Brownie points to those of you that know what a “Poppie” is.
December 8, 2011 • 10:27 PM 0
Brownie points to those of you that know what a “Poppie” is.
October 20, 2011 • 7:23 PM 0
What Is It?:
A cache of sand stored in one’s pockets for the purpose of throwing in an attackers eyes.
Who’s Used It?:
Why Am I Not Cool Enough To Carry It?:
Because throwing sand in peoples eyes is an act reserved for only the most weasly and underhanded motherfuckers in all of existence.
It’s one thing to be an opportunist, to be that asshole that chucks a wad of sand in the heat of the moment.
That shit’s been goin’ on since the beginning of time.
Hell, I’m willing to bet fuckin’ amoeba’s n’shit were chuckin’ particles of primordial soup at each others membranes back in the day.
How else would the world know who the bad guys were?
The point is, chucking sand in people’s eyes is an inherently despicable, yet practical act; but if and when it’s utilized as a preemptive means of defense, it becomes something far more diabolical than most ordinary humans are capable of.
In order to be that guy that pockets a wad of sand every morning, you’d have to have a thought process somewhere along the lines of:
“Oh shit, my Spider-Sense is tingling. I should probably bring some sand with me today…”
I’m sorry, but unless you’ve got Batman kicking down your door with any sort of regularity, chances are you’re not anywhere near cool enough to carry tactical pocket sand.
I understand that some people think it perfectly reasonable to carry pepper spray, stun guns, or even knives everywhere they go; (I don’t) but it takes a certain kind of crazy (not at all like a fox) to say to yourself:
“Whoops! Silly me, I almost forgot to stuff kitty litter in my pockets before I left for work!”
I’m sorry, but chances are the kind of people that would consider carrying sand in their pockets a sensible, and totally necessary method of self-defense, are the kind of people that have gone out of their way to make the sort of enemies that would require said extreme measures to be dealt with.
That is to say, unless you’re a paranoid fuckin’ gun nut like Dale Gribble, or one seriously slimy-ass motherfucker like Lex Luthor’s douchebag second cousin or some shit; then chances are you haven’t earned the right to carry pocket sand in, uh, your pockets.
October 1, 2010 • 7:03 PM 9
My plans fell through on pounding out that article for the oddest of reasons:
After sitting through the movie, I found I had close to nothing to say about it.
To this day I can barely remember that movie, other than the fact that the climactic battle between Batman and the Red Hood was brutally well choreographed to an extent few animated films can measure up to.
Other than that, the movie was totally flat.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse on the other hand, is a film that I find I can very easily form an opinion of.
In short, I didn’t like Apocalypse.
Meant to serve as a direct follow-up to the (in my eyes) superior Superman/Batman: Public Enemies of last year, Apocalypse is an action-packed, but ultimately light weight exercise in tedium.
I know what you’re thinking:
“But Azn Badger, couldn’t Public Enemies be described in exactly the same fashion? How can you like one better than the other?”
While I’ll admit this is true, Public Enemies was essentially a film comprised entirely of Michael Bay-esque lights and sound married with ungodly amounts of fan-service, the key difference between Public Enemies and Apocalypse lies within their execution of these 2 factors.
Public Enemies went balls out with it’s over-the-top-ness, pitting it’s 2 heroes against a legion of big name characters from the DC Universe, all while progressively stepping up the urgency and scale of it’s various crises until things, quite literally; reach astronomical levels.
It was stupid, it was fun, and the script was put together in such a way as to “play along” with that mindset.
Apocalypse on the other hand, sort of went about things half-cocked.
There’s a great deal of action, with the animation and art design being quite good for the most part, (much better than in Under the Red Hood) but the overall feel of the movie is just plain wrong.
Like Public Enemies, Apocalypse is once again based on Jeph Loeb’s work on the Superman/Batman comic series, with the source material being taken from the second story arc entitled “The Supergirl from Krypton.”
Anyway, the story of Apocalypse kicks off very shortly after the conclusion of Public Enemies wherein Batman destroyed a massive Kryptonite meteor on a collision course with earth.
As the last remnant of said meteor make their way past Earth’s orbit, a hefty chunk manages to fall through the atmosphere and crash land in Gotham Harbor.
After investigating a bit, Batman (Kevin Conroy) discovers a space pod among the debris, which of course housed our future Supergirl (Summer Glau) who goes through the requisite culture shock of dealing with Earth people for the first time, (in the nude no less) and discovering her vast array of powers granted to her by Earth’s yellow sun.
Merry mishaps ensue, much property damage is caused, (it’s okay if it’s on accident!) and Superman (Tim Daly) eventually shows up to lift something heavy and take Kara off to show her his Fortress of Solitude.
From that point on, the first 20 minutes of the movie see us following Kara as she explores life on Earth with her cousin Kal, (Superman, you big dummy) all while Batman constantly broods about the potentiality of her being a bad omen/villain/secret weapon/fish person.
Cut to the planet Apocalypse, where Granny Goodness (voiced with unbelievable zest by Ed Asner) oversees the training of a potential leader of Darkseid’s honor guard/stable of fucked up bitches, The Female Furies.
What follows is a lucid and well-choregraphed 4-on-1 cat fight.
The drama is convincing, largely due to the effective pacing, which sees our 1 against the 4 holding their own in the few minute or so of combat, only to eventually be overwhelmed.
Like all of the fighting in Apocalypse, this scene served as a brief highlight among a sea of blemishes.
Cut back to Metropolis, where we are treated to the requisite “teenaged shopping spree” scene, albeit with oddly boring and low-key music.
Y’know, like yah’ do.
As it turns out, the Amazons of Themyscira’s (Wonder Woman’s ‘hood) resident prophet, Harbinger (Rachel Quaintance), has been having visions of Kara’s eventual death on a beach somewhere, resulting in Wonder Woman making the decision to take Kara back to the island in hopes of maintaining her safety.
Another good argument for Wonder Woman’s logic is the fact that Kara, for perhaps the 3rd time in the movie, recklessly unleashes her powers on Metropolis during her attempted kidnapping.
Eventually, Superman grudgingly decides to give in to Wonder Woman’s pleas.
With that, we flash 2 months later and Kara’s been living on Themyscira with the Amazons.
Despite all that time, Superman is still feeling butt-hurt about the whole deal, while Batman and Wonder Woman just kind of look to each other from time to time and wonder just why Superman is such a douche…
Anyway, Kara imparts to us, through the language of teenage angst, that she is feeling cramped by everyone ordering her around the time, and she now wishes to live her own life, by her own terms.
Thankfully, after all of this boring “stranger-in-a-strange-land” meets Jem bullshit, the Darkseid angle of the story hinted not so subtly by, I don’t know, the title of the movie, finally comes to light proper.
With an army of Amazons at their backs, Batman, (armed with a magical axe) Superman, and Wonder Woman take on the Doomsday army 300 style.
What follows is a pretty decent, if not chaotic battle sequence highlighted by a goofy and melodramatic homage to the muted war sequences made popular by Saving Private Ryan.
I haven’t read the comic that this movie is based on, but my guess is that the Doomsday’s present in this story were meant to be vastly inferior to the original, as we all know that just one Doomsday probably should’ve been enough to take on all of Themyscira.
Either way, things wrap up as Superman opens up with a Kamehame-I mean, heat-vision blast that levels the entire army at once.
With that, our heroes run off to the beach of Harbinger’s visions, only to discover that Kara is gone, and Harbinger lay dead in her place.
Now that we’re about halfway through the movie, the stakes have been clearly laid out for us, leaving the plot with nowhere to go but Apocalypse, right?
Well, not quite.
First, our heroes have to go visit former Female Fury leader, Big Barda; in order to borrow her equipment to boom tube their asses over there.
Barda resists at first, but then opts instead to join our heroes in their crusade, seemingly just for the sake of getting a chance to throw mud in Darkseid’s eyes.
From there, the rest of the movie is action/fighting.
I won’t spoil anything for you, but I will say this:
The second half of Apocalypse, while well animated and filled with fight sequences, is hardly notable among DC Animated Universe productions.
Among the trio of climaxes, (one for each major player) Wonder Woman and Big Barda get the best of the bunch in the form of a brawl with the Female Furies.
Seriously, the choreography in this scene is excellent, nearly as good as the Wonder Woman feature from a few years ago.
For those who are keeping score at home, that’s really fuckin’ good.
Batman and Superman though, sadly have little to offer in terms of awesomeness.
Once again, I’m not going to spoil anything for you, but the movie has a long and drawn out ending sequence that, while entertaining on purely visceral level, was overblown and utterly pointless.
Like Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King “I have 5 endings!” pointless.
Oh well, at least it gives us a chance to see Superman access his inner Fist of the North Star and bust out blatantly anime-inspired moves like this:
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse rests very low on the totem pole for me as far as DC Animated Universe films go.
Wonder Woman, of all things, is at or near the top, with Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths ranking just below it, followed by Green Lantern: First Flight, with Public Enemies rounding out the lower-tier of the “good” movies.
In other words:
Apocalypse ain’t so hot.
The story was petty and unfocused, with the characters not so much relating to each other as covering each other’s asses in battle.
Call me crazy, but I prefer my superhero team-ups to y’know, have the characters talk to each other every now and again.
The action, while impressive to behold, felt surprisingly limited in scale given the stakes at hand.
Remember in the Superman cartoon when Darkseid invaded Metropolis with an army and wrecked Superman’s shit with said army.
Well, in Apocalypse, on Darkseid’s home turf, which by the way was seemingly populated by about 10 people, Darkseid manages to send, I don’t know; 5 guys and some dogs after our invading heroes.
That’s just silly.
A gripe about Darkseid:
Andrea Romano’s work as a voice casting director for Warner Bros. animation has always been regarded as some of the most consistent and praise worthy stuff in the industry, but what in the holy-fuck made her think ANYONE but MICHAEL FUCKING IRONSIDE could play Darkseid!?
Here, just take a look at this:
It pains me to know that this clip, from the script, to the voice-acting, to the music, to even the quality of the animation, however economical, is better than any of the DC Animated Features.
Andre Braugher has a wonderful voice.
Hell, if it’s any consolation I liked him in Glory…
But the simple fact of the matter is, he was horribly miscast.
For one thing, he speaks far too fast, but moreover; his voice simply lacks the timbre and menace of Ironside’s.
I suppose it doesn’t hurt either that the script for this movie couldn’t hold a candle to anything from the DC animated series’…
Though it may seem minor to some, for me, I found it utterly impossible to take Darkseid seriously in this movie.
Apocalypse contains a great deal of useless “asides.”
That is to say, the movie mimics the time tested anime trope of cutting away to pointless shots of everyday life/nature as a means of transition.
In anime, this works.
It’s an undeniably Japanese approach to story pacing, and when used in a long-form series consistently, it just plain works.
Here it’s a just goddamn waste of time, something that a slim; hour and a half long production should be conscious of.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse is not a Japanese production, nor is it a long-ass series where wasted shots can be used to pad out episodes.
I don’t know what the fuck is going on with American animation these days, but the power and influence that anime has had over it’s character designs, animation techniques, and now even storytelling techniques, is just plain fucking grotesque.
I understand that anime and manga are currently the bees knees among the younger crowd, but c’mon folks, stick to what you’re best at.
The Batman and Superman cartoons were animation classics.
Now we’ve got shit like Teen Titans, shit that truly feels like pale imitations of something that is, culturally; quite foreign.
Anyway, I’ve said far more than I ever intended to about this movie, so I think I’ll cut things here.
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse – A movie that doesn’t try hard enough at being dumb and loud, but ultimately leaves it’s viewers with no entertainment value other than those 2 elements.
August 25, 2010 • 10:14 PM 2
Really, how could we have a discussion about overkill without mentioning Steven Seagal?
Seriously, half of the man’s success as an action star stemmed from his propensity for protracted, and gloriously savage kill sessions at the end of his earlier (and better) movies.
Almost makes you forget that he runs like a feeb:
Hell, I bet half of you didn’t even know he could run.
Anyway, as #5 on our list of the Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies; it needn’t be mentioned that the end fight of Out For Justice is a truly exceptional overkill; even by Seagal-ian standards:
The overkill in question takes place during the climactic confrontation between Seagal’s Gino Felino, and a massively bloated William Forsythe’s Richie Madano.
Honestly man, I don’t know what the fuck was up with Forsythe in this movie, as I can’t really recall having seen him in anything earlier than this movie, but Jesus-fuck he was HUGE.
Anyway, this particular overkill gets brownie points due to dramatic tension between the 2 characters.
Did I really just use the phrase “dramatic tension” in regards to a Seagal movie?
What I mean to say, is that the whole movie is essentially about Seagal chasing Forsythe, who killed the former’s partner and is otherwise guilty of being a crackhead, a homicidal maniac, and for being fucking HUGE when his character is supposed to be on the crack.
Things come to a head as Seagal finally catches up to Forsythe as the latter is living it up at a house party.
Casey-Fucking-Ryback, I mean, Steven Seagal; of course, crashes the party like the massive tool that he is, and manages to kill off Richie’s entire gang despite taking a nasty bullet to the gut.
Cracked out of his mind, Forsythe makes the rather foolish decision to march out into the open to greet Seagal, citing the fact that he is out of bullets, and thusly should be placed under arrest.
Seagal? Doing actual police work?
Not bloody likely!
With the atmosphere in the room rife with the man-stank of impending physical conflict, Forsythe rushes Seagal, and the overkill officially begins.
As does Richie Madano’s lesson in futility.
Or at the very least, thrown into a shit ton of hard surfaces and/or furniture.
With his prey laying in shambles on the floor, Seagal readies himself by spreading his arms and attempting to pinch a loaf right then and there.
Still reeling from the savagery of Seagal’s uber-savage aikido throw, Forsythe eventually manages to pick himself up and…
Attempts to bum-rush Seagal for the 2nd time in a row.
On the side we also get a nice shot of the diaper/back pad that Forsythe was wearing for this scene, probably to keep from shitting himself in awe of the sheer epicry that was 1990’s Steven Seagal.
So let’s recap:
Forsythe: 0. JUSTICE: 2.
Despite the odds being heavily stacked against him, to his credit; Forsythe manages to pull a fast one on ‘ole Stevie.
As Seagal is picking Forsythe up from the floor, presumably to prep him for another trip to Ikea hell; the fat man somehow summons the strength to send the both of them through the nearby hand-railing, and off the balcony!
Scrambling to their feet, the 2 men once again lock-up and grapple with one another.
That is, only if you call Steven Seagal grabbing William Forsythe by the head and kneeing him in the face “grappling.”
Stunned, but not terribly injured, Forsythe stumbles back against the wall, and proceeds to totally lose his shit as he makes the meanest of mean faces and tosses a fuckin’ shelf at Seagal.
Now, based on what’s come before, what kind of shit do you think Forsythe tries to pull this time?
Unfortunately, you’d also be
This of course, results in more aikido tossing and furniture realignment.
His face now covered in blood, Forsythe finally decides to change up his tactics a little, this time throwing a punch at Seagal.
This of course results in Seagal blocking said punch and returning it with a swift combination of punches, topped off by a tasty kick to the Jimmy.
Protip: DON’T try to fight Steven Seagal.
After a pretty savage stomp on the head, Forsythe somehow manages to reach up from the floor to thumb the shit out of Seagal’s gut wound from earlier in the movie.
Despite the white-hot, searing pain that said sausage-thumb in his gut must bring him, Seagal summons all of his man-strength and grabs hold of Forsythe’s neck runs his ass backwards a few yards and into the kitchen.
After chucking Forsythe into a nearby table, Seagal once again readies himself with another impromptu giga-deuce.
Thus begins the stage of the fight where Seagal’s opponent grows desperate and begins grabbing hold of whatever blunt instuments/bladed objects are readily available, only to have said weapons turned against them.
Forsythe’s first attempt in using said tactic, is to grab hold of a kitchen knife, and start winging it around like a damn fool.
This of course results in Seagal grabbing hold of Forsythe’s arm, and wrenching his wrist out of place.
With his wrist now considerably FUCKED, Forsythe’s next bid for victory employs the use of the deadliest of all kitchen utensils:
A pepper mill.
Disarming him, and knocking Forysthe’s fat ass to the floor AGAIN, Seagal follows this up by putting the obese fuck’s head through the nearest window.
Sliding down the windowsill, and back into the kitchen, Forsythe’s scrambles to his feet and grabs hold of Seagal’s sleeve, only to be clubbed over the head with, *GASP* the pepper mill!
Forsythe’s next weapon of choice proves to a classic of kitchen warfare: a frying pan.
Unfortunately, he only really gets to swing it once before Seagal slips behind him, snatches the pan, and bashes the poor fat bastard over the head with it.
Now, let it be known, Steven Seagal is not a punchy/kicky kind of guy.
As mentioned previously, his fighting generally consists of throwing people into things/people, but seldom does he ever find a need to throw a punch.
That being said, after the knife, pepper mill, and frying pan, Seagal get a little overconfident, and decides to uncork some of the wimpiest punches of his long career on Forsythe’s face.
Speaking of “uncork,” as Forsythe lies on the floor, chuckling at the fanciful display of feeble combination punching just unleashed on his face, he very slowly begins to make a move for a corkscrew/wine opener!
As Forsythe hobbles to his feet, muttering an ominous “fuck you,” we enter the grand finale of our #5 Best Overkill sequence.
With one deft move, Seagal evades Forsyth’s lunge with the corkscrew/wine opener; and promptly jams that fucker into the fat fuck’s face:
Thus concludes our decidedly Seagal-ian overkill.
Oh yeah, it should also be noted that, moments after finally killing Forsythe, Seagal also takes the time to shoot the ever-loving-fuck out of the poor fattie’s dead body, ’cause you know; the plot.
August 22, 2010 • 9:57 PM 0
Though one would think that overkill would be commonplace among slasher films, in my experience; this is simply not the case.
Slasher movie kills tend to be gory and over the top, but rarely enacted in the prolonged manner that would suggest overkill.
That being said, while I have a decent background with slasher and horror flicks, I am no expert; so I would like to take this opportunity to apologize if my choice of overkill is not best example the genre has to offer.
All formalities and introductions aside, let’s get to overkill #8: Jason Voorhees killing the ever-living fuck out of a young man named Trey.
Now, what we have here, is the classic: “dude chilling in bed with a beer while his woman’s in the shower, only for Jason to show up and wreck his shit like no other.”
Okay, maybe it’s not a “classic” per se, but seriously man; Jason goes to town on this guy like he stole from him or some shit.
Let’s run a play-by-play:
Trey’s layin’ in bed, watchin’ the game; havin’ a Bud’, nothin’ special,
then outta’ fuckin’ nowhere, an exceptionally zombie-like and rotted to shit Jason FUCKIN’ Voorhees appears right in middle of his bedroom, lit by a conveniently timed thunderclap!
Gaping in horror at the modern spectre of walking -fucking-death looming over him, trademark machete at the ready; Trey does what any self-respecting man in his position would do:
First he screams like a little bitch,
and then rolls over onto his stomach.
Hang on, what?
Now, I don’t know what sort of kinky shit Trey and his girlfriend were into, but where I come from; turning your back to a machete, or any danger for that matter; is never a good idea.
It only serves to give those who may be wielding said machetes ideas as to where they could “insert” such instruments.
Thankfully Mr. Voorhees is not as creative as the Azn Badger, otherwise this overkill would probably have to be ranked #1.
No, instead, Jason decides to the go the more traditional route, and simply ram his machete up and down, repeatedly; into poor Trey’s back and spine like he’s playin’ “Jerk-Off the Elephant” on the mother fuckin’ Wii.
By my count, Mr. Voorhees rams that sucker into that that, uh, fucker, no less than 12 times.
To say that Jason gets a little carried away with the machete ass-rape is, of course, not doing this particular episode justice.
Cut to Trey’s girlfriend in the shower looking off in the distance, quizzically.
Somehow I doubt this particular lady even knows what the word “quizzical” means.
Anyway, after being impaled about a dozen times or so, Trey’s very likely recently expired form lies on the bed doing that which he undoubtedly valued most in life:
Holding a cold beer.
Seriously, for whatever reason; we’re given a random shot of Trey clutching a beer like it’s the fuckin’ Holy Grail or some shit.
Trey twitches for a bit, and it would seem the deed has been done.
With that, Mr. Voorhees plants his machete into the floor, and prepares to put the finishing touches on his masterpiece of overkill-ery…
Seriously man, HOLY FUCKING SHIT THAT WAS AWESOME!
Who the fuck knows why Jason had to do that to poor Trent, but count me among the people that are glad he did!
Honestly folks, that is the definition of overkill.
Doing the deed, but going the extra mile to make it something special.
Kind of like an extended session of two-player Elephant Jerk-Off on the Wii…
August 19, 2010 • 10:59 PM 4
*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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My eyes are trained son, ain’t no tricks out there my eyes can’t see…
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.
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.
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.
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:
That being said, Jet Li’s performance in the film is rather odd.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
July 31, 2010 • 5:15 PM 10
Well, here are the answers to yesterday’s (retarded) movie quiz:
#1. “The one where the bunny throws up and the hippo shoots everyone.”
Answer: Meet the Feebles.
I remember it was sometime when I was around 10 or 11 that I walked in on the ending sequence of Meet the Feebles.
You see, my brother and his friends had been going through their Quentin Tarantino/cult cinema phase of life for the past few years, so it was only natural that I’d walk in on them watching something fucked up at some point in time.
Anyway, the phrase I used to sum up the movie really is just about all I know of it, and will probably never forget for years to come.
#2. “The one where the alien jumps out of the guy’s chest.”
Answer: Alien (duh).
Come on now, we all know this one, right?
To be honest, I actually saw Aliens before the original Alien, and to this day I still like it better.
Man, what it would’ve been like to have seen Alien without knowing what was coming…
#3. “The one where the alien’s chest opens up and he pulls out a ray gun and kills everyone.”
Answer: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
To be fair, this one is pretty much impossible to get unless you read my post about E.T. awhile back.
In case you missed it, check it out HERE.
Anyway, this was how I knew E.T. until I was in my teens, ’cause up until then I never made it past the opening sequence to disprove my brother’s bullshit (yet oddly superior) description of the opening sequence.
#4. “The one where Godzilla bleeds (for the first time).”
Answer: Godzilla vs. Gigan.
Well now, this is one that is common knowledge to me, but might be a little bit obscure to others.
*Ahem!* Anyway, in case you didn’t know, (YOU SHOULD) Godzilla got his head cracked open as a result of multiple blows to the head from one of Gigan’s bladed hook arms.
Let’s hope those American film producers don’t fuck Godzilla up again in 2011, like they did back in 1998…
#5. “The one where the guy gets his head stepped on.”
Let me guess, you probably thought this one was American History X, am I right?
Well, fuck you, YOU’RE WRONG.
Bloodsport and Kickboxer were the elusive holy grail of R-rated movies for me when I was a little kid.
My brother and his friends talked them up all the time like they were the coolest, and most violent movies ever made.
Well, having seen both Van Damme movies about a billion times, I can honestly say that, while hardly violent by modern standards, both are in fact just as awesome as my brother thought they were way back when.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I remember overhearing my brother talk about this scene once or twice, and for some reason, that’s what I chose to know Bloodsport by for the first 11 or 12 years of my life.
Then I actually saw the movie, and now I simply know it as “The Greatest Thing in All of Existence.”
#6. “The one where Batman says, “Eat floor.””
Answer: Batman Returns.
Aw, come on!
Seriously, am I only motherfucker on the planet that remembers this!?
Oh yeah, and Happy Meal toys, lots and lots of Happy Meal toys…
Anyway, don’t ask me how, but I remember someone telling me that Batman was fighting Catwoman in the movie at one point, and he told her to “Eat floor.”
To this day, I still think that’s fucking awesome.
Only Keaton Batman could get away with saying something so juvenile and bland, and yet still be Batman in my eyes.
Definitely check this one out, ’cause he really says it, and it’s a fucking awesome movie regardless.
#7. “The one with the black rock.”
Answer: 2oo1: A Space Odyssey.
Yeah, I know, this one is just a little bit too vague to be considered a fair quiz question.
You remember the big black monolith that was one of the key elements of 2001?
Well, that’s the “black rock” that I was referring to.
All I knew of 2001 as a kid, was that there was a big, black rectangular “rock” somewhere in there, and that the movie was really fucking long.
To this day, I really don’t care much for 2001.
I guess you have to one of the cool kids to appreciate Kubrick.
#8. “The one with the train that goes too fast.”
Obviously, I labeled this one as a “trick” question because I knew no one would get it.
When I saw the commercials for Speed in the theater and on TV, for whatever fucking reason, all of the snippets taken from the train sequence at the end stuck out to me.
Take a look at this commericial:
The train sequence is like the last 15 minutes of the movie, but it’s featured in quite a bit of the trailer.
Regardless, I know that I was a retarded kid with a limited attention span, so I better not get any nasty comments over this…
Even though I remember Dennis Hopper talking about a bomb on a bus or some shit, my young mind latched onto those images of the train, and filed them away as the key components of the film in Azn Badger land.
I remember the day I actually got to sit down and watch the VHS of Speed, my dad asked me if I wanted to see it, and I said to him:
“Oh, the one on the train right?”
I remember him giving me one of those, “maybe I shouldn’t have fed him paint chips as a baby” looks, and then promptly corrected me.
Sadly, the amazingly awesome version of Speed that I crafted in my imagination, the one that took place on a train, was smashed that evening, only to be replaced by the amazingly awesome version that is the real Speed.
Anyway, hope you had fun with this, I sure as hell.
So many retarded childhood memories…