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The Spectacular Spider-Man

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64 reviews in total 
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So Close (2002)
50 out of 61 people found the following review useful:
Possibly the nicest movie about professional killers ever made, 24 March 2004

Despite the fact that this is a super-slick action thriller with guns, swords, cars and martial arts, So Close is a refreshing and unusual movie. It's NICE, to put it simply. Lovely girls, dressed in white much of the time, hanging around their picturesque house messing around and eating cakes and having baths. Despite all the asses they kick, they actually behave like young women and not ultra-agressive 'I-want-to-be-a-man' type female heroes, like Xena or Sarah Connor.

The action is sleek and graceful - feminine. It's also rather slow and lo-key compared to most films of this nature. The real action doesn't come until the climax, but when it does, director Corey Yuen pulls out all the stops, climaxing in a two-against-one sword fight that ranks alongside that of The Phantom Menace.

Despite how it's advertised, So Close is not a skinflick. The women are certainly not sex objects. They are sexy, but in a wholesome way. It's their natural beauty rather than their sex appeal that is most noticable.

So Close is a great movie, and should entertain any mainstream audience regardless of their farmiliarity of Asian films.

The Duel (2000)
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Ninety minutes of mild amusement, ten minutes of magic, 20 November 2003
7/10

This is an intresting movie, certainly moreso than most Hollywood action/adventures. The action is few and far between as this is not an action movie, but the few fight scenes are effective. The characters are likeable and the acting is good enough.

Most of the movie concerns secret agent Dragon Nine's comedy attempts to solve a murder mystery. This is made up of slapstick, James Bond type gags and gadgets and precious little action. Amusing, but hardly gripping or hilarious.

Then the film suddenly becomes great at the climax. It contains more emotion, imagination, action and characterisation than the rest of the film put together. The mystery is revealed, and becomes more complicated and dramatic than it seemed. The final duel is an excellent, ultra-fast sword fight with superpowers - but it IS still mainly about the clashing of blades. The losing duelist has one final desire, and his attempts to reach it are very sad.

If the whole movie was of the quality of the last ten minutes this would be a classic.

X-Men 2 (2003)
Bamf! Snikkt! Mmmmbam!, 11 November 2003
8/10

The problem is Singer is still not intrested in the fight scenes. As effective and spectacular as the Nightcrawler opening attack is, it's the only genuinely dramatic one in X2. Wolverine's fight with Deathstrike should be part of the climax. Instead it is pushed out of the way as soon as possible (atleast twenty minutes before the end). And to be honest, it's not better than Wolverine's battles with Sabretooth and Mystique in X1. It's just longer.

Singer needs to watch the Star Wars movies, Superman II, The Matrix movies and Blade to get a real feel for the spectacular and intense fight scenes these films require.

Why have I spent two paragraphs complaining about the fight scenes? Because that's almost the only major fault of X2. It's the best superhero movie since Batman Returns.

21 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
One of the better comicbook movies around, 7 November 2003
10/10

Cool things about Superman III:

1. Reeve gives his best Superman performance; no messing about, kick ass and take names heroics. I love it. 2. The junkyard fight scene, the best superhero movie fight sequence ever, outside the Matrix trilogy. 3. When Clark becomes Superman again after that fight scene; the way he stands up, realises who he is and then rips his shirt open to reveal the clean, fresh, heroic S symbol is awesome, and is one of the most stirring and effective Superman moments ever. 4. Best special effects of the series. 5. Richard Pryor IS funny, even though he is clearly in the wrong flick. 6. That nasty Zelda-from-Terrahawks cyborg monster that woman gets turned into at the end - SCARY! 7. Lana Lang is so much better than Lois Lane, you can actually see why Clark would go for her. 8. The way Superman outwits the computer at the climax rather than just using his power to defeat it.

Here's the ultimate cool thing: when most actors play evil versions of their characters, they just play them as 2D bad guys. But Reeve makes the evil Superman a convincingly bitter, currupted version of the Man of Steel, who realises how great he used to be and hates himself and everybody else for his fall from grace. He's a disgraced hero, a fallen angel. Ironically, he's the best villain of teh Superman series. The whole good/evil Superman thing is awesome and for me makes Superman III a very good film. I'll take Superman III over Spider-Man, Daredevil and Batman Forever.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Possibly the silliest game of all-time, and great fun, 11 August 2003

Jurassic Park lends itself to various game genres - Tomb Raider-style adventure, platformer (in the old days), first person shooter and sim (build your own Park). However, few people would have thought a Tekken-style one-on-one fighting game was appropriate.

Imagine....Tekken.....with DINOSAURS.

Thankfully, although the layout and rules of the game are the same as Tekken - and every fighting game since Street Fighter II - the dino battles are kept realistic. The giant thunder lizards themselves stomp around the screen, and attack each other with claws and jaws rather than fireballs and hurricane kicks. It's simple, and there are far less moves to learn than your average fighting game, but it's a lot of fun.

The graphics are some of the best ever produced on the PS1. The dinos look great as they furiously collide, roaring and snarling the whole time. The sound is equally impressive, with every snarl and slash perfectly and defeaningly backed up by crashes of thunder, cries for help and police sirens. There's an awesome orchestral soundtrack as well which creates a very exciting, epic and above all, Jurassic Park atmosphere.

JP fans will delight in both the amount of dinosaurs (14)and locations from the movies (why, 14 as well, my stars). Of course the fan-favourites Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor are first on the list, although the Raptor in this case is a Mega Raptor, almost as big as the T-Rex itself. There's also a Spinosaurus which appeared in Jurassic Park III, but sadly no pteradons. The locations include the Vistor's Centre where the climax of the original movie took place, the rain-drenched paddock where the T-Rex memorably escaped from, outside the Raptor pen, and the deck of the crashed cargo ship from The Lost World. It's not just there to look good though - use the interactive locations to cause explosions, eat helpless humans, and even ram your opponent into an electric fence (that's gotta hurt, Gene!).

Overall, this is a game without much longevity but a huge amount of fun until it's completed. The excellent production values create an atmosphere few games can match and Jurassic Park fans will certainly enjoy it. Plus the chance to fight as a T-Rex is simply too cool to miss...

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Full of energy but misjudged and juvenile, 8 June 2003
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After seeing it again, I have to say Die Another Day is neither is dull as Diamonds are Forever, or as mechanically formulaic as You Only Live Twice. It is a movie full of ideas and enthusiasm, it's just channeled in the wrong directions.

The two major problems of Die Another Day are evident in the first ten seconds, in the gun barrel and the CGI bullet. Completely unnecessary CGI; and completely misjudged messing with classic the Bond elements.

Director Lee Tamohori wants to misbehave and shake up all the essential Bond staples. Bond doesn't escape! Bond gets captured and tortured! Bond has long hair and a beard! And it just goes on. Bond doesn't have a cool car, he has a cadillac! Such an approach is almost like directly addressing the camera, it spoils the suspension of disbelief far more than Bond escaping MI6 by slowing down his heartbeat. You can almost hear Tamohori laughing, "Hey viewers, we know what you think will happen, but - ha! - it's completely different for once!" Bizarrely, Die Another Day also goes out of it's way to acknowledge every single previous movie in the series (as well as taking plot elements from the Moonraker novel), so it's also a series of homages, some subtle (Bond and Jinx's escape from the crashing plane is taken from The Living Daylights) some not so ("Well, diamonds are for everyone,"). Q's storeroom is amusing but doesn't make any sense in any context, and is again beating the audience over the head where subtlety was required.

If Terrence Young directed Die Another Day, he'd celebrate the fact this is the twentieth Bond with subtle nods and cool restraint. I think this is something EON have realised, and with Casino Royale they've realised that less is more. The homage to Goldfinger in Quantum of Solace is far more tasteful than DAD's hamfisted attempts.

The puns are absolutely the worst I have ever heard in any movie ("Please don't take it out yet," etc). It could have been written by 14-year olds. Even the few decent ones are not helped by Halle Berry's approach. Bond tells Jinx he's an ornathologist, Jinx looks down at his groin and says, "Now there's a mouthful." Just embarrassing, and it would be fine if the editor just cut that shot of her looking down. Do they think the audience is stupid? The overdose of CGI is self-explanatory. The obsession with, at the time, fashionable camera moves and slo-mo is awful, especially as it's used very badly anyway. The action scenes, whilst slightly better than The World is Not Enough, are still weak. Lacking geography and energy. Take Bond's scuffle with Zao in the hospital; it's just a series of shots of Brosnan and Rick Yune doing various falls and punches, badly edited together. It's just poor. Bond's fight with Graves at the climax is so bad as to be shocking. It's just a collection of close ups of each actor being punched or kicked. The actors barely sell the blows, and Tamohori even adds the slo-mo to one shot to try and improve it. This is the worst action scene I've seen so far in this Bond marathon, worse than even the too-old-Moore-inhibited antics of A View to a Kill.

Die Another Day is essentially a Disney Bond movie. Bright colours, clearly drawn yet basic characters, every actor full of enthusiasm despite having very little to work with. It's a very family friendly Bond movie. It's like a cartoon. Gone is the attempts at something more realistic of Brosnan's previous films. Instead we have a Korean general turning into an upper class English toff who owns a palace built from ice. Wearing a RoboCop suit. Shooting purple electricity at people who drive invisible cars.

Brosnan does solid work and clearly relishes the chance to have Bond experience betrayal and do something different. The rest of the cast are decent, I found Zao to be an effective villain. Tobey Stevens plays Graves exactly as he should be, disgustingly snobbish, but the character should be in another movie. Maybe a comedy about an English boarding school. Halle Berry gives 120% enthusiasm but is stuck with a ridiculous 'bad girl' secret agent character that has absolutely no characteristics besides what I just wrote. Thank goodness the Jinx spin-off never arrived. Michael Madsen's inclusion is completely pointless.

A note of praise to Rosamund Pike as Miranda Frost, I found her one of the most effective Bond girls during Brosnan's tenure. Again, a 2D role, but she did it with grace, and as an actress she's perfect for the Bond series in the very way that Halle Berry is wrong for it.

With DAD, it seemed EON had forgotten that the best Bond movies underplay everything, not overdo everything. Goldfinger does everything with such elan, such style, such a lack of fuss. DAD has no idea of the word restraint.

The truly awful thing is, after the CGI bullet, DAD starts so well! The pre-credit scene is tense and murky, has a sense of realism and danger the rest of the film completely misses. And has decent action! I could well believe the pre-credit sequence was from a completely different movie. The idea to show the girls dancing in the credits as Bond's hallucinations is also effective. But from then on, it's all downhill.

So afterwards I don't despise Die Another Day any longer, I just wish it had gone in another direction artistically. It's a real kitchen sink of a film, and Bond needs to be refined. One of the weakest Bond entries, but perhaps not the worst. We'll see.

X-Men 2 (2003)
It seems great at first...., 21 May 2003
8/10

In retrospect, X2 was rather disapointing. It started with a bang (actually a bamf) in a sequence that was almost worthy of the first Matrix, but it went downhill from there. There was no electricity between the characters, it was all flat. Logan and Jean wasn't even the same dynamic. Hugh Jackman was far too relaxed and was more himself than Logan much of the time (in the same way James Bond actors don't really act, they just coast on their charisma). And Logan only got two chances to kick ass, the second of which, good though it was, was once again Wolverine getting his ass kicked by a woman.

Nightcrawler was awesome but obviously crammed into a plot which couldn't really support him, Bobby and Rogue could have been left out, Magneto was just Ian McKellen having a fun time, not the obsessed, would-be Malcolm X of the mutant world. "i love what you've done with your hair," is something Magneto of the first film would never say. Stryker was yet another British thesp playing a Hollywood villain, nothing more. All the characters were real 3D people in the first movie, but they are closer to 2D action movie characters here. The action and effects in general were twice as good as in the original, but there was still not enough action.

X2 was more satisfying as an action adventure blockbuster, but the first movie was better written and directed, was tighter and more exciting, and had far better acting. X2 is a big movie, but the original is a special movie. And a better one.

Daredevil (2003)
Marvel comics rule; now Marvel movies do too, 9 February 2003
6/10

How weird is this? Marvel used to constantly make terrible movies....and now they're making the best superhero movies ever, one after the other. First there was X-Men in 2000, then Spider-Man in 2002, and now Daredevil. DD is like a cross between Spidey and Batman, and it outdoes them both on many levels.

For a start, let me tell you the fight scenes are far and away the best ever seen in a superhero movie. The acrobatic choreography far outdoes that of Spider-Man. And they are exciting as well - DD doesn't wipe out hordes of bad guys without getting touched himself. He gets hurt even when he wins.

As for the bad guys, the Kingpin and Bullseye have real menace, unlike the Green Goblin and most of Batman's onscreen enemies, and Elektra is the best comicbook femme fetale since Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman. Not that she's really a bad guy. Ben Affleck as the titular hero is spot on for the comicbook character, he really is perfect. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man, now Affleck as DD - Marvel is filling cinemas with great action heroes.

So how does it rank? Purely as a movie, it's not The Fellowship of the Ring (let's start saying that instead of Citizen Kane now, shall we?), but it's fantastic entertainment with genuine emotion and brains behind it. As a comicbook flick, it's below the first Batman and Superman movies (isn't everything?), but it's up there with X-Men, Spider-Man and The Crow.

DD kicks ass, basically. As a superhero movie, as a post-Matrix action movie, and as entertainment.

4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
No, it's not The Matrix, but it's not Batman & Robin either, 17 January 2003
7/10

I just saw this and it's no way near as bad as it's rep. People on the IMDb are saying it's one of the worst films ever made (!) - how many films have they seen? Proberbaly only The Matrix and Spider-Man. The Three Musketeers were unrecognisable in the film, not the dashing heroes we're used to, but D'Artagnon was the coolest (and funniest) so far and the fight scenes were far and away the best ever in a Musketeer movie. The sword fights weren't your usual prancing about, but intense and frantic, much like the Jedi's duels with Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace. The Jackie Chan-style stunts and the changes to the novel were controversial, but the fresh approach added to the film for me. If you expect a classic adaption of the novel with traditional swashbucking, forget it. Instead look for an updated take on the story with lavish and atmospheric visuals, a cool-yet-relatable D'Artagnon, Mena Suvari, loads of intense sword fighting and spectacular stunts.

Spider-Man (2002)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
If only..., 13 January 2003
7/10

The whole point of Spider-Man is what would happen if a real person was a superhero? What if a superhero really existed? In real life? What if there was a superhero, not a Kryptonian in fictional Metropolis, but a real kid in New York?

The suit used in the movie just emphasised the fact that the film was a typical superhero movie. It's a given that superheroes in films have cool costumes; Batman, Spawn, the X-Men, etc. So Spidey followed this, as the audience expected. But the whole point is that Peter can't make a cool, high-tech costume because he doesn't have the resources or the means. He's just a kid, doing what he can.

If Spider-Man actually existed, he would look like the Nicolas Hammond 1970's TV version. A cheap, garish and silly costume (in the comics, Spidey's costume was often criticised) is exactly what Spidey originally wore in the comics and so wore in the TV show, and would wear in real life.

The cheap costume is endearing. It shows this average guy is doing his best to be a superhero, trying his hardest with the little he has. We can all relate to it, as it's about as good as the average person could do, no better.

I feel if the director Sam Raimi and co had been brave enough to make a film of the Spidey concept (a superhero in real life, cheap costume and all) and not try and animate comicbook panels, then we'd really be onto something.


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