Also known as: Snake Eyes (informal title) Release Date: July 21st, 2021 (Indonesia, Iceland, Italy) Directed by: Robert Schwentke Written by: Evan Spiliotopoulos, Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse Based on:Snake Eyes by Larry Hama; G.I. Joe by Hasbro Music by: Martin Todsharow Cast: Henry Golding, Andrew Koji, Úrsula Corberó, Samara Weaving, Haruka Abe, Takehiro Hira, Iko Uwais, Peter Mensah
“[deciding to run away from the battle] Oh, fuck this!” – The Baroness
Lens flares are back, baby! And I guess they’re getting really fancy and artistic with them now. So much so, that they’ve become more important than the action and you find yourself looking for them, as opposed to focusing on the fights, that are already obscured by this effect, as well as choppy editing, sloppy choreography and what’s apparently the director not giving a fuck about anything.
Anyway, this was the third attempt at a live-action G.I. Joe movie and it’s also a huge step backwards from Retaliation, which had its problems but was also leaning hard into the right direction. With Retaliation, a follow up never came because Hasbro doesn’t know what the fuck they’re doing with their own properties, anymore. Plus, Paramount has been creatively bankrupt with Hasbro’s properties since they originally acquired them in the mid-’00s.
At least the horrendous G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra kind of resembled G.I. Joe. Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, on the other hand, is not a G.I. Joe movie and the title character is not Snake Eyes.
To start, Snake Eyes is a masked, silent ninja. Emphasis on “silent” and “masked”. He’s also a white, blonde American that got disfigured from an accident while trying to save his brothers-in-arms during an actual war.
In this film, he’s Asian, he never wears a mask and he rarely, if ever, doesn’t shut the fuck up. He also doesn’t go to war. Additionally, they didn’t really cast an action guy and Henry Golding, despite his best efforts and I don’t blame him, completely lacked the energy and charisma needed for the role. And this left me wondering how Ray Park, behind a mask and without any dialogue, was able to bring a character like Snake Eyes to life so greatly in the previous two G.I. Joe movies?
The story was the biggest problem with the film and it’s just a very generic ninja movie that just sprinkles in G.I. Joe references because Hasbro is dumb and Paramount is dumber. In my opinion, the best Snake Eyes (and G.I. Joe) movie is 1985’s American Ninja, which isn’t even related to the franchise at all.
Now the acting was pretty shit, for the most part. The Baroness was especially awful and it kind of pisses me off, as she is one of my favorite characters in the franchise. In fact, I like her more than any of the franchise’s characters that were featured in this film. Also, she never looked like the Baroness. Honestly, she looked like an assistant manager at Wet Seal circa 1998.
I don’t know, man. This movie sucked and it was pretty fucking disappointing when the studio had a movie more than half right, eight years ago, and they never followed it up. Plus, they had Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis for fuck’s sake and an impressive and perfect looking Cobra Commander.
Instead, we got some generic ass ninja television pilot for a CW show that no one wanted.
Release Date: June 8th, 2008 (Gibson Amphitheatre premiere) Directed by: Louis Leterrier Written by: Zak Penn Based on:Hulk by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby Music by: Craig Armstrong Cast: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell, William Hurt, Robert Downey Jr., Martin Starr, Lou Ferrigno, Peter Mensah
“[Preparing to finish the Hulk off] Any last words?” – Abomination, “Hulk… SMASH!” – The Incredible Hulk
A few months after the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off with Iron Man, we got the second film in the now massive Avengers franchise. I feel like people actually forget about this movie now, as there has never been a sequel to it and the character of the Incredible Hulk was recast by the time 2012’s Avengers rolled around. Edward Norton, like Eric Bana, only got to play the Hulk once. Granted, Bana’s Hulk film is not a part of this continuity.
The Incredible Hulk is pretty decent as an introduction to this version of the Hulk character. It benefits from not being bogged down by an origin story, as that was covered in that earlier, unrelated Hulk film and the two movies are only separated by five years. However, the details or a rundown of the origin should have been mentioned, as opposed to just giving the audience a flashback scene cut into the opening credits.
A problem with this film and it being a part of the larger MCU canon, is that everything that happens in it doesn’t really matter to the bigger picture and really, this could be removed from continuity and no one would notice. In fact, I feel like it should be non-canonical.
One, the Hulk role was recast and given to Mark Ruffalo. Two, where the hell has General “Thunderbolt” Ross been since this movie? He had a meeting with Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark but for what reason? Liv Tyler’s Betty Ross has also never resurfaced in favor of Marvel switching Hulk’s love interest to Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. Where are these two people who were so important to the Hulk’s story? Also, Tim Blake Nelson is exposed to magic Hulk juice and was turning into the Hulk villain, The Leader. Seriously, where the hell is The Leader? I want the f’n Leader! I love The Leader!
Granted, they’d probably ruin The Leader, as Marvel doesn’t do anywhere near as good of a job developing their villains as they do their heroes. Which is a big bone of contention for me in regards to the larger Avengers franchise.
Time also hasn’t been kind to this film and watching it now, when there’s like two dozen more MCU films, makes it feel even more out of place.
And while I’m speaking of time not being kind, the CGI is less than impressive and the film is pretty slow because it doesn’t have the flow that the later Marvel movies have. While I did like the slower pace in Iron Man, that film managed its time better and developed its plot and its characters very effectively. The Incredible Hulk doesn’t develop much of anything, it just relies on you knowing these characters based off of the unrelated Hulk film from 2003. But even then, the characters here still have a different personality. Norton’s Hulk is different than Bana’s and the same goes for Liv Tyler in the role Jennifer Connelly played and William Hurt taking over from Sam Elliot.
The Incredible Hulk is far from a bad movie and it’s decent as a standalone story but it just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the MCU and relies on knowledge and history that the film doesn’t actually give you. The actors did a good job with the material but it was still a weak effort, overall.
Rating: 6.5/10 Pairs well with:Iron Man and Iron Man 2, as its wedged between the two. Also, Avengers, as that’s the next time that the Hulk is seen.
Original Run: September 24th, 2013 – August 12th, 2020 Created by: Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen Directed by: various Written by: various Music by: Bear McCreary Cast: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Nick Blood, Adrianne Palicki, Henry Simmons, Luke Mitchell, John Hannah, B.J. Britt, Mallory Jansen, Ruth Negga, Adrian Pasdar, Kyle MacLachlan, Powers Boothe, Mark Dacascos, Blair Underwood, Constance Zimmer, Patton Oswalt, Bill Paxton, Gabriel Luna, Peter Mensah
I remember watching the pilot to Marvel’s Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D. when it premiered and I wasn’t a fan of it. I immediately lost interest but as that first season rolled on, I started to hear good things. When the series entered into the phase of setting up Captain America: The Winter Solider, people couldn’t stop talking about it.
So once the first series came to an end, I binge watched it. I have now also watched season two in its entirety.
One thing I can say about this show is that it took about half a season to find its footing but even then, it is pretty inconsistent.
The show has high points and it has some very low points. If you are a fan of Joss Whedon’s style, you will probably love the show. I’m not a Whedon fan however and I find the style to be superfluous, predictable, forced and tedious at times.
The characters are likable enough but no one stands out. You don’t truly care for any of them and as great as Phil Coulson was in the movies that came out before this series, in the show he just becomes an uninteresting one-dimensional character. In fact, each episode almost serves as a way to forcibly remind the audience of how cool Coulson is supposed to be.
Most of this show just rides on by and none of it feels as important as the producers and many of its fans make it out to be. I get that it is used as a vehicle to develop more background to the plot of upcoming Marvel films but in that it falls victim to itself and feels more like a show on rails than something free to go its own way. It gets distracted from dealing with its own separate narrative, as it is forced to tie into the plots of the films. While that worked well the first time around with Captain America: The Winter Soldier it didn’t work so well with Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The second season was pretty uninteresting and the highlight of the series was the last third of the first season, which dealt with the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the aftermath of that. While the show is now establishing the mythos of the Inhumans, who will be getting their own Marvel movie several years from now, the plot and the execution hasn’t been as cutting edge and exciting as the showrunners have anticipated.
This isn’t a bad show, there are things I like and I will continue to keep watching in an effort to watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe continue to unfold but I would almost rather binge watch the seasons after they end than force myself to sit down and watch this religiously every Tuesday night at 9 p.m.
At its very best, this show has had great moments. I just hope that there are more of those in the future and less filler and drawn out plots that could be dealt with much quicker. I also hope that at some point Patton Oswald becomes a full-time cast member because his contribution to this show is the best thing about it. I also hope we haven’t seen the last of Kyle MacLachlan’s Mr. Hyde, as he was the highlight of season two.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has promise and potential and if it fulfills that, it could become a stellar show. As of right now, it falls below its superior sister show Agent Carter and it can’t hold a candle to CW’s The Flash or Netflix’s Daredevil.
I have now gotten through four seasons of this show. Season three was really slow and just a bore overall. However, season four introduced Ghost Rider to the Marvel cinematic mythos and things really got interesting. Season four was broken into three parts, where the middle bit wasn’t interesting but the end caps were stellar. In fact, the last third of season four, titled Agents of Hydra, was the absolute high point of this show and you actually discover that you care about these characters more than you realize. If the momentum can continue on from the last portion of the fourth season, then this show could be one of the best on television. Unfortunately, it has a long history of inconsistency.
Release Date: May 13th, 1988 Directed by: John Carl Buechler Written by: Manuel Fidello, Daryl Haney Based on: characters by Victor Miller Music by: Harry Manfredini, Fred Mollin Cast: Lar Park Lincoln, Kevin Blair, Susan Blu, Terry Kiser, Susan Jennifer Sullivan, Elizabeth Kaitan, Jon Renfield, Jeff Bennett, Heidi Kozak, Diana Barrows, Larry Cox, Craig Thomas, Diane Almeida, Kane Hodder
Paramount Pictures, 88 Minutes
Hey, it’s Bernie from Weekend At Bernie’s and he’s alive! Well, not for long – it is a Jason movie.
This film also features Jason Voorhees going against Jean Grey from the X-Men. Actually, it is some girl named Tina but she has telekinetic and psychic powers and thus, spends a lot of time confusing Jason with cheap parlor tricks. I have a theory that she has no powers and was a con artist that rigged her house with lots of Hollywood strings. In any event, it gives this film an interesting dynamic that we haven’t seen in this series before.
The New Blood is important, in that it is the first film to feature Kane Hodder in the role of Jason. He is the only guy to play the role more than once. In fact, he played him over the course of four films and is the most recognized Jason actor and pretty much the overall fan favorite. I definitely think he had the best presence and mannerisms and brought the role to the next level, even though C.J. Graham did a pretty phenomenal job in Jason Lives (the installment before this one).
Jason also looks the absolute best in this film. He still looked pretty good in the next film but this is definitely my favorite Jason, as far as overall appearance. The fact that you can see his spine and ribs through the back of his tattered jumpsuit is pretty damned cool, as he was fish food in a lake for like ten years leading into being set free at the beginning of this movie.
The problem with this film, is that it was butchered by the censors and the MPAA. There is less gore, not because it was filmed that way but because it was edited down a lot. The fluidity of certain scenes and certain cuts are horrible.
Despite those issues, this is still a better-than-decent Friday the 13th chapter. It is also the best of the four Kane Hodder films.
Friday the 13th, Part VIII – Jason Takes Manhattan (1989):
Release Date: July 28th, 1989 Directed by: Rob Hedden Written by: Rob Hedden Based on: characters by Victor Miller Music by: Fred Mollin Cast: Jensen Daggett, Todd Caldecott, Peter Mark Richman, Kane Hodder, Kelly Hu
Paramount Pictures, 100 Minutes
Jason Takes Manhattan is a really misleading title. Jason is only in Manhattan for less than a third of the film and he’s pretty much just in the alleyways and the sewer other than a quick chase scene in Times Square. This film should really be called Jason On A Boat because it is primarily Jason on a boat, killing some teens.
There are a few good kills, like a sauna rock through a stomach and a boxer having his head knocked off by a Jason uppercut. That’s about it though. This takes Jason out of his normal element but it isn’t a wanted change and it is executed with absolutely no imagination. This is just a very boring film.
The ending is retarded level bizarre. It makes no sense and I’m not sure why the City of New York flushes their sewers with toxic waste every night at midnight and how hanging out on a ladder above the rampaging toxic river didn’t asphyxiate and cause severe brain damage in our heroes. And somehow, toxic waste melts Jason down to a crying little boy.
The film is also visually inconsistent with previous installments. The child Jason looks nothing like Jason has looked in the past at that age. The tone of the film is just strange and it feels more like an old Sci-Fi Channel slasher knockoff film than a chapter in a storied franchise.
I’ve always liked Jensen Daggett though and this is her first film. That is about the only positive I can give.
This was the last film of the original series to be released by Paramount.
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993):
Release Date: August 13th, 1993 Directed by: Adam Marcus Written by: Jay Huguely, Dean Lorey, Adam Marcus Based on: characters by Victor Miller Music by: Harry Manfredini Cast: John D. LeMay, Kari Keegan, Erin Gray, Allison Smith, Steve Culp, Steven Williams, Kane Hodder, Richard Gant
New Line Cinema, 88 Minutes
This is the worst film in the entire franchise. It is beyond horrible. Jason is barely in it and the monster is a demonic heart worm.
New Line Cinema acquired the rights to the Friday the 13th franchise and decided to reinvent it in their own way. Kane Hodder is back as Jason Voorhees but he is only in the opening sequence and the final battle, other than appearing in mirrors throughout the film when other people are possessed by his evil spirit.
By the way, that evil spirit travels from host to host via a worm crawling out of one mouth and into another. And Jason’s evil French kiss worm hatched from his heart. So I guess his heart is really some sort of egg. Well, the heart was eaten by a possessed guy in a morgue but that is how he got infected with the Jason worm and how this whole stupid process began.
The film also introduces a horrible concept that was abandoned after this film. Basically, now it is learned that Jason can only be killed with a magic knife wielded by a blood relative. So Jason is hunting down surviving family members because if he kills them, he can’t be killed. And somehow, all these people live around Crystal Lake and yet, he has never tried to hunt them down before, in any of the eight movies that predate this one!
The truth is, I completely ignore this film when it comes to the Friday the 13th mythos. The movie is absolute shit. It doesn’t exist except in some parallel universe. No, it doesn’t exist there either. Avoid it at all costs, unless you really want to torture yourself.
Jason also looks horrible. He looks like Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cosplaying as Jason. Why does his noggin look like a big mutant brain with a hockey mask that is obviously too tight for his newly enormous head?
The only noteworthy thing about this movie, is that after Jason is dragged to Hell, the glove of Freddy Krueger (from the A Nightmare On Elm Street series) bursts out of the ground, grabs Jason’s hockey mask in the dirt and drags it down to Hell. This set up the eventual Freddy vs. Jason film that was in development hell for a decade.
Jason X (2001):
Release Date: July 24th, 2001 (Germany) Directed by: James Issac Written by: Todd Farmer Based on: characters by Victor Miller Music by: Harry Manfredini Cast: Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, Chuck Campbell, Jonathan Potts, Melyssa Ade, Melody Johnson, David Cronenberg, Peter Mensah, Kane Hodder
New Line Cinema, 92 Minutes
This is the last film in the regular series of movies unless you count Freddy vs. Jason in 2003. It is also the last film to star Kane Hodder as Jason.
So when horror franchises jump the shark, they usually go to space. Where most horror franchises go to space by the fourth film (see Critters, Hellraiser and Leprechaun), at least Jason didn’t have to leave Earth until the tenth installment of his series.
Jason X is a bad movie. It is a really bad movie. But it is a bad movie that is great in its awfulness. It is fun, it is ridiculous and the film doesn’t, at any time, try to take itself seriously. It knows it is bad but it is doing a damned good job of creating a good time.
After nine films full of killing teens at (or around) a summer camp, the new direction was refreshing. At least the scenery changed and at least it wasn’t a boring ghetto cruise ship on the way to a boring Manhattan sewer.
Jason is cryogenically frozen, wakes up 500 years in the future on a spaceship conducting a high school field trip and goes on a sci-fi killing spree. At one point, he is rebuilt by nanomachines into what fans call Uber Jason. Basically, he looks like a much angrier and deadly version of a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers villain.
If you try to take this film seriously, you will hate it. If you take it for what it is, an intentionally bad but awesome time, you will most likely enjoy it.
*I will review Freddy vs. Jason and the 2009 Friday the 13th remake at a later date.
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