Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Happy New Year From The Azn Badger!

Pictured: A candid photo of the Azn Badger making mochi for New Year's while wearing his "Hapa" shirt.

I don’t know about the rest of you out there in the blogosphere, but New Year’s eve at the Azn Badger’s house is a day of tradition.

Not of the Japanese variety mind you, with the eating of soba and ozoni, and once a year praying to the shinto gods and what not.

No, the traditions observed by the house of Badger are what you would call “Hawaiian Japanese” in nature.

That is to say, much trashy food is prepared and consumed, and much television, equally trashy in nature; is watched while battling food comas on the couch.

An example of this evening’s programming:

Spam Musubi + The Soup = New Year’s bliss.

New Year’s Eve is a day of feasting and family in the house of Badger, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Every year, the Azn Badger and his mother work together to craft exquisite meals fit for the finest of palettes.

The centerpiece of said meals, is Spam Musubi.

I could eat this every day. No joke.

For the uninitiated, Spam Musubi consists of rice and seaweed wrapped around a slice of spam.

Some families use vinegar in their rice ala traditional sushi rice, however the house of Badger prefers to keep it’s rice plain.

Anyway, if you’ve never had one, you’re missing out.

Next up, mom makes her Chinese Chicken Salad, which is very likely not Chinese in origin, but is sweet, cleansing, and delicious all the same.

Pictured: The only remotely healthy thing on the menu for New Year's Eve...

Truth be told, I think this is the only New Year’s Eve dish we make that the Azn Badger’s brother can stand to eat.

He’s always been big on salads, but surely everyone knows…

Finally, the Azn Badger and his mom tag team to make microwave mochi with red bean paste.

Yeah, we're too cheap to buy a mochi maker, and too lazy to make it the old style. Microwave is best...

It’s kind of messy to make, (especially when the Azn Badger gets overzealous with his takakuriko AKA potato starch) but it always feels nice to commit to making mochi at least once a year.

It’s a healthy annual ritual y’know, burning your hands in the name of making tasty treats for others to enjoy.

Anyway, this time around we made reddish pink mochi, not my favorite color; but it all tastes the same regardless.

The last real New Year’s Eve tradition in the house of Badger, is that of placing okasane (mochi stacks with tangerines on top) in our living room and cars.

Pictured: The okasane in The Azn Badger's living room.

Mom says its good luck, so we all do it on New Year’s Eve, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

I don’t know what the symbolism of the okasane is, or what it’s significance is; but mom says it’s important, so we do it…

Anyway, hopefully you all are having as fun and relaxed a New Year’s Eve as I am.

Here’s to gaining 20 pounds tonight, and spending all of the coming year working to lose it!

To new beginnings, and hopeful futures!

To getting a better job and never having to work in a -20 degree freezer ever again!

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE AZN BADGER!!!

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Shane Mosley’s Road to Pacquiao

“On May 7th, 2011, pound-for-pound superstar Manny Pacquiao will face future hall of famer, Sugar Shane Mosley.”

I read this about a week ago, and immediately found myself shaking my head in disapproval.

Despite being an amazing fighter, with a superb track record at that; the thought of Mosley facing Pacquiao now just makes my stomach turn.

Almost 2 years ago, Shane Mosley was on top of the world.

Fighting as a 4-1 underdog, Mosley utterly trounced Antonio Margarito, making use of a cagey and highly tactile gameplan imparted to him by his new trainer, Bernard Hopkins’ old friend Naazim Richardson.

While he looked absolutely brilliant in that performance, effectively turning back the clock on what at that time was a very uncertain era in his career, (loss to Cotto, tough fight with Mayorga) the truth remains that he clinched, rough housed with and clubbed his way to victory against a momentum based slugger with a habit for blocking punches with his face.

With his FACE.

In other words, while I would never take anything away from Mosley for his incredible victory over Margarito, as the timing of the win couldn’t have been more epic; (Cotto had edged a victory over Mosley earlier, and Margarito had just torn Cotto to shreds) but I think it needs to be said that people shouldn’t have been nearly surprised by it as they were.

Now, if Mosley had gotten a shot at Pacquiao then, when everyone was singing his praises and ballyhooing for him to challenge the world’s best; I probably wouldn’t have had a problem with him challenging Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao.

I would never have believed he could beat either of them, but I could have seen myself entertaining the prospect of him putting up a decent fight.

Instead though, Mosley would miss out on an opportunity to battle the (still) rising prospect Andre Berto due to the Haitian earthquake, and would remain inactive for nearly a year and a half.

A year and a half can make a world of difference when you’re nearly 40 in a young man’s sport.

As fate would have it, Mosley would finally get his shot at Floyd Mayweather, being thoroughly outboxed and, dare I say; brutalized for 12 rounds, despite landing an exciting overhand right that had Mayweather on queer street for a good while.

Outside of that one punch though, deprived of opportunities to clinch with and smother the offense of his fleet-footed opponent, Mosley looked like an old man in that fight.

First and only time I've ever seen him beat up like this.

Even so, it’s easy to look bad when you’re fighting one of the best (semi-active) fighters on the planet.

Following that horrendous loss, Mosley apparently went back to the drawing board and decided to rebuild his career.

How moving up to a weight that brought him nothing but shitty performances and ugly losses, as well as choosing Sergio Mora of Contender fame, an opponent with little to no marquee value or talent, figured into this plan is beyond me; but then again what do I know, I’m just a blog writer.

Anyway, as you can probably tell by now, Mosley’s next and most current fight was fought against Sergio Mora at Jr. Middleweight, in what was one of the sloppiest, boring, and utterly pointless contests in boxing that I can recall in recent memory.

Pictured: Mosley vs. Mora in a nutshell.

Mosley looked tired, bearing an impotent offense with none of the twitchy speed and sharp punching that made us all love him back in the day.

Mora on the other hand, was exactly the same as we all (regretfully) remember him.

Quick of fist and foot, and slippery to boot; Mora was his same boring self, making no use of his speed advantage by throwing too few (pillow fisted) punches.

With neither man able to do much of anything right in the fight, the contest ended in a draw, and rightfully so.

Neither man deserved to walk out of the arena that night feeling like a winner.

I'd have slapped them in the face instead of raising their hands. That's just me though...

And that, my friends; is Shane Mosley’s road to facing the pound-for-pound king of boxing.

A big win against a walking target, a punishing and brutal loss to the “other” best fighter on the planet, and a draw with a slippery tomato can.

That’s what gets you a big-time fight with the best in the world?

Sadly, this match seems to have been constructed, by Bob Arum no less; with the potential of pay-per-view buys in mind more so than it’s significance in regards to the competitive value of the bout.

Mosley’s was and is a great fighter, but it’s clear he’s entered the twilight of his career and should be considering his health more so than his checkbook.

I’ve seen his recent interviews.

I’ve noticed that his speech and mannerisms have begun to slow.

In a young man’s sport, where landing and dodging blows to people’s craniums is the name of the game, one should be wary of how “little things” like this could translate into their in-ring performance.

In other words:

If you’re noticeably slowing down and getting “goofy” in a fucking interview, maybe, just maybe; you’re also slowing down in the ring, probably more than you think.

This fight scares me, as I can’t help but feel that this time, against a far more aggressive and active opponent than his previous conqueror; Mosley will get hurt.

And I don’t mean “hurt” in the “I cut my finger on an envelope” sort of way.

I mean the guy might get knocked stupid.

Truth be told though, for a boxer like Shane Mosley, a pugilist that many proudly refer to as more of a “fighter” than a “boxer,” such an experience might be the only way he’ll ever find it within himself to call it quits.

I just hope the day Sugar Shane finally throws in the towel isn’t the day he finds himself unable to remember his kid’s names.

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

Another Week Down, Another Farley Clip For The Masses

*Sigh* Another week at Amazon complete, and once again we celebrate with another clip of the funniest fat man of our time, Chris Farley.

This time around, we’re pulling a clip from one of Farley’s last, and sadly; least memorable films: Almost Heroes.

Despite being an overall shitty film, complete with a decidedly unfunny Matthew Perry (on the drugs, as evidenced by his slim frame at the time), Farley managed to salvage it for the most part with a handful of classic moments.

I don’t think any of us could help but laugh at Farley’s battle(s) with the eagle puppet.

We’ll save that clip for another time though…

Anyway, here’s one of my favorite of said classic moments:

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

Thinking Of The Green Lantern Movie

So, last week I finally got the opportunity to view the trailer for the new live-action Green Lantern movie.

As a huge fan of the comic series and mythos, I must admit; my expectations for this film have been exceedingly high, especially given the marquee names (hint: not Ryan Reynolds) involved in it’s production.

Seriously man, take one of my favorite comics, attach Martin Campbell, the director of GoldenEye, The Mask of Zorro, and Casino fucking Royale to it; and I’m in like fuckin’ Flint.

That being said, despite all the hoopla surrounding it’s release, as well as my aforementioned schoolboy-esque giddy excitement; as promotional materials have continued to emerge for them movie, I’ve found myself growing weary of it’s potential suck-itude.

While it may be unfair of me, especially given the very limited amount of footage and stills that have been released at this point in time, but I can honestly say I don’t really care much for what I’ve seen of Green Lantern thus far.

The art design is flashy, and stunningly well rendered, (Kilowog looks pretty awesome) however it has a realistic quality that doesn’t really gel well with the technocolor sci-fi schlock that we’ve all come to expect from the Green Lantern comics.

The closest example I think of to cite in regards to my feelings on this subject, is that of the design work from the American Godzilla film from 1998, and the live-action Transformer films.

While brilliantly designed, and realized on the screen; the Transformers of the Michael Bay films simply weren’t Transformers as I knew them.

Similarly, the Godzilla of the Roland Emmerich/Dean Devlin, while also hideous; failed to capture my interest due to it’s inability to capture the “spirit” of the character I loved so dearly.

The designs for the Green Lantern movie feel too literal and too organic for what comes to my mind when I think of the comic franchise.

In particular, the design of the Green Lantern “suit,” just seems off too me.

While I understand that the Lantern “suit” is in fact a construct of the Green Power Ring, and for all intents and purposes should appear otherworldly, however it has never appeared this way in the comics.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not denouncing the art design of the upcoming film because it is straying off the beaten path; I’m simply scrutinizing it because I honestly don’t like it.

I know, I’m being overly critical; but that’s what happens when you’re as attached to the source material as I am.

As I mentioned earlier, Martin Campbell’s name attached to this movie makes a world of difference, to the point in which it’s difficult to imagine the movie being anything less than stellar.

Seriously man, the dude has a track record.

That being said, while I’ll agree that Ryan Reynolds certainly looks the part of Hal Jordan, and will probably do well in the role; the marketing department made damn sure to make him look like utter shit in the recent trailer.

Speaking only from what’s been shown in the trailer, Reynolds’ Hal Jordan seems just a little bit too much like, well; Ryan Reynolds.

In that sense, I feel it’s worth pointing out that Reynolds’ sharp tongue and particular brand of wit, honestly seem better suited for Deadpool than the Green Lantern.

Hal Jordan’s a dick sometimes, but he’s a dick with a passion for doing what’s right.

In other words: he’s not fuckin’ Van Wilder.

On a closing note, I’d like to point out that I sincerely approve of the casting of Mark Strong as Sinestro, as his powerful voice and cold stare fit well in my mind for the character, but the use of Peter Sarsgaard’s Hector Hammond as a potential main antagonist in the film, just doesn’t seem right to me.

Sarsgaard’s consummately even-tempered demeanor, and downright creepy speech cadence make him a good pick for the role, but it’s the role itself that bugs me.

Green Lantern is a film that challenges CG artists to take the concept of a man that can create anything within the capabilities of his willpower.

In my mind, taking a character with this kind of potential, and casting him opposite a jealous dude with a big head and psychic powers just doesn’t sound all that appealing to me.

Maybe it’s me just wishing we could skip all the origin story bullshit and get right to the cool stuff, like Emerald Twilight and the Sinestro Corps War, but Hector Hammond just doesn’t really do it for me as an antagonist at this juncture.

Here’s hoping they find a way to put Sinestro front and center as the villain, albeit in a sensible and dramatically satisfying manner.

Oh well, this entire article has just been me venting my concerns over what will very likely end up being an excellent movie.

Take everything I said here with a grain of salt, as nearly all of it is just me being a worrywart more so than a dick-faced hater.

See you at the movies when this one comes out!

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

Venom’s New Look

I’ve always liked Venom.

While many comic fans dismiss Venom as a gimmicky, over-exposed, and somewhat one-dimensional element of Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery; I for one have always enjoyed reading him.

Maybe it’s the 90’s comic fan in me, but the savage, hulk-ed out, part-time anti-hero aspects of Venom’s character have always appealed to me.

I found the original Eddie Brock version of the character to be a menacing and effective counterpoint to the typically colorful antics of most Spider-Man stories.

When Mac Gargan (The Scorpion) took over as the new Venom, I found myself impressed by the pathetic and almost pitiable aspects of the character that was seemingly at the mercy of the symbiote.

Despite the ridiculous amount of hosts that the Venom symbiote has occupied over the years, one thing that I’ve found myself looking forward to with each new iteration, was the artistic design of the character.

The original Todd McFarlane take on the character, is ironically one of my least favorite.

Pictured: Venom showing us his pedo-face.

The bulk of the character’s build was a good design choice, given the more direct and less finesse oriented nature of Eddie Brock compared to Spider-Man at the time; but the teeth and lack of tongue action were something that the character would benefit from immensely in the coming years.

Also, I know it’s nit-picky of me to say; but the small patches of white on top of Venom’s palms were an addition to later iterations of the character that made a huge difference.

Jus’ sayin’ is all…

Anyway, as time moved on, Venom’s appearance became even bulkier, more toned, while his face became considerably more vicious and animalistic in nature.

Also, his coloration became akin to the Batman comics of old, wherein the blue highlights started to take center stage.

Pictured: The Venom I grew up with.

While I preferred the black Venom, I have to admit that the blue did a lot to improve the detail of the character from panel to panel, making his appearance far more dynamic than before.

When the host for Venom changed over to Mac Gargan, we found ourselves faced with a brand new design for the character for a new age of comics.

Pictured: Venom, as brought to you by the UFC.

Bearing a much larger “spider” symbol on his chest, as well as a color scheme that would switch from purple, to black, to even green at times; the Mac Gargan Venom proved to be one of my favorite takes on the character.

With a persona that could be described as “brutish” in nature I.E. dumb and violent, Gargan’s Venom (as well as the Ultimate version) allowed for the artist’s to go wild, often times drawing the character as more alien than anything else.

Not only that, but many writers also found ways to take Gargan’s menacing appearance, and child-like intelligence; and create some truly funny moments for the character.

While not exactly "funny," watching Venom put on a guard's helmet after eating him was just plain silly. I loved it.

It’s this versatility, at least from a design standpoint; that makes Venom so much fun for me.

The Venom symbiote itself has such a wide array of capabilities, that it really just becomes a matter of the writer and artist picking which traits and abilities they find most interesting and running with it.

Depending on the team involved, Venom can be anywhere from 6 to 15 feet tall, can change shape and bulk at will, can shapeshift to some degree, can be colored anywhere from purple to green, and can even exhibit cannibalistic tendencies.

Pictured: One of my favorite moments in Warren Ellis' Thunderbolts.

It all depends on who’s at the helm in the design department.

Which brings me to the point of this post:

While Venom has been rather quiet in the comics these days, I happened upon this article at IGN the other day that made mention of the character’s future.

The story details are still hush hush at the moment, but Marvel was kind enough to release this image of the new look for Venom:

Apparently the story has the Venom symbiote being worn by a new host, for the purpose of black ops missions.

While the government agent angle honestly doesn’t really peak my interest all that much, I must admit; the Venom symbiote is a pretty good tool for military/black ops missions.

Remember the shapeshifting I mentioned?

Well, I’d imagine that, along with the inherent superhuman capabilities of the symbiote; would be quite useful for infiltration or assassinations.

The story arc (beginning in a brand new Venom comic) is going to be written by Rick Remender, and pencilled by Tony Moore; so I expect nothing but good.

That being said, here is impression of Tony Moore’s design for the new Venom:

In keeping with the black ops angle of the story, Moore’s design is subtle and devoid of flash.

Looking very much like the ultra-modern tactical armor that seems to be so popular with the kids these days, the overall package is that of a more streamlined and “practical” Venom.

All the key elements of Venom’s previous designs are retained, with the only significant difference being a lack of a mouth, (suggesting a more internalized, if not level-headed character for the new host) and highlighted outlines for the eye area instead of filled in blotches of white.

Overall, the design is simple and unassuming, making it solid; and very difficult to hate.

I do find it interesting however, that despite the superpowers the Venom symbiote imbues it’s host with; whoever the character is that is going to be wearing it in this story arc seems to have little confidence in it’s capabilities, as he is very clearly still wearing plate armor on portions of his body.

Based on the slim figure of the character, as well as the Venom symbiote’s recently more aggressive demeanor; I’m guessing that the inhibitor that was used to force Mac Gargan’s Venom to appear more Spider-Man-like during Dark Reign is still being used on this version of the character.

Pictured: Dark Reign Venom. Yes, I do have a thing for Mike Deodato...

It’s just a guess, but if I’m right; that could probably serve as a plot device that weakens the symbiote, or specializes it’s capabilities somehow.

In any case, those are my thoughts.

The design is solid, if unexciting; a combination of traits that I hope won’t be used to describe the upcoming comic it’s being used in.

 

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

Thoughts On Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

Donnie Yen’s butt.

That, my friends; is the one element of Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen that I can honestly say I’ve never seen elsewhere.

That one goofy and slightly embarrassing little detail aside, Return of Chen Zhen is a bipolar mess of a film that can only be recommended to the most hardcore of Donnie Yen fans, I.E. me.

The basic plot is as follows:

Picking up after the conclusion of Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury, Chen Zhen (Donnie Yen) flees China for the French battlefield of WWI.

How he managed to survive charging headlong into a hail of gunfire after the events of Fist of Fury, is never explained.

During the war, one of Chen Zhen’s friends is shot dead, prompting him to go apeshit and kill a bunch of Germans via the combined techniques of parkour and shank-fu.

*Cue shitty rip-off of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme* What? You think I'm kidding?

Much violence and badassery ensues.

With that, Chen Zhen opts to assume his fallen friend’s identity as he sets off for Shanghai; declaring his homeland his new battlefield in fighting against Chinese oppression.

Why he decides to take out his aggression on the occupying Japanese (embodied by the decidedly flacid antagonist played by Kohata Ryu)  instead of the German forces that were directly responsible for his friend’s death, is not explained.

Once in China, Chen Zhen uses his resources to build himself a network of newsies, students, war vets, and cops to serve as his Shadow-esque eyes and ears.

He also invests in a pencil-thin fake mustache, seemingly just because pencil-thin mustaches are pimp.

"Hello, I'm Donnie Yen, and you sir; have just stumbled upon my secret Pimp Party. Prepare to be kicked in the face... Repeatedly."

How Chen Zhen acquires said resources to put together said network, and purchase said mustache, is never explained.

Now firmly established as a wealthy entrepreneur of sorts in Shanghai, Chen Zhen links up with fellow wealthy socialite and nightclub owner, Li Yutian (Anthony Wong) in order to spread his influence… At least that’s what I got out of it anyway.

Li’s nightclub also happens to play host to a foxy singer named Kiki (Shu Qi) whom Chen Zhen quickly becomes attracted to.

Donnie Yen would hit it, but y'know; supermodel wife...

The wikipedia entry for this movie states that Chen Zhen “is romantically attracted to Kiki,” however this is hardly evident in the film.

I know they’re Chinese, and they’re not good at that whole “love” thing, or y’know; talking to each other, but when 2 characters never so much as hold hands throughout a movie, I find it hard to believe they’re “romantically attracted” to each other.

Not only that, but their most intimate moment is actually when Chen Zhen threatens to kill her.

ROMANCE.

Anyway, in case you couldn’t tell; Kiki really ruined the movie for me.

Usually I kind of like Shu Qi’s bubbly cutesy-ness, as was the case in the delightfully, uh, adequate Jackie Chan flick, Gorgeous; but this time around her role was just plain ugly.

Her character’s arc, much like the flow of the entire film, is predictable; yet somehow all over the place all at the same time.

Not only that, she’s shitfaced for roughly 3 quarters of the film, making her a very difficult character to like.

I’m guessing her character was supposed to be tragic, but in the end; she just brought the whole movie down by needlessly slowing the pace with frequent, and boring dialogue scenes.

Speaking of boring dialogue scenes, Return of Chen Zhen has a fuck ton of ’em!

In most cases I can deal with inane and extraneous dialogue, but in the case of this movie; I actually found myself muttering the words:

“Jesus fuck man, I DON’T CARE.

Well okay, I didn’t exactly “mutter” those words so much as yell them, but you get the point.

Needless to say, Return of Chen Zhen has some writing issues… And pacing issues…  And it smells funny.

Now, when I said Return of Chen Zhen was a “bipolar” movie, I was of course speaking of it’s up and down pacing, specifically the jarring contrast between it’s action sequences, and the rest of the film.

In short:

Return of Chen Zhen has some pretty spankin’ fight sequences.

Heh heh, I like the part when the one dude gets kicked in the face. That was cool...

While nearly all of it is of the classic, Dynasty Warriors/1 man vs. the world style, most of it is well choreographed, and perhaps more importantly; competently shot.

Make no mistake, while the staging of the fights was indeed very good in Return of Chen Zhen, the editor, and perhaps more importantly; the cinematographer deserve a special pat on the back for their contributions.

While not so great a fight, this shot was pretty enough to redeem it.

Donnie Yen served as action choreographer for this one, and if there’s anything Donnie Yen is good at; it’s making himself look good.

While I heard reports that indicated an excessive use of stunt doubles for this film, I can honestly say that I didn’t notice them.

I’m assuming most of the parkour and stunt work was filmed using doubles, but everything that counts in my book, that is; the punching and kicking of people’s faces, was definitely all Yen.

Trust me, nobody throws kicks like Donnie Yen, nobody.

So… Where are his balls during all of this?

Speaking of which, from an action standpoint, Return of Chen Zhen serves as a sort of “best of” for Donnie Yen’s various trademark moves.

From the leaping spinning back kick above, to the cheesy windmill uppercuts of old, to even some of the joint locks and MMA style moves seen in SPL and Flashpoint; pretty much every cool thing Donnie Yen has done to someone throughout his career is featured, and ably performed in this movie at some point, with satisfyingly brutal results.

Though sadly there’s no breakdance fighting ala Mismatched Couples…

Kung Fu B-Boy Donnie Yen!

Getting back to the movie, seeing as most of the fight sequences in Return of Chen Zhen have Mr. Yen clothed in a Kato-esque mask and suit, the movements and strikes incorporated into the choreography bear a satisfying and altogether appropriate “superhero-y” quality to them.

That is to say:

When people get hit in this movie, they fly across the room and then some.

Yeah, that guy's goin' through a wall... Or 2.

Normally I’m not a fan of wirework in my kung fu movies, but their use in this film was largely used for the simple effect of slamming people into bookcases/windows/walls/platypuses, instead of the more fanciful bullshit as in Dragon Tiger Gate and other such films.

In all, Donnie Yen’s physical performance was nothing short of incredible in Return of Chen Zhen.

Given his relatively advanced age for the genre, (47) dreading the day when Donnie Yen suddenly gets old overnight and can’t perform as well he used to, but goddamnit; Father Time must owe him money or something, ’cause if anything he looked better in this movie than he did 2 years ago.

My guess is, the Ip Man movies actually served to smother Mr. Yen’s performances a bit over the past few years.

Wing Chun is a very practical, and straightforward fighting system; and one that is foreign to Donnie Yen’s martial talents.

As I mentioned earlier, Return of Chen Zhen was choreographed by Donnie Yen, for Donnie Yen, and in getting back to the basics, I think Mr. Yen showed us all that he’s still got it.

Anyway, enough cock-sucking.

In closing, I’d just like to point out a few little tidbits I felt needed mentioning:

Yasuaki Kurata and Shawn Yue have cameos in this movie.

They’re brief, and largely pointless; but it was fun seeing them nonetheless.

Would’ve really liked to have seen Kurata do a bit of fighting, seeing as he seemed relatively spry in Master of Thunder a few years ago, but oh well; take what you can get.

If you didn't see it already, then you probably shouldn't...

The vast majority of the sets for Return of Chen Zhen were very obviously recycled from the one used for Bodyguards and Assassins.

While it’s an incredible set, and definitely worth revisiting, there’s no denying that it was framed with a lot more love in Bodyguards and Assassins, and thusly comes across as kind of cheap looking this time around.

Also, if you’ve seen Bodyguards and Assassins, then it’s kind of surreal looking at little things like staircases and windows and remembering them, very clearly; from their use in that movie, which is peculiar being as Bodyguards and Assassins took place in Hong Kong, while Return of Chen Zhen is set in Shanghai.

I suppose it’s worth noting that, yes; the Japanese are the villains of this movie, and yes; they are portrayed as the most vile, baby boiling, dog kicking sons of bitches you’ve ever met.

Xenophobia has always been marketable in Chinese films, and nothing is ever gonna’ change that.

Regardless of how bad they make my people look, as long as Hong Kong keeps pumping out awesome movies about people kicking each other in the brain, I honestly don’t care.

Anyway, the plot sucked, the characters were boring, the dialogue was excessive and dull… but the fighting was pretty good.

If you love to see Donnie Yen do his thing, see it.

If not, then all you’re really missing is Donnie Yen’s butt.

Can you live without seeing Donnie Yen’s butt?

Filed under: Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Merry Christmas From The Azn Badger!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Like the tree?

Sadly, it’s an artificial one, as the Azn Badger’s mother has allergies to Christmas trees of the real variety.

Even so, I think it looks pretty snazzy.

Anyway, here’s some more photos of the Azn Badger’s Christmas decorations:

Behold, the mound of gifts!

Pictured: The Azn Badger's brother's train set.

Pictured: The distinguished passengers of the Azn Badger's brother's train set...

Hope everyone had a happy and a healthy, see you tomorrow!

 

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

Thoughts On The Thor Trailer

Let it be known, the Azn Badger is in no way an authority on Thor.

Like most kids, I dabbled in Norse mythology in my youth; however when it comes to the Marvel version of the Nordic god of thunder, I’m really kind of a newb.

Truth be told, I’ve never read a Thor comic in my life, largely because I could never find an appropriate jumping on point in the character’s expansive continuity.

That being said, while I don’t know Thor all that well, I do consider myself a fairly knowledgeable movie buff; and it’s from that perspective that I’ve decided to throw together this article regarding my impression of the new Thor movie based on it’s recent trailer.

When I first heard that Thor was going to be directed by the great channeler of Billie Shakes himself, Kenneth Branagh; I found myself struck with a crystal clear vision of what to expect:

Shakespeare-ian melodrama, obscenely lavish and over-the-top costume and set designs, and a cameo by the director himself; most likely shirtless and covered in physique enhancing oil.

"I shall now remove my shirt.... For SCIENCE."

Basically, I expected Branagh’s Frankenstein, but with Norse gods and (sadly) no Bobbie D.

Upon viewing the trailer, I can’t help but feel that most of what I expected, good and bad; has come to fruition.

I’m a little disappointed in the fact that, based on the trailer anyway; many of the principle Asgardian (heh heh, “Ass-Guard”) characters are shown without their helmets and garb, most likely due to a creative decision along the lines of:

“The audience can’t connect with the characters if their faces are covered by their helmets!”

On that note, costume designs seem appropriately lavish and extravagant, and the sets seem impressively vast as seems to be the norm for any Kenneth Branagh film, however I feel it must be mentioned that the sets that appear to represent Niffelheim (the Norse realm of ice) seem a little anemic compared to the Asgardian ones.

While I’m on the topic of Niffelheim, I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I’m excited to see how the Norse frost giants are depicted in this movie.

In glancing at the imdb for Thor, I happened to notice that Ymir is listed in the cast; which in my mind means we’ll be treated to a bit of a throwdown between him and Thor at some point in the film.

Call me crazy, but the idea of a big fuckin’ Scandinavian dude winging away with a mallet against a mountain-sized man of ice just seems like good watching in my book.

Here’s hoping Mr. Branagh doesn’t fuck it up by having the 2 of them give a soliloquy before initiating a “gentleman’s duel.”

...Or fuck it up by having Ymir look any less cool than THIS.

Sorry, I’m not much for Shakespeare…

Getting back to the movie, I don’t know if maybe the intention was that the Niffelheim sequence in the film was meant to be intentionally “stagy” or theatrical, but at this point the set just looks kind of cheap.

Like, Jerry Bruckheimer King Arthur cheap.

Pictured: A still from the climactic battle sequence of King Arthur.

Moving on, from what I can tell, the cast for the film seems fairly solid.

Casting Sir Anthony Hopkins (that’s right, I call him “sir.”  The question is: Why the fuck don’t you?) as Odin was pretty much a no-brainer.

The man has a voice, and gruff old man presence about him that makes him perfect for pretty much any elder god in all of mythology.

Curiously enough, both the actors for Loki and Thor are strangely unknown to me.

Tom Hiddleston, at least physically anyway, seems to fill Loki’s shoes rather well.

When I picture Loki, I picture a frail, weasely motherfucker that does pretty much all of his fighting with his words and his voice.

That is to say, while Hiddleston seems to look the part at this point; the effectiveness of his performance will likely be determined by the strength of the script… which will most likely suck ass.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor, seems to be a bit of a gamble; but a fairly well justified one.

Remember when Daredevil came out, and people were up in arms about Michael Clarke Duncan being cast as the Kingpin?

People were upset that a black man was cast for a white character, however they did so without taking into account the fact that the Kingpin, in the comics anyway; was supposed to be built like a brick-shit house.

Can you name any legitimately talented actors, black or white; with a physique that could meet that description as well as Michael Clarke Duncan?

BRICK. SHIT. HOUSE.

Didn’t think so.

My point is, while Chris Hemsworth is pretty much an unknown in Hollywood; I honestly don’t know of many actors that can pull off the whole “musclebound viking look.”

I said "actors." Yes, he probably would fill the role just fine though.

And don’t say “what about Brad Pitt?” because I honestly don’t think he’d be a good choice given that he’d probably put too much swagger into his Thor.

Stupid Brad Pitt, bein’ all sexy n’shit…

The last thing I’d like to say about the cast of Thor, is that I don’t know anything about the nature of her character in the comics or in the film, but the way they showed her in the trailer, Natalie Portman seems like she’s just there.

Nonetheless, that tends to count for a lot when you look like this.

Seriously, I don’t know if the marketing guys over at Marvel are to blame, but the way she’s treated in the trailer suggests that this may very well be a case of “Tree #3 as played by Natalie Portman.”

Maybe it’s just the fact that she’s the only one in the cast that doesn’t have a flashy and heavily ornamented suit of Scandinavian power armor, or the fact that her schedule was very likely crowded with, y’know; good movies she had to act in, but seriously; if it wasn’t Natalie Portman, I don’t think any of us would’ve even noticed her character in the trailer.

In closing, Thor looks to be pretty much what I expected.

I don’t expect an epic, fast-paced, or even all that entertaining an experience out of it, but it’s a Marvel movie, it has superheroes hitting each other, and yes; that is enough to make me go see it.

I want to see the Destroyer armor blow up cars.

I want to see how many creative ways a big hammer can be used to kill frost giants.

I want to see if Tadanobu Asano AKA the Brad Pitt/Johnny Depp of Japan, can make a name for himself in American films.

But most of all, I want to hurry up and skip this pile of ass so we can get to the good shit like Captain America and The Avengers.

Fanboy as I am, it’s more than likely that all of the above will end up sucking balls though.

Though Thor is the only one that can boast the possibility of a random shirtless Kenneth Branagh.

"I must do this scene, SHIRTLESS! The integrity of the film demands it!"

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Writer’s Block… Time For More Farley.

At the moment I’ve got about 4 articles swimming around in my head, and no motivation to sit down and type them.

I suppose it doesn’t help that Christmas is just around the corner, not to mention I just got my new Donnie Yen movie:  Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen.

In other words:

I’m watching Donnie Yen, so no blog for tonight.

That being said, while I have no reason to celebrate at the moment, here’s another Farley clip to tide you over for tomorrow:

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Peak Season: DEFEATED. Cue Celebratory Farley Clip.

Well folks, the Azn Badger’s peak season adventure at Amazon has officially wrapped.

Well, my peak season anyway; I’m sure there’s a shit ton of people from other shifts that still have to work, but I’m done, and frankly that’s the only thing that matters.

Anyway, here’s hoping I don’t get laid off in the next few weeks!

If I do, it’s probably for the best, being as I honestly don’t feel like living out the rest of my days using my 4 year arts degree to boast the honor of being a “professional box maker.”

Also, I suppose the $3.50 (each way) toll that’s going to start applying to my commute across the 5-20 bridge every day, would also serve as a reason to celebrate my termination at Amazon.

Anyway, with the completion of another blistering, though atypically only 40 hour work week; I present to you this week’s celebratory Farley clip:
http://www.ebaumsworld.com/player.swf

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