[EXPRESSO] Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero (2022) | Red Ribbon State

Gotta love the redundant title.

After debutting this summer in Japanese theathers, it finally received screenings here too, and i feel kinda sympathetic for this one, as it had to follow up on the new Broly movie with 3D CG style animation.

But “following up” isn’t quite the right way to put it, as Super Hero was actually written by Akira Toriyama himself, also curating the character design and came up with the story idea, so he’s surprisingly quite involved, instead of just approving concepts and little else.

So it makes sense for him to opt for a smaller story, to bring back the Red Ribbon army, as in a new faction that carries on their will and creates two new androids, Gamma 1 and Gamma 2, calling themselves super heroes and then attacking Piccolo and Gohan….

to my surprise, the 3D CG styled animation it’s up to snuff, you know, being a theathrical full lenght release from Toei Animation and being a frigging Dragon Ball movie, it’s pretty good and i warmed up very quickly to the style chosen here, despite having some doubts from the early trailers.

The main issue is that while it deliberately focuses on a smaller scale story and brings backs a lot of old enemies, playing for nostalgic throwbacks and actually gets Gohan (whipped back into action by a really troubled Piccolo) involved into it…. i just wish they spent the screentime dedicated in remembering the audience this is canon to the Super anime series, well, developing better the new characters or the “superhero” angle that ultimately it’s just a – mostly – meatless hook leading to a bit more reharsh of old material than needed/necessary.

There are some pretty funny scenes, though, and overall it’s a decent movie, quite enjoyable, very entertaining indeed.

Dead Island: Definitive Edition PS4 [REVIEW] #deadislandretrospective

I started playing this mid-summer for kicks, but what do you know, in early september Dead Island 2 actually resurfaced after 8 years of radio silence, multiple developers change, and it’s coming out… in February 2023. Odd date, but i guess Deep Silver isn’t keen on waiting for a timely summer release, after the game overlong stay in development hell, so much that Techland spun another zombie series after basically being denied work on any Dead Island game after Riptide.

Perfect time for a retrospective of the series as a whole, so let’s start from the original Dead Island, in its Definitive Edition form (which on PS4 and X-Box One came packaged as a collection with the direct sequel Riptide and the spin-off Dead Island: Retro Revenge included).

We’re reviewing this version also because i’ve played Dead Island on PS3 when it was new… and this was indeed one of those games that could have used some enhancing and overhauling, etc.

I guess some history won’t go amiss, but if you happened to… not exist in 2012, you missed one of the most perfect example of misleading, bullshit hype trailers ever made, as originally we were fed a non-gameplay trailer that went for shock value (depicting a dead zombie child, among other things), trying to make you believe the game would treat the topic with some seriousness… only to find out Deep Silver were just being the deceitful liars they are, as we had a game where you combine shit to make fire-laden blades and battery-powered electrical pikes, with a slow-mo effect for when you decapite the plentiful undeads, or crush their rotten brains under your foot.

Continua a leggere “Dead Island: Definitive Edition PS4 [REVIEW] #deadislandretrospective”

The Spooktacular Eight Return & starting a Dead Island Retrospective

Yeah i know this is the older logo and art.

Since that thing i improvised last October did okay… let’s try to make it a yearly tradition, why not?

8 selected horror reviews sparkled through the whole month, in a pick-n-mix fashion!

Also, starting from October onwards, each month i will have a full lenght, in-depth review for each installment of the Dead Island franchise, with the retrospective culminating on the release of Dead Island 2 in February 2023.

Yeah, since this time we actually have real gameplay footage, Deep Silver isn’t waiting for a topical release date anymore for its zombie game, and wants this out before the unthinkable happens and they’re forced to restart the project from scratch for the 4th time or something.

Or before Goat Simulator takes further piss of that old E3 trailer with Pigeon John’s The Bomb playing to the sprinting dead.

The ONLY game i won’t be reviewing it’s the smarthphone spin-off Dead Island Survivors, because aside an old EXPRESSO review made in italian years ago (which i’m not unearthing or reusing in any way), i don’t have much written thoughts on it, as i didn’t play it that much when it released, and the game shut down in July 2020, so…

It wasn’t bad either, it was a top down action rpg with tower defense elements, free-to-play with all the shingle that it entails, but it was basically akin to Orcs Must Die, so it’s kind of a shame i can’t revisit it anymore.

That’s free-to-play smartphone games for you.

[EXPRESSO] Full Metal Alchemist The Final Chapter: The Final Alchemy/The Last Transmutation (2022) | Finally Finality Forever

Well, that was quicker than i expected, as part 2 of the finale for the live-action FMA movie trilogy is now available worldwide on Netflix.

For those of you unaware, yep, they made 3 of these things, and btw, SPOILERS beware, because this adapts the final part of the manga, picking up exactly where Scar The Avenger ended, with Envy, Edward and Ling getting swallowed up inside Gluttony… after we’re introduced to Izumi and her husband meeting Hohenheim, father of the Elric brothers.

Then we’re up to the frozen fort of Briggs, meeting Olivia Armstrong, and the whole conspiracy behind the Homunculus, Van Hohenheim and the foundation of Amestris is revealed.

As with the previous movies, there are some changes and cuts to the plot (including some axed characters), , but – as said before – it’s fairly faithful all thing considered, and as one would expect it’s the longer one, almost clocking at 2 hours and a half.

Though i wish it was a bit longer, as in some istances they kinda overdo it and you get the feel that you somehow missed some scenes, as the editor just assumes the audience to already know exactly what was supposed to happen, while rushing, abridging the shit out or outright cutting sequences that were reasonably expected to be included.

Even more odd as this issue could have mostly resolved with 10/15 extra minutes, it’s the final movie of this trilogy and it’s already pretty long, but still, nothing that seriously harms the experience, same for the somewhat inconsistent quality of the cheapish CG for the Homunculus.

Overall, The Last Transmutation it’s on par with the previous FMA live-action movies in terms of quality, it’s decent and mostly faithful, regardless of any “need” for these to exist in the first place.

Prey (2016) [REVIEW] | La-la-lion Goes To Amsterdam

Since that new movie about the killer lion with Idris Elba (simply called Beast) is coming out soon here too, let’s pick one of the currently available ones on Amazon Prime Video that fit into the subniche of killer lions flick, at least at the time of writing.

As in, i wanted to review Prey… the 2006 one, but since it’s not streaming there, the other killer lion flick from 2016 will do, and because originality it’s an ephemeral phantom, both movie are simply called “Prey”.

Not be confused with the new Predator movie.

Or the Netflix german horror thriller of the same name.

Or the two similar-yet-unrelated Prey games.

This is 2016’s Prey (since “Prooi” translates to that, also known as Violent Fierce Lion, so whatever, you can call your movie “Prey”, whatever), and it’s by dutch director Dick Maas, better known for Amsterdamned, the Flodder comedy series, but also behind the horror christmas movie Saint/Sint, and the often forgotten entry in the “killer elevator” subgenre with 1983’s The Lift, his debut film, which he actually remade with american actors in 2001 as Down/The Shaft.

Continua a leggere “Prey (2016) [REVIEW] | La-la-lion Goes To Amsterdam”

[EXPRESSO] Samaritan (2022) | Old Man Steel

Catching up to some of the later releases i didn’t cover yet, with the Amazon Prime Video exclusive Samaritan, as in Stallone wants to ride on the superhero train, and honestly why the fuck not?

I like this “i’m gonna make movies until i die on film” attitude, i really do.

The plot tells of a young boy, Sam, that believes the old guy living in front of him it’s actually Samaritan, a superhero thought to have died in an explosion 25 years ago, alongside his rival and brother, Nemesis, who planned to lure him and finally end it for good.

But there’s also a crime lord, Cyrus, who plans to become the new Nemesis, inherit his will, and Sam gets caught in his machinations while trying to score some cash for his mother…

It’s exactly what you’d think it would be, especially by factoring in Stallone as the lead character, and by that i mean it feels like a 90’s movie, in pretty much every aspect, from the setting of the city suburbs, the villain sporting a very 90s hairdo and personality (and a Robocop arcade machine in his lair), the lack of smarthphones, and of course the way the superhero elements are framed and used does remind one of older genre entries from that decade.

This isn’t a flaw, it’s just playing it “old school”, which means we can have a simpler story not overreliant on how many FX studios can you kill with crunch… albeit one where the twist it’s pretty easy to guess as the material will result very familiar, but not necessarily for the worst.

Decent cast, solid performances, fairly well produced (aside from one istance of that creepy digital deaging), overall Samaritan it’s a decent ol’ school superhero film and an enjoyable lil surprise.

[EXPRESSO] Bullet Train (2022) | Assassins Pastiche Express

Better late than never, but as promised here it is, after months of waiting.

And honestly i don’t quite get its mixed reception (at least by the american or english speaking press as a whole)… well, i kinda do, but it’s not like it was deceptively advertised, at all.

Bullet Train it’s indeed the kind of movie you would expect to see from the director of Deadpool 2, just declined into a Tarantino-esque genre pastiche, throwing in deliberate cliches from yakuza movies as it all takes place during what starts as a normal voyage in one of Japan’s high velocity trains… aside from the protagonists being a collection of professional assassins/hitmen with a job to do while on the train, including a “recovering & recalcitrant” assassin (played by Brad Pitt) that would rather try to obtain some inner peace and signed up only to steal a briefcase from the train, but finds out everyone on board is after the very same thing…

The mesh of Deapool style comedy (minus the 4th wall brutalization) with the obviously Tarantino inspired style of dialogues (one of the assassins has a thing for profiling people via Thomas The Tank Engine comparisons, for example) and taste for ultraviolence so over the top it’s outright funny at times… works extremely well, as the narrative using flashbacks to quickly characterize the various assassins. Great cast too.

Sure, the humour at times it’s a bit too much “Deadpool-ish”, but it’s quite tolerable and i was honestly surprised by how funny the movie turned out to be, though i understand that the combo of direction and writing could result irritating to some. Still, i had a really good time with Bullet Train, not gonna lie to appease anyone or crap like that.

Dumb as hell, but a blast nonetheless.

[EXPRESSO] The Cuphead Show (Season Two) (2022) | Cup Me Twice

Since i didn’t proper disliked the first season (see the previous review, if you would like), yeah, whatever, i watched all the Shaman King’s Netflix adaptation, i can watch this, while i wait for the complete physical release of the game to come into existence.

Continuing up from the first season’s cliffhanger, we have Cuphead and Mugman thrown into jail after they were basically set-off by the charming con-maister Chalice to enter the cookie factory on the hush, and then.. they escape/get out of it in the first episode. So much for that.

Yeah, a strong, over-arching narrative wasn’t the forte of the first season, but despite hinting at the focus being on the character of Miss Chalice, introduced right at the end of the previous season, hanging around with the boys… even that gets resolved quickly, so any kind of plot is thrown out of the window for episodic adventures.

Mundane, episodic, adventures.

Yep, if this sounds familiar, it’s because i ultimately i have the same feelings (and criticisms) about this second season as i did for the first one: short episodes that look good but lack any real substance or interesting stories, while not being outright bad or offensive, and once again it’s clear the target audience isn’t adult fans of the videogame, animation buffs, but just… kids.

I did bother with this second season to see if it was better in any significant way, but honestly it would have been worse if the Devil (and with him a semblance of story, fun and wit) didn’t eventually come back for a couple of episodes, but thankfully he does.

But again, it don’t matter anyway, since Netflix ordered 36 episodes overall, there’s a cliffhanger, so it’s pretty much a given we’ll see a third season/slice/part.

Yay? Maybe? Whatever, later!

[EXPRESSO] Full Metal Alchemist: The Final Chapter – The Avenger Scar (2022) | Alexander “Ahoge Cum Head Tumor” Armstrong

As you might be aware, more live-action Full Metal Alchemist films were on to way to make it a trilogy, actually a two parter, announced last year to celebrate the manga’s 20th anniversary, directed by Fumihiko Sori (Ping Pong, Vexille) and both already released theathrically this year in Japan.

Now we’re getting the first part of this “Final Chapter”, The Avenger Scar, internationally via Netflix, so let’s talk about it, i did review the first FMA live action film back in 2017.

It follow directly from when the 2016’s FMA movie left, and – as the title lays out – it’s about a nameless serial killer that is roaming about Central City offing State Alchemists, dubbed “Scar” due to his “X” shaped headwound.

The brothers encounter Scar but suffer defeat and have to escape, while the intrigues surrounding the military and the Homunculus unfold..

Like the previous movie, you’ll ask yourself why bother making live-actions like these, for the obvious reasons, which include some character designs clearly never meant for real people.

I wasn’t ready to see live-action Alexander Armstrong, nor could i ever be. Jesus.

If you can get over the many absurdities that come from the “anime/manga to live-action” transition, you’ll find a decent, fairly faithful adaptation of this part of the series, with some changes to the plot that basically relocate some events earlier or later and some fairly necessary concessions that had to be made anyway to have a 2 hours film.

It’s not the bad adaptation you think it is, nor it does the material quite the justice it deserves, but it’s a decent retelling, acting it’s ok, and it does what it sets out to do.

With some questionable effects at times, but at least it’s definitely better than the Bleach live action movie.

SUPER Summer Nap

You know the drill (and i announced it before), every rubric aside EXPRESSO (i will review NOPE soon enough, and i plan to review this way,Crimes Of The Future, MEN and Bullet Train, which are releasing in cinemas here very late this August) is taking a break from today until the 16th of september, maybe a little earlier, but for the rest of August we’re taking a fairly deserved (if i can say it myself) break.