Pacific Rim… a ‘daikaiju’ movie

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One of the things I love to watch back when I was a kid was ‘daikaiju‘ ( 大怪獣 daikaijū?, giant kaiju or giant monsters ) and ‘kaijin’ ( 怪人?, referring to roughly humanoid monsters ) themed movies or tv shows.  Yes, I was a sucker for shows like Ultraman, Mask Rider Black, Space Sheriff Shaider, Power Rangers, Maskman and a lot more.  I also watched the original Godzilla series produced by the Japanese.  These theme was also prevalent even in animes; Voltes V, Voltron, and Tōshō Daimos to name a few.  It is a shame actually that these type of shows have slowly declined over the years.

I think the last decent movie I watched with this theme was Godzilla (1998 film).  There were a few movies but they did not appeal to me as much as the Godzilla film.   However, this coming 2013, looks like this theme will again be revived and hopefully, it will be great.

Pacific Rim, directed by Guillermo del Toro, is actually created as sort of an homage to the old Japanese ‘kaiju’ films.  Here’s the synopsis for the film ( taken from wikipedia site ).

pacificrim

When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes—a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)—who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.

I am excited with this film and I really hope it delivers.  They have a great director and based from the trailer, its movie effects looks amazing.  I guess it all depends now on the script.  Well, in the event that the world does not end next week, here’s one movie I will look forward to next year.

Here is a trailer of the movie ( taken from ENTV’s youtube channel ):

** images and video all taken from internet via google search.  I do not own this images or the video.

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Movie Review: Rurouni Kenshin

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New Rurouni Kenshin Live Action Poster

All I can say is this:  BEST. DAMN. LIVE-ACTION. MOVIE. EVER.

Late last year, a rumor spread around the internet about a live-action movie for one of the most famous anime’s of all time, Rorouni Kenshin ( Samurai X ).  At first, that’s all I thought it was, just a rumor.  Then came the teaser, then the trailer and the movie posters… and that’s when I said to myself, “Okay, so it’s not a rumor… Damn! I’m definitely gonna watch this!”.  And my wish just came true ( thanks to my brother-in-law for the treat 😀 ).

20120810_Rurouni_Kenshin

The premise of the story goes like this:

Japan is about to enter the Meiji era and transition from the Middle Ages to industrialization. The samurai have no place in this modern society where warriors are less useful than traders. Unemployed, having lost the right to wear the sword, and facing guns and cannons, the samurai will gradually disappear into legend. Kenshin is one of such lost warrior. Once a grand master of the sword he is now a vagabond, wandering the roads of Japan. However, his chivalry and courage will make this one-time mercenary a loved and respected vigilante.

     – from Comicbook Movie.com

Personally I was 115% satisfied.  I am still experiencing “Samurai X high” after the movie.  Months and months of waiting was truly worth it.  They never disappointed the fans of Samurai X.  Although they did make slight changes to the story, the deviation from the plot was still acceptable.  The fight scenes were the best.  The effects of the movie were cool… no CG!  Well they did use some CG but very minimal… you’d hardly notice it.  The key to their fights scenes was excellent choreography, and great camera tricks.

0The development for each of the characters was also good.  Each of the actors / actresses portrayed their parts well, especially for Emi Takei ( as Kaoru Kamiya ) and Takeru Sato ( as Himura Kenshin ).   But I have to admit I was slightly disappointed at how they portrayed Saito Hajime‘s character.  Just an opinion, but I think it would have been better if they stayed with his “bad guy” persona, just like in the manga and anime.

All in all, I can say that this is one of the best live-action movies I’ve seen so far.  I recommend it to everyone.   So, what are you waiting for… hurry up and watch the movie!!!!

Here is also another great review for this movie: click here.

Here is a trailer for the movie.

** all images are obtained from the web via Google search.

Movie Review: 13 Assassins

The last time I felt good watching a classic Samurai film was Seven Samurai, which was directed by Akira Kurosawa.  There were other movies with similar settings that I have watched, but none compares to the latest one I just saw, 13 Assassins (Jûsan-nin no shikaku).

13 Assassins, directed by legendary filmmaker Takashi Miike, tells the tale of Shimada Shinzaemon and his 12 men, as they accomplish the mission set to them, to kill the young, cruel son of the former Shogun, Lord Naritsugu.  This movie is a remake of an old 1963 black-and-white Japanese movie, with the same title, by Eiichi Kudo.

The premise of the story is quite simple actually: Set in Feudal Japan, a well respected clan takes in a new leader, the cruel, younger son of the former Shogun, Lord Naritsugu.  Naritsugu commits whatever violent acts he could think of… rape, murder.  Despite all this, no one dares to defy him because he is protected by his position.  A member of the Shogun’s council then hires Shinzaemon, and gives him a mission: to assasinate Lord Naritsugu before he joins the council.  Shinzaemon, together with a few chosen men, then defy the odds and sacrifices their lives in order to fulfill the task assigned to them.  The last part of the movie culminates with Shinzaemon and his men, fighting in a village against 200 of Lord Naritsugu’s men, lead by his old rival, Hanbei.

Personally, I really, really, really, really, REALLY LOVED IT!  The story maybe simple, but how the director described it in the movie was great.  Also, this is the first Samurai movie I have watched that does not use the usual “anime-style” way of spilling blood whenever you cut someone with  a blade.  Well, at least the way the blood flows in the movie is much realistic than the movie Azumi, not that I have anything against that movie.

The movie also shows to the audience how samurai’s act during those times and how important honor is for them.  For Hanbei’s case, he knows that the master he serves is evil yet despite all that, he follows his vow to protect his lord at the cost of his life.

The actors played their roles well, despite most of us not recognizing any of them.  Some of the characters are memorable, especially Shinzaemon’s student.  Some also offer some funny moments in the movie.

All in all, I give the movie 4.5 out of 5.  This movie is now available in DVD and Blu-ray.  Check out the trailer below, as well as a link to their website.

site: http://www.13assassins.com/

Movie Review: The Last Airbender

The Last Airbender

The Last Airbender Theatrical Release Poster

Excited.  That’s how I felt when I first heard the news about Hollywood making an adaptation of the hit cartoon series “Avatar: The Last Airbender“.  I think it was around early last year (or was it late 2008) that the first teaser trailer was released.  It showed some promise and so I thought, I was going to see this movie when it hits the theaters, even if M. Night Shyamalan was going to be the director for this movie.

Unfortunately,  due to our busy schedule and some small problems at home, I wasn’t able to watch it in the big screen.  Turns out it was a good thing though.

Based from what most people said, the movie was a complete disappointment.  On some sites in the web, they even gave it a failing grade.  Curious, I had to watch it for myself.  And the verdict… they were right.

Before I continue, let me give you guys a recap of its story for the sake of those who haven’t watch it or is not familiar with it.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is an American animated tv series which aired in the Nickelodeon channel for three seasons.  It tells the story of Aang, a 12 year old young Airbender and is the last living survivor of the Air Nomad clan.  It is his destiny to become the Avatar, the one who can master all four types of ‘bending’ (Earth, Water, Air, Fire) and restore balance to the world.

The world of Avatar

Avatar world map

The setting for the series takes place in a world that is home to humans, some mazing beast and spirits.  The human civilization is then divided into four; the Earth kingdom, the Water tribes, the Air Nomads and the Fire nation.  The Fire nation has declared war on the rest of the nations and has completely eliminated the Air nomads for fear of the Avatar, whom they believed is the only one powerful enough to stop them.  Anyway, the series follows Aang’s journey, along with his friends, from accepting his destiny and becoming the Avatar up to defeating the Fire lord, the leader of the Fire nation, and bringing an end to the war.  (for further details, please visit one of the links below… after this post).

The Last Airbender movie covers “Book One: Water” or season one of the animated series.  It mostly talks about the protagonist’s struggle with accepting his destiny as the Avatar and his journey to the Northern Water tribes to find a Water bending master.

So back to the topic… After watching the movie, I can honestly say this much.  It was a huge letdown for me, as a fan.  I don’t know whose fault it was, but they destroyed or changed some of the things that was vital to the story.  As of the moment, it is the worst movie, by far that I have watched for this year.

You might ask me what exactly made the movie that bad… Here is my answer, I don’t know where to start.  From the mismatched actors, to the dry acting, to the rewritten script.  There are a lot of thing that was so wrong in the movie.

As for the special effects, I guess it was the only thing that was decent.  The flying bison was okay.  As for the bending effects, well it could have been worse.

All in all, I would give the movie a 1 out of 5 stars.

As for the rumors of a follow up movie for book two and three, I just hope they make a better job than this one.  As for M. Night Shyamalan… all I can say, “Dude, seriously… is that the best you can do???”.

ps.

On a happy note, Nickelodeon confirms that a sequel to the animated series, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is in the works and it will start airing probably next year.  The working title is “The Legend of Korra”.  For more details, click here.

links:

http://www.nick.com/shows/avatar

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Airbender

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar:_The_Last_Airbender

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._Night_Shyamalan

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0417299/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0938283/

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/102248-Nickelodeon-Greenlights-Steampunk-Sequel-to-Avatar-The-Last-Airbender

The Expendables

Imagine this… Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren and Eric Roberts all in one movie… wouldn’t that be a blast, don’t you think so?  The action stars of the 80’s, 90’s and the 2000’s all combined to make one explosive movie.

And it will be coming to theaters this August 2010.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, The Expendables is the next big Action movie that features the “men in a mission” theme.

Here is the plot of the movie from IMDB.com (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1320253/):

“Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) is a man with nothing to lose. Fearless and void of emotion, he is the leader, the sage and the strategist of this tight-knit band of men who live on the fringe. His only attachment is to his pickup truck, his seaplane and his team of loyal modern-day warriors. His is a true cynic who describes what he does as removing those hard to get at stains. The team behind him is made up of Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), former SAS and a savant with anything that has a blade; Yin Yang (Jet Li), a master at close-quarter combat; Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), who has known Barney for ten years and is a long-barrel weapons specialist; Toll Road (Randy Couture), a skilled demolitions expert and considered the intellect of the group; and Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), a combat veteran and an expert in precision sniping who struggles with his own demons.

When the mysterious Church offers Barney a job no one else would take, Barney and his team embark on what appears to be a routine mission: overthrow General Gaza (David Zayas), the murderous dictator of the small island country of Vilena and end the years of death and destruction inflicted on its people. On a reconnaissance mission to Vilena, Barney and Christmas meet their contact Sandra (Giselle Itie), a local freedom-fighter with a dark secret. They also come to learn who their true enemy is: rogue ex-CIA operative James Monroe (Eric Roberts) and his henchman Paine (Steve Austin). When things go terribly wrong, Barney and Christmas are forced to leave Sandra behind, essentially giving her a death sentence. Haunted by this failure, Barney convinces the team to return to Vilena to rescue the hostage and finish the job he started. And to perhaps save a soul: his own.”

Personally, I am excited and is looking forward to this movie.  If the action is as good as is seen on the trailers, then this will be the best action movie for 2010.

As closing, I’ve included some trailers in my post, courtesy of youtube.com.  Enjoy!