REVIEW: WARRIOR NUN – SEASON 1

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Starring

Alba Baptista (Madre Paula)
Tristán Ulloa (Terminator: Dark Fate)
Toya Turner (Using)
Lorena Andrea (No Man’s Land)
Sylvia De Fanti (Those Happy Years)
Thekla Reuten (Red Sparrow)
Kristina Tonteri-Young (The Swan)
Emilio Sakraya (4 Blocks)
Joaquim de Almeida (Fast & Furious 5)
Olivia Delcán (Drug Squad: Costa del Sol)
Lope Haydn Evans

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Melina Matthews (Mama)
May Simón Lifschitz (Wild Witch)
Liam McMahon (’71)
Dimitri Abold (Die Inselärztin)
Sinead MacInnes (The Fairy Faith)

Image may contain: 5 people, people standing and nightThe title of Netflix’s new action adventure series Warrior Nun just about dares you not to take it seriously. Set in contemporary Spain, the series follows a young woman (Alba Baptista) who rises from the dead armed with holy superpowers thanks to an angel’s halo that’s been placed in her back. Did you get all that?Image may contain: 1 person, close-upAs schlocky as the concept sounds, the series itself is a breathlessly fun joy ride. There are battles with demons, morally ambiguous scientists, wild twists that will make your jaw drop, and a secret sect of — you guessed it — warrior nuns. Ironically enough, Warrior Nun is also a terribly philosophical show that tackles some of the most bitter moral debates raging within the modern Catholic church with wit, courage, and above all, soul. Warrior Nun is not the show you think it is: it’s 1000% better.Image may contain: one or more peopleWarrior Nun is based on the graphic novel series Warrior Nun Areala by Ben Dunn. When the previous Warrior Nun is killed in a mysterious set-up, her holy allies attempt to give the halo that had empowered her to the next in line, Sister Lilith (Lorena Andrea). Fate intercedes, and a desperate nun attempts to hide the halo in the body of a paraplegic orphan’s corpse. What this means is that the power of the heavens is in the hands of a teenaged girl riddled with angst and feverish for freedom.Image may contain: 4 people, people standingFrom there, Warrior Nun follows the basic beats of Jospeh Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. A nobody is called to greatness, they then resist the call, and finally, with the help of a wizened mentor, they decide to embark on a perilous quest for good. Many modern hero stories struggle to explain why someone of noble heart would run away from a righteous fight, but Warrior Nun roots Ava’s whole being in her trepidation. Ava is as much a victim of the Church as she is its chosen champion. While she was living confined to an orphanage bed, she was horrifically abused by the nuns tasked with her care. Ava’s antipathy towards the Church is wholly justifiable as is the fact that she is initially more thankful for the newfound ability to walk, run, and dance than she is about any of her God-given superpowers.Image may contain: 1 personIn fact, the moment I fell hard for Warrior Nun was the sequence where Ava, newly risen from the dead, gets to revel — literally — in her situation. Unaware of why this “miracle” has occurred, she takes advantage of it to dance with abandon and run along a picturesque Spanish beach. Star Alba Baptista plays these scenes with an infectious bliss. It’s not merely that she has control over her limbs; for the first time ever, she has control over her life. Baptista’s Ava is a new kind of innocent: a babe in woods with a potty mouth and adorably horny sex drive. She’s as likely to jump head first into a pristine swimming pool as she is to awkwardly blunder her way through a conversation with her handsome admirer, the conveniently named J.C. (Emilio Sakraya). So it doesn’t feel strange that our heroine is torn between duty to an institution that mistreated her and a life of excitement. It feels right.Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and nightIt’s that inner battle between sticking to the rules of a doctrine and question its inherent morality that made Warrior Nun so fascinating to this lapsed Catholic. While I still feel culturally tied to the traditions of the religion, my own moral conviction is to stick to kind-heartedness and the most basic teachings of the New Testament over the often oppressive screed of a millennia-old institution. Warrior Nun ultimately deals with this moral debate head on. Is it better to lead with love, forgiveness, and humility, or do you simply have to fall in line with what your local Cardinal says? And are there good reasons to do the latter that you can’t see at first glance? These are heavy questions for anyone raised in any religious institution, and Warrior Nun doesn’t let the Catholic Church off the hook.Image may contain: 4 people, people standingIn many ways, Warrior Nun can best be summed up as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but ultra Catholic.” It’s a rip-roaring adventure full of gorgeous young women fighting demons. You could say it’s nothing but silly fun. But it works thanks to a star-making performance from leading lady Alba Baptista. The Portuguese actress (who boasts a seriously spot-on American accent) is effervescent, incorrigible, and downright lovable as Ava. You don’t root for her because she’s fighting for some ancient order, but because she wears her heart on her sleeve and hides her past traumas under a goofy grin.Image may contain: 3 people, textWarrior Nun is the rare pulpy fantasy show that knows when to lean into its silly side and when to slow down and get serious. That makes it incredibly addictive for a specific kind of action fan.

REVIEW: HIGHLANDER: THE SOURCE

 

CAST

Adrian Paul (Fortress)
Thekla Reuten (In Bruges)
Cristian Solimeno (Rush)
Jim Byrnes (The Net: The Series)
Peter Wingifeld (Caprica)
Stephen Wright (Hex)

A group of Immortals quest to locate the mysterious “Source” of immortal power in the near future. One member of the group, Zai Jie, breaks into a communications tower in Eastern Europe and contacts his associates to give them the location of the Source. The Guardian of the Source, who has supernatural speed, confronts and decapitates him. Reggie, another group member, discovers that the planets are moving from their orbits into a cosmic alignment.

Former Immortal Watcher Joe Dawson is called by group member Methos to find their mutual friend Duncan MacLeod. Joe finds MacLeod in a fight with the Guardian, shoots Duncan, hauls him into a truck, and drives off. They rendezvous with the others at a monastery in order to meet with an ancient being known as the Elder so they can locate the Source.

At the monastery, they meet Anna Teshemka, Duncan’s mortal wife, who is having visions. The Elder meets them all as a group and tells of how, in ancient history, another group of Immortals sought the Source. Upon slaying the Guardian, two of the three survivors were cursed with decay, with one of them becoming the new Guardian, and the other being the Elder (the third, a woman, is later implied to have been reincarnated as Anna). The Elder tells them all to follow Anna who knows the way. She, in turn, receives a vision from the Elder. Meanwhile, the Guardian arrives and attacks Reggie and Joe Dawson on holy ground. In an effort to save Dawson, Duncan throws his katana at the Guardian, temporarily wounding him. The Guardian removes the sword from his neck and breaks it before killing Joe with the broken blade and escaping. After burying Joe, they leave to find the Source, which they have determined to be on an island off the coast of Lithuania in the Baltic Sea.

Approaching the island, the boat’s captain tells them that the “maniacs”, gangs of cannibals, rule the island. After fighting locals who were poised to immolate a man to death, they obtain a van and drive to a deserted house a short distance away from where they believe the Source to be. That night, the Guardian kills Reggie by slashing him to death — the Elder had warned them that the closer they get to the Source, the weaker they would become, meaning that they would lose their immortality. Duncan has replaced his broken katana with a pair of butterfly swords. The group takes Reggie’s body with them until they ultimately discover that he will not revive.

After burying Reggie, they continue on their way. During their journey, Duncan and Methos conclude that the expression “there can be only one” was in fact never meant to mean that all Immortals must battle and behead each other until only one remains, and that it truly means that only one Immortal can claim the Source. They then find the road blocked, and are captured by cannibals. While the cannibals are distracted by their drunken carousing, the Guardian frees Anna and forces her to accompany him to the Source. Later, Giovanni escapes and takes a sword, hoping to be “The One.” Duncan frees himself and Methos, and sets off to rescue Anna. Giovanni gets recaptured, and Duncan goes in to save him. Methos arrives to assist Duncan at the last moment, and tells him he believes Duncan is “The One” due to his incorruptible nature. He rides off on a horse to distract the cannibals, allowing Duncan to chase after Anna. Giovanni, who had run off when Duncan came to his rescue, is decapitated by the Guardian.

Duncan finds Anna in a clearing by a sandy pit illuminated by starlight. The cosmic convergence is happening directly over them. The Guardian appears and challenges Duncan. MacLeod finds that he now has the same speed and power as the Guardian, and manages to get past the foe to reach Anna. However, an energy barrier appears to bar his way. After continued fighting, the Guardian ends up buried chest deep in the dirt. Bound and defeated, the Guardian demands that MacLeod behead him. Duncan refuses, and the Guardian vanishes in a blast of light. Before he goes, the Guardian screams that he is “cursed forever.” Duncan enters the Source, qualified to do so by his pure heart. In the Source, Anna reveals that she is pregnant with their child. Of the child, Duncan declares that “he is the one.”Toys-that-made-us-season-3-10Not The Best Highlander film my any stretch, once again they tried to answer a lot of questions similar to Highlander II. I enjoyed it mostly for the return of 3 of my favorite characters from the show. The film will never be on peoples top ten but it is what it is a low budget sci-film that saw Adrian Paul return to the franchise.

REVIEW: LOST – SEASON 4

Starring

Matthew Fox (Alex Cross)
Jorge Garcia (How I Met Your Mother)
Elizabeth Mitchell (V)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal)
Terry O’Quinn (The Rocketeer)
Josh Holloway (Colony)
Naveen Andrews (The Brave One)
Emilie de Ravin (Operation: Endgame)
Michael Emerson (Arrow)
Rebecca Mader (Iron Man 3)
Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent)
Yunjin Kim (Shiri)
Henry Ian Cusick (Hitman)
Ken Leung (Inhumans)
Harold Perrineau (Sabotage)

Jorge Garcia and Dominic Monaghan in Lost (2004)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Dominic Monaghan (Flashforward)
Sam Anderson (Angel)
L. Scott Caldwell (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead)
Mira Furlan (Babylon 5)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
Lance Reddick (John Wick)
Fisher Stevens (Hackers)
John Terry (Full Metal Jacket)
Marsha Thomason (White Collar)
Zoë Bell (The Hateful Eight)
Jeff Fahey (Texas Rising)
Thekla Reuten (Highlander 5)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: TTW)
Shawn Doyle (Impulse)
Anthony Azizi (Eagle Eye)
Alan Dale (Ugly Betty)
Kevin Durand (Swamp Thing)
Sonya Walger (Flashforward)
Graham McTavish (The Hobbit)
Andrea Roth (Cloak & Dagger)
M.C. Gainey (Breakdown)
Grant Bowler (Harrow)
George Cheung (Rush Hour)
Cynthia Watros (Titus)
Galyn Görg (Robocop 2)
Malcolm David Kelley (Detroit)
Faran Tahir (Iron Man)
Andrea Gabriel (2 Broke Girls)
April Parker Jones (Supergirl)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Doug Hutchison (Punisher: War Zone)
Amanda Carlin (Friends)
Michelle Forbes (True Blood)
Veronica Hamel (Cannonball)
Cheech Marin (Coco)

Jeff Fahey in Lost (2004)After a stunning conclusion to the show’s third season, the bar was raised and much was expected of the fourth season of Lost. With the final three seasons reduced to sixteen episodes each and a clear finish line. The creative team could now focus on telling their story without having to worry about how many episodes they had left to work with. Season four is the first to benefit and delivers a faster paced and leaner story that expands the Lost universe in some unexpected ways and delves into the mystery that was introduced at the end of last season.Mira Furlan, Michael Emerson, Josh Holloway, Terry O'Quinn, and Rebecca Mader in Lost (2004)The “flash-forward” at the end of last season introduced an exciting new way in which Lost stories could be told. The use of these flash-forwards continues through the fourth season, revealing that even more Oceanic survivors made it off the island and also introduces an intriguing conspiracy of silence regarding those who weren’t so lucky. This storyline is the backbone of the fourth season as we discovered who was fortunate enough to escape the island and who was left behind. This is arguably the series’ best story arc since the mystery surrounding the hatch and is a well-developed, tightly paced narrative that actually has a satisfying conclusion at the end of the season.The benefit of a shortened schedule is apparent and this season has far less “filler” than previous outings.Michael Emerson in Lost (2004)Less episodes means that every minute of screen time becomes that much more precious and the outcome is a season that doesn’t have what we’d consider a bad episode in the bunch. Even this season’s Kate-centric episode is decent when compared to previous years’ outings. There are plenty of episodes that you will want to revisit here, including the pivotal “The Constant” that is a game-changer when it comes to the series’ mythology. It also features Henry Ian Cusick’s best performance as Desmond to date and one of the more memorable Michael Giacchino scores. The rest of the season is filled to the brim with moments that will have any Lost fan riveted.Michael Emerson in Lost (2004)Acting wise, all the great performances that you have come to expect from the series’ regulars are present. Henry Ian Cusick in Lost (2004)Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn continue to put in stellar performances as Ben Linus and John Locke respectively. As has been stated many times throughout the last couple of seasons, these two have some phenomenal chemistry on screen and they spend a great deal of time verbally sparring with each other this season. The newcomers to the show are no slouches either. Veteran actor Jeff Fahey is memorable as helicopter pilot Frank Lapidus. Ken Leung has already become a series favorite as the sharp-tongued Miles Straume and while some fans have had a negative reaction towards Rebecca Mader’s Charlotte Lewis, it is hard to deny that she puts in a respectable performance here.Elizabeth Mitchell in Lost (2004)Jeremy Davies deserves special recognition for his portrayal of physicist – Daniel Faraday. Simply put, Davies’ is awesome as the polite and awkward scientist whose unique viewpoint of the island’s core mysteries is a benefit to the series. If given more screen time he would have probably stolen the show and he stands alongside Ben Linus and Desmond Hume as yet another exceptional new addition to the series.With the introduction of new characters and the already expanded Lost cast, some regulars take a step back and are not featured as prominently as you would expect. Most notable are series heavyweights Jack and Kate, who are present and accounted for, but see their roles slightly reduced as other characters are brought to the forefront. As the cast and story expand, it has obviously become a necessity to focus on a wider range of characters. The series’ writers are equal to the task and do a good job of handling a large cast without forgetting anyone in the mix.