Warning: there are minor spoilers ahead for Birth of the Dragon.
Birth of the Dragon is not the Bruce Lee biopic you’ve been waiting for, as strong performances and martial arts action by Philip Ng and Xia Yu are wasted on a movie that had too little faith in the real story.
In 1965, martial arts icons Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man had a private match away from the public that became legendary, even though neither man agreed upon the outcome. Director George Nolfi’s Birth of the Dragon is very loosely inspired by that chapter of their history. But the movie itself is being marketed in a way that misrepresents the finished film. If we were to judge by the posters of Philip Ng as Lee, it would be easy to believe that this is a Bruce Lee biopic. That’s not what this is, and the movie treats Lee as if he is only the third most important character in his own story.
Warning: The following review has full spoilers for the episode.
This week’s episode of Boruto brings us the long-awaited reunion of Sarada and Sasuke, though it doesn’t go quite as swimmingly as she had hoped. Their father-daughter story continues to move at a satisfying pace, featuring some superb characterization in the opening minutes. Pair that with a compelling ending battle, and Sasuke and Sarada quickly cements itself as one of Boruto’s best episodes.
Following a quick recap, the episode picks back up with Sasuke threatening the frightened Sarada. Upon realizing his mistake Sasuke’s demeanor doesn’t change, and instead he coldly rebuffs her questions. She angrily storms off, and before Sasuke can attempt to make things right, they are confronted by the mysterious Shin Uchiha. Keeping up with last week’s pace, this episode moves briskly between these key scenes with almost no downtime. The opening scene between Sasuke and Sarada is without a doubt one of the series best so far. The painful subject matter, Sasuke’s indifference, and Sarada’s tearful outburst feels more realistic than anything Boruto or even Sumire’s stories could muster.
Kaspersky offers a few different solutions for security depending on your needs (like all the other firms), and I tested its Anti-Virus suite to see how it compares to the competition. As its name implies it’s a full package of anti-virus that covers files, email, “web” and even IM. The basic package covers three PCs for one year for $49.99, and there’s a 30-day trial (See it at Kaspersky.com).
Even with its procedural maps, XCOM 2’s missions started feeling a little stale after a hundred hours or so. Enter War of The Chosen, a large-scale expansion which grafts on more than enough new variables to give that creeping sense of predictability a brutal beatdown.
Variety is War of the Chosen’s biggest strength, and its long list of changes was very successful at making me rethink my established tactics. There are several new mission types, including clever new spins on Alien Supply Raids and Retaliations (the latter finallyincludes armed resistance soldiers who help you fight off the attackers a little too effectively sometimes), extracting captured XCOM soldiers, assassinating Advent generals who’ll flee to extraction points when you break concealment, evading ambushes, saving VIPs from zombie hordes, and more. Few of them rely on do-or-die turn-timers, which was a good call on Firaxis’ part. I don’t mind the occasional timed mission, but we have enough of those already.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers presents a much more difficult challenge than your average licensed comic. It can be a real juggling act to capture that sense of childlike wonder that came with watching the original TV series back in the ’90s while also crafting a more complex and narrative-driven comic. It’s no longer enough to simply pit the Rangers against one Rita Repulsa-spawned monster after another and call it a day. Fortunately, writer Kyle Higgins and artist Hendry Prasetya have been up to the challenge, and that hasn’t changed as they move deeper into their next major conflict.
This new storyline is developing into a surprisingly dark affair, both in terms of tone and literally in terms of lighting. This issue drags the Rangers into a new mission in a remote village in Eastern Europe, one that holds a few fantastical secrets. The result is a nicely action-oriented counterpoint to issue #17, and one that gives pretty much every Ranger a brief moment or two to shine during the course of battle. You have to appreciate Zach’s sense of humor, even if none of his teammates do.
Marvel’s Edge of Venomverse miniseries wraps with what is easily its most marketable mashup of Venom symbiote and popular hero – Venompool. Having Orc Stain artist James Stokoe on board doesn’t hurt. This issue looks great, but the lack of anything resembling a compelling storyline might still make it a tough sell for many readers.
One problem this issue faces is that we’ve already seen a Deadpool/Venom mash-up thanks to 2015’s Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars and its follow-up, Deadpool: Back in Black. Those two books had a lot of fun with the premise and actually found depth in the pairing, suggesting that Deadpool is responsible for driving the symbiote mad in the first place. This Venompool characters is comparatively straightforward. He’s Deadpool with some added super-powers. This isn’t the first Edge of Venomverse comic where the lead character barely changes at all after bonding with the symbiote, but that lack of storytelling ambition never ceases to frustrate.
Ask Tom Brady and Matt Ryan what they think about halftime adjustments. Those adjustments, major or minor, are the key to winning any football game the types of championship-caliber adjustments we hoped for from Madden’s move to the Frostbite Engine in Madden NFL 18. The engine has enhanced the graphics dramatically and added an immense amount of detail to the absolutely wonderful Longshot story mode, but EA Sports misses the opportunity to really make its mark by refreshing the gameplay in meaningful ways.
While playing a rematch of last season’s Patriots vs. Falcons Super Bowl, it was easy to get distracted by the lighting effects and the improved body types, which, to my eye, have both taken the largest leap of any of Madden 18’s graphical upgrades. While watching a replay I noticed details like how the glimmer of the sun flickered off of a receiver’s helmet, and even while referees are announcing penalties you can see that the glare in their faces is real.
Kieron Gillen has built up quite an impressive cast of new Star Wars creations over the past three years. This standalone issue allows Gillen and guest artists Marc Laming and Will Sliney to explore the murky past of Aphra’s oversized enforcer, Black Krrsantan. The result isn’t an essential addition to the ongoing series, but a fun romp all the same.
Thankfully, Gillen doesn’t make the mistake of trying too hard to humanize Krrsantan. There’s no tragic tale of a kindly Wookiee family man losing his wife and children or any of that. Instead, the theme of this issue revolves more around how that bloodlust has lurked within Krrsantan from the beginning, even before he became a cybernetically enhanced bounty hunter. Gillen certainly provides valuable insight into what motivates Krrsantan and his peculiar sense of Wookiee morality. But never does this issue try to suggest Krrsantan is anything other than a criminal and a killer. Some characters don’t need to be more complicated than that.
It’s easy to draw comparisons between Nightwing: The New Order and Marvel’s Secret Empire. Both mini-series deal with a beloved hero turning against their allies and helping to usher in a new world order. But this series is less concerned with the hows and whys of Nightwing’s fall from grace than it is in simply telling a dark, character-driven story that wouldn’t be possible in the regular DCU. As such, it’s well worth a read for fans of all things Dick Grayson.
Essentially an Elseworlds tale, The New Order unfolds in a futuristic DCU where a middle-aged Dick Grayson is responsible for eliminating the vast majority of the world’s superhuman population. As Dick sees it, he’s making the world a safer place for the ordinary, human residents of the DCU. But there’s a thin line between security and fascism, and Dick increasingly finds himself on the wrong side of that line as this issue unfolds. As much as this series also brings to mind the world of Injustice: Gods Among Us, Dick makes for a more conflicted and relatable protagonist than that version of Superman ever could be.
Warning: The following review contains spoilers for the episode.
Universe 10 is gone, but the Tournament of Power must continue; this week we get to see Hit and Goku work together to take on the powerhouse that is Universe 11. Things start off rather slow, with long scenes and little dialogue. All that turns around in the second half of the episode as the action ramps up and Hit shows off why he’s one of the best warriors in Universe 6.
Unfortunately this episode begins rather slow. There are long pauses, slow transitions and a general lack of action on screen. It’s clear that the team behind Super was trying to build tension, but took things a bit too far. If these poorly paced moments had only happened once or twice, the issue wouldn’t have been so pronounced but over the course of several minutes it continued to happen. It started to feel as if they were just padding the episode. Setting the mood of a fight is important, but taking several minutes to do so and in a manner that’s wholly uninteresting is not an enjoyable way to go about it.