Outcast: 'A Darkness Surrounds Him' Review

Robert Kirkman's latest show gets off to a flawed start.

Confirmed: John Boyega to Star in 'Pacific Rim 2'

Boyega joins the sequel hot off the success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Box Office: Ninja Turtles 2 Suffers in Anti-Sequel Summer

TMNT 2 is the latest sequel to bring in some disappointing numbers.

Review: Eye in the Sky

Gavin Hood's military drama is an impressive achievement.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Resident Evil: Retribution Review

The Resident Evil film series has received a hostile reception from critics since its birth in 2002, but personally, I haven't had a huge problem with the series. That being said though, even I found little to love in this fifth instalment - which is by far the weakest of the bunch so far.

Resident Evil: Retribution continues to follow the story of Alice and her quest to destroy the evil Umbrella Corporation, who are responsible for releasing a virus on the planet which turns people into zombies and has turned Earth into an apocalyptic wasteland.
The film opens where the last left off with Umbrella attacking the "Arcadia" ship that was supposedly a safe place for survivors, but was in fact an Umbrella trap.

After enjoying the last film I was looking forward to seeing how this film would continue the story, especially considering Afterlife's cliffhanger ending. Unfortunately, the story is where this film really falls short.
Alice is taken captive in an Umbrella facility and has to fight her way out with help from returning character Luther, Leon S. Kennedy (a character from the games making his live-action debut), and a couple of other people who are just there to get killed.
Meanwhile, Jill Valentine (now brainwashed into working for Umbrella), as well as a team of returning characters including Rain, One, and Carlos (who all have died in previous movies, but have been cloned by Umbrella), are tracking Alice and co. down to eliminate them.

Our Video Review

The story is insultingly simple, and by the time the credits are rolling it feels like it has made little difference to the series as a whole. One thing you could say is that this movie is the one that is most like a videogame out of the whole series - It's basically just one boss fight after another. But while these are fun to watch at first, you start to wonder what the point of this movie really was.

The Resident Evil films have always really been about cool fight scenes, but there has been some story and character-work mixed in as well. Not so here - this film is literally fight scene after fight scene, and while the ending - which is another cliffhanger - does set up a cool premise for the sixth (and possibly final) film, you can't help but think that it shouldn't have taken an hour and a half to get to that point.

It turns out sinister looks are all it takes to survive in this universe...
And if it's not enough that the plot is incredibly basic, it's also filled with glaring plot holes. How the hell did Wesker survive the events of the last film. It's never explained, never even touched upon. Not to mention that  the main characters from the last film (Chris and Clare Redfield, K-Mart) are mentioned once, but never seen in this film. Which begs the question, what happened to them?
It just all seems incredibly strange that writer Paul W.S. Anderson would pass up answering such vital questions.

Something that perhaps makes the weak plot even worse is the acting. Now Milla Jovovich has been the driving force of this series not because her character's the coolest, but also because she's actually a talented actor. She continues that trend here, but unfortunately she's practically alone as it seems like nobody else was even trying.
Boris Kodjoe isn't terrible, but doesn't seem to put in as much effort here as he did in Afterlife. On the other hand Bingbing Li and Johann Urb are just awful as Ada Wong and Leon S. Kennedy respectively. The way they deliver there lines is emotionless, and that's really disappointing as these are two characters who are popular in the Resident Evil games.

But lets try to look at the positive now. The aforementioned fight scenes may get boring when there's little to no story attached, but they still deliver some cool moments. The return of the Axemen was a welcome surprise, and the car chase across Moscow was another exciting piece.

Additionally, this is another film in the series to have some cool visual effects. Whether it's a CGI Umbrella monstrosity or the sight of a famous city being destroyed, there are some impressive scenes in this movie.
The use of 3D - despite being gimmicky - was an entertaining addition to this movie as well. Having knives and bullets fly at the screen isn't the most original use of 3D, but it still offers some fun moments.

Overall then if you like cool fight scenes then there is fun to be had here. Just don't go in expecting much of a story, or even any decent scares. If you liked the previous Resident Evil movies chances are you'll enjoy this one too, but its hard to deny just how many flaws the film has, which together make it a big disappointment.
David Craig is the creator of TEN and is already preparing for the real zombie apocalypse which will have significantly less attractive women. He's new to Twitter so follow him here, to find out where he's hiding the weapons and ammunition.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Doctor Who: "The Angels Take Manhattan" Review

Aside from the opening episode of this series of Doctor Who, I won't lie - I've been disappointed. "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" was a little too light-hearted for me. Don't get me wrong, I know Doctor Who isn't meant to be serious, but I just found that one a little too far-fetched.
"A Town Called Mercy" was just plain boring, and "The Power of Three" was promising but had a rushed ending.

However, this episode was awesome.

"The Angels Take Manhattan" is the last adventure for Amy and Rory, and so I was worried that it would be an underwhelming end to their time with the Doctor. I really shouldn't have been. This episode is definitely the strongest of the series so far, and is touching farewell to two of the Doctor's most memorable companions yet.

As the title suggests this episode sees the return of the fan-favourite Weeping Angels. Taking place in Manhattan things start off a cheery affair for the Doctor and co. But within the blink of an eye (get it?), things start going from bad to worse for our time travelling friends.

One thing I haven't enjoyed with previous episodes of the new series (again, excluding the first episode), is that the stories have seemed overly simple. So much so that they struggled to keep my attention. Not so here! In this episode writer Steven Moffat really pulled off a smart, emotional tale which kept me on the edge of my seat for the duration.
I was worried that maybe things were getting a little too complicated at one point, and there are a few little things left unanswered like what happened to the guy collecting the statues? Why was the American guy at the opening of the episode significant? But for the most part Moffat tied everything together in the end - kudos for that.

Of course a great script cannot work without some great actors. The regular cast of Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Arthur Darvill fill that space - joined by Alex Kingston reprising her role as River Song.
This talented group continue to have great chemistry, and all deliver great performances from start to finish. I'm trying not to spoil the ending if you have not yet seen this episode, but I have to say that they all really did do well at the ending which turned into quite a tear-jerker.

So that's all for Doctor Who until Christmas! Thankfully it went out with a bang. I started this review telling you how disappointed I was with the current series of Who. But I'm finishing saying that this episode alone has got me excited for the rest of the series this Winter. "The Angels Take Manhattan" is a fantastic episode, not only the best of this series, but also one of the best episodes I've seen in a long time.

It's a worthy end to Amy and Rory's adventures and a must see for any Who-fan.
What did you think of this episode? Let us know by commenting below!
David Craig has loved Doctor Who since a child and definitely did not cry at the end of this episode. He's new to Twitter, so follow him here and show him some love.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Borderlands 2 Shoots Down Sleeping Dogs!

Borderlands 2 has knocked Sleeping Dogs from the UK No. 1 spot, pushing it down to No. 4 - while also becoming the biggest game launch of the year so far. While this prestigious title will likely belong to Black Ops 2 by the end of the year - it's still a big deal.
What's even more impressive is that the original Borderlands peaked at No. 7 when it was released in 2009 - the sequel's launch week has outdone the original 4 to 1.

But Borderlands 2 wasn't the only big release this week. With Summer officially over, game publishers have decided to start releasing games again! Other new entries this week include F1 2012 at No. 2, and Pro Evolution Soccer at No. 3. The football sim has struggled against the rival FIFA series for quite some time now, and while this is a strong debut, it seems likely it will be beaten once again this year.

The final new entry this week was LittleBigPlanet Vita. It's the biggest debut for a non-launch week Vita title yet, and according to all sources it's a great game - so if your Vita's gathering dust then this could be for you.

And if your still on the fence about buying a Vita, then check out our in-depth review here!

Planning on buying any of this week's games? Comment below, and let us know.

Here's the top 10 in full (All Formats, All Prices):

1. (-) Borderlands 2
2. (-) F1 2012
3. (-) Pro Evolution Soccer 2013
4. (1) Sleeping Dogs
5. (3) Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
6. (-) LittleBigPlanet Vita
7. (4) New Super Mario Bros. 2
8. (2) Tekken Tag Tournament 2
9. (7) Guild Wars 2
10. (10) Max Payne 3

Monday, 10 September 2012

Total Recall (2012) Review

Total Recall is a remake of the 1990 Schwarzenegger film of the same name. Before I get into this review, I want to make it clear that I haven't seen the original movie. If you have, your opinion of this remake may slightly differ from mine - but anyway, here's what I thought:

The first thing I want to say about this movie is that it looks great. It's right up there with The Avengers and Prometheus when it comes to films with awesome visual effects. The creators did a good job creating two futuristic cities and I felt like they'd put effort into making it as detailed as possible.

But, visual effects aside, what's the actual movie like? Well it's a mixed bag.

Beckinsale puts in a good performance here
On one hand you've got a surprisingly good cast. I was worried Colin Farrell wouldn't be able to carry an action movie since the last I saw him in was Daredevil, thankfully, he's fine in this. He may not have the build of the Schwarzenegger but he still manages to pull of some cool stunts here.
Then there's the two ladies in Douglas Quaid's (Farrell's character's) life, played by Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel. There both good in their roles, but you can't help but notice just how much more badass Beckinsale's character is in comparison to Biel's.

Then there's the setpieces, and there's a lot of cool action in here. Whether it's gunfights, one-on-one combat or car chases - Total Recall is an exciting ride.

But, it is flawed. Firstly, you can tell that sacrifices were made to get this film it's PG-13 (or 12A for UK readers) rating. It's made pretty clear that "shit" is the rudest word you can say when going for that rating, but the writers seemed to think that saying it a few times in nearly every scene would make up for it. Needless to say it ended up getting a little distracting and near comical.

Then there's the fact that no matter what happens to them, the people in the Total Recall universe don't seem to bleed much at all. It's impressive really. These little things aren't major problems, but they're hard to miss when watching the movie.

Something that is more of a problem however is the story itself. The exposition of who Douglas Quaid is, is handled poorly and I found myself with a lot of questions by the end of the movie.
A bigger problem though may be that the story just isn't particularly compelling. Maybe I'm just a heartless monster, but in my opinion the movie just didn't spend enough time explaining the consequences that the "bad guys'" actions might cause. Because of this I found it hard to immerse myself fully in the story, and by the end I wasn't really rooting for anyone which made it a bit less fun to watch.

But, Total Recall isn't bad. For those of you looking for a fun, sci-fi movie in this time period where not much seems to be coming out - this is probably for you. The story may be a bit weak, but there's enough action to keep things entertaining. This is helped along also by the cast.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Punisher #15 Review

There's now just one more month until this superb Punisher series ends, with Frank Castle's story finally ending (for now) with Punisher: War Zone - a 5-issue limited series concluding this series' story.

This issue sees the aftermath of The Punisher and Rachel Cole-Alves assassination mission, with The Exchange's Christian Poulsen looking to avenge the death of his partner. The issue is action-packed, with a particularly chaotic finale.
Although I can't help but think that those final few pages would have had a larger impact had they been easier to follow, because I found myself getting lost. After a couple of re-reads I did manage to get a better idea of the events, but by then things just didn't seem quite as awesome.

But this is a minor complaint. Those last few pages aside, this issue is riveting stuff. Helped along not only by Greg Rucka's great writing, but also Marco Checchetto's flawless art. He was truly born to draw this series, as usual his art is beautiful here.

In the end, The Punisher #15 is another great entry into a series that will be very missed. My issues with the final pages aside, there's not much that Rucka and Checchetto do wrong here. I you've been reading the Punisher up until now, this is an issue you don;t want to miss out on.