Thursday, 24 September 2020

Extraction

Proves you shouldn't go easy on kids.

When the son of an Indian drug lord is kidnapped by his rival, freelance specialist Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) and his team are sent to retrieve the kid. Betrayals and lock downs make his job all the more difficult though, but they certainly make it more exciting for the viewer! With good action sequences and some particularly great chase and fight scene cinematography this is definitely a movie for action buffs.

If only I brought my hammer...


Acting wise the main players do their parts well and while the CGI is obvious in some places it gets a pass, but don't expect the plot to go deeper past the bullets and death. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and definitely want to watch it again. Highly recommended, at least for action fans or Chris Hemsworth fans. I give it 4 kids thrown off rooftops out of 5.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Eschalon: A Letter to Yourself

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Yup, there are dinosaurs in the woods!


Lucky the raptors are very territorial and don't pursue out of their part of the woods. Soon Rollo arrives at the city of Blackwater, which he pays a 100 gold fee to enter. He looks around for work again and finds a sly looking merchant named Mael who is offering a tidy sum for anyone that kills the druid Lilith and brings him her amulet. Rollo hides the fact that she's already dead, and that he already has her amulet while offering Mael a drink in hopes to get more clues as to what the amulets mean.

Unfortunately Mael only reveals his unfortunate past of being an important merchant leader before having something valuable stolen from him. He pursued the thief by ship but was caught in a storm that crashed him upon this continent with no means to pursue and is now working to rebuilt his wealth. Clearly not getting anything useful, Rollo says he'll consider the offer then leaves to explore the rest of the large city - finding the corpse of a murder victim in one house, lying in a pool of blood that was staining the ransacked mess around him.

By chance, Rollo discovers a torn paper in the garbage that holds a pass phrase for the tavern. Upon using it, the tavern owner takes him through some magic protections and into a large vault below where he asks to see his ID Keys. It turns out, these are the amulets - they aren't magic at all! The crypt amulet opens a lockbox that contains a huge gem and a note from himself saying that this gem is the only thing that can stop the goblin invasion. It goes on to explain that he used a forgetfulness potion on himself so that the goblin leader, Gramuk, won't be able to track him with his uber-mindreading powers. Unfortunately the gem was found by him and his brother Ragner, and if only one of them was reading the note then the other was likely already captured by the goblin forces. Uh oh.

Insight: The well in Blackwater is one of the best healing sources around.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

Amazing puppetry and an amazing story!

The world of Thra used to always be in balance, but this prequel to the movie of the same name, shows just how the alien Skeksis slowly corrupt it and how the native Gelflings begin to unify to fight against them. This is hands down the best puppet series I've seen so far (sorry Thunderbolt Fantasy), and proves The Jim Henson company really knows their stuff. The world they create is fantastic, as are the various creatures inhabiting it.

The puppets are amazing!
The puppets are amazing!

Add to that a good score, a great voice cast and a really good script and you have a winner of a series. Be warned it's not too kid friendly though as not only can the Skeksis be scary at times, but there is a fair amount of death to be found here. This is one I highly, highly recommend and one I definitely want to watch again. I give it five fizzgigs out of five!

Monday, 21 September 2020

Eschalon: The Runner

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Asking around in Aridell about the necklace gave Rollo a lead. Apparently the druid Lilith who lives in the vast, Tangletree forest, was known to be wise in all matters in regards to mystical amulets so that's where he plots his next course. Before departing, he is also warned about the expanding goblin empire, but that's not enough to stop an adventurer like him. It isn't goblins he runs into though, it is a bunch of brigands demanding a toll fee of 75 gold.

Such a fee is well within his means so Rollo accepts and they let him pass. Or at least, gives him a head start... for soon after a small brigade of bandits is hot on Rollo's tail, hooting and hollering for his blood. He has no choice but to run and happens to reach the bordertown of Darkford whose guards and citizens bravely rush into battle against the oncoming threat. While the brigands are wiped out it is a pyrrhic victory as only two guardsmen (barely) survive the encounter. They pair manage to give directions to Lilith though, and after a few days Rollo finds her hut in the middle of the forest.

Making a bee line for the house.

Alas, she is unwilling to help Rollo without first getting a task out of him: to slay the hive queen wasp who is taking over the woods. The hive queen is very clever though, as before Rollo gets far from Lilith's cottage a swarm of giant wasps attack the pair. The druid kills enough of them before getting stung to death for Rollo to survive. Upon searching her corpse he finds another almost identical triangle amulet which he takes before fleeing the wasp forest into a thicket filled with... raptors!? Cursing his luck, Rollo runs for his life once more.

Insight: Just like in D&D, door ways are good choke points to defend against superior enemy numbers.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Altered Carbon: Resleeved

Happens in between Seasons 1 and 2.

This cell-shaded anime movie is decent enough to not break too many of the established rules of the main series, with fight scenes that are particularly exemplary, but the plot is on the thin side. Tasked with the protection of a tattoo artist, Takeshi Kovacs has to face off against the yakuza in this very bloody outing.

There's definitely a high body count!

While it is certainly a story set in the Altered Carbon universe it's simply not as refined as the live action counterparts. Still worth a watch though, I give this 2.5 sleeves out of 5. Would I watch it again? Probably just the fight scenes.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Altered Carbon

Only your digital self is true.

In a future where people exist as tiny hard drives the human body has become disposable. These "sleeves" can be upgraded, cloned, enhanced and worn by anyone. Anyone who has the money to afford it that is - making the rich near immortals. This also makes it super easy for the show to keep characters while switching their actors around at will, such as the main protagonist Takeshi Kovacs (played by Joel Kinnaman, Anthony Mackie, Will Yun Lee, and more).

This is all the same character.

Season 1 sees him solving a murder mystery with a twist while Season 2 has him chasing his own past. Both of these are very well produced, are well written and are quite effective as stand alone stories by themselves. As a bonus (for me) there is tons of violence and gratuitous nudity, especially in season one. Highly recommend this series. I give it 4 stacks out of 5 and would rewatch both.

Friday, 18 September 2020

Eschalon: Sleepy Ruins

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Rollo awoke in some unfamiliar ruins from what he imagined was a heavy drinking spree, but was even more confused with the lack of empty bottles around as well as a mysterious note left by his sandals mentioning some stranger's tomb. Staggering to his feet, he opted to explore his surroundings which were infested with fanged salamanders that he had to punch out of the way. They, along with the overgrowth of vines on the walls indicated this place was destroyed long ago.

Lizard punching!


Stairs leading down into a dark tunnel complex forced him to make use of the nearby torches which were also handy in warding off the giant bats and fungal slimes that lurked within. A pair of powerful poisonous salamanders served as the "final" enemies here, and were much deadlier than their red skinned counterparts. Luckily a nearby portcullis proved handy in crushing them instantly, netting Rollo some decent, if rusted, plate armor.

Satisfied at having cleared the area, he found a dirt road heading north to the small town of Aridell where he could sell the junk he was carrying and pick up a few odd jobs such as clearing another salamander pit and more giant bats from the local crypt. Remembering the note, he managed to locate the tomb in question and took the odd, triangular amulet within before being chased out by a pair of tough but slow zombies. As far as he was concerned, they were never part of the contract.

Insight: The portcullis "trap" is a fantastic way to instakill many enemies throughout the game.