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Posts Tagged ‘action’

Angel

This is a spinoff from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer tv series, starring Buffy’s on-again/off-again boyfriend, the vampire Angel.  He goes on his own journey, completing quests and fighting evil.  Right from the start, the show has a darker tone than Buffy started out with, but that’s to be expected.  There are plenty of lighter, more fun moments, and the characters really stand out as separate entities.  Once again, the earliest couple of seasons are the best, but there are standout episodes throughout the five seasons.  The finale isn’t satisfying, however.  Buffy got a proper, if not happy, ending, but Angel gets none of that.  There are a couple of production reasons for this, but they’re not important.  Having gone through the whole thing, I would be sorely tempted to skip the ending and quit two or three seasons before I even get there, just to avoid the annoying parts.  That being said, there are still redeeming qualities in the show right up to the end, so it’s a toss-up.

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The tv series.  Completely different from the movie, this one is darker, more serious, and more realistic.  It touches on heavy psychological and philosophical questions while inserting some lighthearted humor here and there.  The characters are sympathetic and touching, and the acting is leagues ahead of the movie.  It grows darker with each season, however, eventually landing somewhere in an extremely depressive state.  Happiness is always just out of reach, and characters outside of the core group often die.  The wordplay is more clever and fun, and the pacing is exciting without ever getting too fast-paced.  There is much to recommend this version, especially if you have the patience for its length.  Even in the darkest hours of the final seasons, there are fun and unusual storylines.  My favorite episodes reside in the first couple of seasons, but I can still pick out good ones throughout the show.

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The movie is a different animal than the tv series.  It must be judged separately.  On that note, it’s almost a dark comedy about a slayer of vampires trying to deal with growing up and high school while learning about her destiny.  It’s fun and funny, and there are a lot of good and memorable moments.  Unfortunately, the acting doesn’t always measure up, and the rampant stereotypes get a little tiring after a while.  The whole thing has a very late ’80s, early ’90s feel to it, and that’s great if you’re feeling nostalgic.  It’s meant to make fun of a lot of things from that era, and it does, but it also falls short now and then, not really ever sure if it’s being serious or not.  If you can immerse yourself in the goofiness and humor, though, it’s delightful.

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Broken Arrow

This straight-up action flick is great mindless entertainment.  That’s not to say it’s stupid.  There are a couple of minor plot holes and some science issues that aren’t accurately portrayed, but the characters are smart, and there’s lots of real-life military jargon and strategy.  The acting is good but not great, the plot is interesting but not profound.  The action and excitement is pretty much top-notch, though.  Hunting down a couple of missing nuclear weapons and the men who stole them will guarantee that.  There’s only one female character in the entire movie, which is annoying and ridiculous, but she holds her own pretty well and doesn’t dress or pose like a stripper, so that’s something.  Also, her romantic involvement with the protagonist is only hinted at in the end, instead of presenting her lips like a trophy.  She does as much to save the day as he does, and the physical attraction between them is hinted at in their first meeting but never delved into.  Much more realistic under the high-stress circumstances than what you see in most movies.  A sequel could have been nice, but that ship has long sailed.  If you’re a fan of Christian Slater, he’s at his Christian Slater-est in this one, and John Travolta does an excellent job in his role, which I can’t say about every movie I’ve seen him in.  So whether you’re a fan of the actors or of faux military stuff, you’ll like this one.

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Birds of Prey

This tv series looked at Batgirl’s life as Oracle, working with Huntress and the daughter of Black Canary.  It’s mostly campy fun in a very comic book style.  There’s plenty of action, some mystery, and the acting is good, if not always great.  There are a few other characters from the comics mixed in, but the storylines often fudge the details of the original plots.  The main focus seems to be girl power, although plenty of mistakes are made in that arena.  The women all dress like they’re trying to attract men at the club, even when it’s not useful for the line of work they’re in.  And each episode is introduced by Alfred, as if it’s not possible to tell a story about female superheroes without it being framed by a man.  Mostly, though, it’s lots of fun, and it is refreshing to see lesser known characters getting some attention.  It’s a pity it only lasted one season and never got the chance to grow.  Worth a look if you’re already a fan of the characters or just love dark superhero stories.

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This movie really shows its age.  Full of offensive stereotypes and cheesy humor, even its actors can’t seem to bring themselves to put any effort into their roles.  It’s mindless action and little more.  The casual racism is everywhere, and the comedy is lame and full of terrible puns that mostly make fun of Chinese language and culture.  The effects are pretty good for a movie from the mid-’80s, but that’s pretty much the only thing to recommend it.  If you like kung fu movies but thought that they needed less character development and a more cliche plot, this is a film for you.

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The Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy is a horse of a different color when compared to other incarnations.  Its heavier psychological tone is not for everyone, but it’s still chock full of fun, fast-paced action sequences.  Christian Bale is not the best Batman or Bruce Wayne that I’ve ever seen, but he’s passable.  The three movies tell a cohesive, compelling story, and most of the acting from the rest of the cast is great.  The first movie sets everything up and introduces us to Batman’s motivations and a villain who has a cameo in the other two films.  The second movie is dominated largely by Heath Ledger’s Joker and with good reason.  He is strange and unique and absolutely captivating.  This is, in my opinion, the best of the three films.  In the third movie, we meet two more villains, although Catwoman tends to serve more as a comic foil/helper/plot device, as well as a surprise villain at the end.  The end of Batman’s story might be a bit disappointing to fans who wanted more, but it feels complete, as if everything has come full circle.  I could debate specific points, but instead, I’ll say that the only one I agree with is the lack of focus.  They tried to cram too much into one movie and ended up making certain plot points and characters feel two-dimensional and incidental.  My other complaint would be that they had the perfect setup at the end for more in the series, particularly a Robin or Nightwing spinoff, but the whole thing was abandoned.  All in all, it’s a solid series with plenty of plotholes and plenty of excitement.  It has depth and feeling but also enough action to distract you from that.  It’s a great outing for the Bat and his fans.

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