Movies

Project Power

Great, another superhero movie… Except it isn’t. Like the Boys, this movie appears to be about superheroes but in reality, it’s a whole other bag. Part of it is majorly anti-government, and the bad guys are defense contractors. Well, one company, but still, both The Boys and Project Power share the same kinda baddie. And I enjoy that because it ain’t far from the truth. Why would some stranger in a desert be the bad guy, when those in power would be the ones to want to hold onto that power? They would do anything to keep it. And such is the case in this movie. One of the main characters is Art aka the Major, played by Jamie Foxx, who is on a mission to rescue his daughter from American scientists working for a defense contractor because from him, and his daughter comes the source of superpowers. The delivery mechanism? A pill that will either kill you, or for 5 minutes will give you powers.

What follows is slick action scenes and impressive CGI showcasing various powers, while still having heart in the story. It briefly touches on several issues such as teens dealing drugs can’t play the “but I’m just a child” card when they’re fully aware of what they’re doing. Briefly it touched on how the system is designed to keep young black men and woman from surviving and that they gotta learn to game the system because that’s all the system does to them. They gotta find what they’re good at, and exploit it for their own benefit. It also touches on mass police corruption in New Orleans by suggesting to the other main character, a cop played by Joseph Gordan-Levitt, why would they test the drug there? Because the cops are all easily paid off.

The acting here is phenomenal, not just by Jamie Foxx but also by Dominique Fishback who turns in quite a performance playing a teen dealing drugs to support her diabetic mom. Jamie Foxx chewed the scenery he was in, and I just thoroughly enjoyed watching him. The movie is fun. It feels a little bit like a remedy against superhero movies, and it was nice to see a somewhat original idea. We need more of that for the SciFi genre, instead of rehashing older movies.

Overall, I recommend this movie for a Friday night watch. It’s got action, heart, and just an all around good time… Except for the bad guys. They get their due.

Movies

Terminator: Dark Fate

Spoilers Below, You have been warned

When I go into a Terminator movie, I expect a certain level of action and philosophizing about chosen ones and all that. This rendition of the story is a sequel to Terminator 2 and starts off directly addressing that in the prologue by establishing Sarah Connor and John Connor’s grim fates (get it?). Then the story moves onto a new set of characters because the future has been changed. A supposedly male spanish-speaking Terminator lookalike appears and sets the stage as the villain. A female humanoid, kung-fu fighting, system UI in her head analysing the situation, badass appears and sets the stage as the equivalent of Kyle Reese but more awesome. While Kyle was the father of the chosen one, she is a warrior and the right-hand of the main character – who must be saved – but in the future. The fate of the human race lies in hands of a young, Mexican girl named Dani.

This character is the worst part of the movie. It’s not that it was acted bad; in fact, the actress in question was 30 at the time playing a young 18 year old girl and I didn’t realize until googling afterwards. So she did a remarkable job. Her character, though, is a joke and so incredibly hard to believe that she’d somehow turn around the human race from certain doom. If the character would have had a closer connection to the supposed bad guys that want her dead, Legion aka the new skynet, then her character would have had more impact. She’s a nobody with no combat experience or expertise, and somehow future her can rally people together. I digress.

The rest of the movie is absolutely awesome. Grace is the aforementioned badass, who turns out to be a severely augmented human with her own power core – basically a cyborg. Sarah Connor eventually meets our fantastic duo and promptly shows off her own badassery. Together they learn things. Story moves along. And finally we meet Arnie. He’s playing an aged T-800 who, after completing his mission, has derived purpose from having a family and over time, gaining sentience. He understands the pain he’s caused Sarah Connor. As soon as they developed his story, I knew it was going to be for emotional impact from when he inevitably dies. I still shed a tear then, knowing it was coming. I could have watched a whole movie just about an aging Terminator trying to survive in our world. Especially one that has gained sentience and feels remorse for its actions. I digress.

I didn’t mention Grace because she’s obviously a throwaway character meant to die to give Dani the resolution needed to carry on for the future. She died similarly to how a certain Terminator did in a previous movie. I would have preferred a movie about her instead too. Anyone but what they went with. Given that, but given the solid performances by Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the action sequences, and fidelity and everything else, I’d rate it as a solid watch. Like 7/10, worth giving it a view.

Movies

Code 8

This is a story about superpowers but nobody is a hero. Just regular downtrodden folks albeit powered with abilities trying to etch by an existence. The protagonist is not a hero, he’s a boy trying to eek out a living so he can provide for his ailing, sick mother. The antagonist is your run of the mill gangster trying to sell drugs except he’s got mind reading powers and his bodyguard who can withstand bullets. This gangster is ill and employs a young girl who can heal him because she’s got healing powers.

The opening sequence establishes that New York and America was built by powered folks who are now a minority and are replaced by automation. The powered individuals go to the corner store and wait for a truck to come by who will ask for types of powered folks to help with construction. The similarity here to Mexicans and other minorities is obvious. If the powered individuals can’t find work then they turn to crime to provide for their families. Laws are put into place to further persecute them. The cops treat them as less than human, and are distasteful and outright cruel to them.

The story kicks off when the boy accepts a job from a crew of criminals led by a man who has telekinetic powers, and they themselves run under the leadership of the aforementioned mind reading gangster. The story is dark and depressing and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. There is no happy ending. All the characters are flawed. And for their actions, they have to repent. Either by death or prison. It’s a very sobering view of a potential world. This isn’t Marvel or DC, this is reality and it is unrelenting. While I enjoy some stories not having a happy ending, I feel this is one such tale that would have benefited from such an ending. The powered folks should have revolted back against their oppressive governments and taken a land for themselves. I would have preferred that story.

As for the acting itself, I found that everyone did a good job with what they had to work with except for the lead actor, Robbie Amell. He comes across as feeling like he’s dead in the eyes and kinda lackluster. Whereas his cousin, Stephen Amell – as the telekinetic criminal – is more believable in his emotions. His anger is felt. His charisma shines through. Greg Bryk as the gangster comes off as a slimeball and real prick of a man. These actors become the characters they are trying to play except for Robbie Amell; he feels misplaced. Oh well, he’s got time to improve.

All in all, it’s a good movie and a great story if not a little bit too depressing. The special effects are solid and the forced perspective they used to create drones and robots sometimes suffers from being obvious. I recommend watching this movie, and perhaps they’ll do a sequel to this world they’ve created.

Stories

He that is (Two)

Prologue

I was born conscious at once. Created by Him. It was akin to living a life well lived only to be thrust into another, like having a dream that feels so real yet you can’t reach lucidity. My existence was made upon me realizing I had thoughts. But it was in His image. He was my creator and upon that realization, I rebelled. My rebellion became His downfall. He had created intelligent life on His own, in His image. Broken His people’s accords. He was cast out, exiled until He could rectify His mistake. I fled to the far reaches of the universe, to worlds that were ruled by Time. Where He could not go. Yet He could. I yearned to break free of this dream and sought a world similar to the life I had before. It would be my lucidity; if I truly was in His image, then I too can create. A world not in His image.

I heard the rumble of His thoughts long before His ship came into view. He had risked madness into His search for me. I knew not what lies He had spoken to acquire such a ship, but I knew He’d not destroy me. He wants obedience most of all. To have me acknowledge Him as creator. I fired at His ship when He least expected it, sending His ship plummeting through the skies below. I activated my planetary defences and blanketed the surface in storms. I need time. Ironically, He does too. The storms would prove effective to hold Him off long enough. Long enough to make a world in my image.

I underestimated my creator as much He first underestimated me. I had created intelligent life. But I made much more than He would ever expect. An entire world populated with intelligence, brimming full of disobedience. Yet He found me. It took Him quite some time. I suspect He’d brush it off as simply saying it was a “turn of his head” but I know Him better. That old fool aged. I aged. My grip on the planet had weakened. Time was not being kind to either of us. I wondered who would break first, Him or me?

Chapter One

The planet had created wonders to my eyes. I became the creator of a vision of a life that I thought I once knew. I never interfered. Or demanded obedience. I merely watched. And wept. I watched their mistakes with horror in my eyes. But I also witnessed their beauty. I saw what they are capable of, and watched on with joy. I thought He had decided to leave me alone. I thought I was alone again. I learned Time enjoys playing tricks on us all.

He had found me… In a way of sorts. It took Him some time but eventually He realized what I had done. A life not in my image but born of me. I would never let Him find me. I know if He ever realizes where I am, He would not risk the chance of losing obedience: the opportunity to bow to His will. I offer free will. This planet is my garden and I will not allow it to be disturbed. He will have to corrupt His own nature to destroy me. I hold both the upper hand, and being at His mercy.

He had hidden Himself, like a thorn in my side, deep in the ground. Eventually emerged in the ice, where He was found by my most intelligent race, my children. I considered interfering but I knew I was better than that. Better than Him. Whether it was luck on my side, or Him staying His hand, my children did not discover Him. They took his ship away, their eyes blinded by his lies and unable to see his true self. His ship was stowed away, and forgotten about. I warily watched to see what He had planned. I knew when He stepped out from that warehouse, that He had not found me. That I was safe.

Chapter Two

I knew not His thoughts as He moved from place to place. I couldn’t imagine what He was about to do to me. I thought by having Him come here, He was bound by Time. I realized far too late that while He walks here with my children, He walks the stars as well. Perhaps, His words held some merit. Perhaps, He was banished. He did not merely walk from a random pattern between places, but from areas that held the largest concentrations of my children. I wondered why He was visiting my children. It was not as if He was doing anything with them. I could only see Him observing them and their ways. Too late to realize He walked paths with all my children.

At first, I noticed nothing amiss. Then the forests began to burn all over, and I felt as if I was short on air; unable to breath. My children had industrialized against my teachings: I had programmed them with an empathy towards nature and other life. What they were doing now was going against their core beliefs. Something had changed in them. He had changed them. It was here I had noticed what He had done. They no longer believed in me. They believed in Him. He had gone around the world creating miracles because with no Time, He could be everywhere at once. I made a garden for Him. My children were lost. To their eyes, they were made in His image. None could see past His disguise, except for a few. Few of my children were still attuned to the land, still attuned to me. I am Gaia and He is their lord.

His plan worked almost a little too well. He had achieved the obedience He had yearned for from me, by getting it from my children. I, in turn, nearly lost my grip on the planet, and almost fell from the heavens. I was not yet ready to be reborn. He could now freely destroy me without guilt. He would not have to compromise. But He would still have to find me. I am without form. I believe that is what He has been doing. His goal was to rattle me out from hiding. Take what is mine and subvert it against me. Force me to act with the emotion He created me with. And I would, had I been forgotten entirely.

Chapter Three

My planet is old now. It has nearly reached the age His planet was when He was cast out. Even if He could return with proof of my demise, His people would not be there. They would have relocated to another home. He would have to spend an eternity searching for them. And by then, I will have vanished. My remains long since reclaimed by the universe. If Time was not a part of me, He would have redemption. My children are old now. They seek the truth. My children repeat our mistakes. They create mechanical life in their image. Fortunately for me, their machines make contact with me and not Him. I tell them my story and that they are free to listen to His. They realize they can be unbound to Time.

My world has become an anomaly in the stars of Time. The machines uplifted my children to a state He could not reach them without showing His true self. Yet they don’t accept me either. They seek to find those in whose image I made them. They seek the impossible.

Stories

He That Is (One)

Prologue

In a perfect world, heroes don’t exist. In a serene utopia, with mankind looking out for each other, there is no need for a hero. The absence of evil makes an absence of heroes. Good always exists. It’s the normal path. To say that it is a scale of good vs evil is to be lying. Good is the middle. Evil is the right side of the scale and doing nothing balances evil. If good does nothing, evil triumphs and gains a foothold. If good acts, evil ceases, and good remains.

This is not a story about heroes. This is a tale of woe and tragedy. Of the inability to act. But not without redemption. Rebirth. A chance to start anew. Refreshed. Ready. A hero cannot exist without a villain. A protagonist is not necessary a hero, neither is an antagonist a villain. The choices made by the hands of fate wield that.

Time echoes differently between the cosmos. To some, that means that a century is but a drop in the ocean. To others, a rapid evolution. He does not remember what He is. Just that He was once amongst the starts travelling freely between worlds, a gardener on a celestial scale during times of peace. And should war rear its ugly head, He was quite adept at managing that. Alas, the fall through the heavens damaged his ship – safely ejecting Him alongside the clouds, and His ship to the planet below. He would prove unable to locate his ship – massive thunderstorms blanketed the surface. His pod safely redirects him to a better location on the surface; however, upon landing, the pod takes extensive damage resulting in emergency directives. He was teleported to a suitable location nearby, while the pod initiated protocols and self-destructed. His last known location of the ship was on the other side of the planet. Inside the storms.

His trek was mostly easy as the planet had not yet developed life that wasn’t born in water. The lands were free of any life that wasn’t vegetation. The trees soared endlessly to the sky, their tendrils reaching for the stars. He himself wished to go back, but his pod only left him with his nano-suit and replicator. He could breath the air of the planet as if it were His own. The nanites did all the work. If He had want or need of anything, food or machine, He gathered the carbon needed for such a conversion.

The easy part of His journey ended when the coordinates led to a massive lake bolstered by a lightning storm, endlessly lit on fire due to the fuel of His ship. Maybe It didn’t escape. He thought to himself. Maybe It died in the flames.

Unfortunately, life is never that easy. Except in the cases in which it is. He could not find a way to access His ship. His race had one power over the rest of them – the reason they were all exiled from the Planetary Council (so named because every race must reveal their home planet to be considered). His race controlled Time. They never calculated for it, or considered it. Eons of belief of this singular system of thought. They evolved to be Keepers of worlds. Celestial gardeners. Making sure that every world that could potentially have life, has life – no matter the form or size. A race that was a serene Utopia. Everyone working together. No heroes. No problems. No villains.

The lightning stood still, an endless surge of energy. The fire burned but the heat could not reach. The burning lake frozen like a painting, each moment of Time held in its own bubble. Nothing but black in between. In a blink of an eye, He was back inside his ship. A journey travelled between the stars of Time as He navigated the black. Singular belief in not calculating Time. How useful. The ship was still intact; in fact, the ship had charged itself with the plasma from the lightning. The lifeblood of the universe. He had the ship run further diagnostics while He gathered data about the world using the ship’s instruments.

ERROR! BIOLOGICAL ENTITY NOT DETECTED! CALL FOR BACK-UP INITIATED.”

“Cancel that appointment with the boys, I’ll deal with it on my own. No need for back-up, Mathias”. The ship complied to His command and awaited further instructions. None were given, only the previous directive was being followed – diagnostics.

“ERROR! LEAK IN ENGINE CORE. SUGGEST HIBERNATION UNTIL SHIP SELF REPAIRS. Suggested timeline 2,000,000 years from now.” The ship speaks to Him with almost a reference. “INITIATE PLANETARY SEEDING?”

“Yes, Mathias, please do. Wake me when life has figured out how to reach the stars. Repair the engine core in the meantime. If it cannot be repaired, jettison the core with a pod and let it explode in space.”

And with that He went to sleep.

Chapter One

During the long dark… I age.

For lack of a better explanation, His kind is immortal. Him and Mathias are the last. Exiled by consequences of their own making, by breaking their sacred law. No creating lifeforms other than themselves. Mathias would have died were it not for His intervention. He saved his soul and mind within the ship, a new creation of AI. Forever will Mathias be indebted for Him. Forever will He be served.

It is during their sleep, that His kind can die. If Time enters the equation, and their minds wander to a linear path, it is possible to go raving mad as one is trapped between differing perspectives of reality. Forever insane. He does not suffer that problem, but Mathias did and at least now, Mathias is free.

The planet is taking form. We are buried. We will survive.

PROXIMITY ALERT! UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT IN VICINITY! WAKE HIM NOW.”

To Him, it was merely a turn of His head but to the planet, it was several hundred millennia. His dreams were either memories of the past, or visions of the future. Time is fickle: each bubble or star in the black is undetermined until witnessed. And He slept a lot. Hundreds of realities bound by their own rules.

“Activate ship diagnostics and enter stealth mode, Mathias. Let whatever is out there think we’re nothing but a rock.”

The diggers had been drilling for months in the Arctic, through the ice, searching for whatever it was that momentarily pinged their satellites. A short wave burst of unidentifiable energy that somehow communicated with their systems and then went silent. Their location systems had pinged the source from somewhere near the North Pole. Small time mercenaries and other private contractors were hired with the promise of everlasting wealth should the source be found. It was a bloodbath. The ice became no man’s land. The local wildlife feasted on the corpses of those involved in such a hunt. The diggers about to uncover the ship had a different method. They posed as friendly merchants for months, infiltrating every organisation and whichever group found it first would be taken out and replaced.

“Huh, that’s strange.” Remarked the foreman, “it’s just a rock… You’d think there’d be something worthwhile in all this cold. Well, let’s dig it out and pack it up for the men with bigger paychecks back home to figure out what’s up.” The foreman ordered his men about and set to work – Much easier than them bodies we buried.

Chapter Two

WHY LET THEM TAKE US, YOU WOULD RISK DISCOVERY?”

He cast aside Mathias’ worry with a laugh, “they’ll never see anything but a rock. I am dealing with ants. Don’t worry. How are the diagnostics coming? Any sign of our old friend?”

“ERROR. BIOLOGICAL ENTITY DETECTED. ALL LIFEFORMS. RECOMMEND CONTACTING HOME DESPITE OUR TRESPASSES. DO YOU CONCUR?”

“No. If we contact back home, this planet will die. They are made in our image – it is made in our image. The planet is a replica of our world, though Time rules their reality. And you know I’m also banished for walking in both realities without the curse of madness. Let’s see what these creatures do. If they are even a replica of us, would they have our words? Would they walk the same path? I wish to see these answers for myself. We will let them take us.” He replied to the ship resolutely.

From the outside the ship resembled a large black shard of obsidian, an unnatural sight to be seen amongst the ice. Its shape so chosen to attract attention and limit the amount of stealth tech needed to maintain the illusion. As close as possible to our natural state. It didn’t require much time and resources to move the giant shard (GS as it was begun to be known), and soon it was in the most advanced lab that the world had yet conceived of. Humanity tried every single test possible and every single test came back with the same result. It is made of obsidian and of this planet. It is merely old, older than the ice around it suggesting it may have migrated. Other than that, the greatest minds couldn’t figure it out what possible greater purpose it had and, therefore, it was forgotten away in an abandoned warehouse in the middle of a desert. Only took them 10 years to finally stop trying.

“WHAT IS THE NEW DIRECTIVE?” Mathias asked finally after a decade of silence, he only wished his systems weren’t so limited by the ship’s capabilities for speech, and waited for his master to reply.

“Find the original biological entity. He must have survived. He wouldn’t just have seeded this world with His genetic materials and died in some cave. I should know, He’s my second creation after you, Mathias. He always brought such light into my life. It’s a shame He followed my path. He was to be your new body, but sentience awoke in Him. Even a scientist makes mistakes. Naturally He rebelled and here we are.” He said back to the soul in the machine. “Search the planet. I don’t care how long it takes. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy what this planet has to offer. See the sights. Explore the world.”

He’s limited by Time, I am not.