Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2016

Universal Soldier: Regeneration

I grew up watching the original Universal Soldier. I bought it in a bookstore, as a DVD, for $10, I think. I remember watching it and liking it. It wasn't the greatest movie I'd ever seen, and my impressions were ultimately uneven, but the experience was overall, relatively positive—especially when you consider that I also bought Cyborg, another Jean-Claude Van Damme film, and found myself thoroughly regretting my purchase; that film was flat-out bad. Just terrible. It is unfortunate that a guy like Van Damme clearly has the skill, but often winds up in films that don't showcase his abilities at all. Cyborg didn't, was a post-apocalyptic film that felt closer to Roller Blade than The Road Warrior. There's of course a main baddie who dislikes Van Damme for no apparent reason and the two men eventually meet in an inevitable, final battle, fighting half-naked. I don't have an issue with this—Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris did it just fine on a cheap sound stage in the

Hush: The Silent Scream is Sometimes the Loudest

The key to a good horror film is editing and sound design. These two things play in tandem, one benefiting from the other. Especially effective is sound when you cannot see, and while this film plays off that idea, it also reverses the idea: sight when you cannot hear. The story is basic enough. It follows the Aristotelian virtues: taking place in a single setting during a single day from a single perspective. We know very little about the characters, and there is virtually no exposition, so when a secondary character starts performing hand signals, we think she is crazy until the movie gives us enough indirect information for us to safely conclude that she is deaf and mute. This is essentially visual realism, but there are plenty of clues, probably many more in hindsight. And this is a film that recommends a second viewing purely on that note. It isn't complex, from a story-telling point of view, but its delivery is sophisticated and effective, understanding the nuances of hor

Daredevil. Great Show, Minor Complaints

Watching Daredevil, currently. It's a great, great show. I loved the first season, and I think I like the second season, even more. It's more drama-focused, and there's a love-triangle (groan) but it works. There's still fighting, a lot of fighting. Here's where I have a complaint or two:    I think that super heroes and fighters should have signature moves. Perhaps it's not realistic because it implies an element of predictability that isn't good in a real fight, for the danger of being telegraphed, but every fighter of any style is going to have an arsenal of oft-repeated, standard-issue combat maneuvers, to some degree. Whatever works. But in movies, it's fun when there's something that a fighter does, that's especially cool, like Bruce Lee's flying sidekick or Wong Fei Hung/Jet Li's Shadowless Kick, Ken's flaming dragon punch, Van Damme's Helicopter Kick, or Goku's Kamehameha. But if they do it over and over