Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Time For Some Crappy Blu Ray Covers!

Pictured: A lazy ass cover.

It’s funny, as mediocre as I felt Cowboys and Aliens was as a film, I’m honestly surprised to see it hit the DVD stands with such hideous cover art.

Seriously man, the cover above represents one of the more lazy efforts I can recall for a major DVD release.

It’s got the obligatory orange and blue color contrast thing goin’ on, which shows at least some degree of competence/lack of originality on the part of the designer, but when you look at the individual elements with even the slightest attention to detail, it looks just plain ratty.

For one, all the major figures in the image are lit inconsistently, but more importantly, they’re blended together with little to no finesse.

It’s like they took a bunch of stock images from the film, through color filters over them, and slapped them together with no regard for how they might interact with one another.

Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what happened.

Anyway, let’s take a look at some other crappy DVD covers, shall we?

Pictured: The nasty-ass cover for the Rocky blu ray.

… Okay, now that’s just sad.

Not only do we have an inappropriately dark and brooding color palette and theme for THE GREATEST-FEEL GOOD SPORTS DRAMA OF ALL TIME, we also have a truly sad super imposed Stallone head atop a stock model body.

Honestly, I do crappy head swaps in Photoshop as a joke, so why the fuck did this guy get paid to do it, to ROCKY of all things?

Let’s move on to something worse before I throw a Rocky fanboy related fit, shall we?

Pictured: Crap in a shell case.

Ladies and gentleman, I believe we’ve found our cream of the crop.

Probably the funniest thing about this cover, besides it’s utter craptacularness I mean; is the fact that it represents a film that actually has quite a lot going for it in terms of visual aesthetics.

Seriously man, as “meh” as it might have been, Minority Report was one beautiful fucking movie.

From the excessive airbrushing of Action Cruise’s face, to the boring and plain-as-fuck layout, this is one hideous fucking cover.

Honestly, and I mean this in absolutely the most negative way possible; this cover looks like something from The Asylum films catalog.

It’s that fuckin’ bad.

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

I Want To See Real Steel, And I Don’t Care Who Knows It


A funny thing happened the past few times I went the theater with my friends.

Trailers for the robot boxing movie, Real Steel ran, and then I’d hear my buddies snicker and giggle at the preposterous nature of it.

The funny thing was, I didn’t agree with them.

Maybe it’s just because I grew up with Transformers and other such robot themed adventure stories, or the fact that I’m a lifelong boxing fan; but I looked at the trailers for Real Steel and saw a film that could be fun.

Well, fun for me anyway.

To me, I look at this as Rocky meets Robot Jox, which in itself was basically Rocky IV with robots.

God I loved that movie…

I’ve always said Robot Jox was a solid premise for a movie, and one that could actually use some attention from the Hollywood remake machine.

I look at Real Steel as not only my best chance to see that silly dream of mine actually come to fruition, but as a chance for me to see a fun boxing movie with killer CGI motion capture effects.

As my buddy told me, in a world where boxing is becoming increasingly irrelevant in the mainstream, you’ve gotta’ take what you can get, whether it be the mediocrity of Friday Night Fights or exploitative and hokey Hollywood dramas.

That being said, based purely on the trailers, I have a feeling Real Steel will likely have a bit more heart and substance to it than most people would expect from a robot fighting movie.

Alongside what I see as being an underdog tournament movie, it seems like the relationship between Hugh Jackman, his kid, and their robot will likely be the core of the film.

If any one of those plotlines ends up being at all worthwhile, I honestly can’t see the action being a letdown, which in my book adds up to a good time at the movies.

Then again, I’m heavily biased on account of my tendency to excuse crappy acting and plotting in exchange for good/great action.

That being said, I mentioned that I’m a huge fan of motion capture technology, right?

Well, I am.

As a fan of martial arts and sci-fi “suit acting,” my appreciation for the power of body language and mime is largely responsible for my love of film.

You see this shit? This shit's awesome. Don't let nobody tell you otherwise.

I look at motion capture as a natural evolution of “suit acting.”

It gives actors/stunt people the power to enter the intricate skin of a CGI character or thing and breath a sort of tangible life into them that mere computer wizardry and animation skills simply can’t.

That being said, while seeing movies like Avatar make use of a form of the technology to tell a story, my action/kung fu movie lover’s heart has always been more interested in seeing motion capture being used for a different, more entertaining purpose.

I’ve been waiting, and waiting for an extended exhibition of what motion capture can do when paired up with martial arts, and goddamnit, I see Real Steel as my best chance to see just that.

I’m excited for Real Steel, and I have been for a long time now.

That being said, even though I vowed I would never do it in my lifetime, this might have to be that one movie I have to go see alone…

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

The Top 10 Videogame Songs, #7


As indicated by the Best MAN article lovingly tucked away on this blog, it should come as no surprise that I’m a big fan of the Mega-est of Mega Men; Mega Man.

With the exception of some of the more obscure games in the franchise, namely that of Wily and Light’s Rock Board: That’s Paradise and the EXE and Star Force series; I’ve played and enjoyed the vast majority of Mega Man’s games.

Pictured: Monopoly, Mega Man-style.

A funny thing about Mega Man, is the fact that many of the spin-offs to the linear series are actually some of the better games in the entire franchise.

In example, the Mega Man X series is probably my favorite in the entire Mega Man continuity.

In terms of both art design and gameplay mechanics, I’ve always felt that the X series was a logical and welcome progression to the Mega Man games of old; such that I’ve actually found it somewhat difficult to go back to the basic “run and jump” style of the older games.

I like my dash, thank you...

On that note, today our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs takes us to a Mega Man series that represents a rare instance in videogames, that of the spin-off of a spin-off.

Said series is of course the uber-difficult but oh so rewarding Mega Man Zero series:

#7. Mega Man Zero 2 – Clover

Mega Man Zero 2 is probably my favorite entry in the Zero series, largely on the grounds that it’s gameplay, story, and features seemed the most cohesive and streamlined out of all of the games.

Taking place far in the future beyond the one depicted in the X series, Zero casts the player as the titular character of the same name that was introduced in the prior series.

The core gameplay between these 2 series wasn’t all that different, however Zero went the extra step of granting the player a number of new weapons and abilities, as well as a complex and customizable upgrade system.

As mentioned previously, the Zero series also went out of it’s way to significantly up the difficulty level, occasionally to obscene levels; but largely for the better.

The real star of the show of the Zero series, at least in my book; was the artistic design:

TALENT.

In terms of outstanding art design, there are few game series that can measure up to the Zero series in terms of creativity and colorfulness, as well as outright beauty.

I bought the Mega Man Zero art collection pretty much as soon as it became available, and to date it’s probably the most flipped through art book on my shelf.

While the visuals of Mega Man Zero were indeed a key selling point for me, I was surprised to find that, upon first picking up the series; the music was also quite good despite being played through a Gameboy Advance speaker.

On that note, “Clover” is kind of unique on this list, as it represents a song that actually is only featured in-game in an instrumental form, yet is included on the Mega Man Zero 2 soundtrack as an actual song.

While some would argue that this should disqualify the song for inclusion on this list, I stand by my decision on the grounds that it’s a awesome fucking song, and probably shouldn’t have been in the game given that it was featured in a Gameboy Advance game and likely would have sounded like shit being played through it’s tinny-ass speakers.

That being said, as was the case with “God Hand,” part of the overall appeal of “Clover” spawns not just from it’s quality as a song; but from the fact that it took some serious time and effort to gain access to.

The instrumental version of “Clover,” titled “Awakening Will,” serves as the ending theme of Mega Man Zero 2, and for my money; I think it was worth the effort:

As I made my way through the Mega Man Zero series, I made it a point to sit down and listen to the official soundtracks of each game in sequence, and I’ll never forget the time when I first had “Clover” play through my headphones.

Sure, there’s better pop songs out there, but much like “God Hand,” part of the appeal of “Clover” to me is the fact that I actually remember most of the lyrics.

As someone who still slips up on lyrics from “Eye of the Tiger,” despite having heard it 6 BILLION TIMES, I think it goes without saying that learning songs is not one of my strong suits.

I haven’t heard “Clover” all that many times, and yet for some reason the lyrics come quite naturally to me… Despite being sung in Japanese.

If that’s not an indication of a well written/catchy song, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, that was #7 on our list of the Top 10 Videogame Songs, check back tomorrow for more!

Filed under: Games, Top 10 Videogame Songs, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments: Runner-Ups

As with virtually any list I’ve put together for this blog, there were more than a few entries I regret not having found a place for.

I suppose I could’ve changed the list from a “Top 10” to a “Top 15,” however I think we can all agree that Top 15 just doesn’t have the same ring to it; hence my reasoning for cutting things down to 10.

Anyway, finishing the Top 10 Manliest Man Moments last night really whooped my ass something fierce, so in the interest of sparing my brain cells; I’m gonna’ try to keep this short.

That being said, without further ado I give you the Top 5 Runner-Up Man Moments:

#5. Tremors – The Wrong Goddamn Rec Room…

Few would deny that Tremors was an awesome movie.

While the franchise that would follow in it’s wake would ultimately be hit and miss at best, the original Tremors succeeded largely on the shoulders of it’s colorful cast of characters; not the least of which being Burt Gummer and his wife.

While Burt’s survivalist shtick never really made him out to be as MANLY a MANLY-MAN as some of the other characters on this list, his vast arsenal of weapons; and the child-like glee he exhibits at the thought of getting a chance to use them, are qualities that made him perhaps the MANLIEST MAN in the Tremors series.

In short, watching Burt and the missus put several hundred rounds into an extraordinarily ballsy Graboid as it tears it’s way into their underground bunker was a thrill that brought me great joy in my youth.

#4. The Killer – Mickey Mouse and Dumbo Have… A “Moment.”

Um..... Manly(?)

The Killer is John Woo’s best film, bar none.

The gunplay, while not as over-the-top and explosive as Hard-Boiled; is staged with a beauty and grace that few films can rival, not to mention the story and writing are probably the best Woo has ever had to work with.

While the action component of The Killer is ultimately what made it come to mind while compiling this MANLY list, in truth; the moment in the film that puts it among the runner-ups involves no violence whatsoever.

There’s a moment at the end of the film, during the church shootout; when Chow Yun Fat and Danny Lee have a truly bizarre, and mildly homoerotic “moment” as they exit the church.

Basically, some over-the-top and totally out of place MAN music starts blaring as our heroes strut through the doors in slow motion.

If that wasn’t MANLY enough, we then cut to close-ups of the 2 MEN cracking goofy-ass smiles, at which point we are treated to back-to-back awkward freeze frames of the 2 men.

It’s a weird sequence, and is indeed very much out of place given the circumstances; but in some mysterious way it just seems utterly MANLY to me…

#3. Independence Day – Russell Puts A Plane Up The Alien’s Assholes

This one’s a no-brainer.

Randy Quaid saved the world from the aliens by giving his life.

I would’ve put this one on the Top 10 proper, but the Whitmore Speech just seemed so much bigger to me.

In the interest of restricting myself to a “one moment per movie” rule, I felt it was wise to put Russell in with the runner-ups.

#2. Bloodsport – Frank Dux Makes Chong Li Smell His Feet

The only reason this one didn’t make the list is because Rocky IV basically did the same thing, only better.

In short:

I like Stallone better Van-Damme.

Apollo died, whereas Ogre only got a concussion.

The actual fight in Rocky IV was both choreographed and shot better.

Rocky Balboa fought for AMERIKUH and ENDED COMMUNISM, while Frank Dux won “honor” and a toy sword.

In my book, the finale of Rocky IV is definitely the MANLIER moment, though I love both films with about the same passion

#1. Yojimbo – 5 Seconds of Mayhem

(Note: The clip above isn’t the actual moment in question, rather it’s simply a compilation of awesome Mifune moments.)
As mentioned elsewhere on this list, Toshiro Mifune is pretty much the most awesome human being.

The man was pretty much a modern day samurai, not to mention the living embodiment of the MANLY ideal of Japanese MAN-DOM.

That being said, of all the awesome moments he had in his illustrious film career; I can think of no MANLIER a sequence than when he cut down virtually every major villain in Yojimbo in the space of a few seconds.

Utterly devoid of flash, and about as no-nonsense as you can get, this sequence stands as a testament to the SAVAGERY of advanced iaido techniques, and the paragon of pimp that is Toshiro Mifune.

Anyway, that’s all for the Azn Badger’s list of the Manliest Man Moments in movies.

Check back tomorrow for something not related to MANLINESS!

Filed under: Boxing, Movies, Top 10 Manliest Man Moments, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #4: Rocky Ends Communism


Yesterday we popped the cherry on the Top 5 of the Azn Badger’s Top 10 Manliest Man Moments list with a scene from a Godzilla movie.

That right there should tip you off to the fact that this list is very much my list of MANLY moments, and not just some cookie-cutter list for spoon-feeding to the masses.

That being said, our next moment comes courtesy of another one of my personal heroes, Sylvester Stallone.

Yeah, I made this. Damn proud of it too...

Now, as fucking awesome as Stallone movies can be, it’s common knowledge the majority of his filmography could be described as “hit and miss.”

When it comes to Stallone though, at the end of the day it all comes down to his 2 biggest characters and franchises:

Rocky and Rambo.

*GASP!* You mean Cobra wasn't one of Stallone's biggest hits!?

While I wouldn’t discover the MANLY majesty of the Rambo series until a bit later in life, the saga of Rocky Balboa was something I just couldn’t get enough of in my childhood.

Now, the character of Rocky Balboa might not be the cigar chomping paragon of MANLINESS that some of the other MEN on this list are, but make no mistake; Mr. Balboa is all that is MAN.

He’s the epitome of the classic underdog trope in cinema:

A big lovable retard with titanium MAN-BALLS of COURAGE, obsidian fists of AMERIKUHN JUSTICE, and a bionic heart pumped full of unflappable juices of MANHOOD.

ALL THAT IS MAN.

If all of that doesn’t spell AMERIKUHN HERO, I don’t know what does.

Over the course of his colorful 30+ year boxing career, Rocky Balboa did it all.

He fought and defeated the previously undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, after losing to him by a narrow margin in their previous bout:

... Then had a "moment" with him on the beach.

He defended his title several times, only to amazingly lose and regain it in stupendously entertaining back-to-back bouts with Mr. T:

Pictured: Mr. T taking one in the nuts.

He dumped a shit ton of his winnings into buying his brother-in-law a horny robot maid:

I don't wanna' know what goes on between these 2 after hours...

He avenged the death of his best friend by beating the ever-loving fuck out of the Dolph-inator himself, Dolph Lundgren:

And he even took the time to grow a pimp-ass beard!

He trained a rough-edged prospect to world championship status, only to later end up beating the shit out of said pupil in a random and highly illegal street fight:

Man, Tommy Morrison makes for one ugly fucking action figure..

And at the end of it all he ended his career by once again losing to a world champion half his age by a narrow split-decision:

... And succeeded in effectively ending Antonio Tarver's real-life boxing career.

Somewhere towards the middle of all this though, after buying the horny robot but before beating the piss out of his pupil; Rocky found time to do something truly MAN-great…

Something worthy of being ranked our 4th MANLIEST MAN moment in all of movies…

Something MANLIER than any mere boxing ring could contain…

Something…….. POLITICAL.

My greatest hope is that everyone reading this blog has seen Rocky IV, or failing that; at least knows the story of it.

Should anyone reading this blog not match any of these criteria, congratulations; you are both a pussy and a failure at life.

*ANYWAY* being as the beginning of Rocky IV deals with Rocky’s best buddy Apollo Creed getting killed in an exhibition match with the Swedish, I mean, COMMUNIST RUSSIAN death-machine Ivan Drago; naturally the final act of Rocky IV involves Mr. Balboa flying over to the USSR to pound some AMERIKUHN MAN JUSTICE into the giant Arian fuck’s face.

Unfortunately, unbeknowst to Rocky, Drago is packin’ the ‘roids; making the ensuing battle a clusterfuck of MANLY mayhem the likes of which the Eastern and Western world alike have never known:

CLICK FOR THE FIGHT

For nearly 15 rounds and nearly 10 minutes of screen time, Drago and Balboa slug it out; with Balboa falling to the mat no less than 7 times throughout.

Despite Drago out-landing Balboa about 10-to-1, someway, somehow; the Italian Stallion manages to power through the EPIC FIST-STORM of COMMUNIST RUSSIAN FACE-FUCKERY and do some damage of his own.

As evidenced by the announcer team making note of it just about every 30 seconds, the COMMUNIST RUSSIAN crowd seriously want Balboa’s nuts in their borscht.

Aw, how could anyone hate Rocky?

Also made apparent by the announcer team making note of it every 30 seconds though, is that part way through the fight, Balboa’s MAN-COURAGE in the ring is starts to win over the hearts and minds of the COMMUNIST RUSSIAN crowd.

Well okay then, I guess I'll have to take your word for it on that one.

At the end of the night, it all comes down to the 15th and final round, wherein Drago, is touched by the spirit of Rocky’s AMERIKUHN SPIRIT; turns his back on THE FUCKING POLITBURO, and says “Fuck it!” to fighting for the state in favor of fighting for MANLINESS.

Pictured: Russian Politics.

Despite possessing an incredible height and reach advantage, as well as being ahead on the scorecards by an absurd margin; Drago opts to fight the final round standing toe-to-toe with Balboa, thereby insuring his failure as a COMMUNIST MAN.

Sure enough, Balboa gets some good shots in downstairs, punches some WOMANLY MAN-tears out of Drago’s guts; and ends up flattening the big, Russian, Best-Friend Murderer in spectacular fashion.

The ref’s count reaches “10” and all the previously anti-AMERIKUHN RUSSIANS in the crowd rush into the ring and drape the triumphant Rocky Balboa in an AMERIKUHN FUCKING FLAG that, I guess they just happened to have on hand…

Such is the MANLY-POWER of Rocky.

He can travel to a HOSTILE nation, inexplicably defeat a physically superior opponent as a massive underdog, and then end up winning over the crowd to such a MANLY extent, that they KNIT AN AMERIKUHN FUCKING FLAG during the course of an hour long fight.

Amerikuhn hero or not, that has got to be one stinky-ass armpit...

Equally, uh, inexplicable; is the fact that, after trouncing their champion, the living symbol of their people’s achievements in physical conditioning; the COMMUNIST RUSSIANS offer the marble-mouthed Rocky Balboa the opportunity to voice his thoughts on the fight over the PA system.

Realizing the EPIC-NESS of the opportunity presented to him, Balboa digs deep within his recently brain-damaged mind, and summons an unrehearsed MAN-SPEECH of world-changing POLITICAL MAN-POWER:

In one night, Rocky Balboa won the most physically demanding fight of his life, and single-handedly ENDED COMMUNISM in the USSR.

Thus concludes our 4th MANLIEST MAN moment.

We’ve got 3 more to go folks, with all the EPIC MANLINESS being slung around here, it’s hard to say whether or not we’ll all survive the experience; but godddamnit I’m gonna’ give it my best shot to see it through to the end!

Check back tomorrow for MANLY MAN moment #3!

Filed under: Boxing, Movies, Tokusatsu, Top 10 Manliest Man Moments, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rocky IV: The Russian Edit

I dug a 4 foot deep hole in the ground yesterday.

It took several hours, and the air reeked of shit throughout the entire ordeal, but it had to be done so… I went ahead and did it.

Unsurprisingly, I’m a little sore today, and as such; I really don’t feel like writing today.

That being said, I stumbled across a fun little fake trailer for Rocky IV had it been screened in the USSR.

Check it out over at Cracked.com here:

LINK

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

Donaire vs. Montiel: Vengeance By Proxy

A funny thing happened way back in 2005.

You see, I’ve been a fan of boxing ever since the first time I watched Rocky with my old man; but up until 2005, there were no active Asian, or more specifically; Japanese fighters that caught my interest as being noteworthy in the sport.

Sure, Toshiaki Nishioka and Daisuke Naito were, and are pretty good fighters; but nothing about them ever seemed competitive on the world stage I.E. the elite level of the sport.

The simple fact of the matter is that boxing simply isn’t all that popular in Japan, nor do I believe the Japanese physiology is all that well-suited for the sport in the first place.

We’re short, we’ve got stubby limbs, we’ve got a reputation for being pillow-fisted, and we have a tendency to grope/fondle others in public.

Pictured: How we say "hello."

Bullshit aside, a major factor in the stunted progress of Japanese boxing, is the simple fact that the country is an island nation.

Combine the insane travel arrangements required to put fights together on Japanese soil between a foreigner and a national, with the public’s general lack of interest in the sport; and you have an equation that results in Japanese fighters rarely having the opportunity to test their mettle against the world’s best, nor having the in-house competition available to them to prepare them for said contests.

Needless to say, most of what I read (I never got to see an Asian boxer on TV until Manny Pacquiao’s HBO debut) about Japanese fighters consisted of Ring Magazine articles about them getting flattened by Mexicans, or worse yet, beaten by their countrymen in boring 12 round jab-fests.

For most of my life, hall of famers like Khaosai Galaxy, Gabriel Elorde, Pancho Villa, and Masahiko “Fighting” Harada would serve as my only “Azn Boxing Heroes.”

That all changed for me when I discovered the Kobe based bantamweight, Hozumi Hasegawa.

Not a handsome man by any standard, but a good fighter nonetheless...

Hasegawa first caught my attention when he dethroned long-reigning bantamweight champion, Veeraphol Sahaprom.

To put things in perspective, Sahaprom had held the bantamweight title since 1998, not to mention had fought Toshiaki Nishioka 4 times prior to this, drawing and decisioning Nishioka on every occasion.

While the man had the kind of bloated record that only Thai fighters can produce in this day and age, few could argue that Sahaprom was a stiff challenge to any bantamweight of the time.

Seriously though, only a Thai could be so audacious as to defend his world title against debuting fighters, or worse yet, 0-1 fighters; on multiple occasions no less.

Hasegawa’s victory over Sahaprom would serve as the first of many happy moments I would be proud to witness as a half-Japanese boxing fan.

Pictured: The face of a half-Japanese boxing fan. That's right, we do exist!

For the first time in my life, I had found a contemporary Japanese fighter that was not only winning consistently, but seemingly growing and improving with every bout.

The funny part was, aside from being left-handed, Hasegawa never really seemed all that different or special compared to other Japanese fighters.

For most of his career he was a defensive minded out-boxer with with quick yet economical hands, sharp straight punches, and a good eye for counter-punching.

He wasn’t a powerhouse, he wasn’t a physical specimen, he was just a good Japanese fighter that, for whatever reason; was on a helluva’ winning streak.

Following his victory over Sahaprom, Hasegawa would go on to win their rematch by TKO, as well as defend the bantamweight title more than any other Japanese fighter in history, all while amassing 7 KO’s, more than he had accrued in his entire career up until 2005.

Despite all of my apparent dick-sucking of Hasegawa, I feel it’s worth mentioning that there’s another little element to my hero worship of the man.

You see, way back when, my brother actually went to live in Kobe for a year.

While he was there, he joined a boxing gym headed by trainer Senrima Keitoku, the man who would one day go on to train Hozumi Hasegawa.

While it’s a loose connection at best, for whatever reason, it means something to me to know that the same goofy old Korean-Japanese that my brother told me used to cane fat kids in his gym, just happens to be same one that trained one of my personal sports heroes to world champion status.

Pictured: A pennant my brother back with him from Kobe.

Like I said, it’s hardly a connection, but to me it means something special.

Anyway, before I let things totally veer off into weird touchy/feely bullshit, I think it’s time we actually got down to addressing the subject heading of this post:

This evening, Filipino bantamweight superstar Nonito Donaire challenged stalwart Mexican champion Fernando Montiel.

This is called a "filler" image. It bears no purpose other than breaking up the text in an eye-pleasing fashion.

Coming into the bout, the 2 men represented the top-tier of the division.

While a bantamweight tournament is currently being hosted by Showtime, a tournament which both Donaire and Montiel were invited to participate in; both opted out in favor of fighting each other due to the general belief being that they were “above” the majority of the other participants in the first place.

It was one helluva’ big deal, and a bout that I was very much anticipating.

On paper, both fighters were quick-fisted and fleet of foot, with Donaire having a slight edge in both categories, while Montiel held the more intangible advantages of caginess, fundamentals, and; arguably, tenacity.

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the bout however, was the fact that both fighters were known to possess extraordinarily heavy hands for their weights.

Maybe not Carlos Zarate “heavy,” but heavy nonetheless.

Goofy 'stache or not, this man wrecked so many people's shit it wasn't even funny...

Despite all this, my interest in this bout came not as a result of their skill sets or attributes, but rather as a consequence of their previous in-ring achievements.

While Donaire had indeed caught my eye with with his revenge KO of his brother Glenn over Vic Darchinyan back in 2007, Montiel was the one that really got me invested in this match-up.

You see, Fernando Montiel actually fought Hozumi Hasegawa this past April.

While Hasegawa looked to be on the way to a comfortable points victory in the early goings, Montiel caught him on the point of the chin with a savage left hook.

Thoroughly knocked onto Queer Street, or rather; 2 blocks down the road onto the even queerer street that is “Queer Manor,” Hasegawa got hung up on the ropes and was brutalized for several seconds longer before the match was stopped, his titles were stripped from him, and his winning streak and reputation were sent down the shitter.

Despite how much I hate to watch it, here’s a clip:

Regardless of what Hasegawa’s gone on to accomplish, coming back to win a bout 2 weight classes North at featherweight and generally staying out of trouble; my heart sunk the day I saw the man utterly destroyed at the hands of Montiel.

While I would go on record saying I bore nothing but respect for Montiel, after all not that many Mexicans are willing to fly all the way out to Japan just to claim an alphabet title, I would be lying if I said I came into the Donaire/Montiel bout not hoping to see the man knocked silly.

Seriously, I wanted to see Montiel knocked the fuck out almost as much as I wanted to see Ricky Hatton get Pacquiao-ed in every fight he ever had.

Fortunately, tonight I had Nonito Donaire AKA “The Other Filipino” to sub in for tonight’s Pacquiao-ing of Montiel.

From the opening moments of the fight, it was quite clear that there was a palpable disparity in overall speed between Donaire and Montiel.

Both guys looked a little pensive, an expected consequence given both fighter’s punching power; however Montiel seemed almost too relaxed, holding his arms outstretched as if expecting to deflect the majority of the incoming punches.

Not exactly a sound tactic when the other guy is clearly the faster fighter.

Despite this, only about 2 punches of note were landed in the first round, a counter left hook to the chin, and a heavy body shot, both of which were landed, quite authoritatively I might add; by Donaire.

In 2nd (and final) round of the contest, Montiel rushed out the gate, landing a few decent shots here and there, and generally looking to set the pace of the fight.

Then, as if answering my prayers; Donaire flattened Montiel as I have seldom seem a fighter flattened.

Charging in and pressing the action, Montiel let loose with quick straight right hand, unaware of the monster left hook that Donaire had begun the process of uncorking just a millisecond earlier.

In short, Montiel landed his shot, and fairly cleanly at that; however in the process of doing so he overextended himself and quite literally ran chin-first into the sock full of quarters that is Nonito Donaire’s left fist.

Splayed out on the mat, eyes unseeing, and brain thoroughly checked at the front desk, Montiel rolled about like a turtle on it’s back, a very drunk and/or “special” turtle; for half of the referee’s count.

Like this, but on his back. And y'know, almost half-conscious.

Why the ref even bothered to count, or allowed Montiel to continue, even if it was only for a few seconds; is beyond me.

Despite my feelings leading up to the bout consisting of wanting to see Montiel punished, and my hero avenged; I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Fernando Montiel…

For about 2 minutes.

Seriously though, he’s a terrific fighter, that sadly doesn’t (and probably won’t) receive the press or fanfare that he likely deserves, but tonight, Nonito “The Master of the Revenge KO” Donaire was by far the better man.

Anyway, thus was the tale of the Azn Badger’s boxing hero, Hozumi Hasegawa; and his vengeance by proxy via the fists of Nonito Donaire.

Thanks for reading, I know it was long; but hopefully it was worth the trouble!

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Thoughts On Fight Night Champion Demo

So, I tried the new demo for Fight Night Champion on my PS3 yesterday.

For those that are unaware, I’ve written quite a few posts in anticipation of this game’s release.

Most of those posts were fairly critical of the new elements being introduced to the franchise, and sadly; today’s post will continue that trend.

The Fight Night Champion demo consists of a local and online head-to-head mode and several video featurettes detailing the new gameplay elements and graphical improvements.

For anyone whose been following any of the pre-release videos and articles regarding this game, the videos contained in the demo are exactly the same that have been used to promote the game thus far, so you may as well skip ’em.

Anyway, let’s get to the important stuff, namely the actual gameplay of the demo.

The local version of the demo (I haven’t tried online) comes with 4 fighters at 2 different weight classes, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson at heavyweight, and Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao at welterweight.

 

Not what I'd call the most even of matches for a demo...

If I may diverge for a moment, I feel a need to rant about stats in boxing games.

I think it’s kind of funny that they listed Manny Pacquiao’s stats as being 93 overall, making him on par with Muhammad Ali.

While I don’t doubt that Pacquiao will find his way into Canastota (the boxing hall of fame, dumbass) in the near future, and will likely be regarded as a top 100 of all time fighter, the very notion of stats in a boxing game kind of irks me, largely because a few nasty experiences I had in fighting opponents with vastly superior stats (read: BROKEN) in online matches in Fight Night 3 and 4.

 

Then again, I was playing as this guy most of the time...

If attributes were guaranteed to carry fighters to great success, as they typically do in videogames; then guys like Edison Miranda, John “The Beast” Mugabi, or Zab Judah would be all-time greats.

Just so we’re clear, those guys aren’t not ever will be anything more than “good” in the sport of boxing.

Muhammad Ali was solid in every category of physical capability that a fighter should be, with his durability, speed, and stamina serving as the foundation for his game; however the factors that put him over the edge, were intangibles like his unfaltering tenacity, ring intelligence, and heart.

Now watch, EA will go ahead and introduce a “ring intelligence” stat in the next Fight Night just to shut up dumbfucks like me.

Bullshit ramblings aside, while I took the time to play as all 4 fighters, I spent the majority of my time playing as Miguel Cotto against Manny Pacquiao, largely because I felt playing with a stat advantage would cloud my perception of the game.

I suppose it also helps that I like Miguel Cotto.

Anyway, from a presentation standpoint; the game is pretty impressive.

The fighters bear a closer likeness to their real-life counterparts, and the entrance animations are far more organic than in previous entries in the series, which had the fighters looking and moving in a very bland an generic fashion.

*Whew!* At leas it was never that bad…

In all, the most striking graphical change in the somewhat fuzzy, washed-out filtered look that the game sports.

Fight Night 4, and indeed many of EA’s recent sports games like MMA or Madden, have sported kind of a sterile/Walmart-y, plastic-y look to them that had all the human characters looking like Ken dolls.

Doesn't it look weird?

The texture work in Fight Night Champion seems more realistic, with pores, imperfections, and muscle definition appearing more realistic overall.

In-game, the default camera angle is a little annoying, with the fighter’s heads being too close to the top of the screen, and the ring ropes often obscuring some of the action; however this is an option that is changeable, so I can’t complain too much.

Despite the graphics looking nice, from a gameplay standpoint; the framerate seems a little out of whack.

Maybe it’s just the demo, but Fight Night Champion felt a little choppy to me.

It’s not that it felt slow, on the contrary it felt faster in some ways; it’s just that the game didn’t seem as “crisp.”

The delay time from controller input to on-screen action is a little more pronounced than in previous Fight Nights, and the motion blur effect is taken to near ridiculous heights, with Manny Pacquiao’s white gloves turning into white smudges any time any sort of action occurs.

Speaking of “action,” Fight Night Champion makes use of a brand new control scheme dubbed the “Full Spectrum Punch Control” system.

The new system consists of flicking the right analog stick to execute all of the punches in your repertoire as opposed to miming them with the analog stick.

Truth be told, I don’t like the new system.

Flicking the analog stick is probably more efficient, however the end result is a gameplay mechanic that is simply too sensitive for it’s own good.

Think about it, if you move the stick just a little bit off, you’ll end up doing something completely different from what you intended.

Not only that, but when you factor in the delay between action to implementation in-game; you end up with a game with an overly sensitive control scheme that queues your fuck-ups and plays them out well after you made them.

Seriously, if you have this demo, try spinning the analog stick for a second so you can watch the game play itself.

Moving on, guarding is now mapped to a shoulder button, resulting in all blocking being executed automatically, with no additional inputs required to guard high or low.

As with the punch control, this system reeks of someone thinking it would be a good idea to “streamline” the gameplay mechanics.

As with the punches, I feel that this was a big mistake.

Maybe I like being able to block high or low.

Maybe I like the idea of being able to lay traps for my opponents by aiming high with weak shots, and then going low with heavy ones.

 

Gatti vs. Dorin: Kick-Ass Bodyshot For The Ages

Honestly, why would EA think it would be a good idea to remove this?

For the time being, my overall impression of Fight Night Champion is mostly a negative one.

While Fight Night 4 was a little bit too hyperactive to be considered an accurate boxing simulation, the gameplay mechanics were solid and responsive, but moreover; it was  fun.

Fight Night Champion looks great, but the choppy framerate coupled with simultaneously overly and inadequately responsive gameplay; results in a product that if you ask me, could probably use a little bit more development time.

Either that, or less Canadians at the helm of the game’s development team:

Seriously, that guy was hella’ Canuck…

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

If you disagree with me, please leave a comment, I’d love to hear other’s thoughts on this.

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Thoughts On The Fight Night Champion Roster

Last night I visited the wikipedia entry for EA’s upcoming Fight Night Champion boxing videogame.

As an avid follower (and critic) of the series since it’s inception, I found myself looking through the page taking in all the little tidbits of anticipated gameplay features.

While the “darker” (translations from gamerspeak: bloodier, more profane, and possible T&A) tone of the game does little to peak my interest, in fact if they push it too far I might view it as a detriment to the sport and my enjoyment of the game; my greatest hope is that EA takes the time to improve their character creation system, as it was truly ass in Fight Night 4.

Unfortunately, most of the gameplay and features of Champion are still very hush hush at the moment; so there’s not a whole lot to be said about it.

One thing that I noticed though, was that most of, if not the entire roster of real life fighters included in the game has already been released.

Boxing enthusiast/fan/walking encyclopedia that I am, I feel it is my duty to go through this list, fighter by fighter; and scrutinize the fuck out of it.

Below are my thoughts on some of the fighters that stuck out to me as being weak additions:

Tommy Morrison:

"YOU AND ME TOMMY, WE WAS LIKE THIS! AND YOU BLEW IT TOMMY! YOU BLEW IT!!!"

Though he was featured in the previous Fight Night, I’m still puzzled as to why he was selected to be in the game.

Honestly, as far as accomplishments go, the coolest thing Tommy Morrison ever did in my book was almost get decapitated by Ray Mercer in one of the nastiest knockouts I can recall.

Other than that, he was white heavyweight with a good punch and poor stamina, he came a few rounds away from getting steamrolled by George Foreman, he was in Rocky V, and oh yeah, he was a white heavyweight.

If we’re gonna’ play the race card, personally I’d have rather seen Baby Joe Mesi get thrown in there…

At least that would’ve made me laugh.

Seriously, Tommy Gunn or not, Morrison just doesn’t cut it for me.

Cristobal Arreola and Eddie Chambers:

Man, heavyweights are fat these days...

I list both of these guys together, because they’re on my naughty list for the same reason.

That reason being the Klitschko brothers.

Not long ago, both of these guys were quickly climbing the ranks and looking good doing it.

Then they each met a Klitschko, and each had a big fat Ukranian dump squatted out on their reputation.

Of the 2, I feel that Chambers has fared better since then, largely because he hasn’t lost since then, (truth be told he hasn’t fought, but it’s better than going on to mangled by Tomasz Adamek like Arreola was) and because he conditioning has actually showed improvement over the years, unlike Arreola who just seems to keep getting fatter.

 

Aw... I made the fattie cry.

While both guys are decent fighters, this is just a case of bad timing for EA.

Butterbean:

On the strength of this photo alone, Butterbean is now officially "awesome."

Outside of the novelty, name recognition, and an opportunity to show off realistic fat jiggle physics, why the fuck does Butterbean deserve to be in this game?

Oh well, chances are I’ll end up beating his ass to relieve stress, kind of like I used to do with Ricky Hatton in the previous Fight Nights…

Joe Calzaghe and Chad Dawson:

Let’s get one thing straight, both of these guys deserve to be in this game.

As much as I hate Calzaghe as a person, and as a home-turf fighter; the man has a laundry list of accomplishments in the sport, and I tip my hat to him.

The only problem is, all of those accomplishments were achieved in the Super Middleweight class, not Light Heavyweight.

It may not be that big a deal to the people over at EA, but I feel that including the intermediary weight classes (the supers and juniors) is necessary both to pay the proper respect to the various real-life fighters in the game, as well as to balance out the roster.

That being said, having just 2 guys that never even came close to fighting each other listed for a weight class is just plain stupid.

Not only that, as with the case of Arreola and Chambers, Dawson recently went from being regarded as the guy at 175 lbs., to becoming somewhat of enigma overnight.

Truth be told, I’d rather see a legend like Matthew Saad Muhammad, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, or hell, Michael fucking Spinks featured at Light Heavy, but if EA wanted to “please” us with a contemporary fighter (nobody gives a shit about Light Heavy since the glory days of Roy Jones) then I guess they got their wish.

Carlos Monzon:


Another fighter featured in the previous game, Carlos Monzon is somewhat of an oddity in the cast.

Most likely unknown to most casual boxing fans, especially younger ones, Carlos Monzon was one of the greatest, and longest reigning Middleweight champs of all time, however there’s a catch to that accomplishment.

Monzon was a champion that really didn’t fight that many truly great fighters.

Sure, he bested Nino Benvenuti, Emile Griffith, and Jose Napoles; but who the fuck other than myself and the old guys down at the barbershop knows 2 out of 3 of those guys?

Other than the opportunity to put Monzon head to head with his successor, Marvelous Marvin Hagler; I don’t really see why Monzon is in the game.

I’d have put Tony Zale and Rocky Graziano in instead, but that’s just me…

Jermain Taylor and Danny Jacobs:


Let’s just call this bad timing and call it a day, shall we?

Seriously, Jermain = Damaged Goods.  Danny Jacobs = Overrated.  ‘Nuff said.

Anthony Mundine:

"And next week I'm gonna' fight a paraplegic cancer patient! That'll put the naysayers to rest!"

Anthony Mundine was in the previous Fight Night, and my reaction to his presence hasn’t changed since.

Mundine is a decent fighter, but he’s been fighting tomato cans for too long now, and he’s barely relevant outside of his native Australia anymore.

“Wow, Fight Night must sell well in Australia, ’cause other than that, I absolutely cannot justify why anyone would ever want to put Anthony Mundine in a videogame.”

That’s what I feel on the matter, and I’m sticking to my guns.

The problem with that, is the fact there are so many great Australian fighters out there to choose from.

While I’m aware of the inherent licensing difficulties that come with dealing with real-life sports figures, I would’ve loved to have seen Jeff Fenech, or Lionel Rose, or hell, if they wanted another fairly contemporary fighter, I would’ve been happy to have seen Paul Briggs or Kostya Tszyu in there.

But no, instead we get Anthony fucking Mundine…

Peter Manfredo Jr. and Sergio Mora:


Okay, I am officially getting tired of seeing Contender alum in the sport of boxing.

Jesse Brinkley had a decent run, until being dismantled by Lucian Bute recently that is, Cornelius Bundrage recently snagged himself a world title strap from an aging Cory Spinks , and, uh, Alfonso Gomez bleeds a lot… And, fuck it, y’know what?

I’m done trying to talk up the Contender guys!

Bottom line:

Sergio Mora was a poor addition to the previous game, and Peter Manfredo is an even worse one to this one.

Put ’em together, and you get 2 piles of ass occupying 2 slots in historically one of the most prestigious weight classes in the sport.

Good job EA, way to take the money and run…

Diego Corrales:


Let me just start off by saying, Diego; rest in peace.

Corrales was always amazing to watch, but his ever-present status in the Fight Night roster has always felt odd to me.

While the man was indeed talented, it was the fights in his career, not his skills; that carved his place in history.

The man will forever be remembered as the man that made Floyd Mayweather’s reputation, the man that gave Joel Casamayor fits, and the man that ultimately gave everything he had to defeat Juan Luis Castillo in one of history’s greatest bouts.

That being said, while I would never say that including Corrales is a bad thing, I feel it’s foolish if none of the aforementioned fighters are included in the roster as well.

Seriously man, it should be a rule of thumb to include at least 1 real-life former opponent for every fighter in the roster.

Maybe it’s just me, but I get a lot of enjoyment out of playing out real-life matchups in my boxing games.

Vinnie Pazienza:


First things first, I refuse to call him “Vinnie Paz.”

His name is Vinnie Pazienza in my book, and that it shall remain.

Moving on, I know he’s got one hell of a devoted fan club, but what the fuck man?

Sure, he beat a bloated and washed up Roberto Duran, and he got flattened by Roy Jones, but other than the appeal of getting a chance to reverse/replay those matchups, who the fuck gives a shit about Vinnie Paz anymore.

EA could’ve at least included Greg Haugen or Ray Mancini, y’know; good fighters that fought Vinnie Pazienza at a point in his career when it mattered, but oh well, he was in the previous one, and now he’s back again.

Whoop-dee-fuckin’-doo…

Closing Thoughts:

I’ve got other complaints with the roster, but I’m tired so I’m gonna’ call it quits here.

The only other thing I feel I need to say, is that I object to the inclusion of the Junior Welterweight and Flyweight classes.

The former because it’s a random weight class to include, being as there’s so much real-life talent in it at the moment, but only 2 fighters in the game for it, and the latter because there’s only 1 fighter to represent the weight.

Why is Junior Welter the only intermediary weight class included besides Light Heavy?

It just doesn’t make sense to include those 2, but none of the others.

Not only that, but of all the fighters to include at that weight, why Emmanuel Augustus and Victor Ortiz?

Sure, both guys are fairly popular, but they’re not at all connected to one another, nor are they all that good compared to some of the other talents floating around out there.

On the same note, Timothy Bradley should be moved down to Junior Welter, as that’s definitely his proper weight.

As I mentioned earlier, no fighter should ever be listed without at least 1 other fighter that has fought/will fight them, and to have only 1 guy for a weight is just plain ludicrous, especially when Fernando Montiel and Nonito Donaire are so close to having their superfight… At Bantamweight.

Good job placing Nonito in the right weight class EA, really shows you’re paying attention.

Oh yeah, it’s dumb, but I feel it needs to be said that now that Fernando Vargas is in the roster, we really need to get Felix Trinidad in there.

Jus’ sayin’ is all…


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Holy Schnikes! 25,000 Hits!

Quite possibly the finest image I've ever produced...

Greetings true believers!

Yesterday was the first day I invited a guest contributor to post on this blog.

Yesterday was also the first day my blog ever scored more than 450 hits.

Not only that, today the Azn Badger’s blog was fortunate to score over 3,000 hits.

… So am I to understand that my blog’s best days are the one’s in which the Azn Badger let’s someone else do the writing?

Ouch.

… Nah, I’m just Joshin’ yah’, I’m happy as a clam!

Thank you Mencius, for you contribution, and more importantly; your promotional efforts.

The success of this blog would be 3,000 something hits less without you.

Anyway, hope you like my Stallone/Ultimate Warrior mural.

I assure you, it was crafted with pure love.

Oh yeah, and Photoshop…

I’m not about to make any promises for what the future holds for this blog, (I learned my lesson about 15,000 hits ago…) however I will say that a potential podcast is definitely in the works, as well as maybe a stupid homemade action movie or 2!

That being said, thank you for your readership, expect more fun and insanity in the days to come.

Until tomorrow folks!

Excelsior!

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