REVIEW: XXX: THE NEXT LEVEL

CAST

Ice Cube (21 Jump Street)
Willem Dafoe (Shadow of The Vampire)
Scott Speedman (UNderworld)
Peter Strauss (License To Wed)
Xzibit (Derailed)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Sunny Mabrey (Snakes on a Plane)
Nona Gaye (Crash)
Michael Roof (The Dukes of Hazzard)

In Virginia, a rancher discovers dead bodies on his farm and is then killed by assailants. The attackers use special explosives to break into an NSA bunker beneath the horse farm. Agent Augustus Gibbons fends off the attackers before barely escaping. Shavers, Gibbons’ assistant, informs him that with the attack on the NSA bunker, “Bama” Cobb also had Xander Cage apparently killed in Bora Bora. To find a new substitute, Gibbons meets with Lieutenant Darius Stone, a former U.S Navy SEAL officer, who is currently serving 9 of his 20 years sentence in Leavenworth for disobeying orders and breaking the jaw of General Deckert, who is now the Secretary of Defense.Gibbons helps Stone break out. Stone meets with Zeke, his old partner in crime, and Lola, his former girlfriend, who now runs an exotic car shop. Stone is instructed to recover a hard drive from the NSA bunker, and he manages to escape Agent Steele at the same time. Gibbons is attacked in his house and apparently killed, with Deckert and Sergeant Cobb covering up the plot. Stone meets up with Gibbons’ contact, Mayweather, to get information. Stone goes to her safe house but is framed for the murder of 4-Star General Jack Pettibone; Mayweather is revealed to be involved.The police arrive, and Steele enters and talks to Stone, who escapes afterwards. Shavers hacks into the Pentagon to retrieve Deckert’s plans. Stone infiltrates Deckert’s troops aboard the USS Independence and discovers Gibbons is not dead, but being held prisoner. Stone’s presence is alerted by Mayweather. Gibbons orders Stone to escape and leave him. After retrieving the plans, Stone gets into a tank and fights his way out of the ship. He learns that Deckert is planning a coup against President Sanford. Stone makes contact with Steele and shows him the plans. The former leaves in frustration, to Steele’s initial disbelief. During a conversation with Deckert, Steele realizes Stone was right. He finds Stone and tells him that Deckert wants to kill Sanford and his successors so he can take Sanford’s place.Stone, Steele, and Shavers enlist the aid of Zeke and his crew. Together, they rob an 18-wheeler secretly hauling guns and equipment to the Department of Homeland Security under the guise of a cheese truck. They end up hijacking a tank, and Stone helps Steele infiltrate the Capitol building. A shootout starts, and Gibbons kills Mayweather. Deckert and Cobb abduct Sanford while he is making the State of the Union Address. They escape on a bullet train. Jackson arrives with a car, and Stone uses it to infiltrate the train. He engages and kills Cobb before engaging Deckert, while Steele extracts Sanford. Stone jumps out after Gibbons destroys the train, killing Deckert. The story is covered up, and Deckert is buried and branded as a hero. Sanford awards Steele and the unknown soldier (Stone) the Medal of Honor, and Stone goes back to his former lifestyle. In the now-rebuilt NSA Headquarters, Gibbons, Steele, and Shavers discuss what kind of person the next xXx agent should be. Gibbons says that he has the perfect candidate for the job.At times the film feels more like a video game than a movie and sadly these scenes do suffer because of it. When Ice Cube races a Shelby Cobra down the railroad tracks after the Presidential Bullet Train, the fact that the helicopters that are backing him are not real really does hurt what could otherwise have been a fun, over the top moment. Instances like this are peppered throughout the film and it hurts the movie in a big way.

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REVIEW: GOOSEBUMPS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

 

 

 

 

 

NOTABLE CAST MEMBERS

R.L. Stine
Kathryn Long (Crossing The Line)
Colin Fox (Scanners III)
Anne Marie Deluise (Smallville)
John White (American Pie: Beta House)
Kristine Boone (Mean Girls)
Eugene Lipinski (Arrow)
Chris Benson (Resident Evil: Apocalypse)
Michèle Duquet (The Virgin Suicides)
Boyd Banks (Dawn of The Dead)
Erica Luttrell (Stargate: Atlantis)
Daniel DeSanto (Totally Spies)
Maggie Castle (The Time Traveller’s Wife)
Blake McGrath (Chicago)
Barclay Hope (Stargate SG.1)
Suzanne Cyr (Cake)
Katharine Isabelle (American Mary)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Ryan Gosling (Young Hercules)
Scott Speedman (Underworld)
Corey Sevier (Immortals)
Brendan Fletcher (Bloodrayne 3)
Don Francks (La Femme Nikita)
Maria Ricossa (American Pie: The NAked Mile)
Melody Johnson (Jason X)
Maurice Godin (Boat Trip)
Adam West (Batman 60S)
Tabitha Lupien (Ready or Not)
Charlotte Sullivan (Rookie Blue)
Kevin Zegers (Wrong Turn)
Michael Copeman (The Fly)
Kris Lemche (Final Destination 3)
Kyle Labine (Freddy vs Jason)
Joy Tanner (Mutant X)
Lori Alter (House at The End of The Street)
Desmond Campbell (The Bone COllector)
Amy Stewart (Ice Princess)
A.J. Cook (Ripper)
Hayden Christensen (Star Wars – Episode 2 & 3)
Jordan Prentice (Mirror, Mirror)
Brooke Nevin (I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer)
Anthony De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
Lauara Vandervoort (Bitten)
Shawn Roberts (X-Men)
Victor A. Young (Earth: Final Conflict)
Terra Vnesa (Wrong Turn 4)
Janet-Laine Green (Cowboys Don’t Cry)
Caterina Scorsone (Alice)
Philip Akin (Highlander: The Series)
Nicole Underhay (Saving Hope)
Fiona Highet (Saint Ralph)
Yani Gellman (Izombie)

Goosebumps Complete Collection is a box-set that contains all four seasons of the old 1990’s television show, Goosebumps. Goosebumps is a family horror show that tells tales in an episodic format much like the shows The Twilight Zone (1959 – 1964) and Tales From the Crypt (1989 – 1996). The episodes themselves are all based on the Goosebumps books and some episodes are even hosted by the author of the books, R.L. Stine. Some of the tales of terror you can expect in this show includes: A girls unfortunate experience with a haunted Halloween mask.  An evil dummy trying to get people in trouble.  A story of an evil comic book villain coming to life.  A young boy’s adventure in the jungle with a shrunken head.  Several episodes about werewolves.  A bunch of ghost tales.  Plus way too many more to even mention as it’s the complete collection.
I really enjoyed watching this again after so many years. I remember watching it on  Fox Kids way back in the day and was very excited when I heard it was finally getting a DVD release. for the first season Each episode has a different story about different characters, except for the 2 parters, and it’s always a whole lot of fun to watch. It’s sometimes scary and sometimes funny and all around really nostalgic and awesome.
The writing improves greatly in season two onwards and it becomes a much more entertaining show with stories that you can really get into.  The characters become more interesting, the acting becomes much better, and the show becomes more scary.  There will still be a bad plot twist here and there and they are just as painful to watch.  Season three is a season that I have some weird feelings towards as it likes to use references to prior episodes.  Some references I have no problem with but there are a lot that feel grossly out of place to where it feels very weird and awkward.

Season four is the smallest of all of the seasons as it only ran for eight episodes but that doesn’t mean that it is lacking everywhere else.  The last season is made up of four two-part episodes and the writing was really good as the two-part format really helped to make the stories more fleshed out and more in-depth.  The season four episodes are also much tighter and also push the boundaries a bit more to where it looked like that they were aiming it towards teenagers.  Season four was very entertaining and you will be drawn into it.  Season four was so well done, it became my favorite season out of the lot and is really worth checking out.
8 ways Goosebumps will stay with you forever
Classic episodes include “Welcome to Dead House”, it is about a family that moves into a house in a town that is ran by ghouls.  This episode is much more scary than what I make it out to be, the reason why was because the atmosphere is brilliant and the way the story progresses will leave you on the edge of your seat.  There are two other episodes that still spooks people out but not as spooky as the episode that I mentioned before.  Those two episodes are, “The Werewolf of Fever Swamp” and “Ghost Beach” and I am very surprised that all the episodes I mentioned above got away with what they did as those episodes certainly push the boundaries to what kids shows can get away with.  Those episodes are probably the reason why this show is now released with an M15+ rating, opposed to the G and PG rating it got back in the day.

The standard episodes and movie length episodes do have a difference in looks to them.  The standard episodes look like that they were made on the cheap, while the movie length episodes were made on a much higher budget and have a better look to them.  Actually, that’s not fully true as all of the season four episodes look much nicer in budget than seasons one – three, but not as good quality as the movie length episodes.  This show doesn’t simply cover horror as there are some episodes that cover other genres like: Science-fiction (“Say Cheese and Die”, “Say Cheese and Die… Again”), adventure (“How I Got My Shrunken Head”), drama (“The Ghost Next Door”), and even comic book styled action (“Attack of the Mutant”).  I must admit that it is weird seeing other genres other than horror in this show but it was all done well and adds variety and freshness to the show.

The green screen and computer effects have aged poorly to where you can’t take them seriously and will laugh every time you see them.  Some of them are too painful to even witness but most of them are just so bad that it is fun to watch.  The prop effects look so much better and those are things you will mostly take seriously.  The props are mostly very spooky looking and will send chills down your spine but there is also a good chunk where the props aren’t very frightening at all and just end up looking stupid, not as stupid as the green screen and computer effects though.  The music in this series has a lot of tracks that sounded terrible and goofy but they all go with the show very well and help build up an atmosphere.  The most classic tune of them all just has to be the Goosebumps theme as it puts you in the mood and is also very memorable.Overall, this show has aged (as you’d expect) but it is still full of some really good stuff that is worth watching all these years later.  Classic show.