paul_haakonsen

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Reviews

Jason Rising: A Friday the 13th Fan Film
(2021)

An interesting approach to the events after part IV...
Taking place shortly after "Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter", this 2021 fan-made movie was actually not all that bad.

The storyline in "Jason Rising", as written by Vincente DiSanti, Vincente DiSanti, Maurice J Cardwell and Robert Blanche, proved to be a fair enough foray unofficially into the "Friday the 13th" franchise. It was definitely an interesting take on the events following the fourth movies in the official franchise.

There was a good amount of action throughout the course of the movie, which made it a fast-paced movie, and that spoke well in favor of the movie.

The acting performances in the movie were fair enough, and I was impressed with the fact that they managed to get Amy Steel (voice only) and Adrienne King to appear in the movie. That was a special sweet for the fans of the franchise.

Jason was quite brutal in the movie, almost savage. And I have to say that I liked the way that Dan Kyle brought Jason to life (pardon the pun) on the screen.

A fair fan-made addition to the franchise, but there are more entertaining fan-made movies out there.

My rating of director James Sweet's 2021 movie "Jason Rising" lands on a six out of ten stars.

Never Hike in the Snow
(2020)

It was over before it even got started...
I sat down to watch the 2020 movie "Never Hike in the Snow" immediately after having watched the 2017 movie "Never Hike Alone".

But I will say that writer and director Vincente DiSanti didn't impress me with this 2020 sequel. The storyline was just simply too lacking in all departments. The entire movie was over before it even got started, and there wasn't enough Jason action to keep the movie afloat.

What was impressive about "Never Hike in the Snow" was the fact that they had managed to get Thom Mathews to return to reprise his Tommy Jarvis character and also Vincent Guastaferro for this movie to reprise his Rick Cologne character from "Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives".

And the Jason costume looked good in this movie, that worked out well enough.

But in terms of "Never Hike in the Snow" being entertaining and worth the effort. No, not really. Sure, I gobbled it up as I am a big fan of the "Friday the 13th" movies and franchise, and of course also a huge fan of the Jason Voorhees character.

Thumbs up for the production and the fact that they managed to get this 31 minute feature out. However, it came and went without leaving much of a memorable mark.

My rating of "Never Hike in the Snow" lands on a four out of ten stars.

Never Hike Alone
(2017)

Well, it had potential...
I had the opportunity to sit down and watch the 2017 fan-made "Never Hike Alone" movie again here in 2023, after having first seen it back in 2017. I had entirely forgotten about it, so of course I jumped at the chance to watch it again.

Writers Vincente DiSanti and Nathan McLeod put together a fair enough script. It was a bit too mundane for a "Friday the 13th" movie though. And by that I mean, there just simply wasn't enough mayhem and bloody kills from Jason Voorhees.

"Never Hike Alone" make for a fair enough viewing, but you're not in for an outstanding experience here. And it was sort of hard to really buy into the storyline as Jason had huge problems attempting to kill Kyle, whereas in the original movies, Jason ploughs through his victims like a warm knife through butter.

The acting performances in the movie were good, and it was definitely a nice surprise to see Thom Mathews show up as Tommy Jarvis.

Visually then "Never Hike Alone" was fair enough. Not an over-the-top special effects spectacular here, but there was a nice atmosphere to the movie, which definitely had captured the essence of the "Friday the 13th" franchise. I wasn't much of a fan of the footsteps they opted to go with for Jason's walk, it was just a tad too much. But I will say that the Jason costume was actually quite good.

All in all, watchable, but not a particularly outstanding foray into the franchise, even though it was merely a fan-made movie.

My rating of "Never Hike Alone" lands on a five out of ten stars.

Rose Blood: A Friday the 13th Fan Film
(2021)

Good, but...
Well, the concept idea behind "Rose Blood" from writer and director Peter Anthony was definitely interesting, and it was good fun to return to the "Friday the 13th" franchise - unofficially though - and see what happened to Tina (from "Friday the 13th Part VII").

It was definitetely nice to see Lar Park-Lincoln (playing Tina) return to reprise her role from "Friday the 13th Part VII", as well as Terry Kiser (playing Dr. Crews) and Kevin Spirtas (playing Nick). And it was also a nice touch to include The Duke, the character from "Jason Goes to Hell", in this movie too.

However, having to sit through 63 minutes of movie without Jason was rough, and it took away a lot of enjoyment from the movie. We sit down to watch Jason Voorhees slaughtering his way through the movie and kill off people in gory, gruesome ways. But you need to wait 63 minutes before he makes an appearance, and that was a shame. I will say, though, that once he did appear, then the movie really stepped into gear.

The acting performances in "Rose Blood" were good, and Jason Brooks definitely does have a good approach to his portrayal of the iconic slasher.

Visually then "Rose Blood" was good. There were a fair amount of interesting kills and gory special effects; which is the stuff us fans love about the movies in the "Friday the 13th" franchise. But waiting 63 minutes before getting to the good stuff, was just a tad too much.

Definitely a watchable take on the events following "Friday the 13th Part VII", for sure. But certainly not without its flaws.

My rating of "Rose Blood" lands on a six out of ten stars. I would have rated it a five out of ten stars, but the appearance of Jason, despite its lateness, definitely spruced things up in a much needed manner.

Vengeance
(2019)

Rather good...
I had stumbled upon the 2022 "Vengeance 2" movie prior to watching this 2019 movie, and I really enjoyed the sequel, so I tracked down the 2019 movie as I wanted to watch it as well.

While writers T. C. De Witt and Mike Meade put together a rather enjoyable movie here with the 2019 movie "Vengeance", it wasn't quite as impressive as the 2022 "Vengeance 2". Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that "Vengeance" is a bad movie, far from it. It is, in fact, rather enjoyable, but it was just not the same level of production as the 2022 sequel.

The storyline in "Vengeance" is entertaining and nicely written, and it was nice to see that the story carried on straight over into the sequel. And that makes for some good continuity between the two movies.

The acting performances in "Vengeance" were good, and Jason Brooks definitely puts on a good performance as Jason Voorhees. Sure, it was cool that C. J. Graham was in this movie and the sequel, as he was the one playing Jason Voorhees from the "Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives". However, it wasn't something that had me all worked up, because the acting performances as Elias Voorhees (Jason Voorhees's father) was not all that outstanding. But hey, it was a nice touch for him to take on a role in these movies.

Visually then "Vengeance" is good, lots of blood and mayhem, just as it is supposed to be in a movie with Jason Voorhees. And as a 30+ something year long streak as a gorehoud, I was definitely entertained by what I saw.

"Vengeance" is a good addition to the "Friday the 13th" franchise, despite it being a mere fan-based project. But it looked and felt like something right in the likes of "Friday the 13th" part VI, VII or VIII.

My rating of "Vengeance" lands on a seven out of ten stars.

Birdemic 3: Sea Eagle
(2022)

It was bad, oh so bad...
Granted, I didn't like the previous two movies, yet I still opted to sit down and watch this 2022 third movie in the series, titled "Birdemic 3: Sea Eagle".

Was I expecting anything? Well, not really. I was hoping that they upped their game from the previous two abysmal movies, sure, but I wasn't harboring any expectations.

Writer and director James Nguyen delivered what had to have been the worst movie of 2022 here with "Birdemic 3: Sea Eagle". Wow, just wow.

First of all, you have to wait 56 minutes before the birds make an appearance. And let's face it, the lousy animated birds from parts I and II is what drives you to go on to watch the third movie. I certainly was for me. And 56 minutes into a movie only 83 minutes long, before you are rewarded with those horrible animated birds that explode on impact.

Up to the 56 minute marker, the movie is nothing but a slow paced infomercial of how bad a state the Earth is in, about climate crisis, global warming and how humans are destroying the Earth. I am not kidding. It was literally all that was going; watching Ryan Lord and Julia Culbert walk around various locations and delivering gut-wrenching wooden dialogue about the state of the Earth.

The acting in the movie was toe-curling awful to witness. The performances were wooden and rigid at best. With absolute zero chemistry between the leading actor Ryan Lord (playing Evan) and leading actress Julia Culbert (playing Kim), and they both delivered performances that would make a dead man wake up and go "oh really now?" And the dance scene was just atrocious; never before have I seen such awkward and rigid dancing before my eyes. Actually there wasn't a single good performance throughout the 83 minutes of runtime that this infomercial for global warming and eco crisis ran for.

The movie is a dumpster fire of grand scale. The storyline is rubbish, especially since you have to wait close to an hour before those god awful animated birds show up. Then there was the issues with the lighting and quality of the picture, which kept alternating between shadowed haze and ordinary daylight. And the sound was equally bad; loud in some scenes and barely audible in others.

Visually then "Birdemic 3: Sea Eagle" was every bit as horrible as the previous two movies. With lousy animated birds, sea eagles this time, that exploded on impact and just using the same two frames of animated birds over and over. I mean, even when people were shooting and fending off birds with various tools, there weren't even birds in the picture most of the time.

But hey, at least "Birdemic 3: Sea Eagle" is good for a laugh once past the 56 minute marker.

"Birdemic 3: Sea Eagle" from writer and director James Nguyen was bad, so very, very bad. My rating of "Birdemic 3: Sea Eagle" lands on a one out of ten stars. Without a doubt the worst movies I have stumbled upon from 2022.

Do yourself a favor and stay well clear of this one. Some of us suffered through it, so you don't have to.

Night of the Falling Stars
(2021)

As campy as you would expect...
Well, it is hardly any surprise that I wasn't harboring much of any expectations to this 2021 sci-fi movie titled "Night of the Falling Stars". But still, I opted to watch it and give it a fair chance, as it was a movie that I hadn't already seen, nor actually heard about priot to sitting down to watch it.

Writers Charles Morris Jr. And Bobby Peoples put together a fairly straight forward storyline, I will say that much. Sure, it was a somewhat generic storyline at that, but in all fairness there was something oddly campy and enjoyable about the concept.

Now, "Night of the Falling Stars" was hardly an outstanding movie. Yet, I managed to sit through all 86 minutes of it. However, I was only partially entertained by the movie. And believe you me, when I say that this is hardly a movie that warrants more than just a single viewing.

The acting performances in "Night of the Falling Stars" were semi-adequate. It was a bit surprising to see the likes of Robert Davi and Paul Logan in a movie such as this.

Visually then "Night of the Falling Stars" felt like a cheesy low budget sci-fi movie. Oh wait... Right.

I am sure that there is something enjoyable in "Night of the Falling Stars" for the die hard sci-fi fans out there, especially if you enjoyed the 1950s and 1960s sci-fi features.

My rating of "Night of the Falling Stars" lands on a three out of ten stars.

The Macabre
(2022)

A fairly generic horror anthology...
Now, had I known that the 2022 horror movie "The Macabre" was a horror anthology, then I might have skipped on it, as I am not overly keen on anthologies. And for some reason then the majority of horror anthologies tend to be some rather dubious ones.

The narrative in between the segments was fair enough, though the demonic mask was exactly just that; a mask. And it was plainly visible, even audible too, as it distorted the actress's voice and just didn't look natural when she was speaking.

The stories were, as it always goes for horror anthologies of very various degrees of entertainment and enjoyment. So writers Kirsten James, Rolfe Kanefsky and Brian Lewis didn't botch it all up here.

Needless to say that I wasn't familiar with the cast ensemble in "The Macabre", but I will say that the actors and actresses put on fair enough performances generally speaking. Nothing outstanding though, but fair enough taking into consideration the level of production.

Visually then you're not in for a spectacle of outstanding effects. However, I will say that whatever special effects were in "The Macabre" worked out well enough in favor of the movie. They had that particular lovable low-budget feel going on for them.

Sure, if you enjoy horror anthologies, then there is some enjoyment to be had here, I am sure.

My rating of "The Macabre" from director Eric Mathis lands on a four out of ten stars.

Yogen
(2004)

Watchable, but somewhat forgettable movie...
Sitting down to watch the 2004 Japanese movie "Yogen" (aka "Premonition") here in 2023, I had actually seen the movie once before, sometime back in the mid-2000s. However, I could not remember the movie at all, aside from its cover, so as I had the opportunity to watch it again, of course I did so.

Writers Noboru Takagi and Norio Tsuruta put together a fair enough script and storyline for the movie. It made for an semi-adequate enough viewing, however, I have to say that I wasn't really blown away by the story here. It was simply a bit too slow paced and monotonous in its narrative.

There were some good acting performances, especially by leading actor Hiroshi Mikami.

Visually then "Yogen" was a fair enough movie. It made use of a couple of special effects, and they worked out well enough.

However, this was more of a supernatural thriller than it was a horror movie, so I have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed with what director Norio Tsuruta delivered.

"Yogen" is a movie that doesn't really have a lot of replay value to it, simply because the storyline isn't all that captivating or layered. I feel that the whole aspect of knowing the outcome of the future and then just sitting idly by and not doing anything to try to change disaster from happening was sort of laughable.

My rating of "Yogen" lands on a four out of ten stars.

Friday the 13th Vengeance 2: Bloodlines
(2022)

I can't believe this, but Jason is back...
I have to admit that I was somewhat skeptical when I sat down to watch the 2022 movie "Vengeance 2: Bloodlines". But I am huge fan of the "Friday the 13th" movie franchise, so of course I had to sit down and watch this one as I had the opportunity.

And color me impressed. This 2022 movie really surprised me. It felt, looked and sounded like a true "Friday the 13th" movie, you know from around parts VI, VII and VIII era. And those movies are by far the better of the entire franchise. And "Vengeance 2: Bloodlines" felt like it belonged right in there. So thumbs up to the crew involved with the production and creation of this movie.

The storyline, as written by Jason Brooks and Kim Terreson, was entertaining, and again it was straight out of the "Friday the 13th" franchise. The storyline is simplistic and straight forward, and laced with an abundance of Jason Voorhees murder spree scenes, which is the reason for why we love the franchise, isn't it?

The acting in "Vengeance 2: Bloodlines" was good, and Jason Brooks - who wrote, directed and played Jason Voorhees - did a good job at portraying the iconic serial slasher. He had a lot of Kane Hodder's mannerisms nailed down, and while he was good, then he was no Kane Hodder. It is odd why Kane Hodder wasn't a part of this and donned the iconic hockey mask once more. It was a nice treat to see Thom Mathews return to the scene as Tommy Jarvis.

The music in the movie was good, and it was kept in the score similar to that of "Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives". And it worked so marvelously in favor of the tone of the movie.

There is an abundance of brutal killing scenes throughout the course of "Vengeance 2: Bloodlines", and it certainly was sufficient to please a seasoned gorehound such as myself.

Visually then "Vengeance 2: Bloodlines" is good. I like the special effects and make-up. It was clear that it was made by people with a sincere love and admiration of the "Friday the 13th" franchise.

"Vengeance 2: Bloodlines" was an enjoyable and entertaining surprise, and I was really impressed with the production, the feel and sound of this movie. They definitely captured the essence and spirit of the late 1980s "Friday the 13th" franchise.

If you enjoy watching Jason Voorhees on the screen and enjoy the "Friday the 13th" franchise, then you seriously have to sit down and watch director Jason Brooks' 2022 movie "Vengeance 2: Bloodlines".

My rating of "Vengeance 2: Bloodlines" lands on an eight out of ten stars.

Fearless Love
(2022)

Watchable, but lacking in comedy and horror...
When I read the synopsis for this 2022 Thai horror comedy titled "Fearless Love", I must admit that I wasn't instantly won over. Why? Well, I am not big on the whole social media influencer thing, as it is a downright laughable concept. But since this was a Thai horror comedy that I hadn't already seen, and given the history of Thai horror comedies, of course I opted to give the movie a chance nonetheless.

The storyline in "Fearless Love" was pretty straight forward, however the movie was somewhat lacking in the comedy department, and the horror aspect to the storyline wasn't all that impressive. Yet, I still managed to sit through all 122 minutes that the movie ran for.

The acting performances in the movie were fairly good. I wasn't familiar with the cast ensemble, though I will say that leading actor Dan Worrawech Danuwong and leading actress Ungsumalynn Sirapatsakmetha did carry the movie well enough.

Visually then "Fearless Love" was adequate. The special effects were fair enough, though nothing outstanding. However, what did work well in favor of the movie was the setting and the scenery, because it was genuinely adding to a somewhat dark and brooding atmosphere in the movie.

There are far better and more enjoyable horror comedies in the Thai cinema, so "Fearless Love" wasn't really an outstanding foray.

My rating of director Dan Worrawech Danuwong's 2022 movie lands on a four out of ten stars.

Carnifex
(2022)

Simply too uneventful and slow paced...
I will say that I found the cover for the 2022 horror movie "Carnifex" interesting enough to pick it up. And with "Carnifex" being a horror movie that I had not already seen, nor even heard about, of course I opted to watch it.

The storyline in the movie, as written by Shanti Gudgeon, definitely had potential. However, the movie was just too slow paced and ineffective. It was clear that writer Shanti Gudgeon and director Sean Lahiff were aiming at tension and atmosphere, more than they opted for a traditional gore horror movie. It didn't really play out all that well in my book, especially because you have to wait 56 minutes before you get a glimpse of the creature. And by that time it was just too little, too late, especially since the movie ran at 93 minutes in total.

"Carnifex" is a slow paced movie with a narrative that actually doesn't offer all that much to the audience. But if you consider watching three people walking around in the wilderness, looking at camera traps exciting, then you are definitely in for a treat. I was expecting a tad more than just that, so I found "Carnifex" to be somewhat of a swing and a miss.

And with nearly 1 hour into the movie before things start to happen, I have to say that my patience and interest in the movie was fast waning.

This is a movie with a very small cast ensemble, so there was an additional amount of pressure on the performances delivered by Harry Greenwood, Alexandra Park and Sisi Stringer. They actually fared well enough, taking into consideration the lack of a properly engaging script and storyline.

Visually then "Carnifex" was okay. I mean, you don't get to see anything interesting before 56 minutes into the foray. And with less than a couple of minutes, perhaps 2 or 3, of screentime, then it made for a rather dull creature feature.

Sure, the atmosphere and tension in the movie was good, but the narrative was just too mundane and slow paced to keep things interesting.

My rating of "Carnifex" lands on a very generous four out of ten stars.

The Mummy: Resurrection
(2022)

At least they tried...
Needless to say that I had actually never heard about this 2022 horror movie from writer and director Steve Lawson titled "The Mummy: Resurrection" prior to getting to sit down here in 2023 to watch it.

I found the movie's cover interesting and since it was a movie that I had never seen or heard of before, and it being a horror movie at that, of course I opted to watch "The Mummy: Resurrection".

And I did manage to sit through the entire movie, but I was not even adequately entertained. The storyline in the movie did have some promise to it, but writer Steve Lawson just never really put any real force behind the drive, which made for a somewhat monotonous and dull movie experience. There were elements to the storyline that was interesting, for sure, but the overall impression of "The Mummy: Resurrection" was a less than mediocre movie experience.

The acting performances in "The Mummy: Resurrection" were fair enough. I wasn't familiar with the cast ensemble, and while you're not in for a stellar top notch performance, then I will say that the cast did put on a fair enough performance. It was a rather small cast ensemble, and they were restricted by a subpar script.

Visually then "The Mummy: Resurrection" was okay. I mean, it is not an over-the-top special effects movie, and whatever little effects were there seemed to do their job well enough. It was, however, really difficult to take the mummy seriously, especially since it was a rather well-preserved, plump and pristine body for something that was supposed to have been dead for more than 4000 years.

As for "The Mummy: Resurrection" being a horror movie, no. This wasn't a horror movie, it was a supernatural drama at best, not even close to being a thriller.

My rating of "The Mummy: Resurrection" lands on a very generous four out of ten stars. The narrative in the movie was just simply too slow paced and uneventful.

Bullet Train Down
(2022)

For a movie from The Asylum it could have been worse...
When I saw the title of this 2022 movie, I must admit that my thoughts were immediately 'okay, The Asylum is now cashing in on the Bullet Train movie'. Yet, I still opted to give "Bullet Train Down" a chance, on the account of it being a movie that I hadn't seen, nor actually ever heard about prior to sitting down to watch.

And my initial thoughts were true, because this movie was The Asylum cashing in on the Brad Pitt movie "Bullet Train", except they also rip off "Speed". Yeah, the storyline in "Bullet Train Down" is a blantant rip off of the old Keanu Reeves movie "Speed", except this story takes place on a bullet train and not on a bus. So much for originality from writer Alex Heerman, huh?

While The Asylum definitely have a lot of dubious movies to their name, then I will honestly say that "Bullet Train Down" wasn't all that bad. Cheesy and corny, sure, but it was watchable and entertaining enough for the cheese that it was. Not exactly a great movie, mind you.

The acting performances in the movie were somewhat all over the place. Some of the actors and actresses couldn't muster a performance that would fool a blind man, while others were doing all the heavy lifting and carrying the movie almost singlehandedly. Rashod Freelove definitely carried the movie with his performance, alongside with Xander Bailey. Tom Sizemore was the only familiar face for me on the cast list, but his acting in this movie was just laughably bad and wooden.

Visually then "Bullet Train Down" was actually an okay movie, especially taking into consideration some of the numerous older movies that The Asylum have been churning out. Sure, you're not in for a CGI spectacle here, but the CGI effects worked well enough in favor of the movie. However, it should be noted that you will not buy into believing that the movie ever took place inside a train, because the sets were just so horribly amateurish and looked like they cleared out someone's living room and built up what was supposed to be the cabin of a bullet train. It just didn't fool anyone.

"Bullet Train Down" is the type of movie that you will watch once, then shelf it, forget about and never bring it out to see the light of day ever again.

My rating of director Brian Novak's 2022 movie "Bullet Train Down" lands on a four out of ten stars.

Mal de ojo
(2022)

Surprisingly good...
I hadn't heard about this 2022 Mexican horror movie titled "Mal De Ojo" (aka "Evil Eye") prior to sitting down to watch it. All I knew about it was that it was a horror movie. And that was essentially also all I needed to give it a go.

Writers Junior Rosario, Edgar San Juan and Isaac Ezban put together a rather enjoyable script for the movie. Though I had figured out the plot about 40 minutes into the movie, and it actually panned out as I had predicted it to.

The storyline and narrative in "Mal De Ojo" was good and entertaining. It was a well-written story and concept, and it provided me with genuine entertainment.

I was by no means familiar with the cast ensemble in this movie as I have next to no experience with the Mexican cinema. But the actresses and actors in the movie put on good performances.

Visually then "Mal De Ojo" was quite good. I liked the special effects in the movie.

My rating of director Isaac Ezban's "Mal De Ojo" movie lands on a six out of ten stars.

Shark Waters
(2022)

Yeah, just another run-of-the-mill shark movie...
I have to admit that I am sucker for shark movies, despite the fact that 95% of all shark movies are questionable and dubious movies at best. But I still opt to give a shark movie the benefit of the doubt. And such it was with the 2022 movie "Shark Waters".

And I had never heard about writer M. L. Miller's "Shark Waters" movie before getting the chance to watch it. And seeing that dreaded logo pop up on the screen, you know which one I am talking about, The Asylum, I have to admit that my expectations went down a couple of notches for the movie. Yet, I still opted to watch it.

Director Jadon Cal didn't exactly deliver an innovating shark movie. If anything, then "Shark Waters" was a pretty generic movie at best, even for a shark movie. But hey, at least it had sharks. Well, a combination of dubious CGI sharks and some stock footage of sharks. Again, something that is a common occurrence in shark movies, isn't it?

The dialogue in "Shark Waters" was rather shoddy, and there were some genuinely toe-curling moments throughout the 85 minutes that the movie ran for.

The acting performances in "Shark Waters" were fair enough. Some questionable performances, but also some adequate performances. But truth be told, a movie such as this would be astounding if it had stellar performances.

I mentioned the poorly animated CGI sharks, and mix that with some equally poorly animated blood effects in the water, and you know what you're in for when you sit down to watch "Shark Waters".

My rating of "Shark Waters" lands on a three out of ten stars.

Vo Sinh Dai Chien
(2021)

Quite good...
As I sat down to watch the 2021 Vietnamese movie "Vo Sinh Dai Chien" (aka "Battle of the Fists") the movie was listed as an action comedy, so that was what I was expecting. However, this movie was an action drama, not an action comedy, so it was a rather different movie that what I had expected.

And with that being said, I must also say that "Vo Sinh Dai Chien" actually turned out to be an enjoyable movie, and definitely exceeded my expectations. Aside from a rather corny movie cover that looked like an archetypical 1990s martial arts movie cover, then the movie was actually quite enjoyable.

The storyline, as written by Tran Khanh Hoang, was enjoyable and entertaining. Sure, it was a rather predictable and somewhat generic storyline, even for a martial arts movie such as this. But it proved to be enjoyable, nonetheless. If you enjoyed movies such as "Karate Kid" then you will also find enjoyment in "Vo Sinh Dai Chien".

The acting performances were fairly good, as were the martial arts sequences. Given my limited familiarity with the Vietnamese cinema, then I wasn't familair with the cast ensemble in the movie. But I was entertained by what I saw on the screen.

If you enjoy a good old fashioned martial arts movie, then give "Vo Sinh Dai Chien" a chance, should you have the opportunity to do so.

My rating of director Nguyen Ba Cuong's 2021 action drama "Vo Sinh Dai Chien" lands on a six out of ten stars.

Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost
(1999)

Rather enjoyable...
Another older "Scooby-Doo" adventure that I hadn't seen before. As I stumbled upon "Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost" here in 2023, of course I opted to sit down and watch it. And I did so with my son, as be both enjoy watching the adventures of Scooby-Doo and his friends.

Writers Rick Copp, David A. Goodman, Davis Doi and Glenn Leopold definitely put together a storyline that fit right into the established franchise of "Scooby-Doo". So if you enjoy the movies and the TV series, then you will definitely also enjoy this 1999 animated movie.

A well-written storyline that contains the usual amount of scary encounters, funny schenanigans and all the things we love and enjoy about the franchise, does make for an enjoyable and entertaining 66 minutes of runtime. I certainly was genuinely entertained by this animated movie.

The animation and art is good, and it is as you would expect from a "Scooby-Doo" animated movie. And that is part of the charm of the franchise. So you know what you are in for here, when you sit down to watch "Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost".

The voice cast ensemble in "Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost" was good, despite of it not being the voices that we have grown well-familiar with. And it was definintely great to have the voice of Tim Curry as Ben Ravencroft.

I enjoyed "Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost" and it is an animated movie well worth watching, especially if you are a fan of the "Scooby-Doo" franchise.

My rating of "Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost" from director Jim Stenstrum lands on a six out of ten stars.

Wong Kok cha 'fit' yan
(1996)

Semi-watchable, but cluttered storyline...
Stumbling upon the 1996 Hong Kong movie "Once Upon a Time in Triad Society" and seeing that it was a spin-off from the "Young & Dangerous" series, I must admit that I was interested to watch it. And given my fascination with the Hong Kong cinema, then I just had to watch it.

Oddly enough then I actually never have seen the movie before now in 2023, and I do like the movies of Francis Ng.

While the "Young & Dangerous" movies are quite enjoyable, then writer Kai-Cheung Chung didn't really managed to put together something outstanding here. Sure "Once Upon a Time in Triad Society" was watchable, but it was by no means an outstanding movie, nor was it a milestone notch for Francis Ng.

The storyline in "Once Upon a Time in Triad Society" felt a bit too cluttered and random, and there was a general lack of red thread throughout the course of the movie. It made it a somewhat monotonous movie to sit through. And while I did manage to sit through the entire movie, this is by no means a movie that I will ever return to watch a second time.

The movie does have a couple of familiar faces on the cast list, with the likes of Francis Ng and Michael Wai-Man Chan. And this movie was by no means a memorable movie for a talented actor such as Francis Ng.

Watchable for what it was, but nothing noteworthy or outstanding. This was hardly a gem in the Hong Kong cinema, so I hadn't really been missing out on something grand.

My rating of director Michael Wai-Man Chan's 1996 movie lands on a four out of ten stars.

Velma
(2023)

Seriously?...
When I first saw the poster for this 2023 animated spin-off series off the "Scooby-Doo" characters, I must admit that I was already ready to skip on it.

But I still opted to give it a go, and my first impressions were holding up. This abomination of an animated series has nothing to do with "Scooby-Doo" in any way.

The changes made to this spin-off series just takes the essence of the "Scooby-Doo" franchise and throws it right out the window. I was expecting something akin to the cartoon series that I grew up watching and still watch and enjoy as an adult today. But that was not the case here, because creature Charlie Grandy delivered something else entirely. Trust me when I say that "Velma" has to be seen and witnessed to believe it could play out such horribly.

"Velma" is a swing and a miss on a massive scale. No doubt about it. And even my son, of 12 years age, said this was atrocious, and he sure didn't understand the massive changes that were made to both Velma and Shaggy. Nor could I for that matter.

What does work for "Velma" is the art style and the animation, because it was good. But yeah, that was about all that the series have working for it. Everything else in this series is abominable.

My rating of "Velma" lands on a one out of ten stars.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
(2022)

Quite enjoyable...
Sitting down to watch the 2022 animated movie "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish", I must say that I was entertained and impressed.

I haven't seen any of the "Puss in Boots" movie since the first movie, so I weren't really up to speed here, but I figured I would watch this 2022 movie with my son since the opportunity presented itself. And it was quite enjoyable.

The storyline, as written by Paul Fisher, Tommy Swerdlow and Tom Wheeler, was quite well-written, and it had many great elements and included different elements from various well-known rhymes, fables, fairytales, etc. So there was a lot of nice things to see on the screen.

The voice cast in "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish" was great, and there were some very good talents on the cast list.

Visually then "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish" was impressive. The art style and CGI was really great and looked amazing on the screen. And there were a lot of small details to take in, in each and every scene, which makes the movie well-worth watching more than just a single time.

"Puss in Boots: The Last Wish" is a movie for the entire family, as it holds elements of adventure, great storytelling, lovely characters, and much more.

If you haven't already seen directors Joel Crawford and Januel Mercado's 2022 animated movie "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish", then you most certainly should do so, if you get the chance. I was certainly more than entertained.

My rating of "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish" lands on a seven out of ten stars.

Ju-on
(2002)

Essentially just a remake of the 2000 movie...
If you thought this 2002 movie titled "Ju-On" from writer and director Takashi Shimizu is the first movie in the "Ju-On" franchise, think again. I thought so right up until 2023, where I stumbled upon "Ju-On: The Curse" and "Ju-On: The Curse 2" both from 2000.

However, this 2002 movie is a massive improvement of the previous two movies, though it is essentially just a remake of the original "Ju-On: The Curse" movie, except with a much bigger budget, better effects, better production, better acting, and so forth.

And while the 2002 movie "Ju-On" definitely is a step upwards from the two 2000 movies, then it is a shame that it was essentially just a remake of the original movie.

The narrative in "Ju-On" is pretty straightforward and easy to follow, making it a rather easy movie to sit down and watch. And if you enjoy the archetypical Japanese style of haunted movies, then "Ju-On" should definitely be something right up your alley. Personally, I must admit that a boy with a bad haircut and painted all white and making cat sounds isn't really scary. In fact, it was rather laughly and far from being scary. The mother's creaking sound was actually the most disturbing thing about the movie.

As much as I enjoy Asian horror, then I have to say that "Ju-On" isn't an outstanding movie. It is certaily a watchable movie, yes. And yes, it is a far better movie that the atrocious American cash-in remakes.

Visually then "Ju-On" is an adequate enough movie.

My rating of writer and director Takashi Shimizu's 2002 movie lands on a five out of ten stars.

Ju-on
(2000)

But it was the same as the 2002 movie...
I stumbled upon this 2000 Japanese horror movie "Ju-on: The Curse" by random chance here in 2023. And I had always thought that the 2002 movie "Ju-On" was the first movie in the franchise. So I was quite surprised to learn about this and a part two also from 2000.

Needless to say that I opted to sit down and watch writer and director Takashi Shimizu's 2000 movie, as I had the chance to.

However, this movie sort of felt like a watered down version of the 2002. Well, I guess it would be more correct to say that the 2002 movie felt like a remake of this 2000 movie, and with a lot more funding than what they had available for this 2000 movie. Hand on heart, then this 2000 movie "Ju-on: The Curse" felt like a sort of amateurish home-video adaptation of the story.

The narrative in "Ju-on: The Curse" was exactly as it was in the 2002 movie, except they lacked greatly in the production, visual, audio and effects departments for this 2000 movie.

The acting performances in "Ju-on: The Curse" were adequate, but the entire movie was just permeating a particular amateurish atmosphere.

My rating of "Ju-on: The Curse" lands on a four out of ten stars.

Mong ming yuen yeung
(1988)

Fairly average crime action thriller...
As I sat down in 2023 to watch the 1988 Hong Kong crime action thriller "Mong Ming Yuen Yeung" (aka "On the Run"), it was actually for the very first time ever. In fact, I had never heard about the movie prior to getting the chance to sit down and watch it. And given my fascination with the Hong Kong cinema, of course I opted to do so in a heartbeat.

Writers Alfred Cheung and Keith Wong put together a fair enough script and storyline for the movie. Sure, it wasn't really an outstanding movie, especially in comparison to some other Hong Kong movies from the late 1980s. But it was entertaining enough for what it was, and it was definitely a chance of pace for actor Biao Yuen.

There are some familiar faces on the cast list, with the likes of Biao Yuen, Wah Yuen and Lieh Lo. And I will say that this movie was definitely something else when you think of a Biao Yuen movie, as it was way more brutal and violent than his usual movies are.

There is a fair amount of action and shooting throughout the course of the 88 minutes that the movie ran for, but in comparison to other late 1980s Hong Kong action movies, then it wasn't really as intense. And there isn't any martial arts in this movie, even with it being a Biao Yuen movie.

"Mong Ming Yuen Yeung" is watchable a single time, but that is essentially it, because there isn't enough contents to the storyline to support more than just that first and only viewing.

My rating of director Alfred Cheung's 1988 movie "Mong Ming Yuen Yeung" lands on a five out of ten stars.

Pintu Terlarang
(2009)

I wish I never opened that door...
I had never heard about the 2009 Indonesian movie "Pintu Terlarang" (aka "The Forbidden Door") prior to now in 2023, as I had the opportunity to watch it. And of course I opted to watch it as it is an Asian movie that I hadn't already seen.

However, writer and director Joko Anwar failed to impress me with this 2009. The movie is listed as a horror mystery thriller. Right, well scratch the horror aspect from that equation, because there was nothing scary about the movie, aside from how boring it was. Mystery? Well, sort of. Thriller? Hardly so in the proper sense.

The storyline in "Pintu Terlarang" seemed to follow no particular red thread, and the movie felt incredibly random and chaotic, as if writer and director Joko Anwar was just making things up as they were filming the movie scene by scene.

I wasn't familiar with the cast ensemble in "Pintu Terlarang", nor could I claim that I was impressed with what I saw on the screen.

"Pintu Terlarang" was a swing and a miss, especially since I was expecting it to be a horror movie. The storyline was just simply too boring and erratic.

My rating of "Pintu Terlarang" lands on a two out of ten stars.

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