Monday, September 10, 2007

Stranglehold is okay and Turistas was better than it deserved to be.

Finally got sometime off to do chores and putter around the kitchen and watch some movies and get some gaming done. Down to brass tacks:

Stranglehold is pretty disappointing. It looks good, plays pretty well, has good music, etc, etc the game is just...boring. There's nothing wrong with the game but there's nothing outstanding either. The story is your run of the mill HK mumbo jumbo recycled double cross blah blah blah Russian mob, yadda yadda yadda, we've seen it before. The levels are well designed and fun to play - a.k.a. blast to pieces - and tearing through waves of hired goons is fun too for a little while. One of the problems is the levels are actually too short - by the time a level starts to get good it's over. Several times I said, "Oh, wait, what? That's the end of the level? Huh, guess I'll play the next one then. Is the dinosaur museum level next?"

Stranglehold is a perfect example of a game that does not remotely compare to its $60 price tag. I was even disappointed by spending $10 on a rental. I played for a couple of hours last night inbetween chores and making dinner and have the feeling that I've completed most of the game. I don't particularly feel like finishing it and will probably wait to polish of when I have nothing else to do.

On the other hand Turistas (2006) was a lot better than it had any right to be. I didn't enjoy Saw or Hostel or any of their sequels or knock-offs or straight-to-video clunkers that end up on the wall of a Blockbuster and I just lumped in Turistas with those junkers. We rented it because summer is horror time for us. For me summer and horror just go together but I don't want to see the bad stuff - i.e. the stuff Fangoria raves about. It's tough being a horror fan with a sense of taste. Sometimes though I just want to sit slack jawed and see attractive people get chopped into little pieces by some kind of baddie. So we rented Turistas with a sigh and a "Fuck it, how bad can it be?"

It's really more of a thriller than a horror movie and not graphically gruesome - okay there's some gory stuff but no close-ups of ragged stumps or blow torched eyes or severe decapitations. Oddly enough director John Stockwell of Into the Blue fame manages to take a cast of unknowns and slightly familiar faces like Desmond Askew and makes them generally likeable and smarter than your average horror victim. The whole production is solid - acting, effects, story, bad guys, cinematography, chicks in bikinis, etc, etc. . The only reason that I can come up with for this movie being as good as it is - well Turistas wasn't a Lions' Gate movie. If I see this at the supermarket for under $10 I'll be picking it up.

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