Sister Street Fighter
aka Onna hissatsu ken
Etsuko Shiomi (Sue Shiomi) as Tina Long (Sister Street Fighter)
Sonny Chiba as The Street Fighter
Hiroshi Miyauchi as Lee Long
Emi Hayakawa as Emi Kawasaki (I Think)
Eva Parrish as Eva Parrish, Karate Champion of Australia
This is the third Street Fighter Movie, and Sonny Chiba returns, if but briefly, and not as The same character. The movie is really an Estuko “Sue” Shiomi showcase, and she deserves it, as Sister Street Fighter kicks the butt of anyone who stands in her way. Besides her popping up in most of the other Street Fighter movies as various other characters, this movie is supposed to have spawned a few sequels of it’s own featuring Sue Shiomi’s character, Tina Long. Or at least they are just other films that were labeled as sequels to this when released in America, I’m still tracking some down before I can find out. This is a very enjoyable romp, the action is continuous, the plot is as good as you can expect from a revenge flick, especially female revenge. Rescuing your brother also plays well, it beats the often used “wronged woman” cliché. The only downfalls are little Sonny Chiba screentime, and many of the villains are more cartoonish than Skeletor. Plenty of Sue Shiomi beating the crap out of dozens of men more than makes up for it, as does the random nudity thrown in by the supporting female characters.
Dungeons & Dragons 2: The Elemental Might
Dungeons & Dragons was a pile of junk that ignored the franchise and featured some of the worst-acting heroes in that or this realm. The only saving graces were the villains, the wonderfully overacting Jeremy Irons and the overly annoyed Bruce Payne. The whole mess is something best forgotten, or so popular opinion was, until a low budget sequel crept up out of the darkness in 2005. Working on the previous movie yet setting it 100 years later, the film manages to be able to shed all the terrible elements that plagued the first installment, and also brings back one of the bright spots, Bruce Payne as Damodar. It puts together a real quest, a party made up of characters with different jobs and species, actually has interesting heroes, some of which shine in their roles, and even the limited amount of dragons are far superior to the massive dragon attack from the previous film. If there was ever a time a direct to video sequel deserved to be in the theaters while the original theatrical film deserved to rot on the bottom shelf at Blockbusters, we have reached that time. Are there problems? Of course, otherwise this review would be no fun! The problems are slight and many can be blamed on the prior film, both in established storyline and budgetary-wise. Nevertheless, this quest is far more perilous than the last, grab your +4 Goblin Sword and join me as we trudge through the jungle of Nabonga, fight the hordes of Furious Frog-g-gs, and attack the Lair of the Alone in the Dark King to bring back the Honor of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise!
Dungeons & Dragons
A group of high schoolers sit around a table drinking copious amounts of Mt. Dew, all while pretending to be orcs or sorcerers and rolling handfuls of dice with more sides than golf balls have dimples in this thrilling true to life adaptation of the classic game. No, wait, instead we get a live-action adventure that puts the “Dung” in Dungeons & Dragons. Ignoring the shelves of existing literature set in the D&D universe littering bookstores and comic book shops, and also ignoring the fairly decent cartoon of the late 1980′s, the director instead chose to give us an all-new adventure, which breaks new ground in the amount of source material ignored in order to produce a terrible Hollywood movie of an existing property. Director Courtney Solomon had the rights for the film for ten years, and this is his best effort. The culmination of all his dreams. His shining star in a dark void. Ten years…..wasted! Drunken monkeys banging away on keyboards with bananas produced better scripts in that time. The lone bright spot of the movie is Jeremy Irons seemed to realize what junk he was in, and had a grand ol’ time hamming up, over acting, and becoming the best performance in the film.
His sorcerer gone mad in his lust for power and dragon control is fun to watch, hilarious at times. Fellow villain Bruce Payne plays his Damodar character with a permanent scowl and low voiced threat voice that he seemed to either be loving his role, or he was awakened each morning at 4 am by construction and the scowl lasted all day. Either way, it’s a boon for us, as fun with acting is always preferable to being bored to tears. Grab your +3 Mace and come with me on a grand adventure, a quest to parts unknown to retrieve an ancient device, the magical “Eject” button of the DVD player!
Maxwell Caulfield as Silas (aka Huntsman)
Angel Boris as Medina
Woon Young Park as Ling
Richard Wharton as Remmegar
John Rhys-Davies as King Fastrad (aka King Gimli)
John Hansson as King Wednesbury
Directed by Stephen Furst
In space, no one can hear you….dragon? Yes, Space Dragons. Space Dragons that invade the Earth. Not modern day Earth, but Carpathia in 1190 AD (The Carpathian Mountain Range area I am guessing) where the dragons fight a clan of Medieval Stereotypes as well as a low budget. But for the cheap price of under $1 million, this flick managed to do very well. Most of the money seemed to go to the special effects instead of things like extras or costumes, so most of the film makes you think that Europe only had about 100 people in 1190. Dragon Storm was directed by Stephen Furst, if that name is familiar to you, you may remember him from Animal House, as he played Flounder, but no one shows up asking for 10,000 marbles. It’s admirable how Flounder took what was obviously a ridiculous idea destined to be another forgettable made for Sci-Fi Channel movie and turned it into an actual enjoyable Sci-Fi film that reaches near the top of the list based on the action/monster scenes alone. The main character is rather forgettable, the supporting actors outshine actor Maxwell Caulfield without breaking a sweat, despite his desperate attempt to become the Aragorn of Dragon Storm, instead becoming dragon fodder. Because we need some more explosions, Dragon Storm contains a token Asian Guy from China who comes equipped with this magic powder….that explodes…. Also he knows kung fu. Besides Playboy playmate Angel Boris, the film’s main headliner is John Rhys-Davies, of Lord of the Rings and Indy fame. Considering he’s also starred in Chupacabra: Dark Seas and is making the Uwe Boll film Dungeon Siege at this moment, someone needs to learn how to say “No” once in a while. Enough of the actor’s problems, we’ll deal with him in the review. Now, onward to Space Dragon invasion awesomeness!
Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
The year 2005 gave us Son of the Mask, The Honeymooners, Alone in the Dark, XXX 2, Stealth, Elektra, House Of Wax, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, The Perfect Man, Kingdom of Heaven, The Cave, Into the Blue, Fantasic Four, War of the Worlds, Alexander, The Island, Bewitched, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Man of the House, and Cry_Wolf. More horrors are undoubtedly on the way, such as Bloodrayne. There were a few bright spots, but out of the darkness comes a beacon so bright it blinds all competition. Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is too good of a movie to have come out of this year. It is a miracle. A beacon of hope. A sign of things to come. Wallace and Gromit are the first in a wave of decent films that are due out, and they are a sight for sore eyes. Hollywood has been complaining all summer about their being in a box office slump, then they release another weekend of garbage. Deservedly, people are staying home and staying away. Sure, Episode III, Sin City, Batman Begins, all decent, but not enough to keep people going to the lesser fare. Smaller productions such as Broken Flowers entertained but didn’t get much exposure, nor would they appeal to the masses as they weren’t designed to. Mot of the best films I saw this year were foreign films from 2004 or earlier, such as Kung Fu Hustle, Kontroll, Oldboy, and The Warrior. W&G is a great film. Everyone will love it, unless you are dead inside.