Tag Archives: 80’s

He-man and the Masters of the Universe: Mini Comic Collection (2015)

I grew up in the 80’s and for me that was a time that I remember fondly for two things: saturday morning cartoons, and the wonderful toys that these cartoons got their inspiration from. When I was a kid I used to get up at about 7 o’clock in the morning on saturday, turn on the tv to Sky Channel and there it was: the program that set my young eyes alight: Fun Factory. For the first two hours or so, Fun Factory was okayish. But things became really interesting when the “big three” came on: M.A.S.K., He-man and Transformers. Ahhh..to think back on those days, even though they are so many years ago (jeezzzzz I really AM getting old), just brings a smile to my face. When you look at the cartoons from this era and compare them to the golden oldies from the 80’s one can only say that they just don’t make them like they used too. I was and still am a huge Transformers fan (like many kids back in those days). But one of the biggest rivals of Transformers, a dude with a big sword called He-man, honestly failed to impress me. I never bought a He-man toy, and I really did not enjoy the cartoon as much.

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This is a pretty big book alright.

Now, thirty years later, I came into posession of the complete series of He-man and the Masters of the Universe on dvd. And…I am loving it. For some reason I have found a new appreciation of the cartoon, but that is a story for another day. As is most often the case when I all of a sudden have a new obsession, I want to find out more about it. And that brings me to this incredible tome that was released a few years back by Dark Horse comics. He-man and the Masters of the Universe Mini Comic Collection reproduces the comics that came with the toys. Well as I was never interested in the toys in the first place I did not even know of the existence of these comics until I read about this book. The first thing you will notice is how thick this book is (and for that matter how much it weighs). With a massive 1232 pages it will take you a while to get through it all. So what exactly does this book offer you?

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Gotta love that retro comic book style.

This being a comic collection it will not come as a huge surprise when I tell you this humongous book contains comics, and a lot of them. Nearly 70 comics in total are collected here, ranging from the orginal 1982 toylines of He-man and his sister She-ra to a shortlived comic run that should have served as a revival for the series but never quite took off. Besides the comics themselves it also contains a wealth of background info on the series,  which includes interviews with some of the writers and pencilers that created these works of art. And I do mean art. As you might have noticed from a couple of the shots I have included in this post, there was some major talent involved when you like at the drawings alone. I love the oldschool style of some of these comics, and for anyone who grew up with comics in the 80’s it’s hard to not smile at the nostalgic feel of it all. At the start of this run, you could hardly speak of comics as they were more stories that were accompanied by pictures. Later the series evolved and became more traditional looking comics.

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The early comics could not really be called comics in the traditional sense of the word.

The art is good, but how are the stories themselves? Well, they range from totally awesome to downright sucky, if you will pardon my French. But overall though most of the comics are pretty cool. It’s classic good vs evil type of storytelling where He-man fights against his nemesis the evil lord Skeletor and his henchmen. A fun fact to know is that one of the comics was written by Robert Kirkman. If that name doesn’t ring a bell he is the creator of a little known comicbook/tv series called The Walking Dead. This being a kid show, are these comics any fun to read when you are an adult? Well, quite frankly yes. He-man always has been a series that targeted an audience of 12 years and older (and ofcourse younger children still watched it anyway because it was cool to do so), and as such some of the stories and comics depict some pretty gruesome creatures and situations. In fact one of the covers of these comics caused quite a big disturbance at the time of it’s release because it was very brutal and had parents all over the world in uproar.

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Gee, I wonder why parents got upset by this cover?

This book is absolutely amazing. If you have a warm heart towards 80’s cartoons, or a love for oldschool type comics, this is a collection that you just have to pick up. It isn’t even a very expensive book, and for the amount of stuff it contains it is well worth the price. It gives a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of these mini-comics and the amount of work that went into creating these. Even if you have never heard of He-man it’s worth checking it out, especially if you like fantasy type storytelling combined with some of the best art possible. Even though not all of the comics are of the same quality, you will get enough of a kick out of these to make you enjoy it, and forget about some of the lesser comics. In other words go and relive your childhood if you grew up with these cartoons, and buy this book. I promise you, you will not regret it. By the power of Grayskull: I HAVE THE POWERRRRRR!!!!!!

I give He-man the Masters of the Universe mini comic collection a 9 out of 10 score.

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Cobra Kai Season 1, American tv series (2018)

In the 80’s there was a movie that was a boost to every kid that experienced bullying in some form or other (myself included). The name of that film was The Karate Kid. A classic movie and one that redefines the word feelgood, it spawned three sequels (not counting a modern day remake) and is regarded by many people as one of the best films from the roaring 80’s. As much as I loved the original, the sequel for me was the one I loved the most (and you can read why by pressing on the link). But one can’t help but smile when the young hero of the film Daniel LaRusso takes revenge on his childhood bully Johny Lawrence by beating him in a karate tournament in part one. It was a moment that was edged in my memory as around that time I experienced the effects of bullying in a very bad way. Seeing someone actually turn the tables on his tormentor, even though it was a film, gave me some much needed hope. Late last year rumors started to spread about a sequel to the original Karate Kid franchise in the form of a television series. I really had severe misgivings about this, thinking that pretty much nothing is sacred anymore.

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Hey…they are older now. No martial arts, just trying to stare each other to death.

And then…the first trailer arrived. I could not stop myself and had to satisfy my curiosity.  If nothing else I could at least have a laugh about how bad it probably would be. But it wasn’t. In fact the trailer managed to actually convince me that there was a small chance this might actually be a fun sequel. But…this was a trailer, and a trailer always shows the best bits right? Let’s be honest: how can a tv series based on a 34 year old movie reignite that same feelgood feeling I had when I watched the original film in the 80’s? Naw, this would probably suck. But boy oh boy was I wrong, and a lot of people with me. Cobra Kai, as the new show is called, has become an overnight succes. It has an unprecedented 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, something no television series has ever managed to pull off. Yes, you heard that correctly. Not even juggernauts like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. People are going absolutely crazy over this YouTube Red series and rightfully so. What exactly make this series so much fun? Well…relax: wax on, wax off. I’m going to try and bring across why you absolutely have to watch this, if you haven’t already.

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Never trust a car salesman…even if he offers you a bonsai tree.

Cobra Kai takes place exactly 34 years after the events of the first film. Daniel LaRusso has grown up and been doing incredibly well for himself. He has a wife, two kids, and is the owner of a very succesful chain of car dealerships in the San Fernando Valley. Life is not without it’s challenges though and Daniel tries to make the best of it, without the help of his former mentor mister Miyagi who has sadly passed away. Meanwhile the life of his former nemesis Johny Lawrence has been steadily going downhill. He lives in a rundown appartment, has trouble keeping his job, and is drunk most of the time. One night Johny saves a young man called Miguel from a bunch of teenagers that are about to beat the crap out of him. Having seen what Johny can do, Miguel begs him to train him, but the former karate champ declines. In a strange turn of events Johny and Daniel run into each other again after this. Even though Daniel welcomes him with open arms, it’s pretty clear that the old rivalry is still there. After his run in with LaRusso, Johny has a new plan at which he is determined to succeed. He will reopen the Cobra Kai dojo, and bring it back to it’s former glory. But if Daniel has something to say about it, that will never ever happen…..

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Dude….your hair? What’s wrong with it???

Cobra Kai is a tv series that will have you grinning from ear to ear right from the start. Even if you haven’t grown up with the Karate Kid films, I guarantee that you will love this show. For fans of the original movies though, it will be an even more special experience. One of this show’s biggest strengths is the way it portrays it’s characters. All of them have a depth to them and are more than just empty airheads made out of cardboard. William Zabka who reprises his role as Johny more than steals the show here. He is without a doubt the best thing this series has to offer and he turns his character into someone who you will grow to love. Huh? Wait wasn’t he the bad guy? Well…without giving too much away here, all I can say is that this series manages to offer quite a few surprises. It really turns the tables on quite a number of things and plays with your emotions in so many ways. Seeing Ralph Maggio returning as Daniel (seriously does this guy ever age), and settling back into his character that he last played almost 30 years ago now, is just incredible. It’s almost as if he has never even quit playing the Karate Kid. Seeing the banter on screen between the two rivals makes for some of the best scenes this show has on offer.

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Don’t look now, but this is Daniel’s daughter Samantha. Nope…I would not lie to you.

So how about the new characters? Glad you asked because they are just as must fun as the original cast. From Daniel’s daughter Samantha to the new hero (but is he really a hero) Miguel, they all fit in perfectly. Some of them act as comic relief, some act up as the villains, and just as with Daniel and Johny, you will constantly shifting who you are rooting for. Cobra Kai has managed to do something that very few other shows based on older properties have pulled off. It brings back the feel and spirit of the original franchise into a modern day world, while at the same time giving it a new and fresh spin. It will probably not come as a huge surprise that a second season has already been given a green light, and in the way the series ends, it promises to be every bit as good. Well…at least I hope it will be just as much fun as this season. But that’s the future. For now, just go and check this show out when you have the time. With only 10 half an hour episodes in this season, you will bingewatch this in one day. It’s one of the rare exceptions where the hype really is real. So put on your black belts, and watch this. Or go and catch flies with chopsticks…whatever preference you have.

I give Cobra Kai season 1 a 10 out of 10 score.

 

Stranger Things Season 2, American tv series (2017)

It is saturday morning, the 28th of October. I’m going through my checklist. Have I locked the door? Have I turned off my phone? Did I stock up on foodsupplies? Did I make sure that I have cancelled all my appointments for the day? I feel the fear swiftly take a hold of me. I did do all these things right? Calmly I exhale…yes, I have checked everything multiple times now. A grim smile crosses my face: I am ready. Quietly I walk towards the remote of my television set. With my heart pounding like thunder, I press the play button and see the Netflix logo appearing. I sit back, grab my cup of hot coffee and whoop with joy. Yes people season 2 of Stranger Things is finally here. I imagine the scene I just described has been playing across multiple homes across the globe this weekend. Albeit probably a bit less dramatic. So, in case you have yet to discover this tv series, I’ve got you covered. Last year I did a review for the first season, which you can find right here.

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Who are you gonna call? (Oh come on, what else did you expect me to say about a picture like this?)

What’s that? Can’t I just give a quick description? Sure. Stranger Things is pretty much a loveletter to everything that made the 80’s so awesome. The series is set in the 80’s and focusses on a group of friends that end up in the middle of a mystery that is out of this world. You will find references to all your favorite movies from that era, like the Goonies, E.T., Aliens, the Thing and a whole bunch more. To say that I am in love with this series is an understatement. So you are warned that this review for the second season is going to be me gushing pretty much over how awesome this show really is. But I will be doing that spoilerfree, and sure I will try and be as objective as I can. With a series that had such a strong opening season, there is always a lot of pressure. Will it be as good? Aren’t they going to ruin everything what you loved so much about the series in the first place? Well….they didn’t. In fact, at some points it was even better. Now of course I will get to that soon, but let’s first get to the story of the second season.

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Yes, that really is quite a disturbing sight.

Season 2 takes place a year after the events of the first season. Will Byers is safely back, and tries to pick up his life as best he can after the trauma he suffered. Supported by his group of friends, they get back into the things they love doing. However, soon Will is beginning to experience terrifying visions of the Upside Down. It seems that the supernatural forces are still out there, and are trying to get back into the world, with the intent of destroying it and humanity. But is Will just having after effects of his earlier experiences or is there something more sinister going on? In the meantime Sheriff Hopper is having problems of his own. He is trying to keep something a secret in order to protect the ones he loves the most. But in doing so, he might just be making things even worse. It is not long before all hell is going to break  loose and a terrifying presence from beyond is going to make itself known. Once again it will be up to Mike and the rest of his band of misfits to save the world. But this time, the stakes are much, much higher, and the question becomes if they are going to be up to this task…..

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Who says girls can’t play videogames is just very stupid.

The first thing you will notice when you are starting with the second season is that the pace has been changed. Events are moving at a much slower rate, and we are spending more time getting into the minds of the characters, instead of going into all out action mode. I did not think this was a bad thing though, but I can understand how some viewers might also consider some of it a bit too slow for their tastes. The strength of this show however is the characters. Whoever did the casting for this series should definitely get a raise. I am in awe of the acting abilities of some of these kids. We have to consider the fact that these are relatively young children, but from the way they are acting you would say they had been doing it for years. But next to the regulars we also get a bunch of new additions to the cast. This is always risky, as with a cast as awesome as this, you really wonder if any new ones don’t throw a wrench into the well oiled machine.

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There is going to be a season 3? Really?

But here there are also no problems, as they all work out incredibly well. My favorite had got to be tomboy Max who adds some much needed girlpower to the group. She is a feisty and spirited girl that you will fall in love with right from the start. Her stephbrother though is a whole other matter. A truly loathsome guy, who thinks he is God’s greatest gift to women, he is a seriously annoying presence, but in a very good way. It’s always terrific when you get a character that you truly hate, but also want to see more of because he is played so well. We also get a new love interest for Winona Ryder’s character namely the good guy Bob Newby. Played by Sean Astin, who once played in the Goonies, this is just one of those characters that basically can’t do anything wrong. Finally Paul Reiser portrays a new scientist called dr. Owens that works at the lab that started the whole mess. At the beginning it is pretty unclear just  what his motives are, and whether or not his intentions are evil or not. I always enjoy shady characters like that, and it’s nice to figure stuff like that out.

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Why did you not tell me there would be a third season sooner?

As you might have noticed I have kept things about the plot relatively in the dark. That’s because I really don’t want to spoil things for anyone that still has to see this. Don’t worry about the fact that things start off slow though. The pace will pick up soon enough, and there is still plenty of action. As mentioned above I thought this season at some points was even better. I loved finding out more about all the characters, and the special effects for all of these episodes were also a step up from the ones seen in Season 1. Clearly they just had a much bigger budget, and could therefore spent a lot more money. Overall though, one has to be honest and say that everything in this season was simply playing it very safe. There were no real surprises and they just made sure that the viewers got everything they loved about the first season and then some. Not that this was a bad thing though, but one has to wonder what they are going to be doing for season 3.

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Let’s have a little light in the darkness. 

Season 3 you say? Yes. Stranger Things will reportedly get at least three more seasons , with the next one already heading into the production phase. And I love it! Yes, the series has to be careful to not play it too safe, and hopefully will also try and bring a bit more surprises into the existing storyline next season. That being said, the mythology of this show along with the wonderful cast of characters, is something that I don’t mind spending more time with. This series is awesome, and simply the best series on Netflix at this moment. It’s one those shows that makes you sad when the credits start to roll on the final episode. Stranger Things season 2 is a terrific watch, and if you were already a fan, you will even be more of a fan after this one. The lack of surprises made me not give this season a 10/10 score like last year, but it was another amazing ride and one that I did not regret for even a single second. Well…time to unlock the door and plug in the phone again. Let’s get back to the real world.

I give season 2 of Stranger Things a 9 out of 10 score.

 

 

Friday the 13th, American movie (1980)

Welcome…….to the second part of my Countdown to Halloween series. Let me start with asking you a question: how superstitious are you? Do you avoid walking under a ladder? Do you freak out when a black cat crosses your path? When it becomes the most dreadful friday ever invented, friday the 13th, do you lock all the doors and hide all day beneath the covers of your bed? Well, you may laugh at all these questions, but let me tell you that there are a lot of people out there who are actually more than afraid by things such as these. As for me? I’m sorry to disappoint, but I have never fallen prone to a superstitious moment in my life. That’s not to say that I have never experienced a bad friday the 13th, but do I blame that particular day for that? Of course not. But friday the 13th has also become infamous because of an entirely different reason. It is the title of a horror film franchise that went on to produce one of the most iconic horrormovie characters ever created: Jason Voorhees.

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Heeeeereeeee’s Mommy! 

It is a dark night, and the waters of the idyllic Crystal Lake seem peaceful. At the nearby summercamp two camp councellors sneak off to make love. Just when they are about to take off their clothes, they are interrupted by an unknown person and are brutally murdered. Yes, don’t you just hate it when that happens? Years later the camp, that has been nicknamed Camp Blood, is about to be reopened. A group of teenagers has been hired to help with the preparations for getting the camp ready again, and to eventually work there as the new councellors. But soon history will repeat itself. And that has everything to do with a young boy named Jason who drowned at Crystal Like while the people who were supposed to watch him were having sex. The teenagers at camp Crystal Lake are about to find out just how strong a mother’s love for her son can be. With a storm hitting the camp, and with more people disappearing by the second, survival is the keyword on everyone’s mind. But that might be very, very hard to achieve……

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Don’t you just hate it when you have an itch in your eye and you can’t scratch it? 

Friday the 13th is a cult classic. It is pretty much the type of film that is so bad, that it actually becomes fun to watch, and that statement is even more true for the enormous amount of sequels that were made. But more on that later. This movie falls into the slasher category, and can easily be described in one sentence: a bunch of horny teenagers head to summercamp in order to get killed. That’s pretty much all there is to it. It contains so many well known horrorcliches that it almost wrote the book on all of them. Stupid and idiotic decisions are chief amongst them. One of the most hilarious scenes is the one where our main heroine takes about two minutes to barricade the wooden door of the cabin where she is hiding from the killer. She conveniently forgets that there are three large and very breakable glass windows as well. And sure enough she finds that out a few seconds later when a body gets thrown through one of them. Great stuff.

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What do you mean I only show up in the sequel?!

But fair is fair, this movie does manage to create some great tension and jumpscares, and we should also not forget this film is now nearly 40 years old. For those of you that have seen the opening sequence of the horrorclassic Scream, (and I am heading into spoiler territory now), you might remember that the killer in this film is not Jason himself, but his mother. Played by actress Betsy Palmer, mother Voorhees is actually a very chilling and downright creepy person. It is one of those roles that has gone down in horror history as an absolute classic. The rest of the cast is mostly forgettable, but it is fun to note that a very young Kevin Bacon also has a role in this movie. Some of the kill scenes in the film are very inventive and together with the make up effects created by Tom Savini, these are pretty much the main reason to watch the movie.

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Classic Jason….such a sweet boy. 

The Friday the 13th franchise

After the success of the first movie a whopping nine sequels were made (11 if you count the Freddy vs Jason movie and the 2009 remake). With cheesy titles such as  The  Final Chapter, Jason takes Manhattan and Jason goes to Hell, we have a horror franchise that could not be taken very seriously anymore. Jason Voorhees takes over the role of the killer from his mother in part 2. After donning his iconic hockey mask in part 3, he would become the stuff of legend and one of the most well known horror villains in movie history. He has been drowned, electrocuted, shot, turned into jelly, and even turned up in the future in the tenth installment Jason X. Every time though, he returned to claim more victims in increasingly creative ways. With bad acting, a lot of nudity, and a bunch of teenagers that got more stupid with every film, these things have all become a trademark of this series. Still though, most of these movies are so incredibly bad, that they really have become an absolute joy to watch. They might be considered bad taste by a lot of people, but if you don’t take all of this very seriously, you will truly get a kick out of this series. Down below you can find a trailer for part VIII, Jason takes Manhattan, that gives you a great impression of what I am talking about.

 

The verdict

Having rewatched this first part, I can honestly say that this film is fun to watch purely for nostalgic reasons. It really hasn’t aged very well, and some of the wooden acting, and bad dialogue might certainly have some people switch off the movie way before the credits start to roll. Still, the terrific part of Betsy Palmer as the psychotic mother from hell, and some great jumpscares do make this a worthwhile watch for those who persevere. And it is without a doubt a classic in the horror genre, that for no other reason you should at least have seen once in your life. Next up in the Countdown to Halloween series is Nightmare on Elmstreet, that created an even more iconic horror idol, Freddy Krueger. As always, now it’s over to you! Did you see Friday the 13th? Or any of it’s many sequels? Do you have a favorite one, or maybe even a favorite kill? Let me know in the comments section down below. Thank you for reading, and see you next time!

I give Friday the 13th a 7 out of 10 score.

Rambo: First Blood, American movie (1982)

Yes people, my 80’s bingewatch is continuing. I don’t know what it is these days, but I seem to be living more in the past than in the present. Maybe I am actually experiencing a severe case of midlife crisis. Either that, or I am just getting old. For all you animelovers out there, and yes I am still one of them, rest assured there will be some animecontent coming out later this week. But for now, it’s time to revisit one of the greatest action heroes of all time: John Rambo. Portrayed by Sylvester Stallone, who I still consider to be one of best action stars to walk the face of this planet, Rambo is an icon and became a part of our culture. Just think of all the times his name has been mentioned in other movies or tv series. Together with Rocky, Rambo is just a terrific character that has captured the hearts and minds of action movielovers everywhere.

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The things you find in Christmas trees these days.

First Blood tells the story of the former Vietnam veteran John Rambo. At the beginning of the movie he is trying to get in touch with a former army buddy of his, with which he served in ‘Nam. He is shocked to find out his friend has died from cancer. Stricken with grief, Rambo sets out on foot not really caring where he ends up. Soon he arrives in a small town called Hope and comes across the local sheriff a man called Will Teasle. Now he really doesn’t take kindly to a stranger entering his quiet town, and firmly tells him to hit the road again. When John refuses, he is taken into custody even though he hasn’t done anything. But Will is about to find out that a war is going to take place in his small town. A war caused by a man named John Rambo. And when he is done, you can certainly count on one thing that will definitely be needed: a good supply of body bags….

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Such a stupid move to take him in. You can see he is wearing green right? Ever hear of the Hulk?

Now if you have actually never heard of this movie, seriously where have you been? Just kidding here of course. Rambo is one of the 80’s best action films and I honestly can’t count the number of times that I have seen this movie. We could all argue about the amount of macho type characters and testosterone this movie contains (and it certainly does contain that, no argument there), but at the heart is a story about prejudice. Here we have a man that has been a credit to his country, awarded with countless awards, and he gets accosted by the local sheriff just because of the way he looks. Also it teaches us what war can really do to a man or a woman. I have never been in a war, nor do I hope to ever be in one, but only if you experienced those horrors can you really imagine what it must be like. There is a gutwrenching scene at the end of the movie where John cries his eyes out telling his former commanding officer about what happened to him in Vietnam. And it really is hard to watch this iron warrior break up like that. War, seriously what is it good for?

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Easy Rider: the Next Generation.

 

The performances in this film are excellent. Stallone was born to play this part, a role he would reprise three times after this movie. Even though he does some horrible things in this film, you get where his anger is coming from, and you certainly feel sympathy for his character. And that is all because of the humanity that Stallone brings with him through his acting. Sheriff Will Teasle is played by the highly underrated actor Brian Dennehy. Will is a dispacable man, but in the end you do feel for him, as through his ignorance he gets way more than he ever imagined would happen to his town. It’s a terrific role and one that Brian pulls off incredibly well. And last but not least we have Colonel Trautman, Rambo’s commanding officer in Vietnam, played by the sadly departed actor Richard Crenna. Trautman acts as Rambo’s father figure, and pretty much the only man that Rambo has respect for. Crenna does a terrific job in portraying this commanding role, and you would almost believe that he was a real soldier.

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Man, seriously who drives like that?

The review would not be complete without mentioning the amazing score of Jerry Goldsmith. It adds another layer to what is already a terrific movie, and the theme for Rambo is one that will stick in your head for the remainder of the day, whenever you hear it. This movie is now 35 years old, and you would think it was made yesterday. With some fabulous action scenes, great and very memorable characters, and a story that does also make you think about the futility of some things, this is 80’s action moviemaking at it’s best. It will probably not please everyone, but if you are an action adrenaline junkie and have yet to watch this one, you will be in for a treat. And otherwise it’s a great movie to revisit and to relive the golden 80’s.

I give Rambo:First Blood a 9 out of 10 score.

 

The Karate Kid part II, American movie (1986)

When I grew up as a kid there was a movie that always made me feel good. It is one of my favorite childhood movies and it’s called the Karate Kid. I watched this film at a time where attending school was a very dark place for me. I was bullied nearly every day, and here was a film where the same thing was happening to this young boy called Daniel. But guess what? He not only managed to gain respect and grow as a person, but he also beat his bullies in a brilliant way. It gave me hope that eventually everything can be beaten if you just put your mind to it. I will always be grateful to the movie for providing me a sense of relief and escapism in what was quite frankly a time in my life that I don’t like to look back on very often. Three years later the sequel came out. And it blew my young mind away again, but this time also for a few other reasons.

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FINISH HIM!!!!!!

The second part of the Karate Kid literally starts where the first part ended. Daniel has just won the All-Valley Karate Tournament and prepares to go home with his teacher mr. Miyagi. Once outside the pair see Daniel’s rival from the first movie being accosted by his own sensei John Kreese. Luckily Miyagi intervenes just in time, proving that you should never hold a grudge for too long. Six months later mr. Miyagi receives a letter from his lost love in Okinawa, Yukei, telling him his father is very ill. Daniel is eager to find out who Yukei is, and he soon hears the story behind the reason for his old master’s departure from Japan all those years ago. Yukei was apparently arranged to marry a man named Sato, who was mr. Miyagi’s best friend. But when he fell in love with her, Sato challenged him to a fight to the death. Unwilling to enter into such a duel, Miyagi left Japan, leaving behind a heartbroken Yukei. Having no choice now but to go to Okinawa and his dying father, he departs in all haste, with Daniel travelling with him. Upon their arrival though, both master and student are about to find out that some people can hold a grudge for a very long time……

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Honestly I would have included only pictures of Kumiko, but I guess I did not want to be too obvious.

This movie is very dear to me. It’s my number one go to movie whenever I feel down or depressed. Somehow it never fails to lift my spirits. There are two things this film did besides the general feel good atmosphere it manages to create. The first is that it introduced me to Asian culture, more specifically the culture of Japan. I loved the many customs we as an audience get to experience through this film. One of the scenes that really still brings a smile to my face is the tea ceremony between Daniel and his love interest in this movie: Kumiko. It is a wonderful custom to observe, and it is also incredibly romantic. With this movie my interest for Asian culture in general started to take shape, a fact that continues to this day. The second thing it did was give me my first movie crush. I was absolutely mesmerised by the beauty of Kumiko, played by a young Tamlyn Tomita. In my young mind she was the perfect woman, and I completely fell in love with her. Ah teenage love can be so strange at times.

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Ice, Ice, baby…..

From an acting point of view there are some great roles that I think are worth mentioning. First up is Pat Morita, as mr. Miyagi. I think his role in this second part was even better than in the first movie, as in this film the spotlight is somewhat more on his story instead of focussing all the attention on Daniel. It gives us a few wonderful scenes, most notably the ones between him and Sato and his love Yukei. Sato played by Danny Kamekona is the perfect adversary for Miyagi. His gravelly voice is terrific, and he also manages to create a humanity to his character in a great way. Lastly we have Sato’s nephew Chozen Toguchi, played by Yuji Okumoto, who eventually becomes Daniel’s opponent. He is a particular breed of nasty, and you will come to hate him over the course of this film. Some of the things he does still gets my blood boiling after all these years, and it is only a big compliment to Okumoto’s acting, that he manages to invoke such a feeling.

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Okay, sorry, just one more…..

Now some might argue how mediocre the fight scenes in this movie look. Certainly we are not watching a Jet Li or Jackie Chan movie here. The fights only serve to create some extra tension, in what is otherwise a really great and heartwarming film. I can’t express through words alone how much I still enjoy seeing this movie, even though it is now 31 years old. Both parts 1 and 2 are the ultimate feel good experience and are a perfect watch for whenever you just want to feel like you can take on the world again. It probably won’t please everyone, cynics might certainly point out the many flaws this film probably has, but I just love this movie to death. If you have never seen this one, I do recommend watching part 1 first. That movie establishes the relationship between mr. Miyagi and young Daniel, and to skip that would be to miss out on a lot of things. And remember to relax: wax on, wax off.

I give the Karate Kid part II a 10 out of 10 score.

 

Lethal Weapon 2, American movie (1989)

We all know what happens when a movie is succesful at the box office. When it brings on buckets full of money, the studios look for ways to increase that money. And than the word appears that movielovers both hate and love at the same time : sequel. Throughout movie history the sequel to a succesful movie has mostly got a track record of being a lesser product than the original. Luckily though, the sequel these days does seem to be improving to what it usually was in the old days: a cheap way to make more money. But there were certainly noteworthy exceptions. One thing that the 80’s did right was produce an incredible amount of highly entertaining action franchises. Rambo, Die Hard and ofcourse one of my personal favorites the Lethal Weapon series. I already did a review of part 1, which you can find here. Two years later the sequel saw the light of day, and it was every bit as fun as the original movie, if not more so.

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Hmm, you think we can eat this?

Lethal Weapon 2 starts off in the middle of a high speed pursuit. Our favorite crimefighting heroes Riggs and Murtaugh are hot on the tail of a suspect when the car chase ends abruptly with a crash. Inside the trunk of the car they were chasing, an enormous amount of gold Krugerrands is found. This soon leads them to a South African consul general called Arjen Rudd. Riggs is almost certain that this man is tied to a couple of highly illegal dealings, but because Rudd enjoys diplomatic immunity, they are not allowed to pursue the matter any further. What’s worse is that they get a new assignment and that is to protect a valuable federal witness called Leo Getz. This would not be so bad were it not for the fact that Getz is truly driving them completely crazy. But when an attempt is made on Leo’s life, Riggs and Murtaugh discover that the case of Getz might also be linked to the case they were ordered to stand down from. And when colleagues of them start to die, the two of them will have to pull out all the stops in order to solve the case, but also to escape with their lives still intact.

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Sorry miss, I am going to have to confiscate your groceries.

Man, oh man, oh man. What a joy it was to see this movie back again. I might have seen it way too many times already, but it just never get’s old. I was grinning like an idiot all throughout the film and still had to laugh at all the jokes this movie has on offer. Right from the very first opening scene this movie comes out guns blazing. I don’t care about the fact that we certainly have had a couple of great and memorable action movies in recent years: 80’s action just has a certain charm and atmosphere to it, that will never be recaptured on screen. And the action in this one just never let’s up. Highspeed car chases, gunbattles, fist fights, the action lover certainly get’s his or her fix in this film. And all this is mixed with a brilliant comedic blend, that takes the edge of some of the darker moments in the movie.

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No need to argue about this…..I am going to appear in the next two parts as well.

But once again it is the actors that make these movies, and praise most definitely goes out to both Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. The comedic banter between these two is even better than it was in the first film, and you can really tell that the both of them had a blast making this sequel. Another very welcome addition to the cast is Joe Pesci who plays the role of Leo Getz. It is not often that you get a character that is so obnoxious, but endearing at the same time. Some of the best moments from this film occur when he is around, and it’s a great thing that his character returned for parts 3 and 4. The villain Arjen Rudd is portrayed by actor Joss Ackland, and he manages to create a character that you will truly grow to hate throughout this movie. He is a really evil man, who does some loathsome things, and certainly is a handful for Riggs and Murtaugh to take down. Ackland’s acting is superb, and only adds more depth to the sinister character that Rudd is.

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Come on man you spent enough time on the toilet now, let me get you off.

The story of this movie ofcourse takes a backseat and pretty much serves only to propel the action and comedy forward. And it succeeds in doing that in a good way, while providing enough twists and turns to keep you entertained until the end of the film. Lethal Weapon 2 is a prime example of how a sequel can definitely work. It’s a great follow up to the original movie, and if you liked that one you don’t even have to think twice about watching this. It’s one of the greatest 80’s action flicks that has been made in that era, and still provides a fantastic experience even though the film is now nearing it’s 30 year anniversary. This movie definitely still isn’t too old for this sh*t.

I give Lethal Weapon 2 a 9 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Stranger Things season 2 trailer.

Last year, Netflix released a television series that was so incredibly briljant, that I finished it twice in one weekend. Yes, I am not kidding. The series was an homage to everything 80’s and managed to create an atmosphere that I had not felt since movies like E.T. or Stand by me. That series was called Stranger Things and it was everything that an 80’s junkie like me could have dreamed of. Stranger Things was simply perfect, and it had only one negative point to it as far as I was concerned: it only had 8 episodes. Being such a huge succes, it would have been erm strange, if a second season would not have been announced. Ofcourse it was, and since then I have been eagerly awaiting news or the first images of the second series. Besides a very short 15 second  teaser, it all was deceptively quiet. Until now….

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When there is something strange, in your neighbourhood, who are you going to call? Erm..not them….

This morning I woke up, browsed through the YouTube video’s and then my eyes fell upon the Stranger Things season 2 thriller trailer. With a pounding heart, I clicked on the play button……and had a stupid grin on my face until it finished. I just had to share this with you guys. Unless I am mistaking this second season is going to be even more epic than the first. All of our favorite characters return, and oh man that wonderful 80’s vibe, you just can’t beat that! We still have to wait a few months for it’s final release, but until that time we can watch this trailer again….and again….and again! Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. And if you haven’t yet seen the first season, go and watch it now. It is utterly amazing, and certainly the best tv series that Netflix has made so far.

Deep Star Six, American movie (1989)

Sometimes Hollywood goes through, what I would like to call “phases”. There are times when we all of a sudden get a number of movies that are released around a certain theme. I’m sure there are a lot of you out there that recognise this. In the 80’s people were getting tired of the standard science fiction movies that were being released one after the other. Movie studios were beginning to realise this, and began to look for other alternatives. And so it was that the action moved from outer space to the deep dark trenches of the ocean. In the year 1989 no less than six different underwater based movies were made. Of all of these James Cameron’s The Abyss is the only one that became a huge box office hit. The other ones were mostly forgotten B-movies. But that is not to say, that some of these were not entertaining. DeepStar Six definitely falls into this category, and can absolutely be called a B-movie, but certainly a fun one.

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A good and decent shotgun, never leave home without them

DeepStar Six is an experimental underwater base, that is tasked with a mission by the US Navy. Headed by dr. van Gelder, whose sole purpose in life seems to be his work, the base oversees the installation of a nuclear missile platform deep under the surface of the sea. But as usual things that at first seem like an easy job, eventually turn into something that is really ugly, real fast. Right under the site where the missiles are to be stored, a gigantic underwater cave system is discovered. Against better judgement van Gelder orders depthcharges to be used, in order to collapse the system. That this turns out not to be such a good idea soon becomes apparent. In the wake of the explosion a massive fissure is exposed, and part of the seabed collapses. As if this was not bad enough already, the cavesystem appears to be the home of a gigantic creature. With the monster now set free, it soon sets it’s sight on the crew of DeepStar Six, and it is out for blood…..

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If you ever lose your can opener, this guy is sure to help you out. No..really. 

Ah the wonderful 80’s. I cannot express enough how much I love to see movies from that era. For some reason there is just a certain charm that those films seem to have. DeepStar Six is not going to be winning any Oscars, but it certainly has some interesting features. The movie was directed by Sean S. Cunningham who was also responsible for directing the original Friday the 13th movie, that starred a very young Kevin Bacon. While there are no hockey mask wearing killers walking around in this film, Cunningham does manage to create a tense atmosphere, certainly in the second half of the movie.

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It’s almost as if she is going to start laughing here….but that won’t last for long. 

The characters of this film are your usual bunch of people that you expect to find in movies such as these. We have the hero of the movie, the submarine pilot mcBride, played by Greg Evigan. He is a bit of a macho kind of guy, but still just likeable enough to root for him in the end. Ofcourse we also have the coward and paranoid type of character in the form of Snyder, portrayed by actor Miguel Ferrer, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Snyder is a seriously annoying person who gets on everyone’s nerves, but you can still find sympathy for. And last but not least we have the love interest for mcBride, Joyce Collins, played by actress Nancy Everhard. She is a pretty tough woman, who can definitely take care of herself. The rest of the characters are pretty much cardboard, but do provide enough support for the main cast.

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I’m pretty sure you are not supposed to tie a necktie like this, but I could be wrong. 

The story of the film is pretty much non-existent, but ofcourse you watch a film like this for the monster. And I honestly have to say that the creature is pretty cool. Considering the era in which this was made, the monster looks convincing enough, especially since we are talking about practical special effects here. The sets of the underwaterbase are also rather awesome and certainly don’t look like they were made for a low budget movie. All in all we have a film here that is a fun ride throughout it’s runtime. I was not bored by the movie for a single moment, and what it may lack in budget, it more than makes up for in thrills and entertainment. Don’t expect wonders from this movie, but if you like low budget films that feature a good monster and some scares, this film might be worth your time.

I give DeepStar Six a 8 out 10 score.

 

Labyrinth the Boardgame, a boardgame for 1-4 players by River Horse games (2016)

One of my favorite alltime childhood movies was Labyrinth. This fantasy movie from 1986 featured David Bowie as the evil Goblin King, and a young Jennifer Connelly as Sarah. Made by Jim Henson, this wonderful feelgood film had a young girl facing challenges in a magical labyrinth in order to save her baby brother from the clutches of the wicked Goblin King. This film has gained quite a cult following, and it recently was announced that a sequel to the movie is now in the works. Sadly ofcourse without David Bowie who unfortunately died last year. In 2016 the movie celebrated it’s 30th anniversary, and because of that a lot of new merchandise was released, most notably the boardgame I am about to review. If you are interested in reading more about some of my favorite childhood films, you can find them here. But now onwards with the review.

Components

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As a huge fan of this movie I was delighted to see it represented in such a lovely way. The components for this game are of a very high quality and look amazing. Contained within the box are five miniatures that represent the most important characters from the movie, including Ludo, Sarah, Sir Didymus, Hoggle and ofcourse the Goblin King himself. The board itself is a representation of the Labyrinth from the movie and looks okay, but could have been designed a little bit better. Also included are six special dice, 4 character sheets, various cards and stand-up figures and a bunch of tokens. Rounding out the game is the rulebook that explains the rules in a very clear and precise manner, as well as containing some lovely photographs from the movie.

Game overview

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In a game of Labyrinth each player takes on the role of one of the characters from the movie. The Goblin King is controlled by the game itself. Labyrinth is a cooperative game, meaning that either everyone wins, or everybody loses. Just like in the movie players are on a race against time to rescue Toby, before the clock strikes midnight and Toby becomes a goblin forever. Each character has it’s own strengths and weaknesses. For example the loveable Ludo has enormous strength, but is a bit slow in the brains department. These traits are represented by a corresponding die.

Labyrinth is played in a series of turns. During each turn a player moves his or her character across the board. The object of the game is to find the entrancecard to the Goblin city and by doing so, face a few final challenges and defeat the Goblin King. By moving across the board, players get to reveal cards. These cards almost always involve taking some kind of test by rolling a die. Failing at a test usually has a nasty side effect, but also takes up precious time. After each player has taken it’s turn the Goblin clock advances by one hour. When the clock is back in it’s original position the players lose the game.

This really means that players are under constant pressure in order to find the card that represents the entrance to the city. When the entrance is finally found, the action moves to the Goblin King’s castle, where the players have to defeat a couple of enemies in order to have Sarah face her final challenge.

Difficulty

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From a rules point of view this game is very easy to learn. The rulebook explains things very well, and pretty much everyone can learn this game in about five minutes. The game itself depends a lot on luck in order to win it. The game relies heavily on the results of the dice that are being rolled, and if you are unlucky in that department, the game can be lost very easily. That being said, there is a little bit of strategy involved in this game as well. By having players work together, it becomes easier to complete certain tests. All in all though this is a very simple game, and it does not pretend to be anything else either. Honestly from time to time, it is nice to have a game that doesn’t have you look up every single rule each time that you play it.

The Verdict

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Whether or not you will like this game will probably come down to if you are a fan of the film or not. For me, it was a wonderful experience, and it was really nice to see a lot of scenes from the movie being brought back into life this way. It’s hard not to smile when you have to repeat a certain quote from the movie in order to pass a test.  On the other hand, this game can at times be quite repetitive. The game really is not much more than having your characters race across the board, and rolling dice to complete tests. But this game is simply put, made for fans of the movie. It manages to really recreate the spirit of the film, and that’s one of the most important things for a game that is based on a movie. The score you find below my review is given as a fan. If however you have never seen the film, or hate it with a vengeance (Shame on you! Kidding ofcourse), you might want to deduct one or two points from it, depending on whether or not you like games that depend heavily on luck.

In closing I want to dedicate this review to Ludija, who is a huge fan of this movie. Hope you enjoyed reading this, and as promised we will play this game soon 😊

I give Labyrinth the boardgame a 8 out of 10 score.