Thursday, May 20, 2010

At The Central Station In KL

I went to Kuala Lumpur again, to attend VMWare's tech day. The event was mostly a product pitch, but it is a useful one to find out what virtualisation people have been up to in the industry, and what's available in Malaysia.

Anyway, on the trip back, I found these awesome automatic massage chairs at KL Sentral:
I sat in one for half an hour (It's one ringgit for every 3 minutes) and you feel great while sitting in the chair (like getting a massage from a Terminator). When you get up, you're still kind of sore all over, but less sore than before you sat in the chair.

Here are crowds of people going about their business at the station. I had a lasagna for dinner, which wasn't bad considering it's train station food.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Iron Man 2


Here's one hotly-anticipated movie that's not really out yet in North America, but for some reason it opened a week early in Malaysia. With all the hype and expectations piled on it, Jon Favreau had his work cut out for him to make a comic book movie sequel that would be as awesome as Spider-Man 2, or X-Men 2, or the Dark Knight. Now that I've seen it, I can tell you this movie doesn't quite hit that mark. Perhaps I expected too much. Now that I've seen it, I can tell you that it's a pretty decent comic book flick, the level of quality being roughly the same as The Incredible Hulk movie (the one with Edward Norton). It's neither great nor terrible, but entertaining enough to spend 10 bucks on. Spoilers follow, so be warned.

The previous movie already established Iron Man as a hero. So as this sequel opens, we get to see Tony Stark be a loved celebrity, and him being the narcissistic bastard that he is, enjoys every minute of the attention he's getting. However, things aren't as happy as they seem for our techno-genius hero; his arc-reactor is slowly poisoning him to death with... lethal radiation or something. The problem is, despite his genius he can't find a workaround. Knowing that he is slowly dying, he loses control and becomes a crazy drunken party animal, much to the chagrin of his friends who know nothing of his illness. In the meantime, a Russian guy (Whiplash from the comics) who hates the Starks is building an arc-reactor of his own, and is out for blood. By the end of the first act, Whiplash and Iron Man fight it out on a racetrack in a spectacular action scene. Iron Man wins, the Russian is captured, and the second act begins.

The middle part of the movie is when the writing begins to falter, as we get to see Tony Stark go nuts. This is what bothers me about the story. Part one established that Tony is a changed man from his hostage ordeal. While he is still a crazy and smug party animal (and enjoying it), deep down he has developed resolve and determination to do what is necessary to make things right. Part two throws this out the window; Tony has apparently lost his inner hero. While this could have been an interesting character development if done right, it was an unconvincing and jarring transition for me. The crazy-Tony parts just didn't work.

By act three, Tony has figured out how to fix his arc-reactor so that it doesn't harm him, and the process of doing so depends on a McGuffin that felt incredibly forced and hokey, even for a comic book movie. Again, the film loses points here. Once Tony's pacemaker is all fixed up, he once again becomes heroic and it's final battle time! The end battle is big, loud and explosive, like you'd expect a summer action movie to be.

So that sums up the Iron Man 2 experience; big, loud and explosive. It's visually impressive, but fails in the character development department.

If you watch this movie, make sure to stay until after the credits. You'll get to see a familiar-looking item.