Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

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:

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The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #1: The Last Stand Of The Wild Bunch

There’s something particularly heroic in the act of sacrifice.

While the term “hero” largely refers to individuals of admirable or extraordinary traits, courage and bravery; the ability to rise up and act in the face or adversity, are characteristics that define the word just as well.

Of the past 9 MANLY moments we’ve explored up to this point, most, if not all of them have involved instances wherein heroic individuals had to put their lives at stake for a cause greater than themselves.

In fact, in the case of our 6th and 2nd MANLIEST MAN moments, (Jim Brown’s suicide run in The Dirty Dozen and Optimus Prime’s battle with Megatron in Transformers: The Movie respectively) the MANLY MEN involved in said moments ended up losing their lives despite their accomplishments.

Martyrdom is indeed a powerful form of heroism and MANLINESS, and unsurprisingly; it just happens to the kind of MANLINESS that makes the finale of Sam Peckinpah’s turn of the century Western classic, The Wild Bunch; THE MANLIEST MAN MOMENT IN ALL OF FILM:

Unlike the vast majority of the movies on this list, The Wild Bunch is a legitimately great film.

That’s not to say Transformers: The Movie and Commando aren’t quality films in their own right, I for one fucking love them; however it’s hard to deny that they aren’t of the same caliber as a classic like The Wild Bunch.

That being said, when it comes to films with themes like brotherhood, redemption, and MANLINESS; there are few better examples I can think of than The Wild Bunch.

The finale of The Wild Bunch involves the main characters, a band of somewhat amoral hired guns; recognizing a need for justice in a wartorn Mexican community.

Not lawful justice mind you, just plain old fashioned MAN-JUSTICE.

Initially working for the local warlord and his German arms provider, the Bunch complete the task assigned to them and collect their reward; but at the cost of having their comrade Angel, a Mexican revolutionary; taken from their ranks and brutally tortured.

The Bunch react to this atrocity with disgust and anger, however they ultimately end up gritting their teeth and walking away.

Some time passes however, and their collective consciences rouse their spirits to take action.

In an awe-inspiring act of MANLINESS, the remaining members of the bunch, consisting of Willam Holden’s Pike, Ernest Borgnine’s Dutch, Warren Oates’ Lyle, and Ben Johnson’s Tector; march through the town and towards the warlord’s compound with fire in their hearts.

Pictured: The Pimpest Pimp-Walk in all of Pimp-Dom.

Arriving at the compound, the Bunch confront the warlord amid an entire mess hall worth of troops.

The warlord, at this point severely inebriated and thusly unaware of the seriousness of the situation, casually asks them what it is they want.

To this, Pike responds with a single demand:

"We want Angel."

Retrieving the battered and beaten Angel, the warlord seems to be willing to comply with their request.

Unfortunately, the warlord draws a concealed knife and ruthlessly slits Angel’s throat, prompting the Bunch to gun him down on the spot.

There is an awkward moment as the warlord falls, a calm before the storm.

Both the soldiers, and the Bunch themselves; stand in silent awe of the utter insanity of what has just transpired.

The Bunch have ample time to run, and yet for whatever reason; they stand their ground.

Slipping a deviously knowing glance between one another, the Bunch recklessly assault the army of Mexican troops; resigning themselves to the lethal eventuality of the overwhelming odds before them.

I don't know guys, that's A LOT of Mexicans...

Scores of Mexican troops are slaughtered as the Bunch wildly spray fire into the crowd, laughing maniacally at the sheer ridiculousness of the predicament they’ve willingly thrown themselves into.

As the initial surprise of their attack begins to fade away however, the soldier’s sheer numbers begin to wear on the Bunch; resulting in nearly all of our “heroes” receiving serious bullet wounds at some point.

Direct quote.

A major turning point in the conflict occurs when one of the Bunch manages to get ahold of a mounted machine within the base, increasing the Bunch’s attack power 10 fold.

Unfortunately, even a machine gun isn’t enough to turn the tide completely, as one by one the Bunch begins to fall apart.

Pictured: The Gorch brothers die.

At the end of it all, only Pike and Dutch remain, with Pike dieing a heroes’ death manning the machine gun as Dutch is gunned down trying to come to his aid.

Pictured: Pike and Dutch die.

In the end, The Wild Bunch isn’t really a story about good guys and bad guys.

As mentioned earlier, the Bunch is made up of brigands and outlaws; making them questionable as traditional heroes.

Despite their somewhat underhanded nature though, in the final act of the movie; the Bunch manage to redeem themselves by demonstrating a clear belief in the concept of moral decency and justice.

Everything they do throughout the movie, especially in the finale sequence, could very easily be viewed as “wrong” or unjust; however in going back for Angel, and thereby adhering to their personal form of MAN-CODE; they gain a very small, but meaningful degree of redemption.

In essence, the Bunch gave their lives not for glory, or even necessity; but simply for the purpose of being MEN both in life, and in death.

In that sense, I can think of no MANLIER act of MAN-NESS in the pantheon of MANLY cinema.

Well folks, thus concludes the Azn Badger’s list of the Top 10 Manliest Man Moments in movies.

Hopefully you all enjoyed yourselves.

I for one seriously need a break from all of this MANLINESS business, as all of this writing has pretty much pushed me to the brink of MAN-SANITY.

Maybe I should watch some Ugly Betty or something, cleanse the palette…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haha! Serial killers are HILARIOUS!

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

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

Cameron Poe, feeeeeeeels so good....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The MANLIEST of MANLY maneuvers: The Roundhouse Kick!

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

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

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

At least I hope that’s the case…

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

So here’s the basic setup:

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

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

Dial it down Cusack! The check cleared...

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

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

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

Thus begins the awesomeness of MANLY moment #7.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... And here comes #3.

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

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

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

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

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

Oh well.

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

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

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The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #8: Han Solo, Army Of One


Yesterday we covered what I would argue was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s MANLIEST MAN moment in cinema history.

Said moment involved exclamation of the word “bullshit,” followed by the Austrian death machine hurling a steam pipe through an Australian girlie man’s torso.

Just in case you needed a visual aid...

That was MANLY MAN moment #9.

Now I ask you, just what the fuck kind of Top 10 MANLY MAN moments would place something as epic as the finale of Commando at #9?

A really MANLY fuckin’ list, that’s what!

While the next MANLIEST moment may be somewhat lacking in epic savagery when compared to it’s predecessors; it more than makes up for it in epic ballsy-ness and courage.

In that sense, our 8th MANLIEST MAN moment happens to be that one time in A New Hope when the apex of pimp himself, Han Solo, literally went solo and randomly bum rushed the fuck out of a battalion of Stormtroopers:

(Apologies for the very much unwarranted Chariots of Fire, it was the best I could find.)

You see, while Arnold utterly dominates the MANLY realm of badassery and epic savagery, Harrison Ford’s Han Solo represents a different school of MANLINESS.

Sure, Harrison Ford can’t throw a decent punch to save his life, but that’s why it’s called “acting.”

Han Solo’s what you’d call a “loveable asshole.”

Pictured: An asshole minus the "loveable" part.

He’s a silver-tongued pistolero that wears his ego on his sleeve and tries his damndest to put his foot in the cooch whenever the opportunity presents itself.

While any other character would just seem like a epic frat boy douche-rocket in behaving like this, perhaps Han Solo’s greatest strength as a character is that, while he’s certainly one scruffy looking scoundrel; there’s an inherently heroic and admirable person visible beneath all of it.

I suppose it’s also pretty awesome that his MANLINESS gives him the power to SHUT PEOPLE THE FUCK UP just by raising a finger:

Translation: "You shut your fucking mouth, son."

MANLY powers aside, the one thing that always put Han Solo over the top in my book of MANLINESS, was his ability to improvise and succeed on gut instinct alone.

When faced with the threat of having his ship blasted to pieces by a surprise attack from incoming TIE fighters, ‘ole Han just kind of shrugs his shoulders and says:

When forced to impersonate a Stormtrooper over an intercom in a desperate attempt to salvage his and the other Rebel’s infiltration into the Death Star, Han doesn’t just manage the task; he even takes the time to casually throw in a courteous “We’re fine, how are you?”:

That’s just how Han Solo rolls.

Off the cuff or from the hip, he rolls with the punches and always seems to come out on top.

Which brings us to the MANLIEST moment in his career, and the 8th MANLIEST moment in all of movies.

Not long after the above sequence wherein Han, Chewie and Luke utterly beast the shit out of the security staff of detention block AA 23, the 3 of them rescue Princess Leia and flee into the sewer duct.

After much hilarity and drama involving a nasty dianoga getting frisky with Luke,

Watch in horror as the dianoga claims it's next love sponge...

as well as the walls of the chamber being set to “compact,” the 4 heroes escape into the main corridors of the Death Star.

Unfortunately, the section of the space station that they happen to escape to just happens to be crawling with Stormtroopers.

While most men would turn tail and run in the face of overwhelming odds like this, Han Solo immediately caps one of the troops square in the chest and then proceeds to CHASE AFTER the remaining half dozen or so HEAVILY ARMED soldiers!

If that wasn’t badass enough, ‘ole Han doesn’t just run the sons a bitches down; he charges after them screaming at the top of his lungs like some crazy-ass William Wallace motherfucker.

It may take some serious balls to single-handedly face down a whole squad of armed soldiers, but it takes giant-ass titanium gonads of MANLINESS to fuckin’ rout them and then successfully chase their asses down.

Unfortunately, as is often the case for people who aren’t Arnold Schwarzenegger, the MANLIEST course of action proves to be far from the wisest for Han Solo.

After chasing the Stormtroopers for some time, wailing like a fuckin’ Jewish banshee all the while; Han turns a corner to reveal horrifying sight:

Note: This is one of the few scenes Special Edition actually made MANLIER.

Unfazed by the pants shitting-ly terrifying white and black wall of blaster toting death before him, Han attempts to overwhelm the Stormtroopers with the power of his MANLIEST of MANLY faces:

Despite the awesome power of Han’s MAN-FACE, the Stormtrooper’s collective morale holds fast, allowing them to miraculously power through it’s demoralizing/penis shrinking effects.

Immediately sensing that his gambit has failed, the ever resourceful Han Solo quickly falls back on his go-to plan “B”, that of shooting first and aiming/asking questions later:

Han Solo: Shoots So Well His Lasers Explode From The Inside Out.

With yet another Stormtrooper felled, Han makes the wise choice not to get greedy with his kill-streak, instead choosing to fall back and regroup with his compatriots.

Narrowly escaping from a hail of laser fire, Han Solo meets up with Chewie around the corner, and the 2 escape to the annals of MANLY sci-fi/action movie history.

Thanks for reading MANLY MAN moment #8, check back for #7 tomorrow!

Happy Easter everyone!

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The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #9: “BULLLLLL-SHIT!”


Alright boys and girls, we’re back with more of the Top 10 Manliest Man Moments in movies!

This time around we’re tackling MANLY moment #9, a MANLY moment that belongs to none other than quite possibly the MANLIEST of all action heroes; Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As any self respecting MAN is aware, MANLY moments are very much the norm in any Arnie movie.

Seriously man, given the chance, Arnold could find a way to make just about anything the fuckin’ MANLIEST shit ever.

Jesus fuck, he even makes chugging a beer look fuckin' awesome...

He was just that fuckin’ MANLY.

During the course of his acting career the man has killed Darth Vader:

Done battle with (and killed the ever-loving fuck out of) intergalactic game hunters:

"Hey, you're that guy from Night Court!"

And even managed to get away with calling THE FUCKING DEVIL a goddamn choir boy:

To say Arnold’s done some pretty MANLY-ASS things over the years would be an understatement akin to saying Steven Seagal’s flipped a lot of fools on their heads.

In other words, it’d be a BIG fuckin’ understatement.

Which begs the question, just what is the MANLIEST moment of Arnold’s illustrious film career?

Well, that’d have to the be when he summoned his MAN-STRENGTH to call “bullshit” on, well, pretty much everything; and then inexplicably whooped the shit out of a curiously overweight Australian at the end of Commando:

Let me go on record by saying that, while it’s far from the best movie in Arnold’s filmography; Commando has probably the highest MAN QUOTIENT of any of his movies.

Commando truly is a “dumb” movie in the sense that it’s plot, dialogue, and overall production values are kind of ratty; however most of this is played to it’s advantage in the form of copious amounts of “violent but not offensive violence,” and an insane number of Arnold-isms throughout.

In short, it’s a big dumb action movie that thrives on being big and dumb.

Which brings me to MANLY moment #9 on our list.

At the end of Commando, Arnold’s John Matrix faces off against a former “colleague” (read: killing buddy) of his named Bennett, who just happens to be holding Arnold’s daughter AKA Alyssa Milano, hostage.

She looks like fuckin' Chucky with those overalls...

While totally bat-shit crazy, and holding a penchant for knives; I’ve gotta’ say, Bennett is just about the least threatening villain I can recall in a Schwarzenegger flick.

I suppose it doesn’t help that half the time the guy looks like he’d sooner jump Arnie’s bones rather than kill him:

Pictured: Bennett's "O" face.

Seriously man, while taller than Arnold, the guy is obviously somewhat out of shape and doesn’t look at all to be a match for Arnold’s Herculean John Matrix.

To make matters worse, the poor guy is obviously kind of sensitive about his weight, as he wears some sort of goofy-ass chainmail getup to try and conceal his love handles.

Think fat kid wearing his shirt to the pool:

Pictured: Bennett, in his formative years.

Top things off with the fact that he looks like a fat Freddie Mercury, and you’ve got yourself one very sad-ass final boss.

Despite all this, thankfully Bennett gives himself a fighting chance by capping Johnny Matrix in his right shoulder just before the final battle.

Sadly, that would prove to be just about the only good move ‘ole Bennett makes in the whole fight.

Using his MANLY powers of psychology, Matrix manages to convince Bennett to let go of Alyssa Milano so that they may knife fight to the death like the MANLY MEN they are.

The fight appears to reach an equilibrium of sorts, as both men receive minor cuts; however one could argue that Bennett pulls ahead at this juncture by attempting the use of scornful finger wagging and black magic:

Despite this, using the MANLY STRENGTH of his willpower, Johnny Matrix manages to power through the effects of Bennett’s evil spell and push the big Aussie off the fuckin’ catwalk.

Unfortunately however, his MAN STRENGTH proves to be too great, thereby causing him fall off alongside Bennett:

After their fall, the knives are discarded; and things really start to heat up.

In classic villain fashion, Bennett makes use of a conveniently placed pipe to try and press an advantage over Matrix.

Courageously/dumbly fighting unarmed and without the use of his right arm, Arnold manages to stay in the fight, landing pot shots when able, and generally doing well to counter most of Bennett big swings.

Hell, one-armed or not, Arnie even manages to ape Steven Seagal by busting out an awkward hip toss of sorts:

Despite the awesomeness of that maneuver however, it would seem it wasn’t all that damaging; as Bennett manages to bounce back almost immediately.

Utilizing a nearby furnace door, Bennett whacks Matrix in the nose by opening it ala Tom and Jerry then proceeds to tear it off it’s hinges and chuck it at our hero.

Despite missing by a fuckin’ country mile, this maneuver allows Bennett the time to pick up another pipe from the floor, with which he proceeds to go to town on Matrix’s stomach and flanks.

Did I mention that during all of this, Bennett still looks like he want to mount Matrix something fierce?:

Pictured: Bennett's "O" face Mk. II

I’m not gonna’ lie, Arnold takes a helluva’ beating during this sequence.

After sustaining an absurd number of pipe shots to the torso, Arnold manages to land a desperation kick to… somewhere on Bennett’s person, thereby freeing our hero and allowing him to stand up once again.

I call the kick an act of “desperation” not just because of the nasty circumstances during which it was employed, but because kicking is just something Arnold doesn’t do.

The man is shaped like a fuckin’ upside down PYRAMID OF POWER, kicking is not one of his strong suits.

Van-Damme he is not.

Anyway, from there the fight devolves into one of those awkward struggling/wrestling matches that suck all the momentum out of fight sequences.

Long story short, Bennett opened the furnace earlier, both guys almost get put into said furnace; and much grunting and sweating ensues, likely to Bennett’s pleasure.

Jesus fuck, man! How many times is he gonna' do that!?

Likely growing weary of being in such close proximity to a dark magician/child molester like Bennett, Matrix creates some distance with a strategically placed headbutt followed by a left hook to the jaw.

While Johnny Matrix indeed succeeds in gaining some breathing room with this maneuver, unfortunately he makes the mistake of knocking Bennett into the power grid, shooting thousands of volts through the big Aussie’s chainmailed form:

"You fool! Electricity gives him power!"

Now, ordinarily this would put a motherfucker to sleep like no other, but not ‘ole Bennett.

You see Bennett, like King Kong in King Kong vs. Godzilla, actually gains strength from electrocution.

Unfortunately, Matrix clearly was not aware of this fact, and is thusly caught completely off guard by the immediate and hellacious counter-attack that follows.

Totally helpless, Matrix takes blow after blow, not the least of which being the dreaded “double axe-handle to the man boob”:

Following this, Bennett declares himself to be “feeling good,” thereby solidifying his dominance at this late stage in the fight.

Pummeling away at Matrix’s back with fists and elbows, Bennett continues to pour on the verbal abuse to John’s MANHOOD.

“Your’e a dead man John!”

With those words, whatever weakness may have remained in John Matrix’s soul burned away to cinders, leaving only MANLY MAN-NESS in their wake.

With those words, John Matrix summoned the mightiest of MANLY words from deep within himself, channeling the MANLIEST of MAN spirits in the process:

The rest is, as they say, history; as John Matrix spins around and proceeds to whoop the everloving-fuck out of Bennett.

Using only ONE HAND Matrix unleashes a 13-hit Ultra Combo of hooks and backhands that sends Bennett reeling.

Lacking the strength to employ any more magic spells or electrical attacks, Bennett; in a final act of villainous cowardice, draws a micro uzi and makes a move to blast Matrix’s nuts off.

Improvising in a manner that could only be referred to as MANLY-AS-FUCK, Matrix then promptly rips a steam pipe off the wall and throws it into Bennett’s rotund form:

If that’s not the 9th MANLIEST moment ever, I don’t know what is.

Check back tomorrow for MANLY moment #8!

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5 Words That Sound Cooler Than Their Meaning

Ever notice how every once in awhile you run across a word that sounds really fuckin’ badass, only to discover later on that it’s actual meaning is equal parts pathetic and absurd?

I don’t know if it’s just me, but this happened to me a whole helluva’ lot when I was little.

That being said, the following is a brief list of some words fitting the above description, most of which I first encountered as a young badger.

#1. Reticulated

This is what I think of when I think "reticulated." A big fuckin' snake killing the shit out of Owen Wilson.

Definition: Constructed, arranged, or marked like a net or network.

You know what the longest snake in the world is?

While it might be wrong, given that I read it almost 20 years ago; my Snakes issue of Zoobooks taught me that the world’s longest breed of snake, was the Reticulated Python.

Animal kingdom factoids like this was really important to me as a kid, but apparently learning the meaning of words like reticulated wasn’t; ’cause it took more than a few years for me to discover it’s definition.

I remember thinking the word reticulated meant something along the lines of “really fuckin’ big,” or “seriously fuckin’ savage.”

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Reticulated Python’s name simply referred to the characteristics of the pattern drawn across it’s scales.

#2. Hyperbole

That's a hyperbole if I've ever seen one...

Definition: An extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”

Do you know what what the term “hyper” means to child raised in the era of super saiyans and hyper combos?

It refers to something crazy fuckin’ awesome (and destructive) that most likely requires a super combo meter to perform, that’s what!

When I first heard the word hyperbole, my young mind immediately thought it was some sort of secret Street Fighter move, or failing that; some sort of secret X-Men vs. Street Fighter move.

At some point in my struggle to define the word hyperbole; I came to the conclusion that:

“Hey, Magneto has his Hyper-Grab; maybe there’s some sort of super combo version of it I haven’t seen called Hyper-Bow-Lee!”

Pictured: Magneto, warming up his "hyper-bow-lee."

Yeah, I played a lot of fighting games back in the day…

Actually, I’m pretty sure the first time I ran across the word was in written form; whereupon I most likely pronounced it as “hyper-bowl.”

I consider myself a pretty good speller nowadays; but back in the day I was a shithead just like everyone else.

#3. Isosceles

"Man, that guy's so isosceles; it's just plain unfair!"

Definition: Having two sides equal.

“Isosceles Kramer…”

That’s all I needed to hear to start thinking isosceles was the coolest fuckin’ word ever.

Sure, I learned it’s meaning at some point in math class; but that doesn’t mean I ever made any attempt to retain that knowledge.

You see, numbers and I have feuding like an Irishman and, well… Another Irishman, for as long as I can remember.

That is to say, despite my Azn-ness; math has always been one of my weaknesses.

Despite this, thanks to Seinfeld; I’ve maintained a healthy relationship with the word isosceles.

Unlike most of the other words on this list, I never came up with my own interpretation of it’s meaning.

In all honesty, from the time I first heard it up until the present, there really hasn’t been a time when I was unfamiliar with it’s meaning; but even so, for such a slick-ass sounding word, isosceles has a pretty pathetic meaning.

#4. Abdicate

Above: “Abdication” at it’s finest….

Definition: To relinquish formally a high office or responsibility.

Did you ever see that episode of Hey Arnold! where Eugene was obsessed with the Arnold Schwarzenegger-inspired movie character, “The Abdicator”?

Well, I did; more than a few times at that, and it was this episode of the show that first introduced me to the word abdicate.

Just like I’d imagine the character Eugene felt, for whatever reason; the name abdicator sounded like a believable superhero to me.

Then again, I’m pretty sure any word that ends with an “-or” has the appropriate amount of manly “oomph” to it to work as a a superhero name.

Anyway, I remember that the actor that plays the abdicator actually learns the meaning of the word abdicate at some point during the episode; leading to me first hearing the word and learning it’s definition in the space of 20 minutes or so.

While I know the definition well now, thanks to Hey Arnold!; to this day I still get a kick out of thinking back to the brief time in my life when the word abdicate referred to “beasting on someone mightily in a Schwarzennegger-ian fashion.”

#5. Dodecahedron

Let's see, it's one part Destoroyah, two parts Queen Slug-For-A-Butt, and a billion parts retarded...

Definition: A polyhedron with 12 faces.

The above image represents what I thought dodecahedron meant before my math teacher had to go ahead an’ spoil it for me.

Yeah, I was a pretty fucked up/retarded kid.

... And apparently I was a very imaginative speller as well.

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*Sigh* Thundercats Reboot… By Way Of Japan

Ugh.

Now, I’ve already gone on record stating my disdain for the idea of remaking Thundercats, for film or television; so it should be no surprise that the preview trailer above succeeds in pushing those very same buttons.

It’s not so much the idea of a Thundercats reboot being made that bothers me, it’s the simple fact that someone felt the need to do it.

It’s like Ian Malcolm said about the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park:

“Thundercats had their shot, and nature selected them for extinction”

To me, Thundercats; along with the Ninja Turtles and other such pop-culture phenomena, were a product of their time.

I know I’m being an ass about this, but I’m a very nostalgic young man, and have a good memory to boot; so whenever I hear news of unwarranted remakes, I take it kind of personally.

I say this not in reference to “open to interpretation” properties like ancient mythology, but rather mainstream elements of pop-culture of the past 40 or 50 years.

Some people consider remaking or rebooting pop-culture characters or stories of their youth to be a sign of respect, a way of showing that something is loved enough be done justice a second time.

To me, the best way to honor or respect things such as this; is simply to remember them.

More is not always better.

Anyway, I’m done rambling.

No wait:

I suppose I could bitch about how the new character designs bother me, much in the same way that the blatantly anime-inspired designs in Superman/Batman: Apocalypse bothered me, but I feel my efforts would be wasted given that Thundercats was originally animated by a Japanese animation house, thusly making the progression fairly logical.

I just can’t help but feel bothered by the idea of anime-style visuals simply because the look is en vogue.

*Sigh* A nation of fuckin’ weeaboos and Narutards…

Regardless of the actual quality of the animation, it feels cheap, unseemly, and downright silly seeing so many American cartoons go down this route.

I’m done bitching.

Hopefully everyone feels happier about this than I do…

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

Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks, #10-6

Hold onto your butts folks, we’ve finally made it to the Top 10 of the Top 25 NES Tracks!

Rest assured, while many of the entries on this list have been somewhat obscure, expect the majority of the remainder to consist of old favorites and themes from game series that are still going strong to this day.

That being said, let’s get to the first half of the Top 10!:

#10. Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode

“Golgo 13 Theme”


Remember when I said that you’d be familiar with all of the games in the Top 10?


Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode is a Vic Tokai espionage/action game based upon the massively epic manga series by Takao Saito, Golgo 13.

While I could bore you with a detailed description of the backstory of said manga, I find it’s easier to sum things up by saying this:

Golgo 13 is THE SHIT, and could give ROBERT FUCKING MULDOON a run for his money in terms of manliness and overall badassery.

Trust me, he’s seriously that fucking pimp…

 

 

THAT FUCKING PIMP.

 

Anyway, the NES version of Golgo 13, was neat game that I loved to play in my youth.

It was a serious game, with an involving and suitably “adult” storyline that really made you feel cool to be a part of, especially as a kid.

Basically, it felt good to play a game that had enough confidence in my intelligence to talk to me like a big kid and give me objectives that felt a little more mature than say, saving the goddamn princess.

 

*Sigh* Really?...

 

Half of the fun I had with Golgo 13, came in the form of the game’s theme music, which conveniently enough, could be brought up at any time simply by hitting the pause button!

Being as Golgo 13 is essentially the Japanese equivalent to James Bond, (only 10 times more badass an amoral) it’s only appropriate that his theme music in the game be a rousing and shlocky tune that would be right at home on a Ventures album.

Not only that, the Japanese version of the title screen has lyrics that flash on the screen in time to music, karaoke style!

I can read about 95% of it, maybe I should try and sing the fuckin’ song someday…

#9. Castlevania

“Vampire Killer”

I’ve never really been a Castlevania kid.

While I love Konami games, particularly of the 8 and 16-bit eras, Castlevania was perhaps the one flagship title in their library that I never really cared much for.

I never liked how the jumping system was heavily momentum based, so much so that mid-air adjustments were nigh impossible.

I hated the cheap, pitfall deaths that were just a constantly spawning flying medusa head away.

 

Oh you fuckin' bitch...

 

And I suppose it doesn’t help either that I don’t care much for Gothic art and design.

On the NES, the only Castlevania I ever played was the very first.

While I ended up walking away from the game feeling it was alright, but not great, the music was, and is, something that will always stick with me.

The Castlevania games are known throughout gaming circles for their incredible soundtracks, and rightfully so.

While many of the compositions of the early games have since gone on to be remixed, and usually improved, my favorite track from the original NES game was the first stage theme, “Vampire Killer.”

“Vampire Killer” survives to this day as the single most prominent theme in the series.

I love it’s light-hearted yet spooky feel, as right off the bat it cues you in on the fact that:

 

 

"This game is gonna' be all horror n'shit, but don't worry, it's still an action game!"

 

It’s a wonderful, timeless piece of gaming music history, and though I still don’t care much for Castlevania, any Castlevania; it still deserves it’s spot on this list.

#8. Super Mario Bros.

“World 1-1”


What’s this?

The Mario theme, placed at #8 on a Top 25 list!?

BLASPHEMY.

Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m surprised it’s ranked as low as it is too.

Truth of the matter is, I knew it had to go somewhere on here, but I ended up arbitrarily placing it “somewhere” in the Top 10 to satisfy my conscience, while at once ensuring that my true favorites got the justice they deserved.

The Super Mario Bros. Theme is game music.

Plain and simple.

It’s one of the most memorable and enduring arrangements in all of gaming history, and no force on Earth, no matter how hipster or counter-culture, could keep it from receiving a spot on any gaming music Top 10 list.

 

"Yeah, I don't care much for Mario, too mainstream. I only play obscure bullshit like Faria and Faxanadu... On my original NES... On a TV from 1982... While wearing a shirt from 1986..."

 

Mario games are something that I’d like to think can appeal to anyone.

They’re fun, straightforward, and typically blessed with a difficulty level that is appropriately challenging, but never punishingly so.

While I’ve always liked Mario games, in truth I never really played them that much.

My brother stomped the shit out of pretty much all of them up to Super Mario 64, but despite living in a household that owned most of said games, I spent most of my time playing other stuff.

 

 

Pictured: Other stuff.

 

I suppose I was too into beat ’em ups in my youth to take the time to sit down and work my way through the platforming goodness of Mario.

Anyway, there’s nothing I can say about “World 1-1” that hasn’t been said, so I won’t try.

I can’t say I fully agree with my placement of this particular track, but I’m happy with my Top 5, so I figure it all balances out.

#7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game

“Technodrome Stage Theme”


Okay, so we’re all in agreement that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the shit back in the early 90’s, right?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game, was the NES version of the Konami Ninja Turtles arcade game found in virtually every arcade/pizza joint in America.

 

 

If I were very rich, and very stupid, I would own one of these...

 

While it lacked the graphical polish of the arcade version, much like in the case of Turtles in Time; I’ve always maintained that the console version was superior.

Aside from including 2 extra stages and unique boss characters, the console version also had better controls and a more manageable and less “quarter-munching” difficulty level.

Ninja Turtles 2 was easily one of the most played games in me and my brother’s NES library.

It was fun, it was a Ninja Turtles product, it had “two player simultaneous gameplay,” and did I mention it was the NINJA FUCKING TURTLES!!?

I remember bringing Ninja Turtles 2 over to my friend’s houses, playing it all fuckin’ day, and then sitting down and watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze over and over again until my mom picked me up.

 

 

Y'know, back in the 5 minutes or so we all thought this guy was the coolest thing EVER.

 

THAT, my friends, is what childhood was all about.

The Technodrome Stage Theme” is not only an incredible, and undeniably “Konami” piece of music, it was also something that was quite elusive to me in my youth.

Possessed of a rockin’ and moody quality that really jumps out to you as “last level” music, the “Technodrome Stage Theme” was a track that I didn’t get to hear that often because, well, Ninja Turtles 2 was actually kind of a hard game.

In many ways, me having only had a few opportunities to hear this track in my youth played a huge role in elevating this track to such a high spot on the list.

Oh yeah, that and the fact that it’s a fucking awesome piece of pulse-pounding, pizza-munching, teenage-mutant-ninja action music!

Turtle Power FOREVER.

#6. Blaster Master

“Stage 1 Theme”


After 3 of the bottom 5 of the tracks on this list came from Sunsoft products, did you really think there wouldn’t be at least one more game from them on here?

It’s true, I dig Sunsoft music, and when it comes to Sunsoft’s music library, I can think of no other game to better represent them than Blaster Master.

 

 

*Ahem!* That would be, "Master Blaster."

 

Blaster Master was a game I used to play at my barber’s house.

No, not the one that gave me a Nintendo Power, a different one.

Like most of the games on this list, I never really got anywhere in Blaster Master, but fuck man, I really wish I had…

I enjoyed every minute I played of the tank-hopping, grenade tossing action of the first stage in Blaster Master, and as always; a lot of my enjoyment came from the background music.

The “Stage 1 Theme” of Blaster Master is a terrific piece of music that really succeeds in capturing the colorful and adventurous spirit of the game and it’s setting.

It really feels like music you’d hear in a weird sci-fi world while patrolling the forests in a giant tank in search of your pet frog.

 

 

Hah! Thought I was kidding about the plot, didn't you?

 

That last sentence didn’t really make a whole lot of sense, so let me rephrase:

The “Stage 1 Theme” of Blaster Master is awesome, and it makes me smile, so therefore it is #6.

Well, folks, that does it for the first half of the Top 10!

Tomorrow we’ll finally be wrapping things up with the remaining Top 5, as well as the announcement of the #1 NES Track!

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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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Let’s Play Snow Bros., Part III

Well, after 3 days and 5 videos, we’ve finally reached the end of Snow Bros.

The experience was far from magical, as I was playing solo for the first time, and was a bit rusty at the game to boot.

Regardless, I had fun, I hope you guys did too.

Stay tuned during the end credits for retarded ramblings.

Sorry, I got bored.
Stages 41-50, End Credits

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