Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #4: Rocky Ends Communism


Yesterday we popped the cherry on the Top 5 of the Azn Badger’s Top 10 Manliest Man Moments list with a scene from a Godzilla movie.

That right there should tip you off to the fact that this list is very much my list of MANLY moments, and not just some cookie-cutter list for spoon-feeding to the masses.

That being said, our next moment comes courtesy of another one of my personal heroes, Sylvester Stallone.

Yeah, I made this. Damn proud of it too...

Now, as fucking awesome as Stallone movies can be, it’s common knowledge the majority of his filmography could be described as “hit and miss.”

When it comes to Stallone though, at the end of the day it all comes down to his 2 biggest characters and franchises:

Rocky and Rambo.

*GASP!* You mean Cobra wasn't one of Stallone's biggest hits!?

While I wouldn’t discover the MANLY majesty of the Rambo series until a bit later in life, the saga of Rocky Balboa was something I just couldn’t get enough of in my childhood.

Now, the character of Rocky Balboa might not be the cigar chomping paragon of MANLINESS that some of the other MEN on this list are, but make no mistake; Mr. Balboa is all that is MAN.

He’s the epitome of the classic underdog trope in cinema:

A big lovable retard with titanium MAN-BALLS of COURAGE, obsidian fists of AMERIKUHN JUSTICE, and a bionic heart pumped full of unflappable juices of MANHOOD.

ALL THAT IS MAN.

If all of that doesn’t spell AMERIKUHN HERO, I don’t know what does.

Over the course of his colorful 30+ year boxing career, Rocky Balboa did it all.

He fought and defeated the previously undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, after losing to him by a narrow margin in their previous bout:

... Then had a "moment" with him on the beach.

He defended his title several times, only to amazingly lose and regain it in stupendously entertaining back-to-back bouts with Mr. T:

Pictured: Mr. T taking one in the nuts.

He dumped a shit ton of his winnings into buying his brother-in-law a horny robot maid:

I don't wanna' know what goes on between these 2 after hours...

He avenged the death of his best friend by beating the ever-loving fuck out of the Dolph-inator himself, Dolph Lundgren:

And he even took the time to grow a pimp-ass beard!

He trained a rough-edged prospect to world championship status, only to later end up beating the shit out of said pupil in a random and highly illegal street fight:

Man, Tommy Morrison makes for one ugly fucking action figure..

And at the end of it all he ended his career by once again losing to a world champion half his age by a narrow split-decision:

... And succeeded in effectively ending Antonio Tarver's real-life boxing career.

Somewhere towards the middle of all this though, after buying the horny robot but before beating the piss out of his pupil; Rocky found time to do something truly MAN-great…

Something worthy of being ranked our 4th MANLIEST MAN moment in all of movies…

Something MANLIER than any mere boxing ring could contain…

Something…….. POLITICAL.

My greatest hope is that everyone reading this blog has seen Rocky IV, or failing that; at least knows the story of it.

Should anyone reading this blog not match any of these criteria, congratulations; you are both a pussy and a failure at life.

*ANYWAY* being as the beginning of Rocky IV deals with Rocky’s best buddy Apollo Creed getting killed in an exhibition match with the Swedish, I mean, COMMUNIST RUSSIAN death-machine Ivan Drago; naturally the final act of Rocky IV involves Mr. Balboa flying over to the USSR to pound some AMERIKUHN MAN JUSTICE into the giant Arian fuck’s face.

Unfortunately, unbeknowst to Rocky, Drago is packin’ the ‘roids; making the ensuing battle a clusterfuck of MANLY mayhem the likes of which the Eastern and Western world alike have never known:

CLICK FOR THE FIGHT

For nearly 15 rounds and nearly 10 minutes of screen time, Drago and Balboa slug it out; with Balboa falling to the mat no less than 7 times throughout.

Despite Drago out-landing Balboa about 10-to-1, someway, somehow; the Italian Stallion manages to power through the EPIC FIST-STORM of COMMUNIST RUSSIAN FACE-FUCKERY and do some damage of his own.

As evidenced by the announcer team making note of it just about every 30 seconds, the COMMUNIST RUSSIAN crowd seriously want Balboa’s nuts in their borscht.

Aw, how could anyone hate Rocky?

Also made apparent by the announcer team making note of it every 30 seconds though, is that part way through the fight, Balboa’s MAN-COURAGE in the ring is starts to win over the hearts and minds of the COMMUNIST RUSSIAN crowd.

Well okay then, I guess I'll have to take your word for it on that one.

At the end of the night, it all comes down to the 15th and final round, wherein Drago, is touched by the spirit of Rocky’s AMERIKUHN SPIRIT; turns his back on THE FUCKING POLITBURO, and says “Fuck it!” to fighting for the state in favor of fighting for MANLINESS.

Pictured: Russian Politics.

Despite possessing an incredible height and reach advantage, as well as being ahead on the scorecards by an absurd margin; Drago opts to fight the final round standing toe-to-toe with Balboa, thereby insuring his failure as a COMMUNIST MAN.

Sure enough, Balboa gets some good shots in downstairs, punches some WOMANLY MAN-tears out of Drago’s guts; and ends up flattening the big, Russian, Best-Friend Murderer in spectacular fashion.

The ref’s count reaches “10″ and all the previously anti-AMERIKUHN RUSSIANS in the crowd rush into the ring and drape the triumphant Rocky Balboa in an AMERIKUHN FUCKING FLAG that, I guess they just happened to have on hand…

Such is the MANLY-POWER of Rocky.

He can travel to a HOSTILE nation, inexplicably defeat a physically superior opponent as a massive underdog, and then end up winning over the crowd to such a MANLY extent, that they KNIT AN AMERIKUHN FUCKING FLAG during the course of an hour long fight.

Amerikuhn hero or not, that has got to be one stinky-ass armpit...

Equally, uh, inexplicable; is the fact that, after trouncing their champion, the living symbol of their people’s achievements in physical conditioning; the COMMUNIST RUSSIANS offer the marble-mouthed Rocky Balboa the opportunity to voice his thoughts on the fight over the PA system.

Realizing the EPIC-NESS of the opportunity presented to him, Balboa digs deep within his recently brain-damaged mind, and summons an unrehearsed MAN-SPEECH of world-changing POLITICAL MAN-POWER:

In one night, Rocky Balboa won the most physically demanding fight of his life, and single-handedly ENDED COMMUNISM in the USSR.

Thus concludes our 4th MANLIEST MAN moment.

We’ve got 3 more to go folks, with all the EPIC MANLINESS being slung around here, it’s hard to say whether or not we’ll all survive the experience; but godddamnit I’m gonna’ give it my best shot to see it through to the end!

Check back tomorrow for MANLY MAN moment #3!

Filed under: Boxing, Movies, Tokusatsu, Top 10 Manliest Man Moments, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rocky IV: The Russian Edit

I dug a 4 foot deep hole in the ground yesterday.

It took several hours, and the air reeked of shit throughout the entire ordeal, but it had to be done so… I went ahead and did it.

Unsurprisingly, I’m a little sore today, and as such; I really don’t feel like writing today.

That being said, I stumbled across a fun little fake trailer for Rocky IV had it been screened in the USSR.

Check it out over at Cracked.com here:

LINK

Filed under: Boxing, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Post Series: Villain Showdown

"You are next!"

Chong Li is one of the greatest villains in all of cinema history.

I suppose that that should be expected, given that Bloodpsort is already pretty much the best movie in all of cinema history…

Played by the perennial Chinese uber-beast, Bolo Yeung; Chong Li stands as one of the finest examples of the “silent giant” archetype of the fighting sub-genre of film.

Essentially picking up where Dolph Lundgren left off in Rocky IV, Chong Li manages to hit every note necessary to make for an awesome villain, despite having barely any lines of dialogue, let alone a significant amount of screen time.

Despite the aforementioned comparison to Ivan Drago, one could argue that Chong Li actually one-upped The Siberian Express in terms of overall savagery…

Huh, now that I think of it, that’s actually an argument worth, well; arguing.

Tell you what, tomorrow I’m going to start a new series of posts comparing the great villains of cinema history, head-to-head.

This series of posts will be called: Villain Showdown!

Check back tomorrow for the first match-up, Chong Li vs. Ivan Drago!

Filed under: Boxing, Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, Villain Showdown, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gee Willikers Batman! 50,000 Hits!?

... It's better if you don't ask.

SUPER SPECIAL BROWNIE POINTS TO ANYONE THAT RECOGNIZES THE DUDE IN THE HELMET IN THE TOP RIGHT CORNER!!!

Well folks, today the Azn Badger’s blog officially breached the 50,000 hit milestone.

For those that are keeping score at home, that’s a fuck-ton of hits.

Seriously man, I started this blog as a means of keeping myself busy while I was between jobs, but I never expected things to take off as much as they have.

That being said, it recently occurred to me that I’ve been writing this blog every day for over 200 days straight now; and yet I’m still going strong.

 

Pictured: Azn Badger after completing a blog post.

That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment in itself if you ask me.

Every time I have one of these milestone posts, I end up writing about what I feel I need to improve on, or what I need to change, or more often than not; how I’ll probably stop posting every day in the near future.

This time though, I’m gonna’ skip all that.

This time I’m just gonna’ say “thanks,” and go on doing what I’ve been doing for the past 50,000 hits.

So, with that I say thank you again to all who have been reading, and enjoy the communist Totoro celebratory image!

Here’s to 50,000 more hits in the near future!

Filed under: Boxing, Comics, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let’s Play Robocop, Part RAWK!

Well folks, it’s been a long time coming, but the Azn Badger has finally redeemed himself.

Ladies and gentleman, after weeks of diligent Rocky IV-esque caveman training, the Azn Badger has finally beasted the ever-loving fuck out of Robocop on the NES.

Just like Rocky, true victory (not that pussy-ass moral/spiritual victory shit) eluded me until the unnecessary, but awesomely over-the-top 10 minute rematch fight.

Rocky II: Stupid Movie, Great Fight...

Not that the final boss fight takes 10 minutes to complete, but you know what I mean…

Anyway, despite suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of a RED ED-209, (10 times as dangerous as the normal one!) prepared to wowed as the Azn Badger claims his revenge in form of a quick and brutal pwn-session!:

Filed under: Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Playstation Move + Sports Champions Review

Today I spent a good portion of my afternoon kickin’ it with my Korean buddy from up the street.

Pictured: Said Korean. He made this, not me.

Being as he’s a gadget oriented person, he saw fit to purchase the new Playstation Move on the first day of it’s release.

I was fortunate to be invited to christen the mighty motion control device along with him.

Color me surprised when I discovered that it was actually kind of fun to play.

Bear in mind, my impressions are, of course; derived solely from the Sports Champions disc packed with it.

Azn chick with a bow. Now that's not cliched imagery...

Like most gaming peripheral pack-in games I.E. Wii Sports, Super Scope 6, etc., Sports Champions could be viewed as little more than a tech-demo for the device, however in the case of the Move, it just happens to be a surprisingly deep and full-featured tech-demo.

FUCK. YES.

The game contains 6 different styles of play:

Archery, Ping Pong, Volleyball, Bocce Ball, Disc Golf, and a sword and shield Gladiator Duel.

I leave it to you to guess which game I insisted on playing most often.

"ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?"

While I didn’t have the opportunity (nor desire) to try the Volleyball game, I was pretty impressed with most of the others.

The Archery was pretty straightforward, and definitely favored speed over accuracy.

Much like how I favor this Robin Hood over any other.

I have to say, requiring the player to actually have to reach over their shoulder to pull the next arrow from their quiver was a nice touch.

Other than that though, the Archery game was definitely lacking without the use of a second Move controller to properly simulate the tensile strength on the string of the bow.

The second controller tracks the distance between the 2 to determine the strength of the shot. SCIENCE.

My friend is a gadget guy, but he’s also Azn, so I don’t expect he’ll be shelling out the cash for another controller any time soon.

Moving on, Ping Pong was definitely a standout among most of the games.

Ping Pong was the first game I was privy to trying my hand at, and as such, it served as my introduction to the technical capabilities of the Move.

TECHNICAL.

My first action in the game was to turn over my wrist before the serve, just to see how well the Move could track my motions.

I have to say, it was quite satisfying to see my on-screen avatar (some douche in sunglasses named Dallas) actually match my wrist gesticulations move for move.

Here’s a video of someone (who sucks) playing the same character:

Once I started the game, I found the controls to be quite intuitive and surprisingly true to life.

I was perhaps most impressed by the controller’s ability to keep up with my movements despite my wonky style of playing Ping Pong.

I play right-handed, but in a Southpaw stance… And I also play back-handed with the racquet held at my waist.

Pictured: The Azn Badger playin' Ping Pong.

Goofy yes, but effective against lower-tier players like myself.

Despite all that goofiness, the Move managed to keep up just fine, allowing me to actually get a win in Ping Pong before my friend, the owner of the device, even got a chance to.

Bocce Ball was kind of a mixed bag.

I played it hot-seat style with my 2 other friends, and we found that:

A): Bocce Ball is a game that is probably more fun when someone in the room knows the rules/objective of the game.

And B): Bocce Ball is a game best played in the presence of old people or feebs.

Pictured: The correct people to stomp on in Bocce Ball.

While pretty fun, especially whenever someone managed to accidentally make a nice shot, the real problem with Bocce Ball was the Move’s inability to simulate the weight of a Bocce Ball in your hand.

Trust me, when you’re trying to determine just how much man-force behind your Bocce throw, more often than not you’ll find yourself overthrowing.

This same problem was present when playing Disc Golf with the same 2 friends.

Thankfully, no one I know owns one of these.

Although in this case, the problem was much more pronounced.

Disc Golf was kind of like the Wii Bowling of the Sports Champion disc.

Once you “get it,” that is, figure out how to position your wrist and how much man-force to put behind your shots, for the most part you’ve pretty much figured out the game.

Though my friends and I didn’t come close to mastering Disc Golf in the short time we played it, I can say this:

Those of us who could straighten their wrists properly (not me) were consistently the victor in every match we played.

That being said, let’s cut through the bullshit and get down to talkin’ about the only game in Sports Champions that really matters:

GLADIATOR DUEL

I’ve played Gladiator Duel for about 4-5 hours total now, and I’ve gotta’ say, at least against the computer; it’s pretty fuckin’ fun.

The basic gameplay of Duel is that of a motion controlled sword fight.

Yes, you do in fact look THIS dorky when playing.

Remember how utterly weak-sauce the controls of Wii Boxing were?

You know how he landed that shot? By flailing around for 5 minutes and getting lucky, that's how.

Well, Gladiator Duel blows that shit outta’ the water.

Remember how every swing you performed in Wii Tennis, regardless of power or direction, would always result in a canned animation?

Pictured: Steven Spielberg spite-killing Shigeru Miyamoto at Wii Tennis.

Well, Gladiator Duel spreads it’s cheeks and drops a log all over that shit’s face.

Remember how Rocky successfully ended the reign of the communist reign of the USSR using only his fists and the magnificent man-force of his man-fists?

BOW BEFORE YOUR GOD.

Well, that has nothing to do with Gladiator Duel, but it was fuckin’ awesome…

Anyway, when playing Duel, swinging the Move controller results in any number of attacks, while doing the same motions while holding the trigger on the controller results in manipulation of the player’s shield.

Parries, that is defense using one’s sword are possible and indeed recommended, as are the use of lateral movement and backsteps.

There are numerous context sensitive actions available in the game, so many in fact that I found myself wondering how fun Gladiator Duel would be to play online with human players.

Here’s a clip, I don’t feel like fishing for pics right now:

Trust me when I say this, the game is far more intense once you step up the difficulty level.

I was quite impressed by the sheer volume of content available in Sports Champions, well, at least the Gladiator Duel portion of it.

Near as I can tell, there are 10 racially diverse player avatars to choose from, with apparently an additional six unlockable after completing all of the challenges for each sports event.

Pictured: The 2 Azn characters. Both are Japanese. Go figure.

My buddy and I managed to unlock Titus, the Roman gladiator-garbed boss character of the Gladiator Duel game.

Pictured: Titus and his trident wielding friend.

In addition to this, different weapon skins and costumes are unlockable for each character, but perhaps most importantly, many characters possess their own movement animations, with only a few being reused here and there.

Thankfully there wasn't a whole lot of this in Sports Champions...

Little details like that were certainly not necessary for the developers to release Sports Champions successfully, however they are ultimately what kept me from holding all that much against it.

I can honestly say that I’ll probably never invest in a Move, (I’d need a Playstation 3 first now, wouldn’t I?) however that doesn’t stop me from having a lot of fun playing it at a friend’s house.

A few words to potential purchasers:

My buddy was telling me that he tried using the Move in conjunction with the game Tiger Woods 11, only to find that the motion controls were stunningly inaccurate.

Also, the same buddy is still trying to find a game that stands out as being a must purchase for the Move.

To top things off, as mentioned earlier, many games seem to need a second controller to work properly, so that’s an extra $40 if you seriously wanna’ get the most out of your experience.

Oh well, that doesn’t stop me from pestering my buddy to buy another controller so we can try The Fight: Lights Out

Filed under: Boxing, Games, Kung Fu, Movies, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies, #7: Universal Soldier

*Note: I am aware that they may be better overkills out there, but c’mon; this is Van Damme vs. Ivan Drago we’re talking about…*

Universal Soldier is not a good movie.

Hell, it’s not even a good Van Damme movie.

Despite this, I doubt any of us will forget the supermarket sequence,

"I kick ass, I kiss ass, and I'm busting heads!"

or watching Van Damme kick the shit out of truckers for absolutely no reason.

"Goddamnt, I'm just trying to eat this tray of popcorn!"

Anyway, this list isn’t about hero worship; it’s about overkill, so let’s get to it.

CLICK HERE FOR CLIP

The overkill in question occurs during the final battle of the film between the 2 crazy, roided-out Universal Soldiers of the title.

Well, maybe Van Damme isn’t, but Dolph is ‘roided out at this point anyway…

Everyone knows the 'roids grant the user He-Man hair...

Being as this is a Van Damme film, the first half of the fight belongs to the villain.

For several minutes straight, Dolph kicks the ever-loving shit out of Van Damme, making the stunt crew and wire team work for their money in the process.

Unfortunately, just as victory seems certain for the uber-Swede, he makes the BIG FUCKING MISTAKE of diverting his attention to Van Damme’s lady friend in the background.

By “diverting his attention,” of course, I mean “chucking a grenade up her ass.”

There are only 3 things in this world you don’t do when Van Damme’s in town.

First, you never throw white powder in his eyes.

That’ll get you kicked in the head, REPEATEDLY.

Second, you never, never, travel through time without the proper authority.

That’ll get your ass Ron Silver-ed.

Yes, that used to be Ron Silver before he touched himself...

And third, you never, ever, EVERRRR, ogle/threaten/rape/blow-up the woman that Van Damme is into, but isn’t actually in a legit relationship with on account of them not fucking, or not having known each other long enough for their feelings to amount to them wanting to fuck.

Seriously Dolph, you were home free until you chucked that grenade up that pretty ladies’ ass…

Jeez, Dolph. I know it was cool n'all, but get over it...

Not only that, but you know that fire your grenade just caused?

Well, it serves to give Van Damme ample opportunity to stand up heroically in front of it, thereby solidifying this part of the fight as his “comeback moment.”

Oh now you've gone and done it...

Needless to say, Van Damme gets back in the fight, managing to land his first noteworthy blows.

I like how 'roids somehow make kicks to the face hurt less.

Despite Van Damme’s angst/kicking power, there’s still the matter of Dolph’s ‘roid enhanced powers…

Due to the vast disparity in strength levels at this juncture, Van Damme still finds himself on the receiving end of a lot of downright silly Full Metal Jacket-esque taunts, in between eating a lot of Swedish knuckle-sandwiches, of course.

In fact, Dolph puts even his ass through a wall at one point.

Goddamn! Somebody ate their spinach...

No matter, Van Damme is in “comeback mode” at this point, thereby making any attacks only serve to enhance, rather than deplete his Belgian man-strength.

At some point, Van Damme manages to snatch an extra syringe of ‘roids off of Dolph’s tactical vest.

Van Damme: Teaching the kids that juicing's the only way to win...

Now, these ‘roids have to be just about the fastest acting chemical substance found on this Earth, as after no more than 5 seconds, Van Damme’s strength level seems to shoot right past ‘ole Dolph.

"Man, you're like half my size! What the fuck kinda' shit you shootin'!?"

With that, Dolph’s days of landing noteworthy blows, or even trying to defend himself come to an end, as things may as well have just shifted from the traditional martial arts movie “comeback mode,” to “Van Damme kicks people in the face mode.”

I'm beginning to see a theme here...

Needless to say, Dolph gets shown all 4 corners of the, uh, barn; and then some.

It all comes to a head when Van Damme gets a hold of Dolph and decides to throw technique and variation out the window in favor of throwing the same punch about 50 billion times.

IN THE FACE x50,000,000,000!!!

Seriously, virtually every drop of blood, and every bruise inflicted on the giga-Swede in this fight were the product of said punches, and seemingly nothing else.

Anyway, the Van Damminator gets his first bit of revenge by putting Dolph through a wall, thusly bringing the fight back outside into the rain.

This leads to a rather bizarre, and very childish bit of banter between the 2:

Well, that was productive.

Anyway, mass face-kicking ensues, resulting in Dolph falling backwards onto a harvester, and the true beginning to our #7 best overkill.

Here are the results of said fall:

Well now, we're regretting that little grenade toss earlier, right?

Wow, that’s a lot of holes!

As one would expect, Dolph doesn’t get up from that one.

Well, not in the traditional sense anyway.

Much like a Michael Myers/Jason Voorhees-style slasher, Dolph tries to trick Van Damme by playing dead, although it’s equally possible he simply passed out for a short time after, well, you saw.

I'm dead, soldier...

Anyway, with his un-impaled hand, Dolph grabs hold of the back of Van Damme’s head, and in one final attempt to finally make our hero a “dead soldier,” tries to pull Van Damme’s face into the harvester blade protruding from his own chest.

Bro'mance at it's most intimate...

If that’s not savage, I don’t know what is.

Unfortunately, Van Damme still has some of that ‘roid sauce in his blood, thusly allowing him to deftly snap the big Swede’s forearm out of place.

I know I said it before, but your arm really isn't supposed to bend that way.

Being as Dolph is still impaled and stuck to the harvester blades, and now has no operational limbs, I’d say his threat level just dropped to zero.

Even so, Van Damme doesn’t like loose ends, so being as this is a 90′s action flick, he runs on over to the power switch for the harvester, and unflinchingly turns that sucker on!

While we aren’t treated to the gloriously gory details of the Swedish slice-o-matic extravaganza,, we do bear witness to a tasty little tidbit of the carnage in the form of a shot of the harvester’s expulsion duct blowing bits and chunks of Dolph out into the night sky.

Rest assured, the next harvest on this particular farm will grow inordinately large and blond from the trickle-down effect of laying Dolph’s liquified form onto the fields…

Oh yeah, and it turns out the chick didn’t get blown up.

Fuckin’ figures…

BUTT.

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Expendables Review

*SPOILER ALERT!* ZERO spoilers ahead in regards to plot details/major events, but most of the match-ups in the fight scenes are revealed below.

If you don’t wanna’ know who’s gonna’ be fighting who, stop reading NOW. *SPOILER ALERT!*

Let it be known, The Expendables is just about the most meat-head centric films I’ve ever seen.

Rest assured, The Expendables is all about suped-up cars, guns, tattoos, armbars, stupid one-liners, and one very gratuitous T&A shot.

Meat-heads of the world unite, the film that shall be your gospel has arrived.

ALL SHALL BOW BEFORE BROCK CHRIST!!!!

Despite my general disdain for the UFC crowd and their, how shall we say, “sensibilities;” I came away from The Expendables feeling pretty good about the whole experience.

The Expendables is, of course; a product of the master of facial paralysis himself, Sylvester Stallone.

Best caricature, EVER.

From what I remember, Stallone pounded out a script for The Expendables almost immediately after his previous film, Rambo; was proven to be a financial success.

The premise of the film is that of the “men on a mission” sub-genre of yore.

Think, The Dirty Dozen, or The Wild Bunch, or if you’re a total pussy; Ocean’s 11 (with guns).

Let me just say, The Wild Bunch is one of the best films I've ever seen.

Basically, the plot boils down to a group of heartless mercenaries being sent on a suicide mission to liberate a fictional South American nation, only to discover, through the beauty and courage of a lady freedom fighter; that they do in fact give a shit about something in this world besides money.

"You not EXPENDABLE Rambo!"

While this describes the plot for just about every film in the genre, the one major difference between Stallone’s version and the rest is, of course; the fact that the “heartless mercenaries” in his version, are all played by noteworthy “faces” of action cinema, past and present.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for some time, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews, and (unfortunately) Randy Couture all star alongside Sylvester Stallone to make up The Expendables.

"You got your peanut butter in my chocolate! Oh wait, this is a good thing..."

Not only that, but Eric Roberts, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and even former opponent of Jackie Chan, Gary Daniels; serve to round out the film’s cast of formidable villains.

That's right, THAT Gary Daniels...

Oh yeah, and Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the twin MMA Nogueira brothers, Antonio Rodrigo and Antonio Rogerio, all make single scene cameos.

On paper, this would make The Expendables just about the greatest action film ever conceived, right?


Just take a look at Stallone’s own Tango and Cash.

If only it had been a live-action adaptation of Lucky and Wild... Look it up, it's a sweet ass arcade game.

Sure, that movie had Stallone, and Kurt Russell AND Jack Palance to boot, but that doesn’t mean it was even remotely good.

No, The Expendables is not the greatest action movie ever, nor will it remembered alongside any of the true greats of the genre, but that doesn’t make it a bad movie.

On the contrary, I felt it was quite good for what it was.

While the script is utter crap, with most of the one-liners coming across as strained and almost painfully weak, like any good action movie the script is secondary to the action.


Thankfully much of the dialogue in the film is brief, although sometimes the “man speak” quotient can seem a bit overwhelming at times.

Seriously, everyone in the cast of this film make this guy seem straight-up femme:

Anyway, we’ve established that The Expendables, a dumb action movie; has a shitty plot and script.

It’s probably about time I got to talking about something we didn’t know, right?

Let’s talk about how The Expendables fared on the action front.

The action in The Expendables is quite good by modern standards.

It’s violent, chaotic, and often over-the-top, and after the awesomeness that was Rambo just 2 years ago, it’s just about everything I was hoping for in an American action film.

The gunplay is especially over-the-top, with terrific sound editing, and a wonderful sense of “oomph” that is rare among action films.

Trust me, from the first time someone is shot in this film, you know just what kind of movie you’ve gotten yourself into.

Kind of like saying, "From the moment Swayze layed down on the floor and stared longingly at Jennifer Grey, you KNEW what kind of movie you'd gotten yourself into."

Oh yeah, despite it being less brutal and gory than Rambo, the violence level is right up there in Steven Seagal territory in terms of blood-letting.

It should be noted however, that virtually all of the bullet hits are done, not with squibs, but through digital effects.

While this saddened me to some extent, as I figured that if anyone was going to do things “old-school,” it would be Stallone, admittedly it doesn’t do much to effect ones’ overall enjoyment of the film.

Yup, that's violent!

The cinematography in The Expendables is vaguely Greengrass/Bourne-esque throughout i.e. lots of intentional camera jitter, rapid-fire edits, and shakily framed shots, though personally I didn’t have a problem with this.

Bear in mind, I’ve been watching dumb action flicks from the cradle and on, so MTV style editing, and, well, MTV style camera work are nothing new to me.

I think a lot of my non-issue with the cinematography in The Expendables, stems from the fact that I’ve not just been watching action movies my whole life, but boxing, and kung fu movies.

My eyes are trained son, ain’t no tricks out there my eyes can’t see…

It's in the middle, dumbass...

I will say this though, the cinematography in all of the vehicle-based action sequences in The Expendables, is fucking atrocious, and downright frustrating to follow.

Outside of that though, my eyes are trained son…

While I hate to make such a big deal about this one point, I encountered several reviews, including one by a vlogger I happen to trust and admire, Noah Antwiler AKA Spoony, that took offense to the cinematography in this film, so I figure this particular argument deserves some special attention.

Google "special attention," and this is what you get: Red Panda cuteness...

The Expendables is a typical American military action flick.

While there are in fact a handful of protracted brawls between major players in the cast, (which we will get to in a minute) the vast majority of the action in the film is choreographed in such a way that death is dealt swiftly and often.

That is to say, there is not a whole lot of depth or drama to the choreography of the action, both armed and unarmed in The Expendables.

In fact, most of the shots of violence in the film are arranged in such a way that we really aren’t shown a whole of the detail in the various battles that are taking place, but rather just the deathblows in each engagement/exchange.

A movie where every hit is a fatality? Works for me...

Think of it as taking a highlight reel approach to editing a number of fight/action scenes together as opposed to putting a premium on drama or continuity.

The Expendables is a film that often has several skirmishes happening parallel to one another, a fact that necessitates overlap between most of the action in terms of editing, resulting in a film that simply cannot stop to do the proper dramatic justice to any one of said action set-pieces.

While I generally disapprove of editing multiple action scenes together, (see Cradle 2 the Grave and virtually every Michael Bay film ever made) I found the last 30 minutes of The Expendables to be a fine example of how to implement said technique effectively.

Yes, these 2 things go together like Jet Li and DMX. Oh wait...

This leads to most of the fights/gunfights seeming fragmented, and somewhat lacking in coherence, given that much of the cast in this film is past their physical prime, do you really think you’d want to see what these guys looked like without the help of the guy in the editing room?

Speaking of which, let’s take a moment to talk about the fighting element of The Expendables.

The Expendables had a number fight scenes in it, most notably Dolph Lundgren vs. Jet Li, Jason Statham and Jet Li vs. Gary Daniels, Stone Cold vs. Sylvester Stallone, and finally, Stone Cold vs. Randy Couture.

In order, here are my thoughts:

Dolph looked surprisingly spry despite his age.

Sure, the fight was edited to shit, and the framing was frustratingly “off” at times, but the sheer novelty of seeing fuckin’ Ivan Drago go toe-to-toe with Jet Li was enough to keep me engaged.

Dolph employed a fairly linear boxing/kickboxing fighting style of sorts, with most of his punches coming in at straight angles, and more importantly, in bunches.

While the drama of the fight is virtually non-existent, largely due to a few (intentionally) giggle-inducing beats, the scene was good for what it was:

A novelty.

That being said, Jet Li’s performance in the film is rather odd.

Oh wait, this wasn't "odd," this was just "shitty."

His character is legitimately funny throughout, and his physical presence is impressive, but sadly limited.

While industry great, Corey Yuen, is credited as a choreographer for Li’s scenes, sadly the pair isn’t given much screen time to deal with.

Despite this, Jet Li’s performance possesses the grace and flexibility he is known and loved for, though the rapid-edits have the side-effect of obscuring his speed.

Jason Statham’s performance was largely similar to that of Jet Li’s, in that he looked good, but with the “A to C” as opposed to “A, B, C” style of editing, we really couldn’t tell just how good he was.

Oh yes, he's good... NOT GAY.

Having worked with Corey Yuen before, in The Transporter; it’s no surprise that Statham’s movements and execution are pretty much spot on for the demands of his character.

Speaking of “execution,” his character, who displays a penchant for knives in his fighting style, allows Statham ample opportunity to wow with his close-quarters knife work.

Seriously, I haven’t been happy with any of Jason Statham’s performances, physical or otherwise, since the first Transporter movie, but his work in The Expendables, particularly when armed with knives, was downright impressive.

That’s a pretty big fuckin’ compliment coming from me.

ME.

Anyway, Jet Li and Jason Statham’s tandem battle with Gary Daniels was legitimately impressive in a brutal sort of way.

Bear in mind, at this point in the film, (which was easily the highlight of the whole thing for me) Stone Cold vs. Stallone, Gary Daniels vs. The Dudes from The One and War, and Randy Couture hiding behind a bunch of sandbags, are all happening simultaneously.

While it makes me sad to see a talent like Gary Daniels as criminally under-used as he was in The Expendables, I have to admit it was pretty neat to see him be on the receiving end of a martial arts double-team in a military action flick.

The reason I keep emphasizing the word military, is because it implies severity, life and death stakes.

When people fist fight in this movie, it’s not for honor, or glory, it’s simply to make the man standing before them stop breathing and get out of their way.

That being said, Gary Daniels fares about as well as any human would when faced with the prospect of taking on 2 men at once.

That is, unless you’re the Undertaker…

The fight is not so much a fight, as it is brutal beatdown, but like every Steven Seagal fight in existence has taught us, sometimes that’s a good thing.

Moving on, Stone Cold vs. Stallone was probably one of the most glorious “big man” fights I can recall in film history.

Think Matrix vs. Bennett in Commando, or Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Keith David in They Live, or failing that, Zangief vs. E. Honda in the live-action Street Fighter.

*GASP!* "You remember that!?"

With Stallone being over 60, and Stone Cold turning out truly horrendous fighting performances in The Condemned and Damage, I was expecting a sluggish bar room brawl of sorts, but color me surprised when this unbelievable masterpiece of beefy old-guy fighting cinema came rolling around the corner.

The choreography is sharp, with the punches being swung fiercely and often, and Stallone routinely busting out impressive takedowns, and, in particular; one hell of an agile flying armbar.

Yes, one of these.

In fact, my only gripe with this whole fight, is that, again; most of the drama is lost due to the highlight reel style editing.

More specifically, while Stallone’s takedowns and submission holds are impressive to behold in execution, unfortunately there really is no “why” in regards to his implementation of them.

In Flashpoint, Donnie Yen’s grappling and holds had a purpose in the choreography in that they smothered Collin Chou’s superior offense, and thusly turned the fight in his favor.

This man wouldn't do something simply for the sake of flash. No way...

Stallone’s grappling in The Expendables, is the equivalent to watching Jean-Claude Van Damme do a series of his famed slow-motion aerial kicks.

There’s really no practicality to it in the context of the fight, it’s just flash for the sake of flash.

Or in this case, Butt for the sake of Butt...

While it’s a minor gripe, seeing as this has already spiraled into a much more technical and in-depth review than I was initially expecting, I figured I should bring it up.

In one scene, Stallone managed to defy Father Time, and Stone Cold made a believer out of me in regards to his career as an action movie guy.

Which brings us to the last major sequence of manly fisticuffs in The Expendables, MMA legend Randy Couture vs. modern WWF legend, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

I’ll just say this:

This fight was made for UFC and wrestling fanboys, and no one else.

First search for "UFC fan," and I got just what I wanted. Thanks internet.

After the terrific spectacle that was, well, pretty much every other fight in this movie, it brought a tear to my eye to see the final brawl in the movie be such a let down.

Randy Couture should not be in movies.

More specifically, Randy Couture should not be in this movie.

Seriously, I’m not even hating on the UFC stuff right now.

I'm not. I swear...

Randy Couture, and more importantly, Randy Couture’s character, could have, and should have been excised from the script, as neither has much of anything to offer.

Regardless, Randy Couture, though a nice guy, and a terrific athlete, is a truly terrible actor, and barely adequate screen-fighter.

Throughout the movie we bear witness to Couture body-slamming and, well, fiercely body-slamming bad guys, sometimes with a mean expression on his face, usually without.

Pictured: Randy Couture's "mean face."

To say that the choreography given to Couture in this movie is limited is like saying Hulk Hogan’s repertoire of wrestling moves was limited.

It’s an indisputable fact.

That was 1 of 3 moves Hulk Hogan possessed over the years.

Personally, I preferred seeing Couture body-slamming people as opposed to, well, just about anything else he did in the movie.

Especially speaking.

Anyway, I don’t want to go into the details of Couture vs. Stone Cold, but I will say this:

It’s not half as good as Stallone’s fight, and Randy Couture is as stiff as mother fuckin’ Frankenstein.

And I'm not talkin' the Bobby D Frankenstein either...

Alright, well I’m officially spent.

I’ve honestly got more to say, but I’m starting to fade, so I think I’m gonna’ try to call it quits for tonight.

The Expendables was a good time, if mayhem, testosterone and explosions are what you’re looking for.

It’s not a classic in the making, but it’s definitely fun for what it is.

The script is ass, though Mickey Rourke manages to carve a soul into the film with one gut-wrenching scene of apparently improv-ed ACTING.

The gunplay is tops, with comparisons to Stallone’s own Rambo in terms of entertainment value,”oh shit” factor, and spillage of bodily fluids of the sanguine (look it up, dumbass) variety, being entirely warranted.

The fighting is difficult to follow for some, (not me) but surprisingly rewarding despite the relatively advanced ages of the majority of the performers.

In all, I had fun with The Expendables, and I’m pretty sure that was the point.

Have fun with The Expendables, ’cause if you can’t, then chances are you’re just being a dick and need to lighten up.

End Transmission

Filed under: Boxing, Games, Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“The One Where Goose Dies…”

Ever notice how sometimes we think we know something when all we’re really working from is just one fraction of the whole picture?

Though I think it’s kind of funny now, I realize that most of my knowledge of movies as a kid was derived from this kind of thinking.

In my youth, I didn’t actually watch all that many movies.

Yesterday I posted a list of my 5 favorite film villains from my childhood, and I couldn’t help but notice that nearly every movie on that list (except The Blob. FUCK The Blob…) was a movie I watched “almost every day.”

 

EVERY FUCKING DAY.

You see, I watched movies all the time, however the variety of films I would watch was extremely limited.

My parents and my brother however, watched all sorts of stuff, mostly R and PG-13 movies that I would have to leave the room for.

 

That didn't stop me from walking in on this one at Auntie's house though...

Despite my not having actually seen any of these movies in my youth, I would often overhear, or be told factoids about them by my parents or my older brother.

This lead to me developing a habit of becoming content with what little I knew, and often writing off the film as unnecessary viewing because of it.

It’s a strange way of thinking that seems to fall in line with that whole “astronauts and astronomers” speech that Sam Neill gave in Jurassic Park III.

In case you forgot, (don’t be ashamed, Jurassic Park III sucked balls) basically it goes like this:

Whatever man, you know you'd go gay for him.

 

“I believe that in this world there are 2 kinds of boys: ones that want to be astronauts, and ones that want to be astronomers.” ~ Dr. Alan Grant

The analogy is that some people thrive on hands-on experience in their passions, while others tend to explore them at arms reach.

In case you are already lost, what I’m trying to say is that; as a child, I feel I developed some tendencies akin to that of an “astronomer.”

In many ways I feel I am still marching down that path.

Anyway, that’s enough of that sappy introspective bullshit, the real reason I’m typing this article is because I found myself laughing over some of the ways I would pretend to “know” movies as a kid.

In general, the way I would “know” movies as a kid was by discovering one key moment in the drama of the film.

This lead to me knowing Top Gun for years exclusively by it’s soundtrack, (which my mother listened to, WAY too often) and that it was “the one where Goose dies.”

 

"So, I forget, what the fuck am I supposed to do now that I'm inside him?"

I didn’t know who Goose was.

I didn’t even know how or why he died.

Hell, at some point I even recall pondering whether he was even human, what with his name being Goose an’ all.

GOOSE.

Other examples of my “extensive film knowledge” as a kid included Rocky IV, which was “the one where Apollo dies,” either that, or “the one with the big Russian guy.”

Apologies for whatever spoilers I may have divulged just now, but come on man, if you don’t know Rocky IV and Top Gun, you sir, deserve to be hit with a tack hammer.

In the brain.

Not in the face, the brain.

In the case of Rocky IV, I had actually seen the first 2 films in the series, and had somewhat of a connection to the character.

Know what’s hella’ funny though?

You know what my brother told me when I asked how Apollo died?

He told me: “What do you think?  Some guy walked up to him and punched him in the head.”

Samuel Peter doing his best Rocky IV Apollo Creed impression.

While that’s actually completely true, Apollo did get punched to death, I just love how straight and to the point my brother was with me.

Bear in mind, we were both very young at the time.

Now that I think about it, that’s actually the exact same description he gave me as to how Superman died when Doomsday killed him the comics.

And wouldn’t you know it, my brother wasn’t lying.

Pictured: The Punch.

The list of movies I used to “know without knowing” (kind of like “fighting without fighting,” but, y’know, lame) goes on and on.

I know some of them are exceedingly vague, but see if you can recognize any of them:

1.  “The one where the bunny throws up and the hippo shoots everyone.”

2.  “The one where the alien jumps out of the guy’s chest.”

3.  “The one where the alien’s chest opens up and he pulls out a ray gun and kills everyone.”

4.  “The one where Godzilla bleeds (for the first time).”

5.  “The one where the guy gets his head stepped on.”

6.  “The one where Batman says, “Eat floor.””

7.  “The one with the black rock.”

And the trick question for the evening:

8.  “The one with the train that goes too fast.”

I’ll post the answers for those care to read them sometime tomorrow.

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Best MAN!!! #4

Well, we’ve reached the halfway point in The Best MAN series.

Yes, I am aware that there are in fact 10 games in the linear Mega Man series, however; as someone who has yet to play #9 or 10, I don’t feel qualified to determine who The Best MAN for those games might be.

Oh well, that still leaves 8 other games for me to work with.

Speaking of which, let’s get down to the matter at hand: Mega Man 4.

Awkward composition, but clearly an improvement over previous covers. Mega Man's face looks kind of pedo though...

Mega Man 4 was the first game in the series to feature the Mega Buster charge shot.

Little known fact: Mega Man's anus is located in his left hand.

This simple change in the mechanics of the gameplay would profoundly effect the Mega Man series all the way until Mega Man 8.

The charge shot allowed the player to power up their standard bullets to form a singular, larger and more powerful shot that dealt approximately 3 times as much damage as a normal shot.

While this made combating the basic enemy fodder a somewhat simpler affair, the charge shot ultimately caused the boss fights to take on a more methodical pace than was customary for the series.

In fighting the robot master bosses, Mega Man’s standard bullets were de-powered to the point in which they only did one unit of damage per hit.

In addition to this, the duration of the invincibility frames given to the bosses (and Mega Man himself) upon being struck, were increased significantly, presumably for the sake of giving the player time to charge another Mega Buster shot.

The following is an example of the horrors of invincibility frames:

In essence, the introduction of the Mega Buster forced the player to pick their shots, rather than try to overwhelm their enemies as was possible in the previous games.

Mega Man 4 also introduced a handful of new characters to the series canon.

Flip-Top Eddie, Dr. Light’s walking briefcase, made his first appearance in Mega Man 4, showing up to give the player a random item during certain stages.

Also, the game featured the first appearance of Dr. Cossack and his daughter Kalinka.

Pictured: Dr. Cossack and Kalinka.

The Russian, and therefore evil; Dr. Cossack serves as the games’ main antagonist until the latter stages of the game when it is revealed that Dr. Wily kidnapped Kalinka, thereby forcing Cossack to do his bidding.

That evil son of a bitch...

Mega Man 4 was a pretty solid addition to the series.

The Mega Buster represented a major change in the series, one that I still can’t decide was for the better or worse.

The game was very difficult, arguably one of the more difficult entries in the NES series of Mega Man games.

The soundtrack was very good, while taking on a dramatically different sound from it’s predecessors, not in composition, but in MIDI instrumentation.

Give this remix of the iconic Mega Man 2 Title Theme a listen to see what I mean:

That’s enough about that crap though, let’s get down to who’s The Best MAN!

Well, that would have to be:

Pharoah Man

PHARRRRRROOOOOOOOAAAAHHHH MAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNN!!!!!

Really, was there any doubt on this one?

Mega Man 4 was by no means a perfect Mega Man game, however one thing it did better than most was the designs of it’s 8 robot masters.

AWESOME!!!!

Consequently, the designs for the 8 bosses were not designed by Capcom’s in-house artists, but from the results of a public mail-in contest.

Thank you creative people of Japan for giving us the awesome character designs of Mega Man 4!

No wait, I take that back...

Anyway, despite the general awesomeness of MOST OF the MAN designs in Mega Man 4, none can hold a candle to Pharoah Man in the looks department.

I mean fuck, look at him!

He’s got the Pharoah headdress, the MC Hammer/Vanilla Ice-esque pointy shoulders,

That's right, The Azn Badger is a survivor of the dark time known as "The 90's."

an awesome grill covering his mouth,

Wheeljack: You Are Remembered.

and his color scheme is both intricate and iconic.

You knew I'd find a way to slip Seinfeld in there, didn't you?

Hey, Dive Man and Skull Man might be cool, but shit son, HE’S A FUCKING PHAROAH.

You guys ain't got shit on THE PHAROAH.

Despite Pharoah Man’s landslide victory in terms of looks, it takes more than looks to be The Best MAN.

Fortunately, Pharoah Man’s got pretty much every base covered.

His stage is fun and has one of the better background tracks in the game.

His weapon is badass and is chargeable just like Mega Man’s Mega Buster.

"I AM PHAROAH, AND THIS, IS MY KINGDOM!!!!!!"

Not only that, but he’s a tough customer and puts up one helluva’ fight when you finally get around to facing him…

Flash Stopper = MEGA RAPE.

Provided you don’t have the Flash Stopper.

You use the Flash Stopper and he’s just a pussy like everyone else.

Seriously, he can’t even move if you Flash Stopper his ass.

For real, any fool could whoop him like a little bitch if they used the Flash Stopper.

Pictured: Any Fool.

We’ll just forget about that for now though and honor Pharoah Man as The Best MAN that he is.

Seriously though: LIKE A LITTLE BITCH.

Filed under: Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Donate

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27 other followers