REVIEW: HIGHLANDER: THE RAVEN

 

MAIN CAST

Elizabeth Gracen (Marked For Death)
Paul Johansson (Van Helsing)
Patricia Gage (American Psycho)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Michael Copeman (When Hope Calls)
Torri Higginson (Stargate: Atlantis)
Julian Richings (Man of Steel)
Carlo Rota (Saw V)
James Kidnie (Robocop: The Series)
Catherine Black (Loser)
Hannes Jaenicke (Half Past Dead)
Cedric Smith (Mutant X)
Alan Van Sprang (Reign)
Tara Rosling (Impulse)
Lawrence Dane (Bride of Chucky)
Carl Marotte (My Bloody Valentine)
Karen Glave (The Tuxedo)
John Ralston (Bitten)
Shary Guthrie (Earth: Final Conflict)
Andrew Jackson (Smallville)
Michael Daingerfield (Arrow)
Noam Jenkins (Gossip)
Anne Marie DeLuise (Stargate SG.1)
Gordon Currie (Friday The 13th 8)
Polly Shannon (Men With Brooms)
Geordie Johnson (Dracula: The Series)
Peter Mensah (Spartacus)
Jim Byrnes (Sanctuary)
Valentine Pelka (The Pianist)
Ellen Dubin (Mary Kills People)
Robert Cavanah (Pimp)
Lysette Anthony (Krull)
Glynis Barber (The Outpost)
Michael Siberry (Birdman)
Michelle Gomez (Chilling Adventuires of Sabrina)
Ronan Vibert (Hex)
Stephen Moyer (The Gifted)
Glynis Barber (The Outpost)

With Highlander: The Raven, it became quickly obvious that this show wasn’t as good as the predecessor. The writing wasn’t as good, and some episodes were clearly not well done. That much I’m in agreement with everyone else here. But I would ask other viewers to also try to see the positive aspects that H:TR had. For starters, the chemistry between Amanda and detective Wolf was great.

I’m not sure why exactly, but these two were just perfect together, in both dialogue, thought processes and acting. I think that the writers here were trying to bring the world of immortals to deal with the point of view of a mortal, ie, Wolf, thus where we saw a mortal protagonist taking the heads of two immortals in the only season that this show was alive, the first by shooting at glass that decapitated his foe and the second (a very well-done episode) where Wolf used a sword to decapitate the immortal who was killing people for their organs.

That was basically the act of allowing a mortal to interact with immortals as their equal for the first time, instead of always running to a friendly immortal to do his bidding when another immortal was a villain who needed to be dealt with (ala Joe Dawson with Duncan). Here, a mortal took charge. There were other episodes that were truly gems to watch, the best being the one where Amanda had robbed a soldier during WW1 and inadvertently caused the deaths of 120 of his `brothers’, as that character stated in such a charming way. The one with father Liam and his doubts about his centuries-long faith in the priesthood was also a very good one, with Amanda baiting him to place himself between her sword and the woman journalist she pretended to wish to kill.

The very first episode where Wolf’s former partner had placed herself in between Amanda and a bullet, whereas basically leaving Amanda’s facial expression almost screaming out `WHAT DID YOU DO?!’ because she knew it was a sacrifice done for nothing, also leading her to possibly reconsider her values because someone who was dedicated to stopping her when she was a thief was still placing herself in harm’s way to protect her life. And, last but not least, the last episode where we found out that Wolf himself was an immortal now, and the science of immortality was clearly explained, at least to me, when he confronted Amanda about it. Just too bad we never got to see a second season to this cool show, thus allowing detective Wolf to be an immortal himself. But this will always be one of my favorite shows. Not as good as the great Highlander: The Series , but definitely one that was a joy to see every Saturday afternoon.

REVIEW: WE STILL STEAL THE OLD WAY

CAST

Ian Ogilvy (Death Becomes Her)
Billy Murray (The Bill)
Christopher Ellison (Buster)
Tony Denham (Revolver)
Patrick Bergin (Lawnmower Man 2)
Julian Glover (Game of Thrones)
Lysette Anthony (Krull)
Vas Blackwood  (Creep)
Cristian Solimeno  (Highlander 5)
Sean Cronin (London Hood)

ad09c1612fb7c2f78c25ab399c4ed58eRichie Archer and his geriatric cronies amble gently back for an opportunistic sequel which looks to cash in on its moderately successful predecessor, but sadly co-writer (with Simon Cluett) and director Sacha Bennett make no attempt to add any flesh to its cardboard cut-out characters.   The title’s reference to stealing applies only to a fraction of the storyline, but presumably Bennett felt that We Still Break Old Lags Out of Prison the Old Way was too much of a mouthful.ad09c1612fb7c2f78c25ab399c4ed58eWe Still Kill the Old Way saw retired London gangster Archer (Ian Ogilvy – Witchfinder General) returning from retirement in Spain to seek revenge on the street gang that killed his brother, but this time Bennett tries to turn him into a modern-day Robin Hood intent on forcing a crooked banker to donate his ill-gotten gains to charity.   When the banker refuses, Archer, Roy (Christopher Ellison) and Butch (Tony Denham) raid his vaults but are caught red-handed and thrown into prison.   Don’t worry though, because it turns out the wily old foxes allowed themselves to be caught red-handed so that they would be banged up in the same prison as old lag George Briggs (Patrick Bergin) who they intend to break out for a reunion with his wife before she finally succumbs to Alzheimer’s.   Quite how they knew they would all be assigned to the same prison is never explain,.   Once inside, Archer finds his plans disrupted by old nemesis Vic Farrow (Billy Murray) who arranges to be transferred to the same prison so that he can have his revenge for a betrayal dating back thirty or more years.IMG_0439-2While there was a certainly novelty value in We Still Kill the Old Way’s idea of a bunch of ageing old-timers polishing their vintage knuckledusters to mix it with Britain’s new brand of near-feral street gangs, this sequel mostly pitches gangsters of pensionable age against one another, and one has to wonder who the target audience is supposed to be.   Young men are hardly likely to be interested in a bunch issuing threats against one another for 90 minutes, while more mature audiences will see We Still Steal the Old Way as nothing more than the empty-headed DTV fodder that it undoubtedly is.

REVIEW: WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY

 

 

CAST

Ian Ogilvy (Death Becomes Her)
Alison Doody (A View To A Kill)
Christopher Ellison (The Bill)
Danny-Boy Hatchard (Eastenders)
Lysette Anthony (Krull)
James Cosmo (Game of Thrones)
Steven Berkoff (A Clockwork Orange)
Dani Dyer (Vendetta)

Brothers Ritchie and Charlie Archer (Ian Ogilvy and Steven Berkoff) are the last of the original hard men. The former east end gangsters ran organised crime in the east end in a similar vein to the Krays and have now retired. The world has changed and gone are the days of going into your local for a pint with the lads, only to be replaced with bistros where Charlie regales old friends with stories of the old days while Ritchie is settling into the quiet life in Spain. Charlie is still something of a hothead from his villain days and Ritchie, the more reasonable of the brothers, is trying to adapt to the quiet life of peace and sun whilst practicing safecracking as a hobby by the pool. The quiet life is shattered when just before Charlie is due to visit Ritchie in Spain, commits an act of decency by rescuing a young girl Lauren (Dani Dyer) from being gang raped. Charlie is brutally murdered by the biggest street gang in the area – the vicious E2 gang, who hold the neighbourhood in a chokehold of fear.webANXwestillkilloldwayThe E2 gang, led by Aaron (Danny-Boy Hatchard), have the run of the area and make sure people don’t talk. With youth, numbers and confidence on their side, they represent the threat of the future with uncontrollable urban violence.  Ritchie is contacted by an old friend, Lizzie Davis (Lysette Anthony) after she finds Charlie’s body and the police (led by DI Susan Taylor) don’t’ have enough to go after the E2 gang. Ritchie returns to East London to find so much has changed and the days of the old firms have been replaced by street gangs and teens; weaponising social media to chronicle their violent and destructive activities and to blackmail victims.Ritchie reunites his old firm consisting of Roy (Chris Ellison – The Bill) Arthur (James Cosmo – Game of Thrones) and aptly Butch – named for obvious reasons (Tony Denham of St George’s Day and The Football Factory) to execute a plan of vengeance against the teenage killers. Working against youth, numbers, confidence and social media, the old firm need to ‘box clever’ in order to get justice. London and gang culture have changed so Ritchie and the firm adapt, teaching the new kids that the classic methods of violence are still the best.57591982580355677512Showered final confrontation between Old School Cool and Street is something to watch but viewing these gentleman gangsters execute street justice is, rather than being seen as torturous, makes for strong social commentary about today’s escalating gang culture and civic duty (as unconventional as it may be) in protecting our neighbourhoods from being taken over by a swarms of gangs. We still Kill the Old Way is not your typical British gangster film for all the right reasons, it offers a powerhouse talent circle of British actors, a strong story with well constructed twists, solid, believable action with the right blend of comedic touches which create an enjoyable story for a British public to engage in but also to believe in.

REVIEW: THE EVIL BENEATH LOCH NESS

CAST

Patrick Bergin (Lawnmower Man 2)
Lysette Anthony (Krull)
Brian Wimmer (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2)
Lysa Apostle (Perfume)
Vernon Wells (Power Rangers Time Force)
Robert Foxworth (Syriana)

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The TV series, “The Expedition Channel” finances digs and expeditions. While having a crew at Loch Ness, Gus (Dick Stilwell) dies while scuba diving Loch Ness. The studio relocates a different heavy weight, Brian Wimmer to replace Gus. You get a peek at Nessie early in the film. The diving crew discovers rocks which look like large eggs, and whenever they go to look at them, Nessie appears and disrupts their dive. Meanwhile some kids with a web site about Loch Ness plant a fake looking shiny metallic green Nessie for their on-line cam to get subscribers. Got the plot figured out 15 minutes into the film?
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Filmed in the US, the movie also stars Lysette Anthony from “Krull” and Lysa Apostle whose short movie career ended after this film. This movie was written and directed by visual effects producer Chuck Chomisky (Avatar)who never wrote or directed after this film.
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Lysette Anthony actually gives us a good performance in what is a bad script. It was almost as if she was doing Shakespeare, and no one else was. The film cruises along as a fairly decent “B” movie, then all of a sudden it turns real bad…and the ending? Really? That was the best Chomisky could come up with or did they run out of money?

REVIEW: KRULL

CAST

Ken Marshall (Star Trek: DS9)
Lysette Anthony (Evil Beneath Loch Ness)
Freddie Jones (Dune)
Francesca Annis (Revolver)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter)
Lindsey Crouse (Buffy)

Krull 2

A narrator describes a prophecy regarding “a girl of ancient name that shall become queen, that she shall choose a king, and that together they shall rule their world, and that their son shall rule the galaxy”MV5BNjE1MDQ5OGUtMGZhZi00ODJhLThmN2EtYjVlODhjZDcyYTM1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzc0MjU3NDE@._V1_The planet Krull is invaded by an entity known as the “Beast” and his army of futuristic “Slayers”, who travel the galaxy in a mountain-like spaceship called the Black Fortress. In a ceremony involving exchanging a handful of flame between the newlyweds, Prince Colwyn and Princess Lyssa plan to marry and form an alliance between their rival kingdoms in the hope that their combined forces can defeat the Beast’s army. The Slayers attack the wedding before it is completed, killing the two kings, devastating both armies and kidnapping the princess. Prince Colwyn is found and nursed by Ynyr, the Old One. Ynyr tells him the Beast can be defeated with the “Glaive”, an ancient, magical, five-pointed throwing weapon. Colwyn retrieves the Glaive from a high mountain cave before setting out to track down the Black Fortress, which teleports to a new location every day at sunrise. As they travel, Colwyn and Ynyr are joined by magician Ergo “the Magnificent” and a band of nine thieves, fighters, bandits and brawlers. Colwyn offers to clear their criminal records, successfully enlisting Torquil, Kegan, Rhun, Oswyn, Bardolph, Menno, Darro, Nennog, and Quain. The cyclops Rell later joins the group.
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Colwyn’s group travels to the home of the Emerald Seer, and his apprentice Titch. The Emerald Seer uses his crystal to view where the Fortress will rise, but the Beast’s hand magically appears and crushes the crystal. The group travels to a swamp that can not be penetrated by the Beast’s magic, but Slayers attack, killing Darro and Menno, and also the Emerald Seer, before he can confirm the next location of the Fortress. While the group rests in a forest, Kegan goes to a nearby village and gets Merith, one of his wives, to bring food. The Beast exerts remote command of Merith’s helper, who attempts to seduce then kill Colwyn, but fails. Ynyr leaves the resting group to journey to the “Widow of the Web”, an enchantress who loved Ynyr long ago and was exiled to the lair of the Crystal Spider for murdering their only child. The Widow reveals where the Black Fortress will be at sunrise.

MV5BY2IzYzc0NmYtMDJiNC00ODBiLTlkMDktY2U1MzcxM2I0NjdiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTMzNzQ3NA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,740_AL_She also gives Ynyr the sand from the enchanted hourglass that kept the Crystal Spider from attacking her and will keep a badly injured Ynyr alive on his journey back to the group. As the Crystal Spider attacks the Widow, Ynyr flees the web and returns to the group to reveal the location of the Black Fortress, as he loses the last of the sand and expires. The group capture and ride mystical Fire Mares to reach the Black Fortress before it teleports again. Slayers at the Fortress kill Rhun, while Rell sacrifices himself to hold open the huge spaceship doors long enough to allow the others to enter. Slayers inside kill Quain and Nennog, while Kegan sacrifices his life to save Torquil as they journey through the Fortress. When Ergo and Titch get separated from the others and are attacked by Slayers, Ergo magically transforms into a tiger to kill the Slayers and save Titch’s life. Colwyn, Torquil, Bardolph, and Oswyn are trapped inside a large dome. Colwyn attempts to open a hole in the dome with the Glaive, while the other three search for any other passageway. The three fall through an opening and are trapped between slowly closing walls studded with huge spikes, which kill Bardolph.
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Colwyn breaches the dome and finds Lyssa. He attacks the Beast, injuring it with the Glaive, which becomes embedded in the Beast’s body. With nothing to defend themselves against the Beast’s counterattack, Lyssa realizes that they must quickly finish the wedding ritual, giving them the linked power to shoot flame, with which they finally slay the Beast. Its death frees Torquil and Oswyn from the spike room and they rejoin Colwyn and Lyssa, then Ergo and Titch, as they make their way out the self-destructing Fortress. Colwyn and Lyssa, now king and queen of the combined kingdom, name Torquil as Lord Marshal. As the surviving heroes depart across a field, the narrator (Ynyr) repeats the opening prophecy that the son of the queen and her chosen king shall rule the galaxy.

All in all, this is a very honest and very watchable fantasy movie, now a little forgotten but worth (re)discovering. Not exactly a masterpiece but a very nice watch.