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Cast: Alejandro - Antonio Banderas, Elena - Catherine Zeta-Jones, Armand - Rufus Sewell, Joaquin - Adrian Alonso

It's a sequel with swords horses, super heroes, super stunts and a smoldering super heroine. Like "The Mask of Zorro" seven years ago, "The Legend of Zorro" stars Antonio Banderas as the man in the mask, on the horse and for the people. His co-star again is Catherine Zeta-Jones, his smoldering ladylove and every inch Zorro's equal.

"Legend of Zorro" picks up the characters 10 years later, in 1850. Residents of California are voting to ratify the foundling state's constitution, and bad white men who do not like brown people will stop at nothing to prevent them.

Wealthy, healthy but stuck in a domestic rut, Alejandro de la Vega a.k.a. Zorro (Banderas) and Elena (Zeta-Jones) now have a kid, Joaquin (Adrian Alonso). Alejandro's workaholism, his double life as Zorro…his wife knows about it, his son does not. They're an old married couple but a pretty hot old married couple nevertheless. And of course being a hero is no small task, and it puts a strain on the marriage. Elena laments how Alejandro is missing his son's entire life. She wants him to quit being Zorro and be a family man. He wants to keep dashing off and saving everyone.

So they split up which adds a very Hollywood touch to the Hollywood production. Zorro resorts to drinking, leading to another very western touch.

He winds up with long conversations with his horse, while Elena is pressed by federal agents into a into intimacy with Armand (Rufus Sewell), a vineyard owner smitten with her. Armand is in league with Southerners fearing the Civil War on the horizon. The villains are plotting a terrorist attack on Washington, D.C. and Armand is backing the war effort with his secret manufacture of nitroglycerin.

The fight scenes area bit aerial like in "Spiderman" which makes you feel a little queasy thinking Zorro isn't supposed to be doing that. But it is very flashy as he uses his bullwhip the way Spidey does the web. As a result it's lost a bit of the realism and fluidity of the earlier film?

These days when actors are busy doing their own stunt work Banderas in this movie can't help but stay back as someone else has to do his hyper stunts. Since there are a lot of stunts, there's actually very little of Banderas.

This movie is a fun, nicely burnished period blockbuster where Banderas and Zeta-Jones make great big flirtatious eyes at each other. It deftly balances the kinetics with the dramatics. Zorro should be an effortlessly fun film but it sometimes feels as if it's working harder than it needs to.

It's an adventure flick that plays like a grown-up movie and can still be enjoyed by kids. A lot of critics have blasted this flick for its sheer blastedness but that's their loss. It's a fun movie that could have been lighter on plot and still have ended up hitting the mark.

A PS Game Review

The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction

By Le Chupacabra

There's a reason why games never let you start off with the coolest weapons or the most powerful attacks: it defeats the purpose of actually playing through it for the challenge, innit? It'd still be nice to be able to wreak utter havoc from the get go, though!

Take the 'Incredible' Hulk: he's big, green and very mean (you would be too if you were that green). He's also incredibly (pun intended) powerful. While it would be interesting to play as a semi-weakling who goes about earning his special moves, it makes no sense. Why? Because, if you want to play as the Hulk, the fun lies in being able to 'HULK SMASH!!!' from the second the game begins.

If being able to run amuck and just bash things up in the most outrageous of ways is what you want, this game is there to serve it up on a silver platter. With mashed-potatoes-and-gravy on the side, bless it.

The game boasts fairly nice graphics, rudimentary physics and some rather pleasing explosions. The aural aspect is also very good. The music is apt, voice-overs are suitably hammy and the sound effects just explode (pun intended, again) from your speakers. As you can see, this game isn't about looking amazing or about having an Oscar-calibre soundtrack. The visuals and sound effects are geared towards a single purpose: to make you feel, nay… to make you become the Hulk.

The game is set across two main areas: your basic city with all manner of bridges, tall buildings, screaming pedestrians and lots of traffic and an expansive desert which teems with rocky outcrops and 'secret' military bases, naturally. Your objectives will have you flitting between the two to accomplish various missions with some rather tough boss battles to cull the monotony. Of course, the Hulk is anything but monotonous.

The whole mission structure is simply one large euphemism for giving you the ability to just… go… wild! From the beginning, you can jump miles into the air only to come crashing down with a devastating shockwave. You can let your fists fly and turn cars, trucks and tanks into scrap metal. You can even go into a charging run that's sure to clear your path buildings and all. If you time it right you can even run across the side of buildings whilst charging a jump, then just power off like a bullet only to ram headfirst into the military chopper that was about to shoot you down. Combinations like running headlong into everything whilst simultaneously charging a jump and an attack are all very possible. What you can and can't do easily depends on your imagination here! Very soon you can turn small cars into gigantic steel boxing-gloves (known in D&D circles as 'gauntlets') and soon after, use flattened buses as skateboards. With the former, you can proceed to mash everything with greater ease while the skateboard is just plain sadistic: think Tony Hawk's meets Burnout! Of course it's not only vehicles you can torture! Pick up that attacking sentry, smack him a few times around the face and then politely place him down again… only to flick him a few miles away with your gigantic green fingers. Fancy a game of golf? Use a nearby telephone pole and turn it into a DIY golf club. You don't need to worry about losing the ball here: what do you think those scampering citizens are for, eh? Just proceed to mash Square and watch them fly away while screaming at the top of their lungs. If you maintain your streak of wreaking absolute mayhem, the police and National Security will soon begin to appear.

Dispatch them as you see fit! Of course, they do start sending some rather powerful 'Anti-Hulk' robots after a while. Regardless of how much the game gives you for free, it's then time to sit back and earn a few worthwhile upgrades or else you'll be defeated all too easily.

If you can't face them, pull a Spider-Man and run up the side of the skyscrapers, keep linking your jumps and you'll be able to clear whole city blocks without breaking sweat. Once you've carried out the necessary preparations needed to take them on, proceed to bash them till they're just so many nuts and bolts! When a game is able to have cackling maniacally within a few minutes of playing, you know it's gone and done something right!

The Hulk isn't about considering moral ethics nor is it about solving brain-taxing puzzles. The Hulk's graphics are nothing to write home about and its soundtrack is just okay. However, the Hulk is about being able to feel empowered with the ability to cause total chaos and destruction in the most creative ways imaginable; this game is simply about having fun. It indeed deserves the subtitle Ultimate Destruction.

USB Gadgets

by Niloy

USB gadgets, you ask? Well, these are little gadgets that you plug into your USB ports. Not your average mice/keyboards or printers. I'm talking pencil sharpeners, heating gloves, air fresheners…read on to be convinced that the world is going totally bonkers.

A glowing snowman
Yeah, that's right. You can buy little plastic snowmen that glow, in 4 different colours, when you plug them into USB ports. Perfect for the coming winter, eh? Too bad you can't buy it over here. (I'm going to say that a hundred more times, so that the pain sets in.) Costs $11.

Pencil Sharpener
The iSharpener is a USB-powered pencil sharpener, which in itself is either a clever satire on the rampant USB-ification of otherwise non-computer-related goods or it's just, well, dumb. The iSharpener features an automatic pencil-sharpening action coupled with flashing LED lights, to enhance your pencil-sharpening experience and to emphasise that sharpening pencils is crazyfunawesome.

The USB Humidifier will quietly generate moist air to increase the humidity level in your immediate surroundings. Fill with just a little bit of filtered water, connect to USB and you are all set. Perfect for… I dunno. Go figure. Costs $39.

(mini) Christmas Tree
“Celebrate the holiday season in top geek style with a USB powered Xmas tree. Put one on your desk and another on your monitor and let the glowing LEDs shine bright. Simply plug into any USB port and the LEDs will cycle through 6 colours.” Costs $12.

(mini) Aquarium
What on earth would you do with an aquarium on your desktop? And a fake aquarium at that! But wait, it comes with two “swimming fish with hinged tails and life-like motion”. USB powered to produce a water current and light up some LEDs. Costs $20.

This computer microscope allows you to turn the ordinary “into the extraordinary for hours of fun and learning.” Yeah, that's right, you can now view specimens collected around the house, your desk, your shoe or the fridge. You can even break open a processor and look inside how the thing works. This microscope will provide you an easy way to zoom in (upto 200x) on a wide variety of objects to satisfy your curiosity of the world around you. Ever wondered what lint looks like or the mold growing on your week-old bagels? Now you can find out. Costs $80 and comes with all the tweezers and slides you can think of.

Speaker/Hud combo
Now this is cute and practical, for the most part. The Cubite USB-erific Speaker/Hud Combo is a petite USB powered speaker system that also has an USB hub integrated into one tiny package. This may be a little underpowered for you desktop owners, but it could fit nicely along any laptop. Costs $44.

(mini) Lava lamp
It's a lava lamp! It'll help you relax, whether it's an all night gaming marathon or just a typical afternoon staring at websites. Just plug it into your USB port for power and this little desktop ambiance generator will do the rest. Filled with clear "lava" and a bunch of glitter flakes, this light creates something resembling a disco ball effect on your desk and walls. Neat! Costs $10. I wish I could get one of these here!

A light? Yup. But it has a flexible neck that stays where you put it! Perfect for the times you're using the computer with the lights off as it gently illuminates your notebook keyboard without disturbing others. Sweet! (I wish…) Costs $16.

Fan? Yeah, right. Need a little fresh air? This fan will “convert a USB port into a steady source of cool air.” Costs $11.

The iShaver is a men's shaver that charges through the USB port. Thankfully, once it is charged up you can use it independently from the computer, so all of you who envisaged standing at your bathroom mirror whilst your laptop dangles from your chin; can breathe a sigh of relief.

Mouse Pad
A USB mouse pad is kind of stretching things. I mean it has be a certain thickness and the idea that you have to plug in your mouse pad to use it kind of breaks the definition of pad, which, as we all know, is an object that sits lifelessly on another surface to… well, I don't know what 'pad' really means and I don't want to check. Anyway, this is a USB mouse pad with four ports and fancy lights around the edge. No pricing available.

TV Tuners
Now this is cool. By just plugging in that tiny thing into your USB port, you can turn your PC/Laptop into a TV in an instant. It can even record live TV. But that comes at a price: at $200, it's too expensive, I say. And who would want to spend that much so that they can watch BTV? (This doesn't have a port for your cable connection.) Two companies have these: TerraTec and MobiX at the same price.

Battery Charger
There must be a bazillion USB gadgets by now, and somehow they never get old. Add to the ever-growing list this new EverFast USB Stick Battery Charger. It charges NiMH batteries, which are a decent eco-friendly alternative to those alkalines you are despoiling the earth with. The charger is available in AA and AAA versions, as well as single, double, and quadruple slot variations. This sounds pretty cool, especially handy for travel. But unfortunately, these are not for sale.

Heating Gloves
These are cool-looking cameo gloves that plug into your USB portideal for a laptop, but our towers will work just fine I'm sureand the excess heat begins warming your hands a few minutes later. Perfect for the coming winter. Only available in Japan.

Air Freshener
Next time you're gaming and someone just used the room's attached toilet, at least try to cover up the smell. Save your word document and plug in this sucker: The USB Aroma Generator from Thanko. Choose one out of three different scents for you to suck in through your nostrils and control it via your PC. We all know this has to be worth every penny if it's taking up a whole USB port right? No word yet on what scents it comes with until you buy it… oooh mysterious. Will it be old socks or eau de poo? I can't wait. $69.00 if you stink a lot and need something like this.

Mini HDD - So Shiny!
This is a mini hard drive that comes in 2, 4, or 6 gigabytes capacities. The nice thing is that it is fairly cheap for an item of its calibre. It is fully powered by USB, spins at 4200rpms and come in at $99 for 2GB. Best of all, this thing is shiny.

Flash Memory + Wireless Mouse
Arvel Corporations will be releasing a new groundbreaking product. They managed to take the two most overcrowded gadget categories and combine them into a sick twist deformed bstard gadget child. It is a combination wireless mouse and USB flash memory. The receiver acts as both the USB flash drive and also the receiver for the wireless mouse. Cool stuff.

All right! Now what do you get here in Dhaka? USB Mice. USB Keyboards. USB Memory Card readers. BORING!

But seriously, what else did you expect? Anyway, over at niloywrites.blogspot.com I'll be putting up this with links to all the product pages… and of course, if you want to know anything more or want to report something cool you've found here, direct your emails to niloy.me@gmail.com



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