Archives   Welcome to the Vomitorium. The rapacious media consumers here at HG Industries stand at the ready to spew forth a mass of digested multimedia product to assist you in your purchasing, viewing, partaking, and living choices. For those of you who need things simplified even further, everything's rated on a five-point scale from wretched to brilliant.
4/5 Romeo Must Die
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Romeo Must Die is a Hong-Kong-styled, kung fu gangsta movie. As such, at least here, it will be judged as such, and not by comparing it to "American Beauty" or some damn thing.

Romeo Must Die, in addition to being a really good kung fu gangsta movie, has something that a lot of the genre doesn't have. Charm. And not just from Jet Li. Aaliyah's love interest, Delroy Lindo's gang boss, and even bumbling henchman Maurice all have a certain natural, easygoing charm that really helps the movie avoid becoming another Replacement Killers or Corruptor.

Whether intentional or not, RMD sticks Jet Li right at the midpoint between a Jackie Chan farce and a Chow Yun Fat broodfest, and switches between the two considerably better than you'd expect from a cinematographer-turned-first-time-director. Throw in some fantastic, over-the-top foley work, some wild wire-work, and a little of that John Gaeta magic (The X-RAY CAM!) and you've got a kung fu gangsta flick the Vomitorium can recommend without reservation.

Bottom Line: We've come a long way since American Ninja, baby.
5/5 Mach 5 (Resaurus)
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So, we've been waiting, what, a year now, for Resaurus to get off their asses and get the Mach 5 into stores? Our Speed and Trixie figures sat, collecting dust, while Resaurus waited for the right time, from a business standpoint, to put the damn car on the shelves? And now it's out, and we're all just supposed to bow down and worship it after all this time?

In short, YES.

This toy IS the Mach 5. It's sleek. It's white. It comes with autojacks, buzzsaws, a bubble canopy for the roof, a robot camera bird, a pop-up periscope, and Spridle and Chim Chim and a picnic basket all of which fit in the trunk.

On top of that, it's solid, it's heavy, the wheels roll great, and everything just clicks. It's the epitome of what an action figure's car should be. The figures themselves fit in tightly, and look right behind the wheel.

Sure, it's late. Sure, it doesn't have the sound box anymore. But it's the best $20 toy car ever, and with a little luck, it'll continue to sell like plastic hotcakes.

Bottom Line: It's gainin' on ya, so you better look alive.
4/5 Brak Presents The Brak Show Starring Brak (Cartoon Network)
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Expecting a five, weren't you. From the HGI's resident Brakhead and Space Ghost FAQ-keeper. That's me, flaunting assumptions.

See, the thing about The Brak Show is, it's trying hard. Really hard. And sometimes it shows at the seams. Don't get me wrong. Both episodes thus far have cracked me up royally. But they're writing a -lot- of songs in a short time, and some of 'em aren't winners.

Plus, add in some unenthusiastic and/or untalented guests (Monica, and Jo Dee Messina), some odd art choices, some odd new characters (Franz Shoe-Bert, Allen Wrench), and you've got something that feels a bit like throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.

On the positive side, a LOT of stuff sticks. Anyone who thought Brak wasn't a deep enough character to headline hasn't been paying attention to what Andy Merrill and the writers have been doing with him lately, between the last bits of Cartoon Planet, the last couple of seasons of Coast to Coast, and now here.

Zorak is, for the most part, delightfully Zorak, although sometimes he's less eeeeevil than he needs to be. And the new Hanna Barbera appropriations, Wally Gator and Grape Ape, are serviceable at the very least.

They need to make more, and they need to take their time, but it's still better than another damn half hour of Scooby Doo.

BOTTOM LINE: It's round on the ends, but high in the middle.

5/5 Brak Presents The Brak Album Starring Brak (Brak)
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OK. Now you're wondering how an album based on a series rated a four can score a five. Well, go screw. It's about damn time you learned that ratings, especially numerical ones, are completely arbitrary. But I'll give you a reason anyway, because that's the kind of guy I am.

First, the album has three bonus tracks not on the show. And they're pretty good. Second, "We're Buds" replaces the vile Jo Dee Messina with Brak singing the woman part in his falsetto. Third, it stands alone, and doesn't need to be looked at as part of a possible future series.

So you can just sit back, let the waves of comedy roll over you, and enjoy the rich creamy goodness of "Chile Today, Hot Tamale".

Bottom Line: He can't sing either, but he's got three records out now. This is one.
5/5 Dead or Alive 2 (Dreamcast)
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I am not a fighting guru. I do not know what the fuck a Guard Cancel is. I do not count frames. I think Street Fighter and its sequels suck.

Fighting gurus like Dead or Alive 2. I love it.

I ask three things of my fighting games. That they look good. That they let me beat up on people stylishly. And that they be accessible enough that when friends come over, they'll want to play.

Dead or Alive 2 fills all three. In spades. The graphics are gorgeous, the environments are huge, the moves are flashy, the controls are simple.

You may hear, from other people, bitching about the fact that, unlike other games, there's nothing to unlock. Apparently, all the characters, all the stages, all the modes, and all the costumes are available from the start. This is not a flaw. This is a feature. It guarantees two things. That when you play DOA2, it's because you want to, and it guarantees that people will be looking for what the secrets really are FOREVER.

It's like an ULTRA on the game geeks. Can't go wrong with that. Plus, one of the characters bears a deliberate resemblance to HGI Patron Saint of the Training Montage, Hulk Hogan.

Bottom Line: All it lacks are shoe beatdowns.

3/5 Depths of Doom Trilogy (id)
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Step aside, Pinwiz. Now that I've moved, technologically, into the late 90's, I've started looking into computer games. And the first game I purchased for my new computer? Doom.

Yes, Doom. Because there are certain games that any true gamer must own a definitive version of, and until now, I had no access to a definitive Doom. The Jaguar version was shrunken. The Playstation versions were too dark with no gamma control. So, for fifteen bucks at Best Buy, I got the last versions of Doom, Doom II, and "Master Levels for Doom II".

And you know what? Even though you can't aim vertically. Even though it's not really 3D. Doom's not that bad a game. Sure, everything in it's old now, but that's because everything in it's been taken and used in all the games that followed it. And there's still a fundamental visceral satisfaction in blowing the crap out of nasty demons.

The bonus levels are sufficiently challenging, the Windows interface does a nice job of isolating the user from the complicated Doom DOS interface, and the whole thing runs nice and seamless in 640x480 on a 500mhz Pentium.

Bottom Line: Good. Cheap. Classic. Can't argue with that.
4/5 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (New Line)
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Forget, for a second, the catch-phrase hype. Forget, if you can, Heather Graham. Forget even that this sequel isn't as good as the original. Like the first Austin Powers DVD, the second thrives and survives on the extras. The movie's nice, but it's the extras that make it worth shelling out the twenty bucks.

And you get a wad of extras. First and foremost are 20 minutes worth of deleted scenes. And unlike the AP1 deleted scenes, these are full-quality, ranging from lengthy sequences to improvs that didn't go very well to the Rob Lowe/Robert Wagner bed scene that was cut for the PG-13 rating.

You also get nice commentary from Mike Myers, Jay Roach, and co-writer Michael McCullers (which could be more specific to individual scenes, but is still decent), good behind the scenes stuff, the Comedy Central Canned Ham, trailers, music videos, yadda yadda yadda. Oh, and DVD-ROM stuff for people with fancypants computers. The disc is packed and cheap.

Speaking of packed and cheap, there's the actual movie, which is chock-full of gags, pretty much from start to finish. They don't all work, and some of them are cheap laughs, but let's face it. Even a good cheap laugh isn't that easy to come by. It's a funny movie, as long as you don't harbor misconceptions that the movie has a hell of a lot in the way of structure, form, plot, or continuity.

Bottom Line: Heather Graham can't act. Otherwise, it's all good.
1/5 Chalupas (Taco Bell)
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Never was this site more aptly named. As a connoisseur of the low end of cuisine as well as the midrange, it's always exciting when Taco Bell reconfigures beans, chicken, beef, and salsa in some new way and gives it a new faux-Mex name.

But it was with a certain trepidation that I noted the existence of "Chalupas" on the menu. The picture looked like they were just Gorditas in a new wrapping. The existence of Chalupas in "Baja, Santa Fe, and Supreme" styles confirmed it. Why improve on greatness? Gorditas work. And what the hell was that shell supposed to -be-, anyway?

I found out. The shell is some kind of deep-fried breadproduct that turns the Chalupas into the most effective fast-food ipecac since KFC handed us all ice-cold chicken wraps. Even assuming you could keep it down, the sheer volume of grease involved is enough to shut down the systems of anybody over 25. Rumors of a secret Pepsico research facility in Tokaimura, Japan persist. The only way it could taste worse is if it were pooped from the very nether regions of El Chihuahua itself.

Bottom Line: I'd rather eat my own puke. Something which a Chalupa nearly made possible.