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Mirageman (2007)
10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Not your average superhero flick, 7 December 2009

When you hear "superhero movie," its almost a given you think larger than life characters with over the top action scenes and heavy special effects. Sadly what I imagine will be lost on many potential viewers is that Mirageman is supposed to be what would happen if someone in the real world decided to become a superhero.

Sure, there have been famous superheroes before whose only "power" has been knowing karate, but Mirageman does a great job setting up the realistic consequences of someone putting on a mask to fight crime. His martial arts are impressive but they're very real, with no camera tricks or special effects to make them look cooler. He doesn't have a police scanner or anything, so he has to rely on people emailing him their problems to find out where to be (which some people abuse, naturally).

Mirageman is no god among men either; he gets surprised, beaten within an inch of his life and wonders what the hell made him think he could do this after a disastrous setback. But in the end, he realizes in a cynical world like ours one ordinary person can make a difference if they've got the courage to try.

Mirageman isn't your average blockbuster superhero movie, but if you're willing to accept it for it differences, you won't be disappointed.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
If you know DOA, you know what you're getting., 9 September 2007

DOA is a fine game, but let's face it, for most people who like it it's flash over substance, T&A over perfect gameplay (not that the gameplay isn't good). That's exactly what the movie is like. The writing tends to be passable at best, with more than one scene of the female characters in their bathing suits or underwear. The movie also works in a nod to the game's spinoffs by including a beach volleyball scene. Anyone expecting something they haven't seen from DOA before is pretty much out of luck here.

But I'm not saying the movie is bad. Nearly all of the performers make for believable martial artists, but I cringed at the writing in the first scene. Deep this is not, but again, we all knew that coming in, right?

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A decent popcorn flick, a wasted opportunity to be something more, 16 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I hate when a movie makes itself out to be one thing, then ends up being something completely different and considerably lamer. It starts out being about a group of people with great powers that let them move things around with their minds, even play tricks with time, but they age whenever they use them. A great movie could have been made out of that all by itself with the urge to use those powers responsibly or if they even should or not with that downside. But around halfway through the movie the writer seems to have thrown up his hands and said, "Mr. Executive Man? I don't know how to take this concept any farther," and made a plain ol' save the world story the premise of the rest of the movie. If a sequel gets made, it looks like it'll continue down that well-walked path. It's an acceptable movie, but if they hadn't stuck with the boring old "save the girl, bust the bad guy" framework, it could've been a great one.

5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Great intent, crummy delivery, 11 December 2004

I promise I won't get all political as I talk about this show; I actually think it had a great idea behind it, but it starts to look really dumb if one takes a second to think about anything besides, "Oh this is a cartoon about saving the environment! Just what the world needs!"

I find the idea of a bunch of kids of different nationalities and ethnicities putting aside their differences for the greater good impeccable. Especially when their goal is something like reducing trash, pollution and deforestation and the like, because people just don't think about that kind of thing enough. But if you think about it, the way the show presents this message kind of falls apart. Think about this: we have a nigh-omnipotent planetary spirit who entrusts the future of her planet to five kids. Why does she need them to do it? Why can't she do it herself? Never says. The message of kids being in charge of saving the ecological good of the world is also hurt because they inevitably leave the hard work to somebody else, their pun-spewing genie in a bottle, Captain Planet. Seriously, even when I was a kid and really liked this show, I would be all "they really need him to help with this?" I figure the creators put him in because they figured the show's chances were better with a superhero, but I think it hurts their point that kids need to help the save the environment too if the kids they're using as models are just handing off the responsibilities left and right.

And there's other things, like characters being good or bad and nothing in between (none of them realize that if they destroyed the ozone layer and cut down all the tress they'd die), and some episodes seeming to say if you're environmentally correct you're exempt from the law (various episodes of the Planeteers breaking into and tearing apart a bad guy's office or invading private property without a search warrant, and getting away with it because they're on the side of earth), and other things that are just not healthy to teach kids. Like I said, I like the idea a whole lot. But the presentation just doesn't cut the mustard.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Guyver was my first anime love, but Secret of Blue Water always loved me back, 9 December 2004

Possible spoilers ahead.

I don't know what I can possibly say about this phenomenal series that hasn't been said already, but I'm here to try anyway. From the moment I saw a review of this series in Gamefan magazine (rest in peace), I fell in love. I had to see it. I dashed out to the mall and grabbed the first copy I saw. And it grabbed me right back, and would not let me go.

The series uses 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (and to a lesser extent the sequel Mysterious Island) as a jumping point for its own story. It takes place in 1889, and revolves around two teens, Jean, a French boy who wants to change the world with inventions and is the biggest weenie who's ever been the hero of an anime, and Nadia, a circus acrobat and animal trainer who has a magical crystal, the Blue Water, and no clue about where she comes from. During the course of things they embark on an adventure to get to the bottom of Nadia's past, meet Captain Nemo and help to stop a group of people from Atlantis from taking over the world. And I loved every minute of it.

I mean for crying out loud, what kind of mad genius does it take to make episodes on end of adjusting to life on a submarine entertaining? Whatever kind it is, the guys at Gainax had it. Their smarts in storytelling show in other areas too, mainly the finely tuned characters, like the obligatory kid, Marie, who manages to be anything but the obnoxious brat the kid in an anime series almost always is. Nadia's the only short-tempered anime girl I've ever actually liked. The Grandis Gang go from the comically inept antagonists to helpful and resourceful back-up for the other characters once the real menacing villains show up. In the two really big battles of the series it's arguably them who ultimately save the day.

It does warrant mentioning that this show kind of flounders in the middle, owing to a bunch of quickly-proudced episodes that were shoehorned in to pad out the length of the series when it became an unexpected hit. Most of the mid-to-late 20's of Nadia can be skipped without missing anything worth seeing.

If you're an anime fan, want to watch a series with people in it you'll care about, and don't mind being expected to root for a dork like Jean, please do yourself a favor and pick this up. Oh, and do yourself another favor and watch it with the subtitles on. I'm sure Nathan Parsons is a wonderful human being who'd give me the shirt off his back, but a friend of mine actually started laughing out loud at how dumb Jean's voice sounded when we watched it with the English voices.

And before I go, I want affirm what everyone else is saying, that the sequel movie is terrible and should be avoided by fans of the series at all costs. Unless you want to see how badly a story can undermine itself (pretty much every suspense issue is defeated by watching the series epilogue and twenty five minutes straight of the movie is series flashbacks). Otherwise, stay away. You'll thank me.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Good way to kill an hour and a half, 22 September 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Might be some spoilers ahead, so read at your own risk. This movie had a setup I could totally get behind. There's this rural bumpkin, Alex Rogan, who wants to do big things with his life. Who doesn't? But with his college loan denied and his girlfriend afraid of leaving her roots, his only solace is a video game called Starfighter. He finds out that it's actually a recruiting tool for an alien space fleet, though, and is soon whisked off to save the universe from some alien invaders. Who wouldn't like to hear that all those hours in front of the Nintendo might lead to becoming the hero of the universe?

At its heart, The Last Starfighter is really little besides a mishmash of most of the major sci-fi of the 70's and early 80's, with yet more of the tried and true, "I'm not cut out to be a real hero," "only you can do what must be done" stuff thrown together. But that's not to say it's bad. If you look at everything in minute detail it'll fall apart like a house of cards, but unless I'm watching a movie that's been on MST, I tend not to do that.

The Last Starfighter is a fine movie if you're willing to just go with it and enjoy what it gives you. And it never gives you much or indeed any reason to regret doing so. Yeah, the aliens are as typical a bunch of invaders as you'll ever see. Yeah, Alex's spaceship looks like its trying hard to be an X-Wing but not an obvious rip-off of one. Yeah he has to spend the first half of the movie whining before he gets his act together, yeah there's an annoying little brother. But The Last Starfighter makes it easy to just go with the flow despite it all.

I give it a good eight of ten. Don't try to analyze it, just go with it, and you'll have a great time. I know I did.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
How long was that movie, fifteen years?, 12 August 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


Oh man, oh man, oh MAN, words cannot capture the misery it is to sit through the movie that is the (not so) Wild World of Batwoman. It shows us what it's going to be like in the first couple of minutes when we see that the crime fighters of tomorrow Batwoman is training, her "batgirls," witness a mugging turn into a murder and don't lift a finger to stop it. And we see how tight the script is when that murder has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the movie. And later we see that they really cared about great special effects when they stole footage from The Mole People and painted the buttons and dials on the villain's evil machinery.

All I can say is that I found Mike's popcorn on the MST3K version to be much more interesting than Batwoman and her not very Wild World as well. The sad thing is the movie almost seems to know its as bad as it is, because nearly every other scene has a bunch of babes in tight clothing or bathing suits. It's like it's trying to say to us, "Yeah the acting stinks and the plotting is non-existent, but come on! You're looking at a bunch of babes in bikinis, what's there to complain about?" Without Mike and the Bots' comments providing a safety buffer, you should never, ever watch this movie.

Future War (1997) (V)
8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Because nothing says action like dinosaur puppets and guys throwing cardboard boxes around, 8 August 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Possible spoilers ahead. You've been warned. As has been said, this isn't in the future and and a total of like ten guys doesn't equal a war. Instead some slave escapes from a ship of time traveling cyborgs and evil cyborgs and dinosaurs are sent to get him back. Numerous questions arise. Is this one escaped slave really worth all the trouble? If he's a slave, how does he know martial arts? What kind of wimpy t-rex gets killed by one punch? And what the heck does the title mean? I already talked about one way it's inaccurate, but it's not like they're fighting a war for the future to get rid of the time-traveling cyborgs either. They fight just to stay alive in the present. And the action IS. SO. STUPID. They spent a whole five minutes of two dimwits running around in a maze of cardboard boxes like that's what excitement really means. This movie is exactly where it belongs. It's confusing, dumb, and boring, and if the action that's still in the final version is any indication, having more wouldn't make this any better.


8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Dumb fun, but that's it, 8 June 2004

I wasn't expecting the next Citizen Kane of this movie, but I was expecting a little more than I got. Double Dragon, the game, is about two of the baddest martial artists the gaming world has ever seen, but the Lee brothers in the movie are a pair of goofballs who don't kick any significant butt until like the last fifteen minutes of the movie. They actually spend most of the movie running away from the bad guys. There are one or two recognizable video game bad guys like Abobo and the lady with the whip, but other than them this movie has almost nothing to do with the game. As far as adaptations of Double Dragon I'd say this rates a little below the cartoon show in quality. You can have some dumb fun by watching this movie, but dumb's the operative word...