REVIEW: BLOODRAYNE

CAST

Kristanna Loken (Painkiller jane)
Michael Madsen (Powers)
Matthew Davis (The Vampire Diaries)
Michelle Rodriguez (S.W.A.T.)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Will Sanderson (Alone in The Dark)
Geraldine Chaplin (Chaplin)
Udo Kier (Blade)
Meat Loaf (Fight Club)
Michael Pare (The Virgin Suicides)
Billy Zane (The Scorpion King 3)
T.J. Storm (VR Troopers)
Mike Dopud (Stargate Universe)

The film centers on the character of Rayne, an unholy breed of human and vampire called a Dhampir. Dhampir are unaffected by crucifixes and do not thirst for human blood. She is the daughter of the Vampire King Kagan who has gathered an army of thralls, both vampire and human, in order to annihilate the human race. She was conceived when Kagan raped her mother, and she later witnessed him killing her.Sebastian, Vladimir, and Katarin are three members of the Brimstone Society, who fight vampires. They hear of a carnival freak who may be a Dhampir, so Vladimir plans to recruit her in order to kill Kagan. Kagan is also hunting for her, fearing she will interfere with his plans. Rayne escapes captivity at the carnival. On the road, she encounters and saves a family being attacked by vampires. A fortune teller reveals to Rayne that Kagan has become the most powerful vampire in the land and resides in a well-protected castle. She tells Rayne that Kagan seeks an ancient talisman, a mystical eye, and if she finds it, it would allow her to gain an audience with Kagan. Rayne sets out to the monastery to find it.2006_bloodrayne_013Rayne shelters for the night at the monastery and later sneaks away to where the talisman is guarded by a hammer-wielding, deformed monk. The talisman is further protected by booby traps, and when Rayne lifts it from its pedestal, the chamber floods with holy water. As Rayne hangs from the ceiling to avoid the water, the talisman falls from the box but she catches the eyeball. Examining it closely, the eye magically becomes absorbed into her own eye, and when she falls into the water she is somehow unaffected by it. When she leaves the chamber, the monks explain the artifact is one of three body parts which came from an ancient vampire called Belial, who had found a way to overcome the weaknesses of a vampire. The eye overcomes holy water; the rib overcomes the cross; and the heart overcomes sunlight. The parts have been hidden across the lands. As Kagan wants all these parts, it becomes the heroes’ mission to stop him.maxresdefaultRayne is brought to the headquarters of the Brimstone society and they agree to work together to kill Kagan. Katarin does not trust Rayne and betrays Brimstone to her father, Elrich, who has fallen in league with Kagan, but seeks to betray him and gain power for himself. The location of the heart talisman is known to Katarin as her grandfather hid it in water-filled caves. She seeks it out but Rayne fights and kills her for it. With the talisman, Rayne attempts to gain an audience before Kagan, but he takes the heart and throws her in the dungeon. He plans to extract the eye as part of a ritual. He realizes too late Rayne had only given him an empty box and not the heart. Sebastian and Vladimir intervene, battling Kagan and his minions, but both are fatally wounded, leaving Rayne in a final battle against Kagan. As Sebastian dies he fires a final bolt from his crossbow, but Kagan is too quick and is able to catch it. Rayne is able to summon her last reserves of strength and plunge the bolt into his heart. The battle ends. Rayne seats herself in Kagan’s throne. The film ends when Rayne leaves the castle and goes to the mountains.bloodrayne00As an adaptation of the video game, BloodRayne fails pretty miserably because it changes too many character traits in the lead and completely disregards important plot points in the source material. As a horror movie, BloodRayne also fails pretty miserably because it just isn’t scary or even particularly suspenseful. When all things are seriously considered, BloodRayne is in fact a pretty bad film full of predictable characters, obvious plot twists. Ben Kingsley simply sleepwalk through the film and to see Michael Madsen trying his damnedest to look like he knows what is happening around him. All of this while Lokken chops peoples heads off, screams a lot, and generally overacts. BloodRayne is a train wreck, but it sure is a fun one.

REVIEW: STAR TREK (2009)

CAST

Chris Pine (Into The Woods)
Zachary Quinto (Heroes)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Karl Urban (Dredd)
Simon Pegg (Paul)
John Cho (Total Recall)
Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog)
Bruce Greenwood (Thirteen Days)
Eric Bana (Hulk)
Leonard Nimoy (Transformers: The Movie)
Ben Cross (Live Wire)
Winona Ryder (Little Women)
Clifton Collins, Jr. (Westworld)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Faran Tahir (Iron Man)
Jennifer Morrison (How I Met Your Mother)
Rachel Nichols (GI. Joe)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Brad William Henke (Lost)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Tyler Perry (Gone Girl)
Majel Barrett (Earth: Final Conflict)
Amanda Foreman (Alias)
Jimmy Bennett (No Ordinary Family)
Bob Clendenin (Scrubs)
Lisa Vidal (The Event)
Oz Perkins (Secretary)
Mark Bramhall (Annabelle Creation)
T.J. Storm (VR Troopers)
Wil Wheaton (The Big Bang Theory)

In the 23rd century, the Federation starship USS Kelvin is investigating a “lightning storm” in space. A Romulan ship, the Narada, emerges from the storm and attacks the Kelvin. Narada’s first officer, Ayel, demands that the Kelvin’s Captain Robau come aboard to negotiate a truce. Robau is questioned about the current stardate and an “Ambassador Spock”, whom he does not recognize. Narada’s commander, Nero, kills him, and resumes attacking the Kelvin. George Kirk, the Kelvin’s first officer, orders the ship’s personnel, including his pregnant wife Winona, to abandon ship while he pilots the Kelvin on a collision course with the Narada. Kirk sacrifices his life to ensure Winona’s survival as she gives birth to James T. Kirk.

Seventeen years later on the planet Vulcan, a young Spock is accepted to join the Vulcan Science Academy. Realizing the Academy views his human mother Amanda as a “disadvantage”, he joins Starfleet instead. On Earth, Kirk becomes a reckless but intelligent young adult. Following a bar fight with Starfleet cadets accompanying Nyota Uhura, Kirk meets Captain Christopher Pike, who encourages him to enlist in Starfleet Academy, where Kirk meets and befriends doctor Leonard McCoy.

Three years later, Commander Spock accuses Kirk of cheating during the Kobayashi Maru simulation. Kirk argues that cheating was acceptable because the simulation was designed to be unbeatable. The disciplinary hearing is interrupted by a distress signal from Vulcan. With the primary fleet out of range, the cadets are mobilized. McCoy and Kirk board Pike’s ship, the Enterprise. Realizing that the “lightning storm” observed near Vulcan is similar to the one that occurred when he was born, Kirk breaks protocol to convince Pike that the distress signal is a trap.

Enterprise finds the fleet destroyed and the Narada drilling into Vulcan’s core. The Narada attacks the Enterprise and Pike surrenders, delegating command of the ship to Spock and promoting Kirk to first officer. Kirk, Hikaru Sulu and Chief Engineer Olson perform a space jump onto the drilling platform. Olson is killed but Kirk and Sulu disable the drill. Despite their efforts, Nero launches “red matter” into Vulcan’s core, forming an artificial black hole that destroys Vulcan. Spock rescues the high council and his father Sarek, but Amanda dies.

As the Narada moves toward Earth, Nero tortures Pike to gain access to Earth’s defense codes. Spock maroons Kirk on Delta Vega after Kirk attempts mutiny. Kirk encounters an older Spock, who explains that he and Nero are from 129 years in the future. In that future, Romulus was threatened by a supernova. Spock’s attempt to use “red matter” to create an artificial black hole and consume the supernova failed, and Nero’s family perished along with Romulus. The Narada and Spock’s vessel were caught in the black hole, sending them back in time. Nero stranded Spock on Delta Vega to watch Vulcan’s destruction.

Reaching a Starfleet outpost, Kirk and the elder Spock meet Montgomery Scott. With the elder Spock’s help, Kirk and Scott beam onto the Enterprise. Following the elder Spock’s advice, Kirk provokes younger Spock into attacking him, forcing Spock to recognize he is emotionally compromised and relinquish command to Kirk. After talking with Sarek, Spock decides to help Kirk. While the Enterprise hides itself within the gas clouds of Titan, Kirk and Spock beam aboard the Narada. Kirk fights with Nero and Ayel, killing the latter and rescuing Pike while Spock uses the elder Spock’s ship to destroy the drill. Spock leads the Narada away from Earth and sets his ship to collide with Nero’s ship. Enterprise beams Kirk, Pike and Spock aboard. The older Spock’s ship and the Narada collide, igniting the “red matter”. Kirk offers Nero help to escape, but Nero refuses, prompting Kirk to give the order to fire, dooming the Narada to be consumed in a black hole.

Kirk is promoted to Captain and given command of the Enterprise while Pike is promoted to Rear Admiral. Spock encounters his older self, who persuades his younger self to continue serving in Starfleet, encouraging him to do what feels right instead of what is logical. Spock remains in Starfleet, becoming first officer under Kirk’s command. The Enterprise goes to warp as the elder Spock speaks the “where no one has gone before” monologue.The story does what it needs to, the casting is great (especially Spock and McCoy), the effects are fantastic and Abrams manages to do character moments on the move so there’s hardly time to take a breath – oh and Simon Pegg is great as Scotty! Maybe the best thing is, die hards and newbies alike will all find something to like.

REVIEW: CONAN THE ADVENTURER (1997)

MAIN CAST

Ralf Moeller (The Scorpion King)
Danny Woodburn (Watchmen)
Robert McRay (Legend of The Phantom)
Jeremy Kemp (A Bridge To Far)
T.J. Storm (VR Troopers)
Andrew Craig (The Toxic Avenger)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ally Dunne (V.I.P.)
Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Arthur Burghardt (Transformers)
Mickey Rooney (Nationel Velvet)
Vernon Wells (Mad Max 2)
Brad Greenquist (Alias)
Andrew Bryniarski (Batman Returns)
Paul Le Mat (Puppet Master)
Matthias Hues (Star Trek VI)
Ali Landry (Eve)
Brooke Burns (Baywatch)
Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk)
Eric Steinberg (Stargate SG.1)
Anthony De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
Angelica Bridges (Mystery Men)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Claudette Mink (Children of The Corn 7)
Justina Vail (Seven Days)

xb3aghiq2wii23iaSyndicated television is often called the last bastion of poor writers in this modern age, much like the pulp fiction writers of years gone by were back in their day. This is not to say that syndicated television is always bad, just that the odds greatly favor such a global statement. The first example that comes to mind would be Black Scorpion but I’m sure you’re familiar with other shows like Sinbad, Robin Hood, and Lost World (an admittedly guilty pleasure). The 1990’s were the best years for fantasy shows in syndication due in large part to the success of Hercules and Xena; both of which proved profitable beyond the imagination of their creators. Is it any wonder that other producers sought to cash in as well? Such was the case with a single season show by the name of Conan The Adventurer, based on the writings of famed 1930’s pulp fiction writer, Robert E. Howard, a young man from the desolate plains of Texas.

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Mr. Howard created the mythic hero Conan as a character that could help free him from the shackles of poverty.His character of Conan evolved from another, King Kull, set in the same age of Atlantis era of 10,000 years ago, in epoch known as the Hyborian Age. Conan was a thief, a liar, and a barbarian in every sense of the word. His code of conduct was generally considered less than chivalrous with a “me first” attitude befitting the wild imagination of his writer, a man caught in the trappings of his time. Howard’s own description of the character was: “Some mechanism in my subconsciousness took the dominant characteristics of various prizefighters, gunmen, bootleggers, oil field bullies, gamblers, and honest workmen I had come in contact with, and combining them all, produced the amalgamation I call Conan the Cimmerian.” The world-view of such a man can only be placed in the proper context by understanding the effects of where he lived and the conditions the entire country were in, making more understandable the type of anti-hero that later was popularized in the Marvel comic books and art of Frank Frazetta. I think the rise of the anti-hero in the 1960’s attributed much to reviving such characters as Conan, a being thought up in 1931 by Howard, who only wrote 22 short stories in his later years (before he killed himself). With this in mind, let me turn to the television series this review is about:

Keeping in mind that the original character was a thief, cutthroat, mercenary that did anything asked of him for a price and ignored all social conventions that didn’t suit him (similar to the original Hercules being a power mad rapist drunkard), the show started off on the wrong foot with me by suggesting his “destiny was to free the oppressed” in the opening monologue since there’s nothing further from the truth in the original stories or in the previous movies starring famed bodybuilder-turned-Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Given that a kinder and gentler version of the character would probably be the only way to get the series made, I started off watching the episodes a bit disgruntled but content that a watered down Conan might be better than no Conan at all, I figured how bad could it be considering all the other shows I enjoyed (even as guilty pleasures).
Conan (1997)
The show focused on Conan’s quest to find, and kill, a wizard, Hissah Zul (that was responsible for the death of his sweetheart and the guy responsible for all the ills in the world. Each week would find Conan and a mish mash of odd companions  fighting the minions of evil and cheap CGI effects as they continued on a path to dethrone the wizard. I watched the generic exploits of the cast as they went through the motions and about midway through the series; I actually started enjoying it way too much.
Conan (1997)
So, after watching the episodes as presented in the set (which were out of order from the air dates) and then as they were originally shown, I found the plot to make at least a little more sense in the DVD order they were aired in syndication. Keeping in mind that most, if not all, of the episodes borrowed heavily from the Marvel Comics versions as opposed to the pulp works of Howard. The show tried to be in line with a modern sensibility imposed on the age old character, an uneasy fit at times. While the humor was often as dry as Dilbert in its own way, I think this was what was lacking compared to the movies. Regardless, it was nice to see a show long lost into the archives of some vault given new life for fans of the genre, if not the actual character himself, and I doubt Robert E. Howard would’ve lost any sleep over the way his characters were evolved.

REVIEW: PUNISHER: WAR ZONE

CAST

Ray Stevenson (Divergent)
Dominic West (300)
Julie Benz Angel)
Colin Salmon (Arrow)
Doug Hutchison (Shaft)
Dash Mihok (Gotham)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
T.J. Storm (VR Troopers)
Keram Malicki-Sánchez (Texas Chainsaw)

MV5BMTMyNDYxMzAxNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTMwNDQwMg@@._V1_The film follows Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson), a man who was out for a picnic with his wife and son one day and who happened to witness a mob hit. The mob, never pleased with events like this, opened fire on the Castle family and sent all but Frank to their graves. With nothing else to live for, Frank decides to arm himself to the teeth and with the help of his friend and weapons supplier, Microchip (Wayne Knight), wage a war on crime. Taking care of the criminals who fall through the cracks of the legal system, Castle’s managed to accumulate a pretty massive body count, but the N.Y.P.D. tends to turn a blind eye to his activities until one night Castle accidently kills Nicky Donatelli (Romano Orzari), an undercover F.B.I. agent trying to infiltrate the gang run by Billy Russoti (Dominic West).When the feds learn that Castle has killed one of their own, they send Special Agent Paul Budiansky (Colin Salmon) to work with Detective Martin Soap (Dash Mihok) to bring Castle in for good. Meanwhile, Billy Russoti, whose face was mangled during the incident and who now calls himself Jigsaw, wants revenge. He springs his brother, James (Doug Hutchinson), better known as Loony Bin Jim, from the local asylum and decides he’s going to take out Donatelli’s widow, Angela (Julie Benz) and daughter, Grace (Stephanie Janusauskas) and then the Punisher himself. On top of that, Russoti is in the middle of a deal with the Russian mob involving some biological weapons, a deal that the feds and N.Y.P.D. alike absolutely do not want to happen.While the plot is fairly thin, there’s enough meat on the bones of the plot to work. Each of the central characters has sufficient motivation that their actions make sense and with the plot established and the characters set up, director Lexi Alexander wisely chooses to not waste anymore time and get on with the action. Sure there are a couple of sentimental flashbacks in the movie, but those serve to remind us that there is a living, breath, feeling human being underneath the skull emblazoned Kevlar armor.The real heart of this film is in its action scenes and it is in these scenes that the picture really excels. When Castle kills someone, he really kills them. A face is punched in (literally), throats are slit, a head is cut of, brains are blown out, there are squibs galore and in one remarkably ridiculous scene a balletic gang banger is blown up, mid maneuver, by a rocket launcher. The violence in the film is hard hitting and completely over the top – just as it should be!Equally as ridiculous are the film’s villains. Dominic West and Doug Hutchinson are having so much malicious fun as Jigsaw and Loony Bin Jim that, while you want the Punisher to take them down, you can’t help but want them to come back for a sequel. These guys play the parts with completely unwarranted but very welcome enthusiasm, playing everything to the hilt – the mannerisms, the New Yawk accents – to the point where they are literally comic book villains incarnate. Stevenson’s Frank Castle is perfect in the lead, bringing a nice sense of brooding menace to the character and scowling his way through the film just as you’d want him too.Helping the over the top performances and ultra violence immensely is some fantastic camerawork and lighting. There are large portions of the movie that are bathed in Bava-esque primary colors, really upping the comic book come to life aesthetic that Alexander was obviously going for here. It works, and it works well. Not only does the movie zip along at a great pace but it looks fantastic doing so.

 

REVIEW: AVATAR EXTENDED EDITION

CAST

Sam Worthington (Clash of The Titans)
Zoe Saldana (Star Trek)
Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
Stephen Lang (Public Enemies)
Michelle Rodriguez (THe Breed)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
CCH Pounder (Orphan)
Wes Studi (Heat)
Kelson Henderson (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Peter Mensah (Sleepy Hollow)
James Gaylyn (Power Rangers RPM)
Laz Alonso (Fast & Furious)
Matt Gerald (The Oath)
Scott Lawrence (Star Trek Into Darkness)
T.J. Storm (VR Troopers)

MV5BMjA4MzQ2ODE2M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzk0MTUzNA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_The extended collector’s edition runs 16 minutes 28 seconds longer than the theatrical cut, and listed below are the major differences.

1) The opening scene is different, and starts with Jake in a wheelchair on Earth, in a Blade Runner-esque Earth city. The scene moves to scenes of Jake in his apartment, then taking liquid shots in a bar. Jake’s narration of “I told myself I can pass any test a man can pass” and “They can fix the spinal if you got the money. But not on vet benefits, not in this economy” are inserted during this new opening scene.

Jake beats up a bar patron who is mistreating a woman, and then Jake and wheelchair are unceremoniously thrown outside by bouncers into an alley. While in the alley, Jake meets the two RDA representatives who bring him news of his brother’s untimely death. Then the movie cuts back to the original theatrical cut where Jake sees his brother’s body cremated, then awakes in space.

2) During Jake’s initial flyover of Pandora in his avatar, they witness a herd of Sturmbeasts, buffalo-like creatures.

3) After seeing the Sturmbeasts, Grace, Jake, and Norm stop by Grace’s old English school for the Na’vi. The school is now closed, abandoned, and some walls are riddled with bullet-holes. Norm finds a Dr. Seuss book, “The Lorax”, on the ground. This scene explains how Neytiri knew English so well, and certainly gives some further backstory into Grace Augustine’s character.

Interestingly, The Lorax can be seen as a metaphor for the Pandoran story. Recall that the seemingly simple Seussian book is actually a lesson on the plight of the environment and industrialization.

4) We see some other different Pandoran flora and fauna, particularly with scenes of the luminescent forest floor.

5) Jake’s first dinner with Neytiri is longer and extended, and it’s here that she tells him her full name.

6) When Jake, Grace, and Norm first visit the Hallelujah Mountains on the way to the remote uplink station, Grace explains (in a Jake voiceover) that the mountains are levitated [via the Meissner Effect], because Unobtanium is a superconductor. There’s a pretty spectacular CGI shot as the characters look around in awe at the suspended mountains.

7) Pictures of Grace and Na’vi children at her previously functioning school. Dr. Augustine tells Jake that she previously taught Neytiri and her sister, Sylwanin. However, one day, Sylwanin and some hunters destroyed an RDA bulldozer, and RDA SecOps troopers killed them at the school, which explains why the school walls were previously seen pockmarked with bullet holes.

8) Sturmbeast hunting scene after Jake tames a Banshee. After Jake successfully kills a Sturmbeast with an arrow, he and Neytiri chortle a “Heck yeah!” and whoop.

9) Jake and Neytiri’s love scene comprises them linking braids together. Some kissing, nothing explicit.

10) Tsu’tey leads a war party that destroys the RDA’s autonomous bulldozers, as well as the RDA SecOps squad that was guarding them. Corporal Wainfleet leads the search party that uncovers the evidence, via real-time helmet cam footage. Not sure why they cut this scene from the theatrical cut, as it persuades Selfridge to attack the Home Tree.

11) Attack of Hammerhead Titanotheres on RDA forces has been extended slightly; additional scenes of AMP-Suits getting destroyed.

12) Fight between Colonel Quaritch in AMP Suit and Neytiri on Thanator slightly longer.

13) Tsu’tey’s death scene; in the theatrical cut, he falls off the RDA shuttle’s aft ramp to his death. In the Collector’s Edition, he falls to the forest floor, mortally wounded. He passes on leadership to Jake, and asks Jake to ceremonially kill him e.g. hara-kiri, so that Jake will be the last shadow that Tsu-Tey sees. Jake does so.


I preferred the original Tsu’tey death scene, which was more dramatic. Jake, had afterall, already become the de facto clan leader by that point in the movie, so further formal transfer by Tsu’tey (a minor character) seemed unnecessary. both versions of the movie are excellent and both worth watching.

REVIEW: VR TROOPERS – SEASON 1 & 2

VR Troopers: Season 1, Vol.1

MAIN CAST

Brad Hawkins (Power Rangers Zeo
Michael Bacon
Sarah Brown (Birds of Prey)
Gardner Baldwin (Masked Rider)
Julian Combs (Jellyscream!)
Richard Rabago ( Magic Kid 2)
Aron Pruner (The Divine Tragedies)
Kerrigan Mahan (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Michael Sorich (Bad Reception)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Farrand Thompson (Twin Sitters)
Randy Swerdlick (Poweer Rangers Lost Galaxy)
Brandon Gaines (Superfights)
Davild Milburn (The Unsaid)
Sonja Ecker (Scarecrow)
Don Yanan (The Muppets)
Wendee Lee (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Ashton McArn (Masked Rider)
Glen McDougal (Water for Elephants)
T.J. Storm (Punisher: Warzone)
Kristin Norton (Monkeybone)
Tyffany Hayes (Sweet Valley High)
Carla Perez (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)

As a child, I always looked forward to catching VR Troopers after school. I was always excited to see how Ryan, Kaitlin, and JB would foil Grimlord’s latest evil scheme. This was a show that I loved so much, and for many years I have been praying for a DVD release. Thanks to Shout Factory, that dream has finally come true, and for VR Trooper fans such as myself, the long wait was definitely worth it.

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The show is still as wonderful as I remember it, with its action-packed battles providing a lot of excitement and story lines regarding friendship, teamwork, etc. that still hold up well today. Ryan was and still is my favorite Trooper, though Kaitlin and JB are also pretty cool. Grimlord, and his human alter-ego Karl Ziktor, are effectively creepy, and his many mutant minions are equally menacing. Jeb, the talking dog, provides the best comic relief on the show. Many of the other characters such as Tao and Professor Hart are also as appealing now as they were all those years ago. The only regular character I could never stand was Percy, who I felt was quite an annoyance, but just about all the other characters are awesome to some extent.

The episodes on this set (26 in all) provide plenty of entertainment. The two-part story The Battle Begins sets up the story quite nicely, as it shows how the Troopers became the defenders of our reality, their first Skug battle, how Jeb gained the ability to speak, and the beginning of the ongoing plot point of Ryan’s search for his long-lost father. Other episodes on this set have the Troopers rescuing Jeb from Grimlord’s minions (The Dognapping), trying to help Ryan when he’s suffering from amnesia (Lost Memories), dealing with a magician who steals Kaitlin and JB’s virtualizers (A Dirty Trick), investigating some earthquakes that hit Crossworld City (Digging for Fire), and much more. Fans who grew up with the series, as well as people who never saw the show before, are sure to find at least a few great episode on the set that are worth checking out.

A mere three months after Shout Factory released the first 26 episodes of VR Troopers comes this DVD set covering the second half of Season 0ne (or at least most of the second half…more on that in a bit). The saga of Ryan, Kaitlin, and JB continues as they deal with more of Grimlord’s menacing mutants. Many of the episodes on the set are a joy to see, but the standout ones are the four episodes that comprise the Defending Darkheart story arc. This saga, in which Ryan finally learns the fate of his long-lost father, is dramatic and emotional, and is a must see for every VR Trooper fans. Other episodes feature the Troopers being turned into children, encountering the Ghost Biker, and fighting Grimlord’s own VR Trooper. There’s even an episode in which Ryan and his talking dog, Jeb, switch bodies! As you can probably guess, hilarity ensues.

This set also contains a pretty cool five-minute clip that was made to introduce the series. Originally included on various Power Ranger tapes released in the 1990s, the promo includes a few differences from the final show, such as having Professor Hart look more like Albert Einstein and different voices for Grimlord and Jeb. It’s fascinating to watch, and I hope that Shout will include the Cybertron promo (the original concept for what would become VR Trooper, with Jason David Frank A.K.A. the Green Ranger as the main character) in a future set, as well.

Season Two is where the major changes happened, Ryan got a new suit, Grimlord decimated most of his villains. Kaitlin gets a double.

One of the best things about this volume is Ryan finally finds his father and the new look Grimlord is amazing.  most of the major events happen in the second volume.

VR Troopers fans like myself were undoubtedly disappointed when this fourth, and final, DVD set, which was meant to be released in September 2013, was canceled by Shout Factory due to low sales for the other sets. However, these fans may now rejoice as the set has been uncanceled and is available now, but only on Shout’s website as part of their Shout Select series. At any rate, this set is another must have for VR Troopers fans, though those hoping to see a proper conclusion to the series will likely be disappointed.

The second half of Season Two continues the saga of Ryan. Kaitlin, and JB, a.k.a the VR Troopers; and their never ending fight against Grimlord and his army of mutants. In the twenty episodes contained on this disc, our heroes deal with a computer that can duplicate anything (including Grimlord’s mutants), a pet that eats everything until it becomes a deadly monster, a new recurring villain called Knighttime who possesses the power to send the Troopers back in time and have time come to a complete halt, and much more. Some of my favorite episodes on this set includes Santa’s Little Trooper, a Christmas episode with some cute and touching moments, and Get Me to the Lab on Time, in which some love potion causes Kaitlin and the obnoxious Percy to fall in love with each other, leading to much hilarity!hqdefaultThere’s plenty to love about this set, and VR Troopers is as awesome now as it was when it debuted nearly twenty years ago, but one little disappointing aspect about the set is that the series was never given a proper conclusion of any sort. The Troopers would never defeat Grimlord for good, nor would they even find out what his true identity is. As I understand it, the show’s cancellation was on account of Saban having run out of Japanese footage for the show, and instead of either creating more American footage or using more Japanese footage from other shows, they canceled it in favor of Big Bad Beetleborgs. I know I’d give anything to see the show wrap up in a proper manner, but alas, the chances of that happening in this or any other lifetime are likely slim to none.

With that said, this is a solid set and a great way for fans to finish their collection. Having the entire series, or even just a handful of episodes, on DVD was a pipe dream for me not too long ago, but Shout Factory has gone above and beyond to release all 92 episodes on DVD, and for this, I am very happy. Those of you who have been wanting this set, run, don’t walk, to Shout’s website and order it today. Aside from the lack of a proper series conclusion, you most certainly won’t be disappointed!