Cinema Dispatch: Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Robert Schwentke

How many people have seriously sat down and watched that GI Joe movie in the last few years?  Heck, I’m pretty sure Obama was barely into his second term the last time this franchise was the least bit relevant!  GI Joe is just not a franchise I ever had any affection for even if the more ludicrous aspects of it seem right up my alley, and roping a guy like Henry Golding into the franchise when even The Rock couldn’t salvage it seemed like a lot of wasted time and effort.  Still, it was a movie that Paramount had enough faith in to move out of its original October timeslot to wait until crowds can enjoy it on the big screen which is either true confidence in a unique vision or panicked desperation to try and turn a profit on a hundred million dollar ninja movie.  Does this manage to elevate the franchise and generate enough good will to get a few more sequels out, or (much like the movie’s namesake) this was a really bad bet to go all in on?  Let’s find out!!

A lone drifter known only by his fighting name Snake Eyes (Henry Golding) is searching for his father’s killer but hasn’t had much luck of it and spends most of his time punching things and being alone.  He’s eventually recruited by the Yakuza with promises of finding the man he’s been hunting, but it doesn’t take long for that to go sideways as the boss Kenta (Takehiro Hira) wants him to prove his loyalty by killing a traitor.  Now Snake Eyes is a lot of things, most notably a guy with a silly name, but he is not a killer so he and the supposed traitor fight their way out and escape; only for Snake Eyes to learn that he hit the motherlode as the traitor Tommy (Andrew Koji) is actually the heir to the most powerful ninja family in Japan and is offering Snake Eyes a place among them.  This decision doesn’t sit well with everyone in Tommy’s clan, especially their head of security Akiko (Haruka Abe), but with the bad blood between Tommy and Kenta as well as the ever rising tide of terrorism and weapons in Japan (no doubt provided by an organization that likes to brand everything with snakes), Snake Eyes may just be the man they need to save the clan from the ever encroaching threats that wish to bring them to their knees.  Is Snake Eyes really willing to dedicate himself to such a cause; especially with his father’s murderer still out there?  What does Tommy see in this guy that has convinced him to make such a bold move, and is this a decision he will end up regretting once all the dice have been rolled?  Is it just me or is this WAY more interesting than it has any right to be?

Are we sure Paramount didn’t just sneak a Takashi Miike movie into theaters and slap the GI Joe name on it?  I mean it worked for Power Rangers, right?
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins”

Phenomenal Wrestling Podcast: Episode 6 (7-26-2021)

We’re running a bit behind, so thank you for your patience and thank you for listening! Is the Elite GM app worth getting? Did the main event of Fyter Fest Night 1 go too far? Let us know in the comments!

AEW All Elite GM App – First Impressions [00:25 – 08:01]
AEW Dynamite (7/14/2021) [08:02 – 44:39]
Ric Flair Vs. Jay Lethal – Woo-Off [44:40 – 51:50]

My co-host Ryan can be found at the links below!
https://www.twitch.tv/profhandsome
https://twitter.com/ProfHandsome_

Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #42

Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America

So after catching up on an issue that came out last month, I can look downright timely by reviewing an issue that’s just under a week old, right?  Sure, I like to get these things out within DAYS of their release, but with so much going on with the website (not the least of which being my WRESTLING PODCAST WHICH YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO RIGHT AFTER FINISHING THIS!), the latest issue just kinda flew under the radar for me.  I’ll make sure to do better next time (which is the same promise I made for half a dozen other projects I was working on) but for now let’s see where this whole Deadly Six storyline is going!  Do they find an interesting direction to take this storyline after the less than stellar opening chapter, or will this arc be one giant bore from start to finish?  Let’s find out!!

The issue begins with everyone in place for the upcoming Zeti attack as The Chaotix are in Sunset City, Tails is in Central City, and Sonic is in Winterberg; all of which are names you PROBABLY shouldn’t give to a city.  Sunset City sounds like where Michael Bay films his movies, Central City will always be a relative concept, and what the heck do you do with a town called Winterberg in the summer months?  Does it change its name to Heatville!?  Now the last issue was a lot of exposition to simply explain why characters are in certain locations without any really interesting dialogue or clear character motivations.  Right off the bat things are much better here as Tails is working on a plan to stop the Zeti when found and Sonic is in a somewhat dark mood despite doing his best to chillax before whatever big fight is upon them.  It helps with investing us in the struggle itself because of how it affects the characters who are stuck in the middle of it, and since we know things are gonna go wrong as this is all a ruse set up by the Zeti there will no doubt be some high emotional stakes once things hit the fan.

“The one thing I can’t outrun is my own hatred for the Deadly Six. It’s such a silly and awkward name too! DANG IT, they suck!”
Continue reading “Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #42”

Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #41

Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America

Now I reviewed the fortieth issue of this series back in June and was like, WELL THAT’S IT FOR SONIC THIS MONTH!  Little did I know that a mere ONE WEEK after that issue came out that the next issue was released, which is on me I suppose but why did IDW do that!?  We needed four months to tell the Matrix rip off story arc, but there was just no time to lose when in getting a new Zeti storyline started?  In any case, I’m here now ready to take a look at this issue and I sure as heck will be covering the next issue as well which came out only a few days ago, so look forward to that as well if you haven’t already moved on from it!  Is this the start of a fun new story arc, or are the Zeti as uninteresting here as they were when they got shoehorned into the Zombat saga?  Let’s find out!!

 The issue begins as almost all Sonic stories do with Sonic and Eggman in the latest of their battles to the death where neither side truly wins or loses for that would require altering the status quo and let’s face it; neither one of them would know what to do with themselves without the other to spur them on.  Well okay, that’s not EXACTLY what’s going on here but in my defense we’re entering this scene in-media-res and so what other conclusions are there to draw?  Eggman is ACTUALLY looking for the Zeti as Zavok attacked one of his web servers (Bad Guys Issue 3), but I’m not sure how razing a town to the ground in a giant mech is going to help him find the guy so Sonic seems well within his rights to try and stop him!

Yeah, well you didn’t stab Mr. Tinker in the head when you had the chance AND you let Metal Sonic go instead of turning him into scrap metal, so I think the chicken/egg argument here lands on YOUR tiny blue shoulders, buddy!
Continue reading “Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #41”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (07-21-2021) – Fyter Fest Night 2

AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

We’re back for night two of AEW’S Fyter Fest special event which comes right after their Road Rager event and will most assuredly be followed by like five other events.  Well you can hardly blame them for trying to make every episode feel like something monumental will happen since they’re still establishing themselves on the road, and to their credit they have been stacking these shows with a lot of great matches!  Will that trend continue for this episode, or are they about to run out of gas?  Let’s find out!!

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Chris Jericho Vs. Shawn Spears – First Labor of Jericho

Shawn Spears can use a chair but Chris Jericho cannot

MJF is on commentary

The idea of Jericho having to face four opponents in wacky stipulation matches before getting a crack at the biggest snot nosed heel at the company is the kind of booking I like to see and is also exactly what you want to do if you’re looking for something other than a title chase to get fans invested.  We’re certainly starting things off well with MJF’s obnoxious commentary and Shawn Spears coming out with a personalized chair that he uses to menace Jericho with, but it’s not long before he gets it away from them and gets a strong lead in the match.  It’s not until Jericho tries for a Springboard Forearm that Spears surprises him with a chair to the face and from there the match is a lot more even between them.  Jericho would get some momentum, but then Spears would stop him in his tracks with either a big move or another chair shot which kept the crowd on edge and they popped big time whenever Jericho gets control again.  At some point, Spears wedges a chair into one of the corners with the intent of throwing Jericho into it, but Jericho manages to fight back and puts Spears in the Walls of Jericho.  Just a moment before Spears starts tapping out in the middle of the ring, Tully gets on the apron and distracts Ref Aubrey so that she doesn’t see the submission.  Sammy comes out to yank him off the apron, but it’s too late as Spears has crawled his way to a chair and manages to bash it over Jericho’s head to break the submission.  Seeing a chance at victory, Spears gets Jericho up on his shoulders for a C4 along with a chair to make it more painful, but Jericho escapes and shoves Spears into the chair that was wedged in the corner.  As Spears bounces back he eats a Judas Effect from Jericho and stays down for the three count; giving Jericho the win and passing the first of his Labors.  It was certainly a solid match to start the show with, and the gimmick added a lot to it; especially for the crowd who reacted to every chair shot with a chorus of boos and exploded with every comeback from Jericho with thunderous applause!

As soon as the match is over, MJF comes to the ramp to congratulate Jericho on his victory but to also admonish him for letting Sammy come to his rescue.  Because of such blatant interference (ignoring of course Tully’s involvement), he has declared that Jericho cannot have ANYONE ELSE come out during any more of his labors or else the deal is off.  I’m not sure if he can make changes like that since they already signed the contract, but in any case MJF also announces the NEXT challenge that Jericho will face.  It will be a No DQ match against none other than Nick Gage!  For those of you who don’t know (like me), he is a top star in the independent wrestling scene, and is perhaps most known for his hardcore style which on at least one occasion nearly killed him in the middle of a match.  I doubt Jericho, AEW, or TNT are gonna be okay with THAT kind of DQ match, but it should be interesting all the same!

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (07-21-2021) – Fyter Fest Night 2”

Cinema Dispatch: Old

Old and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan

M Night Shyamalan is far from my favorite filmmaker, but I’m always interested to see whatever it is he’s made whenever his name flashes by on a trailer with this film being no exception!  The conceit seemed decent enough in a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits sort of way which is definitely in his wheelhouse, but there was A LOT going on here that made this look both laughable and disturbing.  I guess that’s why we all keep giving him more and more chances as no matter how bad he burns us with movies like The Happening, Last Airbender, and After Earth, there’s always something to his thrillers that makes them unique among everything else that makes it to theaters.  Does he manage to knock it out of the park once again with this ghastly tale of time gone haywire, or will this tank so bad that he’ll have to make another low budget found footage movie as penance?  Let’s find out!!

A family of four with parents Guy and Prisca (Gael Garcia Bernal and Vicky Krieps) as well as the young kids Trent and Maddox (Emun Elliott and Embeth Davidtz) are vacationing at a resort THAT THEY JUST SO HAPPENED TO FIND ON THE INTERNET where they cater to your every need in the most beautiful tropical paradise you’ve ever seen!  Not only that, they have a secret beach that is PERFECT for spending a day at, so the four of them head out there along with another family of four (Rufus Sewell, Abbey Lee, Kathleen Chalfant, and Kyle Bailey) as well as a nice couple (Ken Leung and Nikki Amuka-Bird) to enjoy the day swimming relaxing!  Things go sideways fairly soon however as Trent finds a dead body which some mysterious guy who was already there (Aaron Pierre) seems to recognize, and not long after that the oldest among them start to get sick.  They try to leave but something is causing them to black out as soon as they try to step through the cavern that led them here, and to make matters worse the three kids all start to age rapidly.  Trent and Maddox (now played by Alex Wolff and Thomasin McKenzie) and reaching adulthood within hours and everyone who has a medical condition is getting worse and worse as the seemingly fast passage of time is leaving their conditions untreated to rampage through their bodies.  With only hours to go before the adults grow old enough to die from age alone, can they find a way to escape this beach before losing all the time they have left?  What possible reason could there be for the beach being this way, and why were they put there in the first place?  If they get out of this alive, do the kids get like twenty birthday presents in a day?

“I want a car.”     “CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS LATER!?”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Old”

Cinema Dispatch: Space Jam: A New Legacy

Space Jam: A New Legacy and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros

Directed by Malcolm D Lee

Nostalgia is a heck of a drug, isn’t it?  The original Space Jam is certainly a fondly remembered time capsule and it has some highlights to it like its strong animation and some bizarre asides that gave it a bit of flavor despite being such an obvious marketing tool.  It’s been over twenty years though and what worked for us back then may not capture the imagination of the “Youth” today, and frankly I couldn’t tell you if any of them have seen or even HEARD of that first movie unless it was shoved on them by their Millennial parents.  It seems the question that this movie seeks to answer (along with how to make your budget back with a simultaneous streaming and theater release) is whether you can both reheat old nostalgia while giving something new for next generation to attach themselves to.  Does this succeed in giving us the best of both worlds, or will spreading itself too thin leave nobody happy?  Let’s find out!!

LeBron James may be a worldwide superstar and really good basketball player, but his parenting skills leave something to be desired as his son Dom (Cedric Joe) isn’t really into basketball despite his dad insisting that he go to Basketball Camp this summer.  He’d much rather go to Video Game Camp which I think is what people started calling Computer Camp to trick youngsters into going, but he’s worried about telling his dad that he’d rather make games than play ball.  While all this tension is in the air, Warner Bros has called LeBron James over so that their algorithm named Al-G-Rhythm (Don Cheadle) can pitch… some sort of multimedia deal?  LeBron seems as confused as I am so he turns it down which OF COURSE makes good ol’ Al go full on Skynet and kidnap him and his son, and drag them both into cyberspace.  Since Al-G-Rhythm is a WB program, I guess he’s aware of what a success the original Space Jam movie was and so challenges him to a basketball game while he mentors Dom and nourishes his desire to make video games.  It’s up to LeBron to find the most suitable characters owned by WB to join his basketball team, or failing that the Looney Tunes characters led by Bugs Bunny (Jeff Bergman), and get his son back by winning a game of basketball!  Can LeBron bring the Toons back together who’ve long been separated while also bridging the gap between him and his son?  What is Al-G-Rhythm’s plans for Dom once he’s done making his game, and will it spell doom for his family?  Wait, why do they call it Space Jam when no one in this is from Space?  Shouldn’t it be Cyber Jam?

“This is it?  What, were the Loonatics busy?”     “I RESENT THAT, GOOD SIR!”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Space Jam: A New Legacy”

Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (07-14-2021) – Fyter Fest Night 1

AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

We’re back with another episode of AEW Road Trip as they are now traveling the country to put on shows in new and shiny stadiums!  The last episode certainly had its growing pains with a particularly unruly crowd, but they still managed to put in a great show with a lot of fun wrestling and even better story development.  Will that trend continue as they get their metaphorical sea legs over the coming weeks?  Let’s find out!!

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Jon Moxley Vs Karl Anderson – IWGP US Heavyweight Title Match

Moxley is accompanied to the ring by Eddie Kingston while Anderson is accompanied by Luke Gallows

In storyline, Moxley’s been out of action since the PPV where he took such a beating that he was not medically cleared.  Really, he wanted some time off since his daughter was born right around that time, but whatever the reason was, he’s back for this week at least and is sure to give us an AMAZING match… right?  Okay, so I kinda feel about this match the same way I felt about the Andrade match from last week; very good and not a bad way to bring someone back to the ring, but was not exactly what I wanted to see from the guy.  I hate to say it but Moxley looked a LITTLE bit rusty here with some not especially great selling and a pretty straightforward match that relies heavily on forearm strikes.  Anderson comes off a bit better with a more varied move set and some pretty impressive spots to try and turn the match in his favor, but there’s not much hope for the guy as Moxley never seems to be in genuine peril.  Fortunately it picks up speed in the second half with stronger moves from Moxley and a more desperate pace with Moxley eating a Pile Driver and a bevy of creative Cutters, but Moxley manages to stay in this and finally manages to finish of Anderson with a Paradigm Shift.  It was perfectly fine for an opening match, but it was lacking SOMETHING that would have made it a great title defense.  Kingston and Gallows are there at the beginning but they start brawling right away and are never seen again, so perhaps if they had stuck around and teased a few interference spots then maybe that would have added a little tension here, but in any case I thought this was just fine.

Continue reading “Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (07-14-2021) – Fyter Fest Night 1”

Cinema Dispatch: Escape Room: Tournament of Champions

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Adam Robitel

I have next to no memories of the first movie other than a general sense of loathing and contempt for its central premise and absurd ending. The whole thing just got memory-holed like so many bad horror movies I saw in theaters which I guess is an interesting position to be in when watching a sequel as the lack of concrete feelings definitely gives it a lot of leeway as far as trying new things; not to mention that the overall low opinion going into it only makes the bar that much easier to clear.  It’s certainly possible that whatever negativity I felt for the first film has burned itself out and I’ll be more open for whatever this Saw Knockoff franchise wants to throw at me, but then again the trailers weren’t exactly selling me on anything beyond elaborate traps and people yelling which certainly sounds familiar to what I didn’t like last time around. Besides, we don’t NEED a Saw Knockoff anymore now that they’ve brought the series back and aimed it in a new and interesting direction!  In any case, does this latest entry in the ESCAPE ROOM UNIVERSE expand upon the original and actually give us something interesting, or will this movie double down on everything that didn’t work the first time?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of the first film (which are helpfully summarized in a sequence that might as well have started with PREVIOUSLY ON ESCAPE ROOM), Zoey and Ben (Taylor Russell and Logan Miller) are still looking for the mysterious Minos corporation that set up the elaborate game from the first film and have seemingly set up games like this all over the place.  After some cajoling from Zoey, the two of them travel to New York which seems to be their base of operations but find nothing there except an empty alley and a purse snatcher.  Said purse snatcher grabs Zoey’s compass which I THINK was given to her by one of the characters in the first movie, and after an overly long chase through the streets of New York, they wind up on a subway car while the thief jumps out at the last second.  For reasons that are never properly explained, this subway car JUST SO HAPPENS to have four other passengers on it and they all get directed into another one of those deadly escape rooms.  ALSO as it turns out, the four other people are previous winners of one of Minos’s games which makes this (as one character helpfully says out loud) a tournament of champions.  Our previous winners are Rachel, Brianna, Nathan, and Theo (Holland Roden, Indya Moore, Thomas Cocquere, and Carlito Olivero), and all six of them have to go from room to room solving deadly puzzles for some nebulous goal and the chance to maybe not get murdered, though with Zoey and Ben hot on Minos’s heels it seems unlikely that this game is just gonna swing open the doors for them even if they manage to find the right number of keys in a fish tank or whatever.  Will Minos finally be brought down by the very champions that they’ve created, or will everyone be out for themselves in a desperate bid for survival?  Is there more to this game than they first realize, or are the Shyamalan twists in this thing easy to spot from a mile away?  Does any of it even matter when the game is apparently being run by money wizards that can literally do anything at any time with these nonsensical traps? 

“I KNOW THIS ONE! It’s a selfie challenge!” *CLICK* “Okay, maybe not.”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Escape Room: Tournament of Champions”

Twenty Years of Halo: Helljumpers & Blood Line

Artwork by Usbaia and cawico7

The Halo franchise is owned by Xbox Game Studios

Both books were published by Marvel Comics

Apologizes for this piece being as late as it is.  I’ve been working on other projects like my new wrestling podcast as well as seeing more movies now that studios are willing to put them out in theaters, so the retrospective fell a bit to the wayside.  I’ll try to get it back on track though and we’ve certainly got some interesting things to look forward to now that the original trilogy is over and the series has to find new ways to keep fans invested.  To that end, we’ll be looking at two books that were released within months of each other and have some very interesting parallels as both are essentially the same Halo story we’ve seen before; a colony is attacked by The Covenant because there’s some sort of Forerunner artifact or weapon on it that they want, and now the UNSC has to send either a bunch of Spartans or a bunch of ODST to sort it out.  What’s perhaps just as interesting is that, at least as far as I can tell, there was no drama or overlong delays in the production of these books, so in a way they are the first of these to come out firing on all cylinders; created as intended with the utmost professionalism, unlike some OTHER books I can mention *COUGH* Halo: Uprising *COUGH*!  Which one does it better, and what can we learn from how each tackle this kind of story differently?  Let’s find out!

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Halo: Helljumper (Comic Book) – 2009

Written by Peter David with art and lettering by Eric Nguyen and Nate Piekos

Our first book follows a group of ODST soldiers as they investigate a colony where everyone has mysteriously disappeared!  Said mystery lasts for maybe five pages into the second issue before it’s revealed that The Covenant are up to something and are crawling all over the place, and so it’s up to Dutch and Romeo to find out what’s going on, put an end to The Covenant’s plan, and explore the depth of their bromance in an effort save the galaxy!  For a lot of people who were casual fans like myself, I’m sure their first exposure to the concept of ODST was in the game that Bungie put out not long after this comic book was released and I always thought they were more of a stealth unit who cleaned up and reported on things after the fighting already happened.  It didn’t take long though for that notion to be dissuaded as even in the very first Halo novel they are portrayed as brash over the top machismo-tastic soldier bros (and bro-ettes) who are basically Spartans without the Super Soldier Serum and with the Walmart brand version of Mjolnir armor.  The most obvious comparison are the Colonial Marines in the movie Aliens and the book starts off as brash and obnoxious as they were in that film with the crucial difference being that they are the protagonists here and not someone more relatable like Ripley.  When we’re only a few pages in and dudes are getting into fights over nothing, well I don’t consider that much of a good sign.

“Van Halen 3 was NOT a bad album!  Critics just didn’t understand it!”     “Whatever man, it was too dang long!”     “REAL ART DOESN’T ABIDE BY YOUR PEDESTRIAN IDEAS OF SONG LENGTH!!”
Continue reading “Twenty Years of Halo: Helljumpers & Blood Line”