While not being promoted as one, this Russian-Chinese co-production is actually a sequel to a 2014 film called Viy (aka Forbidden Empire), which also starred Fleming and explains the presence of the “cute” flying cat-lizard (or whatever it is) in this one. I haven’t seen it, nor did Iron Mask compel me to go back and check-out what I’ve been missing. Not when there’s plenty of Chips Ahoy out there.
This is a brutally graphic fun movie. Delivering pretty much all one would expect from a Mortal Kombat titled endeavor. The story is actually fairly bland and extremely predictable but the obvious point of this title is to give the viewers some great skull cracking, limb snatching action. The art work is cool, the voice cast is great and the action is fun.
Similar to most of writer-director David Ayer’s other films, we walk away without giving the movie another thought. But sometimes we’re in the mood for dumb, gratuitous mayhem, the kind that require no personal engagement beyond keeping track of where the bullets hit. As such, The Tax Collector might hit the spot. But I still can’t help but be dumbfounded by Mr. LaBeouf’s misguided approach to method acting. A chest tattoo? For this movie? Why, Shia, why?
Similar to 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ghost in the Shell has always been more of a sensory experience than a narratively compelling one. For me, the best moments have nothing to do with the story, such as the dialogue-free sequence that’s essentially a grand tour of dystopian Tokyo. Presented in long takes, accompanied by nothing but Kenjo Kawai’s haunting score, it’s like viewing a series of vivid animatic paintings. Though I’m not a massive anime fan, the film is constantly engaging just to look at, nearly every scene so rich with detail that catching everything in one sitting is impossible
Alas, much of this is only going to be amusing to gamers who “get it,” or at-least people familiar with the culture. There might also be some additional appeal to old school nostalgics who recall the days of yore when Colecovision briefly threatened Atari’s reign in the 80s. With the exception of a few great comic performances that transcend the subject matter, most ordinary folk’ll sit stone-faced through a majority of it.
The Outpost is a bit overlong and sometimes meandering, but ultimately looks and feels like an accurate depiction of how the Battle of Kamdesh went down. Yet another film that mostly skipped theaters due to the ongoing pandemic, it’s worth seeking out and – considering the limited budget – might actually play better at home.