Azn Badger's Blog

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What’s The Deal With Asura’s Wrath?

(E3 Footage HERE)

Today I decided to sit down and watch some of the demo footage from this year’s E3.

While I’ve been (halfheartedly) following some of the news from E3, truth be told; today marked the first instance in which I actually watched any footage from it.

Given that I see myself as kind of a Capcom whore, the game I decided to check out was their enigmatic and supposedly “different” upcoming game, Asura’s Wrath.

At first glance, the game seemed pretty decent; but within the span of literally 2-3 seconds, my impression of it changed dramatically.

In case you’re wondering, the character designs were the one major positive I took from the videos I watched.

Pretty pimp...

The 2-3 or character models (2 if you only include major characters, 3 if you count generic enemy fodder) featured in the trailers were all striking and wholly unique, with some pretty fluid animations to boot.

Outside of the character models though, everything I’ve seen from Asura’s Wrath managed to rub me the wrong way.

Despite the beauty of the characters, the backgrounds and scenery were bland and simplistic; bearing a color palette of the Gears of War 1 style “gray and brown.”

The voice acting is atrocious, not only in terms of quality of performance, but also in terms of the actual sound of it.

Also on the audio side of things, the music was mindblowing-ly lazy, with about 15 minutes worth of “intense” in-game footage playing host to a boring drone akin to the early seasons of the American Dragonball Z dub.

Speaking of Dragonball Z, Asura’s Wrath clearly seems to draw a lot of inspiration from it, not just in terms of aesthetic, but also in terms of pacing.

Basically, the formula goes:

Inane and indecipherable dialogue, followed by manic action scene, followed by another inane indecipherable dialogue scene, followed by power-up scene, followed up by dramatic epiphany, followed by even more dramatic power-up scene.

*Sigh* How many years of my life did I devote to watching this exact frame played over and over and over again?...

I swear, all they needed to do was insert a cut away or 2 of grass blowing in the wind, and Asura’s Wrath would straight up be Dragonball Z.

Maybe it’s just because I’m older, but for whatever reason; I just can’t play along with these old fashioned anime tropes anymore…

So far I’ve spent this whole article harping on Asura’s Wrath from face value alone.

Truth be told, that’s where most of my complaints lie, however I do in fact have a gripe or 2 about the gameplay (from what I could derive from the in-game footage).

First and foremost of these complaints is of course:

Is there any gameplay?

While it’s of course far too early to make any serious speculation, from what I could tell from the footage I viewed, Asura’s Wrath has a God of War/Devil May Cry/Ninja Gaiden/Bayonetta/Heavenly Sword/Dante’s Inferno/Etc. action mechanic.

There are attack buttons, there is a shoot button, and there is a context sensitive counter button.

With the exception of the counter button, these buttons are used maybe 5 times over the course of the trailer.

It was actually kind of funny watching the player use the shoot button, as he never really seemed to get the hang of the aiming mechanic; which resulted in him taking damage whenever he tried to use it.

Not that the game ever really seemed to offer any sort of challenge that required him to…

The vast majority of the 15-20 minutes of footage that I viewed, all taken from a boss fight mind you; involved extremely simplistic quick time events.

By “extremely simplistic,” I mean, “if you fail one of these, congratulations; you are a retard.”

The point is, I spent 20 minutes watching in-game footage of a game that looked kind of cool, sounded really dumb, and only asks you to touch the controller once every 5 minutes.

...And no, I'm not talking about Metal Gear.

Worse yet, most of the “gameplay” I saw basically involved repetitiously countering or performing a menial task in order to fill a gauge of some sort, activation of which basically rewards you by sending you to the next repetitive portion of the gameplay/cutscene.

Note the repetition of the word “repetition.”

Like virtually everything to come out of Japan, ever; Asura’s Wrath is very high on style, but seriously seems to lack in substance.

Other than the cool visuals, and distinctly anime-like cinematography and pacing, I really can’t figure out what would make it fun to play.

Bayonetta and God of War were quick-time event heavy, however they also had extremely robust gameplay mechanics to one to play around with in between it all.

Again, it’s far too early to make any serious speculation as to exactly what kind of game Asura’s Wrath is, but as of now; my opinion is largely negative.

At this point I’m still just wondering, what’s the deal with Asura’s Wrath?

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What Happened To Theme Songs?

Remember, back in the day, when every movie/TV series/cartoon had a cheesy self-titled theme song to go with it?

I miss those days.

I miss the days when (almost) every James Bond movie would have a goofy song of the same name as it’s theme.

I miss the days when the opening lyrics of my Saturday morning cartoons would remind me every .125 seconds of what the hell I was watching.

I miss the days when Kamen Rider would ride into battle to a triumphant theme song bearing his name.

Something happened to the traditional self-titled theme song in the past decade or so, and by golly; I’m upset.

Don’t get me wrong, theme songs still exist, especially for cartoons, it just makes me sad that culture has seemingly trended towards out-moding them in the mainstream.

Some time in the mid-80’s, a few years before I was born, it seemed like everything had a dumb self-titled theme song to go with it.

In example, I give you the (awesome) theme song for Cat’s Eye:

Cat’s Eye was an exceptionally shitty Stephen King movie by the way.

Not as bad as The Langoliers or anything, but nowhere near “good.”

Moving on, for the requisite sports drama; we have Sammy Hagar’s not quite named after the movie, but close enough theme song for Stallone’s appropriately titled, Over The Top:

While many of the songs of this era were kind of shitty, I always found it kind of cool that they were obviously written specifically for the production they were used in.

It shows that someone cared enough about the production to make a song dedicated to it.

As silly as that sounds, I think that’s kind of neat.

These days it seems like, anime, tokusatsu, movies, and TV shows no longer have “traditional” theme songs, rather they simply have some sort of pop song in it’s place.

Kamen Rider used to have self-titled themes for all of it’s iterations up until the 2000’s, when the themes seemed to stop making mention of the title character.

To be fair though, Kamen Rider theme songs seem to have been produced specifically for the shows they’re used in, as evidenced by the lyrics typically being firmly rooted in the core themes of the show, as well as occasionally being sung by some of the cast members:

What really grinds my gears though, is when pop song themes don’t really have anything to do with the production they’re used in besides serving as a musical motif in the soundtrack.

My best guess is, across all aspects of the film medium; this is done for economic purposes, but I ask you:

Does fuckin’ Linkin Park really hold a candle to the old Transformers theme?

Didn’t think so.

And by the way, no, I’m not going to embed the Linkin Park song for you ’cause… Well, just ’cause.

If there was any one thing I could wish for in Transformers 3, it’d have to be the inclusion of the Gen 1 theme song in some form.

Well, that and I suppose it would be nice if the movie didn’t suck.

Anyway, this has been a retarded rant, hopefully you all aren’t confused and/or angered by it.

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The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #5


Remember how I said I’ve only owned 2 rhythm games in my life?

The host of the #8 song on our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs, Bust A Groove; was 1 of them, but today we’ll be taking a look at the other.

Said game is another PS1 classic, the infectious and hilarious musical rhythm game, Parappa The Rapper:

#5. Parappa The Rapper – All Masters Rap


Parappa The Rapper was one of those games that came out in the States at just about the perfect time.

Interest in Japanese culture (read: anime) among young *cough!* WHITE *cough!* people was rapidly increasing, enough to the point in which a ridiculously stupid and consumately Japanese videogame like Parappa would seem awesome to the average American kid as opposed to, well, ridiculously stupid.

You see!? THIS is why they're WINNING!

Culture trends and history lessons aside, Parappa The Rapper was a delightful niche game for the PS1 that, while disappointingly sort and lacking in content; was an incredibly sweet experience while it lasted.

Making use of a unique, “flat” graphical style; Parappa hit U.S. shores with a surprisingly decent amount of fanfare, mostly as a result of glowing pre-release reviews of the Japanese version, which interestingly enough; was also voiced and sung in English.

Consequently, it was the overwhelming good press for Parappa that ultimately led to me asking for it as a Christmas gift.

As mentioned previously, Parappa was a painfully short game, but even so, the colorfulness of it’s characters and the catchy nature of it’s songs made it a worthy addition to my PS1 collection.

It’s actually quite remarkable to think that even though it’s been over 10 years since I last played it, my friends and I can still remember the lyrics to most of the Parappa songs.

And remember, this is coming from someone who still has trouble remembering the lyrics to shit like “Highway to the Danger Zone.”

Top Gun: Kind of a Big Deal.

While it’s not quite the the most memorable song from Parappa, “All Masters Rap” will always remain stuck in my mind purely as a result of the context it is sung in.

In case you couldn’t tell from the video above, “All Masters Rap” is essentially a mass rap battle to decide who earns the right to drop a deuce in the last remaining toilet stall.

It’s an unbelievably clever and hilarious predicament that is made all the more surreal by the utterly priceless expressions of agony that are plastered across the various character’s faces.

Despite all the praise I’ve been heaping on “All Masters Rap,” it’s hard to deny that “Chop Chop Master Onion’s Rap” is probably just a tad bit more memorable to most:

I mean it’s the first song in the game and has lyrics of Barney-level sophistication, so obviously it’s going to be one of the more memorable parts of the game.

“Chop Chop Master Onion’s Rap” might be the most memorable track in the game, but even so; I think “All Masters Rap” is still the best song in Parappa The Rapper.

Anyway, this was the 5th entry on our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs, check back tomorrow for #4!

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The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #5: Godzilla Crashes the Party

Today we finally crack the Top 5 of the Azn Badger’s Top 10 Manliest Man Moments in movies!

While the majority of the MANLY moments leading up to this one have been highlights from various MANLY action star’s careers, today we’re going to be tackling a moment that belongs not so much to a MANLY MAN of MANLINESS; but rather a fictional character that embodies many of the same values.

Said fictional character is of course the walking symbol of nuclear holocaust, Godzilla.

FUCK YES.

Anyone who’s read a post or 2 from this blog is likely aware that Godzilla is, and always will be one my biggest heroes.

I’ve been watching the Big-G’s movies since before I could speak, and though he’s not exactly human; even at a young age I found I identified with him in some bizarre way.

Now, as many of you are aware, Godzilla is a character who has been portrayed by a number of actors, in a number of different ways.

In his earliest appearances as well as much of the 90’s, Godzilla was essentially a wild beast; a force of nature driven by a wholly reptilian brain.

Hey, just because Godzilla's MANLY doesn't mean his brain isn't the size of a peanut.

In the 60’s and 70’s though, as the franchise lightened it’s tone to appeal to youngsters; Godzilla began to take on a more human-like characteristics, both in appearance and behavior.

More importantly, the kid-friendly Godzilla was often portrayed as a hero; a factor that was largely responsible for securing his place on this list.

In that sense, it should come as no surprise that our 5th MANLIEST MAN moment comes from the 1975 Godzilla flick, and last of the original Showa era of films, Terror of Mechagodzilla AKA Mekagojira no Gyakushu AKA Mechagodzilla’s Counter-Attack:

Terror of Mechagodzilla is hands down my favorite Godzilla movie.

Directed by Ishiro Honda, the director of the original 1954 Godzilla; the movie pretty much has everything you could want in a sci-fi B-movie.

Seriously man, despite the title of the movie only listing 1 monster, Terror of Mechagodzilla included aliens, secret agents, the only instance of exposed boobs in Godzilla movie history, and 3 giant monsters for the price of 1!

The copy of the movie I had when I was a kid didn’t have the boobs, but rest assured; everything else listed above went a long way towards making me watch it every fuckin’ day of my youth.

In particular, I found that Titanosaurus, a rare “tooth and claw” monster in Godzilla’s gallery of rogues; did a lot to keep me coming back to Terror of Mechagodzilla as a kid.

"DuRR! I HaS a RaDiO TOWer!!! DuRR!!!"

I loved his unique, cackling roar, and how he was tough and scrappy despite being largely unable to handle the Big-G without tagging Mechagodzilla in every now and again.

In all, I have a lot of love for Titanosaurus, and am still surprised that this was the only film he ever appeared in.

Bearing a decidedly more severe and mature tone than most of the other 70’s Godzilla movies, Terror of Mechagodzilla is for sure a dumb enough movie for kids to understand; however it goes out of it’s way to do so without being condescending.

In addition to this, the movie also gets brownie points for serving as a time capsule for perhaps the gaudiest and most hideous examples of mid-70’s Japanese fashion.

Seriously man, if the lapels were any bigger in this movie the actors probably would’ve suffocated on the set…

My favorite character in the movie (besides Godzilla of course) was Jiro Murakoshi, the pimp-ass Interpol agent who I’d later learn stole his entire pimp-ass wardrobe from the Japanese apex of pimp himself, Golgo-13.

Cosmic...

I could go on an on about how awesome Murakoshi was, but in the interest of keeping this post at least a little bit focused; I figure I should move on to our MAN moment for today.

In all my years of watching Godzilla movies, I’ve found that the overall quality and tone of a Godzilla movie can often times be gauged by the awesomeness of Godzilla’s first appearance in the film.

As I mentioned earlier, Terror of Mechagodzilla is easily my favorite Godzilla movie; and as such, it also happens to be the film that bears his finest entrance sequence:

At this point in the movie, Mechagodzilla hasn’t been completed yet; so Titanosaurus is really the only monster we’ve seen in action.

Tearing his way through Yokosuka under the control of Akihiko Hirata’s Dr. Mafune and his daughter, Tomoko Ai’s Katsura; Titanosaurus easily routs the JSDF and makes his way towards the downtown area.

Meanwhile, the alien leader Mugaru played Goro Mutsumi consults with his right hand man regarding an incoming source of radiation approaching Yokosuka from the sea.

Pictured: HD TV in the 70's.

Concluding that this massive source of radiation can only be Godzilla, the aliens snicker to one another as they decide to let the monster make landfall and confront Titanosaurus in the hope that 1, or both will die in the resulting conflict.

We then cut back to Titanosaurus stomping through the city, causing incalculable amounts of property damage; when out in the distance an angry shadow emerges…

As yet another building falls to the wanton fury of Titanosaurus, out of nowhere a familiar beam of sapphire-blue fire streaks across the sky and knocks the long-necked beast the ground:

Smoke billows from the streets beneath Titanosaurus as the camera sweeps across the skyline to key in on the massive shadow in the distance.

An electrical crackle lights up the night sky as Akira Ifukube’s legendary score roars to life and the shadow emerges from the darkness, revealing the scowling face of our savior and hero, Godzilla!

Godzilla bearing his classic, "Angry Shave Monkey" look.

Seeing his would be opponent felled so easily, the King of the Monsters lets off a domineering roar, to which Titanosaurus can only respond with a reluctant whimper.

His challenge accepted, Godzilla enthusiastically bashes his knuckles together and bears his claws; signaling his urge to fight.

With that, the tension mounts as the 2 monsters square off in classic samurai fashion, only to abruptly slam into one another; sending a cloud of debris and dust into air.

Minutes later this sequence comes to an equally abrupt end as Dr. Mafune orders the retreat of Titanosaurus as a result of Katsura being injured during the engagement.

Watching Godzilla emerge from the shadows in such bad-ass fashion is a memory I’ll always treasure as one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in movies.

Truth be told, the score during this sequence, and indeed the entirety of Terror of Mechagodzilla; is largely responsible for it’s awesomeness if you ask me.

Sure, the music played during this sequence is just the same old Godzilla march we’ve been hearing for the past 50+ years; however this particular version of it is one of, if not the strongest version I know of.

It’s slowed down a bit, with a deeper and harsher sound to it, lending the track a severity that is foreign in an otherwise colorful and energetic piece of music.

Anyway, this was MANLY moment #5, check back tomorrow for #4!

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The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #7: The Poe-Dozer

Welcome back folks, to the Azn Badger’s list of the Top 10 Manliest Man Moments!

So far we’ve covered the head-exploding exploits of Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star, the unbridled savagery of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s John Matrix in Commando, and the sporadic and unfocused heroism of Han Solo.

Indeed, with every entry on this list we’ve explored a number of different forms of MANLINESS, and today will be no exception.

Today, as we name the 7th MANLIEST MAN moment in movie history, we enter the 7th circle of MAN-DOM:

Make no mistake, Con Air is a horribly disjointed mess of a movie.

Despite having an all-star cast, Con Air isn’t action-y enough to be an action movie, nor prison-y enough to be a prison movie; resulting in a film that has no fuckin’ clue what it wants to do with itself.

In falling flat on it’s face trying to embody the genres listed above, Con Air falls back on what many Jerry Bruckheimer financed blockbusters attempt to do, namely be “funny.”

Normally this would be acceptable, (and if Michael Bay’s in charge, very likely racist) however in this case most of the funny lines are delivered by DEATH ROW INMATES, making the humor just a little bit morally questionable.

Haha! Serial killers are HILARIOUS!

Despite all of Con Air’s failings, to it’s credit; it remains a very watchable piece of mid-90’s garbage.

One thing the movie did do right though, was give us the awesomeness that is Nic Cage’s Cameron Poe.

Cameron Poe, feeeeeeeels so good....

A quiet Southern gentleman who just happens to be an Army Ranger, Cameron Poe also happens to be mullet-ed and blue jean-ed DEATH on 2 legs.

Case in point, Poe is known to be SO FUCKING SAVAGE that in defending his PREGNANT WIFE against 3 drunken yahoos, 1 of whom is armed with a knife; Poe ends up getting sent to prison for manslaughter.

Seriously man, the guy is SO FUCKING SAVAGE that in killing an armed man in self-defense, he gets sent to prison for 8 years on the grounds that he “should’ve known better,” being as he’s a FUCKING KILLING MACHINE.

Anyway, despite Poe’s infinite awesomeness, Con Air as a movie doesn’t exactly afford him all that many opportunities to be badass.

There’s that one time he rescues a stuffed bunny through “presenting rearward” to a more than a little surprised Nick Chinlund while over-the-top rock music blared in the background:

Somebody just lost their cherry. Not sure who...

Then there was that one time he Chuck Norris-ed the shit out of some Mexicans to the sounds of over-the-top rock music:

The MANLIEST of MANLY maneuvers: The Roundhouse Kick!

And I guess there was that one time he prevented the rape of that one lady from Total Recall by beating the shit out of “The Man Who Always Dies In Movies,” Danny Trejo; also set to over-the-top rock music:

In other words, Cameron Poe; as awesome as he is, seems dependent on the presence of over-the-top stylings of Trevor Rabin’s orchestral synth-rock music in order to get his swagger on and kill the fuck out of, well; apparently mostly just Mexicans.

Cameron Poe’s not racist, there just happen to be a lot of Hispanic bad guys that wander into his path in Con Air.

At least I hope that’s the case…

Thankfully, Cameron Poe’s MANLIEST of MAN moments, and our 7th MANLIEST MAN moment in all of movies; involves no violence directed at Hispanics, but rather  plain ‘ole white guys, which of course makes it all the more PC!:

So here’s the basic setup:

An impeccably dressed John Cusack and that one Irish guy from Star Trek have finally caught up to the Jail Bird, the plane carrying all of the escaped convicts AKA the bad guys.

Chasing after the plane in pair of attack helicopters, the Irish guy orders his pilot to shoot it down; while John Cusack’s Vince Larkin does what he can to protect the government’s property I.E. both the plane and CAMERON FUCKING POE by screaming “CEASE FIRE!” into the ear of the pilot in the front seat.

Dial it down Cusack! The check cleared...

Long story short, some shots are fired, but not enough to knock the plane out of the sky.

During all of this however, Nic Cage’s Cameron Poe is in the process of HULKING OUT over his diabetic friend Baby-O, played by Bubba from Forrest Gump; having just been shot in the gut by John Malkovich’s unitentionally hilarious Cyrus the Virus.

Nearly brought to MANLY tears at the sight of his friends lying on the ground dieing and rapidly losing his faith, Poe does what any self-respecting MAN would do and casually DECLARES HIMSELF GOD and sets out on his way to kill a bunch of people:

Thus begins the awesomeness of MANLY moment #7.

Standing up from tending to his fallen friend, The Poe’s trademark over-the-top rock music starts blaring, and shit gets real, really fuckin’ fast!

Stomping down the aisle of the Jail Bird on a bee line for the cockpit, Poe throws on his MANLIEST of MAN-FACES and ascends to his ULTIMATE level of MAN-SAVAGERY:

Despite the massive aura of MANLINESS radiating from him during all of this, a couple of the bad guys foolishly step up to challenge The Poe-Dozer.

First up is a big-ass blonde, shirtless douchbag with a broken bottle that uses what little time he has left on this Earth to shout a retarded and borderline incoherent threat at The Poe-Dozer:

Just 'cause you've only got a tenth second to issue a threat, doesn't mean you shouldn't try.

As one might expect, size advantage or not; going toe-to-toe with The Poe when he’s in full-on Poe-Dozer Mode get’s this poor shmuck beat to shit something fierce.

Quick as you can say “1, 2, 3” The Poe-Dozer brings it’s blade to bear and claims it’s first victim:

Wham, bam, thank you ma'am...

Not skipping a beat, The Poe-Dozer continues his march of MANLINESS, letting out an obscenely MANLY “HUUOOOAAAH!!!!!” as he steps over the fallen blonde douchebag.

Unfortunately, another bad guy pops up in The Poe’s way; this time armed with a handgun.

Having seen his partner utterly steamrolled by the fury of The Poe-Dozer, the baddie wastes no time lifting his pistol and opening fire.

Bad Guy used Bullet Seed! It's not very effective...

Unbeknownst to this particular bad guy though, The Poe-Dozer is immune to gunfire, thusly causing the otherwise debilitating injury of a bullet to the bicep to seem like little more than a minor annoyance.

… A minor annoyance that serves to ANGER the already POSITIVELY FUMING Poe-Dozer.

That being said, it should come as no surprise, least of all to the bad guy standing before him; that The Poe-Dozer goes to town on this sad sack of fuck with a motherfuckin’ vengeance.

… But not before we cut to a shot of the guy having a moment as he reflects on the error of his ways:

Utterly frozen in disbelief at the sight of The Poe-Dozer’s unflinching reaction to the gunshot wound, the convict finds himself unable to pull the trigger a second time.

His fate sealed, the bad guy quickly succumbs to the unrelenting fury of The Poe-Dozer; falling by the wayside after 3 consecutive straight right hands to the jaw.

... And here comes #3.

At this point the music has already begun to calm down, thereby stripping The Poe-Dozer of his inhuman strength and vengeance fueled MAN-RAGE.

Fortunately, the previous 2 bad guys made up the bulk of The Poe’s resistance in reaching the cockpit, with the last obstacle remaining in his way (besides the fucking door) being the effeminate cross-dressing convict, “Sally Can’t Dance.”

Behold, the dreaded final boss of the "March to the Cockpit" stage in Con Air: The Videogame!

Reverting from his uber-violent Poe-Dozer Mode to the more socially acceptable Southern Gentleman Mode, The Poe sees fit to dispatch “Sally Can’t Dance” in a manner that is fitting, namely that of laying the smack down with an open palm:

Huh, ‘guess I lied about the “no violence towards Hispanics” in this scene.

Oh well.

Technically there’s more to it, but in my eyes this moment marks the conclusion of the 7th MANLIEST MAN moment in movies.

Check back tomorrow for MANLY moment #6 on our list of the Top 10 Manliest Man Moments!

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The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #10: Beard-Shiro

Alrighty boys ‘n girls, it’s been a long time coming, but today we’re finally kickin’ off a new Top 10 list.

This time around we’re gonna’ be venturing into the depths of MANLY cinema to dig up the Top 10 Manliest Man Moments in movie history.

Better buckle your ass down, ’cause for the next 10 days, testosterone levels are gonna’ shoot through the roof, energy drinks will be consumed en masse, fake boobies will be squeezed, Tapout gear’ll be worn 24/7, and no opportunity to apply the principles of infighting will be missed out on.

Okay, maybe things won’t get that meatheaded around here; at least I hope not…

Pictured: The poster boy for a generation...

In any case, expect much violence, feats of strength, and epic acts of selfless heroism to be the core subjects explored over the next 10 days.

That being said, while things may in fact get a little meat head-y in the immediate future, bear with me, ’cause believe me; this shit’s gonna’ be awesome.

Anyway, let’s get the ball rollin’ with the first entry in our list, the 10th Manliest Man Moment as seen in Hokuto No Ken: The Movie:

Hokuto No Ken AKA Fist of the North Star is perhaps the MANLIEST anime or manga in existence.

Except maybe Golgo 13…  Golgo 13’s the shit.

THAT FUCKING PIMP.

To the sad few that might not be aware of it, Hokuto No Ken takes the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max, re-casts a Japanese Bruce Lee as the main character; and features (numerous) instances of him blowing people the fuck up by TOUCHING THEM as it’s core plot point.

If that’s not fuckin’ MANLY, then I don’t know what is.

Oh wait, THIS:

Anyway, the main character of Hokuto No Ken is an insanely powerful martial artist named Kenshiro.

Kenshiro is essentially your basic Yojimbo-esque silent do-gooder, albeit one that dispenses justice with the body exploding martial art of Hokuto Shinken as opposed to say, a six-shooter or katana.

Throughout the series, Ken kills an ungodly number of people; almost always in horribly gruesome fashion.

While any one of said kills could easily be ranked as one of the Manliest Man Moments in movies, or at least the goriest; such instances of bone-crunching blood fuck-ery occur in Hokuto No Ken with such alarming regularity; that it kind of loses it’s luster after awhile.

I hate to say it, but you can only see a guy’s intestines fall out, or his head explode so many times before it starts to seem routine.

Dude, Neutrogena. Look into it.

Well okay, maybe not routine; but you know what I mean.

Anyway, as weird as it may sound, perhaps the most badass thing Kenshiro ever did in Hokuto No Ken actually involved no maiming or butchering.

Well, “very little” maiming or butchering anyway…

You see, perhaps the most awesome thing Ken ever did in all of Hokuto No Ken and it’s spin-offs, was get his ass whupped and grow a pimp-ass fuckin’ beard:

Pictured: The beard equivalent to Sam Elliot's mustache.

While that is indeed perhaps the pimpest beard in all of existence, I have to admit; simply bearing it isn’t enough to constitute a slot on this list.

Thankfully, Kenshiro manages to one-up the awesomeness of his newly bearded visage almost immediately by, you guessed it; turning some grossly outmatched thugs into salsa waterballoons.

Not only that, he does so after essentially RETURNING FROM THE FUCKING DEAD.

At the beginning of the movie, we’re treated to a sequence wherein Ken gets his ass handed to him by a blond douchebag named Shin.

And of course by "ass handed to him" I mean he got 7 holes poked into his torso by Shin's fingers.

Flash forward sometime later, and we find a couple of kids named Bat/Bart and Lin/Rin (sorry, Japanese is weird like that…) being attacked by some Road Warrior thugs.

Literally seconds away from being mudhole stomped to death by a biker dude, Lin/Rin throws on a PURPLE FUCKING AURA and summon her random fuckin’ psychic powers to call out to Kenshiro, who just happens to be nearby.

From there, Ken’s second appearance in Hokuto No Ken: The Movie sees him literally RISE FROM HIS GRAVE to save the kids looking like Swamp Thing or some shit.

Now, while that may not sound that awesome, bear in mind that Mr. Kenshiro then proceeds to absent mindedly knock a couple of skyscrapers down WITH HIS FISTS.

Not only that, one of said buildings actually falls on Mud Man Kenshiro’s head, and he justs keeps right on walking like nothing happened.

Hell, the building even waits for him to walk out from under it to finish falling over!

Immediately following this, Ken struts his way up to the thugs; shedding his Mud Man getup along the way to reveal:

An awesomely pimptastic hood and beard combo!

BAM! Stylish!

As awesome as the “Deployment of the Beard” was, the real icing on the cake is the fact that this magnificently MANLY entrance sequence is wasted on a handful of some of the lowliest and most puny thugs in the entire Hokuto No Ken universe.

Despite having just seen the man-mountain before them RISE FROM THE GRAVE and KNOCK FUCKING BUILDINGS DOWN WITH HIS BARE HANDS, in classic kung fu movie fashion; the thugs proceed to pull knives and crossbows on ‘ole Ken.

10 bucks says Ken's dick is sharper than that knife...

Not only that, during all of this the motherfucker that was stompin’ a mudhole on little Lin/Rin doesn’t even think to take his boot off of her.

The girl put up a PURPLE FUCKIN’ AURA while you were stomping her and then a muddy fuckin’ Juggernaut came back to life, started wreckin’ buildings n’shit, and then proceeded to march straight towards your ass with GLOWING RED FUCKING EYES.

Even if the dude failed to make the connection between the Mud Man and the girl, you’d think he’d at least, y’know; stop doing what he was doing, or better yet, RUN THE FUCK AWAY.

Regardless, rest assured the dude that made with the stompage is the first to get it… BAAAAAAAAAADDDD….

Yeah, pretty sure your eye's not supposed to do that...

From there, Ken proceeds make goopy cherry Jell-O out of the rest of the gang, caving in faces and the like.

This isn’t the most creative of Ken’s beatdowns in Hokuto No Ken, given that it favors speed and efficiency over brutality and rage; however for what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure none of the bad guys make it out of the fight able to wear hats anymore.

Oh yeah, and none of them lived either, which is a plus.

You see they ain't got heads no more, so hats would be... Yeah, dumb joke; I know...

As mentioned above, this sequence was far from the most brutal moments in Hokuto No Ken history, however the awesomeness of the entrance; coupled with the ultra-rare appearance of Beard-Shiro put this one high on my list in terms of badass moments in movies.

Well, #10 anyway…

That being said, this was just the beginning of the Azn Badger’s Top 10 Manliest Man Moments in movies.

Check back tomorrow for more MANLINESS as we move on to Manly Moment #9!

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Thoughts On Zack Snyder’s Superman

I’ve always felt that Superman was one of the more difficult superheroes to make good stories for.

I like the old-timey nature of the character, and I appreciate the values he represents, but for the most part; Kal-El of Krypton is just too damn powerful for his own good.

Seriously man, you could probably count all of Superman’s known weaknesses/vulnerabilities on 1 hand,

Taking that into account, it’s hard to deny the difficulty writers face when trying to create drama for the man of steel.

Inevitably, most Superman stories end up being centered around a villain scheming to do destroy the Earth/Metropolis/Jimmy the Cub Reporter; thereby testing the heroes’ mettle in an indirect fashion.

Oh Silver Age comics, how I love thee.

While said storytelling device is indeed effective for the most part, honestly; it gets kind of old after awhile.

Watching Superman race to save Lois, or pick up a mountain to save a busload of school kids is fun, but prefer my superheroes’ biggest threats to be of the more direct sort.

In short, I prefer it when my heroes are in just as much peril as the people they are trying to save.

I suppose it should be no surprise that, of all the Superman trades I own; The Death of Superman is easily my favorite.

FUCK YES.

Which brings me to Zack Snyder’s upcoming film, The Man of Steel.

Very little has been publicized in regards to the film’s plot or cast, other than the fact that it’s a *gasp* REBOOT, but given that Snyder is the director; I think we all know what to expect.

Over-the-top imagery and color correction, an overbearing soundtrack, absurd levels of graphic violence, and more than a handful of gratuitous slow-motion fight sequences.

Bingo.

While all of the above do in fact add up to a pretty extravagant audio/visual experience, the sad fact of the matter is that Zach Snyder’s shtick just doesn’t do it for me.

The man definitely has an eye for angles and gorgeous visuals, but of the films of his that I’ve seen, I felt the pacing was meandering at best, and there was a distinct lack of “heart” to the presentation of the story.

That being said, while I have an idea of what to expect from a Zack Snyder Superman, in truth it’s very hard for me to comprehend why he was selected to do it.

Superman fuckin’ is heart.

That's right Mati, show 'em what heart's all about!

Richard Donner’s first 2 Superman films with Christopher Reeve did an incredible job in capturing this aspect of the character, that to this day many people, myself included; still think of Reeve as the finest representation of Superman in any medium.

That's a pretty goofy smirk, but even so; he's still Superman in my book.

In that sense, the new Superman, Henry Cavill; as well as Snyder himself have their work cut out for them.

Hmm, I seem to have gone off on a tangent.

The reason I started this post tonight came as a result of reading that Michael Shannon will be playing General Zod in The Man of Steel.

While I have no doubt that Shannon will do well in the role, as I was very impressed with his performance in Revolutionary Road; it bothers me to know that General Zod is being re-used for the film.

It’s as if the producers/writers are afraid to stray away from the success of Richard Donner’s films.

Superman has a pretty solid gallery of rogues to pick from, and truth be told; aside from Terrence Stamp’s brilliant portrayal of the character in Superman II, General Zod has never really been one of my favorites.

*Sigh* I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that.

Knowing Zack Snyder, and his penchant for going over-the-top with things; I’m guessing there’s going to be several villains in the film, if not an entire army or some shit.

I’m sorry, but I just can’t picture a Zack Snyder film without a SLOW-MOTION 100-on-1 fight sequence.

In that sense, I’d bet that the movie will reference the recent Last Son and New Krypton storylines; thereby giving Mr. Snyder an excuse to have hundreds of Kryptonians flying around chucking cars at each other.

Pictured: Promotional art for Zack Snyder's Superman.

While that could be fun I guess, honestly I’d at least prefer to see a different villain take center stage.

How about fuckin’ Brainiac?

He’s pretty much at the top tier of Superman’s list of baddies and his back story has been ret-conned to have ties to Kal-El’s origins, what more could you want!?

 

Holy shit, he looks like fuckin' Kojak...

Better yet, since Christopher Nolan’s been kind enough to put Bane in his upcoming The Dark Knight Rises, why not throw everyone a bone and put Doomsday in the new Superman movie?

Sure, he’s not interesting enough to carry a whole movie, but goddamnit; Superman’s at his best when he’s punching things, and Doomsday’s one of the only baddies he’s got that he can really slug it out with.

While I’m the topic of punching things, why not give us some Metallo action!?

 

Who the fuck wouldn't want THIS in their movie!?

Oh yeah, ’cause Metallo’s boring and nobody likes him…

But c’mon man, he looked like James Coburn in the cartoon, surely that has to count for something:

 

"You know what time it is? Time me for to kick your ass..."

I apologize, I’m rambling.

My point is:

Superman Returns made the mistake of playing it way too safe, and in the process brought nothing new to the table; least of all villains or characters.

While Zack Snyder’s excessive style can be obnoxious at times, he has an opportunity to really try something different with his take on Superman; and I’d hate to see that hindered by a story that recycles villains used in films made almost 40 years ago.

That being said, here’s hoping that for fuckin’ once we get to see a Superman movie with some different villains; hopefully not including Nuclear Man.

Wow, you mean there actually exists a photo of Nuclear Man where he isn't screaming or shooting lightning bolts!?

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Top 5 Games That Should Be Movies

THE game that needs to be a movie...

Today I read an article on IGN titled “Videogames That Should Be Movies.”

In this article, the author discussed a number of game franchises that they personally would like to see adapted to film.

While many of the games cited seemed to be of the jokey variety, namely their concepts of what an Excitebike and Star Fox would be like; most seemed to be largely genuine.

While the article was kind of a fun read, I found myself disagreeing with some of the selections listed.

Metal Gear and Halo felt like poor (but inevitable…) choices for films, given that both have sprawling canon that is far too dense for feature film; and both have a feel and presentation style that is already film-like in the first place.

If Avatar: The Last Airbender is an indication of the shit storm that can crop up when one tries to cram too much into 2 hours, I don’t wanna’ know what would happen if someone tried to do the same with a Metal Gear game…

At the same time, Portal struck me as a weird; somewhat fanboy-ish choice, given that the game has no real narrative; not to mention the gameplay mechanics are very much a novelty that is more fun to experience rather than watch.

Then again, I’m among the minority of people that didn’t really get much out of Portal, so I might be biased on that one…

Nitpicking aside, as I pondered on this topic; I found myself coming up with my own ideas of game series that I think could be fun in movie form.

That being said, while I can’t call them my “top” 5, being as they’re really the only ones I came up with; here are 5 choices/concepts for games that I felt should be movies:

#5. Saturday Night Slam Masters

Saturday Night Slam Masters may not have been the best of games, however it’s core concept and brilliant character designs (courtesy of Tetsuo Hara of Hokuto No Ken fame) made it a favorite of mine in my youth.

I loved how Slam Masters took the colorful pageantry of wrestling, exaggerated it in a borderline realistic manner; and then mixed it together with the 2D fighting gameplay of Final Fight and Street Fighter 2.

While the game really had no story to speak of, I think a Slam Masters movie could be a lot of fun if the wrestling universe was treated as reality ala Kinnikuman.

Basically, you take a fairly basic storyline; like Mike Haggar vowing to win the Slam Masters championship for his daughter/the glory of Metro city/an injured Guy or Cody, and then combine it with the tournament structure of Bloodsport or Enter the Dragon.

Make Scorp/The Astro out to be a Chong Li-esque uber-bastard, and boom; you’ve got a movie.

While the story or writing wouldn’t win any awards, in all honesty; I would happily pay money to see a pro-wrestling version of Bloodsport, provided the characters and costumes remained intact, and the fight choreography was up to standard.

I know this one is definitely not for everyone, but in my eyes; it could be a lot of fun.

#4. Final Fight

Despite it’s status as a beat ’em up, Final Fight actually has a fairly decent story to it.

For those that are unaware, the basic plot of Final Fight, is that the Mad Gear gang of Metro City kidnap the mayor Mike Haggar’s daughter in order to force his cooperation in their unlawful wrongdoings.

Being as he’s a beastly former pro-wrestler, and THE MAYOR to boot; Haggar instead decides to dish out some street justice on the Mad Gears via his fists, but not without first recruiting the aid of his daughter’s boyfriend/fiance Cody, and his random ninja buddy Guy.

While it isn’t much, I really think Final Fight could be a lot of a fun as a vigilante justice movie with a high quotient of hand-to-hand fight sequences.

Think The Warriors meets Taken/Edge of Darkness/The Man from Nowhere.

Besides, who the fuck wouldn’t want to see a Mike Haggar go toe-to-toe with Hugo Andore in live-action.

That alone would be worth the price of admission if it was staged with any sort of professionalism.

Shit, now all we need is a Marvel vs. Capcom 3 movie and we’ll have a cross-franchise trilogy of Mike Haggar movies…

#3. Front Mission

The Front Mission series plays host to some of the grandest and most believable storylines I’ve encountered in all of gaming.

While I honestly haven’t played all that much of the series, (half of #1, and half of #3) what I experienced was incredibly detailed, and more importanly; polished.

Reminiscent of the politically charged story Gundam, only far more accessible due to it’s story roots being set in existing continents and nations; Front Mission is a superior war drama that benefits from likeable characters and a largely believable art style.

While many have cried out for a live-action Gundam movie, personally; I feel the money would better spent bringing the far less gaudy Front Mission to the screen instead.

Truth be told, I think Front Mission would work best in long form, as a TV series or anime; but even so, there’s many elements of the timeline that I feel would be worth telling in standalone films, particularly the Huffman Conflicts that served to shape the Front Mission universe as a whole.

#2. Sunset Riders

 

Weird, somebody shopped the guns out of their hands. Damn censors...

I’ve actually wanted to see a Sunset Riders movie since I was a little kid.

Just like in the case of Saturday Night Slam Masters, I’m pretty sure it’s the colorful cast of characters in Sunset Riders that have always been the selling point for me.

In every story I’ve ever written, or dreamed up, or wanted to write; the characters are always the one element that I put most of my efforts into.

In my eyes, if you take a fairly pedestrian storyline and stuff it with quality action sequences and cool characters; chances are you’re going to end up with a really awesome movie.

It’s a simple formula, and I think it’d work just fine for Sunset Riders.

Think about it:

4 trigger happy, bounty hunter cowboys embark on a suicide mission to free the West from the evil of a gang of ruthless killers.

Sure, it sounds like every Western ever told; but with the awesome boss designs of the game, as well as the lack of assurance that everyone was going to make it to the end to ride into the sunset; and you have a classic Western with the added bonus of an action quotient like no other.

I’d picture it being kind of like a combination of the more colorful elements Tombstone, and the fatalistic “men on a mission” feel of The Wild Bunch.

Anything that can be compared to Tombstone or The Wild Bunch, let alone both; is guaran-damn-teed to kick-fuckin’-ass.

If ever I become a Hollywood film director, I will fight tooth and nail to get the licensing from Konami to make this movie.

#1. River City Ransom

You know how I said I wanted a Sunset Riders movie since I was a kid?

Well, even though I honesty didn’t start working on it until about 5 years ago; River City Ransom was a game that I actually tried to write up a plot outline for.

Technically, I used the original Japanese version of the game, Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari; as my jumping off point, but the only real difference between the 2 is the fact that one takes place in America, and the other takes place in a Japanese high school setting.

Anyway, the basic plot of River City was that a simple kidnapping of Ryan/Riki’s girlfriend, resulting in him and his rival; Alex/Kunio reluctantly joining forces to save her from a mutual enemy.

To me, the shaky alliance between the 2 is the real reason it would work.

I think if you were to establish them as hot-blooded rivals early on, a lot of drama would naturally spring up as a result of them working together as the story progressed.

I even remember putting a note in my plot outline explaining the bandages on Riki’s torso, and the band-aid on Kunio’s brow as actual bandages (as opposed to character decorations) for wounds they inflicted on one another near the beginning of the movie.

Combine the strained relationship between the 2 protagonists, with the awesome characters of the Kunio-kun series of games, including the Double Dragons; and I think you’d have a really fun high school gangster story with, of course; awesome fight scenes.

I put a lot of time into my idea for a River City Ransom movie, and I’d like very much to post it here someday; but for now, I’ll just say this:

River City Ransom needs to be a movie someday.

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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.

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PG-13: Good Or Bad?

Earlier today I read an article at Twitchfilm.com that posed an argument regarding the practicality of the PG-13 movie rating.

In this article, author Todd Brown argued against the PG-13 rating, citing that he felt that these days, 26 years removed from it’s inception; Hollywood rarely produces films targeting the 10-13 year old age group, instead opting to focus on the more profitable age groups a few years North and South of it.

Said article can be found HERE.

Truth be told, I found that I agreed with pretty much everything Mr. Brown had to say.

While I can’t say I pay that much attention to the PG and PG-13 releases these days, I’ve always felt that; in general, there seems to be a distinct lack of films targeted at young people that don’t succumb to the “low” tactic of talking down to their audience.

Even as a kid, I always loved Hayao Miyazaki’s Tonari No Totoro for exactly this reason, as despite it’s inherently childish elements; there were also genuinely scary moments from time to time, as well as some seriously complex and realistic events unfolding in the stories’ periphery.

The movie was by no means a PG-13 film, but it was the first movie that came to mind on the subject of “not talking down to kids,” so I decided to run with it.

… Sorry about that, been a long day.

Anyway, the real reason for this post, was simply that I wanted to share this article with all of you, as I found it quite interesting.

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