As I sat down and popped this movie in I had some what mixed expectations. Moments into the movie I am treated to a spectacular opening with a single ninja completely decimating a gang of wanna' be tough guys. Severed limbs and decapitations courtesy of ninja stars and other deadly blades flying around everywhere. Blood is spurting out in every direction imaginable amidst the dashing shadows. I must say after the opening sequence my eyes were glued, and my expectations grew. Sadly the rest of the movie falls short and ends up just going downhill from beginning to end.
The film stars a Korean pop star simply named Rain as the main character Raizo, a man trained since he was a young boy to be a ninja assassin (by the way, one of the most redundant movie titles ever). There are other characters too but the movie jumps around too much. You never really feel like any of the characters or relationships between them really become developed. Plus there is a lot of flashbacks through out the whole movie trying to explain Raizo's past but it's kind of a mess.
Watching these kinds of movies for the plot is pointless anyway, it's all about the action. Which if by any indication of the opening scene is awesome, right? Ehhh not really. There is plenty of bloodshed and gore but it actually becomes boring after a while, and I say that as a die hard horror movie gore-hound. It's just really repetitive after a while. We get it, he goes around slicing people's arms and legs off, great. Most of the time the fight scenes are too damn dark to see anyway. I hate that. All you see is quick flashes in the dark with blood spraying. Very lazy.
I really wanted to like this movie but it ended up being a major letdown. I appreciate everyones effort in this movie, from Rain to the director, but they unfortunately fall short of being entertaining. Especially in the long run. I really don't know what they were thinking with such an unconvincing plot and cheap fight scenes that rely on shocking gore rather than well choreographed movements. If you don't mind CGI and mindless violence in place of coherent storytelling and well thought out action scenes, check it out. Otherwise steer clear.
How did they mess up so bad with this sequel? The difference in quility in every sense of the word from this movie and the original is astounding. Everything is just a giant step in the wrong direction with this one. The acting, plot, special effects, costume design, etc. I could go on forever. At the end of the day we all know this film was only made to capitalize on the success of the previous film anyway. Although I guess one could say the original movie was just capitalizing on the success of the video game, but at least they did it tastefully. This sequel lacks all the subtle translations that the original had in adapting the game to a movie. Instead it shamelssly just tries to cram in every recognizable MK character it can without any real reason for them to be there.
The story picks up literally seconds after the ending of the last movie. There's really not much to explain though as the plot is so damn thin. Basically everything that the heroes accomplished in the original was pointless as a new bad guy Shao Kahn (Brian Thompson) shows up to end mankind by keeping a portal open for six days. There's a bunch of other little sub-plots too like the one between Princess Kitana (Talisa Soto) and Sindel (Musetta Vander) being mother and daughter. Hardcore fans of the games will probably get these but most people will just be left feeling confused. The whole movie basically boils down to good vs. evil with good predictably winning in the end.
Almost the whole cast has been changed from the original. The only returning actors are Robin Shou as Liu Kang and Talisa Soto as Kitana. The rest of the cast is made up of even more unknown actors than the original, but at least the original cast was decent. These people couldn't act if their life depended on it. I hate the guy they got to replace Raiden he's such a bad actor, and half way through the movie they decided he shouldn't even be recognizable as an MK character and changed his look completely for some reason. Johnny Cage is killed off in the first five minutes of the movie so talking about the actor who portrayed him is pointless. Former American gladiator Lynn "Red" Williams plays Jax and although he has the right look, his acting needs some serious work. Sandra Hess as Sonya Blade was decent but only because she fits the role better than the original actress who played her.
Other popular MK characters jump in and out through out the film but they serve no purpose to the plot. Most of them are killed off so quick that you didn't even get a chance to figure out who it was first anyway. They all look really stupid too, they fucked up the costumes so bad on this film. They all look like they're wearing those cheap Halloween costumes that little kids wear to go trick or treating, so cartoony. Why didn't they just do what they did in the original? The costumes were realistic and believable but you could still tell who each character was. Even as a kid when I watched this I thought is was so corny looking.
Then there's the fight scenes and special effects. So lame. Unlike the first film this one DID make the mistake that most movies at that time did, they overdid everything. The fights rely too heavily on CG effects and wires and not enough on good choreography. All the fight scenes are too short anyway. No good ones come to mind, except maybe the great mud wrestling scene between Sonya and Mileena. The final showdown ends up being the worst in the movie. They decided to take a move from the game and put it in the movie, the only problem was their execution sucked. In the game as I'm sure most people are aware of you can perform "Fatalities" to kill your opponents. MK3 (the game) introduced something called "Animalities" where you could turn into an animal and kill your opponent. The movie tried to do this and failed horribly. In the final fight Liu Kang turns into a giant CG dragon and Shao Kahn turns into a giant CG... something. I don't even know what to call it, some three headed monster, but either way it looks terrible.
I'm usually a pretty generous reviewer but this movie just sucked. I know I shouldn't have expected much from a sequel to a video game based movie but I didn't think it would that bad. Everything that was good about the original, this one is completely void of. The only redeeming factor of this film is getting to see (albeit briefly) your favorite MK characters on screen, and maybe that mud wrestling scene I mentioned earlier. Other than that this movie is a giant waste of time and one of the few films that actually disappointed me as a kid. Seriously even if you are a fan of the video games I can't recommend checking this out, in fact it would probably just be more disappointing if you are an MK fan. Just try and forget it was ever made.
'The Running Man' is one of those great over-the-top action movies from the '80s with lots of violence, cheesy one-liners and ridiculous characters and settings. This film also does a good job at satirizing society by mocking real life entertainment like reality shows and the way products are marketed towards consumers, which kind of reminded me of 'Robocop' in a way. It's strange to think about though because at the time this came out reality shows weren't really around, at least not like they are now. In any case this is an awesome action movie and one of my personal favorites of Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's just too bad that this movie is often overlooked because of his much bigger hits like 'Terminator' and 'Predator'.
The year is 2019, the plot revolves around Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a former military pilot framed and convicted of massacring hundreds of innocent people which he actually tried to prevent. After escaping the labor camp he was sent to he attempts to kidnap a woman named Amber Mendez (Maria Conchita Alonso) who was living in the apartment his brother used to live in and use her to help him get on a plane to Hawaii unnoticed. Unfortunely he is caught by ICS secruity and sent to be a contestant and the reality game show "The Running Man" hosted by the sadistic and greedy Damon Killian (Richard Dawson). Richards must fight for his life against a bunch of "stalkers", killers trained to mutilate anyone put in front of them for the sake of entertainment. How do you win the game show? Don't die!
First off the music in this movie is so laughable, even for the '80s it was bad. Still it fits the film. The cast is great. Arnold is awesome as always, he's basically the essential action hero so you can never go wrong with him. He has some seriously corny lines though, as usual. "Killian, here's your Subzero, now plain zero!"... Yeah. All the "stalkers" are very cool and unique too, using very different styles and weapons to kill their opponents. For example Buzzsaw drives around on a motorcycle and wields chainsaws while Subzero is a sumo hockey player with a razor sharp hockey stick. I have to say the best one though is Dynamo. He's this fat opera singer who wears this weird plastic suit with with a bunch of Christmas lights on it and drives around in a dune buggy and uses electricity to kill people. It's so ridicualously awesome.
My favorite character in the movie though is the host Damon Killian. He's such an evil bastard. He doesn't care about human life, all he cares about is his ratings. He's so deceiving though because when he's the host he's so charming and nice to the audience (much like Richard Dawson actually was on the 'Family Feud'), but when he talks to anyone else he's a prick, this is especially true when it comes to Ben Richards. The only reason he does it though is because he knows that there's nothing Richards can do to him (or so he thought). In the end when Richards finally confronts him, Killian actually has the balls to argue that it's all just for television and it's nothing personal. What a dick, great bad guy though.
Now I usually don't talk about the different release versions of films in my reviews but I found this one interesting. I had assumed since this is such an underrated movie that the DVD wouldn't have too much on it aside from the usual wide or full screen and 5.1 dolby digital sound, so you can imagine my surprise when I found a 2-disc special edition. It has some audio commentaries, two documentaries and even some "Meet The Stalkers" bio cards. I didn't really care too much for the documentaries though, they were too boring and had far too much of a serious and preachy tone for regarding a movie that is meant to be somewhat humorous and satirical. Sure the movie has some underlying messages but it also has Arnold Schwarzenegger grinding up a guy's balls with a chainsaw. You gotta' draw a line somewhere, you know what I mean? Still if you're going to buy it (which I highly recommend) this is the version to get. Enjoy!
Screw all the critics, this film is awesome! People are way too hard on this movie and I really don't understand why. I think it's because 'Mortal Kombat' was based on the video game of the same name it had somewhat mixed to low expectations because of that (much like the 'Super Mario Bros.' and 'Street Fighter' disaster). When the movie came out though it greatly exceeded everyone's expectations and ultimately isn't that what's most important? Of course the plot wasn't going to be brilliant but it was good enough and stayed true to the subject matter it was based on, and the martial arts sequences were actually pretty good in comparison to other big time action movies of the time.
The movie follows Liu Kang (Robin Shou), Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby) and Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson) as the good guys. They are invited to compete in a martial arts tournament on a secluded island by the powerful sorcerer Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). Upon arrival though they quickly realize that there is a lot more going on then just a martial arts tournament. The trio end up fighting for their lives against super natural opponents and strange creatures, along the way they are aided by the "God of Thunder" Raiden (Christopher Lambert) and Princess Kitana (Talisa Soto). If this sounds sort of familiar it's because the original 'Mortal Kombat' video game was actually loosely based on the Bruce Lee classic 'Enter The Dragon'.
First off I want to say that the casting for this movie is flawless (no pun intended, okay maybe a little). The cast is made up of virtually all unknown actors at the time and still even to this day are unknown, but they do an amazing job. There was actually some big names cast in the original script. They originally wanted Jean-Claude Van Damme for the role of Johnny Cage but he turned it down to do 'Street Fighter' (talk about regrets). Also Brandon Lee was actually cast as Cage as well but died before they began production. Cameron Diaz was set to play Sonya but she broke her wrist training for martial arts scenes prior to shooting and was replaced by Wilson. In the end though none of this bothers me, I'm glad there were no big names attached to this movie. They just would have distracted from the story too much and after watching the movie once with this cast I can't imagine anyone else in these roles.
Robin Shou, Linden Ashby and Bridgette Wilson all have great performances as the main heroes. Some of the lines they had were corny but nothing too bad. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Shang Tsung is amazing, he played that role perfectly. He did a good job of portraying this evil persona without overdoing it, and his look was great too. He had an awesome evil stare, those eyebrows were so menacing. Telisa Soto did a good job as Kitana but her acting was a little dry in some scenes. Lambert as Raiden was different than what I was expecting (being a fan of the original video games) but in a good way, the only disappointing thing is he never had a fight scene. He was more of guide then anything.
Speaking of fight scenes there's one about every ten minutes, and they actually don't suck! I have to say as a kid I couldn't help but feel giddy with joy as I watched some of my favorite video game characters go at it. The fight between Scorpion and Johnny Cage was my personal fav (because Scorpion is my favorite character) in the Netherrealm (aka Hell). So cool and not only is Scorpion one of the most badass characters ever created but he has the best voice ever too. "Get over here!". How many characters do you know that can get their point across in three words or less? The fight with Goro was also impressive, not because they're greatly choreographed or anything but because it's damn hard to shoot a believable fight scene with something that has four animatronic arms, my hats off to them. Also one more mention the soundtrack is great, perfect fighting music.
The CGI for the most part in this movie was okay. They did a good job of not going overboard and carried away with it like most movies at that time who were just discovering CGI. The only thing that bothered me was that the character Reptile was a CG lizard the whole movie until he changed into his human form for the fight with Liu Kang towards the end of the film. CG fireballs and ice blasts looked okay but trying to create a living creature? The technology just wasn't up to par at the time and they shouldn't have tried. It just came off looking really cheesy and too obvious, even as a kid I thought it was dumb.
More than anything this movie is a part of my childhood and it's hard for me to write fair reviews about movies I loved as a kid. I can say in all honesty though this was just as fun to watch today as it was fifteen years ago. The only thing I would change now that I'm an adult is the tone of the film. This movie is based on a game where people could decapitate opponents and rip their hearts out. Unfortunately since the movie is targeted towards kids they wouldn't allow it, which is dumb if you think about it. The game is for mature audiences but of course kids would still get their hands on it so why not make the movie the same? Kids still would have seen it. I don't know maybe that's just me. I've heard there's been a reboot in the works for years so maybe that will have a darker tone. Until then though this is a great movie especially for fans of the original games. Easily the best movie adaption of a video game ever.
What a great movie this is, not only is it my favorite of the 'Police Story' series but it's one of my all time favorite Jackie Chan films period. It has all the best qualities of the first film with the addition of the beautiful and talented Michelle Yeoh as Chan's partner in the movie. She was actually marketed as the female version of Jackie Chan when 'Supercop' came out and man does she live up to the title. The whole movie her and Jackie are just trying to 1-up each other stunt wise. If Jackie hangs on to the ladder of a helicopter while it's flying thousands of feet in the air then Michelle has to drive a dirt bike onto a moving train. The action is constant and jaw-dropping, such a fun movie.
'Supercop' doesn't pick up right after the last two films. Jackie reprises his role as "Kevin" Chan Ka-Kui the Hong Kong detective. He is teamed up with Jessica Yang (Michelle Yeoh) to break up a drug smuggling ring. They go undercover to help break the crime lord's brother Panther (Yuen Wah) out of prison. The crime lord Chaibat (Kenneth Tsang) is also trying to get his wife out of prison so he can get the number to her Swiss bank account with all the drug money in it. Eventually Chan and Yang's cover gets blown when the bad guys kidnap Chan's girlfriend May (Maggie Cheung) and he is forced to help them break out Chaibat's wife.
Standard cop story, nothing groundbreaking in the plot but it's interesting enough and easy to follow. The acting is pretty good too and this is the first Jackie Chan movie from Hong Kong to use sync sounds, allowing us to hear all the actors real voices. It was so cool to see Yuen Wah in a major role again as Panther, I don't think he'd been in a Jackie Chan film since 'Dragons Forever' (1988), which is a shame because he is really awesome. Maggie Cheung's role as May isn't as big as it was in the last films, in fact this is her last appearance in the 'Police Story' franchise. She's only in the beginning for one short scene and then at the end for a few more quick scenes. Her character does play a key role in these scenes however in terms of importance to the plot.
I have to say though watching the dynamic duo of Jackie Chan in Michelle Yeoh on screen is the best part of this movie. They have such great chemistry, they compliment each other very well both in personality and phsical attributes. They're very funny too the way the argue in scenes as if they're a married couple. They help each other when things get serious though like in fights. The fight scenes are pretty short though and there aren't as many in this film as there were in the last ones but both Jackie and Michelle get their chances to shine. Yeoh inparticular does some pretty amazing kicks that I don't think had been seen in America from a leading lady. Also the end fight on top of a moving train is just frightening to watch, so crazy.
Now I know what you're thinking, short fight scenes?! Where's the action? Well it's all about the stunts with this one baby. Jackie and Yeoh pull off some incredible stunt work that Hollywood probably wouldn't even allow their stuntmen try, let alone the starring actors. I shit you not these are some of the scariest stunts to watch, ever. Michelle has some great ones like hanging off the side of a van as it's weaving in and out of traffic (an obvious nod to the bus scene in the original 'Police Story') and driving a dirt bike onto a speeding train. Not to be out done of course Jackie hangs onto the rope ladder of a helicopter as it flies around knocking him into signs and buildings, the guy is just nuts. Words don't do this movie justice though you have to see this stuff to believe it. Trust me it will not disappoint.