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    An Open Letter to Ellie and Joel

    By Softballchic10

    There are certain games that come along from time to time that really get your attention. It could be for the action, the graphics or game play. However, it is a rare occasion that a game grabs you for all of these, plus the amazing experience of becoming emotionally attached and involved in the actions of characters. It is to this that I write this open letter to Ellie and Joel. I met them in the “The Last of Us.” *(Please note that I've tried to write this to contain no spoilers. Personality of the characters is mentioned as well as reference to generic type actions that happen in game.) Dear Ellie and Joel, I want to thank you for letting me join you on one of the most amazing adventures of my life. I know the journey was long and brutal. There is never a reason a death should be simple or a casual thing. But a person has every right to fight for their own right to live. It is to that I acknowledge and understand why at times death followed in your footsteps. Know that I don't blame you, nor do I condemn you for it. Joel, you said yourself along the way “It was him or me.” Simply stated, but true to fact. We all wish that we could walk again in relative harmony the way we once did. That time may come again, but not now. Not now. Joel, at times you were a hard man for me to like, but you had your own personal reasons, your own demons that you fought every day. But even when I disagreed with your words, your actions always spoke louder and with greater heart. There were moments when you were an enigma to me. You could be harsh and bitter one moment, protective and wise at another. As I think on it, I believe it is because the man that knew a world before everything went to hell is still there inside you, wrestling the man you have had to become to survive. Ellie, you are an amazing young woman. I refuse to acknowledge you as a girl as most people do. Yes, there are times when you were goofy, silly and playful. But those are wonderful traits to carry on, even as you get older. It was refreshing to watch as you, for the first time, saw the world as it used to be, even if it was only in shattered pieces. Your wonder was childlike, not childish, and full of amazement and wonder. I smile now thinking about some of those moments. But that is only part of who you are. You are also fierce, tough, loyal and caring. These traits to me and your actions when times were tough are what shaped you into the young woman I have come to know. You have such strength of character. It didn't matter if it was Hunters, the army or Infected, you always were there, looking out and helping out. You never ran away from danger when you could have given up. Your determination to see every situation though, no matter for good or bad, it is inspiring. We adults could learn so much from you, if we only would accept the fact that sometimes the best of what we are lies in the hearts of people like you, not warped and changed by a world gone sideways. A final thought before I close this letter to both of you. Joel, I know the world as it is now has forced you to build up walls around you. It would be almost impossible to survive as long as you have without such things happening to the best of us. I hope that you find, however, that letting a little light in, be it found in people or in something else that makes you happy, there is still good in the world and the good man that you’ve buried inside you deserves to see and enjoy it. Ellie, I firmly believe that you will never give up. The world may be violent and brutal but its people like you who give us hope that we can be better then what we've become. Whatever happens though, don't ever lose that since of amazement that you get from seeing things for the first time. I hope you always have a joke and a ready smile. Oh, and one more thing. Don't trust people that do acupuncture, they're back stabbers. I know you'll understand. Once again, thank you for letting me come along on your adventure. It wasn't easy and I hate some of the things we had to do. But since we had no choice, I'm glad we went through it together. Godspeed to both of you.
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Comic Review: The Shadow – Seven Deadly Finns

This time I’m finishing up the run of DC’s The Shadow Comics – at least the ones that I own a copy of, with a story arc that goes back to some of the character’s original pulp roots. The premise of this arc, on paper, should make for a gloriously macabre crime thriller, taking a mix of the pulp genre and combining it into the exploitation genre. This arc pits The Shadow and his agents against the Finn family, a group of brothers involved in organized crime, selling drugs, arms, and smuggling diamonds, while secretly disposing of the bodies of the people that they kill through their operations through the hot-dog plant of the one brother in the family who has gone legit and who is unaware of the rest of the family’s dirty deeds. Instead, the book turns it into a dark comedy… and it’s not funny. The Finn gang is effectively made up of a group of complete morons, with perhaps the only reason why The Shadow and his Agents haven’t mopped them up already is because they’re assuming that their opponents are competent, when instead they’re idiots, making stupid decisions. For example, a central plot event in the series has the Finn Brothers getting the bright idea, “There’s this one psychotic who thinks he’s an agent of The Shadow – let’s unleash a bunch of Hollywood Psychotics from a mental institution – put them under the control of a Libyan general (as tensions with Libya were already at a high) we’re selling guns to, and let them smoke out The Shadow.” In turn, the Libyan takes his army of psychotics and sets out on a plan to unleash a deadly chemical weapon on New York, to wipe out the city, because He’s Libyan. I’m not sure if this is better or worse than, just a few months later, Jim Starlin having Ayatollah Khomeini make The fucking Joker Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations, as part of the Death in the Family storyline. While the storyline itself is a failed farce, this arc does some things right. the first two story arcs – Howard Chaykin’s original run, and Andy Helfer’s Shadows and Light arc, felt incredibly over-crowded. They were shoving too many plots into too few of a number of issues. Here the book basically sticks with only one plot. The narrative focuses almost exclusively on the work to bring down the Finns, and once The Libyan gets involved, he also becomes the focus of the plot, with the Finns then reacting to how things have gotten out of hand, rather than driving the plot from the villainous side of things. Artist Kyle Baker does a very good job of taking over the art, following in the footsteps of Bill Sienkiewicz in the “Shadows and Light” arc. His work fits, thematically, with Sienkiewicz’s work, but with his own twists. It does become overly comedic at points, but that’s more or less a reflection of the story. That said, if you’re a fan of the pulps, or The Shadow in general, this story will probably rub you the wrong way, as Baker’s writing, especially in this comic, has that vibe of “I think this character and this comic are stupid, and so I will write the character accordingly.” On the one hand, it’s better than just not caring, but on the other hand, considering that The Shadow as a character can and has had interesting dramatic stories told with them, I can’t help but feel that potential is squandered here. This arc ends with The Shadow dead, and his sons taking his body back home with him returning attached to a cyborg body, while his agents attempt to carry on without him – at which point everyone gave up on the comic and canceled it, so I’ll stop here. If for some reason you want to read this mess, it’s available from Amazon.com.
Filed under: comics Tagged: comics, DC Comics, The Shadow

Count_Zero

Count_Zero

 

Book Review: The Siren Depths

I’ve previously covered the first two books in Martha Wells’ Books of the Raksura series – The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea. I’ve finished reading the third installment of the series, and I want to give my thoughts on that. Well, in short, if the Books of the Raksura series ended here, I’d be okay with that – not because this book is bad, or because I’m not interested in more stories with these characters. It’s because this book really ends with a satisfying feeling, with a sense of closure, though with some new questions, while also answering some of the major questions from previous books. The Siren Depth starts off with Indigo Cloud getting further settled in their Mountain Tree a few months after retrieving the seed in the events of The Serpent Sea, with protagonist Moon attempting to have a clutch with Jade, sister-queen to the court, and who has claimed Moon as her consort. However, to the surprise of almost everyone -word comes a neighboring court that they have discovered Moon’s home court, Opal Night, (which he had presumed was destroyed when he was a fledgling), and when they found it, Moon’s court announced that they want him back. Further, they turn out to be kind of a big deal, so Jade can’t do the Raksuran equivalent of telling them to take a flying leap, without going through steps to contest their claim. Before that can happen, Moon ends up getting to know his birth court, and ultimately finds out what lead to the destruction of his home and his abandonment. However, a chain of events will also lead to a discovery on why the Fell have been breeding cross-breed Fell/Raksura (as we saw in The Cloud Roads). The Siren Depths, much as The Cloud Roads, puts a lot of narrative focus on Raksuran society, which is probably why it makes for such a satisfactory book-end to this first trilogy of books. In The Cloud Roads, Moon knew exactly fuck-and-all about not only Raksuran society, but Raksura as a species, and his journey of discovery mirrored that of the reader. By this book he’s much more familiar with Raksuran society – and so are we as an audience, but our familiarity is through a smaller court, and though we’ve had glimpses of larger courts (as we had in The Serpent Sea), we – and Moon – have no experience of those family dynamics. Thus, we get to see those political dynamics played on a much larger scale. Wells paints an incredibly vivid picture of Opal Night, building on what we’ve learned from the last two books to set up the dynamics of a court which is both familiar but also very different. We also see a bunch more about Fell “society”, with a climax in an environment that, much like the Mountain Tree and the Leviathan in The Serpent Sea, I am probably going to have to yoink for an RPG campaign at some point. I absolutely enjoyed this book – I already have the fourth book in the series and fully intend to read it, but had Wells chosen to stop here, I would have been okay with that. While everything isn’t tied up in a nice little bow or anything, there’s a sense of closure here that makes this a good place to wrap up. The Siren Depths is available in print, Kindle, and Audiobook editions from Amazon.com.
Filed under: Books Tagged: book review, Books, Books of the Raksura, fantasy

Count_Zero

Count_Zero

 

Photo Coming Soon: My mission: impossible

You may have noticed that I upload a lot of pictures to the gallery.  There's a simple reason for this: I hate being lied to. An optimist would tell you that "photo coming soon" sounds better than "no one has been arsed to upload a photo and aren't bloody well likely to, either," but optimism has always been a four letter word in my book (as it happens, my book had been tragically shipped to the printers before it could undergo a spel chek.) So when I visited Retromags for the first time a few years ago, all I saw was a database full of false promises, and it offended me at some sort of primal, instinctual level that can't be put into words.  Why even HAVE a database entry for issue 37 of Bleep Bloop Gaming Monthly if there wasn't at least a cover pic to look at, I wondered?  And, naturally, my subsequent thought was, "ah, feck it, here's the download section.  Let's leech this mother dry." But once I'd literally taken all I could take from the download section, I realized I'd also had all I could take from that damnable database and its mocking, cacophonous cries of "photo coming soon!" screaming at me from nearly every page.  And I've been on a mission to silence them ever since. It's an impossible mission.  I don't personally own every magazine in existence, and many many many mags have never had a cover scan appear elsewhere on the interwebs, let alone at a size large enough to bother with.  So I'll never be able fill all the holes.  But I'm doing my best.  I've got hundreds...thousands? of pics sitting in folders on my desktop waiting to be uploaded this very second.  Almost no one out there will notice or care. Some will wish I would stop (I still remember a complaint that was made once about all my gallery uploads cluttering up the activity feed so they couldn't see the "important" stuff.) We're never going to have more magazine downloads than everybody else.  That'll be left to sites that scan more than us like Kiwi's site, or (especially) sites that don't care where they get their scans from and will allow anything to be uploaded, like archive.org. But what I hope we can be, is the definitive online resource for decent quality cover pics of gaming mags as well as game-related comics and books.  And god help me if I ever run out of those things and get really serious about filling out or advertisement section as well.  In some regards we're already a definitive resource, while in others we've got a ways to go.  I'll never be finished; as I've said, that mission is an impossible one.  But if I can just get those damned grey boxes to be the exception and not the norm, I'll be able to rest easier, at least.  This message will self-destruct in five seconds.

kitsunebi77

kitsunebi77

 

Don't call it a blog

This isn't a blog.  There may never be a second entry, and I have no expectations that it will be seen, nor will I be making any effort to write anything of interest to anyone else. What it is is a shout into the darkness by someone who has found that the most scintillating conversation at hand is sadly their own voice echoing back at them in an empty room. And before anyone pities me, I assure you that my personal life is fine and is not what is being discussed. But Retromags dead. Or a ghost town at any rate, where the residents have all closed up shop, drawn the curtains and bolted their doors and windows against the roving bands of newbs and leechers who roll through on a regular basis, never stopping longer than it takes to download a batch of Nintendo Powers and GamePros and hightail it out of town. I used to be able to check the forums multiple times per day and find new posts each time.  But for months now, the forum is more or less silent for days if not a week or more at a time, and whenever a random post does pop up, it usually just sits there unanswered. (I reserve the right to pay no heed to the recent spattering of forum posts and continue to wallow in miserable negativity and pessimism.) So rather than talk to no one, here I am, talking to myself.  I'm here every single day regardless, adding content to the site. If you'll pardon me while I pat myself on the back with both hands (and through an amazing feat of flexibility, my left foot as well), I'm the only person adding content to the site on a regular, let alone daily basis.  Of course, most of it is the kind of thing that goes unnoticed.  Adding magazines or issues to the database gets noticed by literally no one, and of the 6600 cover pics/ game ads I've uploaded (in a couple of months I expect to have uploaded more than half of the entire website's total gallery pics), I've only seen a handful of comments or likes (less than 10, surely) to indicate that anyone has noticed them at all.  Which is fine, that isn't why I do it.  I do it for the good of the website.  But when the forums go dead for as long as they have, I sometimes wonder what the point is, if no one is even perusing the website beyond accessing the download section and leeching away in silence. So again, here I am, talking to myself.  Hello, me. How are you? Nevermind, I already know.  Perhaps I'll talk to myself again sometime about something other than talking to myself. I'll never tell. Better to keep myself in suspense.

kitsunebi77

kitsunebi77

 

Nintendo Power Retrospectives: Part 68

This time we’re covering issue #51 of Nintendo Power for August of 1993 “Goof Troop” Footage Courtesy of World of Longplays
PushingUpRoses’ Review of King’s Quest V for PC
Watch out for Fireballs Episode on Zombies Ate My Neighbors Please support my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/countzeroor
Member of The Console Xplosion Network: http://www.theconsolexplosion.com/
Watch my Live-Streams on http://twitch.tv/countzeroor/ Games Reviewed: Street Fighter II Turbo – Capcom Zombies Ate My Neighbors – Konami Alien 3 (SNES) – LJN Goof Troop – Capcom Speedy Gonzalez – Sunsoft Star Trek: The Next Generation (GB) – Spectrum Holobyte Jurassic Park (NES) – Ocean King’s Quest V – Konami
Filed under: Video games Tagged: Game Boy, NES, Nintendo Power Retrospective, Retro Gaming, SNES, Video games

Count_Zero

Count_Zero

 

Book Review: Empire of the Imagination

I don’t know if you know this, but I like tabletop RPGs. I really like tabletop RPGs. So, when I learned of the massive amount of scholarship going around RPGs and the history thereof, I got really excited. Though not the first book on the topic that I picked up (that being Of Dice And Men, which I reviewed in the fourth issue of my fanzine) this is one of the first, and one that warrants some discussion. Empire of the Imagination is a biography of E. Gary Gygax – co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons along with Dave Arneson. There are two competing documentaries on Gary in the works, but as none of those have been completed yet, this is our first real look at Gary as a person and his life story. I’m not going to recap the book itself, but instead get into the presentation. The book is set up in a series of chunks, going through Gary’s life from his childhood in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where TSR was founded and GenCon was originally based, to his death. In-between sections, there are interludes semi-fictionalizing aspects of Gary’s life in the style of a fantasy epic – which are in turn covered in more serious and grounded detail in the following section. Having never had the opportunity to meet Gary, the book gave a very good portrait of Gygax as a person and as a creator, keeping the focus entirely on Gary. When it comes to Gary’s creative output, the book focuses on his time at TSR, both in terms of game books, novels (the Gord the Rogue series), and attempts to get a Dungeons & Dragons film started, to be directed by John Boorman and starring Orson Welles. In particular, the book gives a whole bunch of attention to the books Gary read that lead him to create D&D. Also, the book gets into the early sessions Gary ran as he was creating the game, with the sessions in the Castle Greyhawk campaign, both for some of what would become the first employees of TSR, as well as some of Gary’s kids. However, after Gary’s forced departure from the company he founded, the biography moves more into more broad strokes. It gives me the impression that author Michael Witwer felt that the part readers care the most about is the material leading up to D&D, and Gary’s ouster from TSR, and nobody cares after that.  That’s kind of frustrating for me, because that is the part I want to hear about the most, because aside from the games Gary ran for his friends and family before D&D became popular, that’s the part that’s told the least. I did enjoy this book, and I’d definitely say that this was a story that bore telling, but there were little chunks of it that I wish got more attention. Empire of Imagination is available in Kindle, hardcover, paperback, and audiobook editions from Amazon.com.
Filed under: Books, Role Playing Games Tagged: biography, book review, non-fiction, Role Playing Games

Count_Zero

Count_Zero

 

Comic Review: Droids – The Kalarba Adventures

Coming a few months after the first installment of Tales of the Jedi, we get an episodic, more comedic Star Wars comic, focusing on the comic relief of the original trilogy – R2-D2 and C3-P0. Writer: Dan Thorsland
Art: Bill Hughes and Andy Mushynsky
Lettering: Bill Pearson
Colors: Pamela Rambo
Covers: Cam Kennedy (#1), Kilian Plunkett (#2-6) Publication Dates: April 1st, 1994 to September 1st, 1994 This is available from Amazon.com either on it’s own, or as part of the Droids Omnibus (Kindle/Comixology, Print) Plot Notes Approximately 5 years prior to the Battle of Yavin, R2-D2 and C-3P0 are part of the household of Baron Pitareeze, a starship designer on planet Kalarba. The comic goes through a series of episodic adventures following the two droids as they go through various adventures as part of the household – or in a few cases on their own. These stories often involve Olag Greck as an antagonist. His schemes are normally one-offs, introduced and wrapped up within a single issue, with Greck or the other antagonist, ending the issue on some variation of: Worldbuilding We have our first appearance of assassin droids outside of IG-88, and we learn that non-assassin droids can be re-programmed into being assassin droids, and that the droids will have knowledge of their old programming and may resent this re-programming (as is the case of C-3PX) Characterization C-3P0 and R2-D2: Captain Antilles (their master as of the start of A New Hope), is not their first master. For an unspecified period of time, they were in the household of Baron Pitareeze. Other Notes Of the Dark Horse Star Wars comics I’ve covered thus far, this is the first comic that really feels like a comic that is aimed for kids – Dark Empire is more serious and gritty, aimed for older teens, and Tales of the Jedi is aimed at a PG-13 level. This, on the other hand, works as a story that can be read by kids, but without talking down to them. Final Thoughts This is a fun, short, episodic series. It’s not trying to tell a big epic story, it’s not trying to make a big spectacle, it’s just a bunch of fun little one-offs, and that works – and (unlike the YA novel series which I’m skipping because nobody considers it canon), it isn’t contradicting any events of the films (like Luke keeping Dagobah a secret, or the Emperor inexplicably having a three-eyed son). When I return to the EU, I’ll be seeing how Han proposed to Leia in The Courtship of Princess Leia.
Filed under: comics, Star Wars Tagged: comics, Star Wars, Star Wars Expanded Universe

Count_Zero

Count_Zero

 

Anime Review: Armored Trooper VOTOMS

This time I’m taking a look at another out-print anime, in the wake of Lodoss getting license rescued by Funimation, in Armored Trooper VOTOMS. Oh, and if you want to pre-order Lodoss in the wake of its license rescue, it’s available from Amazon & RightStuf Please support my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/countzeroor
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Filed under: Anime Tagged: Anime, anime review, license rescue please, mecha, out-of-print

Count_Zero

Count_Zero

 

Film Review: Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation

In the original Mission: Impossible television series, one of the recurring antagonists outside of the Not-Soviets was the Syndicate, a mysterious criminal organization that was something of a mix of the Mafia and SPECTRE. In the conclusion of Ghost Protocol (which I previously reviewed), Ethan was sent on new mission, to take on the Syndicate.  In this film, we finally get that confrontation. So, as is par for the course for the Mission Impossible series, with perhaps the sole exception of Mission: Impossible II, once again Ethan Hunt is on the run while trying to hunt down a sinister organization. The IMF has been dissolved due to the events of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and while Hunt is in the middle of hunting down the Syndicate. Hunt is, as per usual, on the run from the CIA, while also trying to bring down the Syndicate. On the course of the mission, once again he brings on Benji (Simon Pegg), with Brandt (Jeremy Renner) bringing Luther (Ving Rhames) onboard as well. In addition, Ethan has to figure out the loyalties of a spy within the Syndicate – Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). After the last film was a straight up save-the-world plot, Rogue Nation’s premise is a much more grounded spy story, one which has a lot of callbacks to earlier films, both in terms of bringing Luther back in a more prominent role, as well as call-backs to earlier films both in terms of set-pieces and plot points, complete with the McGuffin basically being a list, though of a different kind of list. With the exception of the opening action sequence, which was featured prominently in the trailers and featured Tom Cruise hanging from the door of a plane, the film’s action sequences are generally very grounded. The series is by no means going full Bourne, but it does narratively fit better with the concepts of the franchise. It’s still not quite as low-body count as series itself tended to be (the fundamental premise of the series was that IMF teams were able to get in, get out, and accomplish their mission without firing a shot). The scenes are incredibly well staged, and the writing has some great moments of humor. In particular, Cruise and Pegg have tremendous on-screen chemistry, with Pegg really bringing out Cruise’s strengths as an actor, and helping to humanize the character of Ethan Hunt. While the film’s female cast is rather small, Ferguson, as Ilsa, has some great character material, and the relationship between Ilsa and Ethan stays on the professional/friendly level. Further, she, not Ethan, gets the big fight with the film’s heavy, and she’s generally written as someone who can absolutely work at the same level as Ethan and his team. In all, I really enjoyed this film – the Mission Impossible series definitely appears to still be going strong, and I’m looking forward to the next installment in the series. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is available on Blu-Ray, DVD, and Streaming from Amazon.com
Filed under: film Tagged: film, Film Review, Mission Impossible

Count_Zero

Count_Zero

 

Movie Review: Ninja III – The Domination

Going into this film, it’s important to note that this is a Ninja film released in the early-to-mid 1980s (depending on how you look at it), from Cannon films, and starring Sho Kosugi. That, out of the gate, implies a certain level of camp to the film. That said, Cannon films operates at a couple different levels – fun dumb, and then just dumb. So, the question then becomes which kind of dumb is this film? The premise of Ninja III is that the mysterious “Black Ninja” (played by David Chung) murders a business tycoon, who is probably up to some shady dealings, and then is gunned down with an almost Robocop-esque level of overkill by a bunch of police officers while attempting to make his escape. This shooting is somewhat witnessed by Telephone line person and Christie (played by Lucinda Dickey – star of other Cannon films like Breakin’ and Breakin’ II), who also comes across the sword of the dead ninja, and brings it home. However, that sword is now possessed by the spirit of the Black Ninja, and whenever she sees one of the cops who killed him, the ninja takes control of Christie, and using the ninja arts, she goes and kills the relevant cops. Meanwhile, Christie’s police officer boyfriend, Billy, played by Jordan Bennett, has noticed that his girlfriend has started developing mysterious bruises that she can’t explain, and is worried about her. Finally, there is Yamada, played by Sho Kosugi, a ninja who has come from Japan to put the Black Ninja’s spirit to rest. So, the film is a martial arts slasher horror film, which is already unique by being a martial arts slasher film, and it ads another interesting step to the mix by having the killer be female (which is also incredibly rare, with the few examples that I’m aware of being the Sleepaway Camp films and the first Friday the 13th film). The film takes things up a notch by being very overt that Christie is being possessed, through very vivid dream-sequences whenever the ninja takes control of her. The sword floats throughout the room, the environment of the room changes. It’s a very impressively done bunch of images, considering the notoriously low budgets that Cannon Films directors ended up running into. In general, these scenes reminds me of some of the ninja OVAs that came out in the late ’80s, to such a degree that I get the impression that these would work better animated than in live-action – again, especially considering Golan-Globus’ notoriously low budgets. In live action they’re interesting, but still, in spite of the best efforts of everyone involved, unintentionally comical. This leads to the film’s cast. I’d say that Dickey is playing against type, but with her relatively short career, I’d say she never really developed a type. Still, considering her background as a dancer, and her previous role in Breakin’ was as a dancer, it’s important to note that a significant part of this role does not involve any dance at all. While Christie’s character is predominantly a take on the lead from Flashdance, she spends the majority of the film doing ninja stuff. Further, no female stunt performers are credited in the film, and while she’s in ninja garb, the build appears to match her, so it appears that she did her own stunts, which is very impressive. On the other hand, Sho Kosugi is much more of a supporting player in the film. While his role is significant (and as “Only a ninja can kill a ninja”, he gets the finishing blow on the villain), he only shows up in the film’s second half, feeling like Kosugi’s growing popularity meant that they could only afford him for half the film, or that he wasn’t available due to his shooting schedule for the TV series The Master, which was edited into the Master Ninja series of films. To the credit of writer James R. Silke and director Sam Firstenberg, I feel like they try to give Kosugi some good material, but he doesn’t have enough room to work. Kosugi is generally not a great actor, but good material can do a great job to address an actor’s shortcomings, and when those points come up in this film, it works well. The film is not without some very pronounced flaws. The effects in the film can get pretty dopey. The ADR’d “Japanese” dialog sounds like white people being told to do an impression of a Japanese person, with the words spoken being jibberish. The film also runs into a classic Hollywood casting issue of assuming all Asian people are the same and casting Chinese actor James Hong to play a Japanese Shinto priest. Don’t get me wrong – Hong is an excellent actor and does a great job in the role, but I still had to shake my head when that came up. And finally, there’s Jordan Bennett as Billy, the film’s Final Boy. Bennett has previously had a recurring role on The Waltons in the series final year, and had also previously played Jean Valjean in the original LA run of Le Miz, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at – Le Miz had already won some awards by that time, and the role of Valjean has some significant dramatic and acting weight to it. However, I don’t know if this is a lack of direction, poor writing for the character, a short shooting schedule not allowing for rehearsals and retakes, or Bennett not caring about the part, but his performance is bland. To put it in perspective – Bennett’s character, Billy, is a cop who took part in the shooting that kicks off the film, but not to the degree to the other cops were, firing only a single shot, while everyone else just keeps blasting. He’s an honest cop with integrity, who cares about his girlfriend, and who is very worried about her mysterious injuries that she’s developing. Yet he doesn’t act on his worries. With the final girl in most slasher films, the writers take steps to make us care about them for reasons other than “because slasher audiences are predominantly male (and the studio assumes are hetrosexual because we’re not surveying for that) and the actress is pretty).” Billy and Christie’s relationship doesn’t have enough time, Billy doesn’t get much time on his own as a character to develop (it’s there, but there isn’t much of it), and outside of a few topics he doesn’t get much of an opportunity to emote. I still enjoyed the film, but it was more in the context of the novelty of the work than it’s strengths in the genres that the film itself is a part of. Ninja III: The Domination is available from Amazon.com.
Filed under: film Tagged: 1980s, Cannon films, film, Film Review

Count_Zero

Count_Zero

 

Legends of the Force: Episode IX – Dark Empire I

We continue with the launch of the classic EU with Dark Horse Comics first comic outing – Dark Empire I. Opening Credits: Star Wars Theme from Super Star Wars on the SNES.
Closing Credits: Chiptune Cantina Band from Chiptune Inc. – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvJtiGFudFlvYMfjiU1NKJg Please support my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/countzeroor
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Filed under: comics, Star Wars, videos Tagged: comics, Dark Horse Comics, Legends of the Force, Star Wars, Star Wars Expanded Universe

Count_Zero

Count_Zero