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The Postman (1997)
Despite inconsistencies, this is a great movie.
Usually I'd trust the opinions of Roger Ebert or Rotten Tomatoes, but I have to disagree with the negatives here. Sure this isn't the greatest film of all time by any standards, but in a time dominated by Doom & Gloom generic post apocalypse movies, The Postman was a breath of fresh, positive air and if you can ignore the little things like "Why is there a lion in Oregon" (Portland Zoo?) or "How did the Holnist come to power? " this is a great movie with a great message. The main character may have initially only used the story of being a Postman to get food and so he wouldn't get shot when he walked into a village, but his lie inspired hope. The movie has a comedic lightness to it, but it has it's serious moments and there are some great quotes like "Wouldn't it be nice if the a--holes who started wars were the ones who had to fight them?" General Bethlehem represented the aspects of the violent, racist, misogynistic gun-hoarding survivalists, taking advantage of the ''clean slate'' provided by the apocalypse to re-create civilization the way he saw fit, but with all the bad parts of it. His idea of a society was more like medieval times. He killed people who were mere children, just to get at his foe and he recruited people into his army who didn't want to be a part of it in the first place.
Signs + National Treasure = Lame.
Coming from the director of such cult classics as "The Crow" and "Dark City" one would expect this too would be something that will endure the test of time and embed itself into the public conscious. Unfortunately, this movie only repeats tired clichés with mish-mashed concepts and will likely go the way of 'Signs' and the remake of "The Day The Earth Stood Still."
Aliens have always been a popular trend in movies, but in the last decade American cinema goers have not seen many that actually relied on story and characters over typical Hollywood flash. Honestly, I wish for once a person would spend as much on the writing as they do on over blown CGI effects. At least when pie plates on strings and rubber suits were the norm we were blessed with a decent story.
This is a movie that tries so hard to be unique and thought-provoking that it comes off as preachy and irritating. At first it starts out okay, there's the Wednesday Adams-looking little girl hearing voices, so you already know it's going to have something to do with the supernatural. Fast-forward to present day, with Nick Cage and his son who by some stroke of luck (or misfortune) gets the cryptic number prophecy sheet. Cage, in a drunken stupor, figures the sheet out for what it really is, and starts tying its numbers to 9/11 and a bunch of other disasters. How very Nostradamus....
There are some events that have yet to happen, and Cage, for some reason, believes he can actually prevent them... So he tries to be at ground zero of as many of the disasters he can. One of these involves Cage witnessing a plane crash tearing through a congested highway, and then running to the site of the carnage and yelling "Hey!--HEY!" at people walking around covered in flames. The other humorous moment is when he tries to stop what he assumes is going to be a terrorist attack in New York. He calls the FBI and rambles in detail about how there's going to be an attack and that if they don't do what he says, people are going to die... making -himself- sound like a terrorist.
Eventually we get to see Lucinda's old house with all her newspaper clippings of various disasters and her number codes scrawled on the walls, oh and there's this weird picture depicting a passage from The Bible about aliens??? Great, it isn't demons or some cult who're after Nick's son, but aliens... Angel Aliens who look like some crap out of 'Mission To Mars' and predict disasters (like a super solar flare about to kill everything on Earth) but won't do squat to stop them. Guess it's punishment for all the wars and ravaging of the planet, or maybe they're just voyeuristic death fanatics.
So the aliens take the kids anyway, poor Nick is stuck on Earth for it's inevitable destruction all because he couldn't "hear the call" (rapture?), and the worthy children get to go to a fresh new planet which I'm guessing is supposed to be Eden since there's the big "Tree of Knowledge" that God / The Aliens don't want anyone eating from or "they shall surely die." I hope they checked the place for talking snakes. This movie wouldn't have been so laughable if they'd got somebody else besides Cage and if it hadn't tried to mix Religion with Sci-Fi.
Re-make of a comically dubbed-over Japanese game show.
I guess I probably shouldn't be too annoyed at a show that rips off another show, which is basically a comedic American re-dubbing of a Japanese show (Takeshi's Castle), but I can't watch "Wipeout" without immediately thinking of Spike's "MXC: Most Extreme Challenge." The obstacle course names, the way the announcers try to crack visual pun jokes and call all the contestants by nicknames, its all borrowing from MXC, but the show seems to lose something without the whole "people ad-libbing over Japanese stock footage" part. It's like if MST3K were re-made, but done "seriously," and with new actors trying to replace the old B-movies that were being mocked.
"Wipeout" tries to be "MXC" like "Repo: The Genetic Opera" desperately tries to be "The Next Rocky Horror Picture Show," and like Repo, Wipeout is barely as good as what it attempts to copy. I've even read on Wikipedia that ABC tried to buy up the search term "MXC" through Google to try to re-direct traffic to their official Wipeout website. If "MXC" hadn't come first (and been made 5 years prior, 17 if you count the age of the source material for the re-dub), maybe I could watch this show and just take it for what it is; people competing in a crazy foam prop obstacle course for money.
Oh and btw, contrary to the belief of some, you didn't have to be an anime-obsessed "weeaboo" to enjoy the hilarity of MXC.
Knight Rider: Knight Rider (2008)
A Mustang? Ummm, how about no.
NBC completely botched this one. I mean they changed the car from a Pontiac to a Ford (probably because Ford offered the most money, and who wouldn't for an hour long product placement spot?) the new actor is the guy from The OC. The voice we all know and love, William Daniels (Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World) is replaced with Will Arnett. There is NO Turbo Boost (jump mode), and the Molecular Bonded Shell is replaced with some stupid "Nanobot Technology" so instead of KITT being indestructible he hasta go sit in a corner and rebuild himself like Stephen King's Christine. No busting through walls, no jumping through the sides of semis or over ravines. And most importlanly, NO TRANS AM! Even a 6 year old modified '02 model Firebird would look better than that Mustang. The dash may as well be stock analog, its not the "Darth Vader's Bathroom" from the old show. KR'08 alienates fans of the original series and gives them NOTHING from the original show to savor, except the Hoff. And let's face it the Hoff has about as much acting talent as William Shatner. Even kids would probably see how lame this crap is. Here's to hoping Glen Larson's MOVIE turns out better.
Knight Rider (1982)
James Bond meets Herby the Lovebug.
Ask anyone who grew up during the early 1980's what their favorite non-animated show was as a kid and they'll probably say "Knight Rider" (unless they're from the south, then they'd probably say Dukes of Hazzard) KR, as its affectionately called by some fans, may seem quirky and obscure nowadays with its Atari Centipede sound effects, poofie aqua-net hairdo's, over-acting and "sooo not the original artist" synthpop covers, but we didn't care... To us this was the best thing on TV besides Smurfs and He-Man and it appealed to our parents as well.
KR was James Bond meets Herbie the Love Bug. While our mothers drooled over the blue-eyed hunky Hasselhoff, we were captivated by the ominous-looking but friendly talking black Trans Am, K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand) we giggled at the odd-couple banter between Michael and KITT, we smiled every time thieves tried to steal KITT and failed, and we cried when KITT got destroyed (but they -always- managed to fix him) From 82 to 86, this was the coolest show on TV.
Knight Rider 2010 (1994)
This isn't "Knight Rider" at all...
This 'movie' is rarely discussed or aired on TV. There is a very good reason why, I'll explain.
Aside from the name in the title and a guy driving a car, this movie really has NOTHING at all to do with the 80's TV series 'Knight Rider'that most of us grew up watching. Instead this movie is more like a low budget Mad Max sequel with cyber-punk undertones. I'll try and sum up the movie for you: In the future earth is barren and polluted, there's this guy with a big truck who smuggles people into the clean air domes (makes ya think of Total Recall, eh?) he meets up with this scientist guy who wants to steal his organs using this soul-stealing crystal thing, the immigrant smuggler guy's girlfriend gets her soul trapped in the crystal instead, immigrant smuggler guy then puts the crystal into a car he built from scraps of a Mustang. The scientist villain guy is thwarted, a joke is made about doing some matrix-ish cybersex interface thing and our heroes drive off into the sunset.
The TV movie before 2010; KR2000 was crud but it at least had some relevance to the 80's series, Team Knight Rider was also terrible but still had ties to KITT and The Foundation. KR2010 is crap. Mr. Hasselhoff and Mr. Larson; if you have any sense, don't let 'Knight Rider: The Movie' be like this. Base it around the pilot ep where Michael Long is shot, please... We're tired of made-for-TV garbage. If Dukes of Hazzard can have a decent theatre movie, can't Knight Rider?
Rudora no hihou (1996)
Another game that SHOULD'VE been release in the USA.
Rudora no Hihou (or Treasure of Rudora) is a game for the SNES/SuperFamicom made by Squaresoft. The game is your typical RPG except with one important difference; you can make your own spells as well as learn spells from enemies. The downside is that the process is done by combinations of kanji (the Japanese alphabet), but once you get the hang of it, spell-making is as easy. Since Square didn't think this game would appeal to Americans, it was never released over here.
Thanks to emulation and fan-made translation patches you can play this great game in English. The game centers around aspects of dharmic religion, in partical the wheel of time. Rudora (Rudra) is the God which destroys the world every 4000 years so that a new world can be born. The story takes place during the 15 final days before the race known as 'humans' are to be eradicated and a new race is to be made. I won't say much more for fear of accidental spoilers. ^^;;;;
Seiken densetsu 3 (1995)
Hey Squaresoft, what about us Americans?
Seiken Densetsu 3 is the game that would've been Secret of Mana 2 in the USA, had it been translated and released here. Thankfully there are translation patches on the internet for the rom files. SD3 is a riveting game with a similar story to SoM1 but with better looking graphics. The only things that aren't up to par with its predecessor is the magic system, battle mode and weapon/spell leveling. There are less spells and sometimes a 'Class Change' is necessary to have magic.
Weapons and spells no longer level up from use like in SoM1.
The battle system is still overhead view and not the typical Final Fantasy battle screen, but you can't avoid battles by walking away from enemies anymore. But there are some aspects that make SD3 better than SoM; you get a very spacious inventory with which you can hold up to 99 of every item. Upon starting, you get to chose your party of 3 from 6 available characters and depending on which you chose as your main hero you fight a different boss at the end of the game.
Flammie is still there, so is Cannon Travel, but you also get ships you can ride to docks and a giant turtle you can summon to travel by water. The world is more expansive than in SoM, SD3 is also more difficult.
Square made a BAD choice by not releasing an official USA version, with the popularity of Secret of Mana, who WOULDN'T want to buy its sequel? Its not the first time Japanese game companies have left Americans behind. Namco's Tales of Phantasia was released for SNES, Playstation and GBA, but they never made an English port, the only way you can play it in English is thru the wonder of emulation. Sad because had the companies released them here we most certainly would've bought them.
8 Man After (1993)
One of my first exposures to anime.
Before Cartoon Network had Toonami and Adult Swim, the budding "Sci-Fi Channel" had a weekly marathon they called "Saturday Anime." They'd play stuff like Cashaun: Robot Hunter, Tank Police, Project A-Ko, and my favorite: 8-man After. This wasn't Tiny Toons or Chip & Dale, this was the extreme world of Japanese animation. I don't remember much of it since I was 12 when I had seen it, but 8-man is a complicated hero who not only must battle the bad guys but must fight to keep himself sane as well, less he kill everyone around him.
He shreds through the air at lightning speeds and though he is ashamed of it, he gets his energy from a kind of cyber-dope. A company called "Bio-Tech" has been manufacturing the drugs and the cybernetic limbs and selling them to street gangs as well as a football team. The team goes berzerk and sets their sites on the spectators, 8-Man loses his grip and he mercilessly kills the players to save the innocent. The girl he had earlier saved screams at him, calling him a monster.
8-Man begins to question if he really is in control of himself. It is a very twisty and emotional piece that pulls you in. Before Sci-Fi ran the stuff I didn't even know anime existed, now its EVERYWHERE!
Knight Rider: The Game (2003)
Nice graphics but physics and game play sucked.
I like any other child of the 80's was excited at the notion of a game based on my favorite TV show. The screen shots made it look pretty awesome. I finally got my chance to experience being "behind the wheelof KITT." I bought my copy of KR at Gamestop for $5, only after playing it did find out why. Other than having good graphics this game is junk. The physics are terrible, the voice acting sounds nothing like the characters, and the game is depressingly short.
I would have expected a more epic adventure from Knight Rider. Some of the levels are just stupid and the boss battles are even worse. Sure a highway shoot-em-up wouldn't have been true to the TV series but it would've at least been fun. In this game you have to solve puzzles, chase a car, and then you fight a boss, but instead of shooting lasers at him you just bump into him until one of you dies. I honestly got more enjoyment from the 8-bit NES and Turbo Grafix 16 KR games.
I thought buying the rights from Universal dented Davilex's budget, but actually they have a history of making mediocre games. Such obscure titles as "Beach King Stunt Racer" and "Londer Racer World Challenge." I'm disappointed, there was potential for a great game, Davilex should've spent more time on KR or let someone else make it.
The sequel: Knight Rider 2, I hear, isn't much better. I'll probably buy it anyway so the box can look pretty on my shelf.