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123 reviews in total 
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Sandaô (2004)
7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Surprisingly Good, 17 January 2004

XANDA is probably a better movie than it has any right to be. The leading man is brand new, there are no big stars, and the script is too brisk, cutting necessary exposition in favor of a fast pace. And yet XANDA hits all the right buttons, giving some excellent martial arts sequences in combination with some effective romance between the two young leads. Leading man Sang Wei-Lin is a revelation, and Xanda, the fighting style featured in the movie, looks like the style of the future. It's fast, ferocious, and powerful. My only complaint is that the film is too short. Other than that, XANDA puts a film with a similar premise, Daniel Lee's STAR RUNNER, to shame.

7 out of 10

(go to NIXFLIX.COM for a more detailed review)

Ghost Rock (2003)
14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Nonsensical Mindless Entertainment, 21 December 2003

A "western" with people running around doing Shaolin kung fu. There's a "Chinese" character who looks as Chinese as my Aunt Sally, who has never seen a Chinese person in her life. All the bad guys are dummies, and even though they always have their guns aimed at the good guys at point blank range and could kill them at any time, never bothers to pull the trigger. This, despite the fact that the bad guy's head honcho (Gary Busey) has killed people randomly throughout the film, but for some reason always lets the hero go so he can come back for one of those final shoot-outs. The script by the star is nonsensical, even as camp. The martial arts is actually quite good, but in the background of a western, it's just...wrong. Also, did the female lead steal Sharon Stone's clothes from THE QUICK AND THE DEAD? Someone call the police.

4 out of 10

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Insipid Romance but Decent Action, 18 December 2003

If you can slush through the first 40 minutes of STAR RUNNER, which features one of the most contrived and inexplicable romance in movie history, then the film is worthwhile. The fights range from decent to good, and the final brawl is impressive. The female lead is very beautiful, but her character is also the weakest element of the film. Whenever the character is onscreen, the cliches come hard and fast, and you'll be hard-pressed to survive it all.

Summation: Nothing original, but decent if you can survive the silly and unbelievable romance angle that incredibly takes up the film's entire first half.

5 out of 10

Coronado (2003)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Mindless CGI, 11 December 2003

CORONADO certainly manages some visually remarkable special effects with what must have been a modest budget, but perhaps it's all for naught. The entire movie is one big special effects reel, without a coherent story or much of a story, in fact, to string it together. Things take place in the film's 80-minutes that have no rhyme or logic to them. They're all in service of the next special effects scene that will, usually, showcase a CGI aircraft of one sort or another. The entire film, actually, should just be a bunch of CGI tanks and CGI helicopters flying around shooting at each other. Which is a shame, because the acting is actually quite good. Unfortunately the script is nonexistent and you've seen better versions of this in the INDIANA JONES movies and ROMANCING THE STONE.

Mindless CGI is nice to look at. But I'd much rather have a movie with coherent plotting and storylines instead.

5 out of 10

The Nest (2002)
10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant Action, 7 December 2003

A terrific, pure action movie. THE NEST was obviously heavily inspired by Hollywood action pictures, most notably that of Cameron's ALIENS and, according to the movie, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. The narrative is right on the money, and the film delivers on the intensity and insane action. It's really the best action movie I've seen from France in a long, long time. Not since the years of Luc Besson's glory days. And as they did with LA FEMME NIKITA, I'm sure the French movie industry, so mired in its undying pretentiousness, will not pay this excellent movie any interest. Which probably makes the director's jump to Hollywood a good thing -- the French movie industry will never embrace him. Hollywood will.

Azumi (2003)
5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Entertaining, 4 December 2003

AZUMI is an entertaining period film from Kitamura, the man who gave us the zombie epic VERSUS. AZUMI is Kitamura's biggest budgeted film to date, and it shows. There's a lot of massive sword battles, and the finale features the sword-swinging heroine as she slaughters her way through, oh, about 200 foes or so. It's quite something to see.

As to originality, there's not a lot of it in AZUMI. The film's premise -- petite woman is also master swordswoman -- has been done in PRINCESS BLADE. Even the movie's "vibe" is the same as RED SHADOW and OWL'S CASTLE.

Then again, the movie is vastly entertaining, and there's always a swordfight when things start to get boring. It's too bad the lead is mostly dull.

7 out of 10

Alive (2002)
3 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Drab, Dull, and Wasted Energies, 4 December 2003

ALIVE is a big letdown for fans of Kitamura's VERSUS. It's not a big surprise Kitamura chose this movie as his sophomore effort coming off the massive success of the hyper kinetic VERSUS. The result, unfortunately, is a terribly dull and drab movie that expends way too much energy on a silly story and even sillier fights. The first half is mostly nothing happening, with the film's first 40-minutes completely superfluous, as it has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. What amounts to "tension" is one nice guy (who was condemned, but is still pretty nice) and a not-so-nice guy (who was also condemned, and deservedly so) trying to outdo each other when it comes to weak acting. The nice guy just mopes a lot and the mean guy just shouts and acts crazy. Amateur hour, anyone?

It doesn't help that Kitamura shows his familiarity with American films by, basically, reusing up all the action sequences that he liked from those films in this one. THE MATRIX special effects was used, as well as James Cameron's ALIENS sequence where characters run around screaming into each other's helmet/vid contraption as they're attacked. (For "elite soldiers", these guys "lost it" pretty darn quick!) We also get "psychic powers" very, VERY similar to Proyas' DARK CITY.

Not that ALIVE is completely bad. It's just...mostly dumb and bad.

5 out of 10

10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Pedestrian Retread, 29 November 2003

UNBORN BUT FORGOTTEN lacks originality to the nth degree. It is nothing more than a retread of every post-RINGU movie that's come out of Asia in the last 5 years or so. The film actually exchanges "videotape" with "website" and there you have it. Aside from the usual flattering South Korean aesthetics, there's nothing here for anyone looking for a good time. It is, in a nutshell, OLD.

3 out of 10

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
As Dumb As Hollywood Gets, 24 November 2003

Sermoning Hollywood films are nothing new. Our fine residents of Lalaland has always harbored the "secret" that they know more than the rest of us hicks not living in lalaland. Of course, to them everyone who DOESN'T live in lalaland or New York are hicks -- otherwise what's the point of being in a club if that club isn't extremely exclusive with a limited membership?

DAVID GALE is a poor film that neglects so many common sense angles that it makes you wonder if the writer(s) was drunk as he wrote the film, or if he/she/they were just downright stupid. I tend to believe in the latter myself.

Point 1: Just because the director elects to NEVER film anyone talking on a cellphone, or even owning one, in the 21ST CENTURY doesn't deny the existence of such inventions. Of course the presence of cellphones would sort of negate the lead's "race against time" nonsense toward the end. You can't have a guy-on-death-row movie without having someone racing against time to save them. How cliche.

Point 2: The writer(s), again, shows lack of understanding. The characters' motivations are all over the place. A movie that is supposed to be anti-death penalty only ends up showing the "heroes" as hypocritical fanatics. Unless the film was supposed to be PRO-death penalty (which I highly doubt), this is a giant failure. It would be supremely ironic if the filmmakers HAD NO IDEA they did this.

Point 3: I suppose this wouldn't be a Sermoning Hollywood Movie without cardboard characters. Everyone against the death penalty sports glowing halos above their heads. Everyone for the death penalty should have grass in their teeth and talk with a slow, retarded draw. I understand the need to hedge one's bet and give all the "other" guys the disadvantages, but fair is fair, and stupid Hollywood movies with pretentious of greatness are just stupid Hollywood movies with pretentious of greatness.

All in all, DAVID GALE is a poor film. The acting is serviceable, but direction by the usually reliable Mr. Parker (COME SEE THE PARADISE ranks as one of my favorite movies of all time) is strangely incompetent. The flashback transitions have an amateurish vibe to them, and on a whole, the film is sunk by its own hefty bias.

In closing: I am anti-death penalty. It is a racist system that overwhelmingly punishes minorities over whites. The entire system should be overhauled or gotten rid of permanently. Just in case you were wondering.

8 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
BLAND, 16 November 2003

Yet another attempt to cash in on the popularity of CSI, a show that I myself has never really gotten into. COLD CASE is bland from the beginning, starting with its run-of-the-mill cases, supporting cast, and a leading lady that screams "dull". If the show was less bland, then there might be a chance. But centering your show around a blonde that has zero charisma is the kiss of death. Had the lead been just a little bit more interesting, instead of standing around looking like a lifeless mannequin with an okay face, the show might have a chance. As it stands, it probably won't survive into 2004. Or, considering American's inexplicable fixation with forensics shows, it might. I just know that I won't be tuning in.

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