Azn Badger's Blog

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A Tribute to the “That Guy’s” of Action Cinema

I’d like to take a moment to honor Danny Trejo in recognition of his remarkable achievement of going from being little more than a “That Guy” in action movies throughout the 90’s, to landing his first legitimate starring role in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete.

In my early childhood I knew him as “that ruddy-complexioned guy that dies all the time.”

Danny Trejo on the set of Anaconda upon being handed his paycheck.

Later on I knew him as a much friendlier personality in the form of the voices of Enrique on King of the Hill,

He's so friendly!

and well; himself, in the videogame Def Jam: Fight for New York.

Well, it’s about 20 years overdue, but finally the day has come that we can all say we know Danny Trejo as the star of his own movie.

Anyway, in honor of Danny Trejo and the host of other perpetually typecast actors, I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the “That Guy’s” of action cinema.

What is a “That Guy,” you ask?

According to Google Images, THIS is a "That Guy." I vehemently disagree.

A “That Guy” is one of those actors that is consistently typecast in various bit-roles, typically along the lines of “ugly thug #1” or “dude that gets shot.”

It goes without saying, that the vast majority of “That Guy’s” end up playing villains throughout the entirety of their careers.

Think of it this way:

If you’ve seen an action movie actor enough times that you know their face, but not their name; chances are they’re a “That Guy.”

Take Noel Gugliemi for instance. You probably saw him in S.W.A.T., Training Day, or The Fast and the Furious, but you probably didn't know his name.

Over the years there have been a handful of “That Guy’s” that have ascended to legitimate celebrity, though every case is essentially a million to one shot.

For the most part though, a “That Guy’s” claim to fame generally springs from the list of big name action stars that have killed them throughout their career.

Take Sven-Ole Thorsen for example:

The funniest pic I could find.

A veteran of an ungodly number of action films, the big Dane got capped to shit by Leonardo DiCaprio in The Quick and the Dead,

he got offed by Steven Seagal in On Deadly Ground, he got the everloving-shit kicked out of him by Russell Crowe in Gladiator,

Yup, that's him on the left.

and to top it all off, he’s been torn apart by Arnold Schwarzenegger more times than I care to count.

Best of all though, not only has ‘ole Sven been killed by Ah-Nold more times than I’ve used the word “fuck” on this blog, he’s also accomplished the astounding feat of being killed by Arnold twice in the same movie franchise.

Said franchise would of course be the Conan series.

Sven was in both films, playing 2 different characters, though in Conan the Destroyer he was fitted with a dorky looking helmet, most likely to hide his appearance.

Not this dorky, but close enough.

No article about “That Guy’s” can be made without mention of the uber-prolific Thomas Rosales Jr.

You may of course remember him as the deaf as fuck Hispanic mercenary, Carter, from The Lost World.

You're gonna' get Spielberg Spite Killed so bad...

Well, beyond that, chances are you also remember him from Raw Deal, The Running Man, Last Action Hero, (Arnold killed him a few times) and the sci-fi sequels, Robocop 2 and Predator 2.

Any man that takes a bullet from Robocop, and gets skinned by the Predator, definitely deserves special mention.

Robocop likes to be thorough. Shooting people 3 times is standard practice.

Another example of the quintissential “That Guy” I’d like to point out is the classic “Azn That Guy,” Al Leong.

As seen in Die Hard.

If ever there was a need for an Asian “That Guy,” in any action movie ever, chances are Al Leong was considered for the part.

With his distinctive beard and outrageous bald spot, Mr. Leong made in appearances in such classics as Bill and Ted’s Excellent adventure (as Genghis Khan no less) and Big Trouble in Little China, as well as achieved the honor of being killed off by industry greats like Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon),

Tee hee, that was silly.

and Bruce Willis (Die Hard).

Mr. Leong about a half second before Mr. Willis put half a clip through him.

Though in my eyes he’s nowhere near as accomplished as either of the other 2 men above, Patrick Kilpatrick is a “That Guy” that deserves mention, if not for his awesomely-badass  name, then for the sheer strength of his performances.

Whenever I look at him, words like "rapist" and "pedophile" spring to mind.

Few “That Guy’s” can match Kilpatrick’s ability to stand out from the crowd with his creepy mannerisms and borderline down-syndrome kid facial structure.

That being said, Mr. Kilpatrick’s been killed by Steven Seagal in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Bruce Willis in Last Man Standing, Arnold Schwarzenneger in Eraser, and he even got to be the primary antagonist in the Jean-Claude Van Damme prison actioner, Death Warrant.

Not only that, he got to fight Treat Williams in The Substitute 4: Failure Is Not An Option.

What?

I happen to like Treat Williams…

How could you not like him!?

Anyway, I don’t want to overstay my welcome with this tribute post, so I’ll just finish by rattling off a few more “That Guy’s” that deserve to be known somewhere on the internet.

Nick Chinlund AKA Billy Bedlam from Con Air, thanks for having the raunchiest, slimiest voice of any “That Guy” EVER.

Should've put the Bunny back in the box...

Robert Z’Dar, thanks for having the biggest fucking chin on the face of the planet.  Oh yeah, thanks for making Tango and Cash suck just a little bit less too.

Just so you know, he's not wearing any makeup or prosthetics. Seriously.

Tommy Lister, thanks for being the president of THE WORLD in The Fifth Element, and giving us Deebo in Friday, and Zeus in No Holds Barred.  Foh’ real man, I don’t think anyone else could’ve done so much with so little.

THAT, my friends, is a unibrow.

Michael Berryman, sorry about the Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia, but think of it this way, you saved many a filmmaker a shit ton of money on makeup effects.

That's him on the left, stupid.

and Brian Thompson, thanks for reminding me of Michael Berryman when you’re head’s shaved, and for the Buffalo Bob sequence in Joe Dirt.

Brian Thompson in drag = Funny.  Spade without Farley = Sad.

Anyway, there’s a shit ton of other “That Guy’s” deserving of recognition, and perhaps we’ll get to them another day, but for now, here’s to hoping they all know they’re appreciated.

Remember, just ’cause I don’t know your name doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what you do.

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Thoughts on Inception

Movie Poster Fail.

Let it be known, this article is not a review.

Like my article on Splice, I don’t feel adequately qualified to properly review Inception, and as such, I will instead use this post as a vehicle for my ruminations regarding it.

Anyway, let me begin by saying that:

I liked Inception.

I felt it was an entertaining and (conceptually) innovative film, that managed to hold my interest throughout despite it’s sinfully long running time.

Okay fine, the movie isn’t Braveheart long, but hey; you try going to see it in the theater at 10:45 at night and tell me it didn’t whip your ass.

10:45 PM or not, he's gonna' BEAT YOUR ASS.

Inception is a film that I absolutely will not spend time going into detail regarding the plot and other such bullshit.

I say this, not because I don’t want to drop spoilers, but because I honestly don’t remember most of them.

Oh yeah, and it would cause me physical pain to try and explain some of the goofy shit that goes on in this movie.

Seriously, I’d need a diorama, Powerpoint, an old priest and a young priest just to explain the concept of this fucking movie.

Actually, I think Von Sydow would do well enough by himself. Max Von Sydow was BORN looking that awesome.

The basic concept of the movie involves the manipulation and invasion of peoples’ dreams, leading to a story that mirrors that of an absurdly complex and convoluted heist film.

I say “convoluted” because there are moments when, just when you think you’ve got all the rules of the film’s impressively well thought out, and seemingly structured universe, the movie starts throwing you curve balls in the form of changing it’s own logic for the sake of convenience in regards to the plot.

That’s not to say this happens all the way through, however there were at least 2 occasions in which I honestly had to scratch my head and say:

“Huh?  Why the fuck did that just happen?”

Pictured: A film where such a phrase is often uttered by the viewer, and yet no explanations are offered...

It’s interesting to note that, despite the 2 films sharing very little in common, for whatever reason I kept saying to myself in the theater:

“This hella’ reminds me of Flatliners…”

WHY THE FUCK HAS NO ONE SEEN THIS MOVIE!?

Despite it’s complex subject matter and, at times, fuzzy internal logic; it should be noted that Inception is by no means a genius of a film.

That is, unlike The Legend of Zelda on the NES, Inception did not make me feel stupid or lost at any point, rather; it succeeded in making me feel smart.

Let it be known, the Azn Badger is a Badger of barely average intelligence.

Your average Badger.

Azn or not.

An AZN Badger.

That being said, let me just say that the screenplay of Inception, like seemingly every Christopher Nolan film, is very redundant, and much too excessive with it’s incessant dropping of “breadcrumbs” for the viewer.

In example, let’s summarize the scripts for Batman Begins, The Prestige, and The Dark Knight:

Batman Begins:  “FEAR!!!!!!!! JUSTICE!!!!!!!!! I’M BATMAAAANNNNNN!!!!!!”

The Prestige: “REVENGE!!!! MAGICAL DAVIIIIIIIDDDDDD BOWIIIIIIIIEEEEE!!!!!!”

The Dark Knight: “CHAOS!!!! JUSTICE!!!!!!!!! WHERE IS HE!!!!!!!????”

To those of you that don’t habla Espanol, “breadcrumbs” refers to the little droplings, or tidbits of information that are interspersed throughout a screenplay to make those “Ah Hah!” moments seem more logical, and ultimately, more rewarding to the viewer.

Inception’s script is, to pound the metaphor totally into the ground, not sprinkled with breadcrumbs as most films should be, but is instead simply a whole loaf of bread.

Mmmmmm.... Inception.... *Drool*

Put it this way, if you’re paying attention, and are able to keep track of wherever the fuck the film’s logic decides to go throughout the movie, then chances are you’ll be able to figure out most of the major plot points a good 20 minutes to a half hour before I think the movie intended you to.

Anyway, good movie, provocative screenplay, but just a little bit heavy-handed with the exposition at times.

Attention Mr. Nolan: This is not the tool you use to write a script...

The acting performances in Inception were, in a word; “solid.”

I say this because, despite the all-star cast; Inception is by no means an actor’s movie.

Due to the hardened nature of most of the main characters, the majority of the performances consist of muted expressions and flat deliveries.

Hell, even most of the humor is deadpan.

Tom Hardy has an accent, and that’s about all he did for me.

Ellen Page, while looking uncharacteristically fetching in this movie, also failed to leave any sort of impression.

Leonardo DiCaprio is just about the only actor allowed to emote throughout, yet despite this; most of his thunder is stolen by the script’s propensity to spill the beans on it’s big character reveals long before their intended cues.

That being said, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ken Watanabe managed to make an impression based purely on their facial acting.

That and Levitt looks like my brother, but Jewish.

He looks like these two, a little. Those are the only clues you're getting though...

Oh yeah, and Ken Watanabe is pimp, so he gets a pass as well.

One thing I feel that needs to be pointed out about Inception, is that the action is typical of a Christopher Nolan film.

One thing about Nolan that truly confuses me, is that he seems to know what he likes in his movies, and how he likes to shoot it, however, when it comes to framing action, the man just doesn’t have a clue.

Maybe it’s his cinematographer, or his editor’s fault, but regardless, whoever is fucking up really needs to stop it.

RIGHT NOW.

Simply put, Christopher Nolan likes sweeping aerial shots of cities,

Check...

car chases,

Double check...

and gunplay/fighting.

Check-A-Saurus Rex...

Inception, of course, has all of these things, however only 2 thirds of it is done well.

Don’t get me wrong, Nolan’s cityscape shots are always beautiful, as are his car chases, but when it comes to framing human-on-human violence, he sucks donkey balls.

My main issue with Nolan’s action scenes, is the lack of spacial awareness the viewer is given throughout.

You know that thing that the Hong Kong cinematographers do where they shoot the actors from the toes up so you can catch the detail and intent in their movements?

I know, a fight scene is totally different from your standard action scene, but bear with me...

Well, Nolan’s answer to this is to frame everything all loosey-goosey, and then throw the footage into the meat grinder until it makes a Bourne movie look under-edited.

It should be said though, that whoever does Mr. Nolan’s sound editing, should be given some sort of award *cough!* Oscar! *cough!*

Seriously, the sound of the gunfire in both The Dark Knight and Inception is a thing of beauty.

Truly the definition of “ear-popping.”

No, different kind of "ear pop," yah' dipshit...

Compliments aside, I have one more gripe about the action:

I know it’s realistic to choreograph a gunfight as a fairly stationary and controlled series of tactical potshots, but for A MOVIE THAT TAKES PLACE IN FUCKING DREAMLAND, I’d expect things to be just a little bit more colorful.

WOAH!!!!! TOO MUCH COLOR!!!! DIAL THAT SHIT DOWN, SON!!!!

Seriously, what the fuck is the point of having gunfire and explosions in your movie if you aren’t going to go to the trouble to highlight them in any way.

On a final note, I’d like to take a minute to give my thoughts on the soundtrack of Inception.

A lot has been said about the ever so prolific, Hans Zimmer’s, soundtrack of the movie.

Lookit' this smug fuck, with his dick-eatin' lips...

By, “a lot,” of course, I mean a lot of good.

Several of my friends hyped the soundtrack for me, such that I was really excited to hear the soundtrack, much more so than I was about seeing the movie in fact.

After all, my friends and I used to refer to Inception in daily speech as simply, “BWAAAHHHHH!!!” due to the brass blaring teaser trailer.

In example:

“Hey, did you see BWAAAHHHH!!! yet dude?”

Anyway, retarded bullshit aside, Inception’s soundtrack was booming, sweeping, and all sorts of epic, however I ended up leaving the theater with little to no recollection of any sort of themes or melodies played throughout.

In essence, the music was gorgeous, and almost mystifyingly dignified, almost like a classical symphony, however, despite being excessive and overbearing throughout, to me; it just wasn’t all that memorable or engaging.

Seriously, Inception had a lot of music, too much in fact.

The only musical memory I walked away from the film with was bittersweet, in that I realized one of the climax themes played during the last act of the film, was in fact played twice within the same act of the film.

That’s just fucking lazy.

I’ve always said Hans Zimmer was overrated, and while the score for Inception does little to change my impression of him, I will say this:

He’s done better.

Just as Christopher Nolan has done better.

And Leonardo DiCaprio has done better.

Even so, Inception is a good movie, that while lacking in some areas, and full of holes in others, is a film that, regardless of how you feel about it, leaves you with something to talk about.

Just like The Matrix more than 10 years before it, (wow, I’m really that old?) it’s by no means perfect, but something about it just makes us want to sit down talk about it with someone, for better or for worse.

In many ways, I can think of no greater success for a film of this nature.

Now let’s just hope they don’t go and blow it by making a shit ton of sequels…

Although Mr. Nolan can go ahead and make another Batman.

The Azn Badger loves him some Batman…

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