Categories
Horror Movies Reviews

Summer of Spooks Review–Riki-Oh: The Wall of Hell (1989)

Hard to find a clear version of the poster.

I am featuring Riki-Oh on the Summer of Spooks because it is a gruesome anime OVA. It is violent and it doesn’t hold back with its brutality. Riki-Oh began as a manga series that ran from 1987 to 1990. The manga series spawned two anime OVAs as well as a live-action film that released in 1991. Originally, my intention was to review the live-action film that’s titled, Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky. The film is a cult classic that’s not available anywhere. Prime Video, Crackle, and Shudder advertise that they have the film on their sites. After checking, the film is unavailable. The film is on YouTube, but the quality is poor. For now, I’m going to review the two OVAS until I can get a copy of the live-action film. I’m going to review The Wall of Hell (first OVA) today and save The Child of Destruction (second OVA) for a later date. These OVAs are available on YouTube with good quality.

The first OVA is directed by Satoshi Dezaki. The short film begins in a post-apocalyptic Japan that has been ravaged by warfare and global warming. We are introduced to Riki-Oh, who seems to be a homeless lone wolf. A car filled with yakuza members are driving down a road, then Riki-Oh absolutely destroys them with his fists. He literally punches a guy’s jaw off and we are able to see this grotesque feat. As we see later on, Riki-Oh intentionally killed these yakuza members in order to get sent to this prison facility. The prison facility is ran by corrupt leaders who secretly run an opium farm for profit. The leaders have certain prisoners who run their own section of the jail. The leaders and evil prisoners try to prevent Riki-Oh from getting his revenge on the chairman of the prison. However, they are not able to stop Riki-Oh and his superhuman abilities.

Riki-Oh in the opening scene.

This OVA is not for the faint of heart. Riki-Oh destroys these vile prisoners with absolute ease and gory kill sequences. He literally punches a man so hard that the man’s guts explode out of his stomach. I feel like this anime perhaps inspired Mortal Kombat and One-Punch Man. Its influence is clearly felt in the subjects that I mentioned above. There are also very innocent people in this story that meet a doom that they don’t deserve. One of them is a child, so be prepared for how twisted this story is.

The anime short does give Riki-Oh an interesting story arc that makes him this mysterious character similar to Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive or Clint Eastwood’s character in High Plains Drifter. The story clearly explains why Riki-Oh is at the prison. He’s there for revenge. However, the mystery is what Riki-Oh was up to for two years. He was a star student and a brilliant musician. Before college entrance exams, he falls off the face of the earth, then pops up at the prison. The mystery is up for interpretation for viewers. It feels as if Riki-Oh has become this being of vengeance, who’s looking to cleanse the evil in the streets of Japan.

To conclude, Riki-Oh: The Wall of Hell is a brief, yet entertaining anime story. I can’t wait to watch the second OVA to see Riki-Oh’s story continued. I recommend the OVA for martial arts fans and fighting game fans. If you like gore too, check this out.

Overall rating: 3.5/5.

Categories
Movies Reviews

Sci-Fi Review: Geostorm (2017)

Directed by Dean Devlin. Written by Dean Devlin and Paul Guyot. Starring Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Andy Garcia, and Ed Harris.

The Spring of Sci-Fi Review #8

Geostorm is a disaster film that tries to be epic in its scale. Unfortunately, it falls flat. Gerard Butler stars as Jake Lawson, who’s a scientist that has crafted a satellite system that can control the weather on a global scale. The system, called “Dutch Boy,” was developed after the world was hit by several deadly storms that terrorized the planet. The weather system begins to go rogue and satellites start attacking the earth via the weather. Lawson has to figure out who caused the system to go haywire and why they caused the system to do so in order to save the world.

The writing is poorly done in Geostorm as the characters are uninteresting and one-dimensional. The performances by the actors lack any emotional depth. I couldn’t connect with Jake Lawson or any of the supporting cast. The filmmakers tried to craft a sibling rivalry between Jake Lawson and Max Lawson (Jim Sturgess). It’s a sibling rivalry that fails to catch any attention as Butler and Sturgess have no chemistry with one another. Since the film fails at connecting the audience to Jake Lawson, it makes it hard to care about the character saving the day or not. The film also struggles with its final act’s countdown sequence. It keeps showing a timer that lets the audience know when the geostorm will hit. The geostorm is literally happening when the timer is ticking down. It hits and destroys several cities during the timing sequence. The timer is utterly useless.

Another flaw of the film is the special effects. They’re poorly generated and crafted. There’s one sequence where the effects are horrendous, but it did manage to make me laugh. It’s when the geostorm is starting to take shape across the world. The film shows hail, the size of icebergs, hitting the earth. I laughed at the absolute absurdity of how it looked on-screen. It was like Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat having a reign of terror on the human population.

The film’s not a mystery like it aspires to be. It’s not hard to determine who is the cause of the problem. I took a guess at who it was in the beginning of the film and I was right by the end. The antagonist’s reason for triggering these storms is stupid and unnecessary. It’s the typical selfish reason of wanting to control the world.

Geostorm is a lazy attempt at making a sci-fi epic. It clearly draws inspiration from previous disaster flicks. There’s never a sense of true urgency in this film. When we can’t connect with the characters, we’re not gonna care. I wish a tornado would’ve blown my ass away while watching this.

Overall rating: 1.5/5.

Categories
Movies

Noirvember Reviews: The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Directed and written by John Huston. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Peter Lorre.

The Maltese Falcon is based on the novel of the same name from author Dashiell Hammet. The Maltese Falcon is considered to be one of the greatest films of all-time and one of the top noir films of all-time. The film is a beautiful tale of mystery with an amazing cast. Humphrey Bogart stars as Sam Spade, who is a hard-boiled detective that is keen on the morals of the people that surround him. After the arrival of the seductive Miss Wonderly (Mary Astor), Spade gets trapped into a web of crime that follows a valuable object called the Maltese falcon.

John Huston (director) does a tremendous job getting viewers emotionally invested in this film. No matter how tough Bogart plays Sam Spade, there is always a sense of urgency that Spade could be killed by these criminals. Mary Astor is perfect playing the innocent woman, who has a sinister side. Bogart and Astor have chemistry together. Bogart, with his facial expressions, shows that Spade finds Miss Wonderly beautiful, but that she is not to be trusted. Spade isn’t going to play her games.

A black-and-white San Francisco is alluring to the eyes. Huston paints the city with a steady brush. Huston lets viewers know the city is a jewel with evil that lurks in the night. A private eye in the city will always be watching their back. Spade’s office at night features a skyline of San Franciscan buildings lit perfectly with white, illuminated bulbs highlighting certain businesses. It’s a gorgeous shot that lights up the black sky.

The film is an exhilarating portrayal of how far people will go for riches and rarities. Greed is influential to the point that people will travel the earth to get wealthy. Spade is a hero that never falters. No one can bribe him or persuade him into helping with their messy schemes. He never falls for the stuff that dreams are made of.

Overall rating: 5/5.

Categories
DCAU Movies

DC Showcase- Jonah Hex

DC Comics and Warner Brothers Animation have released several DC animated movies. With a few of the movies, DC will throw in an animated short with the movie as an extra feature. I’m going to talk about the short that came with Batman: Under The Red Hood. The short features wild west gunslinger Jonah Hex. Thomas Jane stars as the facially scarred cowboy.

The plot begins with a mysterious drifter coming to a western town. He enters the bar, demands a drink, and goes upstairs with one of the prostitutes. The drifter is played by Michael Rooker, who starred as Yondu in the Guardians of the Galaxy films. His voice…just doesn’t fit a cowboy character. Also, this short isn’t worth his time as the prostitute, Madame Lorraine, kills Rooker’s drifter character off immediately. The scene is to establish that Lorraine is a sneaky villain, who happens to be attractive. She’s a killer using her saloon to hide her true intentions. Lorraine is played by Linda Hamilton, who people may know from The Terminator franchise.

Lorraine with the drifter.

In the next scene, Jonah Hex rides into the same town as now it has become daytime. Hex strolls up to the bar where Lorraine operates. A punk kid shows up telling Hex that he could take Hex out in a duel. Hex lays the punk out by swinging the bottom of his rifle at him. Thomas Jane delivers his first lines here, which are brief. His voice is deep, going for a gravelly tone. It sounds similar to his voice when he played Frank Castle in The Punisher.

Hex.

After getting rid of the punk, Hex walks into the bar with everyone’s eyes on him. He tells the bartender that he’s looking for a man named Red. Red happens to be the name of the drifter that Lorraine killed the night before. Hex pays a prostitute who tells him all about Lorraine, then the prostitute leaves town. Hex buys everyone in the bar a round, which catches the attention of Lorraine. Lorraine takes Hex upstairs to kill him, but it doesn’t work. Hex fights off her two henchmen along with her. After getting rid of the henchmen, Hex demands Lorraine to take him to Red’s dead body so he can claim the bounty. Lorraine takes him to a huge hole in the ground where she dumps her victims. Hex and Lorraine get to the bottom of the hole via ropes. Hex gets the dead body, escaping with a rope. He withdraws the other rope and abandons Lorraine in the dark hole to die.

This short is straightforward. It’s a simple, predictable plot. I did enjoy Lorraine as the antagonist. There isn’t enough screen time for her to truly flex her muscles as a villain. She seems like she could be formidable. I digged the animation along with the dark colors of the film. It gives the movie a gothic, eerie tone. I recommend hardcore DC fans to watch it.