REVIEW: THE SCORPION KING

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CAST

Dwayne Johsnon (Fast & Furious 8)
Steven Brand (Hellraiser 9)
Kelly Hu (Arrow)
Grant Heslov (True Lies)
Bernard Hill (Lord of The Rings)
Michael Clarke Duncan (Sin City)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Ralf Moeller (Pathfinder)
Branscombe Richmond (Commando)
Roger Rees (The New World)
Tyler Mane (Halloween)
Joseph Ruskin (Smokin’ Aces)

“Before the time of the pyramids,” a horde from the East invades the ancient world, led by the ruthless Memnon, who by their law, is king for being their greatest warrior. His many victories come from the help of a sorcerer who predicts the outcomes of battles, leaving only a few free tribes to oppose him.Mathayus, his half-brother Jesup, and friend Rama, the only three true remaining Akkadians, are hired by King Pheron of the last free tribes to kill Memnon’s sorcerer for twenty blood rubies, upsetting Pheron’s son Takmet, as it is the last of their treasury, and Nubian King Balthazar, who dislikes the Akkadians. The Akkadians manage to sneak into Memnon’s camp, but are ambushed by Memnon’s guards, having been tipped off by Takmet who killed his own father and defected to Memnon’s side. Jesup and Rama are hit by arrows, but Mathayus manages to sneak into the sorcerer’s tent, where he sees that the sorcerer is actually a sorceress, Cassandra. Mathayus is ambushed and meets Memnon himself, who brutally executes Jesup in front of him, and is about to kill Mathayus too. Cassandra, however, tells Memnon that the gods wish Mathayus to survive the night, and to defy them will incur their wrath and cost him his victories. Memnon has Mathayus buried to his neck in the desert to be devoured by fire ants at dawn, but he manages to escape with help from a horse thief, Arpid.Deciding to finish his mission and avenge his brother, Mathayus sneaks into Memnon’s stronghold, Gomorrah, and manages to enter Memnon’s palace with help from a street urchin. He briefly meets Memnon’s court magician, Philos, who hides him and then directs him to the courtyard where Memnon is training. Mathayus tries to shoot Memnon from the watchtower, but is forced to save the street urchin from having his hand amputated for theft by shooting the axe out of Takmet’s hand, alerting the guards to his presence. Mathayus only barely manages to escape Gomorrah, abducting Cassandra along the way, knowing that Memnon will come for her.Cassandra tries to escape from Mathayus and even tells him that she has been Memnon’s prisoner since she was a child. Sympathetic, Mathayus allows her the choice of leaving, but warns her of worse dangers and that she is likely safer with him. Meanwhile, Memnon sends his right-hand man Thorak and a group of guards to kill Mathayus and retrieve Cassandra, but Mathayus manages to slay them all under the cover of a sandstorm and in a cave, while dueling and fatally stabbing Thorak in the abdomen. With his dying breaths, Thorak manages to stab Mathayus in the leg with a scorpion blood-laced arrow. Cassandra, however, uses her magic to save Mathayus’ life. As an insult and a warning, Mathayus sends Thorak’s blood-stained pendant to Memnon.Mathayus, Arpid and Cassandra then run into Philos, who had earlier managed to flee from Memnon’s palace and has perfected an explosive powder he was working on. However, they are ambushed by the rebels, now under the rule of Balthazar. Though Mathayus defeats Balthazar in a fight and earns his grudging respect and sanctuary, Cassandra has a vision of Memnon and his army slaughtering the entire rebel camp. She informs Mathayus and then prophesies that when the moonlight reaches Memnon’s palace, the King on High will become the invincible Scorpion King, and Memnon believes himself to be the one destined to become the Scorpion King. Furthermore, she informs Mathayus that if he faces Memnon, he will most likely die from being shot, but Mathayus assures her that he will make his own destiny and they sleep together.The next morning, however, Cassandra returns to Memnon in order to stall him and possibly kill him. Mathayus, with help from Balthazar, Arpid, Philos and the army of rebels, launches an all-out assault on Memnon’s stronghold, facing Memnon personally before he can kill Cassandra, while Balthazar confronts and kills Takmet, avenging Pheron, and takes on the full force of Memnon’s forces alone. The battle rages on until Mathayus is shot by a guard as in Cassandra’s vision. As Memnon takes his place in the House of Scorpio to become the Scorpion King, Cassandra kills the guard while Mathayus retrieves his bow, pulls the arrow out of his shoulder and uses it to shoot the exhausted Memnon, sending him off the edge of the roof just as Philos and Arpid use the explosive powder to destroy the palace’s foundation stone, bringing down the bulk of Memnon’s forces. Memnon is consumed by the flames as he falls to his death. With the battle over, the remnants of Memnon’s army bow before Mathayus, who by their law is their new king, the Scorpion King.

In the aftermath, Mathayus and Balthazar share a good-natured farewell as the latter returns to his own kingdom. Cassandra tells Mathayus that she sees a period of peace and prosperity coming, but warns him that it will not last forever. Undeterred, Mathayus decides that they will make their own destiny.

The Rock does alright in his first starring role; he’s packing the physicality and presence of a Big Action Star, the action comes at a steady enough paste that the movie never has a chance to drag anywhere throughout its lean hour and a half runtime, it never takes itself too seriously, there are entire battalions of scantily-clad women. .t Chuck Russell and company set out to make a straight-ahead, fun, mindless action/adventure flick, and that’s exactly what they did.

REVIEW: MUTANT X – SEASON 1

 

Starring

Forbes March (As the World Turns)
Victoria Pratt (Cleopatra 2525)
Lauren Lee Smith (The Shape of Water)
Victor Webster (The Scorpion King 3 & 4)
John Shea (Lois & Clark)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Douglas O’Keeffe (The Andromeda Strain)
Cedric Smith (X-Men: TAS)
Tom McCamus (Street Legal)
Dylan Bierk (Andromeda)
Ross Hull (Are You Afraid of The Dark?)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Monique Ganderton (Smallville)
Anthony Lemke (White House Down)
Kevin Jubinville (Miss Sloane)
Reagan Pasternak (Sharp Objects)
Joy Tanner (House at The End of the Street)
Greg Bryk (Bitten)
Deborah Odell (Godsend)
Ralf Moeller (Gladiator)
Andrew Gillies (Orphan Black)
Anne Openshaw (Narc)
Guylaine St-Onge (Earth: Final ConflicT)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold)
Art Hindle (Black Christmas)
Emily Hampshire (12 Monkeys)
Larissa Laskin (John Q)
Chris Owens (The X-Files)
Paul Popowich (Cracked)
Callum Keith Rennie (Jessica Jones)
Michael Anthony Rawlins (Blade: Trinity)
Louis Ferreira (Stargate Universe)
Krista Allen (The Final Destination)
Ted Whittall (Suicide Squad)
Jim Codrington (The Ladies Man)
James Gallanders (Bride of Chucky)
Michael Easton (Total Recall 2070)
Kim Schraner (Saw 3D)

Victoria Pratt in Mutant X (2001)Mutant X was a brilliant, and totally original, syndicated series that had genre fans tuning in faithfully week after week. Drawing from the timely topic of genetic research and engineering and experimentation on human DNA, Mutant X tells the completely original story of a group of outcasts with genetically engineered super-human powers and abilities and their attempts to evade capture or destruction by the ultra-secret, evil government agency which created them.Lauren Lee Smith in Mutant X (2001)Mutant X is the highly litigated syndicated series, created by comics veteran Howard Chaykin (writer for Earth: Final Conflict and Viper) and Avi Arad (executive producer of X-Men). With a totally straight face, they insist that this new show has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the X-Men. Both of these guys know the comic industry and Arad obviously is familiar with X-Men, and yet they expect us to believe that cashing in on the popularity of the X-Men wasn’t in their minds at all while developing this series. They can’t even seem to recognize the similarity. Heck, forget similarity. Try blatant rip-off.Forbes March and John Shea in Mutant X (2001)The main difference in plot line deals with the fact that the powers that the Mutant X mutants possess were a result of human intervention through science rather than a naturally-occurring genetic mutation, as in the X-Men. Apart from this very minor difference, the sky is the limit when it comes to Mutant X – X-Men similarities. The leader of the Mutants is Adam, a wealthy scientist who headed up the government project that created the Children of Genomex (a.k.a. the Mutants). He has seen the error of his ways and now is engaged in a crusade to locate, protect, and train the Mutants. He doesn’t actually own a school or have mutant powers himself, but this is the Professor X of the group.ss_9bd0fd40968d7f87f429b56aaf3950983ea3b32a.1920x1080The leader of the evil, covert government agency is Mason Eckhart, played by Andy Warhol as himself. This guy, complete with white hair and chunky glasses, wants to either use the Mutants for evil purposes or see them all destroyed. He’s sort of the Magneto of Mutant X without the overwhelming desire to see the Mutants rule the earth. Eckhart doesn’t have any super powers, unless you count just plain being evil, but his right hand man has telekinetic abilities.Victoria Pratt in Mutant X (2001)Very few actual Mutants were introduced in the premiere and even fewer of their powers were revealed, and just to make sure that no one mistakes Mutant X for the X-Men, these mutants have code names. Shalimar Fox (a.k.a. Shadowfox) seems to have Dark Angel type powers, stemming from animal DNA manipulation, yet that doesn’t explain all the apparent levitation she does. Jesse (a.k.a. Synergy) has the power to control his molecular density, which means that he gets all misty when he allows a car to pass right through him and has a more crackly appearance when he becomes solid enough to stop bullets in their tracks. Emma (a.k.a. Rapport) has telempathic abilities revolving around the sensing and sending of strong emotional images. Brennan (a.k.a. Fuse) can send out electrical blasts from his hands.Lauren Lee Smith in Mutant X (2001)If you’re interested in the whole genetic mutant outcast kind of story, I suggest that your time would be better served either renting the X-Men movie or picking up some of the multitudinous X-Men comics out there. Marvel knows how to do the stories and characters right, since, after all, they are the ones who created the idea in the first place.

REVIEW: ANDROMEDA – SEASON 1

Starring

Kevin Sorbo( Hercules: TLJ)
Lisa Ryder (Jason X)
Keith Hamilton Cobb (All My Children)
Gordon Michael Woolvett (Bride of Chucky)
Laura Bertram (50/50)
Brent Stait (Blade: The Series)
Lexa Doig (Arrow)

Kevin Sorbo and Steve Bacic in Andromeda (2000)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Steve Bacic (X-Men 2)
John Tench (Watchmen)
Amber Rothwell (Battlestar Galactica)
Paul Johansson (Van Helsing)
Dylan Bierk (Jason X)
Marion Eisman (Riverdale)
Cameron Daddo (Hope Island)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Sam Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Alex Diakun (Agent COdy Banks)
Kimberley Warnat (Freddy vs Jason)
Claudette Mink (Alfie)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
John de Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)
Peter Kelamis (Stargate Universe)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Monika Schnarre (Junior)
Nathaniel DeVeaux (The Core)
Douglas O’Keeffe (Sanctuary)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Nels Lennarson (The Cabin In The Woods)
Alex Zahara (Horns)
Ralf Moeller (Gladiator)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of Steel)
Kim Hawthorne (Rake)
Chapelle Jaffe (The Dead Zone)
Kevin Durand (Swamp Thing)
Rachel Hayward (Jingle All The Way 2)
John DeSantis (Arrow)
David Palffy (Blade: The Series)
Kimberly Huie (Deep Impact)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
Gerard Plunkett (Sucker Punch)

Keith Hamilton Cobb in Andromeda (2000)Andromeda starred Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journey’s) in a science fiction series created by Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek) with a variety of executive producers Robert Hewitt Wolfe (The 4400, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Majel Rodenberry (Earth: Final Conflict), Allan Eastman (Star Trek: Voyager), Robert Engels (seaQuest DSV), Jay Firestone (Mutant X, La Femme Nikita), and Adam Haight (Mutant X, Highlander: The Raven). With its diverse crew of producers with extensive experience in science fiction and drama productions, Andromeda put in five solid seasons from 2000 to 2005 and totaled one-hundred and ten episodes.Lexa Doig in Andromeda (2000)The back story to Andromeda is about the adventures of the crew the Andromeda and their efforts to rebuild a massive civilization that spanned the universe. Thousands of years ago a technologically advanced species called the Vedrans in the Andromeda galaxy developed a method of near-instantaneous travel between star systems. The technology was called the slipstream. After the development of the slipstream, the alien race began to form a united federation of planets (similar to Star Trek) with a different cultures and races across six galaxies. This new massive government was called the Systems Commonwealth, or simply the Commonwealth.Keith Hamilton Cobb in Andromeda (2000)After signing a treaty with one of its most feared enemies the Magog, a race known as the Nietzscheans, genetically engineered humans who believe in survival of the fittest, opposed the Commonwealth and plunged the massive federation of races into a civil war that resulted in the downfall of the Commonwealth. For three hundred years, the universe went into “The Long Night”, a period of darkness with no peace and anarchy. But despite the dissolution of the Commonwealth, one of its most dedicated military officers Dylan Hunt (Kevin Sorvo) survived for three hundred years frozen in time. He returns to rebuild the Commonwealth.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.Laura Bertram in Andromeda (2000)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.Kevin Sorbo in Andromeda (2000)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.However, despite the promising two-part series premiere episode, the remaining season one episodes are a mixed bag. For instance, in the immediately following episode “To Loose the Fateful Lighting”, I had to force myself to stay awake. The Andromeda finds a High Guard space station. When Dylan, Beka, and Harper board the station, they find a ragtag band of kids in charge. The kids are decedents of the station’s original High Guard and they have been taught to kill all enemies of the Commonwealth. They have lots of nova bombs and the radiation from the bombs has student their growth and made them sick. The kids have been waiting for the day to unleash holy warriors (kamikaze pilots with nova bombs) on their enemies, which they call the Day of Lighting. They believe Dylan’s arrival is a sign of that day. Dylan has to teach them right from wrong. The story is pretty hokey. The notable portion of this episode is the introduction of the computer AI Andromeda into the humanoid android form Rommie.Kevin Sorbo in Andromeda (2000)Basically, what it comes down to is episodic storylines versus story arcs. When the episodes focus on episodic storylines, they are not as enthralling or exciting as the season’s story arcs. There are some exceptions like “Star-Crossed”, where Michael Shanks guest stars as Rommie’s robot lover, and “The Mathematics of Tears”, where the Andromeda finds its sister ship the Pax Magellanic. Episodes like those tend to be enjoyable. However, what really grabs your attention is the season story arc that can be found throughout the episodes. It is about Dylan trying to restore the Commonwealth. This storyline ties into some bigger, 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.Brent Stait in Andromeda (2000)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 (at least more so than some of the episodic storylines). 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”.Keith Hamilton Cobb in Andromeda (2000)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. While I did not fall in head over heels with the show, I still enjoyed it enough that I think it is worth sitting down. The story arc introduces in the season finale gets pretty exciting. The inaugural season of Andromeda puts the former half-Greek God Kevin Sorbo in an adventure against all odds with a misfit crew. And the show turns out to be pretty in its first season. The writing is not topnotch and the acting is slightly over-the-top, but it is done in a way that is hard not to like. Andromeda’s first season has a likeable, goofy cast and watching them in get accustomed to each other and their overly do-gooder captain. The season also features some engaging story arcs. While Andromeda is not my favorite science fiction series, it is quite fun.

REVIEW: BEST OF THE BEST 2

 

CAST

Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Phillip Rhee (Hell Squad)
Chris Penn (Reservoir Dogs)
Ralf Moeller (The Bad pack)
Meg Foster (Masters of The Universe)
Sonny Londham (Predator)
Wayne Newton (Licence To Kill)
Simon Rhee (Safe)
Claire Stansfield (Xena)
Frank Salsedo (Power Rangers Zeo)
Kane Hodder (Monster)
David Boreanaz (Bones)

 

In an underground fight club, blackbelt Travis Brickley is killed after losing to the evil martial arts master Brakus. Travis’ death is witnessed by Walter Grady, the son of his best friend Alex Grady. Alex and his partner, Tommy Lee, vow to avenge their friend’s death by defeating Brakus and shutting down the fight club.bestofthebest2still Eric Roberts, and Chris Penn are back as our Tae Kwon Do trio, now running a martial arts school. Chris, however, is bored of the antics and heads off to a place called The Coliseum, where folks basically fight for cash. Chris reckons he can take on the owner, a man so muscly he looks like a rubber glove filled with walnuts. This is Brakus, who thinks guns aren’t manly enough. Chris doesn’t do too well in the fight and the last time we see him he’s being lowered into the ground in a box. Luckily he was stupid enough to take Eric’s kid along to the fight so now Tommy and Eric are all out to get Brakus. It gets better when Tommy smashes Brakus’ face against a mirror and now Brakus has a scar on his face and ends up pouting around the place in a dressing gown staring into a mirror and just getting madder and madder. So Tommy and Eric want to kill Brakus and Brakus wants to kill everyone related to Tommy and kill Tommy in the ring at the Coliseum.MSDBEOF FE005They all have a friendly punch up and then it’s montage time! This time round the film get it right, and just in time too before some of Brakus’ men arrive in a helicopter and seemingly kill everyone except Tommy (Billy himself goes down fighting in an impressive Massimo Vanni style shoot-out). There’s also a massive explosion for all those massive explosion fans out there. So now Brakus has Tommy to fight in the ring and Tommy thinks everyone’s dead, so all he’s got left is the motivation to kick Brakus in the face several thousand times. Didn’t feel like Brakus thought that one through too much. This film is a lot more fun that the last one and is non-stop action and cheese from start to finish. A total winner! Even Eric’s hair is more dynamic and manageable this time round. Buffy fans shud note David Boreanaz has a very small part in the film.

REVIEW: GLADIATOR

CAST

Russell Crowe (Man of STeel)
Joaquin Phoenix (Quills)
Connie Nielsen (Basic)
Oliver Reed (Tommy)
Richard Harris (Unforgiven)
Derek Jacobi (The King’s Speech)
Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Ralf Moeller (The Scorpion King)
Spencer Treat Clark (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
David Hemmings (Deep Red)
Tommy Flanagan (Sin City)
Sven-Ole Thorsen (Mallrats)
Tony Curran (Outlaw King)

In AD 180, Hispano-Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius leads the Roman army to a decisive victory against the Germanic tribes near Vindobona on the northern frontier. Now weary of battle, Maximus only desires to retire to his Spanish farm estate. But Emperor Marcus Aurelius tells him that his own son and heir, Commodus, is unfit to rule and that he will appoint Maximus as regent to help save Rome from corruption. When the Emperor reveals his plan to his son, Commodus murders him in a fit of rage.Commodus announces he is the new Emperor and asks Maximus for his loyalty. When the general refuses, he is arrested by his officers and is sentenced to death at dawn. Maximus kills his captors and rides for his farm. However, he arrives too late, and finds it destroyed and his family murdered, by Commodus’ orders. Maximus buries his wife and son, and then collapses from his wounds and grief. He is found by slavers who take him to Zucchabar, a colonia in the Roman North African province of Mauretania Caesariensis, where he is sold to a lanista (gladiator trainer) named Proximo.Although reluctant at first, Maximus fights in local tournaments and makes friends with two other gladiators: Juba, a Numidian who holds onto Maximus’s figurines of his wife and child, and Hagen, a German. As he wins every match because of his military skills and indifference to death, he gains fame and recognition. But Proximo, who reveals that he himself was once a gladiator who fought well enough to be given his freedom, advises Maximus that being a good killer is not enough; a good gladiator is one who can “win the crowd”. Proximo encourages Maximus to go to Rome and fight in the Colosseum, because Commodus has organized 150 days of games. He could then use the power he commands in the arena as leverage against the Emperor.Maximus’ first gladiatorial combat in the Colosseum is a re-enactment of the Roman victory over Carthage at the Battle of Zama. Although the gladiators (portraying the Carthaginians) are expected to be massacred, Maximus leads them to victory over the legionaries of Scipio Africanus. This prompts a surprised and delighted Commodus to enter the arena to offer his personal congratulations. When the emperor’s young nephew, Lucius, also joins them, Maximus decides not to kill Commodus. Instead he reveals himself and vows to have vengeance. The Praetorian Guard is ordered to attack but this angers the crowd. Under pressure to keep the mob of Rome happy, Commodus angrily relents.Maximus’ next fight is a victory against a large undefeated gladiator. Despite Commodus’s orders to kill the loser, Maximus spares his defeated opponent’s life. This defiance earns him the nickname “Maximus the Merciful” and more cheers of adulation. Angered at this outcome, Commodus enters the arena to taunt Maximus about his family’s death. But the gladiator turns his back and walks away, another defiant act that is making him more popular than the Emperor. Maximus discovers from Cicero, his ex-orderly, that his former legions remain loyal. Lucilla, Commodus’ sister, and Gracchus, from the Senate, meet secretly with Maximus. He obtains their promise to help him escape Rome, rejoin his soldiers, topple Commodus by force, and hand power back to the Roman Senate. However, Commodus learns of the plot from Lucilla by threatening her son Lucius. The Praetorian Guard arrest Gracchus while others are sent to the gladiators’ barracks. Maximus escapes after Proximo and his men (including Hagen) sacrifice themselves. But at the rendezvous point, Maximus is captured and Cicero is killed.To win the crowd back, Commodus challenges Maximus to a duel in the Colosseum. However, he secretly stabs Maximus in the side before the match to gain an advantage. Nevertheless Maximus eventually disarms Commodus during their duel. When his Praetorian Guards refuse to give him another sword, the emperor tricks Maximus into disarming and produces a hidden knife, but Maximus drives the blade back into Commodus’s throat. Maximus, however, succumbs to his wounds shortly thereafter.Maximus’s last words are to ask for political reforms, for his gladiator allies to be freed, and for Senator Gracchus to be reinstated. While the body of Commodus is left unceremoniously on the floor of the arena, Maximus is solemnly carried away by his friends and allies to be given an honorable funeral as a “soldier of Rome”. The crowd stands as a sign of respect as Maximus is carried out. Later, a now-free Juba revisits the Colosseum at night. He buries the figurines of Maximus’ wife and son at the spot where he died. He says he is now going back to his own family and promises to see Maximus again, “but not yet”.It’s true that this movie does pretty much follow the Braveheart formula. However, this movie includes some elements, such as the cinematography and the incredibly graphic battle scenes that are spectacular in itself. Overall, a great movie that I highly recommend.

REVIEW: PATHFINDER (2007)

CAST

Karl Urban (Dredd)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation)
Russell Means (Natural Born Killers)
Nathaniel Arcand (Heartland)
Ralf Moeller (The Scorpion King)
Michelle Thrush (Highlander: The Series)
John Mann (The Tall Man)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)

A Viking Age expedition arrives in America, intending to slaughter the native “Skræling” population. The party is itself killed by another native tribe, the only survivor being the leader’s son, who is adopted by a native woman. The boy is named “Ghost” for his paleness.Fifteen years later, Ghost (Karl Urban) still lives among the tribe, but has never been accepted as a full member. His romantic interest is Starfire (Moon Bloodgood), the daughter of the Pathfinder (Russell Means), an elderly chief of a neighboring tribe.

In an attack by a new group of Viking raiders, Ghost’s village is destroyed and all inhabitants killed, except a few tribesmen whom the attackers want to combat individually. Viking leader Gunnar (Clancy Brown) challenges Ghost, who is still in possession of his father’s sword. He defeats Ulfar (Ralf Möller), cutting out his eye before escaping.

Ghost is pursued by the Vikings and receives an arrow wound. He reaches the neighboring tribe and is tended to by Pathfinder and his daughter. Ghost advises the villagers to flee, then he departs to take on the Vikings alone, but is joined by Jester, a mute admirer, who refuses to leave his side, and Starfire, who decides to leave the tribe for him. They defeat a few Vikings and collect their arms and armour. Pathfinder goes after his daughter and also joins the fight. Eventually, both Jester and Pathfinder are executed brutally, and Ghost and Starfire are captured. The Vikings threaten to torture Starfire if Ghost will not betray the location of the other villages. Ghost pretends to lead the Vikings to the tribe, and manages to kill most of them on the way, some drowning in a lake and others caught in an avalanche. Ghost eventually kills Gunnar in a duel on a cliff’s edge.45e1d958ec503b8a3a95ac956a519bf4

Ghost returns to Starfire with Pathfinder’s necklace, thus making Starfire the new Pathfinder after her father. Ghost, now finally respected as the bravest of the tribe and one of their own, assumes his position watching over the coast in case the Vikings ever return.broken-arrow-john-travolta-small-head-2

An enjoyable film and certainly not worthy of some of the slating reviews it has received!

 

REVIEW: SWORD OF XANTEN

CAST
Benno Furman (Mutant Chronicles)
Kristanna Loken (Painkiller Jane)
Alicia Witt (Dune)
Julian sands (Gotham)
Samuel West (Van Helsing)
Max Von Sydow (game of Thrones)
Robert Pattinson (Twilight)
Ralf Moeller (The Bad pack)
Götz Otto (Iron Sky)
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Part 1

The film is set around the time when many Europeans had changed their religion from paganism to Christianity. The film is split into three parts, and comprises the story of Siegfried from childhood to his death. The film opens with a young Siegfried awakening in the middle of an invasion of his parents’ castle by Saxons. The castle is soon overrun and all are slain except for Siegfried, whose mother has sent him down the river. In the morning he is picked up by a blacksmith, Eyvind, who raises him under the name Erik.
Twelve years later, Brunhild, the Queen of Iceland (still a pagan like Eyvind and Erik) follows her adviser’s runes that lead her to where Erik lives. The runes foretell that a star will fall from the sky and from its smoke a man will appear who will defeat her. Brunhild initially has doubts as no one has ever beaten her in a fight before. That night a meteor, a described announcement to a war between the gods called Ragnarök, hits the earth near the smithy and despite Eyvind’s warning, Erik goes to investigate. In the middle of the crater there are two rocks of a strange kind of metal. Wearing a cloak over her face, Brunhild arrives and Erik, believing she is a Saxon, attacks her. After a short battle he defeats her, and they instantly fall in love with each other, seeing their gathering as the will of the gods. After making love Erik promises to go to Iceland to meet Brunhild and they fall asleep. In the morning Erik wakes up alone after Brunhild has taken one of the rocks and left. Erik convinces Eyvind to let Erik go with him to Burgund (the kingdom of the Burgundians) and on their way down the river they see a town in flames.
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Once in Burgund the hawk Arminius, belonging to King Gunther’s brother Giselher, lands on Erik’s arm and there is a brief fight between Erik and some of the townspeople. Afterwards Eyvind presents his swords to Gunther, who reveals that the dragon Fafnir has awakened and is responsible for the burnt village. King Gunther and his best men, including army chief Hagen, leave to slay the dragon; Giselher befriends Erik and says that his sister Kriemhild is wanted by every man in the kingdom but she doesn’t want any of them. Eyvind leaves Erik to use the rock from the meteor to make a sword.
Gunther returns injured with Hagen; all the other knights have been killed. Erik promises to Kriemhild that Gunther and his men will be avenged. He enters Fafnir’s lair and, after a fierce battle, manages to slay the dragon while receiving only a scratch on his arm. Seeing that Fafnir’s blood has healed his scratch, Erik bathes in the blood, rendering his skin invulnerable (save for a single spot where an errant leaf had fallen upon his upper back, leaving that one spot untouched by the blood).

Part 2

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Erik explores the cave and finds a vast hall filled with treasure. He finds a ring, the Ring of the Nibelung, and is then confronted by ghosts of immortal twilight beings, the Nibelung. They warn him that taking any of the treasure will bring the curse down on him, but he does not listen and takes the ring and promises to come back for the rest. Outside he is attacked by an ex-Nibelung who lost his immortality for trying to take all the treasure, who happens to be Hagen’s father Alberich. Erik soon defeats Alberich and takes his tarn-helm, an item that lets him take the shape of anyone else. The Nibelung tell Siegfried again to return the treasure, and when Siegfried offers to return half to them they say it will not be sufficient. Erik returns to Burgund with Fafnir’s head and shows it to the people and Gunther proclaims he is a hero which makes Hagen jealous. That night, Erik dances and spends the evening with Kriemhild who wears a mask during the party, and tells her he is already in love with another woman (Brunhild). Meanwhile, the entire dragon’s hoard is moved to the Burgund treasury and fills it near to overflowing. The Saxons suddenly decide to invade Burgund to take the gold and Erik rides with the army to confront the twin Saxon kings, the men who slew his father. During a short fight Erik remembers who he is, then he declares the kingdom to be split between himself and King Gunther. He sadly remembers his father’s death, giving the two Saxons the choice to leave, but they attack again and are slain. It is also at this point that Eyvind (who tells Erik that he suspected his origin from the beginning) passes away from old age and Siegfried gives him a proper pagan funeral in his honor.
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This film is a well crafted melding of the early Nordic Volsunga saga and the later high German tale of the Nibelungenlied. The amalgamation brings out a heroic myth with a universal appeal that is beautifully rendered by the film makers and the cast. A raven lands on his arm that delivers a message to Brunhild that Erik is actually Siegfried of Xanten, that he had found his real place and identity, and that he will visit her soon, planning to make her his wife as soon as possible, but warning it may take a little longer because he desires to take his treasure to Xanten for her. Having overheard Kriemhild and Erik at the party, Hagen’s father makes a potion that Kriemhild gives Erik that causes him to fall in love with her and forget Brunhild. A raven who would deliver this news to Brunhild is then shot down by Hagen.

Part 3

Siegfried, having forgotten about Brunhild, asks to marry Kriemhild but Hagen reminds Gunther that he must marry before any of his siblings. Gunther reveals he is pining for Brunhild, but he is not the best fighter and she challenges all her suitors to single combat and no-one has beaten her yet. Gunther promises Siegfried that he may marry Kriemhild if he uses the tarn-helm to look like Gunther and defeat Brunhild; Siegfried accepts this offer. On the ship to Iceland Giselher has stowed away and after support from Siegfried, Gunther lets him accompany them to Iceland. Once they arrive Brunhild is immensely happy that Siegfried has returned to her but is shocked to see that he doesn’t recognize her or is challenging her. Siegfried simply presents King Gunther to her, and explains he his the one who came here to ask her hand in marriage. Gunther his then challenged to single combat with double bladed axes on the condition that if he loses it will cost him his life. He agrees partially because it will be Siegfried fighting, not him.
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The fight starts and unbeknown to everyone else Giselher sees the two Gunthers and becomes suspicious but tells no one. Brunhild loses the fight after the two fall off a waterfall and Siegfried saves her. She reluctantly and sadly returns to Burgund where she is devastated to find that Siegfried had found Kriemhild for lover. She then marries Gunther next to Siegfried and Kriemhild who are also marrying on the same day. Brunhild confronts Siegfried who (due to effects of the potion) claims he never loved her, which Brunhild ardently refuses to believe and tries to find reasons that would explain his actions, but Siegfried once again denies caring for her, and Brunhild declares she will not know joy until she forgets how much she loved him, or until he remembers. She is deeply hurt and upset. She takes her anger out by first challenging Siegfried to combat which he purposely loses to take away any thoughts that it was him who defeated Brunhild, then Brunhild ties Gunther up after revealing the power she possess comes from her pageant belt. And overpowering him, pointing out her doubts in the way Gunther defeated her back in Iceland by nearly accusing him to have cheated his victory, and leaves him tied up for the night greatly convinced she had been deceived. Gunther requests Siegfried use the tarn-helm again to get the belt away from Brunhild which he does after hesitation. He overpowers Brunhilde who is surprised to see that Gunther once again found his strength, she then offers herself to Siegfried as Gunther, who is briefly conflicted perhaps remembering of his old feelings towards Brunhild, but nonetheless retrieves himself from the room to get rid of the belt he has taken from her.
The real Gunther shortly returns to the room at his place and is spotted by Giselher who again sees two Gunthers and tells his girlfriend Lena what he saw in Iceland. Siegfried returns to his bedroom to see Kriemhild waiting for him, she convinces him to explain what has happened and he does, breaking his vow of secrecy towards Gunther. The next day outside the church Kriemhild is stopped because she cannot enter before Brunhild, Brunhild arrives quickly afterwards and Kriemhild reveals to her that it was Siegfried who defeated her both in Iceland and in her bedroom thereby publicly confronting and insulting Brunhild. She proves her says by showing Brunhild her belt around Kriemhild’s waist. This drives Brunhild over the edge. Hagen kills Alberich after not returning the tarn-helm to him and then serves of council to Gunther after the incident at the church. Hagen points out the betrayal of Siegfried on his vow and his threatening power that could well plot the downfall of Gunther knowing Siegfried also had a claim to the throne, being married to the king’s sister Kriemild. He tells Gunther that the people will not forget the way Siegfried had substituted for him both in Iceland and in the privacy of his room, he convinces Gunther that they may go as far has to Believe that any son of Gunther will be considered as the bastard son of Siegfried. Gunther then decides to send Siegfried back to Xanten and out of Burgundy, but is then stopped by Brunhilde who establishes that the punishment is far too light, and describing herself as disgraced and fooled, she asks for Siegfried’s death to Gunther who firstly refuses given his relationship with Siegfried but reluctantly accepts because Brunhild threatens to kill herself if the punishment is not carried out. Gunther is disillusioned but Hagen plans on Siegfried’s death the next day during the hunt as a simple accident. Siegfried confronts Kriemhild who breaks down after thinking about all she has done, Siegfried assures her that everything is all right, and that they are leaving to live in Xanten the next day after the hunt. The men leave for the hunt, where Gunther and Hagen plot to cause Siegfried’s death, but for a long time they are unable to. Kriemhild confronts Brunhild again and returns her belt, Brunhild reveals her troubled state of mind is because of Siegfried forgetting about their love.
Kriemhild realizing that Siegfried’s previous love was in fact Brunhild is devastated with guilt and confesses upon her use of the potion given to her by Hagen. Brunhild realizes that it was not Siegfried’s fault that he forgot her and that she has just sentenced him to death. On the hunt Hagen kills Siegfried by throwing a javelin through his weak spot (which Hagen found out about by eavesdropping on Siegfried and Gunther while going through a blood brother ritual). Siegfried remembers his love for Brunhild and says her name before death seizes him. His body is found by Giselher before they must go back to Burgund and it is wept over by Kriemhild. Gunther claims it was a Saxon ambush but she accuses him of murder by envy and guilt. She throws the Nibelung’s ring onto the ground (Siegfried gave it to her for an engagement ring) and Gunther and Hagen fight over it to Gunther’s death. Giselher then tries to kill Hagen but is easily overpowered. A vengeful Brunhild arrives and furiously kills the men who allied themselves with Hagen using the belt that Kriemhild returned to her earlier. Brunhild defeats and beheads Hagen and disappears.

Epilogue

Kriemhild places the ring on Siegfried’s hand as they give him a pagan funeral. Giselher wishes the Pagan gods would live again on his death but Lena tells him that the Pagan gods die with him. When the boat has burst into flames Brunhild appears from below Siegfried’s altar and kills herself with his sword. She collapses on top of Siegfried’s body, and the boat sinks into the river where the treasure hoard is shown having been thrown into the river.
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This film is a well crafted melding of the early Nordic Volsunga saga and the later high German tale of the Nibelungenlied. The amalgamation brings out a heroic myth with a universal appeal that is beautifully rendered by the film makers and the cast.