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Monday, 30 August 2010

Battle Royale II - A Snap Decision.

Author - MrCraiggy

I would like to point out, I only decided to review this movie forty minutes into watching it. I make a note of what happened at this point later in the review which was the catalyst for prompting me to do so.

WARNING!! Spoilers ahead!
- This review will reference plot material from the movie and as such, may spoil the story for you should you ever intend to watch this movie of your own volition.

That being said, let’s move on to the review. BRII is the sequel to the 2000 Japanese cult classic, Battle Royale. This movie was released in 2003 and is coincidentally also set 3 years after the events of the first film. It was directed by Fukasaku Kinji, the director of the first movie, but he sadly died part way through filming and so his son, Fukasaku Kenta, writer of the screenplays for both films, took over the directing role.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Battle Royale, I suggest you go out and watch it or read the manga, as the original book the story is based on is very difficult to come by in an English translation to my knowledge, but until then, here’s a brief synopsis and the filler between the two films: Japan’s school system has fallen into disarray and the youth are degenerating with lower test scores and uprisings of rebellious behaviour against adults; as such, the Battle Royale program was created. This program allowed teachers to nominate their classes of insubordinate rapscallions and one of the nominated classes would be selected at random and transported to an abandoned island to kill each other for the rest of Japan’s entertainment (Seriously, Japanese TV just gets weirder and weirder...). The kids would then have explosive collars fastened to them. Usual deal, tamper with them = boom, break the rules = boom, linger for too long in a designated ‘danger zone’ (sing it with me now) = boom. The students had a set period of time to kill each other until only one remained and were each given randomly allocated equipment bags which included rations, plus a random ‘weapon’ item, some good, some bad, some plain useless. Anyway, long story short, two kids in love survive and refuse to kill each other, manage to escape, hurrah, thus ends a great movie. Then the second one begins with our hero from the first movie, Shuya, explains that he’s formed a terrorist group called Wild Seven along with his girlfriend Noriko and they wage war on the adults of Japan. We also find out that the Japanese government has created a new program, Battle Royal Two...

Our film then starts with a shot of what looks like two skyscrapers being blown u- wait, what?! Okay, seriously, this film got lucky. It didn’t get banned from distribution in America, however, it never originally was scheduled for a distribution order IN America, though bootleg copies still found their way over and eventually other versions crept in, so, it’s a touchy subject, but moving on, we get some generic classical music expected of this genre (Dies Irae from the Verdi Requiem if anyone’s interested).

Cut to Shiori. She’s the daughter of the teacher from the first movie and, upon finding that her dad held a student of his (Noriko) in higher regard than her, she gets all moody and signs her school up for BR2. Cut to a scene of the school kids playing rugby (union rules I have to point out, sadly...) which, I honestly never knew they played in Japan, go figure. And so our class are on a coach passing around and signing a rugby ball as a sign of their friendship and bonding etc. But then, the coach enters a tunnel, kids get gassed, pass out, they’re at a military compound.

So, wouldn’t you know their teacher is put in charge and explains the rules of the new BR2 program, saying that it is designed as a game again, but the class would be working together to hunt down and kill Wild Seven, especially Shuya. Oh yeah, and the kids have all got explosive collars again, but this time there’s a twist. One of the kids is killed because he doesn’t want to take part and we then hear a beeping from one of the collars to which the teacher points out “Oh, by the way, these things are paired now, so whoever your seating partner is in class, if they die or move outside of fifty metres from you, you go boom too.” Seriously, somebody needs to CRB check these teachers more thoroughly!

So yeah, the kids’re sent out to attack Wild Seven’s base in a scene much like the beach from Saving Private Ryan only with Japanese teenagers with machineguns and skate helmets (Yeah, skate helmets. Goggles too). One kid - I didn’t catch his name, but more on that later – cops a bullet to the neck and dies, triggering his partner’s collar. Boom! One landing craft sunk. Another kid jumps off, breaking the fifty metre rule. Boom! Another landing craft gone. My word! Like the first movie, the audience gets a kill count whenever somebody dies and are told how many are left. We started with 42 kids, so far 14 of them have snuffed it, we’re a half hour into the movie... Hell, I’m not even sure half of those kids had names!

So yeah, we get a brief bit with this movie’s ‘badass’ character called Ryo who runs a bit, shoots a bit, watches people die, gets angry. I reckon he’ll make it almost all the way to the end of the movie and then die saving the protagonists. A few more deaths, a cut to the other group who are scavenging the island for ammo drops for their guns. A guy called Shugo dies trying to save a girl called Naomi (Nao) who, the way people keep referring to her and the fact that she is also friends with Takuma (Taku) (My guess at the main protagonist), she’s the love interest of the movie. Anyhoo, Shugo’s collar beeps and they can’t figure why because he’s still alive, they’re trying to first-aid his ass, but then they notice his partner who’s in one of the ‘danger zones’ (Encore!) and then does a runner and then goes boom, causing Shugo to run for it to save the rest of his team and gives a big morale speech to Taku about how they were always a team, how they were friends, blah blah blah, look after Nao, one final heroic stand, sniper pops his head.

This brings me to my previous mentioned point about forgettable characters. According to my video player’s clock when I paused it at the latest kill count after Shugo dropping we’re 37 minutes into the movie and have lost 18 of the original 42. Now, I can kind of understand what the film’s trying to do here; thin the ranks so the audience can focus on the more important characters, it’s red-shirt syndrome. But! And this is a big but; when you try to have emotive, character developing moments (Like with Ryo on the beach and just now with Shugo, and back near the start with the collar explanation) the audience just can’t feel emotionally attached to the death of a character who has been on screen for all of two, maybe three minutes... Depth cannot be added to a character if they then immediately die! This doesn’t make for a detailed plot, it’s just poor character development... I bet those kids only had two days ‘til retirement too. I was going to create the “Battle Royale 2 Drinking Game.” Every time someone pointless dies, take a shot, but we’d be wasted before even the halfway point, that’s 14 shots so far (I’ll count the ‘character building’ deaths and the ‘plot filling’ deaths as purposeful)

Right, so the story continues, and we get an update from the teacher in this film, Riki. He tells us that 18 have died so far and that he’s disappointed and that these deaths lacked individuality... I know what he means. Also, this guy’s nuts. He’s really opposed to the calm, collected insanity of Kitano - the teacher from the first film (Oddly played by Kitano Takeshi). I like Riki so far, he’s just crazy, and for some reason is also wearing a collar himself.

So yeah, film progresses, people die, not giving away the ending. If you want to, go and watch it yourselves. This film is very, average. There were good bits, don’t get me wrong, and the deaths are very well designed (The Japanese do gore very well) but they just didn’t have the edge or the suspense of the first movie. Sure the first movie had its own share of needless characters who just died for the sake of dying, but this film seemed to go way over the top, especially because almost half of the new characters are dead before the movie’s halfway done. From an actual plot point of view, this is actually a half decent sequel; it answers questions, it progresses the story from the previous film. From a structural point of view however, it peaks too soon. Too many deaths at the start to clear the path for the ‘meaningful’ characters later on leads to less action in the second half of the movie; well, in my opinion at least. And for the record, it's a predictable plot, so without giving away spoilers, you can still probably guess the end. Oh, and for the record, my guess about Ryo was semi right; he died, but it was just in a normal skirmish, this further proving my point about pointless character development.

My final opinion is this: If you enjoyed the first movie, then I would definitely recommend watching this one if only for the plot progression, but do not by any means expect to enjoy it anywhere near as much as the first film. If you haven’t seen the first movie, then why the hell are you watching this?! Go watch the first one, NOW!

This is Mr Craiggy, signing out for Three Guys.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Craig now wants a swordspear...

Authors - The Dave/MrCraiggy

Okay, so Dave's getting top billing on this one because he found this B-E-A-utiful link!!

MrCraiggy: Do you know what this means?! Do you? Tell us! Because I sure don't, aside from perhaps one of the most exciting sequel announcements since, EVER!! I mean come on, this guy has a swordspear, how is that not badass?! Plus he summons big fiery demon hands to tear things apart and mess shizz up!! Plus, to those who've played the first Dragon Age, recognise the narrator voice? We both think it sounds a bit like Flemeth... Possible plot hook? Who knows.

All I can say is that I am now very excited about this game. I loved the first Dragon Age and always thought that there needed to be more. Now I know there's going to be, so I am literally wetting my pants with excitement... Okay, well, maybe not that much, but still, WOW! Dave?

The Dave: Yeah, and seeing as it's Bioware, we know we're in for a very in depth, fun, playable experience. And if it's anything like the last one, it's going to blow us away. Every game they've brought out of this type (Kotor, KotorII, Mass Effect, Mass Effect II, the original Dragon Age) have always proven better than the previous game, so this one promises lots!!

This has been Mr Craiggy and The Dave, signing out for Three Guys!

*The Dave's UPDATE!!!* Brilliant update confirmation is that like 'Mass effect' your character will be fully voiced and ontop of that imports are available, maybe not for your character but for the choices that your previous character made, so as a new individual in the story of 'Dragon Age 2' you will notice things that relate to your past experience in 'Dragon Age: Oragins' and we all know how much you love your Bioware romance moments where you can choose to seduce a companion....well its back and not only with companions some NPC'S will also be available to fine dine and romance. So to say me and Craig are looking forward to this is an understatement, bring on March next year!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

NXT - Nearing the end of the road.

Author: MrCraiggy.

Let me start by saying that this week's NXT was bittersweet for me, more on that later.

Okay, so this week we have a double elimination. The tension is mounting and we get a repeat of last week's promo slot, giving each rookie a minute to talk on a chosen subject. More of the same really, not much to say aside from Kaval rapping in his big boy voice about the other NXT Rookies. This was amusing.

We then get a surprise announcement that the first elimination is happening straight away, more tension, and it's bye bye Percy Watson. I'm not smiling, honest. No really, I'm not... Okay, maybe a slight smug smirk...

So our first match is McGillicutty VS Zack Ryder. I'm still disappointed that Ryder's just wearing simple trunks as ring attire now. One thing I've noticed recently in wrestling, particularly the WWE, is a resurgance of trunks...
Not a bad match, pretty short, Ryder wins it with his "Rough Ryder" finisher.

We then get a Summerslam recap of the Kane/Mysterio match, but I'm not here to talk about summerslam.

We get a backstage segment with Laycool where Michelle confronts Layla about maybe having a crush on Kaval and then Husky walks by and gives Michelle a line right out of my own book, "Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again?" (Have I mentioned I love this guy?) but gets brushed off, poor guy.

We then get another Husky/Kaval rematch. Good match, solid offense on both sides. Kaval gets a busted lip, which is always nice, bit of colour in a match, but not ott *cough*Flair*cough*Hogan*cough*. Kaval wins it with the "Warrior's Way".

Next match, Alex Riley VS Kofi Kingston. Very quick match, Kofi wins it with his "Trouble in Paradise" kick. Not much else to say, too short a match for any real comment.

So we get a spot now of Josh Matthews and Michael Cole being interviewed by Matt Striker about who should win and who should be eliminated. Cole obviously favours Riley and thinks Kaval should be eliminated, making some obscure reference to Susan Boyle. Matthews makes the statement of as much as he usually disagrees with Cole, this time he doesn't, he wants Riley to win and Kaval off.

Elimination time... It saddens me to say farewell to Husky Harris. I'd be more saddened if I didn't have this result spoilt for me (Thanks Rob...) but there goes my favourite to win... Anyway, Cody makes a nice rant about how disgusted he is. Husky and Cody attack Kaval, everyone else joins in to break it up, Kaval hits the Warrior's Way from the top rope to the outside of the ring (Very nicely done) and the show comes to a close. I don't think that this is the last we'll see of Husky though.

So, two more weeks until we have a winner.

This is Mr Craiggy, signing out for Three Guys.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Guest Reviewer - Dev.

Okay, Mr Craiggy here. So, as was mentioned a while back, Three Guys had a contest to publish a guest review on the site by being our 500th pageviewer. This was won by Dev and so this is what he's given us.

Hatchet: A Review by Devin Morgan

Okay, Hatchet… is a slasher film, directed by Adam Green, and stars Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley. If you have Kane Hodder in any movie, he’s usually a serial killer, like Jason Vorhees… So that’s good!

It has boobs, no sex, Marilyn Manson’s “The New S**t”, takes place during Mardi Gras, about 8 or 9 kills, and has a cliff-hanger ending… And it’s kind of based off of Friday the 13th (It says on the documentary, “His Name was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th”), and Kane Hodder was Jason Vorhees in a few films…

It’s a horror-comedy film, that makes fun of Friday the 13th, and Halloween. The kills are mostly practical, but with a few CGI glimpses to make the kills a little bit better.

It’s a good horror film, and I’d give it a 3.3 (out of 5) decapitated heads on the regular film scale, and 4.9 (out of 5) on the independent, horror film scale!

And I’m sorry, I couldn’t film this… No, don’t cry… No, no… Don’t hit me!!

But since I couldn’t film this, here’s a video made by me:

Also, Hatchet has a sequel, called "Hatchet II" (Already, on DVD and Blu-Ray), and "Hatchet III" is going to be released in theaters this fall...

Thank you, this has been 'Dev'... Winner of the 'Three Guys Page-view Contest'!!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

A Brief Update.

Author - MrCraiggy

Okay, so I'm actually away this week at a festival called Soul Survivor, and so am having to use an internet cafe while I post this, hence no funky icon of me in the corner. (£1 for half an hour, bargain. Plus they're charging my phone for me while I wait, which is nice.)

So anyways, to all of you lovely Three Guys fans out there, I just thought I'd give a brief look into what's been happening recently. It transpires that, because of the happenings of this week (ie. Suddenly finding that I'm attending this festival at very short notice.) There won't be an NXT update this week, which is very annoying, as it's an elimination week and I'm now having to go online to find out (For the record, Alex Riley and Lucky Cannon were bottom, Lucky got eliminated. It's looking up for Husky!) but I'm having a great time this week, meeting new people, experiencing some great music and hearing some excellent speakers talk on some incredible subjects.

Anyhoo, enough about my liability as an online reviewer and all excuses aside. The future! It has come to our attention that it seems to be an unwritten rule, a rite of passage if you will, that for online reviewers to be recognised, they must review and Uwe Boll movie. Who's Uwe Boll you ask? Well, he's a German film maker who often makes video game movies, but not exclusively, he has done some original titles too. Now, to say he makes video game movies is a bit of a stretch... It's more that he reads the synopsis of a game and then loosely associates that to his film which he normally gets very very wrong.

As well as making terrible movies, Uwe Boll also has a habit of challenging his reviewers and critics to boxing matches, literally challenging them to back their views, claiming that if they won't stand up for their reviews and critiques, then they are therefore invalidated; a cunning and frighteningly archaic yet logical ideology in my opinion.

So, the Three Guys team have decided that we shall undertake this task in the coming months and have decided to review Uwe Boll's take on the Bloodrayne franchise. We're gonna start with the first film, but as he's also a bugger (Can I say bugger on the internet? Oh bugger, I did it again.) for making sequels, so we may even review Bloodrayne 2 if we can stand the pain

Right, only twelve minutes left on my computer, so I'm going to wrap up here and catch up on my webcomics. Incidentaly, I heartily recommend a lesser known title called Weregeek, which you can find here at www.weregeek.com

I think that's all I wanted to say for now, so as always, this is Mr Craiggy, signing out for Three Guys.

Normal services shall be resumed next week.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

NXT - So soon?

Author - MrCraiggy

That's right, due to the last one being so late, its that time again.

This week's NXT opened on a blinder! Its this week's challenge, and tonight we have a kissing contest. Now, at first I did facepalm, but then it transpired that Laycool were hosting this segment, which amused me, because what they lack in in-ring ability, they do make me chuckle on the mic. So Michelle McCool starts it off by luring in Husky but then stopping and bringing out the real judge of the contest: some random woman called Margaret, or "Margarita" as they call her who, and there's no nice way of saying this, is huge. Also, not sure if this is real or prosthetic by the makeup team, but there's this sort of wart-like growth around her mouth, it just looks disgusting. So this is who our Rookies have to kiss. A lot of the reactions from the guys look pretty genuine, as if this is a surprise to them, but they roll with it and for the most part, sell like kings! Some even have a laugh with it like MMG who just licks her face. The funniest though is Kaval who, being Laycool's rookie, they try and prevent him having to kiss Margaret, Layla even going to the extreme of kissing Kaval herself, which knocks him for a six, and I mean he is staggered, hilarity! Alex Riley does a fun little spot where he pretends to faint, lovestruck after the kiss. Anyhoo, apparently Lucky Cannon's the best kisser of the bunch, and for once Michael Cole was kinda funny, which makes me feel dirty. He said that the rookies were "wasted once more in margaritaville"... Now, on with the wrestling!

Match 1 - A rematch of last week's main event, Kaval vs Husky. Two beautiful moments I want to point out in this match that follow very closely after each other. The first is, Husky lifts Kaval for either a back body drop or a flapjack (Its the name of a move, honest!) but Kaval literally stands upright on Husky's shoulders, steps back and kicks Husky in the chest, then, as he goes to vault outside and land on Husky, Husky catches him and turns into an ordinary powerslam, but instead of slamming him down onto the floor, he slams him against the security barrier. Some nice back and forth wrestling in this match, showing off both competitor's abilities. Husky wins clean with a uranage into his running senton. Good match.

Video segment of The Miz bad-mouthing McGillicutty some more and then a backstage interview with McGillicutty about said video. Lucky Cannon comes on and the two argue about who should fight Miz. This is good, this is how a proper wrestling show should be. I like it! So, Miz claims they should have a match and then the winner has a match against him. Kofi and Miz argue. This is fun, cause Kofi doesn't get to talk much normally, but he's decent! So Miz goes to get changed because the winner of Lucky and McGillicutty then goes on to wrestle Miz in the same night, interesting...

So we get the match, and it, to be frank, is a short one. McGillicutty wins it with what they're now calling the "McGillicutter", which is the swinging neckbreaker he's been using as a finisher.

We then get padding about Summer Slam and then a Pros segment where the Pros get to talk about who they think is the worst Pro on the show. Kofi starts and makes a good point, saying that he thinks Laycool are the worst for making Kaval (Who he describes as the closest thing he's seen to a legitimate ninja) wear that pink shirt. So this continues til The Miz comes out and argues with John Morrison a bit (They used to be tag champs remember) and says that J-Mo's done nothing since they broke up but The Miz is the US Champ AND has the money in the bank contract for Raw. More lame cultural references from Michael Cole and then the match.

Match 3 - Alex Riley vs Percy Watson. There's a point in this match that I want to bring up, and its where Alex Riley has Percy through the middle rope and he drops to the outside, pulling Percy down, implying that the wind has been knocked out of him by the rope. Now, this looked like Alex made a bit of a mistake here, pulling Percy down too hard so he hit his head on the side of the ring. Maybe this was intentional, but either way, it just looked nasty. Riley wins it with his TKO.

Okay, main event time. Match 4 - Miz vs McGillicutty. So, good match, nice back and forth action, some very good technical moments, some good heel moments from Miz (I love how the WWE are using him at the minute) but eventually, Miz gets the victory with his "Skull Crushing Finale" finisher.

All in all, very good program. Next week, there's another elimination, so all go to http://www.wwe.com and vote for Husky! You know its the right thing to do!

This is Mr Craiggy, signing out.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

NXT - Better late than never...

Author - MrCraiggy

Okay, so I realise this is about a week late and I apologise. Wow, so many apologies lately... I was also going to try and do this as a video review too to save space, but had some sound synching issues again.

Anyhoo, NXT last week was elimination week, so tension all around. I'm not going to say much on this episode because, well, its late and the latest episode is on tonight. What I will say though, very impressed with the show itself as it is now shaping up like a proper wrestling show, complete with backstage segments. It seems that the WWE are finally grasping what they want for NXT as a franchise.

So, the show opens with the Rookies getting a minute to talk on their own chosen topic. There were some fun bits like Eli talking about how he's the only one who could stand toe to toe and eye to eye with people like Big Show, Kane and The Undertaker. MMG addresses The Miz for saying he had no personality and calling him mediocre, pointing out that he's undefeated on NXT so far.

We then get our first of three matches tonight, Precy Watson versus Zack Rider. I zoned out a little, not gonna lie, but Percy won, claiming the first Rookie victory over a Pro this season... I nearly cried.

Backstage segment with John Morrison and Eli Cottonwood talking about last week's obstacle course. Eli had me chuckling in this segment by saying how he wasn't an athlete and closing with having one word for people who doubted him: moustache!
This led nicely into our next match, Eli versus MMG. For the first time this season, Eli looks a lot less awkward in the ring, he's actually doing quite well. Anyway, he misses a big boot and MMG gets the win, putting his winning streak up to five.

Video segment about Kaval, great in the ring, takes himself too seriously. "Dashing" Cody Rhodes says, quite rightly, that if thi was a fair world, Kaval would be the next breakout star, but I can't help but think they're gonna pull a Daniel Bryan on him and screw him over...
This led to another backstage segment with Kaval and Laycool. Again, I liked the continuity. They're complaing that he doesn't have his pink shirt that they gave him and then Husky comes in, shoulders Kaval and claims he didn't see him because he's short. Then Kaval pipes up in his man voice that they're gonna have a lot of fun in the ring, so this leads us to tonight's main event, Husky versus Kaval.
Good match. Kaval gets a bit of offense in, Husky goes through the usual big, powerful, dominant but also fast as hell routine. Laycool get knocked off the side of the ring and Kaval checks on them only to be lifted and slammed over the ropes by Husky with a reverse suplex and then hits his running senton to win.

Now, I showed this match to Dave, who doesn't like wrestling, but I made him watch it and said that this is precisely why I loved Husky. Dave, again pointing out that he doesn't like wrestling, was genuinely impressed with the athletic ability displayed here.

So then, elimination time.

#1 - Michael McGillicutty
#2 - Kaval
#3 - Alex Riley
#4 - Percy Watson
#5 - Lucky Cannon
#6 - Husky Harris
#7 - Eli Cottonwood

That's right, big guy's going home... A pity, but understandable as, aside from this week, he was very awkward in the ring and just looked clumsy. Anyways, the show finished with him attacking the other Rookies and then storming off...

Fun times!

This is Mr Craiggy, signing out.

Just so you can see what I mean about the main event. I really enjoyed this match so now you can too!