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A proper epic – the best part of the trilogy.
24 May 2007
The first two movies were warm-up. Setting up the mythology, background, characters and gags. This is the big payoff. And it works so well.

There are oft repeated complaints about the movie – too much stuff/plot/characters, a lot of talk and repetition of things already done in the previous movies. Actually, these are the movies strengths.

It's a movie by fans, for fans. Well, I'm not sure if these are the proper terms… it's a movie by someone who loves the setting and characters, for people who love the setting and characters. It rewards you for paying attention to minute details, including those from the last movies, as well as character motivation and mythology. It does not reward ignoring the "talky" parts while waiting for the next action sequence and then getting confused about the "overtly intricate" plot.

Yes, nearly every plot hook, character, and plenty of gags from the last movies are brought up again. The plot threads are more or less neatly tied together, each character gets the fate s/he deserves and the gags… ah, those, are where the movie really inherits a great boon from the last two films. Each gag is used once or twice, to the fullest potential, and then dismissed before it overstays its welcome, or taken into an entirely new context. Only with that kind of legacy can a movie send an audience into fits of laughter merely by having a character beckon a dog to him and say "Sea Turtles".

Every element has been fine tuned to near perfection. There's only one full blown swashbuckling/naval combat scene – at the climax, where it belongs. And having waited an entire movie for it, I find it hard to imagine an audience member that would not be overwhelmed and swept along. All the double, triple and quadruple crosses are in place, and they are fascinating. Not only are you always unsure of just which side each character is playing, but the negotiation and parlay scenes are filmed in the same manner as the action scenes – and it WORKS.

Comparisons to Return of the King are nearly inevitable, regarding various aspects of the film, but the most pretient, in my opinion is that this is the first movie in the series which actually creates the feeling that the heroes and the action are in another world, one of swashbuckling myth and wonder - the sort of feeling you got from any given LoTR movie.

Another RotK comparison (as well as a favorable comparison to the first two Pirate movies) - the movie is long. Some scenes could have been shorter. But there are absolutely no scenes that feel as though they are going on too long. There are no "fight on the wheel" or "drowning Will" scenes that go "meanwhile, are heroes are doing the exact same thing they've been doing for the last 5 minutes".

Shortcomings? The huge chunk of unwieldy exposition shoved into the beginning of the movie, a bit of overacting from Rush, and Chow Yun-Fat's characters should have been given more to do, or cut out altogether. Other than that, this film is excellent, and a fitting end to the trilogy, right down to the humorous/bittersweet/ the road goes ever on and on, ending.
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A decent Russian action movie at last.
17 May 2006
For the last decade or so, one of the main "topics" in Russian cinema was "Let's make a real blockbuster action movie! Our answer to Hollywood! " Obviously, whenever a filmmaker is concerned with "our answer to whatever" the final product will be a farmer's friend, but no one else's. We've seen a few decent wannabe-Tarantino / Takeshi Kitano style "action films" ( I still claim that Kitano's Brother and the Russian Brother have plenty in common besides the moniker) but their tries at something Lethal Weaponish fell flatter than the Turkish analogues.

Well... no more.

We finally got an excellent Russian action movie blockbuster. Which... is cool and all. More quality = more money = more quantity = more money = possibly more quality.

The plot... is an action movie plot. The brave commando veteran (his former commando unit was called "The Piranha" and that's the only explanation for the movie's title you're going to get) and a lovely bio-chemist are sent to neutralize some bio-weapons left in an abandoned (flooded) military research center near the Chinese border before the land on which said research center is built is ceded to the Chinese. Things go wrong and they find themselves amongst the unwilling participants in the latest "Most Dangerous Game" remake - Taiga edition.


On the positive side - the movie takes itself as non-seriously as possible without turning into an outright spoof. Quotes, homages and outright "tributes" abound - all delivered lightly and ironically. Mashkov, who was wasting his unshaven charisma in a whole host of pointless films plays a hero at least as well as classic Bruce Willis on a good day. Mironov already acknowledged that he was channeling Garry Oldman in Leon and IMO he tops that performance. Good use of the an energetic soundtrack. The camera moves in a way Tony Scott can only have wet dreams about (not necessarily a good thing) Amazing energy and drive all around - the film just picks you and never let's you go.

So... check it out if it comes your way. I honestly don't think you'll be disappointed.
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The game was great. The movie could have been so much greater.
15 February 2006
Unofrtunately, it wasn't.

The graphics were great, naturally. The fights... were less great. Visually impressive, certainly, but except for the battle in the church,there was little logic or emotional involvement. I knew exactly how the final battle was going to go before it even began.

The movie seems to have misunderstood what made the game a success. The graphics, sure. But also the involving and (possibly overtly) complicated story. The interesting characters. The music...

The only memorable musical bits in the movie are those that are recycled from the game. The only original characters that matter are Cloud, Tifa, and Vincent as an enigma-spouting zen-master. The rest of the time is devoted to Marlene and a bunch of random kids, 3 Sephiroth wannabes and the Turks (granted, the Turks are always cool). I doubt the surviving members of the original gang managed to scrounge up 5 minutes of screen time between them. And the story... well, it can be summed up in a paragraph without leaving out any important details and yet most of the why's and how's remain unknown. After all, people loved the original story because it was so vague, right?

Nevrtheless... I appreciate the chance to go back to the world that I loved so much.The graphics are truly excellent and the movie is full of "that is SO COOL" moments. And hey - the entire fight sequence against Bahamut is worth the price of admission/DVD, if only for the chance TO GO "OMG, it's my favorite character, and s/he just made the coolest entrance EVER!".
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Gods, what an awful movie. Nice lesbian scenes, though.
30 October 2005
Short version: Imagine Max Payne 2's "Lords and Ladies" was about lesbian vampires. That's what you get.

Long version for those unfortunate enough to not get an immediate (and precise) image of what the movie is like: I'm judging the movie by "bad movie standards". The plot is obviously a horrid non-sequetir (there are 4 speaking characters out of approx 15 that would have absolutely no place in the movie if it had any sense of narrative structure). The acting is terrible (this coming from someone who finds Julie Strain a perfectly fine actress) and is in no way helped by the (the world lame doesn't even begin to cover it) pompous yet sincere dialog: "Dearest brother, our hour is at hand!". There were moments where I simply had to do something else while shutting my ears as the embarrassingly jarring dialog rolled by.

Also, there are at least 5 minutes of an bald monk glaring and pointing at the camera. "Italian horror legend" indeed.

On the positive side (and this is the only part that should matter for those who have the foresight the watch the movie with a finger right above the fast-forward button) the lesbian scenes are pretty neat and have a bit of "raw vampiric sensuality". Glori-Anne Gilbert never looked better, with or without clothes, the girls are all (at the very least) quite attractive, the lighting is decent and the girls appear to be slightly more into it/ ready to touch each other than in your average softcore flick. Granted, that's not much, but...

The soundtrack is fairly interesting, as well. Probably not everyone's thing, but definitely semi-unique. It's just a shame it doesn't have better scenes/movie to accompany.
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Starts out mediocre and winds up as a great classic.
24 July 2004
The tale of an assassin left behind, and his quest to get revenge has been done in many movies. For about 50 minutes, this version isn't in any way exceptional, and has nothing special going for it - in fact, at times, it is rather silly.

Then we get to a high noon duel in the streets of Paris - and you have to pause, and ask yourself - did I accidentally change channels and ran into a Sergeo Leone film? Because this scene is definitely good enough for "Once Upon a Time in the West"... accompanied as it is with Ennio Morricones score.

From this moment the film becomes faster, more intense and more interesting, until it culminates in the absolutely classic scene of Belmondo walking away towards the helicopter, with "Chi Mai" (bet you heard the tune before, and had no idea where it's from) accompanying him...
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Cowboy Bebop (1998–1999)
Probably the best anime ever.
13 June 2004
Cowboy Bebop is the best anime ever. I'm 21, don't tend to be fanboyish, and have seen plenty of others. And it's the best anime ever.

What other anime features a mix of the best choreographed/energetic/ kick-ass fighting scenes - hand-to-hand, hong-kong gun fights and air-space battle?

An unbelievable mix of comic, tragic, violent and fairy tale style episodes...

An incredible sound track - Yoko Kanno is a genius that can do memorable and emotional jazz, blues, classical, fantasy-style, j-pop and even heavy metal. I wouldn't even consider buying the soundtrack to any other anime.

It quite literally oozes "cool" - characters (Spike is probably the coolest - not awsomest, but stylishly coolest) music, action and narrative.

Hell, it's the only show that has both a "cute animal" character and a "cute annoying kid" character that I don't wish a horrible death upon. And if that doesn't convince you, then nothing will.
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Stupid S0F film trying to "say something meaningful" or serious social commentary disguised as an action/s-f movie?
3 November 2003
Neither, actually. It's a fun S-F movie (A race where you score points both for speed and for every pedestrian you manage to run over) with some "serious stuff about violence-media-entertainment for the masses" thrown in just for kicks. Mr President is uncomfortably similar to Bush Jr (remember this film was made in 1975) and the Howard Cosell sound-a-like treatise on "the orgins of violence" it somewhat thought provoking.

I'm presuming that the above is a just what some of the young people involved had fun with the concept that a movie should "mean something" - "Let's throw some fitting "serious social commentary" in, and if it makes someone think - all the better"

You can think what you want of the "social commentary" - it's throwaway stuff that doesn't effect the basic cool things about the movie:

1)A race in which one gets point by running over pedestrians - Now, I can (theoretically) realize how someone may not think that the idea is *cool as hell*... but only theoretically.

2) The all too obvious 70's-80's S-F film nudity (not too much of it)

3) A semi-reasonable plot, and decent acting.

4) A pre-anything Silvester Stallone, over-acting, yelling at people (in the buff, at that!) and getting his ass kicked by David Carradine.

All in all - a very fun little flick.

And remember - kids under 7 = Double the points!
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A classic detective story, a classic Russian film and a classic bit of nostalgia.
3 May 2003
The movie is an almost word by word adaptation of the Vayner brothers classic novel "Era of Mercy" - one of the few good book adaptations I ever saw... and also a good reason why word by word adaptions don't work --> The novel being 350 pages long, the movie turned out at just over 5 hours, broken into 5 series... the original theatrical debut took 3 daily shows... the streets of Russia were empty during the screenings and zero crimes were recorded throughout the country - all the criminals were busy watching the movie. The movie is still shown approx twice a year on Russian TV channels...

So, why do so many people like it? Or, to be more exact, what makes it such a great film?

The "core of the film" - the detective story is excellent, unpredictable, yet logical. The attention to the details of the late 1940's criminal and civil environment is incredible... Sharapov's personal life, and love interest, rather then being just filler between the investigation scenes, do a lot to show us what Volodya is fighting for and what he stands to lose. The film is chalk full of quotes that remain popular even to this day. And, of course, Visotzky...

Every time I see this movie I feel a sharp sense of loss, due to his untimely death... I feel that I should have seen him perform on stage, I film I should have heard what kind of songs he would write when he reached 50, what kind of movies he would enchance with his presence...

Vysotzky isn't the natural casting choice for the the novel's Jeglov. If the film was filmed in the US, a Brian Dennehy type of actor would probably be cast for the role... But Vystozky takes the role of Jeglov, and makes it thoroughly impossible to imagine anyone else in that role...and, as his second to last role, Jeglov defines him...

While the novel ultimately condemns Jeglov's methods and personality, the movie Jeglov remains sympathetic even after we have seen the uglier side of him... not because Vysotzky downplays it, but due to his sheer charisma and force of personality...

Great movie overall, one worth watching time and time again.
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Would have been better as a two-episode thing on the show.
18 April 2003
You know... cut out session 21, and 15 (importing the important stuff into "Speak Like a Child" and it would fit in just right... including all the cool stuff as well as some of the philosophical stuff that led Spike where it did in the end of the show, while cutting out Vincents boring rants and the whole "life is but a dream" stuff.

Plenty of silver little moments... but nothing golden.

BTW - This review is for people who saw the show - I really don't recommend watching the movie without ever seeing a single episode of the show - you would feel absolutely no connection and would have zero background info on the main characters - the people who did the movie obviously intended it for people who watched the show and had the basic background.
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