Reign of the Supermen (Review)

Reign of the Supermen

Reign of the Supermen
2019
Written by James Krieg and Tim Sheridan
Directed by Sam Liu

Reign of the Supermen

Six months later….

Superman is dead, but since he’s also Jesus you know he’s got to come back to life. But if you also followed the comics, you know there was no way they’d let you off the hook that easily! As there were 4 concurrent Superman comic series, 4 pretenders to the throne emerged, one in each book, each out to be the new Superman. Sort of. Steel (John Henry Irons) wasn’t out to replace Superman, he was inspired by Superman to become a hero himself and go after the weapons he designed that were let loose on the streets. So he build himself a metal outfit, became the Man of Steel, and got to work. Superboy was a clone of Superman, aged to teen years so he could use the name from the Superboy comics, but with cool 90s sunglasses and a leather jacket. Eradicator and Cyborg Superman are different in that they were way less clear as to their origins or how seriously they were pretending to be Superman. As these stories are decades old, it isn’t a spoiler to reveal Eradicator was a computer program while Cyborg Superman was evil (He nuked Coast City! Then some dumb stuff happened and then they rebuilt it….) Eventually Superman comes back and saves the day. As a primarily Marvel reader, when all the Death of Superman/Funeral for a Friend/Reign of the Supermen stuff was going on, I actually read and enjoyed DC comics. Before then I didn’t really make any special effort, but these were good enough to keep me hooked.
Reign of the Supermen
This story follows many of the same beats, but is remixed and streamlined. There are still four pretenders running around, but Superboy is now a clone created by Lex Luthor in an attempt to brand Superman as his own property (he’s even launched as Superman, the launch party descending into chaos as the Eradicator shows up to fight Superboy for daring to declare himself the real Superman, and Steel popping up to try to stop the fighting (as John Irons was nearby investigating Luthor for his own reasons) Steel seems more Iron Man inspired, though to be fair the biggest interpretation of him prior was Shaq’s film.
Reign of the Supermen
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 5, 2019 at 10:56 am

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The Death of Superman (Review)

The Death of Superman

Death of Superman
2018
Written by Peter Tomasi
Directed by Jake Castorena and Sam Liu

Death of Superman
Superman is know for two things: Super powers and dying. Okay, that’s a vast oversimplification, but Superman does die a lot, and here he dies again, in animated form. But wait, didn’t they already do a Death of Superman animated movie? Why, yes, they did! It was one of the first animated DC movies (and it was quite bland!) This redo is more than just a remake, it’s incorporating multiple prior films that form a loose continuity while also flowing into the later parts of the story (Reign of the Supermen), all while updating and modifying where necessary. Sliced out is a lot of the embarrassing 90s stuff and unimportant plot elements (though the bigger changes are in the sequel!) In their place is story that makes Superman more human and necessary for humanity, right before the biggest threat appears that we all know is about to snatch him away.
Death of Superman
One of the themes of the live-action films is if the world even needs a Superman. It’s the story Lois wrote in Superman Returns, it was one of the reasons Clark tried to hide his power and later is investigated by the government in the Snyder movies (yes those films are far more complicated than that, say with me here…) There is even shades of it here, with astronaut Hank Henshaw convinced Superman will save them when there is a problem in space (spoiler alert: he doesn’t!) But all those points become moot when a giant guy starts smashing his way through major cities and your heroes fall before him. The world needs people who can stand up to evil.
Death of Superman
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 26, 2019 at 10:46 am

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Our Friend, Power 5 (Review)

Our Friend, Power 5

aka 우리들의 친구 파워 5 aka Wurideul-ui Chingu Pawo 5
Our Friend Power 5 우리들의 친구 파워 5
1989
Written by ???
Directed by Park Ho-Jin

Our Friend Power 5 우리들의 친구 파워 5

Teenage Hungover Ninja Turtles


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of the headlining franchises of my youth, and while I never got involved with the toys, the comics, cartoons, and video games were a constant presence. And years ago, I heard about a Korean bootleg Ninja Turtles movie, but thanks to the shifting sands of the internet it was years and years until I got a copy. Then I sat on it for a few years, but now it is time to actually finish jobs, and it’s time for Our Friend Power 5 to get its due on TarsTarkas.NET!

Our Friend Power 5 isn’t just a bootleg Ninja Turtles, it is in fact selling its own bootleg Ninja Turtle toys, complete with their own giant robot bootlegged from another toy line! It is part of literally hundreds of Korean children’s films pumped out with ridiculous costumes, terrible acting and overacting, and lots of rubber suits and animation of giant robots and spaceships mixed in. It forms a delirious genre of cinema that few people outside Korea have heard of, and fewer people have seen multiple entries. Fortunately for you (but unfortunately for us!), TarsTarkas.NET is one of those locations that is very familiar with this genre. Be it Alien Lightning Dragon, Hwarang-V Trio, Robotstar Jjanga, Super Batman & Mazinger V, or Korean Terminator, this ridiculous films are a constant presence. They will be so in the future as well, because you better believe I’m sitting on a whole slew more of them!!! That’s a threat, buddy!

But we must talk about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles here. First of all, there are FIVE of them! And one is a princess, in fact she’s the Princess of their race, and in turtle mode she has pink ventral shell. The ventral shells (the chests for those of you who aren’t biologists) are how you tell these characters apart, each one has a different color there – Pink, Black, Yellow, Brown, and Purple. Their masks are molded so they permanently have the Ninja Turtles grimace, and there are obvious eye holes (and other holes in the suits, either so the actors don’t sweat to death or so the suits are easier to maneuver and don’t fill with air and get weird shaped!) Their bandanas are all red and only the Princess seems to have any custom weapon, her wand. One of the turtles shoots what looks like metal wire out of his wrist to snag a villain out of a tree, but that’s the only complicated things the turtles do. Even with the many holes in the costume, it’s obvious the actors inside are barely able to see and most of the choreography involving them is weird and slow like they are underwater. Usually they default to the child actors for the action scenes to attack the villains. Outside of the princess, the other four don’t really have much of a personality, they are just there, and during the climax I’m not even 100% sure where two of them go.

When your wire salesman demonstration goes totally wrong!

The villains are a bunch of rat men, so yes, it looks like Splinter is hunting down his own family! Despite the villains being rats, their leader is named Shark and has taken a human face disguise (outside of an obviously terrible beard) The rats are all the same rubber mold, but they made their leader more grey and gave him blue eyes instead of red. They stomp around and carry laser guns but must have gotten their training at the Imperial Stormtrooper Academy as they can’t hit the broad side of a turtle barn.

This film is basically a commercial for their bootleg toys, as the entire climactic sequence involves the toy robot piloted by the Turtles (and some kids, it’s more dumb than complicated but let’s just continue) smashing the crap out of the villain’s fleet and his own robot. The Comentor Robot also drives the plot, it’s the plans the Princess is carrying that the villain wants to get his hands on. A space princess with some plans a villain wants, huh? The name Comentor Robot comes from a translation of the plot, I’m not sure if it is supposed to be like Cometor as that sounds more spacey, or if this robot spends its down time arguing that fluoride is mind control below Yahoo News articles. The robot itself is ganked from the Go-Bots Powersuits Power Warrior so it’s like two bootlegs combined into one! Synergy, baby!

Our Friend Power 5 우리들의 친구 파워 5

Suck it, Harry Potter!


Thankfully whoever ripped this tape left all the production logos on it, including the SKC company ad for their video tapes, floppy discs, and their brand new CD technology! CDs, it’s the FUTURE!!! As this is a rare film, we will give our patented incredibly thorough description of what is going on so you too can follow along at home, along with a side of snark. And like every single one of these Korean Children’s films, there are no subtitles, but at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!

Hyuk (???) – Our hero is just some rando kid who happens to be the son of the famous astronomer Dr. Yang. Thanks to his irresponsibility he is granted phenomenal powers that he uses to fight evil Ratmen from space while befriending refugee turtles.
Bow Tie (???) – The required by Korean Kiddie Movie Law comic relief, Bow Tie here is a huge wimp who hangs around with children while failing to ask out Tae Kwon repeatedly (and later Princess Turtle repeatedly)
Tae Kwon (???) – The tough daughter of Dr. Yang who has the power of knowing tae kwon do, something alien ratmen armed with laser guns are helpless against!
Dr. Yang (???) – Brilliant scientist who is far too busy building weird telescopes and letting his children run wild to go see a dermatologist about that weird growth on his head. Helps build a fleet of attack ships for the Earth and helps the Turtles create their robot.
Princess Turtle (???) – – The Princess of the turtle world who leads the survivors of her conquered race in a desperate attempt to escape the evil Shark and his army of Ratmen. Has the plans for the powerful Comentor Robot that Shark wants. The Princess is armed with a magic wand that she’s pretty irresponsible with, and is also a brilliant tactician as shown later in the film where she commands a space attack. She transforms into….
Pink Turtle (???) – The lead turtle with the power of pink. All other turtles obey her orders. Outside of the Princess, none of the other turtles seem to have names (and even if they did, there ain’t no subtitles!) we will refer to them by their underbelly colors, as that is the only difference between the characters. They all use the same Michealangelo-base mold, which is seen by the “M” on all their belts. None of them really have personalities.
Black Turtle (???) – The turtle I got the least clear shots off in screencaps! Our made up biography reveals he is obsessed with football, but was never able to go pro due to a knee injury in college. Only the destruction of his homeworld prevented him from getting a job selling women’s shoes.
Yellow Turtle (???) – The Yellow Turtle is yellow. Shocking, I know! Despite that, he isn’t a coward. Congrats! Our made up biography reveals Yellow Turtle is a brilliant florist but lost last year’s rose competition due to internal politics. Luckily every other turtle florist is now dead, so he is a shoo-in to win this year!
Brown Turtle (???) – Our made up biography of Brown Turtle is that he was initially another color but he never bathes, thus giving his belly the brown color by which he got his new name. His original color was lost over time, even he doesn’t know what color he is supposed to be.
Purple Turtle (???) – This turtle is usually flying the Turtle spaceship but outside of that doesn’t do much interesting. Our made up biography indicates he is very into stamp collecting, to the point where he has taken out multiple mortgages to afford those stamps where the plane is upside down.
Shark (???) – Leader of the evil Ratmen who commits genocides on Tuesdays and wants the Comentor Robot to further his genocidal ambitions. Judging by how the transformed Ratmen look in the film, Shark has taken human form and is just another Ratman.
Ratmen (???) – The Ratmen are the disposable flunky troops of Shark. The leader is more grey and has blue eyes, while all the rest are more brown with red eyes. None of them are Splinter, unless this is the Mirror Universe! Wait a minute, maybe it is….

Our Friend Power 5 우리들의 친구 파워 5

We get it, you vape!


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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 19, 2019 at 6:38 am

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The Ever-Morphing Bodies of Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

We can’t discuss the Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory without noting the vast amount of body dysmorphia happening, both to the featured players and to the cartoon animals. The Willy Wonka story has its various body horrors: Augustus Gloop is squished through a clear pipe, Violet Beauregarde is transformed into a living purple grape that needs to be juiced (before she explodes!), and Mike TeeVee is broken down into tiny pieces and reassembled in tiny form. Plus this doesn’t count the characters that almost float to their doom or are dropped down long shafts into the furnace, nor the tiny orange men who sing songs dunking on the victims. It is a living cartoon, so slots in perfectly with Tom and Jerry. So Tom and Jerry is now forced to both have the signature violent cartoon styles with the addition of running riffs of all the various Willy Wonka gimmicks. What results is a cornucopia feast of crazy body morphing that deserves its own spotlight separate from the main review. Enjoy!

Tom Jerry Willy Wonka Dysmorphia

Tom Jerry Willy Wonka Dysmorphia

Tom Jerry Willy Wonka Dysmorphia

Tom Jerry Willy Wonka Dysmorphia
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 14, 2019 at 12:48 pm

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Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Review)

Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Tom and Jerry Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory
2017
Written by Gene Grillo (and the original screenplay by Roald Dahl)
Based on the novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Directed by Spike Brandt

Tom and Jerry Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory
Remember when a poor young boy found a magical golden ticket and embarked on a candy adventure? Also a cat and a mouse were wandering around? That sounds vaguely familiar thanks to the power of franchise mashups! Everyone’s favorite cat and mouse team that isn’t named Itchy and Scratchy are back again to get int hijinks that keep ensuing no matter how hard they try to un-ensue them. And Willy Wonka is there. No, this is not Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it’s Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! Yes, we’re literally in the 1971 movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, complete with the songs and the look and the costumes and the deviations from the book that the movie choose to do (such as the Everlasting Gobstopper test!) This isn’t even the first time Tom and Jerry have done this, they were running around in a remake of 1939’s The Wizard of Oz a few years back (and that movie got it’s own sequel!!)
Tom and Jerry Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory
This is the future of film. It’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought to a whole new level (even as the MCU borrows from the Universal Monsters and Godzilla movies that did it first), except now entire franchises are sandwiched together in a powerhouse of corporate synergy. Expect far more of this in the future, especially once someone at Disney decides the different brands should be more than just cameos in Wreck-It Ralph movies and has Luke Skywalker fight Iron Man. Other notable (and less so) examples include The Lego Movie, various Cartoon Network versions of WB shows, and the legion of parody movies such as The Hungover Games, which get an additional boost of being able to skirt around the edges of different IPs, which weirdly makes them the most accurate version of this type of fanfic in production format (too bad they are almost universally terrible!) But enough of talk of things not this particular film…
Tom and Jerry Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 12, 2019 at 6:40 am

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The Stalker Club (Review)

The Stalker Club

The Stalker Club Lifetime
2017
Written by Barbara Kymlicka
Directed by Doug Campbell

The Stalker Club Lifetime
Lifetime does slashers! Throw in a dash of The Internet Will Murder You, toss in a pile of stalking, and pour in a bunch of actual person in a mask killing teens with a knife, then blend it together and top it with a “Lifetime” cherry, and you got The Stalker Club, which proves that Lifetime movies can be any genre they want. For those of you thinking an actual slasher movie would be out of place on Lifetime, this network consistently puts out films with high body counts and crazed obsessives following around innocent teens, this is the natural progression!
The Stalker Club Lifetime
The Stalker Club opens with a riff on the opening of Scream except the masked stalker doesn’t speak and the 80s girl dies by falling down the stairs while hinting she sort of knows whats going on. But it’s too late for her and too late for us because the rest of the film takes place 30 years later! Modern day opens with a montage of the five main teen characters doing a slow-motion cool walk complete with a name title cards for each one, a handy thing to do to get you up to speed with the characters quickly so the stalking and the clubbing can begin. We got Ashley (Kelcie Stranahan), our heroine; Darren (JT Neal), Ashley’s handsome boyfriend; Chloe (Alex Frnka), the bad girl who channels Denise Richards; Mark (Paul Karmiryan), the jock who likes to joke; and Sadie (Lora McHugh), the sensitive goth. The clique is sort of weird because Chloe and Mark are the popular kids, while Darren is new to school and befriended Mark, while Sadie is presented as Chloe’s best friend but doesn’t seem to fit at all. Ashley is the newest one of the group, Chloe doesn’t seem to like her and Ashley has basically abandoned all her former friends to hang out with this cool crowd. Ashley also is mad at her mom (Maeve Quinlan) for daring to have a boyfriend when it’s only been two years since her dad died in a car accident. Seriously, Ashley takes some warming up to before we don’t wish she gets stalked to death.
The Stalker Club Lifetime
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 5, 2019 at 6:30 am

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