Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

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 Return Of The Dark Avengers

(Image courtesy IGN.com)

Awhile back I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to compose a guest review for a comic over at the excellent review blog, Collected Editions.

As a frequent reader there, I was aware that the chief writer there covered DC comics almost exclusively, however I myself was told that I would have free reign in choosing which comic I’d like to review, regardless of the publisher.

That being said, of all the comics I had read recently; I chose to review the first trade of the flagship title under Marvel’s Dark Reign banner, The Dark Avengers.

The Dark Avengers doing their best "SUCK MY DICK" poses.

Brian Michael Bendis has never been my favorite writer, but his trademark colorful dialogue, combined with a strong cast and Mike Deodato’s always stellar pencil work, made for an irresistible combination in my book.

For whatever reason, the idea of a superhero team composed of known supervillains has always “done it” for me.

Perhaps it also has something to do with the brilliance of writers like Gail Simone and Warren Ellis, but for what it’s worth; Secret Six and Thunderbolts have consistently been 2 of my favorite books over the past half decade.

Pictured: One of many reasons Secret Six deserves your money.

Anyway, as tends to happen with books that emerge from high-profile events, Dark Avengers came to an unfortunate end when the status quo was once again shifted following the events of Siege.

Norman Osborn, the team’s leader; was shipped off to prison.

The Sentry was (supposedly) destroyed.

Daken escaped to his own self-titled book.

And the rest of the team was either imprisoned, killed, or booted onto the Thunderbolts.

While I knew Dark Avengers wouldn’t last long, given the impermanent nature of Dark Reign; it nevertheless saddened me to see it go.

Thankfully, nothing ever stays dead for long in comics; and this coming November we’ll all be treated to a revival of Dark Avengers.

As happy as this makes me, perhaps the most important part about this is the fact that both Bendis and Deodato are supposedly returning to the book which, ideally; will result in a similar standard of quality.

Anyway, nothing else has really been announced about Dark Avengers at this point, other than the fact that Norman Osborn will once again be leading it.

Though somehow I doubt Deodato will be using Tommy Lee Jones as a reference again.

While my comic plate is, as always; very much full at the moment, I look forward to getting a chance to read a new Dark Avengers trade, which given the nature of Marvel’s release dates, won’t be until well into 2012.

If you think it’s silly to be anticipating a comic release about 6-8 months ahead of time, think about all the people that have been losing their shit over The Dark Knight Rises ever since 5 minutes after The Dark Knight hit theaters.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

After all, I’m one of them.

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Marvel’s Movies Are About To Get Weird…

So, at this point pretty much everyone’s excited about The Avengers movie, right?

Well, good, ’cause once that’s come and gone, (roughly by the year 2014) there’s a good chance we’re all gonna’ be in for a shit ton of weird, and potentially awful Marvel films for the forseeable future.

After the dust has settled on all of Marvel’s A-list adaptations, the Spider-Mans and the Avengers related stuff; it’s inevitable that Marvel is going to be forced to branch out, and whore out some of their more obscure characters to the movie industry.

Maybe that means we'll finally see a Sleepwalker movie! Sarcasm: It's For Dinner.

Then again, DC and Warner Bros. Animation have been so weary of producing anything outside of Batman and Superman related projects, that it’s starting to seem kind of pathetic.

Now, it’s hard to deny that superhero movies are, at their core; inherently strange and mildly inaccessible to non-comic fan audiences, but there’s just some characters that work better than others.

For instance, something along the lines of Iron Man is far more likely to succeed, both critically and financially; than something totally fucked up and off-the-wall like….. Oh, I don’t know, MAN-THING.

He's kind of like Swamp Thing. Only y'know, more man and less swamp.

Thus is the reason we will likely end up with an Iron Man trilogy, a Thor trilogy, a Captain America trilogy; and only 1 shitty Elektra film.

While announcements for movies like sequels to the abysmal Ghost Rider, as well as reboots, and sequels to said yet-to-be-released reboots of Spider-Man are somewhat alarming/confusing, the really weird shit comes in the form of the recently announced Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy films.

Dr. Strange has never really been my cup of tea when it comes to comic characters, and as such I don’t know much about him or his history; but I can you this:

Dr. Stephen Strange is deus ex machina on 2 fucking legs.

In the world of Marvel comics, “magic” is one of those ongoing plot contrivances that just never really got hammered out to the point of being what one would call “fair.”

Magic does shit in Marvel, and really that’s about the extent of the restraints that have been placed on it’s capability.

Dr. Strange’s magic is like Kenshiro’s Hokuto Shinken, only without the head explosions.

In other words, much in the way Ken can cure cancer and explode body parts using the power of martial arts, Dr. Strange can do ANY FUCKING THING HE NEEDS TO so long as the plot demands he do so.

Special thanks to whoever saved me the time of making this for myself.

This works in the comics, because let’s face it, Dr. Strange is a comic book hero, and his stories are naturally kind of cheesy/stupid, but mostly acceptable given the standards of the medium.

Movies deserving of the same combination of adjectives, even when based on comics, are often easily dismissed by critics and audiences alike.

Best of luck to the screenwriter who has the honor of inevitably toning down Dr. Strange’s power set in favor of injecting drama into the story, only to end up creating a boring film that ends up being hated by all 5 of the the Doc’s hardcore fans for that very reason.

Moving on, as awesome as The Guardians of the Galaxy comic has been over the past 5 years or so, the idea of even trying to do the series justice on film, particularly in regards to it’s earliest storylines; just seems ludicrous.

I double-fucking-dare you to name even one of these guys.

The cosmic universe of Marvel has always been great, but rarely, if ever; accessible to any degree.

Hell, I’ve been reading Marvel comics my whole life and even I have to rely on the index and character biographies in between issues of Annihilation and War of Kings to keep me up to speed.

In short, Guardians of the Galaxy, a story about a ragtag group of warriors from nearly extinct alien races teaming up to save the universe from the monster-of-the-week just doesn’t strike me as something everyone’s gonna’ bite for.

Knowing Hollywood and their fascination with impossibly bankable, wisecracking animal mascots, the whole movie was probably green-lit solely on the marketability of Rocket Raccoon.

Haha! It's funny 'cause he's cute and little but talks like a bad-ass! Sarcasm: It's For Dessert.

I mean yeah, the story has color going for it in the sense that it offers filmmakers the chance to throw lots of flashy effects and unique characters at the audience, but reeling it all in and trying to find a way to do so in a fashion that could be interesting, let alone comprehensible to typical audiences, seems like a near insurmountable task.

Then again, I suppose there’s a reason some screenwriters and filmmakers get paid the big bucks to prove dumb ass bloggers like me wrong from year to year.

Make no mistake, I’m happy to see any comic book movies, good or bad; make it to the theaters, I’m merely venting my skepticism now, so I can eat my own words and blog about how awesome these movies look whenever the first trailers come out.

That being said, I’d just like to say that if Marvel is willing to take the massive risk of making a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, then why the fuck don’t they buckle down and make a Moon Knight one!?

I ask you: Who in their right mind WOULDN'T want to see THIS on the big screen!?

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Zack Snyder’s Superman Looks Like… Every Zack Snyder Movie Ever

At this point you’ve probably heard that CGI and slow motion enthusiast Zack Snyder will be directing the next Superman film.

If not, congratulation, you have a life and are not a hopeless comic book dork like myself.

As tends to be the case when films make as much money as The Dark Knight did, the folks over at Warner Bros decided to hop on the “let’s not feature the name of the title character in the title” bandwagon, and went ahead and called the film The Man of Steel.

Far be it from me to say that there’s anything wrong with a movie called The Man of Steel, but to me the logic behind that decision seems more than a little transparent.

*ANYWAY* The photo at the top of this post is the first promotional image to be released featuring Henry Cavil donning the iconic Superman costume.

Truth be told, I couldn’t tell you, nor give a fuck to learn, just who Henry Cavil is, or what he’s done; but oh well, I’m just here to talk about the costume.

Strangely enough, the first thing I noticed about this image, was the post-processing and color correction that went into manufacturing it.

Simply put, Zack Snyder’s films have a “look” to them.

In fact, with the exception of the Guardians of Ga’Who-Gives-A-Fuck, an animated children’s film; they all have the same damn “look” to them.

Even though it’s not at all achieved through the use of a filter, I like to call it the “Zack Snyder Filter”:

Zack Snyder: The Unreal Engine of Hollywood

Oh well, I suppose consistency like this is easy to achieve, and mostly forgiveable; when the man’s only made about 5 movies…

Anyway, in looking at the Superman image above, it’s pretty clear that The Man of Steel is going to embody the same aesthetic that Zack Snyder has utilized in virtually all of his films.

That is to say, everything will be grainy and metallic/bronzed, and there will be much slow motion fighting for the sake of… Well, slow motion fighting.

Replace Goku and Frieza with Superman and General Zod and you have Zack Snyder's Superman.

Moving on to the actual costume, in all honesty; I don’t hate it.

Superman’s costume is iconic to the point of being one of, if not the best superhero designs of all time.

To attempt any sort of radical change to the traditional costume is betray the fanbase, shit on the character, and ultimately throw away one of the most perfect distillations of the archetypal golden age caped superhero design.

In other words, when it comes to Superman, you just plain DON’T fuck with the costume.

Otherwise you end up with shit like the “blue” Superman of the 90’s:

May we never speak of this again...

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the similarly muted Superman Returns costume, The Man of Steel costume seems to keep everything you’d expect in a Superman costume, while bringing very little new to the table.

Oddly enough, the one notable unique quality of the new costume, is the almost chain mail like texture to it.

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the various Spider-Man movie costumes, as well as some of the redesigns for the Watchmen movie, I find this texture to be distracting and excessively gaudy.

Then again, Zack Snyder films have a tendency to be excessively gaudy as a whole, which would probably result in said extraneous details to be more consistent with the aesthetic of the film, rather than overly extravagant.

In case you couldn’t tell, Zack Snyder would not have been my first choice as director for a Superman film.

Then again, I haven’t really liked a Superman movie since the second one; so it’s hard to say if I’d have confidence in anyone to do justice to the Man of Steel.

Anyway, the costume is kind of “meh,” Henry Cavil has failed to generate enough interest for me to even take a peek at his Imdb page; and in general, I really see no reason to be excited about The Man of Steel at this point.

The Dark Knight Rises on the other hand, now that’s a movie to flip out about and irrationally anticipate despite it’s release date being WAY the fuck out there…

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Are We About To Enter The Age Of Board Game Movies?

Hollywood tends to move in trends.

Really, really, obvious and demeaning trends.

In a market where film studios routinely invest upwards of 100 million dollars on their high profile projects, it only makes sense that producers would display a preference to go with “whatever works.”

According to Michael Bay (and ONLY Michael Bay) this, is what "works."

This of course results in a lot of studios continually aping each other’s films from year to year in hopes of breaking even, or better yet; turning a profit.

In my lifetime alone, I can think of several trends in movies that have come and gone.

Naturally, I have compiled a brief list of said trends:

1. Old TV Show Adaptations

Pictured: One of my favorite films. Hands down.

The first genre trend I noticed, even as a child; was the slew of old TV show (and cartoon) adaptations of the 90’s.

The Brady Bunch, Dennis the Menace, McHale’s Navy, and The Flintstones movies all fell under this umbrella, among a handful of others.

It makes sense, given that Nick at Nite was in the process of becoming an established “thing” at the time; not to mention the fact that a number of the filmmakers of this era were likely of the age group that would’ve grown up watching a lot of the 60’s TV shows.

Y’know, shit like The Addam’s Family, George of the Jungle, The Fugitive, The Jackal, and Mission: Impossible.

While I can’t say who started actually this trend, or if it was even that profitable; it’s managed to stick around long enough to the point in which I doubt it will ever die.

TV shows will always be lovingly remembered by somebody, so as time goes by, it’s only natural that some poor deluded fool will pony up the money to make a movie of them in tribute.

Here’s hoping we don’t see a Seinfeld or Frasier movie 10 years from now.

2. Videogame Movies

Also known as, "Party of Five and Iron Chef Team-Up To Fight Terminator 2."

As with TV show adaptations, videogame movies were something that sprang up during the 90’s, smack dab in the middle of the Super NES era.

While it’s hard to call videogame movies a trend in the fullest sense of the word, it’s evident that they were intended to be one in the mid-90’s.

Following the release of the surprisingly decent Mortal Kombat, videogame movies were stuffed down throats our en masse.

Unfortunately, with releases like Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, and Street Fighter stinking up the theaters; the trend never really caught on as strongly as I’m guessing it was intended to.

You can thank Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and Wing Commander for putting the nail in the coffin of 90’s videogame movies:

Despite this, videogame culture has apparently grown exponentially over the years, leading to videogame movie adaptations becoming increasingly regular.

The movies stick suck some serious balls for the most part, but the point is; they have yet to reach a point where they are no longer profitable, and thus they continue to exist.

Truth be told, this “trend” is actually more symbolic of the birth of a new film genre as opposed to a trend, but oh well; it’s my blog.

Fuck you.

3. Comic Book Movies

SPIDER-MAN LOVES 'MERIKUh! WHY DON'T YOU LOVE 'MERIKUh!?

Comic book movies are, as THE INTERNET seems to want me to say; kind of a big deal.

While they’ve existed in one form or another for quite some time, it wasn’t until the release of Tim Burton’s Batman in ’89 that we really saw them become en vogue.

Richard Donner’s Superman doesn’t really count, as at the time, it was entirely in a league of it’s own; only serving to spawn weak-ass imitators as opposed to profitable blockbusters.

Anyway, Batman served to open the floodgates and give way to the release of countless comic book films, many of which were of course; Batman sequels.

In response to the angsty, MTV culture of the day, as well as the popularity of “less-than-mainstream” comics, movies like The Crow, Barb Wire, Tank Girl, Judge Dredd, The Mask, and Spawn were all cranked out in short order.

While the success of these movies (except for The Mask) was largely scatter-shot, the success of Blade in ’98 ushered in the Marvel dominated era of the 2000’s.

I kinda' miss the days when Wesley Snipes was cool... And not poor.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade or so, you’ve probably come to realize that Marvel is the flamboyant and insatiable whore of the comic book movie world.

The arrogant bastard that likes to prance about and shove his cock in your face and demand you tell him how amazingly massive it is.

*Ahem!* Not like I’ve ever had that happen to me or anything…

Routinely whoring out it’s intellectual properties from year to year, Marvel rode the success of X-Men and Spider-Man (and a string of critical failures) to take the film world by storm, largely through sheer volume of production.

In the 13 years since the release of Blade, Marvel has released a total of 25 major motion pictures, averaging nearly 3 films a year.

While it’s hard to call them rivals these days, (times have changed) DC manages to release, at best; 1 film a year.

The only difference is, DC films have a tendency to win Oscar nominations.

Well, except for maybe Jonah Hex… And Catwoman.

Catwoman: Protecting the World from Modesty and Cosmetics Moguls.

Anyway, for better or worse, strip-mining the previously established characters and events from comic books is kind of the thing to do for Hollywood producers in this day and age; and based on the record-breaking revenue gained from said movies, I’d say it’s what the audience is into as well.

Which brings me to the eerie prospect of a 4th trend in films that I would prefer not see come to pass.

Has anybody seen the trailer for Battleship yet?

If not, here yah’ go:

Some way, some how, they managed to get Liam Neeson to get on board the Battleship bandwagon, (I’m guessing it involved a free trip to Hawaii…) and in all honesty; I’m just plain confused by it all, aliens notwithstanding.

To my knowledge, Clue is the only other board game movie in existence at this point; and while that has kind of a cult following in some (seriously demented) parts of the world, Battleship just never really seemed like movie material in my mind.

To me, Battleship was always that one game my friend and I could never play without cheating.

Seriously man, after 5 minutes of calling out “Miss” to each other, inevitably someone would peek over the game, find a ship, and basically win the game.

Even the name “Battleship” doesn’t seem all that marketable to me.

It’s non-descript, it gives virtually zero indication of what to expect in the film outside of maybe a battle or 2 involving ships.

Oh well, goofy military shit is en vogue at the moment, so I’m guessing therein lies to the logic to the production house’s gambit.

The really puzzling part in all of this, is the fact that I recall hearing rumblings of a Monopoly movie being in the works.

I heard about the Battleship movie awhile back, but it wasn’t until I saw the trailer the other day that I truly realized they were actually going to make it.

What I mean to say is, I really hope Battleship doesn’t start a board game movie trend, ’cause I’ll tell yah’, I’m not an analyst, or anywhere near an expert in these matters; but if this shit comes to pass, we’ll be in for some epic-ly shitty over the next several years.

 

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Klitschko vs. Haye Flopped. Literally.

*Sigh* Once again my blind optimism towards the sport of boxing has lead to my utter disappointment in a high-profile bout.

Klitschko vs. Haye was supposed to be a score-settler, a fight that would do wonders to improve the image and worth of the winner.

True, David Haye has been overrated since day 1.

True, Wladimir Klitschko is one of the most boring and methodical fighters in the sport.

At the end of the day though, my gut told me this fight could’ve been something special.

Little did I know, my gut is retarded; most likely as a result of me having exclusively dined on hot dogs for the first 10 years of my life.

Yup, there's the fat fuck...

Like the hot dog munching, and very much overweight kid I was though; I came into this fight with wide-eyed enthusiasm, hoping and praying that Santa would drop down my chimney, the troops would come home from Iraq/Afganistan/The Moon, and heavyweight boxing would live again.

Sadly, as the title of this post would indicate, this was not the case.

Klitschko jabbed the night away and basically did the same as always, but in my opinion, and the opinion of virtually anyone who saw this fight that isn’t from the UK; Haye was largely the culprit in creating the flop-fest that was Klitschko/Haye.

That’s right, I said “flop-fest.”

What do you get when you type "flop fest" into Google Images? Hipsters and Batman.

For those who may not know, a “flop” is a term used in sports to describe the act of overplaying a foul or injury for the purpose of gaining some sort of advantage, usually through falling to the ground in dramatic fashion; hence the term: “flop.”

In soccer, players will flop to penalize the other team and get them carded.

In basketball, flops are used to gain the referee’s attention for calling fouls.

... Or for calling attention to how unbelievably stupid one is.

In boxing, the closest thing to a flop, one usually sees is that of a fighter feigning serious injury from a headbutt or foul for the sake of catching a breather.

It’s underhanded, yes; but in most cases a feigned injury in boxing is usually derived from a legitimate, if not minor foul that is simply exaggerrated.

It’s very rare to see dramatic “flops” in boxing that come as a result of entirely false circumstances.

Such was the case with David Haye’s performance in yesterday’s fight.

At an imposing 6′ 6″ and 240 lbs, Wladimir Klitschko is widely known as a fighter that gets a lot of mileage out of leaning on and holding his opponents.

Pictured: Klitschko, winning a fight in his own special way...

Holding is technically an illegal tactic in the sport of boxing, however this doesn’t stop every fucking trainer on the planet from teaching their fighters to tie-up their opponents when injured or in close-quarters.

Given Klitschko’s rather extreme height and reach, it only makes sense that he would lean on his opponents or tie them up when they venture too close, as with a wingspan like his; it’s hard to imagine his in-fighting abilities would be all that great.

In knowing this about Klitschko’s tactics, my guess is that David Haye’s camp made the decision to employ a “clever” strategy to counter the leaning and holding.

Said brilliant strategy, in the fine tradition of soccer; saw Haye flopping to the mat at the slightest touch of Wladimir Klitschko’s forearms or shoulders.

I can’t blame him for trying, as the strategy largely served it’s purpose given that Klitschko ended up getting a point deducted at one point; but the fact of the matter is, David Haye absolutely sucks at flopping.

I’ve seen William Shatner take falls more convincingly than the shit Haye was pulling yesterday.

Seriously man, the big Brit flopped to the canvas with such frequency that my brother had to call bullshit, exclaiming that he’d seen WWF matches where guys spent less time on the mat.

To make matter worse, it was clear that Haye just wasn’t in the fight by about the halfway point, seemingly checking out both mentally and physically for the most part.

The man’s stamina has always been in question throughout his career, and had he not been knocked out as a result of being gassed in a previous fight; I’d say it was on no better display than it was yesterday.

I hate to judge a book by it’s cover, but I’ve always felt that David Haye’s heroic bodybuilder physique was always ill-suited for pro boxing.

Like the similarly buff and bulky (and overrated) Jeff Lacy, Haye always looked the part, however his form was constructed of far too much “glamour muscle” to support the tremendous stamina and flexibility requirements of pro boxing.

If you want any evidence as to the state of Haye’s stamina throughout the fight, just look to his corner between rounds, and indeed before the fight even started; and take a look a how much water he chokes down throughout.

The man must have drank 2 gallons of water, which in case you didn’t know; is a big, big no-no in boxing.

Haye landed a handful of pretty big shots in the fight, though they all came one at a time.

Klitschko was hurt maybe once in the fight, in the last round; and from what I could tell he recovered surprisingly quickly.

All in all, it was a boring night (afternoon?) at the fights, with the only real drama spawning from the looming possibility that either fighter could hurt the other at any point due to their shoddy chins.

I will say this though, the entrances for both fighter’s were some of the most elaborate I’ve ever seen, though it would’ve been nice if they had been better coordinated.

Kudos to George Foreman for spoiling Klitschko’s big reveal on live television.

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

DC Reboot Rage

As some of you may know, DC recently announced a massive reboot project across all of their major superhero comics.

As of writing this, the publisher is currently in the process of wrapping up all of their current story arcs/threads in preparation for said reboot; making it abundantly clear that they really are crazy enough to deploy the history eraser button on all of their beloved characters and storylines up to this point.

Well, remember how I said this all didn’t bother me all that much?

The image above represents the official redesigns for the Justice League in DC’s new era of comics, and by golly; I think it looks like hot garbage.

For the life of me I just can’t understand why everyone either looks like they’re wearing power armor, or in the case of Wonder Woman; just plain look like space-hookers.

Space-hookers with exposed torso musculature…

Looks like someone ran afoul of a Cenobite...

The old-fashioned designs and costumes may have been kind of dorky by today’s standards, but they had a quiet elegance about them that made them special.

Jack Kirby’s mastery of lines and patterns gave birth to untold numbers of classic and enduring designs, not through the use of extraneous detail and intricacy, but through simplicity.

Every line was calculated and purposeful. ART.

Such is the talent of many of the best pencil and ink artists:

The ability to convey strength and meaning behind the simplest of lines and angles.

It’s called refinement, and it’s something that is sorely lacking in DC’s reboot designs.

Everywhere I look on these designs, I see lines and ornaments that contribute nothing to the strength or symbol of their characters.

What the fuck is up with the gaudy-ass belts!?

How the fuck does everyone move in their tortoise shell power armor!?

How the fuck does Wonder Woman not cut her tits on her pointy-ass bustier!?

Aquaman looks alright with his new fins and pretty boy haircut, and Cyborg looks appropriate enough given that he’s the only character in the roster that actually is supposed to be wearing power armor; (and was apparently put front and center for this graphic for the sole purpose of representing the black demographic) but everyone else just sort of looks like an aborted concept car design transposed onto a superhero.

Pictured: Batman, as designed by Lexus.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I was always fine with viewing Superman and Batman as being a couple of dudes wearing tights.

I know Batman was technically always supposed to be wearing a high-tech suit of pseud0-armor, but the fact of the matter is, unless otherwise stated in the context of the comics, superhero costumes have typically been depicted as being crafted from some imaginary fabric/material that adheres, not to the laws of physics; but to the pencil of the artists.

All I see when I look at these new designs, is a bunch of dudes in skin-tight armor plating.

SUPERMAN, the Jesus metaphor/Man of Steel is wearing ARMOR.

The Flash’s boots look like ski boots by Nerf.

Batman looks more like Owl Man from Crisis on Two Earths than he does THE GODDAMN BATMAN.

Pictured: THE GODDAMN BATMAN.

Wonder Woman looks like a pirate space-hooker.

Green Lantern looks… Relatively the same, just with hideous 90’s shoulder pads.

And everybody’s belts look truly, truly, truly outrageous.

To say I am disappointed in these designs does not even begin to scratch the surface.

I feel like we’re well on our way to falling right back into the 90’s era of comic art.

Hell, if movies, TV, comics, and pretty much every other part of American pop-culture right now is any indication; I think it’s pretty much guaranteed that Rob Liefeld shoulder pads and pouches are poised for a major comeback…

Oh well, here’s hoping DC pussies out and doesn’t press the button:

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

Okay DC, Now You’re Starting To Piss Me Off

Superhero comics are always in flux.

Story arcs come and go, new characters are introduced; and for the most part things just keep chugging along, regardless of past successes and failures.

It’s been said “No one stays dead in comics except Bucky, Jason Todd, and Uncle Ben.”

This phrase is of course a reference to the ongoing cyclical nature of superhero life and death.

Unfortunately, it’s relevance is rapidly evaporating, as Bucky’s death has since been retconned, and Jason Todd’s has been overwritten as a result of some sort of bullshit multiverse continuity overlap.

... And of course, Pa Kent died, came back, died again, and fought God himself with a magic shovel.

To my knowledge, Uncle Ben remains the only member of this exclusive fraternity to truly remain dead.

The point I’m trying to make with all of this, is the fact that superhero characters tend to receive major changes to their characterization quite regularly, making characters that reliably remain in a certain state somewhat of a rarity.

Barbara Gordon AKA Batgirl, is one of those rare cases.

From the day the Joker put a bullet through her spine, thereby rendering her a wheelchair bound paraplegic; Barbara Gordon has never regained the use of her legs.

The scene unfolds, courtesy of the artful pen of Brian Bolland.

This was back in 1988.

Despite this, her relevance and usefulness in the Bat-Family of comics, and in fact the majority of the DC universe, has remained unaffected.

In fact, I think few could argue her presence and standing in the cast has actually grown since she made the transition from Batgirl to Oracle.

Over the years I’ve really grown to like Barbara Gordon as Oracle.

Despite her disability, her character has continued to arc, and she has emerged as one of the more consistently interesting (and well written) characters of the DC canon.

To my knowledge she’s one of the very few paraplegic characters in superhero comics, right next Professor X, who I might add; actually did regain the use of his legs at one point.

In case you couldn’t tell where I’m going with this, DC has announced that, as part of their upcoming universal reboot; they are going to be reinstating Barbara Gordon as Batgirl.

Given that this is part of the reboot project, this of course means Gordon’s gunshot wound will effectively be erased.

I’ve been very proud of DC for having had Oracle remain disabled, (a fate Batman managed to escape within a year or 2) and it would be very hard for me take it seriously if they were ever to reverse her condition.

Rebooting her character arc is nowhere near the same as reversing it, but even so; it kind of bothers me that they’d be so audacious as to even attempt it.

I understand her relevance to Batman’s history, but plenty of other characters have worn the Batgirl costume over the years; such that I think I’d actually prefer it if they cast someone else in the role.

As long as it's not Alicia Silverstone.

Truth be told, I think my main objection to all this, is the fact that in getting back Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, we’ll be losing her as Oracle; a character and role I think I actually prefer.

Maybe it’s just me, but ever since Cassandra Cain’s tenure as the girly bat-person, my respect for the character has kind of crapped out.

Anyway, this has been a rant, I apologize.

DC better get their shit together though, and fast…

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

The Old Spice Guy Wants To Play Luke Cage? Fine By Me…

Celebrities (or in this case, pseudo-celebrities) going way out of their way to petition themselves for movie roles isn’t a new thing.

If you remember, Sean Young ran into the offices of Warner Bros. dressed in a homemade Catwoman outfit when she caught word the character was going to be featured in Batman Returns.

Another, similar example of this, was of course Thomas Jane’s ploy in auditioning for the role of Jonah Hex by hiring makeup FX technicians to take headshots of him as Jonah Hex.

Haha, he looks like Christopher Lambert... 20 years ago.

Personally, I’m kind of glad he didn’t get the role, as I’ve always kind of liked Thomas Jane ever since I saw him in Deep Blue Sea.

Shut up.  Deep Blue Sea was awesome.  Renny Harlin can suck a dick though…

Moving on, I remember being somewhat shocked by the debut of Kevin McKidd’s “action reel,” a short video meant to distance the actor from his Grey’s Anatomy and Rome pedigree, and toss his hat into the fold as an action star in training:

The reel may not be the best demo of all time, but just the fact that the man, a Hollywood actor; would go out of his way to put it together on his own time, always impressed me.

Not that Kevin McKidd’s really at all on my radar as a major Hollywood actor…

Anyway, as you may have guessed by the title and subject matter of this article, Isaiah Mustafa AKA The Old Spice Guy From Those Random-Ass Commercials; has gone ahead and made a fake trailer, casting himself as Marvel’s perennial “super strong, super black dude,” Luke Cage:

The trailer is short and sweet, and does well to hide it’s very likely sparse production values with clever lighting and minimalist sets.

As with the case of Kevin McKidd’s fight reel, I can’t help but be impressed by the initiative and drive exhibited by Mustafa by going ahead and making this video.

I can’t speak to the man’s acting ability, as outside of his on-screen charisma in the Old Spice commericials; I’ve yet to see him act, but he has the size and the look to pull it off, and given that he went out of his way to make this video, it’s hard to argue that he probably wants the role more than anyone else at this point.

Truth be told, outside of Thunderbolts and Iron Fist team-ups, I’ve never really paid much mind to Cage.

The character has an intriguing story, and close ties to virtually every major player in the Marvel universe, so it’s inevitable that a movie adaptation is going to be made at some point.

Knowing Hollywood, they’ll probably end up giving the role to Tyrese or some shit…

In any case, they’d be crazy not to at least offer the role to Michael Jai White, given that he has the physicality, acting talent, and is rapidly becoming a known element in Hollywood… Again.

Anybody remember Spawn?... Bueller?

Regardless of what happens in the casting of this film, my only hope is that it’ll turn out better than Elektra

Or Catwoman

Or Fantastic Four

Or Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Aw, who am I kidding, we all know who the reigning champ of suck is...

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

Thoughts On The DC Universe Reboot

For those that care to know, DC Comics has recently gone on record stating plans for a massive reboot of all their major titles and characters this fall.

To non-comic fans, this means you can expect to see (or in the case of those that truly don’t give a fuck, not see) a bunch of comics and trades bearing the increasingly common designation of “Issue #1” in the coming months.

The reasoning behind this rather ballsy maneuver by one of comics’ biggest publishing houses, has largely been attributed as an effort to contemporize the characters and origins of the DC universe.

While part of me feels that this could in fact pay-off, and might even prove beneficial to the legacies of some of the more obscure characters of DC (Hawkman, Deadman, Red Tornado, etc.) by giving them extra face time and a new coat of paint; the comic-whore in me can’t help but feel a little thrown by the idea of a universe-wide reboot.

Pictured: When Superman met the 90's... Things could've gone better.

It’s not the fact that I’m a continuity whore or anything either.

I grew in an era when most people considered themselves either “DC Kids” or “Marvel Kids,” and with the exception of Batman and Superman; (mostly Batman…) I was very much a “Marvel Kid.”

What can I say, Marvel's always been good at aiming low...

In the past decade or so, my undying allegiance to The House of Ideas (AKA Marvel, dumbass…) has loosened up, or rather; my appreciation for DC has grown, but even so, I’ve never really found a good way to get my feet wet when it comes to the labyrinthian mess that is DC universe continuity.

I think it’s the Multiverse aspect of DC that has always scared me off when it comes to DC crossovers.

Though I have to admit, this is pretty fuckin' awesome.

Sure, you could argue that Marvel has a Multiverse as well, (one that I don’t really pay attention to aside from the MAX imprint) but the difference between the 2 is that DC merges their universes from time to time, while Marvel usually keeps theirs separate.

Keeping track of hundreds of characters in a single universe is one thing, but when you put together a host of stories I.E. the Crisis series; that draw into focus numerous iterations of said characters across multiple universes, I’m sorry, my feeble mind just can’t handle it.

For this reason, along with the occasional poor review or 2, I haven’t read any of the Crisis stories, nor do I think I’ll ever care enough to do so.

Case in point: Superboy Prime.

The point I’ve been trying to make with all of this bullshit, is the fact that when it comes to DC; I don’t really have that much of an investment in the history of it’s characters… Aside from Batman, Superman, and maybe Green Lantern.

Call me crazy, but I kind of liked it when Hal Jordan went nuts and killed off the Corps.

Could've done without the creepy pedo-face though...

Anyway, the first thing that came to mind when I heard DC was going to be dumping a fatty diarrhea of reboot juice into their books, was Marvel’s Ultimate series.

I haven’t read any of the Ultimate line, largely because, unlike in the case of DC, I’m very comfortable with Marvel’s continuity, past and present.

From what I’ve read, the basic mission statement for the Ultimate line was along the lines of:

“Purge all the non-essential/less popular characters, make the characters more contemporary, make use of big-name writers and artists, make it accessible for non-comic readers/people that like the Marvel movies.”

To reiterate: Marvel, not afraid to whore themselves out to the kids.

That’s basically what I’m thinking DC is trying to do with their reboot.

The really goofy thing about this whole reboot thing, is the timing of it.

Superman: Secret Origin wrapped not that long ago, the ink on Superman: Earth One (not be confused with “Earth-1“) has yet to dry, and Batman: Earth One is likely to follow in the coming months.

Even Wonder Woman was recently revamped from the ground up.

Oh God! It's the 90's all over again!!!

When I think about it, it seems like DC’s been teasing a reboot for awhile now, but it’s only just now they’ve built up the courage to go ahead and do it to their entire line, and not just their A-list characters.

Deep down, I know that DC has some serious housekeeping to do with their characters and storylines, as would any other book line published over 70+ years; but starting from scratch is not something I like to consider.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m fine with comics simply ignoring or retconning the less important or relevant moments in their continuity.

As a fairly seasoned comic fan, I don’t think a reboot is all that necessary; but if it breathes new life in the industry, and grabs new fans that otherwise wouldn’t have given a shit, then more power to ’em.

In any case, here’s hoping DC’s gamble pays off.

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

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