Thursday 27 April 2017

The Outpost Guide on How to Join the frikkin' Guardians of the Galaxy

The Guardians of the Galaxy are back! With something good, something bad, or a little bit of both?Let’s find out shall we?

Galactic Misfits a.k.a. the Guardians of The Galaxy (GOTG)
Here's some mood tunes for you to play in the background while you continue to scroll down:

(Now Playing: "I Want You Back" by Jackson 5)

So, what do we know so far from the first GOTG movie? In a nutshell, 5 heroes kill bad man. But in a bigger nutshell, it’s about a group of intergalactic criminals (yes folks, criminals!) which were forced to work together to stop a fanatical blue-skinned villain who calls himself Ronan the Accuser (played by Lee Pace) from taking control of the galaxy. *Gasp

Galactic Baddie Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace)

But let’s blast off proper with a recap of our galaxy's Guardians.

First and foremost the main man of the show, Peter Quill!

Played by Chris Pratt, Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, is an outer space adventurer who was abducted when he was a still just a kid loosing his mother due to cancer. As he grew older, he became one with the group that kidnapped him, the Ravagers, and fitted in real well with galactic scum. During one of his pirating jobs, he recovered an ancient artifact that happens to contain an Infinity Stone (one from set of 6). He then heads a group of cosmic misfits to save the galaxy from being destroyed.

Despite being better known for his comedic roles at that time, Chris Pratt unexpectedly fitted the role of Star-Lord perfectly and may well have type-cast himself for years to come as the charming "Han Solo"-ish scoundrel with a heart. His ‘lovably stupid and humorous’ depiction of the human space adventurers has certainly synced with audiences worldwide judging by the stellar box office performance of the first movie.

Second is the lovely green-skinned (sadly not hulk-green) Gamora, played by Zoe Saldona, also known for her portrayal of another sci-fi heroine Uhura of Star Trek's movie reboot franchise.

Actress Zoe Saldana in natural colour.
Gamora is the adopted daughter of the evil space Titan, Thanos (played by Josh Brolin), and was raised from young to become the perfect weapon. Despite appearing subservient to Thanos, Gamora has always held a grudge over Thanos for destroying her people and leaving her the last of her kind. During a mission for Thanos, she betrayed her master to join Star-Lord and make amends for her past crimes.

As Joss Whedon would say, the BIG BAD of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thanos.

Next is Drax the Destroyer, played by the wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista.

Drax is the muscle of the team but very literal minded, often misusing or confused over expressions and metaphors. Drax has a personal vendetta against Ronan for killing his family and out for revenge, which was eventually satiated during his team-up in Star-lord and gang. Fun fact: the make-up masters required 5 hours everyday to apply tattoo effects on his body. Whoa!

Actor Dave Bautista before and after his transformation into Drax.

Fourth member of the team is Rocket (Raccoon), voiced by Bradley Cooper.

If a raccoon were to look human, it would look like this.
Rocket is the weapon expert of the gang, battle and tactics specialist, and bounty hunter. And YES, he's a raccoon (although he has no idea what creature that is)! Genetically altered and enhanced by cybernetics, Rocket is a formidable warrior despite his diminutive size. He's also a smart-ass with quips for every situation. This is one bad@$$ raccoon you should NOT mess with!

Then there’s Groot, a humanoid tree. voice-acted by bad-boy action-man Vin Diesel:

If trees could talk, they would sound like Vin Diesel. So respect trees!
Vin Diesel doesn’t physically appear in the movie and, like Bradley Cooper, provides voice talent for this enigmatic character but with only three words: “I am Groot” in different tones and, of course, a few awesome roars! In the first movie, Groot was an 8-foot tall walking tree. In order to save his new family of Guardians ("We are Groot"), he sacrificed himself and was reincarnated as a new tree sapling in pot. Now in the upcoming movie he has grown back into a humanoid form but now the 8-in tall "baby" of the family.

For the first movie Vin Diesel learned how to say “I am Groot” in six languages. Now he claims the director of this sequel made him learn three times more languages! Sangat bagus, maybe we may even hear him say “Saya adalah Groot!”

Saving the galaxy for the 2nd time! Even the Avengers can't claim that... yet!

So think you have what it takes to join the Guardians of the Galaxy? Misfit - check! Outcast - check! Adventure - check!

Now before head into GOTG Vol.2, it is worth checking out the animated version from Disney XD, which continues from the first movie.

Guardians of the Galaxy on Disney XD

However this TV series is not officially part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and therefore does not setup any backstory for this 2nd live-action movie. In a way that’s better otherwise we will be all confused to no end like the current Marvel mutant universe by Fox.

Guardians of The Galaxy Vol.2 (In cinemas 27 April 2017)
Anyhow, ain’t it good to see all the main characters still intact for the sequel? Well what better but to also bring back pirate captain of the Ravagers, Yondu, and Gamora's step-sister, Nebula, plus some new cool characters like Mantis and possibly Peter Quill’s real father (advance SpoilerAlert below). Now let’s have a look-see on the upcoming sequel’s trailer.

Guardians of The Galaxy Vol.2 (2017) Trailer Compilation

Official Synopsis
Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.

Yes folks, There's new characters team-up with the Guardians of the Galaxy! Some even switched side from the bad guys to the not-so-merry good guys (Yeeha!) like Yondu, captain of a Ravagers pirate ship (played by Michael Rooker).

Michael Rookers awesome appearance at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC).
The blue-skinned Yondu (not relative of Ronan) can also be considered as one of the bad@$$ characters wielding a "flying arrow" as a weapon controlled through whistling. How freakishly awesome is that? Youdu was also responsible for kidnapping Peter Quill and took it upon himself as the boy's guardian. Despite being tricked by Peter at the conclusion of volume 1, in trailers leading up to volume 2 he seems to be joining the Guardians. We will find out soon if that's the case.

Nebula, played by Karen Gillian, is another adopted daughter of Thanos. Unlike Gamora, the blue-skinned assassin leans more to the dark side and remains allied to Ronan the Accuser. However she is defeated by Gamora yet again and escapes the Battle at Nova Prime. Looking like she's lined to join the Guardians of the Galaxy in Vol 2, let's see soon if this bad girl is finally going to switch sides.

One of the new characters in Vol 2 is alien gal Mantis played by Pom Klementieff. She possesses empathic powers with the ability to read and influence emotions through her antennae. She's barely seen the galaxy and finds the Guardians intriguing to learn how to interact with other beings. Plus more space gals, yay!.

Veteran action-star pre-Y2K Kurt Russell plays Peter Quill's long-lost father, Ego. It looks to be a happy reunion between father and son but with a name like Ego, there's bound to be more to him than what meets the eye. In the comic books, Ego is a living planet. Let's see whether this incarnation in the movies will have such associations.

To find out more about the movie look to and The Hyped Geek for non-spoilery reviews.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.2 will be playing in Malaysian cinemas from 27 April 2017. If you haven't watched the first GOTG movie (WTH not?) or just need a refresher, MMCineplexes is running a back-to-back marathon this Friday 28 April for just RM30 with UNLIMITED POPCORN & SOFT DRINK REFILLS!

MMCineplexes GOTG Marathon

Now to bring home some GOTG goodies, The Outpost Movie Recon Team (M.R.T) has snooped our local cinemas and toy stores for how to treat your geekiness. Here's is our Intel Report (while stocks last with terms and conditions):

GSC Cinema Online Contest

GSC Cinemas' online contest is offering movie memorabilia closes on 10 May 2017. Just answer 3 questions via the online form. It's too simple not to try!.

In addition, take home lovable Groot in form of a popcorn bucket and mini-figurine from GSC's concession combos available now nationwide. There's currently 2 ways to get the adorable mini-figurine. One is by purchasing online an e-Combo set of Groot popcorn bucket with drink will include 1 figurine. Another way to score Baby-Groot is by purchasing minimum of 4 GOTG2 tickets for selected cinema outlets.

There's also Star-Lord Helmet keychains given to first 1,000 customers purchasing 2 advance sales tickets from participating cinema outlets. Last day for advance ticket sales closes on movie opening day 27 April.

Over at MBO Cinemas, these and other movie premiums are being offered to their AllStar card members to bid for them by 5 May 2017. Members Star points from purchases at MBO are also given Bid points to use for these items. Find out more from MBO's website.

MBO Cinemas bidding contest for their AllStar card members.
Particular cool up for bidding is the replica tshirt worn by Peter Quill in the movie with the alien words (galactic Starbucks?).

Starting bid of 5,500 points.
MBO's GOTG2 concession exclusive offers a Baby Groot cup shaped like everyone's favourite "twig" in a pot. Prices at RM25 for 1-cup with popcorn, or RM49 for 2-cups with popcorn. Fans may want to grab this fast in case it sells out like Rogue One's Death Star popcorn bucket.

So cute cannot refuse!
Alternatively some of these movie premiums are also available via KLIPS online contest courtesy of Marvel Malaysia.

TGV Cinemas went the old-school way with figurine-topped cups for their Galactic Combo. There are 5 versions for each of the main GOTG members. Perhaps to pop lots of popcorn and guzzle soft drinks to collect all 5!

For poster collectors, make sure to catch the movie in IMAX to get this exclusive GOTG2 poster with every 2 tickets purchased:

Now to GOTG merchandise for kids (including the BIG kids), Hasbro is offering a wide assortment of toys for this 2nd move instalment.
12-inch Star-Lord action figure

Star-Lord helmet mask (kids size)
Electronic kids blaster. Movie 1 version far superior for cosplay prop.

Marvel Legends 6-in Guardians Of The Galaxy set only features Star-Lord, Drax and Yondu from the movie.

Hasbro's Marvel Legends 6in series of action figures have been providing a good range of Marvel characters in recent years with improvements on quality. Unfortunately it comes at a high price here of RM139.90 recommended retail per piece since our currency drop when they only sold for RM79.90 just 2-3 years back.

Excellent figurines from Marvel Legends but priced at RM139.90 each.

This Toys R Us exclusive Groot provides collectors a fantastic opportunity to get the full-size Groot previously only available in parts of the build-a-figure series in 2014 where one needs to purchase 6-7 separate figures to collect parts to assemble 1 bigger figure. Now this special release even includes the infant potted Groot seen at end of last movie and this movie's Baby Groot.

There is also a 2-pack 3.75in set with Yondu and Star-lord.
For fans who can't get enough of Groot, there's a dancing version available at RM229.90. Press a button to watch Groot dance or just play music and he will dance to its tune. Definitely a must have at geek parties which can impress fangirls!

Everyone loves LEGO right? LEGO and Marvel, a match made for kids and adults to indulge their geekiness. The building sets for the first movie were pretty awesome. Our LEGO expert here cannot quite say the same for the sets for this movie. The new LEGO Milano seems a shadow of its predecessor. Well, at least all sets come at a lower price point of under RM300.

So arm yourself now with the right intel and set your blasters for an awesome GOTG weekend at the cinema with a popcorn combo then taking home a piece of the action from movie premiums and merchandise.

Here are cosplayers at the Movie Premiere at MBO Starling to kick off release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 in Malaysia:

We are Groot!

What remains unspoken between Gamora and Peter Quill?

Will the real Star-Lord please step up?
A most unusual new member of the Guardians indeed.

Final intel: sit all the way through end credits of the movie as there are 5 (five) bonus scenes you will kick yourself for missing them. Why so many? Because Marvel-lah!

Disclaimer: Guardians of the Galaxy and associated trademarks are copyright to Marvel Studios, referenced here for fan service purposes only without intent to infringe.

Thursday 13 April 2017

The Fast & The Furious tempts Fate 8

by Phang Kuok Sing

I recall watching the first movie The Fast & The Furious not on the big screen, but on the TV. What got me hooked was the brightly lit and loudly modified street racing cars featured in the movie. Never would I have thought the franchise would become what it is today, and have such an impact on pop culture. From small time thugs and street racers, the team has since find themselves often involved in international missions which require their specific skill sets of driving really fast cars. Some would even think the last few films were directed by Michael Bay (not true). The team has come a long way and so has their following of secret agencies and baddies. Despite all the madness that happened in the last few films, Family is still the end goal.

The first movie of the franchise released 16 years ago in 2001.

Current leading man of the franchise, Hollywood bad boy Vin Diesel stepped into the shoes of Dominic Toretto in 2001 for the first movie, The Fast and The Furious. He was then on hiatus for the subsequent 2 movies and returned to the role of Dom after 8 years for Fast & Furious in 2009.

The other films in between introduced Dom's associates around the world, whom eventually became part of the Toretto Family - Brian (the late Paul Walker), Letty (Michelle Rodrigeuz), Mia (Jordana Brewster), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Han (Sung Kang), and Gisele (Gal Gadot). We are all too sure towards the plot of each movie so we won't dive deep into the story line. Instead we will attempt to fill in the gaps of some "unconnected scenes" & recurring characters.

Brian shows up in a pimped out Skyline GTR in the beginning of 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003). We bet a lot of us were wondering how he'd just show up with a ride like that, after giving up his 10-second Supra to Dom whom ended up Baja California, Mexico.

Brian's Nissan Skyline GTR R34

There is actually a short film in-between the first and second movie, known as "The Turbocharged Prelude for 2 Fast 2 Furious", released with the DVD in 2003 which follows Brian's journey after parting with Dom, and how he became the established street racer/hustler.

Turbocharged Prelude For 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

Does it make sense now?

Chronologically, Tokyo Drift (2006) happens after Fast & Furious 6 (2013), which explains the sudden reappearance of Han in the Dominican Republic, helping the crew in stealing the oil tanker in Fast & Furious (2009), where we were also introduced to 2 new faces, Leo & Santos (Puerto Rican singers Tego Calderón & Don Omar respectively). Now, the duo did not just mysteriously appear as new characters, like Brian's GTR in 2 Fast 2 Furious. They were actually introduced to us at an earlier time, in the form of a short film included as a bonus on Blu-Ray & DVD, known as "Los Bandoleros" in 2009 prior to the fourth movie.

Los Bandoleros (2009)

Now that we have cleared the past, let's connect the dots in the future especially the new characters introduced between Fast 5 and Fast & Furious 7. Firstly, Agent Luke Hobbs played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson:

Diplomatic Security Service Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson)

Hobbs first appeared in Fast 5 (2011) when Dom & Brian stole a Ford GT40 on-board a train, which was seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as it was linked with Brazilian drug lord Hernan Reyes. As Hobbs pieced the puzzles together at the end of the chase, he gave Dom & Brian a chance to flee as they have earned his respect. Hobbs returns in Fast & Furious 6 (2013) to find Dom as the case he is working on, Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) involves his supposedly dead-girlfriend Letty (killed 2 movies back in Fast & Furious). Hobbs was successful in securing the computer chip with the help of Dom's team and gave them full pardon for their assistance. 

Owen Shaw (Luke Evans)
Owen Shaw in Fast & Furious 6 (2013) was a former British SAS Major & Special Operations Soldier & his team of tech & weapons experts was out to steal several high tech components to create a deadly device, and intends to sell it to the highest bidder. One of the members included Letty - Dom's supposedly dead girlfriend. Shaw recruited Letty after discovering her amnesia after being rescued by Gisele. It was later revealed that Shaw is connected to Mexican drug lord Arturo Braga, whom Gisele used to work for. Surprise, Surprise! Owen suffered severe injuries from the crashing plane at the end of the film and is bedridden in a hospital.

Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham)
We get the first look of Owen's big bad brother Deckard Shaw in the intro of Furious 7 (2015), as a flashback to Han's crash sequence in Tokyo Drift (2009), showing Deckard responsible for Han's death. It is revealed that Deckard is out to avenge his brother Owen by taking out Dom's family one by one. Highly skilled in tracking people with background in the British military, Deckard plays the "you can't find me, but I will find you" role as he only appears when he wants you to see him. Deckard pursues in attempt to disrupt Dom's team while they are out on missions orchestrated by Mr. Nobody played by veteran action-star Kurt Russell. Despite these attempts he fails but ends up in a one-on-one brawl with Dom but lost and disappears in the collapse of the parking lot. He is later found in the rubble by Hobbs and locked away in a high-security prison.

Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell)
Nothing much is known about Mr Nobody (Or is he?) besides being the leader of a covert operations unit. Nobody offers Dom to get back to Deckard if he helps to find a high tech device known as the God's Eye. With the help of Dom's team & Hobb's return, Nobody successfully secured God's Eye.

Elena Neves (Played by Elsa Pataky)
Elena first appeared during Fast 5 (2011) in Rio de Janeiro as a local police officer, selected by Hobbs to assist in tracking down Dom & his team. Elena retrieves Dom's cross necklace after a minor gun-fight in the favela, whom visits her later that evening to claim it back. Elena returns with a minor role in Fast & Furious 6 (2013) she and Dom were approached by Hobbs seeking help to bring Shaw in with the reveal that Letty is alive. Elena sees that Dom still loves Letty & tells him to accept the job. That was the last of Elena. Perhaps.

Got all that? Take it all in to help digest what's being served for the 8th installment of this blockbuster movie franchise:

The Fate Of The Furious - In Cinemas 12 April 2017
Official Synopsis:
Now that Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are on their honeymoon, Brian and Mia have retired from the game, and the rest of the crew has been exonerated, the globetrotting team has found a semblance of a normal life. But when a mysterious woman seduces Dom back into a world of crime that he can't seem to escape, the crew will face trials that will test them as never before.

The Fate Of The Furious, better known as Fast & Furious 8 in Malaysia, is now showing in cinemas nationwide. The Outpost Movie Recon Team (M.R.T) has done some homework to find some Fast8 goodies for furious fans. Check it out!

Fast 7 Furious Combo with drink tumbler and popcorn from TGV Cinemas
TGV Cinemas is offering Furious 8 combo of 1x regular popcorn & 1x 44oz (1.3L) tumbler. Relating to that, they are also selling movie marathon tickets featuring Fast 7 & Fast 8 at selected cinemas. Plus, you get unlimited soft drink refills throughout the marathon. WOWZERS!

TGV Cinemas Fast Marathon recap on the preceding movie before jumping into Fast8.
TGV Cinemas is also running the Furious Showdown contest giving away a trip for 2 to Universal Studios Hollywood to experience the official Fast & Furious Supercharged ride. Head over to TGV Sunway Velocity this Sunday 16 April between 12pm to 4pm to witness the Furious Showdown Finals as 10 racers compete to score the Grand Prize. Actually the runner-up prize don't look too shabby either with an entire hall given away for a private movie screening!

TGV Cinemas' Furious Showdown

GSC Cinemas on the other hand have a tamer but interesting combo. A drink & popcorn bucket together in 1 oil barrel-like container. Say what?! Yes your popcorn remains crunchy!

GSC Furious Combo

We kid you not!
Similar to that, MBO Cinemas is also offering a tumbler combo, but with a more traditional approach. Race gauges anyone? You'll even get a special FF diecast vehicle with the Ultimate combo!

Want more Fast & Furious movie merchandise? Then join the online contest by United International Pictures Malaysia. Visit one of the green screen simulators at  Gurney Paragon Mall, Mid Valley Megamall or Johor Bahru City Square to "star" in a trailer reel with Vin Diesel, then post that clip online for the chance to win stuff! Find out more at their Facebook page:

FAST & FURIOUS 8 | Contest | In Cinemas 13 April
[CONTEST] It's your turn to ride or die with the #FastFamily!🔥Our exclusive #F8 green screen simulator lets you star alongside Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne The Rock Johnson and many more! So, show your best #F8FASTWEI face and WIN exclusive F8 merchandise! Just follow these simple steps: 1. Visit the #F8 green screen simulator at Gurney Paragon Mall, Mid Valley Megamall or Johor Bahru City Square for an experience of your life! 2. SHARE your customised clip with the hashtag #F8FASTWEI on Facebook and Instagram before 16 April, 12pm! 20 of the best stand a chance to WIN exclusive #F8 movie merchandise! Participation is FREE. T&Cs apply ( FAST & FURIOUS 8 opens nationwide this 13 April. Book your tickets now! 🎬
Posted by United International Pictures Malaysia on Wednesday, 5 April 2017

#Fast&Furious #Fast8 #FastFamily #F8FASTWEI

Disclaimer: The Fast & The Furious and its trademarks are copyright to Universal Pictures, referenced here for fan service announcements without intent to infringe.