Sunday, May 27, 2012
LIGHT ON QUESTS MOUNTAIN gamebook review by Wmpyr
By TSR, Dungeons & Dragons, A Gamma World Adventure Book
An Endless Quest Book #12
by Mary L. Kirchoff and James M. Ward
#1 DUNGEON OF DREAD
#2 MOUNTAIN OF MIRRORS
#3 PILLARS OF PENTEGARN
#4 RETURN TO BROOKMERE
#5 REVOLT OF THE DWARVES
#6 REVENGE OF THE RAINBOW DRAGONS
#7 HERO OF WASHINGTON SQUARE
#8 VILLAINS OF VOLTURNUS
#9 ROBBERS AND ROBOTS
#10 CIRCUS OF FEAR
#11 SPELL OF THE WINTER WIZARD
#12 LIGHT ON QUESTS MOUNTAIN
As a kid I had #4 Return to Brookmere, and it was my favorite gamebook. So as an adult now, I was super excited to find this book from the same franchise. I picked it up without realizing that this was set in the Gamma World and not in the typical Dungeons & Dragons setting. This was a pleasant surprise to me because I do like the post apocalyptic future setting. The cover art is intriguing, we have a beast fighting against a green haired, blue skinned, two-headed, four-armed girl in a sword fight. The girl is really cool looking and reminds me of a Hindu deity. Unfortunately you are not her. She does appear in the novel. So do some very interesting characters such as a trickster rabbit, metal monster that looks like a large construction vehicle, and a half-man half-robot.
The story is basically about you a kid who is going on a rites of passage mission with two of your mutant friends, a monkey man and a lizard man. Because your going on a journey with these colorful characters it reminded me of Go West, which is the original story that the famous manga Dragon Ball was based off of. Your adventure also has a little bit of Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland feel to it. There is a really cool scene where it reminded me of the poppy seeds scene in Wizard of Oz but better in my opinion, when your character is told by the plants how civilization started over. Another really cool part is when your riding on a pineto, a moving plant organism that can be rode on like horses. I was also glad that they put segments with your missing brother. Overall I thought it was a pretty enjoyable experience, definitely a nice change of pace from the usual stuff.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
As a kid I saw Kung Fu the TV show, Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and classic KF flicks as well as the Ninja stuff, but they were a bit before my time in a way since I was so young.
I grew up watching martial arts action flicks primarily from the early 90s. I'm talking JCVD, Steven Seagal, Don the Dragon, and Olivier Gruner.
So now I enter into the modern day era with this new breed of MA action hero with MMA stars doing B-movies.
So this one stars "American Psycho" UFC fame, Stephan Bonnar. I can't say that the women in this film are of my type so the eye candy did hardly anything for me, strip joints are not my scene.
But thankfully it wasn't so overwhelming that it didn't take away from the film, even though there is a lot of it.
I was very glad to see the guest appearances by MMA stars, Sokoudjou, and Gilbert Melendez. Oleg Taktarov also makes a brief cameo appearance, which was nice to see. Still though the other fighters whom I did not recognize, did a great job, and I found the fight scenes to be entertaining, well done, high/real skill, and unique. We definitely get MMA style action, flying knees, Muay Thai kicks, and grappling moves. I like this evolution, I am very impressed with the fight scenes, I'd almost say near perfect, really I cannot give it a high enough praise. One crazy scene was when Gilbert gets hit with a Dim Mak and then Stephan has to give him CPR. We see the Big Daddy Gary Goodridge crucifix-elbow finish from UFC 8.
Stephan does a great job with the fighting, as for his acting, I think his sense of humor shows and one time he really sounded like Arnold saying something along the lines of "come one let's go now!" Stephan really is big and almost like another Arnold, except he brings different tools to the table.
The main villain was played by Daniel Bernhardt from Blood Sport 2 and overall he does a good job. I wish in the end they gave him a special body suit something that Batman would wear, to make things a bit more fair.
Overall the story is good imo, I like how they added that Lucian was dying, it may not necessarily make sense at times, for example Stephan's character is a guy who won the congressional medal of honor, and his whole purpose was to recuse his ex, she runs away in the woods, and he abandons her, doesn't seem like something his character would do. The story started off a bit slow and I was not happy about that however, it impresses. I mean there has been dozens of MA action movies made and all the plots start to become similar, well this one starts off very predictable and then manages to reinvent itself. So the story at first I wasn't satisfied with, but now it's earned my respect. It starts off with a girl who is in distress, she's bad news and you figure he is gonna be running with her, while they send killers after her, ok, we've seen films like that, it can be alright, but no, they instantly get captured, and just like that it turns into a martial arts tournament film where the main character is forced to compete, just when you think that is going on, it then turns into the "Deadliest Game" story where the main characters are now hunted in the forest. So in a way it crosses genre just like the sport of MMA, Mixed Martial Arts, very appropriate to have a MMA star for the hero.
So to me this film is successful and I hope it becomes the blue print to more films like this.
My verdict is: Pleasantly surprised!
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
I found this film to be funny and enjoyable. I didn't take it seriously or negatively. I was worried that I was going to find it offensive/racist, because that can easily happen with humor, and I'm glad that it didn't occur.
To me the film is a success because it's well filmed, Danny McBride carries the film, he plays the role of the egotistical TKD instructor perfectly. I'm glad that the director Jody Hill put himself in the film because his character is hilarious.
I wish this was made into a TV show kind of like how Super Troopers started RENO 911.
Maybe what was lacking a bit was they could have made the characters more likable in the film. I think there was a little bit too much of the story, instead they could have focused on more insane martial arts related gags. For instance a rival instructor across the street who wears a gi that is just loaded with patches. Having a character like that egg on Danny McBride would be really cool. Would love to see a Bruce Lee impersonator in the film. You could do stuff with secret techniques, challenge matches, tournaments, outrageous scary looking villains, internet wars (style vs style), and of course training scenes.
The film looks like everyone had a lot of fun during filming, and if the film had reminded us why we like martial arts so much and why we like training in martial arts I think it would have been a bigger hit. The film overall makes light hearted fun of these kinds of egotistical instructors and features martial arts action without being too hardcore, so overall you get a mild delivery, which isn't bad and I can see why the cover compares it to Napoleon Dynamite.
I don't dislike the film, I definitely see a lot of potential here.