The Last of Us – Long Long Time – TV Review

TL;DR – A quiet contemplation of what love is in the face of loss.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this show.

Warning – Contains scenes that may cause distress.

Walking over a bridge.

The Last of Us Review

In our exploration through the world of The Last of Us so far, we have had a pretty point-by-point adaptation from the source material. A fact that many, including me, have deeply respected. However, sooner or later, they were going to make a big swerve from the game’s story, and the question is, how would that work? Well, we will find out a little sooner than I expected with today’s episode.

So to set the scene, in When You’re Lost in the Darkness, Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv) were charged with taking Ellie (Bella Ramsey) to the Fireflies in the old statehouse. Still, when they arrived in Infected, no one was left alive, and soon Tess had to sacrifice herself to let the others escape. On the road, Joel has few options, bar an old contact Bill (Nick Offerman), who lives in Lincoln, a town near Boston. But it has been a couple of years since he was last there, and Joel does not know if he is still welcome alone. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead for the show.

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The Last of Us – Infected – TV Review

TL;DR – A more intimate episode of the series that focuses on the realities and hardships of their upcoming journey.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this show.

The gang looking out over Boston.

The Last of Us Title Review

In last week’s When You’re Lost in the Darkness, we got one of the best video game adaptations. It was not just faithful to the overall vibe of the video game. It was also faithful down some of the blow-by-blow action moments of the show. My question back then was would a direct adaptation lack the emotional impact, and we have little to fear there if this episode is anything to go by.  

So to set the scene, it is Jakarta, Indonesia, on the 24th of September 2003 when Ibu Ratna (Christine Hakim), Professor of Mycology, is taken from her lunch by military police. She is whisked away to a lab and asked to look at a specimen. She discovers the impossible, that cordyceps has made the jump to humans. Her recommendation, burn Jakarta to the ground before it is too late because there is no vaccine. In the future, Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv) are still reeling from the revelation that Ellie (Bella Ramsey) is infected. The question is, do you kill the girl now, or when she enviably turns? Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead for the show.

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The Last of Us – When You’re Lost in the Darkness – TV Review

TL;DR – A faithful and tense introduction to the series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this show.

The Last of Us Review

I came into this week’s The Last of Us with some trepidation. On the one hand, the series, especially the second game, holds a special place in my heart as it was the streaming event that sucked me into this world. However, since then, many shows have come into this post-apocalyptic space, and some, like Station Eleven, have been transcendent. My question is, has The Last of Us missed the bus, or is it the perfect time to jump back into this world?   

So to set the scene, it is September 26th, 2003, in Austin, Texas, and there is a sense of strange calm as Joel (Pedro Pascal), and his daughter Sarah (Nico Parker) celebrate his birthday as the news reports something weird happening in Jakarta. Joel and his brother Tommy (Gabriel Luna) have to work a double shift to get the house they are working on fixed. While Sarah is out getting her father’s watch mended, police start tearing up the streets. Hours later, things move from bad to worse as the city implodes, and Joel desperately tries to get his family to safety. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead for the show and Schindler’s List.    

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Resident Evil: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a silly, over-the-top, ridiculous show in all the right ways …until its not.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

Welcome to New Raccoon City.

Resident Evil Review

When the original Resident Evil video game came out, I didn’t have a PlayStation, so I was tangentially aware of it and probably watched someone play it at some point. Still, I would never consider myself a fan at any moment and never had the drive to try and work out the convoluted lore built up over the years. But then the films came out, and at least the first couple were … let’s say engaging, but then they got … well, they got Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. I don’t think it would be hard to say that I was not chopping at the bit for a new Resident Evil TV Series, but then I watched one episode out of interest … and ended up watching them all.

So to set the scene, we opened in a ruined London in 2036, 14 years after the world ended. There are probably only 300 million people left on Earth in small walled communities or the few remaining nations like Fortress Scandinavia or the Umbrella Corporation. But there are 6 billion zombies or zeroes infected by the T-Virus ready to rip anyone’s throat. In a small research camp, Jade Wesker (Ella Balinska) has spent six months researching the Zeroes to see if the virus is mutating and allowing more cognitive control when she accidentally cuts herself and becomes a target for the horde. Back in 2022, three months before the fall, Jade (Tamara Smart), her sister Billie (Siena Agudong), and her father, Albert Wesker (Lance Reddick), have just arrived in their new home in New Raccoon City in South Africa. It has a bland, corporate feeling, but behind the scenes, the new boss of the Umbrella Corporation, Evelyn Marcus (Paola Núñez), is pushing hard to get the new drug Joy delivered to the market. The only issue is just what did happen at their plant in Tijuana? 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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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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