Tag Archives: Thriller

Deadman Wonderland, Anime tv series (2011)

I’m beginning to have a small luxury problem. And I’m sure I’m definitely not the only one that has this particular problem. Ever since I started my blog, now more than a year ago, my love for anime has resurfaced. Shock of all shocks, it might even surprise you that before that, I had not been watching anime for a period of more than five or six years. I know right? How on Earth did I even survive that? Now though I have so much anime to watch, that I don’t even know where to start anymore. Besides my own rather formidable dvd collection, I now also have Crunchyroll and more recently Netflix, that have such a great variety of anime series on offer. So what to do about this problem? I’m just going with the flow I guess. I now try to watch a series from my own dvd collection, and then one from either Netflix or Crunchyroll. Just to keep some kind of balance. Erm, yes I guess I can be weird like that at times. Anyway, it was Netflix that was next in line, and after browsing through their considerably large animelist, my eyes were drawn to Deadman Wonderland.

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This brings a whole new meaning to the term papercut. 

In Deadman Wonderland the life of the seemingly ordinary highschool student Ganta Igarashi is about to take a turn for the worse. When his class is preparing to take a school field trip to the privately owned prison Deadman Wonderland, that at the same time serves as an amusement park, a mysterious being suddenly appears. The being that is known as The Red Man, slaughters the entire class, with the exception of Ganta. Being the only survivor, Igarashi soon gets charged with mass murder. Things get even worse when overwhelming evidence is presented that can’t be explained and soon young Ganta is sentenced to death and sent to the Deadman Wonderland prison. Once there he meets a mysterious white haired girl called Shinto, that saves him from a bunch of bullies that were about to kill him. All of a sudden a large explosion rocks the prison and brings down a large object right on top of Ganta and Shinto. Just when it is about to crush them, a mysterious power awakens in Ganta that allows him to take control of his own blood. In this way he manages to keep the object from falling on their heads. With the awakening of this power it is beginning to become apparent that Deadman Wonderland holds many secrets, and not all of them very friendly…..

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Hey, I told you Shinto could get a little crazy at times

Well, let me start this review by saying that this series is not, I repeat not, for the faint of heart. To call this series rather gory is quite the understatement. The blood flows freely in this anime, and I am not talking about a few small drops either. No we have buckets full of blood that are spilled, including several mutilations, and a rather nasty removal of an eyeball, that makes this a really brutal show. But before you all turn the other way, let me tell you that this show also kicks ass (pardon my French). I have never seen an animeseries that featured such a unique power. Ganta, and a rather large cast of other colourful characters, can use their own blood to form  weapons like swords, whips or even projectiles. And this makes for a couple of incredibly cool fightscenes between the inmates, that while at times rather bloody, really are highly entertaining to watch. It’s almost as if you are back in Rome during the days of gladiator fighting.

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Don’t worry these are all special effects, he is fine. 

As mentioned the cast is rather large, and more and more are added with each episode. This eventually results in quite a few them being rather bland, and not ones that you can form an attachment to. But one character I guarantee you will in love with is Shinto. This free spirited girl that has a special, and really protective bond with Ganta is a truly fun character. Sometimes a little crazy, at other times seemingly innocent, but more than capable of taking care of herself she is the absolute highlight of this anime. Ganta, the hero of the series is your typical innocent young boy character, that you have seen in quite a number of other shows. That is not to say that you don’t feel sympathy for him though. Not only is he wrongfully accused, he also gets confronted with a mysterious power and is placed in the most awful place one can imagine. It is enough to drive most men or women insane, but Ganta keeps fighting the good fight, and you have to admire that.

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In case you were wondering, no she is not naked, she is wearing a suit. 

For those of you that are observant, you might have already taken a glance at the final score I have given this anime. Made you look didn’t I? So why the low score for a show that I haven’t been really negative for yet? Well, it’s unfortunately one of those anime series that wraps things up in a really bad way. Or maybe it’s even better to say it doesn’t wrap up anything. After 12 episodes you are left with so many unanswered questions, and no real resolution that you end up feeling rather frustrated. I absolutely hate it when something like this happens. I can honestly say that I had a lot of fun watching this, up until the final few episodes. And this is really such a shame. The storyline for this was very good, the animation more than decent, there were cool fightscenes and some very interesting  characters. And then it all went to hell in a handbasket. Whether or not you want to give this a try depends on the fact if you don’t mind shows that end with with no real resolution. I do have to admit that the fightsequences alone are worth seeing at least once, so there is that. All in all, despite a pretty big list of positives I can’t really bring myself to fully recommend this one. So watch at your own discretion.

I give Deadman Wonderland a 6 out of 10 score.

 

 

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Christine, American movie (1983)

If you have never heard of the name Stephen King then you really should be pretty ashamed of yourself. Erm, no offense of course. Seriously though, he is awesome. One of the best known writers of our time, he has written so many classic horror novels that it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite. I do have one though, and my choice is not one of the obvious ones like for instance The Shining or The Stand. As much as I love those, for me it has so far always been the novel Christine that is my alltime number one King book. There is a very good reason behind my choice, but I will get to that later. However, as you might have noticed above, I’m not going to talk about the novel, but I will instead talk about the movie. Made by director John Carpenter (yes the same man who is behind Halloween), this is one of the better Stephen King adaptations and a film that I have seen more times than I can count. So what is it about this film that makes it such a compelling watch? Let’s hit the road and find out.

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Some people take losing weight to the extreme. 

Arnie Cunnigham is a highschool student who just isn’t one of the most popular guys around. In fact that is quite the understatement. Arnie is a bit of a nerd, a fact that is exploited by the school bully Buddy Repperton. There is one bright spot though and that his friendship with the football jock Dennis. His friend always stands up for him and protects Arnie whenever possible. After a particularly nasty confrontation with Buddy, Arnie is driven home by Dennis. But while driving along Arnie all of a sudden screams out at Dennis begging him to stop. Having no idea what’s going on, Dennis stops, and looks on in bewilderment when his friend rushes out of the car towards an old beat up vehicle that has a for sale sign on it. It becomes even crazier when Arnie tells him he’s going to buy it. The old wreck is a Plymouth Fury from 1957 that goes by the name Christine. Dennis just can’t believe what has gotten into Arnie, buying a car that looks like it won’t live past tomorrow. However after a few weeks Christine looks as if she just rolled off the assembly line. A fact that is almost impossible to believe. The scary thing is though, that the car seems to have a life of it’s own. Arnie’s personality also changes overnight, and when people start dying under suspicious circumstances, it soon becomes clear that Christine is no ordinary car….

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Seriously, how could you not fall in love with this car? 

Everyone who has ever been bullied at school must have once had thoughts of taking revenge on the people that mistreated them. I know I sure have. And that’s one of the things that I enjoyed about this story, and why it’s still my favorite King novel. Bullying has an impact on your life, it certainly did on mine, and it’s extremely satisfying to see the revenge Arnie (or more accurately Christine) takes on his nemesis Buddy Repperton and his lackeys. That’s not to say that this doesn’t take things to the extreme though. There is also an underlying tone of deep sadness to this film. Dennis asks his friend in the beginning what Arnie sees in that beat up old car. He answers by saying that he has finally found something that is more ugly than he is. That line gets me every time. It’s so powerful, and extremely sad. All this goes to show how people change after being bullied and start believing in things that aren’t there.

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One advice: don’t say this car is a piece of junk. Trust me on this.

But before this turns into a straight up sobfest, let us not forget that this movie is also a horror movie. And a very good one at that. One of the most fascinating things about this story is Arnie’s change in personality. While this is explored much better in the book, we still see it in the movie as well. In the beginning of the film he is a shy and nerdy young man, who is afraid to stand up for himself. But then, after buying Christine Arnie changes into a cocky, selfcentered and quite frankly obnoxious person, who even gets to date the most beautiful girl in the school. Of course with Christine’s influence becoming more and powerful, everything goes down hill faster and faster. It’s a scary journey to behold, but also one of the best things of the film.  The other being Christine of course. No matter what happens to her, getting smashed, burned, it all matters very little. Christine always comes back. Something that is brought to life in a wonderful way by the special effects.

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I’m going to be in Baywatch? Oh God….please tell me it isn’t so. 

Carpenter manages to create a tense atmosphere throughout the entire movie. The score for the film was made by him as well, and only adds to the experience. All the actors in the film, no matter how small their parts, played their roles to perfection. Strangely enough most of the cast never really made big progress in their careers after the release of this movie. A fun note is that Alexandra Paul, who would later appear in quite a few seasons of Baywatch, played Arnie’s girlfriend. She is almost unrecognisable here. So if it hasn’t already become clear, I love this film. For me it’s always been one of Carpenter’s best movies and even after all these years it’s lost none of it’s strength, nor is it in any way dated. Important to note is that the film is not gory at all, but more a very tense thriller. I highly recommend this movie and it can be enjoyed by pretty much everyone. So go and watch it, and don’t forget to put on your seatbelt. Always watch responsibly.

I give Christine a 9 out of 10 score.

Jigsaw, American movie (2017)

Well, Halloween is over, and we all need to wait another year to go out as a creature that bumps into the night. Erm, yeah that actually does sound pretty disturbing: moving on. Even though everyone’s favorite fright night is over, that doesn’t mean we have to stop watching horrormovies. In fact I am certainly not planning on stopping with them anytime soon. It’s now been seven years since the last Saw movie sawed itself into our brains (oh, come on, you had to know I would at least include one pun like this). Marked as the final chapter, this movie was really an alltime low for the franchise, and ended the series in a truly bad way. The original Saw was a great thriller, but the series as a whole quickly degenerated into torture porn and became for many a sort of guilty pleasure. But it turns out that in horror adding the “final chapter” to your title, just means: until it’s time to make some money again. And that’s why this year the franchise returns to the big screen with the 8th installment, Jigsaw. The big question is: are we going back to it’s thriller roots, or are bodyparts, intestines, brains and everything else that’s supposed to be inside a human body going to come flying out again…..?

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Some people just take lasergaming way too far. 

The movie starts in the middle of a highspeed police chase that ends with the criminal crashing his car. He manages to survive the crash though, and escapes to a nearby rooftop, with the police in hot pursuit. With nowhere left to run, the man who is known as Edgar Munsen, turns around holding a trigger device in his hand. He calls out to the police to quickly bring out detective Halloran, or else people will start to die. With Halloran arriving on the scene the police eventually have no choice but to shoot Edgar, but not before he manages to activate the trigger. With this act, over the course of several days, bodies are beginning to turn up throughout the city. All people who seem to have come to a violent end. An expert forensic pathologist called Logan is called in to do an autopsy on the first victim. As it turns out, the murder bears an uncanny resemblance to a string of homicides that were committed more than ten years ago by a man known as John Kramer. Most people know him as the serial killer Jigsaw. The truly disturbing fact though, is that Jigsaw has been dead for ten years……..

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Can’t you read? It says no exit, pretty sure a shovel won’t help. 

I think there are probably two questions burning in everyone’s mind right now. The first: is this movie better than the atrocious part VII?  The second: are we back to torture porn, or is this actually more along the lines of the first one? Well, let’s start with question number one as it’s the easiest to answer. Jigsaw is definitely much better than the final chapter. Of course the last part was so horribly bad that it was almost impossible to deliver a movie that was even worse. But in all honesty, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Jigsaw explored the roots of the original movie, and was therefore less gruesome than all the previous sequels. So I guess I already answered the second question as well now. The movie certainly contained gore, it is a horrormovie after all, but except for a small scene at the end it never went completely overboard. And this was actually quite refreshing.

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Yep, playing in the sand can be nice. 

And then there are two things this franchise is also known for, and those are the clever traps and the twist at the end. Both of these were of course present in this movie as well. The traps however, were slightly disappointing. As sick as this sounds, those were the things that made the sequels so much fun to watch and on that department the movie doesn’t deliver as strongly. I did quite enjoy the twist at the end though. Several other reviews for the movie pointed out that the movie failed on that front too, but I have to say I disagree. The end of the movie was one of the better parts of the film, and actually quite clever. The characters of the film, are pretty much forgettable. Detective Halloran played by Callum Keith Rennie is simply not a person you get a lot of sympathy for. The main heroine of the movie, who is trying her best to survive the horrible game she is in, is portrayed by Laura Vandervoort. Most people might know her from the tv series Bitten. She is the only one in the film that you can at least grow a bit of an attachment to, and she plays quite a good and strong female role.

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I guess this points out what might happen if you fall asleep on your job. 

After seven years the Saw franchise is back with a pretty decent installment. It certainly doesn’t reinvent the genre, and doesn’t come close to being as good as the original movie. If you are fan though, you are going to be entertained, and I think in a pretty good way. It will be interesting to see, if this movie is now going to be a restart of the franchise. I certainly would not be opposed to seeing more films if they are on the same level as this eight film. In all likelyhood I would not be very surprised to see it quickly fall back to over the top gore and torture. In other words, there will be blood….oh yes….

I give Jigsaw a 7 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.

 

 

Halloween, American movie (1978)

They say there exists a form of evil in each and every one of us. Some people just have more darkness in them than others. Yes, I know how very ominous this sounds. But let’s face it, I think that when you look at it we all might have had a point in our lives, where we have done something in anger. And that clashes with your normal personality. Luckily these usually are very brief moments (at least I hope they are), and after your anger has subsided you try to make it up to the person or persons you might have hurt in the process. But what if you lack that capacity? What if you are a person that is completely devoid of human emotion? There is a certain moment in the classic 1978 film Halloween, in which doctor Loomis describes the villain from the movie, Michael Myers. And it almost mirrors exactly what I have just said. It is a chilling scene, one that creeps up your spine, when you begin to realise what kind of being Michael truly is. And how evil can sometimes take on human form….

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Not everyone can afford an expensive Halloween costume.

On a dark and stormy night a young girl brushes her hair in front of a mirror. She has just had sex with her boyfriend and she seems very content and happy. Her happiness soon turns to horror however, when her kid brother Michael Myers enters the scene with a big and very sharp knife. Without any emotion whatsoever he stabs her to death. What makes it all the more horrifying is that he is only six years old. Fifteen years later Michael escapes from the mental institute that he has been taken to, after committing the brutal murder. Doctor Loomis the psychiatrist, that has been treating him for the past few years is the only one that knows what he is capable of. And he also knows where he is going: Haddonfield the town where Myers grew up in. Wandering around his hometown, Michael soon stumbles upon the teenage girl Laurie Strode and her friends. At Halloween night his thirst for murder begins anew.  And young Laurie will soon discover that some Halloweens are much scarier than others. In the meantime doctor Loomis is desperately trying to find the escaped killer. But it may already be too late, for Michael has come home…..

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Sometimes you just have to admire your work. I can respect that. 

John Carpenter is a legend. He has certainly made a few of my alltime favorite horrormovies, and this certainly is one of them. When I rewatched this film I was actually amazed at how old this movie already is. But is it dated? Absolutely not. The opening scene of the film is still every bit as shocking as when I first saw it. And what surprised me even more is that there is little to no gore in this movie. It is technically a horrorfilm, but one that acts more as a thriller. And a very, very good one at that. The suspense and threat in this film is build up slowly, but in a extremely effective way. Subtle camera shots with Michael only standing in front of a house just ooze atmosphere and build up the tension to the extreme. It goes to show that you sometimes just need very little means to make a great film. Halloween went on to become one of the first real slasher movies, and of course created another legendary horror icon in the form of the relentless and unstoppable Michael Myers.

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Sigh….they never learn: hiding in a closet, how dumb is that.

This movie was the debut film of Jamie Lee Curtis, and also earned her the nickname Screamqueen. Because wow, when she opens up her mouth and fills her lungs to start screaming it’s almost enough to make every window in her vicinity shatter. Seriously though, as young as she was here, it already showed her acting potential. Another great role is performed by the late Donald Pleasence. He portrays the almost obsessed doctor Loomis, the man that will stop at nothing to put an end to Michael’s reign of terror. But there is a third character in this film, and one that is not performed by an actor. It is however equally important to making Halloween become so effective: the music. The score, made by John Carpenter himself is classic, especially the theme of the film. It is nervewracking and manages to get your bloodpressure up every time it appears during tense scenes.

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Don’t you just hate copycats? What, Michael has a knife, so you have one too? Lame.

The Franchise

Halloween would eventually be followed by seven sequels, and two remakes. Halloween 2 starts straight after the ending scene of the first film, and is a pretty good second act. While not as enjoyable as the original, it is still well worth the watch. With the exception of part 3, Michael would continue to wreak havoc in the rest of the follow up movies. Jamie Lee Curtis returned to reprise her role three more times, and of those Halloween H20 is certainly the best one. Made exactly 20 years after the first part, here we see a mature Laurie that pretty much thought the demon from her past was dead. Luckily for us of course he wasn’t and it resulted in a very decent installment in this franchise. The less that is said about the remake movies, the better it is. Directed by Rob Zombie the remakes are filled with gore and swearing and just result in movies that just simply don’t have any respect for it’s origins. Quite recently Jamie Lee Curtis announced that she would face her nemesis one final time next year, to mark the movie’s 40th anniversary. It will be interesting to see how that movie is going to turn out, and if she still has the same lung capacity she had all those years ago. Down below you can revisit the trailer for the original film.

The Verdict

Halloween is still a very effective horrorthriller that is every bit as good now as it was back in 1978. If you have never seen this film before, it’s best to watch this on Halloween night. Just lock the doors, grab some popcorn and make sure to have a blanket to hide behind. It will help you….a bit. And even if you have seen the movie, it’s still great to give it a rewatch on the night of terror. This review concludes my series of Countdown to Halloween posts. I hope you all enjoyed this feature. I had a blast rewatching all these classics and writing the posts for them. So, over to you now. Have you seen this film? Any favorite moments, or did you perhaps even hate it for some reason? Let me know in the comments section. Oh yeah, and before I forget: Happy Halloween! 🎃

I give Halloween a 9 out 10 score.

Blade Runner 2049, American/Uk/Canadian movie (2017)

The movie industry can sometimes be incredibly strange. In 1982 the original Blade Runner was released. A movie that many consider to be a groundbreaking piece of science fiction filmmaking. Throughout the years the film has become a cult classic, that has been gathering praise long after it’s release. Because when it was released 35 years ago, it did not perform very well, and even some critics did not give the movie very positive reviews. When the news was announced that a sequel was being made for this film, many people including myself, had to raise a few eyebrows. Why do you make sequel to a film that quite frankly doesn’t need one, and were there people really waiting for this at this point? When the first trailer was released for it, I became cautiously optimistic. For it really looked….good. With the release of the film now upon us, critics are giving the movie very high marks. With glowing reviews under it’s belt and cool trailers, one would think this film would become an overnight box office succes right?

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What do you mean this film isn’t doing well at the Box-office? 

Well, that’s where you would be wrong. Just like the original, the movie is currently under performing at the cinemas, so I guess in some cases history does repeat itself. This is going to be a bit of an unusual review for me, as I am not going to tell you much about the plot of the film. To do so, would be to rob of you of a lot of enjoyment as in this case the less you know about it, the more you will be surprised by it. What I can tell you is that this sequel takes place 30 years after the events of the first movie. The mighty Tyrell Corporation has gone bankrupt. Out of it’s ashes a new pioneer for the replicant technology, a man named Niander Wallace, arises. He has created a new type of replicant that is obedient and has been integrated into society to work as servants and slaves. The older types are still being hunted and retired by the cops known as Blade Runners. One of them, the Blade Runner known simply as K has stumbled on a secret that could shake the very foundations of society. Powerful forces will stop at nothing to prevent that secret from coming out…

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This is my response to that! 

It’s very hard to describe to you exactly what I thought of this movie. Perhaps it’s best to give you my state of mind as I left the theatre yesterday afternoon, after having sat there for almost three hours seeing the movie for the first time in IMAX. And that state of mind was very, very sad. Not because I hated the film, but because of the atmosphere that this movie manages to create. One of the things that I love in films is to escape in a make believe world for a few hours. What we have here however is a very bleak and depressing future, that seems to penetrate itself into the very core of your mind. Together with the brilliant music created by Hans Zimmer, and the incredible visual style, I don’t think I have ever seen a more depressing view of the future than what has been created in this film. It’s one of the main reasons why this has become a must see movie, but it’s not only the visuals that make the film so astounding.

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Hello little man. 

We also have a script here, that would not surprise me if it got nominated for an Oscar. There are so many layers in it, that it’s difficult to tell too much about it without heading into spoiler territory. Suffice it to say that one of the main things that I really liked about it, is something you might be surprised at: and that is the universal theme of love. K has a very unusual relationship, which is both beautiful and incredibly sad at the same time. But just like in the original it’s also the age old question of what it exactly means to be human, that makes it’s return. And even more than in the original 1982 classic, that question is even harder to answer in this sequel. Even though some of the trailers for the film would like you to believe this is an action movie, it really isn’t. It’s very slow moving, and while there is some action, the main part of the film is spent with K trying to figure out his place in the uncovering of the secret.

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I can see clearly now the rain is gone. 

Performance wise there is a lot to enjoy. Ryan Gosling plays K, and he manages to create a character that is both very human and at the same time also isn’t. This really is his journey, and for an audience to go along on that journey, you have to be able to create sympathy for your character. And Gosling certainly has excelled at that. The role of Niander Wallace is performed by Jared Leto. Though his character had a chilling aura, it certainly wasn’t a very memorable part. In fact it was his replicant enforcer Luv, played by Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks that made a much more lasting impression. She played a great villain, and pardon my French: a perfectly evil bitch. And of course there is Harrison Ford who reprises his role as Rick Deckard. Even though time might have catched up with him, he can still pull off the part. It was an absolute joy to seem him make an appearance again, and the movie just would not have been the same without him in it.

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The first person to make a remark about my age is going to get it! 

So, are there any negative points? Yes, there are. The film clocks in at almost three hours, and that was just too long overall. Some scenes felt unnecessary, and could have helped with the pacing of the movie had they been left out. At times the film is just a bit too slow. But then again, this really isn’t much different from it’s original counterpart. Now on to the hard part: do I recommend this film? I can honestly say that this is an incredible movie, with a fantastic script, a believable and utterly beautifully created world and some high caliber performances. At the same time, this movie also won’t be for everyone. If you can’t handle slow paced films, and expect an action spectacle you would be wise not to go this movie. For fans of the original though, this almost feels like coming home. It’s a sequel that pretty much rivals and at some points is even better than the classic. And that is a very hard thing to accomplish. I won’t lie to you though, it’s bleak vision of the future will take you a bit of time to let go of. Also be prepared to have the movie spinning around in your head for a while. But that usually is a good sign.

I give Blade Runner 2049 a 9 out of 10 score.

Final Destination, American Movie (2000)

Death comes in many forms. One thing is for sure: at one point your number will come up. I’m just glad I don’t know when that moment will arrive, nor would I ever want to know. There are people who believe that time is pretty much set, and you don’t have any influence on it whatsoever. I for one believe that’s partly true. I could go and try to jump out of a plane without using a parachute, but I guess than it’s pretty much a given that I would not survive the attempt. But that would mean I would have to get over my fear of flying, in order to enter a plane in the first place. So yeah, no chance of that ever happening. Okay, that’s enough of these morbid thoughts let’s get on to something more cheerful, shall we? How about a review for a horrormovie about death? Erm…wait….

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You did see that big fireball up in the air right?

What’s better than learning French in class? Well how about a schooltrip to Paris? And that’s exactly what highschool student Alex is about to do, together with the rest of his class. Arriving at the airport he boards the plane that will take him and his fellow classmates to the city of romance, flight 180. But then when he has just taken his seat, he experiences a terrifying vision. In this vision he sees the plane explode right after take off leaving no survivors. The experience was so real that he tries to leave the plane in horror. This ofcourse causes quite the commotion and eventually six other students together with a teacher exit the plane together with Alex. They are forced to stay behind by the airline, and flight 180 leaves for Paris. It doesn’t come very far however as the horrifying vision Alex had, becomes a reality and the plane explodes in mid air. Both relieved but also in total shock that they survived and basically cheated death, the survivors try to pick up their lives as best they can. But it seems death doesn’t take kindly to being cheated, as one by one they begin to die…….

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Erm, you do know that lipstick is supposed to on your lips, not on the rest of your face right?

I had a blast watching this movie again. Although it is not as big a classic as the other movies that I have so far been featuring in my Countdown to Halloween series, it’s still a highly enjoyable movie that will entertain most lovers of teen slasher films. I thought the concept of the film was pretty original. You sometimes hear about certain miracles that happen in real life with people surviving disasters or walking away from accidents, that under normal circumstances should have left them dead. Final Destination is of course taking things into the extreme zone, but that’s why we call this a movie in the first place. One of the things we watch films like these for, and please don’t deny that, is seeing these teens die in horrifying and inventive ways. And yes I do know how that sounds. Luckily Final Destination serves that up, and then some, but it is also pretty refreshing that it never gets really gory. The death scenes are certainly gruesome, but the red stuff doesn’t explode in fountains across your television screen.

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And erm, I’m also pretty sure that knives are not supposed to go in there either.

The cast of the movie is made up of your stereotype bunch of teens, or in other words actors and actresses that were much older at the time but still looked young enough to pass as teenagers. That said, the acting certainly isn’t bad, and a cut above the normal level for these kind of movies. Ali Larter is probably the best known actress from the film, as she has since gone on to play in several other horrormovies including the Resident Evil series. In Final Destination she plays Clear Rivers, the love interest for Alex, and she would also return for the second installment. She was the character in this film that I had the most sympathy for. The rest of the survivors were all pretty self centered but she at least had a bit of depth and some back story to her. Also worthy of note is a small, but highly entertaining role for veteran actor Tony “Candyman” Todd. His sinister voice and natural creepyness are always a joy to watch, and in this film that was no exception.

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Cleaning a bathtub can be a dangerous job.

The Franchise

From all the franchises that are featured in this special Halloween series of blog posts, this is the one with the least amount of parts. Final Destination went on to produce four more sequels until death finally called it quits. There have been rumors for a sixth installment for a while now, but nothing really concrete has so far emerged for that. The sequels all featured variations on the first film, with a big disaster occuring at the beginning of the movie, and a couple of teens escaping from that at the last second. I honestly have to say that the sequels were not bad. The fourth part for me was the overall weakest of the bunch, but the rest of them were actually quite entertaining. I especially liked the ending of part five, that featured a really cool twist. As usual though, the gorelevel rises a bit in the sequels, but it never reaches Saw-like levels thankfully. A trademark of the series is of course making you think twice about doing certain things, or exploiting a fear you might have had already. I am not a big fan of roller coasters for instance, but after seeing the opening scene of part three, I think most people will give them a pass. I have included the scene below for your viewing pleasure 😀

The Verdict

So there we have it. As they say, all good things must come to an end, and we have almost reached it for my Halloween series. But there is still one more movie to come, namely the John Carpenter classic Halloween. That one will be coming up next week. Let’s not forget the verdict for Final Destination though. As mentioned this movie may not be such a timeless classic, but it is actually quite a good horrormovie. With a fun storyline, pretty decent acting, and a couple of awesome deathscenes you could definitely find worse movies out there. If you like films such as Scream or I know what you did Last Summer, this one can be added blindly to that list. So over to you! Have you seen the movies from this franchise? Do you have any favorites? Or perhaps even a favorite deathscene? Let me know in the comments section below. As always, thank you for reading and see you at the next post!

I give Final Destination a 8 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.

Saw, American movie (2004)

And…..we’re off! This is the first part of The Countdown to Halloween special feature,  where I review a classic horrorfilm of a franchise that has at least had 5 or more parts. The Saw movie franchise has a terrifying reputation, and admittedly it deserves this. Decribed by many as torture porn, the films feature increasingly brutal and horrifying ways where people get maimed and killed. I can’t really argue with that, but more on that later. But what a lot of people don’t know, or might even have forgotten, is that the first Saw film did not really focus on this. It certainly contained horror elements, but it was more of a thriller along the lines of movies such as Silence of the Lambs and Seven. And even more important is that it featured a very good script, with some nailbiting sequences.

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Erm……yeah you don’t have to look so surprised. This movie is called Saw. 

Just imagine the scene: the lights turn on and reveal a very filthy room where two men are chained by their ankles to the wall. In between them lies the corpse of a man who seems to have committed suicide by blowing his brains out. Who put them there, and more importantly: why? It soon becomes clear that the pair have become the victims of the sadistic Jigsaw serial killer. Although technically he can’t really be called a killer, as all of the people he kidnapped eventually killed themselves. Every single person that has been captured by him, gets put into a situation where they have to complete certain things in order to save themselves. But these are no ordinary things, and often involve really stomache churning traps or tasks they have to perform in order to escape. The men in the room have to start working together if they have any chance of getting out of the room alive. But trust is hard to come by, and there seems to be more of a connection between the two than either of them realise. With time running out, will the two of them become the next victim of Jigsaw, or will they be able to solve the puzzle……?

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This takes shutting someone up to the next level. 

One of the hardest things to realise in any movie is a good ending. I have seen plenty of films that got ruined by a horrible finale that truly made the entire movie a waste of time. Saw however, has a twist at the end that you will never see coming. I remember my jaw dropping to the floor the first time I had seen that ending. Yes, it really was that good, and it still ranks as one of the best endings that I have ever seen for a movie. And trust me when I say that I have seen quite a number of films. As mentioned this first Saw movie really is more of a thriller and doesn’t feature the gore that the franchise became so infamous for in later installments. There are certainly a couple of bloody scenes, and this is where the horror elements come in, but it never gets especially horrific. That is why this film can be enjoyed by people who like thrillers, but don’t like being grossed out by a lot of ketchup that splatters everywhere.

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Sometimes you just want to lay down and die. 

The actors in this film give decent enough performances though none of them are Oscar worthy. But they are good enough, and that is what counts. Veteran actor Danny Glover, who most people will know from the Lethal Weapon series, plays the part of a cop that has become obsessed by finding Jigsaw. So obsessed in fact that he pretty much loses all sense of everyone around him, and almost doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process. Actor Tobin Bell plays Jigsaw, and that role could not have been cast any more perfectly. His natural creepy charisma, together with his chilling voice, give life to a terrifying but equally fascinating movie villain. Though his part in this first movie is admittedly minimal, a fact that would change in the sequels.

The Saw franchise

As with most horrormovies sequels are hard to pull off, especially if the first one was such a strong movie. It also usually involves turning the things that made the original such a great watch, into something more bloody and gory. And never was this any more true than with Saw. The first sequel kept things relatively mild, but with part 3 things really went downhill…..fast. After the first part, Saw spawned 6 sequels with the last installment dating back to 2010. One of the strongest points of these movies is that the twists at the end were still usually very cool. Except for the last part which was really a horrible film, and had an ending that you could see coming from a mile away. But I won’t lie to you, the sequels are downright nasty. They feature seriously gory scenes, and I can understand that most people get turned off by them. For me the entire franchise is a bit of a guilty pleasure. I liked the traps that got more eleborate with every sequel made, and I still enjoyed most of the scripts for the films.

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This image sums up the feelings most people have for the sequels. 

 

This year Saw returns with part 8, and it will be interesting to see in what direction the franchise will go. I personally hope it returns to the thriller aspect of the original and will feature less gore. The first trailer, which I have included down below, looks promising enough, and I guess we just have to wait and see if this will turn the series back on the right track.

 

The verdict

The first Saw movie is just simply put, a classic in the horrorgenre. Every fan of horror or really good thrillers should see this film at least once in his or her life. While it certainly won’t please everyone, I do think that most people will enjoy the film, and don’t get me started again on that twist at the end. So, I guess that’s it for part 1 of this special feature. The next movie in this 5 part series will be the original Friday the 13th film. And now it’s over to you! Have you seen the first Saw movie? What did you think of the franchise in general? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

I give Saw a 9 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.