Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Donnie Yen MIGHT Have A Role The Expendables Sequel!

Pictured: Donnie Yen doing his best "I make more money than you" pose.

(The following info came via Twitchfilm.com)

Well, Yippie Ki Yay and Get To Dah’ Choppah, this is a surprisingly tasty bit of rumor mill news!

From what I understand, Donnie Yen was recently offered a role in Sylvester Stallone’s upcoming sequel to The Expendables.

While the Yen-Meister has yet to jump on board the production as of yet, just to know that he’s regarded as being culturally relevant enough in the U.S. to rub shoulders with the action movie legends that make up the cast of The Expendables; means a whole helluva’ lot to die-hard Yen fans like myself.

The really fun part, at least for idiots like me; is the fact that unlike a lot of people, I actually kind of liked The Expendables.

Sure, it was dumb, and it wasn’t exactly the action movie masterpiece that it represented on paper; but even so, for what it was I felt it delivered for the most part.

If you’re at all interested, check out my review of The Expendables here.

Anyway, truth be told I’m excited about the prospect of Donnie Yen joining the cast for the sequel, especially since Stallone has been quoted as having said the movie is intended to be a love letter to martial arts movies.

While there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll end up going to see The Expendables 2 in theaters (and quite excitedly at that), that last bit is like the icing on the cake for me.

One of the best parts of putting Donnie Yen in the Expendables, at least to me; is the fact that it’ll be a chance to see Yen in a contemporary setting, most likely acting more along the lines of his “younger” roles.

Personally, I’ve never really been a big fan of wuxia style films, and I’ve always preferred Donnie Yen in films with a more modern setting, largely because the free license it gives him in choreographing his fights, but also because I actually kind of prefer the arrogant and prick-ish Donnie Yen to the more regal and subdued one we’ve been getting ever since he did Ip Man.

Unfortunately, Jet Li won’t be returning for the sequel, thereby squandering any opportunity we might’ve had to see him and Yen go at it one last time…. At the age of 48.

Despite this, there’s plenty of other enticing match-ups that could come from throwing Donnie Yen into the mix of an Expendables sequel.

Donnie Yen vs. Jean-Claude Van Damme is a match-up I wouldn’t exactly shit my pants over, but hell, if it were to end up in the film; you can bet I’d be excited to see it anyway.

Regardless of how miniscule or poorly written the role created for him is, I honestly hope Yen signs off on The Expendables 2.

He’s only getting older, and lord knows being in the movie would do wonders to expand his already burgeoning influence in the Western film market.

Now let’s just hope the movie doesn’t end up sucking, with or without Yen…

Advertisements

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

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Demon’s Souls: Conquered

*Ahem!* I win...

*WARNING! SPOILER ALERT PERTAINING TO END GAME EVENTS.  NO SPECIFICS, BUT IF YOU REALLY WANT THE END-GAME TO BE A SURPRISE, TURN BACK NOW!*

Last night was easily one of the worst of my life.

Don’t expect this to happen on this blog all too often, but I’m sorry to say that my experience of being stuck in a snowy traffic jam in the Seattle area for 6 hours straight was horrible to the point in which I don’t think I want to share the details.

Seriously, it was that bad.

Anyway, as a result of getting home from work at around 11:30 PM, as well has having my body be a complete wreck as a result of the harsh cold and tight confines of my car, I decided that I simply could not allow myself to go to work today.

Despite this, Amazon saw fit to penalize me for doing so; even going so far as to call me in the morning to chastise me for my actions.

Though I love buying products the company, working for Amazon gives me an insight into the inner workings of their ground-level management that really leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Oh well, it’s a job, and that’s more than a lot of people have at the moment, so I’m thankful.

Moving on, as any self-respecting survivor of a 6 hour traffic jam would do, I decided to use my self-enforced day off from work to play Demon’s Souls.

No way was I gonna’ go outside today, even to pick up a copy of The Expendables.

I’ll do that tomorrow…

*Ahem!* Anyway, in short; I managed to beat Demon’s Souls today.

Much like the rest of the game’s limited story sequences, the end of the game was quite flat, and very much anti-climactic.

Truth be told, it had been so long since I had started the game (just over 20 hours of game time) that I honestly didn’t even remember who the last boss was, or why I was fighting him for that matter.

In either case, the last boss was pathetic.

Like, “he couldn’t hit me if he tried,” pathetic.

On one level, this was quite disappointing, as many of the earlier boss fights in the game were quite epic, and fairly inspired in how the actual battles were carried out.

At the same time though, as I recall bits and pieces of the supposed “story” of Demon’s Souls, (seriously, there’s not much to be found) I’m starting to understand that the final boss of the game was supposed to be a pitiful creature, to the point where it’s ironic that it serves as the game’s final challenge.

Demon’s Souls was an excellent game.

While it indeed has flaws, as pretty much any game does; it benefits from an indefinable element in it’s gameplay and presentation, a “hook” that serves to draw in a certain demographic of gamers.

As it turns out, I fit pretty well into that particular category of gamer, as I enjoyed my time with Demon’s Souls.

In regards to it’s vaunted, and supposedly impenetrable difficulty level, I have this to say:

The game is indeed quite difficult, but only if you’re bull-headed and refuse to adhere to the “rules” of the game.

The gameplay of Demon’s Souls is methodical and rigid, meaning the game is difficult; but everything has a rhythm and a weakness, so it’s up to you the player to determine these factors before charging headlong into things.

Hell, I game in practically reverse order, resulting in most of the enemies being far too powerful for me to handle most of the time, and yet in the end, I managed to get past them all through careful planning and observation.

As you play Demon’s Souls, just remind yourself:

The game is challenging, not unfair.

If you get pissed and break your controller when you die in a game, then I’m sorry, Demon’s Souls is probably not for you.

Seriously, controllers are what, $50?

You’d be bankrupt in a week.

If however, you take every death in the game as a sign of your own failings, an indication that you could’ve played better or smarter, then chances are you’ll have a lot of fun with Demon’s Souls.

Now that I’m done with my little advertisement for the game, I feel I should take a moment to talk about some of the random things that stuck out to me in my first playthrough of Demon’s Souls:

I was a little upset at the very limited selection of armors I ran across in the game.

While it’s probably my fault moreso than the game’s, I found that as a Knight, I only ended up changing my armor maybe twice throughout the entirety of the game.

Maybe it’s just because I selected a Knight, who just happens to start out with some the better starting equipment, but I felt myself getting bored of constantly finding new weapons and equipment, but never finding an armor that was good enough to switch over to.

Seriously man, I ended up beating the game wearing Mirdan armor, something the Temple Knight starts the game out with if I recall.

To me, that’s the equivalent of watching a version of the Iron Man movie where Tony Stark remains in the original Iron Man suit throughout the entire movie.

That’s that just plain sad.

Another quick thing, from a gameplay standpoint, those fuckin’ dragons were truly fucking pathetic.

Seriously man, they’re not enemies, or bosses for that matter, they’re fuckin’ scenery.

Destructible scenery that can, and will; wreck your shit 20 times before you figure out how to get past them.

I found one of those dragons on a list of 2009’s worst boss fights, and I can honestly say, whoever wrote that list is certainly justified in doing so.

Don’t ask me how I found the patience to actually kill those motherfuckers, but I did; and that’s largely the reason why I’m writing this “I beat Demon’s Souls, quick everyone, suck my golden cock!” article today instead of a week ago.

Seriously man, that traffic jam last night might’ve taken 6 hours of my life, but I’ll be damned if those dragons didn’t take at least an hour between the 2 of them.

Other than that, I think that’s about all I’ve got to say about Demon’s Souls for now.

Now that I’m done with the game, I think I’m gonna’ move on to something radically different.

With Metal Gear Solid 4 as my first PS3 game, followed by Demon’s Souls, I think it’s time I played something besides a 3rd person action game.

My gut is telling me to try Valkyria Chronicles, but I’m also leaning towards something a little more mindless like UFC: Undisputed 2010 (*Gasp!* but Azn Badger, I thought you hated the UFC!?).

At the same time though, who knows; maybe I’ll surprise even myself and hop back on the Final Fantasy wagon, of which I’ve been off ever since VIII.

There’s a lot of great games out there for the PS3, old and new; so feel free to let me know what I should look into.

Anyway, happy snow day to me; hopefully everyone drove safe this evening!

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

Brian Tyler: Complacent Genius, Or One-Note Wonder?

He doesn't think he's better than me. Not at all...

Brian Tyler is one of Hollywood’s foremost “up and coming” film score composers.

Well okay fine, he’s technically not really an “up and comer,” as he’s already firmly established in the business, but given his relatively young age, and fairly recent ascendance to high-profile marquee films, I can’t really justify placing him among the old (and still working) lions like Danny Elfman, Elliot Goldenthal, or even Hans Zimmer.

Good God, somebody get Elfman away from the kindergarten!

Anyway, I first ran across Brian Tyler when perusing the internet for chase themes for use in a film project that never got off the ground.

One gem that I happened to stumble upon, was a track (or should I say “the” track) from Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

I can’t find a clip of it at the moment, but the track is called “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” and it’s track 2 on the score.

Anyway, I was blown away by the unrelenting energy, and raw power exuded by this track.

For one thing, it’s epicly long, yet somehow manages to consistently ramp up the tension and energy level throughout it’s entire running time.

More importantly though, it’s an incredibly complex composition, and yet the emotions produced when hearing it are wholly elemental to the point of being primal.

In short, though I wouldn’t see Tokyo Drift until, well, just a few months ago; Brian Tyler was instantly marked as a high priority on my radar (or should that be sonar?).

Since then, though I haven’t seen all that many of the films he’s composed, I’ve gone out of my way to look up a track or 2 from some of his higher profile works.

So far, my favorite album of his has to be his work on Rambo.

The face of approval.

While he was smart to include, and leave relatively untouched, the wonderful Jerry Goldsmith theme; every other piece of music on the soundtrack is absolutely stellar in it’s own right.

The action cues are violent and intense, and much like Tokyo Drift, have a very natural and engaging rhythm of rising tension throughout.

In particular, the Title Theme

and the final battle sequence track, No Rules of Engagement


Stand out as personal favorites of mine.

Another soundtrack of Tyler’s that I found to be quite good, was his far more subtle and restrained work on Annapolis.

Pictured: THE reason I watched Annapolis. Wasn't too bad a movie actually...

Given the naval academy setting, and slightly downbeat tone of the movie, the more casual, and stripped down feel of the music fits all too well.

To be honest, Annapolis is just about the only one of Brian Tyler’s scores that I’ve heard without being able to tell he composed it right off the bat.

Annapolis serves as a good indication as to the depths of Mr. Tyler’s talents, as though he’s since gone on to become sort one dimensional as of late; it’s movies like this that remind us that he can in fact do other things.

While I’m on the topic of Mr. Tyler’s one-dimensionality, it should be mentioned that; in my opinion, he’s already begun to phone in some of his compositions.

Off the top of my head: War, Fast & Furious, and Dragonball: Evolution were all projects of his that felt severely lacking in quality and inspiration.

No amount of musical awesomeness could've saved this pile of ass...

To be fair, those movies were severely lacking in quality and inspiration, but that shouldn’t figure into the composer’s commitment to the project.

Unless they paid him in Pogs.

 

Wow, those are shitty even by Pog standards...

If they did that, then I’d take it all back.

Anyway, Tyler’s work on these movies was bland, and honestly felt like he opened up his drawer of previously discarded action cues and just threw them onto the album.

War had a few nice motifs here and there, but most of the action cues sounded more like noise than anything else.

It’s sad really, as I read somewhere that War represented the first time Tyler got to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra.

The most recent Brian Tyler soundtrack I’ve heard, was his work on The Expendables.

Meatheads of the world unite, for your Gospel has been written...

As one would expect, being as both films involve a collaboration with Sylvester Stallone; Tyler’s music for The Expendables shares it’s tone and instrumentation with Rambo.

The only difference being that Rambo was a varied and passionate score with some killer action cues, while The Expendables is a fairly generic, almost made for TV quality score comprised largely of mediocre action cues.

Don’t get me wrong, Brian Tyler’s a damn good composer, and as such his work on The Expendables is better than a lot of Hollywood action movies these days, however personally, I expected more.

I expected the bombast and energy level to match or exceed Rambo, and instead we ended up getting the equivalent of a “meow” in comparison to the former’s roar.

Despite this, Royal Rumble is a track that found a home on my Ipod:

As it stands, Brian Tyler is poised to take the reigns as composer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

*Gasp!* We won't be shooting PEOPLE this time, will we?

Given his current “sound” that he seems to be stuck fast to, I would think he’d be a good fit for the series.

If he can access his inner Rambo, and once again marry thematic and dramatic elements to his action cues, I think he’ll do just fine.

Hell, as one note as people can accuse Brian Tyler of being, Harry Gregson-Williams (who composed the first Modern Warfare) is easily 10 times as guilty.

 

(Insert generic military hymn/Metal Gear Solid theme here)

Here’s hoping Mr. Tyler hangs around to give us great music for years to come.

Oh yeah, and it’d be nice if he tried mixing up his style too.

Jus’ sayin’ is all…

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

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!

Filed under: Boxing, 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

Filed under: Boxing, Games, Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Impending Review: The Expendables

It pains me to do this, but I had a obscenely LONG day today, so you’ll have to settle for a teaser post for today.

Sorry!

Anyway, aside from maybe Ip Man 2, this is just about the biggest movie of the year for me.

Fuck me, if Donnie Yen was in this movie, I’d probably blow my load right there in the theater…

Although it would appear he beat me too it...

Anyway, my brother and I have been anxiously awaiting Sly’s epic for the past 2 years, ever since rumors started popping up that he was shopping the script around post-Rambo.

Remember when I said Rocky was my brother and I’s way of bonding with my dad as a kid?

Well, you can bet Sylvester Stallone was one of our biggest hero’s growing up.

Pictured: Family of the Azn Badger.

While my expectations for The Expendables are, perhaps; unreasonably high, I have no doubt in my mind that it will thrill me as few films before it have done.

Mark my words:

It WILL be awesome.

I have no doubts, I have no worries.

The Expendables WILL be an awesome film, there’s no way it can’t be.

For fuck’s sake, it’s gonna’ be the goddamn Justice League of action movies!

Anyway, consider this a taste of things to come, as I’ll definitely be typing up a review for this one the moment I walk out of the theater.

My only hope is that there is at least one old-school action hero cameo that hasn’t been publicized.

I know Van Damme already made it clear that he wanted nothing to do with the project, but it would definitely make my day if Steven Seagal, or Chuck Norris, or Mark Dacascos, or hell, even Billy Blanks made some sort of appearance in any capacity.

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

Ip Man 2: Pre-Ordered

Thank God for speedy Hong Kong DVD manufacturing.

That’s right folks, Ip Man 2 comes out on DVD on June 25th, and I am truly psyched.

Take another look at the trailer, maybe it’ll help you get as excited about it as I am:

From what I’ve read over at Love HK Film and Twitch, Ip Man 2 is somewhat of a step down from it’s predecessor, with a second-half plot that is essentially the Hong Kong equivalent to Rocky IV, as is clearly evident from the trailer above.

Am I wrong in claiming that this is the coolest thing ever?

Does that bother me?

Not one bit.

Rocky IV may have been retarded, but it was still a kick ass movie that’s fun to rally behind in a “Yo Joe!” sort of way.

As I mentioned in my EPIC Tribute to Donnie Yen, Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen go together like spiders and the bottom of my shoe.

Spider pictures creep me out, so you get a pic of a beat-up Spider-Man instead.

Scratch that.

That’s actually kind of gross.

Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen = Peanut Butter and Jelly.

Though Donnie Yen would have to be the Peanut Butter, ’cause Peanut Butter kicks Jelly’s ass any day…

Hmm, now that I think of it, I don’t even really like Jelly….

*AHEM!* Whatever, the point is: Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen working together is always a good thing.

In my eyes, the pair honestly can’t make a bad movie.

Dragon Tiger Gate was convoluted and bland, but it was no means bad.

Outside of that one misstep, every other movie the two have worked on together has been a winner in my book.

Hell, Wilson Yip has even managed to make awesome movies WITHOUT Donnie Yen.

The archetypal story of the Chinese being bullied by foreigners and being forced to find redemption through beating the piss out of said foreigners is a story that Hong Kong cinema will never abandon.

It’s simply a result of putting a nationalistic spin on the universal “underdog” story that we all know and love.

It’s cliche yeah, but who’s to say that’s a bad thing when it comes to making movies about people frequently engaging in protracted 5 minutes fist fights?

It worked for Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury.

Bruce, donning his "Who cut a muffin?" face.

It worked for Sylvester Stallone in his Rocky movies.

God bless you Sly. Good luck with The Expendables.

It worked for Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid.

I know he's been 40 since like 1980, but even so, DAMN HE GOT OLD!

Hell, it even worked for Leon and the Jamaicans in Cool Runnings.

Say what you will, Cool Runnings was the shit.

So what if I already know the story coming in?

So what if the villain’s acting performance is supposed to be over-the-top to the point of near Ultimate Warrior levels?

There's epic, and then there's ULTIMATE.

Maybe I like that in my kung fu movies!

Ip Man 2 could have the worst acting and the shittiest plot in the history of Hong Kong cinema, but with Donnie Yen on board, and the promise of excellent fights conducted and performed by the man himself, Sammo Hung, there’s almost no way I won’t like it.

DONNIE FUCKING YEN.


SAMMO FUCKING HUNG.


FIGHTING EACH OTHER!!!!!!!!!!


FIGHTING DARREN SHALAVI IN A BOXING MATCH!!!!!!

It doesn’t take much to please me when there’s fighting involved in movies.

I can’t explain it, but for some reason I find it easier to buy into the ceaseless melodrama of Hong Kong films than I do American ones.

Maybe it’s the innate sense of unity and bold-faced patriotism that often permeates most Chinese films that strikes a chord with me, or simply an element of the culture that I appreciate, but either way, when it comes to getting my screen-fighting fix, I know where to look.

Expect a review of the movie in a few weeks.

Here’s to Ip Man 2 being my summer event movie.

Well, until The Expendables comes out anyway.

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

Donate