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Jan 252017
 

It’s been a while since the Fatal Fury franchise had a movie. Years after the Anime feature was the live action movie The King of Fighters, which is about top martial artists competing in a tournament that takes place in another dimension.

One of these fighters is CIA operate Mai Shiranui (Maggie Q). She has some of the most amazing moves. In addition to that, when a fighter enters the other dimension, his/her clothes change like how they’re dressed in the video games. Though I must point out that Mai’s outfit is not as skimpy as it usually is.

They can also use projectiles like in the video games. Unlike other live action video game based movies, this one uses them pretty regularly.

It turns out that the King of Fighters tournament is made possible with three relics: The Kagura Mirror, the Yagami Necklace, and the Kusanagi Sword. And the tournament is hosted by Chizuru Kagura (Francoise Yip, who I remember best as Nancy the gorgeous biker girl from Rumble in the Bronx).

 

The mysterious and power hungry Rugal Bernstein (Ray Park) steals the relics and uses them to enter the other dimension in order to awaken a creepy entity called Orochi and gain unlimited power. Rugal is a tough villain, but what is the deal with his eye? It’s very distracting with no explanation behind it.

Chizuru is intent on stopping Rugal, so she tasks Mai. Helping Mai is fellow participant Iori Yagami (Will Yun Lee). It’s not mentioned, but he appears to be Mai’s boyfriend.

Mai also seeks help from Kyo Kusanagi (Sean Faris), who is the son of former participant Saisyu Kusanagi (Hiro Kanagawa). Kyo is against it at first because he doesn’t believe that the other dimension even exists. Kyo does join once he finds out that Rugal is involved, since he has a personal vendetta with him.

Another big skeptic helping out is CIA agent Terry Bogard (David Leitch). I didn’t recognize Terry at first because he wore a suit and tie most the time. Then I remembered who Terry was once he entered the dimension wearing that sleeveless red jacket. Terry even finds a red hat that says “Fatal Fury” on it. Isn’t that interesting.

It turns out that Rugal is summoning every fighter in the tournament to the other dimension and killing them. There were exceptions, though. Attractive participants Mature (Monique Ganderton) and Vice (Bernice Lu) end up as Rugal’s servants. All he had to do was kiss them on the lips. This guy sure is persuasive.

This was certainly a great movie with cool martial arts action and awesome music to go with it. Since the Fatal Fury franchise is making quite a comeback, I should start catching up on those video games.

Sep 162011
 

I remember first hearing about the X-Men from the X-Men animated series (1992-1997). As much as I enjoy watching these assorted mutants in action, the story lines are still difficult for me to follow because the pacing is so different. That soon changed when I saw the first X-Men (Widescreen Edition) movie.

As it turns out, mutants live among the human race and are discriminated against just for being born differently. To help the mutants feel safe and learn to control their powers, Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) the powerful psychic runs a mutant academy, teaching them all they need to know for the good of mankind.

The faculty includes Cyclops (James Marsden) who has optic lasers, Storm (Halle Berry) who can control the weather, and Dr. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) the telekinetic psychic.

The newest mutants to join the school are Rouge (Anna Paquin), a young girl who can absorb energy from living things just by touching them, and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). He has sharp claws and can heal easily, which makes him a strong fighter. But never kick him in the groin, or he will take it personally.

As helpful as the academy is for the mutant community, it’s not enough for the humans to accept them as equals. That’s why there are also mutants that have turned renegade, led by Magneto (Ian McKellen) a very powerful mutant who can control anything made of metal. It’s a shame since Magneto and Professor Xavier used to be friends.

One of the main humans who is against mutants is Senator Kelly (Bruce Davidson) who only believes that all mutants are dangerous. Magneto captures Kelly and uses him as a guinea pig for an experiment he plans to use on the human race. Now Kelly is a mutant, but an unstable one. At least he now sees the error of his ways.

In order for Magneto’s master plan to work, he sets out to capture a powerful mutant to help him. For awhile Professor Xavier believes that Wolverine is the one, but he was wrong. Rouge is the primary target and Magneto successfully captures her.

With Senator Kelly’s help, Professor Xavier discovers that Magneto’s plan is to turn all humans into mutants and use Rouge to power the machine. Now it’s up to Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, and Jean Grey to go stop him and rescue Rouge. Together they are the X-Men.

After arriving, the X-Men must fight their way to Magneto by getting past some tough foes. They include Toad (Ray Park) a frog-like mutant with a whip tongue, Sabretooth (Tyler Mane) a roaring beast, and Mystique (Rebecca Romjin) a smooth model-esque shape shifter who can also copy any voice at will.

The battle scenes are real smooth. After getting past those tough mutants, the X-Men go to confront Magneto, but end up captured. As Rouge powers the machine with absorbed power from Magneto, it seems hopeless, but not if Wolverine has anything to say about it.

I liked this movie, not only for its smooth action, but also the gags with Wolverine. As for his relationship with Cyclops, it’s more than just the love triangle with Jean Grey. Cyclops also annoys him, but Wolverine gets even by always taking his motorcycle without permission.

The X-Men have also been featured among other Marvel superheroes in the Comic Book Land area at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. Here are some photos of the characters.

 

Aug 182010
 

In addition to Star Wars Celebration V 2010, I’d like to share some of my favorite highlights about the Star Wars franchise.

Darth Vader has a unique method of deep breathing. If you listen closely, it sounds like he’s saying, “Bummer, bummer.”

Before the Storm Troopers were revealed to be an army of clones, I used to think they were all robot soldiers like the Foot Soldiers from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (80s version) because none of them ever took their helmets off.

And let’s certainly not forget General Grievous. Sure he’s a tough droid, but he coughs a lot, which makes him appear less threatening. I wonder what he’s been smoking? Then it becomes more exciting when Grievous reveals that he was trained in the Jedi arts by Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) and presents four arms with a light saber in each hand. It’s difficult enough for a Jedi knight to go up against Darth Maul’s (Ray Park) double sided light saber.

The Star Wars franchise has become so big that other franchises wanted a piece of it. For example, did you also know that Mark Hamill was once on The Muppet Show as both Luke Skywalker and himself? That’s right. In fact, C-3P0 (Anthony Daniels) , R2-D2, and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) also made appearances in that episode. C-3P0 insists that he and R2-D2 are not song and dance droids, but they’re actually quite good at it.

C-3P0 and R2-D2 also made an appearance on Sesame Street. The only segment I remember was when they helped Big Bird with his numbers using only a series of beeps. “We are computerized robots. We’re experts in numbers.”

Back in 1997 when the original Star Wars trilogy was releasing its 20th anniversary addition VHS set, there was a two part sketch on Saturday Night Live with other actors at a screen test. Kevin Spacey played Christopher Walken as Han Solo, Walter Matthau as Obi-Won, and Jack Lemmon as Chewbacca. I’ll tell ya, he’s a hilarious impressionist. Other impressionists included: Norm Macdonald playing Burt Reynolds as Darth Vader, Darrell Hammond playing Richard Dreyfuss as C-3P0, and Ana Gasteyer playing Barbra Streisand as Princess Leia. Can any of you image what would’ve happened if any of those actors had actually gotten those roles?

Last, but not least, there’s the Star Tours ride from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It was one of the first motion rides I’ve been to where you’re seated inside a confined room with seatbelts. The pilot is a small droid named Rex-1 that’s out on his first flight. I can’t help but think that ever since this ride first opened in the early 90s, every flight was Rex-1’s first flight. He just didn’t seem to get any better.

There you have it. Star Wars has come a long way since its premiere in the 70s. George Lucas was a real artistic writer/director. Jedi warriors seem to lead interesting and exciting lives. The only part that I dislike is that Jedis are not allowed to have relationships. I’m sure that would explain part of Anakin’s frustration when he became a Jedi.