Legion of Super-Heroes (2023) [Blu-ray/Digital]

It’s weird that after “Battle of the Super Sons” that DC and Warner would choose to adapt “Legion of Super Heroes” as their new feature. It feels like one of their least consequential animated movies in years. It doesn’t take place during the timeline of the Super Sons, and it rushes through the entire introduction of Supergirl. Plus, there seems to be a whole chunk of story missing as Superman seems to have a boom tube device that can warp in to the future to visit the Legion of Super Heroes. When did he get that? How exactly did he get that? Why did he assume Supergirl would have an easier time in the far future than she would in present Earth?

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Cyborg (1988): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

Albert Pyun’s “Cyborg” is a lot more famous for its back story and production woes than it is for the actual movie. There’s even the famous tale of how much of the sets and outfits for the characters were re-used from the cancelled “Spider-Man” movie, and sequel to “He-Man” that Golan Globus failed to finish. It’s a shame, because in the eighties when a whole sub-genre sprang from the success of “Mad Max,” we got a whole library of post apocalyptic action films with gritty warriors charged with saving mankind or something like a child or village. In a massive sub-genre of B grade copycats, “Cyborg” is one of the best.

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Sci-Fi Cinema – 5 Movie Collection (DVD)

Mill Creek Entertainment unleashes another economy movie pack for movie fans, with a five movie DVD Collection. It’s another re-purposing of films already in their library, but for its price it might be worth it for folks interested in experimenting. Featured in the set is “Hands of Steel” featuring a cyborg assassin that is programmed and sent by a corporate industrialist to kill an environmental scientist who plans stop his unsafe work. When the cyborg gains a bond with the scientist, he has to fight the man that created him.

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Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Mamoru Oshii’s “Ghost in the Shell” is the natural successor to “Blade Runner,” it’s an anime masterpiece that works both as an action film and a very evocative and thought provoking science fiction thriller. Through very engaging characters and still incredibly stunning visuals, “Ghost in the Shell” approaches themes like the idea of consciousness and existence, and what living is, and how it’s fairly impossible to prove what sentience is or isn’t. In 2029, law enforcement has been enhanced to the point where human beings can transport their consciousness and memories in to cybernetic shells that grant them amazing abilities used to keep law and order.

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Hardcore Henry (2016) [Blu-Ray/Digital]

hardcorehenryblu-rayAll I have to say is thank goodness “Hardcore Henry” bombed, even after its unique publicity campaign. I’d really hate to have five other movies out there in theaters trying to copy this wretched movie’s formula. “Hardcore Henry” isn’t even really a movie, as it has no narrative, zero characterization, and is essentially just a series of cut scenes from a video game meant to evoke the fantasies of fourteen year old boys with rage issues. The plot, I use the term loosely, feels like a concept for an NES game in 1991, where LJN saw “Robocop” and decided to create their own clone. “Hardcore Henry” is essentially like watching someone play a video game.

At first it’s a novelty then it becomes incredibly monotonous. Even with director Ilya Naishuller putting our hero through the wringer as he pulls out people’s intestines, battles a flame throwing assassin, and watches soldiers bounce from grenade explosions, I was bored by it all. It’s not so much that the movie is so fast and relentlessly loud, but it’s too fast to the point where the running, chasing, fighting and explosions become so repetitive. I eventually began to grow so accustomed to exploding heads, and bodies being thrown off buildings, that I was wishing for one moment where characters would sit down and explain something, or discuss a bit of exposition that didn’t sound like video game instructions.

To make the events so dull and miserable, character Henry conveniently has no voice, making him easily the most paper thin action hero in movie history. Without a personality, emotions, a voice, or even occasional glimpses at his face and reactions, all we’re left with is a stale attempt to turn the viewer in to some sort of avatar for an action hero who is indestructible and blowing people up left and right without consequence. It doesn’t help that the movie seems to realize it has no story of substance and leans heavily on long drawn out action and weak moments of suspense. The further Henry flees from the super secret cyborg making organization led by the albino psychic mutant guy, the less sense the movie makes.

We all know the minute we see the group of undead cyborgs that Henry will have to fight them all at the same time to get to the final boss of the movie, so why should we even care about why they were invented, and what threats they serve? “Hardcore Henry” is a miserable, and tedious gimmick that feels like cut scenes from a stale Sega CD beat em up game, spliced together to form a limp cinematic experience. It’s a cheap, shallow gimmick that I’m glad failed, and it’s one I hope never catches on.

The Blu-Ray release comes with a Digital Copy. We’re given four deleted scenes emphasizing Henry’s battles, and a twelve minute fan chat with supporting actor Sharlto Copley and Writer/Director Ilya Naishuller, both of whom answer fan questions. Finally there are two audio commentaries. There’s one with Director and Producer Ilya Naishuller who covers the movie in very fine detail including the pacing, visual effects and much more. The second audio commentary features Director and Producer Ilya Naishuller and Star and Executive Producer Sharlto Copley, both of whom cover the same line of insight and details from the first commentary, with Copley adding his own interplay.

Endhiran/The Robot (2010)

endhiran-robotIn its homeland it’s a blockbuster film and one that took years to develop to inevitably become “The Robot” or “Enhiran.” It’s garnered some rave reviews from Bollywood critics and has even scored something of a fanbase. But “The Robot” hasn’t caught on until a few years subsequent its initial release due to the internet’s capability of bringing to attention a movie very few have been aware of. Thanks to one person’s capturing of “Endhiran’s” most dazzling and over the top action sequence, this is a science fiction Bollywood film many have sought after its sensation as a web clip.

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Appleseed Saga: Ex Machina (2007) (DVD)

There’s simply no denying it; “Appleseed Ex Machina” has some utterly incredible animation with some of the best character designs I’ve seen in the CGI field in years. The landscapes are extraordinary, the visuals are absolutely dazzling, and much of the action is committed with a tight editing brilliance that keeps the action in a constant rapid fire pace. The “Appleseed” films always have the most dazzling computer animation, even if you don’t always receive the most enriching experience. If you recall our early review of the first “Appleseed” movie, you’ll remember that we pretty much disliked everything it stood for. It was overly complicated, cliché, tedious as all hell, and was pretty much existent for its incredible animation with zero substance to provide its audience. Okay, so John Woo allegedly produced this sequel, so what? “Appleseed Ex Machina” is just the same movie as its predecessor, except just boring with a little more to offer, which isn’t saying much when you consider the first film’s goals.

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