2nd Video Game Double Feature

The 2nd Double Feature is over now and once again I will address both films as a viewer.

The first Mortal Kombat movie unlike other Video Game movies managed to bring about the source material and the movie into an impressive mix for its time.  The powers are there, the archetypes are there, and the characterizations within the script are brilliant.  Nothing feels out of place as the main three combatants come together in order to battle for the fate of Earth-realm against the evil Shang Tsung and by extension Shao Kahn, Emperor of Outworld.  
Now date back to a time when Mortal Kombat was relatively new and the mythos were still being written and there were only two Mortal Kombat games to be concerned about.  The film appropriately mixes both games well while keeping the setting and basis of the first one with the Mortal Kombat tournament while bringing in some elements of Mortal Kombat II such as Kitana’s inclusion, and her role as a secondary mentor and aid to Liu Kang.    The first film follows the writer’s journey and matches the 15 beats of save the cat incredibly with each main point flowing from scene to scene and all three main characters do experience the change that is much needed for characters in order to progress. 
I think that Sonya’s fight was a little too short for the movie though but in the early days she was all about going after Kano and that subplot was already running its course after the first couple of scenes so…maybe it is justified.   I did love how all references to the games seem to point out to you as long as you pay attention and the music keeps the action pumping along with plenty of funny jokes in between. 
Johnny Cage’s Friendship in the Scorpion Fight was clever, and Liu Kang using all of his special abilities in the Outworld scenes was a good way to keep the suspense of disbelief…a stark difference from Street Fighter’s Production.  The appearance of the powers, Reptile’s true form and Scorpion’s spear may look a bit cartoony by today’s standards but if you remember how things were in 1995, you’d understand that they are a sign of post-production’s advancement over the years.  

Now is the movie watchable?
A great story, incredible action, awesome sequences, and killer music makes this one of those rare successful video games, most definitely this is a watch.   It actually tests the opinion  of  “All video game movies are bad.”

Now considering how successful the first movie was, and the fact that the games still had strong momentum. A follow-up had to come along and it was called Mortal Kombat Annihilation.  
Now in between the release of the first movie and going into the production of the 2nd movie there were at least two more games in the franchise, Mortal Kombat 3, and Mortal Kombat 4.   
New characters were made and storylines established so this 2nd movie had a lot of mixing and mashing to do in order to try to make a compelling story to build up from the first one’s high note.
Despite its ambition, the movie mashed a little too much more than it mixed, some of the characters while making appearances didn’t have that much of an impact.   Others were killed off prematurely and plenty of the main characters seemed to suffer from Aesop Amnesia which is a trope showing that the main character forgotten all that he/she learned the last time around. 
Now due to previous engagement with other films and by some not liking the script (The original Johnny Cage actor).   Some new faces took over established roles, and I commend Sandra Hess for her performance even though I liked Bridgette Nelson-Sampras in the first one.   She did hold Sonya’s character and mold it into her own.  

I did not care for Jax’s acting, he just came off as all talk and no show,  it did work for the movie how it said that he didn’t need the cybernetic arms but  I just didn’t relate to him.  

The new Raiden wasn’t as wisecracking as Christopher Lambert’s portrayal but he could fight and he had the tone of a more stoic version.   So I’m alright with him but boy did they give his character some bum steers in this movie.
 Liu Kang had his confidence and faced his three trials while fighting Tsung in Outworld last time to keep the gates closed right?   Well this time around he apparently has a harder time facing his destiny, losing Kitana to Scorpion, and is in capable of battling Shao Kahn. 
 I can understand that the stakes have gotten higher and as they should but throughout the course of the film, he really should remember what he went through and use that to push him further.  However things are a bit different in the sequel and this movie proved it.
Shao Kahn is one of the best villains in video game history, right and in the last movie he made a startling appearance at the end of the movie being all green and letting the mortals know it’s his turn now.  
In this movie however despite Brian Thompson’s spot on voice portrayal the character was more or less like a lackey or a favorite son trying so hard to appease an impossible father.    Shao Kahn is the emperor of Outworld and the villain from the last movie was the servant of his, the direction of Kahn’s character was a bit of a far cry, and not too mention that we never even knew what his face looked like until the comics and even then it was obscured.
Liu Kang and Shao Khan weren’t even on the same parallel with each other that some people like to see between main antagonist and protagonist, the grudge match seemed to be more between Raiden and Kahn…but as Liu Kang being Raiden’s disciple I guess it works by Proxy but that’s a stretch.
The movie took lines of its own by showing Kahn’s face which considering this is live action, oh well but you can make him look a bit more demonic, and downplaying him to play second fiddle to a Darth Sidious knock-off which turned out to be the villain from Mortal Kombat 4, Shinnok.  
The film created a non-canon Sibling-Rivalry with Raiden who turned out to be the Son of Shinnok and brother of Kahn.  
This is not the interpretation I was looking for when I saw the build-up of Shao Kahn in the first movie.  It makes you think that the writing and rewriting was taking place during the production phase.
The music really wasn’t pumping like the last one was, and that’s the tone of the detail right there.  
Some positives are in this movie regardless it followed the Mortal Kombat 3 storyline accurately where Shao Kahn did invade Earth Realm, revived Queen Sindel for evil purposes and attempted to merge the realms.    Mortal Kombat 4 was well in the arcades and they tried to mix some of those references in there but the problem is…too many characters and not enough plot/story/direction to go around.   
Now is the movie watchable?
Yes it is, it deserves one watch because you really want to see what happens next regarding the Kombatants’ next adventure and while it doesn’t hold a candle to the first one.   You should check it out to see that without a strong story to support these characters and give them directions that they deserve, a movie could become a mess especially if it is a two-hour feature.

Video Game Double Feature Night.

I decided to do a Double Feature on some movies of the past  most that are ranging from Video Games, and Comics.  I may touch on other genres but this is the perfect place to start, and I will use both Street Fighter and Double Dragon as my first entries.

So by watching these movies with the mind-set of a viewer.  I loved Street Fighter because despite its flaws, the entertainment value was spot-on, and the action sequences were pretty good.  Some character mythologies got mixed up (i.e. Balrog & Deejay) and other things I won’t bother touching such as Charlie and Blanka being a composite character.

 The Director wanted to downplay the powers in this movie which considering all that was going on in this live action movie I’m ok with.

Plus I’ll watch the animated movie if I want to see the real Street Fighter II material.  The live action movie itself was entertaining and at least watchable.

Double Dragon on the other hand, man…It was ok if you didn’t bother thinking about the source material, and Billy should be able to fight just as well as Jimmy.  Marian playing a dominant role instead of a damsel helped out the nature of the film because the Lee Bros did need to rely on her help.  

The story surrounding the medallion as a McGuffin was a good centerpiece, I just got tired of the main villain always using the soul medallion more so than the main characters, and Billy Lee himself.  Certain Mythos in the games did stand out when the Lee Bros fought against the Gang members in the Junk Yard, and when Evil Jimmy fought Billy.

Even the original arcade machine made a cameo appearance at the final battle before Jimmy Lee kicked it in.

These movies both came out in 1994, a year after the Super Mario Bros. Movie graced our screens with its presence, and of course in the 90s people didn’t seem to be too critical about things being on screen so it was a commendable effort.  Both aged well, are watchable and entertaining for both the wrong and right reasons.

All of this was tested again as Mortal Kombat made its big screen debut in 1995.

So my next Double Feature is.

Home base is getting a overhaul

Greetings J360 Fans
We’re working on a few new things this year, it’s taking us a bit of time but the reviews on our first documentary went so well.  We’re looking into doing another one sometime this year. 
We even got our State’s Dept of Labor to look into it, and that’s a positive outlook for our endeavors. 
So what’s next?
Well we’re prepping another short film to be produced, revolving around the themes of time and love. Unlike A True Friend, you’ll get a full resolution this time.   
Far as our series goes, we have more episodes of Mondo Rates to produce, and we’re also looking into getting our podcast off of the ground.  These things do take time you know and far as we’re concerned it’s all about patience, effort and timing.  
Things are well worth the wait though, and the excitement is overwhelming especially since plenty of us are enthusiastic to put our Soundcloud channel to work.   
Stay tuned, and thank you for your support of J360 Productions. 

New Updates

Hey J360 Fans

It’s been awhile since last post but no worries, just been busy handling a few projects around here.
Some of us have been taking care of business on our own and a lot of us have been testing out new equipment to provide quality programming for all of you.

Everything will be well worth the wait, and we thank you for your patience.

Oh by the way if some of you local bands out there would like a bassist, one of our own is offering his services right here.

You can also look at some of his work right here @ https://www.youtube.com/user/wptrackstar

Everything is still coming together and we at J360 Productions appreciate all of our followers, supporters, fans, and family.

Thank you

Song Of The Day: Strong by Arno Cost & Norman Doray

Today’s song of the day is very invigorating and uplifting, it gets you going to make you think you can take on the world.  The beats, synth, and funked out bass guitar just hits the right vibes as you go about your day whether you work the day or night shift.  

It really lives up to the name of being strong because no matter what, we are strong, all of us out there who have to do what we can to make names for ourselves as we create something amazing.

However, don’t take my words on how the song feels to you, I’d suggest you all take a listen and enjoy this great track from the duo of Arno Cost & Norman Doray.

Song of the Day: Welcome to the Machine by Pink Floyd

Today’s Song Of The Day helps you understand that life isn’t all sunny and bright. There are dark points where sometimes things just don’t come together right or for lack of better statements, things just suck…
Terribly, terribly suck and disillusionment just settles in for a period because all of us that are human fall in that category sometimes especially when we try to make careers out of industries that require Public opinion.
What does the Public know whatever it wants and in the end sees whatever it wants to see which may be the wrong thing when the right thing is completely in front of them.  Another example is when a second opinion appears from others that see life and its meaning in a different perspective.  The opinions conflict but the majority will always win even though they are wrong. 
It makes you feel like you have no individualism being that some of us just want things to be just ok and flow though life without any sort of conflict only to feel it burning on the inside. that feeling of you hating to conform to rules that don’t make sense or just have that desire to kick a hornet’s nest knowing that you’ll get stung for rebelling status quo.
Disillusionment factors in creative minds especially the minds of music.
Today’s song of the day comes from Pink Floyd and their hit song “Welcome to the Machine.”
You’ll be able to see the meaning of the song from the music video and indeed sometimes we think certain industries are presenting people with a message to say…but after seeing what some people go through and hearing their stories… You cannot help but wonder…
Are we just cogs in a wheel that powers a huge machine? 

J’s Song of the Day: Stars of the Night by Dynatron

Ever watched a movie trailer or a movie that had the most greatest background music behind it, it sounds so amazing that it stays in your mind well after the trailer or scene has gone away.  For example, besides your initial interests in the film, the music just captures you as if it has entertainment value of its own?  

Well that’s because it does, BGM is so incredible and important to film that it takes a life of its own as you are enjoying the movie.  Sometimes to the point where certain songs or themes could serve the purpose as BGM themselves but since some of us indies don’t want to pay the royalties or go through the copyright strain to purchase these things.   We cannot help but think of what could’ve been as we’re going through the process of making these projects. 
Tonight’s song filled that purpose for me as I am writing one of my unfinished screenplays, it is a piece created by an artist/s known as Dynatron.   The synth in this takes me back to movies like Total Recall, Cyborg,  Blade Runner, and so on.   In my opinion, listening to it makes me feel like there is a great adventure ahead filled with battling an evil empire or fighting for freedom and wealth.  If you think the trailer music for the last two Star Treks films is good (Which it is).  I recommend you giving this song a listen and see what images you can create out of it, I’m having a field day in creative writing and pre-production by listening to the inspirational notes. 
Without much delay, here’s the song courtesy of NewRetroWave. 
If you like Dynatron’s work, please support the artist/s by going to these pages. 

J’s Song Of The Day: Cool Kids by Echosmith

I heard this on BPM today, I love the guitar riffs, drum beats, and the vocals of the lead singer is amazing.  Sure it’s a year old but it’s a lot better than what I’ve heard lately on standard FM & AM Radio.

It gives me plenty of ideas to write some new scenes but hey check out the music video and tell me what you think about it? 

J’s Top 5 Summer Movies 2014

It’s the near end of Summer, and while most people were either working seasonal jobs or going to the beach with friends and family. 
Some of us went to the movies!  The summer movies were incredible this year and while we’ll have to wait another year for the new avengers to come, we still had plenty of other adventures to enjoy. 
I present to you all my Top-5 Summer blockbuster list, and I’ll explain why I put them in this particular order.  Some of you may or may not agree with me but that’s perfectly fine and now the list.

1)   Guardians of the Galaxy
The movie was action-packed, fun, and interesting while also presenting a look into the Cosmic Atmosphere in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. No character was too dramatic or unlikable.  The movie actually brings Phase 2 into a wider prospect that it just gets you pumped for what happens next regarding Age of Ultron next year.    Whether you were a fan of the Guardians in the Comics or the movie, it really doesn’t matter.  I am happy that Marvel took the time to make one of their less known properties into a blockbuster such as this.   Each member of the Guardians is a screw-up in some ways but awesome in others especially how they work together to put a stop to Ronan the Accuser and we even get to see Thanos show off a little bit. 
The soundtrack for this film is amazing too and you can purchase it for $10.00 (CD) or $8.00 (MP3) at Amazon
You know, do yourself a favor and go see this movie now.
2)   X-Men Days of Future Past
The X-Men Series is finally fixed because for the longest time none of us could get The Last Stand out of our heads and plenty of Wolverine Fans didn’t like X-Men Origins at all.   It became so bad and expensive that Fox decided to bring about First Class that introduces the X-Men and explain the friendship between Erik and Xavier.  This movie despite some of its flaws became very successful, but plenty of us are still fans of the Wolverine Era. So Fox managed to get it right by presenting Days of Future Past to bring together the casts from the original X-Trilogy and the First Class.
While dramatic in some spots, the movie explains the purpose of time travel, points out various reference points in the X-Men Canon, that humors and entertains us all which was missing in X3.  The only thing is that kinda bugged me was the fact that Wolverine’s claws weren’t metal in the past but meh the movie was too good to care.
Plus, The X-Men are getting a chance to battle Apocalypse in the upcoming sequel to this. 

  
3)   TMNT
Yep TMNT 2014 comes in 3rdbecause despite the hate thrown at it for the Turtle Designs, Michael Bay Involvement or whatever, the movie was pretty entertaining, and you know why? Because it did what it was supposed to do.
This is not a rehash of the same old mythos it is in fact a reimagining of the Turtles Mythos while making references to please those of us who loved the turtles from the 80s, and entertain the turtle fans of today.
The fight sequences were amazing, the motion capture while drastically different from the real suits of the 90s wasn’t bad.   They captured the Turtles’ personalities and character traits just right and the whole argument about Shredder …well…you do see the size of the Turtles right? Shredder being in the Mechanical suit makes a lot of sense in that regard.   The only gripe I have is that we didn’t get to spend too much time with the turtles but
             Hey, the sequel is coming in 2016 so never mind.
4)   The Amazing Spider-man 2
This movie has been more between a hit and miss in the news lately. Much like how fanboys really cares about comparing Marc Webb’s style to Sam Raimi’s.   I will say the movie has incredible features of Spider-man fighting to keep the city protected but it dwelled too much on the different villains coming together or Spider-man’s love life with Gwen.   It didn’t help that the trailer gave away really important aspects of the film, and in some regard plenty of scenes didn’t even make it into the theatrical cut.    I would’ve been fine if they just did the original thing and kept the focus between Spider-man and Electro while keeping the Rhino and Harry battles as a hidden subplot within the movie.   Electro to me was way underused in the film, whereas most would say he’s overpowered, I think we didn’t get to spend enough with him where Spidey would consider him a threat to the city (At least in the 2nd battle).   It felt like Spidey just saw him and said “Oh I have to stop him” rather than it having a solid connection like The Lizard and him in the first movie.   It felt more like the real villain was Harry than Electro and that was kinda annoying especially since they’re doing this whole “avengers” angle with the Sinister six.   
Despite its flaws, the movie was decent in following the angle set by the first one in 2012 with Peter’s parents,  Spidey becoming more of a hero, and following through with Great Power comes Great Responsibility.   It’s just next time I would like to see one villain for Spidey to stop with some clear goals.
5)  Hercules
Hercules at Number 5 because it is the one film so far that wasn’t a Superhero one, it made you take a look at the legend of Hercules and turn it upside down to where Hercules is currently a mercenary due to some misfortune from his past.   He leads a band of other helpers who aid in his confrontations of his labors.   This time though we lightly hear about the labors and he aids a king in fighting against an army of rebels but throughout the movie, you’re wondering if he’s really fighting on the right side or not because the King seems to have some ulterior motives in store for Hercules and his allies.   I liked this movie due to the adventures, the effects, and the change of pace from Superhero films but would you believe that this movie was directed by the same man who directed X3?  The irony is astounding.
Say what you will about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s acting but indeed he has improved since Journey 2.
Honorable Mention
Godzilla
Gareth Edward’s Rendition of Godzilla is honorably mentioned due to the fact that this movie was a miss for me. I liked Godzilla being on screen again the movie didn’t have the fight sequences I would’ve liked to enjoy with Godzilla battling the Motus.   Each time there was a fight, there was often a cutaway to a different scene.   I understand that he was trying to build this movie up as an event but damn,  enough with the Cloverfield stuff.   I liked the design of the monsters and even Godzilla in CGI wasn’t so bad (Mondo would disagree).   I would’ve liked to see when the military attacked Godzilla, Godzilla would’ve dispatched some whoop-ass like he did in the old days but apparently it may happen in the sequel that’s coming for it.
While it was good to see Godzilla on screen again, I wanted more of Godzilla vs. the Military in this movie.
Plus why did Godzilla’s roar sound like the Kraken from Clash of the Titans?