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November 04, 1997 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Weak performances, directionless plot set 'Switch' back.

By Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud
Daily Arts Writer
Interestingly enough, trains are a
recurring motif in the movie
"Switchback." Interesting because,
unlike the movie itself, these trains are
heading in some
direction, trying to
reach some desti- R1
"Switchback" 9
marks the directo-
rial debut, and
hopefully the
finale too, of Jeb
Stuart, best known as the screenwriter
of "Die Hard" and "The Fugitive."
Stuart has managed to write, produce
and direct a suspense movie in which
suspense plays no part. By the end of
this pointless
and uninterest-
ing film, you
may very well
be wonderingv
how this train
ever left the sta-
tion. .'.:
The wildly
improbable plot
centers around
FBI Agent Frank
(Dennis Quaid)
and his search
for the serial
killer who, in
addition to hav-
ing murdered 18
people, has also
kidnapped his
son.-Manny Glover
The FBI has
pulled LaCrosse off the case, yet he
pursues his son's kidnapper regardless.

ie goes to some town that is embroiled
in a sheriff's election, where murders
fitting the serial killer's style have
At this point, the movie gets off the
track completely and loses whatever


it may

At Showcase

have had. Should
Sheriff Buck
Olmstead (R. Lee
Ermey) help
LaCrosse even
though it may cost
him the election?

This thread of the
plot is so uninteresting, you find your-
self hoping to see even more of Quaid's
bad performance.
Quaid tries hard to make the char-
acter of LaCrosse appear purposeful
and single-
m i n d e d.,
Instead, his ter-
rible perfor-
mance gives
LaCrosse less
warmth and
than the film's
many cadavers.
On the other
side of the
<< Danny Glover
plays railroad
worker Bob
Goodall in an
acting show-
case that is only
slightly better
than Quaid's.
Glover plays
the serial killer
as a genial and beloved blue-collar
worker, whom no one suspects of

being a murderer.
Glover's performance is meant to
show us that serial killers are no dif-
ferent than normal people. (if this
movie had continued beyond the last
dreadful scene, we would have no
doubt heard Goodall's neighbors say-
ing something like: "He was such a
nice man, we had absolutely no idea
he enjoyed killing people!")
Goodall drives around in a Cadillac
that is upholstered with pictures of
naked women and picks up hitchhiker
Lane Dixon (Jared Leto). Leto's role is
perplexing because it is so totally unre-
lated to the plot or action of the movie.
It's as if the makers of this movie want-
ed to have more actors involved in the
production but could not come up with
a good reason.
The screenplay does not give the
actors much to work with,
Apparently, the filmmakers, led by
Production Designer Jeff Howard,
spent several days meticulously out-
fitting seven Cadillacs with nudie
pictures, going so far as to get a
Playboy photographer to make sure
that the cars were lined with only the
highest quality female nudity. If only
Stuart had spent as much time and
effort writing a thoughtful screen-
play as was spent providing Goodall
with fitting transportation, perhaps
he would have succeeded in making
an exciting film.
Even the action sequences lack any
originality or pizzazz. The final train
shots are a rip-off of many other
Luckily for LaCrosse, Goodall
falls off and impales himself. After
seeing this dreadful production you
may wish the same had happened to

'X-Files' premiere adds more
questions to last season's list

'Bushido Blade' slashes
action game competitors

By Gabriel Smith
Daily Arts Writer
When the fourth season of "The X-Files" ended
in June, our two favorite FBI agents were in dire
straits. All in one day, agent Fox Mulder was pre-
sumed dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the
face and partner Dana Scully
was dying of a mysterious can- R
cer planted in her.
As fans, we hated the wait.
We have felt their pain.
Throughout the season and
even the hiatus, we spent valu-
able time sifting through the
melange of case files, tracking aliens, spirits,
cults, mutant beings and government officials
with weird names like Cancer Man, Well-
Manicured Man, Deep Throat.
For the start of the show's fifth season and conclu-
sion to last season's cliff hanger, "X-Files" creator
Chris Carter conjured up a bleak new motto to match
the theme: "All Lies Lead To The Truth." Now view-
ers can add paranoia, lies, hoaxes, government con-
spiracies and betrayals to the already lengthy list.
But what constitutes the truth and what is a lie?
Instead of answers to last season's questions, Carter
instead creates more questions, compounding the
quandry of what we believe.
Sunday's episode went back in
time to retrace the final 24 hours Has the
leading up to Scully's false pro-
nouncement of her partner's sup- pJarrf ne
posed death. Carter masterfully
crafts Scully's lie in order to
expose the lies and liars sur- been a h
rounding her.
The episode picked up a "Trust the stan
No One" philosophy as a guilt-
ridden Mulder (played wonder-
fully by David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian
Anderson) navigate a maze of deception to reach the
truth. Using a Defense Department official's informa-
tion and the clearance card of another, Mulder weaves
his way through the bowels of the department to some-

how uncover a c
Mulder uncovers is
mation that he has
On the other enc
uncovering the ev
thing about Roswe
The X-Files
Sundays at 9 p.m.

ure for Scully's affliction. What
s the most shocking piece of infor-
ever found.
d, Scully encounters a similar fate,
idence that could disprove every-
ell, the Cold War and government
activities for the last 50 years.
These revelations cause the
duo to question their purpose
together, and the beginnings of
their partnership. And with
many fans catching up on early
episode reruns on Fox's cable
station, FX, Carter's timing is


Let's not forget the exploits of villain
Cancer Man who popped up in short intervals
throughout the episode. What is his purpose?
Is he getting weeded out by his superiors ? And
what did he mean when he said, "I made Agent
Mul der."
Carter's writing style is at times poetic - some-
times too poetic in the voice-overs, like this one by
Scully: "The cruelest ironies are those consecrated
by the passage of time, chanced and occasioned by
shocking discovery." Now tell me - how many FBI
agents do you know who talk like that'?
Several questions remain.
Has the partnership of Mulder
and Scully been a hoax from
the start; nothing more than an
ip of elaborate setup by the govern-
ment? Have all of Mulder's
id Scully beliefs concerning the abduc-
tion of his sister and his inter-
est in paranormal phenomena
been nothing more than a
Who is responsible for the
disease that currently eats away at Scully; perhaps
the colleagues and officials closest to them?
Whatever happens, don't panic. Even though
Carter has completely overhauled the purpose of
the show without missing a beat, make sure to keep

Agents Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Mulder (David
Duchovny) of "The X-Flies,"
watching the reruns on FX. Week after week
engrossing adventures are presented, just as excit-
ing as they were the first go-round. Everything has
This season's premiere admirably mixed a unique
brand of suspense and absolute skepticism.
Controversy has also brewed outside of the
screen, as Duchovny has threatened to leave to
move back to Los Angeles to be with wife Tea
Leoni, and Gillian Anderson continues to see
Hollywood in her future. But in an interview with
USA Today, Anderson confirmed a sixth season
and Carter stated that there would be more stories
to tell,
"The X-Files" will be headed to the big screen
this summer at the end of June perhaps to answer
some more questions, perhaps to provoke some
more thoughts. But, if you tune in at 9 p.m. next
Sunday, beware. You might be watching for a
long time - like Scully's cancer, it will grow on

By Deveron Sanders
For the Daily
No fireballs. No time limits. No life
gauges. Just you, your weapon and your
opponent. One wrong move and it's all
over. Squaresoft's Bushido Blade cuts
to the heart of what fighting games
should be about -
pure combat.
Choosing to R
abandon the tradi-
tional fighting BU
game elements,
Bushido Blade
offers an innova- _ __N_
tive and refreshing
departure from dragon punches and
fireballs. The game runs off of a 3-D
polygonal system like many of today's
fighters, but that is pretty much where
the similarities end.
The typical life-gauge is no longer
used as matches are won off of one crit-
ical hit. To many traditional fighter
fans, this may be the most irritating
thing about the game. The fact that the
match could literally be over after the
first hit really throws people for a loop.
But hey folks, this is realism. Think
about it - if you get chopped in the
head with a big heavy sword in real life,
you won't be getting back up.
For the record, let me diffuse the
myth that you can dismember your
opponent (I was looking forward to
that, too). But the fighter will lose
the use of a limb after enough pun-
ishment. Once that occurs, the fight
for survival becomes highly diffi-
cult. A good slice to the legs can
cripple attackers so that they cannot
stand or run. At that point, they
must either lunge, crawl or roll their
way out of trouble. They are even


allowed to submit honorably and
will kneel, awaiting your final blow.
Of course, as long as you can still
swing your weapon, victory is pos-
sible, so don't expect to see too
many submissions.
One thing that people find distressing
about Bushido is the
lack of a large cast
V I E W of charaters. There
are only six,0
shido Blade with deep-cast
* * games like MK4
and SF vs. X-Men
Playstation - Squaresoft out, the selection
screen looks a bit
naked. Bushido Blade's six characters are
distinctly different (not just a bunch of
clones a la Street Fighter's Ken and Ryu.)
To make up for the lack of characters,
Bushido offers an array of eight weapons
from which to choose, each with its'
set of moves. Each fighter' is espei
good with two of the weapons, but can
use the rest as well.
The fighting environment is also vast-
ly different than the majority of beat-em-
ups. Instead of restricting the player to a
small square of movement, Bushido's
fighting boards are large and usually
multi-tiered, with characters able to run
in any direction (assuming tthey still have
use of their legs.) In Bushido's St
Mode, you can actually runto a differ
fighting area altogether.
The 3-D settings are well done and
capture the essence of the game,
although you may find yourself swip-
ing at an invisible wall due to the cam-
era angles.
The gameplay is really flid and
adds to the intensity levelof the
game. The fighters perform -graceful
acts of violence at the touch of a f
buttons. Bushido's moves, based
button sequences, have a feeling of
fluid continuation.
The music in the game is very fitting
and diverse, ranging from simiple wolves
howling in the dark to tracks worthy of
action-movie climaxes.
The sound effects aren't exactly spec-
tacular, but what can you expect from
grunts and sword clangs? The characters
actually speak in Japanese (those of
with no bilingual skills mustyely on s
titles), which adds a movie-like flare to
the game.
Admittedly, the game can becoie
stale if you don't have any friends; to
share in the bloodfest. Of course there
are some options for the solo gamer,
but there can be no doubt that the

Do you remember FESTI FALL?

W Vould you like another chance to showcase
your organization and recruit members?
***the student organization fair***


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