Planet Hulk (Review)

Planet Hulk

Directed by Sam Liu
Written by Greg Johnson (screenplay) and Greg Pak (comic)

Planet Hulk is a storyline from the Incredible Hulk series where our favorite giant green monster gets rocketed to another planet, where he becomes a slave, a gladiator, a rebel, and finally a king, smashing things all the while. It was very popular, for good reason, because it was freaking awesome! It spawned sequels, spin-offs, and this DTV animated film. The storyline was mainly written by Greg Pak, or Robot Stories fame. Planet Hulk brings about memories of stories such as the John Carter of Mars series, Gladiator, and Conan the Barbarian. If you have the time, I highly recommend reading the story, collected in graphic novel form. It helped get me back into reading comics for a while, which was pretty difficult to do thanks to Marvel ruining things with stupid Spider-clones and crap.

The DTV film which is the subject of this review differs from the original story in several ways. One of the main differences is the fact the Silver Surfer is nowhere to be found, instead replaced by Beta Ray Bill (which is pretty random, sort of like the Silver Surfer’s original appearance in the story!) Surfer’s non-appearance is apparently due to licensing reasons. The story is also missing the Warbound Brood character No-Name, so I guess all those Brood fans will be disappointed. As the film is not so long, the story is sped up and most of the last act is hurriedly paced, even if I hadn’t of read the original story it would have felt rushed. Along with that, many subplots die by the wayside. Finally, the tragic ending of the original storyline does not occur, probably due to them wanting to end the story on a positive note and leaving the rest for a possible sequel. Hulk may be green, but Marvel wants the other green, money!

So since I loved the original story so much, that probably means I hate this version? Not quite. Despite over-simplifying it to the point where much of the flavor is removed, the same basic story is there, and there is plenty of fighting action. There are numerous scenes with the Spikes, which show someone involved in the DTV production really liked zombie movies. Parts of it are actually creepy/scary in a way they fail to be in the comic. I didn’t hate this version, I actually liked it, but I’ll be keeping the graphic novel instead of the DVD on my bookshelf.

There are numerous cameos in the audience, including Pip the Troll, Gamora, Adam Warlock, a Skrull, Star-Lord, and some guy hiding behind the Red King who might be Grandmaster. So if you are that guy who loves Grandmaster, this is the film for you.

Hulk (Rick D. Wasserman) – Hulk smash!
Caiera (Lisa Ann Beley) – Caiera is the super-powered bodyguard of the Red King who will eventually become the Hulk’s wife. She has “Shadow Strength”, which means she can make her skin rock hard and she’s very strong.
Miek (Sam Vincent) – Miek is an unhived native with black skin so you can tell him apart from the generic insect natives there as well who will die. A loner who finally finds friends and a hive in the battle arena. Most of his story arcs in the comics are excised here, Miek doesn’t even mutate into King mode.
Korg (Kevin Michael Richardson) – A rock guy from Thor a long time ago that shows up here in Sakaar, because, rocks gotta go somewhere! By the way, my high school team was the Rocks, though no one from my high school was sucked into a vortex in space and crashed on an alien planet where they were forced to fight as gladiators. When it happened to me I had to work at Hot Dog On a Stick instead.
Hiroim (Liam O’Brien) – A castout priest who believes in the Sakaarsan so much he’s very happy when the Hulk arrives to be the Sakaarsan. Good thing for Hiroim that this movie has a different ending from the comics. And I think they killed him off later in the comics so enough of this guy.
Elloe Kaifi (Advah Soudack) – Crazy revolutionary girl who is far to revolutionary for her own good and keeps getting the team into trouble. Simmer down, girl! The way to revolt is to do it in a way where you don’t get caught.
Red King (Mark Hildreth) – The evil king of Sakaar who is evil, though the movie only shows him doing a little evil stuff and not lots and lots of evil stuff.

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Jade Dagger Ninja (Review)

Jade Dagger Ninja

aka Han shan fei hu

Directed by Li Chao-Yung

There are no ninjas here. Jade Dagger Ninja suffers from being brought over to America in the middle of the ninja craze. The dubbing is comedic, with cartoon effects as characters go flying or go to the bathroom (yes that happens.) Some of the lines are laugh out loud hilarious, but I am certain some of them aren’t the actual lines unless Taiwanese cinema has taken to including English puns in their Chinese dialogue.

Jade Dagger Ninja is known by many names: Han shan fei hu, Jade Dagger, Forest Duel, Shaolin Fox Conspiracy, and the Wu-Tang Clan “Liquid Sword Collection” VHS Title Celestial Souljas.

The plot is pretty ludicrous, and most of it isn’t explained until the end (and then only if you were paying attention) so most of the time you will have no idea what is going on. The basic story is everyone wants the Purple Jade Badger, because it has an elixir that will make your kung fu super powerful. There is also a battle brewing between Sunset Villa and the Heartbreak Red gang. Throw into all that an upcoming wedding and Liu Hsiao-Feng arriving hoping the events will draw out the killer of his wife and you have a film with plots so deep you need a flowchart. Everyone has multiple names, which only makes it even more confusing. So you get our best guess from watching the film twice.

Liu Hsiao-Feng (Tien Peng) – The Flying Fox has been searching for his wife’s killer for three years. This leads him to get involved in the marriage of Aurora Liu and a battle between Sunset Villa and the Heartbreak Red gang. A pun master.
Aurora Liu (Doris Lung Chun-Erh) – Aurora is called the Sunset Fairy. Aurora Liu spends the entire film getting attacked by all sorts of evil people and getting rescued from every one of these evil people by Liu Hsiao-Feng, who she isn’t even engaged to.
Hao Yu Long (Tin Hok) – engaged to Aurora Liu and a big jerk. Spends most of the film fighting with Liu Hsiao-Feng even though Liu Hsiao-Feng has saved his fiancée like 2000 times. Then he turns out to be evil.
Sai Chu-Chu (Chin Meng) – A woman with an enormous libido and very extreme sexuality. Directly asks men she just met if they want to have sex. For some reason everyone calls her ugly, despite the fact she is the best looking cast member. Was raised by Madam Sheng after her parents were killed.
Governor Liu Tin Chi (Wang Hsieh) – Father of Aurora Liu, was engaged to Madam Sheng but left her to marry the dying daughter of a medic who saved his life. Keeper of the Purple Jade Badger. Is the Governor of Sunset Villa, which is the traditional enemy of the Heartbreak Red Gang.
Madam Sheng (Gua Ah-Leh) – The bitter ex-lover of Liu Tin Chi is now the evil head of the Heartbreak Red gang. Yes, it is an outlaw gang of people whose hearts have been broken. This is what happened in a world before LiveJournal and MySpace let you write bad poetry online.
Shen Liu Hen (Shut Chung-Tin) – Killer of Liu Hsiao-Feng’s wife three years ago, and has been pursued by Liu Hsiao-Feng ever sense. Was injured and lost his kung fu powers, but the Purple Jade Badger would restore him to a kung fu master. He is also known as Shining Death.
Heartbreak Warrior (Yun Zhong-Yue) – Also known as the Whirlwind Warrior and as Wai Yu-lin. This guy has too many names. A big fan of rape.
Master Cold Heart (Chung Wa) – Flute Guy! Flute Guy kills people with his flute. He also leaves a flower pin behind as his trademark in some sort of plot device that never got dealt with in the film as he dies halfway through. Where is Master Cold Stone Creamery?
The Incredible Hulk (Shut Chung-Tin) – HULK SMASH!! Shen Liu Hen drinks of the purple jade badger and transformers into the great green menace. Now we know what was in the purple jade badger – gamma radiation!

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