Bangkok Dangerous – Review (Film)

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 Nicolas Cage stars as Joe, a friendless hitman who is beginning to consider a life outside of assassinations.

Following a strict set of rules Joe has become one of the best and most respected assassins in the business.

Deciding to follow Rule 4, “Know when it’s time to get out,” Joe decides this will be his last job – the final big pay off, 4 kills in Bangkok.

The only problem being that once he gets there he breaks some of the other rules that have served him well over the years.

Will his new found social interactions cost him? Is he losing his edge? These issues are touched upon in amongst the unmigated carnage Joe brings down on his victims.

Nic Cage does a great job as Joe and Shahkrit Yamnarm as his ‘sidekick’ Kong was really impressive. On the whole I thought the film was well cast and the characterisation was well handled.

I really enjoyed Bangkok Dangerous – it occasionally went a little over the top in the sentimentality and teacher/student stakes but not in a way that detracted from the story itself.

I am partial to a hitman film anyway so I guess I was predisposed to like this – one thing I would’ve liked to have seen would have been a few more different ways of killing people. Maybe in a flashback of older victims or something.

I suppose I’ve been spoilt by the Hitman game series where there are all manner of insane, and yet totally genius, ways of taking down a target.

Bangkok Dangerous is a US remake of a Thai film, with the same title, from 1999. In the original the hitman is deaf and mute, which certainly sounds interesting. They have clearly switched things around for the US version and I’d like to see the original before commenting on whether that’s a good or bad thing.

Having watched this on DVD I was also privvy to both endings and I’m still undecided as to which one was best – the gritty one or the Hollywood one.

A film like this can’t really be called a buddy movie but it certainly has some of that charm, which I think is why I can’t make my mind up over the ending. Almost everytime I prefer the more realistic or darker ending but I guess every now and then it’s nice to see a cheesy ending. One thing I would say though is that even with the cheesy ending they reigned it in a bit and didn’t go the whole hog.

This is a film that won’t be to everybody’s taste – hence the lukewarm critics ratings despite going to No.1 at the US box office – but if you like your films stylish and violent then I’d say give Bangkok Dangerous a try, you might just like it.

Rating: 7/10

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GregHorrorShow Playlist – April 2009

Well I thought it was about time I put togther some sort of playlist for you guys.

In the end I decided the best way to approach it, rather than a ‘hot new bands’ type of thing would be to put togther the stuff I’ve been listening to the last few weeks and see what you think. 😎

So this includes old and new tracks, songs you’ve probably heard and some you may not have.

I put them into one long mix to try and escape the spectre of piracy – obviously the tracks in here are for you to check out, if you like them get the album off iTunes or get yourself down to a gig.

One last thing to note is I am showcasing great music (in my opinion) in this playlist I cannot ‘mix’ and I’m not a DJ. I’ve just segued the tracks to stop people ripping them off. 😀

Enjoy!

GregHorrorShow April 09 Playlist:

1.  In For The Kill (Skream’s Let Get Ravey Mix) – LA ROUX
2.  You’ve Got The Love – FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE
3.  Sentimental Heart – SHE & HIM
4.  They Say – SCARS ON BROADWAY
5.  Dull Life – YEAH YEAH YEAHS
6.  You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me – DUSTY SPRINGFIELD
7.  Tiger Moutain Peasant Song – FLEET FOXES
8.  One Day Like This – ELBOW
9.  Gasoline – THE AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT
10. No Pause – GIRL TALK
11. Paris Is Burning – LADYHAWKE
12. That’s The Reason – THE RAKES
13. My Turn – HOOBASTANK
14. Revival – SOULSAVERS

Here is the link to download, the mix is under 55mb and clocks in around 48 minutes:

GREGHORRORSHOW PLAYLIST – APRIL 2009

N..B. You may discover this page long after the link has expired, if you still want a copy of the mix drop me an e-mail at: greg_horror_show@yahoo.co.uk  and I’ll see if I can send it over.

The Ghost by Robert Harris – Review (Book)

I was intrigued by the cover to this book when I picked it up in the book shop. I read the first page (I don’t read the blurb on the back anymore – anyone else notice it often gives away plot points that don’t occur until halfway through the book :angry: ) and liked the writing style so got a copy.

Being honest I was expecting a Lee Child-esque, possibly military style story. However what I got was a well crafted and unexpected tale of a ghost-writer who is hired to write the former PM’s memoirs following on from the death of the original ghost-writer.

Adam Lang, based on former Prime Minister Tony Blair, is a charming, powerful man. After leaving government he is still moving in political circles and preparing to release his memoirs.

The main narrator, whose name we never learn, is just settling in to making a start on re-drafting the memoirs and interviewing Lang when a bombshell drops: Adam Lang is to be investigated by The ICC (International Criminal Court) after a leaked memorandum reveals that he secretly approved the transfer of UK citizens to Guantanamo Bay to face interrogation and possible torture.

As the story progresses the narrator begins to realise there is more to set up of the former PM’s team than meets the eye and whilst researching for the memoirs comes across evidence of events so unbelievably huge he struggles with what to do with the information.

The Ghost was a really good political thriller and as someone who has little or no interest in politics I can safely say a lack of political knowledge will not hinder your enjoyment.

The ending was brilliant in my opinion as I didn’t see it coming and I would recommend anyone who fancies something a bit different to give this a try.

Rating: 7/10

Crunch Time

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Well it’s getting to crunch time in the football calendar where seasons can be made or broken – Easter weekend.

We have a double-header away to Yeovil (17th) on Saturday and then at home to Peterborough (2nd) on the Monday evening.

I suppose being 5 points behind Peterborough we need to get a win against them but with Leicester (who looked like taking the title for most of the season) having a stuttering run of late it’s given us Millwall fans hope that we still have a shot at a place in the top two.

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Up in the Premiership and it’s certainly Man Utd‘s title to lose now, especially with a game in hand on Liverpool. I thought Aston Villa were unlucky to lose but that is the mark of champions.

man-u-goal

Not sure where Liverpool go from here if they don’t get the title? I think this was their best chance of the title for years and I wonder if they’ll be able to compete as closely again next season?

At the bottom there are a whole host of teams down there.

Will Shearer save Newcastle?

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Stranger things have happened but he’ll need to sharpen up his defence – they conceded two very sloppy goals to Chelsea at the weekend. I’m hoping Middlesbrough can get themselves out of trouble as the lad I share an office with is a fan of theirs.

Back to League One and I think we really need to pull off some big wins to get automatic promotion – starting with a victory at home to Peterborough… lose that and I suspect it’ll be the playoffs for us. 😦

We haven’t won a playoff match in our history so it doesn’t bode well if we end up in the lottery that is the playoffs.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that 🙂

TOP 10 SINGLE PLAYER PS3 GAMES

There are a great deal of amazing online games you can play with your mates *coughs* Killzone 2 *coughs* 😆 on your PS3.

While these are often really rewarding experiences it’s true that sometimes you just fancy going solo, staying ‘signed out’ and hitting some single-player action. Or you haven’t got the internet (Andrew (@shandation) I’m looking at you).

So for those of you looking for something a bit more story based that you can enjoy on your own here is my list of the top 10 best single player games:

10) MIRROR’S EDGE

Mirror’s Edge wowed everyone with its crisp, clean graphics and it’s unique first person perspective.

Obviously a lot of games have a first person viewpoint but most of these are ‘shooters’ whereas Mirror’s Edge is more of a parkour style run and jump adventure.

The game takes place in a slightly futuristic setting, in a city that is totally controlled by the government. They keep tabs on the general population by using surveillance cameras and tracking all forms of electronic communication.

You take on the role on Faith, a “Runner”, who uses rooftops and other means to help deliver physical messages between revolutionary groups within the city. Following on from a set of dramatic events Faith finds herself being hunted by the authorities and has to try to stop the government silencing her.

The perspective takes a while to get used to and it had a few really annoying parts where it was difficult to time jumps etc because of the view but Mirror’s Edge is certainly worth playing through as it offers a style of gameplay that is totally unique in the current games market.

9) RAINBOW SIX VEGAS

If you like your first person shooters with a bit of brain behind the brawn then Rainbow Six Vegas may be the game for you.

You play as Logan Keller a member of the elite Rainbow Six team. Initially sent into a small Mexican border town to flush out a terrorist ringleader. Soon after your escapades south of the border you’re deployed to Las Vegas where a new terrorist threat is imminent.

This game is a lot more tactical than your average fps, for the majority of the game you’ll have two AI teammates with you who you can order to move into position and even get them to ‘stack up’ (ie get ready to enter) at unopened doors.

And you’ll need all the help you can get. This isn’t an easy game and Ubisoft have gone for a more realistic tone. You’re probably looking at two shots before death and it’s possible for enemies to catch you with a headshot and kill you with one bullet.

Luckily your team mates are pretty intelligent and commanding them isn’t a problem.

With a good old fashioned SAS vs Terrorists style plot and lots of fun set pieces Rainbow Six Vegas is definitely worth a shot.

8 ) KANE AND LYNCH

The first of two, in my opinion, vastly underrated PS3 games that make this list.

While not setting the world on fire and suffering from some control/camera issues Kane and Lynch was a brilliant gaming experience.

You take control of Adam ‘Kane’ Marcus, a criminal on his way to death row for crimes committed in Venezuela. Kane is busted out of his prison van by a mysterious group called The7 who he worked with previously. They think Kane stole the money from their last job and stashed it somewhere.

If he doesn’t get them the money back in three weeks his wife and daughter will be killed. Kane claims he doesn’t know where it is but he does know who took the cash and will hunt them down. And so begins a thoroughly enjoyable ride into the desperate life of Kane…

My full review is available here: https://greghorrorshow.wordpress.com/2009/01/26/lynch-do-this-lynch-do-that-lynch-stop-murdering-the-hostages/

While this game is fairly linear some of the set pieces are really impressive, the bank job and the jailbreak spring to mind immediately as stand out levels.

You can pick this up for as little as £14.99 pre-owned and it’s certainly worth a play through.

7) HEAVENLY SWORD

Another game that didn’t garner the respect it deserves, primarily because it didn’t live up to the pre-release hype.

I played this a while after it came out and wasn’t really effected by the previous hype so I really enjoyed it.

If you like God Of War you will like this game as it’s similar in style but it looks gorgeous in HD and I believe did a few bits (combos/blocking etc) better than the first two God Of War games.

Heavenly Sword tells the story of Nariko, a brutal female warrior whose clan protects the “Heavenly Sword”, a sword from the god’s that actually drains the life from whoever uses it. King Bohan, ruler of the land, wants to get the sword and use it for his own means.

The battles are frantic, often with hundreds of soldiers onscreen at once and the cut scenes have some of the best production values I’ve ever seen.

Heavenly Sword has a great story but is fairly short by game standards – you’re probably looking at around 5-6 hours to finish it however they will be a fun filled few hours!

6) ASSASSIN’S CREED

Assassin’s Creed is the story of bartender Desmond Miles who is kidnapped by a nameless company and awakens to find himself strapped into a machine (The Animus) that unlocks deeply buried memories from Desmond’s ancestors that are intertwined within Desmond’s DNA.

The memory they are interested in is of a man called Altair, an assassin around the year 1191 in the Holy Land.

Effectively you play through Desmond’s memories as Altair (with brief interludes as Desmond struggling to find out what is going on in the present day). You will need to research targets and carry out assassinations using a variety of options – sword, hidden blade, knife etc.

The only problem I had with this game was the initial scouting – you cannot progress into certain areas (your memory is blocked 😮 ) until you have scaled a huge building and surveyed the surrounding area. I found this a bit boring and repetitive however you must stick with the game past this part to get the best of it.

This game is great fun and I’m looking forward to the sequel which is on it’s way.

5) KILLZONE 2

Don’t need to say much about this game really, my review can be found here: https://greghorrorshow.wordpress.com/2009/02/16/killzone-2-review-ps3/

The multi-player is what everyone has concentrated on and rightly so, however the solo mode is definitely worth playing.

The cinematics are brilliant and some of the set pieces really do feel like you’re there.

While it might not have the best storyline ever written if you have a PS3, whether you plan on getting online or not, this is an essential purchase.

4) GTA IV

One the biggest selling games of this generation GTA IV features the fortunes (and lack thereof) of Niko Bellic – an immigrant arriving in the US at Liberty City to find empty promises and broken dreams from his cousin Roman.

As you work your way up the criminal ladder you’ll encounter all sort of dodgy characters and befriend even more.

The amount of things you can do in GTA IV is mind boggling but never feels overwhelming.

Once you get the hang of the aim and cover systems you will be blasting your way round the city in no time.

This is one of those games you really have to play to believe. The way the world carries on around you, the overheard conversations of other pedestrians, the fact you could play this game for hours experiencing new things without even touching the missions.

Liberty City is a wonderful, if run down, place and Niko Bellic’s story is one you will enjoy playing through so make sure you pick this game up as soon as possible.

3) METAL GEAR SOLID 4

Well, well, well. If it isn’t the Magnum Opus of the PS3.

Hideo Kojima’s tale of Solid Snake’s final mission is a brilliant showcase of the Playstation 3’s power.

Metal Gear Solid 4 is set seven years after the events of the 2nd game (Metal Gear Solid 3 having been a prequel) and sees Snake back in action – but this time as an old man. Because of his accelerated aging process (play the other three games to find out why 😀 ) we find ourselves playing as a hero who is, I suspect, about 60.

Obviously this doesn’t really hamper him too much apart from the odd moan about his back giving him jip 😆 and where the previous games featured mainly stealth, Metal Gear 4 allows you to be a bit more gung ho.

This is a game that often gives you three or four different ways of approaching things – whether you realise it or not.

One thing about the story is that the cut scenes can be long – and I mean long. Some of them clocked in well over half an hour and obviously that’s a fair while to just sit watching.

But this is one game that rewards those patient enough to stick with it by giving them a great gaming experience, with some memorable boss battles, that they won’t forget.

2) DEAD SPACE

Coming on somewhere between Event Horizon and Aliens, Dead Space is a third person survival horror game.

You take on the role of Isaac Clarke, a ship engineer who finds himself trapped onboard a stricken spaceship infested with an alien outbreak which is threatening to take over the ship.

Full review of the game here: https://greghorrorshow.wordpress.com/2009/02/10/dead-space-review/

Needless to say this was one of the best games I played last year and it deserves to be above both GTA IV and Metal Gear 4 for its storytelling and atmospheric setting.

The use of sound is immense and the fear of the unexpected they create is awesome. I am not a big fan of horror movies or being made to jump all the time but Dead Space kept on the right side of all that by being unpredictable enough to be enjoyable as a ‘horror’ experience.

1) UNCHARTED: DRAKE’S FORTUNE

Nathan Drake, the character you control, is an explorer and treasure hunter.

Uncharted maps his journey as he tries to find the lost treasure of El Dorado encountering, among other things, rival treasure hunters and mercenaries.

Initial impressions article here: https://greghorrorshow.wordpress.com/2009/01/26/uncharted-drakes-fortune-quality/

I still maintain this is possibly the best PS3 game I have played as an overall experience.

The graphics are unbelievable and the gameplay is well paced and well thought out. The characters and story and really well conceived and Nolan North, who voices Drake, is absolutely spot on with his irreverent humour and wisecracks.

At its heart Uncharted is an action adventure game much in the vein of Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider but, and I say this as a fan of both of these, it is better than either of them.

There is no reason for anyone not to buy this as it’s now in the platinum range (£19.99) and can actually be bought online for as little as £14.99. Get it.. now!

So there you have it.

This list is obviously based on stuff I have played and enjoyed so there are bound to be a few great games missing (Bioshock, which I must get at some stage, Call Of Duty (although again I’ve heard that is stronger in multi-player?) and Resi Evil 5 but I’ve only played a couple of levels of that so far).

I have to give an honourable mention as well to Fallout 3 – I am nowhere near finishing this as the game is absolutely huge with tons to do and lots of different ways for your character to affect the story. If you’re looking for a game to get lost in for ages, as opposed to the usual 8-12 hours, I would give this a thumbs up.

The list above was formed with shorter bursts of gaming in mind and with a view to gamers who’d rather finish a few 10 hour games than start four or five 30+ hour games and never get to the end of them!

Feel free to add any games you’ve enjoyed in the comments that might have been left off the list.