This movie doesn’t truly offer a complete Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles experience as the comics and past works define it; it’s more hip hop than anything else.
Perhaps the big reason the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been a long-running hit is because it regularly gets revised to recognize what each new generation is into. Because the latest film, subtitled Mutant Mayhem, is more hip hop and ethnically diverse than anything else, today’s target audience is most likely to enjoy this take.
However, long-time fans won’t all be interested in director Jeff Rowe’s vision and Seth Rogen’s narrative choices. As for what I enjoyed from it is the grunge art. This style isn’t all that different from the early comic books. Although it’s not as dark, the Island of Dr. Moreau style of elements are at least a step in the right direction. The rough textures and lower frame rate the film presents itself on the big screen helps make the work look like claymation. Sadly, no effort was put into making it all come alive in 3D. The addition had barely enough pop.
It would be a shame if all the work put behind building the world presented in New Gods: Yang Jian gets limited to one movie. What’s presented as extras in the home video release gets into the finer points of why many realms exist. In the press interview with Ji Zhao, the director, he simplified the plot to be about this individual who can see the truth, but doesn’t fully understand what it all means.
The other details revealed help with how this works relates to New Gods: Nezha Reborn. Although he doesn’t say much about whether more films in this world will come, I hope it’ll one day happen.
Donnie Yen‘s Sakra (or The Legend of Qiao Feng; 天龙八部之乔峰传) begins like a Western, the set-up reveals a Feudal Chinese world up in arms. It frequently asks, “Am I a bad person?”
Life in the frontier depends on Qiao Feng (Yen) to keep the peace. But when he’s accused of murdering his adoptive parents and some monks, the community wants retribution and instead of dispensing cowboy justice by hanging him, he voluntarily accepts being exiles, and for the remainder of the film, tries to get to the bottom of this conspiracy.
This adaptation of Jin Yong’s serialised fiction, Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, is different. At first, I thought there’d be the divine getting involved in mortal affairs, but what’s presented is a fictionalised world that’s almost akin to George Stevens’ Shane. Here, the tale concerns matters of loyalty and righteousness, but unless viewers know what saṃsāra means, what this film is about might feel confusing.
Adapted from a popular novel by Yuan Taiji instead of Batman, Daniel Lee‘s movie Code of Assassins (aka Song of Assassins, 青面修罗) has the feel of the latter because a young assassin is out for more than just vengeance. Blue Asura Qi Jun Yuan (William Feng) offers quite the fitting introduction to this world, and as for his role–it’s more than to be a masked avenger!
I wouldn’t know that he’s a tortured soul until his backstory unfolds. To watch how he got indoctrinated into a multigenerational clan of assassins at a young age is one element I enjoyed following. Another concerns how he lost an arm in a fight, and later, feeling loss as his entire clan gets wiped out. They were his family. They were the heroes and protectors of Ghost Valley. However, now that they’re gone, he’s turned renegade. The only way he can find peace is to eliminate everyone involved and if that story beat sounds familiar, I’m sure Lee is a John Wick fan too!
But to enact swift revenge won’t be easy in this multi-genre work which is still a wuxia film at its core.
Choi Dong-hoon’s Alienoid is more about a kid displaced in time with My Two Dads, but it’s also V the Series with Terminator mixed in.
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Choi Dong-hoon’s ambitious plans for Alienoid are big. In part one, two robots–a very humanoid looking Guard (Kim Woo-bin) and a mechanical Thunder (voiced by Kim Dae-myung)–are tasked to keep watch on certain prisoners. Their bosses are some strange alien species who imprison the essences of their criminals in human vassals. Instead of making the entire planet a penal colony, we have to suspend disbelief and assume Seoul, South Korea, is special for a reason.
Perhaps in each major city, there are other guardians, and their assignment to monitor those prisoners is to make sure they don’t awaken. It’s very possible these criminal aliens can bend the minds of their hosts. They can take them for a very unwilling ride, and for unsuspecting humans, the result can sometimes be ugly. It’s safe to say neither can survive without the other. Or should that be, each criminal can’t last outside their prison without a host.