Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Cowboys & Aliens Was… Alright

*Warning! Extraordinarily minor spoilers ahead! Read at your own risk!*

I had a good feeling coming into Cowboys & Aliens.

As detailed in some of my previous posts, I found both the premise and the surprisingly straight-laced advertising campaign of the film to be provocative to my tastes.

I like cowboy movies.

I like alien movies.

A movie that slams both of genres together, while maintaining some semblance of seriousness should be the stuff of dreams, right?

Well, as it turns out, Cowboys & Aliens didn’t really live up to the sum of it’s (considerable) parts.

Despite a terrific cast, a solid premise, and one of the goofiest titles to a summer blockbuster this side of Snakes on a Plane, Cowboys & Aliens failed to be little more than “alright” in my eyes.

I won’t go into any details of the plot, but I will say this:

It’s predictable to the point in which a major character arc was spoiled for me IN THE TRAILERS, and there are more than a few moments towards the end that had me and my friend referencing Independence Day.

We also had a mutual flashback to Total Recall at one point, but that may have just been the 2 of us being weird… And dorky.

"Quaid... Quaid... Start the reactor... FREE MARS..."

The first half is decent enough, with a slow burn sort of pacing that would lead you to believe the second half is going to have some sort of pay-off; only for the climax to come lurching into the view and offer absolutely zero sense of satisfaction to the audience.

Put it this way, if you’re looking for good action, or even aliens doing cool shit with cool toys; Cowboys & Aliens is not the movie for you.

Truth be told, that was probably one of my biggest issues with the movie:

The damn aliens turned out to be one trick ponies!

When you think aliens of the technologically advanced variety, inevitably one’s mind pictures them using said technology to their advantage.

While it made me happy to see that the aliens featured in the movie weren’t complete feebs like some of the “green men” of old, I gotta’ say, and this is only a minor spoiler, after watching an alien do his spear/chokeslam combo to a horse for the 50th time inside of 20 minutes, I started to get kind of bored.

Remember, this is coming from someone who would tell you the best part of Inception was when Joseph Gordon-Levitt choked a dude out while hanging upside down.

ECW! ECW! ECW!

Don’t get me wrong, I likes me some chokeslamming aliens as much as the next guy, but when that’s all they ever fucking do; well, it gets old.

There’s a reason a chokeslam is a finisher, and that’s because it has a lot more impact when it’s used to finish people as opposed to all the fucking time.

Long story short, if you saw a trailer for Cowboys & Aliens, congratulations; you’ve seen every fuckin’ trick the aliens have up their sleeves with the exception of spears and chokeslams.

That being said, it needs to be said that the acting of the movie were actually pretty good.

Then again, with a cast that consists of the likes of Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Clancy Brown, Olivia Wilde, Toad Face, and ADAM FUCKING BEACH; it’s kind of hard to fuck up in the acting department.

Craig didn’t really bring anything to the table in terms of emotional weight or investment, but I gotta’ say; the man has the perfect silhouette for a Western.

Even if all he did was stand in this movie, he still would've done better than half the cast.

Seriously man, I don’t know if he went to mime school or anything, but the way Daniel Craig hold’s his arms, the way he plants his feet just the right distance apart; he really just looks like a savage-ass cowboy hero.

Given the limitations of the script, it’s hard to say whether Craig could’ve done better in the role or not, but in all honesty; I think he did just fine looking the part if nothing else.

Moving on, Harrison Ford growled and scowled his way through the movie as kind of curmudgeonly old, post-war Indiana Jones.

He’s quite hammy throughout the film, though never pandering; but in his quieter moments, particularly with Toad Face and ADAM FUCKING BEACH, he manages to steal the show from time to time.

Outside of these 2, the rest of the cast was a little subdued, to the point of being kind of a let down.

Clancy Brown was more Mr. Krabs than The Kurgan, Olivia Wilde may as well have been window dressing, Toad Face was even uglier than he was in The Last Airbender, Sam Rockwell had a funny ad-lib here and there, but was unfortunately cast as a sniveling loser.

Despite this, ADAM FUCKING BEACH managed to have a few good moments, though many of them were squandered by him being cast (as tends to happen when you’re one of like 3 Natives in Hollywood) as the stereotypical “Spiritually Strong and Morally Pure Native Dude.”

ADAM. FUCKING. BEACH.

A cowboy movie with stereotypes?

Surely you jest…

That being said, Cowboys & Aliens was far from a let down, but nowhere near as good as I would’ve hoped.

In general, the movie felt like it was rolling down a hill in neutral.

While I tend to like Jon Favreau as a director, the Iron Man movies and now Cowboys & Aliens have me convinced that the man needs to work on his pacing when it comes to making popcorn movies.

The action scenes were plainly choreographed and devoid of drama, largely amounting to scattered shots of cowboys shooting AT POINT BLANK RANGE, and aliens tackling them shortly thereafter.

By the way, make sure to pay attention to the number of cowboys featured in the finale, as personally; I found that I saw more cowboys die than they actually started out with.

Anyway, the movie was “alright,” but nowhere near The Valley of Gwangi in terms of cowboy vs. the monster of the week novelty.

Captain America totally kicked this movies’ ass…

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The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #7: The Poe-Dozer

Welcome back folks, to the Azn Badger’s list of the Top 10 Manliest Man Moments!

So far we’ve covered the head-exploding exploits of Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star, the unbridled savagery of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s John Matrix in Commando, and the sporadic and unfocused heroism of Han Solo.

Indeed, with every entry on this list we’ve explored a number of different forms of MANLINESS, and today will be no exception.

Today, as we name the 7th MANLIEST MAN moment in movie history, we enter the 7th circle of MAN-DOM:

Make no mistake, Con Air is a horribly disjointed mess of a movie.

Despite having an all-star cast, Con Air isn’t action-y enough to be an action movie, nor prison-y enough to be a prison movie; resulting in a film that has no fuckin’ clue what it wants to do with itself.

In falling flat on it’s face trying to embody the genres listed above, Con Air falls back on what many Jerry Bruckheimer financed blockbusters attempt to do, namely be “funny.”

Normally this would be acceptable, (and if Michael Bay’s in charge, very likely racist) however in this case most of the funny lines are delivered by DEATH ROW INMATES, making the humor just a little bit morally questionable.

Haha! Serial killers are HILARIOUS!

Despite all of Con Air’s failings, to it’s credit; it remains a very watchable piece of mid-90’s garbage.

One thing the movie did do right though, was give us the awesomeness that is Nic Cage’s Cameron Poe.

Cameron Poe, feeeeeeeels so good....

A quiet Southern gentleman who just happens to be an Army Ranger, Cameron Poe also happens to be mullet-ed and blue jean-ed DEATH on 2 legs.

Case in point, Poe is known to be SO FUCKING SAVAGE that in defending his PREGNANT WIFE against 3 drunken yahoos, 1 of whom is armed with a knife; Poe ends up getting sent to prison for manslaughter.

Seriously man, the guy is SO FUCKING SAVAGE that in killing an armed man in self-defense, he gets sent to prison for 8 years on the grounds that he “should’ve known better,” being as he’s a FUCKING KILLING MACHINE.

Anyway, despite Poe’s infinite awesomeness, Con Air as a movie doesn’t exactly afford him all that many opportunities to be badass.

There’s that one time he rescues a stuffed bunny through “presenting rearward” to a more than a little surprised Nick Chinlund while over-the-top rock music blared in the background:

Somebody just lost their cherry. Not sure who...

Then there was that one time he Chuck Norris-ed the shit out of some Mexicans to the sounds of over-the-top rock music:

The MANLIEST of MANLY maneuvers: The Roundhouse Kick!

And I guess there was that one time he prevented the rape of that one lady from Total Recall by beating the shit out of “The Man Who Always Dies In Movies,” Danny Trejo; also set to over-the-top rock music:

In other words, Cameron Poe; as awesome as he is, seems dependent on the presence of over-the-top stylings of Trevor Rabin’s orchestral synth-rock music in order to get his swagger on and kill the fuck out of, well; apparently mostly just Mexicans.

Cameron Poe’s not racist, there just happen to be a lot of Hispanic bad guys that wander into his path in Con Air.

At least I hope that’s the case…

Thankfully, Cameron Poe’s MANLIEST of MAN moments, and our 7th MANLIEST MAN moment in all of movies; involves no violence directed at Hispanics, but rather  plain ‘ole white guys, which of course makes it all the more PC!:

So here’s the basic setup:

An impeccably dressed John Cusack and that one Irish guy from Star Trek have finally caught up to the Jail Bird, the plane carrying all of the escaped convicts AKA the bad guys.

Chasing after the plane in pair of attack helicopters, the Irish guy orders his pilot to shoot it down; while John Cusack’s Vince Larkin does what he can to protect the government’s property I.E. both the plane and CAMERON FUCKING POE by screaming “CEASE FIRE!” into the ear of the pilot in the front seat.

Dial it down Cusack! The check cleared...

Long story short, some shots are fired, but not enough to knock the plane out of the sky.

During all of this however, Nic Cage’s Cameron Poe is in the process of HULKING OUT over his diabetic friend Baby-O, played by Bubba from Forrest Gump; having just been shot in the gut by John Malkovich’s unitentionally hilarious Cyrus the Virus.

Nearly brought to MANLY tears at the sight of his friends lying on the ground dieing and rapidly losing his faith, Poe does what any self-respecting MAN would do and casually DECLARES HIMSELF GOD and sets out on his way to kill a bunch of people:

Thus begins the awesomeness of MANLY moment #7.

Standing up from tending to his fallen friend, The Poe’s trademark over-the-top rock music starts blaring, and shit gets real, really fuckin’ fast!

Stomping down the aisle of the Jail Bird on a bee line for the cockpit, Poe throws on his MANLIEST of MAN-FACES and ascends to his ULTIMATE level of MAN-SAVAGERY:

Despite the massive aura of MANLINESS radiating from him during all of this, a couple of the bad guys foolishly step up to challenge The Poe-Dozer.

First up is a big-ass blonde, shirtless douchbag with a broken bottle that uses what little time he has left on this Earth to shout a retarded and borderline incoherent threat at The Poe-Dozer:

Just 'cause you've only got a tenth second to issue a threat, doesn't mean you shouldn't try.

As one might expect, size advantage or not; going toe-to-toe with The Poe when he’s in full-on Poe-Dozer Mode get’s this poor shmuck beat to shit something fierce.

Quick as you can say “1, 2, 3” The Poe-Dozer brings it’s blade to bear and claims it’s first victim:

Wham, bam, thank you ma'am...

Not skipping a beat, The Poe-Dozer continues his march of MANLINESS, letting out an obscenely MANLY “HUUOOOAAAH!!!!!” as he steps over the fallen blonde douchebag.

Unfortunately, another bad guy pops up in The Poe’s way; this time armed with a handgun.

Having seen his partner utterly steamrolled by the fury of The Poe-Dozer, the baddie wastes no time lifting his pistol and opening fire.

Bad Guy used Bullet Seed! It's not very effective...

Unbeknownst to this particular bad guy though, The Poe-Dozer is immune to gunfire, thusly causing the otherwise debilitating injury of a bullet to the bicep to seem like little more than a minor annoyance.

… A minor annoyance that serves to ANGER the already POSITIVELY FUMING Poe-Dozer.

That being said, it should come as no surprise, least of all to the bad guy standing before him; that The Poe-Dozer goes to town on this sad sack of fuck with a motherfuckin’ vengeance.

… But not before we cut to a shot of the guy having a moment as he reflects on the error of his ways:

Utterly frozen in disbelief at the sight of The Poe-Dozer’s unflinching reaction to the gunshot wound, the convict finds himself unable to pull the trigger a second time.

His fate sealed, the bad guy quickly succumbs to the unrelenting fury of The Poe-Dozer; falling by the wayside after 3 consecutive straight right hands to the jaw.

... And here comes #3.

At this point the music has already begun to calm down, thereby stripping The Poe-Dozer of his inhuman strength and vengeance fueled MAN-RAGE.

Fortunately, the previous 2 bad guys made up the bulk of The Poe’s resistance in reaching the cockpit, with the last obstacle remaining in his way (besides the fucking door) being the effeminate cross-dressing convict, “Sally Can’t Dance.”

Behold, the dreaded final boss of the "March to the Cockpit" stage in Con Air: The Videogame!

Reverting from his uber-violent Poe-Dozer Mode to the more socially acceptable Southern Gentleman Mode, The Poe sees fit to dispatch “Sally Can’t Dance” in a manner that is fitting, namely that of laying the smack down with an open palm:

Huh, ‘guess I lied about the “no violence towards Hispanics” in this scene.

Oh well.

Technically there’s more to it, but in my eyes this moment marks the conclusion of the 7th MANLIEST MAN moment in movies.

Check back tomorrow for MANLY moment #6 on our list of the Top 10 Manliest Man Moments!

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The Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies, #6: Bonnie and Clyde

#6 on our Best Overkills in Movies list, is what we call a “gimme.”

That is, something that is a given; something that is so obvious that it’s pretty much obligatory to the subject matter.

Bonnie and Clyde is well documented as a game changer in Hollywood cinema, setting a precedent with it’s graphic, flamboyant, and borderline pornographic portrayal of violence, as well as it’s rapid-fire editing style.

You see, in 1967, bullet hits and violence were generally staged in a very theatrical fashion I.E. man mimes getting shot, clutches side in agony and falls down after doing a silly dance.

Kind of like this, but with guns:

Unlike most other films of the time, Bonnie and Clyde employed extensive use of squibs for it’s bullet hits, greatly enhancing their visual and dramatic impact in the process.

Take for example this squib hit from Total Recall:

While I haven’t personally seen Bonnie and Clyde, I’ve been shown it’s historical overkill sequence numerous times, usually in school of all places.

Anyway, that’s enough film school bullshit, let’s make with the overkill:

CLICK HERE FOR CLIP

The setup couldn’t be more classic.

Basically, we have the pair of bank robbers taking a leisurely drive down a country road, celebrating Clyde’s impotence, you know; the usual.

Behold, Warren Beatty being a hipster-doofus with his one-eyed sunglasses.

Anyway, eventually they run across an old man changing the tires of his truck on the side of the road.

I’d just like to take this moment to point out that this particular old man has a habit of nervously twitching and looking off into the nearby foliage every couple of seconds.

Never trust the elderly...

Hmm, I wonder; why on Earth would a seemingly inconspicuous old man act like this?

Surely not because the cops paid him off to help them lure Bonnie and Clyde into a overkill death trap…

Of course that’s why, dumbass.

Anyway, upstanding crazy-as-fuck citizens that they are, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker decide to pull over and lend the old man a hand.

"Oh it's no trouble sir, I'm just eatin' my apple, wearin' my one-eyed shades, fuckin' my girlfriend, and fleeing from the police, all at once. It's not like I'm not busy or anything."

Pretty much as soon as Clyde hops out of the truck, leaving Bonnie to sit alone; some crazy shit starts goin’ down.

The old man’s eye twitches!

Goddamnit, I told you not to trust him!

A flock of birds fly out from the bushes!

Hmm, now why would they do that?...

Bonnie smiles!

"DURR!! BIRDIES!!!?"

Clyde laughs!

"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine, I.E. make Dick Tracy and a shit ton of money..."

Bonnie gives Clyde a last second “fuck me” glance!

"Do me Clyde. Do me HARD..."

"NOW? Really?...

And then shit goes from choppily edited craziness, to insanely brutal OVERKILL craziness…

Virtually unseen from their sniping positions in the bushes, the police open up on Bonnie and Clyde with one helluva’ Ultra Combo of gunfire.

Yes, those would in fact be entry wounds in his face. A LOT of them.

Unfortunately, neither Bonnie nor Clyde remember the command inputs required to execute a C-C-C-Combo Breaker, thusly resulting in their grisly demises at the hands of a few hundred bullets.

Good girl. Keep that wheel steady...

Seriously, when it comes to, literally; “painting” a target with gunfire, these cops get an “A.”

Needless to say, Bonnie, Clyde, and their sweet-ass truck are torn to ribbons, with Clyde getting sprayed so bad he ends up being spun around on the ground like a dog trying to cure a nasty itch.

"Just a little bit to the right guys. Yeah! That's the spot..."

In all, we are treated to just over 20 SECONDS STRAIGHT of Great Depression era overkill savagery.

Do the math son, 20 seconds is a motherfuckin’ eternity when it comes to simply showing 2 people get shot.

...Or when showing a lady get a wood splinter shoved into her eyeball.

While hardly creative, or even all that graphic by today’s standards, Bonnie and Clyde’s climactic overkill sequence is well remembered as a revolutionary moment in film history.

Why then, with all this overkill savagery; and all these pimpin’ credential is Bonnie and Clyde ranked so low on the Top 10 Best Overkills in Movies?

Because this is my fuckin’ list, that’s why.

Like I said, while I respect the legacy attached to the film, I haven’t even seen it, so honestly you should be happy this one even made the list.

Besides, this is supposed to be a list of the BEST Overkills in Movies, not the bloodiest, or the most famous; the BEST.

Ah c'mon, you knew I had to stick this in somewhere...

That being said, Bonnie and Clyde sits atop the bottom 5 on our list, and trust me; once you’ve seen the top 5, you’ll think twice about questioning my judgment…

Seriously, good shit’s to come.

Stay tuned.

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