Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Van-Damme In Expendables 2

Well fuck my nuggets, Van Damme finally checked his ego at the door and signed on for Expendables 2.

To those who are unaware, Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally approached for a role in Sylvester Stallone’s 2010 ode to modern meathead culture and 80’s action cinema, The Expendables.

While many have bashed The Expendables as being little more than a sub-par action film populated with a Towering Inferno style cast of notables, I actually kind of enjoyed it.

Sure, it was hardly one of the best films any of the actors had been in, and yeah the action was not quite as awesome as most of us were expecting; (digital squibs = sad panda) but at the end of the day I found it to be a big dumb action movie that succeeded in being just that: a big dumb action movie.

Pictured: A movie that FAILED at being big and dumb.

Despite how crummy the movie may have been in some areas, it gave us Dolph Lundgren vs. Jet Li, and Stallone vs. Stone Cold.

Any movie that does that, no matter how utterly average the fights within which may actually have been, deserves at least some credit, if only for the sake of film history.

ANYWAY, based on what I can recall, Van Damme’s role in The Expendables was likely to have been either that of Randy Couture’s character, or that of Gary Daniel’s villain role.

I’ve read rumors that suggest Van Damme’s ego got in the way,in the form of making him reject the Gary Daniel’s role due to the fact that his character would lose a fight on-screen, most likely to Jet Li.

At the same time, I’ve also heard rumors that the Muscles From Brussels turned down the roles offered to him due to him being in the process of trying to “legitimize” his acting career based on the success of movies like JCVD.

In either case, and for better or worse, Van-Damme didn’t appear in The Expendables, and I for one was kind of disappointed.

As decent a guy as Randy Couture is, the man simply cannot act; and in that sense I would’ve loved to have seen Van-Damme stand in for him.

Do I really need an excuse to use this pic?

Similarly, as fuckin’ awesome and hilarious as Terry Crews can be, he was criminally under-utilized in The Expendables; and came across as the big black dude that was there just to be a big black dude.

If they really needed a big black dude that badly, they probably should’ve asked Carl Weathers, or Jim Brown, or Mr. T, or hell, even Michael Jai White.

Regardless, next time around they need to let the big black guy be more than just scenery with a gun.

‘Cause y’know, racism and n’shit.

Anyway, it makes me happy to know Van-Damme is gonna’ be in the sequel, which for the love of all that is holy; better be a decent step-up in terms of overall quality.

The basic premise does, and always will have potential, and I have confidence in Stallone in delivering the goods the second time around.

I would appreciate it if he’d reduce the meathead quotient just a little bit, and in turn dial up the nostaligia factor; but that’s just me.

Now all he needs to do is find a way to shoehorn Scott Adkins, Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa in there…

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

The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #4: Rocky Ends Communism


Yesterday we popped the cherry on the Top 5 of the Azn Badger’s Top 10 Manliest Man Moments list with a scene from a Godzilla movie.

That right there should tip you off to the fact that this list is very much my list of MANLY moments, and not just some cookie-cutter list for spoon-feeding to the masses.

That being said, our next moment comes courtesy of another one of my personal heroes, Sylvester Stallone.

Yeah, I made this. Damn proud of it too...

Now, as fucking awesome as Stallone movies can be, it’s common knowledge the majority of his filmography could be described as “hit and miss.”

When it comes to Stallone though, at the end of the day it all comes down to his 2 biggest characters and franchises:

Rocky and Rambo.

*GASP!* You mean Cobra wasn't one of Stallone's biggest hits!?

While I wouldn’t discover the MANLY majesty of the Rambo series until a bit later in life, the saga of Rocky Balboa was something I just couldn’t get enough of in my childhood.

Now, the character of Rocky Balboa might not be the cigar chomping paragon of MANLINESS that some of the other MEN on this list are, but make no mistake; Mr. Balboa is all that is MAN.

He’s the epitome of the classic underdog trope in cinema:

A big lovable retard with titanium MAN-BALLS of COURAGE, obsidian fists of AMERIKUHN JUSTICE, and a bionic heart pumped full of unflappable juices of MANHOOD.

ALL THAT IS MAN.

If all of that doesn’t spell AMERIKUHN HERO, I don’t know what does.

Over the course of his colorful 30+ year boxing career, Rocky Balboa did it all.

He fought and defeated the previously undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, after losing to him by a narrow margin in their previous bout:

... Then had a "moment" with him on the beach.

He defended his title several times, only to amazingly lose and regain it in stupendously entertaining back-to-back bouts with Mr. T:

Pictured: Mr. T taking one in the nuts.

He dumped a shit ton of his winnings into buying his brother-in-law a horny robot maid:

I don't wanna' know what goes on between these 2 after hours...

He avenged the death of his best friend by beating the ever-loving fuck out of the Dolph-inator himself, Dolph Lundgren:

And he even took the time to grow a pimp-ass beard!

He trained a rough-edged prospect to world championship status, only to later end up beating the shit out of said pupil in a random and highly illegal street fight:

Man, Tommy Morrison makes for one ugly fucking action figure..

And at the end of it all he ended his career by once again losing to a world champion half his age by a narrow split-decision:

... And succeeded in effectively ending Antonio Tarver's real-life boxing career.

Somewhere towards the middle of all this though, after buying the horny robot but before beating the piss out of his pupil; Rocky found time to do something truly MAN-great…

Something worthy of being ranked our 4th MANLIEST MAN moment in all of movies…

Something MANLIER than any mere boxing ring could contain…

Something…….. POLITICAL.

My greatest hope is that everyone reading this blog has seen Rocky IV, or failing that; at least knows the story of it.

Should anyone reading this blog not match any of these criteria, congratulations; you are both a pussy and a failure at life.

*ANYWAY* being as the beginning of Rocky IV deals with Rocky’s best buddy Apollo Creed getting killed in an exhibition match with the Swedish, I mean, COMMUNIST RUSSIAN death-machine Ivan Drago; naturally the final act of Rocky IV involves Mr. Balboa flying over to the USSR to pound some AMERIKUHN MAN JUSTICE into the giant Arian fuck’s face.

Unfortunately, unbeknowst to Rocky, Drago is packin’ the ‘roids; making the ensuing battle a clusterfuck of MANLY mayhem the likes of which the Eastern and Western world alike have never known:

CLICK FOR THE FIGHT

For nearly 15 rounds and nearly 10 minutes of screen time, Drago and Balboa slug it out; with Balboa falling to the mat no less than 7 times throughout.

Despite Drago out-landing Balboa about 10-to-1, someway, somehow; the Italian Stallion manages to power through the EPIC FIST-STORM of COMMUNIST RUSSIAN FACE-FUCKERY and do some damage of his own.

As evidenced by the announcer team making note of it just about every 30 seconds, the COMMUNIST RUSSIAN crowd seriously want Balboa’s nuts in their borscht.

Aw, how could anyone hate Rocky?

Also made apparent by the announcer team making note of it every 30 seconds though, is that part way through the fight, Balboa’s MAN-COURAGE in the ring is starts to win over the hearts and minds of the COMMUNIST RUSSIAN crowd.

Well okay then, I guess I'll have to take your word for it on that one.

At the end of the night, it all comes down to the 15th and final round, wherein Drago, is touched by the spirit of Rocky’s AMERIKUHN SPIRIT; turns his back on THE FUCKING POLITBURO, and says “Fuck it!” to fighting for the state in favor of fighting for MANLINESS.

Pictured: Russian Politics.

Despite possessing an incredible height and reach advantage, as well as being ahead on the scorecards by an absurd margin; Drago opts to fight the final round standing toe-to-toe with Balboa, thereby insuring his failure as a COMMUNIST MAN.

Sure enough, Balboa gets some good shots in downstairs, punches some WOMANLY MAN-tears out of Drago’s guts; and ends up flattening the big, Russian, Best-Friend Murderer in spectacular fashion.

The ref’s count reaches “10” and all the previously anti-AMERIKUHN RUSSIANS in the crowd rush into the ring and drape the triumphant Rocky Balboa in an AMERIKUHN FUCKING FLAG that, I guess they just happened to have on hand…

Such is the MANLY-POWER of Rocky.

He can travel to a HOSTILE nation, inexplicably defeat a physically superior opponent as a massive underdog, and then end up winning over the crowd to such a MANLY extent, that they KNIT AN AMERIKUHN FUCKING FLAG during the course of an hour long fight.

Amerikuhn hero or not, that has got to be one stinky-ass armpit...

Equally, uh, inexplicable; is the fact that, after trouncing their champion, the living symbol of their people’s achievements in physical conditioning; the COMMUNIST RUSSIANS offer the marble-mouthed Rocky Balboa the opportunity to voice his thoughts on the fight over the PA system.

Realizing the EPIC-NESS of the opportunity presented to him, Balboa digs deep within his recently brain-damaged mind, and summons an unrehearsed MAN-SPEECH of world-changing POLITICAL MAN-POWER:

In one night, Rocky Balboa won the most physically demanding fight of his life, and single-handedly ENDED COMMUNISM in the USSR.

Thus concludes our 4th MANLIEST MAN moment.

We’ve got 3 more to go folks, with all the EPIC MANLINESS being slung around here, it’s hard to say whether or not we’ll all survive the experience; but godddamnit I’m gonna’ give it my best shot to see it through to the end!

Check back tomorrow for MANLY MAN moment #3!

Filed under: Boxing, Movies, Tokusatsu, Top 10 Manliest Man Moments, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Villain Showdown: Ivan Drago vs. Chong Li

Alrighty folks, today we’re kicking off a new post series I’d like to call Villain Showdown.

In this series of posts we will be taking 2 classic villains of cinema history and pit them against one another across a great number of criteria, ranging from an examination of the devilish deeds that made them the historic villains they are today, to answering the all important question of “who would win in a fight?”

Anyway, enough with the mission statement crap, let’s get on with the first match-up; a contest of the beastly “silent giants” of 80’s fighting cinema, Ivan Drago vs. Chong Li!

Introductions:

Played by Dolph Lundgren, and perhaps the most formidable opponent Rocky Balboa ever fought in his lengthy career, communist Russian boxer Ivan Drago stand today as perhaps the prototypical “silent giant” of 80’s fighting cinema.

Not to be confused with the popular "big ugly dude" trope of action cinema.

A man of few words, Drago’s immense stature, Herculean form, Olympic class boxing skills, and death dealing fists nevertheless secured his place in the annals of film history.

Hailing from South Korea and practicing an unknown martial art, Chong Li owned the Kumite tournament for years until meeting defeat at hands of Frank Dux in the events of Bloodsport in 1988.

Malicious and without mercy, Bolo Yeung’s Chong Li dispensed of the lower-tier competition in the tournament with extreme prejudice, often going out his way to seriously injure and maim, or in one instance; kill his opponents.

Equally as silent as Ivan Drago, Chong Li’s formidable fighting skills, broad and muscular physique, cruel nature, and willingness to bend the rules of the Kumite to his advantage, make him one of the more memorable villains of martial arts cinema.

Criteria #1: Beastly Evil-Doings:

Ivan Drago

Punched Apollo Creed’s brain out his ass inside of 2 rounds, insulted America’s honor by demanding that Rocky fight him in the USSR, cheated by shootin’ the ‘roids, wore a hideous white leotard, stole Rocky’s wife, (not Adrian. Brigitte Nielsen) was Russian and therefore evil in every capacity known to man.

Chong Li


Utterly BEASTED on the lower-tier fighters, put his heel through Ogre from Revenge of the Nerd’s brain box, stole Ogre’s headband, killed a random and grossly out-sized Chinese man, cheated by throwing poison powder in Van Damme’s eyes, cheated by using the referee as a human shield, was Korean and therefore smelled of kimchi and was evil in every capacity known to man, particularly in matters pertaining to games of StarCraft.

Winner: Ivan Drago

Drago killed Apollo.

Really, that’s the only thing that matters in this particular argument.

While one could argue that Chong Li was definitely more evil by nature, as evidenced by the joyful expressions seen on his face whenever he was wrecking people’s shit; the simple fact remains that Drago killed an AMERICAN FUCKING HERO that was very likely 2 days from retirement.

Chong Li tried his damndest to live up to the villainous blueprint laid down by Drago in Rocky IV, however the thickness of Ogre’s skull prevented what otherwise would’ve been a meaningful death in the history of action cinema.

Sorry random Chinese guy, but your neck just isn’t worth the same as Carl Weathers’ mini-fro…

"Damn straight!"

Criteria #2: Tools Of The Trade

Ivan Drago


An Olympic class amateur boxer who fought his first professional bout against Apollo Creed, Drago was the finest heavyweight boxer in the USSR.

Bearing an emotionless persona an trained in a private, scientifically guided training facility, Drago’s physical conditioning and boxing skills were trained to perfection using state-of-the-art training methodologies.

At no less than 6 feet 4 inches in height, and bearing a punch of over 2,000 psi; Drago’s boxing proved sufficient to end the life of former heavyweight champion Apollo Creed inside of 6 minutes.

Despite knocking him down no less than 7 times during his contest with Rocky Balboa, Drago was put to the mat for a 10 count in the 15th and final round, thusly putting an end to his known professional boxing record.

Chong Li

A martial artist from South Korea, Chong Li dominated the Kumite for several years preceding the events of Bloodsport.

Using an unknown fighting system that made extensive use of his superior size and strength, Chong Li was nevertheless a superb and wholly complete fighter.

Chong Li was known to hold numerous records in the Kumite, not the least of which being the record for the the fastest KO in the tournament history, a record that would ultimately be broken by Frank Dux within the same 1988 tournament.

Quite literally, deadly; with fist and foot, Chong Li was known to have killed a competitor in the previous Kumite, going on to do the same to semi-finalist Chuan Ip Mung in the 1988 tournament.

That's right, I know my shit...

Despite this, Li was largely outmatched by Frank Dux in the early goings of their bout, only really gaining an edge when he intentionally blinded him with poison powder.

Overconfident in the handling of his blind opponent, Chong Li was ultimately felled by a series of aerial spin kicks to the face.

Never losing consciousness despite the incredible number of blows landed on him during the course of the fight, Chong Li ultimately submitted at the hands of Frank Dux.

Winner: Ivan Drago


While both men are definitely uber-beasts from a purely physical standpoint, the fact remains that Drago is an uber-beast that could kill you dead while wearing 8-ounce gloves.

Chong Li was by all means a killer by nature, however the one kill of his we were fortunate to bear witness to involved him taking advantage of a near helpless opponent.

Drago’s killing of Apollo Creed, however savage, and indeed, necessary to the plot of the film; was by all intents and purposes incidental to his freakish strength.

Though one could argue that Rocky was equally responsible…

In any case, it should be said that these guys were both pretty close in this particular criteria.

Both displayed incredible tenacity and durability by taking a huge amount of punishment during their respective bouts, however the real tie-breaker proved to be Drago’s endurance over the course of 15 rounds.

Given that Drago cried like a little bitch before going down though, one could argue that Chong Li was indeed the tougher individual, however in my book, 5 minutes with the Van-Damme-inator doesn’t really compare to 45 with Sly Stallone, even if Van Damme’s got his eyes bugged out and is seconds away from snapping your neck…

Criteria #3: FAILURES

Ivan Drago

Foolishly discarded EVERY CONCEIVABLE ADVANTAGE available to him by choosing to slug it out in close quarters with Balboa throughout most of the fight, in particular the 15th and final round.

Cried pathetic anti-man tears moments before succumbing to the ferocious man-fury of Rocky’s fists.

Was Russian…

Chong Li

Let hubris get in the way of his victory over Frank Dux by allowing him to recover during a pivotal moment in the fight.

Was Korean…

Winner: Chong Li

Just to be clear, “winning” this particular criteria refers to one failing less than their opponent, meaning “winning” in this case, is actually a good thing.

Chong Li won this one hands down.

Despite his monstrous appearance, Chong Li proved himself to be a clever fighter with surprisingly very little FAIL present in his character.

Really, the only fuck-up he every really made in the entirety of Bloodsport was in giving Van Damme 3 fucking minutes to meditate on/flashback to his past training, thereby allowing him to win the fight.

Drago, as evidenced by his far larger FAIL section, made more than a few mistakes in his bout with Rocky Balboa.

Displaying overconfidence by fighting Balboa’s fight, and weakness by eliciting distinctly un-manly, Russian Woman Tears on his way down to the canvas, Drago’s strength of character was somewhat questionable.

Who Would Win In A Fight?:

This one’s kind of a toughy.

As evidenced by his winning ways in most of the criteria listed above, Drago is one helluva’ beast, however Li is no slouch and arguably bears the stronger character between the 2 fighters.

Assuming that their contest would be a full contact affair, I could see Drago pressing an early advantage with his power and ranginess; however unless he flattened The Chong outright, I don’t think this phase of the fight would last very long.

As mentioned earlier, Drago displayed a willingness to wade into deep water with his opponents, fighting by their terms; and if this were to be the case with Chong Li, I could see things turning very ugly for Drago should he choose to trade blows with him.

Chong Li’s very complete repertoire of attacks would likely afford him a number of options in handling Drago, not the least of which being vicious kicks and joint locks to the extremities.

Despite the huge disparity in the breadth of the 2 fighters move sets, entirely a result of Drago’s conventional boxing training; the real crux in the matter of comparing the 2 lies in Chong Li’s unerring tenacity.

The Chong took one helluva’ beating from Van Damme, and never once seemed to slow or weaken during the course of the fight.

Perhaps more importantly though, he displayed a great deal of confidence and pluck when knocked to the mat by Ogre, a fighter who was very likely the stronger man in that particular contest.

Drago on the other hand, was pensive in the first few minutes of his fight with Apollo, and later showed weakness of character in his bout with Rocky Balboa, both fighters who were known to be physically inferior to him.

This disparity in maturity and strength of character, combined with the fact that I’d be willing to bet The Chong would go out of his way to fight dirty; seems to indicate that he would be able “figure out” Drago at some point in the proceedings.

Besides, Drago cried like a bitch…

Winner: Chong Li, On Account Of Experience And Toughness


Filed under: Boxing, Games, Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, Villain Showdown, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“The One Where Goose Dies…”

Ever notice how sometimes we think we know something when all we’re really working from is just one fraction of the whole picture?

Though I think it’s kind of funny now, I realize that most of my knowledge of movies as a kid was derived from this kind of thinking.

In my youth, I didn’t actually watch all that many movies.

Yesterday I posted a list of my 5 favorite film villains from my childhood, and I couldn’t help but notice that nearly every movie on that list (except The Blob. FUCK The Blob…) was a movie I watched “almost every day.”

 

EVERY FUCKING DAY.

You see, I watched movies all the time, however the variety of films I would watch was extremely limited.

My parents and my brother however, watched all sorts of stuff, mostly R and PG-13 movies that I would have to leave the room for.

 

That didn't stop me from walking in on this one at Auntie's house though...

Despite my not having actually seen any of these movies in my youth, I would often overhear, or be told factoids about them by my parents or my older brother.

This lead to me developing a habit of becoming content with what little I knew, and often writing off the film as unnecessary viewing because of it.

It’s a strange way of thinking that seems to fall in line with that whole “astronauts and astronomers” speech that Sam Neill gave in Jurassic Park III.

In case you forgot, (don’t be ashamed, Jurassic Park III sucked balls) basically it goes like this:

Whatever man, you know you'd go gay for him.

 

“I believe that in this world there are 2 kinds of boys: ones that want to be astronauts, and ones that want to be astronomers.” ~ Dr. Alan Grant

The analogy is that some people thrive on hands-on experience in their passions, while others tend to explore them at arms reach.

In case you are already lost, what I’m trying to say is that; as a child, I feel I developed some tendencies akin to that of an “astronomer.”

In many ways I feel I am still marching down that path.

Anyway, that’s enough of that sappy introspective bullshit, the real reason I’m typing this article is because I found myself laughing over some of the ways I would pretend to “know” movies as a kid.

In general, the way I would “know” movies as a kid was by discovering one key moment in the drama of the film.

This lead to me knowing Top Gun for years exclusively by it’s soundtrack, (which my mother listened to, WAY too often) and that it was “the one where Goose dies.”

 

"So, I forget, what the fuck am I supposed to do now that I'm inside him?"

I didn’t know who Goose was.

I didn’t even know how or why he died.

Hell, at some point I even recall pondering whether he was even human, what with his name being Goose an’ all.

GOOSE.

Other examples of my “extensive film knowledge” as a kid included Rocky IV, which was “the one where Apollo dies,” either that, or “the one with the big Russian guy.”

Apologies for whatever spoilers I may have divulged just now, but come on man, if you don’t know Rocky IV and Top Gun, you sir, deserve to be hit with a tack hammer.

In the brain.

Not in the face, the brain.

In the case of Rocky IV, I had actually seen the first 2 films in the series, and had somewhat of a connection to the character.

Know what’s hella’ funny though?

You know what my brother told me when I asked how Apollo died?

He told me: “What do you think?  Some guy walked up to him and punched him in the head.”

Samuel Peter doing his best Rocky IV Apollo Creed impression.

While that’s actually completely true, Apollo did get punched to death, I just love how straight and to the point my brother was with me.

Bear in mind, we were both very young at the time.

Now that I think about it, that’s actually the exact same description he gave me as to how Superman died when Doomsday killed him the comics.

And wouldn’t you know it, my brother wasn’t lying.

Pictured: The Punch.

The list of movies I used to “know without knowing” (kind of like “fighting without fighting,” but, y’know, lame) goes on and on.

I know some of them are exceedingly vague, but see if you can recognize any of them:

1.  “The one where the bunny throws up and the hippo shoots everyone.”

2.  “The one where the alien jumps out of the guy’s chest.”

3.  “The one where the alien’s chest opens up and he pulls out a ray gun and kills everyone.”

4.  “The one where Godzilla bleeds (for the first time).”

5.  “The one where the guy gets his head stepped on.”

6.  “The one where Batman says, “Eat floor.””

7.  “The one with the black rock.”

And the trick question for the evening:

8.  “The one with the train that goes too fast.”

I’ll post the answers for those care to read them sometime tomorrow.

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

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