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Dip huet seung hung (1989)
The most honest and object review you'll get
I understand that the budget for this movie was extremely low when compared to that of the typical Hollywood blockbuster, but that is irrelevant when considering how poorly John Woo handled the film.
1. The 4 male leads (the assassin/his friend + cop/his friend) did a very good job of portraying their characters, their emotions and their physical pain.
2. The male leads all have really realistic/memorable lines.
3. There are several ideas introduced along with the action including, the assassin's change of heart regarding his profession, the way he and the cop come to realize they aren't really as different as they wanted to think they were, and the idea of being passed up by changing times (the old-school triads versus the new street-punk mafia wannabe's).
1. The female lead is annoying at best. Moreover, why does her character stay around through all the mayhem???
2. Magic bullet-growing guns that occasionally need reloading
3. Every action scene is the same: the "good guys" are sitting/standing around and literally HUNDREDS of dudes come charging in through the front door in order to get mowed down by a hailstorm of bullets. Then, MORE guys rush in (sometimes through windows). Most of the baddies don't even bother shooting when they rush in and the ones that do shoot would apparently lose in a duel with a stormtrooper.
4. The extras/stuntmen all flip about when they get shot like in some James Bond film. Some guys got thrown 20 feet or so by getting shot!
5. The trained assassin apparently feels the need to empty 15-20 shots into each dude and all the baddies wait in line for their turn rather than firing while the main character goes agro on one dude.
6. The assassin and the cop survive through several shootouts, killing hundreds of guys while not getting hurt.
7. None of the events have any semblance of rational behind them. Why does the Triad boss want the assassin dead? Who knows? Why does he keep trying after losing literally hundreds of henchmen? Who knows? Why does the chick stay with the assassin after she finds out who he is? Who knows? Why does the leader of the triads TAKE PART in the shootout alongside all of his minions????? The worst part is that these are all easily fixed problems and yet John Woo never thought it necessary.
8. No one can get 3 perfect shots off from hundreds of yards away while standing on a bobbing boat! Moreover, after the assassination, WHY does he attract attention to himself by jetting off in the boat in front of everyone??? Why doesn't he just dump the gun, put on a wetsuit and swim away underwater??
9. Even after things go south and everyone wants him dead, the assassin STILL RISKS going back to his own apartment and his girlfriend's apartment several times!!
10. Why are the triads (especially the boss) riding around in old, cheap cars with no protection?? On that note, couldn't the most powerful crime syndicate in Asia afford more than pistols and a few uzis for its members?? Surely they would have thought of some different tactics after the first few shootouts?? Maybe a rocket or a carbomb or poison or something else???
I have read many of the negative reviews here on IMDb and in nearly every single one, the author cited their major gripe as the characters of Hicks and Newt being killed off before the start of the movie. WHY is this a problem?? They do not have to be in this movie for it to be good. This movie is different in style from the second movie and the main point is the idea of isolating Ripley while creating an atmosphere of fear, isolation, claustrophobia loneliness and desperation. This would be impossible if Ripley had her buddies from the previous movie with her to back her up! Hicks and Newt were basically the daughter and husband Ripley wished she had so having them dead adds this tremendous feeling of loss (and desperation) which I felt Sigorny Weaver did a great job of expressing.
Basically, this is a dark and brooding film with lots of suspense and a great plot twist in the end which also happens to be a great way to end the series as a whole. The soundtrack was decent and the visuals were grim and gritty (as one would expect from a movie in this series). Weaver does a good job acting the character of Ripley and the other characters do a good job being alien-fodder and also helping her in her attempt to kill the alien. The direction is stylistic but in a way that serves to deepen the thematic sense of isolation and desperation.
In short, I recommend this film to anyone who likes scifi-suspense or is a fan of the series!
The Harimaya Bridge (2009)
As far as I can remember, this is most amazing thing I have yet seen.
I just saw this film in the theater yesterday and was completely blown away by it. I am somewhat of a film buff, but I can not remember ever before being so moved, so entertained and so utterly wrapped up in a movie before.
I need not say anything about the plot as the blurb here on IMDb says it all --beside which what is really important is how the story unfolds. The pacing was wonderfully done and the camera work was beautiful. There were minimal lighting effects and/or after-effects used so the picture had a more realistic feel which I felt was a good decision as it forced the director to pay careful attention to the framing of each scene and let the beautiful scenery speak for itself in order to create a visual dimension to the poetry that is the story.
As moving as the visuals are, the amazing soundtrack also needs to be commended. Some scenes employ no background music and instead rely on natural sounds or the bustling of the town etc. while other scenes really benefit from the background music that accompanies the visuals.
The actors all deserve commendations for their amazing work. There were relatively few lines spoken in the film but each was delivered with maximum effect which, along with subtle body language managed to not only properly convey the story but to add an honesty and intensity that really drew me into the character's world.
The overall direction is also superb; the way that the director brings together all these assets (beautiful locations, talented actors, gorgeous photography/music and compelling story) and wraps it all up with his clever framing/cinematography is truly amazing. The last scene stands out most in my mind where the titular bridge finally makes its appearance. While the voice-over finally explains why the bridge is so important (literally and symbolically) the camera pans carefully to give us a visual metaphor as well.
Lastly, the story is simple and yet the presentation reveals unexpected depth offering viewers some lessons which everyone could do with hearing again.
Fallout 3 (2008)
Definitely Fallout and Definitely Good.... just NOT great
The game has a lot of things going for it: (mostly) great graphics, amazing voice acting (for a game), a fresh new control system, action, gore and lots of classic Fallout style.
This is enough to make it a very playable and entertaining game for most people, but there are many detracting points which will likely keep it from being No.1 on most people's lists.
The graphics are marred by some glitches and some poor animations which seriously distract the player from the otherwise startlingly realistic world the game creates.
Furthermore, some poor decisions were made in regard to the game-play. Most notably is the lack of any form of transportation other than walking which makes for some times when the player will have to spend 30min-1hr just to get from one part of the map to another. Also slightly irritating is the worthlessness of power armor and heavy/energy weapons which should reign supreme and yet are next to impotent in this game. The difficulty is also very unbalanced with the main quest being extremely easy while random encounters throughout the wasteland can sometimes be frustratingly difficult. Typical RPG fare like money, items, shops, repair shops and visiting the doc are also useless in Fallout 3 which I feel leaves the game feeling a little too streamlined.
Along those lines, the game also feels streamlined in the sense that the VATS targeting system is only really necessary in the beginning of the game for once the player hits a certain (low) percentage for their weapon proficiency they can blast away in first person mode with near perfect accuracy thus negating the whole point of stats. Also the game is made a bit too easy by the fact that healing is extremely easy. Any ailment can be instantly healed by stimpacks which are ever-present in massive quantities. Also beds are everywhere and the player need only sleep for an hour (not real-time) and fully recover from any ailment for free! Thanks to the above, I was able to beat the game and complete most of the side-quests in about 35hrs. Considering that most of that time was spent jogging from place to place the game only lasts about 10 hours.
Now do not get me wrong, those 10hrs are some very fun 10hrs, hence I describe this game as "good" just not "great."
Aliens vs. Predator (1999)
Play this game
I give this game a 10/10 but with one caveat: it is not for everyone. Fortunately, if you are considering playing this game then you are probably part of the demographic this game was geared for- i.e. you are a fan of the movies, the characters or atmospheric, frightening games that suck you into their world.
If you fit the above, then this game has what you are looking for in spades. The only other game to so perfectly create a world and suck you in would be Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay.
This game has descent graphics, but the PERFECT game design does an amazing job of hiding the engine's limitations and making everything seem very realistic. Of course it helps that all the iconography from the movies is present and the sounds were taken from the films (and used to amazing effect). There is fear and tension which is compounded by the difficulty and the randomizer which keeps enemies cropping up all over the place -though they do not always storm right at you but rather ambush you later on.
The feeling of the three characters is presented very well too. The marine's campaign and the marine's controls gives the player the feeling of constantly running for one's life while playing the predator makes one feel like a badass and playing the alien feels very strange and well.... alien.
Some people have complained that there is no story and the missions/objectives are obtuse. This is a GOOD thing. While it can be frustrating at times, it is in keeping with the atmosphere and the character's situation. Afterall if one really did have to fight their way to safety through an alien infestation, there wouldn't be a proper story would there? There wouldn't be cut-scenes or character development! There would be nothing but bullets, running, tension and blood --which is exactly what this game delivers.
one more in a long line of "exotic east" stories
There was once a time when it could at least be considered understandable for people to be caught up in the myth of the "orient." Few people had ever been and the people who had been, brought back wondrous things such as spice and pottery back to their fellow European barbarians.
Those days are long since gone and yet some people feel compelled to keep the "exotic Asia" myth alive in film and literature and this film is one such example. The plot is silly and largely unexplained -but that does not matter! The pacing is PAINFULLY slow -but that does not matter! The acting is wooden at best and the characters all mysteriously speak English -but that does not matter either!
The opening scene with the skinny Asian woman naked in the hot spring turning to look coyly at the camera should be enough to tell that the only thing the filmmakers cared about was to give audiences some steamy scenes and another tale of the exotic seductiveness of Asia.
Even if that is your thing, I recommend that you skip this movie for better adventures elsewhere.
Pacchigi! Love & Peace (2007)
Waste of time
If you have seen the previous film you will likely hate this one as a few of the important characters are mysteriously absent and the actors that play the remaining characters have also changed.
One of the other major detractors is the unnecessary inclusion of flashbacks to WW2 which are irrelevant to the story. The characters and what is going on in the flashbacks is not explained until the end and even then it is only VERY loosely connected to the main story which takes place in the 70s in Japan. Furthermore, the grizzly and VERY graphic nature of the flashbacks does not fit with the comparatively light tone of the rest of the movie.
Lastly the film is marred by a complete lack of explanation/resolution of important plot points such as the son who has a horrible disease. After all the trouble and side-plots that the characters go through to get the money for the kid's treatment, the movie ends without saying ANYTHING about what happens to the kid. There is also a whole side-plot about sailing out to Pusan to exchange some money which is also never explained. The same goes for why one of the main characters was arrested then suddenly released or what is with the woman and girl who visit him in prison???
Quantum of Solace (2008)
I was introduced to the Bond series through the films featuring Pierce Brosnan, which while they had their silly moments, were much more serious than the Bond movies before them. Maybe this has biased me or maybe I would always feel this way, but I really like the serious approach that the new Bond films (now starring Daniel Craig) take.
I shied away from seeing this new film for quite a while after hearing horrible things about the story, pacing, editing etcetera but I have to say that I found it incredibly entertaining.
There was a lot of action but the short bits of talk and whatnot in between were well used for maximum effect which I felt helped greatly to build the emotional tension and show how Bond's character is growing-up (albeit slowly). The action scenes also felt a little more frenetic than in Casino Royale but they were by no means unwatchable as some have suggested. In fact I liked every scene until the one with the explosions in the desert. It was cool and entertaining though I relived being scared as a child during the Backdraft attraction at Universal Studios! The only detractors I can think of is 1) that the explosion scene was a little overboard. At some point the characters should have just given up and rushed out of the building rather than stubbornly duke it out 'til the building was falling down around them!! 2) The villain(s) were really bland but then I guess that goes with the realism of the story.
cheap, trashy rip-off
It became apparent to me right away that this was nothing more than a cheap rip-off trying to jump on the bandwagon after the success of "Love Actually" and perhaps covert some people to Christianity at the same time.
Nevertheless I stuck it out since the videostore has a no-returns policy.
The mood of this "Christmas" film is really dark and the various character's stories are also completely over-the-top. Who thinks up this kind of stuff? There is the cop who gets involved with this old freaky guy that thinks the cop is the reincarnation of his dead wife. There is a guy who for reasons unexplained feels he needs to crash a hospital Christmas party so he gets a guy to introduce him to the leader of some underground cult who happens to specialize in breaking people's hands. As if that isn't weird enough, what is the young badass guy who could be on a Abercrombie&Fitch bag doing throwing himself at the old lady? Surely there are plenty of women under 60 for him?? Then the same woman hallucinates seeing the spirit of a brain-dead priest who then in one night manages not only to convert her to Christianity but also convinces her to take her mother's doctor on a date! If you are insane and all the above makes perfect sense to you, then you will love this movie! For everyone else, stay far, far away.
This film is the follow-up to the director's hit "Kamome Shokudo" but where that film succeeded because of its healthy balance of strangeness with beautiful sets, good acting, interesting characters and quirky humor, this film gets only the beautiful sets right and goes WAAAY overboard with the strangeness. A good example of this is the asinine dialog which makes no sense and sounds like each character is having their own conversation with someone off-screen, unaware of the other (onscreen) characters around them.
Nothing happens in this movie and there is no exploration into the characters or the environment at all. In fact this movie is nothing more than a glorified screen-saver and would be much better as a slide-show of beautiful scenery, without the stupid characters. Add in some ocean sounds and I would be asleep right away and dreaming of watching a better film.