Tag Archives: stompy robots

Eyeborgs (2009)

“Nowhere to Run. Nowhere to Hide.”

Directed by Richard Clabaugh
Starring Adrian Paul, Megan Blake, Luke Eberl, Danny Trejo

Next Sunday AD, and after one too many terrorist attacks the US has passed the Freedom of Observation Act, creating a unified surveillance system linking all security cameras to the Optical Defence Intelligence Network (ODIN – because naming your computer after a god couldn’t possibly go wrong.) DHS Agent Gunner (Paul) follows up intel provided by ODIN’s mobile cameras – the titular eyeborgs – and stumbles on a plot, seemingly to assassinate the president.

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Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

“For one world to live, the other must die.”

Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Laura Haddock, Josh Duhamel, Anthony Hopkins, Santiago Cabrera and Peter Cullen

In the wayback, King Arthur and his knights triumph over the Saxon hordes when the ‘wizard’ Merlin (Stanley Tucci) brings a group of twelve Autobots to join them in the form of King Gidhora.

Yep. That just happened.

Centuries later, Optimus Prime (Cullen) is drawn back to Cybertron, where his mission to destroy his creator is interrupted as Quintessa (Gemma Chan), self-styled ‘goddess of life’, delivers the bitch-slap of obedience and tasks Prime to retrieve her staff of power, given to Merlin long ago.

Continue reading Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Rebourne: Power Rangers (2017)

This understated early poster is pretty cool.

“It’s Morphin’ Time”

Directed by Dean Israelite
Starring Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks

The Original

After astronauts on the Moon open a space dumpster and release the space witch Rita Repulsa, space wizard Zordon and his irritating robot sidekick recruit five ‘teenagers with attitude’ to become the Power Rangers and battle Rita, launching a multi-series franchise which worked by revamping many largely unconnected Japanese super sentai series through a mix of voice dubbing and new footage for the Western market.

Spandex!

The Reboot

On primeval Earth, a team of armoured, alien warriors led by Zordon (Cranston) are killed battling an enemy named Rita (Banks), but drop a rock on her before she can seize the crystal she was pursuing. Millennia after, the town of Angel Grove has grown up over the site. High school football star Jason Scott (Montgomery) wrecks his future by sneaking a cow into a rival school’s locker room then crashing his car while fleeing police. He winds up in long-term detention with disgraced cheerleader Kimberley Hart (Scott) and autistic tinkerer Billy Cranston (Cyler), and the three of them end up at the town’s gold mine at the same time as the rebellious Trini (G) and reckless Zack (Lin) when Billy unearths a wall of volcanic glass from which they remove five medallions which quickly prove to have mysterious powers.

Continue reading Rebourne: Power Rangers (2017)

Appleseed Alpha (2014)

With the best will in the world, whatever one of them is dodging is going to kill the other.
With the best will in the world, whatever one of them is dodging is going to kill the other.

“To find Olympus, they must fight to survive.”

Directed by Shinji Aramaki
Starring Luci Christian, David Matranga and Wendel Calvert (English language version)

Briareos (Matranga) and Deunan (Christian) are mercenaries in a post-Apocalyptic New York. She’s human, he’s a cyborg; they are apparently an item, although frankly it’s never explored in much depth. They’re partners, and I guess that’s what counts. They’re working off debts to a crime boss named Two-Horns (Calvert), a cyborg with horns, and dreaming of finding their way to the fabled utopia of Olympus, where… Umm…

Continue reading Appleseed Alpha (2014)

Pacific Rim (2013)

Prepare for spectacle!
Prepare for spectacle!

“Go big or go extinct.”

Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Starring Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi and Idris Elba

When huge monsters known as Kaiju emerge from an interdimensional rift in the floor of the Pacific Ocean, humanity unites to create a defence; colossal battle mechs called Jaegers, whose pilots become the new rock stars.

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Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

Possibly the first time anyone has ridden a Dinobot outside X-rated fanfiction.
Possibly the first time anyone has ridden a Dinobot outside X-rated fanfiction.

“It’s not war, it’s extinction”

Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Li Bingbing and the voices of Peter Cullen, John Goodman, John DiMaggio and Frank Welker

After the ‘Battle of Chicago’ the US Government has broken off ties with the Autobots and formed a CIA taskforce called Cemetery Wind to track down Transformers. When the leader of the taskforce, Attinger (Grammer) joins forces with Transformer bounty hunter Lockdown (voiced by Mark Ryan) to go after Autobots as well as Decepticons, Optimus Prime is forced into hiding, where he is found by mechanic and inventor Cade Yeager (Wahlberg). Just as you think you’re getting a handle on the plot, up pop Joshua Joyce (Tucci), a billionaire inventor who is mining ‘Transformium’ to create his own Transformers.

Continue reading Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

Postman Pat (2014)

Seldom has a poster so utterly failed to encompass the true insanity of a motion picture project.
Seldom has a poster so utterly failed to encompass the true insanity of a motion picture project.

“He’s About to Deliver the Goods”

Directed by Mike Disa
Starring Stephen Mangan, Jim Broadbent, Rupert Grint, Ronan Keating, David Tennant

Pat Clifton (Mangan) is a dedicated postman, and a dedicated husband, father and cat owner. When Edwin Carbuncle (Peter Woodward), an executive from the Special Delivery Service head office, slashes the company bonuses because they spend too much time rescuing sheep, he enters a TV talent competition to win the holiday his wife Sarah (Susan Duerden) has always dreamed of.

Continue reading Postman Pat (2014)

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Transformers_dark_of_the_moon_ver5

“Earth goes dark”

Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Shia LaBoeuf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Josh Duhamel, with the voices of Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving and Leonard Nimoy

The Autobots, now instruments of an aggressively interventionist US foreign policy, are bitched at by the Director of National Security (Frances McDormand, for fuck’s sake,) who is a woman and so doesn’t get it. Sam (LaBoeuf) and his new girlfriend (Huntington-Whiteley) stumble on some plot thing and Sentinel Prime (Nimoy) comes back from the moon. Betrayal, exile, explosions, fights, blah, blah, whatever.

God, I hate this movie.

What’s wrong with it?

Remember how I said – and if you don’t, it’s in the post right below this one – that Revenge of the Fallen was all the dumb bits of Transformers, but none of the good stuff? Well, this is the same, but of Revenge of the Fallen. After a bit of narration from Optimus Prime (Cullen,) we start as we mean to go on, with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s arse wiggling in front of the camera for a full minute. This is followed by the same sexist, racist stereotypes that Revenge had, but with some added homophobia (yay!) and getting a few shots in on Asian-Americans and the Dutch.

The plot is more apocalyptic, but don’t let that fool you into thinking we won’t have any crude comedy from Mama and Papa Witwicky, now well into their second childhood, and Agent Simmons and his big, gay (apparently ex-Dutch Special Forces) valet (played by the not-at-all dutch Alan Tudyk.)

Lots of people and Transformers die, and no-one seems to give a shit.

What’s right with it?

The robot fights are still good, just not good enough.

How bad is it really?

Soul-searingly bad.

Best bit (if such there is)?

Pointless Carly actually gets to do something by convincing Megatron to turn on Sentinel Prime. It’s just as shame there was no build up to suggest why Megatron would even listen to her speaking.

What’s up with…?

  • Megatron’s robot hobo schtick and truck form?
  • No-one caring that Ironhide just got glooped?
  • Ken Jeong’s bizarre appearance as a stock Ken Jeong comedy angry Chinese-American.
  • The Wreckers being three Nascar racing cars with British accents and an engineering remit, and not Impactor’s Autobot special forces team at all.
  • Alan Tudyk as ‘Dutch’ (Dutch by name, Dutch by defining character trait)?

Ratings

Production values – Once more, there is little fundamental progression in the effects, and the addition of an all out invasion means that the screen is more cluttered than ever. 12
Dialogue and performances –  Just… bad. The players are game enough – in Ken Jeong’s case, possibly too much so – but the material is poor, poor, poor. 17
Plot and execution – The plot is a paper-thin set up for the apocalyptic climax, and the characters are treated as entirely disposable, not just by the writers, but by each other. 16
Randomness – On the plus side, there’s no sex bot this time, but there is a whole lot more crap, from hobo-Megatron to Dutch to the fact that no-one talks to Sam any more for plot reasons. 15
Waste of potential – After Revenge of the Fallen, I was not expecting to be disappointed. Kudos, Dark of the Moon; I did not expect you to be this bad. 18

Overall 78%

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

TF2SteelPoster

“Revenge is coming”

Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Shia LaBoeuf and Megan Fox, with the voices of Peter Cullen, Tony Todd and Hugo Weaving

Sam Witwicky is off to college and Bumblebee is jealous because freshmen can’t take cars with them! Hilarity ensues when Megatron’s master, the Fallen, tries to destroy the world.

What’s wrong with it?

Revenge of the Fallen takes every good thing about Transformers and jettisons it in favour of something dumb. The comedy scenes are louder and more grating, the people are more front and centre, the characters are little more than collections of stereotypes and much of the joy of the first film is lost. Minority characters – primarily blacks and women, but also the old as Jetfire farts parachutes – are sidelined or reduced to offensive caricatures. John Turturro’s Agent Simmons becomes a pure gag character, and even Megan Fox is downgraded from ‘I’ll drive, you shoot’ to weak support.

What’s right with it?

Aside from the farting, Jetfire is awesome; I am so sad that they killed him off.

How bad is it really?

Revenge of the Fallen is just a mess, with increasingly ludicrous comedy scenes intruding on the action as if a better Transformers film was being accidentally shot on the same sets and at the same time as a bawdy bedroom farce.

Best bit (if such there is)?

Whenever Optimus Prime makes one of his many last stands, the combination of Peter Cullen and a competent composer can’t fail to give a hint of something better than we actually have here.

What’s up with…?

  • Alice, the Decepticon sex bot? Seriously, the fuck?
  • Parachute farts?
  • Tiny Decepticons dry-humping Megan Fox’s leg?
  • The apparently irresistible comedy stylings of Sam’s parents’ descent into dribbling, surreal senility?
  • SEX BOT WTF?
  • The complete failure of the cold and pressure of the Laurentian Abyss to have any effect on Transformers whatsoever? Didn’t they run this plan past the Autobots?

Ratings

Production values – The effects are pretty much the same as in the first film, and two years on are not quite so hot. Moreover, they are even more cluttered and hard to follow. 9
Dialogue and performances –  Everything about the film is dumber than the last one, and that was pretty dumb. Overall, the emphasis on visual splash hits the performances as well, and everyone looks worse here than they did in the last one. 15
Plot and execution – A messy retcon to the ending of the first film is coupled with some almost laughable historical revelations to produce a humdrum treasure hunt story. 13
Randomness – Seriously, this film scores almost full marks right out of the gate for the sex bot, but the disposable extras and horrible comedy intrusions crank it right the way up. 20
Waste of potential – Takes every potential lesson of the first film and throws them away to produce something with all the same problems, just a hundred times worse. 16

Overall 73%

Transformers (2007)

transformers-wallpapers-6

“Their War. Our World.”

Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Shia LaBoeuf and Megan Fox, with the voices of Peter Cullen and Hugo Weaving

High School loser Sam Witwicky discovers that his new car is actually an alien robotic lifeform, and becomes embroiled in a battle between the heroic Autobots and the monstrous Decepticons (and some Marines, a dodgy government agency, a number of extras who then disappear for no adequately explained reason, and Jon Voigt.)

What’s wrong with it?

The short answer is that it’s the people. Transformers is a film about brave American badasses and some robots what help them, more than it is about the robots themselves. To take an example, during Ironhide’s heroic slow-mo barrel roll, the camera’s focus is on some random hot chick who plays no other part in the movie. Did Bay really not think anyone was there to watch the robots?

Also, despite the quality of the CGI, the action is often too cluttered and frenetic to follow.

What’s right with it?

This film has the best plot of the franchise, as little as that is saying, and manages to only be crassly insensitive towards fat people, Asian call centre operators and black nerds, which by the standards of the series is pretty good going. In addition, the Transformers themselves look awesome, and the stompy robot bits are actually pretty damn good.

John Turturro and Jon Voigt know pretty much what the film is worth and are good fun to watch because they are clearly having fun with it.

How bad is it really?

Transformers is a lot of fun, provided you aren’t looking to engage your brain too much.

Best bit (if such there is)?

The arrival of the Autobots is a well-done montage that builds tension and expectation for the awesome that is never quite delivered on.

What’s up with…?

  • Optimus Prime shanking a Decepticon through the skull-pan with his energy sword? This is way more commitment to a philosophy of total war than I was expecting.
  • All the bloody humans?
  • Bumblebee peeing on John Tuturro? Seriously, that was not needed.
  • The evac run into ‘Mission City’? Why arrange to evacuate a mission-critical object, by chopper, from a heavily-populated area with many tall buildings, under enemy fire, rather than, say, just running flat out until you can meet up with an armoured division coming the other way?

Ratings

Production values – Okay, fair play, the effects are magnificent, if occasionally a little too busy. 6
Dialogue and performances – Lamentable comedic episodes punctuate the necessary and slightly leaden exposition, with Jon Voigt occasionally providing a voice over when the film itself is not entirely clear. The actors give the material a hundred times what it is worth. 12
Plot and execution – In all fairness, this film has a plot which mostly makes sense, at least on its own terms. 8
Randomness – Robopee. The gratuitous city run. The comedy call centre operator. In fact, any of the comedy. The people. Stick with the robots. 14
Waste of potential – There could have been more focus on the Transformers, and should have been. On the other hand, we can clearly demonstrate that it could have been worse. 12

Overall 52%