Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Remember That One Time Rikishi “Did It For Dah’ Rock”?

Oh, how I long for the days when wrestling was still fun.

These days it seems like the WWF is more interested in plugging it’s seemingly endless supply of Twitter feeds than it is the art of pro wrestling, steel chair shots, and vehicular assault…

Oh well, as they say:

Back in the early 2000’s, the WWF made the somewhat bold decision to push the previously semi-mute Rikishi.

Originally Fatu of the Headshrinkers back in early 90’s, Rikishi’s path through the WWF saw him play a number of stereotypical heel characters ranging from Samoan to Middle Eastern, however it wasn’t until the early 2000’s that he would gain a significant following.

Joining forces with the Backstreet Boys inspired tag team Too Cool, Rikishi gained popularity largely due to his surprisingly fleet-footed dance moves involved in the crew’s victory dances.

Somewhere down the line though, Rikishi began to eclipse the popularity of Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty, (yes, those were in fact their names) resulting in him distancing himself from the group and being given the privilege to speak on the mic every now and again.

In a shocking heel turn, it would later be revealed that at Survivor Series ’99, Rikishi had run Stone Cold Steve Austin over with a car.

Boldly playing the race card, this story angle would involve Rikishi lashing out at the WWF backstage politics, alluding to the ongoing tendency of Samoan wrestlers to be cast as mid-tier “monsters” while white performers enjoyed the spotlight.

While many could look at this storyline as being silly and over the top, it’s impossible to deny the historical truth of his statements.

Probably the most entertaining thing to come out of this incident, (well, besides the whole vehicular assault thing) was the moment when Rikishi confesses to having “done it, for dah’ Rock.”

You see, Rikishi and The Rock, along with most of the Samoans on the planet, are actually cousins in real life.

Playing up this angle, Rikishi was revealed to have hit Stone Cold with the car as a means of bolstering The Rock’s popularity, and putting a fellow Samoan in power.

While I actually didn’t mind this angle all that much, given the fact that nearly a year passed between the time when Stone Cold was hit, and the time they actually revealed who the perpetrator was, it’s more than likely that the behind the scenes writers put the whole thing together out of desperation or lack of ideas.

That being said, at the very least, this whole incident provided The Rock with a shit ton of material for promos and smack talking.

To this day, “I did it, for dah’ Rock.  I did it, for dah’ people” forever sticks in my mind as one of the funnier things The Rock’s ever said, as well as perhaps my fondest memory of Rikishi as a character.

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

Remember When Stone Cold Started Saying “What?”

It’s funny, as much as I’ve loved watching the WWF over the years, particularly in my youth; I can actually pinpoint a few fairly specific elements/events that lead to me completely turning my back on wrestling for nearly a decade.

First and foremost, was the general dearth of quality talent in the mid-2000’s.

Both The Rock and Austin had just left the company, and while guys like Chris Jericho, Triple H, Kurt Angle, and, *sigh* Brock Lesnar did what they could to carry the torch, the void left by the 2 legends was just too damn big.

Moreover, by this point the WCW and ECW guys had fully integrated into the roster by this point, resulting in much of the hype and mystique surrounding some of them giving way to the reality of their somewhat eroded in-ring ability.

In short, when the big 2 left, I stopped tuning in for the whole show, instead checking in just to catch the main events from week to week.

Next, was the fact that the quality of the storylines were beginning to flounder at times with atrocious bullshit like the “Katie Vick Incident” becoming increasingly commonplace.

It’s a long story, but in case you’re wondering, the “Katie Vick” storyline involved Kane accidentally killing his girlfriend in a car crash years back, resulting in Triple H mocking her memory by… Dressing up like Kane and fucking a mannequin:

Like I said, long fuckin’ story.

Not worth going into.

Finally, and I might be alone on this one, I feel like the nail in the coffin for my relationship with wrestling in the early 2000’s just might have been Stone Cold’s adoption of “What?” as his new catchphrase.

Listening to Stone Cold, be reduced to a mic toting clown and stumble his way through his promos every week, shouting “WHAT?” at random intervals, was more than a little annoying.

Truth be told, I was never really a diehard Stone Cold fan, largley because he often feuded with The Rock; who I actually was a diehard fan of.

I always “liked” Austin, but he was always 2nd or 3rd banana to The Rock in my book.

That being said, Austin’s “What?” catchphrase was absolutely maddening to behold.

Not only was he not nearly as funny as I think he was expected to be, but to hear the crowd shout “What?” at every pause, in every promo, often times out of synch with the man himself, or worse yet; during promos that he was neither a part of nor mentioned in, was one of the most annoying weekly occurrences I can recall in wrestling.

Well, outside of watching X-Pac do his Bronco Buster twice a fuckin’ night…

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

Remember That One Time Arnold Schwarzenegger Bitch-Slapped Triple H?

It’s funny, unlike a lot of other moments in wrestling that have graced this page, I honestly can’t recall the context of this clip.

Based on the physical conditioning of both Arnold and the wrestlers, I’d say this happened in the early 2000’s, meaning Arnold was likely there to promote End of Days, The 6th Day, or maybe even Collateral Damage.

In any case, as is the norm during guest appearances on wrestling, Arnold got a chance to bust a head or 2.

That being said, in an odd triple-threat match between the waste of flesh known as Test, The Rock, and Triple H, Arnold apparently had an axe to grind with Triple H.

Why he decided Test was less deserving of his wrath than Triple H is entirely beyond me, as we all know Test was a sack of fuck who’s talent consisted of being tall, Canadian and, uh, blond.

... And apparently he's also dead. Sorry, Test fans!

Anyway, during the match Arnold attempts to do commentary on the proceedings, only managing to sound like a drunk Austrian gorilla in the process.

See below for example of said rantings:

At some point, Arnold finds that the carnage and brutality of the in-ring antics is not up to his MANLY standards, causing him to throw a steel chair into the ring; seemingly just for shits and giggles.

I suppose you could make a case for Arnold having intended for Stone Cold (the guest referee) to use to the chair, but I choose not to believe that.

I prefer my Arnold sadistic and douchey.

DOING IT WRONG.

Following several chair shots and much mayhem and chaos, Triple H approaches the announcer’s table and takes a swing at Arnold!

Using his awesome skills in the field of, uh, leaning away from punches 5 seconds before their thrown, Arnold then proceeds to counter with the mightiest of MANLY strikes, a BITCH SLAP across Triple H’s bearded face!

Belting the master of “Suck It” to the floor, Arnold then proceeds to mount Triple H’s chest and punch his ass into submission.

Most celebrity guests on wrestling are lucky to get in a punch, let alone a sloppy tackle, but Arnold being Arnold, he got a chair shot by proxy, a bitch slap, and a whole mess of punches.

I love it…

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

Remember When Stone Cold Stunned The Entire McMahon Clan?

This was a classic wrestling moment of the modern age that I’m very proud to say I got to see when it first aired.

At this point in time, Steve Austin was basically on his way out of the wrestling industry, such that this moment could be seen as one of his numerous last hurrahs in the WWF.

Stone Cold was a pivotal, if not the pivotal figure in the birth and ascension of the Attitude Era of wrestling that I was raised on, however in all honesty; he was never really a favorite of mine.

I liked his swagger and I admired his wrestling ability, however my allegiance to The Rock, a man whom Austin frequently feuded with; has basically been unwavering since day one.

Like I said, Austin was great for the organization, and a terrific wrestler to boot; but for whatever reason he just never appealed to me as much as some of the other guys out there.

I suppose it didn’t help when the guy adopted “WHAT!?”, perhaps the single most annoying and persistent catch phrase I can recall in recent memory; as his calling card.

Despite whatever problems I might have with Austin, I still watch his shitty direct to video movies out of principle.

I have a weakness for shit-ily titled movies starring former pro-wrestlers.

The clip at the top of this post represents perhaps the finest example of the WWF phenomena that was “Austin Stunning The McMahons.”

Vince McMahon and his family used to get Stunned pretty much twice a week, but the clip above represents perhaps the only instance when he managed to get each and every one of them consecutively in one segment.

Truth be told, he really should’ve Stunned Triple H (Stephanie McMahon’s husband) as well just for good measure; but oh well.

I think the best part of this segment, was the use of Austin’s signature beer toss throughout.

Even if you couldn’t give 2 shits about wrestling, it’s hard not to laugh at the sight of Austin getting progressively more and more drunk as he Stuns his way through the McMahon clan.

Also, it needs to be said that Linda McMahon’s reaction to the Stunner is perhaps the single worst sell of it I’ve ever seen.

The best selling of the Stunner of course belongs to The Rock:

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

Remember When Mae Young Gave Birth To A Hand?


As terrific as it was, it’s hard to deny that The Attitude Era of the WWF had it’s ups and downs.

As great as things could be, for every Rock and Austin, there was a Steven Richards and a Test.

That being said, Mae Young giving birth to what many presume was some sort of malformed hand; fits into the timeline as being closer to a “WTF? Moment” than anything else.

Unlike many of the moments, I’ve compiled on this blog over the past several months, this was one that I actually got to see when it aired.

At the time, The Fabulous Moolah and her associate, Mae Young; a pair of female wrestlers from the 40’s and 50’s, had begun appearing in WWF storylines with surprising degree of regularity.

Much like seemingly every network sitcom every made, Moolah and Mae Young were cast as “hip” old ladies.

Damn you Robin Williams for popularizing the concept of a "hip hop" Granny!

Moolah took on the role of the straight woman, while Mae was her perverted sidekick with a dirty mind.

On numerous occasions, Mae made passes at a number of the WWF wrestling crew; and even took it upon herself to crash a bikini expo at the Royal Rumble, taking off her top in the middle of the ring.

It was spectacle I would like to say I didn’t witness on live pay-per-view, but unfortunately; I did… And it wasn’t pretty.

Anyway, “The Hand Birthing” scene came as a result of a storyline involving Mae Young’s romantic affiliation with Mark Henry AKA Sexual Chocolate.

"We goin' FUCK. NOW."

I honestly don’t remember how the relationship came about, but the point; in the storyline the 400 lbs. Mark Henry was supposedly fucking the very old, and very frail Mae Young.

Somehow, some way, this resulted in Ms. Young not breaking her hip or being snapped in half; but in becoming pregnant with Mark Henry’s chocolate love child.

After they milked the storyline for all it was worth, the whole thing came to a head when Mae Young was rushed backstage to delivery the “baby.”

Dirty whore that she was, I’ll never forget when Mae called a halt to the delivery process, demanding to light up one of the biggest cigars I’ve ever seen in my life.

... I stand corrected.

Anyway, as you probably saw in the clip above; Mae Young ultimately gave birth to a rubber hand slathered in pink goo.

It was dumb, it was more than a little weird; but it was a product of a time when I could still proudly say I watched wrestling every week.

Considering how God awful wrestling has been in the past few years, I’d give a lot to go back to the days of Mae Young pooping out rubber hands.

Filed under: Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Van-Damme In Expendables 2

Well fuck my nuggets, Van Damme finally checked his ego at the door and signed on for Expendables 2.

To those who are unaware, Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally approached for a role in Sylvester Stallone’s 2010 ode to modern meathead culture and 80’s action cinema, The Expendables.

While many have bashed The Expendables as being little more than a sub-par action film populated with a Towering Inferno style cast of notables, I actually kind of enjoyed it.

Sure, it was hardly one of the best films any of the actors had been in, and yeah the action was not quite as awesome as most of us were expecting; (digital squibs = sad panda) but at the end of the day I found it to be a big dumb action movie that succeeded in being just that: a big dumb action movie.

Pictured: A movie that FAILED at being big and dumb.

Despite how crummy the movie may have been in some areas, it gave us Dolph Lundgren vs. Jet Li, and Stallone vs. Stone Cold.

Any movie that does that, no matter how utterly average the fights within which may actually have been, deserves at least some credit, if only for the sake of film history.

ANYWAY, based on what I can recall, Van Damme’s role in The Expendables was likely to have been either that of Randy Couture’s character, or that of Gary Daniel’s villain role.

I’ve read rumors that suggest Van Damme’s ego got in the way,in the form of making him reject the Gary Daniel’s role due to the fact that his character would lose a fight on-screen, most likely to Jet Li.

At the same time, I’ve also heard rumors that the Muscles From Brussels turned down the roles offered to him due to him being in the process of trying to “legitimize” his acting career based on the success of movies like JCVD.

In either case, and for better or worse, Van-Damme didn’t appear in The Expendables, and I for one was kind of disappointed.

As decent a guy as Randy Couture is, the man simply cannot act; and in that sense I would’ve loved to have seen Van-Damme stand in for him.

Do I really need an excuse to use this pic?

Similarly, as fuckin’ awesome and hilarious as Terry Crews can be, he was criminally under-utilized in The Expendables; and came across as the big black dude that was there just to be a big black dude.

If they really needed a big black dude that badly, they probably should’ve asked Carl Weathers, or Jim Brown, or Mr. T, or hell, even Michael Jai White.

Regardless, next time around they need to let the big black guy be more than just scenery with a gun.

‘Cause y’know, racism and n’shit.

Anyway, it makes me happy to know Van-Damme is gonna’ be in the sequel, which for the love of all that is holy; better be a decent step-up in terms of overall quality.

The basic premise does, and always will have potential, and I have confidence in Stallone in delivering the goods the second time around.

I would appreciate it if he’d reduce the meathead quotient just a little bit, and in turn dial up the nostaligia factor; but that’s just me.

Now all he needs to do is find a way to shoehorn Scott Adkins, Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa in there…

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

Batman: Arkham Asylum Is Good. Like, Really Good.

So, Arkham Asylum is a good game.

Like, really good.

Last night I parked my butt in front of the TV for a good solid 4 hours straight playing it, and by golly, I enjoyed every minute of it.

4 hours might not sound like a helluva’ long time to some of the more hardcore gamers out there, so allow me to elaborate.

These days I’m what is commonly referred to as a “casual gamer.”

Pictured: The Exact Opposite of A "Casual Gamer."

Not only that, I have this weird personal issue where after about an hour or so of playing videogames, I start to feel anxious; like I need to get up and do something else RIGHT NOW.

More often than not, I tend to prioritize activities like working out, going to bed early, or writing this fucking blog, over playing videogames.

In the case of my maiden voyage on Batman: Arkham Asylum last night though, this was not the case.

Near as I can tell, the game’s greatest success, is the constant feeling of progress and accomplishment that the game imparts to it’s player.

Last night I mentioned how I really don’t care much for Metroid-style games.

Like many non-Metroid fans, my biggest objection to the structure of those games, is not the fault of the designers, but rather my own stupidity.

Thought I’ve always said that Zelda games made me feel dumb as a kid, Metroid games made me feel downright “special.”

Like, helmet “special.”

Stone Cold demonstrating the image crippling power of The Retard Helmet.

Something about the layout of the map, and how the player was expected to wade their way through shit storms of enemies and hazards without knowing where to go, just never did it for me.

Though I’ve heard Arkham Asylum referred to as a Metroid-Vania style game, (a description which is fairly accurate) the experience is nowhere near as lonesome, nor the map layout as cryptic as either of those games.

Trust me, having Oracle on staff to order you around via radio every now and again is a godsend for exploration newbs such as myself.

Well hello there madam. Feel free to call me on my Bat Phone anytime you like...

In short, it’s similar to a Metroid-Vania game, but with a more structured and objective based progression.

Which is a good thing, seeing as I can think of no dumber element to a Batman game than having the player get lost.

Think about it, would the fuckin’ Batman ever get lost, much less at Arkham?

Pictured: Batman upon realizing he is in fact, a retard.

Batman is a man on top of shit in any situation, so I feel it is a wise decision on the part of the developers to have made the game’s structure reflect this.

Aside from the strength of the layout of the game, I feel that the games 240 or so collectibles really add a lot to making the player feel like their making some headway into the game, even in it’s early stages.

While part of me wants to say that, like Mega Man X3, there are in fact too many hidden items in the game, to the point in which you literally can’t turn a corner without accidentally bumping into something useful, thus far I think I actually like this element of Arkham Asylum.

It is kind of silly, walking into a room and finding Riddler trophies n’shit strewn about; but in a game with a map as large as this, any form of progress, no matter how minute, goes a long way towards making neurotic players like myself feel like they know what their doing.

Near as I can tell, this is Batman’s greatest success:

Spoon-feeding the player little rewards throughout the entire game so as to effectively stamp out the possibility of frustration.

It’s an incredibly elementary approach to game design, but it’s working for me so far.

As of writing this, I have had firsthand encounters with 2 major supervillains of Batman’s rogue’s gallery:

The Scarecrow, and Bane.

The developers take on Scarecrow was mighty impressive.

Both the level design and his costume for his sequence reflect a definite Freddy Krueger-esque sensibility, but given the seedier nature of Arkham Asylum’s art design, I feel it works very well.

Ninja + Freddy Krueger + Batman Begins Scarecrow + Psycho Mantis = Arkham Asylum Scarecrow.

From a gameplay standpoint, I found this “boss fight” (wasn’t really a fight…) to be quite entertaining.

Shifting the game into 2-D sidescrolling mode so as to allow for more streamlined movement and coordination really worked, and I applaud the efforts of the developers.

Bane, on the other hand, was a fun battle on a visceral level, however the comic fan inside me was kind of miffed by his brutish persona.

Bane as envisioned by the marketing department of the UFC...

As a kid that grew up reading Knightfall, Bane has a special place in my heart as one of my favorite Batman villains, and yet every time he’s used in media other than the comics, his character is grossly misinterpreted.

Um... No. Just, no...

Bane isn’t a massive brute or meathead, he’s a cunning and wily villain that could be called Batman’s equal on almost every level.

Oh well, my inner-comic dork’s objections aside, I’m happy that Arkham Asylum took a few seconds to at least explain why Bane suddenly went retard, not to mention Hulk-ed out beyond the realm of believability.

Essentially, Bane serves as key element to the game’s plot, not as a mastermind, or even hired hand; but as an instrument forcibly implemented by the combined will’s of The Joker and a mysterious Dr. Young.

From what I know at the 4 hour mark, the plot involves Joker using Dr. Young to extract and deconstruct the Venom Derivative from Bane, which they then mutate and enhance to create a more powerful Titan Formula which causes people to Hulk Out.

Basically, Joker plans to use the Titan Formula to create an army of Hulk-ed Out thugs to let loose on Gotham.

It’s kind of stupid, in a Silver Age comic-y sort of way, but the real experience of a game is playing it, and the minute to minute experience of Arkham Asylum thus far goes a long way towards making up for a slightly retarded plot.

Anyway, I’ve said about as much as I feel I can about Arkham Asylum for now.

I will say this though:

The combat system is a little simplistic for my Devil May Cry trained thumbs, but it’s rewarding in a “look what I just did with 2 buttons!” sort of way.

Now excuse me, I’m gonna’ go beat the shit out of some more Bat-Villains…

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

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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