Review: Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow is what happens when Elysium and Starship Troopers meet Groundhog Day. Featuring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, I was happily surprised to rediscover this gem of a sci-fi adventure that I would argue is close enough to Cyberpunk to warrant a review, although I’ll admit it doesn’t fit the CP moniker too snugly.

What’s it about?

Edge of Tomorrow is a 2014 science fiction action flick from Doug Liman (Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) that is based on the Japanese light novel called All You Need Is Kill from Hiroshi Sakurazaka. It is set in a future where most of Europe has been invaded by an alien race, and major William Cage (Cruise) becomes an unwilling soldier stuck in a time loop reliving the same day’s battle every day, resetting only whenever he dies. Despite a more modest performance in the US, it performed well internationally, which is shame because this is actually a really good movie.

Other than excellent performances from both Cruise and Blunt (I really liked the fact that Blunt is depicted from the very beginning as a complete badass nicknamed the “Angel of Verdun”) the fast pacing and tight direction from Doug Liman make this film a heart-stopping delight to watch, and even despite seeing repeat scenes as a natural part of the time-loop premise, it somehow doesn’t get old.

If you’re a Matrix fan like I am, then you’ll find some similarities in scenes that I haven’t seen in any other movies that get the fast-paced and gritty-world textures just right. The Mimics, one of the aliens, feels very similar to the sentinels in the Matrix.

Image result for edge of tomorrow mimic gif Image result for the matrix sentinels gif

The giant guns, gun turrets on airborne vehicles and mech-suits also feel right at home. The score for this film was also very good, it added to the tension nicely. The special effects were also excellent, and there is a real tension in the air that the enemy is nigh-impossible to kill, along with a fear for the characters being ripped to shreds (again, not unlike the matrix). That is, death is practically guaranteed against this enemy unless if you get to try again. And again. And again.

I wasn’t the only one to really enjoy this movie. Click above to see 5 reasons why you should see Edge of Tomorrow, which is now available to stream on Netflix.

If you like this movie, I’m happy to report that a sequel is currently in the works according to Vanity Fair. I can’t wait to see the dynamic duo of Blunt and Cruise return, and where they decide to take this story in the next installment.

Rating

I would give this film a 9/10 due to excellent acting, special effects, music, direction, and plot. The only reason why I have to take off a point is because this film doesn’t leave you walking away with any deep insights or seeing the world in a different way. It takes you away from the real world for a couple hours, but it doesn’t stick with you like some other films might.

 

 

Blood Machines: Upcoming Short Film from Synthwave legend Carpenter Brut

Blood Machines Carpenter Brut

Carpenter Brut is a Cyberpunk classic Synthwave act consisting of Franck Hueso. A French artist hailing from Poitiers, he’s created such Cyberpunk classics as Anarchy Road, Paradise Warfare, and of course the iconic Turbokiller. Carpenter Brut partnered with the visual team Seth Ickerman to create a stunning music video for Turbokiller, which has been the inspiration for Carpenter Brut to continue along the audiovisual route by beginning a short film project entitled “Blood Machines.”

Blood Machines is a short film inspired by the 80’s films and music, and while written and directed by Seth Ickerman, Carpenter Brut is providing the soundtrack. Production for the film actually began in 2017, and is currently in post-production.

While searching for funding and only having a teaser trailer of late, their official trailer for the short film was just released last week, and oh man does it look good. I’ll let you take a look below.

A Sequel to their music video Turbokiller, Blood Machines follows the tale of two space hunters who are tracking down a machine that is trying to free itself. After taking it down, they witness a chilling mystical phenomenon: the ghost of a young woman pulls herself out of the machine, as if the spaceship itself had a soul. Thus, in order to understand what they had just witnessed, the team begin chasing the woman through space.

There’s still no official release date yet, but it should be releasing soon. For more information about the characters in the short film, you can check out their website here.

Considering that I’m a huge fan of Carpenter Brut and listen to them whenever I get the chance, I’m super excited about this space opera project. I was really impressed by the work Seth Ickerman did for Turbokiller, and I instantly recognize Carpenter Brut’s music any time I hear it in a trailer or a video game. It seems like they are taking the time to do this right and I’m sure it’s going to be an amazing short film.

 

Top 5 Upcoming Cyberpunk Media

If you’re like me, you can’t get enough of Cyberpunk movies, TV shows, and video games. I also greatly enjoy Cyberpunk literary works but I admit I devour them at a decidedly less voracious pace than those with audiovisual mediums.

So to keep track of everything that’s coming out in the near future, here’s five things to look forward to that are headed your way in the next two years:

terminator dark fate

1.  Terminator: Dark Fate: October 23rd (Europe), November 1st (USA) 2019

Technically the 6th Terminator film in the franchise, this film is a soft reboot to the series, taking off after T2 finished. Tim Miller (Deadpool) is directing, After Terminators one and two, which were both directed by James Cameron, Cameron left to work on other projects, leaving the Terminator saga in the hands of other directors. While T3 had mixed reviews, T4 and T5 had mostly negative reviews. This time, however, James Cameron was directly involved with the production of Dark Fate, which will hopefully bring the franchise back to its roots. Another nice touch is that in addition to Schwarzenegger returning as a T-800, Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong are returning as well as Sarah and John Connor respectively. If things go well, this movie may result in the beginning of a new trilogy.

Altered Carbon Season 2

2.  Altered Carbon Season 2: February 2020

The second season from Laeta Kalogridis is set to drop on Netflix’s streaming platform. Details are relatively sparse, but we do know that Takeshi Kovacs is coming back but played by Marvel’s Falcon Anthony Mackie. AI construct Poe (Chris Conner) is also set to return, along with Quellcrist Falconer (Renee Elise Goldsberry). It will be interesting to see how they write Poe back into the second season. For more details, check out my more in-depth analysis of what we might see in season 2 here.

cyberpunk 2077 keanu

3. Cyberpunk 2077: April 2020

This entry needs no introduction, as most cyberpunk fans and even the general public are ecstatic about this coming out next year. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say it’s quite possibly the most highly-anticipated video game release in years. Not only does the name Cyberpunk appear in its title (and has since warped all google searches for the word) but also Keanu Reeves helped fan the hype flames when it was announced he would be lending both his voice and his likeness to Johnny Silverhand, a character in the video game. Check out the latest about the game here.

Akira Live action

4.  Akira (live action): 2021?

As one of the quintessential cyberpunk animes, and a source of inspiration for many CP pieces that came after, Akira is said to be finally made into a live action film, coming to us from none other than Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok). Originally slated for a May 2021 release, sources from Variety and Hollywood Reporter announced in July of this year that Waititi will be directing Thor 4 instead for now, putting Akira on the backburner and also taking Akira’s May 2021 release date. It is unclear when Waititi will be returning to helm this iconic fim, but sources say he had already started meeting with potential Japanese actors to find the right cast.

Keanu and Carrie Anne

5. Matrix 4: Production beginning February 2020, release date sometime in 2021

There are very few details about Matrix 4 so far, but I will be sharing as much as I can as soon as I can. For all the latest news so far, check out what we do know and which Concept Directors are returningas well as a run-down on where we left off in the Matrix trilogy and what I’m expecting and hoping for with Matrix 4.

Alright, those are the big five films/series I’m looking forward to! Do you know of any others? And are you excited about these releases as well? Let me know in the comments below.

Review: Psycho-Pass

I’ve seen on many blogs online that Psycho-Pass is high up on the list of must-watch cyberpunk pieces, along with Ghost in the Shell in terms of quality. So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with Psycho-pass.

What is Psycho-Pass?

Psycho-Pass is a Japanese cyberpunk anime television series from 2012 about a dystopian future society where omnipresent public sensors constantly scan the mental states of citizens in order to determine their threat to society, which determines not only what freedoms they have but also what careers are best suited for them.

psychopass2

The story follows Akane Tsunemori (right) in her first assignment with the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation. The series is set in futuristic Japan where a powerful network of psychometrix scanners, called the Sibyl System, actively measure the minds and mentalities of the city’s population using a “cymatic scan” in order to give them their Psycho-Pass. If the coefficient is higher than an acceptable threshold, the individual is pursued, apprehended, and killed if necessary. One of the tools of the PSB’s Criminal Investigation Unit is something called the “Enforcers”, humans (such as Shinya Kogami, left) with higher-than-acceptable crime coefficients who are used as hunting dogs basically to find latent criminals. Both the Enforcers and the Detectives use large handguns called “Dominators” that change their lethality based on the crime coefficients of the targets they are aimed upon, in real time.

dominator

A second season was released in October 2014, with an animated film released in January 2015 and a third season is set to come out in October 2019.

Inspiration

A lot of the inspiration for Psycho-Pass came from various Western films, in particular L.A. Confidential but also from Blade Runner, Minority report, and Gattaca, with the director wanting to explore psychological themes in society’s youth using its dystopian storylines. This is clear as there are a LOT of monologues and long discussions between characters in the anime, which I suppose is pretty common among most animes anyways.

Review:

I liked Psycho-Pass enough to watch it to the end, but I felt it wasn’t as good as other animes I’ve watched like Ghost in the Shell. I liked that its story was more connected than other animes like Cowboy Bebop, and it had a good amount of Cyberpunk visuals. It had some interesting concepts that it explored, such as ethics and morals of delegating who decides whether a criminal is dangerous, and whether that is just. By using a crime-coefficient to judge a person before he or she commits a crime, it definitely felt reminiscent to Minority Report, but streamlined as that judgement is made in the gun itself. I also liked how the series tackles the question of how people would respond to violent crimes if they are not used to the idea of someone being able to do so in a supposedly utopian future where crime doesn’t really exist. But it doesn’t have that “cool” factor of the streets and high-tech of Ghost in the Shell, or of the devil-may-care attitude that Cowboy Bebop had either.

I felt sometimes that the anime could have used more action. It has a high level of detective work and it also has a healthy amount of time invested into developing the relationship between detectives and enforcers, somewhat mirroring different levels of society today. However, the use of the dominators, and the twists and turns the story took the viewer, was very entertaining. Also, the dialogues between characters on the nature of society were worthwhile and interesting as well.

My favorite random scene

There’s one particular scene that I would love to share with you that jumped out of nowhere on me during a not particularly important interaction between the villain, Makishima, and one of his partners. You can watch it here.

makishima physical books

Explained all patronizingly while enjoying some madelines with tea. How sophisticated.

The scene randomly references many different influential works of cyberpunk  (which ones? You’ll have to watch it to find out), and the villain’s love for paper books over datapad e-books because of the feel of turning the pages and the smell of the binding. This inconsequential discussion is one of many different philosophical talks that are sprinkled throughout the season.

So if you like philosophical discussions, you’ll like this series.

Overall, I would give this series 8/10. Its discussions, animation quality, detective work and world building were interesting enough, but its lack of action and sometimes slow pacing bogs it down a little. I also would have liked a little more tech-focused cyberpunk visuals, such as bionic implants or other advanced technologies past simply the dominator gun.

What did you think of the series? Did you like Psycho-Pass? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Cyberpunk 2077 is back with a new gameplay trailer

And it has shed a lot of new light on what we can expect from the titular game April 2020, specifically, playstyle.

Some things we have learned:

Pacifica District

pacifica cyberpunk 2077

We got our first look at the Pacifica district, a failed tourist destination where funding was pulled and the migrant workforce fend for themselves. Motorcycle, armored car. Sections of the city unlock as you explore. Night markets rampant in Pacifica. There’s also Imperial Mall, an abandoned mall that houses the juiced up gang called the Animals. Their rivals, the Voodoo Boys, need your help. The Voodoo Boys are the most skilled Netrunners in the district. You get to choose whether to help the Voodoo boys or not. Another cool thing we can see is that subtitles are translated in real time when people speak another language.

Character creation: Choose your backstory from one of three character stories:

cyberpunk 2077 backstory

  1. Nomad (Roaming badlands, grew up in Nomad clan. Honesty, integrity, a love of freedom.)
  2. Street Kid (gangs, fixers, small time pushers, dolls, you were raised by them all. The weak serve the strong.)
  3. Corporate (Bent the rules, exploited secrets, weaponized information. There are only winners and losers.)

Character creator: Define basic physical attributes of your avatar, but also surface wiring.

There will also be an extensive skill tree, allowing for hybrid and specialized builds. There were two different types shown in an example: A powerful solo (guns and melee) and a netrunner (technology who hacks battlefield).

  • The powerful solo build can use enhanced strength to rip off guns from turrets or pry open doors. You can also use enemies as meat shields. Players can also choose no-kill playthroughs
  • Netrunners use subterfuge and sabotage, striking from the shadows. You use your cyberdeck to hack access points with a mini-game. In a world where everything is connected, anything can be hacked (to kill or distract) with varying levels of creativity and amusement (see the video). Nanowire can also hack at a distance.

Cyberspace is a place you can visit by jacking in.

cyberpunk 2077 cyberspace

The space used to be lawless and vast, but after an attack, Blackwall was created. The virtual wall cordons off most of the net, and the Voodoo boys want to break through it. Netwatch is the government organization that wants to stop them. You can choose which side you decide to be on.

The gameplay footage ends with the digital ghost of Johnny Silverhand, the revolutionary turned musician who somehow lives inside your head and is your companion through the game. However, even he could become your enemy, depending on your choices. Keanu Reeves/John Wick/Neo is definitely NOT someone I would want to have as my enemy. Although I literally laughed out loud when Silverhand spoke his line at the end of the gameplay trailer. It’s a sign of good things to come.

Personally, I could not be more excited for this game to come out. I’ve learned the hard way through playing Deus Ex and Dishonored that I much prefer tactical shooting to stealth action, so I will be going with Powerful Solo on my first playthrough and then Netrunner on my second once I know Night City better. I also really like the description of a Nomad, it’s someone who’s from everywhere and nowhere and works with what is given him but keeps his integrity intact. Playing as a corporate might be fun on the second playthrough, though.

So which backstory will you decide on? Which type of build would you prefer, a powerful solo or a netrunner? Let me know in the comments below!