Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire (DVD Review)

12 – 94mins – 2017


A LEGENDARY TAIL

For the uninitiated, brace yourself: this is a review of Dragonheart… 4. That’s right, somehow the medieval fantasy movie where Dennis Quaid tracked down a talking dragon with Sean Connery’s voice has quietly hatched three sequels since its theatrical bow in 1996. First follow-up A New Beginning is easily ignored, despite coming 3 years later it is the epitome of a cheap cash-grab, with a largely unknown cast (the older brother from Malcolm in the Middle is the only ‘name’), a ropey CG baby dragon, minimal locations and the distinct feeling it was filmed on all of three cramped sets.

… Keep Scuttling!

Logan (Cinema Review)

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15 – 137mins – 2017 – 3D


 

WOLVERINE: THE X GENERATION

13 months ago, Deadpool delighted 20th Century Fox by making a pretty penny at the box office despite being the first superhero blockbuster of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be certified 18. In a profit-minded climate where tentpole releases are skewed towards the money-maximising 12A rating, Deadpool took a risk and it paid off. Perhaps this is why Fox were more supportive of The Wolverine director James Mangold’s grisly-toned concept for the ultimate send-off for the X-Men’s signature star.

… Keep Scuttling!

Green Room (Netflix Review)

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18 – 95mins – 2016


THE AIN’T RIGHTS

“They run a tight ship… except it’s a U-Boat.”

Vicious is too polite a term for the immoral ultra-right wing scumbags who frequent and ‘protect’ Darcy Banker’s (Patrick TMNT Stewart) remote Pacific Northwest dive bar, a tavern where you wouldn’t want to spill another punters drink – much less stumble onto a fatal stabbing.

… Keep Scuttling!

TMNT (Blu-ray Review)

PG – 87mins – 2007


 

DISBAND OF BROTHERS

14 years (and numerous TV incarnations) after their time travel adventure in Feudal Japan (Turtles in Time reviewed HERE), the lean, green, turtle teens returned to the silver screen with a space-saving, text-friendly, lousy noughties buzzword of an acronym – and a sharply-rendered CG makeover, courtesy of Imagi Animated Studios.

But while the half-shell heroes might look and sound different, a sneak peak at Master Splinter’s (Mako Iwamatsu) trophy cabinet confirms they are still the same pizza loving, freedom fighting foursome from the live action early 90s trilogy who defeated Shredder, rapped with Vanilla Ice and fought in a 17th century Samurai civil war – even if the years have not been kind to them.

“This place used to be fun…”

As we return to the action, leader Leo (James Arnold Taylor) is on a skill-sharpening sojourn in South America, leaving Donnie (Mitchell Whitfield) and Mikey (Mikey Kelley) to get personality-appropriate day jobs in I.T. Customer Care and Party Entertainment, respectively. Rebel Raph (Nolan North), meanwhile, is angrier at the world than ever before, taking out his frustrations on NYC’s scum as the metal-suited vigilante Nightwatcher.

Reporter and eyes on the street, April O’Neil (Sarah Michelle Gellar), meanwhile, is now shacked up with Casey Jones (Chris “Captain America” Evans) and out of the News field. Her new cargo delivery company provides the catalyst for this wild ancient-statues-brought-to-life plot which in scope and scale is the most outrageous and fantastical quest yet.

In my review of Platinum Dunes’ 2014 reboot (reviewed HERE) I dismissed TMNT as a “dud” because the first and only time I had previously seen it – in the cinema NINE years ago – I had felt thoroughly fazed and frustrated by this uncharacteristic misstep. However, given a second chance on blu-ray during my pre-Out of the Shadows franchise refresh, I found far more to love than to fret over.

I still insist that Max Winters’ (Patrick Stewart) immortal warrior king aspect is messy as shell and unnecessarily convoluted in sci-fi mumbo-jumbo (“Stars of Kikan”, “Legend of Yaotl”?!!), however the disparate characterisation is still remarkably solid and the quip-heavy banter still popping (even if the pop-culture references have been toned down – save for Splinter’s Gilmore Girls adoration), while the slick animation allows for livelier and more dynamic action than ever before.

The impassioned character drama is moodier and more nourish than it has been since 1990’s theatrical bow (reviewed HERE), while the fan-servicing inclusion of Karai (Zhang Ziyi) and the remnants of Shredder’s Foot Clan (even if it is as little more than masked bodyguards) are welcome nods to the golden days. It’s just a shame the sheen is scuffed by an epic fail of a fantasy conceit which requires far too much expositional explanation (courtesy of Laurence Fishburne’s narration) to make a jot of sense.

CR@B Verdict: 3 stars