Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

And Now, Jim Kelly Kickin’ Some Honky Cop Ass.

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

I Think I Just Found My New Favorite Movie

“Holy shit…”

Those were the words that crept out of my mouth as I looked on in bedazzled awe at the brutal majesty of the trailer for The Raid.

Good trailers are hard to come by, let alone of the exhilarating and breathtaking variety; but if you ask me, The Raid might take the cake.

Back in the day I watched the trailers for The Dark Knight and Flash Point over and over again due to the artistry in their composition, but Jesus-fuck man, I’ll be damned if The Raid doesn’t absolutely blow them out of the water with pure adrenaline and carnage.

That being said, I feel I should mention that I have an unwatched copy of Merantau that’s been sitting on my shelf for the past 6 months.

Immediately after watching the trailer for The Raid and seeing what the crew behind it were truly capable of, (the same crew that worked on Merantau including director Gareth Evans and star Iko Uwais) I started kicking myself over dodging Merantau all this time.

That’s right, I was so upset with myself that I literally kicked myself in the fucking brain.

Rest assured, though I may have found reasons to overlook it in the past, after watching the trailer for The Raid, I’ll likely be popping Merantau into my DVD player within the next few hours.

Make that NOW.

Anyway, there’s not a whole lot to say about The Raid, other than the fact that it looks like an action/martial arts movie lover’s dream.

I could be assuming too much, but from what I saw in the trailer and read in reviews (all of which were absolutely glowing), the movie basically consists of a simple setup in the form of a police raid on a criminal infested apartment complex, and after that it’s just a rollercoaster of fighting and shoot outs.

It’s like Black Hawk Down, mixed with the hospital scene in Hard Boiled.

Throw in a healthy dose of martial arts, and play it all out over the course of THE ENTIRE FILM, and you have yourself the makings of a perfect movie.

If I could make a movie, The Raid is probably a good example of the kind of shit I’d dump my money into.

Seriously man, this movie looks so hardcore, and I can’t wait to see it.

And I’m guessing you’ll feel the same way once you take a look at perhaps the single most breathtaking action movie trailer I’ve ever seen:

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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!?

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Sometimes Spoilers Are A Good Thing…

Evaluating an opinion on a movie purely based on pre-release materials is tricky business.

Inevitably, one’s decision making process ends up relying on one’s knowledge of the various actors and director’s track records, but at the end of the day; sometimes a really good (or really bad) preview can end up shaping one’s opinion quite handily.

Take for instance Green Lantern.

I’m a big fan of the Green Lantern comic, however up until about last week; my opinion of the upcoming live-action film was largely negative.

Early pre-release footage for the movie had it seeming silly, narrow, and very hard to take seriously.

Truth be told, the one thing that kept me from turning my back on Green Lantern in the early goings, was the presence of director Martin Campbell.

Seriously man, the guy made Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro, and Casino Royale.

... Then again, he also directed THESE.

Despite some spotty pieces in his filmography, the man has proven that he knows how to make awesome movies, and in that sense; I never completely lost confidence in the possibility of Green Lantern upsetting it’s poor marketing campaign and turning out to be legitimately good.

In the case of Green Lantern, and as you’ll later read, Donnie Yen’s recently released film, Wu Xia; my apprehension about the film’s integrity was culled through viewing a brief preview clip of the film in it’s unedited state.

Though it’s uncharacteristic of me, I sat down and watched a (publicly available HERE) 1 minute clip of Green Lantern in hopes of finding a reason to go see it.

Said clip involved Hal Jordan desperately attempting to fend off what I’m guessing is supposed to be Parallax (who doesn’t seem nearly as “bug-like” as he did in the comics).

THAT'S fuckin' Parallax!

The action in this clip was nowhere near mindblowing, but unlike in the trailers; it at least seemed like how it plays out in the comics.

Green Lantern has always been a story about “space cops,” though in recent years the scale and severity of the violence in the comic has evolved to something more along the lines of “space soldiers.”

In short, sprawling splash pages of Lanterns hurling variously colored constructs at each other en masse are quite common in Green Lantern comics these days.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT!

Green Lantern combat isn’t about guys throwing progressively bigger and more elaborate constructs at each other; it’s about speed, precision, and who gets their shit off first.

In other words, it’s more like a hectic galactic gun fight as opposed to something overblown or drawn out like Dragonball fighting.

I saw a hint of this in the clip I watched, and as such; my opinion of Green Lantern has changed from “skeptical” to “somewhat optimistic.”

Which brings me to the recently released Peter Chan directed Donnie Yen vehicle, Wu Xia.

Hmm, SOMEBODY had a degree in graphic design...

Given that Wu Xia stars Donnie Yen and Takeshi Kaneshiro, one can assume I was psyched for this one from day 1, right?

WRONG.

When I first saw the teaser for Wu Xia, my initial reaction was basically to let out one big-ass, slightly pompous sigh.

Okay, maybe “slightly” pompous isn’t the right word.

More like “IMMENSELY.”

I’m not big on Mandarin films, and for whatever reason; the teaser for Wu Xia just didn’t do it for me.

Then I watched an 8 minute clip of the movie that popped up on Twitchfilm.com, and suddenly I found myself intrigued.

By the way, if you go by Twitchfilm, and see all the Legend of the Fist ads; don’t buy into the hype.

Aside from literally, a few good fights, Legend of the Fist sucked some serious balls.

Well, at least this part was kind of funny... In the "good/bad" sort of way.

Anyway, said clip of Wu Xia revealed it as being kind of like Rashomon or Hero in the sense that it’s a story potentially told from an unreliable viewpoint.

Though I don’t understand Mandarin, the visuals of the clip were very clear in establishing that Donnie Yen’s character, while portrayed as feeble, but lucky; in one instance, may actually be a martial arts master hiding in plain sight.

While I didn’t care much for this storytelling device in Hero, (nor did I care much for the movie itself) it’s cleverness combined with Peter Chan’s beautiful cinematography leads me to believe Wu Xia could be a lot of fun.

I don’t expect Donnie Yen’s “Donnie Yen-ness” to be front and center, but the story seems to have legs; and Takeshi Kaneshiro is pimp-as-fuck, so I’m fairly optimistic.

PIMP. AS. FUCK. Too bad he's basically full-time Chinese now...

So there you have.

2 instances where an otherwise skeptical moviegoer had their opinion reshaped through spoiler clips.

I guess I’ve come a long way from being the fat little 10 year old that shunned all media outlets in hopes of seeing the American Godzilla movie in theaters before having the monster’s appearance spoiled for him..

Yeah, that worked out jusssssssst fine….

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Dream Project: Jackie Chan’s “Time Belt”

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I spent this afternoon pounding out an idea for a Jackie Chan “dream project” with my buddy Mencius.

It all started when I asked my buddy:

“If you had Jackie Chan in his physical prime, what movie would you put him in?”

Surprisingly, my answer to this question was rather straightforward and simple, being that of Armour of God III or something like it.

To be honest, I’d still like to see a 3rd Armour of God, as I’ve always felt it could be a good “farewell” movie for Jackie.

Getting back to the matter at hand, my buddy Mencius had something a little more off the wall in mind, something more unique; at least when it comes to Jackie Chan movies.

Mencius’ idea was that of a time travel adventure film where Jackie, playing a kung fu expert/dopey non-hero that accidentally finds himself hurtling through exotic time periods and locales.

Okay maybe the plot isn't totally unique. But The Myth sucked, so it doesn't count.

While I was initially turned off by the idea, largely due to it’s lack of a concrete source of conflict, I found myself revisiting the idea throughout the day, constantly feeding Mencius ideas that I thought could make for a fun movie.

The first idea I felt needed to come into play, was that of a group of villains chasing Jackie through time.

Basically, Jackie is like a janitor in some time travel laboratory, and then a bunch of thieves break in trying to steal the time travel gear; whereupon Jackie accidentally activates the device and gets lost in time.

Using a device with extremely limited time travel capability, the bad guys chase Jackie through time, showing up for action beats throughout Jackie’s adventures.

Mencius and I didn’t really get around to finalizing anything for this idea, but at the end of the day we came up with at least 2 locations the film would visit, namely ancient China, and Victorian England.

Naturally, Jackie would run afoul of plenty of thugs and bad guys in these places, leading to much brawling, yelling of “I don’t want any trouble!”, and weaponization of household items.

In my mind, given that this in fact a “dream” project, and can really include as many stars (in their physical primes) as I’d like, the cast of the movie would be fucking epic.

Imagine this:

Jackie goes back in time to old timey China.

He meets Wong Fei Hung, played by Jet Li.

They fight, and it most certainly doesn’t suck like in The Forbidden Kingdom.

Somewhere along the line, Jackie meets a rotund butcher played by Sammo Hung, and his fiery cohort, played by Yuen Biao.

Pictured: Comedy and Action, GOLD.

Naturally, they all become buddies.

At the end of it all, Jackie, Sammo, Yuen and Jet Li all join forces to take on the local Axe Gang, every member of which is played by a notable Hong Kong villain actor.

Imagine a crowd fight with these 4 taking on the likes of Dick Wei, Billy Chow, Ken Lo, Chin Siu Ho, Fan Siu Wong, Wu Jing, Xing Yu and Al FUCKING Leong, all at the same fuckin’ time.

Hell, I'd pay money JUST to see Jackie take on Al Leong...

Now imagine Jackie, Yuen and Sammo travel to Victorian England, only to be immediately accosted by a thuggish Jason Statham.

After escaping The Transporter, the trio run afoul of the local authorities, the leader of which happens to be Darren Shahlavi AKA Twister:

Now imagine the rest of the movie includes fights with the pursuing bad guys played by the likes of Scott Adkins, Cyril Raffaelli, Marko Zaror, Benny Urquidez, and Brad Allan with DONNIE FUCKING YEN serving as the “final boss.”

Tell me, would this not be the coolest movie ever!?

Anyway, in tribute to the classic Channel 101 show of the same name, I feel it’s only appropriate that this “dream project” be titled:

Jackie Chan’s “Time Belt”

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A Tribute to the Greatness that is Donnie Yen: Part VIII – Donnie Yen In The “Post Yip” Era

Finally startin to look his age...

A long time ago I wrote that I felt that director Wilson Yip was probably the best thing to ever happen to Donnie Yen’s career.

First teaming up in 2005 for the cop drama/action flick SPL, the 2 would end up collaborating on 5 consecutive films.

With the sole exception of the somewhat lackluster Dragon Tiger Gate, all of said films were of stellar quality; easily ranking as some of the best in Mr. Yen’s career.

While Yen’s incredible longevity allowed him to effectively outlast the majority of his contemporaries, namely Jet Li and Jackie Chan; and his innovative fighting performance and choreography skills certainly put him ahead of the pack, this writer would argue that Wilson Yip’s cinematographic skills and eye for detail had just as much to do with his rise to prominence as any of the aforementioned factoids.

Besides, any man that makes shit like Bio Zombie clearly knows what theyre doing. No sarcasm intended.

That being said, it’s now 2011; and while he’s been detached from Wilson Yip ever since the production of Ip Man 2, Donnie Yen is still the reigning king of Hong Kong screen fighters.

So, why am I not happy?

I’m just about as big a Donnie Yen fan as you’ll ever meet, but truth be told; as much as I like the man’s work, like most screen fighters he’s made an alarming number of shitty movies.

In fact, if you don’t count Blade 2; a movie he choreographed by held maybe 5 minutes of screen time in, I don’t think I’ve genuinely liked a non-Wilson Yip Donnie Yen movie since Shanghai Affairs back in ’98, and even that kind of sucked.

Sadly, now that Yen doesn’t seem to have any projects lined up with Wilson Yip in the foreseeable future; I’m left feeling like things are going to go back to the way they were, with Donnie Yen steadily churning out crap movies with decent fights.

...Or in the case of the Twins Effect movies, crappy movies with crappy fights. Thats Jackie Chan on the right by the way.

Despite an astoundingly well cut trailer for it’s U.S. release, make no mistake Legend of the Fist: Return of Chen Zhen, Yen’s first film of the “Post Yip Era”; is most assuredly hot garbage.

I own a Hong Kong blu ray of Legend of the Fist, and while Yen’s physical performance was actually pretty amazing, as detailed here; the movie itself was one of the most boring kung fu movies I’ve seen in a long time.

At present, Mr. Yen has a handful of movies on his plate, most notably a mysterious Peter Chan film called Swordsmen, and 2 other films titled The Lost Bladesman and The Monkey King.

I’ve purposely decided to forego any mention of the most recent All’s Well, Ends Well, as while it does in fact include Donnie Yen in it’s cast; no force on Earth could make me see it as a “Donnie Yen film.”

Yeah, not exactly high on my "must see" list...

Anyway, The Lost Bladesman sees Donnie Yen taking on the role of famed Chinese general and folk hero Guan Yu in a wuxia film.

Trailers for this one have been popping up pretty regularly as of late, with most of the footage doing little to light a fire in my pants.

Sure, it has Donnie Yen.

Sure he’s hitting people while sporting a pimp beard and guan dao.

Even so, the production values seem a little below standard, and the cinematography and choreography seem about on par with the mediocrity of Yen’s own 14 Blades.

For those that may be unaware, any film that draws comparisons to 14 Blades has it’s work cut out for it in terms of not sucking.

Pictured: Donnie Yen squaring off against Captain Jack Sparrow.

That leaves 2012’s The Monkey King as the one Yen movie to bear the weight of making up for the past couple of years of “meh.”

While it’s certainly far off in terms of being released, in all honesty; The Monkey King actually seems like it might be worth the wait.

No footage exists as of yet, but given that the story is a retelling of the Journey to the West, essentially the Chinese myth of myths; and given the incredible assortment of talent involved in the production, I’ve got a good feeling about it.

Sure, it’ll probably be CGI’d to shit and make Donnie Yen look like a complete goof ball; but the art style of the poster and Cheang Pou Soi’s involvement as director will likely make up for it.

I don't know about you, but if you ask me that's a pretty awesome fuckin' poster.

Seriously man, if the same Cheang Pou Soi that made Dog Bite Dog and Shamo shows up for this one, we’re in for one helluva’ ride.

Despite all the pessimism of everything mentioned above, let it be known; I remain hopeful for Donnie Yen’s career.

In many ways, I think my “disappointment” in some of his recent projects spawns from my general lack of enthusiasm for mainland China productions as compared to Hong Kong ones.

Wuxia works when it works, but for the most part it’s not what you’d call my favorite genre.

Whatever the future holds for Mr. Yen, I only hope that whatever crappy or mediocre productions he’s involved in continue to be the fault of writers and directors as opposed to Donnie Yen himself…

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Donnie Yen: Pwn-er Of Back Pain

Donnie Yen on the Viagra!

Finally got my a new new computer today, so I’m gonna’ be busy for a few days re-acquiring/uploading essential programs to it.

By the way, I got a Dell.

Nothing flashy, but good enough for me.

Anyway, I saw found this awesome back-pain relief medication ad on Twitchfilm today featuring the pimpest man in the universe: Donnie Yen.

LINK HERE

I like how the Chinese have better fight choreography in their commercials than we do in most of our feature films.

For more info on Mr. Yen, check out my massive tribute to him here, or alternatively; click the link on the sidebar.

In case you couldn’t tell, that’s my none too subtle way of saying CLICK THE FUCKIN’ LINKS.

Donnie Yen: Kickin' Ass Even In A Golf Shirt.

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Tony Jaa + Sammo Hung = Brilliant

"GIVE ME BACK MY ELEPHANT!!!!!!!!!!"

I’ve never really been a huge Tony Jaa fan.

While I’m a rabid fan of Hong Kong action films, and martial arts flicks in general; Tony Jaa’s films with director Pachya Pinkaew just didn’t have the same appeal to me.

In observing the action choreography of Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to BMX or skateboarding demo videos.

Lots of flash, lots of “money shots,” but no real drama or point to the whole experience.

Make no mistake, I’m a firm believer that Mr. Jaa is just about the most physically gifted action performer in the world; however I feel a weakness in his films (aside from their horrible scripts) is the fact that choreographer Panna Rittikrai was all too aware of this fact.

In short, Tony Jaa’s action sequences; while elegantly shot and coordinated, came across as more than a little self-indulgent, while typically consisting of little more than him running up to people and doing things to them.

In other words, watching Tony Jaa in action is just that:

Watching Tony Jaa do horrible things to impotent jobbers that may or may not do a backflip when he knees them in the jaw.

My favorite part of fight choreography has always been the exchanges, the drama of fast paced fights with a palpable sense of momentum and urgency to them.

It’s the lack of these moments that makes me an admirer of Tony Jaa’s physicality; but not a fan of his movies.

That all may change in the near future though, as I happened upon an article on Twitchfilm.net today that made mention of a possible collaboration between Jaa and the legendary Sammo Hung.

That’s like the martial arts film equivalent to Robert De Niro and Martin Scorcese.

2 men, at the top of their class; working together on a film.

There’s yet to be any formal announcement of anything surrounding the proposed project, but with Jaa’s raw ability and Sammo’s unbelievable fight crafting prowess, my expectations will be very high.

Based on Jaa’s acting ability, as well as the inherent racism of Hong Kong cinema, I wouldn’t expect the film to offer any more drama or creativity than Jaa’s previous films; but even so, the prospect of seeing the Thai dynamo work from Sammo’s choreography has me giddy with excitement.

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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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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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