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Tekken 2 (1995)
The Angst About Jun Kazama (Do I need to go THIS far?)
This is the first time I've ever rated a video/arcade game on the IMDb, but let me tell you, writing a review on "Stay Alive" with those two immortal words "Jun Kazama" led me here--and the same point system I used for that review. The maximum this can get is a 41. Points are awarded through four categories: visuals, sound, replay, and durability.
VISUALS: (41/41) "PERFECT!" These are the best I've ever seen since I heard of this game late-December 1996 on a demo disc on the PlayStation. Unfortunately, in THAT version, you could only select two fighters. When I played the full version back in 1997, nine years ago, I was a little nervous, and then I improved. This game had atmosphere until Tekken 3, released in arcades in 1996, arrived. All 23 characters had new moves, and you could always experiment using these characters in the game's Practice mode to see which one suits your playing style.
AUDIO: JUN KAZAMA & OTHER CHARACTERS (0/41), OTHER SOUNDS: (41/41) "PERFECT!"
Jun Kazama loses ALL the points in the character audio category. Wanna know why? When you're fighting against her (look for a headband--she normally appears on stages 4, 5, or 6, but one time on stage 2 when I played in the arcade), and the computer's energy bar is gone, you'll hear the world's most ANNOYING silly death scream whilst the announcer declares a "K.O.", "PERFECT!" or "Great!". The other characters have their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to sampling voices. Because of that rather silly death scream, I've had dreams about that sound, first in 1998, then in 2000, 2004, and last year. However, if YOU'RE playing with Jun Kazama and YOU get KO'd, your game is over (bad) while committing poor play all at the same time. My advice: DO NOT LOSE A SINGLE STAGE using Jun Kazama. It'll come back and haunt you as you get older and remember this priceless gem.
REPLAY: (41/41) "PERFECT!" What can I say? Multiple endings, a Time Attack mode, a Survival Mode, a VS Mode, and whatnot? Many of your friends will want to borrow this game, even have countless tournaments. It's quite funny that this game was seen in the 2004 Shaun of the Dead, but I'm not quite sure if Shaun or Pete was playing with Jun Kazama rather poorly in the arcade...or was that a reference?
DURABILITY: (41/41) "PERFECT!" Wow. I'm speechless. This game surpassed my really hard review! When it comes to movies and games, I'm a really hard judge, but the rather silly death scream of the annoyingly loud Jun Kazama threw me off guard, forcing me to write this review, which is rather long. Oh well. I'm giving THIS 10 stars out of 10.
Stay Alive (2006)
What's the point of staying alive?
This time, I'm going to be giving points to movies. The maximum in my system that a movie can get is 41, no fractions. Stay Alive could've been better, despite the fact it's rated PG-13 instead of R. The main categories: cast, visuals, audio, and durability.
If it's a movie based on an actual game (well, a legend), then how come there's lots of blood that's present enough to scare small children?
CAST: (36/41) The perfect fit! I had to dock a point because the Blood Countess is played by a Russian woman named Maria (Masha) Kalinina. I also had to dock four more because Frankie Muniz, Sophia Bush, and Samaire Armstrong were playing characters that died in the game and in reality. In my book, that's a Coach's Challenge. I question what the directors were thinking up to that point.
VISUALS: (39/41) Although the Countess' real name sounds a lot like what you'd actually hear from Castlevania: Bloodlines (1994)(VG), her damage is good enough to send game characters like Dr. Robotnik (Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)(VG)) in unstable shock. I had to dock two points because if, say, for example, Jun Kazama (Tekken 2 (1996)(VG)) (sorry, couldn't resist--I HAVE been playing with Jun in Tekken 2 for 10 years since 1996) got her hands on the Blood Countess, she'd kill her in a successful 10-hit combo, breaking both the Countess' arms in the process.
Although I don't exactly see what Jun Kazama has to do with the Blood Countess (Maria Kalinina)'s evil or this movie, the Countess looks downright scary like Batista from WWE Friday Night SmackDown! (OK, well, not that scary).
AUDIO: (0/41) The death screams (sorry, Tekken fans, no Jun Kazama this time) lose all the points in this category. The acting isn't that great at times, but like a famous News & Observer reviewer, Craig D. Lindsey said with the 2004 movie Saw, "it's not only Van Helsing loud...it's Van Helsing bad." Sheesh.
DURABILITY: (15/41) I'm not sure what to put for this category...the audio points caused this to happen. Only punk and Gothic-dressed teenagers (I don't know about the skater punk, though) and horror movie fanatics would enjoy this movie. If you're squeamish, I'd say skip it. If you think you're tough enough to stand up to the wrath of the Blood Countess in this movie, then see it, and e-mail me telling what you thought.
Therefore, I could only give this movie three stars out of ten because seeing the Countess attack Sophia Bush and Samaire Armstrong made me want to kick her butt until she screamed like Jun Kazama (Tekken 2 (1996)(VG)) when she was KO'd in THAT game I remember all too well, yet I cannot see what Jun Kazama has to do with Stay Alive. Whew! That was a rush...
Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
Monica Keena Owes Me: The Crashing Of This Great Movie
I. My view:
Let me just say that this is a movie I can agree with many fans with. Youthful cast, those famous monsters of the 1980s (yes, I'm talking about both of you, Freddy and Jason), and a rocking soundtrack. What more can I say? Even skateboarder Bam Margera would put the bands that made those songs at the end credits on his favorites list besides HIM and 69Eyes!
II. I was afraid this was going to happen: Monica Keena's last line in the film (sends chills down my spine and weird dreams by the time that's over):
This I had to give one star out of ten. Lori's screaming throughout the movie, Kia (Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child, one of my favorite R&B bands) taunting Jason before getting sent flying halfway across the screen, Super Smash Bros. Melee style, and then crashing into a tree after Jason slashes her, and both Freddy (Robert Englund) and Jason (Ken Kirshner) falling into a lake after Shannon Rutherford-influenced spoiled brat Lori (Monica Keena) smacks Freddy with Jason's machete are some of the reasons people might want to watch this. Only two of the four things I mentioned above are the flaws I found. Like Saw, some of the characters don't act--they scream. Lori did that about 6 to 8 times throughout the film. Whenever I watch this, I keep thinking about Lori's last line, and my imagination runs wild, thinking all the horror movie fans would be upset and terrified (as the joke would be on them), as the cast of Laguna Beach was out to get them because they were on Monica Keena's side. So I tell myself that it's just a movie. Monica Keena should have had a better way of saying that last line instead of being seductive, offensive, and swearing. Otherwise, this Freddy/Jason incarnation is perfect.
This review is not to say that Monica Keena was the only thing good about this movie.
Now the screaming I didn't find the problem. That was 20% of what I didn't like about this movie. 30% was the intense gore left on the victims of Jason and/or Freddy. 50% was the Monica Keena fiasco explained above.
III. Lori, Part 2:
This review is also NOT to express hatred towards Monica Keena, either, as I cannot degrade an actress in any reviews. That's simply against my will. What I will say is that she was a lukewarm choice to play Lori. Not that great, but could be capable of better. The fans should have loved it when Freddy taunted her in one of her flashbacks, though. That was one of the chilling moments.
IV. My final thoughts:
Well, what can I say? Critics everywhere are trashing Robert Englund and Ken Kirshner's movies, but there are some fellow movie fans at the Internet Movie Database that don't care about them and say that they liked the film. I couldn't agree more. I can imagine many Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees fans upset that Monica Keena killed their favorite villains. Some people watching this could be taunting them saying that "they got beat by a girl", which I automatically call a Personal Foul and a Coach's Challenge. But that never comes true. Oh well. Freddy vs. Jason is not for the faint of heart, and you couldn't agree more. It's not recommended for the squeamish, and only the strong survive when watching movies like this.
Advice to Narnia crew: Cast Rachel McAdams as the White Witch next time!
I. My take on the 2005 film: I remember watching the 1988 version of this movie in class (I was in the 8th grade, spring of '00), and our teacher had us watch this. However, the villain was getting a little too cocky in the day (that would be Barbara Kellerman). Now flash forward 17 years later. The latest incarnation of Narnia doesn't stand up to its roots. The Narnia series are good books and can stop right there with Harry Potter (sorry, J.K.), but this movie was a LOT worse than what I remembered when I was 14. It tickles my funny bone when the White Witch gets defeated and screams somewhat like Glenn Close and Veronica Taylor (after falling into a pit), but I've never heard of Tilda Swinton before, which brings us to...
II. Tilda Swinton as the White Witch: ...this. Back in the days when people like Gary Oldman and Glenn Close played villains, they were nominated by various resources for best villain. But does Tilda challenge Gary and Glenn? Not quite--by an inch! From what I've seen in the trailers, she sounds somewhat like Pam Ferris from "Matilda" (1996) and Glenn Close of "Fatal Attraction" (1987). This isn't to say that Tilda is a bad actress and should NOT be playing villainous roles. Rachel McAdams could've did this better--just look at her in "Mean Girls" (2004), and you'll see what I mean by her going into Regina George mode prior to playing the White Witch. I'll settle for Tilda in this installment of the classic story, but in the next few years, someone more experienced like, say, for example, Rachel McAdams, should play the villainous role had the director decided to build a sequel to this film. Rachel McAdams is a sure-fire way to attract audiences, and Disney could've done THAT instead of hire the other actress that's 20-plus years older than her.
III. Closing Remarks The 2005 version of this film is not for the faint of heart. That doesn't mean that you should skip this movie. Sure, this movie has its flaws, disappointments, and whatnot, but a few actor changes (like I said earlier with Rachel McAdams as the White Witch) would make this a lot better, even Bam Margera (sorry--I couldn't resist) putting this on his favorite movies list. Until then, I expected better out of this film, and we only got 25% of it. Where's the other 75% already?
Twelve Mile Road (2003)
Rachel McAdams and Keira Knightley would be SO disappointed in Maggie Grace... :-(
It was Fathers' Day when I watched this movie on CBS. The day when I went home from church, I read the Sunday newspaper for the week, and found the TV channel section and looked under "Sunday's Best". What happened next? I'm given a short summary on 12 Mile Road. I thought, "Maybe the main character was going to be laid-back". I was wrong. The local newspaper I read, The News & Observer, said that the character was "a wild child with a destructive streak." When I saw the preview while watching Cold Case on TV (the episode had a 1990 murder), two things were wrong with the movie: the troublesome girl, and the setting. The main character did not have a fashion like today's kids on skateboards. Instead, the main character looks as if she got her clothes and cosmetics at Hot Topic (yes, Maggie Grace, I'm talking about YOUR performance in this movie). When I saw the strangely dressed teenager, I thought "PERSONAL FOUL! Did Alex Varkatzas tell her to dress this way?"--I was wrong. Alex Varkatzas had nothing to do with this--and any fans of Maggie Grace would be grossed out had they seen this movie on TV (just look at the way she dresses!). I hate to sound like Jim Cramer and Simon Cowell, but this wasn't Maggie Grace's best work. That was absolutely terrible. My advice: for Maggie Grace, wait until Season 2 of Lost, or wait for the new movie The Fog, also starring Smallville lead Tom Welling. Maggie Grace can do better than this. Congratulations to Tom Selleck for keeping her in line throughout the movie--and for the times where you JUST CAN'T STAND the main character. Sheesh!