Double Feature: Chasing the Dragon (2017) & Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Welcome back to the next double feature! Its been a while, right? I’ll try to be better…I guess I was more burnt out from writing reviews that even I could imagine. Overall, I’m just feeling mostly burned out and not in the mood for writing lately but I’m slowly getting back on track.

With that said, no specific reason when I first chose these two together but the banners are looking like there is a versus vibe to it. 😉 This double feature is 2017 Hong Kong film Chasing the Dragon starring Donnie Yen and Andy Lau, which had its wave of popularity when it was announced and released in Hong Kong (judging from Facebook activity) and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, a DC film that I honestly didn’t care too much about to begin with but it was going to leave Netflix and I just went for it, hoping that low expectations might make it a little more entertaining. One high hopes and one low expectations, lets see how they truly fare, right?

Chasing the Dragon (2017)

Chasing the Dragon

Director: Jason Kwan, Jing Wong, Aman Chang

Cast: Donnie Yen, Andy Lau, Philip Keung, Wilfred Lau, Kang Yu, Kent Cheng, Bryan Larkin, Ben Ng, Ken Tong, Dongdong Xu

An illegal immigrant from Mainland China sneaks into corrupt British-colonized Hong Kong in 1963, transforming himself into a ruthless and emerging drug lord. – IMDB

Chasing the Dragon is said to be based on a true story of real life gangster, Ng Sek-ho and also a remake of the 1991 film, To Be Number One. I don’t know much about the history and I don’t think I’ve seen that movie before so I have no idea how it compares. However, Chasing the Dragon is a good one. Its a bit different from how you would normally perceive in a movie solely focused in Donnie Yen’s fighting abilties.

In this one, he plays the gangster Crippled Ho who while has one or two really good fight scenes, he spends most of it being a triad leader. For audience who don’t speak Chinese, it is a pity because the achievement here is how Donnie Yen takes over the character and nails this really fantastic accent while not making it sound goofy but still manage to feel threatening especially since the movie is set in characters sitting in grey areas. On one hand, there’s a lot of bad that has happened and it feels like Crippled Ho was pushed into the situation and we can’t help but to fight for his escape and Andy Lau (the awesome actor that he is) plays Lee Rock, a corrupted cop who will do anything to be number one and finds his support with Lee Rock. You can see where his grey area is because he becomes fairly ruthless. Their appearances are aided a lot by an even more evil cast by Bryan Larkin as Hunt, an arrogant and even more ruthless British cop who is the top dog and feels threatened by Lee Rock’s promotion. This guy is scripted in such a  way that makes him so hard to like, and it was the intent.

Chasing the Dragon is very much a Hong Kong film and rather meant for a Chinese speaking audience. Be it the way the movie is and how the language, especially the slang nature of Cantonese can get lost in translation easy. The successes of the film also rely on various elements that rely on understanding why Donnie Yen is so convincing in his role. I’m not sure that if I was just reading subtitles and not totally understanding some of the history (the little bit that I know), how it would changed my enjoyment for it. There are some pacing issues and some rather forced bits possibly over-dramatized. While its a pretty good film, its definitely not the best. It met my expectations but I have to say that might have to do with my respect for both of these actors as well as the great supporting cast that was on screen.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice

Director: Zack Snyder

Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot

Fearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. – IMDB

Let’s make it really clear that I haven’t seen Man of Steel so I don’t know what happened to make Batman so angry except for the little recap snippet in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As I said before, my expectations for this one wasn’t high. My difference here is just that I  didn’t feel convinced about this film from the trailer. I have no issue with Ben Affleck as Batman, maybe a tiny issue with Henry Cavill as Superman, mostly because I haven’t seen a movie he has done that I like. The issue with the film might not exactly be the cast because they are all great actors and do a pretty good job. Where this film falls apart is its length which made the pacing so horrible. The story itself falls apart and is flat out boring. It never feels like much happens. There’s some stealthy useless stealing scene, Wonder Woman gets in the way, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor does his crazy act and then takes them down a notch from their high superhero ways and they put aside from issues and team up to fight him. Not exactly a riveting story in my mind but some basic stuff with a lot of padding in between. I wonder if its because I haven’t seen Man of Steel that I don’t have that connection with Superman so I don’t have any stake in how much I care about his making it out of this or not. But the movie itself just wasn’t good because it was boring and at times, felt so pointless.

Either way, not one that I’ll go visit. So far, the top DC film out of the two (and a tenth of Man of Steel) that I’ve seen is definitely  Wonder Woman (review). Not in a hurry to catch up with the DC films just yet. I had low expectations and this one possibly even went a bit lower than that.

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Game Warp Podcast: ‘Batman: The Telltale Series’ Review

Game Warp Podcast’s new episode is here!
We are looking at our March featured game, Batman: The Telltale Series!

This episode, Elwood and I sit down with Youtube Gamer Slaymate, aka Insomnia Knights, to talk about Batman: The Telltale Series. We talk about what we thought about the story arcs that Telltale Games choose and how they made it their own. The conversation lead to the choices that tailored the story and game flow along with the game mechanics which are mostly the quick time events based. We end the conversation with whether we think there will be a sequel and what heroes or villains we’d like to see if it did happen as well as pitch other franchises that Telltale Games should do that could be fun.

Thanks for watching!

Remember if you enjoyed to like and subscribe! It’ll help us out a ton!
If you have any games to recommend, do tell us.

Also, remember that we’ll be streaming this weekend over at Twitch.
Follow us on Facebook/Twitter @GameWarpPodcast to get the announcements.
I’m looking at Saturday afternoon some time. 🙂

Triple Feature: Captain Fantastic, Justice League Dark & Havenhurst

Its been a while that I haven’t done a triple feature. For some of you that drop by That Moment In, you know that while the podcast has stopped, we are still recording audio discussions. Starting back in December, I had done a few of these movie review bits and to be honest, when I have already discussed a movie (and not in writing), I don’t feel like writing about it again. Not sure why. However, there were some titles that I wanted to share some quick thoughts on, so from now on, I’m going to do group them together and do triple features. These aren’t exactly in the order that we’ve recorded and released them. I still have probably another post or two to cover the rest of the movies. I’ll also include the audio so you can listen to it if you haven’t or would like to.

Here we go!

Captain Fantastic (2016)

Captain Fantastic

Director and writer: Matt Ross

Cast: Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler, Annalise Basso, Nicholas Hamilton, Shree Crooks, Charlie Shotwell

In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent. – IMDB

Captain Fantastic is a quirky movie. In fact, its incredibly quirky that at some parts, it seems to go a little over. The best part of it is definitely Viggo Mortensen’s performance. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the best performance I’ve seen of his. The opening showed so much potential from his own way of bringing up his kids in the wilderness and learning to take care of themselves physically and intelligently. His kids themselves also have great character and showed a great sense of disconnection from the real world when events we would have disregarded triggers much bigger (and possibly awkwardly hilarious/absurd) reactions. The youngest two kids definitely steal the show with their direct attitudes and smart answers. Captain Fantastic is a good movie with great performances, however sometimes it does take its quirky indie side and goes a little far in certain parts. However, this does turn into a rather heartfelt and emotional experience as the exposure of the real world somehow causes conflicts and disagreements to arise.

Justice League Dark (2017)

justice league dark

Director: Jay Oliva

Voice cast: Matt Ryan, Camilla Luddington, Jason O’Mara, JB Blanc, Ray Chase, Enrico Colantoni, Roger Cross, Jeremy Davies, Rosario Dawson, Alfred Molina

Beings with supernatural powers join together to fight against supernatural villains. This team of supernatural beings include John Constantine, Zatanna and Jason Blood also known as the demon Etrigan. – IMDB

I’m not a comic book aficionado or am I versed in anything superhero other than the recent TV series or Batman movies from the 90s till recent. My first DC animated film is this very movie, Justice League Dark. Filled with magic and many fun characters and charged with great dialogue and impressive visuals, this animation is enjoyable and fun. Constantine, voiced by Matt Ryan, comes to life as well as the quiet and subtle Batman that makes suitably short responses to a great female action hero, Zatanna, voiced by Camilla Luddington. There are also familiar names with voice from Rosario Dawson in a cameo of Wonder Woman. There are some back stories from various characters that help move the current investigations of the devil appearances causing harmful acts across the DC universe. Some characters would have benefited from having more emphasis however, as a first animated film, this one felt well  written and never felt like I was jumping in during an intermission and got lost by the characters. Justice League Dark is a fun animated film with good characters and a well-written script.

Havenhurst (2017)

havenhurst

Director and co-writer: Andrew C. Erins

Cast: Julie Benz, Belle Shouse, Josh Stamberg, Danielle Harris, Fionnula Flanagan

A troubled young woman takes up residence in a gothic apartment building where she must confront a terrifying evil. – IMDB 

Horror thrillers are usually my cup of tea. I love them but they also are incredibly hard to nail down perfectly. Havenhurst starts out with all the right tones. Its setting in a huge apartment complex reminds us right off the bat of the eeriely isolated Overlook Hotel in The Shining. The performances here work for the most part. However, the environment does feel wasted when only one floor of this complex is shown and the limited inhabitants revolve around only a few people. The mysteries aren’t revealed well enough to make it worthwhile and the final twist feels like a cheap effort to just make our watch feel unique. However, Havenhurst does carry a lot of the atmosphere for most of the movie and keeps up the suspense and mystery and keeps us guessing for half of the movie before the much too early turn of events causes it to lose momentum. Plus, it does feel like there are nods to various successful horror films. Not to mention that there are also some familiar faces from TV and perhaps the most renowned being Fionnula Flanagan who plays the landlady which had a fantastic performance as the housekeeper in The Others (at least thats my highlight role I remember her in).