Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) Review

Posted in Amazing Spider-Man 2 with tags , , , on August 29, 2014 by Last Road Reviews


*** Out of 5

Tagline- His Greatest Battle Begins!

Release Date- May 2nd, 2014

Running Time- 141-Minutes

Rating- PG-13

Screenplay- Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci & Jeff Pinkner

Director- Marc Webb

Starring- Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Paul Giamatti with Campbell Scott and Sally Field

When it comes to the Hollywood blockbuster films I can’t honestly say I’m not much of a fan at least starting in the mid-90s with the beginning of the Michael Bay era. Now sure there are plenty of big Hollywood films I’ve loved, but the good bulk I either find decent with little desire to see again or I disliked them. The Spider-Man series is one of the exceptions as I’ve enjoyed them and I might even lean towards the Amazing Spider-Man being my favorite and I’m a big Sam Raimi fan and while I loved the first two as stated I might lean more towards the Amazing Spider-Man, but its a close call. I’ve heard a lot of negatives comments about the 2nd film and due to the running time (and not being again a big Hollywood person despite enjoying this series) I decided to hold off until home video. I went it hoping for the best, but kind of expecting the worst since I was told its the Batman & Robin of the Spider-Man series. When all is said and done I didn’t find the Amazing Spider-Man 2 to be a terrible film, but its also far inferior to the first film (or 4th depending on even if the last was the start of a new series). I think the best way to put it is while I didn’t hate this I also have no real desire to see it again.

The screenplay was written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci & Jeff Pinkner and from a plotting standpoint it isn’t very well done and it seems to me the film runs in circles in particular with Peter and Gwen (Stone). It just felt like the sane scene written over and over again. The new editions to the cast make zero impact as Harry Osborn (DeHaan) and his whole story arc is weakly written and just not very interesting and his transition to the Green Goblin for me fails. In the Raimi series I liked the relationship between Peter and Harry, but here there’s no depth to it. The main villain here is Electro (Foxx) and while in someways he was a sympathetic villain, but he’s so underused I found myself not even caring at all. Amazing Spider-Man 2 relies on story and character, but neither is nearly as strong as the first and this could have used more action as it would have helped covered up the subpar screenplay. The script isn’t a compete mess as there are some fun moments and solid ideas, but again I just felt as if the script kept going in circles.

Director Marc Webb returns and what a difference between films. The Amazing Spider-Man was one of my favorite films of 2012 to be exact my 3rd favorite (Django Unchained and Dark Knight Rises were my top 2). As much as I love Sam Raimi I would again probably favor the Amazing Spider-Man, but this film is quite sluggish in its pacing and at 141-minutes its way too long. While a lot of the issues could be placed on the script, but Webb fails to bring much to the film as well. Webb does handle the action scenes fairly well and he does bring some excitement to them, but there’s no energy in the story side of the film and as mentioned the film relies on story and characters and it makes for a film that’s more boring than anything else. The biggest issue though at least for me was the death of Gwen Stacy; quite honestly I found it quite anti-climatic and underwhelming and it lacked the emotional impact. I’m not sure what went wrong here as it feels like a different filmmaker and like I said a lot of the issues were on the writing and I’d blame that more than the direction, but I did expect more since Marc Webb made a truly wonderful film with the Amazing Spider-Man and this was just sort of blah.

Really what salvages the film and at the very least keeps it watchable were the once again terrific performances by Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. They both work so well together and have a natural onscreen charisma (Stone in particular). Whenever I think of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield will be the first person that comes to mind. While the rest of the cast is also strong, but are all totally failed by their writers, but while Garfield and Stone are also failed by the writing to some degree, but both are so fun to watch they make the material seem a little better than it actually is.

Overall the Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn’t really a bad film, but it isn’t all that good either. For me this was quite a disappointment, but its a major step backwards for the franchise and while it turned a profit it didn’t gross as much as the studio expected and I’m not surprised. The film gets off to a pretty good start, but soon begins to unravel and it really could have used some editing since the story wasn’t strong enough for 141-minute film. As mentioned the action takes a backseat and this film could have very much used more to cover up the flaws. The first film had the perfect balance of both and if anything I’d go as far to say the Peter Parker scenes were the strongest of the film, but the sequel is the complete opposite. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are truly wonderful and help make up for some of the flaws, but too bad their performances weren’t rewarded with a better film.









Amazon Jail (1982) Review

Posted in Amazon Jail with tags , , on August 27, 2014 by Last Road Reviews


*** Out of 5

Release Date- 1982

Running Time- 93-Minutes

Rating- NR

Screenplay- A. Palacios & O. DE Oliveira

Director- Osvaldo de Oliveira

Starring- Elisabeth Hartman, Sergio Hingst, Mauricio do Valle, Sandra Graffi

Released in 1982 Amazon Jail is the 2nd film by Osvaldo de Oliveira that I’ve seen with the first being Bare Behind Bars. I actually never heard of Oliveira before until I picked up the Bad Girls Behind Bars Collection from Blue-Underground, which included this film and Bare Behind Bars as well as three films by Jess Franco. Both of Oliveira’s films were previously released in single editions by Blue-Underground several years before the set so I’m quite surprised I didn’t at the very least know of Oliveira. Between the two films I’ve seen by Oliveira I would give an edge to Bare Behind Bars as its silly fun, which I think was intentional, but does take a meaner approach in the final act and many of the sex scenes were actually hardcore. The one area Amazon Jail has over Bare Behind Bars are the women are better looking as none were all that attractive in the other film while some were ok they are far better looking here. Amazon Jail is a Brazilian film and while the film obviously isn’t European its very much Euro-sleaze.

Women are being lured and than kept captive and forced to have sex with men for money. A few of the girls manage to escape, but are than taken captive by another group of men and once again stage an escape.

The screenplay was written by Alfredo Palacios & Osvaldo de Oliveira under the names A. Palacios & O. DE Oliveira. Palacios besides co-writing was also a producer on the film. The script is your typical WIP film and I don’t think anyone really cares about the writing. Unlike Bare Behind Bars, Amazon Jungle is written a little more straight, but isn’t without plenty of silly dialogue.

As director Osvaldo de Oliveira crafts a film that’s quite fun and with the silly dialogue and poor dubbing it only adds to the fun factor. The pace of the film starts off strong, but does get a little sluggish, but seeing as the film is a hack job Osvaldo de Oliveira mostly manages to keep Amazon Jail fun and there’s no shortage of nudity, which also helps the pace.

Overall Amazon Jail is an entertaining film loaded with silly dialogue, poor dubbing and a whole lot of nudity. While this film is by no means an essential in the WIP film fans of the genre should find enough here to make it a worthy viewing.



Bare Behind Bars (1980) Review

Posted in Bare Behind Bars with tags , , on August 26, 2014 by Last Road Reviews


*** Out of 5

Tagline- Behind Bars No One Can Hear You Scream

Release Date- 1980

Running Time- 95-Minutes

Rating- NR

Writer/Director- Osvaldo de Oliveira

Starring- Maria Stella Splendore, Marta Anderson, Danielle Ferrite, Neide Ribeiro

Released in 1980 Bare Behind Bars is a sleazy exploitation film very much in the style of Euro-sleaze only this film isn’t from Europe, but South America, Brazil to be exact. The film was written and directed by Oswaldo de Oliveira (the credits spell his name with a V rather than W). I never heard of de Oliveira until I saw this film and I’m quite intrigued by him. If you’re looking for a plot well this isn’t the film for you. This WIP (Women in Prison) is sexploitation. Bare Behind Bars is 95-minutes and I’d say 95% of that running time is filled with girl on girl action with a couple of guy on girl scenes. One thing you should know is some of the sex scenes are simulated, but there is also some hardcore action as well. If its sex you want you get it in spades. One scene of girl on girl features one getting a dildo used on her and you can see its really being used. Another scene has a delivery man getting head from a prison guard and he also goes down on her and I’ll assume the sex was real as well. There is another scene of a girl going down on a guy and the last sex scene also is hardcore as we can clearly see that much. If anything Oswaldo de Oliveira sort of reminds me of a Brazilian version of Joe D’Amato.

The biggest problem with Bare Behind Bars is the cast isn’t exactly the best looking lot. While the girls aren’t ugly they aren’t nearly as active as most women in WIP films. However they are decent looking enough and regardless seeing as they’re nude throughout most people won’t be looking at their faces. I don’t think anyone goes into films like this looking for a plot, which is a good thing in the case of Bare Behind Bars since there is no plot at all. It’s just sex, nudity, sex, nudity and sex. If you like girl on girl action as much as I do well Bare Behind Bars is the film for you. But there really is zero plot and I’ve seen porn films that had a better plot than this film. There was a time when porn films were just that; they had plots and sex and Bare Behind Bars is the same only with less plot.

The script by Osvaldo de Oliveira seems like it was just patched together as a way to get girls naked and have sex. I’m not really even gonna mention much about the writing since again there’s no plot and if anything the final day 20-minutes have hint of a plot.

Director Osvaldo de Oliveira crafts a fun and silly film packed with nudity and sex throughout. My guess is the film at no time is really meant to be taken serious until the final act when Bare Behind Bars takes a darker and meaner approach. For the good portion of the film Oliviero just focuses on sleaze and while the sex scenes work they aren’t as graphic as you’d seen in porn even if they are hardcore. The last act of Bare Behind Girls is quite insane and is totally different than what came before. The three girls that escape attack a family, kill the wife, kill the husband than he’s castrated and its fed to the dog to stop it from barking than they sexually assault a young boy! Later one girl while going down on a guy castrates him and shoves his you know what in his mouth.

For me outside of the girl on girl action the best part of the film was Marta Anderson as Barbara the Insane Nurse. Fans of cult cinema should recognize Anderson from the 1985 exploitation film Massacre in Dinosaur Valley, which sometimes goes under the title Cannibal Ferox 2. Anderson is hysterical and all her scenes are quite fun.

Overall Bare Behind Bars is a silly and campy sex romp with hardcore action. This isn’t the holy grail of the WIP film, but its a nice addition to a style of film from days gone by. While the girls aren’t exactly Pam Grier they are decent enough looking and again doubtful anyone really focuses on their faces! While its campy throughout the final act takes a different approach and the sexual assault of a pre-teen boy is quite shocking.










Women’s Prison Massacre (1983) Review

Posted in Women's Prison Massacre with tags , , , , , , , on August 25, 2014 by Last Road Reviews


** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- The Killing Never Stops

Release Date- August 31st, 1983

Running Time- 89-Minutes

Rating- NR

Screenplay- Claudio Fragasso & Olivier Lefait

Director- Bruno Mattei (As Gilbert Roussel)

Starring- Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti, Ursula Flores, Lorraine De Selle, Franca Stoppi and Carlo De Mejo

The Women in Prison genre was fairly successful in the 70s, but in 1969 Jess Franco’s 99 Women is sort of the film where the formula for the WIP film started, but as I stated in other reviews for these kind of films the Roger Corman productions of the early 70s with films such as Women in Cages, The Big Bird Cage and the Big Doll House were the ones that kick started these films and most filmmakers followed their style even if 99 Women had a slight jump ahead. Throughout the 70s there were plenty of WIP films made, but by the 80s they were starting to fade. Released in 1983 Women’s Prison Massacre is a late entry in the WIP film and I’m not sure if anyone really cared about these films by this time and after seeing Women’s Prison Massacre I’m sure people cared even less. Women’s Prison Massacre has a nice cult following and its quite easy to see why, but by this time the WIP film was more or less a tired act and while cult filmmaker Bruno Mattei takes the basic elements and throws in a few other ideas to the mix it just for me wasn’t working.

Bruno Mattei has gained a large cult following and I can easily get his appeal as I’m a fan of such filmmakers as Juan Piquer Simon (Pieces, Slugs) and Ed Wood (Plan 9 from Outer Space), but I never really got into Mattei in general except Hell of the Living Dead though I have issues with that film and its mostly the opening and closing act I enjoyed, but I did find Rats to be more or less a fun time. And of course there was his partner in crime Claudio Fragasso who wrote a lot of films for Mattei before becoming a director and like Mattei I never really got into Fragasso with the exception of Troll 2, which was one of the ultimate so bad its good films, but point is its kinda fitting two of the worst would form a partnership. Also working with Mattei and Fragasso was Rosella Drudi who is married to Claudio Fragasso and the three formed a match made in bad movie cinema, but Rosella wasn’t involved in this.

Emanuelle (Gemser) a reporter gets too close in exposing a corrupt official is sent to prison where its run by a cruel warden (De Selle). However things take a turn for the worse when male inmates trying to escape take over the prison.

The screenplay was written by Claudio Fragasso & Olivier Lefait and the film is poorly plotted with mostly dull characters. Basically the characters are copies of those from past WIP films and by this time it was a tired act. Outside of the male inmates taking over the prison its your basic WIP film, which again by 1983 was pretty much dead. Like I said I get the appeal of Fragasso as both a writer and director, but most of his films I find rather dire with again the exception of Troll 2 and to a lesser degree Zombie 3.

Director Bruno Mattei under the name Gilbert Roussel delivers a very sluggishly paced film. After a slow start, Mattei crafts some fun scenes and Women’s Prison Massacre works on the so bad its good level, but around the midway mark the pace again gets sluggish and I found it a chore to get through at times. While the final act picks up a bit, but by this point I no longer really cared and I’ve seen this all before only done far more entertaining. Fans of Bruno Mattei will no doubt find plenty to enjoy here, but I’ve never really been a huge fan and this was the typical poor paced film by Mattei with some fun moments.

The cast is actually quite strong here with plenty of notable stars from Italian horror such as Lorraine De Selle (House by the Edge of the Park, Cannibal Ferox), Carlo De Mejo (City of the Living Dead), Franca Stoppi (Beyond the Darkness) and of course Laura Gemser of the Black Emanuelle series. After her acting career was over Gemser would continue to work in film as a crew member and was a Costume Designer on Troll 2.

Overall Women’s Prison Massacre in my opinion was quite poor though with that said there were a couple of fun moments, but not enough to make too much out of this. If you’re a fan of Bruno Mattei I’m sure you’ll find plenty here to enjoy, but as stated I’m not really into Mattei and after a decent start I lost interest and was sort of bored throughout. However with that said I would watch this again.

There is one thing of note here a male inmate attempts to rape a female inmate unaware she’s put a razor blade in her well you know. That was the only real highlight.










Final Terror (1983) Review

Posted in Final Terror with tags , , , , , on August 22, 2014 by Last Road Reviews


** Out of 5

Tagline- Without Knowing They Have Awakened an Unknown Force

Release Date- May 1st, 1983

Running Time- 82-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Jon George, Neil D. Hicks & Ronald Shusett

Director- Andrew Davis

Starring- John Friedrich, Adrian Zmed, Rachel Ward, Daryl Hannah, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Metcalf

The Final Terror was filmed in 1981, but went unreleased as it couldn’t find distribution until 1983 and that’s due to Adrian Zmed gaining some fame on the TV series T.J. Hooker, which of course starred William Shatner and Daryl Hannah appearing in Blade Runner. After this film a couple of other cast members would find some fame over the years such as Rachel Ward, Lewis Smith and Joe Pantoliano. I’m not too surprised Final Terror went unreleased for a couple of years as the film was made more or less to capitalize on the growing success of the slasher film, but when looking at the slasher films of the time Final Terror was made it lacks the violence, gore and nudity often found in these films and director Andrew Davis seems uninterested in taking the film down that road. After this film not only would many of the actors find success so would director Andrew Davis as his very next film was in 1985 with Code of Silence, which starred Chuck Norris and he would also direct Above the Law, which was the film debut for Steven Seagal and he would re-team with Seagal a few years later with Under Siege, but perhaps his biggest success would be the Fugitive, which starred Harrison Ford. Even the writer Ronald Shusett would find some success though I guess by this time he already did since Shusett has a story credit on Alien and wrote Dead & Buried. After this Shusett would write Above the Law (as noted directed by Davis) and he would also write Total Recall (original) and the Emilio Estevez film Freejack.

A group of forest rangers decide to go camping in the woods, which turns out to be a huge mistake as an unseen killer is on the prowl.

The screenplay by Jon George, Neil D. Hicks & Ronald Shusett is quite subpar as it features a boring plot and equally as boring characters. There is isn’t anything really interesting about the screenplay and its so forgettable its tough to even review. While these films aren’t known for featuring great writing, but the script for the Final Terror is basically bottom of the barrel and it makes other 80s slashers look like Oscar contenders.

Andrew Davis would go onto have a solid career with some excellent films, however Final Terror is better off forgotten. While stylishly shot by Davis under the alias Andreas Davidescu, the Final Terror lacks any identity as its never exactly sure what it wants to be. Andrew Davis has stated he isn’t much of a horror fan, but I suppose a job is a job. No doubt this film was made to capitalize on the growing success of the slasher film, but Davis never wants to fully go down that road as the slasher aspects are kept to a minimum, but even when playing up to slasher conventions, the Final Terror is still quite subpar, but they’re also the strongest (and I use that term lightly) parts of the film. The biggest issue is there’s no sense of pace as this film is quite sluggish where even a two minute span seems like an eternity and despite running at only 82-minutes the film feels way longer and quite honestly getting through the film was quite the chore. Some have cited the atmosphere is the only thing this film has going for it, but even that I felt was quite weak. I’m not really sure what his intentions exactly were, but the Final Terror is quite poor with no suspense, poor pacing and boring death scenes that aren’t very well staged despite the low budget.

Overall the Final Terror is in my opinion quite a weak film and though the film does actually have a decent cult following there’s good reason the film is more forgotten than remembered. Really the only thing the film has going for it is the solid cast, but even they can’t salvage the film. The Final Terror was released on blu-ray on July 1st, 2014 and since the original negative is now lost, Scream Factory patched it together from a few different masters and I’m not really sure it was worth the effort. The HD quality is better than expected when taking into account how it was put together. There’s even a decent amount of extras and the release is far superior to the actual film.








Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974) Review

Posted in Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires with tags , , , on August 21, 2014 by Last Road Reviews


** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Deadly Horrors! Dragon Thrills! The First Kung Fu Horror Spectacular!

Release Date- July 11th, 1974

Running Time- 84-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Don Houghton

Director- Roy Ward Baker

Starring- Peter Cushing, David Chiang, Julie Ege, Robin Stewart, Shih Szu

Released in 1974 the Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, which also goes under such titles as The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula and the Seven Brothers Vs. Dracula is a co-production between Hammer Studios and the Shaw Brothers and with both these companies involved fan expectation is bound to be high, but in the end at least for me it was a film that’s never quite sure what it exactly wants to be and while the film is entertaining in spots I also found it quite dull. On paper this film was probably a great idea mixing the style of Hammer and the Shaw Brothers, but for me something was missing, but with that said the Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires has built up quite a cult following and while I didn’t hate the film or anything I just didn’t really connect with the film as much as I had wanted to.

With the help of Professor Van Helsing (Cushing), 7 siblings help take down vampires terrorizing a small village in China.

The screenplay was written by Don Houghton who also wrote Dracula A.D., the Satanic Rites of Dracula. The script by Houghton I felt was quite subpar with boring characters and while the concept is different and fun it felt too straight forward and while I’m not sure if that was the intentions, but to me at least it comes across as too seriously written when it would have been better served going for more camp value, which again it could have, but it just didn’t come across that way for me.

Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires was directed by Roy Ward Baker best known for such films as The Vampire Lovers, Scars of Dracula, And Now the Screaming Starts and the Vault of Horror to only name a few. Apparently this film was co-directed by Chang Cheh, but only Baker is credited. While the film has a fun setup, Baker plays things straight, which sometimes can add unintentional comedy to a film like this, but not here as the film lacks the fun it very much needed. The martial arts scenes are fairly well staged and fun to some degree, but nothing really stands out to be honest, but when all is said and done they’re effective enough. Pacing can be a bit sluggish at times, but the final act is when Baker (and Cheh) are able to deliver some fairly fun scenes, but not enough to fully salvage the film from average or just a notch below. Roy Ward Baker would make his final theatrical film in 1981 with the Monster Club, which starred Vincent Price, John Carradine and Donald Pleasence and after that he would only direct TV movies or episodes of TV shows before retiring in 1992 and Baker would pass away at the age of 93 on October 5th, 2010.

Christopher Lee was offered the part of Dracula, but passed after reading the script, which isn’t much of a surprise and the role than went to John Forbes-Robertson. Peter Cushing reprises his role of Van Helsing for the final time and while the script was a bit of a mess, Cushing however brings a touch of class, but one has to wonder why he agreed to do the film in the first place. Either he just really loved the role of Van Helsing or the money was good. Outside of Cushing the only other real standout here was Shih Szu as Mei Kwei.

Despite my rating and mostly negative sounding review I didn’t dislike Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, but I have no real desire to see it again anytime soon. While the film does draw mixed reviews it has built up a decent cult following, but it just wasn’t for me.




Wolf Creek 2 (2014) Review

Posted in Wolf Creek 2 with tags , , on August 20, 2014 by Last Road Reviews


*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- Mick’s Back with a Few Days to Kill

Release Date- February 20th, 2014

Running Time- 106-Minutes

Rating- NR

Screenplay- Greg McLean & Aaron Sterns

Director- Greg McLean

Starring- John Jarratt, Ryan Corr, Shannon Ashlyn, Phillipe Klaus

After nearly a decade after Wolf Creek comes the sequel, which has drawn some mixed reaction. The original film for the most part got a passing grade and in my opinion was a terrific feature film debut for Greg McLean. Most of the complaints were it took too long to get started and there wasn’t enough action. McLean could have taken the easy way out and made a film with constant violence and gore with faceless victims. When filmmakers do just that people complain and when they avoid that people still complain. Wolf Creek 2 is more of the film it seemed some people wanted with the original and they get it and yet still complain. Wolf Creek 2 has a bit more action and a lot more gore and characters are in danger pretty much from the start until the end, but its still missing that little something that made the original work so well. However for the good part of its running time Wolf Creek 2 is quite fun and tense at times, but for me the film begins to unravel a bit in the final act, which made me lower my rating as it seems never ending. Outside of the final act Wolf Creek 2 was solid, but far inferior to the original.

The plot is more or less the same as the original with Mick Taylor (Jarratt) killing off tourists in the Australian outback. The screenplay was written by Greg McLean & Aaron Sterns and overall its fairly well written in at least as far as sequels go. The script pretty much relies on the original in plot, but it isn’t a carbon copy either. The characters aren’t quite as strong as the original, but in someways they’re equal as well. I for one liked the German tourists and while not very well developed I also liked Paul (Corr) since he accidentally gets caught in the middle. This time around Mick Taylor plays a much larger part and some complained he’s sort of become Freddy Krueger from the later Elm Street films and I’d agree with that. In the original Mick was kind of funny, but in a really creepy way, but here while still a bit creepy he isn’t as chilling and he also gets to be a bit too likable due to the one liners. McLean & Sterns write a fairly strong script that isn’t as light on character development as some have claimed, but in my opinion the script does suffer from many of the flaws often found in sequels.

As director Greg McLean crafts a fun and well paced film for the good portion of the running time. Even though there isn’t any action within the first 40 or so minutes in the original there’s something sinister lurking under the surface and that’s something Wolf Creek 2 is lacking despite having a lot more action. The original was very much a throwback to 70s exploitation films whereas Wolf Creek 2 is more in the style of an 80s splatter film. There’s some excellent gore scenes and the first one will no doubt even get a reaction from even the most jaded gore hound. Some of the comedy is out of place (the Kangaroo scene while fairly amusing breaks up the tension) and the tone at times a little silly, but the film is also quite tense in spots and suspenseful. Greg McLean delivers a solid film, but as mentioned I felt the final act was way overly long and Wolf Creek 2 runs out of steam.

The cast is quite strong and John Jarratt is again terrific as Mick. While again in my opinion he isn’t quite as chilling here he’s still fairly creepy and Jarratt deserves all the credit he gets for both Wolf Creek films.

Overall I liked Wolf Creek 2 and while it isn’t perfect the film is still effective for the most part. As stated it was the final act that started to lose me, but outside of that while I prefer the original film, Wolf Creek 2 is a worthy follow up.






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