Matt Goes To The Movies 2017

Welcome once more readers and friends to my look at the movies that hit cinemas last year as I count them down for your reading pleasure. 2017 was a pretty solid year with many films that I was very much looking forward to watching, some films that I didn’t know much about but found myself really liking, and even ones that lived up to the hype I created in my mind. This year I was lucky to watch many of these films in multiple theaters as I saw many at Cinemark at The Greene as well as Cinemark Dayton South, and I also went to Regal Cinema in Beavercreek and Cranberry Cinema in PA.  For the most part, they were all great experiences with Regal being the worst as every time I see a horror movie there something goes wrong from kids running up and down the stairs to grown men yelling at people for asking them to stop talking during the movie…in other words, the Regal is my least favorite place to watch movies. I also was lucky to see many of these films with friends and family as this year I watched many of them with the likes of Juliet, my brother Bryan and his family, Josh Weinberg, Stephen Alexander, Theresa Daniels, Jeremy Hoyt, Garrison Kane and Eric Shonborn to name a few. I also ate lots of popcorn and drank lots of bottle water and ICEE’s! So I can see on the marquee that they are seating here at The Rotten Ink Theater so let’s find our seats and chat about what Hollywood brought us in 2017.

Once more this year I was super lucky and did not see any majorly terrible movies so once more this year the “Worst” film countdown will not be present, and we will move onto our first countdown, Action Films!!! So get ready to run from the explosions and hear some one liners as this is one genre of films that is lots of fun on the big silver screen.

# 3

Xander Cage walked away from being a member of the secret extreme team XxX many years ago, but is tracked down and brought back into action when terrorists steal a black box that brings satellites down from space to crash into selected locations killing many. And worse the terrorist have killed Augustus Gibbons, the main brain behind the XxX team with one of these attacks! Now Xander, with a team of fellow XxX members, goes on a quest to stop these attacks and get revenge for their fallen friend and boss. But things are not what they seem, and this film takes lots of twists and turns as they find out a former XxX member might be the brain behind the attacks and things start to get really extreme as it’s a war to get the black box and stop this once and for all. This was a fun and silly action film, and it was nice to see Vin Diesel return as Xander Cage as he hams his way through the cheesy dialogue and over the top action moments. The film had a budget of $85 million and did not do to great for Paramount at the US Box Office as it only brought in $44,898,413.00 and made its money overseas. While not a groundbreaking action film, this was a fun check your brain at the door popcorn flick.

# 2

Restaurant owner Quan Ngoc Minh watches as his daughter and several other innocent people die in a terrorist attack in London. He is hurt and his spirit broken after his only child is gone. Quan sets out for answers as he wants revenge on the group who did this terrible act as he was once in the special forces and has the means and tools to get his revenge served dead cold. He sets his sights on government worker who once had ties to the group who has taken credit for the attack and won’t stop till he gets the answers he seeks. This is a fantastic action/drama film that stars Jackie Chan in a very dark and brooding film, but this lovable action star pulls it off so well as does co-star Pierce Bronson, who plays the government official. The film is well acted, the score is fantastic, and it’s an overall outstanding film that has some great action from the aging Jackie Chan who, while a little slower, still don’t seem to be missing a beat when it comes to delivering action and fights. The film was a hit for STX Entertainment overseas and did okat at the US Box Office as it brought in $34,216,587.00 on the budget of $35 million making the US dollars just the icing on the cake as it brought in $101,300,000.00 estimated from foreign markets. This is a film that’s worth checking out on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital if you get the chance.

# 1

Hitman John Wick, also known as The Boogey Man, is forced back into the world of assassination when he must do a favor for a fellow hitman who he owes before he can 100% retire.  When he at first refuses, his fellow hitman blows up his house and forces him back to accept and hires him to kill his sister who is going to be the head of the family business now that their father is dead. After John conducts the hit, he soon finds out his “friend” and fellow hitman has now placed a price on his head and hitmen from around the world are coming around to cash in! With very little friends and very little safe places, John must kill his one time friend and hope the hit goes away…but this action film has lots of twists and turns and leaves the door wide open for a part 3! This is a great sequel to the first film and adds more badass nature to the character of John Wick.  Once more I must say I am not a Keanu Reeves fan but he is perfect as this character, and I could not see any other action star pulling this off. The film did well for Lionsgate at the US Box Office bringing in $92,029,184.00 on a budget of $40 million. If you enjoyed the first film, this second film will also deliver the goods!

It was a solid year for Action fans, and really for me, hands down the best was John Wick 2 as that is a series I hope they continue for a while now. But let’s move away from action and into the world of Fantasy and Sci-Fi. It was also a great year for fans of those two genres.

# 8

Weird animals have been found in an underwater lake, and the oil company who found them are keeping it quite as the lake stands between them and lots of oil they need to make lots of money! Tripp is a high school student who works on cars and also works at the town junkyard, and when one of the creatures decides to hide and turns a broken down monster truck into a true monster truck, Tripp is the one who befriends the creature whose parents have been taken away by the bad guys! Tripp and his new creature become close friends and each help each other in a quest to save the day from the evil oil company and the scientist who works for them. This is a silly kids science fiction fantasy film that was a fun watch on a boring Wednesday at the theater and is nothing special but also not a total waste. This film tanked at the US Box Office for Paramount as it only brought in $33,370,166.00 on a budget of $125 million! Not much to say about this film besides it’s a goofy kids film that stars Lucas Till, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover and Thomas Lennon and worth a watch if you’re bored.

# 7

The war between humans and robots is raging on, and when Optimus Prime is taken over and turned evil, the humans and what’s left of the Autobots must team up to save the world from becoming the new Cybertron as the evil robots of space are trying to take over our world. But you can never keep a good robot down as Prime returns to the good side and joins the fight to save the world wide. Throw in Merlin The Magician, medieval robots, and an over acting hammy Anthony Hopkins, and you have this 5th film in a movie franchise based on a 80’s toy line that is clearly running out of steam and is chugging along on fumes. Now with that said, I really did have a blast watching this over blown action film on the big screen as it was clearly made to be a summer popcorn family flick. The film over all did well for Paramount worldwide and just at the US Box Office, it brought in $130,168,683.00 on a budget of $217 million. At this point with the Transformers movies I must say that if the series ended here with this sequel, it would be a good thing, but if they decide to try a milk another film or two out of Optimus Prime and his friends, I am sure I will travel to the cinema to watch. Worth a watching via a rental for fans of the past film or for those who wanna see a chubby old Anthony Hopkins get blown up….yeah, I laughed out loud at the theater watching that scene.

# 6

The Earth is being protected from terrible storms and natural disasters by a massive satellite base called Dutch Boy that was created by Jake Lawson who later gets banned and fired from the station for not playing ball with the government. Some time passes, and Jake’s brother Max is now in charge and has to try and bring his brother back after someone has hacked the system and is causing massive storms and climate changes to parts of the world. Once together, the brothers and only a few selected friends must figure out why this protection machine has been turned into a weapon of mass destruction and who’s behind it. The was a pretty cool disaster film that was well acted with most of the drama and scenes taking place in outer space.  It also does a good job of keeping you always guessing as to who is behind this highjack and why they want to cause death and chaos. The film stars Gerard Butler as Jake Lawson, who is our film’s unlikely hero, and he does a great job no matter where the plot and twists of this film takes him. The film was supposed to have been a big blockbuster film for Warner Brothers but did not do that well at the US box office only bringing in a total of $33,424,531.00 on a budget of $120 million making it a bomb for them. But if you like films like Armageddon, Earthquake, 2012 and Twister, this film is one you will want to check out worth watch on DVD, Blu-Ray or Digital.

# 5

The Great Wall follows a group of mercenaries from Europe who travel to China in order to steal the secrets of gun powder and soon find themselves prisoners at the Great Wall of China after much of their party has been killed by an unknown monster! And things get worse as they must fight for their lives alongside their captors against a horde of monsters as it’s clear that the Great Wall was created to protect the people of China from the hordes of monsters that want to enter and eat all of mankind! With lives on the line and gun powder to be stolen, they stick around for awhile with a sinister plan in motion. But soon with a change of heart and many lives on the line as the monsters get past the wall, it’s a fight for survival as the monsters want flesh, and our heroes want to be just that, heroes. This film was lots of fun and is a fantasy adventure film that blends well the beauty of Chinese Fantasy and European Goth Fantasy and mixes in American style Knight films and all together it creates a Fantasy, Action, Science Fiction, Martial Arts film with a dash of Horror. The film stars Matt Damon, Jing Tain and Willem Dafoe and is a great watch for fans who enjoy monster hordes and folklore of China. The film sadly did terrible for Universal here at the US Box Office as it only brought in $45,157,105.00 on a massive budget of $150 million! Thanks to the foreign box office, this film ended up not being totally in the red. For those who have not seen it, The Great Wall is a great watch and should have done better at the box office here in America, worth picking it up on DVD or Blu-Ray.

# 4

Luke Skywalker the Jedi Master has been found by Rey, and she has a message for him that the rebels need his help in their fight against the First Order who have risen in the place of the Empire. As Luke fights with his inner self, not wanting to get involved in another galactic battle, Princess Leia and the rebels are being stalked by Snoke and his First Order army as their ship is running out of fuel and could be blown to bits! It’s up to Poe, Finn and Rose to try and save the day and get their friends to safety and out of the grip of Snoke’s battleships blasting power. Rey thinks she can help turn Kylo Ren good and leaves Luke, who she deems a coward for not helping. In the end Luke makes his return, and the Rebels, who seemed to be on their last leg, get new hope as Rey is learning her force powers, and on the other side Kylo Ren has taken over the First Order. This new episode in the Star Wars saga is kind of a mess as the film seems to spin its wheels with plots that seem pointless and characters who change for no reason….and not to mention many of the deaths of classic characters seem really cheesy and not well thought out. But while this is a flawed movie and the worst of the Disney made Star Wars films, it was by no means a terrible movie and did have some great moments with the new and classic characters. I enjoyed the inner drama and madness of Kylo Ren, the growth of hot shot Poe Dameron as well as new Jedi Rey! It was great seeing classic characters like Chewbacca, Leia, C3PO, R2-D2, Admiral Ackbar and of course Luke. This film has fans very split as many love it, while others hated it to the extreme…myself, I found it okay and enjoyed seeing it on the big screen in 3-D. Did the film’s script stink bad in spots…yes, but in the end it’s just a weak sequel in a franchise that’s going to be around for a long, long time. The film did amazing for Disney at the US Box Office bringing in $548,962,602 on a budget of $200 million. Don’t listen to what the critics and internet keyboard reviewers have to say, check it out for yourself and see what side you’re on.

# 3

Captain Jack Sparrow is at it again as he and his crew lead a botched robbery of a safe that ends up leaving Jack in jail and about to be hanged for his crimes. Henry Turner is the son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan, and he wants to find the location of an item he thinks will save his father from the curse of Davey Jones as well as will lift all the curses of the sea and to do so he saves Jack Sparrow as well as Carina Smyth, a young female astronomer who has been accused of being a witch. Together they hit the sea for adventure but soon find they are not alone as an evil ghost named Captain Armndo Salazar is out for revenge and is forcing the likes of Captain Barbossa to help him capture Captain Jack so that he can kill him like Jack killed him many years back and caused he and his old crew to been cursed for many decades. And of course our hero Jack Sparrow is only out for one thing, to save his own butt and try and get drunk and rich while doing it! This fifth Pirates film was lots of fun and was a great watch on the big screen! Johnny Depp is fantastic as the goofy Captain Jack Sparrow who is a hero of sorts who you find yourself cheering for even though he is a terrible and selfish person. The film’s villain Captain Salazar is cold blooded and murders anyone who gets in his way of revenge and only has one mission, to kill Jack Sparrow, and is also a very self centered person who worries about his legacy and name. This film also delivers cameos from long time fan favorite characters Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann and offers the possibility of a sequel that could have them once more joining Jack on an adventure on the high sea. The film over all did well for Disney with it bringing in $172,558,876.00 on a budget of $230 million with it doing well worldwide doing a total of $794,861,794.00! I really enjoyed this film and am a fan of the series, and I can’t wait to see the next film in the series as this is one of Disney’s franchises that I look forward to seeing in the theaters. Check it out if you’re a fan of the series, and I even have bought the film on DVD so I can watch it again.

# 2

K is a Blade Runner who has been hired to kill older rogue models of androids who have all gone into hiding. But after one of his hits, he uncovers a mystery that intrigues him enough that he breaks the rules and stumbles onto a secret that will reshape the world and change lives forever. I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot of this film as I think fans of the original as well as fans of classic feeling science fiction films should really check this one out. The film was well cast as Ryan Gosling is fantastic as K, and the supporting cast of Jared Leto, Dave Bautista, Sylvia Hoeks, Ana De Armas and Harrison Ford are all fantastic. I enjoyed this film so much that after watching it in the theater, both Juliet and I sat in our seats for a few moments and just talked about how much we both enjoyed it. The film sadly did not do well for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office as it only brought in $91,524,557.00 on a budget of $150 million. I am not sure why the moviegoing public decided not to get off the couch and see this film, but it’s a shame as this one was a perfect watch in the theater. Great acting, great story and amazing score, I will for sure buy this one on DVD when released.

# 1

Caesar and his fellow apes are at war with the humans who are sending soldiers into sneak attack battles. The humans are being lead by The Colonel who, during a raid, kills Caesar’s wife and teenage son, and this sparks the lead ape on a quest for revenge. As Caesar and his closest friends set out to kill The Colonel, they come across a young mute human girl as well as another talking ape named Bad Ape. And this quest for revenge comes to a head when Caesar and many of the apes are taken prisoner, and they must get strong in order to escape and become stronger as the world’s new race. This film is a great Science Fiction film that is filled with lots of action, drama and even some funny moments.  No joke, this film is the only film in the theater that I felt myself tearing up at the end. The plot of this film even has many surprises and some sad shocking moments and is one that really must be seen, and if you have not seen it yet, go get it on DVD, Blu-Ray or even rent if from you local Video Rental Store. The film did good worldwide, and at the US Box Office alone it made $146,880.162.00 for Fox on a budget of $150 million. This film is my # 1 Sci-Fi/Fantasy film, and I think it is also one of my favorite films of 2017!

Hollywood really did deliver some amazing films this year and like always, they flooded the market with films based on comic book characters.  So my next list is a ranking of them! At this point I will wait for you to go get a refill of popcorn or soda….go on….for those who are waiting with me for them to get back, I also want to say that “Murder On The Orient Express” was a fantastic film and a must see but sadly did not fit an any of these categories. Well they are back with their refills, so let’s look at theses Superheroes!

# 6

Steppenwolf from Apokolips, along with his army of Parademons, are on Earth and want to bring the end of the world. What stands in his way is Batman and his newly formed together team of heroes like Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman that are calling themselves The Justice League. But when our heroes find out that the odds are against them and Steppenwolf is closer to bringing the Earth down, they make a choice to try and bring Superman back from the dead.  After doing so, is the Man of Steel the same hero the world lost or will he return and be something evil? In the end The Justice League, under the pressure of the world’s end, must fight to try to stop Steppenwolf once and for all. This was a great popcorn movie that was flawed in spots with the story and editing at times seeming like they were disjointed, but even with those flaws, I really found it to be fun and some moments even had me laughing out loud as The Flash steals the show in many scenes. The film did not do that great for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office as it only brought in $225,627,455.00 on a massive budget of $300 million! But thanks to worldwide box office dollars, the film was not a total bomb. While not a perfect superhero film, I would say it’s a very enjoyable one that was unfairly prejudged by the internet critics who judged before they even seen it.

# 5

Star-Lord and the rest of his Guardians are on a hired mission when Rocket Raccoon steals from their employer, and they now have a price on their heads that has been taken by Yondu and his pirate crew. Meanwhile Star-Lord and his friends crash land on a planet and meet Ego, who is a god-like being who happens to also be Star-Lord’s long lost father! As the Guardians Of The Galaxy stay with Ego on his planet, they meet Mantis and soon find that they, along with Yondu and his outlaws, must team up to stop Ego who is in fact a very evil being who wants to rule the galaxy and even steals the life energy from fellow living beings to gain power. This is a fun space adventure and was filled with action and lots of laughs with Dave Bautista as Drax stealing the show. While this film was very good, I did find it a little weaker than the first film, and it seemed a little too long. But with that said, this was a great popcorn movie in the theater and was worth buying on DVD like I did when released. The film did fantastic for Disney at the US Box Office as it brought in $389,813,101.00 on a budget of $200 million. Not the best Marvel Superhero movie this year, but a really good one that showcases why Marvel Comics rules the Box Office for the most part.

# 4

Thor returns to Asgard after defeating Surtur and thinking by doing so he prevented Ragnarok! Back home he finds that Loki has taken the look of Odin and has been running things after he left their father on Earth in a retirement home.  When traveling to Earth to get their father, they are meet by Doctor Strange who takes the brothers to the location of their father who is dying and tells them that their older sister Hela is on her way to Asgard and with her comes death! The brothers soon find that their sister is powerful, and she defeats them with ease and this causes them to become lost in space and stranded on a war planets where Thor is forced to be a gladiator and compete against The Hulk, who crashed there after leaving Earth behind. But Thor wants to save his home from the true Ragnarok, and along with Loki, The Hulk and female warrior Valkyrie, they escape the War planet ruled by Grandmaster and travel to Asgard for a final battle with Hela. This was one heck of a fun Superhero film that brought laughs, action and drama together perfectly and plus it had The Hulk in it, who happens to be one of my all time favorite superheroes! The film is well acted and had a great score and was a perfect way to set up Thor for the next Avengers movie. Disney did well with this film at the US Box Office as it brought in $311,621,239.00 on a budget of $180 million! Fans of Thor and Marvel Comic movies should check this one out if they have not.

# 3

After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker aka Spider-Man is swinging around New York stopping small crimes and waiting for the call from Iron Man when he is needed for Avengers business. But he soon learns that the call is not coming anytime soon and that he must not only deal with his High School life but also try and stop a new villain called The Vulture who is selling high powered weapons to criminals. But not listening to Iron Man and finding out who the man behind the helmet of The Vulture is leaves Spidey in a bad situation that forces him to truly be the hero he is meant to be. This was a perfect Spider-Man film and showcases why the world of comic book readers and movie goers love Spidey! Tom Holland was perfectly casted as Peter Parker and makes the perfect Spider-Man, and I hope he sticks with the part for many movies to come. Michael Keaton was wonderfully sinister as The Vulture and plus seeing Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man again was really cool. The film did really well for Sony at the US Box Office as it did $334,201,140.00 on a budget of $175 million. Make sure if you enjoy Spider-Man as a character to check this film Spider-Man Homecoming out as it really is the best film that has been made featuring Spidey.

# 2

The X-Men are gone, and Wolverine and Professor X are on the run as they are wanted by the government and are being hunted by a group lead by Donald Pierce. Logan himself is very sick, and Professor X has a brain disease. While trying to escape, they come across and save a young girl named Laura (X-23) who is in fact also a mutant with the same powers as Logan! After fighting and always staying ahead of the bad guys, things come to a head when Professor X is murdered. Laura and fellow young mutants are being hunted down, and Logan must force himself to be the hero he once was and uses all he has in order to save the young Mutants. This is unlike any X-Men and Superhero movie I have ever seen.  While it is packed with action, it is also very heavy on drama and tries to very much tug at your heart strings as this is the final film from Hugh Jackman to play Wolverine as well as Patrick Stewart as Professor X. While sick, Logan still has what it takes to brutally kill his enemies and save those he cares about. The film did great for Fox at the US Box Office and brought in a massive $226,277,068.00 on a budget of $97 million and shows that the movie going public still love Wolverine as a character. If you want to see a Superhero film that is more than that, make sure to give this one a watch.

# 1

Amazon Princess Diana Prince left the safety of her island of Themyscira in order to help American pilot Steve Trevor and his fellow soldiers during World War I as she has discovered that Ares The God Of War has a sinister plan in order to cause world destruction. And as Wonder Woman lives among men, she discovers that she is a symbol of hope and will not stop until she puts an end to Ares and helps turn the tides of the war. Gal Gadot is fantastic as Wonder Woman, and I can’t think of any other actress who could have played the part better! Hands down this was the best over all entertaining Superhero film of the year as when watching, it felt very special. This film did fantastic for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office bringing in a whopping $412,563,408.00 on a budget of $149 million. This truly is a fantastic Superhero film and makes me have faith that DC could make a comeback in the world of cinema and capture the same magic that the Christopher Reeve Superman films did and even the Tim Burton Batman films did years later. Own it on DVD, and I can’t recommend it enough.

So the superheroes took the cinema by storm and once more showed that Marvel Comics and DC Comics heroes have lots to offer from the pages of comics to the big screen for fans. But now we are at the point of this review that I always look the most forward to, the countdown of Horror Movies that made it to theaters in 2017 that I was able to catch! This year in Horror was filled with lots of sequels as well as a good mix of arty style films and just plan cheesy ones, and as always, I enjoyed them all and am looking forward to what 2018 has in store for us! So take a drink of your soda and prepare for the Horrors Of The Cinema 2017!

# 20

It Comes At Night is about Paul and Sarah, along with their teenage son Travis, who are all hiding out in their farm house as the world around them is being filled with a sickness that is very contagious.  After taking in another family, they must decide between life and death when the sickness comes close to home. This is a very artsy horror film that burns at a very slow pace and plays on the viewer’s fears of sickness, loneliness and family first morals and even a little fear of the unknown as something in the woods around the house could be causing this rash sickness and death. But while the concept and atmosphere of this film is good, the rest of it I found to be a bore as it was not as “Deep” nor “Brilliant” as many viewers want you to think. In fact when this film came out, I had to chuckle when seeing friends who enjoyed it trying to say that those who didn’t like it “Just Didn’t Get It” when sad to say there is just not much to get in this bore fest! The film had a budget of $2.4 million and at the US Box Office brought in $13,985,117.00 for A24 Films making it a hit for them. While some love it and others hate it, I found myself almost putting it in my Worst film list as I wanted so much to like it but just couldn’t.

# 19

The Creeper is back and on another killing spree in this third film in the Jeepers Creepers series that takes place after the first film and before the second film. The Creeper is on the loose and is stock piling bodies when the local Sheriff as well as fellow law enforcement officers have taken The Creeper’s truck and soon learn his 23 days of killing is still going strong as he gets his truck back and continues his killing spree. The Creeper then sets his sights on a young woman whose uncle had a run-in with him 23 years ago and was able to take the killer’s severed hand.  This has marked her as a victim of his rampage. Now her crazy grandma and the cops set out to stop The Creeper and save the young girls life as well as others that are yet to have been gotten. This third film in the Jeepers Creepers series by all accounts feels cheap and almost feels half assed by all involved. While the story is okay and it’s nice to see The Creeper back in bloody action, the acting by almost the whole cast is bad with Meg Foster who plays the crazed Grandma being really over the top and bad in spots. The film’s blood and gore as well is lacking, and over all this film was just average. Jeepers Creepers 3 had a limited theatrical run and brought in a total of $2,335,162.00 at the US Box Office for Screen Media. Over all fans of the series should check it out; other horror fans might want to skip it.

# 18

Alice is back in a world that is overrun by zombies and controlled by the Umbrella Corporation, and she gets the shock of her life when she is contacted by the Red Queen who wants to help her bring down her creators and spread the airborne cure that will kill off zombies world wide once released. So Alice, along with some fellow survivors including Claire Redfield, enter the Hive (Umbrella’s main hub) and must find the cure in time before all human life is gone. Can Alice stop the zombie t-virus plague? Can she find out who she really is? And will she be able to trust the Red Queen? All these questions are answered in what is supposed to be the final film in the series. I must say that this film was lots of fun but also was total nonsense as the fights scenes are a quick edited mess and scene by scene, it played out as very paint by numbers. The film did poorly at the US Box Office for Sony as it only did $26,830,068.00 on a budget of $40 million, but worldwide it made lots more showing that this tired series still has drawing power at the theater. Worth watching for fans of the Resident Evil film series and those who enjoy cheesy polished zombie films.

# 17

A college teacher buys an old VCR from a flea market and stuck inside it is the cursed tape of Samara Morgan.  As he tries to repair the VCR, he ends up watching the tape and being cursed himself.  In order not to die in 7 days, he tricks his students into watching the tape that he has now turned into a internet video! Julia is a student who gets stuck in the curse as she watches the video after looking for her boyfriend who as well has become the target of Samara and her tape thanks to this professor. Now it’s up to Julia to find a way to stop Samara once and for all and truly find her body and give it a proper burial, but will this free the world of Samara or is this what she wants to unleash more of her evil in the world? This third film in the Ring series was an average sequel that added nothing new to the legend of Samara and is packed with normal paranormal scares. The acting in the film is okay as are the kills, and while not overly scary, I will say that it shows that Samara is one evil spirit who enjoys causing the deaths of any human stupid enough to watch his tape. The film did not do all that great for Paramount at the Box Office in the USA as it only brought in $27,793,018.00 on a budget or $25 million. This film also was the reason that Paramount cancelled the 13th film in the Friday The 13th series as they were mad at Horror fans for not supporting this sequel to their Rings series. While Rings might not be an amazing film, it still was enjoyable in the theater.

# 16

Colonists have landed on a planet that is perfect for them to harvest the embryos their ship is carrying and create a new colony, but they soon find that they are not alone on this planet as it’s over run by Xenomorphs who are killing them off one by one. They also run into android David who is creating the aliens as he wants to play God and thinks what he is creating is the top of the food chain. After what’s left of the survivors escape, they soon find that they have an unwanted visitor as an alien is loose on the ship, and this could be the end of life as they all know it. This sequel in the Alien series is not very good and is hands down the weakest in the series as director and creator Ridley Scott thinks that fans of the series really just want to see actor Michael Fassbender acting with himself and make the focus only be his character David who was a carry over from the film Prometheus. He also seems to forget that fans of the alien series like to see the Aliens and have scary moments not over played cliché science fiction moments. Also fans of his film Prometheus seem to get the shaft as he downplays all the characters from that series besides David! Over all this film was very mediocre and offers some great moments filled in between moments of Fassbender! The film bombed for Fox at the US Box office as it had a budget of $97 million and only brought in $74,262,031.00! This film is for diehard Alien fans only and worth getting on DVD if you’re a completist like myself.

# 15

In 1997, weird lights were seen in the sky of Phoenix, Arizona and a group of friends went out to the desert in order to find the UFO and sadly they are not seen again. Years later, one of the friend’s younger sister along with her boyfriend trying to find what happened to her brother and his friends and uncovers that things are being covered up by our government and that a tape of the events had been found. This found footage film was really well done, and I found myself drawn in to the story that is really based on unknown lights seen in the skies of Phoenix in 1997. The film has some great moments that showcase that some missing people might just have gone missing because of aliens. The film had a limited release and did pretty well for Cinelou Films at the US Box Office bringing in $3,600,146.00 on a budget of $2.8 million. If you enjoy found footage horror films and films about aliens and UFOs, this is a film you might want to check out.

# 14

Laura is the most popular girls at college, has lots of friends, and is very active on social media.  She makes the mistake of accepting a friend request from weird loner goth girl Marina Mills, who has no friends and animates weird creepy videos. While Laura was just being nice, Marina thinks their friendship is real and starts to become obsessed with the popular girl, and this makes Laura get annoyed and unfriend her after a scene is made in the school cafeteria. This makes Marina super sad and leads to her killing herself live on social media and also shows that this weird girl has weird powers as she puts a curse on Laura that causes her close friends to die and her popularity to disappear. Now Laura and her boyfriend must try and find the place that Marina killed herself to retrieve her body and find the mirror she used for the curse. But can they stop this curse or is Marina’s power to strong for them?! This was a great little horror shocker that for the most part had likable characters and made you feel bad for both Laura and Marina as both girls just wanted friendships, but they both had different ways to show it. Liesl Ahlers who plays Marina was fantastic, and I hope she stars in more horror films in the future. This film also had some great spooky moments, but sadly when seeing this film, I was the only person in the theater so I could not judge how the scares effected the audience. The film brought in $3,759,078.00 for Entertainment Studios at the US Box Office on a budget of $9.9 million. This film is worth watching if you enjoy supernatural horror films, and I for one pre-ordered it on DVD.

# 13

17 year old Clare Shannon is a young girl who is unpopular at school but has a group of tight friends, is embarrassed by her father who is a hoarder dumpster diver and is deeply affected by the suicide of her mother. But her life changes when her father finds a Chinese music box in the trash and gives it to her as a gift and out of sadness she makes a wish around it and finds that her wishes come true with it.  But each wish comes with a price that ends up affecting those close to her. But Clare is addicted to her wish fulfilling music box, and she can’t stop even though she is causing harm to her family and friends. Can Clare break the hold the music box has on her or will it be too late to save her soul and those whose it has already claimed? This was a really good PG-13 horror film that showcases a new twist on the Monkey Paw legend and is well acted and has some really cool twisted deaths and a very mean spirited ending. The film at the good old Box Office in the USA brought in $14,301,505.00 for Board Green Pictures on a budget of $12 million making it a semi hit for them. This film was a limited release and was worth seeing in the theater as I really did enjoy it over all. While some parts are a little cheesy and predictable, it still was a good popcorn scary picture. Worth watching on DVD, Blu-Ray or rental, and I for one bought it on DVD.

# 12

Sisters Lisa and Kate are on vacation in Mexico, and this get away is hard on Lisa as it was supposed to be her and her boyfriend but they broke up. To do something fun the sisters meet some guys at a bar that tell them about a boat that will take them out to the ocean and allow them to enter a cage and see sharks up close and personal! But when the sisters get into the cage and start to have fun, the boat’s crane fails, the cable snaps, and the sisters sink to the bottom of the ocean with no help in sight as the boat is not equipped for this kind of trouble, and they must leave in order to get help. The sisters are stuck in a cage in the dark water with oxygen tanks that are running low and one large hungry shark that is stalking them. Can the sisters survive while they wait for help or will they meet their deaths in the cold dark water? The film is super dark in nature and is filled with dread almost from the start as the gloomy nature of the water makes for some creepy moments as does a shark who wants nothing more than to take a bite out of human flesh. This film stars Mandy Moore and Claire Holt as the sisters.  They are super likable, and you find yourself cheering for them to be rescued and feel nervous for them when all looks lost. The film had a budget of $5.5 million and at the US Box Office brought in $44,307,191.00 making it a hit for Entertainment Studios. While this might not be the next JAWS, it still is a solid killer shark movie that will make you think twice before going into the water.  This film is worth the watch and is one you might want to own if you like Jaws or Open Water.

# 11

The fifth film in the Underworld series was lots of Horror Action fun and had Selene being targeted by vampire council member Semira and werewolf pack leader Marius, both of whom want the location of her daughter whose blood could bring power to the one who drinks it. She however does not even know where her daughter is and along with her vampire friend David must fight to protect their vampire brethren from the werewolf hordes all the while exposing the corruption within the vampire hierarchy and bringing a new breed of vampires into power who can lead them into the final war with the werewolves. This film was not only filled with over the top action that included guns and swords, but also had a good amount of blood and gore including a werewolf who is cut in half from head to butt! Selene is as likable as ever as a vampire antihero who just wants to be left alone, but when pushed will kick your butt! Selene is played once more by the lovely Kate Beckinsale who brings a touch of class to this cheesy Action Horror hybrid film series. Evil werewolf leader Marius is played by Tobias Pulver and is one sinister and mean spirited werewolf hiding behind the guise of being a peace bringer. The film also stars Theo James, Lara Pulver and Daisy Head and did poorly for Sony at the US Box Office bringing in only $30,353,973.00 on a budget of $35 million. The film is left open for another sequel, and I for one hope that it does come to light as this was lots of silly bloody fun and was the first Horror Film of 2017 to hit theaters and was a great way to kick off the year.

# 10

Sergeant Nick Morton and his friend Corporal Chris Veil are fighting in the war in Iraq and are stealing art to sell on the black market when they accidentally find an ancient tomb that houses the body of the Princess Ahmanet who many decades before sold her soul to Set in order to gain unworldly powers. But they now are busted by the Army and have to show their findings to archaeologist Jennifer Halsey whom Nick had a one night stand with in order to steal locations to ancient art. But things get worse when they take the body of Ahmanet out of the tomb and they unleash a curse that leaves many of them dead. Ahmanet marks Nick who she has selected him to be the human vessel for the returning god Set. While Ahmanet claims victims who she turns into her zombie slaves, Nick and Jennifer must find a way to stop her path of destruction that includes teaming with Dr. Henry Jekyll and his team of monster collectors. In the end Nick must decided if his life is worth that of the many and if he can bring down Ahmanet and her undead army. This Universal Monster film was the start of the now already dead Dark Universe of films that was supposed to bring back the classic monsters to cinemas, and after this film, that idea quickly fell apart. The film is a mix of Adventure and Horror and confused many movie goers as they for some reason downplayed the fact it was a Horror film. The other major issue this film had with movie goers is the casting and highjacking of the production of Tom Cruise who turned the whole movie into one about himself and even downplayed the threat of The Mummy. The pluses to this film are the fact it was a new Universal Monster Movie that brought a classic monster back to movie screens, the fact that actress Sofia Boutella is fantastic as The Mummy Ahmanet and let’s not forget the zombies! While the story is a mess and is very much flawed, I am not ashamed to say that I enjoyed this film and wish Universal would continue the Dark Universe! The film did poorly for Universal at the US Box Office only doing $80,101,125.00 on a massive budget of $125 million sadly showing that the budget for this Mummy film was way too high. While not perfect, this was a fun popcorn film that entertained me and is worth at least checking out with low expectations.

# 9

College students Eliot, Sasha and John move into a old house off campus and after having a friend over who conducts a séance, she finds something evil is in the house and things start to get weird when they notice coins appearing and weird nosies. And when Eliot finds a note in a drawer that says the words “Don’t Think It, Don’t Say It, Bye Bye Man” they unleash The Bye Bye Man who inflicts them with madness and hallucinations and causes murder and death, and one by one the friends start to die and must find a way to stop The Bye Bye Man once and for all. This was a cheesy and 90’s feeling horror film that brings a creepy new supernatural killer to the movie screens and showcases that not all horror films in the theaters need to be ghost movies! The film is PG-13 and stills packs some cool kills, and the killer Bye Bye Man looks great and is played by Doug Jones. The film did pretty good for STX Entertainment at the US Box Office and brought in $22,395,806.00 on a small budget of $7.4 million and hopefully this becomes a franchise as the world could use another supernatural slasher. Check this film out if you like cheesy horror films and like killers with monster dogs!

# 8

Lockhart is a man who is hired to go to a wellness center located in the Swiss Alps in order to bring back a CEO of a major company who went to this spa and never returned. At the spa he finds that the man is happy and don’t want to return to work. As Lockhart is leaving, he also sees a young woman named Hannah and becomes intrigued by her. As he is being driven back to the train station, he and the driver get into a major wreck that leaves Lockhart with a broken leg and forced to stay at the spa and forced to drink lots of water. Soon Lockhart gets to meet Hannah in person and starts to realize that this wellness spa is not what it seems as people act weird, the workers do some cruel things and a sinister feeling is all around. Lockhart along with Hannah must figure out what is the dark secret of the spa and why is it that people check in and never check out. This is a delightfully weird horror film that is filled with great atmosphere and in the end takes an almost House Of Wax type shock to spook the viewer. The film has a great score, is well acted and again have to praise the atmosphere as it has a real gothic horror feel. The film stars Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth and Jason Isaacs and all do fantastic jobs in their roles. While the film does have some gross moments, it’s not a bloodbath and plays on the fear of being taken and forced to stay in a place beyond your control. The film sadly tanked for Fox at the US Box Office only doing $8,106,986.00 on a budget of $40 million, and it’s a shame as it really is a good classic feeling horror film. Check it out via rental or give it a buy on Blu-Ray or DVD.

# 7

Bodies are being found with the mark of Jigsaw Killer John Kramer on them and weirdly enough, small tapes are also found that have Jigsaw talking to the victims, and this has cops and doctors puzzled as Kramer has been dead for a very long time. They try to figure out how this is possible and when digging up Kramer’s grave they find him not inside.  A game is being played that is killing off people who have bad secrets from their past. But like all good SAW movies, not all is what it seems and lots of twists and turns leave the viewer with some answers as well as new questions. This film is the eighth film in the SAW series, and while it does not offer anything new to this long running series, it was very cool to see a new sequel this past Halloween season in the theater and see Tobin Bell return as Jigsaw. The film has some twists that work really well but also had some really bad over actors making up major characters with actor Matt Passmore as Logan Nelson being the worst offender. Like all good SAW movies, this film has some gruesome deaths and doesn’t skimp on the blood. The film did okay for Lionsgate at the American Box Office taking in $ 38,052,832.00 on the small budget of $10 million. But while it made money, Lionsgate looked at it as a bomb, and I doubt if we get a another sequel anytime soon. While this is not a groundbreaking Horror film, it sure was a fun one to watch in the theater, and I have always been a sucker for sequels.  So if you like the SAW films, give this one a watch.

# 6

Married couple Samuel and Esther lose their daughter Annabelle after she is struck by a car after church.  Samuel, who is a doll maker, quits working on his dolls, and it’s not until years later that he and his wife decide to open their massive home to house six orphaned young girls as well as Sister Charlotte.  Things look good until until young Janice is tormented by a demon who is in fact hidden in a doll after tricking the parents into thinking it was the spirit of their daughter. The demon possesses Janice, and it’s up to her friend Linda and Sister Charlotte to save the young woman’s soul. This was a pretty cool creepy little film that is the second in the Annabelle film series as well as the second spin off from The Conjuring series that showcases the demon and his doll he hides in. The film is not a blood bath and relies on atmosphere and the fear of the unknown to get the scares from the audience. The film did great for New Line Cinema at the US Box Office and brought in $102,092,201.00 on the small budget of $15 million and shows that ghost and possession movies are here to stay for a while longer and The Conjuring and its spinoffs will be leading the pack. Worth watching and owning for sure!

# 5

Casey Cooke and her friends Claire and Marcia are kidnapped by a man named Kevin Wendell Crumb who suffers from an identity disorder and decides that he is going to keep the women as his prisoners. Things get really bad when Casey figures out that as Kevin’s identity changes, so does his personality and even appearance. But she soon learns that she needs to fear and fight for her life when The Beast personality takes over Kevin. This is a very cool horror thriller that has lots of shocking and creepy moments, and The Beast is a true monster among men. The film does not use blood and gore to deliver scares and does deliver with class and atmosphere. M. Night Shyamalan directed the film, and James McAvoy stars as James.  This shows that Shyamalan is back delivering high quality horror films. The film did great for Universal at the Box Office here in the US as it did $138,141,585.00 on a budget of $9 million showing the modest budget horror films bring in money for production companies. It’s worth a watch and has a nice ending that ties into another film and leads to a future sequel that I will for sure be in line to see.

# 4

Chris Washington is a young black man who is meeting his white girlfriends family for the first time and is nervous about it. When he gets there, he notices that everything seems great and this puts his nerves at ease, that is until he notices that this perfect little town is not so perfect and all the rich people seem to have a weird vibe to them and something just is not right with the other black residents who all seem to be in a trance. And for poor Chris things get worse when he finds out her parents are as well not as nice as they seem and he uncovers the town and families dirty little secret. This is a great Horror Thriller that blends in the tension of race and does so really well. The film is well acted, well written and has a great score and showcases that horror films can have a message and can be entertaining doing so. The film was written and directed by Jordan Peele, who has a bright future in the world of Horror. The film did fantastic for Universal at the Box Office in America bringing in a massive $175,484,140.00 on a budget of only $4.5 million. I should also note that this was produced by Blumhouse, who is truly the new top of the line when it comes to modest budget horror films. This is a great watch and is one that I bought on DVD when released after seeing in the theater.

# 3

College student Theresa Gelbman wakes up in the bed of Carter Davis after a night of heavy drinking.  She rushes out and is rude to everyone she comes across and at night when heading to a party, she is murdered by a killer in a baby face mask. And after being killed, she wakes up again in Carter’s bed and repeats the day over and over and over and must figure out who her murder is! This film is like Groundhog Day if it was a horror film and is a true modern day slasher film as the killer wears a big mask that would fit perfectly in a 80’s horror film.  The film does have some blood and some cool kills. What really works for this film is that Theresa grows as a character as she starts off as a terrible person and by the end she learns that being a snotty brat will get her nowhere. My favorite side character from this movie is Danielle, who is so bratty and snobby that she made me laugh almost every time she was on the screen.  She is played by actress Rachel Matthews, who I hope to see in more horror films soon. This film as well is produced by Blumhouse and like almost all their movies, this one did great at the US Box Office bringing in $55,683,845.00 for Universal on a budget of $4.8 million. If you like slasher films and or the film Groundhog Day then give this fun slasher film a watch. Also this was a fun one to watch in theaters as the audience seemed to be having lots of fun with it.

# 2

In 1988 during a rain storm, young 7 year old Georgie goes missing and is pulled into the sewer by Pennywise The Dancing Clown unbeknownst to everyone in the town that the young boy’s fate was to be eaten by this demonic clown. Bill is Georgie’s older brother, and he feels bad for his missing brother and becomes obsessed with finding out where his brother is and even brings his misfit friends on his quest to find the truth. But the kids soon find out about Pennywise, who in turn uses the kids own fears in order to keep them away and all the while is still collecting and killing the kids of the town. Bill and his friends won’t be scared away and travel to the underground and track down this killer clown who lives on fear, and they must have a showdown with him in order to save their lives and others. This is a great adaptation of the classic Stephen King horror novel and takes a different route than the original made for TV movie mini series and adds more scares and a new era to the mix. The film has some great creepy moments, and Bill Skarsgard is amazing as Pennywise and makes this character his own. Viewers who have a fear of clowns will be terrified of Pennywise as he is one sinister grease painted killer monster. The film did amazing for New Line Cinema at the US Box Office as it only had a budget of $35 million and brought in an amazing $327,481,748.00 making it a Box Office hit. While watching this in the theater, the moviegoers around were all jumping in their seats and to me that’s a great sign of a good Horror Movie.

# 1

The year is 1973, and the government has hired tracker James Conrad to lead a military and scientist group to explore a newly found island that is called Skull Island! When they find it, they are meet by a massive monster gorilla called King Kong who brings down their helicopters and splits the group up who soon find that Skull Island is filled with all types of giant animals and monster that include the Skullcrawlers who kill and eat whatever they can catch. While on the island, they also meet stranded World War II veteran Hank Marlow who tells them the way of the land and takes them into the village of the island’s tribe. They soon find out that King Kong is the ruler of the land and has a good heart and only fights when he has to, and as James and crew try to leave the island they must get help and help King Kong as he battles the granddaddy of all Skullcrawlers who wants to kill Kong once and for all and rule Skull Island itself! In the end with Kong’s help, they all escape the Island and they help Kong in his final fight with his mortal enemy. This was an amazing Adventure Horror Monster film, and I really did feel like a kid again sitting in the theater and watching King Kong in this film. The film is stacked with great actors like Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman and John C. Reilly all who make their characters come alive and not to mention the score by Henry Jackman is top notch. King Kong in the film looks fantastic and watching him smash Skullcrawlers and helicopters is pure popcorn movie stuff. This film did well at the US Box Office for Warner Brothers as it did $168,052,812.00 on a massive budget of $185 million with most of the film’s profits being brought in from overseas. While this film is not pure horror, it is a monster movie and is hands down my favorite Horror flick of 2017 that I saw in the theaters! Worth a buy on DVD or Blu-Ray for fans of King Kong and giant monster movies.

So as you can see, 2017 was filled with lots of great movies from all types of genres, and it really makes me look forward to seeing what Hollywood and the theater going experience has in store for me in 2018! But the clean up crew is here at the Rotten Ink Theater, and they are wanting us to leave so they can do their job, so let’s not be rude and let them work. Before we leave, I need to let you know that my next update will be about the film “Muppets Take Manhatten”! That’s right, we are going to talk Muppets! So until then make sure to see a movie or three at your local theater and support independent filmmakers any chance you can. See you next time around as Kermit The Frog hits the Big Apple!

 

The Red Twister Man-Droid Of The DC Universe!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, my readers and friends.  For this update I have decided to take a look at another DC Hero, one that always captured my attention as a youngster thanks to the Kenner toy Super Powers.  The hero I am talking about is the Red Tornado! Growing up I was more of a Marvel comic reader, and 8 out of 10 times while at the comic newsstand at Hearts, I would pick a Marvel book over a DC or independent as I was always more into their characters like Hulk, Captain America and Spider-Man.  But I still always enjoyed reading DC heroes Batman, Superman, Swamp Thing and even Justice League Of America. With that said, I still really enjoy DC and enjoy discovering the characters they have created to entertain the comic readers worldwide and that’s why I choose to cover Red Tornado. One thing that has always driven me crazy about DC Comics is the fact they have a rich history of characters, but they only ever really want to focus on the same handful when it comes to major storylines and even merchandising.  I mean look at how many items and major comic plots go to Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern and how little go to characters like The Creeper, Captain Marvel, Black Canary and Red Tornado. But on this update here at Rotten Ink, I am going to give Red Tornado his time to shine in the comic spotlight! So dress warm as this wind might chill you to the bone while Tornado is on the loose to save the day!

So who is the Red Tornado and what is he all about? Let me take a moment to fill you readers in on his past as I am sure you will find his weird and complicated history interesting. The thing that I must stress about DC and their character histories is that they can get very weird and confusing as they have many “Earths” that have different timelines, and this makes the bios very murky in my opinion, but let’s try and give this a shot. Red Tornado was created on the planet Rann in the Earth-One universe and was made up of two different beings, Tornado Champion and Tornado Tyrant, and became a bad guy who attacked Adam Strange only to lose.  This loss made it take a looks at itself and choose to be good as he found that side to be the stronger.  But this ultimately did not matter as the bad side won the inner war that raged inside the split identity body. As the evil Tornado Tyrant, he comes to Earth-Two and fights the Justice League Of America and this allows the Tornado Champion side to dominate.  He is tricked by evil criminal T.O Morrow into tricking Tornado Champion to take over an android that he had built.  This wiped the memory of Tornado Champion and now a new life-form was born named Red Tornado! After being used as a tool for evil, Red Tornado turns on his creator and turns to the ways of good and becomes a member of the Justice League Of America and tries to live his life as an android superhero as well as tries to have a human life side. Later Tornado Champion breaks free from the android body and becomes a weapon for Anti-Monitor and ultimately fails returning to the android body and Red Tornado was once more! After this, he became a nature protector, guided the members of Young Justice and has even been an off and on team member of the Justice League Of America! Say what you will about Red Tornado; he has been good and he has been bad but one thing is for sure, this android hero is one of DC’s coolest B-Listers!

In 1985 Kenner decided to add a second series of heroes and villains to their popular Super Powers line of action figures, and among the likes of Martian The Manhunter and Mantis was the one and only Red Tornado. Growing up me and my brother loved to get our hands on Super Powers as we both loved comic books as well as the movies and cartoons based on the DC heroes.  Between the two of us, we owned almost all of Series 1 minus Brainiac whom we never could find, and we also had many of the figures in series 2. When I was in the first grade in the Waynesville, while on the bus home a fellow bus rider had a Red Tornado action figure, and I can remember being obsessed with it and for weeks trying to trade other toys in order to get it from him.  Sadly he never would trade nor did we ever get the figure until many years later when my brother bought it to add to his Super Powers collection. But this figure is what made me become obsessed with Red Tornado and who he was way back when I was just a six year old lad.  My brother who was 9 years old was the one who told me what he knew about the character that he had learned from issues of Justice League Of America. Below are some pictures of the Kenner Red Tornado figure loose, in the package and a look at the mini comic that came with the toy. One day I should get myself this figure just to remind me of my youth and the time I discovered Red Tornado. I should note that other figures over the years have been made of the Red Tornado, but for me the Super Powers is still the best one.

So besides in comics and toy,s Red Tornado has also had other appearances in media that include being in the animated series “Justice League Unlimited” and being voiced by Powers Boothe, “Batman: The Brave And The Bold” voiced by Corey Burton and “Young Justice” voiced by Jeff Bennett showing that he has made his mark on the world of DC animation. He also appeared in the 2010 animated film “Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths” but was just a cameo and didn’t even speak a word! He also also been in a handful of video games like “DC Universe Online” and “Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham” and also whirlwind, the pixel world! More recently he was in the live action show “Supergirl” episode called Red Faced and is played by Iddo Goldberg and is portrayed as an android ready for combat. So while he is by no means as in demand as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman or even Green Lantern, he still over the years has tried to get his time to shine in other media besides comics.

So now that we have had a crash course of the history of Red Tornado and have also taken a look at the character in the world of merchandise and other media, I think we should twist our way down to the comic reviews and see what this 1985 mini series has in store for our android superhero! Shockingly enough, this will be my first time reading this mini series, and I must think Dark Star in Yellow Springs for having them all in stock. I can hear these words in the whirling wind: “I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story.” So if you’re ready, I am ready to see what this Red Tornado mini series has in store.  So avoid the wind gusts and let’s dive in shall we!

Red Tornado # 1  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 1 of 4

New Jersey is having a massive tornado that is destroying property, and as Lana Lang is reporting live, Red Tornado appears and saves the day when he reverses the funnel cloud and rushes away as he still thinks the world fears him even if he is a member of the Justice League Of America (JLA). Once back home, he turns into his alter ego John Smith and takes his girlfriend Kathy Sutton and young orphan friend Traya out to dinner and a movie.  After the film is over, robots come from the ground and have their sights set on taking out John Smith who has to turn into Red Tornado in order to lead them away from his loved ones and innocent people! After beating the robots, he returns back to being John Smith, and while watching the evening news, he is heart broken when he sees Lana Lang report that he was responsible to the tornado and that it destroyed thousands of dollars worth of property! And worse, as the report goes off, Superman along with fellow Justice League Of America members call Red Tornado outside only to fire him from the team.  As the sad android hero flies away, we soon learn that the robot villain The Construct is mind controlling the JLA and others in order to push all the human feelings out of Red Tornado so that robots can kill off man and rule the world, as he knows that Red Tornado could stop him and his plan.

This first issue in a four issue mini series is a great way to introduce Red Tornado to readers who might not know who he is, as well as a cool way to start off our story! The plot of this issue has Red Tornado trying his best to gain the trust of humans.  As he does his best to stop crimes as well as natural weather disasters, he is filled with doubts about being accepted not only as the android hero but also as his “human” life John Smith. While he battles his inner thoughts, unknown to him, an evil robot power is in play as The Construct is controlling all the bad things happening to him and even controls his firing from the Justice League Of America! Red Tornado is an android on a mission to save human life and uses his weather powers to do so, but he is very much bothered that the whole human race is not hip to the fact he is a good guy and wants to do no harm to them. His ability to become a tornado is his main defense against crime, but he is also very smart. I also really like in this issue that while he is an android, he does show signs of having feelings and this makes the character deeper than just a hunk of metal with powers. As his “human” life John Smith, it’s clear that he doesn’t know how to be human as he is just going with the flow of what life he thinks he should have by working a so-so day job and even being boring with his girlfriend by not understanding they don’t always need Traya around to go out! It’s odd, it almost seems like as John he shows less emotion than he does when he is Red Tornado, making it clear that his mechanical mind is trying its best to figure out what it means to be human. Kathy Sutton is a sweet woman who has fallen in love with John Smith, even knowing that he is not human showing that she has a big heart, and I hope by the end of this mini series she finds happiness. Traya is a young girl who was saved by Red Tornado many years back and thinks her friend and savior can do no wrong nor even lose a battle.  She really does care about her friend and never questions why she has to sit in a orphanage and Red Tornado never has adopted her. The Construct is one mean machine as it has made its life mission to destroy mankind, defeat and out smart the JLA and ruin a normal life for Red Tornado by making him feel that every thing he loves has turned on him! I can’t wait to see how its plan plays out and how Red Tornado will defeat him! Another great aspect of this comic is the fact that it has cameos from Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and many more making it truly feel like a mainstream DC Comic series. The cover is fantastic and eye catching as it shows Superman talking harshly to Red Tornado making the reader want to open the book and find out why. The interior art is done by Carmine Infantino and is solid and great work and has that 80’s DC charm. Over all I really enjoyed this first issue as I liked the atmosphere of a rain soaked big city under the gloom of some unknown power.  I like the cameos and most importantly I really dig the book’s title hero as he is pretty interesting and has layers to his odd personality. So let’s see what issue two has in store for us and if this mini series keeps up the good art and writing that this issue has set up for the whole run.

Red Tornado # 2  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 2 of 4

Red Tornado stays out in the rain all night wondering what he did wrong and why he has been booted from the JLA as his girlfriend Kathy Sutton has worried about him all night! The Construct is happy thus far as his plan to mentally break his android nemesis is going perfectly, and his next movie is to mind control Superman once more to set up a meeting with Red Tornado who thinks they are allowing him back into the JLA but soon finds himself ripped into pieces and thrown over the Brooklyn Bridge into the cold water below by Superman, his one time friend! Red Tornado brings himself back together and is now filled with anger as he does not understand why he has been targeted and snubbed by his friends  As our hero is deep in thought, The Construct starts his plan on taking over machines all over the world. All the scientists and labs are coming up with no answers to why the machines are acting up, and it’s only Thomas Oscar Morrow who figures out that The Construct is the world’s attacker but he doesn’t know what to do as he is a criminal and also the creator of Red Tornado! While walking in the park as John Smith, a call goes out about a massive fire where helicopter pilots and kids are in danger and once while saving them all from a terrible death, the crowd turns on him calling him a monster and evil machine.  He leaves and goes to the orphanage and is told by Traya that she no longer wants him around and that he is a soulless machine! And just as Kathy Sutton find him, Red Tornado snaps and turns on all the humans and tells them he no longer will be their hero as they have done nothing but demonized him and he leaves them all behind swearing never to help and see them again. Kathy Sutton is heart broken as she watches her boyfriend fly away, and as this happens The Construct has taken over all the world’s machines and is now in charge of the world!

This second issue follows Red Tornado as he is attacked by Superman and told never to help mankind again, only to go against orders and save some kids from a fire to have the crowd as well attack him.  His breaking point comes when his own friend Traya turns on him and tells him to get lost! This enrages the android who turns his back on trying to be human and leaves the world open for the attack by The Construct! Red Tornado just can’t get a break in this issue as everyone he tries to help or call a friend turns on him with Kathy Sutton being the only one who is not affected by The Construct’s mind control but it’s even to late for her to try and stop his rage of being blamed and spit on by mankind. You have to feel for Red Tornado as he really does wants to feel like a real man and only wants to help and can’t see that the world around him is going mad! Poor Kathy Sutton is worried to death about her man but seems helpless in reaching him before rages takes over and his feeling turn as cold as steel, and his friends Traya and Superman are used like puppets to drive him cold. The Construct’s plan is perfect as he clearly got under the skin of his only nemesis that can fight off his mind control and by doing so drives him away and opens up his path for world domination. This issue also makes me wonder how Thomas Oscar Morrow, the only scientist to figure out what’s going on will get help as he is not liked nor trusted by those who could help! This second issue does a great job of piling on bad events for Red Tornado to drive him off and does so that I as a reader was getting mad at characters and their behaviors! Now that’s a good sign of a solid writer in Kurt Busiek, who penned this story. The cover once more is very eye catching and has Red Tornado in pieces with the interior art once more being done by the talented Carmine Infantino who captures the mood so well of 80’s DC. Over all, this is a very solid second issue that brings the story closer to the final battle and showcases how cool Red Tornado is and how evil The Construct is! Lets see what issue # three has in store for us, shall we?

Red Tornado # 3  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 3 of 4

The Red Tornado is away enjoying just being an android and not having any connection to humans, while around the world citizens and superheroes alike are fighting the machines being controlled by The Construct that are ready to take over the world, and to make things worse, the evil machine is now also controlling the minds of humans! Kathy Sutton is not infected yet and goes to a trip to find Thomas Oscar Morrow as she thinks he can help track down Red Tornado who can stop this madness.  As Morrow tells her the location and shows her his force matrix field to hold The Construct, his mind is taken over and now Kathy is alone on her quest to save the world. Kathy travels to the mountains of Colorado and finds Red Tornado who is so disconnected from mankind that he is watching as two campers face death from a fire that surrounds them.  Kathy explains that the world did not turn on him, that The Construct mind controlled people and he is still cold.  She explains that she never turned on him and loves him and still nothing.  But when she points out that he does have a soul and that’s why he questions his own being, it snaps him out of his robotic mood and he saves the campers, shows his love for Kathy and swears to destroy The Construct and save the world!

The Construct has made the world a terrible place to live as he has brainwashed many humans and is using robots to do so and attack those who stand up to his rule! Our only hope is Red Tornado but he has turned his back on mankind as he feels they have done to him and it takes one woman to put her safety on the line and get the world’s only savior back on track! This is the cool plot of this issue that follows Kathy Sutton as she has to dodge and listen to the evil taunts of The Construct who mocks her at every turn! What works the best for this issue is that Kathy is not just a throw away girlfriend character but takes the lead and becomes the key to help save the world! Poor Thomas Oscar Morrow tried to be the world’s hero, but his brain is zapped and he becomes a mindless zombie before he can do so.  But I am sure his new invention will come into play to bring down The Construct. Red Tornado is so cold for most of this issue and think about just how cold blooded it is that he was just watching people about to be burnt to death, but once he realizes that he in fact does have a soul and is more human than he ever thought, his cold fish manner disappears and back is the hero that was a member of the Justice League. The Construct is cocky and almost enjoys messing with humans that he finds weak or no threat to his goal of world domination.  It will be great to see him taken down a peg or five. Another cool aspect of this issue is that once more it has cameos from other DC heroes who are fighting robots like Superman, The Creeper, Batman and even Green Arrow. The cover is eye catching and has Red Tornado standing around the piled up bodies of brain washed humans as Kathy begs him for help and he just is not having it! The inside art is once more great and done by Carmine Infantino who really is bringing Red Tornado alive on the newsprint pages. Over all this is another great issue that is building us up for the final showdown that is coming up next issue!

Red Tornado # 4  ***
Released in 1985      Cover Price .75      DC Comics      # 4 of 4

Red Tornado heads toward the hideout of Thomas Oscar Morrow to find out if his machine is still intact, only to find that The Construct is waiting for him and has built himself a massive robot body and is ready to fight it out to the death with the world’s only hope. The fight is powerful as each robotic fighter tries to take down the other but finally The Construct overcomes Red Tornado and brings his broken body to the matrix field that was built to bring him down. The Construct then finds Kathy Sutton and takes over her mind as now everyone in the world is under his control when even Red Tornado allows him to enter his in order to get free of the matrix field. But as The Construct enters Red Tornado’s mind, he soon finds out it was a trap and our hero takes down The Construct on his own home turf of the electronic dimension by making him question if he is just a machine or something more! Once he beats The Construct, he traps him in the matrix field and even is able to break his bond with Thomas Oscar Morrow, freeing himself from everything that has tied him down. The world is saved and Red Tornado as John Smith decides that he fully wants to live life and along with Kathy and Traya he plans to try and partake in all the cool things our world has to offer.

This final issue in the series plot is: Red Tornado knows that he is a living being with feelings goes head to head with the worlds conquer The Construct who is out smarted when he must face the facts that maybe he is more than just a machine! This is a fitting way to end this series as Red Tornado finds the peace he is looking for and truly looks inside himself to see that he is a living thing complete with a soul, and he has wasted so much time trying to be what he thought a human should act like. The Red Tornado shows that he can have multiple moods in this series from super smart over thinking superhero, to hurt feelings when he feels he is being unfairly judged and even cold as a dead fish when he decided being human was not worth the time to please mankind. He also uses his tornado powers as well as his smarts to win this major fight throughout to not only defeat his enemies but also save lives. As John Smith he also grows from being a boring homebody and becomes a fun loving let’s go out and discover boyfriend. Thomas Oscar Morrow who is a bad guy seems like over this mini series as well is trying to change from being a villain to a hero and wants so much to have the respect of his creation the Red Tornado that he soon finds he must earn and not command. Kathy Sutton sticks by her man and is the only reason Red Tornado found his inner soul and decided to save the world, so the whole world owes her a thanks! Traya is your typical kid sidekick character who is around to idolize their hero friend and be used as a pawn when things hit the fan.  With that said, she is an okay character who filled her role well. The Construct was a great bad guy who for the most part seemed unbeatable until he is tricked to over think his own existence that leaves him open for defeat.  I mean think about it, he controlled the mind of Superman that shows you how powerful he was! Speaking of Superman, it was cool to see him in a cameo role for many of this series issues and it was great to see him act like a jerk to not only Red Tornado but also a young teenager who just wanted to thank him for help after the massive storm. While many might not like the way the final fight ends with Red Tornado using his smarts to defeat The Construct I found it very cleverly done and helped add a layer to this character and storyline. The cover for this issue is cool and while not as eye catching still holds a classic DC look mixed with TRON for me. The interior art is once more done by Carmine Infantino and is fantastic and really makes me want to see what other comics he did for DC. I must also praise the inker Frank McLaughlin and colorist Tom Ziuko of whom both really made this comic pop and come alive. Over all this was a great read and I would have loved this comic as a kid as it had robots fighting as well as showed Red Tornado doing what he does best and that’s be a hero the world needs. If you like 80’s DC or even have a little bit of interest in Red Tornado, I would suggest checking out this mini series as it’s a great read and well worth your time. Below is some artwork for this series and showcases the characters, you will encounter in this series.

While Red Tornado is by all accounts considered a B-Hero and not one of DC’s mainstream like Batman, Superman and Green Lantern, for me he has always been a great superhero who has always captured by attention and imagination. But while this update has us walking away from Red Tornado, for our next update we will however stay in the DC Universe as we will be taking a look at a classic public domain character they tried to bring back to the reading masses called Fighting American that was co-created by Jack Kirby.  This will be just in time for July 4th our nation’s Independence Day! So until next time, read a comic or three, buy a classic action figure or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for fireworks and a classic comic hero, see you then readers and friends.