Monster Bites - The Duel


While the Gamera films are generally considered fare made for children it's interesting to look back and see exactly when that transition came around. The original film mixed up the typical kind of city-wide death and destruction with some elements of this, but overall it's a pretty straightforward monster movie. The next two sequels on the other hand? Well it's interesting that the first entry I'm looking at here doesn't include a child actor at all. In fact it's more in line with the kind of stories that spawned from King Kong, in which creatures are brought back to the modern world from the unknown parts of the map. The next instalment on the other hand... well I will get to that in good time.



FILM OF THE MONTH: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three ☆☆☆☆

Action Bits - Masked Riders

KAMEN RIDER 1972 / 1992 / 1994

With a decades long series made up of dozens of shows and movies sometimes it's best to start at the beginning. But it's also fun to use this as a jumping-off point to look ahead at how things evolved in later years. With the recent release of Shin Kamen Rider it's worth revisiting the earlier film releases, even if they're not actually feature length. But this brisk nature is an advantage for newcomers and old fans alike, allowing for a few cyborg stories in a relatively short space of time. Where else can you find a blend of superhero action, body horror, and alien invasion under one banner? Of course the answer is in any number of Japanese special effects franchises. But for now let's focus on the motorcycles and grasshopper masks.

Review Roundup - A Trilogy in Four Parts


So here we are at the end... again. In a perfect world John Wick should have put away his black suit in part three, and while that instalment certainly had it's moments it felt like filler. Which is often still the case here in a sequel that is nearly three hours long. It's appropriate in some ways since this is more of a closing storyline. But in some ways it's yet more of the same without really getting any deeper into the main character's back story or rounding out the series as a whole. Action junkies will get a thrill from many of the individual set pieces and some of the guest stars. It's not reinventing the wheel or doing anything that the previous films haven't already tried. However, beyond all the shiny visuals this often feels by the numbers in a DTV sequel kind of way.

Action Bits - Relic Hunter

ARMOR OF GOD I-II 1986 & 1991

Time to revisit a couple of old favourites and see how much they hold up. I've always been of the opinion that Hong Kong action sequels, particularly those by Jackie Chan, are often weaker than their predecessors. The action highlights always shine very brightly but the scripts often fail to recapture the magic. But is this the case with Jackie's 'Asian Hawk' adventures, or have the tables turned? Not everything can be Police Story or Project A of course, but in this case there's quite some time between the original and follow-up. It also helps that the globe-trotting stories crib from Indiana Jones and as such can be enjoyed as separate adventures with few returning characters or plot points. Let the treasure hunt begin...