Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

2011 In Review

This is me patting myself on the back:

Here’s an excerpt:

London Olympic Stadium holds 80,000 people. This blog was viewed about 380,000 times in 2011. If it were competing at London Olympic Stadium, it would take about 5 sold-out events for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Bad Ass Looks Bad Ass

My first reaction to this trailer was to say to myself:

“Who the fuck made a movie about my dad without his consent?”

I’m not even kidding.

My dad might not be Mexican, or look at all like Danny Trejo for that matter, but if you were to throw a camo jacket on him, and put him on a bus, chances are the events of this trailer would inevitably play out, in real life; and likely with twice as many fist fights.

Speaking of Danny Trejo, I’m happy to see him finally get some leading roles at this late stage in his career.

Typically a typecast supporting actor, my dad and I used to have a joke about Mr. Trejo, namely the fact that he seemed to die in every movie we saw him in.

Thankfully, someone else took the time to assemble this, a nearly 4 minute compilation of every Trejo death in all of cinema:

Any man who’s been killed by Jason Mewes, Bobby D and Mickey Rourke, (twice!) has my respect.

When I was a kid, my friends and I knew him as “That Guy,” but somewhere down the line, through his many epic onscreen deaths; he earned the greatest honor any bit actor can hope to achieve:

That of making his name known to the general public.

That being said, while Machete, and now Bad Ass remain his only starring roles, Mr. Trejo has come a long way from his days of playing “Ruddy Complexioned Mexican #5.”

While Bad Ass does in fact look bad ass, in a less extreme/stylized Hobo With a Shotgun sort of way, the whole “based on a true story” thing has got me a little confused.

I mean, it’s made fairly clear that the concept of the movie is taken from this:

The rest of the movie however, is undoubtedly bullshit.

That’s necessarily a bad thing, I just don’t get why they’d bother to base a movie on a well-known incident, only to go ahead and fictionalize the rest of the story.

“Inspired by” likely would’ve been the proper turn of phrase.

Also, I hate to say it, ’cause it’s so fuckin’ obvious that it makes me sound like a simpleton for mentioning it, but both the title and the concept feel a little to close to Kick-Ass if you ask me.

Then again, I’m not a Hollywood marketing rep that stares at market research data all day, so maybe those similarities are exactly what is going to make the movie bankable.

Even so, the lack of humor/heart in the trailer lead me to believe even that won’t save it.

That being said, the movie honestly doesn’t look all that worthwhile, outside of the punching I mean, though I’d be curious to see how my dad would react to it.

My guess is he’d find a tad more relatable than he’d care to admit…

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

Christmas Tree 2011

Pictured: Behold, our glorious (artificial) tree, complete with all the trimmings!

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Evaluating The Rock’s Return To The Ring

Pictured: The Rock is back, and he brought his new salt and pepper beard and gaudy-ass tattoos.

So, I watched Survivor Series this past Sunday.

I haven’t watched Raw or Smackdown in at least 5 years now, but like many seasoned wrestling fans; I’m always looking for an excuse to get back in the loop.

Unfortunately, given the general dearth of genuinely interesting or talented wrestlers in the organization these days, said reasons are scarce at best…

That being said, when it came to tuning in to Survivor Series this past weekend, much like Rikishi, I did it for The Rock:

If memory serves me, and I know it does, I believe it’s been about 7 years since The Rock last stepped into the squared circle for a legitimate wrestling match.

Sadly, despite sporting a spectacular physique, the years have not been kind to ‘ole Dwayne’s in-ring coordination.

That’s not to say his main event performance wasn’t all that bad, (it wasn’t) rather it was just a little bit disappointing to see one of my heroes slowly succumb to the horrors of bad knees and premature old fart-ism.

Despite lacking the same explosiveness and distinctive spasmatic body language, The Rock did about as well as one could expect following a 7 year layoff.

Upon entering the arena, I was kind of shocked with how little applause The Rock garnered from the live audience.

Maybe it was just my puny speakers, but it seemed to me like the crowd should’ve been louder given the gravity of the situation.

Then again, maybe my expectations for contemporary wrestling fans are a little too high given the current state of the WWF.

In any case, The Rock milked his entrance and got more applause than John Cena, so it’s all good in my book.

As one would expect in a tag match featuring a returning legend of the industry, The Rock entered the ring last, served as the initial tag partner of his team, and finished the match.

Facing off against The Miz and R-Truth, The Rock’s first moments in the match were, in my opinion; his best.

By the way, if you had asked me if the man formerly known as K-Kwik would ever headline a pay-per-view in the 21st century, I’d have told you “no fucking way.”

Funny how shit works out like that.

Anyway, in matches like this, where 2 mid-tier heels are pitted against a legend with an aura of invincibility, there’s really no logical way for the heels to build momentum against him without resorting to dirty tactics or shenanigans.

Pictured: "Shenanigans."

In going with this line of thinking, The Rock did well to cast an imposing shadow in the ring, bulling his neck and standing rigid and tall.

Basically, he straight up looked untouchable when standing next to the 3 other A-listers in the ring.

At the opening bell, The Rock cut loose with a series of rapid fire armdrags on both of his opponents.

I’ve always said there needed to be more armdrags in wrestling, so this brief sequence did well to satisfy the Rick Steamboat fan in me.

From there, The Rock basically cleaned house, knocking both men out of the ring at one time or another, and employing the first of his many signature move in the form of a somewhat flacid DDT.

It wasn’t so much the DDT itself was lacking, rather it was the gut kick preceding it that, quite literally; fell short.

Fell short as in straight-up missed the mark ala Randy Orton:


This failed gut kick would do well to sum up the whole of The Rock’s in-ring performance at Survivor Series.

To be blunt, he seemed tentative to me, like he held concern for potentially harming his fellow performers.

Strange, considering the amount of contact and brutality that was commonplace during The Rock’s heyday.

In any case, following the DDT, The Rock would later go on to execute a slow, but ably performed kip up, followed by a impressive, and very likely MMA inspired leg submission on R-Truth.

I’ll have to find out what that move was called, cause quite frankly, it was awesome.

Oh yeah, around this time the crowd started shouting, “You still got it!”

That was also awesome.

From there, the match turned into a snore fest for me, as once The Rock tagged in John Cena, the match degenerated into a one-sided beat down of the no-selling wonder.

Seriously man, I paid to see The Rock, and instead, I got stuck with 30 minutes of John Cena failing at getting his ass beat, bookended by 2 minutes of awesome Rock action.

That being said, I’m writing this article about The Rock, so I’ll be foregoing any detailed explanations of the non-Rock segments of the match.

All you really need to know is that it sucked.

Oddly enough, The Rock’s big finish at the end of the match was actually probably one of his weaker moments.

As tends to be the case with big-time wrestlers, The Rock has an ungodly number of signature moves and finishers.

During the climax of a match, many wrestlers like this *cough!* Hulk Hogan *cough!* tend to run through all their big moves like a series of bullet points.

Everybody knows it’s coming, but it’s a big part of what you pay to see when it comes to pro-wrestling.

In the case of The Rock, this involved his trademark slap punch combination, a DDT, a Rock Bottom, and a People’s Elbow to top it all off.

The weird part was, and this may have had something to do with a lack of energy in the room, but The Rock’s big finish seemed a little bit lackadaisical.

Once again, it may be a combination of bad knees and improper conditioning, but The Rock’s punches lacked the same jittery energy they used to.

As also mentioned before, his DDT fell short of the mark a second time, with the gut kick once again whiffing by a country mile.

His Rock Bottom felt wimpy.

And most electrifying move in sports entertainment or not, his People’s Elbow failed to get a rise out of me.

Despite performing well overall, The Rock seemed most uncomfortable doing the simplest and most familiar moves in his repertoire, the ones that made him famous.

In all, The Rock seemed at his best during the more heavily choreographed portions of the match at the beginning, which isn’t surprising given his recent time spent performing action scenes in Hollywood films.

He didn’t embarrass himself, and he certainly did well enough to make me glad to see him back in the saddle, but at the end of the day, it was strange to see a Rock faded to the point of being, almost human.

Filed under: Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , ,

Conan The Barbarian Review

Hey look! Orange and Blue!

Let’s get one thing out of the way before we start this review:

I liked the Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan.

I liked it A lOT.

Truth be told, I haven’t read any of the original Robert E. Howard Conan stories, nor any of the Dark Horse comics.

To that end, everything I know (and love) of Conan has been culled from the Arnold movies, and the Conan the Adventurer cartoon series.

Fuckin’ loved that show…

*ANYWAY* while the examples of Conan that I’ve experienced may not be the most traditional, they’re all I have; and frankly, I don’t mind that.

Which brings us to the 2011 film version of Conan, the oddly titled reboot/retread; Conan the Barbarian, henceforth referred to as Conan the Hawaiian.

To be perfectly frank, Conan the Hawaiian honestly felt like a double-length episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, both in terms of plotting and tone.

Sadly, no Kevin Sorbo cameos...

Aside from the names of the locations, the origin story prologue, and maybe some of the characters; much of Conan the Hawaiian’s plot could easily have been transposed onto another generic sword and sandals flick with virtually the same degree of success.

Indeed, had the Conan name not been attached to this movie; for all intents and purposes, I likely would not have bothered to go see it.

Such is the power of licensing and iconography.

Despite all this, I came into the film with fairly realistic expectations.

I would never expect a movie called Conan the Hawaiian to have brilliant writing, nor any degree of complex storytelling in it’s plotting.

For the most part, I just had my fingers crossed for a hefty dose of tasty sword related violence, and a decent performance from the lead actor, Jason Momoa.

Way to go bra'! Represent!

Conan the Hawaiian delivered (with varying degrees of success) on both of my expectations for it, so why then is my opinion of the film so negative?

I think it has something to do with the inescapable elements of cheapness that are evident when watching the film.

For instance, do you want to know how you can tell a movie is cheap, even when it’s props and CGI backdrops are of decent quality?

When the film takes place in about a dozen locations, all of which are represented from afar by a CGI matte painting, and in the interior by a dining room sized sound stage.

Few things are more irksome in a fantasy film than being teased by the promise of cool cities n’shit, only to have the interior of said cities be represented by a SINGLE FUCKING ROOM.

Also known as Star Wars disease, wherein we frequently are shown the splendor of a cityscape, only to see maybe 3 locations within it.

Despite this minor quibble, one thing that I have to commend Conan the Hawaiian for; is the fact that it represents one of the rare cases when a shitty movie both acknowledges and revels in it’s shittiness.

As mentioned earlier, Conan the Hawaiian’s plot is pretty lame, not even as complex or engaging as The Scorpion King, (which is a better movie, in case you’re wondering) however one of it’s greatest strengths is the fact that it never attempts to be.

To my surprise, Conan the Hawaiian’s running time is largely dominated by action sequences, leaving little room for cheesy plot or equally cheesy dialogue from what I’d assume was it’s 5 page script.

The action/fighting is executed with some degree of competence, and it’s indeed quite bloody; however in my opinion the goryness of the violence could’ve been dialed up just a notch or 2 for effect.

Watching anonymous bad guys get cut down left and right every 5 minutes is fun and all, but it’s a lot more fun when said instances of cutting are unique and memorable.

I’m just saying, I personally would’ve appreciated a disemboweling or de-limbing here and there to spice things up.

In my book, EVERY movie needs a Mola Ram heart rip!

On that same note though, another gripe I had about the film was the fact that, early on we are teased by the villain possessing an honor guard of sorts, an elite cadre of unique villains who all participated in fucking over Hawaiian Conan at the beginning of the film.

By showing us these characters, and how they figure into Hawaiian Conan’s revenge plot, the movie makes a promise that we’ll see all of these characters meet their fate ala Shurayukihime, Kill Bill, and Conan the Barbarian.

While this does in fact happen, very little care is placed in how each of these characters are dealt with.

In fact, I only remember 2 of the characters receiving names, one of which bears a rather alarming resemblance to one of the other nameless honor guardsmen.

Pictured: A GOOD example of eliminating an interesting character OUT OF FUCKING NOWHERE.

It’s a minor gripe, but it pains me to see a film like this, that has so little going for it in terms of plot; sweep away it’s own breadcrumbs though clumsily eliminating potentially interesting characters with little to no fanfare.

Gripes aside, the one element of the action that I can’t knock at all, was Jason Momoa’s swordplay.

Watching a man of Momoa’s size handle a sword with such grace is truly a sight to behold.

Indeed, he and Stephen Lang’s pair of duels in the film are very much the highlight of the film.

While I’m on the subject of Momoa, it pains me to say that his acting performance was kind of “meh,” though on the plus side; it’s hard to deny that his physical presence is the sort that can largely make up for that.

I think the problem with Momoa’s acting in the role of Conan, is the fact that the temperment of the character, at least in this film; doesn’t seem to fit him.

It’s kind of like Christian Bale’s turn as Batman in the Christopher Nolan films.

Bale does great as Bruce Wayne, and indeed looks the part of Batman, however something about the Batman voice and attitude just doesn’t work.

Momoa has these problems as Conan.

Everything seems to fit pretty well in his quieter and more contemplative moments, though whenever he’s supposed to put on his mean face and get all savage, his voice sounds forced and just doesn’t work for me.

On a side note, Leo Howard, the kid that played the young Conan; was probably the strongest performance in the whole movie.

Seriously man, that kid was a BEAST.

Moving on, despite having some decent actors involved, most of the performances in Conan the Hawaiian feel largely phoned-in.

Stephen Lang’s role as the villain is a little bit more complex than you’d expect given his motivations, however the paltry script affords him very little opportunities to flex his acting muscles or chew scenery.

For fuck’s sake, I can recall an instance when Lang is in battle in Conan and declares:

“I don’t like YOU!”

Really?

You’re the fuckin’ “last boss” of the movie, and that’s your big menacing one-liner?

Anyway, Rose McGowan’s turn as Lang’s creepy-ass daughter had some thought put into it, though it came across as being hammy in the bad way.

The bad way as in Sci-Fi Channel, “bad way.”

She does what she can to play to the morbid nature of her character, as well as her bizarre wardrobe, however at the end of the day she comes across as a shlocky villain in the tradition of The Baroness or Evil-Lyn.

That's right, I made a He-Man reference in a Conan review.

Oh yeah, Ron Perlman was in this movie too.

… That’s about all I have to say about that.

Anyway, Conan the Hawaiian wasn’t a horrible movie, especially if you’re purely in the mood for blood and boobs; however it’s largely uninspired and more than a little cheap.

I will say this though:

In terms of pure entertainment value, it’s better than Cowboys & Aliens.

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The Thing Prequel Looks… Meh.

John Carpenter’s The Thing is a very special kind of horror film.

It horrifies as much as it chills, it awes as much as it intrigues; in short, it is one of the finer examples of a sci-fi horror film that is not only good by the standards of it’s genre, but by the standards of filmmaking in general.

Easily my favorite of John Carpenter’s “Apocalypse Trilogy,” The Thing is one of those movies I don’t see myself ever getting tired of watching.

The makeup and prosthetic effects by Rob Bottin alone, are worth the price of admission.

On a side note, it’s easy to forget that the movie was also a remake of Howard Hawk’s The Thing From Another World, which in turn was an adaptation of the John W. Campbell novella, Who Goes There?

I’d like to claim that I knew who John W. Campbell was before writing this article, but I’m just gonna’ call bullshit on myself right now and give thanks to Wikipedia.

Anyway, despite all this, The Thing bears little very little resemblance to it’s preceding film counterpart, which in many ways serves as it’s greatest strength.

Even today, The Thing stands as a very unique film, with a one of a kind antagonist, a memorable cast of characters, and one of the most oppressive and claustrophobic settings in all of horror cinema.

Which brings us to the 2011 prequel of The Thing that is set to debut this October.

I’m not gonna’ lie, even the title of this movie pisses me off.

Given that it’s a prequel, that means that if one were to watch the 2 films in sequence, the 2011 movie and the 1982 John Carpenter film; one would effectively be forced to watch 2 films with the same name back to back.

That’s just fucked up.

I mean, when you remake a movie and recycle the title, such as was the case with Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street; that alone is pretty confusing, but when you make a prequel that shares a title with it’s sequel; that’s just fuckin’ stupid.

You know that annoying bullshit that comes up whenever you mention Friday the 13th and some jerk-faced asshole has to chime in and ask:

“Which one?  The remake or the original?”

Guess what?

That’s shit’s gonna’ be 20 times worse when you’re talking to the same jerk-faced asshole about The Thing!

“The prequel?  Or the sequel?  The 2011 one?  Or the 1982 version?”

And you know some motherfucker is gonna’ have the gall to throw The Thing From Another World into the mix, just to obfuscate things and piss you off.

THE SHIT.  NEVER.  ENDS.

Gettin’ really tired of Hollywood doing stupid shit like this to cover their losses and get them dollars…

*ANYWAY* THE 2011 PREQUEL OF JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING apparently takes place at the Norwegian camp that originally discovered the alien menace of the title, however the trailer for this prequel feels much more like a remake.

TRAILER HERE

For fuck’s sake, the marketing crew even went so far as to reuse John Carpenter’s droning synthesizer music for the fuckin’ trailer.

Sure, the characters are different, as is much of the setup; but it bothers me that many of the key scenes of the 1982 film are apparently recycled and much of the set bears more than a passing resemblance to what’s come before it.

Sadly, I think that’s just what one has to expect when making a Thing prequel, which if you ask me; was never a good idea in the first place.

Given what we knew of the Norwegian camp from the first film, there’s just too many restrictions that have already been set in stone before the first reel has even run.

We already know the movie takes place in the artic.

We know nobody makes it out alive except for a couple of dudes that hop in a chopper and die a few minutes into the next movie.

We already know the nature of the title monster, which automatically kills about 90% of the drama and cleverness that the John Carpenter film brought to the table.

And to top it all off, we already know that the movie is going to end with a Husky running off into the sunset.

Oddly enough, despite all this I think the one objection this prequel that I really feel the need to throw out there, has to do with the inclusion of Mary Elizabeth Winstead as what I assume is the protagonist.

I don’t mean to sound chauvinistic or anything, but in my opinion The Thing’s all male cast actually served to lend it a great deal of dramatic weight.

When the paranoia settled in, and Wilford Brimley started ragin’ the diabeetus and breakin’ shit; there was a point in The Thing where you really believed, not only that anyone could be a Thing, but also that this was a bunch of guys that really were this close to gutting one another to survive.

In inserting a female character into the mix, you change the entire dynamic, and indeed the entire atmosphere of the film, largely because of horror movie traditions like the “Final Girl.”

It’s probably just me, but I don’t see something like The Thing benefiting from high-pitched screams, guys getting predictably killed off in savage ways due to their misogynistic practices, and dudes making it to the end on account of their romantic associations with the protagonist.

I realize the above statements were insensitive.

Fuck you, get your own damn blog.

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Rest In Peace Macho Man Randy Savage

Awhile back I posted on this blog about a nickname I received at work.

That nickname was of course, Bonesaw; Macho Man Randy Savage’s character from the 2002 Spider-Man movie:

Said nickname was given to me on account of my tendency to randomly spout off various Savage-isms with alarming regularity.

Yes, I have practiced my Randy Savage in the mirror, and yes; I am quite adept at mimicking the awesomeness of his majesty.

That being said, being as the Macho Man was taken from us earlier today; I feel it’s my duty to use this blog post to pay homage to his memory.

While I would consider myself a fan of wrestling, the majority of Randy Savage’s more famous moments actually came before my time.

Growing up, I caught the tail end of the classic era, and kept up with the WWF and WCW stuff all the way through the Monday Night Wars/Attitude era; essentially giving up on the “sport” around the time The Rock transformed from The Rock to his lesser equivalent, the appropriately named, Dwayne.

Through all of this, Randy Savage didn’t really have much of a presence for me in wrestling.

Where he did have my attention though, was on Saturday mornings where he would frequently interrupt my cartoons by blowing through walls n’shit to preach the word of the Slim Jim:

To date, I have yet to consume a Slim Jim, though I’d be lying if the Savage didn’t make me feel like I was missing out on something awesome.

While I don’t remember seeing the Macho Man actually wrestle all that often, I feel fortunate to have grown up watching his mic performances; as they were, and still are; some of the best of all time.

When I was a kid, the WWF was largely in transition; foolishly trying to outmode characters like the Macho Man, and replace them with unworthy “badasses” like Diesel, or the Ultimate Warrior.

This resulted in Randy Savage being cast off to the side, acting more like a manager than an actual wrestler.

This would carry on well into his tenure in the WCW, though not without good reason.

Simply put, the Macho Man was a wizard when it came to pageantry and mic skills.

Not long ago I posted a promo video of the Macho Man doing a promo for the new WWF All-Stars (no force on this Earth can make me say the “E”) videogame, and while he may have aged a great deal since we last saw him; holy fuck did he still have it:

Seriously man, if wrestlers these days could do half of what Randy Savage did on the mic, at any stage in his career; I’d still be watching today’s so-called wrestling.

That being said, while I wasn’t really around to see any of it; there was a time when Randy Savage was one of the best wrestlers in the business.

A long time ago I remember looking up the “best wrestling matches of all time,” and one match that kept popping up was of course Randy Savage’s energetic match with Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania III:

For it’s time, and by any standards really; this match was a testament to the power of in-ring storytelling.

Randy Savage was an exceptional wrestler, and an icon of my youth.

It saddens me to know that he’s gone, though I’m happy he decided to appear in the WWF All-Stars game.

The game might not be that great, but at least it’ll give the youth of today a little window into what wrestling was like with the Macho Man Randy Savage:

Colorful, exciting, and just plain BETTER.

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

Conan Looks Like Shit…

Well, it’s been a long time coming, but they’ve finally released a theatrical trailer for the new Conan the Barbarian.

For those that are keeping score at home, in previous articles I made mention of the fact that the production stills for the movie had a decent look to them, and that Jason Momoa seemed a capable enough actor to take on the character of Conan.

Then the teaser was released, and suddenly the whole thing started to seem cheap and hokey.

CHEEEEEEAAAAAPPPP.

Despite this, I found myself more than willing to concede that this epic clusterfuck of a poorly conceived teaser trailer was mostly the fault of a lame-ass marketing department, and not a genuine representation of the quality of the actual film.

While that could in fact be the case, and indeed, could still be the case; it’s hard for me to say that the new trailer for Conan looks at all good.

TRAILER HERE

The production values seem decent enough, with some some nice background vistas, practical sets, and (excessively detailed) costumes, but the various action set-pieces the trailer promises are far from noteworthy.

Tentacle beast?

Albino sand people?

Magical claw lady cat fight?

I’m sorry, but none of that really seems like stuff I’d like to see in my Conan movies.

I think the worst comment I can make about this trailer, is the fact that it reminded me of the recent Clash of the Titans remake.

Pictured: Sky Marine hanging out with his Greek Protoss buddy in Medusa's layer. Don't worry, it's an inside joke.

For those who are unaware, Clash of the Titans is a pretty fuckin’ lousy remake, of a beautifully animated; but otherwise mediocre Ray Harryhausen film.

The one saving grace for Conan that is impossible to gauge from the trailer, is the fact that Lionsgate and Millenium Pictures movies have a pretty good reputation for including ridiculous amounts of violence in their films.

That being said, should this new Conan be as bloody and SAVAGE as it’s curiously over-the-top DEAD SERIOUS tone might suggest, there’s a good chance the various fade to black portions of the trailer might be concealing some truly epic bloodshed.

This is definitely a “maybe” for now, and at the end of the day it won’t really make the movie any more worthwhile than it already is; but in my book good action can go a long way towards making a shitty movie I spent $10 to see that much less shitty.

Here’s hoping this one doesn’t suck, ’cause despite all the shit I talked just now, it’s more than likely I’ll end up seeing it in the theater anyway!

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

A Tribute to the Greatness that is Donnie Yen: Part VIII – Donnie Yen In The “Post Yip” Era

Finally startin to look his age...

A long time ago I wrote that I felt that director Wilson Yip was probably the best thing to ever happen to Donnie Yen’s career.

First teaming up in 2005 for the cop drama/action flick SPL, the 2 would end up collaborating on 5 consecutive films.

With the sole exception of the somewhat lackluster Dragon Tiger Gate, all of said films were of stellar quality; easily ranking as some of the best in Mr. Yen’s career.

While Yen’s incredible longevity allowed him to effectively outlast the majority of his contemporaries, namely Jet Li and Jackie Chan; and his innovative fighting performance and choreography skills certainly put him ahead of the pack, this writer would argue that Wilson Yip’s cinematographic skills and eye for detail had just as much to do with his rise to prominence as any of the aforementioned factoids.

Besides, any man that makes shit like Bio Zombie clearly knows what theyre doing. No sarcasm intended.

That being said, it’s now 2011; and while he’s been detached from Wilson Yip ever since the production of Ip Man 2, Donnie Yen is still the reigning king of Hong Kong screen fighters.

So, why am I not happy?

I’m just about as big a Donnie Yen fan as you’ll ever meet, but truth be told; as much as I like the man’s work, like most screen fighters he’s made an alarming number of shitty movies.

In fact, if you don’t count Blade 2; a movie he choreographed by held maybe 5 minutes of screen time in, I don’t think I’ve genuinely liked a non-Wilson Yip Donnie Yen movie since Shanghai Affairs back in ’98, and even that kind of sucked.

Sadly, now that Yen doesn’t seem to have any projects lined up with Wilson Yip in the foreseeable future; I’m left feeling like things are going to go back to the way they were, with Donnie Yen steadily churning out crap movies with decent fights.

...Or in the case of the Twins Effect movies, crappy movies with crappy fights. Thats Jackie Chan on the right by the way.

Despite an astoundingly well cut trailer for it’s U.S. release, make no mistake Legend of the Fist: Return of Chen Zhen, Yen’s first film of the “Post Yip Era”; is most assuredly hot garbage.

I own a Hong Kong blu ray of Legend of the Fist, and while Yen’s physical performance was actually pretty amazing, as detailed here; the movie itself was one of the most boring kung fu movies I’ve seen in a long time.

At present, Mr. Yen has a handful of movies on his plate, most notably a mysterious Peter Chan film called Swordsmen, and 2 other films titled The Lost Bladesman and The Monkey King.

I’ve purposely decided to forego any mention of the most recent All’s Well, Ends Well, as while it does in fact include Donnie Yen in it’s cast; no force on Earth could make me see it as a “Donnie Yen film.”

Yeah, not exactly high on my "must see" list...

Anyway, The Lost Bladesman sees Donnie Yen taking on the role of famed Chinese general and folk hero Guan Yu in a wuxia film.

Trailers for this one have been popping up pretty regularly as of late, with most of the footage doing little to light a fire in my pants.

Sure, it has Donnie Yen.

Sure he’s hitting people while sporting a pimp beard and guan dao.

Even so, the production values seem a little below standard, and the cinematography and choreography seem about on par with the mediocrity of Yen’s own 14 Blades.

For those that may be unaware, any film that draws comparisons to 14 Blades has it’s work cut out for it in terms of not sucking.

Pictured: Donnie Yen squaring off against Captain Jack Sparrow.

That leaves 2012’s The Monkey King as the one Yen movie to bear the weight of making up for the past couple of years of “meh.”

While it’s certainly far off in terms of being released, in all honesty; The Monkey King actually seems like it might be worth the wait.

No footage exists as of yet, but given that the story is a retelling of the Journey to the West, essentially the Chinese myth of myths; and given the incredible assortment of talent involved in the production, I’ve got a good feeling about it.

Sure, it’ll probably be CGI’d to shit and make Donnie Yen look like a complete goof ball; but the art style of the poster and Cheang Pou Soi’s involvement as director will likely make up for it.

I don't know about you, but if you ask me that's a pretty awesome fuckin' poster.

Seriously man, if the same Cheang Pou Soi that made Dog Bite Dog and Shamo shows up for this one, we’re in for one helluva’ ride.

Despite all the pessimism of everything mentioned above, let it be known; I remain hopeful for Donnie Yen’s career.

In many ways, I think my “disappointment” in some of his recent projects spawns from my general lack of enthusiasm for mainland China productions as compared to Hong Kong ones.

Wuxia works when it works, but for the most part it’s not what you’d call my favorite genre.

Whatever the future holds for Mr. Yen, I only hope that whatever crappy or mediocre productions he’s involved in continue to be the fault of writers and directors as opposed to Donnie Yen himself…

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

Thoughts On Conan The Barbarian Teaser

I’ve posted a couple of times now regarding my thoughts on the upcoming Jason Momoa Conan film, however this marks the first time said thoughts have been anything less than hopeful.

That being said, while I’m completely aware of the dangers of using a teaser trailer as a quality barometer for a yet to be released film, I’ve gotta’ say; whoever is in charge of the marketing for Conan The Barbarian needs to be dick-slapped something fierce.

Speaking of which, I’m not sure when they decided to go with the title “Conan The Barbarian,” but personally I think that was a bad move.

I mean yeah, I understand that the producers are probably looking to create some brand recognition, not to mention distance their film from the similarly titled Conan O’Brien show, but even so; the thought of 2 films of such a short series bearing the exact same name seems a little strange to me.

Anyway, let’s back to the topic at hand, namely that of the teaser from said Conan movie.

Speaking of which, I should probably post that for you to see.

Here yah’ go:

Long story short, I found the teaser to be laughable.

Other than a few foggy images fading in and out through a smoke cloud, there’s little to no content to be found within it, making it the very definition of a teaser; which in and of itself not a bad thing.

Remember when the first teasers for Inception came out and we were all totally drawn in by how enigmatic and full of Hans Zimmer infused BWAAHHHH!!!! they were?

Well, that would’ve worked for Conan, had they excised all of the voice-over and narration and instead gone with something a little more subtle.

Unfortunately, they didn’t.

No, instead we get some of the most over the top (and cerebral) voice-over this side of UFC commentary.

Seriously, I don’t know if it’s just me, but the voice of the narrator sounded really fuckin’ stupid to me.

He sounded like he was trying to work from the badass Don LaFontaine school of “IN A WORLD” style voice-over, but sadly it just kind of ends up sounding really dumb and horribly forced.

To make matters worse, when the narrator is switched out for Jason Momoa’s “Conan voice;” it ends up sounding like the 2 guys were trying to one-up each other in the excessively manly voice department.

Anyway, while the teaser might be really fuckin’ stupid, and poorly imagined at that; I feel it’s worth reiterating that at it’s core it’s just a trailer, and should have little to no bearing on the quality of the finished product.

In any case, I’ll still end up watching the movie anyway; ’cause let’s face it, it’s Conan, and Conan’s the shit.

In the hopes of giving this post at least some element of positivity, I feel it’s worth mentioning that in perusing the Conan The Barbarian wikipedia page, I happened to note that Bob Sapp was listed in the cast, which at least gives the movie the added benefit of potentially playing host to a Jason Momoa/Bob Sapp smackdown.

As you can see, Mr. Sapp is pretty fuckin' awesome...

As much as I like Bob Sapp, in all honesty; the man has a pretty awful track record in his film appearances.

Seriously man, Devil Man and Elektra were shitty movies on their own; however it could easily be argued that Bob Sapp’s presence in them, actually might have contributed to making them the piles of ass they are.

Come to think of it, he’s been out of the spotlight for long enough that I’m just kind of hoping he hasn’t ballooned into a fat fuck like a lot of retired pro athletes.

In his defense, "The Fridge" was never all that slim to begin with...

Huh, guess that wasn’t all that positive after all…

Anyway, here’s hoping that despite the horrible teaser trailer, Conan The Barbarian ends up being the worthwhile movie I’ve been waiting for all these years.

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

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