Halo: Season One – TV Review

TL;DR – While not a perfect season, the finale episode did leave me intrigued for more.  

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ service that viewed this episode.

Master Chef about to jump out

Halo Review

When the first episode of Halo came out, it felt like it was a show of two halves. We got an exciting dynamic between Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) and the only survivor from a Covenant attack Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha). However, the show’s other half was some of the dullest paint-by-numbers military “intrigue” and “conspiracy”. I wondered which half of the show would dominate throughout the season because that would be a significant indicator of how the show would work. Well, now that I have seen the entire season, I have to say that we got some improvement, but not as much as it could have.

So to set the scene, at the end of Allegiance, everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. Halsey (Natascha McElhone) turned the Spartans Riz (Natasha Culzac) and Vannak (Bentley Kalu) against John/Master Chief and Kai (Kate Kennedy). Meanwhile, Makee (Charlie Murphy) had rebuffed Halsey and was trying to trust Master Chief only to get a stun stick to the back of her head when Miranda Keyes (Olive Gray) realises that she was the one that killed the crew, which was bad. But even worse, Makee touches the artifact and sets it off, destroying much of the base. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that hits pretty much the same as the first, but I am not sure the first film was good enough to rest on your laurels    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Knuckles walks through a coin portal

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Review

The first Sonic the Hedgehog film was one of those moments where you could tell that there was a good movie and idea out there, but that it had been so cluttered that it was hard to find. To let a spoiler out of the bag, I do think the sequel improves in some areas. However, on the whole, what we get here is more of the same than any actual development.

So to set the scene, Sonic (Ben Schwartz) has been living with Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie Wachowski (Tika Sumpter) for a while now, but secretly at night, he goes out to Seattle to try and fight crime. Tom is concerned that he is not mature enough for that, but as a test of faith, he leaves Sonic home alone while they go to Hawaii for the wedding of Maddie’s sister Rachel (Natasha Rothwell) to her new beau Randall (Shemar Moore). It is all going fine, but for the fact that on the Mushroom Planet, Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey) found a way to send a pulse into space, which summoned the Echidna with the fists and a feud with Sonic, Knuckles (Idris Elba) to the planet.

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Halo: Contact – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a very definition of a mixed bag, with some promise shown, but also many issues.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ service that viewed this episode.

Halo: Contact. Image Credit: Paramount+.

Halo Review

I am what you would call an agnostic when it comes to the Halo video games. I didn’t grow up with an Xbox (or PlayStation if you are about to go video game console wars in my comments), so Master Chief was someone I had a vague knowledge about but not someone I cared about. Since then, I have watched the first couple of games streamed, and I get the appeal, even if the narrative is now a bit dated with time. I forward this all right from the start, so you know where I am coming from with this review and before I start hacking chunks of this apart.

So to set the scene, it is the year 2552, and the human race has spread across the stars, but it has been fraught with division. On the planet Madrigal, designated a Tier 4 Heavy Water Extraction Planet, the locals have been fighting a war of independence from the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) for an age. However, one day as some kids from a local outpost, including the leader’s daughter Kwan Ha Boo (Yerin Ha), go out into the woods, they stumble across not the UNSC and their feared Spartans, but something so much worse. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Uncharted – Movie Review

TL;DR – Well, Tom Holland’s charisma can only go so far in fixing this dull mess   

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Uncharted. Image Credit: Sony.

Uncharted Review

Some memories stick with you as you grow up. For me, one of those memories is the family sitting around the tv watching my brother play Uncharted as we enjoyed the unfolding story and looked out for any hidden items. Given how successful and loved this video game franchise is, I am not alone with having attachments to this game, but I was also a little wary of disappointment walking into this film. The casting was a choice, and nothing around the marketing had imbued any confidence with the film, and I can now see why.

So to set the scene, we open with Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) getting kicked out of a cargo plane and then run over by a car. But fifteen years earlier, a young Nate (Tiernan Jones) and his brother Sam (Rudy Pankow) break into a museum to steal a map but are caught by guards. Sent back to the orphanage, Sam will be sent to jail, but he escapes leaving Nate behind. Currently, Nate is a bartender who pickpockets his clients when a strange man called Sully (Mark Wahlberg) walks into the bar and offers him a link to the past.  

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Mortal Kombat (2021) – Movie Review

TL;DR – Gory, gruesome, and yet also just a ton of fun.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.

Mortal Kombat. Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Mortal Kombat Review

When I was growing up, Mortal Kombat was this illicit thing that everyone knew about because the adults kept trying to get it banned. A baby Brian’s first experience with the Streisand Effect. So when you got to play it, well, it was almost an act of defiance, which of course, added to its appeal. As time when on, it mostly faded from my radar, and the two past films did not help, well more the second, the first still had the banging soundtrack if nothing else. But when you hear that they are doing a remake holding nothing back … well, this is something you need to check out.

So to set the scene, we open in on 1617, Japan, at the house of Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his family. Hanzo is the Shirai Ryu ninja clan leader, and as such, his home is well protected from threats. However, one fateful day while he was out fetching water, Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) of the Lin Kuei assassins arrived and killed all the guards and Hanzo’s family. They fight, but Bi-Han uses his ice to win the day and stop the prophecy of Hanzo’s bloodline being Earth’s salvation. Well, almost, as Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) arrives, he hears a cry call out from the house, for a baby had been hidden away and was saved from the slaughter. Today, Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is just going about his life as an MMA fighter when that birthmark shaped like a dragon turns out to be a bigger deal than he ever thought.

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DOTA: Dragon’s Blood: Season One – TV Review

TL;DR –A little convoluted yet strangely compelling ride through the expanded lore of one of the most popular video games out there.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this series.

DOTA: Dragon’s Blood. Image Credit: Netflix.

DOTA: Dragon’s Blood Review

DOTA is one of those video games that I know, but I have never been able to get into, and that is not from a lack of trying. It is this phenomenon that I have watched from a distance with this odd curiosity. While the game itself feels like an impenetrable mess, there is a lot of style and intrigue going on, and I know that there is a whole lot of lore built into the game that could be good to explore.    

So to set the scene, we open with a huge info lore dump that you probably don’t need to understand fully. We then cut to the middle of a battle as many militiamen get ripped apart by a dragon that dives in and out of the ground. It is a losing conflict until Davion (Yuri Lowenthal), the Dragon Knight, enters the fray as his squire Bram (Josh Keaton) watches on. It is a glorious battle that dives in and out of the ground, and eventually, it is killed. It a moment of rejoicing. However, Frühling (Matthew Waterson), the captain of the guard, is less than pleased because an elder dragon still sleeps nearby, waiting to attack. But when he goes down into the lair of the best, he finds there is more terror there than he expected. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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Monster Hunter – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a film dipped its toes into the weirdness, and I wished it had done a bomb dive of the highest platform into the weirdness instead    

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Warning – There is extensive use of strobe lighting effects

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

Monster Hunter. Image Credit: Sony.

Monster Hunter Review

Alas, another video game adaptation bites the dust. I wish this were something I didn’t have to keep saying, but time after time we see that adapting a video game to the big screen is a difficult job and very few films can pull it off. In today’s entry into the list, we have a film that should get credit for adding elements of the gameplay into the film and then frame it around one of the most generic action films imaginable.

So to set the scene, in some desert on Earth (there are actual GPS location coordinates but I was not quick enough to jot them down, if you got them, please let me know) a military expedition is out exploring trying to discover what happened to another of their teams. The United Nations team is led by US Army Ranger Captain Natalie Artemis (Milla Jovovich), and they find the last position of Bravo Team just as a large sandstorm appears out of nowhere. As Alpha Team tries to outrun the storm, markers on the side of the road start flashing, and then the world falls out from underneath them. They wake up on some sand dunes that look nothing like where they left, which is about the point where Alpha Team comes under attack from things that lurk beneath.    

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Movie Review – Sonic the Hedgehog

TL;DR – Unfortunately this is a film that mostly falls flat in-between shout outs to Olive Garden.  
Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Review

For a long time, there has been a drive to find a great adaptation of a video game, and on the whole, the best we have gotten is mediocre. Well, today we look at a film that is trying to break through that history and alas it does not quite get there even though it is clear that all the cast is giving their all.  

So to set the scene, in a magical kingdom far away, there was a young blur bouncing across the green world with in-built loop-d-loops. His power is almost limitless, but that comes with danger and one day that danger comes home to roost. As they are attacked, Sonic’s (Ben Schwartz) adopted mother Longclaw (Donna Jay Fulks) helps him flee by giving him rings that allow him to jump from world to world keeping ahead of the kidnappers. Well, many years later, one of those jumps leads him landing on Earth where he watched the residents of Green Hills, Montana like the local sheriff Thomas Michael “Tom” Wachowski (James Marsden) go about their lives. All is good, until one day when he accidentally sets off an EMP, drawing danger in the form of Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey) right to his door.

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Movie Review – NiNoKuni (Ni no Kuni/二ノ国)

TL;DR – A really good film up until the point it gets bogged down in its own worldbuilding   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene

NiNoKuni (Ni no Kuni/二ノ国). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

It has been a long road trying to adapt video games to the big screen and so far there have not been many (if any) that have actually pulled it off. Some have got close and today we take a look at one that also is very close, even if it just does not quite get there.  

So to set the scene, in Japan, there are three good friends Kotona (Abby Trott), Haru (Alejandro Saab), and Yu (Max Mittelman). Kotona and Haru are a couple and Yu is the third wheel, but not really, though he is confined to a wheelchair after a childhood accident that killed his parents. Life is great, school is good, however, all is ripped apart when one-day Kotona realises that she is being stalked by a creep. Yu and Haru rush to help her but they are too late when they arrive a masked figure stabs Kotana with a weird blade. They rush to try and get her to a hospital when in the middle of the street they are ripped into another world and now Kotona is missing, their phones are compasses, and everything is different.

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Movie Review – Detective Pikachu (Pokémon: Detective Pikachu)

TL;DR – I had a smile on my face for the whole film, filled with joy and heart.     

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Detective Pikachu (Pokémon: Detective Pikachu). Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Review

Before we start I should mention that I am probably the easiest sell when it comes to a live action Pokémon movie. I grew up with the show and the video games, so this is honestly the perfect setting for me if you want to hit that rose-tinted nostalgia that people in the industry crave. With this in mind, I walked into the cinemas with a sceptical mind, but I have to say it got caught up in the world almost instantly.

So to set the scene, we open in on Tim Goodman (Justice Smith), there was a time long ago when he wanted to be a Pokémon trainer, but that time has passed and now he is happy being an insurance claims adjuster (which I think they chose because it sounds like the most boring job in the world if you were a child … or adult). His best friend Jack (Karan Soni) is about to leave town to be a Pokémon trainer and he fears for his friend being left all alone, so they try and catch a Cubone, this way he will have a companion. After that all falls apart they walk back into town only to discover Tim has several missed messages from Detective Hideo Yoshida (Ken Watanabe) from Ryme City where his dad works. There has been an accident and his father has been killed in the line of duty and Tim needs to come to the city to settle his affairs. However, when he arrives he finds someone lurking in his dad’s apartment, a Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) that only he can understand.

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