Modern action movies: “Sabotage”

Does Arnold “Arnie” Schwarzenegger still has what it takes in the action-thriller-drama Sabotage?

Sabotage
(USA 2014, director: David Ayer)

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A group of special DEA forces is accused of having stolen money, and after a failed investigation put on hold, they’re killed one by one, and it’s up to detective Lizzy Murray to find out if it’s a drug cartel or one of head honcho John ‘Breacher’ Wharton’s gang who’s doing the killings.

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After a no-strings-attached explosive beginning, things slow down a bit, and one will be disappointed if expecting a classic Arnie action movie. It has more drama and thriller elements, although there are still some great shootouts and an especially bloody finale. But does the mix work?

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To a certain extent, the investigative elements and especially showing off the mutilated victims evoke an almost serial killer vibe, although suspenseful moments are rare. This might be due to many flashbacks which at some points in the story play rather nicely with the audience’s expectations, or it has to do with more emotional drama parts mixed with a gungho bro attitude.

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Schwarzenegger does a decent job at portraying a broken man who tries to overcome the loss of his family tortured to death, but also as someone who’s determined enough to protect his other “family” and/or find the cartel responsible for these atrocities. It’s only too bad that the rest of the cast is the standard (and often obnoxious) cursing hoodlum gang, and the less-than-suitable-for-the-job police detective isn’t much likeablee either, although it makes for an interesting counterpart to the more violent world of drug wars.

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All in all, Sabotage is a good movie with some outstanding action scenes and a suitable ending (although the alternative ones on the disc are also quite interesting to watch). It’s only let down by its almost 2 hours running time and often incongruous genre mix in addition to many unlikeable characters.

Score: 7/10

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Official Splendid Website

Official Website

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Modern action movies: “Bullet to the Head”

Does growing old mean kicking any less butt? Sly Stallone doesn’t think so and shows it in Walter Hill’s action flick Bullet to the Head.

Bullet to the Head
(USA 2012, director: Walter Hill)

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Hitman Jimmy Bobo and Washington D.C. police officer Taylor Kwon join forces to bring down a corrupt and violent politician.

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So what does one expect from a Sly Stallone movie? Hand-to-hand combat and shooting of course. There’s plenty of that, some of it quite violent (which makes the 16+ age restriction of Germany quite questionable). It’s more bullet through the head or head through the wall than actual adrenaline-filled suspense. Even if there is a plot, in addition to the characters it’s nothing new and takes a backseat to the action on screen.

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There are a few tries at establishing a kind of buddy movie, but this doesn’t really work with more stereotypical jokes and one-liners. Those of Stallone are quite funny, delivered with the blank expression one is used to, while Kang’s performance is lacking some punch. However, juxtaposing the two extremes of going by police rules or living by one’s own rules makes for some surprisingly brutal scenes and a good ending.

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Jason Momoa has also to be given some credit. Known for his lead role of the new Conan, he’s quite a tough enemy for Sly, and their final axe fight is memorable enough to stand out from the rather standard shootouts, although there aren’t as many as the german title Shootout wants you to believe, sprawling this inappropriate name on the wall right from the start even if one chose the English version. And while we’re at it, the German cover looks also quite lame in comparison to the UK and US versions.

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The movie is entertaining enough in the action sequences, but forgettable in its characters or plot. It’s still a recommendable flick if one doesn’t expect too much than simply 90 minutes of in-your-face fist fights.

Score: 7/10

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Amazon USA
Buy the DVD on
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Amazon UK
Amazon USA

Official Constantin Film Website
Official Entertainment One Website
Official Warner Bros. Website

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page. Using one of the Amazon links and buying the product also helps ;).

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Lego Matrix lobby scene video

It’s amazing what you can do with a few Lego bricks, and if you’re well-versed with cinematic camera control, then something like this imitation of the famous Matrix lobby scene comes out.

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After playing so many Lego games and watching the excellent theatrical release in addition to other amateur videos it’s difficult to keep track of all the good ones, filtering them out from the mass of nice tries. This one succeeds in using the whole movie scene sound effects and music and going wild with it, Lego-style. At some point it also gets rather visceral, and it makes you wonder how great it would be to do a slasher or gore flick with bricks!

As it is, the roughly 4:30 minutes long scene is quite a lot of fun with some nice humor thrown in for good measure. Also check out other videos from Snooperking’s YouTube channel, like the artist on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

Do you know any other short films with Lego bricks, maybe something fun, scary or actually moving? If so, let me know. Maybe I’ll even feature your own creations here. I’d be interested in any Lego productions and might also run a series of game/movie reviews. Which ones would you like to get covered? Any favorites? Or maybe your own personal stories why you love (or hate) the franchise?

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.

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“Star Wars: TIE Fighter” anime video

Even for those not being fans of the anime style, this video shows what fan projects can actually achieve with the right licence, in this case Star Wars or actually the original Lucasfilm game TIE Fighter.

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Maybe it doesn’t have the greatest story ever (actually there isn’t any except for the old empire vs. rebels battle, although the project materials show more of a background story), outstays its welcome with just space fights going on for 8 minutes, and the art direction needs some getting used to. But this is still a very fun action romp with a particularly rocking soundtrack by Zak Rahman and some awesome fast-paced space battle sequences. If there will ever be an anime-style series (not talking about the official Clone Wars), the maker of this video should be involved in it somehow. It’s also quite impressive that he worked for over 4 years on this and doesn’t want to get any money out of it, so this video should be promoted even more!

Please make sure to check out the soundtrack for free legal download and the story/character info PDF. Also if you’re interested, the excellent original PC game the video is inspired by can be purchased on GOG as well.

What do you think about the art style? Does it fit or is it simply too over-the-top without the epic space opera feeling? Too new George Lucas without any substance or just a refreshing take on the franchise? If you know any other anime-style short movies (or full features) made by fans which do the source material justice, let me know. Any other anime suggestions based on popular franchises would also be nice.

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using one of the GOG links and buying the product also helps ;).

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Game release: “Pillars of Eternity” (PC)

Fancy a trip back down classic RPG memory lane? Then Obsidian Entertainment and Paradox Interactive present the finished Kickstarter project Pillars of Eternity to you.

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It’s been quite a while since I’ve played Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate II. The former I finished, the latter I didn’t. The same happened with the much-praised Divinity: Original Sin. The reason? Lack of time and probably motivation as well. Maybe it’s just the sheer number of texts to read or slow levelling up that makes other genres more rewarding to play. Still, Pillars of Eternity has me intrigued to a certain extent.

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Although the trailer is filled with exaggerated voice acting (which was also in the original Baldur’s Gate games, come to think of it), there’s still something about the story that makes it appealing. Backgrounds and character/enemy designs hark back to the aforementioned titles, but also offer new lighting effects, better animations and more fluid gameplay, from the first look of it.

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It remains to be seen if characters and plot development are also good. Bioware has made some great games and the Witcher series in addition to other genre examples have improved on storytelling and presentation as well as game mechanics, but they’re obviously more focused on real-time action. So this game should satisfy SRPG fans more.

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Pillars of Eternity is out now for PC on GOG and Steam, but can also be purchased as a retail version in Germany with a “map of Eora” poster, the digital OST and the German manual in book form. The digital versions come in different versions as well. There’s the standard Hero Edition and the Champion Edition with the digital original soundtrack, campaign almanac, making-of documentary, and a hi-res game map. Finally, the Royal Edition adds a digital novella by Chris Avellone, a collector’s book PDF, hi-res concept art pieces, a digital strategy guide, wallpapers, and ringtones to the existing goodies. These extras can of course be upgraded to the standard edition as well.

What are your thoughts on the game? Have you already played it, have you even backed and anticipated it? Any comments on the classic RPG games of old and new? What do you like or maybe dislike about them?

Buy the PC game on
GOG (Hero Edition)
GOG (Champion Edition)
GOG (Royal Edition)
Steam

Amazon Germany (Retail)
Amazon UK (All editions selectable as retail except Royal)
Amazon USA (Download)

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Official Website

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using one of the GOG links and buying the product also helps ;).

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