Saturday, January 31, 2015

Top Ten Bruce Lee Fights

So, I’m at the end of this month. It’s been good. I had some other things I wanted to do, but I had to cut it off somewhere. For my last post, I decided to revisit an old idea. Whenever the Super Bowl would come up, I used to write notes on Facebook detailing the match-ups I’d want to see. They were mostly comic-related, movie-related, or people-related. I was bored and just did it for fun. As for this Super Bowl, I hope the Seahawks win. I haven’t kept up with the NFL much but I might as well root for the underdogs. Besides, the Patriots have won enough.

Instead of talking about matches I want to see, I’m going to talk about my favorite fights from movies. This time, I’ll be talking about my favorite fights from a martial arts actor. In this case, it’ll be Bruce Lee. Heck, it might as well be him since I’ve seen all of his movies. Instead of going one step further like that Nostalgia Critic dude, I’ll just stick with my top ten fights. I'll also provide some links.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Movie Talk - The Last Dragon and No Retreat, No Surrender

Well, I’m in the last week of Martial Arts Month. I have one more post after this and I’ll be done. Today’s post is going to center on a couple of martial arts movies from the 1980’s: The Last Dragon and No Retreat, No Surrender.  I had originally planned this on be a match-up between the two, but I decided against it. I was going to match them up for four reasons: they’re tributes to Bruce Lee, they’re pretty cheesy, they have breakdancing, and they have ridiculous villains. In the end, I realized I couldn’t pair these two up for two reasons: one of them is really bad while the other is somewhat decent. Still, I wanted to talk about them together, so here it is.

I don’t remember when I first saw The Last Dragon, but I know I was pretty young. I remember a lot from it. It just has enough elements that make it a memorable movie. No Retreat, No Surrender is more of a recent watch. I do remember seeing a small bit of it on this video that talked about martial arts actors. In this case, it was talking about Jean-Claude Van Damme and I always wondered what movie those excerpts came from. Internet reviewer Obscurus Lupa (great name) reviewed NRNS a few years ago and that’s how I found out about the movie. I watched this movie a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Movie Talk - Jean-Claude Van Damme

So, Jean-Claude Van Damme… was in Breakin’. Yes, it’s a little tidbit of information about the guy. It doesn’t mean anything though it is quite funny seeing him live it up.

Van Damme made a name for himself in the 80’s and the 90’s. Since I grew up in the 90’s, I’ve definitely heard of him. Some of his early work included a couple of bit roles and a sizable role as a villain in the movie, No Retreat, No Surrender. He was also originally supposed to be the Predator in Predator but that got eventually scrapped. From what I’ve seen of the suit he was going to wear, that was a good thing. The movie that put his skills on the chart was Bloodsport and he did more and more throughout the years. His popularity waned towards the end of the 90’s, but it’s had a bit of a revival in the late 2000’s.

Today, I’ll be looking at four movies from his pretty lengthy career. They’ll be Bloodsport, The Quest, 6 Bullets, and, Cyborg. All except for 6 Bullets are ones that I’ve seen in my youth. I decided to re-watch them over the month and see if they are actually good. So, sit back while I talk about some Van Damme movies.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Weird Star Trek Eps. - Tsunkatse aka "GALACTIC KOMBAT!!!"

Introducing the Rock as "Obvious Ratings Grab Man!"

Yes, I’m doing this again. At least this episode has more of a fightin’ feel to it than Spock feeling hot and bothered. It’s about time I’ve got to Voyager. I haven’t done a complete re-watch of it but I remember this episode from the sixth season. Today’s episode is “Tsunkatse” and it’s another Seven of Nine episode. If there’s one thing Voyager tended to do, it had to have an episode about Seven of Nine. I don’t know how many episodes revolved around her. At least she was an interesting character and kind of cute… okay, she was definitely cute. That’s all you’re getting from me there.

In the episode, Voyager finds a nice system and goes on shore leave. Most like Chakotay and Harry are enamored by the system’s Tsunkatse fighting matches. Seven and Tuvok decide to forgo fun and take a shuttle to research some anomaly. Their ship gets attacked by an unknown  vessel and they get captured. It turns out that they were captured by the ones behind the Tsunkatse matches and they force Seven to fight or they won’t treat a badly injured Tuvok. The crew finds out about Seven when she goes up against The Champion who’s played by the Rock.

The crew tries to transport her out of the arena, but they find out that the fights are actually being distributed through holograms. After Seven gets “Rocked Bottomed,” the eldest fighter (a Hirogen) heals her and teaches her how to fight better. Seven then gets put up against the Hirogen fighter towards the end in a match to the death. Luckily, Voyager finds the true arena and is able to get Seven, Tuvok, and the Hirogen fighter out of there. The episode ends when the Hirogen fighter leaves to find his son and Seven has another conversation with Tuvok.
All this episode was missing was some cool techno music.

This was a pretty decent episode of Voyager. I think this was one of the first episodes I saw of Voyager when we finally got UPN at home. The story is pretty standard with some fisticuffs thrown in. Even though it’s a Seven episode, we get to see everybody. We even get to see SFDebris’ “favorite” character, Neelix, go through some shenanigans. I liked Seven in this and it’s not because she turns into Cynthia Rothrock either. I liked the scenes between her and Tuvok. I also liked the scene between her and the Hirogen fighter.

We get a few guest stars from other Trek shows. Jeffery Combs plays the main villain and J.G. Hertzler plays the pretty cool Hirogen fighter. The Rock’s cameo was cool but it ended too quickly. He was obviously brought in to get ratings. We got a quick but cool space battle scene towards the end. The fight scenes themselves are okay. They are exciting and provide for something different. I don’t think I’ve seen any fighting like this on any Trek show before this. Fight scenes usually involved punching, grappling, and that “two fists clenched together” move everyone does.

I can’t really think of anything that’s bad about it. I could say that “It’s Voyager, duh” but that would be stupid. Well, I guess Neelix getting into trouble and Be’Lanna being one of those ticked off people was a little annoying. Overall, this was a good episode. It’s not the best of Voyager but it isn’t the worst of it either. I guess I’ll find out about that when I finally do a re-watch of it on Netflix. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and don't drop the elbow.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Movie Talk - The Ong-Bak Movies

Pants to be darkened as well as charred and crispy!

I think it’s time to see what other countries have done with martial arts movies. It is rare we hear about these types of movies from other countries. Since I looked at something from Indonesia earlier, today’s set of movies hail from the land of Thailand. In 2003, Ong Bak aka Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior was released in Singapore in 2003. It did so well over there, the movie ended up getting released internationally in 2005. It made its main man, Tony Jaa, into a star. It also spawned two spin-offs, Ong-Bak 2 and Ong-Bak 3. It even introduced folk to the fighting style of Muay Thai and its predecessor, Muay Boran.

I was in college when I saw the first Ong-Bak movie. I heard some good stuff about it, so I decided to rent it one day. Before this weekend, I actually hadn’t seen the spinoffs. I had rented Ong-Bak 2 but I never got around to finishing it. Recently, I found out that all three movies are on Netflix, so I decided to check them all out. By the way, Netflix only has them undubbed, so you’ll have to use subtitles if you watch them. Personally, I’ve been watching most foreign movies undubbed since I was in college. Most dubbing usually doesn’t sound good and it makes me invest in the movie more.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Movie Talk - The Raid: Redemption and The Raid 2: Berandal

He may look short, but Mad Dog will tear you up and spit you out.

Today, I’ll be talking about a couple of martial arts movies that have been critically acclaimed.  They don’t come from China but from the land of Indonesia. In 2012, The Raid: Redemption was released. It was an Indonesian film directed by Gareth Evans. To say this movie did fine is an understatement. The movie was met with positive reviews when it was released. It did so well it even spawned a sequel which was released last year. Even Hollywood wants to remake the film using American actors, so that should tell you that the movie might be good.

I heard about how the first movie was really similar to 2012’s Dredd, so I rented it. By the way, their plots are similar, but the movies are different enough. I’m guessing it was a coincidence since they were released in the same year. I will say that I was interested in how a sequel would pan out. When The Raid 2: Berandal was released in theatres last year, I tried to see it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to and just decided to rent it. I remember enough about them to give an opinion. I even watched them undubbed which is something I’ve been doing with most foreign movies. With that said, let’s hit it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tales From the $3.99 Bin! - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret History of the Foot Clan

It’s time to step back into the sewer and look at IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. I actually haven’t been keeping up with the title recently. I actually dropped it from my pull list though that decision was based on money instead of the book sucking. After the “City Fall” arc, I kind of lost interest with the book. I actually got issues at the house I haven’t read yet, so I may add it back to my list eventually. I was wondering what would be good to do for this month, so I’ve decided to look at a mini-series that tied into the main series: The Secret History of the Foot Clan.

TMNT: The Secret History of the Foot Clan was a four-issue mini-series that was released at the end of 2012. The story was done by the artist of the mini: Mateus Santolouco. Say that name three times. Erik Burham and Santolouco handled the script together. The colors are handled by Joao Viera and the letters were handled by Shawn Lee. Bobby Curnow is the editor. I’m not going to beat around the bush with this one. This mini-series was awesome.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret History of the Foot Clan
Story and Art: Mateus Santolouco
Script: Erik Burnham and Mateus Santolouco
Colors: Joao Viera
Letters: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Random Videos of the Week - Worst Fight Scene and Best Fight Scene

Well, it's a cold day in Tennessee. It's in the 20's right now, but I know it'll get lower tonight. When I left work this morning, it was about 7 or 8 degrees. So, I might as well leave ya'll with one of the worst fight scenes ever and one of the best fight scenes ever.

This is from a 80's movie called Undefeatable. While it looks quite bad, it's also pretty hilarious.

Yelling and grunting
A useless slo-motion scene
Yelling and Grunting
Horrible dialogue
Yelling and Grunting

This is from The Protector staring Tony Jaa. While that movie has its fair share of good fight scenes, this one is my favorite from that movie. Here's a little trivia. The Capeoria fighter and sword fighter were both in the live action Tekken movie.

Great choreography
The hero gets his butt kicked at the end
Nice variety of fighting styles
Eddy Gordo!

Well, that's all I got for today. I'll be back with something that involves those green ninjas everyone loves.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Movie Talk - Bruceploitation 2: Return of the Cash-Ins on Bruce Lee's Death!

Fists of Bruce Lee is the only place where you'll see a fake Bruce Lee fight a fake Napoleon Dynamite.

Well, it’s time to look at some movies that wanted to cash in on the death of martial arts actor, Bruce Lee. For those who don’t know, that’s the basic definition of Bruceploitation. Last year, I looked at some movies that tried to make money off his death. Some were rip-offs of his movies, some were unofficial sequels to movies, some were “biographical,” and some were just straight-up insane. I looked at The Clones of Bruce Lee last year and yes, there were actual clones. That should tell you how ludicrous this craze was.

Still, there is some fun to be had with these movies. While they may not be good works of cinema, they have their moments. They’re so diverse that they can go either way in quality. Some of the ones I looked at last year weren’t that bad in some areas. So, sit back while I spiel about five pieces of 70’s schlock.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Tales From the 50 Cent Bin! - Tekken Forever #1

Well, I’ve gotten to Martial Arts Month, the month dedicated to almost everything related to martial arts. I’ve decided to start it off with a look at a comic book that’s spun off  from one of my favorite video game franchises: Tekken. When I did my look at the live-action Tekken movie, I said that Tekken itself has issues with being adapted. Even animated adaptions are not that good. Then, I find out about this comic and… you’ll find out below.

Tekken Forever #1 was released by Image Comics in 2001. It was supposed to start off a mini-series that delved into most of its characters from the franchise. It centered on the Mishima family and a weird character named Unknown. It looks like it was supposed to be a bridge between Tekken Tag Tournament (TTT) and Tekken 4. That fact is weird because TTT was made non-canon by Namco from the beginning. The game itself was an excuse to bring every fighter back for one romping fight and had no bearing on Tekken’s continuity. The book also lasted this one issue and I can’t find out why it didn’t go further.  It was written by David Chi with art by Paco Diaz. It’s colored by Hermes T., lettered by Roberto Miranda, and has graphics by Darren G. Davis.

Tekken Forever #1
Writer: David Chi
Artist: Paco Diaz
Colors: Hermes T.
Letters: Roberto Miranda
Graphics: Darren G. Davis