Archive for the Movies Category

10 Things About Tron Legacy (The Movie)

Posted in Action Adventure, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Movies, My Stuff on December 29, 2010 by thelonegamer

Just before I signed off for the holidays from work, I was able to watch Tron Legacy at the cinema. I saw the first Tron as a kid and remember it with fond memories. However, watching it today makes it look thoroughly dated, with not-really-that-great action, lots of techno-babble that went over my head and a long part in the middle that just went on forever. Well… at least this series is consistent.

1. First off, why did it take 20 years for Sam Flynn (Garett Hedlund) to figure out his dad was trapped in The Grid? The guy’s a genius, knows about The Grid and seemed pretty driven to find Flynn after his disappearance… he never thought about investigating that route? Also, nobody ever checked the arcade seriously? I mean, Sam found the ‘secret’ door after about a minute.

2. Villain CLU (a CG de-aged Jeff Bridges) actually looks very real during his first scenes. He only really becomes totally obvious CG at the very end, when his face almost splats into the camera.

3. Why, if CG was used to de-age Jeff, couldn’t the same effort be done with Bruce Boxleitner? I mean… the movie IS named TRON. It would have made more impact on an aspect of this movie that you could probably miss if you go on a bathroom break at the wrong time.

4. Need to improve/update a movie series’ signature action schtick? Just add acrobatics and fancy tumbling.

5. A big gripe I have with the one Light Bike battle was that I couldn’t really tell what was going on- hell, I couldn’t tell if the blue guy being hit was Sam or just a red shirt Blue Guy.

6. For something that should be incredibly epic, all the action scenes seem so small scale- enemies only come in small bunches every single time. I guess they took their training from Galaxian.

7. That very first Derezzing scene is the best one in the whole movie.

8. Kevin Flynn gets to indulge in his secret hobby- Star Wars cosplay. He even acts out a skit using a Jedi Mind Trick.

9. Castor (Michael Sheen) kinda reminds me of The Merovingian from The Matrix. ‘Cept he speaks in an English accent, not French.

10. The final Battle was… not a battle at all. Really, not even a good ol’ sock from Sam on smug CLU’s face..? Oh, he’s got his hands busy with something, er, someone else…

All in all, Tron Legacy wasn’t a waste of time, but it certainly wasn’t the big, sophisticated action/sci-fi fantasy I was expecting. As a sequel to a nostalgic favorite, it kinda delivers by at least being as good as the original film at least. If only as much effort was put into figuring out proper pacing as was put into the visual style, this movie would have been much better. Now, expect the tons of prequel stuff to come…

Disney’s Tangled: US VS Japanese Trailers!

Posted in Movies on November 22, 2010 by thelonegamer

In contrast to the previous post that was about a movie that’s months away, let’s focus on a movie that’s out this week. It’s Disney’s Tangled, their sassy and gorgeous-looking reinvention of the Rapunzel story. Now, I’m already sold on this, but still I devour every trailer, video and viral ad they put out online. Now, I also came across the Japanese trailer for the film, and it’s pretty interesting how different it is, tonally, from the US one.

The US trailer comes with upbeat music, witty narration from Flynn Rider, lots of fast edits of sight gags and slapstick and exhilirating action.

The Japanese trailer is decidedly more subdued in terms of comedy- it’s much more straight to the point, plot-heavy, with dramatic music and more emotional scenes. Oh, and the serious Japanese narrator. It brings to mind the same way the Japanese treat their own anime stuff, like Miyazaki films.
Also, instead of a Japanese dub, it’s subtitled- I guess the Japanese like having the US voices around. The difference in tone is quite fascinating and refreshing, although I guess I prefer the fun and light tone of the US ads.

Anyway, the film is out November 24. I’ll be watching this, hopefully soon after I watch the latest Potter flick. After watching heavy drama, it’s good to have some light-hearted fun.

Cowboys and Aliens Trailer… WHOA!

Posted in Movies on November 22, 2010 by thelonegamer

Now, this looks promising…

Some time ago I posted about a Cowboys VS Ninja movie… but heck, forget about that for now… here’s the trailer for Cowboys and Aliens. The names and faces attached to this alone make me giddy with excitement… freakin’ Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Jon Favreau, Daniel Craig and Harrison ‘Get off my plane’ Ford– who in particular looks to redeem himself after that Crystal Skull crap. For some reason this film reminds me of a B-movie back in the 80s titled Laserblast… probably because of the weird alien weapon-thingie attached to Craig’s wrist. This looks pretty cool, dammit. Another film to watch out for. Summer 2011 is gonna be damn awesome.

Sucker Punch Trailer Rocks!

Posted in Movies on November 4, 2010 by thelonegamer

Perhaps the most fantastic Women in Prison flick ever.

Some time ago we all saw the teaser trailer for director Zack Snyder’s next film, entitled Sucker Punch. It was cool, it was pretty, it was madness. Well, the first full trailer of this mindfreak eye candy cavalcade has more of a narrative. Apparently this film involves several hot babes in a prison using their brains to escape… but instead of just going the Clint Eastwood route and fashioning a faux bust and making a rubber raft from toilet paper, these girls seem to enter some sort of Dreamworld or Alternate Reality to accomplish whatever they’re trying to do in the real world.

If Snyder set out (and succeeded) in bringing a graphic novel to movie form with 300, here I think it’s weirdly the opposite- Sucker Punch looks like a movie vying to look like some mad-awesome graphic novel, with visuals that scream like splash pages and iconic action moments seemingly ripped from some mad mangaka’s fever dream imagination. Giant Demon Samurai? Fire-breathing Dragons? Robot Armies? Babes with Katanas? OODLES!

Anyway, it looks very promising. Something to watch out for next year at the theaters then. For now, check out the trailer!

Cowboys vs Ninjas Movie!

Posted in Action Adventure, Movies, My Stuff on October 19, 2010 by thelonegamer

Looks freakin’ awesome.

Here’s the trailer to the upcoming hack-and-slash-and-shoot fantasy action-adventure flick The Warrior’s Way, starring Geoffrey Rush (that’s Barbossa from Pirates of the Carribbean), Kate Bosworth and South Korean superstar Jang Dong Gun. The film is being produced by Barrie Osborne, who also produced the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so it’s sure to look pretty slick.

The trailer is hot stuff, with armies of flying ninja, gun-toting cowboys, surreal landscapes, and slow-mo swordfights. This came out of nowhere and looks pretty fantastic. Hopefully there’s a strong narrative to back up the great visuals and action.

Jang Dong Gun stars as Yang, a master warrior-turned-renegade who comes to the American badlands in order to flee his past. In a ramshackle town he meets an old drunk (Rush) and a circus knife-thrower (Bosworth), both of whom aren’t what they first appear to be.

Intriguing and exciting- even if it kinda has a similar vibe to the also upcoming Priest (must be the cowboy hats). I’ll be sure to check this one out. This is due out in December.

The Latest Harry Potter Trailer is EPIC

Posted in Movies on September 24, 2010 by thelonegamer

It’s gonna be hell waiting for Part Two.

I’ve always been a fan of the Harry Potter movies, even if I’ve only read one or two of the actual books. The peerless production, casting and continual development of the films from director to director has always been for the better, and it looks like they’ve saved the best for last. The final book of the series was judged too long to cram into one movie, which I’m sure is for the best. Part One already seems goddamn awesome with these trailers dishing out absolutely oppressive atmosphere, desperation and menace for the young Potter and his friends, and of course all of the Wizarding World. So check out the trailer and get ready for one heck of an adventure this November.

The Lone Gamer’s Review of Resident Evil: Afterlife

Posted in Fan Service, Game to Movies, Gaming, Movies, My Stuff, Resident Evil, Resident Evil 5, Survival Horror on September 21, 2010 by thelonegamer

Alice returns to kick some Umbrella ass.

Last night, feeling particularly weary in the head, I allowed myself to be beguiled by a larger-than-life standee of Milla Jovovich’s Alice character into watching the latest Resident Evil flick, Resident Evil: Afterlife, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. You know, I’ve been pretty hard on the RE flicks for one reason or another, though really- I’ve never really given them that much of a chance. I don’t think I’ve watched any of the first three movies in full (only bits and pieces on cable), given that I’ve had preconceived notions against them that prevented me from sitting down and just watching them.

The first movie, Resident Evil, turned me off right away by not including any of the game heroes and instead giving us an altogether new main character in the amnesiac Alice (Milla Jovovich). With few scares aside from the cliche jolts and some stylish kills, this wasn’t my cup of tea then.
The second movie, Resident Evil: Extinction, gave us Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) and Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr), but clunky pacing and a somewhat cheesy Nemesis turned me off again.
Then there was Resident Evil: Apocalypse, which is usually called the best of the three first flicks, although again I got turned off by the desert setting (Too Mad Max). I did like the action and the inclusion of Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and the flick ended with a cool premise.

And here we are with Resident Evil: Afterlife. Picking up sometime after the last movie, it opens in Tokyo, Japan as Alice makes good on her promise to pay the main branch of Umbrella a visit with some of her ‘friends’… the friends being her army of identical, super-powered clones. Of course, it’s not entirely easy to assault a heavily-armed underground complex headed by Umbrella Chairman Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) himself. By the end of it, all the clones have gone bye-bye and Alice herself has been reverted back to a normal human (albeit still a kick-ass human).

The rest of the movie concerns itself with Alice trying to find Arcadia- a supposed utopia where safety from the infected can be had- as well as her comrades from the previous movie. She’s at least partly successful; she soon finds Claire, albeit crazed and stricken with amnesia care of a weird device planted on her chest (shades of Resident Evil 5). The two make their way to Los Angeles, where they find more survivors trapped by hordes of undead within a prison complex, and what is apparently Arcadia- a ship- sitting just off shore. Of course nothing is what it seems and even if Alice and company manage to escape their deathtrap, something, or someone, even more sinister awaits on the ship (guess who…) ready for ANOTHER final showdown.

So what can I say? Incredibly enough, I kinda enjoyed myself in this flick. As I said, my brain was weary and I was just looking for some dumb, cool and pretty action- and this delivered. Afterlife is easily the most ‘videogame-ish’ of the RE flicks so far, giving us more stuff that you can identify with from the games. You’ve got both Claire and Chris Redfield (Prison Break’s Wentworth Miller) joining Alice in the good fight. You’ve got the Executioner from RE5 that shows up as a ‘sub-boss’ in the movie’s signature action setpiece, although I wonder how this guy made it all the way from Africa to LA (he rode the boat, I guess).

You’ve also got Super Wesker, who may look and act ripped from the Matrix movies as Neo and Smith’s love child, but hey- surprise, surprise- that’s the way he was in the games as well. At the movie’s climax is a cool fight between Wesky and the Redfields which also mirrors the in-game confrontation between him, Chris and Sheva Alomar in RE5.

So what we have is the closest the movies have come to the games- plus Milla Jovovich’s Alice is more likable here than in any of the previous flicks, with the heroine showing a sober humanity and a cool attitude that I found refreshing… even if Milla’s line delivery during her video logs rivals the deadpan plainness of Sam Worthington from Avatar. In any case, I liked her enough to care about where the flick was going, so there.

On the other performers, Ali Larter is always nice to watch. Wentworth Miller’s Chris is off-kilter, pretty much so we’re supposed to think he’s a bad guy at first, which will only work for anyone not familiar with the games. The other cast members are mostly throw-away red shirts, although fellow survivor Luther (Boris Kodjoe) is quite likable. Shawn Roberts’ Wesker is a bit too stiff, but again, all he needs to do is look cool in a long black coat so what the heck.

One thing you’ll notice as well is that the movie looks pretty slick- this is shot and produced really well, with pretty nifty futuristic settings and tech, as well as well-shot action. There’s also an excessive use of bullet-time and slow-motion, but heck… I’ll take that over all the stomach-turning ‘handheld cam’ style of crap other action movies are shoveling us. Oh, and yeah, this flick looks great in 3D.

Despite not straying away too far from the B-movie standard and having a script with more holes than a zombie after getting riddled with Alice’s coin-filled shotgun, Afterlife at least kept any slow parts to a minimum and kept me entertained with some stylish action and some cool monsters. In fact, I was so entertained that I am actually now ready to give all the other previous RE flicks at least a full watch each when I get the chance.
One gripe though is the way they end it- there are sequel hooks that are as big as a Las Plagas tendril, making it quite obvious that like a zombie, this franchise is gonna keep on coming at you. Amazingly though, I don’t think that’s entirely a bad thing.

This is just big budget, slickly-produced eye candy action with no pretensions- just hot chicks with guns blowing away monsters. There are far worse things to occupy two hours of your time with these days. Expect no more, and who knows, you may just be surprised to walk away entertained.

Iron Fisted! The Lone Gamer’s Tekken Movie Review

Posted in Fighting Games, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, Movies, My Stuff, PS3, Tekken, Tekken 6, Xbox360 on August 6, 2010 by thelonegamer

Does this fighter hit or miss?

Okay, I’ve seen it. After all this time, I’ve seen the Tekken live-action movie. It’s been months after the release of Tekken 6, the latest game in the series, the movie came out in Japan without much fanfare and surprisingly little news. Now it’s here and I guess all that’s left to be said is… how bad is it?

Surprisingly though… it’s actually NOT bad.

Tekken is what it is- a mixed martial arts revenge flick. Fortunately, thanks to the overall plot and character relationships, this IS a Tekken story, not just some generic beat ’em up flick with the Tekken brand pasted on it. That said, this isn’t a Tekken most fans will recognize either. Hardcore purists though will howl at the many liberties and omissions- Where’s my fave fighter? Why isn’t so-and-so there? Why did he/she get beat so quick? They changed what? EH? Well, sorry to say, anyone going into the theater looking for Tekken trappings like boxing kangaroos, giant robots or Devil Genes will be disappointed. Only about one fourth of the game’s roster of fighters appear in the film as well. Just accept that this is adapted from the Tekken game and not a canon addition to the game series, and just move on.

The movie takes a more gritty, real-world(?) approach to the storyline, breaking away from most of the supernatural and more fantastic elements from the games, instead focusing on the core plot of the Mishima Bloodline, the Mishima Zaibatsu AKA Tekken Corporation and Jin Kazama’s quest for vengeance. This more back-to-basics approach results in a solid, pretty easy to understand martial arts adventure, at the very least.

Learn how Jin Kazama got those rad gloves. No, really!

Set in a ravaged near-future earth that is just recovering from a time known as the ‘Terror Wars’, the setting of Tekken isn’t a nice place. There are no more governments as the world is now divided into sectors (rather than nations), each one controlled by one of six megacorporations, all collectively known as Iron Fist. The most powerful corporation is the Tekken Corporation (as opposed to just the Mishima Zaibatsu), which controls the territories that include the United States. Tekken is headed by its fierce but strangely honorable CEO, Heihachi Mishima (Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa).

In ‘The Anvil’, one of the many impoverished, danger-filled zones of Tekken City, lives Jin Kazama (Jon Foo), a streetwise youth who works part-time as a runner for smuggled tech. Talented in martial arts due to training from his mom, Jun (Tamlyn Tomita), Jin is often asked to join the underground resistance against the Tekken Corporation’s oppression against the civilians. Jin though would rather just do his own thing and use his earnings to buy little luxuries for his nearest and dearest. Read: This guy will run through freakin’ bullet storms to get his girlfriend a bite of chocolate. What a guy!

Unfortunately, his latest smuggling job inadvertently leads Tekken’s secret police, the ‘Jackhammers’, led by Heihachi Mishima’s son, Kazuya (Ian Anthony Dale), to his clients in the underground resistance, and then later to his own home. One explosion later, Jin’s an orphan seeking revenge on the one he believes responsible, Heihachi Mishima. It doesn’t take long for Jin to enter Tekken’s martial arts tournament itself, pitting himself against the world’s most dangerous fighters and making him an unwitting pawn in a power struggle within the Tekken Corporation.

Jin (Jon Foo) faces off against Miguel (Roger Huerta).

That’s basically what the movie’s about- there’s no big scheme to take over the world (Tekken is already IN control), no secret genetic experiments creating super soldiers using the fighters’ DNA, no mystical demon lord waiting behind the wings (Kazuya fills that in as the film’s biggest douche already). Jin just wants his pound of flesh, and along the way other characters either side with him or get in his way. But thankfully, the movie works since it rarely slows down with lots of hard-hitting action, some steamy sexy scenes with some hot ladies, and even more action.

Did I say there was action? Tekken is basically about a fighting tournament, and that saying it has a LOT of full-contact, brutal and bloody fighting. In comparison, the fights in other fighting game movies look either tame or comical. The only exception being the one girl-fight, which suffers a bit from too-quick editing and a truncated finish. Generally, while the fight choreography is pretty good and fierce, I do have one big gripe- too many weapons! Really, this isn’t Soulcalibur, and should have limited battling with tools considerably.

Overall, the acting ranges from good to adequate- adequate being that most of the characters appear just to look bad-ass or fight. Luke Goss’s scrappy Steve Fox (the fanboy in me however wishes that he was Paul Phoenix instead), is a welcome sympathetic presence to Jin, while Ian Dale’s Kazuya and Gary Daniels’ Bryan Fury are properly imperious and menacing. I don’t think they could have gotten a more Heihachi-ish Heihachi than Mr. Tagawa-san. Generally, the script is pretty tight and the dialogue never too hammy or over-the-top, so I never found myself cringing at any point.

The production’s casting expended some effort at least to have many of the appearing fighters look like their in-game counterparts. Raven (Darren Dewitt Henson), Eddy Gordo (Lateef Crowder) and Anna Williams (Marian Zapico) for example, look like they stepped off a PS3. On the other hand, Candice Hildebrandt’s Nina Williams, hotness aside, is dressed in an outfit that makes her look like kinky cosplay.

“Psst… Sergei… your top don’t match your pants, man…”

Perhaps two characters who will be debated on are Christie Monteiro and Kazuya Mishima. Kelly Overton’s female fighter is not Brazilian, and not really a Capoeira fighter like in the game. However she’s definitely gorgeous plus has a bigger part in the story than she ever had in the game so I think it balances out.
As for Kazuya, I think that Ian Anthony Dale does resemble Tekken’s main bad boy in my opinion, with his slicked-back hair, liking for long coats and sinister countenance (the little scar on the cheek is a subtle but nice touch)- although apparently they found a need for him to have a mustache and beard to twirl evilly. He’s out and out a villain here instead of the anti-hero in the game.

The most crucial role, however, is that of Jin Kazama, and thankfully Jon Foo acquits himself well in the sullen, angry role of the revenge-seeking pretty boy. As a martial artist himself in real life, Foo performs admirably in the many bone-cracking fight scenes, and you will feel this guy earns every hard-won match.

Hot female assassins? Check. Too bad Anna doesn’t see much action (in the arena).

In terms of visuals, the movie adopts a pretty bleak look- most of it is set at night, or in shadows with spotlights or gasoline fires, or neon lights. It’s like a low-budget Blade Runner world, with gun-toting goons in kendo masks running around, the odd CG hovercraft whizzing by and some rather kitschy prop-filled stages complete with properly chirpy commentators to simulate different settings for the various martial arts bouts. Overall though, what budget they had for the movie is used cleverly to make a distinct look for the film and a reasonable emulation of the game’s iconic characters.

Tekken will almost surely be compared to the two other (more or less) decent fighting game-to-movie translations in the past, Mortal Kombat and DOA. Whereas MK focused on its supernatural mythology and DOA on cheesecake, Tekken’s strength is in the actual fighting- down and dirty MMA-style beatdowns- and a fast-paced story with a few turns that will have you glued to the screen for the duration.

So how does Tekken rack up against the competition? I’ll go out and say it- Mortal Kombat has been the best fighting game-to-movie translation all this time… but now it has a challenger that strikes hard with pretty solid punch. Tekken’s gritty action scenes and fast-paced story and distinct visuals make it one of the better videogame movies and overall a pretty good martial arts flick even if you took out the game references.

You don’t have to know the entire roster of fighters or have to listen to hours of exposition to watch and enjoy this action flick. Go in with not so many high expectations but get ready to set your adrenaline on high. This isn’t Shakespeare. It’s not rocket science. THIS IS IRON FIST!

Tekken is now showing in Manila theaters. The film will have a direct-to-DVD/Blu-ray release in other territories.

One last note: There IS an extra scene after the credits roll, so if you have a bit of patience, sit back and wait for it.

Tekken Movie in Theaters Now!

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, Movies, My Stuff, PS3, Tekken, Tekken 6, Xbox360 on August 5, 2010 by thelonegamer

Jin Kazama and company hit the Silver Screen.

Just last week, Tekken actor Jon Foo was in Manila to promote the live-action Iron Fist Tournament movie. Well, Tekken is in theaters NOW, and as soon as I have time off to get to a mall, I’ll catch it to finally lay this loose end to rest.

To be fair, I’ve seen some positive reviews online, citing the movie’s hard-hitting fight scenes. Tekken has been grouped along with the first Mortal Kombat and DOA, which is a good thing, really, since those are the two best fighting game-to-movie translations so far (the Van Damme Streetfighter movie is in a league and flavor all its own).

Anyway, once I catch the film I’ll post a review at the soonest. I don’t have high expectations, but I expect to at least see some cool fights, some hot babes, and that should do me just fine. Later then!

Jin Kazama in Manila

Posted in Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, Movies, My Stuff, Tekken on July 24, 2010 by thelonegamer

Tekken-mania hits Megamall!

I posted some time ago that Jon Foo AKA Jin Kazama from the live-action Tekken movie would be in Manila. I guess my previous info was inaccurate- the star of the Iron Fist film is already in Manila! Mr. Foo will be in the Philippines from July 24 to 26- while here, he’ll be guesting on some local TV shows, meeting the press and then attending the invitational premiere of the Tekken movie. Anyway, I was off on some other thing as Mr. Kazama was doubtlessly wowing fans at Megamall yesterday (he’s certainly appealing to many of the ladies…). While only some VIPs and some lucky viewers will be watching the early premiere, the rest of us can catch the Tekken movie when it hits theaters in Manila starting on August 4.

Anyway, I’m still in a bad mood from watching the lackluster Last Airbender mess. Maybe this will bode well for Tekken, and I’ll have a good time watching it. We’ll see.