Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Top 5 Games That Should Be Movies

THE game that needs to be a movie...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#5. Saturday Night Slam Masters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#4. Final Fight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#3. Front Mission

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

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

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

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

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

#2. Sunset Riders

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Think about it:

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

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

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

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

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

#1. River City Ransom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

River City Ransom needs to be a movie someday.

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“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.

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Thoughts on Mortal Kombat: Rebirth

If you’re like anyone else surfing around on the intersnatch these days, then you’ve probably heard news of Kevin Tancharoen’s 8-minute pitch video for a new Mortal Kombat movie.

If not, then you should probably click the video above and check it out.

I for one was very impressed, not just by the production values and artistic design of the video, but also by it’s cast.

In case you didn’t know, Michael Jai White of Undisputed 2 and Black Dynamite fame plays Jackson Briggs,

You knew I had to use this one again.

Capoeira expert, Lateef Crowder from Tom Yum Goong and Undisputed 3 plays Baraka,

Funny, he doesn't look like a brutha' to me...

and Matt Mullins, who is currently on the American Kamen Rider TV show and will be playing Vejita in the new live-action Dragonball movie, plays Johnny Cage.

Glad to see they upped the budget for the next Dragonball movie.

To top things off, the fight choreographer of the video is Larnell Stovall, who you will of course remember conducted the fights in Undisputed 3.

And we all know how well that turned out.

From what I can tell, the basic premise that Tancharoen was working from for his “new” Mortal Kombat, is something along the lines of Se7en/8mm/Saw meets Enter the Dragon/Bloodsport.

Okay, this movie needs to be made. NOW.

That is, I believe the idea was to combine the bloody, dark, urban and “ugly,” aesthetic, atmosphere and subject matter of Se7en, and combine it with the underground fighting tournament plot-line of Enter the Dragon.

On paper, I think it’s a great idea.

Though the Mortal Kombat series of games were never really my favorite, (I was a Capcom and SNK kid) one thing I will admit about them, is that they always had a pretty impressive roster of characters.

Sure, the digitized graphics of the older games in the franchise seriously restricted the developers ability to create truly outrageous and memorable designs, and palette swapping was often out of control, but even so; most of the character designs had a lot of charm and personality to them regardless.

Jax: He's a black guy. Yeah, that's all he's got goin' for him.

I have to say, it was truly refreshing to see some of the more gruesome and imaginative character designs in the series I.E. Baraka and Reptile; be integrated into live-action in such a way as to highlight their gruesomeness.

I for one would love to see a character like Kabal, or even Kano, redone in this style.

Previous attempts at doing so in the film series were often cheap looking, and very “PG-13” in their approach, so much so in fact, that most of the costume and makeup designs were often times laughable, especially in that piece of monkey-crap, Annihilation.

Say what you will, their costumes are still better than the ones in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.

Some purists may object to it, but I feel that moving the Mortal Kombat series away from it’s “Outworld” elements is a good move.

I always felt that Mortal Kombat games were at their best when they kept the mysticism and inter-dimensional bullshit on the fringe instead of at the forefront of their presentation.

Goro was fun and memorable because he was the only inhuman character in the first game.

That and he was a broken-ass piece of shit that knocked you across the room anytime you tried to do anything but jump-kick his ass.

Silly Scorpion, 'told you to jump-kick his ass, but NOOOO.....

By the time we got to MK3, and we reached a point where it was becoming hard to distinguish just who the hell wasn’t some crazy fucked-up monster from Outworld, I felt like things started to get gimmicky.

No wait, THIS, is gimmicky...

Mortal Kombat: Rebirth seems like it’s trying to keep things grounded in a twisted and warped, but otherwise fairly believable reality.

No mention is ever made as to Shang Tsung being any kind of sorceror, nor are Reptile and Baraka ever made out to be anything more than malformed and psychotic men.

May I just say, that after all the internet crap about Harlequin fetuses and what not, I always figured it would only be a matter of time before someone tried to use the concept in a movie.

Congrats to Mortal Kombat: Rebirth for being the first movie I know of to actually do so.

Now here's a picture of Harley Quinn, 'cause Harlequin Ichthyosis gives me the heebie-jeebies.

So, we’ve established that, conceptually and artistically speaking, I think Mortal Kombat: Rebirth has something going for it.

But what did I think of the fighting?

In short, the action put on display in this 8-minute video is pretty much on par with some of the better American martial arts movies.

Lateef Crowder is his usual impressive self, with indications of his Capoeira skills being restricted largely to his posture and the occasional hand-plant or spin-kick.

He, along with the choreographer, seemed to play up Baraka’s fierce and brutal nature in such a way as to tone down the sleekness of Crowder’s movements, and put more of an emphasis on throwing his weight around and giving power and intent to his attacks.

His strikes, particularly his punches, were a little bit guarded and slow, a fact that may have been due more in part to the cinematography than Crowder himself.

Even so, I felt some of his punches just didn’t have the right “big-ness” to them that a character as vicious as Baraka should have had.

Crowder’s performance was pretty good for what it was, but sadly I believe he has little hope in his career of ever being cast as anything but “the Capoeira guy with the dreads.”

Hell, they already cast him as Eddy Gordo in the Tekken movie, that must have been just about the easiest casting job ever.

If you type "Eddy Gordo" into Google, Lateef Crowder is the second result. No joke.

Matt Mullins’ Johnny Cage was pretty good as well.

His movements were sharp and impressively quick, however I felt his attacks during some of the longer, and more complex sequences, were a little bit off.

While Crowder’s punches seemed to be overly restrained at times, Mullins’ seemed to come out half-cocked.

There is a 4-5 hit sequence early on wherein Mullins hits all his marks, but I get the sense he’s just putting his hands where they need to be, instead of fleshing out, and “selling” every move.

It’s a minor gripe, especially since Mullins was actually able to carry out the choreography quite well, and indeed left somewhat of an impression, but it’s still something I felt needed pointing out.

One thing worth noting is that probably the most impressive moment in the whole fight, a inside-spinning-kick, was delivered by Mullins and not Crowder.

Mullins’ form in executing this kick, compared to his somewhat wimpy movements during the longer, more contact oriented beats of the choreography lead me to believe that it may just be a lack of comfort that is holding him back.

Flashy acrobatics and kicks seem to be his forte, but not complex hand work and sparring.

The cinematography during the fight was classy and efficient, with very little unnecessary movement or trickery being emplyoed.

The angles were well selected, and some of the panning shots during the more complex sparring were very nice.

Though I can’t say I am familiar with Tancharoen’s directing skills, I have read that he is a dance choreographer and has directed several dance videos and features, which, on paper should make him well-suited to filming any sort of physical action, in particular man-to-man combat.

In all, the fight was well shot and choreographed, and I have no doubt that, given a longer production schedule, all the players involved in the film, both in front of and behind the camera, could produce something pretty impressive.

...Or they could just make this.

On the whole, I found the Mortal Kombat: Rebirth video to be quite impressive.

I feel that, should it get picked up for production, chances are it would do best as a straight-to-video feature.

The straight-to-video market has been rapidly legitimizing as of late, and given the grounded in reality, but otherwise ridiculous subject matter of Tancharoen’s concept thus far, I don’t think it would be taken as seriously in theaters as the director might hope.

Regardless, Tancharoen was fortunate to score a stellar cast for his production, one that I hope he manages to maintain if the movie ever gets picked up.

We all know Michael Jai White can fight, and we all know he can play the lead, so why not let him do both as Jax?

I would watch that, in fact I would look forward to that.

Well, those are my thoughts on Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, chances are the buzz surrounding it has already past, but oh well.

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