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Retrospective Review: Fist of the North Star

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The nuclear bombs have destroyed the modern civilization. Buildings have crumpled and energy is pretty much nonexistent. The strong have survived and the weak has perished or become fodder for the ones who are ruling the different villages or nomadic tribes that are inhabiting the world today. The world is desolate.

The grounds are ruined and cannot even grow even the most basic of flora. This is the world that makes up Fist of the North Star. In this world, which is very reminiscent of any kind of Mad Max or any kind of future dystopia, we have a man who, like from many Shakespeare or Greek tragedies, must reunite with his love and fight off his evil brothers and a traitor of a best friend.

This anime is a cult classic and is very well known with abridged series and with the main character being cos-played at many conventions. However, given the grim subject of the movie and considering the gravity of the nature and the amount of blood and head explosions, is the film any good? We will be looking at story, fighting scenes and the animation. Does this movie live up to the standards of classic anime movies or will it be another defeat in the hands of the viewers? Let’s roll up our sleeves and power up as we review Fist of the North Star.

The film is loosely based on the manga of the same title. The story (at least the dubbed version I had to view) is about Ken (Kenshiro) who is betrayed by his rival and friend Shin when he beats him up and takes his woman who he loved. When he is left for dead, his brothers (Jagi and Raoh) decide to disprove of his body by throwing it down a crevice. Raoh goes back home and claims to his master that Kenshiro has been defeated and he is now the new Fist of the North Star. He stares off into the earth and plans on what taking over the world.

Meanwhile, as time has passed, Kenshiro reemerges from a mute girl who psychologically called for help when she and her brother figure were being harassed by the local gang. He has a full beard and it seems like he has learned more abilities since his earlier defeat. He easily makes work of the gang in a quick manner with lots of body parts and heads exploding with all the bloody gruesome details.

Without revealing all the play-by-play sequences, Kenshiro ends up defeating his brother Jagi (who took over a town claiming to be the fist of the north star), defeated Shin and was able to stand his own against his brother Raoh, but eventually did lose the fight but not his life. He did rescue his girl but she disappeared during the fighting. Her goal seemed to just want to plant some seeds that she had and try and regrow the habitation that was long gone. At the end of the movie when Kenshiro is looking for her, he comes across an oasis of trees and water in the middle of the desert. He doesn’t really smile but rather looks determined to continue his quest to find her and be together again. The movie ends.

The fighting scenes are reminiscent of what anime was like during the 1980’s. There are lots of movements with the fists but the rest of the body is pretty stagnant (probably due to animation being expensive). With the fighting scenes, there are a lot of blood and body parts being ripped off from the limbs and dissected as well.

It’s very macho and very in your face about the violence of the nature that the creators have surrounded themselves in this story in so it does feel very appropriate that the gore and violence and the fighting match with the nature of the environment that this story is taking place in. The fighting itself has a little feel of Berserk meeting some early DBZ feel to it but the fights don’t last long enough to really have any kind of shonen hidden gem to it.

The animation style had the hand drawn appeal that I miss in modern animated features and it also has some grittiness to the way everyone is drawn. Everyone has some dirt, mud, smudges on them because in the vast desert and baron wasteland of Japan, clean water is scarce and having clean clothes seems unheard of or a luxury that people cannot have unless you have power and not money.

Even though the animation does have some stiffness in it and there is a lot of standing around with dialogue coming from mouths we cannot see, I think it’s still has a decent animation given the resources and what they had to work with. It can be choppy and the flow might not be the most crisp as later animated features would prove but there is a charm to what is shown to the viewer and a passion showcasing their style and their skills getting the story across.

This movie has some flaws but it does have some Greek tragedy/Shakespearean elements to it that western audiences can relate to and have an understanding why Kenshiro must do what he has to. A man who loses his love must fight back against all odds and armies to reclaim his love from the clutches of a jealous rival and a hate ridden older brother. That’s a story audiences can understand and root for.

The violence is over the top and there are a lot of body parts exploding but luckily the paste like red blood that comes from the victims are not in focus and we usually move on to the next victim until we get to the boss of that stage and have the epic take down. If you are an anime fan or if you enjoy animation with an interesting plot and some dark elements on a budget, then you’d like this film. I think the story of Fist of the North Star has been around for a while but, I think new audiences would quite enjoy some of the over-the-top fight scenes and some of the gritty atmosphere that is very symbolic to a Mad Max or a reverse Waterworld.

The movie is on the streaming site Crackle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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American Horror Story: Delicate

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As most of us are already aware, the 12th Season of AHS has been fraught with all kinds of differences to the previous seasons, mainly in that this is the first one to be based entirely off a novel, ‘Delicate Condition’ by Danielle Valentine. The first half of the season aired in October 2023 to mediocre reviews, while the SAG-AFTRA strike caused production and airing delays for the latter half of the season, and the episodes of Part 2 were all cut to less than an hour long apiece. And none of that is even getting into the disjointed attempt at storytelling for Season 12, so let’s dive into this! 

Meet Anna Victoria Alcott (Emma Roberts), former young ling star of Hollywood now struggling to recapture fame as an adult, who wants a baby, very very badly. Bad enough to drive herself and her husband Dex (Matt Czuchry) through multiple unsuccessful rounds of IVF (in-vitro fertilization), bad enough to keep trying no matter how crushing each failure turns out to be, bad enough to involve her purported best friend and bougie publicist Siobhan Corbyn (Kim Kardashian) in her struggles, and maybe, just maybe, bad enough to give up on a burgeoning resurgence of her career after interest in her comeback role for The Auteur begins garnering her Oscar-worthy attention. 

So, Anna and Dex are going to go through yet another round of IVF, likely one of their last attempts at it, from a different doctor, Dr. Andrew Hill (Denis O’Hare), and clinic based on Siobhan’s recommendation. And already, strange things are beginning to happen to Anna – her appointments that she set herself begin springing up incorrectly, a doom saying woman called Preacher (Julia White) shows up spouting warnings about trusting no one, dire warnings appear in unlikely places, and BTW, it seems as though long-suffering but good-nurtured Dex has a side-piece too. It doesn’t help that Dex’s new partner at his art gallery, Sonia Shawcross (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), bears a striking resemblance to his dead ex-wife Adeline, either. Those spiked emerald heels start appearing weirdly too, and it seems as though no one will listen to Anna as she grows more and more suspicious that some sort of sinister cult has designs on her as-yet-unborn baby. At the same time, Anna tries to live the life of a successful returning actress, attending parties and gallery openings while draping her rapidly-expanding middle in shimmering fabrics and actively ‘campaigning’ for that little golden statue that most actors covet. Competition is fierce, even among her co-stars of The Auteur, and while Anna wants to be supportive of her fellow entertainers, she clearly appears to be incapable of doing both at the same time – wanting the baby and the little gold award at the same time is too much to ask, apparently. 

Elsewhere, mostly in the past, various women in states of desperation formed from one situation or another are visited by sinister-looking women in prim black dresses, headgear reminiscent of – to me anyway – an odd cross betwixt birds and bunnies, my guess is an ostensive nod to fertility in general, and a general feeling of blood-bound witchery about them at critical moments of crossroad choices. 

Though the second half of the season moves a good deal faster than the first, the attempts at callbacks and reminder flashes to Part 1 hit with all the impact of a dropped bag of garbage onto their friends Talia’s (Julia Canfield) borrowed bougie kitchen floor – splat, into incomprehensible silence, from all parties, both characters and audience, concerned. Even the reminders that, in Part 1 of Delicate Dex’s mother Virginia Harding (Debra Monk) did indeed have perfectly valid memories of abuse at the hands of a black cult and Dex’s own father Dex Sr. (Reed Birney), the revelation pales and peels away in the face of Dex’s true parentage. 

Which brings us back around full circle kinda sorta, to the only real character worth a damn in this entire miserable season of strange feminism and aspirations of world domination through a kind of idiotic Rosemary’s Baby nightmare scenario, we should have known she’d steal the show when Kardashian was cast for it, Siobhan Corbyn, leader of the blood cult her high and mighty (old) self. Throughout the whole show her character has remained exactly the same, and it’s a wonder Anna can stare at her all stupefied while Siobhan does her villain speech at the end of the last episode. Siobhan never masked her ambition or greed, her mysterious protective vibe and even deep love for Anna, and can always be counted on to have secret plans of her own, already in motion, bitch. 

The idea that Anna herself was used as a surrogate for Siobhan and her incestuous eugenicist plans, plus the sweet little demon baby she just birthed, has an ironic the-world-is-tilting-the-wrong-way kind of witchy madness to it. Sure, Anna really can have it all, the baby and the golden statue, if only she joins the patriarchy-crushing cabal of blood witches with world domination plans, got it. 

I have questions, or I would have, but things are moving on and Anna is being saved by … Dex’s dead ex, Adaline the former member of the coven right okay her, she’s going to show back up and offer Anna a simple chant to Hestia her patron Goddess, and that is somehow enough to deal with Siobhan entirely – poof. And finally, after all that rigamarole, decades of planning and scheming and witchy plotting finally settled, Anna really can have it all as a White Witch of Hollywood, heaven help us, with her perfectly human baby and that damned little golden statue, clutched in an only slightly desperate grip. 

As with any season of AHS there are a great deal of statements that could be implied just under the skin of the season – the canker way of ambition, the millenia-old pain of a woman giving birth, the savagery and bloodshed that comes with bringing forth life, pushback against both the patriarchy and ultra-feminism, the absolute desperation of humans wanting to have a child, and perhaps strangest and most open to interpretation of all, what it means to be feminine. The worlds population of women who can’t or don’t or simply won’t have children, for any reason or none, are relegated to servants, expendable servants at that, for this new world order that Siobhan is proposing, and that is far too close a comfort to things like outright slavery. A dictator is a dictator, no matter how great she looks in those emerald spiked heels. 

It’s not the really beautiful grotesquerie that Ryan Murphy and his AHS gang are often known for, nor is it utterly terrible and should be burned at the stake. What Delicate should be, is put back together with missing and cut footage, an hour long per episode again come on folks, fleshed some more of Siobhan’s baby-stealing adventures in the past and given us an actual reason to like anything about the whiny Anna, at least the Part 2 we as longtime AHS fans deserve. Toss in some more spidery hijinks! Give us the actual origin of those weird feather bunny-ear headdresses! 

American Horror Story Delicate the whole season can be seen on FX! 

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Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery in a World Gone Prehistoric!

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Hold onto your hats, dino fans! The highly anticipated sequel to the adrenaline-pumping Camp Cretaceous saga is here, and it’s taking us on a wild ride six years in the making. Following the harrowing events of Camp Cretaceous, our beloved “Nublar Six” are back, but they’re not out of the woods just yet. In fact, they’re about to plunge headfirst into a world where dinosaurs roam freely alongside dangerous humans, and trust us when we say, it’s a Jurassic jungle out there!

Picture this: a world where survival isn’t just about avoiding sharp-toothed predators but also navigating the treacherous waters of human greed and deceit. As our resilient heroes reunite in the aftermath of a heart-wrenching tragedy, they quickly realize that danger lurks around every corner, and trust is a luxury they can’t afford. 

But wait, there’s more! Prepare to embark on a globetrotting adventure like no other as the Nublar Six find themselves thrust into the heart of a conspiracy that threatens not only the fragile balance between dinosaurs and humanity but also their very existence. From the lush jungles of Isla Nublar to the bustling streets of bustling cities, buckle up for a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions as our intrepid group races against time to uncover the truth about one of their own and, ultimately, save both dinosaur and humankind from certain doom.

So, dear readers, if you thought you’d seen it all in Jurassic Park, think again! With heart-stopping action, pulse-pounding suspense, and jaw-dropping revelations, this latest installment promises to be a game-changer in the Jurassic universe. Get ready to roar with excitement because Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery is about to take a bite out of your imagination and leave you hungry for more!

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Netflix’s Upcoming Thriller ‘Trigger Warning’ Promises Action-Packed Intrigue”

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Get ready to buckle up for an adrenaline-fueled ride as Netflix prepares to drop its latest original thriller, “Trigger Warning,” on June 21, 2024. Directed by Mouly Surya and boasting an all-star cast, including Jessica Alba, Mark Webber, Tone Bell, Jake Weary, Gabriel Basso, Anthony Michael Hall, Kaiwi Lyman, and Hari Dhillon, this film is set to keep viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish.

The plot centers around Special Forces commando Parker, portrayed by the talented Jessica Alba. Parker’s life takes an unexpected turn when she receives the heartbreaking news of her father’s sudden passing, prompting her to return to her hometown. As she steps into her new role as the owner of the family bar, Parker quickly realizes that there’s more to her father’s death than meets the eye.

Reconnecting with figures from her past, including her former flame turned sheriff, Jesse (Mark Webber), and his volatile brother, Elvis (Jake Weary), Parker finds herself embroiled in a dangerous web of deceit and violence. With the influential Senator Swann (Anthony Michael Hall) casting a shadow over the town, Parker must navigate treacherous waters to uncover the truth about her father’s demise.

As tensions rise and alliances shift, Parker taps into her elite commando training, determined to unravel the mysteries plaguing Swann County. Assisted by her covert ops partner and hacker, Spider (Tone Bell), and the enigmatic local dealer, Mike (Gabriel Basso), Parker embarks on a perilous journey filled with twists and turns.

Penned by John Brancato & Josh Olson and Halley Gross, “Trigger Warning” promises to deliver a gripping narrative packed with action, suspense, and unexpected revelations. With a powerhouse cast bringing the characters to life and a talented creative team behind the scenes, this Netflix original is primed to captivate audiences worldwide.

Produced by Erica Lee, Basil Iwanyk, and Esther Hornstein, “Trigger Warning” offers a thrilling glimpse into the murky depths of small-town politics and criminal underworlds. With its pulse-pounding action sequences and compelling storyline, this film is sure to leave viewers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Mark your calendars for June 21, 2024, as “Trigger Warning” arrives on Netflix, ready to ignite your senses and keep you guessing until the credits roll. Don’t miss out on this adrenaline-charged cinematic experience that promises to be the ultimate summer blockbuster.

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