Sunday, May 16, 2010

Roughnecks the Starship Trooper Chronicles Volume 1

Recently Amazon has a sale on Sci-Fi DVDs so I decided to pick up a bushel of em, This is the first one i'll review.

Now I have fond if hazy memories of this series from way back in 1999. Now at first glance the CG has held up remarkably well, it looks as good as any other 100% CG shows of the genre you'd get today.

Now its based on the 1997 Paul Verhoeven movie, which in turn is based Robert A. Heinlein's 1959 novel of the same name. Its not a direct continuation but combined elements from both to make a more "Kid" friendly Saturday morning cartoon show.

The story follows a Mobile Infantry Unit "Razaks Roughnecks" During the war with the "Bugs" an insectiod alien race with genocidal intent towards Humanity.
The show tried to be true to an adult-oriented science fiction franchise without being too violent, mature or controversial for the age group it was aimed at Saturday morning cartoons, leading to to it not being watching by either age group during its inital run. Adults didn't know it was on to see and it was bit over the head of the audience in the time-slot.

But re-watching it again 10+ years later I find it very entertaining and very watchable, It's well written, voiced and the music is alot better that one would expect.

As in the original novels the Mobile infantry have much better technology that in the movies, such as Powered Armours, Mechs, Orbital Drop Pods and so on. Its got the same feel as the Battletech cartoon did, Sadly another show that was underrated as a "kiddy" show back in the day.

All in all its a very entertaining watch, for all ages kids will like the ships and aliens but there is plenty of story and character development to hold an adults attention also.

Definitely worth picking up, I will definitely be getting other volumes at my first oppurtunity.
Thanks for reading, See you next Post!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Iron Man 2 Review

Now, before we start I should inform you that I am a bit of an Iron Man Fan-Boy from way back.

From the second I saw the first trailer, I was counting the days until I could see it. I went in with big expectations. Some were a let down, some were not over all was entertaining as a movie. I’m not sure if it’s a worthy addition to the Iron Man mythos.

"Bad Mama-Jama"

First of all Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko, The Crimson Dynamo/Whiplash Amalgam was amazing. That guy sure has screen presence, his Russian was very convincing, but alas his screen time was a bit lacking. I feel he should have been there a bit more and the final fight was anti-climactic and cut short, but over all Ivan Vanko was a bad mama-jama! If they made a movie or just this guy duking it out with the Colonel from Avatar I would definitely pay to see it.

Tony Stark/ Robert Downey Jr was great, But if you seen Iron Man then there is nothing really new from him. I felt they needed more moments of Tony just relating to his friends, he spends almost no time with Rhodey or Happy, just fawning over Pepper! I would have liked them to explore his alcoholism a bit more. I thought Yes! they are doing it when they showed his blood toxicity level but it just turned out to be something else, and I would like less of the forced Tony/Pepper romantic relationship its just wrong, no chemistry and I don’t like it. In the comics she is fact married to Happy Hogan.

Virginia "Pepper" Potts/Gwyneth Paltrow, Now I don't know if she researched her role at all, but again she delivered a weak and awful performance. She comes across weak, unintelligent, ditzy yet somehow runs Stark International. While in the comics she is a much stronger character infact she was a the leader of a Super-Team for a while and even wore a suit of Armour designed by Tony.

"R.E.S.C.U.E or the Iron Pepper Armour"

James Rupert "Rhodey" Rhodes/Don Cheadle was a breath of fresh air compared to Iron Man 1, I didn't even realise until about half way through the first one that he was meant to be Rhodey and now just random military escort guy ferrying Tony around. Cheadle gave a much more convincing performance, I felt the actor was a bit too scrawny for Rhodes but thats just my opinion and that’s neither here or there, but can't tell since he was barely on screen at all.

Justin Hammer/Sam Rockwell Oh dear how where do I start on this guy. First of all in comics Justin Hammer is a much older man, the movie version is much younger to make him a more contemporary rival for Stark, but he is too young to be position he finds himself. ( some sort of military weapons manufacturer/Government contractor) Also Rockwell is terrible in this role, I hadn't heard of him before now and hopefully wont be hearing of him again. His performance was almost laughable at points. It would have been good if he was trying to be a parody but alas he was not . . . . I could probably fill an entire post just about his poor abilities in this role but I won’t ill just leave him here.

Natasha Romanoff/Scarlett Johanson Why does she have front line billing? Infact why is she even in the movie her character doesn't seem to fill any role and Johanson's acting was wanting to say the least. I kept expecting her to end each sentence with "Like You know, Whatever!" like the Queen Bee/Prom Queen stereo type thing in some high school teen movie. Again like Hammer was cast too young. Romanoff is meant to be a Russian super spy who defected and now is a super spy for S.H.I.E.L.D. The fight scene she has was like something from W.W.E or something, after the movie my wife and I were in Video Game store and saw a wrestling game and joked that if you defeat the game on hard mode you unlock Johanson as a playable character. At one point she kicks down a door it was so unconvincing her foot got barely above knee height.

"I am Iron Man"

Okay acting aside the visuals are great, the armours look great, they move great, they fight great, over all they are just great but that’s what we have come to expect so I won’t dwell on it too much, but one thing I will mention is the Mark V Briefcase Armour! I nearly fell out of my seat when they I saw it. It’s just one of the silly iconic things from the comics that I never thought would make it into a movie but was also short lived. One visual aspect I didn't like was all the deliberate product placement. Like the Iron Man kiddy mask and Posters in the background etc. it was just too much blatant advertising for my taste.

As the story goes there was no real tension and I didn't feel the characters were in peril at all, sure Tony got roughed up a bit and had the crap kicked out of him but It barely slowed him down so you didn't get a sense of danger at all really. But still the fights were entertaining. It did lay more groundwork for the upcoming Avengers Movie pencilled in for 2012 and references to the Captain America Movie coming out next year.

The climactic battle between Iron Man, War Machine and Crimson Dynamo/Whiplash was anything but and  kinda anti-climatic really, much too short for my liking.

Overall it was pretty entertaining and I would recommend it, It's not perfect and the things I mentioned above do take away somewhat but it’s a good summer movie.

So I will leave you with this.

Spoiler Alert below

One has to wonder why you would reveal your new super Mandroid weapons at a civilian science expo instead of a senate sub-committee, also why build 10 suits of Mandroid armour when they don’t work?

Also why do the normal Las Vegas PD or wherever they were Arrest Hammer? I mean on what grounds?
He didn't set the Mandroids loose, He didn't even know his crime was harbouring a Super Villain which is probably a S.H.I.E.L.D or federal matter so wouldn't agents of some sort be the ones to arrest him?

Anyway . . .

End Spoiler

So hope you enjoyed it, See you next Blog!