[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.

[One Piece Film Retrospective] #5: The Cursed Holy Sword (2004)

When preparing to do this new One Piece films retrospective, there was one in particular i was dreading to cover again, that i istantly knew i wasn’t gonna like having to watch another time for review purposes. Yes, i didn’t particularly care for the first official One Piece movie, but i always had “beef” with The Cursed Holy Sword, even on a conceptual level it irked me greatly.

But i’m a man fond of redemption tale, and giving this movie a second chance after all was just professional courtesy as a critic, after all it’s a “re-view” in name, fact and spirit.

I will recognize that one could see this movie in particular as an attempt to offer something a bit different from before in terms of movie outings, i can’t fault that mindset, but i still feel like this was a previous script for another shonen series that was repurposed for another, more popular IP, regardless if was a good fit or not.

And yes, i would argue the fantasy-heavy storyline doesn’t really fit the world of One Piece much, usually the weird stuff it’s all due to some Devil Fruit ability or something that is treated akin to science, something that its grounded in its own reality, see the Skypiea arc treatment of the “gods in the sky” kerfuffle. Put another way, 99 % is just stuff that it’s explained in-universe sooner or later, i mean, it fits with the underlying “age of discovery” angle the pirate theme often brings.

Continua a leggere “[One Piece Film Retrospective] #5: The Cursed Holy Sword (2004)”

[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”

Fire Emblem Warriors NSWITCH & NEW3DS [REVIEW] | Tactics Of The Emblem

To celebrate a new Fire Emblem crossover game with the Warriors formula, this time based on Three Houses in the same fashion as Age Of Calamity was from Zelda Breath Of Wild, let’s rivisit the older (and first) title, simply titled Fire Emblem Warriors, released back in 2017 for the Nintendo Switch and the 3DS… as in, only the New 3DS models, yep, it was one of those very few exclusive titles for that 3DS revision-upgraded restyling, arguably the only title of notice alongside Xenoblade Chronicles 3D in terms of New 3DS Only packaged retail releases.

I’m gonna review both versions as i first sunk 50+ hours on the New 3DS release (i didn’t had a Switch at the time) and then a little less once i got hold of a Switch and that version, and by that i mean i will just make a specific comparison in terms of performance and overall looks between the two versions, no need to review both separately, as in terms of contents they are 99 % identical.

Aside from that, prepare from a lot of comparison to Hyrule Warriors, it can’t be helped.

Also (as already explained in the hands-on on the demo for Three Hopes), don’t expect a review of Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes anytime soon, for the same reason of Persona 5 Strikers, i gotta play the main game, Three Houses, first, even though this is described as an alternate story in that world. And i’m never gonna finish that game and then start, finish and have a review of that out in any timely fashion.

Time is not on my side. 😦

Continua a leggere “Fire Emblem Warriors NSWITCH & NEW3DS [REVIEW] | Tactics Of The Emblem”

Touken Ranbu Warriors NSWITCH [DEMO] [HANDS-ON] | Bishounen Sword Boys VS History Revisionists

Well, that was kinda unexpected, i genuinely though that editorial-ramble earlier this month would be the last time i talk about Touken Ranbu Warriors, but a week before release they also put out a demo on the European (and i guess other territories) eShop, so let’s give it a try.

And say some words. I do mean “some”; because there’s actually very little to say, and actually the bigger news is that the game is also coming to PC in the west, as a Steam release (since the DMM platform isn’t available outside of Japan), with a demo also available for that version. And that version will run in 60 fps, unlike the 30 fps locked Switch release.

Continua a leggere “Touken Ranbu Warriors NSWITCH [DEMO] [HANDS-ON] | Bishounen Sword Boys VS History Revisionists”

Musou May + an updated rant on Tecmo Koei’s horrible monetization practices

While i would have loved to splooge and do a full fledged Warriors retrospective, i simply can’t at the moment due to time lacking for such an endeavour, so we’ll have a musou game review each Sunday in May, starting from the 8th, which will alter the bi-daily posting routine we entered since February a little.

I wish i could do more, but i already know will not be able to get, play and review the upcoming Touken Ranbu Warriors before May itself ends, for one (as to why, basically because they are going with a digital only release in European territories, more below=. Though i can update my previous rants on Tecmo Koei’s monetization practices and content culling, as the Switch eShop page for that game went up recently and showed us that Tecmo Koei’s will simply NOT stop inventing new ways to “nickle and dime” hundreds of moolah from you for very little effort.

Continua a leggere “Musou May + an updated rant on Tecmo Koei’s horrible monetization practices”

Orochi The Eight-Headed Dragon (1994) [REVIEW] | Tsukuyomi Endless (Endless)

Ah yes, the classic go-to monster of japanese folklore for when a regular hydra just won’t cut it, and a name that will be immediatly recognized by anyone with some dedication to videogames, manga and cinema, especially if they involve the classic mediaval fantasy japanese settings, as he’s often the big bad monster like in Okami, or has an entire subseries of Warriors crossover titles with him as the catalyst of chaos. Or more close to the bone, being the ispiration for the classic Godzilla monster, King Ghidorah, since we’re going into the Toho territory of giant monsters once again.

But it’s not quite that, as this one isn’t a science fiction film as many giant monsters from the Godzilla series were, but instead is a straigh-foward old fashioned magical fantasy film that picks various mythological characters and story pieces from the ones about the formation of the Shinto religion, in this case being the tale of Yamato Takeru, his encounter with the Yamato-hime priestess, receiving the holy sword Kusanagi no Tsurugi, the Tree Treasures, Susano’o, the fight with the god Tsukuyomi….

…and a lot more names that most likely don’t mean jack if you’re not familiar with japanese mythology, like at all, so it makes a bit more sense that they didn’t release it overseas under its original title of “Yamato Takeru”, despite it being more apt.

Continua a leggere “Orochi The Eight-Headed Dragon (1994) [REVIEW] | Tsukuyomi Endless (Endless)”

[EXPRESSO] Demon Slayer: Mugen Train (2020) | Eternal Pyre

Fuck it, i’m reviewing this one as well, since it did eventually arrive just now in theathers here in Italy…. after being made available on Amazon Prime Video months earlier, but i’m willing to watch it again to support anime cinema releases, and to properly assess things further for a review.

Since the series it’s the more recent shonen manga success story, i doubt i need to introduce Demon Slayer/Kimetsu No Yaiba, even more since i feel its success lies in being pretty straightforward and easy to connect, as its set in a fantasy Japan of old, where demons lurk at night and feast on people, but are fought back by a secret order of samurai with mystical blades and techniques, the Demon Slayer Corps.

The protagonist, Tanjiro, becomes a Demon Slayer in hopes to undo the curse that made his sister Nezuko a demon, and along the way befriendes the cowardly lightining fast swordman Zenitsu, as well as Inosuke, a wild boy wearing a boar mask.

The plot revolves around the trio being tasked to – alongside an experienced demon slayer called Rengoku – embark a train and protect the people on it from eventual demon ambushes, and this isn’t an original story, a mostly disconnected one-off adventure, as most of these shonen anime movies are, but actually bridges the events of the first and second season, and has some important stuff happening in it, so i wouldn’t recommend jumping into this if you haven’t seen the first season (or red the equivalent manga chapters), for spoiler reasons.

That said, it can be watched fine on its own, and rewatching it made clear it’s a pretty good shonen manga film, with excellent animation from ufotable as expected, funny moments, good drama, likeable characters and intense fights with high stakes.

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #1: Triassic Hunt (2021)

This one it’s a bit odd, as you would guess it being a mockbuster of Jurassic World 3 Dominion… or at least it was probably gonna be that, but that movie – along many others – was postponed time and time again due to complications caused by the pandemic, so The Asylum for once had the mockbuster ready to leech off a movie that wasn’t out yet, and released it anyway this last January.

I mean, nothing stops them from making dinosaur movies that are not mockbusters, but in the end it’s mostly a matter of labels, since this one as well isn’t exactly copying directly a more popular movie, just ripping off Carnosaur even more than Corman and Buechler did, to continue the circle of trash cannibalizing older trash.

Long live the new trash, etc etc.

Continua a leggere “12 Days Of Dino Dicember #1: Triassic Hunt (2021)”

[EXPRESSO] Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop (Season One) (2021) | It’s time we blow

I was gonna make a full review, but then realized it wasn’t deserving of it.

Often you see people wondering who the hell is the target for live action adaptations of anime series that etched theirselves as classics, even more when it’s a series that become a hit even outside the anime circles, so you can’t really pull the snarky excuse “no normal people have seen the thing”.

In this case, i feel no one, because it’s incredible how they managed to create something that not only the fans will despise but newcomers will just find bad, and wonder why the hell people liked Cowboy Bebop to begin with.

An adaptation of an anime that should actually work better than most in live action, but manages to be a genuine complete wreck.

It’s also a live action adaptation made by and for people that scoff at anime, because that sentiment it’s made pretty much manifest by the many changes made to excuse, justify or alter many elements and expand on stuff regardless if it makes sense or if it’s good.

This was always gonna be different from the original, but this is such a witless, soulless, boring, badly paced and barely recognizable adaptation that fundamentally misunderstands the material and it’s willing do any random garbage with it, hypocritically treating the original as gospel but without really respecting it, or even understanding it, not really caring too much to anyway.

The fairly cheap CG it sparely uses to remember you it’s technically set in space doesn’t help. I seriously hope the budget for the One Piece live action they’re also working is higher than this.

The cast it’s quite good and does an unbelievable job, but they can’t save this pitiable, hackneyed, utterly ill-conceived trash from itself. Don’t even bother hatewatching it.