Death Kiss Bang Note

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I just watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang for the first time. I know, “How the hall have you still not seen it until now?” – well, I try my best to avoid good movies. Truth be told it’s been in my peripheral vision for a while, at least since I watched Sherlock and began admiring the Iron Man man more than before; I liked him better when he was drunk and I didn’t have to worry about him leveling New York with his robot suit, instead he just wore a drape suit and one can’t really cause much damage with silk.

I came across the movie for the wrongest reason imaginable. An American movie adaptation of a Japanese manga and anime Death Note was announced, so I looked it up on imdb in a flash, being a huge fan of the aforementioned japanatoon. Only things listed were: approximate year of release, synopsis, some crap about it being true to the original and the director. The director. I never saw his name before, so I leapt through the hyperlink onto his page. First notable movie was Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, so I immediately acquired it through the most legitimate and legal way imaginable and watched it.

Perfect movie. Maybe not enough turtles who are also ninjas, but over the years I’ve learnt to accept that only a tiny percentage of movies have that, and when they do it’s generally a pretty bad sign. One of the best dialogues and the humor hit bullseye for me – it was the mix of utter idiocy, randomness and undeniable cleverness that majority of internet dwellers have a giant bone.rar for. The action was ridiculous, in the sense that it was too perfect, but I don’t have a problem with that because “it’s unrealistic” – it doesn’t matter, suspend your disbelief and enjoy the fucking masterpiece, you shithead. Don’t hate something just because you feel the need to show how “smart” and “insightful” you are just because you can point out the parts where the writer took some creative license to make the piece flow better. Nobody, and believe me that I do mean ‘any intelligent life form in existence’, cares that you hated Skyfall “because hacking isn’t the same as unwinding a yarn ball, you dumb sheeple, gawd it’s so full of shit”.

The cinematography was interesting at parts and seeing as how there was actually something notable about it makes it stand tall above the majority. Actor chemistry seemed absolutely genuine, so much that when Perry told Harry that he’s not his real friend I felt a bit betrayed by the lie I’ve been living for the last 30 minutes. I’m sure the director will get some great performances out of whoever is involved, but I’m not sure what spectrum off greatness it will be. If it will be on the same level, but serious, which is death note 120%, I will be peeing my pants and then on anyone else’s who’s unfortunate enough to be anywhere near me at the time. I see that he can tell a great story, but does his talent also lie in serious, almost completely devoid of humor storytelling?

I have my reservations, but I also have my child-like hope because a work of art that, to me, defines an entire medium that I hold so very dearly is allegedly getting a western movie adaptation by the director and writer whom I now admire greatly.

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Total Recalls

Having seen the Total Recall remake trailer in the theatre and having heard an internet persona that I hold up quite high talk smack about it, I wanted to check out what it was all about. Having seen the original and the remake trailer earlier today, with fresh memory of them I will try my best to reason the existence of the remake. Yes, it’s true that I can’t compare the two as I haven’t seen the remake, but that is not important here as all I will try to do is justify the remake and not do a comparative review.

The original is a great, cheesy Arnie action-flick that is a minor mind-fuck as far as uncertainty of what is really real goes, with cool dialogue and pure R-rated goodness. I cannot deny what a great action movie it is, but it is certainly not serious. And all studios, developers and the media in general have decided that viewers need to have everything completely straight-faced and devoid of fun and cheesy action.

The mindless majority of contemporary consumers would much rather see a reasonable badass tear through squads upon squads of faceless henchmen grunting and huffing, performing minimalistic but nonetheless badass martial art and pulling off headshots left and right rather than a humorous beefcake with an awesome German accent riddling people with bullets and stabbing them with any elongated object lying around to send gallons of blood spraying out.

In the 20 years since the release of the original Total Recall the entertainment preferences of the consumer majority have changed. Most people don’t like mindless fun anymore and they are all about the realism and badassery just because they’ve been spoon-fed that for years by development teams of whichever media outlet. A good analogy for this is 90’s most popular awesome action fuck-yeah shooter vs today’s: Duke Nukem 3D vs Call of Battlefield Medal Whatever. Duke Nukem sold because then the market wanted silly uncensored, ridiculous fun, now it demands realism and grounded plot because the majority of consumers grew up with the uncensored fun and now stupidly consider it childish.

Of course a soulless remake is a kick in the crotch for the fans of the original, but it makes sense for the company to try to cash in on a premise of a movie that would sell well if it was made to fit the mold of today’s consumer demands. The wrapping of the original would cater to a very small percentage of consumers today, but if amended to what the average consumer wants it has the possibility of being a big hit.

Surely some will go home and forget about this movie, but some will also be exposed to the original through the internet or friends and having seen the remake will be more likely to see Arnie’s Total Recall. The increased amount of exposure would mean that more people could see the original and love it for what it is, while they would never have otherwise.

Most remake-bashers will argue that this is unnecessary; the first movie is perfect as it is and yes, that is true. The latter, at least, because as I have said above: no matter how perfect it is for the fans, the dumb majority of population now would not find it as appealing as the cool and gritty counterpart. So while this remake is equivalent to the studio spitting in the face of fans it will also lean in to whisper “I did it for us. For US, buddy.” and wipe it away with its personal handkerchief as the evil overseer leaves.

I am in no way on a high horse, I suppose that I can just view it more objectively as I’m not a long-time fan of the original and therefore have no attachment to it. And so, I would like to wrap it up by saying that instead of stubbornly hating the entirety of the situation one could calm oneself down by reasoning it with change in consumer base and trying to uplift one’s spirit with hope of bigger exposure of the original in the light of the remake.

Holy Crap – Limbo

I’m just like you… no more, no less. Just a jaded nerd carried down the media stream. Drowning in the waters of countless shows, podcasts, games and books – never shocked and even barely touched by anything anymore. But it all came to an end when I finally picked up Limbo.

A 2D, black and white game managed to do something that nothing has been able to do in a very long while – to evoke real emotion. I think that desensitization is a rather major part of us all as consumers. It’s quite normal considering how intensely we are bombarded with violence; in fact it would be strange if we kept shutting our eyes, like we did when we were small, every time there’s blood on the screen. But years into the unfeelingness Limbo broke the pattern and gave me my first fright in a very long time.

Carelessly skipping down the path, jumping about, solving elementary puzzles – I thought the game was needlessly eerie, at first – after all there’s nothing that would need this kind of atmosphere… I thought. After solving another small puzzle I was hipping down a hill until I eventually saw a tree which had some unidentified extremities sticking out of it – not knowing what was coming I just continued on forward. As the aforementioned extremities extended I figured that it was just something in the background, nothing that would require me stopping and giving attention to. And then I got stabbed through my head. I was essentially impaled on the giant spider leg for a brief moment before it shook me off and carelessly tossed me on the floor. I should mention that the majority of the game’s audio accompaniment is silence and the quite footsteps of your character; needless to say I turned the sound up a bit to hear it all better. When the spider incident happened my subwoofer pounded as I witnessed my cutesy character get impaled with a juicy sound of tearing flesh and blood set free of the captivity of its vessels. I jumped ever so slightly in my seat.

The juxtaposition of the silence and overall tranquility of the game before this moment and the excellently realized gruesomeness of this scene shocked me quite a bit. Upon respawning I ran up to the tree again, but seeing movement in the tree I ran back to witness the leg try to go for me again, but fail this time. I decided that perhaps now that I’ve avoided two attacks I could finally run past what I thought was an opening under the spider’s body. Of course I was wrong. I made a run for it and as the moment came when I expected to run behind the three that’s in the foreground another spider leg emerged from the tree and rather gently knocked me onto the floor. As I was LEISURELY getting off the floor, unable to speed up the process I could witness the coming doom – the other leg hovered above me, carefully aiming at me to shred apart my insides as soon as I got up. This time I let out an f-bomb.

It was not your average exasperated or even angry f-bomb that one would usually drop while gaming when things aren’t going their way. It was the kind of “fuck” that you whisper to yourself when witnessing something horrible happen and having no control over it – the most helpless and scared amongst all the variation fucks in the world. OH MY! EMOTIONS! Yupp, it was rather astounding.

I attempted it again, thinking that regardless of what I just clearly saw I could run through. When that obviously failed and I was on the floor again I shielded my eyes with my hands as soon as I saw the impaling device hovering above me again. I acted like a goddamn child. Why? Because fuck you – a surprising run-in with emotions, that’s why.

This is just a minor portion of the game, in fact it is only the first creepy thing that happens in it, but I won’t go into it any further as to avoid spoilers. As far as I’m concerned this game perfectly achieved what it was going for: an excellent atmosphere and, ultimately, a scare. I would even go as far as to say that it did it better than the majority of its rivals just because it’s so simple and does not rely on any extravagant plot devices, mechanics or visuals to achieve it. It is genius in its simplicity and one can’t help but marvel at the talent that managed to achieve so much with so little. I’m sure that anyone with a real interest in games has heard of Limbo, but I know that some have yet to play it. So if you think that an excellently paced, beautiful game with the best hopping physics up to date and genuine emotions might interest you – Limbo it up right now.

Saints Row The Third – Why It’s One of the Best Things to Happen to Games in The Recent Time

While most games today strive for utmost realism and seriousness, once a while a game comes along to remind us that games can also be just fun while relentlessly beating story, character development and realism in the face one after the other in a never ending cycle of madness as they lay in its basement handcuffed to a radiator.

Saints Row has been considered a GTA rip-off by some, very wrongly so if I may add. GTA has always been somewhat grounded, even San Andreas, if compared to this game. The comparison of the two is unavoidable, just like comparing MK and SF – happens often and only idiots would have few enough brain cells to find them comparable. Yes they are in the same genre, yes they are both open-world gangster games, or fighting games, respectively, but they set out to accomplish very different things. The former are silly, over the top GAME-games that exist for the sole purpose to entertain, while the latter take themselves more seriously and deliver a serious and grounded experience.

Saints Row The Third was the parachute that saved me as my game-o-philic side was dragged down to earth by the boringly ‘badass’, ‘gritty’ and ‘realistic’ games. As summer started I promised myself to play all they games I’ve been missing out on during the school year, and some well-received stuff from the none-too-far past. A couple of games in I started enjoying them less and less as they were all almost the same, thematically, serious and grounded as if by 1000 pound chains.

THEN FUCKIN’ KABLAM – I’M FALLING THROUGH THE SKY OUT OF AN AIRPLANE WITH DUDES FALLING BEHIND ME, ATTEMPTING TO SHOOT MY FACE OFF AS I ATTEMPT TO DESCEND FURTHER TO CATCH MY LADY FRIEND, WHILE AVOIDING FALLING DEBRIS, AS I HAVE THE SOLE PARACHUTE!!!

It took my breath away and I was grinning giddily throughout the first grand missions… I knew that I found something to rekindle my love for videogames. This game didn’t give a crap about fitting into any mould, it had no self-imposed restrictions and it went full-throttle with the freedom it had. Throwing people 10 meters to watch them crash into an ongoing car or try to knock down as many people as you can with the ragdoll body of your projectile buddy, beating cops with meter-long, floppy, purple dildos, shooting mascots in the face on a Japanese game-show styled reality murder-game while they run at you with bats, dildos and guns… THAT is what this game’s about and it doesn’t try to explain why that’s okay in that universe, because it just doesn’t give a damn – it’s fun and that’s all that matters. A mini-game where you drive around with a tiger, trying to avoiding crashes as they make the kitty nervous and it mauls you – yeah, that’s a thing, and you just try to not fucking love it, I dare you.

All the missions are over the top, forcing the players into the most ridiculous circumstances that can still be comprehended without heavy drug use and the mini-games are not tiresome, in fact they’re infinitely replayable and awesome, a height most mini-games barely ever even manage to come close to. I don’t want to get into all the mini-game types that are in this game as not to spoil the sense of discovery of these fun mines, but rest assured, there’s not a single crap one, all of them are purely great.

This game doesn’t take itself seriously at all and delivers what it sets out to deliver 120% – fun, and pure unfiltered fun. If you’re feeling that games are kinda boring you, perhaps, or maybe you think that all modern games are far up their own asses with how seriously they take themselves give Saints Row The Third a try and it’ll blow those feelings and assumptions right out of the water with a kiloton explosion. Also did I mention that you can streak and it is in itself a mini-game? Yes, absolutely.

On F5

I recently started playing Deus Ex: Human revolution on PC. Having completed it on PS3 on hard, getting both ‘Pacifist’ and ‘Foxiest of the Hounds’ trophies I knew how awesome it felt when a bunch of hard trophies pop up when I complete that game…which I wanted to repeat on the PC (as the achievements cascade if they are received in a rapid succession – just imagine seeing them in all their glory together on the screen…simply mesmerizing).

First time around on the PlayStation it was excruciatingly mind-numbing and hard because I forced myself to play the game by the hardest rules that are rewarded by trophies, all at once. I can’t say that I memorized everything from area layouts to individual guard AI, in fact I remembered it rather poorly, so it cannot be accredited to the ease of my second play-through on PC. I didn’t remember strategies for individual situations at all, I rolled with the punches on my second run the same way as I did on the first, but it was a lot easier.

It was not the kind of ease that made me feel awesome for kicking the game’s ass, it was the kind of ease that made me hate myself and the F5 key. Quick save. At first it seemed a blessing as I no longer had to replay 5 minutes over and over again just to screw up again in the end, now I could save before any daring action I was about to make and after every successfully executed one. It felt great being able to go through the game quickly by saving every 10 feet or every 5 seconds, knowing that if I mess up akin to Snookies dad contraception malfunction I could just quickly hit F8 and within 10 seconds I would be booted back to my most frequent safe position (unlike her dad to whom I express my deepest condolences) and would not be doomed to repeating a bunch of corridors and whatnot.

Soon the game lost its punch and the feeling of accomplishment it gave me when completing a particularly hard section was long gone because now all I was doing is replaying short moments and there was no fear or struggle to do my best not to mess up. After all, I would be set back only a tiny bit.

I believe most games have rather fair checkpoint systems, and unless they are clearly broken and stupid there should not be a reason for quick saves. The checkpoints are mostly cleverly put and with the purpose to make the player dread repeating a huge stretch again if he messed up, without being unfair. When not using them as the primary save points the game’s difficulty falls apart and with it a sense of achievement we are all out for when gaming. It makes patience and skill redundant as long as you’re not dumb enough to be able to complete one tiny scenario without messing up.

I cheated not the game, but myself by doing this and in turn stopped enjoying the game as much, as it no longer presented itself a challenge, just a tedious chore because when you take away gunfights from the game all it has to rely on is stealth. And once the difficulty of successfully stealthing about between far-apart checkpoints is gone the fun and thrill is gone with it.

So, please, take my advice, and do as I say – don’t save every step with your F5 key.

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