REVIEW: IN THE NAME OF THE KING 2: TWO WORLDS

 

CAST

Dolph Lundgren (Arrow)
Lochlyn Munro (Little Man)
Natassia Malthe (Bloodrayne 2 & 3)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Elisabeth Rosen (Bless The Child)
Michael Adamthwaite (Stargate SG.1)
Heather Doerksen (The Eye)

Granger, a former Special Forces soldier living in modern-day Vancouver, is sent on a quest to fulfill an ancient prophecy. He is forcibly pulled into a time portal in his home after fighting off a small group of hooded assassins who try to kill him. He finds himself several hundred years in the past, in the forested war-torn Kingdom of Ehb. Granger teams up with an unlikely band of allies, accompanied by a female doctor named Manhattan. His goal is to slay the leader of the “Dark Ones”, a witch known only as the Holy Mother. Fighting against all odds, Granger must free the land from the grasp of the evil tyrant Raven, save the kingdom, and find a way to get back to his own time.Movies where fantasy heroes are traveling to the modern age (from ‘Beastmaster 2’ to ‘Masters of the Universe’) are usually cheesy. They fortunately tried the other way around here and moved a modern day hero to the distant past: Dolph Lundgren. As Granger the Stranger, he has unusual things to worry about, like drinking water probably full of bacteria, and he certainly has no respect for kings and witches. Natassia Malthe gets the funniest part, which must have been a nice change for her after the Bloodrayne stuff: she is a doctor trying to find out more about the medicine of the future. The story is well paced, so the 90 minutes passed quickly, but I was left with a feeling that I didn’t quite get what I expected.

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REVIEW: TRAPPED (2001)

CAST

William McNamara (Ringmaster)
Parker Stevenson (Stroker Ace)
Callum Keith Rennie (Flashforward)
Suki Kaiser (The Virgin Suicides)
Stefanie von Pfetten (Cracked)
Natassia Malthe (Elektra)
Katie Stuart (The 100)
Gabrielle Rose (Dark Angel)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Roger Cross (Arrow)
Martin Cummins (Poltergeist: The Legacy)
Jodelle Ferland (Kingdom Hospital)
Sarah Carter (Smallville)
Trapped Television Series

This movie provided a bit of entertainment, but was fairly predictable. I found it fascinating that every time a scene was shown from the ground level, you’d hear sirens and air horns from the rigs en-route. Seems to me that at a certain point, all the necessary equipment would be there, and you’d not have any more en-route. Also, the effects and explosions were ok – some appeared to have no rhyme or reason as to why an explosion occurred. For example, glass is broken in a window you can see thru. There is no fire behind the window, however suddenly the window shatters, and the room explodes. No ignition source was shown, and although spontaneous combustion is a possibility, I’ve only seen a similar situation with an already pre-existing flame. The smoke effects were nice, but if you really wanted to go for realism, the smoke shouldn’t be gray or white, it should be black and thick. Outside shots of the hotel showed black smoke, inside shots showed gray and white smoke. Outside shots of the hotel also showed smoke rising straight up, when in fact, the story claimed 50mph winds.

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I also found it interesting that although you had a major incident at a high-rise hotel in Las Vegas, I didn’t see many, if any, police officers. Crowd control was non-existent, which allowed the reporters to trample thru the fireground, and somehow, ordinary citizens were allowed into the incident commander’s area, to hear everything that was going on. This was obviously done for dramatic effect, and would never happen in real life.A few notes about the firefighters as well. The main shots of the firefighters in action were showing them running around on stairs with a charged line. I do find it hard to believe that they took a single charged line up 30 floors… hoses just aren’t that long. If in fact they were using the standpipes to connect to, they would have a length of hose to connect up to the standpipe, and be bringing with them an uncharged line. Most of the firefighting it seemed was being done with CO2 extinguishers. Also, it seemed like most of the time, they were running past a free burning fire, stopping once in a while to spray a little water. For as much water that was supposively coming off the building onto the press reporter, I didn’t see any firefighting happening. Overall, the movie was ok… the effects were pretty, if not well placed, and the factual items of the firefighting were a little scarce on the details. I’d say watch it if nothing else is on.

 

REVIEW: DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE

 

CAST
Jaime Pressly (Mom)
Devon Akoi (Sin City)
Holly Valance (Taken)
Sarah Carter (Smallville)
Natassia malthe (Bloodrayne 2 & 3)
Kane Kosugi (Ninja Sentai Kakuranger)
Eric Roberts (The Finder)
Matthew Marsden (Black Hawk Down)
Brian White (The Cabin In The Woods)
A group of martial arts and combat masters are invited to a fighting contest, “Dead or Alive”, on an isolated island within an advanced complex, with the ultimate prize of $10 million. Among the competitors are Kasumi, a shinobi ninja-princess looking for her brother Hayate (who was competing in the last tournament), Tina, a professional wrestler setting out to prove she has more potential (complicated by her father Bass being one of the contenders), Christie, a master thief and assassin, her treacherous partner Maximillian ‘Max’ Marsh, and Hayabusa, a friend of Kasumi and Hayate who follows Kasumi to keep her safe, using the invitation to DOA for this. A final competitor is Helena Douglas, daughter of the tournament’s late founder. When they arrive, they are monitored by the island’s supervisor, Dr. Victor Donovan, who, aided by egghead Weatherby, is gathering data (using injected nano-sensors) from the fights for some mysterious project. To add to the situation, an assassin from Kasumi’s colony, named Ayane, has followed Kasumi to kill her and wipe away the disgrace the princess has caused to the clan.
The contest plays out, with multiple contestants fighting and being defeated (including Gen Fu, Bayman, Leon, and Zack), until only Kasumi, Christie, Hayabusa and Tina are left, with Helena being defeated by Christie. During the course of the film, Max and Christie form a plan to steal the fortune stowed away inside a hidden vault. During her fight, Christie sees that the key to finding and unlocking the vault is a tattoo on the back of Helena’s neck. Meanwhile, Kasumi begins to suspect Donovan of lying about her brother being killed in the previous tournament, and Hayabusa, infiltrating the main facility to find the truth, is captured. She is more than once confronted and nearly killed by Ayane, who Kasumi tries to convince that Hayate is alive (since it is eventually clear that Ayane loves Hayate). Also, Weatherby begins to fall for Helena, and in the end tells her about what he knows of the mystery project, and that before Helena’s father could shut the project down, he died (indicating that he was murdered).
On the final day of the tournament, wondering where Hayabusa is, Kasumi, Christie and Tina look for him and discover a secret entrance to the main complex, where they find Hayabusa unconscious. They are then gassed and captured. Meanwhile, Helena resolves to stop the mystery project, and has to fight the armed staff of the island, sent to kill her and Weatherby by Donovan. They are followed inside by Max, who finds his way to the vault, and is then knocked out by Bayman, who is working for Donovan. Inside the main complex, Donovan shows the four semifinalists the project he has been developing; an advanced form of neural interface that allows him and others to use the fighters’ combined skills to become the ultimate fighter. After ‘downloading’ the data into the device (shaped like a pair of sunglasses), he then shows that he kept Hayate alive and in peak condition to test the technology. He challenges Hayate to fight and win, if the others are to survive. Hayate accepts and is defeated, then thrown through a wall to die. Hayate is saved by Ayane, and the two of them apparently accept each other.
With the successful demonstration, Donovan prepares to sell the technology around the world, and begins “downloading” it to the watching buyers. Weatherby stops the broadcast and alerts the CIA, which provokes Donovan to head for them. Helena keeps Donovan back while Weatherby frees the others, but both are defeated and Donovan activates a self-destruct sequence which will obliterate the base. Kasumi, Helena, Christie, Tina, Ayane, and Hayate launch a combined attack on Donovan, while Hayabusa and Weatherby find Max and escape with him, despite Max’s urge to go back for the money. During the battle with the fighters, Donovan’s ‘glasses’ are knocked off and he is easily paralyzed by Hayate and Kasumi. The fighters then all escape as the base explodes and Donovan is consumed by the flames, making their escape by a hijacked pirates’ boat.
In the final scene, Helena, Ayane, Christie, Tina, and Kasumi are shown together again preparing to fight an army of ninja in Kasumi’s palace.
it is a fun and escapist film to pass an hour and a half.

REVIEW: DISTURBING BEHAVIOR

CAST

James Marsden (Superman Returns)
Katie Holmes (Go)
Nick Stahl (Terminator 3)
Tobias Mehler (Wishmaster 3)
Steve Railsback (Lifeforce)
Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek)
Katharine Isabelle (American Mary)
William Sadler (Roswell)
Ethan Embry (Eagle Eye)
Derek Hamilton (Arrow)
Chad Donella (Smallville)
Natassia Malthe (Elektra)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Brendan Fehr (Bones)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (V)
Carly Pope (Popular)
Lynda Boyd (Power Rangers In Space)
Daniella Evangelista (Ripper)

Steve Clark (James Marsden) is a high school senior whose family moves to Cradle Bay, a picturesque coastal town in Washington state’s Puget Sound with his parents. It has been nearly one year since Steve’s older brother, Allen (Ethan Embry), committed suicide which traumatized the family. Steve’s parents tell him that they have relocated from Chicago to Cradle Bay as a fresh start to move on with their lives.

During Steve’s first day at his new high school, he meets and befriends three outcast students, Gavin Strick (Nick Stahl), U.V. (Chad Donella), and Rachel Wagner (Katie Holmes). Gavin tries to tell Steve that he believes there is something evil about the “Blue Ribbons”—a clique of students taking part in a “special program” led by the school psychologist, Dr. Caldicott (Bruce Greenwood). Steve is understandably skeptical. The following day at lunch, Gavin walks in looking like a Blue Ribbon. When Steve tries to confront Gavin, he gets punched in the stomach for his impertinence. Later, after being chased home, Steve finds Blue Ribbon member Lorna Longley in his living room, waiting to seduce him under the pretense of helping his younger sister study. However, her heightened arousal causes her to suddenly behave erratically and smash her head into a mirror, after which she is taken to a medical facility under Dr. Caldicott’s care. Now Steve and Rachel must find the source of the Blue Ribbons as well as try and save the rest of the school before it’s too late. They find a CD-R disc that Gavin hid for them in the boiler room, containing a video he made of himself before his “transformation”, telling them about the club and about the history that he learned about Dr. Caldicott.

During this, Steve also befriends Dorian (William Sadler), the school janitor, who appears to be mentally handicapped and hunts rats for the city for some extra cash. Dorian demonstrates a device called an E-Rat-icator which emits a soft, high pitched whine that is supposed to be innocuous but annoying to rats, which is an abysmal failure. Steve discovers that Dorian is actually highly intelligent, and carries classical literature pieces with him, and that he’s hiding because he wishes to be left alone and does not trust society. Dorian also tells Steve that he suspects that the entire community of Cradle Bay is part of a massive conspiracy made up of nearly all of the parents, as well as the local police chief Cox, the school principal and entire school faculty, who hired Dr. Caldicott to “re-program” their own children to become the perfect people that they want them to be and not free-thinkers. A little later, during an encounter where a Blue Ribbon known as “Chug” (A.J. Buckley) assaults Rachel in the school basement, the E-Rat-icator goes off, and immediately sends the student into a psychotic fit, driving him away.

 
During their personal investigation, Steve and Rachel try to find out what exactly has been happening to the Blue Ribbon kids, which leads them to a mental hospital called Bishop Flats following a lead on the disc that Gavin left behind. Here, they find out that mind control is being used to make depressed, awkward and unruly teens become perfect so they can function properly in life, but the programming has some glitches that lead to momentary relapses which cause violent fits. Also at Bishop Flats, they find Caldicott’s daughter, Betty (Julie Patzwald), a failed project who spends her time repeating the same phrase: “Meet the musical little creatures that hide among the flowers”.

After escaping from the hospital, Steve and Rachel have a run-in with the town’s police chief Cox (Steve Railsback) who is also involved in the conspiracy and he tries to arrest them after learning from Dr. Caldicott about their excursion to the mental hospital. But Dorian shows up under the pretense that he is disposing of dead rats when he subdues the police chief and tells Steve and Rachel to leave town and go public with what they know about Dr. Caldicott’s work. When Rachel and Steve return home, they plan to get out of town along with Steve’s younger sister, Lindsay (Katharine Isabelle), but when they arrive at Steve’s house, Steve’s parents (Terry David Mulligan and Susan Hogan) reveal that they are also part of the conspiracy and that they moved to Cradle Bay for the sole purpose to sign him up for Caldicott’s program. Steve and Lindsay try to get out but they get ambushed by a group of Blue Ribbons waiting for them outside the house. They drag Steve and Rachel to the programming center, but Steve escapes and rescues Rachel, killing the medical techs as well as Chug who has been left behind to guard them.

They try to get out of town again with Lindsay and U.V., but the Blue Ribbons and Caldicott are waiting for them on the road near the ferry out of town. When hope seems lost, Dorian drives up, his car hooked up with multiple E-Rat-icators that scramble the mind control tech inside the Blue Ribbons’ heads. They chase after Dorian and try to destroy the E-Rat-icators, but, having been fatally wounded after being shot by Caldicott, Dorian drives his car off a cliff with most of the Blue Ribbons hanging onto his car. This leads to a final battle between Steve and Caldicott, which Steve wins by kicking Caldicott off the cliff. Steve and Rachel then leave town on the ferry with Lindsay and U.V. to begin a new life elsewhere without their parents.

The final scene shows a classroom in an urban high school with kids playing loud music, cursing, and acting up. They are informed that they have a new teacher. The well-groomed substitute turns around, and it’s Gavin, with the blue ribbon “twinkle” still active in his eye.

Disturbing Behavior has essentially received much unfair criticism for what is a solid science fiction teen horror film.

REVIEW: ELEKTRA (2005)

CAST

Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Goran Visnjic (Practical Magic)
Will Yun Lee (Die Another Day)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat Legacy)
Terence Stamp (Superman 1 & 2)
Kristen Prout (Mindstorm)
Colin Cunningham (Stargate SG.1)
Hiro Kanagawa (Izombie)
Natassia Malthe (Bloodrayne 2 & 3)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Ben Affleck (The Town) – Directors Cut

After being killed in Daredevil, Elektra Natchios (Jennifer Garner) is revived by a blind martial arts master called Stick (Terence Stamp). She is brought to his training compound to learn Kimagure, an ancient martial arts discipline that provides its practitioners with precognition as well as the ability to resurrect the dead. Elektra is soon expelled because of her inability to let go of her rage. She leaves and uses her training to become a contract killer.Years later, Elektra infiltrates a heavily guarded area, kills the guards, and manages to slay her target DeMarco (Jason Isaacs). Elektra’s agent McCabe (Colin Cunningham) receives an unusually large offer from an anonymous client wishing to hire Elektra’s services. The only stipulation; she must spend a few days in a rented home on the island where the assassination is to be performed before the names of the targets are revealed. During the wait, Elektra finds a girl Abby (Kirsten Prout) who tried to swipe Elektra’s necklace and Elektra sends her away. While meditating, Elektra meets and befriends Abby’s father Mark Miller (Goran Visnjic). Abby later invites Elektra to dinner on Mark’s behalf. Later that day, Elektra discovers that Abby, like Elektra herself, has obsessive-compulsive disorder. Elektra develops a romantic interest in Mark, but soon learns he and Abby are the targets she has been hired to kill. Elektra spares them and leaves, but later returns in time to protect them from assassins sent by The Hand, a crime syndicate of ninja mercenaries.Meanwhile, Roshi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), master of The Hand, learns of the failed attempt and permits his son Kirigi (Will Yun Lee) to lead a new team of assassins to kill Elektra and return with Abby, referred to as “The Treasure”. Elektra tries to leave Abby and Mark with Stick, but he scolds her into protecting them herself. She then drives Mark and Abby to McCabe’s country house, but is followed by Kirigi, Typhoid (Natassia Malthe), Stone (Bob Sapp), Kinkou (Edison T. Ribeiro), and Tattoo (Chris Ackerman). Elektra flees with Mark and Abby through a secret underground exit to the orchard, while McCabe sacrifices himself to allow them to escape.Kirigi and the assassins hunt down Elektra, Mark, and Abby in the forest nearby. Elektra manages to kill Stone, while Abby and Mark kill Kinkou with one of his own daggers. As Elektra is distracted by the revelation that Abby has martial arts skills, Typhoid gives Elektra the “Kiss of Death”. Abby is captured by Kirigi. Suddenly, Stick and his Chaste ninjas arrive, forcing Kirigi, Typhoid, and Tattoo to retreat. Stick manages to save Elektra from death and takes them under his protection. Stick confirms Abby is a martial arts prodigy which is the “Treasure” of martial arts whom the Hand seek to use. Elektra learns that she was a Treasure herself and her mother was a casualty of the fight between The Chaste and The Hand with her as reason. She also learns that Stick set up the murder contract on Mark and Abby in order to test Elektra’s propensity for compassion. Elektra astrally projects herself to a meeting with Kirigi and challenges him to a fight; the winner claiming Abby for their own purpose. Elektra returns to her childhood home to face Kirigi, and finally remembers he was her mother’s killer. Elektra is defeated by Kirigi, but Abby arrives and engages him long enough for Elektra to recuperate. Elektra and Abby then escape and hide in a hedge maze but are separated when Abby is captured by snakes dispatched by Tattoo. Elektra finds Tattoo and kills him, saving Abby in the process. Elektra engages Kirigi a second time and manages to kill him. Typhoid poisons Abby, the same way she did to Elektra earlier, killing her in the process. Elektra kills Typhoid and successfully resurrects Abby, overcoming her rage. When Mark comes to take Abby, he and Elektra kiss and go their separate ways. Just as Elektra leaves the grounds of her childhood home for the final time, she meets Stick and the two exchange words to each other. Elektra departs, knowing Abby and Mark will be safe.It’s great for what it is. Don’t expect to figure out the meaning of life, this movie is just for fun. It has great action, pretty darn good visuals, and is everything a comic book movie should be.An extended and slightly refined two-disc unrated edition director’s cut DVD was released in October 2005, featuring a cut detailed for a home video. However, unlike the Daredevil director’s cut which added about 30 minutes of material not in the original theatrical release, this director’s cut added only about 3 minutes of footage.

REVIEW: ANDROMEDA – SEASON 1-5

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MAIN CAST

Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Lisa Ryder (Jason X)
Keith Hamilton Cobb (Noah’s Arc)
Laura Bertram (50/50)
Brent Stait (Blade: The Series)
Gordon MIchael Woolvett (Bride of Chucky)
Lexa Doig (Continuum)
Steve Bacic (Flash Gordon 2007)
Brandy Ledford (Baywatch)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

John Tench (Shooter)
Emy Aneke (Star Trek Beyond)
Elizabeth THai (Saved)
Amber Rothwell (Battlestar Galactica)
Paul Johansson (Highlander:The Raven)
Dylan Bierk (Beastmaster)
Marion Eisman (Hit ‘n Strum)
Cameron Daddo (Packed To The Rafters)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Sam Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Claudette Mink (Children of The Corn 7)
Kimberley Warnat (Freddy vs Jason)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
John de Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)
Ty Olsson (Izombie)
Monika Schnarre (Dead Fire)
Douglas O’Keeffe (Sanctuary)
Nathaniel DeVeaux (Antitrust)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Ralf Moeller (Conan The Adventurer)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of Steel)
Chapelle Jaffe (The Dead Zone)
Rachel Hayward (Jingle All The Way 2)
David Palffy (Stargate SG.1)
Kimberly Huie (G-Spot)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
Gerard Plunkett (Sucker Punch)
Anthony Lemke (Robocop: Primce Directives)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Anna Marie Deluise (Smallville)
Enuka Okuma (House of The Dead)
Roger Cross (Arrow)
Kendall Cross (Caprica)
Francois Yip (Smallville)
James Marsters (Buffy)
Jud Tyler (That 70s Show)
Steven Grayhm (White Chicks)
Timothy Webber (Cypher)
Kevin McNulty (Elektra)
Mark Hildreth (V)
Kristin Lehman (Hemoglobin)
Costas Mandylor (Saw V)
Heather Hanson (The Hosue Next Door)
Dean Wray (Horns)
Ingrid Torrance (Flight 93)
Brendan Beiser (The X-FIles)
Cynthia Preston (Carrie 2013)
Meredith McGeachie (Punch)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
Michael Hurst (Hercules: TLJ)
Andee Frizzell (Stargate Atlantis)
Christopher Judge (Stargate SG.1)
Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)
Winston Rekert (The Blue Man)
Lawrence Bayne (Dog Pound)
Krista Rae (Dawn Anna)
Kristen Robek (Cats & Dogs)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Venus Terzo (Arrow)
Sara Deakins (Tru Calling)
Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica)
William Katt (Carrie)
Geordie Johnson (Reign)
leila Johnson (School of Life)
Jayne Heitmeyer (Earth: Final Conflict)
Peter Shinkoda (Daredevil)
Adam Harrington (The Secret Circle)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Chris Potter (Heartland)
Jody Thompson (Flash Gordon 2007)
Helene Joy (Desolation Sound)
Aleks Paunovic (Mortal Kombat Legacy)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Krista Allen (Mutant X)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
JR Bourne (Stargate SG.1)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (V)
Nigel Bennett (Cypher)
John Reardon (Tru Calling)
Maury Chaykin (Entrapment)
Chelah Horsdal (Hell on Wheels)
Carmen Moore (Artic Air)
Michelle Harrison (The Flash)
Nicholas Lea (Arrow)
Colin cunningham (Elektra)
Andrew Jackson (Earth: FInal Conflict)
Ona Grauer (V)
Ivar Brogger (Bones)
Sebastian Spence (First Wave)
Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica)
Martin Cummins (Bates Motel)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Christina Cox (Arrow)
Apollonia Vanova (Watchmen)
Nia Peeples (Half Past Dead)
Peter Wingfield (Caprica)
Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica)
Gary Jones (Stargate SG.1)
Emily Holmes (Dark Angel)
Peter Delusie (21 Jump Street)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Missy Peregrym (Heroes)
Marjorie Monaghan (Babylon 5)
Blu Mankuma (Tin Man)
Alan Scarfe (Seven Days)
Kyle Cassie (Deadpool)
Ken Tremblett (Caitlin’s Way)
Don S. Davis (Stargate SG.1)
Natassia Malthe (DOA)
Matthew Bennett (Battlestar Galactica)
Lochlyn Munro (Scary Movie)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Francoise Yip (Smallville)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)

The first season begins with a two-part story “Under the Night” and “An Affirming Flame” about the formation of Dylan and his new crew. Gerentex, a nightsider, hires the crew of the Eureka Maru: Beka, Harper, Trance, and Rev. Gerentex wants them to do a salvage operation and find the fabled Andromeda Ascendant. The ship is worth a lot of money. After a long effort by the crew, they find the Andromeda and tow it from the black hole singularity.When Beka, Harper, Trace, and Rev board the ship, they find Dylan on board. Gerentex sends a secret assault team, led by Tyr, to kill Dylan. Suddenly, the mission changes and Beka’s crew have a change of heart. They want to leave the ship to Dylan, because it is his ship after all. Gerentex does not react happy to the news and he only leaves the ship when it is sucked back into the singularity. Of course, he leaves Beka’s crew and the assault team to perish. Dylan inspires the crew to work together to get out of the situation. He saves them, and later reveals to them his desire to rebuild the Commonwealth. Reluctantly, everyone joins him. Not because they believe in his cause, but because it is better than smuggling.The two-part story is a pretty exciting introduction to the series. Some of the characters’ performances are a bit over-the-top and their ability to instantaneously adapt to using the Andromeda’s advanced computer systems and having security codes to launch the massive nova bombs (think nukes in space) is little on the unreasonable side. But, if you do not take the show too seriously, the introductory two-part story is quite fun. Another part I enjoyed about it was the mysterious hints about Trance. She was shot and killed, but miraculously recovered without any medical attention. While she seems like an innocent character with a small part, the writers have some big plans for her as the series progresses.

The  grander plot happening with the Andromeda crew tends to be a lot better than the standalone episodes. There are episodes that tie in a super duper bad guy called the Abyss. In “Harper 2.0”, the Abyss sends an assassin into the known world to erase its existence. In the season finale “It’s Hour Come ‘Round at Last”, the crew run into a huge ship filled with millions of Magogs. It becomes a very interesting story.

There are also some interesting stories with detailed background into the characters like “Angel Dark, Demon Bright”, where the Andromeda accidentally travels back in time to a major turning point in the battle against the Commonwealth and Nietzscheans. Dylan is in a position to change the future forever, but decides against toying with fate. Then there is “The Banks of the Lethe”, which puts Dylan back his fiance Sara (Sam Jenkins). Episodes like theses offer insight to the characters, their backgrounds and personalities, and the relationships they have with each other. These developments become a fairly intriguing part of season one . For instance, Tyr is a Nietzschean and cares more about his wellbeing than those he serves with. In several instances, his loyalty and duty to the crew is questionable. Like in the episode “Double Helix”.

Overall, the first season of Andromeda offers viewers a decent science-fiction series filled with action, some corny dialogue, over-the-top performances, decent stories, and a cast of likeable characters.

In season two, Dylan’s quest becomes more of a reality. The Renewed Systems Commonwealth represents more than just the unity and peace Dylan envisions; it is, as Dylan hunt says, a necessity. In the season one finale “It’s Hour Come ‘Round at Last”, Harper took a look around inside Andromeda’s code and found a backup copy of Andromeda’s core. He accidentally restored the backup. Andromeda went out of control and took the crew on a top secret mission. To make matters worse, the mission takes the crew deep into Magog territory, where the Andromeda runs into a Magog Worldship. The Worldship is a transportable solar system, with multiple planets and an artificial sun. The Worldship houses trillions of Magog and gives them the power to destroy stars. The Magog are traveling towards the known worlds with plans of conquest and destruction. In the close of the episode, the Magog have overrun the Andromeda and the crew’s fate is desperate: Trance, Beka, and Dylan are unconscious and near death, Tyr and Harper are being held by the Magog, Rommie had a pike shoved in her stomach, Rev Bem is being converted to the Magog cause, and the Andromeda Ascendant is in critical condition.

The second season premiere episode “The Widening Gyre” continues where season one left off. Despite the direness of the situation, they overcome their individual situations and manage to free themselves of capture. The real excitement introduced in this story is the notion of the Magog and the Worldship. The Spirit of the Abyss, a being that acts as the Magog’s God, is leading the Magog on a quest of utter destruction. This threat becomes a staple for the Andromeda crew to fight off. A Renewed Systems Commonwealth is a necessity. Fortunately for the crew, they have some time until the Worldship reaches space of the known world–two or three years. In the fourth and fifth seasons, the Spirit of the Abyss and the Magog are a major port of the season story arcs. The Magog still are at the front of the stories and a key reason for the new Commonwealth. And Dylan works feverishly to recruit planets to his cause. In the episode “Home Fires”, Dylan receives a message from his long dead fiance. After the initial fall of the Commonwealth, a group sought refuge on a planet called Tarazed and for three hundred years, they have survived as the last remnants of the old way of life. Dylan learns that the people of Tarazed and goes to the planet to get them to join the new Commonwealth. They, however, do not. When he arrives at the planet, he finds a familiar face, that of his former first officer Gaheris. But it is a genetic clone named Telemachus Rhade. Dylan and Rhade are hesitant to trust each other. The story takes an interesting turn in the development of the relationship Dylan had with Gaheris, as well as introduces Rhade, who joins the cast in season four.

The episodes “Into the Labyrinth”, “Bunker Hill”, and “The Prince” are more episodes focused on the restoration of the Commonwealth with the cast in diplomatic missions, facing with spies, political corruption, and other such things. “Into the Labyrinth” sees a Nietzschean clan Saber-Jaguar joining the Commonwealth. In “Bunker Hill” the Saber-Jaguar clan invokes the Mutual Defense Pact, which requires the Andromeda join their side in combat against the Dragan clan. At the same time, Dylan sends Harper and Rommie to Earth to join the resistance movement to free human slaves under Dragan control. In “The Prince”, the crew travel to Ne’Holland to save what is left the royal family from being slaughtered. Dylan wants the planet to join the Commonwealth because it is in a key position to defend against the upcoming Magog onslaught. However, in order to get them to join, he has to save its leaders from its own people. But what Dylan did not know was that the royal family’s actions have not always been just.“Ouroboros” is a major episode in the series. It is the first major cast and crew changes. Rev Bem leaves the series as a regular cast member. He apparently went away to find himself. Stait, who plays Rev Bem, talks about the reason he left in his interview featurette. Another change deals with Trance. Harper builds a machine he hopes will help rid him of the Magog larvae that was implanted in him in the season premiere. The machine works, but it also does a little more and bends space and time. The crew is able to glimpse into future versions of themselves. Trance, in particular, meets her future self, who proclaims the future unfolded very badly. The present and future Trance’s switch places in hope future Trance can set the timeline in the right direction. The new Trance is physically different, without a tail and has golden skin. The other major change is in the crew. Robert Hewitt Wolfe was released because the direction he envisioned for the series was much different than wanted. In “Knight, Death, and the Devil”, the crew are on the verge of completing the first stage in restoring the Commonwealth. Beka and Harper negotiate with the fiftieth planetary world to join the cause. Dylan, Tyr, and Rommie also find a decommissioned high guard ship. When they interact with the ship’s AI Ryan (Michael Hurst), they find out there is a solar system with over fifty other relic ships in hiding. Dylan goes to the solar to convince the ships to rejoin the Commonwealth (remember some AI’s have emotions and they were abandoned long ago). Christopher Judge guest stars as one of the AI’s.

 

The season finale “Tunnel at the End of the Light” is a literally explosive episode. Representatives from fifty worlds come to the Andromeda to sign the Commonwealth charter. It is an exciting time to see the Commonwealth officially come back into power. Unfortunately, there are forces that would rather not see the chartered signed. Sabotage hits the Andromeda and the charter signing goes up in flames. It is up to the crew to make necessary sacrifices to see it through.

Overall, I was pretty happy with the second season of Andromeda. Like the first season.  In addition, the story arcs that span the episodes offer intriguing aspects with the formation of the Commonwealth, the Magog, and the Spirit of the Abyss. In the end, I think season two makes for a good watch if you enjoy science-fiction/fantasy oriented shows.

In the close of season two, the signing of the Commonwealth charter was under attack by mysterious alien forces. The disruption caused chaos and the crew had to make sacrifices to deal with the matter. In the third season premiere episode “If the Wheel is Fixed”, the story is concluded. Tyr and Beka were left trapped in another dimension. Dylan frets and considers a way to get them back. He takes the Eureka Maru to reconstruct the events that led to the crew members being sucked into the alternate dimension. He is successful and Tyr and Beka return. Unfortunately, the two are not who they seem to be. Many problems happen on the Andromeda and it eventually turns into a mysterious plot to kill them all–Tyr and Beka are being controlled by a force in the other dimension.

The unfortunate thing about this episode is the direction the story takes. In the end of season two, the story had a lot of promise with aliens from another dimension attacking. However, in the concluding half of the episode, the story gets pretty hokey. I suppose the aliens from another dimension were not the strongest approach itself, but I liked it in the first part. The subsequent episodes also fail to be as strong as they could. This is not to say they are terrible or anything, but rather that they could have been better. The story arcs that ran through the first two seasons start become less significant. The content is more episodic with the Andromeda crew out on missions that are wrapped up in an episode.

“The Unconquerable Man” is a pretty solid episode, but one you do not want to think too much about. The storyline is based on time travel and alternate realities. The episode begins with Harper moving Gaheris Rhade’s body and Dylan notices a mark on his hand he had never seen. Then the episode jumps into a point in time when a future Rhade had the opportunity to destroy the time machine Harper built in the season two episode “Ouroboros”. Trance is with Rhade and tries to convince him not to do so. Rhade reflects on his life (an alternate reality of the events thus far). In this reality, Rhade killed Dylan and survived for three hundred years in the black hole. He teamed up with Beka, Rev Bem, Trance, Harper, and Tyr to rebuild the Commonwealth. As the episode unfolds, Rhade comes to realize it is Dylan’s fate and not his. He sacrifices himself so that the original timeline is restored and Dylan is once again put in charge of the Andromeda.

“The Dark Backward” is an exciting episode because it explores Trance’s reality. There is a deadly intruder aboard the ship trying to kill the crew. The episode focuses on Trance and one her of mysterious talents. In past episodes, she has offered advice that could only be explained by foresight of some kind. She has the ability to play out situations in many different scenarios in mere seconds. Trance explores different ways to maximize the crew’s life and stopping the intruder. It is an interesting episode because it details more about how mysterious and special Trance is as a character.

Another strong episode this season is “What Happens to a Rev Deferred?”, where Rev Bem returns. While monitoring the evacuation of Empyrium, a world that is on the brink of destruction, the crew receives a communication from Rev Bem asking to be rescued. To complicate matters, a group of renegades are after Rev. Dylan and crew go to the planet’s surface to rescue Rev and witness a miracle. Rev under goes some spiritual phenomena when an unknown entity confronts Rev and he professes his sorrow for all his ill-natured acts as a savage Magog. He is given redemption and physical changed into a new being. Rev Bem has been an interesting character, with his struggles to be “civilized” over “savage”, and his ties into the Spirit of the Abyss make him an even more interesting character. It is too bad he is not investigated further. In the season finale “Shadows Cast by a Final Salute”, things take a turn for the worst for the Andromeda crew and the Commonwealth. The assistant minister of war informs Dylan that there is something afoot with the Nietzschean clans in the Commonwealth. There have been rumors going around that they are considering leaving the allied forces and forming their own united front. They are rumors no longer, but fact. Afterwards, Andromeda is put on high alert when an elite strike force of Dragans takes hostages and demands their lives for the bones of Drago Musevini. As the situation unfolds, it becomes evident Tyr’s hand had play in the situation. With his son, the genetic clone of Drago Musevini, he plans to unite his people and save the universe. At the end, Dylan and Tyr bid a final farewell to each other with no promise their next meeting will be peaceful. But the situation was more than just Dylan and Tyr, as a plot to stand against the Commonwealth became an important issue. The Nietzscheans and several other forces joined in a battle against the Commonwealth fleet, which ended with the fall of the Restored Systems Commonwealth.

Overall, I was not nearly as impressed with this season as I was with seasons one or two. The episodes were more episodic with Dylan and his crew going on this or that adventure. The overall story arc with the Commonwealth, the Spirit of the Abyss, the Magog, Trance’s past, and others were not addressed as they were in the past seasons. The focus was a lot different. While this is not an awful move, it just was not as good. The fortunate news is that the pace picks up again with the season three finale and it puts the entire universe of Andromeda in upheaval.

Life is not looking pretty for the Andromeda. In the season three finale, the Andromeda and the Commonwealth fleet were manipulated into a situation that resulted in the apparent downfall of the newly formed federation of planets. Dylan was betrayed by his friend Tyr for a cause that Tyr believes to be more righteous and important than anything else. In the season four premiere episode “Answers Given To Questions”, the story is revisited. With the destruction of the fleet, the Andromeda crew decides what to do next. While trying to figure out their situation, they take on an injured pilot who brings Dylan a communication. The message is from a man named Paroo. He tells Dylan that the Commonwealth is no more and that he is holding one of its leaders and will kill her in due time. Dylan responds by chasing after Paroo, who he finds out is the head of Commonwealth security and the real cause behind the massive battle. But Paroo has manipulated the situation so that everyone thinks Dylan is the bad guy. Dylan kills Paroo and shows he was an agent of the Abyss. He then becomes a hero. More good news follows as enough leaders survived that the Commonwealth continues on.

In the remainder of the season, the series story arc dealing with the Magog threat is revisited in full. The majority of the episodes deal with the Andromeda crew caught up in one situation or another that ties into the Magog, the Abyss, and the Nietzscheans. A new addition to the Abyss story arc in this season begins to define Dylan’s role in the overall scheme of things. Yes, he is the captain of the Andromeda and leading the cause, but there is more to it than just that. The truth about who and what Dylan is revealed and his role in stopping the Abyss is more important than any of the lives of his crew.

“Waking the Tyrant’s Device” is an episode that takes a look at the creator of the Magog Worldship. Nicholas Lea (The X-Files) guest stars as Tri-Lorn, who gives the Andromeda orders to visit a planet. When they arrive, they are attacked. Dylan questions Tri-Lorn why they were sent to such a dangerous place without being told. Tri-Lorn reveals the importance of the mission. They are to stop Kroton, a half man, half robot. Kroton is building a massive army of androids and it is up to Dylan and crew to stop him. The episode itself is not the strongest, but it is still interesting to focus on the creator of the Worldship.

“Soon the Nearing Vortex” and “The World Turns All Around Her” is the two part episode where Telemachus Rhade joins the Andromeda crew on a permanent basis. In the first part, the Andromeda comes to the aid of a Commonwealth transport ship that is under attack from Nietzchean. On the transport is Rhade, who is holding Tyr as a prisoner. The Andromeda fends off the attacking ships and save Rhade’s life, but not before Tyr escapes. When Dylan reports back to the Commonwealth headquarters, Tri-lorn demands Rhade be returned to Tarazed so he can be dealt with. Dylan decides not to take him back because he fears Tri-lorn is corrupt. The story continues with the crew facing corrupt politicians, a scheming Tyr, and the Route of Ages, a mystical slipstream that goes to the original Vedran home world.

In the second part of the story, Dylan is ready to take on the Route of Ages. Tyr appears in a ship, with Beka in custody, demanding that Dylan give up the map for Beka’s life. Dylan comprises and allows Tyr to follow him on the journey. The Route of Ages is important because it is the key to stopping the Abyss. As the story unfolds, more intricate aspects of the plotline are uncovered, which include Trance revealing who and what she really is to Dylan, an avatar of the Vedran sun. The Abyss also makes a frightful appearance that puts the crew in a race for survival. This episode marks Tyr’s final appearance.

Other strong episodes in the season include “The Torment, the Release”, where the corrupt Tri-lorn demands Dylan hand over Rhade for prosecution, “The Warmth of an Invisible Light”, where Harper’s latest invention sends Dylan into an alternate reality, “Fear Burns Down to Ashes”, Rev Bem returns with a weapon to stop the Magog, “Lost in a Space that Isn’t There”, where Beka becomes an agent of the Abyss, and other episodes. For the most part, they all tie into the larger plot and tend to add to the excitement. The two-part season finale “The Dissonant Interval” is also an episode worthy of noting. The Andromeda goes to a space station called the Arkology when they learn the Magog Worldship is headed right for them. When the crew arrives at the station, they inform its leaders about the upcoming threat. The unfortunate part is that they are unwilling to listen. The people in the Arkology are of a peaceful nature and they believe they will be able to make peace with the Magog. But the Magog are not a peaceful people and they intend to kill everyone. The two-part story puts the crew in a battle with death-defying odds. And despite the odds, they put 110% into stopping the Magog. Unfortunately, as the episode ends, the situation is hopeless with death not far off from the horizon. Dylan is forced to abandon everyone and escape through the Route of Ages.

 

Overall, I enjoyed season four. The plotlines in the episodes tended to tie the material into a larger plot and it made for a much more intriguing watch. There were also several reoccurring characters like the devilish Nicholas Lea, the guy you love to hate, playing a questionable Commonwealth politician. The storylines touched upon the Abyss and the Magog, the Collectors, turncoat Tyr, and other exciting bad guys. Like seasons one and two, season four produces some exciting stories that are engaging and easy to get lost in.

In season five, the series takes a much different turn in events. At the end of the season four, there was some skepticism as to whether or not the show would continue into a fifth season. Well, the series was picked up for a fifth season, but with a smaller budget.The storylines lose the grandeur it once had with the epic space battles and massive story arcs. The series, stories, and character becomes more confined and lose a lot of the appeal found in previous seasons. In a nutshell, watching season five was more of a chore than fun. While there was some decent content, it does not compare to the quality of the past seasons.

In the close of season four, the Andromeda came to the space station Arkology to warn the inhabitants about their impending doom. The Magog Worldship was headed right for them and they need to get out of there. The inhabitants were a peaceful people and believed that they could make peace with the Magog. Dylan and the rest tried to tell them peace is not an option. Of course, they did not listen. When the Magog came, the Andromeda and its crew tried its best to stop the onslaught, but they failed miserably. In the close of the two-part season four finale, Dylan took the Route of Ages in a slipstream fighter and found himself transported into an alternative universe.

The two-part episode “The Weight” kicks off season five. In it, Dylan gets accustomed to his new life in the alternate universe on a planet called Seefra-1, which is one of nine barren wastelands. When Dylan tries to learn more about where he is, he finds little help. But when he meets a mysterious man named Flavin, he begins to get more clues about his situation. He is trapped in an isolated cluster of planets in another universe. Dylan explores Seefra-1 and later runs into a very disgruntled Rhade. Rhade and the others crew members (who Dylan runs into in later episodes) are unhappy with him for leaving them to die. It was through the efforts of Trance that the Andromeda (badly damaged) and her crew were brought into this alternate reality and not left to die at the hands of the Magog. They also blame him for being stuck on Seefra-1. Dylan returns to Flavin to get more information from him. Dylan learns his place is on Seefra-1; he must help the people in the coming days. Flavin also reveals the true nature of the Route of Ages.

After the not-so-exciting season premiere, “Phear Phactor Phenom” has the majority of the season four cast back together in some form or another, Dylan, Harper, Beka, Trance, and Rhade. We learn that Rommie was destroyed and Harper had been on Seefra-1 for over three years while the rest of the crew had only just recently arrived. During Harper’s time on the Seefra-1, he was able to rebuild a new android with portions of Rommie’s damaged core. The new character is Doyle, a blonde robot who was initially made to think she is human. The season five episodes proceed with the cast getting reacquainted with each other and Dylan trying to get the Andromeda up and running again. Some have changed with their new situation, most notably Trance who lost portions of her memory.

In the episode “Moonlight Becomes You”, Trance starts to remember who she is and the season starts to focus on the storyline hinted at in “The Weight”. The Seefra system is in jeopardy and the crew must work together to save the inhabitants of the nine wastelands over the next several episodes. But the story really ties into the power that is Trance. Trance is an avatar of the Vedran sun and the actual sun is approaching Seefra-1. When it arrives, the planets in the system (except for Seefra-1) will explode. The episodes “Past is Prolix”, “The Opposites of Attraction”, “Saving Light from a Black Sun”, “Quantum Tractate Delirium”, “One More Day’s Light”, and “Chaos and the Stillness of It” continue to focus on this storyline (uncovering more about Trance, the council of avatars she is a senior member of, and the crew trying to save the inhabitants), which is much more entertaining than the first portion of the season, but it still lacks the same punch the early seasons had.

In the two-part series finale “The Heart of the Journey”, the series come to a close by wrapping up the series story arc with the Abyss. While on Seefra-1, Harper receives a message transmission for Dylan. It is from Flavin, who had been killed by the Abyss, telling Dylan he is the last hope for the survival of the known worlds. The Council intends to destroy the galaxies of the known world in order to snuff out the Abyss. They, however, give Dylan and his crew the opportunity to return before their utter demise. Once back in their universe, they find only four days have passed since the Magog Worldship attacked. The Andromeda has to face the Nietzchseans and the Abyss. The situation that appeared dire ends with a happy ending and the destruction of the Abyss in a battle that is far from epic.

Overall, I really did not care for this season. The level of grandeur in the storylines was significantly diminished. The big flashy effects were part of what made the sci-fi series so much fun were gone. The show tended to have very isolated stories with limited character development. In the end, I did not see much in this season that made it worthwhile. Sure, there are some decent episodes, but they fail to compare to the past seasons. Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I give it a rent it recommendation on the pure basis that it concludes the series and there are a few decent episodes to follow.

REVIEW: 40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS

CAST

Josh Hartnett (30 Days of Night)
Shannyn Sossamon (Sleepy Hollow)
Paul Costanzo (Royal Pains)
Adam Trese (Silent House)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Human Target)
Lorin Heath (Elf)
Monet Mazur (Just Married)
Christine Chatelain (Final Destination)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
Vinessa Shaw (Eyes Wide Shut)
Stanley Anderson (Spider-Man)
Griffin Dunne (After Hours)
Terry Chen (Sanctuary)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Mary Gross (Sabrina: TTW)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Natassia Malthe (Bloodrayne 2 & 3)

As soon as Matt Sullivan (Josh Hartnett) makes a vow to stay celibate for the “40 Days and 40 Nights” of Lent, that he is going to meet the love of his life. That would be Erica Sutton (Shannyn Sossamon), who fate throws him together with at the local laundry mat. Matt knows that he is being tested. The problem is that pretty much everyone he knows is in on the cosmic joke.


Matt takes his vow because his breakup with Nicole (Vinessa Shaw) has left him a wreck. He keeps bailing out on successful dates and is becoming obsessed with ceilings. He goes for comfort and advice from his brother who is studying to be a priest and practicing hearing confessions. When he sees the banners for Lent going up he takes it as a sign and swears off sex, including foreplay and self-gratification. Unfortunately, once his roommate Ryan (Paulo Costanzo) finds out he sees this as the prefect opportunity to use the internet to get a pool going on how long Matt can, uh, last.

this film is charming in a sexual, occasionally vulgar way, but it is also laugh-out-loud funny and a relatively realistic display of a couple falling in love. Without the sex.