Showing posts with label videogame adaptation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label videogame adaptation. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Review: First "MORTAL KOMBAT" Film Has Not Lost its Immortal Charm

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 50 of 2023 (No. 1939) by Leroy Douresseaux

Mortal Kombat (1995)
Running time:  101 minutes (1 hour, 41 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for non-stop martial arts action and some violence
DIRECTOR:  Paul Anderson
WRITER:  Kevin Droney (based on the video game created by Ed Boon and John Tobias)
PRODUCER:  Lawrence Kasanoff
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  John R. Leonetti (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Martin Hunter
COMPOSER:  George S. Clinton


Starring:  Robin Shou, Christopher Lambert, Linden Ashby, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Bridgette Wilson, Talisa Soto, Trevor Goddard, Chris Casamassa, Francois Petit, Keith H. Cooke, Steven Ho, Gregory McKinney, and the voices of Frank Welker, Ed Boon, and Kevin Michael Richardson

Mortal Kombat is a 1995 martial arts and action fantasy film directed by Paul W. S. Anderson.  It is the first film in the Mortal Kombat film franchise, and is based on the video game series, Mortal Kombat, which began in 1992.  Mortal Kombat the movie focuses on three martial artists who find themselves entered into a martial arts tournament that will decide the fate of Earth.

Mortal Kombat opens in the dreams of Liu Kang (Robin Shou), a former Shaolin monk.  Kang dreams of the death of his brother, Chan (Steven Ho), at the hands of Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), a powerful sorcerer.  Now, Kang is determined to avenge his brother's death, and to do this, his most enter the tournament, Mortal Kombat.

Mortal Kombat is a martial arts tournament that is held once every generation between the representatives of the realms of Earth and Outworld .  There have been nine previous editions of the tournament, and the realm of Earth has lost all of them.  If the warriors of Earth lose this tenth tournament, the realm of Outworld and its Emperor will invade the realm of Earth.

Although Kang's former comrades in “the Order of Light” are reluctant to have him represent them in the tournament, Lord Rayden (Christopher Lambert), the god of thunder and defender of the realm of Earth, believes Kang is the right choice.  In addition to Kang, Rayden has chosen two other entrants, Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby), a movie star who wants to prove that his martial arts skills are legitimate, and Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson), an American special forces operative, who is hunting another entrant in Mortal Kombat.  That would be Kano (Trevor Goddard), a criminal allied with Shang Tsung.

Kang, Cage, and Blade travel to Shang Tsung's island where they meet Princess Kitana (Talisa Soto), the Emperor's adopted daughter, who wants to ally with the Earth warriors.  With its strange rules, Tsung's weird warriors, and lurking danger, Mortal Kombat will test the warriors from the realm of Earth to their limits.

I first saw Mortal Kombat when it was initially released to theaters in August 1995.  I liked the movie, but at the time, I was not overwhelmed by it.  I do remember it fondly because I saw it with coworker who was a fellow college student and also a dear friend for many years.  Since then, I have grown fond of Mortal Kombat, and I have wondered why over the years.

The Mortal Kombat video game and subsequent film adaptation are hugely influenced by the legendary Bruce Lee's classic 1973 martial arts film, Enter the Dragon.  There seems to be some kind of mental and dream time connection in my mind and imagination between this first Mortal Kombat film and Enter the Dragon, which is one of my all-time favorite films.  [However, I have only watched the 1997 sequel, Mortal Kombat Annihilation, in its entirety once, and I have not seen the 2021 franchise reboot, Mortal Kombat.]

Mortal Kombat is by no means perfect.  Some of the dialogue is stiff, and is made stiffer by the actors' deliveries, especially in the case of Bridgette Wilson as Sonya Blade and Linden Ashby as Johnny Cage.  However, the two aren't always bad, and I find them rather likable.  Christopher Lambert is unfortunate as Lord Rayden, I'm sad to say; everything about his character is forced and contrived.  Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa is over the top and melodramatic as Shang Tsung, but I really dig his performance and his character.  I think there isn't enough of Tagawa's Shang Tsung.

The two best things about Mortal Kombat 1995 are Robin Shou as Liu Kang and the film's soundtrack.  Shou, an underutilized Hong Kong-born actor, is magnetic as Kang, and Shou is the one that makes the film more than just a standard martial arts/action-fantasy film.  Mortal Kombat also features The Immortals' single, “Techno-Syndrome,” with its signature yell of “Mortal Kombat!”  It lifts this movie any time a few strains of it are played, and the music certainly creates a sense of anticipation for me.

So Mortal Kombat is by no means a great film; it may even be a mediocre film.  For me, however, it seems to get better each time I watch it.  I think I hear the opening notes of “Techno-Sydrome” now.  “MORTAL KOMBAT!”

7 of 10
★★★½ out of 4 stars

Monday, December 4, 2023

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Comics Review: "DEAD BY DAYLIGHT #1" Starts the Fire


STORY: Nadia Shammas
ART: Dillon Snook
COLORS: Emilio Lecce
LETTERS: AndWorld Design's LAME
EDITOR: Phoebe Hedges
COVER: Ivan Tao
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Chris Shehan; Game Over; Lenka Simeckova; Dillon Snook; Jae Lee
32pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (June 2023); On Sale: June 14, 2023

Suggested for mature readers

Dead by Daylight is a survival horror online game that debuted in 2016.  It is a one-versus-four game in which one player takes on the role of a “Killer,” and the other four play as “Survivors.”  The killing is apparently meant to appease a malevolent force known as “the Entity,” the ruler of the realm in which the game is set.

Titan Comics is launching a comic book adaptation, entitled Dead by Daylight, which is a prequel to the game.  It is written by Nadia Shammas; drawn by Dillon Snook; colored by Emilio Lecce; and lettered by AndWorld Design's LAME.

Dead by Daylight #1 opens in 1994 in the forgotten town of Ormond.  Foster kid Frank Morrison is the new kid in town, placed with another asshole foster parent who really doesn't want to care or do much for him.  The first day of school lands him a new friend, Julie, and that connects him to more new friends, such as Julie's sister, Susie, and their friend, Joey.

The four discover that they actually work as a quartet, and soon they're tearing up the town.  But what will come of the chaos they have unleashed on the sleepy, dead-end town of Ormond?

THE LOWDOWN:  Titan Comics has been providing me with PDF copies of their publications for review for several years now.  I don't often take advantage of that, but I am with this new number one issue, Dead by Daylight #1.

Writer Nadia Shammas has scripted a nice first issue that has lots of interesting bits.  Frank, Julie, Susie, and Joey really seem to fit as a group, and Shammas makes them surprisingly likable.  Artist Dillon Snook creates an atmosphere infused to the hilt with intrigue.  There is something dark, but attractive in old Ormond, and Snook's graphical storytelling makes me want to know more.

I didn't know what to expect of Dead by Daylight #1.  I'm not even sure that I'd heard of the video game prior to this comic book, but I can say, dear readers, that I will come back for the second issue.  I've been nicely set up by this debut issue's set-up.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of comic book adaptations of video games will want to try Dead by Daylight.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

YouTube trailer for Dead by Daylight is here.

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.




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Friday, April 22, 2022

Review: Super Sonic VFX and Humor Drive "SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 25 of 2022 (No. 1837) by Leroy Douresseaux

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022)
Running time:  122 minutes (2 hours, 2 minutes)
MPAA – PG for action, some violence, rude humor, and mild language
DIRECTOR:  Jeff Fowler
WRITERS:  Pat Casey & Josh Miller and John Whittington; based on a story by Pat Casey & Josh Miller
PRODUCERS:  Toby Ascher, Neal H. Moritz, Toru Nakahara, and Hitoshi Okuno
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Brandon Trost (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Jim May
COMPOSER: Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL)


Starring:  James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, Adam Pally, Shemar Moore, Lee Majdoub, Tom Butler; Ben Schwartz, Colleen O'Shaughnessey, Idris Elba, and Jim Carrey

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a 2022 action-adventure, fantasy and comedy film directed by Jeff Fowler.  The film is based on the Japanese video game series and media franchise that was created and is owned by the Sega Corporation and which began with the 1991 Sega Genesis game, Sonic the Hedgehog.  The film is also a direct sequel to the 2020 film, Sonic the Hedgehog.  Sonic the Hedgehog 2 pits the titular character and his archenemy in a race to obtain an all-powerful jewel.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 opens several months after the events depicted in Sonic the Hedgehog.  The mad scientist, Dr. Robotnik, also known as “Eggman” (Jim Carrey), is still trapped on the mushroom planet.  As luck would have it, his schemes to escape the planet draw the attention of Knuckles the Echidna (voice of Idris Elba), an anthropomorphic red echidna (a spiny anteater) warrior who possesses superhuman strength.

Meanwhile, Robotnik and Knuckles mutual adversary, Sonic the Hedgehog (voice of Ben Schwartz), is living in Seattle as the superhero, “Blue Justice.”  However, Sonic, an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog who can run at supersonic speeds, is not really good at being a superhero.  Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie Wachowski (Tika Sumpter) adopted Sonic as their son, and Tom, as his father, advises Sonic to remain patient for the day his power will be needed.  Then, he and Maddie leave for Hawaii for the wedding of Maddie's sister, Rachel (Natasha Rothwell).

That leaves Sonic home alone for some fun, and he is having fun until Robotnik and Knuckles arrive, with the latter immediately attacking him.  Knuckles turns out to be a formidable fighter, and he also desires to honor his extinct tribe.  To do so, he must find the legendary “Master Emerald,” an ancient relic that allows anyone who possesses it to bend reality to their will.  Knuckles not only believes that the emerald is on Earth, but also that Sonic knows its secret location.

Sonic is rescued by Miles “Tails” Prower (voice of Colleen O'Shaughnessey), an anthropomorphic, two-tailed, yellow fox who idolizes Sonic and came to warn him about Knuckles.  Tails can fly by spinning his tails like a helicopter's blades.  Now, Sonic and Tails are on a race to keep Robotnik and Knuckles from locating the Master Emerald.  But can Sonic keep his parents, Tom and Maddie, from getting involved, and is that the right thing to do?

I have not seen the first film, Sonic the Hedgehog, and I had no intentions of watching it.  So, I also had no plans on seeing Sonic the Hedgehog 2, but then, my niece asked to me to take her to the theater to see it, as she did not want to wait for it to stream on Paramount+.  Because she rarely asks me to take her to the movies and because she usually turns down my offers to take her when I'm going, I (reluctantly) agreed to see Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with her.

I must say that Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is much better than I thought it would be.  I must be honest and admit that early in the movie, I dozed off several times – because I was tired and it had already been a long day.  However, Sonic's second live-action film has many exciting scenes, and the special effects and CGI are really good.  Sonic the Hedgehog may be a kids' movie, but the visual effects (VFX) are as a good as most big event, tent pole movies made for adults.  Soon, I was into it, pretty much enthralled by the impressive VFX.

The character animation is top notch.  Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are obviously CGI and animated characters, but the character animation gives them personality and character.  They don't look like stuffed animals with weird eyes that have come to life.  The voice acting is quite good, with Colleen O'Shaughnessey making Tails see like a real hero-worshiping boy who finally meets his idol, and Idris Elba sounds all tough guy as Knuckles.  Ben Schwartz brings Sonic to life as a fully developed film character.  Schwartz makes Sonic's doubts and dilemmas seem genuine, and Sonic's exuberance and Schwartz's voice performance shine through the narrative.  Here, Sonic is more movie star than video game character.

As for Jim Carrey, he is what he usually is as an actor:  the good, the bad, and ugly of a performer in constant over-the-top mode.  The rest of the live-action cast makes the best of their roles with James Marsden and Tika Sumpter seeming like real parents in love with their alien child.  Natasha Rothwell, as Maddie's sister, Rachel, is quite good at stealing scenes.

So after saying all that, it is obvious that I like Sonic the Hedgehog 2.  But will I see the first film...?

6 of 10
★★★ out of 4 stars

Friday, April 22, 2022

The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Review: "MONSTER HUNTER" Offers Great Subterranean Monsters... Nothing Else

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 26 of 2021 (No. 1764) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Monster Hunter (2020)
Running time: 103 minutes (1 hour, 43 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of creature action and violence throughout
DIRECTOR:  Paul W.S. Anderson
WRITER:  Paul W.S. Anderson (based on upon the Capcom's video game, Monster Hunter)
PRODUCERS:  Paul W.S. Anderson, Dennis Berardi, Jeremy Bolt, Robert Kulzer, and Martin Moszkowicz
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Glen MacPherson (D.o.P)
EDITOR:  Doobie White
COMPOSER:  Paul Haslinger


Starring: Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, Ron Perlman, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Diego Boneta, Meagan Good, Josh Helman, Jin Au-Yeung, Hirona Yamazaki, Jannick Schümann, Nanda Costa, Nic Rasenti, and Aaron Beelner (voice)

Monster Hunter is a 2020 fantasy action film from director Paul W. S. Anderson.  The film is based on Monster Hunter, the Capcom video game for the PlayStation 2.  Monster Hunter the film follows an Army Ranger transported to another world where she must fight monsters in order to survive.

Monster Hunter opens in “our world,” the world of humans, and introduces Captain Artemis (Milla Jovovich), who leads a U.S. Army Rangers unit that is working for the United Nations Joint Security Operations.  Artemis and her team:  Lincoln (Tip “T.I.” Harris), Marshall (Diego Boneta), Dash (Meagan Good), Steeler (Josh Helman), and Axe (Jin Au-Yeung) are searching for another U.N. security team that is missing.  A strange and sudden storm pulls the team into a portal that drops them into a desert-like region of the “New World.”  In this New World, humans share the world with a variety of large and savage monsters and strange beasts.

Once in the New World, Artemis and her team are attacked by “Diablos,” a horned subterranean monster that can not only walk on sand, but can also swim through the sand like it was water.  Soon, Artemis finds herself alone with a New World human, whom she names “Hunter” (Tony Jaa).  Artemis and Hunter grudgingly agree to cooperate in order to defeat the seemingly unbeatable Diablos.  But if they escape this monster, what else awaits them and how can Artemis get back to our world?

I had never heard of the Monster Hunter video game until I read a volume of the Monster Hunter manga adaptation that is published in English in North America by VIZ Media.  The main reason that I watched this Monster Hunter film is because of the husband-wife team of filmmaker Paul W.S. Anderson and actress Milla Jovovich.  Jovovich was the star of the Resident Evil film series, and Anderson wrote and produced all six films in the series and directed four of them.  I am a fan of the Resident Evil series (which is also based on a videogame) overall, and I hoped that Anderson and Jovovich could create another fantasy-action movie series that I could enjoy.  I hoped...

I have mixed feelings about this Monster Hunter movie.  The visual effects, especially the CGI used to create the monsters and creatures of the New World are fantastic.  Diablos is a monster both fearsome and beautiful, and it could be the star of its own movie.  The spider-like Nerscyllas had my heart racing; they are creepy and bloodcurdling.  The dragon-like Rathalos is another great beast in the film and reminds me of the film version of the dragon, Smaug, that appeared in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit films.  Rathalos is also a CGI creation of exceptional beauty and awesomeness.

The action sequences are good, but they all seem to run a little long.  Killing the Monster Hunter monsters is like killing horror film villains, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees.  Every time, you knock them down, they pop up less than half a minute later.  I get that the monsters of Monster Hunter are supposed to be hard to destroy, but sometimes it seems as if the filmmakers are stretching it all past the point of credulity.

What really hurts Monster Hunter is the awful acting and crappy characters.  I can deal with bad acting in this kind of movie, but not characters this bad.  All the characters, even Artemis, are little more than props to be tossed around and chewed up by monsters.  I think that the reason I like Monster Hunter's monsters so much is because I prefer time with them rather than screen time with these wooden, personality-absent characters.  Making Milla Jovovich's Artemis and Tony Jaa's Hunter the center of this film was a mistake.  They don't have screen chemistry, and every moment that they are together screams that they are a mismatched pair.

The rating and grade that I am giving Monster Hunter is for the visual effects and production design.  It's too bad.  I wanted this to be the start of a film series, and should there be a sequel, the film studios and production companies involved will have to do a major overhaul of the characters and cast.

5 of 10

Sunday, March 7, 2021

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter" is a Fine "Final" Chapter

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 9 (of 2017) by Leroy Douresseaux

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: France/Canada/Germany/Australia
Running time:  106 minutes (1 hour, 46 minutes)
MPAA – R for sequences of violence throughout
DIRECTOR:  Paul W.S. Anderson
WRITER:  Paul W.S. Anderson (based upon the video game, Resident Evil)
PRODUCERS:  Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Samuel Hadida, and Robert Kulzer
EDITOR:  Doobie White
COMPOSER:  Paul Haslinger


Starring:  Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken, Fraser James, Ruby Rose, Lee Joon Gi, Mark Simpson, and Ever Anderson

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is a 2017 science fiction, action, and horror film from writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson.  It is the sixth installment in the film franchise based upon the Capcom survival horror video game series, Resident Evil.  This film is a direct sequel to the fifth movie, Resident Evil: Retribution.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter opens with a history of the Umbrella Corporation, its founder, Dr. James Marcus (Mark Simpson), and his daughter, Alicia Marcus (Ever Anderson), a girl dying of premature aging.  This company and the father and his daughter are the catalysts for the creation of the “T-virus,” which creates a plague that has turned most humans into the flesh-eating zombies.

Three weeks after the events depicted in Resident Evil: Retribution, Alice (Milla Jovovich) awakens in the ruins of Washington D.C.  While searching the city, Alice is contacted by her nemesis, the Red Queen (Ever Anderson), who has an offer for Alice.  If she returns to the site of Raccoon City, where the T-virus plague began, Alice will find an airborne anti-virus that will kill every organism infected with the T-virus.  Standing in her way is Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen), co-owner of the Umbrella Corporation, and the fact that Alice's body also contains the T-virus.

I wouldn't quite say that Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is “saving the best for last,” but it is as good as the original 2002 film and the 2010 fourth film, Resident Evil: Afterlife, the two previous high water marks in the Resident Evil film series.  This new film is visually close to Resident Evil: Apocalypse (the second film) and Retribution, but, in terms of Alice as an action hero, is like Resident Evil: Extinction (the third film).

If I am honest with you, dear reader, I have to admit that I really enjoyed Resident Evil: The Final Chapter because it is an Alice-kick-butt movie.  It's stripped-down and lean-and-mean, even with all its CGI set pieces.  The film focuses on Alice kicking butt and killing with her guns, knives, hands, and anything she can turn into a weapon of individual destruction.  There are supporting characters, like Ali Larter's Claire Redfield, but this is not the ensemble film that most of the previous films were (to one extent or another).  I like this film's mostly tight focus on Jovovich/Alice, and it seems as if this was really the first time that we saw Alice's potential play out fully.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson's love letter to fans of this film series, especially those of us who have loved every minute of Milla Jovovich as Alice.  Even when the Resident Evil movies were not at their best, Jovovich was always in fine form.  I guess one might say that Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is also Anderson's love letter to Jovovich, who has been his wife since 2009.  As far as I'm concerned, I would like more Anderson-Jovovich love letters.

7 of 10

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The text is copyright © 2017 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for reprint or syndication rights and fees.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Dark Horse Rolls Out "World of Tanks" Comic Books

Wargaming and Dark Horse Comics Form Alliance to Publish Epic “World of Tanks: Roll Out!” Comic Book Series

Garth Ennis and Carlos Ezquerra Unite for Ultimate Tanker Tale

MILWAUKIE, OR— Wargaming, the award-winning online game developer and publisher of the globally successful World of Tanks combat series, today announced a partnership with comic book publisher Dark Horse Comics. This agreement will see the creation and publication of the “World of Tanks: Roll Out!” comic book series inspired by the hit video game with over 120 million registered players globally. “World of Tanks: Roll Out!” will be a five issue series, rolling into comic book stores across the US and European territories and digital distribution in the fall of 2016.

“World of Tanks: Roll Out!” will be written by fan-favorite Garth Ennis (Preacher, War Stories, The Punisher), who brings a unique, historically-informed approach to tell a hard-hitting war tale focused on the daring tank crews of  World War II. The legendary Carlos Ezquerra (Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, War Stories Vol. 2) will bring his decades of skill to depict the tanks of WWII and the men who commanded them. Covers will be gorgeously illustrated by Isaac Hannaford (HALO: Reach, The Punisher) and will burst with all the intense tank-on-tank combat to be found in the pages of “World of Tanks: Roll Out!”

World of Tanks: Roll Out!” is set during the tank battles of the summer 1944, featuring British versus German armored units in post D-Day Normandy. It’s the German Panthers vs. British Cromwells, as the British tankers push deeper into France and toward the might of the Germans.

“World of Tanks: Roll Out!” comic issue #1 will be available digitally in the fall of 2016 in comic book shops across North America and Europe, and will follow a monthly cadence of release for five issues of brutal tank combat.

World of Tanks (PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Mobile) is the first free-to-play massively multiplayer online action game dedicated to armored warfare. With hundreds of vehicles from a variety of countries at your disposal, the path to victory is achieved through team work, strategy and expert combat skill.

About Wargaming
Wargaming is an award-winning online game developer and publisher and one of the leaders in the free-to-play MMO market. Founded as a privately held company in 1998, Wargaming has shipped more than 15 titles. Currently, Wargaming is focused on its team-based MMO war series dedicated to the mid-20th century warfare that will include the armored World of Tanks, the flight combat World of Warplanes, and the naval World of Warships. The three intertwined titles will form a common gaming universe integrated within the portal
As part of its multiplatform line-up, the company has introduced World of Tanks on Xbox and World of Tanks Blitz on mobiles, tablets and Windows 10 PCs. Launched in 2014 and 2015, World of Tanks on Xbox introduced epic tank-on-tank battles to console gamers and offers the first cross-platform gaming experience between Xbox 360 and Xbox One. In 2016, Wargaming released World of Tanks for Sony’s PlayStation®4, continuing its console campaign.

About Dark Horse
For 30 years, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. Founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson, the company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent, such as Eric Powell, Mike Mignola, Geof Darrow, Brian Wood, Gail Simone, Stan Sakai, and Guillermo del Toro, and comics legends, such as Will Eisner, Milo Manara, Kazuo Koike, Neil Gaiman and Frank Miller, Dark Horse has developed its own successful properties, such as The Mask, Ghost, X and Barb Wire. Its successful line of comics, manga and products based on popular properties includes Dragon Age, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, Tomb Raider, Halo, The Witcher, Serenity, Game of Thrones, and Avatar: The Last Airbender. Today Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic book publisher in the US and is recognized as one of the world’s leading entertainment publishers.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Dark Horse Announces "Halo: Tales from Slipspace"

Dark Horse Announces All-New Halo Anthology

Collection of new stories based on the epic Halo universe coming this fall

MILWAUKIE, OR—343 Industries and Dark Horse Comics are set to release a brand-new Halo® graphic novel anthology based on the massive video game franchise later this year.

Halo: Tales from Slipspace will feature all-new stories from some of the comic industry’s best—including Jonathan Wayshak, Eric Nguyen, Alex Irvine, Kody Chamberlain (writer/artist), Dave Crosland, John Jackson Miller, Jonathan Goff, Simon Roy, and Halo: Escalation writer Duffy Boudreau—as well as 343 Industries’ own Franchise Creative Director Frank O’Connor and Franchise Producer Tyler Jeffers. This action-packed anthology is essential reading for all Halo fans.

343 Industries and Dark Horse have also produced two blockbuster comics series with canonical story lines written by writers from the video game franchise (Halo: Initiation and Halo: Escalation) and will rerelease the graphic novel Halo: Fall of Reach in March.

Halo: Tales from Slipspace is in stores October 12, 2016.

The “Halo” Franchise:
Exclusively published by Microsoft Studios and developed by 343 Industries, the Halo franchise is an award-winning collection of properties, over $5 billion in worldwide sales to date, that has transcended video games and grown into a global entertainment phenomenon. Beginning with the original “Halo: Combat Evolved” (2001), the critically acclaimed and record-shattering series of games has reinvented how people think about video games and has since built a fanbase of millions worldwide and inspired multiple New York Times best-selling novels, a live-action digital series, comic books, action figures, apparel and more.

About 343 Industries:
343 Industries is the developer of the blockbuster “Halo” series of video games and, as part of Microsoft Studios, oversees the “Halo” franchise, including games, original programming, novels, comics, licensed collectibles, apparel and more. The studio launched “Halo 5: Guardians” on Oct. 27, 2015 and is currently developing “Halo Wars 2,” while continuing to transform entertainment experiences across the “Halo” universe with groundbreaking projects, including an upcoming Steven Spielberg produced television series.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: "Batman: Assault on Arkham" One of Best Batman Films

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 6 (of 2015) by Leroy Douresseaux

Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014) – Video
Running time: 76 minutes (1 hour, 16 minutes)
Rated: MPAA – PG-13 for violence, sexual content and language
DIRECTORS:  Jay Oliva and Ethan Spaulding   
WRITER:  Heath Corson
COMPOSER:  Robert J. Kral
EDITOR:  Christopher D. Lozinsk
ANIMATION STUDIO:  Moi Animation Studios


Starring:  (voices) Kevin Conroy, Neal McDonough, Hynden Walch, Matthew Gray Gubler, CCH Pounder, Troy Baker, Chris Cox, John DiMaggio, Greg Ellis, Giancarlo Esposito, Jennifer Hale, Christian Lanz, Nolan North, Martin Jarvis, and Andrea Romano

Batman: Assault on Arkham is a 2014 straight-to-video animated superhero film from Warner Bros. Animation.  It is the 20th film in Warner's line of DC Universe original animated movies.  This film is set in the universe of the Batman: Arkham video game franchise, and occurs after the events depicted in Batman: Arkham Origins (2013).

Batman: Assault on Arkham, of course, features classic DC Comics character, Batman, but here, he is really a supporting character.  Assault on Arkham focuses on a new version of the Suicide Squad, in particular, squad members, Deadshot and Harley Quinn, who are Batman villains.  In Batman: Assault on Arkham the film, a team of six villains breaks into an infamous prison to recover vital information, but find the mission complicated by the inmates and Batman.

As Batman: Assault on Arkham opens, shadowy U.S. government operative, Amanda Waller (CCH Pounder), sends a black ops team to kill Batman villain, The Riddler ( Matthew Gray Gubler).  Batman (Kevin Conroy) rescues his old adversary and returns him to Arkham Asylum.  Determined to kill The Riddler and to recover the dangerous information he stole, Waller reforms “Task Force X” (also known as the Suicide Squad).

She kidnaps the super-criminals:  Deadshot (Neal McDonough), Harley Quinn (Hynden Walch), Black Spider (Giancarlo Esposito), Captain Boomerang (Greg Ellis), Killer Frost (Jennifer Hale), King Shark (John DiMaggio), and KGBeast (Nolan North).  Waller presses them into her service, even having bombs surgically implanted into their necks to force them to serve her in Suicide Squad.  The survivors of Waller's training sneak into Gotham City, where they will infiltrate Arkham Asylum.  Meanwhile, Batman races across Gotham to find a dirty bomb planted by The Joker (Troy Baker), who is currently imprisoned at Arkham, which will soon be the sight of a lot of action.

I think that if the team of directors Jay Oliva and Ethan Spaulding and also writer Heath Corson had been the brain trust behind some of the Batman live-action movies, those movies would have been much better than they were, that includes Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises (2012).  Batman: Assault on Arkham is one of the best original DC Comics animated movies to date and one of the best Batman media adaptations to date.

It is not a bad thing that the Suicide Squad are the stars of this movie, because the team is presented in a way that makes them perfectly capable of carrying a good movie.  It's starts with the writing.  Heath Corson's script summons forth a group of engaging characters that are every bit as interesting as Batman, and Corson imagines a scenario that allows each character to show his or her colorful side, both in words and in deeds.

Directors Jay Oliva and Ethan Spaulding build tension through the Arkham mission, forcing the characters to reveal much of themselves to the audience, as they try to survive and win.  The big action and fight scenes build naturally; they don't seem like bunches of conflict badly sewn together to evoke de facto titillation in the audience.  Of course, as a work of fiction, this is contrived.  However, there is a sequence that begins on a helicopter and moves from Arkham to Gotham, and includes the “Batplane.”  This sequence seems like a logical extension of the drama and does not come across as something forced for the sake of creating a big chase scene.

The voice acting is truly good; these are fine performances.  Kevin Conroy, the classic Batman voice actor since “Batman: The Animated Series” (1992), reminds us why it is a special occasion to hear him as the Dark Knight and why many fans always want him to be Batman's voice.  However, in this film, Neal McDonough is the standout as Deadshot, and with a powerful deliver, full of character colors, he is the actual lead in this movie.

Hynden Walch is slinky goodness as Harley Quinn, and Troy Baker is pitch-perfect as the Joker.   CCH Pounder is a noted character actor and supporting actress, and she has also done some fine voice-over acting, which shows in her delicious and thugged-out turn as Amanda Waller.

Wow!  Can a brother get a sequel – from the same team?  If not, at least, we have Batman: Assault on Arkham.  It is an assault on any mediocre Batman media.

9 of 10

Monday, January 26, 2015

The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Mad Max" Game Speeds into 2013 Comic-Con International

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment invites you to get into the Mad Max game at San Diego Comic-con. Delve into the upcoming open world, third-person action game, based on the iconic road warrior, in the form of several Wasteland-worthy activities.



· This replica of Max’s legendary car is ready for photo opps and ideal for sharing on social media to intimidate rival gangs of desert marauders.

o Corner of Park Boulevard and Tony Gwynn Drive near PetCo Park

· Inside the convention center, head to the Warner Bros. booth (#4545) on Friday, July 19 from 3-3:45 p.m. to meet DC Comics artist Shane Davis and get an autographed collector’s edition Motion Comic poster to display in your combat vehicle.

· Keep your eyes peeled for the Mad Max post-apocalyptic street team distributing special edition SDCC Mad Max posters featuring artwork by renowned comic book artist Shane Davis and Mad Max t-shirts.

· Come visit our gang of bandits and get a Wasteland Warrior look featuring tribal-style face painting and temporary tattoos.
o Corner of Park Boulevard and Tony Gwynn Drive near PetCo Park

· Become Mad Max and make your own story using official Mad Max images with the Skit! App for iOS.

WHEN: Thursday, July 18 through Sunday, July 21, 2013
Thursday - Saturday: 9:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Sunday: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

WHERE: Mad Max Activities:
Corner of Park Boulevard and Tony Gwynn Drive
San Diego, CA, near PetCo Park

Poster Signing:
Warner Bros. booth (#4545) on Friday, July 19 from 3-3:45 p.m.

B-ROLL: Epic new Mad Max gameplay trailer:

ABOUT: In development by Avalanche Studios, Mad Max is an open world, third-person action game where players become Mad Max, a lone warrior in a savage post-apocalyptic world where cars are the key to survival.  Mad Max is scheduled for a 2014 release on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC. For more information visit You can also find Mad Max on Facebook, Twitter (#MadMaxGame), and YouTube.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: "Resident Evil: Retribution" is OK


TRASH IN MY EYE No. 4 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada/Germany; Language: English
Running time: 96 minutes (1 hour, 36 minutes)
MPAA – R for sequences of strong violence throughout
DIRECTOR: Paul W.S. Anderson
WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson (based upon the videogame, Resident Evil)
PRODUCERS: Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Don Carmody, Samuel Hadida, and Robert Kulzer
EDITOR: Niven Howie
COMPOSER: tomandandy


Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Aryana Engineer, Bingbing Li, Johann Urb, Kevin Durand, Oded Fehr, Robin Kasyanov, Ofilio Portillo, Colin Salmon, Shawn Roberts and Boris Kodjoe

Resident Evil: Retribution is a 2012 science fiction-action film. It is the fifth installment in the film franchise based upon the Capcom survival horror video game series, Resident Evil. This film is a direct sequel to the fourth movie, Resident Evil: Afterlife.

After the events depicted in Afterlife, Alice (Milla Jovovich) finds herself in the clutches of the Umbrella Corporation and being interrogated by her former ally, Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory). Alice isn’t sure what is real, as she starts encountering old allies like Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) and Rain Ocampo (Michelle Rodriguez).

Even more surprising, an enemy claims to be a friend and declares that he has already initiated a plan to free Alice from the clutches of Umbrella. Alice is trapped in Umbrella Prime, and a five-man strike team is coming to her rescue. More than just Alice’s life is at stake, however, as she becomes the guardian of a hearing-impaired little girl named Becky (Aryana Engineer). Now, Alice is determined that nothing stops her: not zombie hordes, Las Plagas zombies, monsters, or even lickers.

Over the years, I have read many movie reviews in which the writers described action movies, especially ones they didn’t like, as video game movies. Because it is based on a video game, Resident Evil: Retribution is a video game movie, but that’s not the only reason it is. With its fire-fights, hand-to-hand combat, car chases, shootouts, monsters, science fiction elements, and explosions, Resident Evil: Retribution is a video game doing a decent impersonation of an actual movie.

Retribution isn’t a bad movie, but the acting is poor. The script is confusing. The plot barely has a pulse. This movie is about something, but not much other than action scenes. So what is the plot? Alice has to escape? There is some human interest by throwing in a child that the female action hero must save, similar to the surrogate mother-daughter dynamic in James Cameron’s Aliens (1986).

Still, the action scenes are good, especially after the movie crawls out of the hole that is the first twenty minutes or so runtime. The special effects and fight choreography save a mediocre story. Visually, Resident Evil: Retribution is pretty, but it feels like an empty installment in what has been a good franchise.

5 of 10

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" is a Very Good Time at the Movies

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 97 (of 2010) by Leroy Douresseaux

Prince of Persia: The Sand of Time (2010)
Running time: 116 minutes (1 hour, 56 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action
DIRECTOR: Mike Newell
WRITERS: Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, and Carlo Bernard; from a screen story by Jordan Mechner (based upon the video game series "Prince of Persia" created by Jordan Mechner)
PRODUCER: Jerry Bruckheimer
EDITORS: Mick Audsley, Michael Kahn, and Martin Walsh
COMPOSER: Harry Gregson-Williams


Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Steve Toussaint, Toby Kebbell, Richard Coyle, Ronald Pickup, Reece Ritchie, Gísli Orn Garðarsson, and William Foster

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a film based upon the video game series, Prince of Persia, especially the 2003 video game, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Set in a mystical and mythical version of the Persian Empire, the film focuses on a fugitive prince and a young princess trying to stop a villain from unleashing a force that can change time and even destroy the world. And this is actually a very entertaining film that is part Raiders of the Lost Ark and part Robin Hood with a bit of The Mummy (1999) thrown into the happy mix.

The hero of this story is Prince Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), the youngest of the three Princes of Persia. Dastan was actually adopted into the royal family when he was a boy by King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup), the ruler of Persia. Dastan, along with his foster brothers, heir-to-the-throne Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell), and their uncle, Nizam (Ben Kingsley), invade the sacred city of Alamut, because it is supposedly selling weapons to Persia’s enemies. The celebration of their successful conquest of Alamut quickly turns sour when Dastan is accused of murder.

Trying to clear his name, Dastan goes on the run with Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton), the ruler of Alamut, and learns that the real murderer’s true goal is the Dagger of Time, which Tamina is supposed to protect. Dastan finds allies, of a sort, in a tax-averse, shady businessman named Sheik Amar (Alfred Molina) and his knife-throwing friend, an African named Seso (Steve Toussaint), and their men. The real murderer also has allies, a band of highly-skilled warriors and hired killers known as the Hassansins, and he orders them to slay Dastan.

Although I initially planned to see Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, I decided to avoid it because all the movie trailers for it made the movie look like an empty CGI-extravaganza with little or no story and wooden characters. Well, the plot is indeed simple; the story amounts to a bunch of chase scenes, fights, and rescues; and the characters are pretty shallow. But it works. Just like The Mummy, which had a simple plot and story, Prince of Persia is a fun ride through the desert. Prince of Persia’s characters aren’t as endearing as the feature players are in The Mummy. Still, I’d follow Dastan, the chatterbox Tamina, Sheik Amar and Seso again, if they went on another breathtaking mission to stop a bad guy and save life as we know it (especially if their adventures featured another lush score by Harry Gregson-Williams).

This movie is also easy on the eyes with its beautiful desert cities, extravagant backdrops, and lavish sets. The cast seems to be made of every known skin color and body type, and the costumes are dazzling and eclectic. No performance really stands out, but somehow, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Times works and works really well. It’s just fun to watch. It’s the kind of movie some of us will watch again and again on television.

7 of 10

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Review: "Resident Evil: Afterlife" is Quite Lively

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 75 (of 2010) by Leroy Douresseaux

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
Running time: 97 minutes (1 hour, 37 minutes)
MPAA – R for sequences of strong violence and language
DIRECTOR: Paul W.S. Anderson
WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson (based upon the videogame Resident Evil)
PRODUCERS: Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, and Samuel Hadida
EDITOR: Niven Howie
COMPOSER: tomandandy


Starring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Wentworth Miller, Kim Coates, Shawn Roberts, Boris Kodjoe, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Spencer Locke, Kacey Barnfield, Norman Yeung, Fulvio Cecere, and Sienna Guillory

Watching the opening act of Resident Evil: Afterlife, I found so many of the action scenes derivative of The Matrix trilogy and even the 2006 film, Ultraviolet, which features the star of the Resident Evil films, Milla Jovovich. But that’s okay; Inception “borrowed” from The Matrix and that did not affect the film’s box office or critical reception. [Afterlife was also released in 3D, but I saw it in traditional D.]

Anyway, Afterlife is the fourth movie in the film series based upon the Resident Evil videogame franchise. In Resident Evil, a pathogen called the “T-virus” escaped into the outside world and led to an apocalypse which turned most of humanity into Undead hordes. As Afterlife begins, Resident Evil heroine, Alice (Milla Jovovich) launches an assault against an Umbrella Corporation stronghold in Tokyo in an attempt to kill primary Resident Evil nemesis, Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts).

Then, Alice begins the search for the friends she made in the previous film, Resident Evil: Extinction, but she only finds Claire Redfield (Ali Larter). The promise of the safe haven known as Arcadia takes Alice and Claire to Los Angeles, where they find a small band of survivors, including a suspicious soldier (Wentworth Miller) and Luther West (Boris Kodjoe), a celebrity and former professional basketball player. The city, however, is overrun by thousands of Undead, and Alice wonders if she has flown into a trap.

As much as the Resident Evil films deal with cannibalism in the form of zombies eating humans, the franchise also cannibalizes other horror, science fiction, and science fiction/horror films. So much of Afterlife, like its predecessors, seems so familiar, that I often spend my time recognizing scenes in this film as being like scenes from other movies.

That’s OK. It doesn’t matter how derivative Afterlife is as long as viewers can enjoy it, and I enjoyed this one more than I enjoyed the other sequels. In fact, I found Afterlife to be the best since the first film in 2002.

Practically everything that writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson does in Afterlife, whether they are his own ideas or borrowed, look good. This is a movie full of well-staged action scenes, and Anderson buries his audience in enough tension and the anticipation of impending doom that they won’t be able to spend much time nitpicking. Plus, that pumping score and soundtrack from the delectable tomandandy make even Afterlife’s mundane moments seem like the height of drama.

One thing that is different in Afterlife is that Anderson’s script is laser-focused on the motivations of each and every character – from the main player, Alice, to a minor character named Wendell (Fulvio Cecere), who tries to turn Alice taking a shower into his own private peep show. Character motivation makes the action, drama, and plots matter, and when those matter, the audience is interested in what comes next.

Resident Evil: Afterlife offers plenty of cool fight scenes, horror movie gore, wicked monsters, etc., but this is also a horror survival movie that will make you care about the poor humans as much as you do the creatures and special effects. Cool, Resident Evil post-apocalypse finally meets character drama.

7 of 10

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Doom" is Promise Doomed

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 161 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Doom (2005)
Running time: 100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong violence/gore and language
DIRECTOR: Andrzej Bartkowiak
WRITERS: David Callaham and Wesley Strick; from a story by David Callaham
PRODUCERS: John Wells and Lorenzo di Bonaventura
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tony Pierce-Roberts
EDITORS: Derek Brechin, Peter Dansie, Chris Lloyd, and Toby Lloyd
Razzie Award nominee


Starring: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike, DeObia Oparei, Ben James, Razaaq Adoti, Richard Brake, Al Weaver, Dexter Fletcher, and Brian Steele

When something goes horrible wrong at the Olduvai Research Station on Mars, causing a Level 5 quarantine, the Rapid Response Tactical Squad, hardened Marines heavily armed with enough firepower to neutralize any kind of enemy (or so they think), head for the red planet. Arriving on Mars via the Ark portal (kind of like a stargate from the film Stargate and the TV series), the Marines, led by Gunnery Sergeant Asher “Sarge” Mahonin (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), seal off the portal and find the research facility in a state of panic.

The most important scientists that they came to rescue are dead and the one that is still alive, Samantha Grimm (Rosamund Pike), is actually the twin sibling of one of Sarge’s marines, John “Reaper” Grimm (Karl Urban), and Samantha claims not to know what happened to her colleagues. When Sarge and the RRTS begin trekking through the research installation’s countless halls and rooms, they find nightmarish creatures of unknown origin around almost every wall and corner.

Doom is the latest videogame translated to the movie screen, and in this action horror flick, macho clods with little acting talent or ability run around with big guns shooting at big ugly monsters. The film is like a low-rent version of Aliens, with its Space Marines battling the aliens, or Predator, with a covert action team fighting an alien monster in the jungles of Central America. Doom, however, isn’t nearly as entertaining as either of these movies, nor is the quality of the filmmaking in the same league. Doom isn’t even as good as the Resident Evil franchise.

Still, Doom is mildly entertaining, although it is incredible lame – yes, it is so badly made that it is physically handicapped. The writing is atrocious and the acting isn’t worth the effort of coming up with mean, clever things to say. The directing captures that horror movie atmosphere of the boogeyman around the corner. In fact, the monster reveals are quiet good; these creature jump out of the shadows with the flair of the best cinematic ghouls. Some of the attackers are even straight out of a George Romero movie, although I can’t understand why zombies and the living dead were so popular with game developers in the 1990’s.

I guess the film is enjoyable for what it is. Overlook the fact that this film is garbage, and you might enjoy this as a throwaway rental if you’re a guy, but don’t expect your lady friend to sit through this with you – even if she says she really loves you. This is a dog of a movie, not a “good” bad movie, but a “bad” bad movie. Doom is an FPS game, or first person shooter game, and the movie is meant to appeal to the 13-year old boy (or the 13-year old in the adult man) who would love to have a big gun. He can blast away at monsters that in turn explode in gory bursts when the bullets hit, and, of course, he won’t notice that the movie, like the FPS game, is short on story so it can be long on violence.

4 of 10

2006 Razzie Awards: “Worst Actor” (Dwayne Johnson)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Review: "Silent Hill" Movie is Creepy But Mediocre

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 97 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Silent Hill (2006)
Running time: 127 minutes (2 hours, 7 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong violence and gore, disturbing images, and some language
DIRECTOR: Christophe Gans
WRITER: Roger Avary
PRODUCERS: Don Carmody and Samuel Hadida
EDITOR: Sébastien Prangère


Starring: Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen, Alice Krige, and Jodelle Ferland

Rose Da Silva’s (Radha Mitchell) adopted daughter, Sharon (Jodelle Ferland), walks in her sleep and calls out the name “Silent Hill.” Rose discovers that Silent Hill is a town located in Toluca County, West Virginia. In fact, Silent Hill is very near Brahams, which is where the orphanage from which Sharon came is located. Against her husband, Chris’ (Sean Bean) wishes, Rose takes Sharon and races for Silent Hill. Meanwhile, she attracts the attention of Brahams Police Department motorcycle officer, Cybil Bennett (Laurie Holden).

Rose and Sharon, however, have an auto accident near the boundary of Silent Hill. Rose awakens to find herself bruised and Sharon missing, so Rose walks into the mist-enshrouded Silent Hill searching for daughter. However, Officer Bennett has also followed them to Silent Hill, and she finds herself in the same predicament Rose does – lost in a seemingly abandoned town that sometimes transforms into a decayed “otherworld” where Rose and Cybil are stalked by horrifying creatures that walk with a disturbingly jerky gait. The two women band together to find Sharon, but the mystery of Silent Hill only deepens when they finally encounter Silent Hill’s human inhabitants.

Silent Hill is based upon the popular horror survival video game of the same title (the first of five – as of this writing – was released in 1999). Horror survival video games usually have players battle an onslaught of undead (usually zombies and monsters) and other supernatural creatures. The best known of this genre is Resident Evil, which has also spawned two film versions. Director Christophe Gans (Le Pacte des Loups – The Brotherhood of the Wolf ) and writer Roger Avary (Quentin Tarantino’s co-writer on Pulp Fiction) have based this movie on the first two games in the series.

Half of the time, the narrative is vague, and those unfamiliar with the game will struggle to figure out what’s going on. The film is also way too long to be so vague; it’s a horrible film going experience to struggle for nearly an hour of the film’s running time not really understanding the concept or central idea. On the other hand, Silent Hill has a lot of superbly creepy atmosphere, and it bears more than a striking resemblance to the paintings and drawings of Clive Barker, a noted horror novelist who is not as well known as an artist. It’s not often that a movie so ably captures what it’s like to be trapped in a nightmare – knowing you have to wake up but you can’t escape the hideous and repulsive monsters your mind has created. Akira Yamaoka (who scored the game series) and Jeff Danna’s music for the film combines eerie synth notes and beats with random noises and sound effects to create the perfectly chilling horror flick score. However, for all its genuine chills, Silent Hill is ultimately a mediocre flick worth a rental. It could have been memorable, if only the filmmakers didn’t act as if all of us (video gamers and non gamers) should already know what’s going on before we take a seat in the local theatre.

4 of 10

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Review: "Resident Evil: Extinction" is More Apocalyptic

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 131 (of 2007) by Leroy Douresseaux

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
Running time: 95 minutes (1 hour, 35 minutes)
MPAA – R for not-stop violence, language, and some nudity
DIRECTOR: Russell Mulcahy
WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson
PRODUCERS: Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, and Robert Kulzer
EDITOR: Niven Howie

HORROR/ACTION/SCI-FI with elements of drama

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Iain Glen, Ali Larter, Ashanti, Christopher Egan, Spencer Locke, Matthew Marsden, John Eric Bentley, and Mike Epps

Following the events of Resident Evil: Apocalypse, the recent film, Resident Evil: Extinction, presents a world where only pockets of humanity scattered around the globe remain because the world has been overrun by flesh-eating zombies. Series heroine, Alice (Milla Jovovich), hides in the Nevada desert, traveling the lonely highways on a motorcycle. Fate forces her to rejoin her old comrades Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) and L.J. (Mike Epps) and a group of new survivors, including Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), K-Mart (Spencer Locke), and Nurse Betty (Ashanti). They’re all part of a lonely convoy of small trucks and one school bus, trying to evade the undead humans, who were turned into flesh eating zombies by the T-virus.

Meanwhile, Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen), a scientist from the Umbrella Corporation, the people responsible for the creation of the T-virus is seeking Alice’s whereabouts. Isaacs believes her blood is the key to finding a way to destroy the virus. He tracks to Alice and the convoy just as they arrive in what is left of Las Vegas, which is now nearly buried in sand and likely stocked with the undead.

Resident Evil: Extinction is an improvement over Resident Evil: Apocalypse, but Extinction isn’t as thrilling or as frightening as the original 2002 Resident Evil. Extinction is somewhere in the middle, but closer to the first film. Director Russell Mulcahy (best known for directing Highlander over two decades ago) piles on more visual style and flair than Apocalypse had, so the fight scenes in this film are much more exhilarating. Although often predictable, Extinction is, at times, genuinely chilling and creepy thanks to the stellar makeup on the zombies.

Yeah, the filmmakers sell us out at the end by setting up the story for another film, but what they deliver in Resident Evil: Extinction is mostly good. Bring on the next film.

6 of 10

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Review: Inventive "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" is Sadly Sad

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 180 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
Running time: 94 minutes (1 hour, 34 minutes)
MPAA – R for non-stop violence, language, and some nudity
DIRECTOR: Alexander Witt
WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson
PRODUCERS: Jeremy Bolt, Don Carmody, and Anderson
CINEMATOGRAPHERS: Derek Rogers and Christian Sebaldt
EDITOR: Eddie Hamilton

ACTION/HORROR with elements of sci-fi

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Sophie Vavasseur, Raz Adoti, Jared Harris, Mike Epps, Sandrine Holt, Matthew G. Taylor, and Zack Ward

After barely surviving the zombie infestation/lab tragedy in Resident Evil, Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up in a Raccoon City hospital. Outside, Raccoon City is now a city of the stalking dead, as the T-virus that turned man and beast into the flesh-eating ghouls of the first film has escaped from the Hive into the city, and most of the residents are now zombies. Alice and a band of survivors of the new outbreak must find the daughter of a Hive scientist if they want his help to escape the city. However, Alice must also face Nemesis (Matthew G. Taylor), a creature/super soldier created by Hive scientists using the T-virus as a catalyst. They apparently also experimented on Alice in between her escape from the Hive and her waking up in a hospital. And now, Alice is quite the super girl, but will it be enough to save her and the other survivors?

Resident Evil: Apocalypse is not nearly as good as the first film, and it almost falls into the category of awful movies based upon video games. However, Apocalypse is what the first film was: a very scary zombie movie that might make someone jump from his seat. The creatures are quite effective. Who knew that a little makeup would make so many actors and extras be such convincing flesh-eating ghouls. The action scenes are warmed over video game sequences and retread action movie clichés. It is, however, nice to see Milla Jovovich and her stunt doubles flying around and kicking behinds, and the Nemesis character is actually pretty cool. Luckily, the genuinely funny Mike Epps is on hand to add some really nice comic relief. Would that he performed more house calls like this for many lame action movies.

4 of 10

Friday, August 27, 2010

Review: "Resident Evil" is a Top Notch Zombie Movie

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 179 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Resident Evil (2002)
Running time: 100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong sci-fi/horror violence, language, and sexuality/nudity
PRODUCERS: Jeremy Bolt, Bernd Eichinger, and Paul W.S. Anderson
EDITOR: Alexander Berner


Starring: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes, Colin Salmon, and Jason Isaacs (uncredited)

The almighty Umbrella Corporation has a top-secret facility called the Hive where they conduct illegal viral and genetic experiments. A laboratory accident unleashes a terrible virus that transforms hundreds of resident scientists into ravenous zombies (hungry for flesh, of course) and the lab animals into mutated hounds from hell. A special military unit answers the Hive’s alarm summons; they are however not prepared to fight the flesh-eating creatures or the Hive’s diabolical and out-of-control super computer. When they disable the computer, they inadvertently release the zombies, allowing them to roam the entire complex, and all hell breaks loose. It’s up to Alice (Milla Jovovich), a Hive security officer who has suffered recent short term memory loss, and Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), a member of elite military task force to contain the outbreak, but they only have three hours to do so before the pathogen is released into the outside world.

Resident Evil is based upon videogame giant Capcom’s very popular video game of the same title. Although he isn’t a critical darling and many movie fans don’t like his work, director Paul W.S. Anderson has helmed some very entertaining sci-fi thrillers, and Resident Evil is another example of his skill at making excellent popcorn SF shockers. And Resident Evil is by no means a “good, dumb movie;” it is actually a very effective and amazingly well done (for a film adaptation of a video game) horror film. Night of the Living Dead creator George A. Romero was originally slated to direct this film, but left over creative differences. Anderson does the master proudly, as Resident Evil is a zombie movie that is just about as creepy and as scary as any other zombie picture.

The acting is mostly stiff, modern B-movie material, but the characters make excellent chess pieces in Anderson’s game plan. Fans of horror films, especially zombie films, will love this. The flesh-eating residents of the lab are some topnotch walking dead.

7 of 10


Friday, January 29, 2010

Review: Video Game Adaptation, "Venom," is Surprisingly Scary Entertainment

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 12 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Venom (2005)
Running time: 86 minutes (1 hour, 26 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong horror violence/gore, and language
DIRECTOR: Jim Gillespie
WRITERS: Flint Dille & John Zuur Platten and Brandon Boyce; from a story by Flint Dille & John Zuur Platten
PRODUCERS: Scott Faye, Karen Lauder, and Kevin Williamson
EDITOR: Paul Martin Smith

HORROR/THRILLER with elements of action

Starring: Agnes Bruckner, Jonathan Jackson, Laura Ramsey, D.J. Cotrona, Rick Cramer, Bijou Phillips, Meagan Good, Method Man, Pawel, Szajda, Davetta Sherwood, Stacey Travis, Marcus Lyle Brown (as Marcus Brown), James Pickens, Jr., and Deborah Duke

A mixed group of teenagers, led by Eden (Agnes Bruckner) and her boyfriend Eric (Jonathan Jackson), find themselves stalked by a mysterious madman who has a key chain that makes a tinkling sound whenever he’s near. They discover that the killer is a recently deceased man named Ray (Rick Cramer), and his corpse now possessed by evil voodoo spirits. Eden and her friends run to the only one who can help them, their friend CeCe (Meagan Good), whose late grandmother, Miss Emmie (Deborah Duke), was a mambo/voodoo priestess and also the reason these evil forces are loose. As the final showdown looms, six teenagers are trapped in Miss Emmie’s house while the monster that was Ray waits outside for them.

Venom is the latest horror film based upon a video game, except that the game in this instance, named “Backwater,” is still in development. Venom is actually sort of a prequel to the game and explains how the game’s featured villain, “Mr. Jangles,” (Ray in this movie), came to be (He’s called “Mr. Jangles” because of the sound his key chain makes when he walks). Venom is actually a throwback to the horror films of the 1980’s, especially such slasher films as the Friday the 13th and Halloween franchises, where a (damn near) supernatural killer stalks teenagers and dispatches them in violently gory and bloody scenes that feature sharp implements and tools piercing or repeatedly slashing young flesh.

Venom is neither bland nor lifeless, and while it may look like a modestly budgeted Sci-Fi original picture (where many obviously have ultra low budgets), it’s fun, and the villain is (mostly) pretty scary. The Louisiana film locations (in swamps and rural areas) add a dreary, fear-inducing, Southern gothic atmosphere. Rarely has a hot and muggy atmosphere seemed so chilling and foreboding. Yes, the writing isn’t very imaginative; virtually every scene is copied or based directly on other horror movies, and in that Venom doesn’t hide that it is hackneyed. The cast stepped out of Abercrombie and Fitch. But as far as horror movies go, this is a straight meat grinder – soft on laughs, but dirt cheap and blunt on blood and guts.

The violence is proudly, rather than shamelessly, gratuitous. I enjoyed this trudge through the mud and muck because Venom is also some of the creepiest Hollywood-style voodoo scares I’ve seen in a while. Venom is like the 25-cent “Little Debbie” brownie that satisfies the chocolate urge when gourmet just isn’t available, and I’d like this brownie. I’d watch Venom again.

6 of 10

Wednesday, January 18, 2006