Asterix & Obelix XXL: Romastered PS4 [REVIEW] | For Toutatis!

Oddly, this was the last of the Asterix XXL series to get the remaster treament, the first being XXL 2 in 2018, then we had the brand new XXL 3 in 2019, then the “romastered” version of the first game in 2020, the one we’re talking about today, to celebrate the release of a new Asterix & Obelix movie in theathers.

One of the live-action ones, but still, it’s new Asterix & Obelix material!

Originally developed for PS2, Gamecube and PC (with a GBA version that’s basically another game entirely) by defunct french studio Etranges Libellules and published by Atari Europe, this remaster was instead published by Microids (which pretty much took the place Infogrames had back then) and developed by the quite non-defunct (at the time of writing, anyway) french Osome Studios.

The plot sees the titular duo wander off of their little Gaul village to the ol’ boar hunt only to come back and find out Ceasar (yes, Julius Caius Ceasar from Caligula, exactly) has somehow managed to storm the village, capturing most people and sending them off to various distant ends of the Roman empire in order to have locked out sight and mind, hopefully for good.

But with the help of a fired roman spy, you find out that most of the imprisoned gauls most likely managed to get a piece of the map indicating their location, as Ceasar took the extra step – just in case – of ripping the map in pieces and scattering them in various locations.

Good enough as an excuse in terms of videogame logic to have Asterix & Obelix travel to various places like Egypt, Normandy, Greece and Helvetia, freeing their fellow gaul citizens and getting more pieces of the map along the way.

Continua a leggere “Asterix & Obelix XXL: Romastered PS4 [REVIEW] | For Toutatis!”

12 Days Of Dino Dicember # 19: Jurassic Thunder (2019)

Oh, boy, THIS one.

I was gonna include it in the original Dino December, but i eventually relented.

Not because it looked like crap, like really atomic level of trash, just a smidge above the realm of stuff like Weasels Rip My Flesh, quite the opposite, i’m even more intrigued by the fact it looks and most likely is utter bungum, as i keep gazing into the abyss (Mondo Zappa style) until the abyss itself gets bored or produces some new unholy artifact for my collection. Which it often does, actually.

I eventually didn’t bother as i was so irritated and angry at it, and i did want to review it, not use the movie as a verbal punching ball. So i let some time pass, and combined with the fact i don’t want to pity people in general, i’d say it’s time to review Jurassic Thunder in proper and earnest and whathaveyou.

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Bleach: Soul Resurreccion/Ignition PS3 [REVIEW] | Hollow Warriors

Yep, going to try and get that “SEO synch energy” going… or so i planned, only to forget, but regardless, it’s still worth pointing out that somehow Bleach is back, with the anime getting new episodes to continue where they stopped years ago, the manga resurrected itself on its 20th anniversay with an one-shot chapter to set up either a new arc or a “Boruto” style follow-up series about Ichigo’s kid, so i guess it’s time to talk about this forgotten Bleach game.

You might argue that this isn’t a “proper” musou but i feel it deserves to be called at least a “musou-like”, and one that nowadays it’s hard to own in any legal sense, as it was released exclusively on PS3 in 2011 and there still remains, most likely due to being an anime licensed videogame, or being co-developed by Racjin and Sony’s Japan Studio.

One that nowadays it’s hard to find and commands some “interesting prices”, FIY.

So yeah, Soul Resurreccion (or Soul Ignition, if you wanna use its japanese title) is the closest thing we have to a “Bleach musou”, and as most avid Shonen Jump readers could guess, it’s mostly based on the Hueco Mundo section in the Arrancar story arc of the Bleach manga-anime, which makes sense since there’s nothing but sand, monsters and bigger monsters in this desert world, so let’s mostly adapt that part of the arc, since it’s very videogamey anyway, with the various encounters against the Espada and then the final confrontation again the big bad Aizen.

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[EXPRESSO] Disney’s Strange World (2022) | The Ventures

Apparently Disney’s latest animated film (no, it’s not a Pixar joint) is bombing in theathers, and i do wonder why exactly, especially in its home market where people celebrate “turkey day”.

Probably the choice to market it a little too late to generate some online buzz, and as much it’s funny to point out how many “first gay character in a Disney movie that can be easily edited out for China” Disney seems to possess and parade about… in this case the discussion distracts from the fact this one it’s pretty good.

Strange World is a surprisingly good throwback to adventure films of yore, pulp adventure comics, and of course the old literary classics involving discovering new worlds with bizarre or extinct animals and fauna, especially Verne’s Journey At The Center Of The Earth.

The movie starts with a Davy Crockett-esque tale of Jaeger Clade bouts of ventures alongside his son Searcher, then we see Jaeger continue alone his voyage to find out what lies behind the enormous mountains that surround their village, while his son decides to remain to study a rare plant they found while exploring.

25 years later Searcher has basically created a new utopia as his botanical discovery led to them farming the plant (named Pando) and using it as an energy source/fuel that powers everything.

He lives with his wife and his son Ethan, but as the Pando plants begin to suffer from a sort of disease, he’s forced to journey into the inner depth to find out why, but it accidentally leds to them discovering an entire new world full of bizzare creatures, alien flora and living “isles”.

Likeable characters, fun interactions, lots of adventure and action in a world that does amaze and inspire in its oddities, and solid themes of enviromental coexistence.

[EXPRESSO] Diabolik 2: Ginko Attacks! (2022) | Color Cinecomic Photoplay

After the Diabolik revival movie of 2021 was surprisingly succesfull, we now have the sequel, Ginko Attacks, with inspector Ginko pressing its dogged hunt for master criminal Diabolik, managing to find its hidden lair, and eventually collaborating with a betrayed Eva Kant.

Though Diabolik himself was recast, here being played by Giacomo Gianniotti instead of Luca Marinelli from the 2019 movie.

As of why, Gianniotti does look almost identical to Diabolik as depicted in the original comics, but it’s a bad trade-off as Marinelli was by FAR a better actor, and a better Diabolik.

He doesn’t even feel like the same character either, but then again almost no character in Ginko Attacks has a semblance of personality, just existing as a barren narrative gear.

Cumbersome pacing (for a 2 hours and 20 minutes movie) doesn’t help, nor having Monica Bellucci in the cast.

Dialogues are pretty awful too, and tipify the whole problem with the movie, as it feels excessively faithful to the source material, making one wonder if they lifted the text verbatim from the comics, without ever considering how (or if) they would work in an actual film, or to actually update the literal decades old material for modern cinema standards.

So it’s no wonder the plot it’s also bad, utterly predictable from the get go regardless, with the twists/reveals actually making thing worse, because the entire narrative relies on almost every “character” being way too fuckin stupid to predict what the audience did hours ago.

Though it’s hard to get angry because it’s such an alienating, empty experience, with some style backed…by absolutely zero substance, and it’s very disappointing since the first movie was flawed, yes, but also WAY better.

So i’m not exactly looking forward to the third one already in the works.

Awful. Disappointingly awful.

[EXPRESSO] Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) | Vibranium Wars

For the record: i did enjoy the first Black Panther movie quite a lot when i saw it in theathers.

But i also saw how flippant is the quality of the MCU theathrical offerings, so expectations are as low as they have been for years. Especially with the passing of Chadwick Boseman, which is also honored and diegetically considered, as the death of T’Challa leaves Wakanda open to other nations trying to rob them of the Vibranium, forcing the reigning queen, the princess Shuri ( sister of the late T’Challa) and the remaining warrior women to fight for their land as Namor (i guess a different one from the Aquaman lore, despite the identical name) the king of a secret underwater-dwelling meso-american tribe rises up to force Wakanda into war.

After they take their sweet time, let’s be blunt, this one it’s almost 3 hours long, and boy you’ll feel it. It’s not even correct to say the movie it’s unnecessarily long, but it does take its time to set up various subplots and elaborate on the themes of legacy, inheritance and will that connect the Phase 4 Marvel movies together, as the characters deal with the emotional baggage left to them, which it’s fine but it feels like them ruminating/depending on the first movie to make you care this time too.

It’s the same issue plenty of these new Marvel movie have, and Wakanda Forever it’s no exception, arguably a little worse, which is a shame since the plot has some promise but never feels properly coherent, the cast it’s great, the villain is quite decent, but i found myself not really that invested in the new characters, the new kingdom and the new struggles Wakanda and its warriors face.

It’s a decent but unimpressive (and kinda bloated) sequel.

[EXPRESSO] Dampyr (2022) | Bonelli: The Masquerade

While i made clear i was very familiar with Dylan Dog’s source material in the review of Dylan Dog Dead Of Night, i can say quite the opposite for this new adaptation of an italian comic book series distribuited by Bonelli Editore, Dampyr, debutting at this year’s Lucca Comics & Games with renewed aspirations of a Bonelli MCU-thing.

So if you were looking for an in-depth review from a fan of the series, i’m not the guy this time, even if the situation it’s convenient for the sake of a more unbiased piece.

Set in the war torn Balkans during the early 1990s, Dampyr it’s about Harlan, a guy that manages to survive by posing as a dhampir (a half-human half-vampire hybrid in slavic folklore) for superstitious small villages, but it ends up dragged into the war as a unit of soldiers is attacked by vampires and Halan is brought there to help as a last resort. Little does he know he IS an actual dhampir, and the horrible dreams he constantly has are hints to his actual origins…

The vampire lore isn’t anything amazing but ain’t totally copy and pasted either, it has some inventions of its own (you can tell this was based on a comic book, regardless), acting by the international cast it’s fairly decent, the war-torn Balkans are a nicely bleak setting, production values aren’t shabby at all, the movie it’s definitely more than just “presentable”.

Overall, Dampyr it’s a fun, quite decent film, fairly entertaining but not much more, especially with some very cliched turns the story takes and the ouvert sequelbaiting. And the slightly confusing fact that two important characters basically look almost identical, like gothic vampire armored Alan Rickmans (or italian singer Renato Zero, for the “homies”) despite being played by different actors.

The Spooktacular Eight #16: Bloody Delinquent Chainsaw Girl (2016)

I assume if you clicked this review you’re familiar with the japanese style of grindhouse splatter exploitation horror, which often involves schoolgirls equipped with machineguns in the ass, boobular rifles, zombie vaginas that spit flame, quadruple amputeed gimps with blades as limbs, gallons of fake blood, decapitated heads talking or moving about, zombies coming out toilets, mutant freaks with biomechanical chainsaw growing on their arms, etc.

You know the famous ones, from The Machine Girl, Robogeisha, Helldriver, Tokyo Gore Police, Dead Sushi, Mutants Girls Squad, Vampire Girl VS Frankenstein Girl (which i revisited earlier) and last year we featured Big Tits Dragon, also based on a manga of the same name by Rei Mikamoto.

This adaptation is directed by a lesser known name in the field, Hiroki Yamaguchi (Hellevator, various live action Messiah Gaiden films and TV series), which i’m not really familiar with, and i can’t say i’m familiar with the original manga by the author of Satanister – Satanic Sister.

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The Spooktacular Eight #14: Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night (2010)

As they announced via a trailer early this month, we’re gonna have Bonelli, an italian comic books publishing house, give another crack of turning one of their decades long running series into a live action film, with the movie adaptation of Dampyr, a horror comic book series created in 2000 by Mauro Boselli and Maurizio Colombo about the supernatural adventures of the protagonist, a hybrid between a human and a vampire (so, yes, a “dhampir”), set to release very soon in theathers here.

Not only that, this is supposed to kickstart the Bonelli Cinematic Universe, and while to many non-italians readers this sounds like a cheap joke i’m making up…. it ain’t, and from a more marketing-oriented view, it makes sense, as now the time is ripe to give it a shot as audiences are familiar and used to superhero stories and stuff alike.

Still, it sounds hilarious to me to see them still trying to go this route, as if Universal itself tried and managed to cock it up not once, but twice, and in general very few players can do the MCU thing.

So it’s worth bringing back that the precedents aren’t exactly high in terms of inspiring any confidence or actual committment to any long term plan, as we saw Sergio Bonelli’s publishing house try it more than a decade ago with the live action adaptation of a far more famous italian horror-supernatural comic book series that will ring a bell even outside of Italy.

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[EXPRESSO] Black Adam (2022) | Avenging The Stone

Dwayne Johnson first foray into actual superhero films happens to be in the DC Extended Universe, and it also happens to be very, very bad, but not for the reasons you’d think.

As in, i will argue that Morbius is still worse, but you could also counter with the premise of that movie having some potential, where in Black Adam there’s no effort put to anything, to the point where its way too generic, sharing the same symptoms seen in the regular cut of the Justice League movie, but actually worse, as the new group of heroes are blatant knock offs of Marvel’s roster (even if the characters themselves originally weren’t), with some straight up copying the Marvel’s shtick and mannerisms, when they don’t remind you of the X-Men.

Or the movie it’s just speedrunning every superhero movie cliches and recurrent flaws to the ground, with overly long exposition dumps, deranged abuse of slo-mo, predictable and unsatisfying narratives with the twists seen coming MILES away.

Do not forget a villain so lazy and boring you’ll pine for Justice League’s Steppenwolf.

The plot centers about the titular anti-hero Black Adam, an ancient egyptian man born slave than was bestowed incredible powers by the mage Shazam, and later sealed.

When he’s summoned back by a woman trying to stop a criminal empire, he unleashes his rage, prompting Amanda Waller to sick the Justice Society of superheroes to stop him, as he does not subscribe to the non-lethal kind of superhero combat.

The movie has some funny/cute scenes, and it tries to say something about the need for violence to fight the oppressors, etc, but as with everything in Black Adam, it’s mediocre at the very best, but always completely superficial and so generic it hurts. Even with Dwayne Johnson doing his thing.