Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies, #4: The Last House on the Left (2009)

#4 on our list of the Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies comes from the 2009 remake of the 1972 Wes Craven horror film, The Last House on the Left.

While both films are remembered in the annals of horror film history mostly for their graphic rape sequences, (and little else) the remake has the distinction of having some truly brutal kills to go along with them.

The basic concept of both films is based around the rather unique idea of incorporating a role-reversal in a horror film, involving a couple of (initially) totally innocent parents, turning heel and going balls-out psychopath on a group of rapists/murderers that sexually assaulted their daughter.

That being said, the overkill in question involves the parent’s revenge on a member of the trio of rapists/murderers, Francis, played by Aaron Paul, who looks a whole helluva’ lot like an uglier version of Justin Chatwin AKA Goku from the live-action Dragonball: Evolution.

Goddamn! Both of these guys could give Jennifer Garner a run for her money in the "high-forehead" category!

For the purposes of this article, Francis shall henceforth be referred to as “Goku.”

Anyway, enough talk, let’s get to the overkill:

At this point in the film, the daughter has just dragged herself across a lake, through the woods, and back into her parent’s house, thusly revealing to them the devilish nature of the group of strangers presently taking up residence in their home.

Our overkill begins immediately after an uncomfortable sequence wherein the mom, played by Monica Potter, pretends to come on to Goku with the promise of wine and sex so as to divert his attention away from some family photos on the fridge.

For reasons I honestly don’t remember, Goku walks into the living room, and happens upon the shivering and terrified form of the young girl he helped rape just a few hours ago.

Taking advantage of Goku’s epiphanic moment of incredulity, Mrs. Potter sneaks up behind his Saiyan-ass and bashes him in the back of the skull with a wine bottle.

There's the wine, but where's the sex?

Being as he was caught off guard, and was  thusly unable to summon his ki to put up a protective barrier, Goku is pretty well rattled by the blow to the head.

Even so, he manages to keep his wits about him and chase Mrs. Cameron Poe into the kitchen.

Unfortunately, the wife of Poe grabs hold of a kitchen knife, and though she doesn’t have enough time to lash out and strike with it; Goku proves to be shit-headed enough to walk right into the business end of it anyway.

Undoubtedly in a great deal of pain as a result of the recent addition of a new hole in his torso, Goku does one of those goofy back and forth glances where his face is all like:

With Mrs. Poe still coming to grips with the idea that she is in fact, trying to kill Goku, she is momentarily taken aback following the accidental stabbing.

Goku takes this opportunity to stumble around the kitchen with the knife still lodged in his chest, only to forcefully extricate it a few seconds later.

Not like he was in any sort of hurry or anything,

It's like Christmas except... No, actually it's nothing like Christmas.

Now armed with the very knife he was just shanked with, Goku takes it upon himself to rush Mrs. Poe and shove her ass onto the dining room table for a savage beatdown.

Well, that’s probably what he was hoping to do.

Unfortunate for him, he really only gets to call her a “bitch,” and smack her in the face maybe once before Mrs. Poe kicks him in the Jimmy and crawls back into the kitchen.

Well, at least I think that's a kick to the Jimmy. Kind of hard to see...

Despite the kick to the Jimmy, being as he is still armed with the kitchen knife, Goku is still very much the aggressor in this particular conflict.

Thankfully though, Mrs. Poe is greeted by the sight of her husband, (sadly, not Nicholas Cage…) who calmly extends to her a hand in a Terminator-esque gesture of aid.

"Come with me if you want to live."

I suppose it also helps that her husband is played by that no eye-browed tool from The Last Samurai (Tony Goldwyn).

Watching this man get a sword thrown through his torso was fuckin' awesome.

Anyway, Goku comes charging into the kitchen with knife at ready only to be smacked across the face with a hammer.

Goddamn shaky-cam bullshit. Can't even tell what just hit him...

At least I think that’s what happened.

The very Bourne-esque cinematography makes it kind of hard to tell what actually happened.

Regardless, Goku; in a desperate bid for survival, gets up and chucks what looks like a fancy toaster into the face of the Man with No-Eyebrows.
Once again capitalizing on the shock and confusion generated by his actions, Goku runs out of the kitchen and into the dining room again, this time in an attempt to call for help to his compatriots in the guest house next door.

Unfortunately, the crazy fucking storm going on at the time prevents anyone from hearing his pleas for help, ultimately resulting in Captain No-Brows catching up to him and grabbing hold of the poor guy’s previously broken nose.

Out of context, it almost looks like someone's trying to help him with a bloody nose...

It should be noted that ‘ole Brow-less is in fact a doctor in this movie, one who was actually responsible for treating said nose injury.

IRONY.

With that, Dr. No-Brows puts Goku in a choke-hold and drags his ass, kicking and screaming, back into the kitchen.

Man, whoever did the blocking for this movie needs a dick slap from Michael Clarke Duncan or some shit.

Clearly, Mr. Duncan here approves of said punishment...

Once again back in the kitchen, the good doctor is suddenly struck with a jolt of inspiration taken straight from the Seagal-ian school of revenge.

Needless to say, Dr. No-Brows takes Goku and chucks his ass into a fuckin’ chair:

Man, I'm gettin' flashbacks from #5...

Dragging himself across the kitchen floor and over to the sink, Goku almost manages to get to his feet before Mrs. Poe jumps his ass and starts, well, pulling his hair or some shit.

Either he's about to get a shampoo at the hairdresser's, or he's about to get OVERKILLED.

Seriously man, I know she was supposed to be trying to dunk his head into the sink, but really it just kind of seems like she’s outright blanking on what she should be trying to do.

Anyway, Mrs. Poe proceeds to do what she can to try and drown Goku, however, as tends to be the case whenever Goku is involved, he proves to be too strong to succumb to such an attack.

Thankfully, No-Brows shows up and lends a hand, resulting in the 2 parents exchanging a MEANINGFUL glance between one another:

"Hey, you wanna' watch Bloodsport after this?"

"Take me NOW, you sexy brow-less hunk of man-meat..."

Despite Goku’s head now being very much underwater, Doc Brow-Less once again takes it upon himself to access his more creative instincts as he reaches across the counter and flicks on the sink’s garbage disposal.

Either their sink was clogged with beets and tomatoes, or that man's hand is in the drain...

Now, despite the fact that the 2 parents clearly had Goku’s head fully submerged with little fuss, for whatever reason it seems like they ease up on him just for the sake of watching him scream like a… Well, like a dude with his hand caught in a garbage disposal.

Behold: Goku's "I got my hand caught in the drain" face.

Anyway, like pretty much any man on the planet, Goku starts tweakin’ like the mother of all mother fuckers.

Seriously man, he goes into convulsions, he screams, I’m guessing he shits himself, and all because he thought it would be a good idea to shove his hand down the drain while people were trying to kill him.

I don’t know, maybe he saw a shrimp down there or something…

Anyway, amid all the chaos, we are treated to a truly horrendous shot of Goku’s skinny jeans:

Gives the chills every time I see ’em…

Now, a good thing to keep in mind when watching this sequence, is the fact that we spend a whole helluva long time watching this guy freak out at the sink.

Seriously, this whole overkill is about 3 minutes long, and a little more than 30 seconds of it are solely devoted to Goku losing his shit and most of his hand.

Anyway, after standing around like an idiot for the past half minute or so, Doc Brow-Less FINALLY wakes the fuck up and grabs hold of the hammer he dropped previously.

You can thank the toaster to the face for making him drop it earlier.

Summoning the last of the savage man-strength imparted to him via the astral form of Steven Seagal, Doc Brow-Less heaves the hammer up over his head, and drives the claw end of the hammer into the back of Goku’s skull and into his brain.

So, after a good 3 and a half minutes of overkill-ery, we finally reach the end via a claw hammer shot to the brain.

This was just #4 folks.

Lots more brutality and awesomeness and/or brutal-awesomeness to come!

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The Expendables Review

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

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

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

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

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

ALL SHALL BOW BEFORE BROCK CHRIST!!!!

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

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

Best caricature, EVER.

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

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

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

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

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

"You not EXPENDABLE Rambo!"

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

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

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

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

That's right, THAT Gary Daniels...

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yup, that's violent!

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

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

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

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

It's in the middle, dumbass...

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

Outside of that though, my eyes are trained son…

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

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

The Expendables is a typical American military action flick.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In order, here are my thoughts:

Dolph looked surprisingly spry despite his age.

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

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

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

A novelty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ME.

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is, unless you’re the Undertaker…

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

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

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

*GASP!* "You remember that!?"

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

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

Yes, one of these.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll just say this:

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

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

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

Randy Couture should not be in movies.

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

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

I'm not. I swear...

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

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

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

Pictured: Randy Couture's "mean face."

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

It’s an indisputable fact.

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

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

Especially speaking.

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

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

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

Alright, well I’m officially spent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End Transmission

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