Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

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…

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Tony Jaa + Sammo Hung = Brilliant

"GIVE ME BACK MY ELEPHANT!!!!!!!!!!"

I’ve never really been a huge Tony Jaa fan.

While I’m a rabid fan of Hong Kong action films, and martial arts flicks in general; Tony Jaa’s films with director Pachya Pinkaew just didn’t have the same appeal to me.

In observing the action choreography of Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to BMX or skateboarding demo videos.

Lots of flash, lots of “money shots,” but no real drama or point to the whole experience.

Make no mistake, I’m a firm believer that Mr. Jaa is just about the most physically gifted action performer in the world; however I feel a weakness in his films (aside from their horrible scripts) is the fact that choreographer Panna Rittikrai was all too aware of this fact.

In short, Tony Jaa’s action sequences; while elegantly shot and coordinated, came across as more than a little self-indulgent, while typically consisting of little more than him running up to people and doing things to them.

In other words, watching Tony Jaa in action is just that:

Watching Tony Jaa do horrible things to impotent jobbers that may or may not do a backflip when he knees them in the jaw.

My favorite part of fight choreography has always been the exchanges, the drama of fast paced fights with a palpable sense of momentum and urgency to them.

It’s the lack of these moments that makes me an admirer of Tony Jaa’s physicality; but not a fan of his movies.

That all may change in the near future though, as I happened upon an article on Twitchfilm.net today that made mention of a possible collaboration between Jaa and the legendary Sammo Hung.

That’s like the martial arts film equivalent to Robert De Niro and Martin Scorcese.

2 men, at the top of their class; working together on a film.

There’s yet to be any formal announcement of anything surrounding the proposed project, but with Jaa’s raw ability and Sammo’s unbelievable fight crafting prowess, my expectations will be very high.

Based on Jaa’s acting ability, as well as the inherent racism of Hong Kong cinema, I wouldn’t expect the film to offer any more drama or creativity than Jaa’s previous films; but even so, the prospect of seeing the Thai dynamo work from Sammo’s choreography has me giddy with excitement.

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