Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Movie Talk - More Shaw Brothers Movies

Argh! My insides are falling out-- Ooo! I know! I'll use my clothes for a substitute spleen!

Wow, January went by fast. It only felt like it just started. So far, it’s been fine but not great. I do wish the world of politics was less “Grim Dark-Grim” though. I only hope my crap kickboxing moves can sway a coming storm… yes, I’m being somewhat sarcastic. My kickboxing moves are awesome!

The last post for the month is a return to the Shaw Brothers. If you don’t remember my post from last year, I’ll refresh your memory. Shaw Brothers Ltd. was a movie studio that produced a lot of movies in the 20th century. They were probably best known for cashing in on the kung fu craze of the 70’s as they churned out a ton of kung fu movies. I looked at some of their movies last year. They were quite a surprise and ranged from decent to pretty good. Since I had fun with them last year, here are three more movies from the studio: Five Elements Ninjas, Return Crippled Avengers, and Masked Avengers. Not only was I able to watch some of these on Netflix, but I was also able to find pretty crappy copies of a couple.

Five Elements Ninjas
Five Elements Ninjas (aka Chinese Super Ninjas) was released in 1982. The movie is about a Chinese martial arts school who’s facing off against another school. The other is outmatched, so they bring in a samurai to fight for them. He too is taken down but before he commits ritual suicide, he tells our heroes that his friends from Japan will come here for revenge. The school tries to prepare for these ninjas and even sends out scouts to see if the samurai’s claim was true. Unfortunately, it’s all true as the scouts get killed and the school is eventually taken over with some help from a female ninja in disguise. The only survivor ends up forming his own team to take on the ninjas who also take over the rival school.

I thought this one was fine. It was far from perfect but I did like it. The plot is pretty simple but it does try to shake things up. While a lot of the characters were a bit bland, a couple stood out to me. Hao, the only survivor, stood out in his attitude and his pretty… interesting hair-do. Let’s just say that men don’t do bangs well and I could make some jokes about it. The “femme fatale,” Senji, was kind of interesting as well as pretty cute.
Me: Well, brother, I’m not sure but I doubt it has to do with Captain Planet. One more thing: what the crap is up with those bangs on your head?

The fight scenes were also pretty good. All of the fighters are pretty much superhuman here and that can get a little fun at times. The ninjas used the different elements (earth, fire, water, gold, and wood) to take down the opponents and it was cool to see how they got taken out. By the way, this thing is bloody. If you wonder where Kill Bill got some of its inspiration from, it’s here. As for what I didn’t like, it’s little. The story is pretty light. It kind of goes into rush mode towards the end. It’s definitely action-heavy and that can get a little tiresome. It definitely got like that at the end when the new group takes on the ninjas. Overall, this one was decent but fun.

Crippled Avengers
Crippled Avengers was released in 1978. Over in America, it was re-titled to Return of the Five Deadly Venoms for some reason. I guess they wanted to capitalize on the popularity of The Five Deadly Venoms. A lot of the actors from that movie show up here in different roles. In the movie, a rich kung fu master goes evil when his wife is killed and son gets his hands cut off. The master makes his son iron hands to use in battle and they group bully a small town. The group also make one man go blind, cut off one man’s legs, make one man go deaf and mute, and give one man permanent brain damage. The four “cripples” travel to the brain damaged man’s father. The father teaches them martial arts and helps them work around their disabilities. Three years later, the men return to the town to get their revenge.
Introducing... The Avengers! Sort of.

I thought this was pretty nice for the most part. The story is actually pretty good with this one. It is admittedly silly since we got a man with iron hands and another guy with iron legs. It’s like a comic book in that respect. You can’t take it too seriously. Still, you really feel for the guys who get crippled and really want the villains to get what’s coming to them. There are also some pretty funny moments too.
Danny Rand and Tony Stark ain't got  #### on me!

Of course, the fight scenes are pretty good. One thing I did like was that it took a while for us to get to them. Our heroes didn’t have fighting skills yet, so when they’re able to let loose in the second half of the movie, it’s cool to see.  They’re a nice mix of martial arts and acrobatics. One of the more interesting moments is when the blind avenger and brain damaged avenger use these rings and get into a bit of a dance. The final fights toward the end are pretty cool too. I will say that the fighting can get a little stale toward the end especially if it’s fight scene after fight scene. Other than that, this was pretty good.

Masked Avengers
Masked Avengers was released in 1981. It also features a few actors from the other movies. In the movie, a group of masked marauders is going around murdering folk. A group of martial artists end up tracing their hideout to a small town but they don’t know who the marauders are. During the group’s stay, they run across a cook who has some skill with kung fu. It turns out that he was part of the gang but left when the gang started to kill and rape folk for fun. As more and more about the gang is revealed, it all leads to a final showdown at the gang’s hideout.
So... which one is Ultron?

This was also a pretty nice flick. The story was interesting because you didn’t have the full story on the masked gang. Everything seemed paced well. Of all of the characters, the cook stood out to me the best. You really didn’t know what was up with him until all was revealed. The fight scenes are spread throughout the flick and are pretty good. The assault on the gang’s fortress was frickin’ awesome and the final battle was really nice.

There’s not much to dislike about it the film. A lot of the characters don’t stand out much and some of the identities of the gangsters were predictable. It also didn’t help that pretty much all the men sported the same hair-do. I even got some of these dudes mixed up. Other than those things, this was pretty nice. Just remember to bring a towel for the blood. This thing can get pretty red.


Overall, these were some nice movies. If you’re looking for some over-the-top action, you can’t do wrong here. Well, it’s time to bring Martial Arts Month to a close. There are still some things and people I didn’t get to, so I’m going to try to get to some of them over the year.  For now, I’m going to lean back and get used to working days for the next two weeks. I’ve already passed day 2 and I’m beat. For now, Peace, God Bless, and be careful out there. If one is in doubt, watch a kung fu movie to pass the time.

Monday, January 30, 2017

"It''s a Video Game!" - Jade Empire

Next up for the month is another video game from my Xbox adventure last year. Back in 2005, Jade Empire, an action RPG, was released on the Xbox. It eventually made its way to the PC. It’s even on mobile platforms too.  I had heard about the game back then but couldn’t play it for the obvious reason of I didn’t own an Xbox. I know it’s on PC as well but I’m not much of a PC gamer. I’m more of a politically incorrect gamer anyway… yes, that was a joke. I’ll show my way out now.

Anyway, Bioware developed the game. I guess this was one of the reasons they didn’t develop KOTOR 2 back then. Since I’m pretty much a seeker of anything Bioware-related and kung fu-related, I sought the game out and bought it.  I’m replaying it now to re-familiarize myself with it. From what I’ve read, the game was viewed positively back in the day. Unfortunately, those positives vibes didn’t get a sequel made. Considering what Bioware ultimately went through with franchises like Mass Effect, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Dragon Age, it’s possible they just didn’t have the time. The game also might not had sold well.
Obviously, these guys don't look like me.

Inspired by Chinese culture, Jade Empire takes place in a fictional land in Ancient China. In the game, you play as an orphan (in my playthroughs, “Chan the Endless” and “Stone Cold Larry”) who was adopted and taught by a man named Sun Li. Master Li runs a school in a small village. One day, the village comes under attack by the land’s empire and Master Li is taken. You and another student end up going on a journey to save him. On your journey, you gain more followers to the cause. The land isn’t doing well these days with spirits at unrest and the empire’s Lotus Assassins being shiftier than ever. You also learn skills, take up new weapons, and get stronger. You also have to choose between following two ways: The Way of the Open Palm or the Way of the Closed Fist.
Yes, I had fun doing this sort of thing.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Tales from the $3.99 Cent Bin! - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: "City Fall"

I knew it was time to get back to the TMNT in one form or another. I have to say that I haven’t been keeping up with the series which is still going by the way. My interest waned in it and $3.99 per issue is still a lot especially if you’re getting other stuff. I might need to make that price rant one day… Oh well!  Maybe I’ll catch up and see how the heck Splinter ended up leading the Foot Clan. For now, I’ll stick to what I got.

“City Fall” was a seven-part story that went through Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #22-#28. It was pretty much the big storyline that most stuff in the series had been building to. Even some of the other mini-series played into building this up like The Secret History of the Foot Clan. Some of their micro-series even tied into the storyline by expanding on certain characters. Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow, and Kevin Eastman handled the story for the arc. The art was primarily done by Mateus Santolouco, the artist who did the Secret History of the Foot mini. Dan Duncan, Ross Campbell , Andy Khun, Ben Bates, Charles Paul Wilson III, and even Kevin Eastman do a couple of pages throughout the arc. So, read about how the Turtles get put through the wringer.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #22-28 - "City Fall"
Story: Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman
Art: Mateus Santolouco, Dan Duncan, Ross Campbell Andy Khun, Ben Bates, Kevin Eastman, and Charles Paul Wilson III
Colors: Rhonda Patterson
Letters: Shawn Lee and Tom B. Long
Editor: Bobby Curnow

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tales From the Library! The Immortal Iron Fist Vol. 1: The Last Iron Fist Story

Next up for the month is a return to the character of Iron Fist. Last year, I covered an issue of Spider-Man where he made a guest appearance. Danny Rand’s not a character I’ve ever been too keen on. I don’t know what it is. I doubt it’s his background which now is apparently offensive to some. I didn’t know a white dude knowing kung fu could tick folk off. Maybe it’s the costume which isn’t bad but not exactly great either. I never really started to run into him until Brian Michael Bendis’s run on New Avengers. Back in 2007, Marvel got both Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction to write a title called The Immortal Iron Fist.

A few years ago (maybe 2012), I ran across the first few volumes to the series in the library. I was kind of in a Brubaker mode at that time, so I decided to give the first volume a try. Besides, it’s had kung fu in it! Since were in that month and we have a TV show with the guy coming up, I’m gonna talk about this. The trade has the first six issues of the run and a small 8-page side story that tied into Civil War. If you’re wondering why Danny was posing as Daredevil at the time, you’ll find out there. As I said before, Brubaker and Fraction share writing duties. David Aja, a penciller who had worked with Brubaker before, is the main penciller and cover artist. Travel Forman and other artists help with the art duties.

The Immortal Iron Fist: the Last Iron Fist Story
Writers: Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction
Pencils: David Aja, Travel Forman, Russ Heath, and Sal Buscema
Inks: Derek Fridolfs and Matt Palmer,
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Letters: Dave Lanphear and Chris Eliopoulos

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Movie Talk -The Ip Man Trilogy

This is a lesson for you gun nuts: never point a loaded gun in someone's face especially if it's Donnie Yen.

Next up for the month is a look at a series of movies starring Donnie Yen. I have to admit one thing though: I wasn’t a fan of Yen really until recently. I had seen him in bit roles over the years in movies like Blade 2, Highlander: Endgame, and Shanghai Knights. Nothing really stood out to me but I did know he had nice moves. I didn’t really appreciate him until I saw his overseas work like Flashpoint, Iron Monkey, and the ones I’ll be talking about today. He has an even bigger reach now that he’s appeared in the recent Star Wars movie, Rogue One.

The Ip Man trilogy has been released over the last few years. I’ve seen them all on Netflix undubbed and dubbed. As the titles suggest, they are about Yip (also called “Ip”) Man. He was a master of the style, Wing Chun, and trained many students. One of these students was a lad by the name of Lee Jun-Fan, aka Bruce Lee. It comes back to him in one way or another, doesn’t it? Anyway, the teacher has been the subject of a lot of things in Chinese media recently. Not only are there Yen’s movies, but there are a few other movies about the man out there. So, let me see what these three movies have to offer.

Ip Man
The first movie was released in 2009. It takes place in Fo Shan in the mid to late 1930’s. Yip Man is living his life well with his wife and son. While he is a master of Wing Chun, he trains no one in his style. He will defend Fo Shan when he needs to as a gang of from the North come to challenge the local schools. Then, Fo Shan is invaded by the Japanese and Yip and his family is forced to live in poverty. He gets work at a mill and finds out about the Japanese having Chinese men fight for more food. Then, there are thugs messing with his friend’s cotton mill. Seeing all this makes Yip take a stand and kick many butts.
Probably one of the best fights in recent history.

I thought this movie was really good for the most part. The story was pretty interesting even if it was apparently really fictionalized. We see this man who was somewhat wealthy get knocked to poverty and forced to work. Towards the end, he realizes the best thing he can do is fight and teach others to defend themselves. Yen owned the role in his look and the moves. I think this movie made me see what others see in Yen. The fight scenes were awesome, energetic, and sometimes brutal. The fight that everyone probably remembers is Yip’s fight with the Japanese students where he really lets loose. The final fight at the end with the Japanese general was nice as well. The music for the movie was even pretty good.

There is little I don’t like about the film. The Japanese are one of the villains here but they aren’t really treated like caricatures. Heck, they’re literally an opposing force, so they aren’t exactly good guys. The Japanese general was actually not half-bad, but his lackey… well, I just wanted to knock those glasses off his face. The English dub’s alright. I did think it was weird that the Japanese still speak Japanese in the dub though. There were also times where Yip seemed too superhuman. I don’t even think he got hit much. As I said, there’s little to not like about the film. Overall, if you haven’t checked it out, go for it!
Taste the power of the duster, fool!

Ip Man 2
The second movie was released in 2010 and is supposed to take place in 1949. Now, Yip and his family is living in Hong Kong and he tries to start a Wing Chun school. While he faces some money woes, Yip is basically forced to face kung fu masters in Hong Kong and prove himself. Then, things get tense when the British (who were occupying Hong Kong at the time) bring in a pretty annoying boxer who insults the Chinese and their culture. When Master Hung (played by Sammo Hung) is taken down by the boxer, Yip steps up into the ring. I don’t know if he ran up a snowy mountain and screamed “DRAAAAGGGOOOOO!!!!” towards the end but I could be wrong.
Oh snap! He's taking on a legend!

This one starts out pretty well. Yip is pretty much the underdog of the movie. He’s struggling to get a school together, he has a baby on the way, and then you got an annoying bloke of a boxer insulting his people. It’s definitely on him. While you think I’m exaggerating about comparing this to the Rocky movies, I’m not and that’s something I’ll get to later. Yip kind of does come off like Rocky at times and not just towards the end either. As always, Yen is awesome in the role. He made everything from the fighting to the drama work in the movie.

We also see others supporting characters from the previous movie return like Yip’s friend who owned the cotton mill and the leader of the gang that Yip fought. We also get Sammo Hung, another martial arts actor and the movie’s martial arts choreographer, in a nice role as one of the kung fu masters. We even get a funny though corny cameo from a young Bruce Lee. As usual, the fight scenes are really good here. Pretty much every fight scene is gold. My favorites though would have to be the fight at the fish market, Yip’s fight with the kung fu masters, and the final fight with Twister.
"Gaze upon me, Britain's biggest douchebag!" (the character not the actor)

There are a few things I don’t necessarily like. The biggest thing would be the villains. Master Hung doesn’t count and I liked him. The boxer, Twister (played by the late Darren Shahlavi), kind of sucked. He was pretty much a caricature and the British officer over him wasn’t far either.  They were actually pretty annoying. It didn’t help much that the movie started to look like the Chinese version of Rocky IV toward the end either. We even get a speech (though a better one) from Yip after the fight. I’m not saying that this was a bad thing but it was pretty noticeable. I also got a little confused with the timeline. The movie takes place in 1949, but the first one ends somewhere at the end of the 30’s? I think I missed something with that. Other than those things a couple of other things, this movie was still good and served as a nice sequel to the first.

Ip Man 3
The third and possibly final movie was released in 2015. Yen did say that Ip Man 2 was to be the last film since everyone’s “Ip Man-crazy” now, but I guess he changed his mind. The movie takes place in 1959. Yip and his wife are raising their second son while the other son went back to Fo Shan. While Yip Man is living his life, the school his son goes to comes under threat from an American gangster (Mike Tyson?!?!?!?). Then, another Wing Chun master named Cheung Tin-chi comes to town with hopes of becoming the next big Wing Chun master. Not only does Yip have to deal with that, but he also has to deal with some shocking news about his wife. I’ll just leave it at that.
You might need Kleenex for these scenes. I wish I had them. 

While Ip Man 3 is not the best of the three movies, I still liked it. It all has to go the man himself. Once again, Yip has some challenges to face and not all of them can be fixed with a kick to the stomach. The biggest one is the news about his wife, Cheung Wing-sing. I won’t spoil it here but you can look up what happened to her around this time. Yen still sold it as Yip Man and I have to credit Lynn Hung (Chen Wing-sing) for some real tear-jerker moments with that plot. The scenes involving a young Bruce Lee were still corny but funny.

The plot of the Wing Chun master’s rivalry against Yip was fine. It kind of had a Rocky III vibe to it though the rival was far from being Clubber Lang. I did like Jin Zhang (Tin-chi) in the role of this somewhat brutal underdog wanting to be the next Yip Man. As for Mike Tyson, I’ll get to him later unfortunately. I did like the fight between him and Yen though. As for the fight scenes, they were good but different. We had a different fight choreographer this time and it’s been a few years since the last movie. There’s less wire-fu and more long shots. My favorite fights were Yip’s fight against “Fake Tony Jaa” in a building, the fight against Frank (Mike Tyson), and the final fight with Tin-chi.
While not a good actor, Mike Tyson can still move well.

Now, here’s the not-so-great. The plot involving the school being attacked felt like it was from another movie. Even though the fight scenes were good, it just felt weird especially with the villains being way too over-the-top. Even Mike Tyson felt really out of place in the movie. It felt like he was just there for his fight scene and that’s it since he’s gone after they fight. The movie also felt a little disjointed. Things would happen here and there and nothing would come of it especially in the first half of the movie. I kind of wished the rival plot was the main thing instead of the school plot. I also felt that ending was pretty abrupt even though I like that it had a bit of a somber note on it. Overall, it’s the least of the three but it has merit to it.


Overall, Donnie Yen’s Ip Man trilogy is good for the most part. We have one awesome first movie with two fine movies. The latter two have flaws but they have good things too. As for what’s next for Yen, there are some movies coming up. We have another XXX movie and with Vin Diesel this time too. Apparently, it’s not doing too well critically but I think Yen would be cool in it. Then, there’s talk of another Ip Man movie. I’m not sure what it’ll be about but I bet it’ll be fine. Well, I’m outta here. Next time will be another visit to the Marvel Universe. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and don’t challenge a master. You might not make it out.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Movie Talk - Kill Bill

So, Quentin Tarantino… is alright. I’m not exactly the biggest fan of the director but I have liked some of what he’s done. He was even behind getting Iron Monkey released in theaters over here. I’ve really only seen a few of his movies like Django Unchained and most of Pulp Fiction. I still haven’t seen Inglorious Bastards but I have been meaning to. Some of his other movies don’t interest me too much though. One thing that’s obvious is that he’s a fan of the old exploitation movies of the 70’s. It definitely shows in the ones I’ve seen and the two movies I’ll be talking about today.

Kill Bill Volume 1 was released in October of 2003. Its sequel, Kill Bill Volume 2, was released the next year during spring of 2004. They were both filmed at the same time. Originally, the movies were supposed to be one separate movie, but you’re talking four hours worth of movie there. I actually saw Vol. 2 first at my uncle’s house when it was released on DVD. I don’t know where I saw the first one though but I know I saw it somewhere. I actually think it was on a bus band trip. My sister likes the movies, so I’m actually borrowing her copy to revisit this pretty bloody affair.

Volume 1 starts out with The Bride (Uma Thurman) waking up from a four-year coma. She was part of an assassin group called the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.  When she wanted to leave and get married, her former friends slaughtered everyone at the wedding rehearsal. She was the only one to survive. After she gets her bearings together, she goes on a revenge spree against her former squad mates and their leader, Bill. She ends up taking on two of her former squad mates, Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox) and O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu).
One of the coolest fight scenes.

Volume 2 starts out right after the first one and concludes the story. The Bride tries to take on the next squad mate, Bud (Michael Madsen), but she ends up getting taken down and captured. During her “imprisonment,” we essentially get her origin. Afterwards, she takes on Elle (Daryl Hannah). Finally, all there is left is Bill (David Caradine). She not only finds Bill, but she finds something much more important. She finds out that the daughter she thought died is actually alive.

This was a blast to watch again. While the series as a whole is pretty much a revenge fest, it’s at least a good one. I thought the story of B____ K____ was well told.  While it sometimes gets a little confusing since Tarantino decides to get all “non-linear” with the story, that’s not a bad thing. You just gotta pay attention. I also liked the comedy in the movie.  It kind of takes place in a world of its own. Just look at the plane the Bride takes to Japan.
That was weird.

The cast sells it all. Uma Thurman completely sold it as the Bride. She had the acting chops and the look down. She pretty much makes it all worth seeing.  The rest of the DVAS all were pretty cool too. They were unique and had nice backstories. Their acting was nice as well. I also liked that the assassins all had some nice moments to shine. I don’t know who from the group would be my favorite since they all were pretty much the same shade of douchebag. I also thought including martial arts actors like Gordon Liu (36th Chamber of Shaolin) and Sonny Chiba was nice. The anime sequence in the first movie that tells O-Ren’s backstory was also well done.
Bill, you got a nice gun, but leave the Superman talk to me, 'kay?

The action was good and intense. The fight choreography was awesome all the way through. Since this is a Tarantino movie, it is pretty bloody. While I’m not a gore-lover, the action makes up for it here. All of the major fight scenes are really good and it would be tough to choose my favorite one. If I had to though, my favorite from Vol. 1 is The Bride vs. Vernita and for Vol. 2 it’ll be the Bride vs. Elle. I also liked the different nods to the whole martial arts film genre.
You know, I haven't checked out any Sonny Chiba movies. I may have to fix that.

Is there anything about the thing as a whole I don’t like? There are some things that didn’t work. Vol. 1 does get a little too heavy with the action. It definitely gets like that with the fight in Japan. While the action was good, it did get taxing after a while. As for Vol. 2, there are times where it gets slow at times. The story’s good but some scenes do get a little long in the tooth. The final “bout” with Bill is definitely an example even though it was a good sequence.  There was also some dialogue in the series that didn’t completely hit. Last, there was some gore that was a little too much but that was a nitpick for me.

Overall, the Kill Bill series is a good one. It gives a nice story, a cool female protagonist, and some awesome action. If you haven’t seen them yet and are okay with gore, check them out. As for what’s next, you’ll find out when I find out. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and don’t trust a woman with an eye patch.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Trade Tales! - Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 14: Warriors

Next up for Martial Arts Month is a return to the Ultimate Universe specifically Ultimate Spider-Man. I don’t have any current thoughts about Spider-Man: Homecoming this time. All you need to know is that I’m still not sure if I’m going to see it yet.  Anyway, not only do we get one martial arts hero, we get two: Iron Fist and Shang-Chi. Shang-Chi had already appeared in the Ultimate Universe (Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #16-17) while this is Danny Rand’s first appearance. They aren’t the only faces that show up here though since this one is pretty packed as you’ll see.
This is Warriors. Insert any reference to the 1979 cult classic here. As usual, Bendis and Bagley are heading the writing and pencils, respectively. The inks is still being done by Scott Hanna. The trade contains Ultimate Spider-Man #79-85. So, let’s see Spider-Man get overshadowed by a crapton of characters. Just know that Snow, Cleon, Cochise, and Ajax didn’t make the meeting.
Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 14: Warriors
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Mark Bagley
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colors: J.D. Smith
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Movie Talk - Brucesploitation 4: The Spinoff to the Sequel of the Remake of That One Bruce Lee Movie

It's a fake Bruce Lee vs. a fake Muhammad Ali!

Well, if there’s one thing January is going to bring, it’s going to be another trip to the genre know as Brucesploitation (BP). If you don’t know what that is, Wikipedia can help you there. If you don’t like actual research (like me), then here is a quick summation of the genre. BP was a phenomenon where producers tried to make money off the death of martial arts actor, Bruce Lee. Basically, they’d make movies that involved the name of Lee and it was in name only. I don’t think many who actually knew Lee were involved with them. Different martial artists were getting thrown into that “Next Bruce Lee” title and even the movies involved Lee’s name even though he never appeared in them. Some stock footage from previous movies would be used but that’s it.

For the last few years, I’ve gone into this swamp of weirdness and yells. Sometimes, there is some good to be found. You might get a decent movie or two. Then, you might get something so ludicrous that it needs to be seen. These movies can bring laughter in a “so bad it’s good” way. Today’s movies can end up on a scale of decent to “What in God’s Name Did I Watch.” So, sit down and read about how I spent most of my weekend getting to know these “movies.”

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Favorites - Ten Bruce Lee References in Pop Culture

Well, it’s a new year once more. 2016 brought its mix of good and bad like any year does. Let’s not forget that. Here’s hoping 2017 can be a little better than the previous year. As usual for January, welcome to Martial Arts Month. Yeah, it’s such an original title, I sarcastically say. Every year around this time, I look at the various things in movies, games, or TV that involve the martial arts. I barely know any styles myself but I’ve always had a love for this stuff.

 I thought I’d start the month with the one who started it all for me: Bruce Lee. Yeah, it always comes back to him in one way or another. He was one of the most influential martial artists in that he introduced the wider world to martial arts and Asian culture in general. Even though he left this world too soon, his influence can still be felt today especially in pop culture. He’s been referenced in a lot of places. Heck, he’s even an unlockable character in a UFC video game. So, here are my favorite references or homages to the man himself. They come from everywhere including movies, video games, TV, and more.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Random Thoughts #43 - Here We Go Again

Well, a new year has dawned once again. I stayed at home this year and caught up on some recent X-Men movies. Plus, there was yesterday's post to deal with. Before that, I decided to re-visit a certain RPG called Mass Effect. In saying all of that, it's time for some Random Thoughts.

2016 was... alright. I know folk say that 2016 was pretty horrid and I can't blame them. Stuff happened this year and not all of it was good. In my opinion, it was another year. The good and bad comes along with it. Still, it's been a blessed year even though it hasn't been perfect. I met new folk, ran a 5K, and lost little weight. I actually gain a few pounds since I know I passed the point I didn't want to pass (260, by the way). That's the last time I take an extended break from the YMCA! Luckily, I'm getting  back on that.

So, what's the plan for 2017? One phrase "Go! Get to the choppa!" All sarcasm aside, my resolutions/plans are pretty much the same from last year:
  • Get closer to God and be a better man 
  • Actually lose weight  
  • Find a good woman. I like my free time but it's time.
  • Actually get to do that remodeling (Didn't get it done this year)
  • Get rid of debt 
  • Run another 5K
  • Get a new computer
  • Live life to its fullest and actually do something different.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I recently got to see the newest Star Wars movie with a friend. I thought it was pretty good. It definitely felt a little darker than most Star Wars movies. It showed the other side of that universe which was far from light and friendly to begin with. Even though we knew what happened, it felt like something worth seeing. I liked the characters like Jyn Erso, Chirrut, the droid, and... Apollo? Look, I don't remember Diego Luna's character's name and he looked like he should have been paling around with Dirk Benedict at times. 


The last act of the movie was also amazing especially when a certain Dark Lord shows up. I was also surprised by a few things in the movie. Let's just say some old faces  that aren't with us anymore show up. While I liked it, it could have been a little better at times. I did think that most of our heroes were underdeveloped at times. I also wish it was a little longer. It felt a little short at times. Overall, this is one prequel that kicked some major butt.

Well, that's all I got for now. I may post less this year like last year, but I'll make them all count. Since it's January, you can only guess what's coming next. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and be careful out there.