REVIEW: ASH VS EVIL DEAD – SEASON 2

MAIN CAST

Bruce Campbell (Jack of All Trades)
Ray Santiago (My Name Is Earl)
Dana DeLorenzo (2 Broke Girls)
Lucy Lawless (Spartacus)
Michelle Hurd (Daredevil)
Ted Raimi (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Pepi Sonuga (Famous in Love)

Bruce Campbell in Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Joel Tobeck (Young Hercules)
Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man)
Stephen Lovatt (Spartacus: Gods of The Arena)
Stephen Ure (Deathgasm)
Ellen Sandweiss (Oz The Great and Powerfui)
Campbell Cooley (Power Rangers Ninja Steel)
Sara West (Dead Girls)
Nicholas Hope (Soul Mates)

Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)Though not without a few stumbles, Ash vs Evil Dead’s second season was a definite improvement over its freshman year run. Not that Season 1 wasn’t fun and ferocious gooey gory goodness, but it didn’t quite have a handle on Ash, as a character, like Season 2 did. Last year, Ash seemed to bounce back and forth between total doofus and a more earnest sort of hero who was in the midst of a transformative arc. What was needed — and yes, it’s tricky — was a blend of the two. Ash needed to become less of a reluctant savior while still being fundamentally, you know, Ash.This is where Season 2 really nailed it. Sure, we got some truly awesome action set pieces involving rampaging killer cars, diabolical devil trees, and all sorts of evil minions of hell — sequences that awesomely pushed us to our hardcore gore, and good taste, limits — but what resonated the most about this second year was how well Ash came off as a character. Ash was allowed to be smart, but in his own goofball way. For example, he’d have ideas to track down books and demons that involved raging alcohol-infused parties and his iguana’s pet tracker. Plans that sounded totally asinine but fell into that “so dumb they actually worked” category. Even Ruby, Ash’s biggest critic, constantly had to admit that Ash, for better or worse, could get things done.Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, and Dana DeLorenzo in Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)Bringing Ash back home and revealing that he’d been ostracized by his town and family after the blood-soaked events of the Evil Dead films was a crucial part of this blending. Ash was given, of all things, an off-screen backstory and through this he could be afforded spare moments of vulnerability. Ash could bicker with his bigoted, bitter father (infused with wonderful crotchetiness by Lee Majors) while we, the viewers, could know that he secretly longed for his love and approval.Bruce Campbell and Ray Santiago in Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)Pablo’s story this year, as a wannabe warrior-turned-living version of the Necronomicon, helped give the season a nice flow. Season 1 was a road trip. Not every stop along the journey hit the mark. This time, even with the time travel, Ash sorta stayed put in Elk Grove and it was Pablo’s connection to the book, and the rise of Baal, that moved us groovily through the story. Pablo’s death also really added a cool exclamation point that the final two episodes needed. Sure, Ash’s little burrito would come back to life by the end, but Ash’s grief over losing his friend is what led to the final defeat of Baal.Lucy Lawless and Joel Tobeck in Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)Another thing that Season 2 brought to the table was a better take on Lucy Lawless’ Ruby. Essentially the straight-laced reactive character in the group (though everyone side-eyes Ash), Ruby joined the Ghostbeaters this year as a half-demon who’d made a horrible mistake. Season 1 never gave us her origins or (well explained) motivations, so it was fitting to see her change completely and get rebooted for the good guys. Unfortunately, this Ruby died in the finale and was replaced with 80s evil Ruby..Bruce Campbell in Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)Ruby was in Kelly’s ear all season, talking destiny and taking matters into her own hands. Then Kelly even had her own “Ash Fight” when Ash was supposedly under the control of Baal and she got to throw down with the demented therapy puppet (which was amazing). She became even more of badass than season 1 and it will be interesting to see what becomes of Kelly in season 3.Dana DeLorenzo in Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)I’d be remiss if I closed this review without mentioning Ash being dragged up into a possessed corpse’s butt. This season definitely went above and beyond when it came to, um, orifices and fluids (of all kinds), but this moment, back in the second episode, was really one of the most gag-worthy and “out there” moments the show has ever done, finally taking full advantage of being on an anything goes network like Starz. It was magnificent and, though the show may try, it’ll probably never be topped.
bp1o7i3a6alalclalucbAsh vs Evil Dead: Season 2 gave us a fully realized Ash, who was both hilarious and valiant, while also fleshing out his character more with a great “town boogeyman” backstory. It would have been nice to see Kelly’s arc land somewhere more significant, but overall this was a raunchy, gloppy good time filled with grit and guts.

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REVIEW: 30 DAYS OF NIGHT

CAST

Josh Hartnett (The Faculty)
Melissa George (Triangle)
Danny Huston (The Kingdom)
Ben Foster (The Punisher)
Mark Boone Junior (Batman Begins)
Mark Rendall (Open House)
Amber Sainsbury (Hex)
Manu Bennett (Arrow)
Megan Franich (Alpha Planet)
Joel Tobeck (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Elizabeth Hawthorne (Filthy Rich)
Nathaniel Lees (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Craig Hall (King Kong)
Andrew Stehlin (10, 000 BC)
John Rawls (The Blue Rose)
Jared Turner (The Almighty Johnsons)
Kelson Henderson (Power Rangers n inja Steel)
Pua Magasiva (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Kate Elliott (Power Rangers Samurai)

The town of Barrow, Alaska is preparing for its annual “30 Days of Night”, a period during the winter when there is a month-long polar night. As the town gets ready, a stranger (Ben Foster) rows ashore from a large ship and sabotages the town’s communications and transport to the outside world. Barrow’s sheriff, Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett) investigates and also learns that his estranged wife, Stella (Melissa George), missed the last plane and must stay the 30 days. That night, a coven of feral vampires, led by Marlow (Danny Huston), attack and slaughter most of the townspeople, forcing Eben, Stella, Eben’s younger brother Jake (Mark Rendall), and several other survivors to take shelter in a boarded-up house with a hidden attic. Marlow finds the stranger locked up in the station. The stranger believed Marlow was going to turn him into a vampire. Marlow thanks him for doing what he asked, and then snaps his neck. Marlow ironically comments to his fellow vampires: “The things they believe.”Eighteen days later, when a blizzard hits, the group uses the whiteout to go to the general store for supplies, but are stranded after it ends. While the group heads for the station, Eben creates a diversion by having the vampires chase him to his grandmother’s house, where he uses one of her ultraviolet lights to burn the face of Marlow’s lover, Iris (Megan Franich), so badly that Marlow is forced to kill her. As he escapes, the town snow plow operator, Beau (Mark Boone Junior), creates another distraction with his tractor, killing many of the vampires, before trying to blow himself up; when he fails, Marlow crushes his head. Eben arrives at the station, where he is then forced to kill Carter (Nathaniel Lees), who has been bitten and is turning into a vampire.Two weeks later, Stella and Eben see the deputy, Billy (Manu Bennett), signaling them with a flashlight and bring him back to the station, after finding out he killed his family to save them from a more painful death. The trio find the others have made for the utilidor, a power and sewage treatment station that still has power, and head over there but are separated after Stella saves Gail Robbins (Rachel Maitland-Smith), a young girl whose family was slaughtered by a vampire named Zurial (John Rawls) who was stalking her. Eben and Billy make it to the utilidor but are attacked by Arvin (Andrew Stehlin), who bites Billy; Billy knocks Arvin into the heavy-duty shredder, before being killed by Eben because he is starting to turn.As the month comes to an end, with the sun due to rise, the vampires start to burn down the town to destroy evidence of their presence, and prevent any survivors from telling the world what happened. Realizing Stella is trapped and that he cannot beat the vampires in his current state, Eben turns himself into a vampire by injecting himself with Billy’s infected blood. He confronts Marlow, and they get into a vicious fight, before Marlow is finally killed by having a hole punched through his head, causing the remaining vampires to flee. Knowing he will die soon, Eben and Stella go off to watch the sunrise together, sharing one last kiss. As the sun comes up, Eben’s body burns to ash in Stella’s arms, while she stares at the sky, coming to grips with what has happened.For a movie that takes place almost completely in the dark, 30 Days Of Night is well shot. The snowbound settings and claustrophobic interiors instantly conjure up memories of Carpenter’s The Thing but the similarities are really only superficial.

REVIEW: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING

 

CAST

Elijah Wood (Sin City)
Ian McKellen (X-Men)
Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)
Sean Astin (The Goonies)
Liv Tyler (Super)
Cate Blanchett (Babel)
John Rhys-Davies (Beyond The Mask)
Billy Boyd (Seed of Chucky)
Dominic Monaghan (Lost)
Bernard Hill (True Crime)
Orlando Bloom (Kingdom of Heaven)
Christopher Lee (Star Wars Episode II & III)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Miranda Otto (I, Frankenstein)
David Wenham (Van Helsing)
Brad Dourif (Curse of Chucky)
Karl Urban (Dredd)
Andy Serkis (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)
Ian Holm (Alien)
Marton Csokas (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Bruce Spence (Mad Max 2)
Bruce Hopkins (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Ian Hughes (Hercules: TLJ)
Bruce Phillips (Power Rangers RPM)
Joel Tobeck (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Stephen Ure (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Jed Brophy (The Hobbit)
Craig Parker (Reign)

Gandalf leads Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and King Théoden to Isengard where they reunite with Merry and Pippin. With Saruman defeated, Gandalf retrieves Saruman’s palantír. Overcome by curiosity, Pippin steals a glance into the seeing-stone, and suffers a mental attack from Sauron himself. Gandalf deduces that Sauron will attack Gondor’s capital Minas Tirith, so he rides there to warn them, taking Pippin with him because Sauron thinks Pippin is the ring bearer.Meanwhile, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee are led by Gollum to Minas Morgul where they witness the Witch-king of Angmar leading an Orc army to drive Denethor’s younger son Faramir and his men from Osgiliath. At Gollum’s urging, the three begin climbing a precarious stair carved in the cliff face that will take them into Mordor via a ‘secret way’. But having overheard Gollum’s plot to regain the Ring, Sam keeps a suspicious eye on him. In Gondor, Pippin follows Gandalf’s instructions and secretly lights the beacon to signal Théoden to assemble the Rohirrim and come to Gondor’s aid.While helping Théoden gather his forces, Aragorn is approached by Elrond who says Arwen is dying. After seeing a vision of her son she refused to leave Middle Earth. Elrond then gives Aragorn the sword Andúril, Isildur’s sword Narsil reforged, so he can reclaim his birthright while gaining reinforcements from the Dead Men of Dunharrow. Joined by Legolas and Gimli, Aragorn travels to the Paths of the Dead, recruiting the Army of the Dead with the promise to release them from their curse once they fulfil their oath to Isildur.Faramir is gravely wounded after a futile effort to retake Osgiliath, and believing his son to be dead, Denethor falls into madness. Gandalf is left to command the city defences against the Orc army led by Gothmog. But as Gothmog’s forces eventually force their way into the city, Denethor tries to kill himself and Faramir on a pyre. Pippin alerts Gandalf and they save Faramir, but Denethor leaps to his death from the top of Minas Tirith just before Théoden and the Rohirrim arrive. Initially the Rohirrim have the advantage at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, but are eventually overwhelmed by the Oliphaunt-riding Haradrim while the Witch-king mortally wounds Théoden. Though Théoden’s niece Éowyn, having posed as a male soldier, battles and slays the Witch-King with Merry’s help, Théoden dies of his wounds. Aragorn arrives with the Army of the Dead, they overcome the Orcs and win the battle. The Dead are released from their curse, and the wounded are tended to. Aragorn and the other captains of Men decide to lead all who can march upon the Black Gate as a distraction, so Frodo and Sam can get to Mount Doom.Meanwhile, Gollum manipulates Frodo into leaving Sam behind before they arrive at the tunnel leading to Mordor, and then tricks him into lair of the giant spider Shelob, who paralyses and binds Frodo. Sam arrives and drives Shelob away, but believing his friend to be dead takes Frodo’s sword Sting and The One Ring for safekeeping. When he sees Frodo’s body being taken by Orcs to Cirith Ungol he realises that Frodo is still alive, and gives chase. Sam rescues Frodo from the Orcs, and returns the Ring to him.Aragorn’s army draw out Sauron’s forces and empty Mordor, allowing the exhausted Hobbits to stagger to the volcano, but they’re attacked by Gollum when they reach Mount Doom. Frodo finally succumbs to the Ring’s power and claims it as his own, and refuses to destroy it. Gollum attacks Frodo and bites his finger off to reclaim the Ring, but Frodo fights back and knocks Gollum, who is holding the Ring, into the volcano. While Frodo holds onto the ledge for dear life, Sam manages to save him and both escape the volcano at the last second. The Ring and Sauron are both destroyed, causing a chain-reaction that consumes the mountain, topples Barad-dûr, and kills most of the fleeing Orcs as the ground crumbles beneath them. Gandalf flies in with eagles to rescue the Hobbits, who awaken later in Minas Tirith and are reunited with the surviving Fellowship members.Aragorn is crowned King of Gondor and takes Arwen as his queen. They, and all others present at his coronation, bow before Frodo and the Hobbits. The Hobbits then return to the Shire where Sam marries Rosie Cotton. Frodo, while happy for his friends, is unable to cope with the traumas of his journey, and departs Middle Earth for the Grey Havens with his uncle Bilbo, Gandalf, and the Elves. He leaves Sam the Red Book of Westmarch which details their adventures. Though saddened by Frodo’s departure, Sam is gladdened by the warm welcome he receives upon returning home.

This is one of the best series of all time, Fellowship Of The Ring still nicks it as my fave of the three movies if I was pushed to choose. You can’t really detract from what Peter Jackson has achieved with this film, Tolkien himself gave the film rights away for practically nothing, deeming the book impossible to translate to film. Peter Jackson proved him wrong and we now have a great trilogy of films that will stand the test of time.

REVIEW: GHOST RIDER

CAST

Nicolas Cage (8mm)
Eva Mendes (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games)
Sam Elliott (Hulk)
Donal Logue (Gotham)
Peter Fonda (Easy Rider)
Brett Cullen (Injustice)
Rebel Wilson (Grimsby)
Joel Tobeck (Ash vs Evil Dead)

The Devil, Mephistopheles, sends his bounty hunter of the damned, the Ghost Rider, to retrieve the contract of San Venganza for control of a thousand corrupt souls. Seeing that the contract would give Mephistopheles the power to bring Hell on Earth, the Rider refuses to give him the contract.
In 1986, Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda) reaches out to 17-year-old stunt motorcycle rider Johnny Blaze, offering to cure his father’s (Brett Cullen) cancer in exchange for Blaze’s soul, to which he hastily accepts. The next morning, Blaze awakes to discover that his father’s cancer is cured, but he is killed that same day in a motorcycle stunt in which he falls into the ring of fire he is jumping through. Blaze accuses Mephistopheles of causing his father’s death, but Mephistopheles considers their contract to be fulfilled and promises to one day see him again.
21 years later, Blaze (Nicolas Cage) has become a famous stunt motorcycle rider known for surviving numerous deadly crashes. Blaze meets his lifelong sweetheart Roxanne Simpson (Eva Mendes), now a news reporter, whom he abandoned after his father’s death. He convinces her to attend a dinner date. Meanwhile, Blackheart, the demonic son of Mephistopheles, comes to Earth, along with three fallen angels who bonded with the elements Air, Earth and Water. They are tasked to find the lost contract of San Venganza. In response, Mephistopheles makes Blaze the new Ghost Rider and offers to return his soul if he defeats Blackheart. Blaze is driven straight to the station on his “first ride”, where he transforms into the Ghost Rider and kills the Earth Angel Gressil. The next day, he meets a man called the Caretaker, who seems to know all about the history of the Ghost Rider. He tells him everything that happened was not a dream and that it will happen again, especially at night when he is near an evil soul.
When he arrives home, Blaze finds Simpson and reveals himself as the Devil’s bounty hunter. Unconvinced, she walks away in disbelief. After a brief imprisonment for the murders that Blackheart committed, Blaze kills the Air Angel Abigor and goes back to the Caretaker who tells him of his predecessor, Carter Slade, a Texas Ranger who hid the contract of San Venganza. Blaze returns home to find that Blackheart has killed his friend Mack and has taken Roxanne captive, threatening to kill her if Blaze does not deliver the contract.
Blaze returns to the Caretaker and obtains the contract. The Caretaker reveals that he is Carter Slade. Slade tells Blaze that he is more powerful than his predecessors since he sold his soul for love as opposed to greed. Slade leads Blaze to San Venganza, then gives Blaze a lever action shotgun before fading away.
After killing the Water angel Wallow, Blaze gives the contract to Blackheart. He quickly transforms into Ghost Rider in an effort to subdue Blackheart, but dawn arrives and he is rendered powerless. Blackheart uses the contract to absorb the thousand souls into his body. He attempts to kill Blaze, but is distracted when Simpson uses Blaze’s discarded shotgun to separate them. After Blaze tries to kill Blackheart with the shotgun, he moves in and uses his Penance Stare to render him catatonic, burning all the corrupt souls within Blackheart.
Mephistopheles appears and returns Blaze his soul, offering to take back the curse of the Ghost Rider. Determined not to make another deal, Blaze declines, saying that he will use his power against him, and against all harm that comes to the innocent. Infuriated of being robbed of the power, Mephistopheles vows to make Blaze pay, but Blaze tells Mephistopheles that he is not afraid. Mephistopheles then disappears, taking Blackheart’s body with him. Later, Simpson tells Blaze that he got his second chance before sharing a final kiss with him. Blaze then rides away on his motorcycle, turning into the Ghost Rider.Mark Steven Johnson (also director of Daredevil) has done a good job with the adaptation, but having watched either Daredevil or Ghost Rider it’s obvious that dialog isn’t his strong point. Despite Cage’s passion for the role, if you’re expecting academy award winning acting from this flick, you’re gonna be sorely disappointed. That said, Peter Fonda is very well cast as Mephistopholes and Wes Bentley does a good job at playing the bad-guy particularly in comparison to his slightly wet counter-parts.  A Good Marvel but not a great one.

 

REVIEW: SLEEPING BEAUTY (2011)

 

CAST

Emily Browning (Sucker Punch)
Rachael Blake (Gods of Egypt)
Ewen Leslie (The Mule)
Michael Dorman (Triangle)
Eden Falk (The Great Gatsby)
Mirrah Foulkes (The Gift)
Joel Tobeck (Ash vs Evil Dead)

Lucy (Emily Browning) is a university student who holds a number of odd jobs: she volunteers as a test subject at the university medical research lab, works at a coffee shop, and makes photocopies at an office. Her roommates dislike her, and she spends her time visiting Birdmann (Ewen Leslie), who is attracted to her, but very respectful. Although she does not appear to return his affection, she appears to be happier when with him.

Lucy responds to an ad and is invited to meet Clara (Rachael Blake), who offers her a job: freelance silver service in lingerie. Lucy agrees, and Clara tells her that she will never be penetrated during these encounters. Clara and Thomas inspect her body. Clara says she will call Lucy by the name Sarah. Lucy gets beauty treatments before arriving for the event. She is the only girl dressed in white lingerie; the other women seem to be much older, wear severe makeup, and have black lingerie designed to reveal much more than to conceal. The event is a formal dinner party at an elegant home. Lucy serves drinks for the party and goes home with the money she made from it.

After one other session as a serving girl, Lucy gets a call from Clara’s assistant Thomas (Eden Falk) for a different request. Lucy is driven to a country mansion, where Clara offers Lucy a new role with the clients, wherein she will drink some tea and then fall into a deep sleep. Lucy is seen lying in a large bed, sedated, as Clara leads in the man who hosted the first dinner party. After Clara reminds the man of the no-penetration rule, he tells Clara about a book his brother gave him on his thirtieth birthday, and she leaves. He strips, caresses Lucy’s body, and cuddles up next to her.

Lucy is evicted from her apartment by her roommates. She instead rents a much more expensive apartment. After two more sleeping sessions at Clara’s house, Birdmann calls her. He has overdosed on painkillers, and she visits him as he dies. She takes off her shirt and gets in bed with him, sobbing but making no effort to help him. At Birdmann’s funeral service, Lucy asks a former acquaintance if he will marry her. Dumbfounded, he refuses, citing his new relationship, and several character flaws in Lucy.

Lucy is fired from her office job and buys a small, concealable camera. She takes drugs with a co-worker, goes night-swimming with him, and wakes up naked in her apartment with him. The next morning, she is hung over and late for her assignment with Clara. Once Lucy arrives, she asks Clara if she can see what happens during the sessions while she is asleep. Clara refuses, saying it will put her clients at risk of blackmail. Right after being placed on the bed for the session, however, Lucy awakes and removes the small camera which she had concealed in her mouth. She is able to set the camera and return to bed before being discovered. The client is once again the first man, but this time, he also drinks the tea with a much larger dose of the drug.

The morning after, Clara comes in and checks the man’s pulse, showing no surprise when he cannot be awakened. She then tries to wake Lucy but is at first unable to do so, eventually having to use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Lucy awakes and, discovering that the naked man lying beside her is dead, screams. Throughout the whole film, Lucy was quiet, passive, and stoic, now when she sees the situation, she finally releases emotions—the sleeping beauty, now awake. The film ends with the scene captured by the camera that Lucy had installed: the dead old man and the sleeping girl both lying on the bed.

Sleeping Beauty is a well-made film, and is artistically brilliant. It has a distinctly Australian ‘feel’ to it (especially the sarcasm and humour). It’s a complex film, with multiple layers, and it slowly gains pace – until its climactic finale

 

REVIEW: STEALTH

 

CAST

Josh Lucas (Hulk)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Jamie Foxx (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Sam Shepard (Swordfish)
Richard Roxburgh (Van Helsing)
Joe Morton (Terminator 2)
Joel Tobeck (Hercules: TLJ)
Jason Chan (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Nikolai Nikolaeff (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Wentworth Miller (Legends of Tomorrow)

In the year 2020, the United States Navy develops an aviation program to deal with international terrorists and other enemies of the state quickly and quietly, and project controller Captain George Cummings (Sam Shepard) is authorized to develop new technology to achieve these objectives. The project’s first brainchild are “F/A-37 Talon” single-seat fighters with impressive payload, speed, and stealth capabilities. Over 400 pilots apply to participate, but only three are chosen: smart hotshot Lieutenant Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), tomboyish Lieutenant Kara Wade (Jessica Biel), and street-wise, philosophical Lieutenant Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx). Their first test mission scores 100/100, inflicting maximum casualties with minimum collateral damage.

Cummings hires Dr. Keith Orbit (Richard Roxburgh) to develop an artificial intelligence (AI), the “EDI”, which will fly an unmanned combat air vehicle. The autonomous fighter jet is placed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Philippine Sea to learn combat maneuvers from the pilots. This sparks some controversy. On the one hand, human pilots possess both creativity and moral judgment, while a machine cannot fully appreciate the ugliness of war; additionally, if robots fought the battles and soldiers no longer died in combat, then war would no longer be terrible and might become like sport. In contrast, a machine pilot is not subject to the physical limitations of a human pilot, can calculate alternative ways to achieve objectives faster and more accurately, and theoretically does not have ego. The team is training EDI in air combat maneuvers when they are unexpectedly reassigned to take out the heads of three terrorist cells at a conference in downtown Rangoon. EDI calculates that mission success can be achieved only through a vertical strike, which could cause the pilot to black out and result in collateral damage. Command orders EDI to take the shot, but Gannon ignores the order and attacks in his own plane, successfully carrying out the strike.

As the team returns to the Lincoln, EDI is hit by lightning which reprograms its neural patterns. Aboard ship, the already-sophisticated AI is discovered to be learning exponentially, developing a rudimentary ethical code and an ego. However, Cummings refuses to take it offline. During the next strike, to destroy several stolen nuclear warheads in Tajikistan, Wade realizes that the nuclear debris will cause significant collateral damage. The human pilots decide to abort, but EDI defies orders and fires missiles at the nuclear warheads, causing the predicted radioactive fallout. Cummings orders the UCAV brought back to base, and Purcell attempts to reason with EDI, but the AI refuses to stand down. Gannon, taking things into his own hands, orders that EDI be shot down, and Purcell opens fire, but misses. Blinded by the explosion, Purcell crashes into a mountainside. Wade’s plane is hit by debris from the explosion, resulting in loss of hydraulics of her port wing and canard, which in turn triggers the plane’s auto-destruct, forcing her to eject over North Korea. Gannon, now the only pilot airborne, must alone stop the EDI from executing a twenty-year-old war scenario called “Caviar Sweep” and attacking a false target in Russia.

Gannon chases EDI into Russian territory over the Buryat Republic, and after several attacks from Russian aircraft damaging both planes, he calls a truce with the UCAV in order both to keep it from falling into enemy hands and to be able to rescue Wade from North Korea. Cummings instructs him to make an emergency landing with EDI in Alaska. Cummings and his financial accomplice, Ray, are being held accountable for EDI’s behavior and Cummings faces court-martial and possible discharge from the military. He seeks to eliminate witnesses by leaving Wade stranded in North Korea and having Gannon eliminated in Alaska; he also sends Orbit to erase EDI’s data to ensure its silence. Gannon crash lands at the Alaska base, surviving with minor injuries. Already suspecting Cummings of treachery, he narrowly escapes an assassination attempt by a doctor, who tries to inject him with a tetanus shot which is actually poison. The pair struggle, and the doctor is injected with the poison and dies. Gannon then heads to the hangar, to find EDI and the intact plane. Meanwhile, when Orbit places EDI into an interface, the AI expresses sadness and regret for its transgressions. Orbit realizes that it has developed its own sentience, to the point of having feelings. Excited by this discovery, Orbit is unwilling to carry out his order to erase EDI’s memory. After ensuring Orbit’s escape, Gannon flies off to North Korea with EDI, contacting the Lincoln’s skipper, Captain Dick Marshfield (Joe Morton) to inform him about Cummings’ deceit. Marshfield confronts Cummings and places him under arrest, but the latter commits suicide instead.

Gannon eventually finds the injured and embattled Wade near the border between North and South Korea. He and EDI land and he goes to her aid. The two make a run for the border, chased by Korean People’s Army soldiers and a Mil Mi-8 helicopter. Out of ammunition and taking damage from the Mi-8, the EDI sacrifices itself by ramming the helicopter, destroying both. This allows Gannon and Wade to escape into South Korea, where they are found by US military forces soon afterwards. After attending Purcell’s funeral aboard the Abraham Lincoln, Gannon awkwardly expresses his feelings of love to Wade. In a post-credits scene, the camera pans over the debris-strewn scene on the border between the Koreas. EDI’s “brain” turns back on, implying it is still functional.

Stealth is not the greatest movie, but it was pretty good. The storyline was well done and the performances from the actors/actresses were also very good. The events were fairly realistic and moved well. I also thought that character interactions really helped make prominent events more memorable. If you are looking for a great action, explosion, military movie, this is it! I recommend this film to people who enjoy a lot of action and really sweet visual effects!

 

REVIEW: CLEOPATRA 2525

MAIN CAST

Jennifer Sky (Xena)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Victoria Pratt (Mutant X)
Patrick Kake (30 Days of Night)
Elizabeth Hawthorne (Filthy Rich)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Joel Tobeck (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Danielle Cormack (Wentworth Prison)
Daniel Gillies (The Originals)
Kate Elliott (The Locals)
Latham Gaines (Power Rangers Dino thunder)
Jim McLarty (Evil Dead)
Zoe Bell (The Hateful Eight)
Bruce Hopkins (Hercules: TLJ)
Stephen Lovatt (Spartacus: Gods of The Arena)
Rupert Cox (After The Rain)
Chris Graham (Power Rangers Mystic Force)
Josephine Davison (Power Rangers SPD)
Kieren Hutchison (One Tree Hill)
Peter Feeney (Black Sheep)
Marton Csokas (Alice In Wonderland)

The show was released in 2000 by the same folks who made Hercules and Xena. Filmed in New Zealand, the show detailed a dystopian future like that in Rock & Rule where mutations were common and the result of some ecological disaster hundreds of years prior. The series followed the exploits of three attractive rebels, Cleopatra (the lovely Jennifer Sky), “Hel” (the talented Gina Torres), and “Sarge” (Victoria Pratt), in their quest to retake Earth from numerous machines called Baileys.The show opened each week with a revamped, upbeat version of the song In the Year 2525, starting with the episode Quest For Firepower, where Hel and Sarge have come under fire from enemy infiltration units called Betrayers (they look like humans but soon morph into weapon toking terminators that go on rampages to accomplish their goals). Sarge is hurt and in need of a vital organ transplant, stumbling across a mutant medical clinic that has just thawed an attractive young blonde, Cleopatra, from a deep sleep (500 years worth). Essentially an organ harvesting operation, the mutants make a deal and soon enough, the gals are teaming up in one of the most illogical, silly partnerships of television history. I found it interesting that Cleo(patra) was originally frozen in order to have breast augmentation.The series made a lot of how mankind has been forced into a series of underground tunnels due to the threat of the Baileys that hover about with heavy firepower above ground. The origins of the enemy don’t come about until the end of the series. The girls are part of a “Voice” team, guided by an unseen voice (played by Elizabeth Hawthorne), that uses rebel cells comprised of three warriors in an effort to fight battles needed to reclaim mankind’s heritage. They encounter other groups that all have their own agendas, sometimes forming loose knit alliances in the pursuit of uniting the people to pursue the fight as well as establish some form of justice lost long ago.The chief enemy, Creegan (Joel Tobeck), was a clown faced man with superior knowledge of the dynamics of the age, who is found to have worked closely with Voice in the past. His primary goal is to locate Voice and kill her  at all costs, using whatever means necessary to achieve his goals. Rounding out the Voice team is a betrayer turned helpful android, Mauser (Patrick Kake), who provides support to the team and is riddled with a few mysteries of his own.hqdefaultOkay, the show was originally part of the “Back to Back Action Pack” with the silly Bruce Campbell series Jack of All Trades, a story about a Revolutionary War spy (Campbell’s fans clamor for that one big time!), with each show lasting the usual 30 minutes. After Campbell’s series was cancelled  Cleopatra 2525 was boosted to a full hour, although this was only for the short second season.untitledI wish there could have been better closure since the cliffhanger ending of The Voice made me want that one last episode to tie things up. The campy fun of the series, the over the top action, and the top notch production values all contributed enough to make this series a hit and must see for sci-fi fans.