch of literal devils, The Gremory household are a sweet bunch. Rias is probably the most pleasant demon-princess in anime history.
 Up until you hurt one of her gang, at which point you discover why she's got the tag "Crimson haired Ruin Princess"

 Everybody gets an interesting backstory, everybody has a function in the series. While the storyline  and battles revolve and Issei, it's not entirely The Issei Show. I like that.

I also like the show's approach to mythology - you get devils, angels and fallen angels, Norse gods, dragons and Church warrior-nuns all thrown into the mix with regular school politics. Boring it isn't.

Animation quality is servicable rather than spectacular but they do remember to animate the fights and usually quite well. 
  
  Summing up: I enjoyed this series a lot. I cannot, in all fairness, describe Highschool DXD as groundbreaking, clever or ,particularly deep. But it does have a lot of entertainment to offer.

    You might want to be careful watching this anime around other people though...

 As you've probably worked out by now, I'm quite a big fan of Ms. Gremory. Here's an AMV somebody did that might explain why. .

That's all folks. 

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Cheapo DVD Review: Azumi 2 - Death or Love

Part 10 of my CEX DVD marathon and today we are watching a movie that I totally didn't buy because the cover had a Japanese girl brandishing a sword. I wanted to see it for the...cinematography...and the other thing.


  Assassins Azumi and Nagara are on a quest to bring peace to Japan, mainly by killing troublemaking warlords. There's just one left to deal with. Masayuki Sanada, who is getting ready to start a war.
 Joining forces with another female ninja and a motley collection of former brigands, to complete her mission Azumi has to face Sanada's army and his own, personal force of Ninjas.

 It would probably have helped if I'd seen the first Azumi movie. Correction, it would definitely have helped. 
Azumi 2 takes off where the first film left off, with our ninja twosome still determined to complete their assignment.  Which means that we're dropped into the middle of events and expected to get ourselves up to speed with who these people are and why they want to go here and kill this person.  
 There's some flashbacks, mainly to let us know that Azumi is still a bit traumatised by certain events from the last film. Said flashbacks being a bit hamfisted in my opinion - do we really need an overextended sequence of  a deceased friend smiling and saying "Azumi" to establish that our heroine had a bit of a thing for him? 

  I also thought it was a bit weird that Azumi isn't the most interesting character in her own film. Villainess Lady Kunyo was a lot more fun to watch and it's a shame that their eventual showdown was so disappointing. 
 Then there's the Kabuki painted brigand whose name escapes me. Going by the bits he's in, I think I'd have liked to see a whole film about him. 
 By contrast Azumi seems a bit flat. Maybe that's just me.  

  Moving on to the action sequences - the reason I picked up the DVD in the first place -  they're OK but could have been better. In true Ninja fashion, Sanada's crew have their own slightly preposterous gimmick but put up a surprisingly poor fight against Azumi and her team. 
 The best fight in the entire film is Azumi's showdown in a bamboo thicket against an opponent who weaves a net of razorsharp wires. It's got some real (ahem) tension to it and is definitely the high point of the film. By contrast the climax is a bit of a letdown. 
 It starts well, with Azumi literally taking on an entire army but then people decide to start talking instead and the momentum drops off. By the time the final duel rolls around I'd almost lost interest.

How much did I pay for this: £1
Was it worth it?  DebatableI thought Azumi 2 could have been better, frankly. I didn't hate it, but I wasn't impressed either. 
For some reason nobody has ever managed to do a decent, non-anime Ninja movie. Azumi 2 doesn't change that. 

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Cheapo DVD Review: Pandorum (2009)

On payday I bought 12 DVDs from CEX and in a fit of madness, declared that I was going to review every single one. In the process, I've reminded myself why I only do a couple of reviews per month.

#9 is a deep-space Sci-Fi Horror that isn't "Alien"

 Astronaut Corporal Bowers and Lieutenant Payton wake from hypersleep to find the ship dark and apparently empty. What happened to the other crew members? Why is the power flickering on and off.   And most importantly....


Who or what else is on the ship with them? 

Just in case you're wondering, the woman front and centre on the DVD cover is German actress Antje Traue and yes, she is important to the plot. 
 You'd think that if she's in pride of place on the cover, Ms Traue would get her name on there as well but I guess not. 
 If you work it out, her boobs are almost the focal point of the entire cover. That's not cynical marketing at all, is it?

Now on to the actual movie.

My initial reaction was not great "Oh wonderful" I thought, as Bowers explored his new surroundings. "Another film where everything is so dark you can't see anything."  Almost certainly not the reaction the director was going for.  
 For most of the film the lighting switches between "Dim" and "Practically nil" so if that annoys you, your enjoyment of "Pandorum" will suffer.  
 It does mean that we find ourself on the creepiest ship ever to cruise between the stars. The ironically named "Elysium" is a disturbing mix of grimey sci-fi and abandoned factory, the sort escaped axe-murderers like to hang around in.  Which brings me on to the other passengers sharing this pleasure cruise. 
 Thanks to the darkness and some jumpy editing, we don't get a good look at them until quite a way in. Picture a cross between the cave-creatures from The Descent and The Predators, with a smidgen of Xenomorph thrown in - the way the creepy bastards move, enhanced by music vid camerawork that makes them twitch and jitter across the screen.  

 So far we have a malfunctioning ship full of creepy cannibals. Not enough for you? Why not add a deep-space psychosis (The Pandorum of the title) that may be affecting one or both of our heroes. 
Mind you, once Pandorum is mentioned - in a way that screams "This is going to pay off later" -  it gets put on the back burner until the last third and suddenly becomes a big, big problem for the climax.

 After my initial reservations, I found myself getting more into this film. I have a few gripes with the ending  - there's some weird things going on at the climax and if you have a working knowledge of Sc-Fi cliche then the final scenes won't surprise you in the slightest - but on the whole "Pandorum" worked. 

How much did I pay for this: £1.
Was it worth it: Pandorum does come across as a film that mixes and matches bits from other films but it is decent enough. I just wish I hadn't spent the first twenty minutes squinting to see what was going on.   

 Here's the trailer if you want a sneaky peek.




That's all folks. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

DVD Review: Tropic Thunder (2008)

I've been reviewing all the DVDs I picked up on payday. I bought 12. This is #8 and just for a change I'm writing about a film people have heard of. 
 When shooting for megabudget Vietnam goes badly off the rails, the harassed director has a desperate plan to save his movie and his job: take his cast of prima donna stars out into the jungle and shoot guerilla style. No trailers, no PA.s, just bugs, sweat and some serious method acting..
 Needless to say, it all goes tits up    
  Now these Hollywood stars have to become real heroes in the Heart of Darkness.

 Since proper reviewers who write proper columns for proper money have already covered this movie, I shall keep my writeup short. 

"Tropic Thunder" didn't make me laugh out loud but it was entertaining, especially once we'd got some way in and things were starting to pick up. Probably the best part is Tom Cruise's turn as a balding, ball-breaking uberprick of a movie mogul and considering who else is in the film, that he still manages to be the performance you remember says a lot for how good he can be. 
  Jack Black does what he usually does and so do Ben Stiller and Matthew McConaughey, while Robert Downey Jr's performance as a blacked-up Aussie method actor channeling a badass African-American sarge is..interesting..and ramps up the absurdity levels.

 How much did I pay for this: £1.50   
Was it worth it: Not as funny as I thought it could have been but more than entertaining enough for my needs. 

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Cheapo DVD Review: Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

I've been working my way through a stack of 2nd hand DVDs I picked up from CEX on payday and I promised myself I would write a review of every damn one. For tonight's offering, we have a quirky horror with a unique premise and more depth than you'd expect.
  In a small, run down nursing home in east Texas the man formerly known as Elvis Aaron Presley reflects on his life and his decision to walk away from fame and fortune. But when his fellow OAPs start dying, Elvis and his friend Jack - who swears blind that he's JFK despite being both alive and African American - have to face a soul-sucking Egyptian mummy in cowboy boots.
 Can the King  Take Care Of Business one last time?

 Bubba Ho-Tep has been on two separate lists ever since I found out about it. Films I want to see and Films I'm nervous about seeing.  When you think about the premise, can you really blame me?  This had the potential to be really good or a complete train-wreck.

As it turns out, "Bubba Ho-Tep" is the former rather than the latter.

  For some reason this film really got under my skin and a  lot of that is down to Bruce Campbell's performance as an Elvis who is unhappy with his current life and regretting the life he had. Some of it is comic but there's a strong undercurrent of tragic as well.
 Maybe I'm reading things into this film that the writers never meant to put there but Bubba Ho-Tep isn't just  film about a soulsucking mummy, it's a film about being old and past your time.

  It's also a film where a black JFK and Elvis have a conversation about whether a mummy needs to crap or not. Then you get a lesson in Ancient Egyptian profanity. So not all that bleak.

  The film builds slowly until the first appearance of the creature, which is genuinely chilling. Campbell and Freeman play off each other really well, taking a couple of characters that ought to be ridiculous and making them work.
That, I think, sums up "Bubba Ho-Tep" - a daft idea that works.

How much did I pay for this: 75p
Was it worth it: Very definitely. I enjoyed this film more than anything I've watched thus far in this DVD marathon.

Although I am now utterly terrified of getting old... 



That's all folks. 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Cheapo DVD Review: Defenders Of The Earth - The Story Begins. (1985)

  Day 6 of my DVD review marathon. Or day 7 if you want to be pedantic and count yesterday, when I didn't post anything. Hey, I didn't say I was doing 12 DVDs in 12 days.

Today's offering is blatantly stitched together from several episodes of an old cartoon.
When the evil space-tyrant Ming the Merciless lands on earth with a surprisingly small army of minions, a group of heroes come together to foil his dastardly plans on a weekly basis.

Flash Gordon - hero of the spaceways
His lovely wife   Oops, sorry. The memories of his lovely wife, built into a computer.
Rick Gordon - Son of Flash and computer wizard.
The Phantom - Protector of the Jungle and wearer of purple long-johns.
Jeda - The Phantom's teenage daughter. Friend of animals and token chick.
Mandrake The Magician. A magician. he wears a cape and everything.
Lothar - Mandrake's sidekick/muscle. He's big, black and desperately trying not to be a stereotype.
LJ - Lothar's son and token black kid.
Kshin - a spare brat Mandrake found lying about who totally isn't going to get underfoot and be annoying

And whatever the hell this..thing ...is.  
It's a mascot character. I hated mascot characters when I was a kid and nowadays, the only way I can describe how I feel about the unfunny little bastards would need words the English language hasn't invented yet.   

  On the bad guys side we have Ming the Merciless - green for some reason - his camp son, his really camp robot octopus and a platoon or so of Ice Robots because every 80s cartoon villain needed useless mooks to get utterly teabagged.
 Ming's daughter shows up in a later episode but I doubt she's as much fun as Princess Aura from the 1979 cartoon.  .
9 year old me was a big fan of Aura. I can't really blame him.

 I vaguely remember Defenders Of The Earth being on when I was much, much younger but I don't think I ever saw any episodes. Which means that when I finally got to see this movie  batch of episodes shorn of credits and duct-taped together I didn't have my nostalgia goggles on. 

I think I needed them. Some 80s cartoons aged well or were so cheesy that you can have fun watching them for the cornball.
 DotE has neither. It doesn't have the charm of, say, Thundercats or much in the way of memorable characters chracters. Then there's the storytelling.
Ming has an Evil Plan Of The Week, the team foil it - all very standard. 

 In theory, having three famous heroes team up to fight the bad guys could have been interesting. Having their kids fight alongside them might also have been interesting. Then again, this was the 80s and the idea of cartoons with intelligent writing was a concept some studios hadn't grasped yet.

Flash Gordon's wife is rather brutally killed in episode 1, which is unusual,. But everybody has forgotten about it within 10 minutes, including Flash and Rick. That bugged me. 

It also bugged me that the little purple sod kept changing size every other scene. 

Available evidence suggests that back in the mid-80s, I didn't miss out on much.

How much did I pay for this: £1.50
Was it worth it: Not particularly.  Defenders of the Earth is a typical 80s cartoon with all that implies. 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Cheapo DVD Review: Fist Of The Warrior (2009)

On payday I bought 12 secondhand DVDs for the princely sum of £13. In a moment of sugar-fueled madness, I decided that I was going to write a review on every single one.
For day 5, we have a film marketed as something it isn't.
I really, really love those.


  Lee wants to quit his job and start anew somewhere else with his lovely girlfriend Sarah . Lee's boss John, being a local mobster and not used to negative feedback,  is not happy about this and hires goons to kill his reluctant employee.
  The goons fail to kill Lee but do manage to kill Sarah, which pisses Lee off something chronic and he begins working his way through John's employee roster in violent fashion. 
 Can police wonderboy Craig get to Lee before Lee gets to John? 

 You know, if I was ever a mob boss I'd have written in large letters behind my desk "Treat your workforce well."  This would definitely apply to any martial-arts killing machines I had on the payroll. "Oh, you don't want to do this anymore? Fine. Here's a bus ticket to anywhere you like. Here's a bonus to keep your mouth shut. Go be happy"

I definitely wouldn't try to kill them, their families or their pet budgies. That always ends badly.

The thing is, though, "Fist Of the Warrior" isn't the martial arts rampage you'd expect from the cover and the back cover blurb. That would involve more fights and probably a lot more of supposed hero Lee. 

 A bit of research revealed that this film was originally known as "Lesser Of Three Evils" which is a bit silly - but does explain a lot. This film isn't really about Lee. 

"Fist Of the Warrior" splits the focus between Lee hitting people and having flashbacks about Sarah, Craig juggling police work, his *ahem* other line of work and his wreck of a home life, and John dealing with the fallout of one of his dumber ideas.

  Given that the film centres on Craig more than the other two, I have to wonder if he was originally supposed to be the protagonist, before the movie was rebranded and re-editted. 

  I'm always a bit pissed off when a film is sold to me as one thing and I get another, so that did ruin my enjoyment somewhat. Instead of the martial-arts action I was expecting, I got a so-so crime drama where every now and again somebody has a fight.  

  Other gripes: Lee's flashbacks are cute to start off with but after a while just trip things up.  I genuinely wonder what Marina Sirtis and Michael Dorn were doing in this film, besides picking up some pocket money for the 1 scene each is in. And the supposed climax is ...

No getting around it, the final showdown between Lee and John is utterly pathetic. It's not even a fight. 

Oh, and the fight scenes are nothing special. 

How much did I pay for this: £1.50
Was it worth it: I was rather disappointed. The cast isn't bad and the director was trying to make us care about Lee and Sarah. Unforunately, the end result is nothing special. Sorry. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

Cheapo DVD Review: Operation Delta Force IV - Deep Fault (1999)

Day 4 of the 12 DVD, 12 Reviews challenge I set for myself and we come to the film I had the lowest expectations for. Yesterday I reviewed a DVD that cost me 25p. This one cost less than that.  
 A bad man nicks some plutonium. Some Americans try to get it back before he can carry out his dastardly plan of triggering an earthquake and dropping California into the Pacific. 

Hang on..did they just nick a plot from Superman: The Movie?

Also: Operation Delta Force  makes no sense. Delta Force Operation (whatever) would make sense but the other way around is just silly.  I suppose they wanted to get Delta Force into the title somewhere, in the hopes that people might think there's a legitimate connection to the Chuck Norris action classic.

Which there isn't.

 This is a DVD that was quite obviously part of  a 4-for-1 "Action Classic" multipack of the sort you buy from a service station, but only ever buy once because they are invariably 4 films that nobody would ever spend money on otherwise.

 The entertainment value you get from "Deep Fault"  depends entirely on your tolerance for low budget, generic action movies where American military cliches save the world from sneering bad guys and mooks who can't shoot for shit.

  I did enjoy the sequence where our heroes are having a gunfight from on top of an overturned tram that's still unaccountably sliding down the road (probably for all the wrong reasons) and if you want your films to have lots of automatic weapons fire and explosions "Deep Fault" might be an ok way to spend an evening.

How much did I pay for this: 10p. Wow.
Was it worth it: At that price , yes. "Deep Fault" is a generic action movie with cardboard characters and an overwrought climax. But if you liked the kind of film "Hot Shots" was taking the piss out of and you think firing machine guns while ziplining is cool, you may possibly like this.

Here's the trailer:

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Cheapo DVD Review : Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London.(2004)

  On payday I had a bit of a splurge in CEX and embarked on the following challenge: I bought 12 DVDs. I shall write 12 Reviews.  (Hopefully in 12 days but don't hold me to that.)
 Of course some of these reviews may end up a bit short. So expect to see "Watched (film X). It was shite."  at some point. 

 For Day 3 we shall be discussing...




 Teen agent Cody is sent after an agent who has gone rogue with some top secret Mind Control technology in his back pocket. Undercover in London as a musical prodigy in an International Youth Orchestra, Cody must stop the deranged Victor Diaz before he can set his plans in motion. 
 It would probably help if his London handler wasn't an idiot. It would also be easier to pass as a youth musician if he knew how to play a damn instrument. 

  I saw the first "Cody Banks" film years ago and rather enjoyed it, mainly because it had the delightful Angie Harmon and the acting god that is Ian McShane in it. "Cody Banks 2" had neither of these people so while I still wanted to see this film, I wasn't in any great rush.  
  The other day I found "ACB2" on sale at a price I couldn't resist  so added it to the pile and away I went. 

  As a proud Briton I was a bit less than chuffed at the film's depiction of us. The first Englishman that gets any major screen time is a tea-drinking, bucktoothed eccentric straight out of a carry on film. (Paul Kaye, hamming it up for Queen, Country and Saint George) The second and third are a pair of cartoon aristocrats of the sort that became an endangered species in the mid 1950. In fact, any Brit with dialogue is an annoying stereotype. The one exception is Hannah Spearitt, late of teenpoppers S Club 7, and about the only UK resident not depicted as an utter twit. 
 The villain is Keith Allen - another Brit - but since he's trying to play an American, he doesn't count. Note the word "trying"

 Mind you, the International Youth Orchestra are all national stereotypes as well.  

I suppose this film was intended for teenagers and American teenagers at that, so I suppose I should be glad Dick Van Dyke doesn't show up as a cockney.  

Now I've got that out of the way, on to the film. As comedy  spy movies go, it's not that bad, especially since it's a comedy spy movie aimed at a family audience. You get some nifty gadgets, some slapstick and enough actual thrills to keep things moving along.  
 I could have done without comic foil Derek though. Most of the time he isn't that amusing. 

 Cody himself is a bit obnoxious at times but hey! Teenager!   And Frankie Muniz does get the sheer oddness of his life down nicely - in the field he's competent. In a room full of other teenagers, he's awkward and  out of his depth.  

  Keith Allen and Hannah Spearitt get the job done with no real surprises. It's good enough to work but doesn't give the film that extra shine McShane and Harmon brought to the first one. 

I did like the chase scene with the moped and the special flashlight, by the way. A nice idea and if I ever make my own film I'm nicking it. I also quite liked seeing what happens when a CIA agent tries to commandeer a vehicle in London rush hour. ("No. Now naff off.")

How much did this film cost me: 25p  That's right. 25 British pence. There is almost nothing you can buy these days for that amount of money. 
Was it worth it.  Yes. Cody Banks 2 isn't as good as the first one and if you're British may piss you off a wee bit. But it's watchable enough. Your kids might like it more than you do, though. 

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