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Surprising amount of depth for a video game-based cartoon
TV shows, movies and other media based on video games typically don't amount to much more than glorified spin-offs of the games that they are based on; not so in this case. There's a surprising amount of depth added to the characters that helps them transcend cardboard cut-out status, especially Sonic, who gets the do more than talk tough and spout cheesy one-liners this time around. He and Antoine actually grow as characters. It's also worth noting that their adventures this time revolve around their relationships with Princess Sally, which are made all the more interesting in that their characters become decidedly more "human." Jaleel White, better known as Urkel, makes a credible action hero here with the memorable delivery of his lines and Jim Cummings does a great Darth Vader impression as the main villain. With a surprisingly dark tone, cartoons like these can be enjoyed by not only children, but anyone who likes science fiction or fantasy along the lines of "Star Wars." It's a fun ride.
Sonic Christmas Blast (1996)
One Last Adventure...
With its simplistic "plot" and slapstick humor, "Sonic Christmas Blast!" is kiddie fare that never aspires to be more than it is. Its humor, surprisingly, is toned down from the series that inspired it, but this is adequately compensated for. Most of the primary cast returns, with Jaleel White continuing to prove that there is more to him than Urkel. A cameo by Princess Sally is also included, a real treat for fans. In addition, "Christmas Blast!" makes other references to the popular "SatAM" series with its inclusion of SWAT-bots and Robotropolis. Beyond that, there's no reason for older fans to watch this but it's inside references are engaging enough. It's a fitting close to the adventures of the speedy blue blur within this particular continuity.
Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
An action movie with heart
Many action flicks over the years have been called loud and dumb. This is no exception. The "Lethal Weapon" series has never been especially noted for its intellect but it has something that a lot of action films lack: heart. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover's winning chemistry created some of the most tender moments in the series and "Lethal Weapon 2" excels because they make the audience care about their characters. This movie is by far the best in the series with tones of moments registering directly to the viewer. Gibson and Glover provide these characters with depth that could easily have been lacking and the ending of this film leaves the audience actually feeling the love these two men have for each other. And, as a bonus, "Lethal Weapon 2" digs even deeper into one of the protagonist's past, shedding even more light as to why he is the way he is.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
An action film of epic proportions
I liked James Cameron's original "Terminator." Not only was that film provided with a great script, it provided former body-builder and future California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with his greatest role ever. Here, Cameron expands a story that was previously on a "B" movie scope into a full-fledged epic that takes on humanity and its destructive behavior. Linda Hamilton has toughed up impressively since the last film and gives an disturbingly real performance as a woman haunted by the future. Edward Furlong is also convincing as kid having his destiny force-fed to him. And Arnold? It's doubtful he's ever been better. He IS the Terminator and radiates cool on screen. The T-1000 provides a convincingly dangerous threat and the film pulls no punches in showing how humanity, the architect to its own demise, is capable of so much pain and suffering.
The Greatest "Star Wars" film of the all
The original "Star Wars" was, without a doubt, one of the most important motion pictures in the history of cinema and still holds up well today as light entertainment. However, its sequel, "The Empire Strikes Back," goes beyond the fairy tale cheeriness of the original, choosing a much darker in depth path. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca are all back in this installment and in top form. Lando Calrissian and Yoda make for some welcome additions to the series. The plot keeps the audience of edge the whole time as the Rebel Alliance is dealt a devastating blow by a vicious attack by the Galactic Empire. While Luke Skywalker furthers his quest to become a full fledged Jedi, his friends Han and Leia are desperately trying to out-maneuver the scheming Darth Vader who holds a dark secret in Luke's past. THe cliffhanger ending will have you pumped up for the next installment, the lesser "Return of the Jedi." This is more than just a "Star Wars" movie, this is a great motion picture.
Blade: Trinity (2004)
A truly sad way to end a great series
Where to start? This has truly been one of the most disappointing ways to end a successful movie franchise in recent memory. The first two "Blade" movies were both highly enjoyable and I hotly anticipated this flick. Unfortunately, the film is weighed down by bad writing, bad acting and terrible directing. David Goyer has utterly destroyed the series with his inept script with enough plot holes to drive a truck through and a cop out ending that will leave even the most ardent "Blade" fans disappointed. The movie lacks any kind of depth and we are asked as an audience to care about characters that aren't even developed. Jessica Biel was great eye candy but we don't learn much about her character so she might as well have not appeared in the film. To be fair, costar Ryan Reynolds does have some funny one-liners but they seemed out of place in a "Blade" movie. Finally, another unexpected problem comes in the form of star Wesley Snipes. The man was born to play this character but he just wasn't likable in this movie. And Dracula? What a joke. Perhaps the least threatening one I've ever seen. Overall, a huge disappointment. Skip it unless you're dying to see how the trilogy ends.
Rush Hour 2 (2001)
A decent Rush
When this film was first released, it was a hit, and I mean, a huge hit. Not only did it set box office records, it gave the audiences exactly what they wanted: a great time. I saw this film several times in the theaters, and each time, the audience would crack up at almost everything out of Chris Tucker's mouth. Tucker and Jackie Chan's on screen chemistry made for some hilarious moments, and it's amazing to see what Chan can still accomplish physically at his age. The two make a great duo and the first half of the movie, which finds Tucker on Chan's turf in Hong Kong, provides for some decent gags. Unfortunately, once the action leaves Hong Kong, the movie goes a bit down hill, and although the two stars never lose their chemistry, Tucker's humor becomes increasingly less amusing. Overall, a fun movie, but one that might become dated in the years to come.
Bad Boys II (2003)
"Bad Boys" = "Good Movie"
I really enjoyed this action flick and had been looking forward to it for quite some time ever since I saw the original. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence prove that their chemistry hasn't faded in the eight years between the release of both "Bad Boy" films, and Jerry Bruckheimer proves once again how (usually) reliable he is in delivering explosive action. The first car chase in this movie is thrilling and arguably tops the one seen in "The Matrix Reloaded." The entire cast works well together, with Smith in particular oozing charisma from the opening gunfight to the very end. That being said, this is an incredibly long movie, a little too long, and by the final half hour to forty-five minutes, the action becomes a bit repetitive. It's not like the plot is all that complex, they could have cut plenty of scenes. Other than that, this film is a must-have for fans of Smith, Lawrence and Bruckheimer.
Tupac: Resurrection (2003)
Finally...a documentary that does slain rapper justice...
It's about time that a documentary about slain rapper Tupac Shakur such as this be released. I've seen a number of other documentaries based on the Shakur's life and they make me sick. For one thing, those films make him out to be some sort of prophet or messiah, feeding into the myth that that's exactly who he was. However, by allowing Tupac to tell his own story, both his fans and detractors alike can finally get a glimpse of who this man truly was as a person. In this film, from Tupac's very own words, Tupac is not made out to be the monster that some people would like to easily dismiss him as but but he is also not portrayed as a saint, nor are his many troubles with the law ignored. From this movie, the clear conclusion is that Tupac Shakur was ultimately a good, well-meaning person whose flawed philosophies and poor choices in the people he chose to surround himself with ultimately lead to his destruction. However, through tenacity and hard work, he has become the bestselling hip hop artist in history, even from beyond the grave.
AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)
A fun, if underwhelming experience
After several years in development hell, "Alien Vs. Predator" finally made it to the big screen. I enjoyed "Freddy vs. Jason" but I can't say that this film made as strong an impression on me as the above mentioned monster fest. While an entertaining flick in it's own right, "AVP" is a bit of a disappointment that just doesn't live up to the hype. The trailer's depiction of an all-out war between the monsters seemed a bit misleading, and some parts of the film bordered on laugh-out-loud action-parody. That being said, Sanaa Lathan held her own as a "Ripley-wanna-be" and the movie did offer some good moments. In other words this is little more than a moderately entertaining cliché-filled horror flick whose only distinction is the meshing together of two well-know franchises. Wait for the video.