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A.P. Fuchs, author of The Axiom-man Saga "www.canisterx.com"

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The Amazing Spider-Man [Blu-ray] [2012] [US Import]
The Amazing Spider-Man [Blu-ray] [2012] [US Import]
Dvd ~ Andrew Garfield
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: 10.17

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Reboot with Big Things to Come, 13 Nov 2013
After getting bitten by a genetically-modified spider, teenager Peter Parker discovers he has spider-like abilities. However, after looking into his past, he meets Dr. Conors and becomes the scientist's pupil. When Peter's uncle is murdered in cold blood, he uses his new spider abilities to try and track down the killer and ends up creating an alternate identity in the process. Meanwhile, Dr. Conors's own limb-regeneration experiments goes haywire and the good doctor is transformed into a giant lizard. Peter, now under the identity of Spider-Man, takes it upon himself to stop the Lizard at all costs before others get hurt.

When I first heard they were rebooting Spider-Man, I was like, "Come on, really? You just did that in the movies, the cartoons, in the comics . . ." It seems Spider-Man has only one story to tell: his origin. They keep doing it, after all.

But I got something more than that in The Amazing Spider-Man and I was won over. While I enjoyed the Raimi films on the whole, this one seemed more comic book Spider-Man to me as they dialed back the clock all the way to his childhood and got a bit more into Peter Parker's (Andrew Garfield's) parents' history, introduced Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and went with a villain that fans have been itching to see ever since his civilian identity was mentioned back in the 2002 Spider-Man movie: Dr. Conors aka the Lizard (Rhys Ifans). While Spidey's origin stayed true to its main components--getting bitten by a spider, Peter Parker as a student, the tragic death of Uncle Ben--they modernized it a bit and seemed to suggest that, kind of like in the 2003 Hulk movie, our hero's destiny was mapped out for him many years before. This part I wasn't too keen on, to be honest, nor was I big on how the Peter Parker side of things was done: pretty cool dude, likeable, good looking, hot girlfriend, etc. Pretty much the opposite of nerdy Parker becoming a superhero.

However, on the Spider-Man side of things, we got one wicked webcrawler on our hands. We've got three movies prior to this one to learn how to make him move, swing around, climb walls, spin webs--everything that was showcased in this flick was like a comic book come to life. What made it work, too, was that it was believable and didn't look like a 3D cartoon unlike some sequences in 2002's Spider-Man. What made it even more special was that this Spider-Man actually cracked a lot of jokes, something that was missing for the most part from the other outings. And the Spider-Man-point-of-view wall crawling and swinging around scenes? Yes, please! Totally made you feel like you were there and reminded me a lot of the Spider-Man ride at Universal Studios in Florida. Bring back the mechanical webshooters instead of the organic variety (I didn't mind those, actually, as it makes more sense), and Spider-Man is back in business, baby!

The stakes were high in this movie, too, with the Lizard being a serious bad guy to contend with. He was strong, powerful, showed no mercy, and that sewer scene was spooky.

This movie was a lay-the-groundwork movie, setting things up for what is currently rumored to be three sequels and, according to director Marc Webb, aiming for the Sinister Six storyline, which was being mapped out even while they were making this Spider-Man movie. I can't wait. A giant Spider-Man story is going to be awesome and I'm glad they started from scratch to make it happen as they can then link everything together, starting from scene one.

So what can I say? I've been pulled to the other side and am glad they rebooted Spider-Man. A part of me can't help but wonder what might've been had Spider-Man 4 happened, but this new journey we're on with our favorite webhead is off to a good start.


All-Star Superman [Blu-ray] [US Import]
All-Star Superman [Blu-ray] [US Import]
Dvd ~ James Denton
Offered by Moref Designs
Price: 17.12

5.0 out of 5 stars Good Super-Flick!, 13 Nov 2013
The Man of Steel is dying after receiving an extreme dose of solar radiation. Trying to live out his last days and wrap up all loose ends, he spends it with Lois and gives her a special serum that grants her superpowers for twenty-four hours. When unexpected twists and turns arise, the two must save Metropolis together. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor has plans of his own and when he gets his hands on the serum that granted Lois superpowers, he becomes as powerful as Superman.

Can the Last Son of Krypton stop his arch nemesis while also saving the Earth from a damaged sun before he perishes?

When I think of classic Superman, I think of this story. The reason is because this story involves all of the classic elements of Superman lore, everything from the basics like Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, all the way to the Fortress of Solitude, the bottle city of Kandor, a full array of superpowers--and in the case of this story, some new ones, which reminds me of the "bonus" powers portrayed in Superman IV (though they're not silly in this one like they were in that flick)--the Phantom Zone, Superman using not only his super brawn but also his super brains, Lois having superpowers (which has happened quite a lot in Supes's history--she's got a cool costume in this, by the way), and a ton more.

Based on the graphic novel by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, this flick asks the hard questions about Superman's mortality, if such a thing is possible, and if it is possible, then how would that possibly play out? Unlike Superman's death when the Man of Steel went up against Doomsday, this story isn't about a giant slugfest, but about a slow death caused by the very thing that gives Superman his powers: the sun. It's about him coming to terms with his own mortality and setting things in order before his final moment arrives.

One of the great things about these direct-to-DVD super flicks from DC is they're all stand-alone features based on a graphic novel and by being so, they also carry with it the same art style from the book. In this case, it's Frank Quitely's art animated. I admit it took a while for his art to grow on me. Perhaps because it's so simple and clean, yet by being that way, he's able to create some pretty realistic-looking superheroes. Seeing it animated like we do in this flick brings Superman et al. to life and makes this comic book fan very happy.

Out of all the Superman adaptations done thus far, All-Star Superman is one of the greats and gets high props for being an awesome animated flick with a great cast, great art direction, a great story and, most importantly, having the greatest hero of them all, one who's definitely an all-star: Superman.

Highly recommended.


Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox [Blu-ray] [US Import]
Dvd ~ Justin Chambers
Price: 35.67

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flash Fans Rejoice! (Plus, It's An Amazing Movie!), 31 July 2013
When the Flash cranks up the superspeed and travels back in time to right a painful wrong, the timeline is drastically altered and he awakes in a present that's not the one he knows. There's a war raging between the Atlanteans and Amazons, Batman uses guns, Cyborg works for the government and Superman is nowhere to be found. Worse, the Flash no longer has his superpowers thus cannot travel back in time to repair the damage and restore the timeline to the one he knew.

Powerless and with no Justice League to turn to, the Flash must decide how he's going to change the course of history and if he's willing to lose someone he loves in the effort to save the lives of many.

This flick is the ultimate fanboy trip for Flash lovers. He's the main character and this is the first time in DC animated movie history that he gets the focus. You got superspeed, time travel, alternate timelines, the Speedforce and more. Way cool and, frankly, it's about time DC took a break from Superman and Batman as the go-to guys for movies, even in the context of a JLA movie. With a new Flash TV series in production as of this review, I'm thinking this was DC's way of priming the pump, so to speak, to get audiences ready for more adventures with the Scarlet Speedster.

This movie's strength lies in two areas: the Flash, and time travel.

On the Flash: you got a quick recap of his origin, a real sense for what drives Barry Allen, multiple amazing displays of superspeed (especially that running sequence at the end), and a hero to root for from start to finish. I loved it. As a DC guy, I like the Flash, but this film really made me appreciate him and care for him all the more as it gave a strong face to his mythology and character.

On time travel: I love time travel stories. The more scientifically accurate and plausible the better, but I'll take just about any story that deals with time travel, parallel universes and butterfly effects. I write about that stuff in my own fiction, for crying out loud. Here, DC went to great lengths to explain the time travel in a plausible way and apply what we know of its possibility as realistically as possible in the context of the movie. Nice. The DVD extras that go further into this are an added bonus for us time travel enthusiasts and are much appreciated.

Storywise, I loved this movie and the twists and turns it took made me go, "Man, that's awesome," more than once. When I found out the history behind the Batman of the alternate timeline I went nuts. So cool and so utterly tragic. Perfect for Batman. And Superman's portrayal in the alternate timeline? Crazy! Putting all that against a backdrop of an Atlantean vs Amazon war added a breath of fresh air to DC's animated movies because, like I said, it was relieving to stay away from putting the spotlight on Superman or Batman. (Granted, Batman plays a big part in this movie, but in such a way that it's not our Batman but another, which makes it fresh.)

The animated style chosen for this flick I wasn't crazy about at first, to be honest. The small heads and wider bodies looked weird. It grows on you, though, and eventually you get used to it. The color scheme and bleak tone throughout added to the overall feel of what was a heavy story, thus sucking you in further.

This is not a movie for kids, though. There's a lot of violence and gore, adult themes and some language. While I appreciate "grown up" superhero movies, I wish these elements would be scaled back a bit so I could show my kids these flicks and go on super adventures with them instead of having to shelve the DVD until they're older so they can watch it.

From a superhero fan's standpoint, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is a stellar movie adapted from the graphic novel by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert.

Recommended.


Man of Steel [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]
Man of Steel [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Henry Cavill
Offered by Clearance Game Deals
Price: 8.15

5 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In A Word? EPIC. In Two? MIND BLOWING!, 16 Jun 2013
A sole survivor of the doomed planet Krypton grows up on Earth and discovers he has abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Once grown, he sets off to find out who he is and where he comes from. The answer is discovered in a spaceship in the arctic and Krypton's last son, Kal-El--Clark Kent--meets a hologram of his long-dead father, Jor-El, who reveals to him his destiny: a beacon of hope for humanity, and also one who could one day restore the doomed Kryptonian race.

Enter Zod, a harsh general and one who has fought his whole life to protect Krypton and its people. During an altercation with Jor-El he finds out that Jor-El has sent his newborn son off world and along with the child plans for Kryptonian's future. A battle ensues and Zod is sent off planet, too, him and his cohorts banished to the Phantom Zone for rehabilitation. When Krypton explodes, the containment units holding Zod and his followers release them and he spends the next thirty-three years combing the stars, searching for Jor-El's son.

Locating Kal-El on Earth, Zod sends an ultimatum to the planet, forcing Kal-El to reveal himself to the humans and to stop Zod from using Earth as ground zero for a new Krypton. Zod, like Kal-El, is now powered by the Earth's yellow sun and is empowered with superabilities. An enormous battle ensues between Krypton's general and Kal-El, the fate of the Earth hanging in the balance.

What can I say? This movie is mind blowing! It's epic, it's incredible. So much was riding on this film to deliver a Superman movie that would captivate audiences and restore the Man of Steel to his rightful place as king of the superheroes. Man of Steel does just that and then some, bringing with it the awesome sci-fi factors of Star Wars to the dense storytelling of The Dark Knight Trilogy.

There has never, ever been a superhero movie like this before. Henry Cavill as Superman nailed the part. He's a nice guy, a caring guy, but he's dead serious about doing the right thing and exudes the confidence that only one who has sold himself out for the good of all can portray. He did something that was never done before by any other Superman actor: showing Clark Kent before he was Superman or even the bumbling reporter of the Daily Planet. (I'm referring to the movies, not Smallville). In fact, he's this version of Clark Kent for nearly the whole movie. You can see him making the big decisions, weighing his upbringing against this new task of saving the world that was suddenly dropped on his lap. You journey along with him as he wrestles with his being different and how those differences apply to not just his life, but the lives of others. As Superman, he's the Superman. I never thought Christopher Reeve's performance could be outdone, but Henry Cavill matches, if not exceeds, what Mr. Reeve brought to the character. Cavill's Superman is one hundred percent devoted to staying true to who he is, his abilities, his upbringing, his quest for truth and justice, and for putting his foot down both with men and rebel Kryptonians when needed. I can't really comment on his reporter Clark persona because that's not a big role in this movie. I hope, however, it will be in the sequel and we'll see plenty of Lois and Clark interaction in the next one, especially after the way the Lois and Clark relationship is portrayed in this movie. You'll have to see for yourself to see what I mean.

Michael Shannon as Zod was crazy good. The guy can act and his Zod is much different than Terrence Stamp's. Yes, both are ruthless, but whereas Stamp's Zod was more about power grabbing and his desire to rule, Shannon's is about giving it his all to restore the former glory of Krypton at any cost, even if that means eradicating all of Earth's population to do it. The best villain is always the villain you accidently find yourself rooting for, and that happened to me throughout this movie. Every so often I felt for Zod and understood what he was trying to accomplish. It made sense and made me consider that maybe if I was in his shoes I would've done the same thing or something similar.

Amy Adams as Lois Lane was a good choice. I wasn't sure at first, as I know Amy Adams as more of a happy-go-lucky girl from other movies far removed from the superhero genre--though she was in one episode of Smallville during its first season--but she sold me on the part and she reminded of the Lois Lanes from the old cartoons: warm, but cut and dry. Funny, but serious about what she does and her desire to go the distance to get a story.

The action in this movie was crazy huge. The bar has been set so high in terms of superhero cinema in recent years and Man of Steel makes every superhero movie that's come before it look like a puppet show in comparison. The wide-scale destruction wrought by Superman and Zod--never mind Zod's right-hand-woman Faora and the other rebel Kryptonians--is what you'd expect if people with god-like powers let loose in an all-out brawl across a city. And the speed, man, the speed! Normally super speed is shown as either a big blur or done in slo-mo, with the super speedsters moving quickly while everyone else is frozen. In this one, you see Superman et al. zipping around, pausing, breaking sound barriers, and bringing the viewer along as if we're in his shoes the whole time and experiencing the thrill of super speed ourselves. The way Superman flies in this is unlike any other portrayal before, and while I loved how he flies in the other movies and TV shows, in this one he seems to hurl himself through the air at times, while at others flies with precision and care. The heat vision effect in this was stellar. The glow beneath the skin around the eyes and to see the veins beneath its surface made it all the more menacing. The super hearing and X-ray vision were familiar territory to those who've watched Smallville, but there was no all-out X-ray vision where everything is dark blue and white.

The fighting between Superman and Zod was serious business and was truly a portrayal of two warriors going toe-to-toe and not just wrestling or tapping each other. It was one crazy hard blow after another, some slow, some rapid, even some in the sky! Insane! So many times I was blown away and just going wow, wow, wow! Zod fought the skill of a trainer warrior, whereas Superman fought with brute force.

Man of Steel is a crazy good movie with a strong story, an incredible cast, and superhero action that has now become the benchmark for anything to follow. To be honest, I don't know if it can be followed. Hopefully in Man of Steel 2.

Super recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 4, 2013 11:04 AM BST


Meteor Man (Ws Dub Sub) [DVD] [1993] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Meteor Man (Ws Dub Sub) [DVD] [1993] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Robert Townsend

4.0 out of 5 stars Memorable, with Strong Themes of Standing Up for Yourself, 12 Jun 2013
3.5 out of 5

When a school teacher is accidentally struck by a strange, green glowing meteor, he is endowed with superpowers. Just in the nick of time, too, because a street gang called the Golden Lords have terrorized his neighborhood. Now, with the help of super abilities from the green shimmering rock, he's able to take a stand for his neighborhood and what he believes in.

I saw this movie when I was a kid. I remember seeing it at the local Pick-A-Flick and renting it. What I got was a sincere, heart-warming tale about a down-and-out neighborhood struggling to keep going while crime and violence ravage its streets. Enter Jefferson Reed (Robert Townsend), a well-meaning and kind man who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Once the meteor gives him superpowers, he takes on the gangs and, at the behest of his own parents, also takes on the identity of Meteor Man and becomes the neighborhood's champion.

While not a serious superhero movie--there's plenty of humor to go around--The Meteor Man is not all-out goofy like Blankman, but instead takes a kind of tongue-and-cheek approach to the genre while also telling a story about strength in numbers, standing up for yourself, and simply saying no to being a passive observer of evil.

This flick is also--and I really don't know how to phrase it so excuse me--a "black" movie, with a pretty much all black cast. I loved that part of it and there were so many recognizable actors: Bill Cosby, James Earle Jones, Don Cheadle, Sinbad and more. It's strange because I don't get that sense of community and warmth from watching flicks with all white casts. Anyway, that's just an aside.

The Meteor Man, also written and directed by Robert Townsend and not just starring him as the titular character, was done at a time before superheroes on the screen were all dark and serious, where there had to be non-stop action and all kinds of special effects and fancy costumes. And you know what? It totally worked.

This movie as a memorable one because of the messages and themes running through it and I advise it to be on the serious superhero collector's movie shelf.


Lego Batman: The Movie Dc Superheroes Unite [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Lego Batman: The Movie Dc Superheroes Unite [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Laura Bailey

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LEGO? Batman? Superman? DC superheroes? Yes, please!, 12 Jun 2013
4.5 out of 5

It's time for the Man of the Year Awards in Gotham City. The contenders? Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor. The winner? Well, you guessed it: Bruce Wayne. When the Joker crashes the party, Lex sees a potential ally in his fight against not only Superman, but all superheroes. They forge an uneasy alliance and Lex uses Joker's expertise in chemistry to create not only a gas that would make everyone vote for him in the upcoming Presidential election, but also Kryptonite. In exchange, Lex would provide Joker with a special brick dismantling device that is able to take apart shiny black objects, something Joker's all too familiar with thanks to the Dark Knight.

Meanwhile, Batman and Robin have their hands full with an outbreak from Arkham Asylum. Superman shows up to help and eventually the Dynamic Duo and the Man of Steel discover Lex's and Joker's partnership. However, team ups aren't Batman's strong suit but after a little coaxing from Robin, he learns that sometimes you need outside help to come to victory.

Just when Batman and Superman think they've got Joker and Lex right where they want them, the sinister duo unleash a powerful force that will take the entire Justice League of America to stop.

If you've played LEGO Batman 2, then you're familiar with this story. This movie even uses clips from the game, but then fills in the gaps with fresh animation. So while it's kind of a rehash, it's a well-done rehash and, hey, it's LEGO. LEGO animated movies are few and far between and I hope LEGO Batman: The Movie - DC Superheroes Unite is the first in a move to bring more and more brick superheroes to the small screen. Perhaps even to the big one one day.

The animation is crisp, flawless, and well-thought out. The graphics are amazing and convey a plausible world made of LEGO, every detail somehow made from LEGO bricks. No small feat from a design standpoint, creating something to believable yet so . . . LEGO-y.

With a solid story filled with the right amount of action and humor, I'm glad I added LEGO Batman: The Movie to my superhero movie collection. Besides, the exclusive Clark-Kent-changing-into-Superman LEGO figure that comes with it is not too shabby either. Glad to have him as part of my Superman figure collection.

LEGO Batman: The Movie - DC Superheroes Unite is recommended for all ages. I loved watching it with my kids and I know you will, too. And if you don't have kids, then it's still worth checking out. Again, LEGO? Batman? Superman? DC superheroes? Yes, please!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 9, 2014 3:08 PM GMT


Iron Man 3 [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Iron Man 3 [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Robert Downey Jr.
Offered by uniqueplace-uk
Price: 17.38

15 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It was all right . . ., 22 May 2013
3.5 out of 5

An evil mastermind terrorist known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is wreaking havoc via a rash of bombings, holding the world in his grip. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) gets on the case and discovers the bombings are initiated by people exposed to the Extremis program, something Stark Industries could've had ties to a long time ago, but chose not to. Turns out those Tony Stark knew back then are neck-deep involved with what's going on now, have re-entered his life, and are making things complicated.

While trying to pinpoint the location of the Mandarin, Iron Man aka Tony is also dealing with the aftermath of the Chitauri invasion of New York in The Avengers. Having trouble sleeping, he's been spending all his time constructing various Iron Man armors to help himself cope. This brings tension to his relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), who he's now living with and is dedicated to.

Upon discovering the location of the Mandarin and his true identity, Iron Man and his almost-sidekick the Iron Patriot aka War Machine aka Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle) head up against a battalion of Extremis-infected warriors and must pull out all the stops to put an end to their reign of terror. The problem is these Extremis soldiers are so powerful that victory doesn't seem likely.

Can Iron Man prevail against an army as strong as he is?

I'm not sure what to make of this movie. Sure, it was entertaining and the storyline was fine. I like the idea of making it a direct follow up to The Avengers, and showing how Tony Stark's world--never mind the rest of the world--had been affected by the Chitauri invasion and the presence of the other Avengers.

This flick was loaded with solid action, tough bad guys, cool tech, guns and everything else that makes an Iron Man movie a lot of fun. I just wasn't sold on the presentation. This might be harsh, but this flick came off as the Batman Forever of the Iron Man movies. I'm all for humor in even the most serious of movies, but it seemed the jokes were either too forced or too slapstick to make me take this flick seriously. And that's the secret with superhero movies: they need to take themselves seriously--even if they're meant to be a comedy--otherwise they'll never work. There was an awful lot of getting in and out of the Iron Man suits in this film, both by Tony and Rhodey, never mind Pepper getting a shot at wearing it, the President, the Extremis guy--there were so many suit changes that the novelty of watching someone don the Iron Man was quickly spent after the first three times.

This film was not directed by Jon Favreau, which might have had something to do with it. Just seems this movie was weighed down with not enough Iron Man and a storyline--which was solid in and of itself--that moved slowly. I realize Tony's aftermath and post-traumatic stress from The Avengers was the focus, but the same goal could've been accomplished had there been more Iron Man. I don't necessarily mean more action--as action-filled movies that are nothing but explosions start to finish get boring after a while--but perhaps him having a love/hate relationship with the suit because being in it nearly killed him at the end of The Avengers, or maybe take the robo-injections to summon the suit to a new level because he's trying to make himself super to be on par with guys like Captain America or Thor and have him deal with that?

The extra scene at the end of the credits with Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) picked up on the bromance from The Avengers. A nice touch. Didn't move the Marvel cinematic universe forward in any way, but was a nice touch.

If you're a Marvel movie completest, then by all means, check it out. Likewise, pick up the Blu-ray when it comes out to complete your set. For me, I think I'm going to have watch it again and perhaps I'll warm up to it a bit more. I felt let down when I watched the first Spider-Man in 2002, but got more into it with subsequent viewings. Iron Man 3 might be one of those movies.

Just think they could've done a lot more with it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 30, 2013 9:06 PM BST


Blankman [DVD] [1994] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Blankman [DVD] [1994] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Damon Wayans

4.0 out of 5 stars A Superhero Comedy With Heart, 22 May 2013
Two brothers. One a nerd. One a karate expert. Both grown up and living with their grandma.

Darryl and Kevin Walker (Damon Wayons and David Alan Grier) have lived in the rough part of town with their grandma since they were kids. As boys they'd run around the apartment with towels tied around their necks, aping Batman and Robin. Now, grown up, Kevin works at the TV station doing over-the-top news stories about aliens while Darryl works as a repairman and has a knack for inventing. After their grandma is killed along with several others while working to support the campaign of a wholesome, upcoming mayor, Darryl vows to make a difference in his city and invents bulletproof long johns, transforming himself into Blankman. He even makes a costume for his brother . . . who quickly refuses to join him. Taking cues from the campy 1960s Batman series, Blankman sets out to help others and uses this super alterego to work through his grandmother's death. Meanwhile, Kevin lets Darryl go about his crimefighting business since he's busy trying to woo beautiful reporter Kimberly Jonz (Robin Givens), who does real news stories several floors above him. Of course, tensions rise as Kimberly seems to have a thing for Blankman and admires the superhero's heroic efforts.

Eventually, Kevin learns who was behind their grandmother's death: the city's crime boss, Michael Minelli (Jon Polito). This time, Kevin asks to join Darryl on his crusade and since Darryl is the every-faithful brother, he produces the outfit Kevin rejected and Kevin becomes Other Guy, Blankman's side kick. The two take it upon themselves to hunt down Minelli and bring him to justice, making him pay for what he did once and for all.

Blankman is superhero comedy at its finest. It's also inspiring as it's the story of everyday guys trying to do the right thing even if it means putting on a costume and helping others. Damon Wayons and David Alan Grier are hilarious and the chemistry between the two works well. If you didn't know any better, would think they were brothers in real life.

This flick isn't your usual superhero spoof, though. It took itself seriously in that it wasn't tongue-in-cheek, but a deliberate superhero comedy with serious undertones. Everything from the social outcast that rises up, to the standing up for what's right in a world that's cynical and jaded, to going out of your way to helping your fellow man, Blankman hits it hard on all points.

The jokes and humor are laugh-out-loud funny, the sad moments make you ache inside, and David Alan Grier's facial expressions are priceless.

Like I mentioned in my review of The Phantom, sometimes it's nice to unplug and watch a superhero movie that's lighthearted, easygoing, and loads of fun.

There's plenty of action and excitement in this movie to satisfy those looking for those things, but it's real strength lies in its heart and that is about two boys rising up to become men in a world that took away the one person they held the most dear.

As a fair warning, this isn't a kid's movie as there's grown-up humor, innuendo and some language in it so is recommended for ages 14+.

I've been a Blankman fan from the beginning and though it's been nearly twenty years since it came out, I'm still rooting for a sequel.


The Phantom [DVD] [1997]
The Phantom [DVD] [1997]
Dvd ~ Billy Zane
Price: 7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Swashbuckling Superhero Adventure!, 20 May 2013
This review is from: The Phantom [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
3.5 out of 5

A ship taken over by pirates. The death of a father. A young boy thrown overboard. Washing up on the shore of the Island of Bengalla. A strange ritual and a vow. When that boy grew up and became a man, he became the Phantom.

Centuries later, this boy's descendant--the 21st Phantom (Billy Zane)--is protecting his beloved jungle when thieves steal a sacred skull from a lost treasure trove. The Phantom learns the significance of the skull and discovers it is one of three and should someone ever possess all three, they would have ultimate power. Trailing the stolen skull to New York, the Phantom, now under his civilian guise of Kit Walker, seeks to track down the remaining skulls. While there, he reconnects with his old flame, Diana Palmer (Kirsty Swanson), and the two need to reconcile past differences as Kit learns the location of the second skull. Meanwhile, evil businessman Xander Drax (Treat Williams), in cahoots with the Sengh Brotherhood, a band of pirates--the descendants of the same pirates that were responsible for sinking the ship of the father of the first Phantom--and Drax wants the skulls for themselves. Drax, too, discovers the location of the second skull at the same time Kit and Diana do and after a failed attempt at disposing of Kit, kidnaps Diana and takes her to the location of the third: an uncharted island.

Good confronts evil when the Phantom seeks to rescue Diana while also stopping Drax and the Sengh Brotherhood from uniting the three skulls and becoming a powerful force in the world.

Phantom lore is fascinating, especially the idea that he never dies, or, at least, that's what criminals and evildoers everywhere think. "The Ghost Who Walks" has been around since 1936, which predates Superman, making the Phantom one of the earliest superheroes. I remember seeing trailers for this flick back when it first came out and getting all excited. It was superhero, swashbuckling adventure. Even saw it in the theatre. On that day I was running a bit behind. If I remember right, I missed the previews and came in right when the movie was starting. The first words I saw where the words that kicked off the film, "For those who came in late." I really thought the movie somehow knew I was late--or people like me--because then it went into a recap of the Phantom's origin before launching into the main story. Ahh, to be a young, gullible fanboy again.

This movie was clean, wholesome superhero fun. There was a decent story, superhero action, humor and adventure, with a little romance thrown in. It didn't take itself seriously, but wasn't a giant camp fest either. I still pop in the DVD now and then and enjoy The Phantom as a nice break from the oh-so-heavy-drama-laden superhero movies of today. Sometimes you just want to see a good guy busting bad guys and that's it.

Nowadays, this movie falls short in a few places--the "wow factor," the costume, the life-or-death-save-the-world-or-die storylines--but I was happy with Billy Zane's portrayal of the Phantom and with the movie as a whole. I've never read any of the comics so my view is completely on the flick and it being a simple superhero story. I will say that this movie has stirred in me an interest in the Phantom and am thinking of one day getting into the comics that spawned him.

The movie is definitely kid-friendly and as a parent who doesn't let his kids watch a good chunk of today's superhero flicks due to their mature content, this is one I'd recommend for families or those just looking for a break from the more grown-up, adult-oriented superhero movies of today.


Iron Monkey (2 Disc Ultimate Edition) [DVD]
Iron Monkey (2 Disc Ultimate Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Donnie Yen
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: 12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kung Fu Robin Hood!, 15 Mar 2013
4 out of 5

Like Robin Hood, the Iron Monkey robs from the rich and gives to the poor, but instead of wielding a bow and arrow and sword, he wears a mask and uses martial arts weapons instead.

By day, Chinese doctor Yang Tianchun (Rongguang Yu) is a physician caring for the poor and rich alike, but at night he's the Iron Monkey, a high-kicking do-gooder assisting those in need who are suffering beneath the rule of the corrupt governor.

Meanwhile, Wong Kei-Ying (Donnie Yen) and his son Wong Fei-hong (Sze-Man Tsang) come into town. Soon after, Wong Kei-Ying is captured on suspicion of being the Iron Monkey after being observed in battle. His son is arrested as well. In an effort to clear himself, he offers to capture the real Iron Monkey, his son being forced to remain in prison to ensure his compliance.

Soon Wong Kei-Ying and the Iron Monkey meet and, after going toe-to-toe with no victor, form an alliance that will rescue Wong Fei-hong from prison and bring down the evil governor once and for all.

This movie kicks some serious wa-hoo-hoo and I'm not just saying that because of the awesome kung fu sequences, but because of it's fun presentation of a classic story--Robin Hood--through the lens of Chinese culture, martial arts and fast-paced action.

Quentin Tarantino brought the flick over to the West and I'm glad he did. I'm 99% sure I went to the theatre to check this gem out and it soon got a place in my DVD collection once it hit store shelves.

What can I say? The fight sequences are over-the-top--wire acts, crazy fast kicks--but those are what make kung fu movies great and give the fight performances that supernatural feel that can't be obtained otherwise.

The superhero fan part of me had never seen a kung fu superhero movie, and when I compare it to the Western version of martial arts techniques that we get in our own superhero flicks, sadly, we come up short every time. I mean, this crazy, fast-paced over-the-top form of fighting is one of the main reasons The Matrix became so popular.

There is lots that goes on in this movie story-wise, everything from the simple rob-from-the-rich-to-feed-the-poor angle to Wong Kei-Ying's tense relationship with his son, to commentary on oppression and what's fair and what isn't, to comedic moments, tear-jerking moments, to adrenaline-fueled action--it's a full experience, something that Quentin Tarantino said in an interview on the DVD that is common in Chinese cinema but not really over here in the West. I think we need to learn a thing or two about moviemaking from our Chinese friends instead of compartmentalizing everything into genres and niches.

If you love folk heroes like Robin Hood, or are a superhero fan, Iron Monkey should definitely be on your watch list.


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