Azn Badger's Blog

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Get Stingray Production Diary Entry #0

Not long ago, I mentioned on this blog that I was gearing up to make a movie with some friends entitled “Get Stingray.”

Being as this is intended to be a fairly serious endeavor, requiring many hours and weeks of effort to complete, I figure it would be in my best interest to track and log the progression of things on a fairly consistent basis.

Well, being as it’s been about a week since I announced this project, I can honestly say that not a whole lot has changed, which is the reasoning for why this diary entry is labeled #0 instead of #1.

While I have yet formally set aside time to devote to budgeting, choreographing, or pounding out a script for Get Stingray as of yet, (that’s what this weekend is for) I have had random bits of inspiration come me, mostly in terms of the cinematographic style of things.

After years of watching action/kung fu movies, I finally like I have a decent feel what kind of movements are most dynamic, and what kind of camera angles work to “sell” said motions.

While it sucks to have to admit it, it needs to be said that neither myself, nor any of my friends are particularly gifted in terms of physicality or coordination.

That being said, I’m leaning towards using tight focal points in the framing of the shots during the fights, as well as using quick cuts to mask whatever shortcomings myself and the other performers might have in the physical department.

Speaking of quick cuts, as I write this I find myself peering up at the television to watch Matt Damon and Joey Ansah’s spectacular brawl from The Bourne Ultimatum:

Unlike the dreadful stock library sound effects used in this scene though, I intend to do what I can to foley whatever sound I can.

The vision I have for the cinematography during the fights in Get Stingray, is something along the lines of a cross between the Bourne series’ quick cuts, and the more polished on-rails camera movements of Donnie Yen’s work in the past 5 years or so.

Basically, I want to take the calculated artistry of the camera choreography of Hong Kong action films, pair it with the quick cuts of American films, all while keeping the “shaky-cam” to the bare minimum, or at least in a tasteful proportion.

I know it sounds heady and artsy, and very likely far beyond my capabilities as a barely amateur filmmaker, but that’s probably the simplest and most straightforward way one could articulate my intent.

While I’m on the topic of cinematography, I may as well mention that I’m seriously considering investing in a new camera.

I’ve used a DV cam for every film project I’ve ever made, but at my old job as a graphic designer, I was afforded the chance to handle a flash memory HD camcorder.

I really grew to love that camera, with it’s manual focus and 24p shooting mode, and as such; it’s hard for me to consider going back to my 10 year old, dead pixel ridden DV cam.

Anyway, right now I’m looking at the Canon HFS20, and the HFS21, either of which would run me about $1,000.

As it stands, I can definitely afford the expense, but if anyone has any suggestions on a better choice/alternative, it’d be much appreciative.

Anyway, while I haven’t had an opportunity to shoot any test footage (again, that might be on the menu this weekend) I did get a chance to rough-house and block out a few beats of the choreography with my friends last week.

As with my confidence in my ability to deliver in terms of the cinematography of the movie, I feel that I have a pretty good sense of the “flow” or “language” of crafting fight scenes.

In playing around with my friends, I found I was able to effectively reference the temperaments and fighting disciplines of the characters, and logically deduce the attacks or defensive maneuvers that each character would utilize on a contextual basis.

Again, I know it’s a mouthful, but I couldn’t think of a better way to say it.

In many ways, my intent in making Get Stingray is to test myself, to see if I really can do what I’ve always felt I could.

Expect many Stingray updates from now on.

Chances are I’ll have some character bios or something like that next time around.

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

The Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies, #7: Universal Soldier

*Note: I am aware that they may be better overkills out there, but c’mon; this is Van Damme vs. Ivan Drago we’re talking about…*

Universal Soldier is not a good movie.

Hell, it’s not even a good Van Damme movie.

Despite this, I doubt any of us will forget the supermarket sequence,

"I kick ass, I kiss ass, and I'm busting heads!"

or watching Van Damme kick the shit out of truckers for absolutely no reason.

"Goddamnt, I'm just trying to eat this tray of popcorn!"

Anyway, this list isn’t about hero worship; it’s about overkill, so let’s get to it.

CLICK HERE FOR CLIP

The overkill in question occurs during the final battle of the film between the 2 crazy, roided-out Universal Soldiers of the title.

Well, maybe Van Damme isn’t, but Dolph is ‘roided out at this point anyway…

Everyone knows the 'roids grant the user He-Man hair...

Being as this is a Van Damme film, the first half of the fight belongs to the villain.

For several minutes straight, Dolph kicks the ever-loving shit out of Van Damme, making the stunt crew and wire team work for their money in the process.

Unfortunately, just as victory seems certain for the uber-Swede, he makes the BIG FUCKING MISTAKE of diverting his attention to Van Damme’s lady friend in the background.

By “diverting his attention,” of course, I mean “chucking a grenade up her ass.”

There are only 3 things in this world you don’t do when Van Damme’s in town.

First, you never throw white powder in his eyes.

That’ll get you kicked in the head, REPEATEDLY.

Second, you never, never, travel through time without the proper authority.

That’ll get your ass Ron Silver-ed.

Yes, that used to be Ron Silver before he touched himself...

And third, you never, ever, EVERRRR, ogle/threaten/rape/blow-up the woman that Van Damme is into, but isn’t actually in a legit relationship with on account of them not fucking, or not having known each other long enough for their feelings to amount to them wanting to fuck.

Seriously Dolph, you were home free until you chucked that grenade up that pretty ladies’ ass…

Jeez, Dolph. I know it was cool n'all, but get over it...

Not only that, but you know that fire your grenade just caused?

Well, it serves to give Van Damme ample opportunity to stand up heroically in front of it, thereby solidifying this part of the fight as his “comeback moment.”

Oh now you've gone and done it...

Needless to say, Van Damme gets back in the fight, managing to land his first noteworthy blows.

I like how 'roids somehow make kicks to the face hurt less.

Despite Van Damme’s angst/kicking power, there’s still the matter of Dolph’s ‘roid enhanced powers…

Due to the vast disparity in strength levels at this juncture, Van Damme still finds himself on the receiving end of a lot of downright silly Full Metal Jacket-esque taunts, in between eating a lot of Swedish knuckle-sandwiches, of course.

In fact, Dolph puts even his ass through a wall at one point.

Goddamn! Somebody ate their spinach...

No matter, Van Damme is in “comeback mode” at this point, thereby making any attacks only serve to enhance, rather than deplete his Belgian man-strength.

At some point, Van Damme manages to snatch an extra syringe of ‘roids off of Dolph’s tactical vest.

Van Damme: Teaching the kids that juicing's the only way to win...

Now, these ‘roids have to be just about the fastest acting chemical substance found on this Earth, as after no more than 5 seconds, Van Damme’s strength level seems to shoot right past ‘ole Dolph.

"Man, you're like half my size! What the fuck kinda' shit you shootin'!?"

With that, Dolph’s days of landing noteworthy blows, or even trying to defend himself come to an end, as things may as well have just shifted from the traditional martial arts movie “comeback mode,” to “Van Damme kicks people in the face mode.”

I'm beginning to see a theme here...

Needless to say, Dolph gets shown all 4 corners of the, uh, barn; and then some.

It all comes to a head when Van Damme gets a hold of Dolph and decides to throw technique and variation out the window in favor of throwing the same punch about 50 billion times.

IN THE FACE x50,000,000,000!!!

Seriously, virtually every drop of blood, and every bruise inflicted on the giga-Swede in this fight were the product of said punches, and seemingly nothing else.

Anyway, the Van Damminator gets his first bit of revenge by putting Dolph through a wall, thusly bringing the fight back outside into the rain.

This leads to a rather bizarre, and very childish bit of banter between the 2:

Well, that was productive.

Anyway, mass face-kicking ensues, resulting in Dolph falling backwards onto a harvester, and the true beginning to our #7 best overkill.

Here are the results of said fall:

Well now, we're regretting that little grenade toss earlier, right?

Wow, that’s a lot of holes!

As one would expect, Dolph doesn’t get up from that one.

Well, not in the traditional sense anyway.

Much like a Michael Myers/Jason Voorhees-style slasher, Dolph tries to trick Van Damme by playing dead, although it’s equally possible he simply passed out for a short time after, well, you saw.

I'm dead, soldier...

Anyway, with his un-impaled hand, Dolph grabs hold of the back of Van Damme’s head, and in one final attempt to finally make our hero a “dead soldier,” tries to pull Van Damme’s face into the harvester blade protruding from his own chest.

Bro'mance at it's most intimate...

If that’s not savage, I don’t know what is.

Unfortunately, Van Damme still has some of that ‘roid sauce in his blood, thusly allowing him to deftly snap the big Swede’s forearm out of place.

I know I said it before, but your arm really isn't supposed to bend that way.

Being as Dolph is still impaled and stuck to the harvester blades, and now has no operational limbs, I’d say his threat level just dropped to zero.

Even so, Van Damme doesn’t like loose ends, so being as this is a 90’s action flick, he runs on over to the power switch for the harvester, and unflinchingly turns that sucker on!

While we aren’t treated to the gloriously gory details of the Swedish slice-o-matic extravaganza,, we do bear witness to a tasty little tidbit of the carnage in the form of a shot of the harvester’s expulsion duct blowing bits and chunks of Dolph out into the night sky.

Rest assured, the next harvest on this particular farm will grow inordinately large and blond from the trickle-down effect of laying Dolph’s liquified form onto the fields…

Oh yeah, and it turns out the chick didn’t get blown up.

Fuckin’ figures…

BUTT.

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

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