REVIEW: HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY

 

CAST

Ron Perlman (13 Sins)
Selma Blair (Anger Management)
Doug Jones (The Neighbors)
Luke Goss (Blade II)
Anna Walton (Reign)
Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)
John Hurt (Alien)
Brian Steele (Your Highness)
Roy Dotrice (Hercules: TLJ)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)

During Christmas 1955, an 11-year-old Hellboy is told a bedtime story by his adoptive father, Trevor Bruttenholm, involving an ancient war between human and magical creatures, started by human’s greed. After defeat of the magical creatures’ forces, the master of the goblin blacksmiths offers to build an indestructible mechanical army for the elven King Balor. Encouraged by his son Prince Nuada, Balor orders the building of this Golden Army. The humans are devastated by the army. Balor is ridden with guilt and forms a truce with the humans: Man will keep his cities and the magical creatures will keep their forests. Nuada does not agree with the truce and leaves in exile. The magical crown controlling the army is broken into three pieces, one going to the humans and the other two kept by the elves.

In the present, Nuada declares war on humanity. He collects the first piece of the crown from an auction, killing everyone at the site by unleashing tooth fairies, and kills his father for the second piece. His twin sister, Princess Nuala, escapes with the final piece. Meanwhile, Hellboy is having issues with his girlfriend Liz, and trouble accepting that their organization, the B.P.R.D. must remain undercover. Investigating the auction slaughter, Hellboy allows himself to be revealed to the world. In the commotion, Abe Sapien discovers Liz is pregnant; she swears him to secrecy as she ponders keeping the child. Furious at Hellboy’s actions, the Bureau’s superiors send a new B.P.R.D. agent, the ectoplasmic medium Johann Krauss, to take command. With Krauss in charge, the team tracks the tooth fairies to the troll market, an enormous city hidden under the Brooklyn Bridge. Abe stumbles onto Nuala, who has obtained a map leading to the Golden Army, and falls in love with her. She is brought under B.P.R.D. protection following an attack by Nuada’s sidekick, the troll Wink, and an elemental forest god, both of which Hellboy kills. During the fight, Hellboy is questioned by Nuada whether it is right to fight for the humans when he too is considered a monster.

Nuada tracks his sister to B.P.R.D. headquarters using their magical bond, which causes them to share wounds and read each other’s thoughts. Sensing her brother’s arrival, Nuala attempts to destroy the map and hides the final crown piece in one of Abe’s books. Nuada critically wounds Hellboy with his spear, promising Nuala in exchange for the final crown piece. Unable to remove the spear shard, Liz, Abe and Krauss take Hellboy to the Golden Army’s location in the Giants Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. They encounter a Bethmoora goblin who brings them before the Angel of Death, who has awaited their arrival. Though warned Hellboy will doom humanity if he lives, and that she will suffer the most from it, Liz pleads for Hellboy’s life. The Angel removes the shard from Hellboy’s chest and tells Liz to give him a reason to live. She reveals to Hellboy that he will be a father, and he recovers.

The goblin leads the team to the resting place of the Golden Army, where Nuada awaits them. In exchange for Nuala, Abe gives him the last piece of the crown. Nuada awakens the Golden Army, ordering the team’s death; the army proves indestructible as the soldiers magically repair themselves. Hellboy challenges Nuada for the crown, and Nuada is forced to accept, since Hellboy’s father was a Prince of Sheol, the Fallen One, a member of Hell’s royal family. Hellboy defeats Nuada and spares his life, but Nuada tries stabbing him. Nuala commits suicide to stop her brother; the dying Nuada tells Hellboy he will have to choose whether humanity or magical beings must die. Abe psychically shares his feelings with Nuala before she and her brother die. Hellboy briefly considers using the crown, but Liz melts it, deactivating the Golden Army. As the team leaves the underground compound, Tom Manning reprimands them. Hellboy, Liz, Abe, and Johann resign from the B.P.R.D. Hellboy contemplates his future life with Liz and their baby. Liz corrects “babies” and holds up two fingers, signifying that she is pregnant with twins.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a wild, darkly ornate ride through the world of half-forgotten gods and fey. While it has a few flaws, those are far outweighed by the brilliant of Del Toro’s vision.

REVIEW: TEKKEN

CAST

Jon Foo (Left For Dead)
Kelly Overton (Van Helsing)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal KOmbat: Legacy)
Ian Anthony Dale (Mr. 3000)
Cung Le (Into The Badlands)
Darrin Henson (The Express)
Luke Goss (Death Race 2)
Tamlyn Tomita (Heroes)
Candîce Hillebrand (Blood of The Vikings)
Gary Daniels (The Expendables)
Mircea Monroe (The Change-Up)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
Blake Shields (Heroes)

Jon Foo in Tekken (2010)Jin Kazama, Kazuya’s son has been raised by his mother, Jun, She has trained him in martial arts and has been a mentor, yet she never speaks of Jin’s father, claiming he is dead. In 2039, Jin is now a rebellious 19-year-old teenage fighter and contraband runner who lives in the Anvil, and usually goes into fights and cooperates with the resistance groups to earn money to provide food (fruit, coffee and chocolate have become expensive and rare commodities in the Anvil). One night, Jin is targeted by the Jackhammers, the elite specs group that patrols the Anvil and ensures the safety of Tekken City, for cooperating with the resistance groups. He tries to return to his home, only to find his mother, Jun, killed by the Jackhammers bombarding the house.Jon Foo in Tekken (2010)Grieving the loss of his mother and feeling guilty that he had not protected her, Jin swears revenge against Heihachi. In the ruins of his former home, he finds a Tekken Fighter I.D. belonging to Jun, revealing she was once an Iron Fist fighter. Furious about this, he decides to try out at the Open Call, which lets the Anvil pick a fighter for the tournament. After defeating the disgraced Marshall Law, who was dropped out of the Tournament and forced to fight in the Open Call, Jin is sponsored by former boxer Steve Fox, sponsor of the Open Call and former Iron Fist fighter, and is hailed “The People’s Choice”, who takes him to Tekken City.Kelly Overton and Jon Foo in Tekken (2010)Upon entering Tekken City, Jin befriends mixed martial artist Christie Monteiro. After witnessing Raven overpower Capoeira fighter Eddy Gordo in the first match, Jin wins the match against Miguel Caballero Rojo, nearly killing him in a fit of rage. Heihachi’s son, Kazuya Mishima, is impressed and offers Jin a place in Tekken Corp., but Jin refuses. Later that night, after sneaking out with Christie and visiting a nightclub, Jin is attacked by masked assassins, on the orders of Kazuya, who is scheming to take over Tekken and sees Jin as a possible obstacle since he is hailing as People’s Choice. Jin survives the assassination attempt, thanks to Christie’s interference. Steve and Christie attempt to discourage Jin from continuing in the tournament, but Jin vows to win Iron Fist and kill both Heihachi and Kazuya, and he gives Fox Jun’s ID, he realizes he is her son, telling him that he knew her. Meanwhile, Kazuya blackmails the tournament’s champion, Bryan Fury, into killing Jin in a match or be exposed as a partial cyborg, banning him from the tournament for life (cyborgs are banned from fighting).Gary Daniels and Jon Foo in Tekken (2010)During the quarter-finals, Christie is paired with Nina Williams. But before the fight, Jin notices Nina’s face, she was one of the assassins. After Christie defeats Nina, Jin is matched up with an elite swordsman named Yoshimitsu. Heihachi, liking this young fighter, deems that this match be reserved for the semi-finals and attempts to change the order, but Kazuya, who controls the Jackhammers, stops him. Kazuya then has Heihachi imprisoned and orders the match to begin, effectively seizing control of Tekken. Jin narrowly defeats Yoshimitsu, thanks to Heihachi tripping a security alert in the arena.Jon Foo in Tekken (2010)Following the match, Kazuya orders all of the fighters to be detained. He tells them that the rules have changed, and so they must now fight to the death. Jin, Christie, and Steve try to escape, along with Raven, leaving Nina & Anna Williams and Sergei Dragunov behind, since they were in a separate cell. Kazuya notices them escaping and brings down some guards, causing a firefight. Steve, Christie, and Raven cover Jin but he walks across Heihachi’s cell. Angry, he tries to taunt him, saying he is responsible for killing his mother. However, because Heihachi is their only chance of escaping Tekken, Steve frees Heihachi and joins the group. On the gunfight, Raven is wounded and recaptured, while the others make it out to the Anvil.Candice Hillebrand, Kelly Overton, and Lateef Crowder in Tekken (2010)In the warehouse that Jin uses as protection, Heihachi reveals to Jin the true nature of his origin. 20 years ago, Jun was fighting in the first Iron Fist tournament placed by the Tekken Corporation after the war, and she impressed Kazuya, who raped her, making him Jin’s father, and left her for dead. She survived the assault and Heihachi took her out of Tekken City to the Anvil to keep her alive. Heihachi also tells Jin that since he is Heihachi’s grandson, he could become the next Chairman. He also states the corporation’s true purpose is to restore order to the world, though Jin can’t believe what he is being told, believing that the corporation is spreading terror and fear to its residents. Heihachi entrusts Jin with the task of defeating Kazuya. Later on, the group is located by Jackhammers, who kill Steve Fox in a firefight and recapture the rest of the escapees. Before taking them back to Iron Fist, Kazuya orders the Jackhammers to execute Heihachi.Jon Foo and Roger Huerta in Tekken (2010)Back in Tekken City, Raven comforts a dispirited Jin, saying that he saw what Jin did to Miguel Rojo and reminding him that anger doesn’t fuel the soul, but incinerates it. Raven tells Jin that because there are many people depending on him, he can become champion without letting anger take control of his body. In the Finals, Jin is forced to fight against Bryan Fury, who had already killed Sergei Dragunov in a death match, while Kazuya holds Christie in the control room. At first he is outmatched, but remembering his mother’s teachings, Jin kills Bryan. Angered about Jin’s victory, Kazuya enters the tournament himself, armed with half moon axes, and begins the final match. The weaponless Jin is battered and is about to lose. He is saved, though, when Christie escapes by shooting the Jackhammers guarding her, creating a distraction. This allows Jin to wound and pin Kazuya, who baits Jin by claiming that he remembers how Jun “put up quite a fight.” Kazuya taunts him into inheriting the Mishima Curse (Heihachi imprisoned and killed his father and Kazuya presumably murdered Heihachi), but Jin refuses to kill his father, stating that it is not his curse.Ian Anthony Dale and Jon Foo in Tekken (2010)Christie comes to the stage and declares Jin the new Champion of Tekken. Elated, the crowd both in and outside the arena cheer for him. When Christie asks where he will go, he replies that he will go home to the Anvil, since he doesn’t want to run the corporation. He walks out of Tekken City’s gate and is saluted by the Jackhammers – symbolizing his new role as CEO of Tekken Corp. In a voiceover, Christie explains that Jin’s victory made the Kazama family name synonymous with hope in the Anvil, but that the true legacy of Tekken is only beginning. After the credits, the scene shifts to Kazuya, who walks out of the arena and realizes that he lost control of the Jackhammers, who refuse to salute him. Back at Heihachi’s execution, he kneels in front of a Jackhammer, who is holding him at gunpoint. His final words are: “I am Heihachi Mishima. I…am…Tekken. You will obey.” The Jackhammer lowers down his gun and obeys his command.Gary Ray Stearns and Jon Foo in Tekken (2010)All in all, it’s entertaining to watch since it’s Tekken after all and it’s not everyday that people get to watch live action renditions of their favorite console games. My only gripe is that my favorite character was not in it, unfortunately (Ling Xiaoyu, at your service) and it would have been more interesting if there was a particular solid timeline that the story arc related to and not just put everyone in a big melting pot.