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What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies, #2: Marked For Death

Well, well, well, it’s good to see you again Steven Seagal.

While Out For Justice was far and away the superior Seagal film, Marked For Death managed to carve a niche for itself in the vast timeline of Seagal-ian film history by featuring the best overkill in the entirety of his career, as well as being the only film in which Seagal actually kills the same man twice.

Also, it’s one of maybe 2-3 movies in which Steven Seagal is forced to run:

Tee hee, I’ll never get tired of that…

Anyway, Steven Seagal doesn’t actually double-kill a man in Marked For Death, (although one could argue he does more than that by the end of this overkill) rather he kills a pair of twin brothers who just happened to be played by the same man.

The brothers in question are the heads of a Jamaican voodoo cult/drug cartel that just happens to have fucked with Casey FUCKING Ryback’s, I mean, Steven Seagal’s family.

Oh yeah, and they killed his partner.

Protip: DON’T try to fight Steven Seagal, and DON’T fuck with his family.

That being said during the dual-conclusive battles of the film, Seagal recruits the aide of a pimp-ass posse of ass-kickers consisting of Tom Wright AKA The Biggest Fuckin’ Eyebrows EVER,

Tom Wright: Master of Eyebrow-Fu.

and Keith David AKA The Pimpest Voice on the Planet.

Did I mention Keith David had the pimpest voice on the planet?

Being as this is a Steven Seagal film though, neither of these guys will play any sort of role in killing off the 2 major villains in the film.

Seagal doesn’t share his kills…

Anyway, the villains of Marked For Death share a persona going by the name of Screwface.

Don’t ask…

Screwface I engages in a brief melee battle with Seagal, only to have his package sliced open,

WOAH! Now that's just straight-up wrong!

and then promptly have his head lopped off for the purposes of further desecration later in the film.

While the death of Screwface I was indeed tasty, and quite epic in it’s own right, it was by no means an overkill, least of all by Seagal-ian standards…

The real overkill in Marked For Death, the one worthy of the title of #2 Best Overkill in Movies, takes place during the final climactic battle (there were several…) of the film, wherein Seagal takes on Screwface II.

The battle begins as Seagal and his posse raid Screwface II’s nightclub, with a wounded Keith David opting to handle the majority of the underlings and fodder while Seagal goes for the big dog.

Skip to 2:18 for an abridged version of the fight (Sorry!)

Our battle begins as Screwface lunges from the shadows and takes a swing at Seagal with a sword.

Being as Seagal himself is armed with a sword, he naturally deflects the blow.

After a bit of sword-clinking and bladed-patty cake, Screwface II steps back and declares:

With that, Screwface II resumes his attack, only to be met with a retort in form of a slice across his chest (and pimp-ass jacket).

With that, Screwface II once again charges forward, this time making the mistake of stepping into arm’s reach/WRECKING YOUR SHIT range.

This of course results in Seagal flipping ‘ole Screwball II onto his cracked out, colored contact lense wearing ass.

Lookit' 'im, layin' there like a lump... I'm talking about Screwface, by the way.

Shrugging off his trip to the mat like a champ, Screwface immediately scurries out of the hallway and into the bar section of his nightclub palace.

Seagal promptly follows him, assuming quite possibly the fruitiest/most impractical sword stance the world has ever seen.

As soon as they’re on the hardwood, Screwface II bum-rushes the Seagal-inator, clashing swords with him, and eventually managing to disarm him in the process!

I call bullshit!

Hang on, he did what to Seagal?

Huh…

ANYWAY, naturally the 2 lock-up and make a move towards the nearest hard surface so Steven Seagal can…

Get PUNCHED in the face.

Okay, now I know something’s up.

Luckily, the grappling continues and Seagal manages to…

Get PUNCHED in the gut.

THROWN through glass.

THROWN through more glass.

SMASHED face-first into a table.

and THROWN into even more glass.

WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED!!???

Seriously man, this is a fuckin’ Steven Seagal movie!

Steven Seagal doesn’t get beat up!

Man…………….

Well hang on, let’s take another look at this, I think I just found the problem…

AH HAH!

It was an imposter all along!

Nothing more than a Steven Seagal impersonator, getting his fool-ass whupped tryin’ to be THE MAN.

Finally back in the fight, the REAL Steven Seagal scoops up Screwface II and promptly flips him on his head.

FUCK YEAH!

With Screwface II now halfway across the room, Seagal takes this opportunity bad ass-ily recover his sword:

Now once again armed with their blades, Seagal and Captain Dreads once again square-off, with Screwface II predictably being the aggressor.

As with earlier in the fight though, Screwface II once again makes the mistake of stepping into range one of Seagal’s big mitts, thereby resulting in him taking a shot from the hilt of our hero’s sword.

Either Seagal's tryin' to pinch a loaf, or he just spit in Screwface II's face...

This discourages Screwface II, but ultimately doesn’t stop him from lunging forward with a sluggish and truly ugly thrust.

We all know what happens when you charge straight at Steven Seagal:

With the fight now taken to the dance floor, under the disco lights, Seagal and Screwface II take this opportunity to strike some flashy poses…

POSE.

Okay, maybe Seagal’s not really the best at posing, but whatever, a crazy stare counts.

Anyway, the 2 do some more of that sword-patty cake bullshit you see in movies all the time, until Seagal gets frustrated with his lack of hand-eye co-ordination and calls off the game:

Now, despite having just been cut down the middle of his face with a fuckin’ sword, Screwface II actually manages to tough it out pretty well.

Oh well, as they say:

Anyway, Screwface II’s sword gets knocked out of his hands, but even so he manages to battle back by charging Seagal with a bar table.

Screwface II used Bar Table! It's Super-Effective!

With Seagal now pinned against the wall, Screwface II proceeds to bash his opponent’s head against the pillar behind him.

That's not Seagal.

Nope. No way that's him. It's a fake. A lie. Bullshit.

After STUNT Seagal, (I refuse to believe Seagal took a hit in this fight…) gets his head bashed against the wall about 50 billion times, the REAL Seagal finally steps in and calls an end to the image-killing madness.

With one deft move, the REAL Seagal grabs hold of Screwface II’s face and…

Well, you’ll see:

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Oh yeah, did I mention that this was where our #2 Best Overkill in Movies officially begins?

That being said, with Screwface II now eye-less, and therefore mostly helpless, Seagal decides to take his usual tactic of throwing his opponent into hard surfaces, and turn it up to 11:

Wow.

That was just about the coolest thing ever.

*AHEM!*

I stand corrected…

Anyway, once both fighters get to their feet, and by that I mean Steven Seagal grabs Screwface II by the hair and hauls his ass up, our Jamaican drug lord somehow summons the strength the throw a punch at Seagal.

While that might’ve worked on STUNT Seagal, this is the real deal we’re talkin’ about, so naturally the punch gets slipped quite handily.

With his opponent off balance, Seagal slips under Screwface II’s arm and grabs hold of his neck and package, and proceeds to snap that fucker over his knee like a popsicle stick:


Not to be outdone by himself in Out For Justice, Seagal decides to go for the gold and truly push the limits of overkill-ery.

With Screwface II now paralyzed, eye-less, and very likely already dead, Seagal takes the poor Jamaican clone and chucks his ass into a wall, again.

Corpse Desecration: An American Tradition...

Whoops, did I say “wall?”

I meant, “elevator shaft.”

"I'm reaaaaaady..... Ready for the big ride baby....."

That’s right folks, our overkill ends with a dude getting chucked down an elevator shaft.

Not only that, but when he finally hits the bottom, there’s a conveniently placed hunk of metal that serves to elevate this kill from a mere “fall,” to a full-fledged “falling impalement.”

Only thing that could make this better is if the elevator came down on him afterwards.

With that, our #2 Best Overkill in Movies comes to an end, but not before Steven Seagal plays us out with the classiest of one-liners:

HAHA!

Get it?

‘Cause they were twins?

Ah fuck, whaddah’ you know….

Tune in tomorrow for the long-awaited BEST OVERKILL IN MOVIES!!!!!!!

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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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