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At The Movies: PSP Video Feature Volume 3

Predator

The Movie:

Americans are used to hunting and killing things and generally being the biggest bully on the block. We take comfort in the fact that we have more weapons than anyone else in the world and that we have leaders crazy enough to unleash them on anyone that messes with us. It just makes us feel better. But what would happen if we weren’t the biggest threat to humanity? What would happen if an invisible creature from another planet decided to come to earth on a jungle safari to track and kill human beings? This is the question that Predator poses and the result is worth watching for.

It’s rare for a future political candidate to be in any movie, let alone two, but Predator stars both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jessie Ventura (both went on to be governors of California and Minnesota, respectively). Fortunately, both of them keep their crazy political viewpoints out of this movie and instead focus on intense, gripping action. Throughout the entire film there’s an undeniable amount of tension that really keeps you interested.

Early on, we see a scene where Arnold and his team destroying a military installation held by some rebels in the area. Arnold’s team lays waste to these rebels with little struggle, which is perhaps symbolic to the power that he and his men are soon about to face at the hands of the predator. What makes this all entertaining is the acting, which is surprising considering this is a 1980’s action movie. Each man genuinely seems disturbed by the events which is a really nice touch. Of course, the big huge explosions help keep you entertained as well, but even without them the movie would still be fun and enjoyable.

The Presentation and The Extras:

Predator was made in 1987, so the movie doesn’t look nearly as good as some of the more modern movies that we’ve seen released to the PSP. Then again, the DVD doesn’t look much better than the UMD version, so I’m willing to forgive some of the graininess this release suffers. As expected, this is a movie that you want some headphones for if you’re going to be listening to it in anywhere but the most silent rooms. A few trailers are tagged onto the UMD (for the upcoming releases of Alien (awesome) and Alien vs. Predator (also awesome)) but that’s about it for special features. Considering that there’s a two-disc DVD of this movie with loads of extras, the omission of features is upsetting.

The Final Verdict:

Predator is a very entertaining movie that’s certain to keep you watching, but its UMD release is anything but special. Here you’ll find a pretty barebones release with little done to entice people who’ve already purchased the DVD to pick up this edition. If you haven’t seen Predator before or don’t already own it, this release is a decent choice, but don’t pick it up unless you have most of the other action movies on the PSP.

Score: 6/10

Super Troopers

The Movie:

Super Troopers is quite easily one of the funniest movies to come out in the last decade. I seriously have not seen a movie that’s made me laugh so many times, even after I’ve watched it dozens and dozens of times. While other movies will make you laugh over and over, once you’ve watched through it a coupe of times, it loses some of its magic. Super Troopers doesn’t appear to have this problem, not yet anyway, and I’ve easily watched it more than ten times. Now, having it on my PSP will make watching the movie even easier.

If you’ve never seen Super Troopers, it’s all about a bunch of Vermont Highway Patrolmen that are about to lose their jobs because of budget cuts. The local police will soon be taking over their patrols unless they can prove that they’re an important part in the safety of Vermont. Sadly for these Highway Patrolmen, they’re too focused on having fun and making jokes to care enough to save their asses. Watching their self-destruction at their own hands is part of the fun of this movie.

One of the reasons why this movie works so well is because no one cast member outshines any other. There are no “big-name” comedians here but all of the actors work together incredibly well in this film. They portray such genuine relationships throughout the entire movie that you feel like you’re watching bloopers from a show like “Cops” instead of a fictional movie about the plight of some state troopers.

The Presentation and The Extras:

Super Troopers looks really good on the PSP. There isn’t a whole lot of big action in the movie (as far as I can remember this was pretty low-budget). As for the sound in the film, this is another one you’ll want a set of headphones for if you plan on traveling with it, but if you’re by yourself or with some friends you shouldn’t have too hard of a time hearing all the jokes. As far as special features go, there are a few trailers and both French and English audio tracks. I would have liked to have seen some bloopers or outtakes but sadly none were included.

The Final Verdict:

Super Troopers is the perfect movie for your summer PSP travels. It’s lighthearted and easy to watch from almost any point in the film. Of course, this is an R-Rated film so it’s not one you want to have out around kids, but it’s a very entertaining film that you should own if you don’t already. It’s disappointing that more special features weren’t included, but the conversion to the PSP is pretty good and the movie is good enough to stand on its own even if there aren’t any special features.

Score: 7/10

Dodgeball

The Movie:

Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn) is just a business man trying to make a buck and maybe some friends. Well, mostly friends. He really isn’t concerned with making a buck. But he does own a business called Average Joe’s Gym, a workout center where people of all walks of life can come in and exercise, even if they’re dorks or pirates.

White Goodman (Ben Stiller) is a business man trying to make a buck and maybe some friends too. Well, mostly a buck. He’s really concerned with profits and the bottom-line and if he hurts someone’s feelings in order to make another quarter, well, that’s okay. He also owns a gym called Globo Gym. His gym costs high fees that only pretty people can afford.

Of course, White Goodman is making a profit and staying in business and Peter La Fleur is about to lose his gym because he doesn’t have any money. Unfortunately, that’s the way of the world sometimes. After brainstorming with his best cliental, they come up with the great idea of playing Dodgeball in a national tournament so they can pay of the mortgage and keep Average Joe’s open (and also out of the hands of White Goodman, who plans to level the gym to make it a parking lot).

And of course, all of this comes together to make a really funny movie. Vince Vaughn is a riot in the movie. He has such a great satirical wit that comes to him so naturally that it doesn’t even look like he’s trying to make us laugh, which makes us laugh already. It helps that he’s supported by a strong supporting cast and a bizarre character portrayed very well by Ben Stiller.

The Presentation and The Extras:

Hey guess what? Another PSP movie that looks crisp and clean on the PSP’s screen. In the audio department, the movie sounds pretty good but you’ll want some headphones if you’re going anywhere with it. Like Super Troopers, you can watch the movie in French but this release also includes Spanish. I wouldn’t have minded though if they had dropped the other languages and included some real extras on the film though, because outside of a few trailers (Napoleon Dynamite and Super Troopers), there’s nothing else.

The Final Verdict:

There are a few better choices on the PSP in terms of comedies, but if you pick up Dodgeball, you won’t be disappointed. The movie has its fair share of laughs and the performances by all of the actors are worth watching the film for, it’s just too bad that Fox didn’t attach any extras onto the release.

Score: 6/10

Napoleon Dynamite

The Movie:

Go out and buy Napoleon Dynamite. Trust me, just do it. Now that you have it, sit down and watch it. Begin laughing. Repeat if desired.

Yeah, Napoleon Dynamite is a funny movie. But it’s not funny in the traditional sense of the word. There aren’t many jokes and there are fewer punch-lines. Napoleon Dynamite is funny because it’s just so stupid. The movie stars Napoleon Dynamite (played by the now type-cast Jon Heder), as an awkward and geeky high school student. He doesn’t have many friends, except for his even stranger brother, but soon he meets two new ones who make a huge impact on his life.

The movie succeeds because it keeps on being stupid. It’s practically indescribable. Later on in the film it even manages to relay a positive message about rooting for the good guys and cheering for the underdog and even through your laughter you’ll be able to appreciate it. All in all, this is just good, clean humor that anyone can appreciate as long as they don’t over think it.

The Presentation and The Extras:

Surprise! Napoleon Dynamite looks wonderful on the PSP. The conversion to the PSP went wonderfully. It even sounds great, but again, keep some headphones around if you plan on going into a busy area with this film. Once again, this is another Fox release with very few special features except for some trailers and multiple-language soundtracks.

The Final Verdict:

Napoleon Dynamite is the type of movie that’s going to make you laugh without you knowing why. You’re not laughing at hilarious jokes or anything, you’re just laughing at stupid, stupid stuff. And that’s why it’s great. There’s no other movie that I’ve watched that’s made me laugh from the line “but my lips hurt real bad!” This is a special movie and the UMD release is worth owning even if it is devoid of any special features.

Score: 7/10

I, Robot

The Movie:

Alright, let’s get this out of the way: this movie has very, very little, if anything, to do with Isaac Asimov’s work. It incorporates a few of his ideas about the future and robots, but for the most part this is Will Smith’s future, not his. Sorry to disappoint you there. But even without true Asimov influence this movie is more than capable of presenting a serious look at a future much different from today.

Smith stars as Del Spooner, a cop in the great city of Chicago in 2035. In 30 years, the future is much different. Robots are everywhere, doing everyday people things like walking dogs and collecting garbage. Nearly every household has a personal assistant robot to help them with their day to day tasks. Every household except that of Del Spooner of course. Spooner is not a fan of robots and goes to great lengths to insult them at every turn. The robots cannot commit a single violation against a human being as part of their coding, but Spooner doesn’t trust them. He even tries to arrest a robot that he thought was stealing and becomes the laughing stock of his department. But when a doctor is mysteriously killed and the only suspect is a robot, Spooner is the only one who can save the day.

I liked I, Robot because you never know who you can trust. You wonder about the motives of Spooner throughout the movie and why he hates robots. You wonder about the programming of Sunny, the robot suspected of murder who seems more like a human being than a machine. You wonder about the integrity of the owner of USR, the company that manufactures the various models of robots that comb all corner of the globe and you even wonder about the good doctor who’s been found dead.

As expected, there’s tons of futuristic technology on display in the movie including several cool cars that reminded me a lot of the cool vehicles in Minority Report. For some reason there’s also a lot of modern technology on display courtesy of gratuitous product placement that’s found throughout the beginning part of the movie. Thankfully, most of the product placement is found only in the beginning at less-than-crucial moments so it’s not too bad, but it’s so blatantly obvious that it stood out enough for me to dedicate a whole paragraph to it.

Really, that’s largely the main blunder of this film. The acting is pretty serious and done right and the action is filmed very vibrantly. There’s a lot of CG in this movie and even that is done modestly to produce realistic looking structures and robots that never look too over-the-top or unbelievable.

The Presentation and The Extras:

I, Robot looks great on the PSP, but you already knew that because Fox did a great job converting the films onto the UMD. Since it is a Fox release though, it’s devoid of almost any features, certainly any special ones. Sure, you’ve got your trailers and your foreign soundtracks, but that’s about it. In the audio area, I had to fiddle around quite a bit with the sound in some areas of this movie because of the explosions and whatnot, but you should be able to hear it without headphones in a normal environment.

The Final Verdict:

I, Robot is an interesting action film that will actually make you think which is a refreshing change of pace considering some of the action films that have been thrown upon us. It won’t win many awards, but it’s a fun film that keeps you guessing right up to the end (really, it does). It’s just too bad that once again Fox failed to produce any extras or bonuses for owning this one.

Score: 7/10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

Gentle persuasion

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