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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | "Rick Jones II" Review
   

Rick Jones II
The machinima world in general has come on a long way in the last couple of years, from recording games of Quake to actually making hour and a half long films. Rick Jones II is one such film.
  — by Ben Moss


What do you get if you cross the 60's Batman series with Shaft? Answer: "Rick Jones II". "Rick Jones II" is a piece of machinima based around the life of a 70's style cop made in Quake II by a machinima production company called P1mpslap. For those of you who don't know what machinima is, it's basically a film medium using 3D games such as Quake II, Quake III Arena and Unreal to create a virtual world that can be filmed - you might have seen recent films like "Quad God" or "Father Frags Best", made in Quake III and Quake II, respectively. For more information on these types of movies, visit machinima.com.

A scene from Rick Jones II

In many of the early pieces of machinima the voice acting, if any, was particularly poor, and it was only just possible to make it out from the background sound effects anyway. "Rick Jones II" is a fine example of the quality that has come to be expected in the modern machinima community. There is a wide variety of background music as you would expect from any conventional film, and the voice acting, from Artaik (the Pimp) in particular, is of a very high standard. For those of you who have watched, or tried creating machinima before, the range of unique animations within "Rick Jones" is well worth looking out for. In fact, it is the animation for which this film is claiming headlines in the machinima community more than anything else.

The plot itself is far from groundbreaking: two cops find drugs ring, investigation goes wrong, they get suspended but carry on anyway... It's been seen a hundred times before, but then that doesn't stop Hollywood attempting to make films in that style, so why should it stop anyone else? Many of the films in this genre have a comedic touch that keeps the audience watching. If it weren't for the comedy films like the "Lethal Weapon" series would not have done anywhere near as well as they did, and this is the key issue. If a film has these comedic touches, witty one-liners and the like then people will enjoy watching it even if the plot itself is nothing special. "Rick Jones II" falls firmly within this group as the comedy aspects keep you coming back. There are several references to other productions, some subtle, others blatant. For example, the "Batman" fight scene is very well placed and fits beautifully with the rest of the film. The only downside to this is that not all of these references will necessarally be fully appreciated by the audience. One of the characters in particular involves what is very much an in joke from the first "Rick Jones" movie and a conversation between a couple of the creators. In general if something seems just that little bit too bizarre then you can be fairly sure it is a veiled reference to something else. This can get a bit annoying but the film is well worth persevering with as the majority of these references are fairly obvious and none of them are in any way vital to understanding, or enjoying the film.

 
I'd do what he said if I were you.

Probably the most startling aspect of "Rick Jones II", especially for those who have played a great deal of Quake or Quake II is the atmosphere of the whole thing compared to that of the original game from which it was made. Most people could describe the feel of Quake II in one or two words, dark or gothic, (or brown and green!) and to watch Rick Jones II you would never know that they were in many ways one and the same. Even "Quad God", another modern piece of machinima, could be said to have fallen into this atmosphere trap (although it should be noted that "Quad God"'s appeal came from elsewhere). Gone are the brown and green industrial textures, missile firing cyborgs and vast arsenals of different weapons. In are offices, quiet streets and organised crime syndicates. If you had to liken "Rick Jones II" to another conventional peice of film, it would probably be a cross between the 60's Batman series and Shaft. An odd combination certainly, but one that appears to come off well. The openning scene, in many ways, sets the level on which this film should be viewed. If you are expecting a hugely complex plot with more twists and turns than, well, something with lots of twists and turns I suppose (that definitely didn't come out as well as I was hoping) then "Rick Jones II" is probably not for you. On the other hand if what you're looking for is a light hearted piece of "super-fly" entertainment then it's more than worthwhile looking into.


Ben Moss


More "Rick Jones 2" and machinima info:

- machinima.com's Rick Jones 2 "post-mortem"
- The "Rick Jones 2" homepage
- machinima.com's interview with Anthony Bailey of Quake Done Quick


Questions? Comments? Rotten fruit? Send it all to feedback!

 


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