A Look Back at On Deadly Ground

Way back in 1994, Warner Bros. released the action movie On Deadly Ground which marked the directorial debut of its star Steven Seagal. The movie had a poster that easily attracted the attention of avid Steven Seagal fans and eventually the film lured quite a lot of moviegoers to the cinemas.

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Even though it had a boring design, this image at cinemas excited Steven Seagal fans and moviegoers craving for action.

I never saw it in the cinemas due to a lack of time and money. Instead I saw On Deadly Ground on VHS format (and later on cable TV) in the comfort of home. That comfort however turned into disappointment after watching it.

For starters it’s a Steven Seagal movie which guarantees lots of hard-hitting action with lots of swearing. What makes it feel unique was its focus of the environment and its very forced concept about a very greedy top executive of an oil company is creating danger towards the environment as his team rushes to complete an oil rig called Aegis One in Alaska.

The execution of the movie, to say the least, is rather poor. Just about every character in the movie is one-dimensional. When it comes to action, it is typical (and very predictable) Seagal as the star gets to fight lots of bad guys without ever being hurt by them! Ironically Seagal in the film expresses pain over the treatment of his wounds.

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Star-director Steven Seagal and the film crew working on an action sequence.

And then there is the emphasis on the environment. The movie narrowly portrays the fictional oil company as the force of danger to nature and threat to indigenous people of Alaska because it is led by Michael Jennings (played by Michael Caine) who is too greedy and desperate to beat a deadline  and prevent the oil rights from reverting back to native Alaskans.

That’s right! Jenning’s Aegis had the oil rights for twenty years and all they could do is try to launch an oil refinery so near the end of the time period. Does it really take that long to construct an oil rig? What exactly did Jennings do during those twenty years? I mean, he acquired the oil rights from the natives and I could speculate he did not prioritize the construction of any oil-related business project using those same rights. Perhaps Jennings spent years touring the world, suddenly was advised that his corporation has financial trouble and only then did he go to work to make oil rig.

More on the environment, Steven Seagal plays Forrest Taft who initially serves Jennings. He eventually checks the computers of the company to find out that faulty equipment has been used and the delivery of better and more reliable equipment is coming in way too late. Taft even asked Jennings (who eventually learned about Taft’s unauthorized computer access) how much money is enough and this predictably leads to a scene in which Taft gets set up to die in an explosion.

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Michael Caine and Steven Seagal.

Unfortunately for Jennings and the other bad guys, Taft survived and got assistance from native Alaskans. Very predictably, he makes a comeback, collects weapons, performed a few destructive operations before proceeding to Aegis Oil’s rig to cause further destruction and kill bad guys!

Then the film ends with Taft giving a speech at the Alaska State Capitol focused on uncontrolled pollution, environmental destruction and big businesses’ contribution to environmental decline.

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Chinese actress Joan Chen pretending to be a native American tribe member.

It’s funny how Taft got to deliver his speech. He was not arrested for causing the oil rig’s devastation nor was held accountable for killing other people. Where are the local authorities who could have initiated an investigation? Even without Michael Jennings, the oil company could have gone to the local authorities or the federal government to accuse Forrest Taft for murder and even acts of terrorism! Also where in the world are those staunch, loudmouth environmental activists and climate change activists? The damage caused by Taft on the oil rig clearly caused damage to the natural environment with those toxic fumes from the explosions! Logic was clearly thrown out for the sake of senseless violence.

When it comes to performances, this movie is a showcase of shallow acting and cinematic expressions. Not only are the characters one-dimensional and the script really had no character development, the actors really had no where to go as far as acting is concerned. Chinese actress Joan Chen plays Masu who only serves as the English-speaking expository dialogue delivery person to help the audience understand the norms and concerns of a Native American tribe. Shari Shattuck  (who is an author and has her own Facebook page) played the pretty, bland and straight-forward special assistant to Michael Jennings. R. Lee Ermey, who is best known for playing military officers, plays the leader of a group of mercenaries who got defeated too easily by Seagal.

In terms of directing and overall presentation, this movie is clearly nothing more than a vanity project of Steven Seagal. There were many moments in the film that looked like it suggested viewers to worship and idolize Seagal. The pacing of the film is very lackluster overall.

Poorly directed scenes? One of them is the excessively violent torture scene of Hugh Palmer (played by a then 73-year-old Richard Hamilton) which showed no restraint on the part of filmmakers. The scene, which was clearly designed to make moviegoers see the evil of Michael Jennings through his henchmen’s act, would have worked better had the on-screen torture been reduced and shortened.

More on the movie’s violence, the scene showing Forrest Taft easily beating up multiple oil workers in response to the mistreatment towards a Native American man was unnecessary and overly long. Taft looked more like a senseless superhero who does not care about humanity and laws. And then there was that hand-slap game between him and “the man’s man” Big Mike (Mike Starr). The presentation of violence and bloodily injuring a man as means of enlightenment is senseless.

Ultimately On Deadly Ground is a worthless action to film to watch and I believe only die-hard Steven Seagal fans will love it. It was a very bad movie back in 1994, it’s even worse by today’s standards. On Deadly Ground is filled with bad ideas turned into film. A pro-environment concept presented as a senseless action film is a big waste. And then there is the old stereotype that a giant corporation’s head is unabashedly evil, inhuman and greedy (note: not all corporate heads of billion-dollar corporations are like that).

As such, I should say that you should never waste your time nor your money on this piece of crap.

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Note: This retro movie review was originally published at my old blog Geeks and Villagers. What you just read was the updated and expanded version. As such, this retro movie review is the most definitive version.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

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Reject Halloween, Stand With God

In my old life, I used to be fond of celebrating Halloween. Having been Born Again, I realized my true purpose in life under God the Father and His Son Jesus. That being said, I realized how wrong it is to celebrate which is essentially evil and unholy for any Christian (including those who practice idolatry which itself is sinful). Halloween will take Christians away from the Lord and that alone is reason enough to reject it.

Halloween’s origin is Celtic by nature and it is connected with observing the sacrifices to gods under the Druidic culture. There is also Samhain, a dark lord who sends out evil souls to attack humans can only save themselves by disguising themselves with the images of those very evil souls.

Sounds familiar? It is because there are these modern day Halloween practices that are linked to the evil rites and superstitions of Halloween. In the modern world where Halloween gets celebrated, people (including many children) go out and around their local communities wearing costumes of horror figures like zombies, demons, monsters and pop culture-related villains (examples: Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers). These costumed Halloween participants, looking horrific, would visit any household that offers candy for trick-or-treat. Wearing “non-horror” costumes like superhero attire or fantasy attire (example: dressed like a princess) does NOT reduce the evil that comes with Halloween. There is no such thing as an innocent way of celebrating Halloween.

And then there are those multimedia-related ways of celebrating Halloween like watching horror movies back to back or playing video games that carry strong horror themes. There is also the business aspect of Halloween as food retailers promote the season by linking it with selling candy and chocolate (clearly to take advantage of families or groups that intend to give away the sweets during trick-or-treat Halloween celebrations in the local communities).

Halloween trick-or-treat here in the Philippines even made its way to local government units. In October of 2016 and 2017, the City Government of Parañaque organized trick-or-treat at City Hall which attracted kids wearing costumes (including horror and superhero attire) who visited varied offices that give away candy. During those times, the City Government even organized special events at the nearby city sports complex celebrating Halloween which I find rather disturbing.

In my old life, I enjoyed celebrating Halloween and I used to ignore the claims that it was unholy and evil. While I never went out for trick-or-treat as a kid, I helped out in giving candy to costumed visitors. I also hiked around the local area photographing the Halloween activities flocked by participants, and then uploading those pics online for social media users to view. I also took time celebrating Halloween by watching horror movies.

Looking back, I honestly admit that celebrating Halloween was indeed wrong. Now that I’m a saved soul and a dedicated Christian with a living relationship with the Lord, I declare that Halloween is wrong, unholy and evil. Halloween is a popular tool used by Satan to take people away from God and Jesus. Halloween definitely should be rejected always and we Christians must always be with God. Let me discuss the following points.

“Is it okay for a Christian to celebrate Halloween?”

The answer is a definite NO. Let’s take a look at the Holy Scripture below.

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons

1 Corinthians 10: 21 (NKJV)

And now the Amplified version.

You cannot drink [both] the Lord’s cup and the cup of demons. You cannot share in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons [thereby becoming partners with them].

1 Corinthians 10: 21 (AMP)

Very clearly, there is no room to worship both the Lord and evil. If you want to be with the side of God and Jesus, you really need to purify yourself and free yourself from whatever form of evil thrown at you by Satan. Satan is a loser indeed, however he still exists because Adam gave him dominion (read about Adam’s Rebellion) and as long as he exists, he will do anything to take you away from God, to prevent you from worshiping the Lord and will use anything (including religion and idolatry) to prevent you from making progress with the Lord. Halloween is one of Satan’s weapons against Christianity. Halloween is also a long-time tool of the enemy to embrace evil.

If you sinned by celebrating Halloween and committing other sinful acts in your past, you can still be saved (note: you need to be born again to be saved. Heed the words of Jesus in John 3: 3) because God is merciful and you need to be willing to repent, submit to Him and dedicate yourself to Him with an established personal relationship with Him.

Be aware that goodness comes from God and evil comes from Satan. It’s as clear as night and day. If you are a saved soul, then it is clear you should stand with God and His Son Jesus. Being dedicated to the Lord will spare you from evil, and that takes willingness and decisiveness from your end.

Learn from this Holy Scripture.

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2: 1-10 (NKJV)

Each and every one of us was created to be loyal, faithful, loving and dedicated towards our Heavenly Father God and His Son Lord Jesus even as we were granted the freedom to think, act and decide. Even before we were even made, God established a plan for each and every one of us. Worshiping Satan, embracing evil, celebrating Halloween and living a life full sin and wickedness are obviously NOT part of God’s plan for us all.

By realizing the true purpose of your existence under God, you will realize that it is your destiny to be saved and to be faithful (not religious) to the Lord. Satan used a whole lot of tools to prevent God’s creations from being with Him. Satan used not only Halloween but also religion, idolatry, money, power, destruction, secularism, atheism, agnosticism, entertainment and a whole batch of other tools to bring Christians down and make evil stronger.

Going back to Halloween, that celebration of evil includes witchcraft which is an abomination! In our world, it is too easy for people to go out wearing costumes to look like witches and this alone spreads the influence of evil around. There are also filmmakers and other creative people out there who made witchcraft look cool or even a good custom to practice. The 1996 Hollywood movie The Craft is one such example of spreading Satan’s influence to the public and I personally recommend to you readers to avoid watching that movie (note: destroy whatever physical or digital copies you have of it) at all. Witchcraft and related stuff like sorcery, necromancy and magic are abominations as written in the Holy Bible. Read the Holy Scripture below.

“When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.”

Deuteronomy 18: 9-12

Those abominations that look good in entertainment media are all made to deceive you and prevent you from achieving progress and purity with the Lord. From time to time, there are media reports about real life people who practice witchcraft, sorcery and other unholy customs that make this world a terrible place under the eyes of God. That is, obviously, very unfortunate because it proves how screwed up our physical world really is.

Even appearances can add to the influence of evil. You think going out in local community Halloween celebrations dressed as a witch, or as a magician or as a sorcerer (or even cosplaying as Marvel’s Doctor Strange) is okay with the Lord for as long as you don’t practice witchcraft and the like? Wrong! Imagery or appearances of evil spread evil and deceives others. Such imagery also will influence people to embrace idolatry which itself is a sin. Idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of God!

Rejecting Halloween Effectively

You might be wondering: how are we Christians supposed to reject Halloween and its evil effectively?

First, we must realize our purpose as Christians from the following Holy Scripture.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in this world.

1 John 4: 4 (NKJV)

And the Amplified version…

Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].

1 John 4: 4 (AMP)

With that Holy Scripture in two versions, it is clear that as children of God, we are victorious for we believe in the victory of Jesus over Satan. With God on our side, nothing is impossible and we have the power to reject fear, reject evil and reject Satan ultimately. It is by faith in the Lord, not religion and not idolatry, that Christians are special and holy. Stronger than Satan too.

With God on our side, Halloween’s global popularity can be wiped away and its influence of evil on others can be removed and be replaced with the goodness and the biblical truth emphasizing the holiness and victory of Jesus.

If you are looking for practical ways to reject Halloween (and Satan), I would suggest the following:

Instead of watching horror movies or anything that carries the influence of evil, go watch YouTube videos of Christian praise-and-worship songs like the following below.

Instead of going out on Halloween trick-or-treat, pray to the Lord in your room with the door shut (refer to Matthew 6: 6 in the Holy Bible) and be aware that in this way, the Lord is in a secret place and when He sees in secret, you will be rewarded openly. If your church is open or has a holy activity at the same time as Halloween is being held on October 31, make an effort to go to church with the Lord in mind.

Instead of looking at evil images or reading materials that are related to Halloween, better read the Holy Bible or a Christian book.

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Christian books that you must read.

By now, it is clear that as Christians we must always maintain strong faith, trust and dedication to God and His Son Jesus. It also means we must be pure in holiness and there definitely is no room for us to accommodate evil in all its forms. As such, Halloween must be rejected always and its evil presence only means we must persevere more to meet God’s high call. We are all God’s creations and He made plans for each and every one of us even before we were even created. Obviously we were NOT created to worship nor magnify evil at all! We are destined to be saved (be born again) and live in holiness following Jesus. We pray to Him, serve Him, thank Him and dedicate ourselves to Him for the rest of our time.

Let me end this with one more Holy Scripture.

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.

Colossians 1: 13 (NKJV)


Thank you for reading. If you find this Christianity article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back At Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

When a filmmaker has high concepts but ends up receiving insufficient resources to realize them, disaster normally strikes not only the film crew but also the fans.

This was precisely what happened in the horror movie Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, written and directed by Rob Hedden. Released on July 28, 1989 in the United States, the movie was the result of Paramount Pictures’ rejection of proposals on making a direct sequel to Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood involving that film’s lead character Tina Shepard (played by Lar Park Lincoln).

Hedden, who previously worked for another movie studio and participated in the unrelated Friday The 13th TV series, was hired to make the sequel and he had the idea of bringing the horror icon Jason Voorhees out of Camp Crystal Lake (and its related locations) and came up with concepts of having one story set on a cruise ship (for a claustrophobic horror experience) and another story set in New York City (which includes ideas of having notable locations there as key places for misadventures and action).

“Everything about New York was going to be completely exploited and milked,” Hedden said in an interview. “There was going to be a tremendous scene on the Brooklyn Bridge. A boxing match in Madison Square Garden. Jason would go through department stores. He’d go through Times Square. He’d go into a Broadway play. He’d even crawl onto the top of the Statue of Liberty and dive off.”

The movie studio liked Hedden’s concepts and gave him a budget. The big problem was that there simply was not enough money granted (a little over $5 million) and it was too expensive to film on location in New York (I wonder if Hedden actually made some research about the city as he came up with his New York ideas). Although the given budget was the BIGGEST for a Friday The 13th film at the time, Hedden had no choice but to combine the two concepts into one single narrative. As if insufficient funds were not bad enough, Hedden implemented another concept to look at Jason as a child through the hallucinations of the film’s lead – Rennie Wickham (played by Jensen Daggett). Of course, the hallucinations led to spending some money on “special” effects, make-up, and set-up.

Now, we can start taking a close look at Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan.

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Kane Hodder as Jason on location at Times Square in New York.

The movie begins with shots of New York City (with several spots of Vancouver, Canada pretentiously presented as spots of the more famous city). Over at Camp Crystal Lake far away, a guy and his girl prepare to make love riding a boat floating on the lake unaware that Jason is deep underwater (following the events of Part VII). Through expository dialogue, the guy tells his girl about the legend of Jason who had murdered several people who came near the camp.

Due to an anchor cutting an underwater power cable, loose electricity reanimates Jason (played by Kane Hodder) who went up to the boat to kill the guy and the lady, one by one.

Very soon, a group of graduates from Lakeview High School prepares to embark on a cruise ship for their much-awaited visit to New York. Beyond logic, the scene shows that Crystal Lake is magically connected to the Atlantic Ocean and the background scenery shows that they are in Canada (note: back then it was more affordable to shoot scenes in Canada and pretend to be in the US).

At this point, the film introduces the final girl Rennie who is a gifted student but remains terrified about water since childhood. The leading man meanwhile is Sean (played by Scott Reeves) who is handsome but lacks the heart to follow the footsteps of his successful father who is the captain of the ship. Rennie and Sean both show signs of pain and lack from their respective past and these elements, predictably, make them a matching pair for moviegoers to follow.

Aside from the two, the film introduces mostly disposable characters like Rennie’s overbearing uncle (who happens to be a teacher in the same high school she attends and was clearly written to be the one character to irritate moviegoers into being sympathetic with Rennie and others), the good-natured lady teacher, the hard rock musician, the aspiring filmmaker, the jock, the pretty bad girl, the dude who talks without taking a look, the doomsayer, etc.

Just before the ship leaves, Jason climbs his way up to join the trip. Then he’s stalking starts.

Quality

Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan was very bad when it was first released more than thirty years ago. By today’s standards, this film has aged terribly. Its quality is even worse now.

Let’s start with the most obvious flaw – the movie failed to live up to its promise of Jason’s taking Manhattan. The film’s subtitle is a big lie as much of the movie is set in the ship and New York (including the fake NYC spots that were filmed in Vancouver) does not appear as the definitive location until late in the story!

While the story was set on the ship, the film crew seem to focus on producing on-screen fillers creatively. Sure we get to see Jason stalk and kill characters (with some off-screen death blows) but the dialogue scenes, the transition scenes and character “development” stuff in between were very cheaply and poorly handled.

With Rennie, however, the team managed to make her somewhat engaging as the lead of the film by slowly defining her personality (nicely done by Daggett) and creating on-screen hallucination sequences emphasizing the emotional and psychological damage she suffered from encountering Jason when she was a young girl. The flashback of little Rennie encountering little Jason (which does not make sense at all as far as in-story history is concerned) under Crystal Lake was not only badly done but done without any sense of logic. One can argue that little Rennie only hallucinated of seeing kid Jason (supposedly out of fear and paranoia) but that sequence was just a waste of time even though the filmmakers tried to make moviegoers connect and feel with her. Sean, the other lead, was literally protected by plot armor (note: he was not one of the disposable characters) but his character was not written to do much except serving as a supporter for Rennie.

Lousy stuff? Lots of them here and there! Even though he saw his captain father dead, Sean does not show very much emotion and even worse, he easily forgets about him even as he sees Jason quite a number of times later. He should at least show some deep anger (if not lust for revenge) against Jason. Even though he did not witness Jason killing his father, it was made clear to him and the rest that Jason (and not the doomsayer) was responsible.

How about Wayne, the film-obsessed guy? Even though he and his pals took weapons to go around and hunt Jason, he still bothered to use his camera (while clumsily holding the gun) and film his way around! That is so stupid and it was no surprise that he ends up getting disposed of! Being obsessed with filming, Wayne could have decided to accompany one of his armed pals and used his camera for both video documenting and even help an armed guy see something (example: zooming at a spot or object far away).

As for lousy stuff reflecting the very low budget of the movie, I can point out that the scene in which Sean, Rennie, the uncle and lady school teacher board a lifeboat clearly looked fake and was shot on a studio set. The same thing can also be said about Rennie’s fall into the water (pushed over the deck by Tamara) and she was NOT left behind by the ship that was supposedly moving. The location where JJ played rock music before getting killed looked cheap.

More on production cheapness, either the filmmakers ran out of money or they became too lazy with the wardrobe and hoped moviegoers would be too stupid to notice anything. Look back at the scene when Rennie got pushed off by Tamara into the water and was saved by Sean (who jumped to do his heroic act). Even though they got wet, both Rennie and Sean STILL WORE THE EXACT SAME CLOTHES until the end of the film! Those characters did not change clothes even though Rennie returned to her room!

Speaking of which, the filmmakers disregarded the fact that, in the story, the ship was filled with a lot of students going to New York. There were guys and gals partying, playing games, enjoying the scenery (of Canada!), etc. And yet as the film played on, the filmmakers literally abandoned those many other students. The only exception here was the short scene in which the good-natured lady teacher brought some students with her and told them to stay and wait in the restaurant. A short time later, as she mentioned to her companions that there were students left in the restaurant, Sean replied to her depressingly, “There is no more restaurant.” Without showing any scenes, the filmmakers creatively and nonsensically got rid of the others. I suppose Hedden and team had no more time and money left to show what happened to them all.

The cheapness also affected the look of Jason. Adult Jason in Friday The 13th Part VII had a very menacing, gritty and rotten face design. In this movie, adult Jason’s face looks melted and cartoony! And then there was the inaccuracy with regards to how the film presented little Jason. In the early flashback scene, a kid Jason with a normal looking face was shown drowning (which contradicts the fact that Jason always had a deformed face). There was a ladies’ rest room scene wherein kid Jason (with a slightly deformed face this time) appeared to Rennie via a hallucination. Then there was another kid Jason, more deformed, during the flashback of little Rennie. Whatever the filmmakers did, none of those physical presentations of Jason proved to be scary. Clearly whatever little amount of money they spent here ended up wasted.

On the presentation, the film’s pacing was inconsistent and it sure had several dragging moments. Granted, this was Rob Hedden’s debut as a movie director but I’ve seen other slasher horror films that were paced better and had kills that were executed satisfactorily. The fear factor of this movie was weak overall. Meanwhile, Jason illogically has the ability to teleport in this film which is complete nonsense. I believe that the teleportation was implemented as a convenient way of cutting down on time and expense to complete the production. I suppose showing Jason physically moving from one place to the next to get to his running victim was too expensive and too inconvenient for Hedden’s team.

If there are any good points in this film, I should say that Rob Hedden and his team at least tried to be creative with Jason’s kills (but the teleporting still makes no sense). Tamara (whose mirror got dropped and broke into pieces) got stabbed with a sharp mirror piece. A guy in the sauna gets killed with a hot rock forced into his body. And then there was the city thug who got killed with a syringe piercing through his body (which is impossible and cartoony to look at).

The most memorable kill sequence by Jason was the “boxing fight” with Julius. In that sequence, Hedden told the actor to punch Jason many, many times with real physical contact. That sequence lasted rather long but Jason’s kill of Julius was undeniably good and with impact. Too bad that kill sequence could not carry this movie up.

Another good point to take note is Kane Hodder’s improved take on Jason in terms of action and looking threatening. This was his 2nd time to play Jason and he showed more confidence playing him.

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Kelly Hu was only 20-years-old at the time of production. Jason Voorhees, not Wolverine, was the first pop culture icon she encountered on the big screen.

The stunt done inside a diner (with a particular stuntman who would later have his moment playing Jason in a certain 2003 movie) was at least satisfying to see. Last but not least, this movie featured a very young Kelly Hu who is now a successful and popular Hollywood actress. Fourteen years before she got to fight superhero icon Wolverine on the big screen, she encountered the horror icon Jason right here. What happened to Hu’s character and Jason? You should take time out to watch her scene here.

Conclusion

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Symbolically speaking, Jensen Daggett realized that the film was doomed and it took Jason to catch her attention from behind!

Overall this movie is very, very bad. I can only recommend this to die-hard Friday The 13th fans who are more than willing to set aside logic all for the sake of seeing Jason stalk and kill people. There is little entertainment value here and drastic cheapness will disturb viewers along the way. Not even the short Time Square on-location sequence could save the film. The kills of Jason are a mixed-bag at best and clearly this movie is not even scary to watch. I remember the very first time I saw this way back in the summer of 1990 on laser disc format and there was not even a single moment I got scared. I got to replay this movie on DVD to take a closer look and still I did not get much entertainment value in return.

Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan should be skipped as it is a clear waste of time. If you plan to watch it at all, play the movie only when you want to bore yourself to sleep.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Why I’m Looking Forward To Shazam In Cinemas Even Though I’m No Fan Of The Superhero

Let me start by confirming that although I am a geek and I read lots of comic books – especially superhero stories of Marvel Comics, DC Comics and other publishers – I never was a fan of Shazam (formerly called Captain Marvel before Marvel Comics took the trademark legally) nor was I fond of the Marvel Family (Captain Marvel, Jr., Mary Marvel and others) he was identified with.

But even so, I still will watch in the cinemas Shazam!, the next DC Comics Cinematic Universe movie from Warner Bros. starring Zachary Levi, Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer. It is directed by David F. Sandberg and it will be released worldwide on the first week of April.

For your reference, watch the latest trailer below.

 

Shazam/Captain Marvel has a very long history in superhero comics. While the superhero belongs to DC Comics, he (and the related characters) started in comics published by Fawcett Publications in the early 1940s. He debuted in Whiz Comics #2. Believe it or not, in terms of comic book sales Shazam/Captain Marvel was the most popular superhero of the 1940s and not even Superman could match him. DC Comics sued Fawcett on the grounds of copyright infringement and in part this contributed to the publisher’s decision to cease publishing any comics of Shazam/Captain Marvel by the year 1953. This was only the start of the long road before Shazam and the related characters became part of DC Comics.

When it comes to the DC Cinematic Universe, movie productions are now being done under the careful watch of Walter Hamada and already major improvements have happened such as Aquaman making over $1 billion in ticket sales globally. Shazam! is a film clearly made under Hamada’s leadership and based on the previews, it seems like director David F. Sandberg and his creative team have done a good job and somehow they managed to get good performances from their actors.

As to why I look forward to watching the movie even though I’m no fan of the character, here are my reasons:

1. Seeing Shazam’s literary concept translated into cinematic form – For those who are not familiar with Shazam/Captain Marvel, the superhero’s concept goes like this. There’s a homeless teenager named Billy Batson who was chosen by a very old wizard to continue a fight against evil. Being the chosen one, Billy Batson becomes the muscular, caped superhero Shazam/Captain Marvel by simply saying “Shazam” (which attracts a quick bolt of lightning to him enabling the transformation). In my view, this classic concept deserves a cinematic adaptation. Although the movie trailers showed bits of it, I feel there is more than meets the eye. The transformation from teenager to caped superhero is one thing, his character development is another. This brings me to my next point.

2. Watching the actors bring the characters to life – It seems that the right actors were hired to bring the characters – notably Shazam, Billy Batson and Freddy Freeman – to life. Having read comic books of Shazam/Captain Marvel and watched several episodes of the Shazam cartoon series on TV decades, I still remember how the traits of the characters and from what I’ve seen in the trailers and previews, things are looking good. Based on available information, Zachary Levi reminds me a lot about the caped superhero walking with a human adult body but is living with uncertainty for he really is a teenager (Billy Batson) behind it all. Levi looks good too with humor. Jack Dylan Grazer’s Freddy is a very avid geek which I can related with. Asher Angel as Billy Batson so far looks good in handling the character. Definitely I want to see more of their performances.

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Freddy Freeman and Shazam/Captain Marvel. 

3. I’m interested in superhero comedy from Warner Bros –  Since the release of 2017’s Wonder Woman, the DC Cinematic Universe turned a corner and gradually moved away from the cloud of darkness, grit and cynicism that started with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Wonder Woman was not only a more optimistic superhero movie, it also had a good amount of humor successfully pulled off by the supporting cast. Shazam! meanwhile is clearly a superhero comedy and it could become the most cheerful (if not the most humorous) DC Comics movie yet without being too cheesy or too childish. Director Sandberg and the actors seem to have established a lot of synergy to carefully mix action, fun and humor. I’m hoping that what was shown in the previews is just a taste of more good and fun stuff to come. While I rarely watch comedies, I’m interested in more humor in DC Comics movies. Besides, the adulterated and exagerrated humor I saw in the Deadpool movies is just not entertaining.

4. The state of the DC Cinematic Universe under Hamada’s watch – As it is already confirmed by Warner Bros. that standalone DC Comics superhero movies will be the norm for now, Shazam! is an opportunity to show where the current cinematic universe is right now with regards to connections with other DC superheroes. Already there were references to Batman, Superman and even the Justice League (as seen in the merchandise shot in the latest trailer). I’m not expecting to see much connectivity with the other DC superheroes at all but some signs as to where the cinematic universe is going would be good enough for me. Aquaman had a small reference to the events of the Justice League movie. This is, after all, the cinematic story of Shazam/Captain Marvel. The forcing and rushing of a shared cinematic universe previously done by Zack Snyder is in the past. We must remember that we are now watching the DC Cinematic Universe under the leadership of Walter Hamada.

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Justice League references.

Those are my reasons as to why I will watch Shazam! in cinemas once it opens. I’m no fan of Shazam/Captain Marvel but the superhero deserves his cinematic adaptation and so far the movie looks very promising. I feel it also has the potential to attract lots of fans as well as moviegoers who are not even familiar with the character. We will find out soon enough if Shazam! will be a hit or not.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article to be engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco.

You Want The Truth About The Ten Commandments? Pay Attention To The Holy Bible, Not The 1956 “Classic” Movie.

I am a geek and I love watching movies, playing video games, reading comic books, attending pop culture conventions and the like. But more importantly I am believer in Lord Jesus Christ and God The Father.

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As a person of faith, I don’t hold this classic movie with high regard anymore. We are better off reading the Holy Bible if you really want to follow the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments from God.

Very clearly the Holy Bible contains the Word of God and it truly is the definitive source of holiness and the Truth.

Already there have been many movies around the world that adapted stories from the Holy Bible which created mixed results with regards to accuracy and portrayals.

One notable movie to tackle here is Cecile B. Demille’s 1956 Hollywood “classic” film The Ten Commandments which starred Charlton Heston (who played Moses), Yul Brynner and many others.

I first saw the movie on television as a young boy and found it to be engaging. Of course, that was my old life and I was not yet dedicated on reading the Holy Bible. In fact, I was rather lazy to read the Bible back then.

While The Ten Commandments is an epic film of the 1950s with acting that feels rather unnatural by today’s standards (note: stage-style acting and speaking was the norm in the 1950s), it certainly is NOT the proper way to realize the Truth and the Word which can only found in the Holy Bible.

For one thing, the script of the movie adapted content from non-biblical sources like the Sepher-ha-Yashar, Josephus and the Chronicle of Moses (this only provides a mere hint of verses from the Bible). Next is about the the rulers of Egypt who were named in the movie and yet in the Holy Bible they each were referred to only as “Pharaoh.” Oh, are you aware that the mother of Moses in the Holy Bible (New King James Version) goes by the name of Jochebed (Exodus 6: 20) but in the movie she is referred to as Yoshebel?

Also there is no reference in the Holy Bible about Moses having any early relationship with any of the Pharaoh’s sons.

Truly The Ten Commandments had lots of inaccuracies (and missing details) here and there and this alone should compel each of us believers in Christ to focus mainly on the Holy Bible. Personally, I don’t hold the 1956 movie with high regard anymore.

It may have been a major cinematic epic of the 1950s that also won lots of acclaim and sold a lot of movie tickets. It sure was included in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in America for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” but the thing remains that Cecile B. Demille’s The Ten Commandments still does NOT come close to the Holy Bible for truth and accuracy when it comes to following the story of Moses, the Hebrews and God’s Ten Commandments.

If ever you watch the movie, do not take it seriously as the definitive reference about Moses. The definitive reference of Moses, the Hebrews and God’s Ten Commandments is still the Holy Bible!


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

 

 

 

A Look Back at Hardcase #1

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Hardcase #1’s cover has always been very captivating to look at.

Released in mid-1993 from Malibu Comics under its Ultraverse line of superhero comic books, Hardcase #1 introduced readers to Tom Hawke who is an actor who went from a wanna-be to a celebrity. The story – written by James Hudnall and drawn by Jim Callahan – is not that simple and took a layered approach to presenting the protagonist’s exploits.

The comic book starts with a deeply hurt Tom Hawke (who was not yet Hardcase) whose three teammates D.J. Blast, Forsa and Starburst (his love interest) were being killed by a large robotic enemy whose head, jaw and color eerily resembled that of Xenomorphs in the Alien movies popularized by directors Ridley Scott and James Cameron.

In a desperate effort, D.J. Blast charged himself up to cause a desperate powerful explosion to destroy the enemy but not before Hawke took Starburst with him and jumped far away to escape the blast.

Unsurprisingly survival became hollow for Hawke as he struggled not only to recover from his injury but also deal with the critical condition of Starburst whose doctor confirmed that she sustained serious brain damage and that she was unlikely to recover.

Filled with grief and even guilt, Hawke struggled to change for the better and by utilizing his superhuman talent he eventually went into showbiz as an actor. In the present he got into making movies (during which he wore the costume that defined him in the comics), earning lots of money and talking with varied showbiz professionals on projects.

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Hardcase doing movie production work.

While life became more progressive, Hawke still was not at peace with himself deep inside. As he signed an autograph for a policeman’s son, he revealed that he was just lucky being the only survivor when his team – The Squad – met its tragic end and that even as an ultra himself, he felt that he was not any good in a serious crisis. Feeling guilty, he admitted he let his friends down.

Analytically, the creative team did nice a job fleshing out Hardcase from his days with The Squad to the present as an actor in good demand. The approach of showing him struggle with guilt over the tragedy that claimed two friends’ lives and disabling his love interest is pretty unique and at the same time engaging to read. In this way, Hardcase is a superhero who is not exactly the happy and stable figure to the public but one whose life is imperfect and having no choice but to pay the price of life through a major disaster that hurt him physically and on the heart. Not even the success and promising opportunities of showbiz could lift his spirit. Truly this guy really lived up to his name – Hardcase!

Even with his special powers, Hardcase still doubts himself in relation to dealing with big matters.

He said it best on page 11 – “Even if I am an Ultra, that doesn’t mean I’m any good in a serious crisis. I let my friends down…let them down in a big way.”

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On other matters, the comic book had plenty of action and that includes some gruesome and bloody scenes. Not only that the transition from one scene to another was smooth and well paced.

Safe to say Hardcase is the flawed and struggling hero that people of different walks of life can relate with. For this concept alone brilliantly done by Hudnall and Callahan, Hardcase #1 is highly recommended for all comic collectors. It is a superhero comic book that succeeds in engaging me each time I read it.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to your fellow comic book geeks and Ultraverse fans. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format for you to order.

Author’s Note: This article was originally published at my old Geeks and Villagers blog. What you read on this website was an updated and expanded version. In other words, this newest version you just read is the most definitive version. 

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When Superheroes, Politicians and Corporate Media Conspire Together

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In this age of social media and smartphones, watching cable TV news feeds is quite toxic to the mind. It’s not about the ultra-heavy mix of information being dumped by corporate media giants that overwhelm the senses of millions of viewers worldwide. Rather it is about corporate media’s slant on political news and world events that add chaos to the already chaotic world we live in.

Look at MSNBC and Fox News on how they cater to the many millions of Americans divided in the political spectrum. For the most part, MSNBC favored the so-called liberals and the political left while Fox News consistently favored the so-called conservatives and political right. If there is such a thing as the military-industrial complex, then there is also the political parties-corporate media complex.

The funny thing about politically slanted corporate media is that they (the news makers) turn journalism into a commodity, select the facts to be presented to the viewers and eventually find ways to manipulate people’s perception. Meanwhile the viewers who have their respective political ideologies or interests tend to pick a favorite corporate media giant for their daily news. Also corporate media giants know fully well that there are many millions of political news junkies who cannot help but be obsessed and addicted to biased political coverage.

Also behind the scenes, it is very likely that top officials of the existing major political parties (Republicans and Democrats) have discreetly communicated with the top executives of the corporate media giants who in turn made deals with their clients (advertisers) to generate money together as they manipulate people into supporting corporate media’s business model.

I myself am a small press journalist who went around the many BF Homes communities and the cities of Muntinlupa, Las Pinas and Paranaque. I pay close attention to the behaviors of corporate media journalists. Learning from them, I certainly do not want to turn journalism into a commodity nor do I want to report news about useless causes like Catholic parish fiestas. I certainly don’t like ignorance to be the driving factor of news reporting. To be ignorant about what’s going on, who is who, where is where and how things happened is just wrong. Be warned that from the small press to the giant media, there are even news editors who are ignorant and work without really knowing what to do which makes published news reports less journalistic and even misleading for the public. Look at your local community newspaper, the regional paper, the national paper and tell me if you see any headline story that does not deserve the headline.

Don’t forget that there are still other publications other there that serve as propaganda machines whose organizers believe that people are too stupid or too ignorant to see through their manipulation and misinformation tactics.

Anyway since I already mentioned political news bias of corporate media giants, it’s time we take a close look at a particular scene in UltraForce #2 published in 1994 by Malibu Comics under the Ultraverse line.

UltraForce #2
The comic book opened with UltraForce (Hardcase, Prime, Prototype, Contrary, Pixx, Ghoul and Topaz) in the Oval Office meeting with fictional portrayals of United States President Bill Clinton, Senator Bob Dole, UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and the representative of the press.

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Hardcase negotiates with Clinton over a number of matters. UltraForce will help deal with the ongoing conflict overseas with the world “backing up” for them. Contrary says that their team wants to have access to the federal government’s gathered information on ultras (their term describing super humans in the Ultraverse) which irked Bob Dole to express his opposition and tells Clinton that he will “skin” him alive in the media if he agrees to UltraForce’s proposal.

As the difficult agreement came close to being finalized, Hardcase made clear that his team needs the media to reshape public perception of them (and ultras in general) from negative to positive. Unsurprisingly the media representative objected to Hardcase’s idea as it is tantamount to propaganda (or biased media coverage).

Hardcase answered back mentioning that he is an actor in Hollywood and he already knows what it takes to make people feel good or bad about something by means of being selective of the facts for public consumption. He insists that people should start feeling good about them.

The media representative stated that a bipartisan consensus was all it takes for journalists to accept it.

Then Bill Clinton and Bob Dole shake hands which is ironic because in real life history, both men were nominated by their respective political parties for the US Presidency in 1996. Clinton got re-elected then.

My analysis

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The scene, even though it is outlandish in concept, shows clearly that political forces and the giant media have what it takes to manipulate public perception by working together. Of course what reality shows us is that in America, Republicans have Fox News and Democrats have MSNBC to rely on to execute their information manipulation strategies to gain supporters for their own causes.

In the case of UltraForce, it’s about a team of superheroes who need a lot of support from governments and the media in order to be able to resolve the overseas conflict in the story. Their enemy was simply too powerful and too resourceful to defeat so UltraForce played hard-ball with the government and the media.

With regards to biased media coverage in support of UltraForce and ultras that exist in the world of the Ultraverse, it shows that superpowers alone cannot help those who wield it. Without the government and media support, UltraForce will only be perceived by the public as a group of troublemakers (or maybe even as terrorists) even though they fight an obviously evil force that’s been destabilizing the world.

As such, the biased media coverage for UltraForce is what I would call as a morally questionable form of support. On face value, it looks sensible because UltraForce is composed of supposed good guys while their enemies are so destructive and disruptive they are easily perceived as evil. But behind the scenes, supportive biased media coverage for UltraForce kills the spirit of balanced journalism and is pretty much a form of propaganda no matter how good the intentions are.

Could you imagine a special forces team fabricate a situation which would result a tragedy followed by intense coverage by the corporate media which in turn will outrage members of the public and give the administration of the national government the justification to launch a war with superheroes leading the way? Such a situation could lead to even more chaos in this world we live in.

Also Hardcase said it best: Look, I’m an actor in Hollywood. I know this game. I know how you can pick and choose facts to make people feel good or bad about something.

Thank you for reading. If you know someone who is very interested in superheroes or journalism, please kindly share this article with them. Also feel free to comment below.

Author’s Note: This article was originally published at my old Geeks and Villagers blog. What you read on this website was an updated and expanded version. In other words, this newest version you just read is the most definitive version