I am about to tell you about the worst movie of 2021, and by the end of it, you will think that I am lying to you. You will not believe me. I promise.
Okay, I'm "that guy"! I'm a 100%, pure Mortal Kombat mark. If Its a MK IP Property, I'm probably going to watch it and going to love it. I'm a Mortal Kombat Annihilation fan. So yeah, when it comes to this type of entertainment, I'm a a sucker for all things Mortal Kombat.
So, when I heard a few years ago that Mortal Kombat was getting ready for a reboot, I started following it all. Every piece of news, casting announcements, and set photos, I was one of the first people to find out. Thanks 3C Films!
So when the time came for me to finally watch the reboot, I was there. I even got an early release copy. Let me start by throwing this out there that this movie was great. Now let me define "great."
HOW GOOD IS THE MOVIE?
If you are a Mortal Kombat mark like myself, and you know all of the mythology, the lore, lines, and backstory, this movie is literal perfection. This was the movie we all dreamed of. This movie delivers in spades with the "carnage candy" (I totally stole Cody Leach's line). There's tons of violence and blood, and that is what we all wanted from the earlier films. Make no mistake about it. This movie is meant for legacy fans. Its a love letter to us from the producers who is obviously a fan. Because the things within this movie, only a true fan could replicate.
For the casual movie goer, who may or may not know anything about Mortal Kombat, this movie is still pretty good. No, they aren't going to get every little detail that's packed in this movie, but they will have a good time. Because Mortalk Kombat is still a martial arts movie. Sure it has its magical themes and mystical backstories, but none of that takes away from the things that makes a movie. Its a very entertaining film.
Is the movie perfect? No. There are some things in this movie that hits. There are some things that misses. I'm not too sure Raiden was perfectly utilized. I can't say he was or wasn't because while he does give advice like he does in the source material, Raiden doesn't truly establish himself as a guy not to be messed with. That is something the 1995 version got correct. Raiden was feared. I never got the idea that anyone feared Raiden. Certainly, no one respected him, outside of Liu Kang and Kung Lao.
They should've added more characters because letting Kung Lao die in the first installment really cripples the next movie. I have a great idea why they probably did it but, its better to not cast him if he's going to die right away.
Viewers should understand that this movie is a prequel. The Mortal Kombat tournament hasn't even started yet by the end of the movie. How do I know that? Goro is still the 9 time Mortal Kombat champion and Liu Kang hasn't yet ascended to be the Mortal Kombat Champion. That would explain the early death of Kung Lao. As a Mortal Kombat geek, I get that. I'm not sure the casual viewer or unlearned viewer would understand this.
KANO IS NOT DEAD!
Yes, we see Sonya shove something in his eye. But we have to remember, that when the Mortal Kombat Tournament starts, Kano is an integral part in this story. And with this movie being a prequel, Kano is going to somehow get the iconic metal plate. So if you watch this movie and are thinking, "Man they killed him off that early", guess again, because Kano should be back because he's only incapacitated, and not dead.
Speaking of Kano, he is the heart of this movie. He makes this movie worth it all. Imagine dropping Deadpool or Lobo in the middle of Mortal Kombat, you have this iteration of Kano. He respects no one and spends good portion of the movie giving everyone sick burns! Kano steals every single scene. By the way, Kabal is a fantastic character who shines in the limited action he's given.
GORO IS DEAD
Yeah, that is a problem I have with this movie. Why choose to kill Goro so early? And why use Cole Young, a new character to do it? No way Goro should have died this early on in the story. In case you are thinking, well maybe its not really Goro. No, that's Prince Goro. And its likely in a sequel we will see a Kintaro casting. But then that's messing with continuity there.
REFERENCES YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
There are several references. The most notable one is the ending scene where Johnny Cage is expected to appear in a sequel. But keen observes will see Nightwolf, Kotal Khan, The Great Kung Lao (The ancestor of Kung Lao and first MK Earth realm champion), Kitana, and Shao Khan.
When I said that this movie is meant for the hardcore fans, I meant it. If you are a true fan, you would understand that playing the video game, one of the cheapest way to win against an opponent would be to constantly leg sweep throughout the entire fight. That happens when Kano is practicing with Liu Kang. It happens so much that Kano complains that, its the only move Liu knows how to do. I thought that was a sick meta moment.
Also, this movie really kisses the fans on the cheek when they allow Cole Young to utilize the infamous Mortal Kombat uppercut. This movie features that attack in here. Fans of the game would be like, "No way, they put the uppercut in it!"
All of the characters are introduced, so you know exactly who each one is. Kano is so meta in this movie, he kills Reptile by doing his video game fatality and ripping his heart out. To up the moment even further, he says, "Kano wins." If you are a fan, you cannot tell me that didn't bring back nostalgia.
And if you were really paying attention (not just to Mileena, because ole girl's thicc), you would realize that Ed Boon and John Tobias (two of MK's creators) is sneaked in the film. How? Jax mentions that Cole Young defeated a dude named, "Eddie Tobias". For us marks out there, we totally caught that.
And not to be left out, did the opening scene seem a bit too familiar? I don't mean because you saw it a few days ago dropped on YouTube. No, I mean that it is almost shot for shot the Scorpion origin story from Mortal Kombat: Scorpion's Revenge. Is it not?
As you can see, I had a ton of fun with the movie. What about you? Tell us below in the comments. Did we miss something?
In 1996, I can recall being into the whole teen drama and horror genre. And at the time, I was heavy into Fairuza Balk. She epitomized the dark, mysterious, yet attractive look. And if you was a red blood American male, she was your girl. So naturally hearing that she would be be cast in a horror film, you didn't need to know what it was about, you went to see that movie.
So the trailer drops, and its everything you ever wanted. Ms. Balk,Robin Tunney, Rachel True, and Nev Campbell. And every young guy was instantly transfixed. What more could you ask for with this mid 90's movie?
Did I mention that they would be witches? #Winning #BeforeHashtagsWasAThing
It dabbled into everything from the occult, religion, racism, domestic violence, cutting, suicide, and environmentalism among other things.
And so, it was a success! This teen horror film helped catapult these core group of women into cult status. (pun intended)
Enter 2020 (also a pun)
After being in development hell and having tons of rewrites, and even a failed sequel, The Craft had finally made a return.
Instead of having the same group of women, this film (The Craft: Legacy), stars Cailee Spaeny, Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone, Zoey Luna, Michelle Monaghan and David Duchovny.
So what's it about and will you like it?
This film follows the original formula as 3 teenage witches in search of a fourth witch. Each girl has their issues but I feel like in this one, it focuses heavily on Spaeny's character, Lily almost exclusively. In the original, you got a sort of backstory that tells why each witch became who they are.
Who would like it?
If you are a a fan of the original, for continuity purposes, nostalgia, and entertainment value, you will like this movie. There's an element of Carrie that you will quickly spot in the first portion of the movie. I'm not sure if this was intentional or by accident, this certainly has some Carrie Vibes to it. I honestly love those elements. There are less magic spells in it, but the storyline it pretty tight.
Things to consider:
There are scenes where the girls learn to mess with time and they stop time. Those scenes really play into the what the movie is about and show that these girls are a little more advanced than the original core group.
This movie by critics has been considered as overly WOKE! But is it really?
Earlier, I highlighted everything that the original film tackled and since WOKE wasn't such a thing, it would have been considered by culturally conscience than Legacy. Regardless, this movie tackles things such as misogyny, homophobia, transgenderism, the body maturity of women, as well as cult life and broken families. Its a pretty deep movie.
I might get a bit of heat for this, but I do think the WOKENESS goes a bit overboard in the movie. I am well aware they this is typically a teen revenge movie, but we see the emasculation of a dude bro in this movie. Its almost unbearable.
What do I mean by this? Without spoiling the movie, we see a guy go from being a macho jerk to being a beta male in this movie. If it were met with a bit more comedy, it could've come off like Kevin Nash's character in The Longest Yard remake. But it was meant to be semi-serious and it was just bad.
Then there's a character who's transgender. The character being trans isn't the problem...entirely. The basis of the movie is 3 girls in search of the 4th to create a coven. Well, "witch" isn't a gender neutral term. And the basis of a coven is just that-Women. Basic science tells us that this is supposed to be natural born women. Not a trans character. Its amazing for a film that is super WOKE, it misses the basic building block for what's needed in the movie. But go figure.
One odd thing. This movie is supposed to be a 2020 movie, yet the girls dress like they are from 1996. I would have thought they would show how modern wiccans dress. However, I feel the filmmakers missed the mark on this.
Things you might not know:
Fairuza Balk appears in the film. Yes, Nancy is back! I was turning backflips when she appeared. If you needed further motivation to watch this movie, that is it.
Years ago, Balk played Dorothy in a movie entitled, Return to OZ. in 96, she would go on to play in a movie where she's a witch. In 2013-2014, Cailee Spaeny played the character Dorothy in a stage play of the Wizard of Oz, who later becomes a witch in the movie of the same title. Holy Deja Vu, Batman!
This movie is fan service to those who were fans of the original movie and I think it serves as a nice transition for modern day audiences.
We do have the game and magic effect, "Light as a feather, stiff as a board" performed just as in the original. And the line where David Duchovny tell the girls that they should be aware of the weirdos, fans of the original film gets to hear, "We are the weirdos, Mister" one more time. There will be a lot of call backs to the original film while being for the modern audience. I think both age groups will enjoy this movie, as they are setting us up for a sequel by the end.
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"more, More, MORE!" are the words that I found myself screaming at the conclusion of Womp Stomp Films', "Never Hike in the Snow". For those who are unaware, this film is the sequel to their Friday the 13th adaptation, "Never Hike Alone". These are branching films. This is not a term I use loosely. A branching film are films that I consider (in my mind) canon to the original franchise, even though its expressly stated that it is not associated with New Line Cinema's Friday the 13th franchise. I only use that term when I feel that it is done so well that it deserves to be placed with the rest. I recall having that feeling about Smallville. I recall have that feeling about Gotham. And even another branching title, Krueger, done by Chris Notarile.
I'm not sure exactly how much time has elapsed from the NHA (Never Hike Alone) and Snow (Never Hike in the Snow). But it's obviously pretty close together as Tommy Jarvis is still shaken and hunting Jason. Thom Matthews returns for this film to confront our most violent goalie.
This movie raises the stakes. There are some things I want to point out that will make this film worth watching.
1. BIRTHDAY (Almost): This movie was released a day before my birthday, its a shame that like NHA, I wasn't aware it existed. I am glad that I was able to watch this as the producers of Womp Stomp Films' directed me to this stellar project.
2. KI-KI-KI, MA-MA-MA: I love telling this story. For years, I thought Jason was making the sounds, CH-CH-CH, HA-HA-HA (I know you're laughing at my ignorance). But, as it turned out, based on a documentary I watched some years ago, that famous sound is just Jason repeating what he heard his mother say out loud, which was conjured in her head.
In the first Friday the 13th, She would occasionally say, "Killer her Mommy". This is what you heard in her head and she was motivated by this command. Jason, being not very bright and mentally deformed, would confuse the phrase as "Ki-Ki-Ki, Ma-Ma-Ma." The producers of the film would have those words reverberating to let us know Jason was present and that is what he was motivated by. If we really think about it, Jason was being an obedient child. In a weird sort of way.
Where were we? Oh yeah, my point. This film, in my opinion, has the most deadliest and creative kills in the entire universe of the Friday... franchise. There's an opening kill and a final kill. Both are bloody and executed really well. I am not trying to be nice about it. It looks like some Hollywood style death scenes. And I've seen Jason split a guy in half, crush a guy's skull, these kills are the deadliest.
3. JASON'S DELUSION OF GRANDEUR: Ever heard of the term, a face only a mother could love? Well, Jason has it. There were a point in the film where his mom is heard telling him how cute he looked. I'm thinking to myself, "Are we seeing the same kid?" Yes, there's a dream sequence where Jason sees himself as being younger and this production crew nails that face. Kid nor adult Jason is not an easy look to pull off. It takes some serious skill for the makeup artists to get it right. They nailed it!
4. THE ARCHETYPE: Tommy Jarvis plays several archetypes in the film:
- The old crazy guy who knows all the towns secrets and no one listens to.
- The guy blamed for all the murders while the real killer walks free.
- The erratic hero who does suspicious things making people think he's the killer, without trying to explain his position. Think, Orville Ketchum.
5. THE AWARD FOR THE DUMBEST CITIZENS GOES TO...: Yes, Wessex County's citizens, especially its law enforcement are not the brightest. They are well aware Jason has been killing off people for years, and they are never brought to the logical conclusion that he's still killing until it's too late. I don't fault the writing on this one. This is something that happens in every Friday the 13th. I would think mass hysteria about the Voorhees boy should be running rampant in that area.
6. SMOOTH CRIMINAL: One of the things about Jason that he really didn't try to hide his crimes. But in this film, Jason was pretty crafty. He his his crimes well. He destroyed evidence. Why? I have no idea. Who's going to stop him? But the fact that the producers added this caveat in there made Jason a little more interesting.
7. TELEPORTATION (I think?): I believe there was a teleportation scene. At least, it could have been. There was a portion in the film where an officer had his weapon drawn on Jason. The lights went out and once they came back on, Jason was nowhere to be found in the room. Was it teleportation? I don't know. But I would like to see it someday.
8. JASON IN THE SNOW: I guess Jason in the snow is not half bad. I always thought that would harm the environment that allows him to stealthily move around. For starters, his clothing is built for the woods. He would stand out like a sore thumb in the pearly white snow. Yet, the producers made it work. I stand corrected. Kind of...
9. KILLING MACHINE: One of the things many fan films do with our favorite killers is they rely on their favorite weaponry too much. We know Jason loves the machete, but this film didn't rely on it. In fact, Jason didn't use it. I think that's the mark of a good filmmaker when they aren't reliant on a well known prop to tell a story. Can you believe it? Jason with no machete in this film? Pretty epic!
My biggest issue with the project is that it was a cliffhanger. I love and I hate them at the same time. I wanted to see the battle between Tommy and Jason. We know it’s inevitable. It’s only a matter of time. Being a magician, a rule of all show Business is to keep them wanting more. Well, I totally want more.
is it worth seeing? Yes!
I want them to drop the next installment now. The acting is good. They stepped their gore game up. And the story is unique and exciting. This is universe building. I’m ready for it all. Good job guys.
No fanfare, no trailers, no expectation. I had just become privy to a film that was released 3 years ago.
2017 saw the release of Womp Stomp Films', "Never Hike Alone". Based on that name alone, it sounds like a horror, but little did you know (maybe it was just me), It was connected to The Friday the 13th franchise.
In case you are wondering, yes, I have been stuck under a rock all this time. Upon my resurfacing, it was obvious I had missed out on a pretty decent fan film.
The ad copy reads: A fan tribute to (the) Friday the 13th (franchise), "Never Hike Alone" follows an adventure blogger (vlogger actually), Kyle McLeod (Andrew Leighty), who uncovers the long lost remains of Camp Crystal Lake while on a solo backpacking trip. Ignoring the campfire tales from his childhood, Kyle's search turns deadly when he makes the grave mistake of crossing the path of Camp Blood’s legendary mass murderer, Jason Voorhees. Stranded in the forest with Jason on his heels, Kyle must push his survival skills to their limits if he hopes to survive the night. Otherwise, he'll wind up as another lost victim of the cursed camp.
What made me watch this film is because I saw an ad on Twitter. I thought it was about an upcoming movie. I shared my displeasure with the concept of "Jason in the snow". After talking with the producer, I realized this was a fan film and not a motion picture project. That should tell you all you need to know about the presentational quality.
Now that you know what it's about, lets dig deeper on why you should, or shouldn't watch this film.
1. FINAL GUY: In the era of equality, this film features a thing such as a Final Guy. Typically, everyone gets butchered in your standard horror film and the most virtuous woman survives. Well, not in this one. Our final guy is Kyle who is this sort of Peter McKinnon/Casey Neistat sort of a guy who wanders onto the infamous Camp Crystal Lake. This part of the project I admire because it doesn't play on common tropes and deviates a little with the idea of there being a final guy. Does he lives? Does he die? Well, you will just have to watch it and see.
2. CINEMATOGRAPHY: When it first started, I thought it would be this sort of "found footage" thing, and I was thinking, "Please don't be." And it wasn't. It starts out with these really cool sort of YouTube-like angles with Kyle doing his thing. I am a fan of good camera placement because we got some intense adventurous shots during that sequence. Also, the close ups with Jason and the first person shots with Kyle taking a tumble earlier in the film was pretty good. Enough nerd for the day.
3. TIMEFRAME: Camp Blood exists in this project. Now, you are probably saying, that "of course, you idiot. It exists in all of the franchise's films." What I mean by this is that it exists as part of a historical perspective. How it fits was a little more ambiguous.
Kyle is aware of the Pamala Voorhees murders and Jason's revenge. Now how far that goes I can't tell. Giving an educated guess, part 1-7 are canon to this movie. Why? Because Tommy Jarvis appear. YES! Thom Matthews reprises his role as Tommy. That took me by surprise. Given that Tommy is an older adult, still living around the area, this would exclude every other film after part 6. Something more concrete to back this up, Kyle comes face to face with an unmasked Jason and it looks like the resurrected Jason that Tommy had to face back in "The New Blood". However, it appears Kyle's knowledge of the Voorhees murders stop around part 2 or 3. Because he isn't aware Jason is alive and thinks the revenge parts are just "a ghost story".
4. FAST JASON (SORT OF): This Jason is pretty fast! He's not 2009's running Jason, but he moves about pretty quickly. Poor Kyle couldn't really create a good distance between the two. Jason always caught up with a faster pace than he is known for.
TANGET: Speaking of a fast paced Jason. I was hoping this film would explain that, or just hint how Jason catches up with people. For those not in the know, Jason walks....SLOWLY. Yet, he's always there when his victims reach their destination. How does he do it? Well, he simply has the ability to teleport. This is actually canon. But the movies have been very ambiguous with it even though they sometimes hint at it. The comic books and the prequel material details how Jason has the ability to teleport from one place to another. He also has telekinesis, which the movies never touched out.
However, in "Jason takes Manhattan" (more like Canada, haha) A guy runs up a flight of stairs leaving Jason at the bottom outside of the building. Immediately, the guy is tossed out a few stories high. The moment he lands, within seconds Jason kills the guy outside of the building. This is because Jason has the ability to teleport, so running away from him is almost useless. I was hopping that this film would touch on that. But that's a minor caveat.
5. THE MAKE UP: To me, the practical FX was fantastic. I'm not sure what the budget was for this movie, but fan films aren't usually tackled with a high budget, yet this film does not suffer. Jason's face is just as horrific as they are in the films. The wounds are of good quality. Its not Savini's level. But it looks high budgeted. There's dream sequence kill where the practical FX shines through. This project lacked nothing that would indicate of low budget film. If I'm not mistaken, we even get a good looking Pam Voorhees cadaver.
6. JASON: While 53 minutes isn't fair enough to judge a performance, I will say that the person (Vincente Disanti) playing Jason did a fantastic job! Be aware, to me, the definitive Jason will always be Kane Hodder. Disanti does a great Job of a portraying a more mobile and hard to kill Jason. If there was one thing I’d love to see from Jason that I didn’t get to see, was his head tilt when things aren’t logically clear to him.
Should you watch it? Of course! Is it good? Yes! On a scale of 4 stars, I’ll give it a 3 1/2.
Not wanting to play the spoiler, there are some plots that’s going to make you want more, particularly at the end. The acting was good. The plot was simple but definitely expansive! I will say that there are things that can be built upon. I’m talking layers and layers. The gore was surprisingly great! And most importantly, I was truly entertained.
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