Saturday, December 26, 2009

Blood:The Last Vampire (2000) animation movie review

Overall verdict: 5.5/10

The Good: Extremely life-like animation fluidity, intense atmosphere, genuinely scary at times, impressive level of art detail, novel use of "mixed language" dub track

The Bad: flat one dimensional character personalities, no character development, lack of emotional depth, too short running time, erraticly paced story.

Current Availability Status: Very rare to find in local stores. Internet is the answer(order online)


Standing at 48 minutes long, Blood: The Last Vampire (2000) is cornucopia of pure violence, bad ass melee combat and suspenseful monster slaying action. It has exceedingly smooth animation combined with highly detailed artwork; a rare combination in japanese anime that works really well thanks to the professional production team at "Production I.G". This movie's appealing character designs are a far cry from the cutesy big eyed girls in most anime and together with some awesome fight choreography, sets a standard for a martial arts monster slayer action film that rivals many big budget live action productions.

However, look beyond the "wow factor" and there is little else that this film offers.

In terms of plot, "Blood: The Last Vampire" is very straight forward and predictable with few story twists. Saya is a half vampire, half human who hunts demons for a secret government organisation. At the dawn of the vietnam war era, Her latest assignment is to go undercover as a schoolgirl at a school on Yokota air force base in japan in order to uncover the cause of some mysterious but familiar killings. She is to seek out the demons disguised as humans in that school and eliminate them. Think "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" minus the wit mixed with "Blade" minus the cool factor of Wesley Snipes.

The characters are typical action movie stereotypes with the main character of Saya being seriously under-developed. It is very difficult to emotionally connect to any of the characters at all. Any sense of peril in the fights is effectively negated thanks to Saya being characterized as some unbeatable monster hunter extraordinaire. What is her motivation? We never get to find out. Her personality can be summed up as "cold" and her emotions range from bored anger to angry boredom.

Although the actors do their best to bring out as much emotion from the characters, the flat dialogue falls squarely on the shoulders of the writers. Special mention however goes to the decision to record a mixed language dialogue, which is no doubt a novel approach in japanese anime. Western or caucasian characters speak English, Asian characters speak Japanese. This movie enhances the realism and believability of the setting and the international cast of characters.

To top it all off, The pacing of the movie in erratic and it shows in the more subdued scenes of conversation where things get really boring. Lump that together with a huge let-down of an ending and you have Blood: The Last Vampire.
*****Fanboy RANT***

Vampire?? WTF vampire?? Where's the fangs?? Does she look like a vampire to you?!?!? The word "vampire" only appears once in the title and another time on a piece of paper. Saya is never shown to drink blood or die under sunlight. The creatures she hunts look more like mutant dinosaurs than vampires. So WHERE THE HELL does "Vampire" fit into this whole movie?!?!?!?!?
*****Fanboy Rant end****

Sure, this anime is famous and exceedingly popular among enthusiasts. But we have to look at what made it famous and it definitely was not its half baked story or one dimensional characters. Surely the animation and level of detail in the artwork is way beyond anything seen in typical japanese anime, having won a couple of awards and all, but an anime film with impressive animation alone is not a good anime film. There has to be a balance and sadly Blood: The Last Vampire does not have that balance.

The entire movie is easily summed up as a A bloody, over hyped, waste.
*****************************Review End******************

Go For it:If you want to see some of the most impressive animation and beautiful blending of traditional artwork with CGI. Watch also if you need some badass monster slaying action to pass the time

Avoid it: If your favorite anime involves "kawaii" characters or if you want to get emotionally attatched to these characters

Entertainment: C-
Animation: A+
Art: A
Voice work(English and japanese mixed ):A-
Replay Value:D+
"Brains": D

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Friday the 13th (2009) review: When being "true to the original" is not a good thing.

Overall verdict: 5.5/10

The Good: Retains everything good thing about the original. Stylish camera-work, action packed chase scenes, a new and improved "Jason Voorhees".

The Bad: retains every BAD thing about the original. Unlikable characters, cheesy dialogue, too much sex, illogical plot holes.

Availability: On discount priced DVD in singapore
DVD features:
- Rebirth of Jason Voorhees "making of" featurette
- deleted scenes

DVD Value for money grade: C

When you get down to the nitty gritty of this movie, the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th specifically caters only to existing fans of the genre. It takes EVERYTHING synonymous with 80s slasher movies and ups the ante on them. A huge pity that "everything" also includes the flaws of such slasher genre films such as annoying teenage characters, too much sex and a less than adequate story.

For starters, those who have watched at least one of the previous 1980s Friday the 13th movies can feel safe in the knowledge that this movie is pretty faithful to the spirit of the Friday the 13th franchise. However, it also means that the story is clich├ęd and stale to the core. Instead of doing something new with the franchise, it falls back on standard slasher movie re-threads. As usual, we follow a bunch of horny/idiotic teenagers who come to the lakeside for whatever silly reason (in this case, it is either to look for Marijuana or to party away from adult supervision), and then get hunted down and picked off one at a time by a crazed serial killer.

The movie jumps straight into the action for the first 20 minutes or so starting with the murder of Jason's mother and then Jason's attack on a bunch of campers many years later which would then lead into the story proper of Clay(played by the star of the "Supernatural" TV series Jared Padalecki) looking for his sister who went missing at camp crystal lake. But other than that, there is hardly anything else of interest to speak of.

If the story is not going to hold an audience, at least the characters should. right? Also no.

All of them are your usual, stereotypical horror movie stock characters who are just there to provide eye candy until they die. Even the character of Clay, who could have been given a more well rounded development, falls flat. Almost all of them are portrayed in such a terrible light that one would actually WANT Jason to kill them off just to prove Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest(or in this case extinction of the silliest). The actors(mostly culled from TV series) seem to do their best, but a mediocre script ruins everything.

Well, at least for a horror film it has to be scary right? wrong! There is not a single scare or even a shock in this entire film! So what silly excuse can anyone give to even waste their time with this movie?
Where Friday the 13th fails to reinvigorate the genre and fails even more as a competent horror movie, it suceeds in its "slasher" aspect coupled with some impressive production values and directing.

For starters, the film looks great, easily the best looking horror movie ever. Slick camera-work, a dark gloomy but crisp lighting style and some creative directing skills bring out the most in every single kill scene. Though the kills are not spectacular in any way, they are quite realistically played out. Every chase scene is a tense nail-biter, every bloody slash, bash and impalement is done with the flair and style of a big budget action flick.

The second "saving grace" of the film is the Jason Voorhees character himself. Face it, Jason in the previous Friday the 13th movies was a goofy looking retard who then became a dim witted, lumbering Zombie freak. THIS new Jason(played by Derek Mears) actually feels more threatening for a change. He plans his kills, he baits his victims into traps, he strikes with uncanny precision; more like a savage commando than a retard.

If anything, Friday the 13th 2009 succeeds at delivering the fundamental desire of any fan of slasher films: watching people you dislike getting dispatched in the most horrific and gruesome ways. It is sheer escapism and it blatantly focuses on that aspect while disregarding all others, for better or for worse.

************Personal rant**********There came a point in the movie when i actually started rooting FOR Jason to make his next kill only because the characters were just THAT unlikable.

I bet the producers were like, "Silly teenager characters with little development? All the more reason to want them to be killed off! Story?? Who needs story?! Just think up some shenanigans for them to go through until the next on gets offed."
*************Personal rant over. Back to review Proper*******************

At its core, Friday the 13th 2009 is no where near the standard of a "good movie". Merely good for 106 minutes of violent escapism. It adheres too much to the blandness of the original films but manages to up-the-ante on the aspects that matter to slasher fans; Better kills, a slick new look, a clear directing style, an improved re-imaging of Jason. Even the disgusting but mandatory sex scene(a staple in all slasher movies) is taken up a notch by having not one but two sex scenes to please the hot blooded male audience. Sadly, Friday the 13th fell back too much on its franchise's staples. It failed to carve a fresh new identity of its own and thus ended up tipping over into mediocrity.

It is violent and fun in a sick escapist sort of way, but fails as a "horror" show due to its lack of scares. Maybe being too faithful to the original wasn't such a good idea afterall.

Entertainment: A
Story: B-
Acting: C-
Characters: D
Replay value: B+
"Brains": D-

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bionicle The Legend Reborn (2009) review: "reborn" or stillborn?

Overall verdict: 6/10

The Good: great animation, stellar acting, easy to follow story

The Bad: Might be too "kid friendly", Static directing style, newcomers to the bionicle franchice would be left lost.

Current Availability Status: DVD in MJ and Laser Flair stores now.
DVD features:
- Extended ending
- deleted scenes
- Character gallery
- trailers
- music video


Mata Nui, the great god of the Matorans has been betrayed and stripped of his power. Cast out into the universe, the once powerful deity must now fend for himself as a mere mortal in the barren lands of Bara Magna. there he would face untold dangers, make new comrades, and launch his quest to return to his homeworld and rescue his lost people.

The story's premise takes a new twist on the classic "fall of a king" story coupled with an almost Greek epic styled hero's journey. Narrative is easy enough to follow, straightforward and with little twists. (there is actually only one twist, but one that does not come unexpectedly). The creative team manages to throw in an ideal mix of seriousness and fun adventure, with some really good comedy moments involving Mata Nui's inexperience in dealing with Bara Magna inhabitants and adjusting to his new life. A real treat for the whole family to enjoy.

Despite their rather inhuman appearance, the bio-mechanical "bionicle" characters in this show very appealing and easy to relate to. Granted, some of them may come across as cardboard cutout stock characters from a Saturday morning cartoon, but the very professional level of the acting and a well written script makes up for the perceived lack of character development. Special mention goes to Star Trek: The Next Generation's Michael Dorn(Worf) who nails the role of main character Mata Nui head on, maintaining the regal tone befitting of a fallen king while infusing realistic believability into every spoken line.

No complains as well about the overall look of the show. The character designs are intricately detailed and the movements are fluid. One cannot help but be reminded of the robot designs in the live action Transformers movies(even though the Bionicle franchise came before the 2007 Transformers movie.) Of course the quality of the CGI in this show is not up to Pixar's standards but it is easily one of the best ever featured in direct to DVD CGI animated movies. Even the gears and turning parts on each character are fully animated and everything is given a dirty gritty look.

Now Bionicle The Legend Reborn may attract viewers by its entertaining story, script, fabulous acting and great graphics, but it would be REALLY HARD for viewers to actually "jump in". For one thing, the movie seems to require some familiarity of the bionicle universe. Casual animation movie fans would be literally left hanging due to the lack of backstory or even an introduction to the world of bionicle. Is this supposed to be a sequel? or a prequel? Or maybe even a reboot of the franchise? A small booklet or featurette in the DVD to explain the Bionicle backstory would have benefited the majority of viewers who might not be familiar with the Bionicle brand.

Secondly, the fine looking CGI graphics feel wasted on some terrible scene directing; this is the part where this movie suffers the most. Mark Baldo(whose only other directing credit is a couple of episodes of a TV series called "Father of the Pride") is the director here and his camera work can only be described as "LAZY". Most of the fight scenes are unusually static; more like watching a documentary than a fight scene in a movie. There is hardly any dramatic effect or intensity conveyed with his lackluster "matter of fact" directing style which leads to some very boring action sequences.

Music was relatively mediocre sounding like standard dramatic animation movie fare, but there were a couple of themes that stood out. The opening theme in particular had just the right epic feel to go with the story. Sound effects could have also been better too. Right now, the sound effects come across as too "light", giving a sense of weightlessness to the characters. Tech Specs on the Bionicle wikipedia says that the characters should be around 7 feet tall. But those light sounding sound effects and lack of a heavier bass make them seem like only 7 inches tall. Swords clashing sound like toys hitting each other, rocks crumbling down a slope sound like pebbles; that sort of thing.

All in all, Bionicle The Legend Reborn is a valiant attempt at bringing Bionicle once again into the animation DVD market and a solid entry following the previous animated Bionicle movies. However, this movie might not be able to impress anyone but the kids and the hardcore Bionicle fans. Not to mention that there was hardly any publicity prior to this movie's release. Maybe it might also attract some Star Trek fans thanks to Michael Dorn's awesome performance.

An entertaining little family movie that could have been better overall.

Entertainment: B-
Story: B
Animation: A-
Acting(english): A+
Replay value: C
"Brains": C-

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ultraman Towards the Future (1990) review: ... and a bright Future it is...

Overall series verdict: 7.5/10

The Good: Great acting, intriguing story, epic monster battles, lovable characters and special effects that are ahead of its time.

The Bad: Some issues with bad usage of green screen effects and moments of over-acting.

Current Availability status in Singapore: A few imports from japan and hong Kong available in privately owned shops.


Ultraman Toward the Future is the first live action Ultraman series NOT produced in Japan. This marvelous entry into the much loved Ultraman Mythos was an Australian production which was easily years ahead of its time. The likable cast of characters and top notch special effects coupled with a well crafted story makes "Ultraman Toward the Future" one of the best Ultraman series in existence.

Originally recorded in English, The story starts of very mysteriously and the 2 plot arcs unfolds across 6 episodes per arc over 12 episodes only in total. In the first story arc, Jack Shindo and Stanely Haggard are members of the first manned expedition to Mars where they encounter a giant slug-like monster, Gudis. They are rescued by the mysterious silver and red giant ULTRAMAN but not before Gudis escapes to earth in the form of an alien virus and Stanley is presumably killed. To ensure Jack Shindo does not die on Mars, Ultraman joins with Jack, allowing Jack to summon the heroic giant whenever all hope seems lost. On earth He joins the UMA organization in order to help them battle the monsters created by the Gudis virus. The story is very well plotted and does not drag.

There is a fair amount of human drama and a little comic relief thrown in but does not detract from the overall dark feel of the story. Every character is fully fleshed out and immediately likable. One can develop an emotional connection with each of the characters, from the hot headed Jean Echo to the "straight to business" base commander Arthur Grant. The actors are mostly Australian but are of mixed ethnic heritage and manage to pull off different accents, lending to a very diverse look for the main cast. Ultraman is not longer just a plot device to defeat the monster but a character onto himself who converses with Jack and helps him to deal with more subtle problems. He even dishes out some philosophy once in a while.

Each episode deals not only with a monster but with very down to earth themes that anyone can relate to. Themes like a child dealing with divorce, family neglect, and the importance of trust are interspersed with enough plot twists and intrigue that put some crime dramas out there to shame. The second half of the series even boasts some environmental cautionary tales with a overarching subplot of the earth trying to fight against the humans who have polluted it.

Those still suffering from traumatic memories of rubber pillows with eyes that pass off as monsters wrestling with a red and silver rubber man, fear not! The monsters are not just men in suits like the Japanese series but a mix of man in a suit, puppetry and props. Close-ups make use of still-props of, for example, the monster's head or foot, which allows a greater level of detail. Puppetry is used to give the monsters a more organic feel, to give life to tentacles, antenna and wings instead of just letting them flop to the side like in the Japanese series. The special effects used for the powers are astounding. They look better than Power Rangers which came out 3 years after this show and just as good as Ultraman Tiga, which came out 6 years after this. The fight choreography doesn't make use of quick cuts, but rather, the director(Andrew Prowse, who would go on to direct a number of episodes of the popular sci/fi series "Farscape") uses long panning shots from the ground level upward to give a grand feel and a sense of scale to the giant monster battles. Close ups are only used when necessary for dramatic effect.

Ultraman's design in this show is also a real treat. It Keeps true to the spirit of the original without any added gimmicks while creating a great looking character in its own right. This Ultraman is visibly bulkier and more muscular than the previous ones, looking more like a comic book hero than ever before. The miniatures are very intricately and realistically built and it helps that shots of miniatures are inter cut with shots of real cities. The Hummer flying scenes can look a little weird at times though due to the use of green screen against a stationary hanging model instead of real time puppetry.

Unlike power Rangers, "Ultraman Towards the Future" proves that giant monster defender shows of this sort can go beyond just brainless action and have an intelligent story with themes both simple and complex for children and adults. It even teaches good morals. The action is well paced and special effects are revolutionary for its time. A pity it only ran for 12 episodes.

A great jumping on point for anyone looking to get into the Ultraman fandom.

*******************************review end****************************

Entertainment: A-
Story: A-
Acting: B
Characters: B
Replay value: B
"Brains": B-

Thursday, December 3, 2009

X-men Origins: Wolverine (2009) review. A Feral Hearless Beast...

Overall verdict: 5.5/10

The Good: Excellent acting, awesome special effects, Hugh Jackman at his fittest

The Bad: Too many characters and not enough story, superficial take on Wolverine's "origin", lack of emotional depth, over-reliance on special effects and action

Current Availability status in Singapore: DVDs on sale now in all major DVD shops.

(the DVD is a 3 disc special edition with over 2 hours worth of extras for the same price as a regular single-disc edition. Real value for money!)
DVD features:
disc 1
- "Wolverine unleashed" behind the scenes featurette
- Deleted scenes
- Alternate ending
disc 2
-Weapon X mutant files character profiles
- "thrill of the chase". Deconstruction of how the helicopter chase scene was made
disc 3
- "On location" directors video log
- Wolvie's greatest hits (the history of the character)
- Generation X: comic book history (complete comprehensive guide to the x-men's history in comics)

DVD Value for money Grade: A


A feral heartless beast clawing frantically at its enemies and searching in vain for something missing pretty much sums up both the character of Wolverine and this movie. It is action packed, it is fun to watch but it is also a huge disappointment if you are expecting an honest to goodness "origin" story.

Though not entirely obvious in the first viewing, its flaws are really obvious once you look past all the visual effects and this whole grand scale epic journey.

First off, for a movie entitled "X-men origins: Wolverine" one would expect a more character centered narrative that delves deep into the core of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine character; his motives, his personality, what drives him and what unusual circumstances molded him into the character as seen in the X-men movies. What we are given instead is a generic action movie with the whole "origin" bit as merely a backdrop for introducing more "cool" mutant characters.

That is the main flaw of this movie as a whole: giving in too much to the demands of the typical summer blockbuster audience and sidelining everything else. No doubt that people will be impressed with the many scenes of wanton destruction and fast paced fights that this movie delivers. Vehicles are blown up, buildings are demolished; heck even a school is practically blasted in two. There are so many moments of "wow!" that even the brain-dead can just sit back and enjoy.

Sadly the characters themselves, though played well by some very professional actors, are not enough to drive the movie. Thanks to a half baked script that favors "cool" one liners over logical narrative sense, the character interactions are not strong enough for the audience to have much of an emotional connection to any of them. Wolverine's falling out with his brother, the death of his love interest, the betrayals that led to his decision to graft Adamantium metal to his bones, they never really convey much of an emotional impact. Instead they come across very "matter-of-fact-ly"; those events just happened so that the plot could advance. Even Wolverine's portrayal of a cool kick-butt hero with a sarcastic sense of humor may incite a giggle or two with his crass jokes but anyone looking for a deeper emotional understanding of the character, look elsewhere.

Fans of the Bryan Singer X-men movies might agree that there was more emotional character development for Wolverine in 1 hour of X-men2 than there was in the entire 107 minutes of this film. The only audience that might enjoy this superficially bland piece of work are the adrenaline pumped teens looking for a quick action fix or Hugh Jackman fans who want to see more of him doing cool things.

Like its titular character, X-men Origins: Wolverine is cool, funny, and pack to the gills with heart pumping action. It slices and dices its way from one grand special-effects laden battle to the next leaving behind a paper thin plot and a core without "heart". Emotionally disappointing as a tragic origin story, this movie is never really able to find the balance that made other superhero movies like Batman Begins and Iron Man such hits.
*****************************Review End******************

Go for it: if you are a fan of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in the previous X-men movies or if you like some big brainless, special effects laden comic-book-movie action.

Avoid: if you are expecting any deeper insight into the Wolverine character other than what you already know from X-men 2 or if you expect any form of emotional involvement in a movie.

Entertainment: B-
Story: C-
Acting: A
Characters: D
Replay value: C+ for the movie, A+ for the DVD
"Brains": C

Full List of Reviews

This is my entire list of live action movies and TV shows reviewed on this blog.
For animated movies and TV shows please go here


300 (2007) - 7
300: Rise Of An Empire (2014) - 6.5
47 Ronin (2013) - 6

About Time (2013) - 9

Alien Vs Predator (2004) - 4.5
Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem (2007) - 5

Avatar (2009)- 8
(the) A-Team (2010) - 7.5
(the) Avengers (2012) - 8.5

(the) Amazing Spider-man (2012) - 6
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) - 7
Ant-Man (2015) - 6.5
Avengers: Infinity War (2018) - 9


Blood: The Last Vampire (2009) - 5.5
Battleship (2012) -6.5
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) - 8.5

Cloud Atlas (2013) - 9
Cinderella (2015) - 7
Captain America: Civil War (2016) - 8.5


Deadpool (2016) - 9.5
DeathNote (2006) - 5.5
Death Race 2 (2011) - 5.5
Drive (2011) - 9.5
(the) Dark Knight Rises - 10

Dredd (2012) - 8

Edge Of Tomorrow (2014) - 9.5

Friday the 13th (2009)
- 5.5
50/50 (2011) - 9

Fant4stic Four (2015) - 5


Godzilla (1998) - 6.5
Godzilla X Megaguirus (2000)- 5.5
Godzilla. Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) - 7.5
Godzilla: Final War (2004) - 6
Gamer (2009) - 7
G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) - 6.5

G.I Joe: Retaliation (2013) - 6
Green Lantern (2011) - 6.5
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence (2011) - 5

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) - 6
Godzilla (2014) - 8.5

Halloween (2007) - 7

Initial D (2005) - 5
Iron Man 2 (2010) - 7
Immortals (2011) - 7
Iron Man 3 (2013) - 6.5

Jurassic World (2015) - 6

Justice League (2017) - 7


Konga (1961) - 4.5
(the) Karate Kid (2010) - 9
King of Fighters (2010) - 1.5

Kong: Skull Island (2017) - 9

Love in Disguise (2010) - 3.5

Logan (2017) - 9.5

Mortal Kombat (1995) - 6.5
Monsters (2010) - 8
(the) Muppets (2011) - 9

Man Of Steel (2013) - 9
(the) Maze Runner (2014) - 8
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015) - 5.5


Need For Speed (2014) - 7.5
Ninja Assassin (2009) - 7


Pandorum (2009) - 7
Prince Of Persia: Sands of Time (2010) - 7.5
Predators (2010) - 7.5
Priest (2011) - 6.5
Pirates Of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - 7

Prometheus (2012) - 9.5
Pacific Rim (2013) - 8



Resident Evil (2002) - 6
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) - 5
Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) - 6
Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010) - 5
Real Steel (2011) - 9

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012) - 4.5
Robocop (2014) - 8
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017) - 5.5

Speed Racer (2008) - 8.5
Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li (2009) - 4
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) - 8.5

Suicide Squad (2016) - 6
Shin Godzilla (2016) - 8.5


Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) - 5.5
Transformers (2007) -7.5
The Ugly Truth (2009) - 6.5

Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen (2009) - 5.5
Tron Legacy (2010) - 9
Thor (2011) - 8

Thor: The Dark World (2013) - 7
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) -6.5
Total Recall (2012) - 7

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) - 7.5
Terminator Genisys (2015) - 7

The Mummy (2017) - 5.5
Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) - 5



Wonder Woman (2017) - 9

X-men Origins: Wolverine (2009) - 5.5
Xia Dao Xiao: Where Got Ghost?! (2009) - 3
X-men: First Class (2011) - 8.5

X-men: Apocalypse (2016) - 7




Tekken (2010) - 6
Tekken 2: Kazuya's Revenge - 3.5
Universal Soldier: A New Beginning (2009) - 5
Universal Solder: Day Of Reckoning (2012) - 7.5

TV Series
2025 (2015) 13 episodes - 2
Robocop: Prime Directives (2001) 4 Episodes - 5 
Mortal Kombat Legacy (2011 - 2013) Web series 19 Episodes - 6
Ultraman: Towards The Future (1991) 13 Episodes - 9
Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero (1993) 13 Episodes - 5

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) review. It knows its from a cartoon, and knowing is half the battle.

Overall verdict: 6.5/10
The Good: excellent cast chemistry, straight forward and easy to follow narrative, witty humour, captures the spirit of saturday morning cartoons

The Bad: cheesy dialogue, special effects laden, deviates too much from the original source material

Current Availbility status in Singapore: DVDs on sale now in all major DVD shops.

DVD features:

Director's commentary

G I Joe: The Rise of Cobra is another one of those of big screen movie adaptations of Saturday morning cartoons, following the big but brainless Transformers movie sequel released in the same year.

Unlike Transformers, the producers and director of G I Joe know that it is, after all, a live adaptation of an 80s CARTOON. Instead of going for a real-world contemporary setting, they decided to push the storyline years into the future allowing the rather far fetched technology like Plasma weapons and nanobots to not seem so far fetched.

For better or for worse, this entire movie is a tribute to the classic action adventure Saturday morning cartoons that thrilled an entire generation of children. Director Stephan Sommers manages to balance great moments of "wow" with more subtle subdued scenes, then throw in the right amount of humor, an easy to follow story and very likable characters.

The story may come across as a little too straight forward at times and the characters, though very likable, are a rather one-dimensional......which is exactly like in the original cartoon. Good guys are good guys, bad guys are bad guys and every character is a living breathing personification of "stock stereotypes". What saved the characters from being dull was the excellent script, rather natural acting and chemistry that each character had with the others.

A romantic sub-plot was thrown in for good measure but don't expect anything too sappy. Again, the romance comes across as very typical of a Saturday morning cartoon. Nothing dirty, nothing lovey dovey, a little contrived at times but it really takes one back to more innocent times of old. Flashbacks are used frequently throughout the film for certain characters to establish their background and their motives but the placement of some of the flashbacks sort of "takes us away" from the build up of story.

Similar to his previous work in The Mummy and Van Helsing, Stephan Sommers' clear and easy to follow directing style brings out the best in the action. Chase scenes are thrilling, edge-of-your-seat rides, and slow-mo is used at all the right moments to accentuate the impact of the scene.

G I Joe: The rise of Cobra does a commendable effort at re-capturing the fun, though flawed, spirit of its original 1985 Saturday morning cartoon show and Depending on your own point of view, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is really up to personal preference. If you considered cartoons juvenile, their characters plain, the plots simple, the romance cheesy, then your opinions about the cartoons would be easily carried over to this movie.

People of all ages will enjoy this exciting thrill ride of a movie. Great cast( both in terms of chemistry and eye candy), awesome action(the underwater mini-subs battle was definitely something not often seen in movies) and great fun for the whole family.
*****************************Review End******************

Entertainment: A-
Story: C-
Acting: B-
Characters: A-
Replay value: B+
"Brains": D-

Go for it: if you love the feel of saturday morning cartoons and are in the mood for a straight up fun, action-packed thrill ride with eye candy to boot.

Avoid: if you prefer gritty and grim. Cheesiness of the movie may put off viewers.