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Dead On Arrival

By Matt Kamen     October 03, 2006


THE SIMPSONS Complete Eighth Season
© Fox
Expo Explores

The organisers of the London Expo have announced plans to expand beyond the borders of our shining capital and venture forth into the wilds of the Midlands. The first Midlands MCM Expo will be held on February 24th 2007 in Telford, at the Telford international Centre. While not as centrally located as the Memorabilia fairs their usual haunt of the National Exhibition Centre connects them directly to Birmingham International Airport and train station Telford is still well served by public transport and motorways. Thinking competitively, the presence of a new collector's fair in the Midlands could potentially see Memorabilia drop their steep entry prices in an effort to keep people coming through their doors as well. With this new event and the continuing London Expo held twice yearly, 2007 should prove a successful year for the Expo.

Up, down, left, right, A, B, Stop

Super Mario Bros. Street Fighter. Double Dragon. Tekken. Alone in the Dark. House of the Dead. Bloodrayne. What do these all have in common?

That's right, they're all spectacularly terrible video game to movie conversions. Over the last two decades or so, we've had to suffer some truly execrable pieces of celluloid tarnishing the popular landscape. Now, their ranks are joined by the soft core porn known as DOA: Dead or Alive.

The games themselves are enjoyable enough beat-'em-ups pretty to look at, easy to use controls and nicely paced. There has never been any denying that Tecmo's main franchise has been firmly aimed at the adolescent male audience and the Xtreme Beach Volleyball spin-offs only served to reaffirm that intention. Unfortunately, the movie which seems to be trying to be a kind of lesser man's 'Charlie's Angels' and failing spectacularly at even that fails to maintain even the pretence of seriousness the games had.

The contrived plot sees the various characters summoned to an island for a fighting tournament organised by the obviously evil and staggeringly hammy Donovan. Cue a series of fights, bra-tossing and even a volleyball game (gotta get the cross promotional publicity machine working, kids!) and the end result is 90 minutes of attempted titillation that even a hormonal 14 year old boy would find difficult to get excited about.

What's humorous though is how quickly it's been released and subsequently all but vanished from UK cinemas in less than two weeks. It's almost like it's ashamed to show its face in public. The movie's near-universal panning in other territories seems to have influenced the distributor to delay the release of the movie in the US until December 8 2006, so it won't be competing against the likes of Saw III. So by the time you Americans get this movie, consider that we'll have had to suffer it for nearly three months and take the advice of the rest of the world for once avoid!

New DVD Picks for 02/10/06

Simpsons Season 8

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when the Simpsons jumped the shark but it's clear it's no longer the show it used to be. However, this is definitely one of the 'pre-jump' seasons, containing some fantastic episodes such as "Bart After Dark", James Bond villain parody "You Only Move Twice", "The Springfield Files" (guest starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in-character as Mulder and Scully) and the always entertaining "Treehouse of Horror" episode for the year. As is the standard for the season sets, there is a plethora of extras ranging from commentary tracks for every episode, deleted scenes, easter eggs and more.

Tetsujin 28 The Movie

Or, as you're more likely to know it, Gigantor. The 2005 live action remake of the iconic 60s show is remarkably faithful to Mitsuteru Yokoyama's original work, with slight overshadows of modern day paranoia thrown in on the side. A terrorist organisation unleashes the giant robot Black Ox on an unsuspecting Tokyo, leaving a young boy to combat it with his father's experimental robot, Tetsujin 28. The effects are a touch ropey at times but in line with the recent Godzilla outings. Fans of the giant robot/monster genre will enjoy this the most and it's appetizing brain candy for anyone else.

Panda Z Volume 1

I have to admit a growing appreciation for Beez's anime releases in the UK. Operating as a wholly separate entity to its US or Japanese cousins, many Beez shows have seen an improvement over the US DVDs when released in Europe. This week's release of Panda Z continues that tradition. The show is a parody of classic 1970s mecha anime Mazinger Z, pitting Pan Taron and his giant robot panda against the invading forces of the Warunimal Empire. The US release of the series was spread over a space and money consuming six DVDs, which seems fairly standard until you realise the show runs for thirty episodes, each only five-minute long. The UK release will be spread across a mere two DVDs and volume one even comes with a free figure of the eponymous robot.

That's it for this week. Thoughts? Comments? Hatemail? Contact me at mattkamen@gmail.com

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