[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.

[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.

[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] 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.

[One Piece Film Retrospective] #14: One Piece Stampede (2019)

Oddly a movie title that could have also worked for Chopper’s Kingdom on The Land Of Strange Animals, since that actually has bull-like animals going into stampedes, while walnuts are disappointingly missing from the 14th One Piece film, One Piece Stampede, which doesn’t really have a “wild west” theme of sorts, despite its title, but delivers with a smorgasboard of characters from the series.

Fitting as its main raison d’etre was to celebrate the animated series 20th anniversary.

And indeed in retrospect its become even more clear the main goal of One Piece Stampede was to bring together an all-stars ensemble of One Piece character, especially the ones rising in popularity and that make their film debut here, like Trafalgar Law, Kidd, Boa Hancock or some oldies-but-goldies, like Smoker and Tashigi. Yep, in case you forgot or didn’t read the review of Episode Of Alabasta… they were actually absent from that one, absurd as it sounds.

Continua a leggere “[One Piece Film Retrospective] #14: One Piece Stampede (2019)”

[One Piece Film Retrospective] #13: Film Gold (2016)

*cue crazy prospector’s laugh *

We’re finally getting to the One Piece films i’ve actually watched in theathers while they were new, and coincidentally audiences also had to wait a while before seeing a new One Piece film, 4 years to be precise. Most likely as they realized they couldn’t keep cranking them out on annual basis because otherwise Toei would find even more of its staff overworked to death. Just a hunch.

An upside of this 4 year gap is that audiences were gonna be even more eager and ready to get hyped at the prospect of a new One Piece film, one that had a very huge marketing campaign behind it, and was definitely ready to rack in the titular auruos substance, so much it had a world premiere on Jule 15th at the Emirates Palace’s hotel in Abu Dhabi, then released a week later in Japan. Not THAT surprising, considering how a Saudi fan pretty much singlehandedly funded the documentary about Dinosaur War Izenborg, simply called The Return Of Izenborg.

But today we’re talking One Piece Film Gold, so back to that!

Continua a leggere “[One Piece Film Retrospective] #13: Film Gold (2016)”

[One Piece Film Retrospective] #10: Strong World (2009)

First teased during the screenings of Episode Of Chopper, Strong World was immediately treated as a big deal, not only as was the tenth film for the series, but it was also made to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the TV anime, and for the occasion Eiichiro Oda himself wrote the script, instead of just providing character designs and approving story ideas as he did for the previous movies.

Also, in what would become a trend for future One Piece movies, Strong World features an original villain that was an acquaintance, crewmate or contemporary of Gol D. Roger, and previously was detained in the Impel Down prison complex. That alongside making the Marine (or the World Goverment aligned) characters more prominent – if not integral – to the story at hand.

The villain here is the pirate Shiki, dubbed “The Golden Lion” due to his mane, a legendary pirate from the Golden Era that escaped from Impel Down by cutting off his legs, and had basically vanished from existence, only to show up 20 years later in order to take revenge on the entirety of East Blue, and force the Goverment into surrender by using genetically enhanced animals, engaged into a constant battle for survival over the islands (the titular “Strong World”) that fly thanks to Shiki’s Devil Fruit ability.

Continua a leggere “[One Piece Film Retrospective] #10: Strong World (2009)”

[One Piece Film Retrospective] #1: One Piece The Movie

Using the cover of the Japanese Blu-Ray release because the movie itself doesn’t even have a title card or a proper title. Just the default “One Piece” title card the TV series used at the times.

After the One Piece TV series started airing and proved to be successful, a movie was bound to be made sooner or later.

And this is… sure it’s called a movie, and i’m willing to call it as such, but it was clearly early in the series’ history, as Toei’s anime adaptation only started airing in 1999 (an year after Production IG’s One Piece OVA: Defeat The Pirate Ganzack), so i guess they figured out it was better to not go all the way immediatly, and made this medium-lenght, so it could be released alongside the even shorter Digimon film “Digimon Adventure: Our War Game” during the 2000’s Toei Anime fair.

Those are a lot of words to say that Toei kinda cheaped out and compromised, and honestly i can’t really say that’s unfair, as this movie feels less like a movie and more like two episodes of the TV series superglued together.

And not interesting episodes either, but first, the plot.

Continua a leggere “[One Piece Film Retrospective] #1: One Piece The Movie”

Berserk and The Band Of The Hawk PS4 [REVIEW] #musoumay

Even if i reviewed (or re-reviewed, since i did already cover this one in 2017 on my older Italian blog) this one before of Miura’s passing, i would have told a tale of sadness, woe and disappointment.

But i won’t deny that with Kentaro Miura spiralling out of this mortail coil just over a year ago… there’s an extra serving of melancholy to the subject, which it’s ironically fitting in its own way.

As you would expect, there was some expectations at the time, even more since Koei Tecmo teased it and made a big deal about one this being one of more bloody and violent Warriors games ever…. and in hindsight it’s very telling, as they also did this lip service for Warriors Of Troy. Oh boy.

That aside, you would expect the Berserk musou to be pretty bloody and gory regardless, and it definitely delivered on that, can’t take it away from the game. I can though laugh at the fuckin localized english title they went with for this game, Berserk’s main character has a name, and a pretty not-generic one, you know?

He’s called Gatsu/Guts, just so you know.

Though that it’s not completely random, as the game starts from the Golden Age arc and covers up to the Hawk of the Millennium Empire Arc, with them boarding the ship after fighting Ganisha serving as the closing chapter.

Continua a leggere “Berserk and The Band Of The Hawk PS4 [REVIEW] #musoumay”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants In Manhattan PS4 [REVIEW] | Not Very Neat

Since i did mention the game in my impressions on the Babylon’s Fall demo, and there’s a huge compilation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games (most of the ones done by Konami) being released soon, i’d figured why not, let’s talk about this disappointing as heck turtle excretion, which pretty much killed any potential for more videogames based on beloved nostalgic cartoon series by Platinum Games, after their shortish but really good take on Transformers (the older ones, known as “Generation 1”, or “G-1”) with Transformers Devastation.

I mean, at least this one can still be found around in physical form, unlike other Turtles game, for example the TMNT: Out Of The Shadows one (don’t expect a review of that).

Or the similarly crappy Legend Of Korra game Platinum Games also developed, also deslisted after Activision didn’t wanna renew the license for, BUT i happen to have bought the PS3 version and i still have it, so that i might review, in order to proper understand how Platinum as a studio it’s capable of both incredible height and shitty lows that spoil the studio’s reputation, still.

Continua a leggere “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants In Manhattan PS4 [REVIEW] | Not Very Neat”