Having quite a busy week personally I didn’t expect to be able to sit down and watch much, if anything on Netflix over the last seven days. I was pleasantly surprised to see the return of an old friend and to discover an old classic added to the service so I wasn’t short of choice this week…
TV – iZombie
Discovering this series on Netflix for the first time was an absolute joy. To be honest, the entire zombie genre had become somewhat stale in recent years with nothing really adding anything new or innovative until this came along. A comic adaptation (although I didn’t know that prior to watching the first season), it follows a medical intern who is bitten and killed in a zombie attack while out at a boat party with friends… only to wake up on a beach the following morning discovering that she now has a taste for flesh…
From hereon iZombie breaks all the rules when it comes to zombie flicks and shows. Apart from a paler complexion and a hunger for brain and a secret that she is struggling to keep from her friends and those close to her, our heroine Liv Moore is now an Assisant Medical Examiner working for the Police and has discovered that she has a rather unusual talent… Every time she eats a brain she takes on the memories and some of the personality traits of her victim. Obviously not wanting to murder anyone, she finds her new job and ideal source of food, her boss a willing helper and her abilities an uncanny asset in solving crimes.
This episode marks the return of the show to Netflix after the Season Two cliffhanger and appeared just days after its US broadcast. It’s taking a more serious tone than the first couple of seasons and there’s now a new major storyline that’s set to develop throughout the series (I won’t say anymore so it won’t spoil anything for those wanting to watch it), but again it adds another new twist to zombie lore that hasn’t really been seen before. Cracking stuff and can’t wait for the next episode.
TV – Star Trek
Since Netflix added the entire Star Trek catalogue to their line-up it’s been my goal to watch every episode in order starting with the Original Series before Star Trek: Discovery launches next year. I’m only part way through the first season but this week I settled down to watch Dagger Of The Mind. Set on a penal colony, it’s an episode that attempts to tackle mental health in a controversial manner, looking at the extreme treatments often used on patients. In the episode itself, it was represented by a process of brain washing of inmates and a former prison director being “treated” while trying to expose what was going on.
Surprisingly it stands the test of time rather well, as do most episodes of Classic Trek, although I’m not a great fan of these remastered editions. The new special effects added for the space shots really do stick out from the original 1960s footage and I just wish they would have left the show well alone.
TV – Once Upon A Time
It’s hard to believe that a fantasy TV series that’s based on a mash-up of classic fairy tales and countless characters from Disney movies could be so compelling but the stories and characters have been so well written and their tales interwoven so well that it’s been impossible to resist watching this show since it made its debut. Granted, it’s hard to keep track of what character are connected to whom sometimes as their pasts are interlinked so intricately but that’s what makes the show more appealing.
This time around Captain Hook is swept away against his will and is drawn into helping Aladdin, Jasmine and Ariel (yup, you read correctly) while trying to find a way back home. While sounding absurd, it’s all fun stuff while still retaining enough of a dark, emotional edge to it where needed to stop the show from falling into the realm of the bizarre, If you’ve never experienced it before, it’s a must watch series, even better with the family.
Movie – Drunken Master
I’ve been a fan of Jackie Chan and his movies for as long as I can remember and as soon as I saw this appear on Netflix this week I knew it was something that I had to add to my watchlist despite it being a part of my DVD collection. Actually I’ve owned the movie twice on DVD – first time was a poorly dubbed region one copy that I picked up not long after getting my first DVD player in the 90s and the second was the special edition released by Hong Kong Legends with superbly remastered subtitles. It was always that version that I watched, opting to leave the audio set to Mandarin and having the subtitles on.
Not having had the chance to compare my DVD with this version I think is something of a blessing so I can look at it for what it is but I’ll come to the dialogue side shortly. Made in 1978, it tells the tale of a young martial arts student, Freddie Wong (according to this version and it’s subtitles) who was somewhat impetuous and was prone to getting himself into trouble. After one escapade too many, his father (who was also his Kung Fu teacher) decided to send him off to be trained to not only improve his discipline but also attempt to improve his Kung Fu skills, by a lengendary Master, Su Hua. At the same time as this, a deadly assassin is going around killing well know pillars of the community and someone close to Wong is set to be his next target…
After another escapade, Wong encounters a strange old man who helps him out of a tight spot who turns out to be none other than Su Hua. Despite initial misgivings, Wong spends the next year with him, going through tortuous basis physical training first and eventually learning Su Hua’s secret – a style of Kung Fu new to him – the 8 Drunken Gods. Eventually Wong learns that it is his father who is to be the next victim of the assassin and heads off to rescue him, uses his new-found skills and wins.
What I love most about Jackie Chan movies is the near perfect blend of action and comedy. The martial arts aspect is exemplorary with some remarkably choreographed fight scenes from start to finish with just enough humour in the right places so as not to detract attention from the drama in any of the movies and that still applies here. It’s no wonder that even today this is regarded as being one of his best movies.
However, I do have issues with this version. The soundtrack is in Cantonese and it’s not complete. On occasions it switches into (very badly) dubbed English for a few moments and then back again breaking the flow. The subtitles are also somewhat strange and seem to have been based on a dubbed version rather than a more modern translation. Certainly they don’t seem to fit with the period setting of the movie itself and I felt throughout that something was amiss.
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed watching it, but not as much as I could have if a different print of the movie had been used so not the best experience I’ve had watching it sadly.
Finally, summing up this weeks viewing is difficult as I enjoyed everything so it’s pretty hard making these decisions but:-
Pick of the week – iZombie (great to have a favourite back on the screen)
Turkey of the week – Drunken Master (let down by the subtitles and the mixed dialogue track)
What’s been grabbing YOUR attention on Netflix this week? Let us know in the comments below…