8.04.2020

90's Action Attack!: Mission of Justice (1992)

One Of The Best Blow-For-Blow Fight Films To Hit DTV

by robotGEEK

It's so easy to get discouraged with the DTV market when you see so many of these low-budget action films and the majority of them end up being either awful or just plain dull. Hell, I can admit that I didn't really enjoy Jeff Wincott's Martial Outlaw (1993) all that much myself. While Wincott himself was fine, I found the film lacking overall in nearly every department: direction, choreography, fight sequences and it's general overall tone. That film just reeked of cheapness. But I know he can deliver some bangers, because Last Man Standing is a film I still consider one of the best in both PM Entertainment's filmography as well as that specific genre in general. Well, after a few weeks of duds, I found another winner. 

When a ruthless neo-fascist leader is running for mayor, and will do whatever it takes to get there, even if it resorts to murder. When she kills a friend of local cop Kurt Harris (Wincott), he goes undercover to infiltrate her secret underground organization to find out the truth. 


I have to admit that this film really surprised me at every turn. First and foremost, you just know it's going to be a good time when Brigitte Nielsen is the main villain. But that's not all. Her henchman are some real badasses in the world of action such as Matthias Hues, Andrew Lew and a few other stunt performers and martial artists you'll most certainly recognize. But for me, the most impressive person I found in here was Karen Shepard (pictured above), someone I'd never heard of before....surprisingly, but literally blew me away here. She plays Kurt's partner, who wants to believe him and stands up for him any chance she gets, but always ends up finding herself in the thick of it when the shit hits the fan. What I found surprising his how her character is slowly revealed to be a total badass as the film progresses until she has several shining moments where her incredible martial arts skills come into play. How I've never heard of her, or why she's not a better known female action star is beyond me. 

The fight scenes take center stage here, and they are just fucking brutal. In fact, the second I finished watching it, I messaged a buddy of mine and told him this was hands-down one of the best blow-for-blow fighting films I've ever seen in the low-budget action genre. There are no explosions, car chases or even gun fights from what I can recall. While there are plenty of guns and yes there are shootings, they always end up turning into fist fights and they always go on much longer than you're expecting, which is a good thing! Right from the first fight inside a liquor store during a robbery that Harris unfoils while on patrol, you know you're in for with the fights and choreography. Quality. A much higher quality than we're accustomed to with these types of films, and every time I thought they couldn't surprise me, they always did. The film is filled with numerous moments of badassery and an insane number of fights, but there are 3 in particular that stood out for me, one of them being a full on tournament-style underground battle that literally came out of nowhere and ended up being one of the best sequences in the entire film. Again, one of the film's many strengths is in the way that these are better than most fights I see in films that were hitting theaters during this time.


So we've got a pretty killer cast here full of action baddies, the amazonian Brigitte Nielsen, the surprisingly badass Karen Sheperd, and of course the always reliable Jeff Wincott. But I have to give props to director Steve Barnett (Mindwarp, Scanner Cop II), a post-production supervisor on big budget films such as Live Free or Die Hard, with only 9 credits as a film director, and none of them dealing with martial arts or even action for that matter. How he was able to deliver one of the best looking action films I've seen in ages, while others who do it for a living and still turn out turds is really surprising to me. He shoots the fight scenes so well, like he's done it before, and gives the entire a film an upgrade in quality that we usually don't see in these types of films. When someone takes just as much time to set up a slick looking shot that has nothing to do with the action just as much as he does for the action sequences, well that's always something to take notice of. It's a shame he didn't direct more DTV action films, he has a natural gift and he made this film look great. And it's because of this that I'll probably check out Scanner Cop II eventually. 

Mission of Justice is currently streaming on Amazon Prime

8.01.2020

90's Thriller Throwback: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)


One Of The Best Batman Films Period

by robotGEEK

It blows my mind that it's taken me this long to finally get to this. Mind you, I was obsessed with the landmark Animated Series when it first came out. I remember being in middle school, and running home to catch it every day after school. I bought the toys religiously, and was a bigger fan than your average nerdy kid who just liked the show. Hell, I even have a blanket that I used every single day of my life from the day I bought it back in the 90's. Yet for some reason I never took the time to watch this movie. And we all know the whole story behind this by now; how or why it came to be, and why it did not do well at the box office. If you need a refresher, here's a great video about the whole history behind it and it's reception by Toy Galaxy, one of my favorite YouTuber's who really make great videos geared towards vintage toys and cartoons. You can check that video out HERE



Well I finally made time (thank you Netflix!), and I have to say, it's easily one of the BEST Batman films ever made. This isn't just a longer version of one of the Animated Series episodes. Right from the start you can clearly see a huge upgrade in quality in the animation. So much so that you wish they had put that amount of effort into the episodes, but I understand why they couldn't. And while I will admit that the big reveal was already spoiled for me before going in, it didn't take away any of my enjoyment. 

What surprised me was how "mature" this film was, and after having finally seen it, I could see how it could have turned some of the younger audience off who were used to the oftentimes silliness of the animated show. And while the series was always known for it's Art Deco aesthetics, which is beautifully captured here in glorious widescreen, I loved how they pushed it even further in both that area as well as the old film noir genre, making it feel like an old gangster film from time to time, with hints of the feeling of Burton's first Batman film. And if you go in expecting wall to wall action, you're going to be disappointed, because another one of it's many surprises is that it plays out more like a character study set in the world of film noir than anything else. Yes there's action, and boy is it amazing, but the film doesn't try to rely strictly on that to keep you entertained. Instead the focus is on story, and it makes you think. It makes you pay attention. 



I've been in somewhat of a Batman kick lately, having revisited Burton's Batman  (my favorite film of all time) a few times in the last week alone, and finally revisited Snyder's Batman V Superman for the first time since I saw it in theaters. At this point, I would have to say this is my second favorite Batman film, followed by Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. I'm looking to revisit the animated Dark Knight Returns Double-Feature soon, as well as finally getting to the live action Justice League, something I've avoided until now, if only to see if Ben Affleck's pitch-perfect Batman performance from BVS carries over to that film. But I loved this. It was better than I was expecting and such a different experience than I imagined going in with plenty of surprises in store.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is currently streaming on Netflix in the U.S.. It's also included in the Blu-Ray set of the Animated Series or as a standalone Blu-Ray release. 

Exploring The Black Hole - The Movie That Changed Disney Forever





The Black Hole Documentary We've All Been Waiting For

If you're as big a fan of Disney's The Black Hole like I am, the you've probably wondered why we still haven't gotten any kind of "behind the scenes" featurette on any of their physical releases, a "Making Of" book (which is honestly really surprising since they release these things for even the most awful movies), much less a definitive feature length documentary. It's been 41 years since the release of this science fiction masterpiece and I would have thought that when we hit the 40 year mark, Disney would have invested in "something", but no. They didn't even put anything on their Black Hole Blu Ray release when they "finally" made that happen, albeit for Disney Club members only. 

Well I've got good news for you. I happened to come across this amazing retrospective on YouTube while casually browsing and I'm here to tell you, it's everything we wanted in a Black Hole documentary and more. While clocking in at just under an hour, the information is thrown at us at a fast and furious pace. If you're like me, you're probably going to have to watch this a few times just to retain all the information. 

Exploring The Black Hole - The Movie That Changed Disney Forever comes to us courtesy of the fine folks over at GoodBadFlicks on YouTube and let me tell you, they do their homework. There is so much vital information in here that will want you craving more, and after watching it, and learning of how important this film was to not only Disney, but to special effects in general, I'm still shocked that there isn't an official documentary. That title is no lie. This film, while a box office bomb, forever changed Disney for a number of different reasons in many different ways and this excellent video touches on all of that, as well as the making of the film itself. 

It still blows my mind that this film still doesn't get the love and respect it deserves. I'm glad to know that there are people out there like this guy, who love it just as much as I do. While it's certainly developed a cult following in the decades since it's disastrous release, it's still nowhere near the beloved classic it deserves to be, and that's such a shame. Anyway, enjoy! 

7.29.2020

The Toy Box: Tron SDCC 2020 Exclusive in VHS Packaging!!

Easily The Coolest Tron Action Figure Release EVER

by robotGEEK

Your first thought is probably "but we didn't have a Comic Con this year", and you would be correct. Though they still held something of a "virtual" Comic Con, I have no idea how that even worked out in the grande scheme of things, but the initial reports are that it was a mixed bag. But you know, they tried with what they had in a time when things were rapidly changing with the pandemic and they didn't know whether it was going to happen at all or not. But moving on.

A lot of the reveals weren't all that interesting to me personally, but this certainly was. This is a Tron action figure, in his red neon (later changed to blue for the movie) costume based on the promotional poster before the film was released. As we all know, they decided to change it to blue for the movie. This figure comes in a sick and SLICK VHS-style clamshell packaging and maaaaaan, I am all about this! He also comes with 5 different discs and a Tron stand for the figure. This figure is set to release in August of this year (just around the corner!!) and once again comes from the mighty folks at Diamond Select, who did the previous Tron Walgreens Exclusive figures from earlier this year.....which are amazing!

Before you get excited, I have to tell you that from what I could tell, all pre-orders are already generally SOLD OUT on every online marketplace I would normally order these from like Entertainment Earth and Big Bad Toy Store. Diamond Select Toys official website looks like they actually have them in stock, but I don't know if their site is currently updated or if that changes once you sign in. You'd have to try ordering and see what happens. You can do that HERE. There is however eBay, which is really a place a lot of us don't like to buy these from because the sellers always ask far more than what you should have to pay for them.

And how are there some already available on eBay? A lot of them are from comic shops or businesses who were set to actually be set up at Comic Con this year, so they were able to get their hands on a certain amount that were allowed to be sold at the event. Since there was no convention, they then go to eBay. And really, this situation is different. Unlike flippers who buy them and resell them for double or triple the price, they're actually close to the original retail cost last I checked. And that's where I purchased mine. Now there are flippers on there, those who got their "pre-orders" in before they sold out everywhere and those are the ones who will be providing their "pre-order" confirmations to prove that they do in fact have one arriving when they are officially released next month. For your information, the regular retail price for these is $40.

If I were you, I'd grab one ASAP as they're already a hot item and hard to get officially. The prices on eBay are not bad at all right now. You can find them ranging anywhere from $40 (retail) to around $55. Some offer FREE Shipping and some don't, but even with shipping, it's not too bad.

It still blows my mind that as big a collector as I am today for these things, I am so out of the loop. I don't know where everyone gets their information on all these upcoming releases, but as far as this figure goes, I only found out about it because I was looking up something else entirely on eBay one night and this strangely showed up in the listings. When I saw "Tron SDCC 2020" in the title, I did a quick search and that's how I discovered this was even in existence. Otherwise I don't think I would have even known. Nobody ever thinks to tell me or keep me in the loop! I discovered this by accident! It just so happened to be on the same weekend it was actually released virtually as part of SDCC's Virtual Con, so I got lucky.


7.26.2020

The Cult Corner: Ninja Assassin (2009)

The Best Ninja Film You Haven't Seen (or maybe it's just me?)

by robotGEEK

Why hasn't anyone told me this movie was so badass?! If you had told me when this came out that it would go on to be one of the best ninja movies ever made, I would have told you you were crazy. Given the fact that I actually haven't seen it until now, even though "ninja" films is one of my favorite genre's, it just goes to show you that I had no trust in this. Boy was I wrong.

Doing some research, I found that one of the films biggest criticisms was it's simple story. But I actually found that it works in its favor, allowing the action, choreography and incredible stuntwork to take center stage, because really, that's where Ninja Assassin shines. Yet at the same time I don't agree 100% with the criticism, because unlike a lot of other ninja films, this one really digs deep into the whole mysticism angle of the ninja mythology. There were things done in here that I've never seen in a ninja film before, and combined with it's incredible ninja action, makes this one a standout in the genre.



Ever since I was a little kid, I've always been a fan of ninja films. I'm not going to say I've seen them all, because I haven't. In fact, I still haven't seen some important ones in the genre, or even some of the better known shitty cult classics from Godfrey Ho, but I've always had a love for this genre for as long as I can remember, going all the way back to the early 80's when Sho Kosugi was literally known as the ultimate ninja. So imagine my surprise to discover that not only does he appear in this film, but that he plays such a big integral part in how everything plays out. Not only that, I dare say that this is hands-down his best performance on screen. Listen, I love the guy. I grew up idolizing him, and discovered an all-new appreciation for him all over again well into my 40's, but he was never a good actor. Competent...yes. But he will be the first to tell you (which he's done in countless new interviews), that he doesn't consider himself an actor. He was and is a martial artist first and foremost and does realize his shortcomings when it comes to acting, which he never claimed to be. He'll flat out tell you he's not an actor. But here, he shines in a way I'd never seen before. Not only with his acting ability, but in the way he delivers his lines. Even today, I always find it hard to make out what he says without subtitles because of his thick accent, but that's not even an issue here. And I found his villain role to be far more suited to his special set of skills.

The main star here is an actor by the name of Rain, who is also a world famous South Korean actor, singer, songwriter and producer. I guess in today's era, you'd call him a K-Pop star. He does a good job here as the super fit, super lethal and super mysterious ninja Raizo who doesn't say a whole lot, but can kick a whole lot of ninja ass.

Director James McTeigue, who cut his teeth as an assistant director on films like The Matrix Trilogy and Dark City, and eventually became a director with his first film V for Vendetta, does an outstanding job here. One of the reasons I avoided this for so long was because given the era when it was released, I assumed it would be another shaky-cam/quick-edit choppy mess a la films like Taken. But this was not that. McTeigue does an outstanding job giving the films a slick aesthetic, while also reminding you why you loved ninja films in the first place. While there is some CGI implored here, I'm here to tell you that it's not only flawlessly integrated into the action, but this is one of those rare moments in a modern action film where it actually enhances everything, instead of doing the opposite and actually ruining an action scene like so many films seem to still do today.

Ninja Assassin instantly became one of my Top 3 Ninja films of all time, right along side Pray for Death (1985) and Revenge of the Ninja (1983), all which coincidentally star Sho Kosugi. Yes, do it's that good, and if you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and check it out pronto.

Ninja Assassin is currently streaming on Netflix in the United States

7.14.2020

Documentary Roundup: Batman, Apes and Roller Skates

Starring Adam West (2013)

While Adam West isn't really "my" Batman (I grew up obsessed with Michael Keaton's Batman, being 13 when Tim Burton's landmark superhero film was released), I've always enjoyed his ability to poke fun at himself. I mean, his stint on Family Guy is fucking legendary now. But I guess I never really knew just how weird he really was, because this delightful documentary showcases his odd sense of humor front and center as he details his life growing up on a farm, moving his way up the Hollywood chain until becoming the character that would ultimately define his entire life and career.

You also get to hear a lot about his personal life firsthand, including many rough patches both professionally and personally from the man himself, which just goes to show you that no matter how much you're loved and no matter how successful you are, none of us are perfect.

Browsing Amazon one day this popped up on my radar, and I intended to throw it on as background noise while I did some other things, but lo and behold, it sucks you in from the beginning and ultimately we sat there and watched the entire thing and it was entertaining as hell.

"Starring Adam West" is currently streaming on Amazon Prime

Making Apes (2019)

Here's another documentary I was completely unaware of until it just randomly showed up on Amazon while browsing. Though I will admit I had this one sitting in my Watchlist for a little while before I finally decided to give it a go, once I threw it on I was instantly captivated by it's impeccable storytelling, a lot of which centers around the personal (and ultimately tumultuous) relationship between a master effects artist and his protege, and plethora of behind the scenes information revolving around this significant series of films.

The thing is, personally speaking, I had no idea just how important or significant the original Planet of the Apes film was in the world of makeup effects. Sure we can look back on them now and kind of smirk at how limited the makeup and effects are, but at the time, it was a huge deal and major milestone in practical makeup effects, a term that wasn't even a thing for many more years to come as you'll soon discover in the documentary.

Even if you're just a casual fan of the franchise, this is an excellent documentary that showcases how the first film came about, it's legendary status in the world of science fiction, and the people who brought them to life, forever changing the world of makeup effects.

"Making Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film" is now streaming on Amazon Prime

Roller Dreams (2017)

Having grown up in the 80's, I'm always down for any type of nostalgic trip, and this one offers that in spades. Documenting the rise and fall of the rollerskating scene in Venice Beach, CA circa 1984, Roller Dreams takes a look at the lives (then and now) of a handful of local celebrities that turned what was virtually unheard of into something of an Olympic sport, dedicating every aspect of their lives into becoming the best, most original skaters anywhere.

And I'm not just talking about skating. These people were dancing and doing moves that you never knew were possible wearing skates, churning out choreographed numbers to radio hits. They became something of a celebrity, spending countless hours in the blazing sun entertaining massive crowds until the local police and the city decided that they just didn't want them to anymore. Here you get to here from those who lived that dream firsthand and how it all unfolded, changing their lives in many different ways.

While the personal stories are touching, and the way it's all put together is done really well by the filmmakers, the real star of this immersive documentary is the vintage footage of Venice Beach in 1984, of which there is plenty. You're thrown in a time capsule to a time when short shorts, roller skates and headbands ruled and it's such a fun nostalgic trip.

"Roller Dreams is currently streaming on Hulu

7.10.2020

90's Thriller Throwback: Run (1991)


A Superb Action Thriller That Showcases Patrick Dempsey's Ability to Run, Quite Literally, For His Life

by robotGEEK

I have a very distinct memory of the marketing of this film. I remember the trailers showing a young and skinny Patrick Dempsey (after a series of popular 80's chick flicks) running for his life, car crashes, gun shots and a cool looking font for the simple title. I also remember it just sort of coming and going with little to no attention, which surprises me because as I finally sit down to watch it for the first time, it's quite an excellent little thriller.

A cocky young law student is transporting a Porsche to a client long distance when it breaks down in a city he's not familiar with. Through a series of events, he gets into a fight with a local mob boss's son, accidentally killing him. Now he's running for his life with a bounty on his head as both the mob and a corrupt police force are after him. 

Run is pretty much exactly what I want when I sit down for a thriller, and literally represents the best of what this genre has to offer. It hits the ground running, literally wasting no time in throwing you into the crazy ride that you're about to take. Written by veteran screenwriter Dennis Shryack (The Gauntlet, Pale Rider, Code of Silence, Turner & Hooch and a personal favorite of mine Fifty/Fifty), Run is a nonstop series of death-defying sequences full of car chases, shootouts, and so many near-death close calls that you start to chuckle a little bit because Patrick Dempsey's Charlie Farrow would have died in any one of those sequences. But that lack of realism doesn't make a damn bit of difference because it's an exceptionally fun ride from start to finish.



Dempsey's characters is so overly arrogant right off the bat that you just know some bad shit is going to put him in his place rather quickly, and boy does he get run through the paces. When he's not being shot at or chased by cars, he gets the shit physically beat out of him pretty regularly throughout the film and somehow manages to remain upbeat, snarky and rarely ever gets a scratch on him. And I have to give it to Dempsey, this is a physically demanding role and its shocking apparent he did a lot of the stunts himself, which honestly makes it more badass. This one sequence involving a police car in a 5 story parking garage in particular sticks out. But even with the little stuff, like being thrown against a wall clear across a room, stack of tables, chairs or on the hood of a car by men twice his size, and clearly seeing it's him and not a double, is impressive.

Despite it's clever and fast-paced script, a lot of what makes Run so good is director Geoff Burrow's impeccable direction and cinematographer Bruce Surtees' camerawork. For a guy who'd only directed a single film before this, 1988's Return to Snowy River, Burrowes displays a natural talent behind the camera. Seriously, after watching this you'd just assume he'd done this many, many times before because he's so goddamn good at it, but nope. Run carries a slick, straightforward approach that lets the stunts and action take center stage. But even then, you sense an aesthetic sheen that makes it all look so good. I mean, we're not talking Black Rain level of visuals, but for something that easily could have looked like a Made-for-TV movie, Run is brilliantly visual and looks and feels much larger than it actually is. And that's all thanks to director Geoff Burrowes and Cinematographer Bruce Surtees (Sudden Impact, Pale Rider, License to Drive, Beverly Hills Cop). Now that I think about it, I'm sure it's more Surtees who deserves the accolades here.

Run is a quick, exhilarating and fun hour and a half that will surprise you with how much they can squeeze out of a decent little budget. Run is currently streaming on Amazon Prime right now, but be warned, there are a handful of other films with the same title. Be sure to pick the one with that poster art, or the 1991 date attached to it.

The Toy Corner: Transformers Blaster Walmart G1 Re-Issue Coming in August

by robotGEEK

I feel bad because I always forget to give you all a heads up with some of these releases. The truth is, I get so caught up in trying to personally snag any one particular limited edition release for myself that I often forget to let others know any potential awesome news. I'll try to be better about that. For someone who continues to collect vintage and commemorative releases of vintage toys to this day, I'm almost always out of the loop. I don't know how some of y'all keep tabs on these things. I'm usually either told by a friend, or just happen to randomly come across them by accident, like with the Black Hole Walgreens Exclusives

Walmart's successful line of Generation 1 Transformers continues with this new entry, the retro cool Blaster. He wasn't a Transformer I had as a kid, but I always wanted one. I do remember having Soundwave, but even as an adult, I'll randomly look for a used vintage Blaster and either he's just too expensive, or he's missing his original gun, or his tape deck button and door are broken. But good news! This re-issue is an exact replica of the original, right down to the box art we all love so much and is currently available for pre-order on Walmart's website for $29.99. It is set to arrive August 6th.

Here are the details via Walmart's website:

Transformers Toys Vintage G1 Autobot Blaster Collectible Action Figure - Adults and Kids Ages 8 and Up, 4.5-inch
  • RE-CREATION OF THE ORIGINAL G1 DESIGN: This vintage G1 Autobot Blaster figure is inspired by the original 1985 G1 release
  • CLASSIC CONVERSION: Autobot Blaster features classic conversion from boombox (non-working) to robot modes in 4 steps
  • VINTAGE DECORATION AND STICKER DECALS: Autobot Blaster figure comes with a sheet of foil decals so fans can detail the toy.
  • RETRO PACKAGING: Inspired by the original G1 packaging, this pack features the original G1 Transformers logo, character art, and classic Autobots versus Decepticon battle scene
  • TECH SPECS: Complete tech specs for Autobot Blaster are included on the pack in the classic G1 style fans know and love. Compare figures’ strength, speed, firepower, and more
Experience the figures that started it all. This Transformers: Vintage G1 Autobot Blaster figure is designed like the original G1 version -- including figure styling, packaging, and art inspired by the 1985 G1 releases, plus classic tech specs and accessories. (Re)start a vintage Transformers collection with this Autobot Blaster figure.
Autobot Blaster loves to crank the volume on good, hard rock ‘n roll music. Can switch from robot to radio to receive and transmit radio frequencies. At the forefront of any situation. Carries electro-scrambler gun.
Autobot Blaster figure comes with Electro-Scrambler Gun accessory and converts from boombox (non-working) to robot mode in 4 steps.
Clip out and save the on-box tech specs to share, then see how this figure stacks up against other heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons (each sold separately).
Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
  • Includes: figure, weapon accessory, label sheet, and instructions.
  • Figure scale: 4.5-inch
  • Ages 8 and up
  • WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.
© 2019 Hasbro. All rights reserved.

Pre-Order yours today directly from Walmart's website, or follow the link HERE.

6.25.2020

Watching HBO's Watchmen

This Landmark Take on The Superhero Genre Will Be a Benchmark For Things to Come

by robotGEEK

With all the streaming apps that we currently pay for, HBO is not one of them. So when they announced the release of Watchmen as a series, we knew we were just going to have to wait until it hit Blu Ray to finally dig into it. But then the pandemic happened, and a lot of these "pay for" streaming sites began offering free trials to entice us. Hell, it worked with Shudder. We tried their free trial and ended up signing up for a membership. And with Watchmen in particular, as of this writing, they are currently offering it for free on both Amazon Prime and Hulu if you already have subscriptions for either of them. So this past weekend we jumped on it and literally binged the entire 9-Episode season in just a few days, something we never do. On one hand we did it because we wanted to watch it all before they removed the free trial offer, but on the other hand because it was so fucking good that we couldn't stop.



I am a Watchmen fan. I was 10 when the comic was released, and it would be just a few years later when I myself would get deep into comic book collecting and ultimately when I discovered this dark tale. But of course, like most of us, it wasn't until we were adults that we truly appreciated what Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons were doing with this comic series. But anyway, we all know that story now. And while I was a general fan of Zack Snyder's 2009 film, I wasn't blown away by it. For a film with such a long runtime, it still felt surprisingly tedious and long, when it should have felt the other way around. I can't really put my finger on it, but ultimately, while it was a nice looking film, it didn't always work. Which brings us to HBO's series.

Upon completion of this series, my first impression is that it is hands-down one of the best written shows I've ever seen, right up there with Hannibal and Breaking Bad. Created for television and written by Lost creator/writer Damon Lindelof, Watchmen takes a different approach than a straight-up adaptation of the well-beloved comic. Instead, Lindelof uses it as a jumping off point, instead shifting the story to a sort of alternate reality, 30 years later. In this new take, we see only a fraction of the original characters and what they've become since, as well as new masked vigilantes and an entirely new version where racism is front and center. Considering this was made before the recent riots and injustices towards people of color coming to light front and center, it's a bit surreal to watch this now because it comes across so much more relevant and important.

One of the shows may strengths is in it's casting. Some of them are pretty spot-on, like Jeremy Irons as Adrian Veidt aka Ozymandias, while others like the incredible Regina King as the series lead and all around badass Angela Abar aka Sister Night just surprised the hell out of me in the best possible way. I mean, for all the times I've seen her in a supporting role in dramas, seeing her kicking ass and taking names was such a pleasant surprise. I'm not going to bore you with a complete rundown of every cast member, but some personal notable standouts for me were Jean Smart, Louis Gossett Jr. and Tim Blake Nelson respectively.

It's a rare thing when every single episode hits you like a ton of bricks. Each hour long journey was met with excitement, shock, surprise and total awe. The number of twists this thing took were brilliant and wild, but none more incredible than the now legendary episode 6 titled "This Extraordinary Being". I mean, goddamn was that a huge emotional punch to the gut and just brilliant. While there was not a single bad episode in the bunch, Episode 6 seems to be the all-around favorite for most people, and with good reason.



What Lindelof and his team of writers and directors have created will go down in history as one of the greatest, most brilliant series ever produced. While it's already become an instant hit, just wait. It will be a series that others will try to repeat, but will probably not come anywhere near trying to achieve its brilliance. It will be a benchmark for how other creators will try to approach popular comic book titles in the future when adapting them to TV. Because lets face it, TV was and is the only way to go with something as vast as the Watchmen mythology. The fact that they tried so hard to condense it into a nearly 3 hour film back in 2009 is still surprising to me. I mean, some of it works, and some of it doesn't. There were some creative and artistic choices (did we really need so much slo-mo???) that really hampered would could have been a great epic film, but that was 11 years ago and there's nothing we can do about that now. Back in the late 80's or early 90's (before the internet), I remember reading in a Comics Magazine that Terry Gilliam was attached to direct Watchmen, but ultimately backed out when he realized that there was really no way to do it justice unless he was able to make it into a Mini-Series or something. Making it into a single film was impossible. Thankfully Damon Lindelof and the folks over at HBO recognized the need for more time to flesh out these characters and story arcs, because it all worked splendidly. And while the series ended nicely all wrapped up in a pretty bow, there's definitely room for expansion. But I for one am glad Lindelof has gone on the record as saying that he has no intention of continuing with the series, and I am thankful for that. It's perfect just the way it is. Let's let it stay perfect.