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The Worst Comics I Own: Aliens – Earth War


Why I Bought It:

I’m a lifelong fan of the Alien universe and mythos.

For better or worse, I’ve found reasons to enjoy all of the Alien films, with the exception of the Aliens vs. Predator ones.

Those are just straight up hot garbage.

I like to think of the Alien extended universe as one of the more successful in pop culture history, as it’s produced some damn good videogames, as well as a handful of rather impressive comic books.

That being said, while I only owned 1 Alien collected edition prior to picking up Earth War, (later reprinted as “Female War”) that of course being Labyrinth AKA the best damn Alien comic I’ve ever read; I could recall reading numerous reviews of it.

Find it. Read it. Then Read It Again. You Won't Be Disappointed.

For the most part, Earth War was regarded as a below average contribution to the series.

Despite willfully avoiding it for most of my life, as fate would have it I stumbled across a copy of Earth War, along with 2 other vastly superior Alien comics, Rogue and Hive; during a trip I took down to Tucson, Arizona.

As it turned out, the comic shop had a special deal for old trades where if you bought 3 from the “crap pile,” the total cost would come to $10 flat.

Seeing that a good opportunity to pick up a handful of souvenirs for my trip, as well a solid deal to boot, I bought all 3, hoping that Earth War wasn’t nearly as crappy as I had heard.

To this day, I still wish I had grabbed that Mark Texeira Sabretooth comic instead…

Why It Sucks:

Earth War is an absolute mess.

Quite literally, from the art, to the layouts, to the soulless dialogue, everything about Earth War just oozes disorganization and messiness.

The funny part is, the actual art for the book, drawn by Sam Kieth of The Maxx fame; is quite stunning at times in a late 80’s-early 90’s sort of way.

Employing a rough and heavily detailed style, the book has a “texture” to it like what I’d imagine a Heavy Metal comic put through an “R. Crumb filter” would look like.

The R. Crumb references end there however, as the women in Earth War are rendered with ethereal beauty and perpetual soft-focus effects, the men are hairy and burly lumberjacks, and the Aliens are impressively designed, yet far less horrifying and more streamlined than that of the designs seen in the films.

Less insect-like and bony, more meaty and "friendly."

One odd note I feel I have to make mention of regarding the art is that, stepping in line with the Heavy Metal vibe I mentioned earlier; the gadgets and weaponry in Earth War have a decided low-tech look to them.

As well as it was all drawn, I found this to be particularly jarring given the more sleek and organized designs found in the films up that point (Earth War made between Aliens and Alien 3).

That being said,, while the art can be quite good at times, especially in close-ups, most of the renderings are extraordinarily inconsistent from panel to panel, suggesting a rushed or awkward production timetable.

More so than the art though, perhaps the biggest strike against Earth War comes from it’s infuriating layouts.

Layouts are, in my opinion, the one reason why it takes a special kind of talent to craft a really good comic.

You can suck the gas pipe at drawing.

You can be the shittiest writer on the whole goddamn block.

But if you have that special talent for putting panels in sequence to tell a story, cleanly and efficiently, then you sir; are 2 steps ahead of the curve when it comes to making comics.

Unfortunately, the guy that made this JLA comic was definitely lacking that special something.

That being said, Earth War makes use of some of the most frustrating layouts I’ve ever seen in a mainstream published comic.

Nearly every panel, at least when there are panels, is a close-up, and virtually all of the backgrounds are either implied through color splotches, or ignored altogether.

The combination of these 2 design flaws results in the book suffering from a lack of a distinct “path” for your eyes to follow, with many of the panels doing little to lend the book any sort of consistent spacial awareness from panel to panel.

That is to say:

Earth War is a book makes you work your ass off to read it, and if you couldn’t tell from the title of this post; it’s hardly worth the effort.

Which brings us to the actual story of this fucking book.

Penned by Mark Verheiden, who also wrote other Dark Horse comics, and subsequent movie adaptations such as Timecop and The Mask; Earth War actually has a fairly intriguing premise.

Pretty impressive for a guy that penned a scene involving Van Damme fighting some dudes in his boxer shorts in Timecop:

At this point in the Alien comic universe, the Alien’s have essentially conquered Earth, resulting in mankind evacuating the planet to regroup and/or find a way to cleanse the planet of the Xenomorphs.

The interesting part in all this, is the fact that, unlike reprinted versions of Earth War and other early Alien comics, the version I picked up retained the use of the characters of Hicks, Newt, and Ripley.

Apparently there was some sort of legal dispute regarding the use of the 20th Century Fox characters, resulting in the comic characters being renamed and redrawn for future printings.

With Earth War and it’s predecessors essentially serving as a direct follow-up to Aliens, one would think the story would be quite good, however this is hardly the case.

The story is told largely through the inner monologue of Newt and Ripley, both of whom are apparently at odds with one another due to Newt’s abandonment issues following her experiences on LV-426.

Personally, I maintain that no amount of writing wizardry could ever hope to make Newt a worthwhile character following her downright painful portrayal in Aliens, and if anything; Earth War proved me right in this regard.

Shoulda' left that bitch in the sewer... Jus' sayin'...

All through the book she is whiny, and largely irredeemable, making her segments some of the more annoying portions of the story.

Oddly enough though, it’s Ripley that serves as the both the protagonist and one of the more frustrating characters in the book.

Ripley was intriguing in the movies because she was tough, decisive, and relatable, but in the comic she is portrayed as being emotionally distant to the point of being robotic.

While one could argue that having an alien species utterly ruin your life likely could result in a person shutting down and devoting themselves entirely to destroying said species, personally I prefer Ripley as the more complete human being that was portrayed in the movies.

Most of the story surrounds Ripley and a squad of marines, who I might add are virtual carbon copies of some of the more developed characters from Aliens, working to capture a unique breed of Alien that could turn the tide of the war.

That “unique breed” of Alien serves as perhaps the one really big contribution that Earth War made to the Alien mythos.

Said species was the Queen Mother alien sub-species.

Not as impressive as you were expecting, right?

Essentially serving as a governor to the standard Queen’s mayor, the Queen Mother was clearly intended to serve as a plot convenience in terms of allowing the human’s to handle a planet-wide crisis of alien infestation.

Personally, I think the idea of the Queen Mother makes a fair amount of sense in terms of overall practicality, though I don’t see it as being an entirely necessary element to the Alien mythos.

Even in the comics, the Aliens have always been compared to ants or wasps, and as such, it makes sense for each hive to be at odds with one another, with each being governed by a singular Queen.

All the addition of a Queen Mother really does is makes it possible for the Aliens to be further demonized through giving them the ability to function as a unified and sentient species.

My personal fascination with the Alien stems largely from it’s status as a destructive, but otherwise animalistic creature, hence my great love for the Labyrinth story arc.

In my eyes, the inception of the Queen Mother stands as both a lame plot convenience for an equally lame story, but also as an annoying and unwarranted part of the canon that makes the Aliens seem like they’re “Out To Get Us” when it’s much more interesting to view them as destructive and industrious that can’t coexist with humanity largely due to the parallels they share in their tendency to effect their environment in profound and irreversible ways.

Obviously, I’ve had a minute or 2 to think about this.

That being said, Earth War sucks balls because it took advantage of, and did harm to the canon of the films and comics, but more importantly because it gave me a headache on my vacation with it’s shitty-ass layouts.

Is It Still Worth Reading Anyway?:

Unless you’re a supercalifragilistic fan of the Alien comic series, then there really is absolutely no reason to pick up a copy of Earth War.

Like I said, the thing is a chore to read, and it doesn’t really add to the series so much as mire and drag it down with extraneous elements.

You could do a lot worse of course, but with so many other quality pieces of Alien fiction floating around out there, I really don’t see why you’d waste your time with Earth War.

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Filed under: Comics, Movies, Uncategorized, Worst Comics I Own, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Concealable Weapons You’re Not Cool Enough To Carry: Noisy Cricket

What Is It?: 

A tiny energy gun who’s diminutive size belies it’s surprisingly destructive power and recoil.

Who’s Used It?:

Will Smith.

Why Am I Not Cool Enough To Carry It?:

Because even The Fresh Prince himself couldn’t, in his own words; make the Noisy Cricket look good.

Not only that, but you’d have to be built like a brick-shit house just to handle it.

A handgun is, by nature; a weapon intended to be held and operated without a brace or shouldering mechanism.

Despite being roughly the size of a Derringer, the Noisy Cricket kicks like a steroid cow that’s seen one too many Van-Damme movies.

... That is, if a steroid cow is even CAPABLE of lifting it's legs to throw a kick.

That is to say, despite the benefit of packing extraordinarily potent explosive force; firing the Noisy Cricket has the nasty effect of flinging it’s user off their feet and about half a city block through the air.

Clearly, not a product of efficient Japanese engineering…

Again, this unfortunate element of the Noisy Cricket’s design likely could be remedied by putting it in the hands of a very fit 500 lbs. man, something that I’m willing to bet describes not a single person reading this blog; or by possessing a center of gravity roughly that of Danny Devito’s… or Puck’s.

Hey, we went over this before: Puck's a pimp. Lay-off the Puck-Meister.

The point is, while I know we all wish we could go around toting palm-sized, energy grenade handguns; the fact of the matter is, it’s just not worth it.

Think about it:

Assuming you’d be willing to pull a Noisy Cricket on someone on the street, let alone fire it; chances are you’d break your neck in the resulting recoil induced fall, or at the very least reflexively shit yourself due to the shock of it all.

Oh yeah, and considering the fact that Agent J succeeded in hitting exactly nothing during the few instances he used the Noisy Cricket, chances are you’d also probably miss your intended target… Who if you were at all justified in needing a handgun to deal with, would likely capitalize on your recoil induced period of incapacity to mug/murder/de-pants you.

Pictured: The most likely outcome of any attempted usage of a Noisy Cricket.

The funny part about the Noisy Cricket, is the fact that it’s actually not all that cool of the weapon in the first place; and yet you’re still not cool enough to wield it.

It looks like a cheap fuckin’ Zippo lighter.

It “chirps” while it’s held at ready, making it entirely impractical in situations calling for stealth or ambush tactics.

And judging by the grave tone in which Tommy Lee Jones’ Agent K spoke when handing it over to Will Smith, chances are it’s not exactly looked upon as a weapon of class or distinction amongst Men In Black agents.

While the prospect of owning or handling any sort of alien firearm sounds pretty fuckin’ cool on paper, the amount of MANLY coolness one must possess in order to successfully compensate for the aura of lameness inherent to carrying a Noisy Cricket, would likely have to exceed that of Sean Connery, Toshiro Mifune, and Hulk Hogan combined.

In essence, you’re not cool enough to carry a Noisy Cricket for the same reason grown men aren’t allowed to drape themselves entirely in velvet.

Because goddamnit:  No one’s that pimp.

Filed under: Comics, Concealable Weapons You're Not Cool Enough To Carry, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

And Now, Van Damme Dancing In “Breakin'”


That is all.

Filed under: Movies, , , , , , ,

Donnie Yen MIGHT Have A Role The Expendables Sequel!

Pictured: Donnie Yen doing his best "I make more money than you" pose.

(The following info came via Twitchfilm.com)

Well, Yippie Ki Yay and Get To Dah’ Choppah, this is a surprisingly tasty bit of rumor mill news!

From what I understand, Donnie Yen was recently offered a role in Sylvester Stallone’s upcoming sequel to The Expendables.

While the Yen-Meister has yet to jump on board the production as of yet, just to know that he’s regarded as being culturally relevant enough in the U.S. to rub shoulders with the action movie legends that make up the cast of The Expendables; means a whole helluva’ lot to die-hard Yen fans like myself.

The really fun part, at least for idiots like me; is the fact that unlike a lot of people, I actually kind of liked The Expendables.

Sure, it was dumb, and it wasn’t exactly the action movie masterpiece that it represented on paper; but even so, for what it was I felt it delivered for the most part.

If you’re at all interested, check out my review of The Expendables here.

Anyway, truth be told I’m excited about the prospect of Donnie Yen joining the cast for the sequel, especially since Stallone has been quoted as having said the movie is intended to be a love letter to martial arts movies.

While there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll end up going to see The Expendables 2 in theaters (and quite excitedly at that), that last bit is like the icing on the cake for me.

One of the best parts of putting Donnie Yen in the Expendables, at least to me; is the fact that it’ll be a chance to see Yen in a contemporary setting, most likely acting more along the lines of his “younger” roles.

Personally, I’ve never really been a big fan of wuxia style films, and I’ve always preferred Donnie Yen in films with a more modern setting, largely because the free license it gives him in choreographing his fights, but also because I actually kind of prefer the arrogant and prick-ish Donnie Yen to the more regal and subdued one we’ve been getting ever since he did Ip Man.

Unfortunately, Jet Li won’t be returning for the sequel, thereby squandering any opportunity we might’ve had to see him and Yen go at it one last time…. At the age of 48.

Despite this, there’s plenty of other enticing match-ups that could come from throwing Donnie Yen into the mix of an Expendables sequel.

Donnie Yen vs. Jean-Claude Van Damme is a match-up I wouldn’t exactly shit my pants over, but hell, if it were to end up in the film; you can bet I’d be excited to see it anyway.

Regardless of how miniscule or poorly written the role created for him is, I honestly hope Yen signs off on The Expendables 2.

He’s only getting older, and lord knows being in the movie would do wonders to expand his already burgeoning influence in the Western film market.

Now let’s just hope the movie doesn’t end up sucking, with or without Yen…

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

Van Damme Blowout

(Thanks to Twitchfilm.com for all the great news!)

Jesus fuck, Van Damme is a busy guy!

He was recently in Kung Fu Panda 2, The Eagle Path; which he directed, is coming out this October, he’s got another Universal Soldier movie in the works, (supposedly co-starring Dolph Lundgren, Scott Adkins and Michael Jai White) and let’s not forget that he recently starred in perhaps the MANLIEST, and most thought provoking beer commercials of all time:

Aside from all of that however, The Van Daminator also happens to have another movie with Scott Adkins in the works called Assassination Games.

Lame title, but pretty much every other vaguely action-like word has likely already been used in conjunction with the title “Assassination” at this point.

Anyway, as seems to be the case with every Scott Adkins movie, I’m excited, but ultimately know the movie is going to suck.

As talented as the man is at hitting people, his filmography speaks for itself.

And no, The Bourne Ultimatum doesn’t count, as all he did in that was hold a gun and look constipated.

Regardless, I’ll likely pick up a copy of it just to see the (numerous) scenes in which people get kicked in the head.

Trailer and Twitch article here, as well as embedded below:

The other movie that Van Damme’s got on the docket as of now, is a Russian comedy by the name of “Napoleon Kaput,” or at least whatever the Russian equivalent to those 2 words happens to be.

Truth be told, the trailer gives me the impression that The Muscles from Brussels only has a cameo in the movie, but regardless; it looks kind of a fun in a brainless sort of way.

It does put a smile on my face to see IMDB list him as playing “himself” though.

Trailer and Twitch article here, as well as embedded below:

On a side note, am I the only one that got a Napoleonic To Wong Foo vibe from this trailer?

Jus’ sayin’, there seems to be an awful lot of cross-dressing in this movie; though without the Swayze Factor it can’t possibly be half as good.

Anyway, that’s all for tonight!

Jesus fuck Snipes! Did you really have to pick the tightest dress they had!?

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

Remember When Goldberg Jackhammered The Giant?

*Note: I’m aware the clip above isn’t from the first time this happened in WCW, however in my eyes it’s the best executed Jackhammer Goldberg ever did to The Giant.*

When I was young, I really bought into the Goldberg hype machine.

I dug the fact that he had an undefeated streak.

I dug his over-the-top theme music.

More than anything though, I really dug his wrestling style and the way he’d utterly obliterate most of his opponents.

He was the borderline mute and utterly unstoppable force of late 90’s wrestling, and by golly; he was damn good at it.

It’s a shame his acting ability never really measured up to his wrestling prowess, as I remember my childhood perception of him getting knocked down a peg or 2 by his appearance in the utterly craptacular Universal Soldier: The Return.

Oh well, at least his appearance in the Megadeth music video produced for the movie was good for a laugh, what with his repeated mouthing of the words “Crush ’em” into the camera and…… No, that’s actually all he did:

It’s funny, as dumb as it is, I actually happen to like this song quite a bit.

To this day it still surprises me that MTV aired the video for it as much as they did.

Even more surprising was how many times I actually sat through it…

Anyway, watching Goldberg Jackhammer The Giant was one of the cooler moments in wrestling moments that I ever got to witness on live television, so I figured I would share it with all of you.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a little starved for writing inspiration at the moment…. And have been for the past few weeks now.

In that sense I apologize for the “memory lane” posts about dumb wrestling, but frankly it’s all I’ve got in me at the moment.

Hopefully I’ll get my act together sooner rather than later.

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

Van-Damme In Expendables 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do I really need an excuse to use this pic?

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

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

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

‘Cause y’know, racism and n’shit.

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

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

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

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

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

The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments: Runner-Ups

As with virtually any list I’ve put together for this blog, there were more than a few entries I regret not having found a place for.

I suppose I could’ve changed the list from a “Top 10” to a “Top 15,” however I think we can all agree that Top 15 just doesn’t have the same ring to it; hence my reasoning for cutting things down to 10.

Anyway, finishing the Top 10 Manliest Man Moments last night really whooped my ass something fierce, so in the interest of sparing my brain cells; I’m gonna’ try to keep this short.

That being said, without further ado I give you the Top 5 Runner-Up Man Moments:

#5. Tremors – The Wrong Goddamn Rec Room…

Few would deny that Tremors was an awesome movie.

While the franchise that would follow in it’s wake would ultimately be hit and miss at best, the original Tremors succeeded largely on the shoulders of it’s colorful cast of characters; not the least of which being Burt Gummer and his wife.

While Burt’s survivalist shtick never really made him out to be as MANLY a MANLY-MAN as some of the other characters on this list, his vast arsenal of weapons; and the child-like glee he exhibits at the thought of getting a chance to use them, are qualities that made him perhaps the MANLIEST MAN in the Tremors series.

In short, watching Burt and the missus put several hundred rounds into an extraordinarily ballsy Graboid as it tears it’s way into their underground bunker was a thrill that brought me great joy in my youth.

#4. The Killer – Mickey Mouse and Dumbo Have… A “Moment.”

Um..... Manly(?)

The Killer is John Woo’s best film, bar none.

The gunplay, while not as over-the-top and explosive as Hard-Boiled; is staged with a beauty and grace that few films can rival, not to mention the story and writing are probably the best Woo has ever had to work with.

While the action component of The Killer is ultimately what made it come to mind while compiling this MANLY list, in truth; the moment in the film that puts it among the runner-ups involves no violence whatsoever.

There’s a moment at the end of the film, during the church shootout; when Chow Yun Fat and Danny Lee have a truly bizarre, and mildly homoerotic “moment” as they exit the church.

Basically, some over-the-top and totally out of place MAN music starts blaring as our heroes strut through the doors in slow motion.

If that wasn’t MANLY enough, we then cut to close-ups of the 2 MEN cracking goofy-ass smiles, at which point we are treated to back-to-back awkward freeze frames of the 2 men.

It’s a weird sequence, and is indeed very much out of place given the circumstances; but in some mysterious way it just seems utterly MANLY to me…

#3. Independence Day – Russell Puts A Plane Up The Alien’s Assholes

This one’s a no-brainer.

Randy Quaid saved the world from the aliens by giving his life.

I would’ve put this one on the Top 10 proper, but the Whitmore Speech just seemed so much bigger to me.

In the interest of restricting myself to a “one moment per movie” rule, I felt it was wise to put Russell in with the runner-ups.

#2. Bloodsport – Frank Dux Makes Chong Li Smell His Feet

The only reason this one didn’t make the list is because Rocky IV basically did the same thing, only better.

In short:

I like Stallone better Van-Damme.

Apollo died, whereas Ogre only got a concussion.

The actual fight in Rocky IV was both choreographed and shot better.

Rocky Balboa fought for AMERIKUH and ENDED COMMUNISM, while Frank Dux won “honor” and a toy sword.

In my book, the finale of Rocky IV is definitely the MANLIER moment, though I love both films with about the same passion

#1. Yojimbo – 5 Seconds of Mayhem

(Note: The clip above isn’t the actual moment in question, rather it’s simply a compilation of awesome Mifune moments.)
As mentioned elsewhere on this list, Toshiro Mifune is pretty much the most awesome human being.

The man was pretty much a modern day samurai, not to mention the living embodiment of the MANLY ideal of Japanese MAN-DOM.

That being said, of all the awesome moments he had in his illustrious film career; I can think of no MANLIER a sequence than when he cut down virtually every major villain in Yojimbo in the space of a few seconds.

Utterly devoid of flash, and about as no-nonsense as you can get, this sequence stands as a testament to the SAVAGERY of advanced iaido techniques, and the paragon of pimp that is Toshiro Mifune.

Anyway, that’s all for the Azn Badger’s list of the Manliest Man Moments in movies.

Check back tomorrow for something not related to MANLINESS!

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

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!

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

Villain Showdown: Ivan Drago vs. Chong Li

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

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

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

Introductions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Criteria #1: Beastly Evil-Doings:

Ivan Drago

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

Chong Li


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

Winner: Ivan Drago

Drago killed Apollo.

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

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

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

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

"Damn straight!"

Criteria #2: Tools Of The Trade

Ivan Drago


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

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

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

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

Chong Li

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winner: Ivan Drago


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

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

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

Though one could argue that Rocky was equally responsible…

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

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

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

Criteria #3: FAILURES

Ivan Drago

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

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

Was Russian…

Chong Li

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

Was Korean…

Winner: Chong Li

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

Chong Li won this one hands down.

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

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

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

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

Who Would Win In A Fight?:

This one’s kind of a toughy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Besides, Drago cried like a bitch…

Winner: Chong Li, On Account Of Experience And Toughness


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

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