Skinwalkers (2006)

Director: James Isaac

Writer: James DeMonaco, Todd Harthan, James Roday (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Behr, Elias Koteas, Rhona Mitra, Natassia Malthe, Kim Coates, Sarah Carter, Tom Jackson

 

Plot: A 12 year old boy and his mother become the targets of two warring werewolf packs, each with different intentions and motives.


Tagline – For them to live, we must die.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Werewolf 101

 

Story: Skinwalkers starts as Varek (Behr) leads the hunt for a young boy for his werewolf pack, joined by Sonja (Malthe) he learns the location of Timothy (Knight) which takes him to small town to collect him.

Varek didn’t count on Timothy being under the watch of another prepared werewolf pack led by Jonas (Koteas) and his daughter-in-law Rachel (Mitra) who wasn’t ready to learn the truth that on Tim’s 13th birthday everything changes in the battle.

 

Thoughts on Skinwalkers

 

Characters – Varek is the leader of the werewolf pack that wants Timothy dead to stop the event he will cause, he hunts calmly through the film knowing how to get ahead of his enemies, though he is unaware of his connection to the child. Jonas has been protecting his nephew for years now, knowing what he means to the species, he has built the team his truss around him to make sure he is safe. Rachel is the mother of Timothy, she thinks he is just a normal kid and that she lives in a normal town, he must learn fast how to cope in this world filled with werewolves and protect her son. Sonja is the deadliest fighter on Varek side of the war, she enjoys hurting people and we see her take pleasure in this.

PerformancesJason Behr as the conflicted werewolf is good to watch, he shines on the bad boy side of this story, though when he must show the other side of the emotions we see him struggle at times. Elias Koteas is strong for his role which is one that we often see him in. Rhona Mitra does well in the reluctant heroes being the strong need to learn to battle mother figure in the film. everyone else in the film is fine without needing to be anything special, they fit their roles well to help the story flow.

StoryThe story here follows two warring werewolf packs that know the importance of a child for both their existences, so basically something we have seen before only with a modern style to it. The fact the story does feel like an introduction to a much big world building idea is promising and while it isn’t the film’s fault we didn’t see the next chapter, it does show us how story telling can think ahead of time. If we are being honest this is a by the book storyline, it doesn’t bring us anything new to the werewolf mythology it just tries to keep it in the modern world.

Action/Fantasy/HorrorThe action sequences are mixed bag because we have shoot-out which are routine and lack the peril for certain characters, while the fights show the effects that two werewolves fighting would have on each other. The fantasy world of werewolves living among humans is nicely done, showing two sides to them, though the horror does seem weak because we never feel terrified by what we are seeing.

SettingsThe film uses the settings in a mix of quality and generic, the small town gets the big surprise with everyone being part of the protection, then we hit the road and its nothing we haven’t seen before.

Special EffectsThe effects for the werewolves and wounds look nice, its just most are hidden from the full effect of the shock.


Scene of the Movie –
Town stand off.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There are a few blink and you miss it moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book werewolf film, it has good moments, it has forgettable moments and ends up feeling like the pilot for a television show.

 

Overall: The werewolf genre done safely.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Action – D – DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)

Director: Corey Yuen

Writer: J.F. Lawton, Adam Gross, Seth Gross (Screenplay)

Starring: Jaime Pressly, Devon Aoki, Holly Valance, Sarah Carter, Natassia Malthe, Kane Kosugi, Matthew Marsden

 

Plot: The world’s best fighters are invited to DOA, an invitational martial arts contest. There, four female rival fighters will have to work together to uncover the secret that the organizer of the tournament is trying to hide.


Tagline – You’re Invited.

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Guilty Pleasure

 

Story: DOA: Dead or Alive starts as we meet our three leading ladies, wrestling royalty Tina Armstrong (Pressly) who wants to prove herself in legitimate fighting, Chinese princess Kasumi (Aoki) who leaves her clan to find out what happened to her brother at last year’s tournament and master thief Christie Allen (Valance) who can fight her way out of any corner.

The three get selected to enter this year’s DOA tournament along with 12 other competitors along with daughter of the creature Helena (Carter), they get sent to remote island where the three becomes friends and fight for the prize pool which will see them waiting for their opponents to be selected.

 

Thoughts on DOA: Dead or Alive

 

Characters – Tina Armstrong is an American wrestler, she has been on the top of that world and has always dealt with people questioning her own fighting ability, this tournament will give her a chance to show just how good she is. Kasumi is a princess of a Chinese clan, forbidden to leave the temple or face death, her brother vanished in the last tournament, she will go against tradition and face death in an attempt to uncover the truth about her brother. Christie Allen is a master thief whose latest job attracts the attention of the organisers of the tournament, she along with her partner have other plans while on the island. Helena is the daughter of the creator of the tournament, this is her first year on entry and she wants to do her father proud.

PerformancesThis is a movie which hired actresses that needed to look extra sexy, we can see this from our main four women, each comes from different backgrounds which shows in the performances where they all handle the fighting well, with Jaime Pressley giving us the best performance outside of the fighting.

StoryThe story follows three women bought from different background to enter a fighting tournament on a mysterious island, unlike most fighting tournaments, these can happened whether you get informed about your opponent which does give us different locations for the fights, it also shows us how the honour between these fighters is shown, with none of the fighters being the villainous side of the story. this is a video game turned film, so we know the story isn’t going to need to be the deepest and as long as we see the people fight we will be happy. Things do go over the top in the final act of the story which is fine again, for a video game story it all makes sense. There are clearly holes in the story which comes from where the defeated competitors go after losing and having one extra side story feels like we have slightly too much going on at times.

Action/AdventureThe action is a mix of different fights in different locations with the final fight in the temple being the true highlight on this side of everything. the adventure side of the film takes our characters from around the world ready to compete in the tournament.

SettingsThe film is mostly set on the solo island location, we get the beach, temple and hotel locations shown for the fights.

Special EffectsThe film does have moments of effects which are not as strong as they should be, with explosions and moments in the fights not looking that impressive.


Scene of the Movie –
Christie’s introduction is so ridiculous.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Disappearing characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily become people’s guilty pleasure, it has solid enough action scenes making it an acceptable video adaptation.

 

Overall: Video Game Joy.

Rating