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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
About as good or bad as you'd expect, 7 January 2017

30 years ago, a boy loses his mother. Today, grown up, that man is executed. Only he's actually moved to a hospital-like facility. They want his genetic memories. And he's not the only one like him, in the building. The others want him to pick a side. And 500 years in the past...

...and it goes on like that. It's overexplained and never begins to make sense when you think about it for a little bit. That's alright for the VG's, but this plays it far too straight. We're given almost no levity. Attempts at it fall flat. This idea was never going to work well on film. It's an engine for the fun, addictive gameplay, which this has about half an hour of. The rest of it is trying to explain the absurd concept, while barely getting anywhere in the overall plot. This does score some points. The action is fast-paced, tight, choreographed(occasionally excessively), and in the 1492 sequences, nearly constant. It's broken up only when they awkwardly jump between it and the present. Losing his grip on reality also works. The father/daughter relationship is engaging.

There is a lot of relatively strong, bloodless violence in this. I recommend it to forgiving fans, and those who wanna see if it really is as out-there of an idea as it is. 5/10

Teenagent (1995) (VG)
See you in the canteenagent, 1 January 2017

Gold is disappearing around America. Or maybe it's from the main European bank. Both? Neither? It depends on who you ask. Or does it? Yes. It does. It's been six months seen the investigation started. The RGB – even they don't know what that stands for, it's all so secret – have no leads. So, what? They pick a random name in the phone book? Don't be ridiculous! They ask a fortune teller with a thick accent to do so. Selected is you, Mark Hopper, and you'll be... you're not really gonna make me say, are you? Really? Ugh... you'll be... the eye-rolling pun title. You're kidnapped by coat-wearing men in the middle of a beautiful summer day, and then, you begin. Why will you do it? For respect? Patriotism? No. For the girls. They love that stuff. I like a lot of the plot. It's too bad the ending was written in 5 minutes on a cocktail napkin. The resolution feels contrived. I also couldn't figure out why they never sent in anyone else, why I'd lose my items on the completion of a level, especially the second-to-last one, etc.

This comes to us from Polish developer Metropolis Software House. It came out for Amiga and DOS. It was the first game to be released on CD-ROM in their country! A huge hit! I'm not sure you can currently get your hands on a copy in their native tongue, much less one with speech and full OST. That, I understand, is a disappointment to them. And some suggest that this is mainly of interest for them. And not for the rest of us. It is available in English, mostly translated without hiccups. That was what I worried about most – would the humor translate? It so often doesn't. We are literally talking about a place that had been free of the Union's communist grip for about half a decade.'s no wonder it opens on secret police "removing" an innocent person. Who then finds himself in a strange camp. Run by questionable authority figures. Going hungry, at least at first. Anyway. Can we, in the West, at all laugh at what they would? Or is it true what they say? In Soviet Russia, joke laughs at you? I'm relieved to report, it does register. Not all of the time. Mostly. More than enough. At best, it is positively hilarious. It uses cartoon stuff, right out of Tex Avery's work. Complete with goofy sound FX. Verbal. Memorably weird characters. Descriptions, situations, occurrences and what you have to do, how it's done, etc. often exist in this not-quite-the-real world. You break the fourth wall like you're Deadpool.

Of course, there is one other thing that bothered me. Scratch that. Present tense. It is true what many of you have heard. The puzzles... yikes. I like a challenge. And brainteasers. Good, stimulating, crackerjack enigmas. A few things? They gotta have logic. Indications of whether you're doing something right... how many times do I have to click the same thing without anything happening, no progress, without giving up, before it'll finally relent and move on? It doesn't take long for this to open up with many areas, a lot you can try out, and some of these things get so obscure. Pixel hunting is overall relatively rare. Still, you feel like you're wandering blindly in a pyramid. Clearly, the designers wanted to get a good laugh out of us hitting one dead-end after another. This aspect is the single most mentioned in every review I've read. It has apologists, sure. Meanwhile, almost no one denies it, or that it's frustrating. And that's one of the worst things to be. A hint system would be great. I played the demo of this when it first came out. Pre-internet. I forget if I did complete the demo back then or not. I do recall being stuck. This will last you as long as it takes to... well, give up. Or try every single thing, until you get it right. You could always use a walkthrough.

The controls aren't bad. LMB/Ctrl examines. It also skips through lines of dialog, which helps you rush through the opening that otherwise plays in its entirety any time you start this back up. RMB/Alt for every single other action. Point up to top to open inventory. F1 for the menu – save, load, quit, adjust options, etc. It is an unusual mapping. I'm surprised to see many online confused... just look them up, GameFAQs has them. You have Google! Use it! No, you shouldn't have to! You can! So do it! Stop complaining. First world problems, exhibit A! Now, on the other hand, if you're saying that this should have listed them when it originally hit stores, that, I agree with. I didn't even get a manual. Well, the GOG version is free. The price is right. You get what you pay for. The graphics are fine. You're never unsure of what you're looking at. There's enough style to things, and there are sights that you will remember. The midi music is decent. It does repeat after not long, and you spend a lot of time in the same areas whenever you're unsure of what to do. Listening to it. Over and... yeah. You get to explore a village with a few houses, a mansion full of bizarre things, etc. Visit a lake, a cave, etc. You will encounter people of all ages, several from very different in-come groups, as well as a series of animals. You have to approach some in strange, counter-intuitive ways. Insult, trade with, etc. Just how much intelligence do these critters have? Superglue: useful.

There is some violence in this, little of it having consequences beyond... well, at more than one point, things literally blow up in your face. It leaves you with a layer of soot. That's all. I recommend this to any fan of the point-and-click adventure game subgenre. 5/10

The Bridge (2008) (TV)
Set back 50 years, 31 December 2016

It's near the end of WWII. In a small border village, seven 16-year-old schoolboys are conscripted as the front moves ever closer. They're made to defend the small local bridge. There are also subplots that add nothing but screen time. This uses very little of the material available, and its 100 minute running time, or 96 and a half without end credits, drags at many points. Characterization is less of a priority than illicit material. Maybe they figured they'd need something to wake the audience up. So every so often, there's nudity, sexuality, or war violence. Even though none of it leads to anything.

Franka Potente is an international film star. So once they had her, they expanded her role from the previous versions of this story, combined several characters, and increased her presence. It amounts to nothing. See, before, it was different people, related to the teens, all individually trying to get them out of the war. They don't succeed, because that's what's accurate. When you have just one person doing that, and failing repeatedly, it gets to be annoying to watch. She doesn't even get closure. One scene has the crush of one of the boys take a similar role, and I swear, it's purely so that there's at least *one* other doing some of that. Where are the parents? They're such a strong element in the 1959 movie. Everyone in the military in this are incompetent, and basically every adult German is a monster. This from the same country who, rightly, made us understand Adolf Hitler, himself?

I recommend this purely to those who are too curious to stay away. 3/10

The Opponents (2006) (V)
I won, but I didn't beat him, 29 December 2016

This featurette is on the Rocky Anthology(spoiling all five in that set) DVD, as well as the 2-Disc R1 Collector's Edition and the 2-Disc R2 Definitive Editions of the original, and runs 16 minutes. It consists of sitdown interviews with actors and the expert, as well as film clips and stills.

Both Morrison and Chartoff died between making this and now. As things to be remembered by go, this isn't bad. Meanwhile, where's Mr. T? I know the movies forgot him after III... did everyone making this, too? He's literally the only one who only appears in archive footage(which it seems like should be listed under Cast). They talk about him as if he's no longer with us! While he's stopped wrestling, he was still on TV when this came out. He was on the silver screen in 2001. You know... "believe in the ball, and throw yourself". Terrible movie, good cameo. Since II has Apollo demand a rematch upon receiving pre-internet proto-YouTube-comments, maybe it's fitting that Weathers sounds like his character. I think he just really understands him. "Classy, educated boxer. Brings out something Rocky didn't know he possessed", they point out. They describe that they sought out opposition beyond what a human can beat. That they're all monsters in their own way. "All the great athletes... they finish" enough about their sex lives! Lundgren talks about the sympathetic aspect to Drago. Everyone here has something to say, and expresses it well.

There is brutal and disturbing boxing in this. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the series. 7/10

Rocky V (1990)
Heck of a time to come back, Avildsen, 28 December 2016

This is the first time I've agreed with the most common vote since II. If I ever accept that the last one got a 7, I'll feel like Lundgren looked by the end. We're back to Rocky(Sly, charming) being an low-on-money underdog, because IV was ridiculous. Of course, him losing all of it just like that isn't much better. They were running out of reasons to get him to fight, and/or delay doing so without it being out of the question. He actually has physical consequences to the climax of the one before this. Though Adrian(Shire, sweet) early on insists that he's in the best shape. "His strength and physical stamina are extraordinary. He has had a complete medical examination that showed only positive results. Actually, his blood pressure and lab results were astonishingly excellent." "He will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency" ...wait. Still, if it were realistic, this really should open with with the funeral sequence of the previous major character. That's what Francis Ford Coppola threatened to do to to Pacino. And if you think he wasn't serious, just look at his Dracula flick. Clearly, he is, or was at the time, capable of inflicting severe harm with his directing.

She wants to keep him away from that, because they don't know what else to do with her. George Washington Duke is clearly Don King. There's a brief rant on his ethics. It's got the subtlety of a jab. Paulie is actually utilized this time, so that's something. Mickey gets a little emotional bit. It's nice. More so than he used to be. Of course, that could be the brain damage speaking. We get comedy with growth-spurted(9 to 14 in mere days. Must be Canadian) Jr.'s smarts and his puberty... burgeoning. I realize now it may have been a mistake to not take French. And he also has to deal with going into a bad neighborhood, after growing up rich. Just a matter of time before he'd get training montages, too. Can he get his father's attention, or will it all go to a new protégé? It'll be difficult if that man is a real-life boxer, a first for the series. Well, not "is", was. Freaking HIV. At least he didn't die *this* year. I'd almost bet money that before 2017 starts, at least one more celebrity will kick the bucket. And we should add "spar" to the list of words people in this series don't understand. Also, since it's now the 90's, there's rap on the soundtrack. A lot of it, actually. I'm relieved the flashy 90's editing was kept to a minimum. This is 96 and a half minutes without credits, and 100 with.

There is a lot of violence and a little mostly mild but occasionally strong language in this. I recommend this to those who feel they *must* make it through the series. 5/10

Rocky IV (1985)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
What started out as a joke, has turned into a disaster, 27 December 2016

East challenges West. Drago(Lundgren, imposing as ever) must fight Rocky(Sly, charming yet no longer an underdog, and he's now impossible to relate to. The first is the only up to this entry where, if he wins, his victory doesn't feel like wish fulfillment. And this one goes extreme in that regard). They again don't know what to do with Adrian(Shire, sweet and supportive). Paulie(Young, bad tempered) is a caricature of what he used to be. Creed(Weathers, vocal) couldn't be more show-boaty than he is here, and it gets embarrassing to watch. He literally performs a whole dance number, moments before getting into the ring. While I get building him up, isn't this what you use lookalikes for? Does *anybody* in the universe these create know what "exhibition" means? And who will die from their connection to the sport? It won't be literal, public murder by knock-out, will it? After all, that would be absolutely ridiculous.

Just how shark-jumping and painfully 80's is this? A human-sized super-smart robot which there is no actual doubt Paulie is regularly sexing up which you're expected to just accept as presented. A boxing match, plus a simplistic speech after it, end the Cold War? Why wouldn't it? And as fitting as the Commie one is – tall, silent, strong, statuesque, with clear indications of "unnatural" improvements made – the US champ really doesn't represent the country well. Sure, the determination fits, meanwhile, well, shock and awe, the best education and training, where are those? And he doesn't use perpetual war oh wait that came later...well, they do have the "going in unprepared against an enemy they obviously don't understand", so there's that. Lang also isn't in this. Then again, he seems to exist only in III, never before or since. This is 84 and a half minutes without credits, 88 with, but would be shorter, maybe an hour long total, if you removed the recap, music videos and montages.

There is some bloody violence and mild language in this. I recommend this to those who love the decade more than anyone should. Of course, watching it *is* better than relying on cultural osmosis to appreciate the 30 For 30 parody on it. That thing is freaking hilarious. 5/10

Rocky III (1982)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not pitiable... though not far off from it, either, 26 December 2016

Our protagonist(Sly, charmingly everyman as ever, in spite of greater fame and wealth than before) is challenged by the up-and-comer, Clubber Lang(Mr. T, his tough image not yet tempered with a fear of flying. He's fortunate assault laws clearly don't exist for those who take the ring in this). Will he return to his underdog status? Mickey's(still intense Meredith) health is failing. Might he return to the great big cold continent in the sky? And Adrian(Shire, sweet, smart and shy) is still here. They just don't know what to do with her this time. It's too bad, the love between the two is one of the elements that work best, especially for those of us who don't care about the macho crap. What? I recognize the original as amazing, and the first five were on sale. Well, they have her support him, because that's what they default her to. Paulie's(Young, still gritty) racism comes to the forefront, as Creed(Weathers, less showy) and Duke(Burton, determined) become unlikely allies.

It was a matter of time before they'd cast at least one actual fighter, not an actor and/or former football player. And here we get two. Wrong sport, of course, but at least it's the right direction. A little in the fights does legitimately play out as wrestling. At the time of writing this, I've only watched up to this point in the franchise. This didn't change my mind on what I thought watching the second installment: there never shoulda been more than one movie here. And apparently I still have the worst ahead of me. Part of the point of 1 was that he couldn't possibly keep doing this, it was his last chance! The problem with a series in this genre is that we know it has to have a climactic showdown. Action flicks, thrillers, dramas... it doesn't have to be public, planned, the consequences can be purely personal. Meanwhile, here... one way or another, it needs to be set up and have emotional, not only physical, stakes. We know where it's going, and are seeing the signs. Anything that happens that isn't related to that, we know it won't prevent that from happening. You can also only go so far, intending to top what came before, without getting unrealistic: "that wouldn't be allowed, it's against the rules". And this does get into that territory. This runs 92 and a half minutes without credits, and 95 and a half with.

There is a lot of brutal boxing and some strong language in this. I recommend it to completionists. 6/10

Murder Death Kill (1997) (VG)
Mostly Darling Kittens, 24 December 2016

You are Kurt Hectic, a janitor. You are the only hope left to save Earth from annihilation. Well, Bones, sorry, Max, the dog, too. You know. Genetically engineered. Part cyborg. All man's best friend. The two of you. And Dr. Fluke, of course. Without him, you wouldn't have the experimental coil suit that makes this possible. Good stuff.

This is first and foremost a TPS. You use the chain-gun on your arm, and sometimes the limited Super ammo for it, to mow down dozens, hundreds of enemies. I do find it's too bad that's really the only non-explosive options. This bears similarities to Doom and Quake, both of which have extensive arsenals that make them more fun than this. Here, you zigzag, and point in the right direction, and you'll be able to handle them. Basically, everything else is throw-able. Tiny nuke to open otherwise blast-proof secured doors, giant hammer that makes the ground shake, tornado which does... exactly what you think it does. You can only aim horizontally. Up and down are auto-aim, and you'll wish you could look just a little further to see what's flying.

Well, you do have a sniper. And it actually can zoom 100x. You can look anywhere with it. Headshots matter. These are things we take for granted today, this was one of the first times it was proved it could be done at all. Homing. Airstrikes, grenades, mortar shells that you'll have to very carefully aim to make sure they go down the pipe. For that purpose, you have the 3 bullet-cams. Of course, they're also just satisfying to watch, as you're tearing through flesh. You won't be able to move... much, and certainly not fast, so pick the right time.

I'd like to dispel the notion that you can't Save and Load. F2 then type, and F3 then select. That's all. I'm not saying you should know that automatically, but I am saying that writing online, claiming that it's not there, without briefly checking the manual that comes with the GOG version where it clearly says it, is...irritating. Heck, you don't even have to buy it, just Google it. No wait. They store our info. StartPage it. If you do get this, probably don't get the Steam version – about half of the negative reviews on there say it doesn't work, and considering their history, and the age of this, I can imagine.

I don't see myself returning to this, and it didn't last very long. This took me 5 hours. Others say it took 4. Some say it took... 8-12, really? Man. They must be challenging themselves with this in ways I can barely comprehend. I doubt it's that they suck that much. Who'd willingly admit that? There are 3 difficulty settings, and it is challenging on the easiest. You can change it anytime. Simply press F12. That'll also let you change the controls. No, I know. You like it old-fashioned. Seriously! You were a kid when this came out, too. How bad could it... huh. Oh well that fixes that. Phew. And be sure to remember that there's a Turbo Movement Speed key. Otherwise, you'll suddenly be certain you can't make a jump, until you realize that function is there.

Every level is designed by a different person, which explains why they're completely different in look, feel, aesthetic, etc. This leads to some being unforgettable, surreal, or just plain fun. Mirrors that reflect the sky so you don't know you're looking at a surface until you touch it. Downing a Star Destroyer-sized mother-ship... well, more than one... singlehandedly, and watching it crash. Both sides of a huge firing range with automated cannons. What looks like Mars, with craters. The South or North Pole. It's got a submarine stuck in the ice. Where it's thin, I can look through it, and see animals swimming! Some of them do go by too fast, to where they don't make an impression. And the contrast between different ones is at times excessively stark.

Your foes deserve description. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Walk, run, stand, bull-rush, soar. Fast and weak, slow and powerful. Aliens, robots, tanks, automated and manned turrets, animals, small attack vessels, troop transports, and sentry drones. They legitimately work together to find you and take you out. There are Generators that keep producing ad infinitum and other fancy Latin terms. You'll wanna make those a priority. Especially when there's a few. Or 7.

This can get repetitive. Something that helps prevent that, is breaking up regular sections, with mini-games. They exist in part to hide loading. In fact, some of them are literally simply long, empty, linear hallways you have to traverse. Some will have stuff. To pick up. Take out. Other times, you're snowboarding to 70's James Bond tunes. Dodging debris. Facing others, some of them on the move, as well. While you were supposed to get a futuristic motorcycle, they scrapped it. Too few of those. You may temporarily pilot a bombing aircraft, and demolish the crap out of, well, anything you pass, including whole buildings. When you first enter, and last exit, one of the large Minecrawlers, you have to dodge AA missiles, steer clear of the edges, try for power-ups and hope you don't burn up. Leaving is a lot like Andy Asteroids.

Comparisons to Earthworm Jim, the most Shiny of the developers' products, are unavoidable. The humor works better there, on account of the whole world being crafted around it rather than it coexisting awkwardly with H.R. Giger creations. Boss encounters are far stronger there. The briefness of those helps prevent tedium. It also keeps throwing new ideas in that change how you play. Their settings are more distinct and yet fit each other.

There is constant gore, blood and disturbing content in this. I recommend this to any fan of action adventure platformers, dark games, the 90's and their out-there concepts. 7/10

Forgotten mechanics, not pearls before swine, 3 December 2016

It is 1899. Near the end of the year, of the century. You wake in your mansion. Fever-ridden since the expedition to Mexico. It has taken away your memories. Where are your sons? You feel driven. Downwards. Metaphorically and literally. The titular machine beckons. It has been sabotaged, and it is up to you to fix it. Everything is at stake. Oh no. In the name of all that is fair and just, no. Did you really do it? You can't have. It's impossible. You have to stop it. To save them.

You are Mandus(Longworth, restrictive). Butcher. You've made a name for yourself. And a lot of money. Serving the elite. Of course, how have you been to the poor? Indeed, how has everyone? And what does it all amount to, if you can't protect your own? You find almost no one around. Voices, however. The Engineer phones you when he can, directing you to start back up the huge, ominous thing, the crowning achievement of all your hard work. You find recordings of your meeting with The Professor, who you allowed to see some of the otherwise hidden beast. Both performed by Roper, anxious and curious, respectively. Rounding out the cast are your two children Enoch and Edwin(Craig, playing, as all 8-10-year-olds do), who, unfortunately since you hear from them a lot, aren't as well-acted. Little is creepier than kids, and you never lose sight of catching up to, and aiding, them as they invite you to join their merriment.

This does a solid job exploring many related themes. With the setting of industrialism, the approaching Great War, and the protagonist's hard-earned wealth in sharp focus, we go through sacrificing people's humanity, and for the regular people who were mere workers, well-being emotionally, and in too many cases, even their physical well-being, to where many were injured, even died. Because the rich wanted them to work harder, as their new wonders could. This is set before it was tempered with caring about the individual. Nihilism, humanity, altruism, guilt. The story brilliantly has you going back and forth between understanding the why, and being disgusted with the what and how.

The plot is told by a few means. Via flashbacks, now short and infrequent. The notes, silent, long, wordy and overly expository. And the aforementioned. It's bloated, yet vague. Reveals a lot with the intent to pave with good intentions the well-known road, while not all going together well. It does take place in the same universe. Builds on aspects you might not have expected. As a sequel, it changes what we thought we knew. Goes in a different direction. It remains body-horror that hints rather than shows... an example of the opposite might be something like Dead Space. A suffocating atmosphere. Gradual build. Audio, especially the unseen, including steps, violence and other recognizable events.

I will beat around the bush no longer. This does remove, not replace, not adjust, straight-up excise, a lot of the most beloved elements of The Dark Descent. Limited fuel for the lantern, albeit of course this has worked without fail in Silent Hill, which this bears numerous other similarities to, such as the recently abandoned familiar and comfortable, a warning of when danger is near, and a ton of mystery surrounding what's going on. Of course, it does lack the open areas, the combat and plenty to use it against, which one might so expect from this. The spotlight means you can see further, and appreciate the vast scope of the source that you're returning to.

Any lamp or candle you encounter, you can use, no need to count tinderboxes. They don't end up doing much, anyway. Resource management is entirely gone, letting you take it at your own pace, and see that this does not take away all the fear. Health regenerates, since you still wouldn't find any use at any point for the...Laudanum? They put that in their body? Repeatedly? Intentionally? Willingly? Man. No wonder these guys lose their minds.

I will argue that it does make sense. It mirrors the feeling and nature of your situation. However, I will admit that it is missed. The phenomenal physics interaction is now minimal. Heck, if you find something, you've probably just stumbled upon the solution to a puzzle, possibly before you realized there was one at all. Honestly, a lot of the time, using that term is being too generous. They're almost all tasks. You drag a thing to another place, pull a lever, sneeze and voila, you've opened one of countless secret passageways, activated a thing or the like. Even if they pose at least a little challenge, you're told the solution.

Enemies are a problem in every release by Frictional Games that I've played, which is all but SOMA. I do own it, and will get to it. How do you deal with them, do you even know they're there before it's too late, can or can't you fight them at all much less well, etc. Of course, they are always scary, as are any of the products as a whole. That remains. And this is the best handled of them. It's a lot like the Thief series. Can't see 'em? You'll hear a clear indication. Remain in the dark and don't make noise. Stay out of their way, let them patrol and avoid them, and you won't be discovered, much less attacked. If they do, you *will* have to Sprint, and determine where you should go. There are not that many, they're in too few areas, they're bad at catching you, and, frankly, at times they simply don't at all seem interested in doing so. It being logical, once you learn enough, does not excuse how much it hurts their potential for inspiring dread, which was significant until you saw that.

This has a ton of disturbing material, if gore does remain rare. I recommend this to any fan of survival horror. 7/10

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
On fire, worth your attention, 27 November 2016

The name is Michael Westen(Donovan, using intensity, charm and even vulnerability, and of course his actual martial arts chops, to give us a compelling protagonist. He's made relatable through, among other things, his family, his sympathy for those in a bad spot). He used to be a spy. Until a burn notice was put out, claiming he was an unreliable asset. Every last of his accounts are frozen, his colleagues forced to reject him, and he's put on watchlists that will prevent him from leaving his home city of Miami. The only way he can get his life back is for him to figure out the who, why and, well, what, exactly, of this, well, what we civilians would call getting laid off. And along the way, he will help countless of regular people with problems that his skillset, and not the police or the like, enable him to solve.

He can't do it alone, so he has to take what help he can get. Fortunately, that does mean he has a highly competent and loyal, if small, team. Fiona(Anwar, a chipper smile and a love of explosives. She hates injustice, particularly against women and children. Manages to maintain her femininity, seen in her love of shoes, dresses, and, of course, the color pink, which adorns a gas mask of hers), his former IRA, now bounty hunter, ex-girlfriend was still his emergency contact, and needed to leave New York anyway. Sam(Campbell, giving a solid performance, also deep in his hamminess, not to mention his bad-assery. Perpetually drinking. Romances rich women, clearly respecting them. A great friend to him. In spite of initial hostility, he works well with the feisty Irish woman, they pick up on the others intention and the play they're making in mere moments), who was a Navy SEAL, and is now gathering buddies, all with resources that can be called upon, like there's no tomorrow. And Madeline(Gless, chainsmoking retiree. A real mama bear. She may have felt she didn't do enough when her sons were kids. Now, she's doing what she can to make up for it), his mother, who he hadn't seen in years, due to their strained relationship. It, she, and he, will grow over time. While his childhood was a troubled one, it has helped shape him into who he is. It has left a darkness inside of him, that he and they will have to work to keep at bay.

This review is co-written by my ex-fiancée. He narrates what he does, using his extensive knowledge: Backstory, exposition, adding detail, reflecting on certain things, explaining what is going on. Sometimes he makes comparisons to stuff we do know and that is far away from his life: "anyone who's passed notes in class knows how dangerous it is to communicate in front of your enemy", etc. It's also one of the places where you really see the dry sense of humor that permeates this. He snarks in most situations, in addition to taking them seriously. And where some fiction stops there, letting our lead get all the quips, here, it extends to most in the cast. There are ones who don't, especially in situations where they are too, say, scared to. Characters are all human beings – some are just, let's go with "not nice". The steady stream of new ones stays fresh, and the tremendous guests, stars and otherwise, all deliver. I couldn't tell you how many play against type, or how well it turns out.

The considerable training of him and his closest allies, matched by a number of the villains, is in high demand. They fight for "the little guy", with a lot of different methods they've mastered. Making weapons out of household objects, psychologically handling people doing very bad things, guerrilla warfare, tricking the enemy into thinking their numbers, equipment and abilities are a lot better or worse than it actually is and thus winning without any unneeded damage, etc.

Where else to start but a plan? If they know enough about what's going on, they form one, and it is of course better the greater their knowledge and timeframe. Sometimes, they won't be able to form one, at all. What invariably happens, is the unexpected. One way or another, they will have to improvise, maybe even play it entirely by ear. And going in, you never know when, what it'll look like or lead to, and so forth. This takes you by surprise countless times. The setups, the twists and turns, the solutions and more.

There is no filler in this. At no point did the studio interfere in a manner that breaks away whole parts. Matt Nix who created it stayed with it, and guided it, throughout. He directed several episodes, as did Jeffrey himself, Renny Harlin and Jonathan Frakes. The plot unfolds over the 7 years, in different chapters that all pose new setups that will test everyone involved. The scripts and production are consistently solid. Every single season opener and finale, all 14, are varied, memorable and incredibly well-done. This knows when to keep it small and personal, and when to raise the stakes. Making small means look impressive is the bread and butter of the crew behind the camera, not only the presented one. There is an immense amount, and diversity, of guns in this. The action is amazing. Up close, realistic and unflinching yet never gratuitous(outside of the many John Woo slow-mo nods... which are very welcome). It never takes over, and they mix the different kinds well. The driving portions alone are reason enough to watch this through. Fast, sleek small cars that beat traffic so often, it becomes a running gag.

There is a lot of bloody, fairly graphic violence and a moderate amount of sexuality and strong language in this. If this were a movie, it'd be rated R, though there is no nudity. I recommend it to any fan of this brand of storytelling. 8/10

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