REVIEW: STARSHIP TROOPERS 3: MARAUDER

CAST

Casper Van Dien (Mortal Kombat: Legacy)
Jolene Blalock (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Boris Kodjoe (Surrogates)
Stephen Hogan (The Tudors)
Marnette Patterson (That 70s Show)
Amanda Donahue (Liar Liar)
Corey Burton (Transformers)

In the past eleven years of “The Second Bug War”, the Mobile Infantry has improved their weapons and tactics. However, as they adapt, so do the Bugs, and many new Arachnid variants have developed. The United Citizen Federation now finds itself engaged in trench warfare on the frontier planets. The Federation puts a positive spin on this in the media while using its judicial and military authority to suppress peace protesters and religious fanatics as seditionists.

Colonel John Rico (Casper Van Dien) is stationed on the agrarian planet Roku San when the popular Sky Marshal Omar Anoke (Stephen Hogan) pays a visit. Off-duty, Rico’s old friend General Dix Hauser (Boris Kodjoe) gets into a bar fight with farmers protesting against the war. During the fight, Rico stops Dix from shooting one of the farmers. Dix tries to have Rico arrested, but the base defences suddenly fail due to an alien attack. Rico knocks Dix out and leaves to help fight the Arachnids. When Roku San falls, Rico is blamed by the Federal Media and set for execution for insubordination and striking a superior officer. However Dix has Rico’s execution stopped and covered up so that Rico can lead a rescue mission.

On their way back to Sanctuary, the Fleet’s secret HQ, Captain Lola Beck (Jolene Blalock) is marooned on a classified planet, OM-1, with Sky Marshal Anoke, and Admiral Enolo Phid (Amanda Donohoe) suppresses this information. Dix finds out thanks to an officer who thinks this is wrong and recruits Rico to rescue the Sky Marshal and Lola, the latter being one of the few in possession of the coordinates to Sanctuary, which would cripple the military if the Arachnids learned of its location.  An apparent earthquake causes Dr. Wiggs (Danny Keogh) to fall into a crevasse, while the Sky Marshal views a giant eye staring back at him from below. Cynical cook Jingo Ryan (Jon Falkow) is next to die after he takes shelter within a cluster of supposed rock outcroppings, which are actually Arachnid limbs which pull him below. Engineer Bull Brittles (Stelio Savante) asks the very religious flight attendant, Holly Little (Marnette Patterson), to marry him, but dies shortly after.On Earth, General Hauser confronts Admiral Phid about why she is abandoning the Sky Marshal, only to be arrested. Later, Phid reveals to him that Sky Marshal Anoke is responsible for the downfall of Roku San, having been in communication with the “Brain of Brains,” also known as “Behemecoatyl,” through the original brain bug captured in Starship Troopers as he has psychic powers. The Sky Marshal adopted their religion, hoping he could save humanity from the bugs if he could make peace with them. It is revealed that he turned off the electric barrier surrounding the base on Roku San to show his willingness to make peace between the two species. The Federation now believes the Brain Bug allowed itself to be captured in the first place on Planet P in order to pass on intelligence from inside The Federation. The Federation makes the decision to kill and dissect the captured brain but it overhears them and unleashes a telepathic scream, killing a few soldiers by exploding their skulls before Hauser kills it. It is revealed that Admiral Phid ignored the distress calls of those abandoned on OM-1 so she could become the new Sky Marshal; however, she failed to take into account that Lola, who is one of the few pilots of the Federation that know the location of Sanctuary, was with Anoke.Back on OM-1, the stranded make contact with The Brain of Brains, who communicates with them through the corpses of their fallen comrades and soon kills Anoke for his knowledge; Lola and Holly, the last two left alive, begin to pray that they will be saved.  Rico leads the Marauders, an elite team of troopers composed of his command staff from Roku San, on a rescue mission, using the Federation’s new battle-suits. They defeat the Arachnid warriors on OM-1, suffer no casualties, and rescue the two survivors. OM-1 is revealed to be the home of the Bug Hive, the Arachnids’ ruling body, and Fleet destroys it from orbit with a planet-destroying “Q Bomb.”Rico is apparently cleared of charges and subsequently awarded a promotion to the rank of General, and given permanent command of the Marauder program. Anoke is reported to have died in a terrorist attack (staged by the government earlier to explain his disappearance) and given a hero’s funeral. Dix and Lola are married, Admiral Phid is appointed the new Sky Marshal with Dix as her second-in command, and Holly becomes a Federal chaplain. Dozens of peace protesters are hanged in connection to the purported terrorist attack. The new Sky Marshal Phid, impressed with the way that Sky Marshal Anoke was rendered servile by the Arachnids’ religion, decides the Federation should adopt a religion, and a Christian-esque religion is embraced by the Federation.The satire is a little heavy-handed and the effects aren’t quite up to the standard of the first instalment, but, in common with the first film, this movie revels in its tawdriness and provides plenty of tacky, gruesome fun. Not great art for sure but a guilty pleasure nonetheless.

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REVIEW: STARSHIP TROOPERS

 

CAST

Casper Van Dien (Mortal Kombat: Legacy)
Dina Meyer (Birds of Prey)
Denise Richards (Valentine)
Jake Busey (Fast Sofa)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Patrick Muldoon (Stigmata)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Seth Gilliam (Oz)
Marshall Bell (A Nightmare On Elm Street 2)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Anthony Ruivivar (Scream: The Series)

In the 23rd century, Earth has become a space-faring federation. While colonizing new planets, humans have encountered an insectoid species known as Arachnids or “Bugs”, with their home being the distant world Klendathu. The bugs appear to be little more than killing machines, though there are suggestions that they were provoked by the intrusion of humans into their habitats. In the federation, citizenship is a privilege earned by serving through such activities as military service; citizens are granted opportunities prohibited to others. John “Johnny” Rico, his girlfriend Carmen Ibanez and best friend Carl Jenkins attend high school in Buenos Aires. Fellow student Isabel “Dizzy” Flores is in love with Rico, but he does not reciprocate. They enlist in the Federal Service after graduation. Carmen becomes a spaceship pilot assigned to the Rodger Young, while psychically gifted Carl joins Military Intelligence. Rico enlists in the Mobile Infantry expecting to be with Carmen, but is surprised to find Dizzy, who wanted to be near him. At Mobile Infantry training, brutal Career Sgt. Zim leads the recruits. Rico is promoted to squad leader and befriends Ace Levy. He later receives a Dear John letter from Carmen, as she desires a career with the fleet and serves under Rico’s high school sports rival, Zander Barcalow. After a live-fire training incident that kills one of Rico’s squad, he is demoted and flogged. He resigns and calls his parents, but the call is cut off when an asteroid, launched by the Arachnids, obliterates Buenos Aires, killing his family and millions more. Rico rescinds his resignation and remains with the Infantry as an invasion force is deployed to Klendathu.The first strike on Klendathu is a disaster, with heavy casualties. Rico is wounded and mistakenly classified KIA, causing Carmen to believe he is dead. Rico, Ace and Dizzy are reassigned to the ‘Roughnecks’, commanded by Lt. Jean Rasczak, Rico’s former high school teacher. Rico is promoted to corporal and eventually reciprocates Dizzy’s love for him. The Roughnecks respond to a distress call from Planet “P”, where they discover an outpost that has been devastated by Bugs. The distress call ends up being a trap and the Arachnids swarm the outpost. Rico, now Acting Sergeant, euthanizes a mortally wounded Rasczak after a Tanker Bug bites his legs off, and after a Bug stabs Dizzy in the torso, she dies in Rico’s arms as they are rescued by Carmen and Zander. Rico and Carmen reconnect and encounter Carl, now a high-ranking intelligence officer, at Dizzy’s funeral. Carl reveals that there is a reason to believe an intelligent “brain bug” is directing the other Bugs and can learn about the humans. He field-promotes Rico to lieutenant and gives him command of the Roughnecks, ordering the infantry to return to “P” and capture the brain bug.As Rico’s Roughnecks join the mission, the Fleet encounters fire from the Bugs and Carmen’s ship is destroyed. The escape pod carrying Carmen and Zander crashes into the Bug tunnel system near Rico. Unknowingly guided by a psychic suggestion from Carl, Rico takes soldiers Ace and Sugar Watkins into the tunnels to rescue both. They find Carmen and Zander surrounded by several types of Arachnids including the Brain Bug, which places its proboscis into Zander’s skull and drains its contents. Before it can take Carmen’s brain she cuts off the proboscis with a knife Zander gave her. Rico threatens the Bugs with a small nuclear bomb, so the Brain Bug allows them to leave. Arachnids pursue them and Watkins is mortally wounded, and sacrifices himself by detonating the bomb to kill them while the others escape. After returning to the surface, they find that former Sgt. Zim, who had requested demotion to private so that he could serve at the front, has captured the Brain Bug. Carl congratulates Rico and tells him and Carmen that the humans will soon be victorious, now that Intelligence can study the brain bug, which is found to be afraid. A propaganda clip is shown starring Carmen (now a captain commanding a battleship), Ace and Rico as model servicemen, encouraging the viewer to enlist.If you want to see pretty people shooting up aliens, this film will not disappoint, but there is so much more besides. Its very slightly dated now, but still worth the watch.

REVIEW: THE PACT

CAST

Caity Lotz (Legends of Tomorrow)
Casper Van Dien (Starship troopers)
Kathleen Rose Perkins (Gone Girl)
Haley Hudson (Freaky Friday)
Sam Ball (13 Going on 30)
Mark Steger (I Am Legend)
Agnes Bruckner (The Woods)

Nicole Barlow is finalizing preparations for her mother’s funeral at her childhood home in San Pedro, California. Her sister, Annie does not want to attend, reminding Nicole of the way their mother used to treat them. Nicole tries to contact her cousin, Liz and her daughter Eva via video call. After losing the connection, Nicole sees an open door, leading into a dark room and walks inside. Annie arrives, having been informed that Nicole is missing, and finds Nicole’s phone along with a photo. That night, she awakens from a bad dream and finds a photo of two pregnant women—her mother and a woman in a floral dress. The next day, Annie attends her mother’s funeral, and it is shown that Annie has one blue eye and one green eye, but her mother didn’t.After the funeral, Annie meets Liz and Eva, and the three return to Annie’s mother’s house. Later, Annie dreams of a shirtless man crying, and, while she sleeps, her phone shows a map, pinpointing an address. When Annie awakens and sees a figure in the hall, she enters Liz’s room and finds her bed empty. An unseen force tries to attack Annie, but she is able to escape the house with Eva. The police don’t believe Annie’s story, with one officer, Bill Creek, implying her guilt in the disappearances. In a motel, Annie notices the address on her phone, finding a blurred picture of a figure in a floral dress. That night, she dreams of the crying man again, as well as a decapitated woman in a floral dress; still in the dream, Annie tries to flee from the room but the door slams shut.In the morning she wakes up, extremely agitated. Annie, accompanied by Bill Creek, return to her mother’s house where they discover a hidden room, one which Annie has absolutely no recollection of. When nobody else will take her seriously, she recruits her psychic friend, Stevie. Stevie, Annie, and Stevie’s protective brother Giles go to the house. In the hidden room, Stevie has a hysterical fit, repeating the name “Judas”. They then see the corpse of a woman in a floral dress floating above them, and Annie realizes that it is not her mother haunting the house. Outside, Giles blasts Annie for putting his sister Stevie in harm’s way. They have a brief altercation, and Giles angrily drives away with Stevie, leaving Annie all by herself. Researching Judas online, Annie finds a serial killer, dubbed the “Judas Killer”, who decapitated a woman in a floral dress, Jennifer Glick. Annie also discovers that her mother has a brother, and that both had connections with Glick.Creek investigates the house after finding a mysterious photo pointing to a cupboard, where there is a secret door leading into the hidden room. Creek is then murdered by an unknown assailant. Desperate for answers, Annie uses a makeshift Ouija board to contact Glick, who confirms her suspicions that Glick was murdered by her uncle, the Judas killer. Annie sees Judas come up from a secret hatch, and hides, discovering the bodies of Creek and Nicole. While Judas cries, Annie takes Creek’s gun but is overpowered by Judas and knocked unconscious. She awakens to find herself tied up and imprisoned in the closet, but manages to escape, stabbing Judas with a coat hanger. Before Judas can kill her, Glick’s spirit pulls her away, to Creek’s gun. Annie shoots Judas, killing him, noting that he has heterochromia as well. In the aftermath, Annie is awarded custody of Nicole’s daughter, Eva. With Liz and Nicole dead, the house has been sold and is under renovations. In the final scene, which may or may not be a part of Annie’s dream, Judas’ eye opens, and he looks around.Most horror movies either insult the audience a little by over-explaining, or they leave many elements simply unexplained (which can be a plus too.) This one actually gives you all the clues you need to put it together and get the answers. Really, it’s all there – if you are observant, you don’t need the characters to spell it out for you. I found the characters and dialog very believable (for a horror film, of course.). A decent Horror and a must see for fans of Caity Lotz.

 

 

 

REVIEW: SLEEPY HOLLOW (1999)

CAST

Johnny Depp (From Hell)
Christina Ricci (Monster)
Miranda Richardson (The Hours)
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter)
Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers)
Jeffrey Jones (Howard The Duck)
Richard Griffiths (Venus)
Ian McDiarmid (Star wars)
Michael Gough (Batman)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Lisa Marie (Ed Wood)
Christopher Lee (The Hobbit)
Peter Guinness (Alien 3)
Martin Landau (9)

In 1799, New York City police constable Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is facing imprisonment for going against traditional methods and favoring forensic investigation techniques, such as autopsies, considered unorthodox and unimportant at the time. Ichabod submits to deployment with his bag of tools to the Westchester County hamlet of Sleepy Hollow, New York, which has been plagued by a series of brutal slayings in which the victims have been found decapitated: Peter Van Garrett (Martin Landau), a wealthy farmer and landowner; his son Dirk; and the widow Emily Winship. Arriving in Sleepy Hollow, Crane is informed by the town’s elders that the killer is not of flesh and blood, but rather an undead headless Hessian mercenary from the American Revolutionary War who rides at night on a massive black steed in search of his missing head.

Crane begins his investigation, remaining highly skeptical about the supernatural elements in the case until he actually encounters the Headless Horseman himself, who kills the town magistrate, Samuel Phillipse (Richard Griffiths), on sight. Boarding in a room at the home of the town’s richest family and the Van Garretts’ next of kin, the Van Tassels, Crane develops an attraction to their daughter Katrina (Christina Ricci), while he is plagued by nightmares of his mother’s horrific torture when he was a child. This attraction is deeply resented by Brom van Brunt (Casper Van Dien), a suitor to Katrina, who scares Crane in a prank by posing as the Headless Horseman. Riding into the Western Woods with the orphaned Young Masbath, son of the Horseman’s fifth victim Johnathan Masbath(before Magistrate Phillipse), Crane and Young Masbath come across the cave dwelling of a reclusive sorceress. She reveals the location of the gnarled Tree of the Dead, which marks the Horseman’s grave, as well as his portal into the natural world from the supernatural.

Crane discovers that the ground is freshly disturbed and, digging through, discovers the Horseman’s skeleton and that the skull is missing. He realizes that whoever dug up and stole the skull is the person controlling the Horseman. Just then, the Horseman’s ghost bursts out of the tree and gallops towards Sleepy Hollow. Crane attempts to follow but winds up lost. The Killian family are taken by the Horseman and Brom is killed — cut in half — when trying to stop the Horseman.

Crane starts to believe that a conspiracy links all the deaths together, so he goes to the town notary James Hardenbrook (Michael Gough) to look into Van Garrett’s Last Will. Hardenbrook confesses Van Garrett had made a new will just before he died, leaving all his possessions to his new bride, Emily Winship, who Crane had learned from the late Magistrate Phillipse was pregnant at the time of her death (and thought that initially the father of the child might have killed Emily to keep the secret hidden). Crane deduces that all who knew about the new will were the victims of Horseman and that Katrina’s father Baltus Van Tassel (Michael Gambon), who would have inherited the fortune, is the person holding the skull. Katrina, finding out that Crane suspects her father, burns the evidence that Crane has accumulated and tells him that she doesn’t love him anymore.
In fear of the Horseman, Hardenbrook hangs himself and a town council is held in the town church. The Horseman seemingly kills Katrina’s stepmother, Lady Van Tassel, and heads off to the church to get Baltus, with the townspeople filing in just as the he arrives. With the men firing muskets as he circles the church, Crane realizes the Horseman can’t enter the church grounds due to it being consecrated and therefore holy. A massive fight breaks out in the church when Dr. Thomas Lancaster (Ian McDiarmid) suggests confessing for forgiveness, and is killed by Reverend Steenwyck (Jeffrey Jones), who is in turn shot by a frightened Baltus. The chaos ends only when the Horseman harpoons Baltus through a church window using a pointed church fence post attached to a rope, dragging him out and acquiring his head. The next day, Crane believes Katrina to be one who controls the Headless Horsemen and left while she was still unconscious.
As Crane is leaving Sleepy Hollow, he becomes suspicious when the hand of the corpse of Lady Van Tassel has a wound which shows signs of having been caused post-mortem. His suspicions are confirmed to be right when the real Lady Van Tassel (Miranda Richardson) emerges, alive, from the dark and shocks her step-daughter Katrina into a faint. Katrina awakens and eventually uncovers a plot revolving around revenge on the Van Garretts and land rights with the Horseman controlled by Lady Van Tassel, who sends the supernatural killer after Katrina now to solidify her hold on what she considers her property, a piece of land unjustly claimed by Baltus. She explains that the body believed to be her corpse actually belonged to the family’s servant, Sarah, whom she had murdered. She also reveals that she had just murdered the mysterious witch in the Western Woods, her own sister, for her role in helping Crane and Young Masbath.

Following a fight in the local windmill and a stagecoach chase through the woods, Crane eventually thwarts Lady Van Tassel by throwing the skull to the Horseman, breaking the curse. The Horseman, no longer under Lady Van Tassel’s control, simultaneously kisses and bites her, and he hoists her up on his horse, then rides to Hell taking her with him, fulfilling her end of the deal with the Devil. With the Headless Horseman menace eradicated, Crane returns home to New York with Katrina and Young Masbath, just in time for the new century.A triumph of design; sets that are spooky down to the last detail, and a cast of well-written characters to populate this creepy little town. There’s a few little things about “Sleepy Hollow” that didn’t work, but for the most part, I found this to be a great film

REVIEW: MORTAL KOMBAT LEGACY – SEASON 1 & 2

mortal-kombat-legacy-episode-1-600x260

 CAST

Michael Jai white (The Dark Knight)
Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager)
Darren Shahlavi (Watchmen)
Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica)
Matt Mullins (Kamen Rider Dragon Knight)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Erica Cerra (Eureka)
Adrian Hough (Underworld: Evolution)
Aleks Paunovic (This Means War)
Samantha Jo (Agent X)
Jolene Tran (Tricking)
Kirby Morow (X-Men Evolution)
Beatice King (50/50)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
Tracy Spiridakos (Bates Motel)
Ian Anthony Dale (Mr. 3000)
Kevan Ohtsji (Crying Freeman)
Peter Shinkoda (Daredevil)
Brian Tee (Jurassic world)
Mark Dacascos (Kamen rider Dragon Knight)
Casper Van Dien (Starship troopers)
Eric Jacobus (ABCS of Death 2)
Dan Southworth (Power Rangers Time Force)

Origin shorts of some of Mortal Kombat’s icons. The First 2 episodes focus on Sonya, Jax, Kano and a brief appearance from Stryker. This is probably my favourite of the whole show. Great performances from Jeri Ryan, and Michael Jai White. The fight between him and Kano was the best of the DVD.

Johnny Cage’s story is ok, I think it was casted well, and the fights were pretty good, it does also show his motivation for getting into the tournament, also hey managed to put in a couple of his signature moves.

Raiden: . At the beginning of this episode there is a short declaimer saying that this is not the usual MK story but he hope it is still enjoyable. Making Raiden mortal was a big departure.

Kitana and Milleena: This episode was part animated and part live action. The fights were excellent especially  the sparing match between the two “sisters”. This was the best part of the two part episode.

Scorpion and Sub-Zero:  This was much more Scorpion’s origin story. Mini spoiler there is also a brief appearance from Quan Chi as well.

Cyrax and Sektor: was not really expecting much from this story and it is not much of a story but there are 2 very good fights in it one the human Cyrax and Sektor beating the crap out of the earlier cyborg.

I really enjoyed this season much more than the first. The production is better and is more of the Street Fighter Assassins fist style of have each individual episodes adding up to a movie. Having Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa reprise\renew his role as Shang Tsung was brilliant and having him saying the iconic lines from the first movie was not lost on a continuity lover like me. This season, works from the point that there have been previous MK tournaments. Now 10 year have passed and it is time for the new tournament. Again Raiden and Shang Tsung must choose their team respective teams of warriors. The actual fighting in this  season does not start till much later, but from a storyline perspective that was a very good idea. When they start the fights are bloody, brutal and in most cases fatal.

Sadly it was decided not to do a third year so the series is very much incomplete but still highly enjoyable.