Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Remember When Vince Russo Ran WCW Into The Ground?

The above clip was a moment of wrestling history that I was not fortunate to have seen live, but one that affected me in my youth nonetheless.

Actually, it wasn’t really this moment specifically, but rather the era in which it took place in as a whole.

It was the year 2000, and the modern generation of WCW had pretty much run it’s course.

All through the 90’s, my brother and I had spent our Monday evenings clicking back and forth between WCW and the WWF, but by 2000; it became increasingly apparent that WCW was rapidly losing it’s audience.

Many reasons have been cited as to the cause of WCW’s demise, though most would agree that poor management and booking were chief among them.

Despite boasting an immensely talented roster of wrestlers that were often capable of outperforming the WWF stable, the most visible reasons WCW failed; at least to me, were the fact that the writing was vastly inferior, and there were far too many older, big name wrestlers that were being paid too much to do too little.

Seriously man, as much publicity and brand recognition as guys like Hulk Hogan can bring you, at the end of the day if they take the biggest paycheck and only wrestle once a month; it’s probably not gonna’ be worth your while to rely on them to sell your program.

That being said, one of the other commonly known elements of FAIL that contributed to WCW’s downfall, was a booker named Vince Russo.

Formerly in the WWF’s employ, Vince Russo is regarded as having been instrumental in the rise of the WWF during the Attitude Era with his chaotic and consumately MTV/Jerry Springer-style of writing.

Despite bringing the same “edginess” of his WWF writing to WCW, for whatever reason; it just didn’t work.

Under Russo, character arcs moved uncomfortably fast, titles changed frequently to the point of making them irrelevant, and to top it all off; David Arquette was given the opportunity to own the world title, however briefly.

To this day, I STILL don't know how he became famous...

For those keeping score, that last part is regarded as one of the darker moments in wrestling history.

Anyway, the clip above is from Bash at the Beach 2000 in which Jeff Jarrett lays down before Hulk Hogan, resulting in Hogan cussing out Russo and the WCW as a whole for their insolence.

From what I understand, this whole operation was basically a sloppy means to remove Hogan from the company due to his excessive  price tag.

It worked, but not without the instigation of a few FCC violations.

Apparently, Hogan refused to lose the aforementioned match against Jarrett, (I don’t blame him. Jeff Jarrett’s a piece of shit.) ordering a rewrite as per a creative control clause in his contract.

Anyway, after Hogan’s blow-up, Russo would surprise everyone by coming out and proceeding deliver his own profanity ridden, unscripted promo:

That’s what I call professionalism!

While Hulk Hogan did in fact get the boot from WCW, this silly wildly over-the-top gesture proved to be for naught, as WCW would end up folding within the next year.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Now, for something stupid:

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

The Worst Music Video I’ve Ever Seen

Music videos are a strange form of media.

Despite being essentially an expensive promotional tool for a band or song, music videos often have a reputation for being some of the most visually creative and bombastic examples of short films.

I used to joke that whenever you see a visually over-the-top film come out I.E. The Cell, The City of Lost Children, or The Crow; in most cases it’s been directed by someone with a background in music videos.

Either that or the French… Lord knows the French love fucking peoples brains with pretty pictures.

... Or really, really, REALLY, fucked up pictures.

Anyway, as any young medium tends to do, music videos didn’t start out as flashy or outrageous as they are today.

The earliest music videos the pre-MTV era were shot in largely static fashion, with very little in the way of props or creative imagery.

In most cases, it was enough to simply film the band playing, (only applicable if they played their own instruments.  Sorry Monkees.) and then maybe have a dancer or 2 prance around and mug for the camera.

The evolution of the medium of course came with advances in technology, increased budgets, and the burgeoning popularity of MTV, though as you’re about to find, not all video producers would take advantage of said advancements.

Which brings me to subject of “the worst music video I’ve ever seen.”

I spent some time (Read: 5 minutes) poking around on the Google looking for the worst music videos I could find, and surprisingly; I didn’t find a single mention of the one video I always felt was my personal worst.

Mostly I just found “bad” shit like this, a Finnish disco-esque tune called “I Want To Love You Tender”:

Truth be told, I fail to see how this is all that shitty.

Yeah, the dancers are more than a little out of sync, and yeah, the spaceship set has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the song; but in all honesty, I don’t see anything about this video that makes it extraordinarily bad.

Hell, maybe it’s just because I’m a disco kind of guy, (not gay) but I actually kind of like the tune of the song, crappy phonetic English included.

Besides, I ask you, how could a movie that features disco He-Man be the worst of all time!?

Anyway, the worst video I ever saw was aired on late-night MTV in the early 90’s, and I remember laughing at it with my friends all the time.

It was stupid to the point of being ridiculous, and to this day I don’t know how a production company actually arrived at the decision to shoot it, let alone have it be aired on national television.

Seriously man, I could have shot a better video than this drunk, and I’m allergic to alcohol.

And by “allergic,” I don’t mean itchy rash allergic.

I mean wrath of God, opening of The Ark of the Covenant allergic:

Pictured: The Azn Badger + A Beer.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the worst music video that I personally have ever seen, “The Plant Man”:

The song was regularly featured on the music video interludes on Beavis & Butthead, though oddly enough the 2 characters had little to say about the actual video.

My best guess is, the thing was so crappy that Mike Judge decided it would be best not to harp on it any further and just let it’s innate crappiness do the talking for him.

Looking at the singer, (Gary Young) and listening to the lyrics of the song, I can’t help but suspect that the guy was probably a street performer some producer brought into the studio on a whim ala Trading Places.

The man clearly has very little talent, and he certainly has no charisma, but oh well, I guess he was good enough for my friends and I to laugh at when we were in grade school.

Anyway, hopefully you all enjoyed this little stroll down memory lane.

I wanna’ say I did, but to be perfectly honest, this brought back some shitty memories… of shitty music videos.

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

Are We About To Enter The Age Of Board Game Movies?

Hollywood tends to move in trends.

Really, really, obvious and demeaning trends.

In a market where film studios routinely invest upwards of 100 million dollars on their high profile projects, it only makes sense that producers would display a preference to go with “whatever works.”

According to Michael Bay (and ONLY Michael Bay) this, is what "works."

This of course results in a lot of studios continually aping each other’s films from year to year in hopes of breaking even, or better yet; turning a profit.

In my lifetime alone, I can think of several trends in movies that have come and gone.

Naturally, I have compiled a brief list of said trends:

1. Old TV Show Adaptations

Pictured: One of my favorite films. Hands down.

The first genre trend I noticed, even as a child; was the slew of old TV show (and cartoon) adaptations of the 90’s.

The Brady Bunch, Dennis the Menace, McHale’s Navy, and The Flintstones movies all fell under this umbrella, among a handful of others.

It makes sense, given that Nick at Nite was in the process of becoming an established “thing” at the time; not to mention the fact that a number of the filmmakers of this era were likely of the age group that would’ve grown up watching a lot of the 60’s TV shows.

Y’know, shit like The Addam’s Family, George of the Jungle, The Fugitive, The Jackal, and Mission: Impossible.

While I can’t say who started actually this trend, or if it was even that profitable; it’s managed to stick around long enough to the point in which I doubt it will ever die.

TV shows will always be lovingly remembered by somebody, so as time goes by, it’s only natural that some poor deluded fool will pony up the money to make a movie of them in tribute.

Here’s hoping we don’t see a Seinfeld or Frasier movie 10 years from now.

2. Videogame Movies

Also known as, "Party of Five and Iron Chef Team-Up To Fight Terminator 2."

As with TV show adaptations, videogame movies were something that sprang up during the 90’s, smack dab in the middle of the Super NES era.

While it’s hard to call videogame movies a trend in the fullest sense of the word, it’s evident that they were intended to be one in the mid-90’s.

Following the release of the surprisingly decent Mortal Kombat, videogame movies were stuffed down throats our en masse.

Unfortunately, with releases like Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, and Street Fighter stinking up the theaters; the trend never really caught on as strongly as I’m guessing it was intended to.

You can thank Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and Wing Commander for putting the nail in the coffin of 90’s videogame movies:

Despite this, videogame culture has apparently grown exponentially over the years, leading to videogame movie adaptations becoming increasingly regular.

The movies stick suck some serious balls for the most part, but the point is; they have yet to reach a point where they are no longer profitable, and thus they continue to exist.

Truth be told, this “trend” is actually more symbolic of the birth of a new film genre as opposed to a trend, but oh well; it’s my blog.

Fuck you.

3. Comic Book Movies

SPIDER-MAN LOVES 'MERIKUh! WHY DON'T YOU LOVE 'MERIKUh!?

Comic book movies are, as THE INTERNET seems to want me to say; kind of a big deal.

While they’ve existed in one form or another for quite some time, it wasn’t until the release of Tim Burton’s Batman in ’89 that we really saw them become en vogue.

Richard Donner’s Superman doesn’t really count, as at the time, it was entirely in a league of it’s own; only serving to spawn weak-ass imitators as opposed to profitable blockbusters.

Anyway, Batman served to open the floodgates and give way to the release of countless comic book films, many of which were of course; Batman sequels.

In response to the angsty, MTV culture of the day, as well as the popularity of “less-than-mainstream” comics, movies like The Crow, Barb Wire, Tank Girl, Judge Dredd, The Mask, and Spawn were all cranked out in short order.

While the success of these movies (except for The Mask) was largely scatter-shot, the success of Blade in ’98 ushered in the Marvel dominated era of the 2000’s.

I kinda' miss the days when Wesley Snipes was cool... And not poor.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade or so, you’ve probably come to realize that Marvel is the flamboyant and insatiable whore of the comic book movie world.

The arrogant bastard that likes to prance about and shove his cock in your face and demand you tell him how amazingly massive it is.

*Ahem!* Not like I’ve ever had that happen to me or anything…

Routinely whoring out it’s intellectual properties from year to year, Marvel rode the success of X-Men and Spider-Man (and a string of critical failures) to take the film world by storm, largely through sheer volume of production.

In the 13 years since the release of Blade, Marvel has released a total of 25 major motion pictures, averaging nearly 3 films a year.

While it’s hard to call them rivals these days, (times have changed) DC manages to release, at best; 1 film a year.

The only difference is, DC films have a tendency to win Oscar nominations.

Well, except for maybe Jonah Hex… And Catwoman.

Catwoman: Protecting the World from Modesty and Cosmetics Moguls.

Anyway, for better or worse, strip-mining the previously established characters and events from comic books is kind of the thing to do for Hollywood producers in this day and age; and based on the record-breaking revenue gained from said movies, I’d say it’s what the audience is into as well.

Which brings me to the eerie prospect of a 4th trend in films that I would prefer not see come to pass.

Has anybody seen the trailer for Battleship yet?

If not, here yah’ go:

Some way, some how, they managed to get Liam Neeson to get on board the Battleship bandwagon, (I’m guessing it involved a free trip to Hawaii…) and in all honesty; I’m just plain confused by it all, aliens notwithstanding.

To my knowledge, Clue is the only other board game movie in existence at this point; and while that has kind of a cult following in some (seriously demented) parts of the world, Battleship just never really seemed like movie material in my mind.

To me, Battleship was always that one game my friend and I could never play without cheating.

Seriously man, after 5 minutes of calling out “Miss” to each other, inevitably someone would peek over the game, find a ship, and basically win the game.

Even the name “Battleship” doesn’t seem all that marketable to me.

It’s non-descript, it gives virtually zero indication of what to expect in the film outside of maybe a battle or 2 involving ships.

Oh well, goofy military shit is en vogue at the moment, so I’m guessing therein lies to the logic to the production house’s gambit.

The really puzzling part in all of this, is the fact that I recall hearing rumblings of a Monopoly movie being in the works.

I heard about the Battleship movie awhile back, but it wasn’t until I saw the trailer the other day that I truly realized they were actually going to make it.

What I mean to say is, I really hope Battleship doesn’t start a board game movie trend, ’cause I’ll tell yah’, I’m not an analyst, or anywhere near an expert in these matters; but if this shit comes to pass, we’ll be in for some epic-ly shitty over the next several years.

 

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thoughts On The Dead Island Trailer


For the past week or so, the gaming world has seemingly been up to it’s knees in news AKA dick-sucking festivals regarding the announcement trailer of a new videogame titled Dead Island.

Developed by the Polish studio, Techland; and incorporating first-person, open world play mechanics, married with some RPG elements, Dead Island is nothing if not an ambitious undertaking.

I suppose it’s also worth noting that the game has been in development for over 5 years at this point.

Curiously enough, a quick look at Techland’s portfolio of games reveals that the vast majority of their products were racing games, with notable exceptions being the first-person action/adventure games of the Chrome and Call of Juarez series.

While I haven’t played either of the Chrome games, from what I’ve read and been told, the Call of Juarez series has been consistently good, but unfortunately; not great.

That being said, I’m not here to speculate on how Dead Island will or won’t succeed, rather I’m just here to lend a few of my thoughts regarding it’s much hyped/publicized trailer.

In short, I found the trailer to be both clever, and technically impressive.

And this is coming from someone who regards zombie games/movies/TV shows/muffins as being overplayed these days.

Taking advantage of it’s brief running time, the trailer is effectively, and cleverly arranged in such a way as to reach out to it’s viewers on a visceral level in the form of showing us a dead kid, while playing out it’s content in ultra-smooth reverse motion.

While it might sound, um, “wrong” of me, I’ve always felt that kids should be fair game in movies.

Seriously man, nothing pisses me off more than watching a movie and getting that nagging feeling that some kid was spared getting his head torn off just because some producer or PR guy felt it would hurt ticket sales.

Thank you Feast, for killing a child. With considerable zeal, no less.

Tangents aside, my point is that the trailer does a good job of working from a short running, while managing to tell a very complete story despite itself.

Curiously enough, said story, that of a family going on an island vacation only to be killed by rampaging zombies; (or is that, be killed by rampaging zombies only to end up going on vacation?) feels largely familiar despite very likely being unique.

This most likely stems from visual and tonal similarities to other, pre-existing films.

Case in point, the theme of having an “innocent” child turn against her family as a result of becoming a zombie is something we’ve seen in many other zombie stories, most notably the original Night of the Living Dead, as well as the opening sequence of the Dawn of the Dead remake.

I know there are very likely a billion other zombie films that utilized this plot element, however I haven’t seen them, most likely won’t ever see them, and sure as hell don’t need you posting some fatty complaint about how I failed to represent them on this blog.

It’s not often I take opportunities to say “fuck you” to whoever might be reading this blog, however consider this my way of saying just that to all the zombie-whores/hipsters across the globe.

*Ahem!* All tangents aside, let’s get back to talking about stuff that reminds me of other stuff.

It’s a minor element, but the “found footage” segment at the end of the trailer seems to bears some resemblance to the closing moments of Cloverfield.

A quick Google search also reveals that some people believe the whole trailer bears some resemblance to a Coldplay music video as well, but at this point I’m done being an ass, so don’t expect me write about that, let alone even watch the fuckin’ Coldplay video to confirm the validity of said claim.

Coldplay and the Azn Badger…. Let’s just say they don’t mix…

Such resemblances to pre-existing shit throughout the trailer may in fact be intentional on the part of the production crew, however that doesn’t change the fact that I found the home video portion of the trailer to be more than a little extraneous.

I get it, they’re a family.

It’s sad that they’re dead.

You don’t have to spell it out for me.

On a side note, the minimalist piano score of the Dead Island trailer deserves just as much credit as it’s animators, as it manages to hit all the right notes, making for an experience that feels much more genuine than it likely should.

Make no mistake, the Azn Badger is not one to get emotional over a trailer for a fuckin’ zombie videogame, however I tip my hat to the production team, as despite the core concept of the game they were working from, they did a pretty swell job of balancing the fun and serious in this clip.

Did I really just use the word “swell” in a sentence?

Anyway, I think I’ve just about run out of steam on this one.

It’s a neat trailer, worth checking out if you’re into digital art, videogames, or *sigh,* zombies.

I don’t see why it’s success was deemed significant enough at this point to dictate a purchase of the Dead Island movie rights, long before the game has even debuted; however such is the arcane world of business and marketing.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

 

Filed under: Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Expendables Review

*SPOILER ALERT!* ZERO spoilers ahead in regards to plot details/major events, but most of the match-ups in the fight scenes are revealed below.

If you don’t wanna’ know who’s gonna’ be fighting who, stop reading NOW. *SPOILER ALERT!*

Let it be known, The Expendables is just about the most meat-head centric films I’ve ever seen.

Rest assured, The Expendables is all about suped-up cars, guns, tattoos, armbars, stupid one-liners, and one very gratuitous T&A shot.

Meat-heads of the world unite, the film that shall be your gospel has arrived.

ALL SHALL BOW BEFORE BROCK CHRIST!!!!

Despite my general disdain for the UFC crowd and their, how shall we say, “sensibilities;” I came away from The Expendables feeling pretty good about the whole experience.

The Expendables is, of course; a product of the master of facial paralysis himself, Sylvester Stallone.

Best caricature, EVER.

From what I remember, Stallone pounded out a script for The Expendables almost immediately after his previous film, Rambo; was proven to be a financial success.

The premise of the film is that of the “men on a mission” sub-genre of yore.

Think, The Dirty Dozen, or The Wild Bunch, or if you’re a total pussy; Ocean’s 11 (with guns).

Let me just say, The Wild Bunch is one of the best films I've ever seen.

Basically, the plot boils down to a group of heartless mercenaries being sent on a suicide mission to liberate a fictional South American nation, only to discover, through the beauty and courage of a lady freedom fighter; that they do in fact give a shit about something in this world besides money.

"You not EXPENDABLE Rambo!"

While this describes the plot for just about every film in the genre, the one major difference between Stallone’s version and the rest is, of course; the fact that the “heartless mercenaries” in his version, are all played by noteworthy “faces” of action cinema, past and present.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for some time, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews, and (unfortunately) Randy Couture all star alongside Sylvester Stallone to make up The Expendables.

"You got your peanut butter in my chocolate! Oh wait, this is a good thing..."

Not only that, but Eric Roberts, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and even former opponent of Jackie Chan, Gary Daniels; serve to round out the film’s cast of formidable villains.

That's right, THAT Gary Daniels...

Oh yeah, and Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the twin MMA Nogueira brothers, Antonio Rodrigo and Antonio Rogerio, all make single scene cameos.

On paper, this would make The Expendables just about the greatest action film ever conceived, right?


Just take a look at Stallone’s own Tango and Cash.

If only it had been a live-action adaptation of Lucky and Wild... Look it up, it's a sweet ass arcade game.

Sure, that movie had Stallone, and Kurt Russell AND Jack Palance to boot, but that doesn’t mean it was even remotely good.

No, The Expendables is not the greatest action movie ever, nor will it remembered alongside any of the true greats of the genre, but that doesn’t make it a bad movie.

On the contrary, I felt it was quite good for what it was.

While the script is utter crap, with most of the one-liners coming across as strained and almost painfully weak, like any good action movie the script is secondary to the action.


Thankfully much of the dialogue in the film is brief, although sometimes the “man speak” quotient can seem a bit overwhelming at times.

Seriously, everyone in the cast of this film make this guy seem straight-up femme:

Anyway, we’ve established that The Expendables, a dumb action movie; has a shitty plot and script.

It’s probably about time I got to talking about something we didn’t know, right?

Let’s talk about how The Expendables fared on the action front.

The action in The Expendables is quite good by modern standards.

It’s violent, chaotic, and often over-the-top, and after the awesomeness that was Rambo just 2 years ago, it’s just about everything I was hoping for in an American action film.

The gunplay is especially over-the-top, with terrific sound editing, and a wonderful sense of “oomph” that is rare among action films.

Trust me, from the first time someone is shot in this film, you know just what kind of movie you’ve gotten yourself into.

Kind of like saying, "From the moment Swayze layed down on the floor and stared longingly at Jennifer Grey, you KNEW what kind of movie you'd gotten yourself into."

Oh yeah, despite it being less brutal and gory than Rambo, the violence level is right up there in Steven Seagal territory in terms of blood-letting.

It should be noted however, that virtually all of the bullet hits are done, not with squibs, but through digital effects.

While this saddened me to some extent, as I figured that if anyone was going to do things “old-school,” it would be Stallone, admittedly it doesn’t do much to effect ones’ overall enjoyment of the film.

Yup, that's violent!

The cinematography in The Expendables is vaguely Greengrass/Bourne-esque throughout i.e. lots of intentional camera jitter, rapid-fire edits, and shakily framed shots, though personally I didn’t have a problem with this.

Bear in mind, I’ve been watching dumb action flicks from the cradle and on, so MTV style editing, and, well, MTV style camera work are nothing new to me.

I think a lot of my non-issue with the cinematography in The Expendables, stems from the fact that I’ve not just been watching action movies my whole life, but boxing, and kung fu movies.

My eyes are trained son, ain’t no tricks out there my eyes can’t see…

It's in the middle, dumbass...

I will say this though, the cinematography in all of the vehicle-based action sequences in The Expendables, is fucking atrocious, and downright frustrating to follow.

Outside of that though, my eyes are trained son…

While I hate to make such a big deal about this one point, I encountered several reviews, including one by a vlogger I happen to trust and admire, Noah Antwiler AKA Spoony, that took offense to the cinematography in this film, so I figure this particular argument deserves some special attention.

Google "special attention," and this is what you get: Red Panda cuteness...

The Expendables is a typical American military action flick.

While there are in fact a handful of protracted brawls between major players in the cast, (which we will get to in a minute) the vast majority of the action in the film is choreographed in such a way that death is dealt swiftly and often.

That is to say, there is not a whole lot of depth or drama to the choreography of the action, both armed and unarmed in The Expendables.

In fact, most of the shots of violence in the film are arranged in such a way that we really aren’t shown a whole of the detail in the various battles that are taking place, but rather just the deathblows in each engagement/exchange.

A movie where every hit is a fatality? Works for me...

Think of it as taking a highlight reel approach to editing a number of fight/action scenes together as opposed to putting a premium on drama or continuity.

The Expendables is a film that often has several skirmishes happening parallel to one another, a fact that necessitates overlap between most of the action in terms of editing, resulting in a film that simply cannot stop to do the proper dramatic justice to any one of said action set-pieces.

While I generally disapprove of editing multiple action scenes together, (see Cradle 2 the Grave and virtually every Michael Bay film ever made) I found the last 30 minutes of The Expendables to be a fine example of how to implement said technique effectively.

Yes, these 2 things go together like Jet Li and DMX. Oh wait...

This leads to most of the fights/gunfights seeming fragmented, and somewhat lacking in coherence, given that much of the cast in this film is past their physical prime, do you really think you’d want to see what these guys looked like without the help of the guy in the editing room?

Speaking of which, let’s take a moment to talk about the fighting element of The Expendables.

The Expendables had a number fight scenes in it, most notably Dolph Lundgren vs. Jet Li, Jason Statham and Jet Li vs. Gary Daniels, Stone Cold vs. Sylvester Stallone, and finally, Stone Cold vs. Randy Couture.

In order, here are my thoughts:

Dolph looked surprisingly spry despite his age.

Sure, the fight was edited to shit, and the framing was frustratingly “off” at times, but the sheer novelty of seeing fuckin’ Ivan Drago go toe-to-toe with Jet Li was enough to keep me engaged.

Dolph employed a fairly linear boxing/kickboxing fighting style of sorts, with most of his punches coming in at straight angles, and more importantly, in bunches.

While the drama of the fight is virtually non-existent, largely due to a few (intentionally) giggle-inducing beats, the scene was good for what it was:

A novelty.

That being said, Jet Li’s performance in the film is rather odd.

Oh wait, this wasn't "odd," this was just "shitty."

His character is legitimately funny throughout, and his physical presence is impressive, but sadly limited.

While industry great, Corey Yuen, is credited as a choreographer for Li’s scenes, sadly the pair isn’t given much screen time to deal with.

Despite this, Jet Li’s performance possesses the grace and flexibility he is known and loved for, though the rapid-edits have the side-effect of obscuring his speed.

Jason Statham’s performance was largely similar to that of Jet Li’s, in that he looked good, but with the “A to C” as opposed to “A, B, C” style of editing, we really couldn’t tell just how good he was.

Oh yes, he's good... NOT GAY.

Having worked with Corey Yuen before, in The Transporter; it’s no surprise that Statham’s movements and execution are pretty much spot on for the demands of his character.

Speaking of “execution,” his character, who displays a penchant for knives in his fighting style, allows Statham ample opportunity to wow with his close-quarters knife work.

Seriously, I haven’t been happy with any of Jason Statham’s performances, physical or otherwise, since the first Transporter movie, but his work in The Expendables, particularly when armed with knives, was downright impressive.

That’s a pretty big fuckin’ compliment coming from me.

ME.

Anyway, Jet Li and Jason Statham’s tandem battle with Gary Daniels was legitimately impressive in a brutal sort of way.

Bear in mind, at this point in the film, (which was easily the highlight of the whole thing for me) Stone Cold vs. Stallone, Gary Daniels vs. The Dudes from The One and War, and Randy Couture hiding behind a bunch of sandbags, are all happening simultaneously.

While it makes me sad to see a talent like Gary Daniels as criminally under-used as he was in The Expendables, I have to admit it was pretty neat to see him be on the receiving end of a martial arts double-team in a military action flick.

The reason I keep emphasizing the word military, is because it implies severity, life and death stakes.

When people fist fight in this movie, it’s not for honor, or glory, it’s simply to make the man standing before them stop breathing and get out of their way.

That being said, Gary Daniels fares about as well as any human would when faced with the prospect of taking on 2 men at once.

That is, unless you’re the Undertaker…

The fight is not so much a fight, as it is brutal beatdown, but like every Steven Seagal fight in existence has taught us, sometimes that’s a good thing.

Moving on, Stone Cold vs. Stallone was probably one of the most glorious “big man” fights I can recall in film history.

Think Matrix vs. Bennett in Commando, or Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Keith David in They Live, or failing that, Zangief vs. E. Honda in the live-action Street Fighter.

*GASP!* "You remember that!?"

With Stallone being over 60, and Stone Cold turning out truly horrendous fighting performances in The Condemned and Damage, I was expecting a sluggish bar room brawl of sorts, but color me surprised when this unbelievable masterpiece of beefy old-guy fighting cinema came rolling around the corner.

The choreography is sharp, with the punches being swung fiercely and often, and Stallone routinely busting out impressive takedowns, and, in particular; one hell of an agile flying armbar.

Yes, one of these.

In fact, my only gripe with this whole fight, is that, again; most of the drama is lost due to the highlight reel style editing.

More specifically, while Stallone’s takedowns and submission holds are impressive to behold in execution, unfortunately there really is no “why” in regards to his implementation of them.

In Flashpoint, Donnie Yen’s grappling and holds had a purpose in the choreography in that they smothered Collin Chou’s superior offense, and thusly turned the fight in his favor.

This man wouldn't do something simply for the sake of flash. No way...

Stallone’s grappling in The Expendables, is the equivalent to watching Jean-Claude Van Damme do a series of his famed slow-motion aerial kicks.

There’s really no practicality to it in the context of the fight, it’s just flash for the sake of flash.

Or in this case, Butt for the sake of Butt...

While it’s a minor gripe, seeing as this has already spiraled into a much more technical and in-depth review than I was initially expecting, I figured I should bring it up.

In one scene, Stallone managed to defy Father Time, and Stone Cold made a believer out of me in regards to his career as an action movie guy.

Which brings us to the last major sequence of manly fisticuffs in The Expendables, MMA legend Randy Couture vs. modern WWF legend, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

I’ll just say this:

This fight was made for UFC and wrestling fanboys, and no one else.

First search for "UFC fan," and I got just what I wanted. Thanks internet.

After the terrific spectacle that was, well, pretty much every other fight in this movie, it brought a tear to my eye to see the final brawl in the movie be such a let down.

Randy Couture should not be in movies.

More specifically, Randy Couture should not be in this movie.

Seriously, I’m not even hating on the UFC stuff right now.

I'm not. I swear...

Randy Couture, and more importantly, Randy Couture’s character, could have, and should have been excised from the script, as neither has much of anything to offer.

Regardless, Randy Couture, though a nice guy, and a terrific athlete, is a truly terrible actor, and barely adequate screen-fighter.

Throughout the movie we bear witness to Couture body-slamming and, well, fiercely body-slamming bad guys, sometimes with a mean expression on his face, usually without.

Pictured: Randy Couture's "mean face."

To say that the choreography given to Couture in this movie is limited is like saying Hulk Hogan’s repertoire of wrestling moves was limited.

It’s an indisputable fact.

That was 1 of 3 moves Hulk Hogan possessed over the years.

Personally, I preferred seeing Couture body-slamming people as opposed to, well, just about anything else he did in the movie.

Especially speaking.

Anyway, I don’t want to go into the details of Couture vs. Stone Cold, but I will say this:

It’s not half as good as Stallone’s fight, and Randy Couture is as stiff as mother fuckin’ Frankenstein.

And I'm not talkin' the Bobby D Frankenstein either...

Alright, well I’m officially spent.

I’ve honestly got more to say, but I’m starting to fade, so I think I’m gonna’ try to call it quits for tonight.

The Expendables was a good time, if mayhem, testosterone and explosions are what you’re looking for.

It’s not a classic in the making, but it’s definitely fun for what it is.

The script is ass, though Mickey Rourke manages to carve a soul into the film with one gut-wrenching scene of apparently improv-ed ACTING.

The gunplay is tops, with comparisons to Stallone’s own Rambo in terms of entertainment value,”oh shit” factor, and spillage of bodily fluids of the sanguine (look it up, dumbass) variety, being entirely warranted.

The fighting is difficult to follow for some, (not me) but surprisingly rewarding despite the relatively advanced ages of the majority of the performers.

In all, I had fun with The Expendables, and I’m pretty sure that was the point.

Have fun with The Expendables, ’cause if you can’t, then chances are you’re just being a dick and need to lighten up.

End Transmission

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