Saturday, January 19, 2013

El Professore Movie Reviews: Ninja in the Dragon's Den

Director: Corey Yuen
Starring: Hiroyuki Sanada, Conan Lee, Hwang Jang Lee
* * * 1/2
Here's a terrific, groundbreaking martial arts epic that marks the directorial debut of master fight choreographer, Corey Yuen (aka Yuen Kwai).

Full review after the jump.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: Lego Minifigures Series 9, Part Two

...picking up where Luke left off in Part One.

Lego Minifigures Series 9 is out and about, and grown men like myself and pushing kids out of the way to feel around little tiny blind packaged bags.... hoping for a chicken wing, ogre head, or at least a judge's wig.

This series is pretty incredible too. They've left out the standard boring "explorer" type character that we've seen around. There is only one character with cloth (pet peeve #1), and there are three female dress bottoms (pet peeve #2). Other than that, the most boring figure is probably a plumber, which isn't even that boring.

Luke may have gotten more figures than I did, but did he get better ones? There was at least one heavy hitter missing from his haul and I have him in my grubby little hands.

Click through the jump!!!

Thank GIF it's Friday!

Here's hoping your weekend is similarly full of gentlemanly japes!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Han Launches First!

The Star Wars Angry Birds toys are still dominating the toy store shelves, and rightly so. Not only did they make cool vehicles / characters and a mock early bird set... now they are tugging at the Original Trilogy purists heart with the new Han Solo Blaster.

First of all it comes with a GREEDO TARGET. If there has ever been a complete disregard the silly concept of Han shooting second, Hasbro has nailed it. Who gets shot at by a target and then shoots the target in defense? Seriously.

Then there are the instructions on the back that specifically reference the sacred cantina scene. You are basically being told to mow down Greedo, just like in the movie.

In a world filled with bad board game movies and action figures with terrible cloth outfits, Hasbro has come out on top with something that is faithful to the original, and completely against the final word of George Lucas.  Get yours before the new, modified, delayed-shot version replaces it!

Review: Lego Minifigures Series 9, Part One.

Lego's blind-packaged line of minifigures have totally thrived, so much so that 2013 already heralds the unbelievable series number 9 with no sign of quitting! And with 16 new figures every series that means Lego has already released a total of... 90... add 9 x 6... carry the 1... like.. 25,000 unique sculpts! It's breath-taking when you think about it.

What's more, Series 9 is one of the strongest and most inventive yet and will be forever remembered as the wave that brought us the pinnacle of minifig achievement - the illustrious Lego Chicken Man...

I have nine of these in hand and plenty of photos of them. To see what I got... join me after the jump!

Book Review: Ack-Ack Macaque

Every so often, a book comes along that just the cover and title are enough to at least take a flyer on it. In the case of Ack-Ack Macaque, our cover shows our fearless hero, a monkey, smoking a cigar in a bomber jacket while shooting a pistol.

Yeah, I was in.

The good/bad news is that the cover, and the concept, don't tell the whole story. Based off of a previously-published short story about our primate protagonist, the book is actually a futuristic concept with a lot of questions about artificial intelligence and the idea of brain/personality swapping. Ack-Ack Macaque is actually a super-famous MMO character as well as a monkey in the real world, and, well, once he figures that out...

The book is sci-fi at its pulpy best. I could spend some time criticizing some aspects of the plot, but I'm not entirely sure there's a point to it - after all, at the end of the day? You're getting a book where a monkey wants to kick some Nazi tail and has to settle for the real world society he's stuck in instead. The book also has some interesting ideas about MMOs and how one might work with a limited characterbase that I found pretty intriguing.

A solid, quick read. If you're looking for something fun, superficial, and different, you can't do much better than this one.

Available to buy at Book Depository.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Broke Video Gamer: Hawken vs. Mechwarrior Online

It was a week of glorious battle! The air was filled with smoke and flying debris as jetpacks, missiles, lasers, and bullets fired. The ground was littered with the flaming hulks of massive bipedal war machines. I exploded and got exploded by a lot of mechs in a bloody quest to discover which flavor of mech warfare brings more glory and honor: newcomer Hawken or grizzled veteran Mechwarrior Online (MWO).

Although free-to-play and still clinging to the “beta” status, both are open to new players and ready to take your cash in exchange for weaponized walking tanks. So, it has come to this: Which mech combat simulator will reign supreme?

Click through the jump for full reviews!

Deep Silver unveils Dead Island 2 special edition; the Internet wigs out

Those classy folk at Deep Silver are evidently so unsure of their new product that they're falling back on the age-old adage of all publicity being good publicity. The European/Australian Zombie Bait edition will come complete with a foot tall, mutilated female bust. And in this case, "bust" is actually an hilariously appropriate term, if by hilarious you mean queasily.

If your stomach is strong and your outrage mighty, click on...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kickstart the Week: Zogar's Gaze by Grey Gnome Games

Zogar's Gaze is a card game with cool artwork, theme and cool concepts all around.

Grey Gnome Games is taking a different approach to board game publishing. Instead of ordering the game from a manufacturer in China, they are ordering the parts and components from various US based manufacturers, and compiling them together themselves, shrink wrapping and fulfilling orders. It's an old school approach and a business model that you don't hear much of anymore.

They've successfully done this previously with Plague: The Card Game and now Zogar's Gaze is trucking along through the channels of Kickstarter.

Zogar’s Gaze is a press-your-luck driven game that uses both cards and dice to deal with the many obstacles in Zogar’s lair. Players draw at random a race and class card at the beginning of the game and keep these identities a secret from the other players. Both the race and class have separate win conditions that must be met in order to win the game. On your turn you can explore as long as you want at the risk of losing all you have gained. In addition, Zogar’s Gaze is always on the lookout. If seven of his ever-piercing eyes are revealed, all players lose, and Zogar wins! Muhahahaha!
For $35 you will get a copy of the game along with all stretch goals that are unlocked during the campaign. For $65 you can get a copy of the game PLUS a copy of Plague. And if you spend a little more you can get a metal print of the box art. There are also buttons, T-Shirts and iPhone cases for all of the merchandising you can handle!

Check out Zogar's Gaze on Kickstarter:

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 1/9/2013

Well, here we are halfway through January and hopefully settled in well to the new year!  All we need now is something to read...oh wait, I know...COMICS!

Earth 2 #8 - "What can I say?  I got her at an impressionable age."

There's a complete shift of focus this month on Earth 2!  We come to the kingdom of Dherain...a country that harboured troops for Darkseid in the great war.  Now, 5 years later, it still harbours Darkseid's general, Steppenwolf!  He's stuck on Earth 2 with no way what's a immoralistic genius strategist to do?  Why, try to take over the world, of course!

That's getting ahead though...for now Steppenwolf has decided that rather than be a guest in Dherain, he'd rather kill King Marov and take over!  To be fair, the king was just about to have him assassinated to win favour from the other nations of Earth 2.  Survival of the fittest. 

Of course, King Marov has an army.  Luckily, Steppenwolf has something even better!  Taken at a young age and raised (trained) by Steppenwolf...she calls herself Fury!  Oh and her lineage is...impressive.  With her help, anything seems possible for Darkseid's erstwhile General!

Action Comics, Detective Comics, Green Arrow and more after the JUMP!

Book Review: Star Wars the Ultimate Action Figure Collection!

As a long-time Star Wars action figure collector (I paid for most of George Lucas' children's shoes) it's nigh impossible for me not to mention Stephen J. Sanweet's brilliant new book Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection.

Weighing in at over 350 pages and covering nearly 2,500 action figures spanning from the late 1970's to 2012 this is an unmissable resource for all breeds of collector. I was gifted a copy for Christmas by our very own Jacinta, and now I must tell you why you need a copy too!

You and I will chat... after the jump!

The Book Was Better Podcast: Teaser for Episode 34!

After our holiday hiatus, The Book Was Better podcast is back! In this massive 20 minute teaser Jessica and I catch up, respond to your feedback, and give you the name of the terrible movie novelisation we will be reading/debating/deconstructing/destroying in our full episode next week! It's a great one!

And don't forget that Episode 34 will be Jess' last before her maternity leave! So shove her in your ears and enjoy her while you can! Because after that... we're in guest host country!

You can download it from the official site here, or why not subscribe to us on iTunes so that we be all up in yo' head every single week!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Readthrough of Time: A Memory of Light

And then we came to the end.

I've spent a good enough amount of time over the last year absolutely tearing this series apart in many regards. It was uneven at best, borderline-unreadable at worst, and even some of the things set up for Brandon Sanderson to sort out wasn't looking good.

Even with all that in mind, however, I still found myself extremely excited for A Memory of Light to end up on my doorstep.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

El Professore Movie Reviews: Mr Vampire

Director: Ricky Lau.
Starring: Lam Ching Ying, Chin Siu Hou, Ricky Hui, Moon Lee
* * * 1/2

The Gyonsi (Hopping Vampire) movies that populated (some might say infested) both the Hong Kong and Taiwan theaters and T.V. screens during the late '80s and early '90s were a subgenre filled with promise, yet ultimately met with disappointment. The more of these purely Chinese oddities I watched, the more I found myself having to endure terribly forced, unfunny comedy and worse, the ever present (and ever annoying) child vampire that was there to please the kiddies and provide nice solid family entertainment... yech. Despite the occasional good entry, most of these wound up being something of an endurance test for me. Ironic then that the film that started the craze, 'Mr. Vampire' was a bonafide classic that melded it's clever comedy with genuine scares. It was the 'Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein' of Asian horror.

Full review after the jump.

Review: Doctor Who Character Building Series 3!

I recently reviewed the Titans, Doctor Who's foray into the 3 inch designer vinyl market, so why not now look at the third series of Doctor Who Character Building, the closest you'll probably ever get to Doctor Who Lego. Once again these are blind packaged minifigures so you're never really going to know what you're going to get. Except for perhaps the Tardis. Those things are bulky.

What did I get from this nightmare smorgasbord of tiny mannequin faces? Find out... after the jump!