REVIEW: BABYLON 5: LEGEND OF THE RANGERS

Untitled

Starring

Dylan  Neal (Arrow)
Andreas Katsulas (Sunset)
Alex Zahara (Horns)
Myriam Sirois (Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture)
Dean Marshall (2012)
Warren Takeuchi (Godzilal)
Jennie Rebecca Hogan (Andromeda)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of Steel)
David Storch (Anon)
Enid-Raye Adams (Good Boys)
Gus Lynch (I Spy)
Andrew Kavadas (Underworld Evolution)

I’m a huge fan of Babylon 5, so how could I resist picking up a full-length B5 movie that I’d missed? Of course, The Legend of the Rangers is a Babylon 5 movie only in the sense that it’s set in the same universe as its parent series; otherwise, it’s just regular space opera. Still, I thought it would be worth a look. In the end, it’s a watchable feature but one that doesn’t hope to recapture the magic of the original B5.b87cc72a0ee732df957c05d6303945a2With its full title of “The Legend of the Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight,” this 90-minute film is clearly intended as a double-length pilot episode for a new B5 series, taking another shot at keeping the franchise alive after the short run of Crusade, the earlier spin-off. A lot of energy is put into introducing a new cast of characters and giving us quick snapshots of their personalities. We have the charismatic captain, David Martel (who is noticeably taller than all the other crew members), his friend and first officer Dulann, who is a thoughtful and slightly telepathic Minbari, and an assortment of other crew members with the expected variety in ethnic background, gender, and species (this time we get a Narn and a Drazi as well). Of course, this rag-tag misfit crew will go on to do great things, because… well, that’s what rag-tag, misfit, rebellious crews do, right? At least in television shows…brainonfire-chloegracemoretz-stressed-streetThe cast of characters leaves no doubt as to the audience demographic the film is aimed at: distinctly younger than the audience for Babylon 5. Some of the actors might actually be over 30 (Look out! They might not be hip any more!) but the overall group feels very 20-something. It’s not just in looks, either, but also in behavior: most of the characters tend to react to disappointment or conflict in a very childish way. The Legend of the Rangers also sets out to introduce a new threat to take the place of the original B5’s Shadows. A new race has appeared on the galactic horizon, and it appears to be a potential threat to the new Interstellar Alliance. The Rangers, the elite Combat/ reconnaissance force of Minbari and humans (and now a few other races) has to step up to the challenge of dealing with this threat. As a result of this choice of focus for the film, we get to see the Rangers from the inside. It’s a choice that’s calculated to move the show from a single location (the Babylon 5 station) to a roving, Star Trek-like use of multiple locations; it’s also a choice that capitalizes on one of the intriguing elements from the original series.unnamedThe attempt to recapture Babylon 5’s magic is a rather unsuccessful one in this case, though. In order to understand why, you have to understand what made Babylon 5 great in the first place. Was it the setting? No; there have been other shows with equally interesting settings. Was it the characters? No. Was it the great acting performances? No. What it was – what made B5 great – was the narrative. Babylon 5 excelled in having a highly complex story arc that spanned multiple seasons, with well-developed subsidiary story arcs that interacted with each other in surprising and sometimes explosive ways. What will happen next? was the driving question in any B5 episode, and the great answers to that question were what made it so worthwhile. So it’s not enough to take the universe of Babylon 5, and some of its characters, to make a new show of equal merit; those were just the trappings. You also need a powerful narrative, and here The Legend of the Rangers doesn’t deliver. The one main new story is that of this new and threatening alien race, but that’s a well that Babylon 5 has already been to, and with such power that any rehashing of it is going to seem weak and shallow by comparison.imagesBut even with all this going against it, The Legend of the Rangers ends up being a reasonably entertaining short film. Partly that’s because it’s just fun to see some Babylon 5 material again, but it’s mostly because the film is well structured and well paced as an adventure story in its own right. The plot delivers a series of escalating challenges, with each new twist nicely paced so that the film moves forward quickly without feeling rushed. There are also a few genuinely creepy moments woven into the story as well.

 

REVIEW: BABYLON 5 – SEASON 5

515627

Starring

Bruce Boxleitner (Supergirl)
Jerry Doyle (Open House)
Mira Furlan (Lost)
Richard Biggs (Strong Medicine)
Bill Mumy (Lost In Space)
Tracy Scoggins (Highlander: The Series)
Stephen Furst (Animal House)
Jeff Conaway (Grease)
Patricia Tallman (Dead Air)
Andreas Katsulas (The Fugitive)
Peter Jurasik (Tron)

Bruce Boxleitner, Mira Furlan, and Tracy Scoggins in Babylon 5 (1993)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Robin Atkin Downes (The Conjuring 2)
Kim Strauss (Million Dollar Baby)
Walter Koenig (Star Trek)
Penn Jillette (Sabrina: TTW)
Teller (The Big Bang Theory)
Fabiana Udenio (Austin Powers)
Julie Caitlin Brown (All My Children)
Marshall R. Teague (Road House)
Reggie Lee (The Dark Knight Rises)
Carl Ciarfalio (THe Fantastic Four)
Robin Sachs (Buffy: TVS)
Ian Ogilvy (We Still Kill The Old Way)
Marjorie Monaghan (Andromeda)
Claudia Christian (9-1-1)
Ardwight Chamberlain (Swiss Family Robinson)

Tracy Scoggins in Babylon 5 (1993)I’m a huge fan of Babylon 5. When B5 was originally airing, I’d tape each episode and watch it at least twice before the next one aired. I’d check out the Lurker’s Guide, puzzle over the “unanswered questions,” and eagerly await how the story would unfold. With that in mind, it’s difficult for me to approach reviewing Season 5. Fans of the show are familiar with the trials and tribulations that series creator J. Michael Straczynski went through first just to get B5 produced at all, and then to get it through its planned 5-year run. At one point, all concerned thought that the show would be forced to end prematurely, and so Season 4 wraps up a lot of the major story lines and provides a final episode with a nice sense of closure.But there was a Season 5, after all. So how is it? When I first saw the Season 5 episodes, I hated them. Hated them, I say, with a passion. This was not the Babylon 5 I knew and loved, but a travesty of it. In fact, I bailed out on it, unwilling to see my favorite series going through the motions like that. So I had my misgivings when it came to reviewing the set… was it really as horrible as I remembered? In truth, no.Babylon 5 (1993)Season 5 isn’t the Babylon 5 it used to be, for a number of reasons. The new captain is adequate at best; some of the recurring characters no longer ring quite true (the new camaraderie between Londo and G’Kar is simply inconsistent with their history); and after the Shadow War, the Earth civil war, and the culmination of the Narn-Centauri conflict, there doesn’t seem to be as much dramatic energy in the remaining story arcs. But it’s not terrible, with one notable exception.Robin Atkin Downes and Jack Hannibal in Babylon 5 (1993)What’s that exception? Well, there’s one particular episode, “Day of the Dead,” that manages to strike all the worst notes of the entire series. There are two story lines in this episode: one deals with a mysterious “Day of the Dead” celebration that has some strange effects on the members of the crew; the other involves the comedy team of “Rebo and Zooty” (played by Penn and Teller). The latter storyline is entirely comedic… and as I’ve had occasion to remark on in past reviews, comedy is the one thing that Babylon 5 has never, ever handled well. Whenever B5 tries to go for deliberate laughs, it falls on its face, creating scenes that are painfully bad, especially in contrast to the excellent drama of the rest of the show. Here we get that at its worst. It’s hard to explain how one episode could have such a negative effect on my perception of the entire season, but the truth is, it really is awful; frankly, I recommend skipping over it entirely.Once we leave aside truly awful episodes like “Day of the Dead” (and its close counterpart, the contrived “A View from the Gallery”), Season 5 is revealed to be reasonably entertaining after all. It does take a relatively long while to get going in the right direction, but when it does get moving, the content isn’t bad. Not as good as the earlier seasons, but not bad.Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas in Babylon 5 (1993)One thing that’s quite clear is that Season 5 was targeted toward a viewing audience who had not seen any of the previous seasons. There are many episodes that are patently designed to fill in background information, like “The Corps Is Mother, the Corps Is Father” (clearly intended to inform the new viewer about the Psi Corps), and the scripts are full of “As you know, Bob”-style references to back-story from the previous seasons, like Garibaldi’s alcoholism. This isn’t a glaring flaw, per se, but it does reduce the amount of time that the story can spend on moving forward and building on the past, which has always been one of B5’s great strengths.Walter Koenig, Dana Barron, and Reggie Lee in Babylon 5 (1993)Overall, Season 5 has a distinctly more episodic feel than earlier seasons. In fact, in many ways it feels similar to Season 1, except that the stories aren’t as good, and there’s none of the feeling that the foundation is being laid for great things later in the series. Quite a few episodes are self-contained “emergency of the week” stories, like “No Compromises,” “Learning Curve,” and even “Meditations on the Abyss.” Taken in the larger context of science fiction television, these are solid episodes; it’s just that in the context of B5’s brilliant larger story arcs, they’re disappointing.Martin East, Bill Mumy, and Richard Yniguez in Babylon 5 (1993)Fortunately, two larger story arcs are developed in Season 5. First of all, the “telepath situation” takes center stage, as a group of rogue telepaths led by an idealistic and charismatic leader named Byron form a colony on the station. In a well-handled part of this story, Lyta Alexander finds that her past experiences on Babylon 5 give her a great deal of sympathy for Byron’s cause. Much of this story arc is handled in the first part of the season, with episodes like “Strange Relations,” “Secrets of the Soul,” “In the Kingdom of the Blind,” “A Tragedy of Telepaths,” and “Phoenix Rising,” but the general tension between telepaths and “mundanes” continues to escalate throughout the season.Bruce Boxleitner in Babylon 5 (1993)One of the strengths of Season 5 is its nuanced portrayal of the telepaths, particularly focusing on their strong sense of community identity. Their passionate belief in their own identity as special, rare, even “chosen” people raises the question of the delicate balance between individuality and conformity. Should they try to fit in? What place do they really have in the “mundane” world? Is their sense of isolation and discrimination real, or a product of their own disdain for normals? Is the Psi Corps really wrong, or does it serve an essential purpose in regulating telepaths and protecting normals? Psi Cop Alfred Bester (Walter Koenig), one of my favorite secondary characters, gets a lot of screen time in Season 5, and puts it to great use: he’s always been much more than a clear-cut “bad guy,” and here we see even more how he’s a real human being who may be more in the right than the B5 crew want to admit.Tracy Scoggins in Babylon 5 (1993)The other key story arc involves the new Alliance coming under a great deal of stress, as an unknown enemy continues to attack ships from a variety of Alliance worlds, creating discord and a growing discontent with Sheridan and Delenn’s handling of the situation. At the same time, strange things are afoot on Centauri Prime, as Londo, now the emperor-elect, discovers that there are deadly forces operating behind the scenes. This latter part of the story is particularly interesting, as it builds on the foreshadowing of earlier seasons.Peter Jurasik in Babylon 5 (1993)While the pacing of the overall season is slower than other seasons, and the tension doesn’t get cranked up like it was in comparable parts of Season 3 or Season 4, the last eight episodes of the season finally leave behind the “stand-alone episode” feel of the early part of the season, and moves into a continuing development of the main story threads that have been introduced and developed in Season 5. It’s worth sticking around for.

REVIEW: BABYLON 5 – IN THE BEGINNING

Bruce Boxleitner, Mira Furlan, and Andreas Katsulas in Babylon 5: In the Beginning (1998)

 

Starring

Bruce Boxleitner (Supergirl)
Mira Furlan (Lost)
Richard Biggs (Strong Medicine)
Andreas Katsulas (The Fugitive)
Peter Jurasik (Tron)
Reiner Schöne (Priest)
Michael O’Hare (C.H.U.D.)
Robin Atkin Downes (The Conjuring 2)
J. Patrick McCormack (Armageddon)
Tricia O’Neil (Titanic)
Robin Sachs (Buffy: TVS)
Ardwight Chamberlain (Swiss Family Robinson)
Nick Jameson (Lost)
Claudia Christian (9-1-1)
Theodore Bikel (The Defiant Ones)

Fifteen years before the initial setting of the television series Babylon 5, Earth becomes involved in a deadly conflict with the just-discovered Minbari race. This war nearly leads to the extermination of the human race, but it is mysteriously halted at the last moment by the Minbari leadership for reasons that remain secret for over a decade. This near-destruction of the human race leads to the Earth Alliance commissioning the Babylon space stations as a means of preventing further wars.In 2278, Centauri Prime is in flames. A man surveys the destruction from a window of the Royal Palace. Two children, Luc and Lyssa, are later seen playing in the throne room and looking out the window. Their governess finds them and tells them that it is the Emperor’s window and that only he can look out from it. The Emperor hears them and tells them to come in front of him. The Emperor is an aged Londo Mollari. Mollari allows Luc to be Emperor of the Centauri Republic for five minutes, during which time he may give any order he wishes. Luc asks for a story of great battles and heroes and villains. Lyssa wants to hear a true story. Mollari decides to give them both what they want. He tells them the story of the Earth–Minbari War that took place 35 years prior while he was ambassador to Earth. The human race, feeling cocky following their defeat of the Dilgar, is rapidly expanding into space. Word reaches them of the mysterious Minbari race. Though they are warned by Londo to leave this race alone, they seek to research the species first-hand.61ZVsohnm2LThe Minbari Grey Council, led by Dukhat, have become concerned that the Shadows may have returned to Z’ha’dum in fulfillment of Valen’s prophecy. They are taking a roundabout route to investigate when they encounter Earth ships, led by EAS Prometheus, seeking to investigate the Minbari. The Minbari ships turn toward Prometheus and engage their long-range sensors to gain more data on the unknown Earth ship. Unknown to the Minbari, the intense EMP field generated by their sensors disables Prometheus’ jump engine, preventing the Earth ship from retreating. As the Minbari ships draw closer, they open their gun ports – a sign of respect in their culture. The interference from the Minbari sensors also prevents Prometheus from determining whether or not the Minbari ships are charging their weapons. The captain of Prometheus, with his jump engines disabled and the Minbari ships approaching with the apparent intent to attack, opens fire. The Minbari ships are heavily damaged, and Dukhat is killed. In retaliation, the Grey Council declares a holy war against humanity, and the Earth–Minbari War begins.MV5BZDA2NDE0YWYtYTBmMy00MWNmLWI1ZjItZjE1YjM0ZmQ1MjkyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTM3NzI3NjQ@._V1_The war lasts three years and countless humans are killed, their forces overwhelmed by superior Minbari technology. Lieutenant Commander John Sheridan, first officer of EAS Lexington, is part of a battlegroup engaging the Minbari. After a Minbari ambush, Sheridan’s commanding officer is killed. He assumes command of the damaged ship and lays a trap for the enemy, seeding the local asteroids with nuclear mines. The Minbari flagship Black Star closes in to finish off the ship, but is itself destroyed by the mines. This is Earth’s only real victory during the war, and the Minbari faction that feels the war has caused enough senseless bloodshed uses this as an opportunity to engage in peace talks with Earth. However, the Centauri intelligence division discovers that the humans are having a secret meeting on a neutral planet that is being brokered by the Narn. Fearing the meeting is intended to secure a shipment of advanced arms, the Centauri bomb the peace conference, with neither the humans nor Minbari suspecting their intervention. All hope for peace is lost, and humanity’s losses at the hands of the Minbari continue.MV5BN2Y1NzQ2OTEtY2RlYy00NTUxLWFmNGUtZjhmYjlkZDY2OTEwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTM3NzI3NjQ@._V1_In a last, desperate effort, the President of Earth orders all available ships to form a “line” around the planet in an attempt to delay the Minbari to give some humans time to flee in transports. During the battle, Satai Delenn, a member of the Grey Council, captures a human pilot, Jeffrey Sinclair, ostensibly to learn about Earth’s defenses. The Grey Council is startled to discover that he possesses the soul of the revered Minbari religious leader Valen. After examining several other humans, the Grey Council concludes that Minbari souls have been reincarnated in whole or in part in humans. Since Minbari do not kill Minbari, they surrender to the defenseless Earth forces. Because of the damage this revelation could do to their own culture, they keep the reason for the surrender a secret. In the wake of the war, Earth builds a space station that can serve as a kind of “United Nations in space”, with the intent of preventing future wars. This is the Babylon Station, destroyed by terrorists during construction. Various fates befall later iterations of the station, until the completion of Babylon 5. After the children leave him, Londo views Delenn and Sheridan being held captive in the Centauri palace, as previously seen in “War Without End”. Toasting them as his friends, Londo drinks massively to put his Keeper to sleep so that he can let them escape.Howling0403In the Beginning” is a mark of brilliance…a perfect made for TV movie for the Babylon 5 series. It is the best of the B5 movies with the second being the pilot episode. ITB chronicles the genesis of the Earth Minbari war which was a holy war started by misunderstanding between Humans and a powerful alien race called the Minbari. In the struggle, a huge chunk of humanity is killed as the Minbari march towards Earth, destroying human colonies on the way. Since this movie comes near the end of the 3rd season and out of chronological order, it answers many unanswered questions that B5 watchers would expect to be answered from the 1st Season onwards.  On its own, the story is perfect. There is plenty of CGI war scenes, plenty of dramatized war scenes and plenty of intrigue. A perfect reason to bother getting into the series itself if you weren’t a fan.

REVIEW: BABYLON 5 – SEASON 4

Untitled

Starring

Bruce Boxleitner (Supergirl)
Claudia Christian (9-1-1)
Jerry Doyle (Open House)
Mira Furlan (Lost)
Richard Biggs (Strong Medicine)
Bill Mumy (Lost In Space)
Jason Carter (The Duel)
Stephen Furst (Animal House)
Jeff Conaway (Grease)
Patricia Tallman (Dead Air)
Andreas Katsulas (The Fugitive)
Peter Jurasik (Tron)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Anthony De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
Ardwight Chamberlain (Swiss Family Robinson)
Kris Iyer (Two and a Half Men)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Mark Bramhall (Alias)
Kim Strauss (Million Dollar Baby)
Walter Koenig (Star Trek)
Henry Darrow (The Hitcher)
Andrew Craig (Conan The Adventurer)
Robin Atkin Downes (The Conjuring 2)
Marjorie Monaghan (Andromeda)
Clayton Landey (Sully)
Tim Choate (Blow Out)
Richard Steven Horvitz (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Batmas: TAS)
Marcia Mitzman Gaven (Small Soldiers)
Richard Gant (Rocky V)
Bruce Gray (Cube 2)
Carolyn Seymour (Congo)
Rance Howard (Small Soldiers)
Alastair Duncan (The Batman)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)

Wayne Alexander in Babylon 5 (1993)“It was the year of fire… the year of destruction… the year we took back what was ours. It was the year of rebirth… the year of great sadness… the year of pain… and the year of joy. It was a new age. It was the end of history. It was the year everything changed. The year is 2261. The place: Babylon 5.” For viewers who have been following Babylon 5 from its first season (and with its fantastic continuous storyline, that’s the way to watch B5), the opening voiceover for the credits of Season 4 is extraordinarily stirring. And the fact that the voiceover in the opening credits is shared among the cast highlights the fact that Babylon 5 has a true ensemble cast, with many different characters and story threads interwoven into one dramatic tapestry. In Season 4, appropriately titled “No Surrender, No Retreat,” many of these storylines come to an explosive climax, leaving other parts of the story to take on a larger role in the rest of Season 4.Jeff Conaway and Mira Furlan in Babylon 5 (1993)Season 3 left us at a critical point in B5, in several plot threads. Sheridan, drawn by his own personal demons as well as the need to defeat the Shadows, has gone to Z’ha’dum… and vanished. So too has Mr. Garibaldi. Babylon 5 has seceded from Earthgov, and now stands nearly alone in the fight against the Shadows. Only the Rangers, with Marcus as their representative on B5, and the Minbari, with their gift of the White Star, seem ready and willing to help. Londo Mollari seems to have turned his back on the potential for redemption, while G’Kar has had a philosophical revelation of his own.Jerry Doyle in Babylon 5 (1993)The beauty of Babylon 5, as viewers well know, is that each episode touches on several plot threads, developing them bit by bit as the season progresses. When a plot thread comes to a climax in a particular episode, it’s all the more effective because it has been painstakingly foreshadowed and developed up to that point. Take an episode like “Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi?”, which weaves together several crucial story threads involving the fates of Sheridan, Garibaldi, and G’Kar and takes each of them to a new level.Babylon 5 (1993)Since the different plot threads of B5 develop over the course of many episodes, the result when one of them comes to the boiling point is extremely powerful. The story involving Ambassador Mollari is a case in point. In the first three episodes of the season, we see Londo and Vir drawn deeper and deeper in to back-stabbing Centauri politics and the deal-making behind the throne of the Emperor. Then, as G’Kar becomes drawn into this portion of the story, we get some of the episodes that have stayed most firmly in my mind: “Falling Toward Apotheosis,” “The Long Night,” and “Into the Fire.” While the story involving Sheridan, Delenn, and the station is perhaps more explosive, I think a good case could be made for the Centauri-Narn plot thread of Season 4 as the most dramatically effective and powerful of the season (and perhaps even of the series as a whole).Bruce Boxleitner and Mira Furlan in Babylon 5 (1993)The pacing of Season 4 is a bit odd, and for good reason. As Season 4 got underway, there was no assurance that it would be renewed for a fifth season, which would have really thrown a monkey wrench in the works, as B5 was envisioned as a five-year story arc from the very beginning. Babylon 5’s creator, J. Michael Straczynski, dealt with this by bringing many of the show’s main story arcs to a conclusion in Season 4, so that the story would have been (at least mostly) completed even if it didn’t get a fifth season. As it happened, B5 had a fifth year after all, but we can still see the effects: both Season 4 and 5 developed differently than was originally planned.Walter Koenig in Babylon 5 (1993)Most notably we see the effects of the “fast-forwarding” in the treatment of the conflict with the Shadows. The Shadow War, which has been developing over the course of two full seasons, is wrapped up in the first quarter of Season 4. Certainly those six episodes are fantastic, with a tremendous punch and intensity; this is the part of Season 4 that’s most memorable. Still, the ending in “Into the Fire” does feel a bit abrupt, though I won’t elaborate on that: I don’t want to give anything away for those (lucky!) viewers who are watching Babylon 5 for the first time.Babylon 5 (1993)After that, Babylon 5 shifts gears and focuses on the Mars situation and Babylon 5’s relationship with Earth, which remains decidedly shaky. There are some excellent stories here, but I’d be lying if I said they weren’t a bit of a letdown after the intensity of the Shadow-Vorlon conflict and its revelations, and the explosive events on Centauri Prime.Mira Furlan in Babylon 5 (1993)Fortunately, some plot threads that have been on the sidelines for much of the series now start being developed and then mature into gripping stories of their own. The Mars Colony has been a background story element throughout the first three seasons of B5: the rebellion there has on several occasions influenced events on B5, but it hasn’t been a prime concern. Now, in “Atonement,” Marcus and Dr. Franklin are sent to Mars, beginning a story line there that will develop through three following episodes as a main story, and continue to be significant in episodes further down the line as well. Garibaldi (always one of my favorite characters) develops in a new direction in episodes like “Conflicts of Interest,” and the suave and very dangerous Psi Cop, Bester, has a key role to play as well… The result is another of the most exciting episodes of Season 4, “The Face of the Enemy.”Bill Mumy in Babylon 5 (1993)The closing episodes of Season 4 bring us back to the conflict between Earth and Babylon . “No Surrender, No Retreat” is one of the best late-season episodes, ratcheting up the tension in the conflict between Earth and Babylon 5; “Between the Darkness and the Light,” “Endgame,” and “Rising Star” set up a miniature story arc and resolve it fairly quickly. Again, these are well-done episodes, but they’re in the shadow of better episodes, and with the fairly rapid development (unlike the more evenly paced Mars story thread) there’s not as much opportunity for the development of dramatic tension.imagesThe finale of Season 4, “The Deconstruction of Falling Stars,” is a peculiar episode: it’s a “retrospective” of Babylon 5’s history from 100, 500, 1,000, and 1,000,000 years in the future. As such, it effectively wraps up the Babylon 5 story and foreshadows (one could say “spoils”) many of the events in Season 5. It also provides a very definitive stopping point for Babylon 5 viewers: Season 5 is essentially an “extra” season, as all the most powerful story threads that we’ve been following have been wrapped up, most of them very effectively indeed. The one remaining thread that Season 4 leaves unfinished is, interestingly, the one story thread that has been a constant in one way or another from the very first season: the telepath situation.

REVIEW: BABYLON 5 – SEASON 3

Untitled

 

Starring

Bruce Boxleitner (Supergirl)
Claudia Christian (9-1-1)
Jerry Doyle (Open House)
Mira Furlan (Lost)
Richard Biggs (Strong Medicine)
Bill Mumy (Lost In Space)
Jason Carter (The Duel)
Stephen Furst (Animal House)
Jeff Conaway (Grease)
Andreas Katsulas (The Fugitive)
Peter Jurasik (Tron)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Tucker Smallwood (Space: Above & Beyond)
Ardwight Chamberlain (Swiss Family Robinson)
Patrick Kilpatrick (Minority Report)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat)
Stephen Macht (Graveyard Shift)
Marshall R. Teague (Armageddon)
Anne Betancourt (Mission Impossible III)
Brad Dourif (Child’s Play)
Patricia Tallman (Dead Air)
James Black (Out of Sight)
Walter Koenig (Star Trek)
Kim Strauss (Million Dollar Baby)
Vaughn Armstrong (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Merrin Dungey (Alais)
Majel Barrett (Star Trek)
Lewis Arquette (Little Nicky)
Rance Howard (Small Soldiers)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Bruce McGill (Timecop)
James Parks (The Hateful Eight)
Michael O’Hare (The Promise)
Time Winters (Sneakers)
Tim Choate (Blow Out)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Melissa Gilbert (Little House on the Prairie)
Erica Gimpel (God Friended Me)
Robin Sachs (Buffy: TVS)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
Thom Barry (Cold Case)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Mel Winkler (Coach Carter)
Jeff Corey (Beneath The POTA)

Jerry Doyle in Babylon 5 (1993)Nothing encapsulates the power of the epic science fiction series Babylon 5 better than its voiceover for the credits. In Season 3 it is Commander Ivanova who speaks: “The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace. It failed. But in the Year of the Shadow War, it became something greater: our last, best hope… for victory.”Bruce Boxleitner in Babylon 5 (1993)Setting the traditional episodic format of television science fiction on its head, the five-year continuous story arc of Babylon 5 built up a fascinating and captivating story through Season 1 and Season 2. The Narn and Centauri at each others’ throats… the lurking danger of the Shadows… the growing darkness in the Earth government… the unrest on the Mars colony… all these elements have been building up and sending off sparks. The question has been, what is going to blow first? It’s for good reason that the season as a whole is titled “Point of No Return.” There is no reset button on Babylon 5… and actions taken in the past are having the most dramatic of consequences.Mira Furlan and Andreas Katsulas in Babylon 5 (1993)Season 3 packs the most punch of any season of Babylon 5 so far… and that’s saying a lot, given the series’ strong start in Season 1 and escalating drama and tension in Season 2. In Season 3, several story lines come to the forefront, with events that have been picking up steam now coming to an explosive level. The political conflict back on Earth has resulted in increasing social repression even on the station, as we see in the appearance of the Night Watch organization; a string of tense episodes like “Messages from Earth,” “Point of No Return,” and “Severed Dreams” shift that story line into high gear. At the same time, the war with the Shadows goes from being a vaguely disturbing threat to a terrifying reality, in episodes like “Interludes and Examinations,” the two-part “War Without End” that picks up on certain mysterious events from Season 1, and, of course, the season finale “Shadow Dancing” and “Z’ha’dum.” It’s a clear sign that Straczynski’s techniques of foreshadowing and careful buildup are effective, when just the title of the final episode is chilling…Bruce Boxleitner in Babylon 5 (1993)The focus may be on the Shadows and the troubles on Earth, but in the background, other storylines continue to develop. The Narn-Centauri war continues to build up pressure, with late-season episodes like “And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place” leaving us eager for Season 4. The continuing thread concerning the telepaths also finds its place into Season 3’s episodes; in addition to the return of Lyta Alexander, we also see Psi Cop Bester (Walter Koenig) once again.Richard Biggs and Jason Carter in Babylon 5 (1993)For this season, all 22 episodes were written by series creator J. Michael Straczynski: with so many plot threads being developed, along with others being foreshadowed for the future, this was the only way to manage all the material properly. Given the impressively high quality of the episodes throughout Season 3, this was an excellent decision on the part of the series creator.Bruce Boxleitner, Claudia Christian, and Jerry Doyle in Babylon 5 (1993)Of course, not every single episode is up to Babylon 5’s high standard: Season 3 does include “Grey 17 Is Missing,” with a lamentable monster called a Zarg making an appearance. Straczynski himself has commented (as quoted in the Lurker’s Guide to B5) that “I just have this constant desire to go to everyone’s house and personally apologize…” Once you see the Zarg, you’ll see why. But even in this episode, the other storyline interwoven with the Zarg storyline is handled satisfactorily, and as a whole it merely serves to underline just how good the rest of the episodes are.Andreas Katsulas in Babylon 5 (1993)On a more individual level, Babylon 5 continues to develop its characters very effectively: these are not static personalities, but real, changing people. I’ve always considered the duo of the Centauri ambassador Londo Mollari (Peter Jurasik) and his nemesis, the Narn ambassador G’Kar (Andreas Katsulas) as being the characters with perhaps the most depth in the series, and this is borne out as we see them each traveling his (perhaps foreordained) path. Another instance of character development is Dr. Franklin; while earlier seasons hinted at tensions beneath his professional demeanor, it’s here that those tensions finally come to the boiling point, as we see in episodes like “Walkabout.” The cast of “main characters” is slightly fluid, with various figures naturally moving into the limelight or out of it as the overall story arcs dictate: in Season 3, the characters of Zack Allen, the down-to-earth security officer, and Mr. Morden, the very shady “associate” of Ambassador Mollari, are brought more into the action. In Season 3, we are also introduced to several new characters who will prove to be important contributors to the story as it develops: Lyta Alexander (Patricia Tallman), who is not exactly new (having appeared in the pilot), and one of my favorite secondary characters, Marcus Cole (Jason Carter).Season 3’s powerful storylines draw extensively on the material presented in the first two seasons, both in plot and in character development, so for maximum enjoyment, viewers who are new to Babylon 5 should start with Season 1 or at most Season 2. But whatever you do, don’t miss out completely! Babylon 5 is the cream of the crop of science fiction television. If you thought Season 2 was exciting… Season 3 is even better.

 

REVIEW: BABYLON 5 – SEASON 2

Untitled

Starring

Bruce Boxleitner (Supergirl)
Claudia Christian (9-1-1)
Jerry Doyle (Open House)
Mira Furlan (Lost)
Richard Biggs (Strong Medicine)
Andrea Thompson (24)
Stephen Furst (Animal House)
Bill Mumy (Lost In Space)
Robert Rusler (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2)
Mary Kay Adams (Guiding Light)
Andreas Katsulas (The Fugitive)
Peter Jurasik (Tron)

Bruce Boxleitner in Babylon 5 (1993)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Robin Sachs (Buffy: TVS)
Robert Foxworth (Transformers)
Kim Strauss (ER)
Beth Toussaint (Red Eye)
Michael Ansara (The Message)
Russ Tamblyn (The Haunting)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Jessica Walter (Archer)
Jeff Conaway (Grease)
Keith Szarabajka (The Dark Knight)
Lois Nettleton (Centennial)
Jane Carr (Legends of Tomorrw)
Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)
Walter Koenig (Star Trek)
Fredric Lehne (Lost)
Malachi Throne (Catch Me If You Can)
Michael O’Hare (C.H.U.D.)
Ardwight Chamberlain (Swiss Family Robinson)
Paul Winfield (The Terminator)
Ryan Cutrona (Hot Shots!)
Ken Foree (The Devil’s Rejects)
Jsu Garcia (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
Marshall R. Teague (Road House)
Paul Williams (Battle For The POTA)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Ian Abercrombie (Army of Darkness)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Julie Caitlin Brown (All My Children)
Kim Zimmer (Body Heat)
Alex Hyde-White (The Fantastic Four)
Carmen Argenziano (Stargate SG.1)
Andrew Craig (Conan The Adventurer)
Patricia Tallman (Dead Air)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Roy Dotrice (Hellboy 2)

Bruce Boxleitner, Claudia Christian, and Jerry Doyle in Babylon 5 (1993)“It was the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind… the year the great war came upon us all.” This evocative phrase, in the new opening credits voiceover for the second season of Babylon 5, captures the anticipation, suspense, and drama that are waiting for us as we embark upon a season appropriately, and ominously, named “The Coming of Shadows.”Stephen Furst in Babylon 5 (1993)As I commented in my review of Season 1, what makes Babylon 5 really stand out is its storytelling. Creator and main writer J. Michael Straczynski is telling one story, planned from the beginning to develop over the course of five years; within that larger story are interconnecting story arcs that span several seasons. As a result, Babylon 5 has the richness, depth, power, and complexity of a great novel; it’s not like anything else on television.Bruce Boxleitner and Mira Furlan in Babylon 5 (1993)If you’re used to “reset button” style television shows in which everything must return to the status quo at the end of the episode – for instance, however much I love Star Trek, that series is a prime example – then Babylon 5 offers quite a shock in this respect, especially now that the plot is really developing in Season 2. Each episode is a piece of the larger story, and it moves that larger story along; the events in an episode matter in the larger sense. That means that in any given episode, major events can happen: events that will shape the course of the season, or dramatically affect a character, or shed new light on any number of mysteries.Bruce Boxleitner and Claudia Christian in Babylon 5 (1993)From the large-scale plot to the pacing of the individual episodes, Babylon 5 is an extremely well-conceived and well-written show. What’s more, it’s an intelligent and challenging one. Viewers are richly rewarded for paying attention and thinking about what’s going on: what happened last week, or last season, may very well turn out to be of utmost importance as the plot develops. Season 2 starts out with an excellent reminder of this, when the events of a first-season episode turn out to be crucial in Dr. Franklin’s attempt to save Garibaldi’s life.While Season 1 set the stage, introduced the players, and got a few seemingly small events rolling, it’s now, in Season 2, that things really get explosive. Season 2 jumps into a tangled weave of plot threads from the very beginning, clearly showing that we’re in for quite a ride. Since Babylon 5 is so intensely plot-driven, I’m taking pains here to avoid spoilers. If you are watching the show for the first time, you absolutely, positively do not want to have any of the fantastic plot developments spoiled for you… and if you’re watching it for a second (or third, or fourth…) time, then a few hints will be enough to whet your appetite for seeing the episodes again.Bruce Boxleitner in Babylon 5 (1993)Commander Sinclair has been mysteriously removed from his command of Babylon 5, and sent to Minbar as an ambassador; indeed, strange things are afoot with the Minbari, as Ambassador Delenn embarks on a perilous transformation in accordance with prophecy, and the Minbari reveal something that they have previously kept hidden from the humans… though they aren’t telling the whole story. A new commander, Captain Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) takes command, but with a past that’s shadowed by personal grief as well as by his infamy among the Minbari, who call him “Star-Killer.” Is he a pawn in some larger political game? Will he be able to continue Babylon 5’s mission?Bruce Boxleitner, Claudia Christian, and Jerry Doyle in Babylon 5 (1993)Then there’s the issue of Earth President Santiago’s death, which may have been foul play at the hands of a conspiracy… but just how deep does that conspiracy go, and who can the Babylon 5 crew really trust? The Centauri ambassador Londo Mollari is on the ascendance after the destruction of the Narn colony in Season 1… but it seems that Londo’s relationship with the mysterious Mr. Morden is far from finished. In fact, the events of Season 1 have only served to increase the tension in the bitter rivalry between the Narn and Centauri empires. We also get developing threads about the Psi Corps and the Mars colony tied in, with the return of the Psi Cop Bester (Walter Koenig) as well as the telepath Lyta Alexander. And in the background, we learn of the appearance of strange ships, ships that G’Kar has a theory about…Bruce Boxleitner, Mira Furlan, and Bill Mumy in Babylon 5 (1993)I haven’t mentioned any specific episode titles so far, in part because the story threads are so interwoven that it’s difficult to pick out individual episodes to discuss and in part because it’s hard to talk about specific episodes without spoilers. Season 2 has 22 episodes, and they’re all good ones; even the more “ordinary” episodes are very entertaining stories in their own right, and serve to lay the groundwork for later high-tension episodes, both in terms of plot developments and in terms of pacing and theme. I’ll point out a few highlights, and leave you to find out exactly why they’re so important.Stephen Furst and Bill Mumy in Babylon 5 (1993)“The Coming of Shadows” should tell you from its title alone that it’s a momentous episode… and trust me, it is. “All Alone in the Night” likewise moves forward into deeply dramatic territory, involving Sheridan as well as Delenn. Then there’s “In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum”… let’s just say that you’ll be seeing more of Mr. Morden. “A Spider in the Web” and “A Race Through Dark Places” showcase interesting developments among the Psi Corps. “The Long, Twilight Struggle” brings certain events of the Narn-Centauri struggle to a head. And “The Fall of Night” will have you biting your nails for Season 3.

 

REVIEW: BABYLON 5 – SEASON 1

Pooka-10

 

Starring

Michael O’Hare (The Adams Chronicles)
Claudia Christian (9-1-1)
Jerry Doyle (Open House)
Mira Furlan (Lost)
Richard Biggs (Strong Medicine)
Andrea Thompson (24)
Stephen Furst (Animal House)
Bill Mumy (Lost In Space)
Julie Caitlin Brown (All My Children)
Andreas Katsulas (The Fugitive)
Peter Jurasik (Tron)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Paul Hampton (Senior Prom)
Ardwight Chamberlain (The Toy Warrior)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Fabiana Udenio (Austin Powers)
Clive Revill (The Empire Strikes Back)
David McCallum (NCIS)
Marshall R. Teague (Road House)
Patricia Healy (The Demo)
Thomas Kopache (Catch Me If You Can)
Walter Koenig (Star Trek)
Elisa Gabrielli (South Park)
Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years)
Judson Scott (V)
Christopher Neame (Ghostbusters II)
Sarah Douglas (Superman II)
Robin Curtis (Star Trek III)
Aki Aleong (THe House of Sand of Fog)
Tricia O’Neil (Star Trek: TNG)
Stephen Lee (The Negotiator)
Katy Boyer (The Island)
Gerrit Graham (Child’s Play 2)
Soon-Tek Oh (mulan)
Don Stroud (The Amityville Horror)
Theodore Bikel (The Defiant Ones)
David Warner (Tron)
William Sanderson (Blade Runner)
Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator)
Ron Canada (National Treasure)
Michelan Sisti (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
June Lockhart (Lost In Space)
Kate McNeil (Space Cowboys)
Mark Rolston (Aliens)
Constance Zimmer (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Carl Ciarfalio (The Fantastic Four)

Nominated for 6 Emmys and 3 Hugo Awards in its five-season run, Babylon 5 changed the landscape of the TV science fiction series genre. Following on the heels of hit series such as Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation, Babylon 5 is unrivaled by any of its peers in its application of special effects. The brainchild of J. Michael Straczynski (writer for such shows as Murder She Wrote and Walker, Texas Ranger), the hour-long sci-fi drama series breaks new ground by deploying a five-season storyline that follows the outline of a traditional novel. As such, Babylon 5 is more like a mini-series that lasts five years instead of the usual three to five nights. And also unlike its predecessors, the series showcases original advanced technologies, believable alien characters (who speak alien and not English), and boasts of superb costume and makeup. Premiering in mid-season 1994, Babylon 5 established a solid audience and continues to inspire new generations of fans via syndicated reruns.

Mira Furlan in Babylon 5 (1993)Babylon 5 follows the daily events that transpire on Babylon 5, a five-mile long space station from the year 2258. Built by the Earth Alliance, Babylon 5 orbits a lone planet in interplanetary (neutral) space. The setting for an Earthling military post and a transportation hub for businessmen and general travelers, the space station’s primary purpose is to provide a safe haven for the airing of differences between the alien races. Similar in function to the United Nations, Babylon 5 is tasked with preserving the peace between the five primary space-traveling civilizations – the Earth Alliance, the Mimbari Federation, the Centauri Republic, the Narn Regime, and the Vorlon Empire. Headed by Commander Jeffrey Sinclair (Michael O’Hare), and later by Capt. John J. Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner), Babylon 5 is home to almost 300,000 humans and their alien counterparts. With so many confined to such a small area, the space station is ripe for internal struggle, racial conflict, regular cast members’ personal problems, and showdowns between various political interests.Mary Woronov and Andreas Katsulas in Babylon 5 (1993)It’s this intricate and diverse storyboard, coupled with amazing visual effects, that makes Babylon 5 one of the most successful sci-fi TV shows in recent memory…

 

REVIEW: BABYLON 5: THE GATHERING

The Gathering (1993)

Starring

Michael O’Hare (The Adams Chronicles)
Tamlyn Tomita (The Day After Tomorrow)
Jerry Doyle (Open House)
Mira Furlan (Lost)
Blaire Baron (Foreign Correspondents)
John Fleck (Waterworld)
Paul Hampton (Senior Prom)
Peter Jurasik (Tron)
Andreas Katsulas (The Fugitive)
Johnny Sekka (The Message)
Patricia Tallman (Dead Air)
Ardwight Chamberlain (The Toy Warrior)

Babylon 5 (1993)In the Earth year 2257, a multitude of humans and non-humans gather deep in neutral space at a new station, Babylon 5, which has recently become operational. Babylon 5 was built as a neutral venue for discussing and resolving issues between the five major spacefaring races of the galaxy, the humans, Narn, Centauri, Minbari, and Vorlons. Commander Jeffrey Sinclair is in overall charge of the station.Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas in Babylon 5 (1993)As the crew awaits the arrival of the fourth and final alien ambassador, Ambassador Kosh from the Vorlon Empire, a transport ship arrives from Earth, bearing Lyta Alexander, a human telepath who joins the station crew, and Del Varner, a civilian. Ambassador Kosh arrives two days ahead of schedule, and is on board the station less than a minute when he suddenly falls ill, apparently from poisoning. Babylon 5’s chief medical officer, Dr. Kyle, conducts a medical investigation and seeks to prevent Kosh’s death, while Security Chief Michael Garibaldi conducts a security investigation. Worried that, if Kosh dies, the Vorlons will attack and destroy the station, Dr. Kyle and Lt. Cmdr. Takashima persuade Lyta to perform an unauthorized mind scan on the unconscious Kosh. As she conducts the scan, Lyta sees Commander Sinclair poisoning the Ambassador. Lyta accuses Sinclair of attempted murder. A meeting of Babylon 5’s Council, made up of delegates from all five races, resolves to extradite the Commander to the Vorlon homeworld for trial. Sinclair is told that he will be deported in twelve hours.Ardwight Chamberlain in Babylon 5 (1993)Garibaldi comes to suspect Del Varner might have been involved in Kosh’s poisoning. When he enters Varner’s quarters, however, he discovers Varner dead in a fish tank. Lyta enters the medical lab, where she begins adjusting some of the settings that are keeping Kosh alive; when Dr. Kyle realizes what she’s doing, he tries to stop her, and she attacks him. At that moment, the real Lyta Alexander enters the room; her double escapes.Mira Furlan and Michael O'Hare in Babylon 5 (1993)Upon further investigation in Varner’s quarters, Garibaldi learns that Varner had been smuggling illegal items between systems, and that he most recently had gone to the Antares sector to acquire a changeling net: a device that can make an individual appear to look like somebody else. The crew realizes that Kosh had not been poisoned by Sinclair when he arrived at the station, but by someone using the changeling net to imitate Sinclair. Since the use of such a device would put out a lot of energy, Takashima uses the station’s scanners to pinpoint an area of the station with a high concentration of unidentified energy use. Sinclair and Garibaldi head for that part of the station, just as a Vorlon squadron arrives in the vicinity of the station to pick up Sinclair for his voyage to the Vorlon homeworld.Michael O'Hare in Babylon 5 (1993)Sinclair and Garibaldi confront the mysterious assailant. Garibaldi is injured in the firefight and Sinclair faces the assassin himself. The changeling net is disabled, revealing the assailant to be a Minbari assassin. The assassin is a member of the Minbari warrior caste and wanted to discredit Sinclair as retribution for Sinclair’s role in the Earth–Minbari War ten years earlier. Sinclair asks the assassin why he did it; the assassin replies simply, “There is a hole in your mind.” Sinclair, being informed that the assassin has triggered an explosive charge, manages to get away just before an explosion rips a hole in the station’s hull, throwing the station off its axis and beginning to tear it apart from the inside. Takashima uses the station’s stabilizers to reestablish its axis.Mira Furlan, Ardwight Chamberlain, Jerry Doyle, Peter Jurasik, Michael O'Hare, Johnny Sekka, and Patricia Tallman in Babylon 5 (1993)The Vorlon delegation, now satisfied that Sinclair is innocent, drops all charges against him. In the station’s garden, Sinclair reveals to Delenn what the Minbari assassin had said about the “hole” in Sinclair’s mind. Delenn claims that it is just an old Minbari insult. Sinclair, however, tells her that he had fought in the climactic battle of the Earth–Minbari War, and that there is a twenty-four-hour period in the climactic battle, just before the Minbari surrendered, which he can’t account for. Takashima declares Babylon 5 open for business.Babylon 5 was a hugely ambitious sci-fi show to get off the ground with complex characters and story arcs that went on over the entire 5 series run. This was the first pilot movie and it paves the way to what would follow. It’s an intriguing piece of sci-fi with some strong performances in particular Peter Jurasik as Lando Mollari and Andreas Katsulas as G’Kar. The special effects are a bit limited in places but thats to be expected from a show just finding it’s feet. Some of the actors in this initial show would leave to pursue other projects but the core remained in. There are some story lines (that could have been further explored had Takishima and Lyta stayed on the show. The acting quality is mixed and this was ironed out as the series went on. All in all it’s a good TV movie that does stand on it’s own well but it will leave you with a few questions and a good reason to pick up on the series which just get’s better as it goes along.

REVIEW: THE DEATH OF THE INCREDIBLE HULK

CAST

Bill Bixby (My Favorite Martian)
Lou Ferrigno (The Scorpion King 4)
Elizabeth Gracen (Highlander: The Raven)
Philip Sterling (Another World)
Barbara Tarbuck (Walking Tall)
Anna Katarina (Batman Returns)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)
Andreas Katsulas (Babylon 5)
Chilton Crane (Final Destination 2)

imagesDavid Banner masquerades as David Bellamy, a mentally challenged janitor, to gain access to a scientific research facility in Portland, Oregon. He believes that the studies of one of the scientists there, Dr. Ronald Pratt (Philip Sterling), may hold the key to curing his gamma-induced condition that, in times of stress, turns him into a superhuman green creature known as the Hulk. Pratt takes a liking to the man he sees only as a building custodian.Image result for the death of the incredible hulkOne night after making a transaction at the bank, David is trapped by street thieves and is beaten and robbed. The stress of his injuries induces another transformation. The Hulk makes short work of the criminals but attracts the attention of authorities before escaping.02The next day, bypassing security, Banner enters Pratt’s laboratory and examines the formula on his blackboard, making corrections and filling in gaps. At the same time, a beautiful Russian spy named Jasmin (Elizabeth Gracen), thinking she has completed her last act of espionage, is approached again by former superior Kasha for one last job: infiltrate Pratt’s lab and steal the files on his experiments. When she refuses, Kasha blackmails Jasmin with her sister Bella’s life. Jasmin then disguises herself as a club hopper and gets a fingerprint from one of the security guards.Image result for the death of the incredible hulkThe following morning, Pratt examines the formula on his blackboard and discovers that it is now correct. Determined to find out who is guiding him, he hides out in the lab in wait for his would-be mentor. This time he catches David in the act and asks him to tell him something that would keep him from sounding the security alarm.

zB8hsrVTea9PFBIwAotn2ge8SwO

Banner reveals his true identity and goes over the events that led to his self-experimentation that resulted in the Hulk. He notes that his condition also dives into Pratt’s own research on a human’s capacity to heal, for in Hulk-form David’s accelerated metabolism allows any wound to close in seconds, leaving him with hardly a scar. Pratt believes he can cure David, but he needs to first study the creature. Over the course of a week, both scientists, with the help of Pratt’s scientist wife, Amy (Barbara Tarbuck), construct a force field cage and sensors to track Banner’s vitals. On the night of the observation, David is rigged with a tranquilizer to sedate him once the readings have been recorded. Banner shocks himself with an electrical rod and Hulks-out. The energy cage holds the creature back until Pratt has his readings and Amy activates the tranquilizer. Banner reverts to normal and Pratt and Amy photograph the closing puncture wound from the tranquilizer. Banner later watches the video of his transformation – claiming it is the first time he has seen the Hulk – and fails to see any humanity in him despite Amy’s beliefs.DeathHulk-thumb-860xauto-26829The next day, the facility’s board announces to Pratt that they are pulling his funding for his lack of results, which forces him to move up his proposed cure for David. An eastern European spy network dedicated to using Pratt’s (and Banner’s) work for corrupt purposes breaks into the lab, halting the experiment and kidnapping Pratt and Amy. Banner has fallen in love with Jasmin, who returns his affections, and with her help, he helps the Pratts. While pursuing the kidnappers, Banner and Jasmin learn that her sister, Bella (Anna Katarina), is the true leader of the spy network, and Banner turns into the Hulk, who tries to protect Pratt and Jasmin. The Hulk runs towards the plane, on which Bella and Zed are attempting to escape, and breaks it open. He climbs aboard before it can take off, enters and stops the two spies. But the plane explodes and the Hulk is thrown into the night, falling onto the concrete. After one last return transformation, Banner dies, telling Jasmin he is free.MV5BNjJmMmQ4NTctZjBlYS00MWY0LTgxZGYtNzRhNWE1NWRmMWM2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjk5MTI0NTY@._V1_I think this was a good final chapter to the Original Hulk. To answer your questions about how this fall from that airplane could kill the Hulk, the answer is simple. He was in the process of changing back to Dr. Banner, so by the time he hit the ground, the good doctor took the full force.

REVIEW: HOT SHOTS! PART DEUX

CAST
Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men)
Valeria Golino (Year of The Gun)
Brenda Bakke (Under Siege 2)
Richard Crenna (Marooned)
Miguel Ferrer (Iron Man 3)
Rowan Atkinson (Johnny English)
David Wohl (Terms of Endearment)
Mitchell Ryan (Halloween 6)
Ryan Stiles (Whose Line Is It Anyway?)
Clyde Kusatsu (Shopgirl)
Martin Sheen (The West Wing)
Gerald Okamura (Big Trouble In Little China)
Shaun Toub (Iron Man)
Andreas Katsulas (Babylon 5)

One night, an American special forces team invades Saddam Hussein’s (Haleva) palace and a nearby prison camp to rescue captured soldiers from Operation Desert Storm and to eliminate Saddam, but they find the Iraqis prepared for them, and the entire rescue team is captured. This failed operation turns out to be the latest in a series of rescue attempts which were foiled by the Iraqis, and consequently the advisors of President Benson (Admiral Benson in the previous film, played by Bridges) suspect sabotage in their own ranks. Colonel Denton Walters (Crenna) suggests to gain the aid of war hero Topper Harley (Sheen) for the next mission, but Topper has retired from the Navy and become a Buddhist in a small Thai village. Walters and Michelle Huddleston (Bakke), CIA, arrive and try to persuade him to come out of retirement in order to rescue the imprisoned soldiers and the previous rescue parties.Topper initially refuses, but when yet another rescue mission (this one, in turn, led by Walters) goes awry, he agrees to lead a small group of soldiers into Iraq. He is joined by Williams (Colyar), Rabinowitz (Stiles) and Harbinger (Ferrer), the sole escapee of the prior rescue mission and whom Topper suspects to be the wanted saboteur. They parachute into an Iraqi jungle close to the heavily guarded hostage camp and set off to meet their contact, who turns out to be Topper’s former love, Ramada (Golino). Ramada guides them to a fishing boat that she prepared for their transportation. As they move towards the camp, she and Topper reminisce, and she explains that she was married before she met him. When she was informed that her husband, Dexter (Atkinson), was still alive and a prisoner in Iraq, she volunteered to participate in his liberation, but was instructed to keep this strictly confidential, forcing her to break up with Topper just as they were ready to start a new life together; this also led to Topper’s decision to retire.Topper’s team proceeds to the prison camp disguised as river fishermen, but a confrontation with an Iraqi patrol boat thwarts them. When President Benson hears of the apparent failure of another mission, he takes matters into his own hands and joins additional forces in Iraq. However, Topper and his teammates have survived, and soon reach the Iraqi hostage camp. In the course of the operation, the alarm is raised and a gunfight ensues, during which Topper finds out that Harbinger is not the saboteur, but has merely lost faith in fighting, and manages to motivate him. After the prisoners are freed, Topper decides to rescue Dexter, who has been brought to Saddam’s palace.While the squad evacuates the hostages, Topper enters Saddam’s palace and runs into the dictator himself, who pulls out his machine pistol and commands Topper to surrender. Topper disarms Saddam, and they engage in a sword fight. President Benson arrives and orders Topper to rescue Dexter while Benson and Saddam continue the duel. Benson defeats Saddam by spraying him with a fire extinguisher, upon which he and his dog solidify and crack into pieces, only to subsequently liquify, combine and reform as Saddam with his dog’s head fur, nose, and ears. In the meantime, Topper manages to find and liberate Dexter, but is forced to carry him out on his shoulder as the Iraqis have tied Dexter’s shoelaces together.The squad heads back to the army helicopter, where Ramada, after a complicated revelation involving unfounded jealousy, reveals and arrests Michelle as the saboteur who betrayed the previous rescue attempts to the Iraqis. Dexter arrives with Topper and insists on taking a picture of him and Ramada, but backs away too far and topples over a cliff. President Benson joins the escapees, and the evacuation team lifts off; Saddam is about to shoot down the chopper when Topper and Ramada get rid of extra weight in it by pushing a piano out the open door, which crushes him. Topper and Ramada kiss as they ride off into the sunset.In the end this is an absurd comedy and parody on many kinds of movies. If you like this kind of humor and know most of the other movies, then you’ll probably have a great time with it. I sure liked it .