Tag Archives: Action

Lone Survivor, American Movie (2013)

Choices. In your life you will make quite a few of them. Most of these will be very small. For instance will I take the salad today, or am I going for the hamburger? But there are also choices that will have a lot more impact. A decision that you will look at from every angle in order to see what impact it might have on your life. If you are like me, hopefully those choices how ever hard they might be, will not involve life or death situations. Unfortunately though, there are also people in this world that come face to face with these kind of things on pretty much a daily basis. The movie Lone Survivor deals with the consequences of just such a life or death choice.

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Some people take Call of Duty just way too seriously.

Lone Survivor is based on a true story. A group of American soldiers is tasked with the capture or kill of the high profile Taliban leader Ahmed Shah. This man is responsible for the killing of a number of American soldiers, as well as local villagers that were aiding the American forces. A four man SEAL team including teamleader Michael Murphy is inserted in the region where Ahmed is supposed to reside. When the group is beginning to near their target, an old man and two children accidentally stumble across the soldiers. From this point on the SEALs are faced with a terrible choice: they either let them go and risk discovery, or kill them and make sure the mission can be accomplished. With the group divided on what to do, time is running out and with every second that passes they are in more danger. The ultimate decision lies with Michael, but whatever he finally chooses to do, it will be a choice that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

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The things you find in Christmas trees these days.

The strength of this film is definitely the story. Really, ask yourself the same question, what would you do when faced with a situation like this? Even if you make the choice that might be the morally correct one, it may end up costing you your life, and the lives of your team mates. It is a really terrible dilemma, and one that is presented in terrific way in this film. A movie like this could fall into the trap of becoming a commercial for the American warmachine, but it thankfully avoids doing that. It shows both sides of the conflict, without passing judgement on what is right or wrong. The fact that this movie is based on a true story, makes it only more powerful and realistic.

Lone Survivor
Sometimes you just want to take a break from it all.

The cast that was assembled for this movie does an awesome job. We have Mark Wahlberg, who plays the role of Marcus Luttrell, the soldier that feels the strongest about not killing the old man and children. Wahlberg is no stranger to action roles, and this movie certainly has plenty of action sequences, but he can also act. And that he certainly did in this movie, a role I found to be one of his best to date. Actor Ben Foster, who seems to have a different look for every movie he appears in, portrays the role of Matthew Axelson. Now Matthew has the exact opposite opinion of the situation, that Marcus has. This allows for a couple of great verbal exchanges between the two characters, and those serve as some of the best scenes from the movie. The two other team mates are played by Taylor Kitsch and Emile Hirsch, both of whom also do an excellent job. But it is both Wahlberg and Foster that really carry this movie.

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Okay…now you have made me mad: I’m calling Optimus Prime. 

This review would not be complete without the mention of the incredible action sequences that are featured in this movie. There is a gunfight scene that I found to be one of the best that I have ever seen put to film. I kid you not. The stuntwork that is carried out in this movie often had me wondering how on Earth they managed to achieve it without people getting hurt or killed. It is really impressive, and only makes the movie even better than it already is. But it is ultimately the story that makes this film so good. When the endcredits finally roll, it will remain in your mind, and have you thinking about the morality of certain things. Lone Survivor is an excellent movie and one I highly recommend for actionlovers that also enjoy watching a well written storyline.

I give Lone Survivor a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Wonder Woman, American movie (2017)

As a kid I loved comic books, even though I started reading them at a pretty late age. I think it was around the age of 12 or 13 that I was first introduced to the world of superheroes, when I bought a whole stack of those comics for a very low price. Pretty much all of these were from Marvel comics, and needless to say, because of that I am a Marvel fan at heart. Lately though I am also beginning to enjoy the DC universe. I think that unless you have been living on a completely different planet, almost everyone is aware that DC is playing catch up to Marvel when it comes to movies. DC’s latest effort to settle the score is Wonder Woman. The movie has been receiving very positive reviews everywhere, and some even say it is one of the best superhero movies ever made. What did I think of it? Let us first start at the beginning and find out what the film is about, before I share my thoughts on it.

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No, you are not watching season 7 of Game of Thrones.

On a hidden and mythical island called Themyscira, we meet up with the young girl Diana. Themyscira is home to a race of beautiful Amazon women warriors, created by the gods of Mount Olympus. Even at a very young age, Diana was always eager to learn how to fight, against the wishes of her mother the queen. Eventually though, her mother has no choice but to accept the fact that her daughter is destined for greatness and allows her to be trained to become a warrior. Years later, Diana has grown up as a fully trained fighter who possesses remarkable skills. One day, while out for a walk on the beach, she witnesses a warplane going down in the ocean. Without hesitation she jumps into the water and manages to rescue the pilot, a young man called Steve Trevor. It is not soon after that Diana learns about a great war that is taking place in the world. Steve describes it as “the war to end all wars”. Diana cannot help but be intrigued, but also because she feels that an ancient enemy of her people is behind this war. She decides to leave the island together with Steve, and offer her assistance. But Diana will soon find out that the world she leaves behind is far different from the one she is about to enter….

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And no this also isn’t the Good, the Bad, and the Wonder Woman.

Even though I try to not let myself be influenced by reviews, either positive or negative, I can’t help but get excited when a movie is generating a positive buzz. Wonder Woman was no exception. That is why I was all the more disappointed by the fact that I definitely expected more from this movie. Don’t get me wrong, this film wasn’t bad at all, and there were enough things in it to enjoy. But for a movie that was made out to be one of the best superhero movies ever made, I think I found myself watching a very different film. There were quite a few moments in the movie, where quite honestly, I was bored. I don’t mind the fact that they were slowly developing characters, in fact I welcome that even. But for a movie that lasts almost two and a half hours, I do expect to be entertained during the entire runtime. And that did not happen.

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No Chris, you are not playing Kirk here, so your manly charms won’t work on women.

Let’s get one thing straight though, the one thing that makes this movie well worth the watch, are actors Chris Pine who plays Steve, and Gal Gadot as Diana aka Wonder Woman. Their on screen chemistry is the true highlight of this film, and works incredibly well. Gal Gadot, already impressed in Batman V Superman, even though she had only a very small part in it. Here though she gets her chance to shine even more, and she truly carries this movie on her shoulders. But Chris Pine also does a great job in his role as the spy who wrestles also with some moral questions. I find Pine to be an actor that continues to improve with every role he portrays, and this movie was no exception. The rest of the supporting cast, that included the likes of Robin Wright and Danny Huston, were good, but had relatively minor roles. As such their characters were not really able to form a lasting impression.

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Yes….it is time to be afraid now.

The greater part of the film took place during World War I and that really was a unique setting for a superhero movie. The story took it’s time to develop however, and that, for me, was it’s greatest weakness. Even though I knew what the filmmakers were trying to achieve, in my opinion they did not succeed completely. In this digital age, you know a movie like this will feature CGI. The special effects in this film were at times stunning, but there were also moments that I found them to be utterly unconvincing. Maybe my expectations for this movie were just too high. As mentioned, it really was not a bad movie, and I still recommend seeing it in theatres. The only advice I can give though is to not expect to see the best superhero film ever made. Because that will cause some bitter disappointment. And not even a true wonder can change that fact.

I give Wonder Woman a 7 out of 10 score.

The Thing, American/Canadian movie (2011)

Now, I can hear you thinking : “The guy has finally lost it, he’s doing reviews now for movies that he has already reviewed before”. I admit, I’m getting older, and my mind may not be what it used to be, but no this is not the same film that I did a post for two weeks ago. No ladies and gentlemen, even though the movie bears the same name as the 1982 original, what he have here is a prequel. I am usually not really a fan of prequels. The thing is (yes here we go again with the puns), as you already know what happens in the film that comes after the prequel, sometimes that robs you of some excitement. That is especially true with characters that might appear in both movies. If someone is alive in the original film, you can’t very well kill him or her off in the prequel. But as always there are certain exceptions and this is definitely one of them.

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This is why I don’t go on blind dates anymore.

It is the year 1982 and in Antarctica a group of Norwegian researchers make a startling discovery. A gigantic alien spacecraft that has been buried for hundreds of years under the ice has been uncovered. As if this wasn’t enough, the sole occupant of the ship is found frozen in a block of ice nearby. One of the Norwegians, Dr. Sander Halvorson calls in the help of the American paleontologist Kate Lloyd, to assist with what is undoubtely the find of the century. When she arrives at the Norwegian base together with a group of Americans, she is stunned by what they have found. Soon however, the amazement turns into sheer horror. It appears that the thing that has been found frozen in the ice, isn’t dead. What’s more, it has escaped, and is now loose in the base able to take on any organic form it absorbs. Kate will have to fight in order to stay alive, but who can she trust…..?

Thing, The
Go Ripley…..erm Kate.

For the life of me I still don’t understand why this movie got so much negative press at the time of it’s release. Is it as good as the original 1982 film? No it isn’t. The original is a classic and it is hard to reach the same level as a movie that many consider to be one of the best horrorfilms ever made. Does it come close though? I would say: absolutely! One of the things that this film does incredibly well is pay attention to some of the details of the classic movie. Did you ever wonder how the axe that was found by Kurt Russell in the 1982 version got stuck in the wall? This movie gives you an answer to that. As an enormous fan of the original, I loved little details like that.

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Yes……this is definitely disturbing, I could not agree more. 

The characters for this prequel were not as interesting as the ones found in the 1982 movie. That said I absolutely loved the role of Kate played by actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead. If I were to make a comparison, she reminded me a lot of Ellen Ripley from the Alien franchise. Kate is a strong woman, able to keep a clear head in a truly horrifying situation. And what’s more she can really take of herself, which she demonstrates quite often throughout the film. Most of the other characters just did not have enough depth to grow real attached to, despite being played by some well known actors like Joel Edgerton and Ulrich Thomsen. But it was not something that bothered me as there were enough other things to enjoy in this movie.

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It’s really okay to be afraid Kate. 

As for the special effects, they were absolutely amazing. Where the original film did not always show the creature in all it’s horrifying glory, this movie did the exact opposite. Pretty much right from the start, we are shown a few truly terrifying versions of the monster. Lovers of creepy creatures definitely will get their fix in this film. The original only used practical effects, while the prequel also relied on CGI special effects. But these pretty much looked almost the same as the effects in the classic movie, something that I also loved about this film. Last but not least the end of this movie is simply put absolutely perfect, and the first time I saw it, I had goosebumps all over. It was a great homage to the original movie, and as a fan I could not have asked for a better ending.

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Even a good old fashioned autopsy isn’t what it used to be. 

If it has not already become clear, I really loved this film. While not as good as the original, this was a movie that really had respect for it’s source material which in my opinion it definitely showed. Being a huge fan of the original movie (if you haven’t yet read my review for that one you can find it here), I could not have wished for a better film. Yes it had characters that could have been handled a little better maybe, but other than that this movie is great entertainment for horror-and science fiction fans alike. I highly recommend this film to anyone who loves the original and is willing to at least keep an open mind for this one. I guarantee that this movie is a thrill ride from start to finish.

I give The Thing (2011) a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Train to Busan, Korean movie (2016)

I guess pretty much everyone that loves movies knows that there are certain genres that have so many films in them, that it is hard to find something that stands out or is original. Take superheroes for instance. While the Marvel movies are still highly entertaining, I have to admit that the formula for these films is starting to get a little bit predictable. Supposedly the new Wonderwoman movie is a fresh wind (Yes I know this is a DC movie) and tries to do things in a different way. I will see that for myself in the coming weekend, when I will finally be able to see it in the theatre. Another moviegenre that has become highly saturated is the zombiefilm. But just when you think that you have seen everything, there comes a film that is so incredibly good, that you start to believe that luckily there is still originality left. And I am not talking about a Hollywood movie either. No, I am talking about a zombiemovie made in Korea, a country nor really known for making these kind of films. So all aboard? Then lets get started with the review shall we?

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Has nobody ever told these people that walking on the train tracks is dangerous? 

Seok-woo is a fund manager that takes his work very seriously. He is divorced and is taking care of his young daughter Soo-an. Because of his work though, he at times neglects his daughter, and for instance forgot about her singing recital. Soo-an’s birthday is coming up soon, and she wants him to take her to Busan to see her mother. At first Seok-woo declines, but feeling guilty about missing her recital, he eventually changes his mind and decides to take her anyway. Soon they board the train that is going to take the two of them to Busan. But when a strange woman enters the train at the last possible second, things take a horrible turn for the worse. The woman is infected with something that has turned her into a bloodthirsty zombie. Soon other people on the train become infected, and not before long everything slow starts to go straight to hell. For Seok-woo and his daughter Soo-an, the ride becomes a struggle for survival. Together with a few other passengers they are in for the fight of their lives…..

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Baseball practice these days is serious business. 

To say that this is just another horrormovie would be a grave injustice. Because this movie is so much more. One of the best things in this movie are it’s characters. Seok-woo played by Gong Yoo is a character who is not without it’s flaws, but that is what is making him so human. The role of his daughter, played by child actress Kim Su-an is the one that impressed me the most. For a child so young to be able to conjure up this much emotion and act so believable is a feat that few actors are able to achieve. She pulls it off though and then some. But the rest of the cast is equally good, most notably Jung Yu-mi who plays a pregnant wife, and Ma Dong-seok who plays her husband. Each and every character in this film has his or her own story, and that is why you really care about what happens to them, something that is very crucial in a movie such as this.

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I think there might be a sales event at the shopping mall, probably the reason why everybody is in a rush. 

This movie doesn’t waste any time in cranking up the tension. Right from the start the film is a rollercoaster ride, that doesn’t let up for one second. Action and horror lovers alike will get their fill, as there are plenty of scenes that will satisfy fans of both these genres. This being a zombie movie there is ofcourse some blood, but it doesn’t get incredibly gory like for instance in The Walking Dead. This movie is more about creating a tense and creepy atmosphere than spilling buckets of blood. But the main reason this movie works so well is the underlying story. It really shows what some people become if something like this were to happen for real. Some of them become brave, others cowards and still others just plain and simple very evil. And that’s what made this movie such a fascinating watch.

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Yep….getting out of there seems like a very good idea. 

As most of you that have been following my blog for a while now know, I am an enormous lover of Asian cinema, especially Korean films. Having seen quite a few of them I can honestly say that this movie is the best Korean movie that I have seen to date. With terrific and at times heartbreaking acting, a great story and equally fantastic action scenes and special effects, this movie is one you can’t afford to miss. If you love The Walking Dead, horror and action movies I highly recommend checking this movie out. Especially if you want to see a different kind of zombiefilm. It may not be the best zombiemovie ever made, but it comes pretty darn close.

I give Train to Busan a 10 out of 10 score.

 

Hundred, Anime tv series (2016)

I guess everyone can relate to the fact that for every good anime series that is out there, there is always a crappy counterpart as well. A series that you want to stop watching altogether, but still continue with anyway because you at least want to see how it ends. I usually watch Animeseries two at a time (though recently that has expanded to at least five or six simultaneously). At the same time that I was watching the beautiful series Yuri on Ice, I was watching this one as well. To say these series could not be more different from each other, is probably an understatement. But not only in terms of story, but also in terms of quality. Because wow, this series was seriously bad, even though it also had it’s moments. But let’s first see what is going on in this anime, before I start tearing it down.

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I guess I could make some kind of comment about this picture, but I am choosing not to.

In Hundred it’s that time again where the Earth is besieged by giant monsters, and a handful of brave souls have to counter the beasts in order to save the world. The monsters in this anime are called Savages. Nobody quite knows where they came from, but it is enough to know that they appeared out of nowhere and started laying waste to the Earth. But, oh joy of joys, there is a weapon that can counter these mysterious beings known as Hundred. This weapon is wielded by the so called Slayers, specialised men and women who are able to use the Hundred in a variety of ways. Hayato Kisaragi is one of the newest recruits that has enrolled in the marine academy ship Little Garden. But as everyone will soon find out, he is no ordinary recruit. And just who is his strange roommate Emile Crossford that seems to know him from somewhere? All these mysteries and more will be solved, well at least if Hayato can survive a duel that he has just been challenged to by the most powerful Slayer onboard: Claire Harvey. With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, the lives of these three entirely different characters will soon be threatened like never before….

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There he is, the innocent pervert Hayato Kisaragi.

Ooohhhh…..this sounds exciting doesn’t it? Mysterious weapons, cool monsters, interesting characters…..erm, wait that last one isn’t correct, and I will soon get to that. In case you haven’t yet noticed this has got to be one of the most sarcastic reviews that I have written since starting this blog. Because quite honestly I can’t believe how the creators of this series have managed to turn this pretty cool concept into a such a total mess. Trust me on this, there are some things that I really did like. The weapon, Hundred, for instance is seriously awesome. Each Slayer wields the weapon in a different way, and as such it can turn into all kinds of different forms. Huge energy weapons, chains, even entire armours are all things Hundred is able to change into. Some of the fights between the Savages and Slayers are very cool to watch, and even the animationstyle is not bad either.

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Emile Crossford the only character that was somewhat fun, shows his anger at being cast in this anime.

Where this series fails however is in it’s characters and the very immature boobjokes, that seem to be a part of pretty much every single episode. Yes you read that correctly: boobjokes. Jokes about boobs, to turn it around. In almost every episode we see main character Hayato accidentally fall over a woman and grab her breasts. If this would happen a single time, I could overlook it. But as this became a trademark of the series it quickly became very annoying to say the least. In one of the later episodes, we even spent about 5 minutes of an episode where Hayato is being urged by other girls to touch someone’s boobs. Seriously….what the f….no let’s not use that language here. The characters themselves also are almost complete airheads, with maybe the exception of Emile Crossford the only character that at least had somewhat interesting traits.

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Yep, that is a Savage, though technically it isn’t. Nope, not going to tell you why not, no spoilers.

To say that this series was a major disappointment, is putting it mildly. And it really is a shame, because the final 2 episodes of the series showed a glimmer of what the series could have been. But that was simply too little, too late. With some cool concepts, and a story that even though not very original, wasn’t overly bad either, this animeseries definitely could have been very good. Because of the shallow characters, and very childish pranks this series apparently found more important to showcase, we are unfortunately left with a very bad animeseries. And one that I think is best avoided no matter how much you like giant aliens crushing puny humans. Well, luckily I am already investing my time in two new animeseries that so far are well worth it. Rest assured that reviews for these will follow, but the titles for these I will keep secret for now. Hey, there has to be a little mystery at some point right? Meanwhile, you can enjoy this gem of a series. (Ahem)

I give Hundred a 3 out of 10 score.

 

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.

 

Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game for 1-5 players, by Upper Deck (2014)

I have been doing a lot of Alien posts the past few weeks. I have to admit it is in part because of the release of Alien Covenant, but also because I simply love this franchise. Most people have at least heard of the movies in one form or another, but there is an entire universe build around these films that people may not even be familiair with. For starters there is the comic book series that expands the story beyond the movies, but there are also a lot of novels that are just as good. In 2014 Upperdeck, the publisher of the highly succesful Marvel Legendary cardgame, released Legendary Encounters. This time you would not be playing with your favorite superheroes, but instead take on the roles of the beloved characters from the Alien movies including Ellen Ripley. Is the game any good though? How about I tell you it is one of my alltime favorite games? Let’s dive right in, and see what makes this game so much fun to play.

Components

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The intimidating black box, complete with an Alien Egg as a cover.

When you open this monstrous box of goodness the first thing you will notice is the beautifully crafted “mousepad” playing mat. Why call it a mousepad? Well because it really is a mousepad, only one that covers pretty much your entire table. This being a cardgame it will come as no surprise that the rest of the contents of this game are cards. And quite a lot of them, 600 in total to be exact. All of the cards are beautifully illustrated depicting the many characters, Xenomorphs, and other situations that can  crop up in this game. But more on that down below. Last, but not least there is ofcourse a rulebook that is pretty easy to understand, and does an okay job in teaching you the game. If you still find it hard to learn the game there are some excellent playthrough videos for this game that you can find on YouTube.

Game overview

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The “mousepad” gameboard.

This game allows you to play through all four of the original Alien movies. Yes you read that correctly, you actually get to replay the four classic films. Here is how that works. When setting up the game, you pick the scenario for the film you wish to play. Each movie has three corresponding mini decks of cards, that contain different objectives that the player needs to accomplish. But these decks also include the many enemies, and events that can seriously mess up a player’s well laid out plans. This game isn’t called a deckbuilding game for nothing. When the game starts a player has his own personal deck of standard cards. These cards can be used for two things.  The first thing you can do is purchase stronger cards. In every game the player’s can select cards from the HQ that contains new characters that, once purchased are added to a player’s deck to make it stronger. And with these new cards you are able to buy cards that are even more stronger. Hence the name deckbuilding game.

The second thing you can do is attack enemies with these cards before they are able to hurt you, as well as complete objectives in order to progress through the scenario of the film. For instance when you choose to replay the movie Aliens, you need to kill three colonists from Hadley’s Hope, set up Sentry Guns, and finally defeat the Alien Queen. All of this should feel very familiar if you love the movies, and this game certainly oozes atmosphere. Each player get’s an avatar that represents the player, and that has a certain amount of lifepoints. As with most games you are dead if your lifepoints total ever reaches zero. But this being a cooperative game it is still possible to win if the other players manage to complete the objectives. As a fun sidenote,you can also make life miserable for your fellow players by becoming an alien yourself.

Difficulty

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A closer look at how the gameboard looks after set-up.

This game is very easy to learn. The best way to learn this game is by letting someone who already knows the game teach it to you while playing it. It will take you under 10 minutes to get to know the basics of the game, and from there it is an easy road to get to the game’s finer points. Winning the game however is less easy. There are some scenarios that are pretty tough to win, and will require all of a player’s skills to overcome. You can almost hear Hudson crying “Game over man, game over” way too many times. But a win is definitely not impossible. As the game is so much fun to play, it will not bother you at all if, even through all your best efforts, the game ends up in a loss.

The verdict

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Some of the cards that you are able to buy during the game, all of them characters from the first Alien film.

If it wasn’t already clear to you, I absolutely love this game. Being a huge fan of the Aliens franchise in general, this game seriously manages to recreate the atmosphere of the original films in the best way possible. Because of the sheer number of cards, and situations that can arise during the game, no two playthroughs are ever quite the same. I have played this game primarily solo, and it works exceptionally well. It is one of the best solo games in my collection, and it is one of those games that I keep very close at hand. What might interest you to know is that there is also a Legendary Encounters: Predator version of this game. That game is just as much fun, and let’s you play through the two original Predator movies. You can even combine the two games and let Ripley face the Predator, which is awesome. Last but not least an expansion for the Aliens game was released that adds more characters, a hardmode for all four movies (as if the game was not hard enough already), but also allows a player to play as the Alien Queen herself!

All in all I cannot recommend this game enough to everyone who is a fan of the Alien films. Just remember: in space no one can hear you scream! As a final note I want to say that this review is written especially for Madame Vintage, who loves the Alien franchise just as a much as I do, and has been a great friend and supporter of my blog the past few months. If you haven’t already, check out her awesome blog of movie reviews and subscribe. You won’t be disappointed! Finally ofcourse the score for this game, which should not be too much of a surprise.

I give Legendary Encounters: an Alien Deckbuilding game a 10 out of 10 score.

 

The Thing, American movie (1982)

If there is one thing (pun intended) that I like in horrormovies, it is a good monster. The more disgusting or horrifying a creature is, the better I like it. Yes, I can be weird that way but really, honestly I am a nice guy. Yes, I would not have believed myself after a comment like that either. Okay, moving on. Director John Carpenter has certainly made some of my favorite alltime horrormovies. Halloween, Christine and Prince of Darkness are just some examples of his talent for making great and chilling films, that will scare the life out of you. Sadly he has not been having such a great track record recently. His last film, The Ward dates back to 2010, and is a mostly forgettable experience. Luckily we still have his old movies to rewatch and enjoy, and the film I am about to review will always be my absolute favorite film made by this director.

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Talk to the hand really doesn’t work in this case…

In the icy cold of Antarctica we see a domestic dog running across the snowy landscape. This in itself would not be such a strange sight, were it not for the fact that a helicopter from a Norwegian camp is in hot pursuit. The dog manages to reach an American research station, where it’s occupants are roused by the noise outside. The helicopter has meanwhile settled down on the ice, and one of it’s male passengers comes out guns blazing at the terrified dog. The pilot of the chopper accidentally blows himself up, while trying to throw a thermite charge. Eventually the shooter gets killed by a member of the research station. The dog is taken in by the bewildered Americans, that are left wondering what in blazes would cause two grown men to act the way they did. The members of the research station send out their helicopter pilot MacReady together with a doctor to the Norwegian station in order to get some answers. However what they are going to find out is something more terrible than they could have imagined. A thing that is not of this world has taken refuge amongst them…..

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Man’s best friend….yeah …right….

The Thing is quite possibly one of the best horrormovies ever made. There are so many reasons that make this movie an alltime classic that it is almost impossible to name them all. But I will at least give you some of the most important ones. For one thing it’s the characters, most notably MacReady, played by a young Kurt Russell. With The Thing being able to take on any living form whatsoever, paranoia soon begins to run rampant across the station. MacReady seems to be the only one that keeps a level head, despite his colleagues that seem to mistrust pretty much everyone. Kurt does an excellent job in portraying this desperation, but he is also the true hero of this film. Russell has always excelled at playing characters that are a bit of a loner and anti-hero, and this role is no exception.

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Hey, pssst….look behind you…..

Another thing (yes these puns keep on coming, but are also unavoidable really), that is the main reason to watch this movie are the truly horrific special effects. This was an era that had no CGI effects to speak off, so all of the effects you see are practical. But they are no less impressive, or disgusting for that matter. The monster itself, in all it’s different shapes and forms is a truly horrific creature. Some of the designs seem to have come straight out of the deepest pits of hell, and are amazing to look at. Even after all these years, the effects still hold up, and manage to outdo many modern day horrorfilms.

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Yes, I know, this picture is truly disgusting….you don’t have to tell me that. 

Last but definitely not least is the story itself, that manages to truly cause a frightening atmosphere. With a creature that is able to take on any human form, simply everyone can be the monster. And that is the true strength of this film. Who can you trust? Director John Carpenter plays masterfully with this intriguing feature, with characters that slowly become more and more paranoid of each other, with every waking second. If you are a fan of horrormovies, and have yet to see this true classic I urge you to track this one down as soon as you can. It is a film that will have you in it’s clutches throughout the entire runtime, and will have moments that will leave you gasping for air. In 2011 a prequel film for this movie was made, that received some very negative reviews. But in my opinion those were pretty unfair, as I found the prequel to be every bit as enjoyable. But that is a story for another time.

I give The Thing a 10 out of 10 score.

Resident Evil, Uk/German movie (2002)

I used to be a very fanatical gamer, until a completely insane online Call of Duty session pretty much ended my gaming days. I lost interest in the virtual gaming world, and went back to old school gaming otherwise known as boardgames. But that does not mean that I don’t look back on my gaming days with some great memories. One of my favorite horror games was Resident Evil. I remember a scene from the first game where you walked along a quiet corridor, and you pretty much knew something was going to happen. And ofcourse it did in the form of a horrible dog that came crashing through the window. I literally let my controller drop from my hands, that’s how much of a jumpscare I got. In 2002 Resident Evil made it’s way to the big screen, and has so far spawned five sequels. Today I rewatched the first movie which I had not seen for quite a few years.

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Some parties can get completely out of hand.

In Resident Evil the Umbrella Corporation has taken over the world by storm. The public knows the company only from their consumer goods, but the true money comes from their bioweapons research. It is a secret that they have been able to hide so far. But then something goes horribly wrong at one of their underground facilities known as the Hive. A special group of commandos is sent out to investigate. It is not long until they meet up with a mysterious woman who has lost most of her memories, and is only known as Alice. It soon becomes apparent that the artificial intelligence of the facility called the Red Queen has taken matters into her own hands. Most of the staff of the Hive have been killed off by her or so it seems. The real reason for this behaviour however is that the genetically engineered T-virus has been unleashed in the Umbrella facility. A virus that has truly horrifying consequences, as Alice and the commandos are about to find out…..

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Here doggy, doggy, doggy…..

I guess pretty much everyone that is a gamer knows that most movies based on popular videogames, have been a total waste. However I have always liked the Resident Evil films. Yes I guess they could fall into B-movie territory, but that doesn’t mean that they are not a lot of fun to watch. Quite honestly I had forgotten a lot of details from this first film. I was also pretty amazed that this movie is already 15 years old. Resident Evil does not have a perfect script, but that is not why you watch a movie such as this in the first place. On the action and horror front however it really does things right. The action scenes are done well, and the creatures featured in the film are pretty amazing to look at. Especially the fan favorite Licker monster taken straight from the games.

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Eveybody has those moments where you just feel trapped at your work. 

 

One other reason to watch this movie is actress Milla Jovovich. She plays the part of Alice, and does so very convincingly. If you pardon my language, she really knows how to kick some serious zombie ass. Her co-star Michelle Rodriguez also portrays a strong woman, and both women have a great onscreen chemistry that works incredibly well. The rest of the cast is pretty forgettable, except for maybe James Purefoy, who tries to make the best of the script that has been handed to him. All in all though this first Resident Evil movie does a pretty good job of bringing the game to life. Even if you have never played the games before, you will enjoy this film if you are into horror or action movies. The movie has a good pace, and certainly can’t be accused of being boring. Sometimes it’s just okay to sit back and watch a nice and simple popcorn movie, as I like to call it.

I give Resident Evil a 8 out of 10 score.

Star Trek Beyond, American movie (2016)

Space: the final frontier. I think pretty much everyone that loves science fiction, must have heard these words at least once. In 1966 Gene Roddenberry created a science fiction television series called Star Trek. Strangely enough when it first aired it got cancelled after 3 seasons. A few years later the series got very popular after reruns on several different television stations. And the rest is history. Star Trek became a world wide phenomenon, spawning several television series, movies and novels. One of the things that made it unique was the fact that it presented a very positive view of the future, in which humanity had finally managed to better itself. In 2009 a new Star Trek movie was made by J.J.Abrams, who most people know as one of the minds behind the tv series Lost, and ofcourse the director of Star Wars: the Force Awakens. It was kind of a reboot for the entire Star Trek universe, and even though the movie became a huge succes, a lot of Star Trek fans did not like it all. Last year the third installment of this new version of Star trek was released, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the franchise.

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Idris Elba’s skin rash had taken a turn for the worse.

In Star Trek Beyond, we meet captain Kirk at a time in his life, where he finds his job to be a bit tedious. He has kind of lost faith in his own capabilities, and is thinking of going for an admiral’s position, just to quit flying a starship. When his ship the Enterprise, visits the Federation’s newest starbase called Yorktown, a distress signal is picked up from an unknown ship. The person who sent the the signal introduces herself as Kalara, and claims her ship and her crew are stranded on a nearby planet. Soon Kirk and crew are sent out on the rescue mission. But all is not as it seems, and the Enterprise gets attacked by a swarm of powerful ships led by the villainous Krall.  Krall is searching for an ancient artifact that will bring death to the existing universe. The crew of the Enterprise are going to face their toughest mission yet, and one they might not all get out alive from….

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Why is she in my chair?

For those of you that have been following my blog for a while now, you pretty much know that I love science fiction in almost every form. As such I am not one of those people that only loves Star Trek, or only loves Star Wars for instance. As long as it is done well, I can pretty much eat science fiction movies for breakfast. That said, ever since J.J. Abrams has reimagined Star Trek, the movies have deviated from Roddenberry’s original vision for it. This third film carries the name Star Trek, but it is simply put not Star Trek anymore. It is a summer blockbuster action movie, that has entertaining moments, and some cool special effects. But sadly it does not feel like Star Trek, and that really is a shame I think.

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I really want to go home now…

 

All the actors from the new movies have returned to reprise their roles. They all do an admirable job, most notably Karl Urban, who plays doctor McCoy. Out of all the new actors that now play the parts of these legendary characters, he has always come the closest to the original role. The villain Krall is played by actor Idris Elba, who is completely unrecognisable in make up. Elba plays the part well, but Krall is just not a very interesting villain, and lacks depth. The relatively unknown actress Sofia Boutella plays the most interesting new character, the warrior woman Jaylah. Her martial arts skills are very impressive, but she also has a natural charisma that really makes you care for her character.

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Just wait until I show you to my parents, they are going to love you. 

This movie is directed by Justin Lin, who has also directed a lot of the Fast and Furious movies. The story in this movie takes a bit of a backseat, and instead we get treated to a action movie with explosions, chases, and pretty much everything that you would expect in movies like that. It certainly manages to entertain at times, but all in all I found this movie just not as good as the two previous ones. As mentioned it just doesn’t feel like a Star Trek movie anymore, and I guess that is my biggest complaint for this one. I understand that they want to make Star Trek appeal to a bigger audience, but it has now kind of lost the spirit that made Star Trek always so much fun to watch. What we are left with is a bit of hollow shell, that really isn’t a bad movie, but is simply not deserving the name Star Trek. I think Gene Roddenberry, might roll over in his grave if he knew what has become of his creation.

I give Star Trek Beyond a 7 out of 10 score.