Jun 21, 2017

Blood Drive - First Impressions


Premiering last Wednesday, Blood Drive is the newest original SyFy series. While the channel may be best known for it's so bad they're good original movies, a lot of their series have been good enough to watch unironically.

I'm a big fan of Roger Corman's Death Race 2000 so I've been eagerly watching the countdown to Blood Drive peeling off the starting line. When I saw the first trailer, it felt like it might be a spiritual successor to Death Race. The Jason Statham reboot series was fun for what it was but it felt more like a video game movie. The direct to Netflix sequel, Death Race 2050 might become a classic in another 20 or 30 years in its own way.


I don't want to give too much away but here's a little rundown.

In a dystopian 1999, thanks to global warming oil is $2000 a barrel, food is scarce, and water is strictly regulated. The police are now contractors sold off to a corporation. For some, the promise of Blood Drive's $10 million prize money is the only shot for decent life.

 After busting up some dregs hacking a water ATM, Officer Bailey (possibly the only decent cop left) finds out about Blood Drive, a ruthless race where the cars run on human blood. He makes it his mission to put an end to the race but gets caught by the race organizers. He gets partnered with vicious vixen Grace and forced into the race thanks to linked sub-dermal implants that can be triggered remotely to explode. And if you come in last place at a checkpoint? BOOM!

On the first leg of the race, there's an abundance of swearing, partial nudity, an assortment of deviant and depraved oddballs, and plenty of blood! Not the CGI junk, good ol fashioned, splattering the actors, practical stuff.


The show promises to deliver a new favorite grindhouse staple every week like cannibals, cults, Amazons, and more. If the first episode is anything to go by, the series will be something you'd expect from a name like Midnight Grindhouse. In fact, I still can't believe SyFy is airing this and not Netflix. Watching this made me feel like a teenager watching something on cable they're not supposed to and worrying the parents might walk in at any minute. I just would not expect this on SyFy!

For some people, Blood Drive might be a guilty pleasure but I am fully in touch with my B-movie side and totally embrace it! I found it a hell of a lot of fun and can't wait to see what weirdness is down the road in the coming weeks.

One of the highest praises I give a TV show or movie is that after watching it, I want to jump into some type of game based on it. Blood Drive is right there! I want an RPG sourcebook with more info on the world and racers. I want a video game where you take part in the race. For now, I'll have to tune in to SyFy Wednesday nights.

If you hurry, you can catch up to the pack before the second episode tonight. Wouldn't want you to come in last and have your head explode! You can watch online at SyFy, YouTube (you can find the first three eps if you poke around), and Amazon Prime.

Jun 15, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol2 Trading Cards - Retail

As I mentioned in Tuesday's post about the GotG Hobby cards, companies will also make a series of "retail" trading cards. Normally, they release the same base set of cards to mass market outlets with lower chances of pulling hits but at a lower price which makes it more affordable to get the base set of cards. But not here. The cards you get at retail are completely different than the hobby cards.

Why would you make trading cards for one of the biggest summer movies and limit them to WalMart? The stores in my area are the absolute worst if you're looking for cards that are not sports or gaming related. And to put more salt in the wound, there were also promo cards released which are different still from the hobby or retail versions. Basically, there are three different sets of cards!


I don't have any of the promo cards because to get them, you had to buy a pack of underwear or t-shirts. $10-$15 for a 4 cards is not exactly cost efficient. Although individual non-insert promos are going for $3-5 each now.

The 50(!) card promo set has different inserts like blue or gold foils, die-cut cards, chrome-cut (think shiny silver), and super lucky people get a Dave Bautista or Stan Lee autograph! The promo cards have a WP before the number for Walmart Promo. These use a different layout than the hobby/retail cards, opting for a borderless look.

Promo cards (Image from Cardboard Connection)
Then we come to the regular, non-hobby, non-promo retail set. I haven't been able to find a checklist for these so I have no idea how many are in this set. The retail cards are numbered with the prefix RB for...retail box, I guess?

Retail cards
From the few packs I've managed to find, these seem to be character focused. The re-use of art (top row) almost makes me think these are aimed at a slightly younger audience. There are cards that look like they should be stickers (bottom left and right) and also blue foils that really make the images pop.

From what I've been able to gather online, the retail set also has their own hits.

Image from eBay
Honestly, I think these look better than the hobby wardrobe cards, such a cool way to do it.

The good news is, while researching the cards on eBay, it looks like the prices of a complete hobby set are coming down so I may be able to get them after all. It's just not as much fun buying it all at once as it is opening packs though.

Jun 13, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol2 Trading Cards - Hobby

The movie may have come and gone but that doesn't mean I'm done talking all things Guardians just quite yet!


I picked up some packs of trading cards when the first movie came out but never got around to getting a complete set. This time, I decided to treat myself to a hobby box. If you're not up on your trading card lingo, they will usually release retail cards (what you'd find at places like Target) and hobby cards (which if you don't have a specialty shop nearby, means mail order).

The difference is what you get in packs. Hobby packs have "premium hits" in them. You're generally guaranteed a couple of these if you buy a box. These can be things like sketch cards or autographs.

I found a decent price from an online retailer. As you might imagine, I was very excited the day my box of cards arrived. My first thought on opening it was, wow there's a lot of styrofoam packing in here. You see, in my giddiness to order the cards I didn't read the fine print. Well, it's not really fine, it's right there if you actually read. I'm used to seeing boxes of Star Wars cards which are usually 24 packs per box. This box has only 10 packs...for almost what I'd expect to pay for twice as many packs.

With the main set having 90 cards, there's no chance of even getting close to a complete set from this box of 80 cards. That was disappointing but I did get some cool stuff.

5x7 box topper & pack wrapper
Every box comes with a one of nine oversized 5x7 cards. Random boxes will have an oversized sketch instead. These are pretty cool and relatively cheap on the secondary market so I'm planning on picking up a couple more.


The 90 card base set covers the characters and movie story. Very similar to any movie trading cards you'd get when you were a kid. The cards themselves are great quality. Unfortunately, I won't be finishing the set anytime soon because I'm not buying any more boxes and there's nowhere around selling individual packs. Considering what I paid for this box of 10, I'm afraid to see what a store would charge for single packs.

And then there is what I consider the blight of the hobby...parallels.

Bronze, Blue, and Purple

I know people out there collect parallels but I have no use for them. To me, they're just taking advantage of collector OCD and using up a slot in the pack that could be a standard card to finish the set. They're called parallels because they, stay with me here, parallel the base set cards but are slightly different. In this case, they jazz up a base card with colored foil graphics. In the hobby set, there are five levels of foil parallels: Bronze (1:1.45 packs), Blue (x/199), Purple (x/99), Red (x/49), and Pink (x/10).

They didn't photograph great but the foil looks pretty good in person. I did get a few Bronze, couple Blue, and a Purple. The numbers up above mean they are limited print run. For example, the Purple I have is stamped on the back that it is 72/99, so there are only 98 other purple foils of that card. In that respect, it's kind of cool to have one of 99 in existence.


Then come the inserts. These are mini-sets of cards with a specific theme. They are: 15 card Behind the Lens, 12 card Family of Oddballs focusing on the characters, and 6 cards on the ships. These inserts are about 1:3 packs. I got a total of 8 in my 10 packs so that ain't bad!

Now we're into the really good stuff: the hits!


These were pretty thrilling to pull! They're Galactic Garb cards featuring a piece of  wardrobe used in production! I got the one on the right in the first pack I opened. It's pretty cool to get even a small piece of something that was used in the movie.

Here's a closer look at Drax's card.

There's nothing covering the fabric so you can feel the texture on it.


There's quite a variation in these cards. They can have up to four characters on one card. Some of them have an autograph on the card of the actor as well. I didn't get any of those but am pretty happy with what I did get. There is also another super-rare hit called Groot's Roots. It's a piece of real maple in card shape with an image burned into it!


There are 10 different ones and the odds are 1:65 packs, or one per 6.5 boxes! They have a range of $25-$100 on eBay. I might be tempted to pick one up at some point.

Speaking of eBay and picking stuff up, I did do a bit of online shopping to snag a few more wardrobe cards. I'd like to get one with each cast member.


I'm a little confused on the Rocket one because he's CGI. I know there is a stand in actor and I think I remember from Vol 1 behind the scenes that there is a physical Rocket stand-in as well. Maybe that's what this is from.

Tune in again Thursday when I'll be talking about the retail Guardians cards. It will be a much shorter post, I promise!

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