Robert Wm. Gomez's

The Five Deadly Venoms (7/10)

Master is worried that his five former students are too powerful and may do evil so he sends his goofy-haired final student off to stop them (but with the caveat that he must team-up with one of the venoms in order to defeat the others). This makes no sense, but once the ball is rolling it doesn't matter. The five venoms begin to reveal themselves by slipping into their unique fighting styles but, rather than becoming an all out brawl, the story becomes an ancient Chinese courtroom drama.

Technobabylon on PC (8/10)

Cyber-club in Technobabylon

Wadjet has produced another solid point and click adventure game that makes up for its somewhat lackluster predecessor, A Golden Wake. This one is a sci-fi, cyberpunk thriller in which there is a killer on the loose "mindjacking" his victims' memories.

I never quite understood the appeal of cyberpunk. My experience in the genre is limited mostly to The Matrix movies and a fruitless attempt to play Neuromancer on the Apple IIgs.

Five Fingers of Death (8/10)

A rather brutal kung-fu flick centered around competing schools in the lead up to a fighting competition. Lot of spraying gore and a couple eye plucking scenes earn this one its "R" rating. The main hero has an inflexible, emotionless baby-face but the story and secondary characters are decent and more than make up for the wooden acting of the lead. This one is noteworthy for using the same alarming synth sound that Tarantino used to denote revenge in Kill Bill (turns out it's the theme from the Ironsides TV show).

Return of the One-Armed Swordsman (7/10)

The sequel to the memorable One-Armed Swordsman is less about character development and more about action (Duh... you could say that about every martial arts movie). The plot is literally the plot of a video game. There are five bosses to defeat... start walking to the left and start swinging your sword. That said, the fights are pretty incredible and the blood has been turned up several notches making this a fun watch.

Terminal City Ricochet by Various Artists (7/10)


Like any compilation, there will be a range of quality in the songs. Most of the tracks that I really like on this soundtrack I already owned... by that I mean "It's Catching Up" by Nomeansno. There are a few other good tunes, but for the most part, this is a showcase for paranoid left-wing political rock. I get it. Corporations are evil. Boo hoo. Anyhow, I eventually saw this film at the art theater in Champaign and it was a boring mess. The movie, that is. The theater was lovely.

Shaolin Intruders (9/10)

Finally, a Shaw Bros. martial arts film that hits all the right buttons: interesting characters, plot twists, colorful design and, of course, excellent fights. I went into this not expecting much—a couple of the ones with "shaolin" in the title have been weak. After an unimpressive opening scene, things start to get interesting as the film sets itself up as a sort of murder mystery.

Legendary Weapons of China (8/10)

This is a weird one. It starts off with a display of magical cloaked fighters in which two are made to kill themselves. One fighter (who I swear is a young Jackie Chan) gouges out his eyes, the other gouges out his, um... crotch. You are then shown more magical legions; the first is using voodoo power and the other is trying to block gun shots with a combination of muscle flexing and paper. The set up is crazy and you know it's going to be great, but then it hits the breaks and focuses on an old man who can lift lots of wood.

Half Life: Opposing Force on PC (7/10)

Half Life: Opposing Force

Opposing Force is a welcome improvement over Blue Shift. First off, it's feels like a full game rather than just a bunch of new levels. It's nowhere near as developed as a modern shooter, but there's a little bit of a story to follow. Half Life was much lauded for its story, but, in hindsight, there really wasn't much there. Opposing Force doesn't even have that minimal level of depth, but there's enough there to push you towards your goal which, as always, is to get the hell out of Black Mesa.

Half Life: Blue Shift on PC (6/10)

Blue Shift Screen

I am finally getting around to playing the Half-Life 1 expansion games. As expected, this is more of the same. This time around playing as a security officer who is caught up in the Black Mesa incident. Once again, you are trying to get back to the surface. There aren't any new game play mechanics (that I can see), and aside from a couple of references to Freeman, the story here doesn't really tie into the main narrative.