POF Archive: May 2020

I have been writing this drivel for decades. Browse through my archives by clicking the links below.

Fallout Tactics on PC (8/10)

Fallout Tactics

The third game in the Fallout series eschews much of its RPGness and concentrates on combat instead. I always liked the turn-based fights in the first two Fallout games, but there's something off about the way the system was implemented here. I was having the hardest time getting through the early levels and eventually gave up at one point. I finally came back to the game after having read that the way to play is to ignore the turn-based system and instead use the real-time mode instead.

Apparently, the designers all along intended this to be a real-time combat game and never really…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sat, 05/30/2020 - 17:14

The Million Eyes of Sumuru (7/10)

This movie shouldn't be as enjoyable as it was, but I found myself entertained throughout. It's basically the type of 60s film that Austin Powers was parodying. A legion of beautiful women seek world domination and it's up to two unlikely agents to thwart their plans. One of those agents is Frankie Avalon who is often making self-referencing jokes about his situation ("Is this where I am supposed to sing?"). The other hero is a middle-aged man who, despite his wrinkly face, can't keep the young girls from lusting after him. It's all goofy fun and was nice to see all the same Shaw Bros. sets…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sat, 05/30/2020 - 15:45

Demon City Shinjuku (5/10)

Why is so much anime so bad? The plot is as follows: demon destroys city in epic battle, loser's son returns to city with president's daughter, fights smaller demons, and finally fights main demon. The End. It's drawn like an anime cartoon, but that's about all this has going for it.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sat, 05/30/2020 - 15:41

Shanghai Fortress (4/10)

Alright, time to dig in to some CGI-heavy, big budget, us vs. the blue laser summer blockbuster fare from that other world superpower, China! Turns out that stealing intellectual property is no royal road to film effects that look even remotely realistic. There are better effects in a bottom-tier episode of Xena: Warrior Princess than there are in this hyperactive mess. Millions of things are flying around the screen and no way to tell what's going on at any given moment. That can be overlooked if you hinge that on an interesting story. But, no. This is beyond afternoon teen drama levels of…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Fri, 05/29/2020 - 19:30

Saints Row 2 on PC (6/10)

SAints Row 2

I vowed to avoid open world games but then GOG.com goes and makes Saints Row 2 free. This series has always been an answer to the growing seriousness of the GTA franchise (GTA V was just released for free on Epic, erg!). It's unapologetically violent and filled with drugs and and mayhem. The fourth installment was able to get around the awkwardness of this by setting things in a virtual fantasy world. In this version, you are literally gunning down innocent people in a semi-realistic world and it just leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I'm no prude, but it not handled with the correct amount…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sun, 05/17/2020 - 17:08

Machine Gun McCain (8/10)

I have owned the soundtrack to Gli Intoccabili for years. The title song is one of the best themes Ennio Morricone ever wrote, mostly because it straddles the line between cheesy and awesome. It also spoils the ending of the movie, but whatever. This is a great crime thriller that is once again about an ex-con who immediately goes on to drop the "ex" after getting out of prison. It's violent (but not bloody) and you will be wondering why you are rooting for McCain as he fire bombs a busy casino. The cast really elevates this one above your usual Italian genre picture.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sun, 05/17/2020 - 10:16

Midsommar (7/10)

In the post Wicker Man world, I guess creepy European folk culture turned death-cult is now officially a horror sub-genre. I can't wait until there's a horror movie about killer Morris dancers. These are a lot like a PC version of an Italian cannibal movie. It's okay to be xenophobic about this culture, they're white people. In fact, they're the whitest of white people, Swedes! In Midsommar the villagers are extra-sinister and there is no mystery as to their intentions. When the main characters witness a ritual killing and don't immediately decide to leave, all bets for a sensible plot are off…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Wed, 05/13/2020 - 11:22

Caliber 9 (8/10)

Caliber 9 is a highly regarded Eurocrime thriller about an ex-con who is released from prison and everyone suspects he's still got the money from that botched job that landed him in prison. The movie contains no less than three scenes in which gangsters discretely hand a package to one another in a chain of exchanges, all of which fail. You'd think they would learn. It's mostly good but there is a side plot of two cops who constantly argue Marxist theories which have nothing to do with anything in the movie (the Marxist crap is probably why critics like this one so much).

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Wed, 05/13/2020 - 08:46

The Lighthouse (8/10)

A weird, arty film about a pair of lighthouse keepers that is reminiscent of David Lynch. I'm sure there is some grand metaphor here about death, heaven and redemption or something. I just wish the plot was more interesting. Despite the occasional creepy visual, there really is no tension here. Just two guys acting strange in glorious black and white.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Mon, 05/11/2020 - 15:39

L'assassino (7/10)

Marcello Mastroianni is an antiques dealer who is taken in by the police, accused of murdering his lover. It's not as much of a crime thriller as that description implies and is more a study of the character of a charming grifter told through a series of interrogations and subsequent flashbacks. Jazzy Piero Piccioni score and swell black and white cinematography. I love how the hard-boiled cops need to grab a manly cup o' Joe to warm up, but then are reduced to drinking from tiny Italian espresso cups like a bunch of European dandies.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Tue, 05/05/2020 - 17:05

Furie (6/10)

Vietnamese martial arts picture about a female kung-fu loan collector whose daughter is kidnapped and taken to Shanghai. There are some really dumb plot points here and that's not including the overused trope of a tiny woman who can apparently beat up any six-foot navy-seal type who goes against her. The gang is stealing children to harvest their organs and the police don't want to act because they might not completely crack the whole case open. The fights are okay but it all feels a bit like a fan film compared to infinitely superior films like The Raid 2.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Mon, 05/04/2020 - 12:55