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1472 reviews in total 
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
This game hates you worse than Hitler hated Jews, 4 July 2014

Word of advice to developers and publishers: if you sell your game on speed, the need for it, and have the word in the title, then don't punish the player for wanting it.

Should I actually bother doing a review for this junk or should I just give you a long list of complaints? I suppose they'd be one and the same.

You play as Jack, a young troublemaker who finds himself in deep with the mob. In the opening scene you escape a car compactor and flee the gangsters who are out to kill you. Right away you are enrolled in a West-to-East coast cross-country race (sort of a reverse Turbo OutRun) for a grand prize that will settle your debts with said mobsters. That's it as far as story goes, not that it matters since some of the best racing games have virtually zero story.

It's unlikely that you'll actually enjoy this trip from the Big Orange to the Big Apple as you'll spend half the time struggling to keep your car under control. The handling on all vehicles is simply terrible and anything/everything will make you fishtail. You'll cling to every guard rail, be they concrete or steel, like magnet. If you clip another car even gently, even by the wing mirror, you'll be thrown off the road. Rival drivers are capable of impossible physics and miracles. You are not. Are you enjoying that 1-second burst of speed? Well don't, because you're getting thrown right into a right-angle turn. Do you want a level where you can enjoy going fast? Well tough, because the next one, and the one after that, is mountain-based meaning lots and lots of switchbacks, and the road is wet too so if you even think about having even the slightest control over it then you will be disappointed. Winning any race is based on chance not skill.

And there lies the worst problem of this game - if you go off the road by just a single freakin' INCH the game resets to the last check point, even if you have not past any checkpoints it will send you back to the beginning of the race and you'll still lose a reset point. When going off course, be it merely TOUCHING a grass verge or going off a cliff there is no destruction animation, the game just fades out. I swear it will make you so mad you'll chuck your controller through the TV and go out looking for a fight. Where the programmers complete idiots or cruel sadists? There's no installation either, and you know what that means, kiddies - loooooooooong loading times. I remember when I had Turbo OutRun for my Commodore 64 way back in 1991. It was a multi-load tape and would load each level one a time. I thought this was a chore even back then. Nothing has changed in 20 years.

After playing it through to the end, because I hate myself, I only unlocked 36% of the trophies. Many of them are based on online play, which is a barren after 3 years of being released. As I have said before, online-based trophies should not count towards a Platinum.

I cannot think of any reason to recommend this garbage to you. There are so many, many good driving games out there from Burnout to Motorstorm and Ridge Racer as well as all of the retro titles such as Daytona and OutRun. This is the second time I have been disappointed by the Need for Speed franchise and I will not be returning no matter what it promises.

Ludicrous Speed, 27 June 2014

Summer 1997 - a high-octane trailer for Speed 2 precedes Con Air in cinemas. Audiences are impressed. "That looks good", they say. Con Air is a number 1 hit in early June. One week later (Friday the 13th no doubt) it is knocked-off the top spot by Speed 2. Audiences are still shell-shocked by the trailer and by memories of the 1994 hit. By the following week all goodwill that anyone was willing to lend the film had evaporated and it plummeted from the top spot at the box office to fifth. Two weeks later it would be out of the top 10. A bad result for a $110-million movie.

Speed 2 was originally scheduled for release in the UK in October 1997 but was switched with Volcano (another Fox production) for an August 15th release date. Apparently Fox wanted to be done with the movie as soon as possible. This was before the internet allowed every minute detail of a movie to be scrutinized before its release. Speed 2 wasn't released worldwide as much as it was purged.

I hate Speed. Keanu Reeves is a terrible actor and I have called his performance in that film one of the worst efforts in the past two decades. He is superseded in Speed 2 by the much more likable Jason Patic as Alex Shaw, an LAPD renegade who takes Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock playing up the ditzyness) on a cruise on the Seabourn Legend (a real ship) in the Caribbean. Their holiday is interrupted by John Giger, a likable maniac in the Travis Dane mold who seizes control of the ship and plans to rob the purser's safe in revenge for being fired by the parent company.

Most of the passengers are evacuated onto lifeboats, leaving a handful in danger as the ship heads forward at a whopping 14-miles-per-hour on a collision course with an oil tanker. It is incredibly dumb and stupid, but is still very entertaining and infrequently exciting. The running time is a little bloated, and it could have excised all of the "running around in dark corridors" scenes for a superior final cut. There is also a very, very annoying Glaswegian character (who speaks correct English, which no Glaswegian has done since the dawn of time) called Merced, which is probably the most far-fetched thing in the entire movie as people from that particular place are never called Merced. They are called disgusting names like Stuart McGeechnie, or Colin McGillvary, or John Muirhead. They are not called Merced. If he were also cut from the final product it would most certainly raise the overall rating.

One of the more curious things about Speed 2 is that it was rated PG in the UK (compared to the 15/R-rated original). Usually I would cry sacriledge at this family-friendly rating but it barely caught my attention back then and in retrospect it actually helps. Speed took itself very seriously. Speed 2 does not, and the jokey, goofy tone makes it much more enjoyable.

Mark Mancina raised the bar on action scoring with his iconic effort in 1994 and he delivers probably the best score of his career with Speed 2. It really proves what one can do under pressure as Mancina was scoring Con Air when he was called away early to work on Speed 2 (leaving Trevor Rabin to finish Con Air) and had a very tight deadline. It's not the tinny, synthy sound of Speed anymore, he uses a HUGE orchestra which might be the only thing bigger and more bombastic than the actual premise of the movie. Really amazing stuff and it's most definitely worth hunting down the limited edition CD.

There's a lot to like about Speed 2, and it doesn't deserve it's reputation. If you want mindless action, implausible set pieces, sunny scenery, and lots of destruction then look no further.

Cat Run (2011)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Dog Walk, 7 June 2014

You know how carnies have that knack of making you part with your cash by pretending that they can read your palm or tea leaves? That's what this movie reminds me of. I assume that the script for Cat Run was interpreted from scrunched-up toilet paper after a bout of diarrhea brought on by food poisoning from cheap kebab meat. If you gave mentally subnormal 8-year-olds toy guns and told them to run riot in the back yard they'd come up with a better plot behind the gunplay than whoever was responsible for the script to his breathtakingly abysmal film.

Cat (Paz Vega - who?) is at some political orgy shindig in Eastern Europe when everyone is suddenly killed and she finds herself marked for death and on the lam because "she knows". Many characters come and go over the running time, most of which seem to be occupying their own story as the movie feels very disconnected.

I've seen many poorly edited films in my time, but Cat Run wins the top prize by a million miles. Characters warp through space and time with no coherence or cohesion. Cat Run feels like three separate terrible movies chucked into a blender, fed to pigs, collected as feces, then painted on the screen in brown smears. It is truly, mind-bogglingly, jaw-droppingly, agonizingly terrible.

The worst part of this brain torture is that Cat Run actually thinks it is smart and funny. John Stockwell's "direction" makes you long for the crude, childish eye candy of Michael Bay. It will even make you forgive Guy Richie for all his previous sins. Nothing, but nothing about this drek can possibly be any worse.

Shame on all involved. Who would want this on their resume? If you dropped Cat Run in a public toilet bowl it would regurgitate it back in your face.

You honestly think that there are worse films than this? There's not. At least Tommy Wiseau's The Room had some shred of nobility, no matter house misguided.

Do let this film come within a 100-mile radius of your life.

Who knew that being dead could be so much fun?, 25 May 2014

I remember seeing TV spots for this movie in Florida in 1989 and thinking that it made for a great concept. When I eventually rented the VHS tape a few months later it really appealed to my dark sense of humor and I ended up watching it a zillion times. In the 25 years since its release it has become very dated. It's not dated BADLY, but it has aged more than other films of the period.

Corporate slackers Richard and Larry (Ted Mosby prototype Jonathan Silverman and 80s person Andrew McCarthy) discover a $4,000,000 fraud hidden away in the cooked books. Their attempt to impress their boss Bernie Lomax (a lovably smug Terry Kiser) with their find leads to an invitation to his Hampton Island home for a summer weekend of babes, booze, and boats. The duo don't realize that they've stumbled on Bernie's embezzlement scam and that he intends to have them quietly killed by the Mob (the organized crime connections are never fully detailed or understood). Mob Boss Vito instead arranges for Bernie to be killed, thus washing his hands of him.

Upon arriving at Bernie's lavish home Richard and Larry discover that he ain't quite breathing and most definitely has ceased living. For a variety of reasons they plot to create the illusion that Bernie is still alive, which proves to be easier done than said as his vacuous, drunken neighbors are more interested in drinking his champagne and mooching parties from him than actually being friends.

Despite the dark subject matter Weekend at Bernie's plays it safe for the most part, never pushing past its PG-13 boundaries. The physicality of Kiser's performance is impressive as well as funny. You really do believe he is dead and he's brilliant at keeping a straight face (or a smirking one as he dies during a brief moment of pleasure) while being tossed and thrown around. You wouldn't think that playing a dead body would be hard but Kiser's comic timing and skill really pay off.

The production design and flat photography are what date this film so much. Although Ted Kotcheff had Wake in Fright and First Blood on his resume by this point he brings very little visual flair to the film and it looks very TV-ish. The poor score by Andy Summers never seems to work with any scene (I have a feeling that his friend Stewart Copeland would have done a better job) and some of the soundtrack choices grate on the ears.

What amazes me the most is that about 90% of the dialogue is (bad) ADR. I assume that the sound guy forgot to switch on the mic or something. I can accept it when it comes to dubbing over several F-bombs to keep the movie family-friendly but you'll be surprised at how often the words simply do not match the lips.

Skip the sequel. Enjoy this movie for what it is, though it could have been better if it were a few shades darker. And lookout for a hilarious cameo from the director as Richard's dad/butler.

Heat (1995)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A little warmth and a whole lotta cold, 10 May 2014

Heat is not above criticism. I've put off reviewing this film for a long time as I know any negative comments will provoke an angry response from people who are blind to any faults. It's a good film, but it is far from perfect.

Pacino and DeNiro are cop and crook who go head-to-head over a major heist. They have many similarities, and could otherwise have been friends, only they are on opposite sides of the same coin - both cerebral, cunning, and crafty. Attempts at juxtaposing their lives come across as a little indulgent, but it's a crime epic, with lots of characters and cameos, so the running time has to be filled-up with something.

I just wish the dialogue wasn't so clipped and the editing so inconsistent. The movie has a naturalistic feel, meaning a lot words sound mumbled, and characters seems to come and go with no orientation given to the viewer. I am not saying that Michael Mann should pander to all audiences and dumb down the material, but a middle ground could have been found.

Mann shoots LA with wide-open empty spaces and stays high above the city for the most part, giving it a cold, alienating feel. Dante Spinotti's photography is raw and filter-free, and all locations are real with not a single soundstage used (although there are a couple of obvious green screen shots). It gives you a view of LA not typically seen in movies.

For a 170-minute it doesn't pay-off much considering the talent. There is a great 125-minute movie desperate to get out of Heat. The movie as it is has a lot of fat and you'll have to endure it if you want to see what all the fuss is about.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A great game let down by building boredom, 9 May 2014

The Stick of Truth is so good in many ways, but is ultimately bogged down by very repetitive gameplay and logs spells between excitement. I hate to complain about a game so imaginative and cute, but it did become a issue with me the more and more I played through it.

You play as a new kid in town, customizable to your discretion, who makes friends with the South Park gang and becomes involved in their fantasy role-playing games when the precious Stick of Truth is stolen from Cartman. A terrifying plot involving aliens, anal probes, zombie Nazis, abortion clinics, and ManBearPig himself, plus many side-quests make up the lengthy adventure which is a hilarious parody of fantasy RPGs, while being a decent RPG in its own right at the same time (but also retaining many of the flaws of the genre).

The voice acting by Trey Parker and Matt Stone is, as expected, brilliant, as well as their cute animation style, and their humor which alternates between satirical and grotesque permeates ever scene. You really will feel like you are controlling an actual episode of South Park. Nods to 16-bit RPGs during the Canada scenes will appeal to older gamers too.

The downside is that there is not enough variation during the short campaign in regards to weapons, armor, and power-ups. The battles eventually become redundant as the XP levels are capped at level 15. Many of the trophies will require multiple play-throughs, and some are even locked-out once the main campaign is over. Bad choices there from the developers.

It's worth playing through once, and will appeal to all fans of the show, but boredom will set in at around the halfway mark and you'll probably be somewhat disappointed with it.

Sorcerer (1977)
Don't mention the tension, 9 May 2014

I was doubly skeptical about this movie before watching it. I absolutely hated the original Wages of Fear. I bought the Criterion DVD way back in 2000 after hearing many good things about it but the tension just wasn't there. I thought I was missing something. When I heard about Sorcerer (thanks to a brief parody in the Mr. Plow episode of the Simpsons) I looked it up and learned about its terrible release history and assumed it was a stinker. Now, all these years later, William Friedkin has fully restored his lost treasure and presents it to us once more without the threat of George Lucas stealing his audience.

It's a slow-burn movie that initially feels a lot like the Exorcist in that several plot threads in different parts of the world are established first before being tied together in the second act. Four desperate men stuck in a South American peasant village agree to drive trucks filled with volatile nitro-glycerine to an oil fire 218 miles away. It's a suicide mission fraught with danger and peril. Leader Jackie Scanlon/Juan Dominguez (played by the ever-vulnerable and haunted Roy Scheider) is a lowlife from Queens hiding from a mob boss, and his comrades are a French stock swindler, a Palestinian bomber, and a rodent-like assassin. Together they make for a quartet as nervous and unstable as the explosives they are transporting.

William Friedkin's jungle is full of lush darkness and menace. One bump in the dirt road could lead to disaster. The rivers rage, the wind and rain batters the windshields, and every other corner disintegrates beneath them. One standout scene involves the trucks slowly inching across a derelict rope bridge as the wooden boards splinter to pieces under the wheels.

It's better than Wages of Fear, but what is up with that title? No matter how much Friedkin argues that it was a good's not. Sorcerer is a title that kills this movie as it has virtually nothing to do with anything. So it's the name of one of the trucks, so what? That's like calling Speed "2525" or calling First Blood "That Army Truck He Drives For A Bit". The word Sorcerer has absolutely nothing to do with anything and if you look for a deeper reason you are not going to find it. Friedkin is wrong about this title. It's a stupid, stupid choice and no doubt one of the many reasons why this film was a box office bomb. They should have just called it Wages of Fear. Friedkin doesn't really consider it to be a remake, more of a loose reinterpretation, and it's not like American audiences would have even been aware back in those days at the French original was something of an obscure flick in 1977.

That's not to say that there isn't anything deeper to be found in the film, it's just that the title has nothing to do with it. Sorcerer is an existentialist nightmare that's about as close to Cronenberg as Friedkin will ever get. The huge close-ups of sweaty tormented faces, the slowly-building mental breakdowns, the hostile, creeping jungle surrounding and containing us – it's not the exotic adventure that Thomas Cook promise, it's a place you don't want to be.

Friedkin made Sorcerer at the height of his creative freedom and stands as a perfect example, and as a warning, of how good and of how expensive a talented director's vision can be. Is it indulgent? Sure. But it's also a labor of love, this wage of fear.

Donald and Happy in the same sentence?, 9 May 2014

Huey, Duey, and Louie work hard in Donald's garden in order to make enough money to spoil him for his birthday (March 13th). Donald thinks their crazy but pays them nonetheless, though he insists that they stick the money in the bank for their future. Desperate to get the dough they need the triplets resort to hijinks and eventually manage to purchase a box of cigars (I guess tobacco laws were not so strict in 1949).

Donald thinks that the stogies are for the kids and makes them smoke the whole box. The final gag of Donald learning the truth makes him shrink to a couple of inches tall. Well, at least for once he knew he was in the wrong.

A nicely animated cartoon that is quick and concise with enough laughs to make it worthwhile.

Tales of derring do, bad and good luck tales, 9 May 2014

Of all the classic games getting HD remasters over the past few years surely Capcom could do wrong with Ducktales, a classic from the NES that I never had the privilege to play since I was loyal to Sega. The blocky 8-bit sprites are now lovely hand-drawn animations and the backgrounds are now 3D, which I found a little incongruous to begin with but they work well with each other. The DuckTales cast return to voice the characters, which gives it even more of a cartoon feel. As a remaster it's fine.

The gameplay is a bit of a let-down. It's the standard platformer controls, and virtually identical to the NES, but the collision detection is far from perfect and the lenghty cut-scenes, inserted to give the overall story more coherence, are not skippable, which begins to grate after a first play-through.

There are 20 trophies in total, and not only is there no platinum, there isn't even any gold trophies. A few of them are ruthlessly hard and the game just doesn't have enough to offer to make fighting for them worth it.

You'll probably get about 1.5 play-throughs of this game before you get bored of it. It's not bad, but there certainly is room left for improvement.

Lucky Duck, 3 May 2014

While working at a gas station Donald listens to the radio hoping that his raffle ticket has won him a new car. He loses, and storms off in a temper, but his nephews continue to listen and hear the correction - he HAS won the car. They attempt to surprise him by bringing the car back themselves but Donald believes he is being tricked and destroys the car before the radio announcer congratulates him.

As always, Donald's temper is his downfall, but I'd like to see him win just once. The cartoon is clever and amusing though not one of the more memorable Donald shorts. It's a bit formulaic and lacks manic energy. Certainly worth a watch though.

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