Push: Push It REAL Good. Dunt-DA-duntduntdunt-Dump-DA…

[THE CHALK-OUTLINE]

Push (2009): Breakdown by Rantbo

The X-Men comic’s ‘WEAPON X’ storyline, but instead of Wolverine, we follow two young Jean Greys and the Human Torch.

[THE EXECUTION]

I refused to see this one in the theater, based purely on the rating. I don’t pay for PG-13 unless it’s something BIG, (THE DARK KNIGHT, INDIANA JONES, etc.) But I was still intrigued by the trailer and I made note to watch it on DVD. As I had yet to see a good “mutant” movie, what with the X-Men movies sucking sack and the TV show HEROES being borderline unwatchable. But, good news, someone has succeeded.

PUSH takes the elements from some of the best story-arcs of the late-80s/early-90s X-Men comics and tells a nice little adventure/mystery story about young people coping with the troubles of being different: hunted, imprisoned, killed, etc. for what makes them special. It’s essentially, the story that the original X-Men movie should have been, before Fox fucked it up and made it into a mess about Wolverine and his sidekick, Halle Berry. But, enough about that cow-flop of a franchise.

What really sells the borderline-stolen story of PUSH, are the characters and the actors playing them. Chris Evans is one handsome and charismatic dude, despite usually appearing in god-awful garbage and Dakota Fanning is still the best American actress under 40. Yeah, I said it.

I know she’s good, because unlike all the other kid actors (Abigail Breslin, Haley Joel Osment, Jake Lloyd) I’ve never felt like kicking her down a flight of stairs. Though–I didn’t watch CAT IN THE HAT or that chick flick with Brittany Murphy. But, whatever. How that chubby girl got nominated for doing a goofy dance, when Dakota hasn’t been, after a dozen great performances, is beyond my understanding.

The abilities/powers are done very well, and a bunch are represented, explained and shown; all without ever making the movie feel bloated with too much info or secondary characters. Like SPIDER-MAN 3 was. And while there is a little voice-over and some for-the-audience explanatory dialogue sequences, the filmmakers made sure to SHOW us the story as much as possible. Which was nice for a change.

My only real gripe with the movie was that the story lags a little in the second act. But, other than that, the action is fast paced and more importantly, well shot. The story is dark, and the filmmakers take it seriously. Unlike FANTASTIC FOUR. And overall, everything combined, it’s a tight little super-powered people flick. I highly recommend it if, like me, you think most superhero movies are crap, but still hold out hope for a good one. PUSH is just that, at least in my opinion.

[HOW BAD-ASS ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?]

Chris Evans is Nick Gant and Dakota Fanning is Cassie Holmes

Nick lives in Hong Kong, so naturally, he’s equipped with duel .44’s, which he uses in telekinetic battles with other “Movers”. He gets beaten, almost to death, a couple times and keeps on jumping back in the proverbial ring, for more. Though somewhat reluctant (at least initially), he’s a good guy and I found it very easy to root for him.

Cassie’s 13, but she’s been told she looks 14 and I foresee finding her attractive at around 17. Call it a “watchers” intuition.  She’s clever, resourceful, determined and a smartass. And against my pre-watching assumptions, she never really turned into the damsel in distress and I actually ended up liking her. Especially when she got hammered and started berating the other girl on the team for being the bane of all their problems.

[THE BODY COUNT: 30 FOR CERTAIN , 8 POTENTIALS & A BUNCH OF FISH]

The good guys rack up a rather thrilling (for a PG-13, Superhero movie) 7 kills. But it’s the bad guys that do most of the damage, as they are divided amongst themselves and end up fighting one-another, civil war style. They kill each other off with bullets, mind-bullets (that’s telekinesis, Kyle!) and mind projecting various sharp objects into one-another’s vital organs. The left over 8 are the bodies of the Asian stunt team that were tossed around like rag dolls, but never shown lifeless enough to confirm their deaths.

[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING & DEATH]

I’m going to go with the penultimate villain, Victor Budarin. Little is known about the man, but he’s basically Chow Yun-Fat’s worst nightmare. The guy deflects a thousand or so bullets, all while systematically fucking up an entire Hong Kong stunt team with his telekinesis. His only apparent weakness is other ‘Movers’.  Nick and Vic showdown in a warehouse, bludgeoning one another with psychic-power enhanced punches, kicks and head butts. The two men trade blow for blow until one of the Asian gangster guys interrupts with a psychic scream that would rival the Michael Jackson video, and he turns Vic’s brains into soft-serve ice-cream.

[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]

Chris Evans is a hunk, but the only time he takes off his shirt is when a pretty woman is mending his wounds. Then later, he has sex with a younger, even better looking female. What a waste.

[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]

At one point, one of the bad-guy agents gets into a battle of the sexes with Camilla Belle in a bathroom. She takes some heavy hits, but comes out victorious in the end. But, I knew she would, as after all, she was Seagal’s daughter in THE PATRIOT. He’d be proud.

Then of course there is the Asian girl, who shames her father by no fault of her own, but gets bitch slapped just the same for not being born a male.

[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]

I really enjoyed the shootout between Nick and Vic in the restaurant. They use their powers to levitate guns around the room blasting round after round at one another. It’s no Tea House scene from HARD BOILED, but it’s still cooler than I expected.

There’s not much for one-liners, but, despite myself, I did enjoy the following exchange.

Pop Girl [holding a gun to Cassie]: “Stupid child. I already saw you die.”
Cassie: “Then you know it’s not here, and it’s not today.”

It’s kinda sad that the most badass thing said in the film was by a skinny little girl. But I assure you, it’s still a pretty kick-ass film.

[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]

Getting pushed, makes you wanna…

[THE CHECKLIST: 11 outta 25]

[  ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[  ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[  ] Crotch Attack
[  ] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[  ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Factory/Warehouse
[  ] Giant Explosion(s)
[  ] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[  ] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[  ] Manly Embrace(s)
[  ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[  ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[  ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[  ] Unnecessary Sequel
[  ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice

Next Stop—Stripping On Letterman.

The Big Boss …Gets Killed

The Big Boss

[THE CHALK-OUTLINE]

The Big Boss a.k.a. Fists Of Fury a.k.a. Tang shan da xiong (1971): Breakdown by Kain424

Bruce Lee finds out his boss is a drug-smuggling asshole and a murderer.  Lee then proceeds to kill everyone involved.

[THE EXECUTION]

This is Bruce Lee’s first starring role, and one can already see the qualities that made him a star.  He is very expressive and certainly carries his scenes with a natural charisma.  He performs his fight scenes adeptly and even though I think he’s been surpassed, both in terms of physicality and skill, it’s easy to see how he became the prototype for martial arts stars to some.

On a side note, I think it’s sad that Lee never became a huge American star.  He appeared briefly in Marlowe, two years earlier, and was pretty much the best thing about that picture.  American studios have a long history of failing to utilize Asian stars, and it pretty much began with Bruce Lee.

The Big Boss is actually a pretty standard affair.  Workers at an ice factory are disappearing and Lee discovers that it’s all been done to cover up a drug-smuggling operation.  The film makers don’t bother playing up the mystery aspect of the plot, but instead focus on the fighting.

In the end, this turns out to be a good thing, as the fights are easily the highlight of the film.  The fights teeter-totter between being violent and realistic to cartoonish and over-the-top (at one point, Lee punches a guy through a wall, leaving a perfect silhouette-shaped hole).

If the fights are unbalanced, then the editing will also leave you scratching your head. There are so many version of this film to be found, I find it difficult to mention certain scenes, knowing full well that they may not be in someone else’s version.  Some versions have edited out much of the violence and nudity. There are English-dubbed versions, and even a Chinese version I found doesn’t have Bruce Lee’s original voice track.  Add to this mess the fact that many versions call the film Fists Of Fury (not to be confused with Lee’s next film, Fist Of Fury) and you’ve got a movie begging to be mistaken for something else.  Interested Action fans beware.

Big Backyard

The villain in this one does something I’ve noticed that seems to happen in several 70s films: he uses his mansion’s yard to train.  I don’t know what the obsession was with having the main baddie training with a group of guys in his front yard was, but I think The Big Boss might have been the first film to do this.  If so, kudos.

Still, other than as an introduction to Mr. Lee, I am not sure that I would recommend this to anyone other than big martial arts fans.  Enter The Dragon is better in every respect, be it fighting, story, or even the dialog and acting.  And, once again to reiterate, you risk grabbing a heavily edited version when you look for this one.  I’d say leave it to the completists.

[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]

Lee

Bruce Lee is Cheng Chao-an

He has what appears to be a 15 foot vertical jump, can destroy a man’s internal organs (thus killing him) with a single blow, and can deflect thrown knives with his feet!  Yeah, he’s a mean customer.

[THE BODY COUNT: AROUND 25-30]

BodyCount

This film, unedited, is extremely violent.  Everyone’s getting stabbed, chopped, beaten, and cut to pieces.  All of this generous amounts of glorious red stuff.  It’s pretty surprising that they got away with what they did given the time period in which this was filmed.

The bodies pile up, with Lee killing 15 people and the bad guys killing nearly every other cast member in the film.  Most of these deaths are shown onscreen as well; if they aren’t then the mangled corpses (even that of a child’s) are shown afterward.

[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]

I’m gonna have to go with the final death of the film.  After a prolonged, Kung Fu battle, the baddie tries to throw a knife at Lee.  Bruce, who at this time is lying on his back on the ground, deflects the knife with his foot, sending the blade back into the would-be killer’s torso.  That’s not enough.  Lee leaps up, and drives his hands through the villain’s chest, letting him bleed out all over his training lawn.

satisfyingdeath

[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]

There’s not a lot going on here other than a few funny moments.  Lee wakes up in a whorehouse and flees like he’s never seen a woman naked before.  Also, when Lee discovers that his coworkers have all been murdered, he picks one guy and hugs and caresses his corpse… I’m still not sure what that was all about.

[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]

Crai Baby

There are three main women characters in this film.  One runs a snackfood stand, one’s a whore, and the other does all the cleaning and cooking for the male characters and, when she’s not doing that, she’s flirting with Lee or crying.  There are more women featured in this movie, but they are, literally, all whores in a bordello.

[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]

After Lee has killed the main antagonist, it’s still not enough.  The guy dies and falls into a heap of former douche-baggery, then Lee climbs onto the corpse and begins beating it with his fists as dark clouds swarm overhead.  This scene goes on for quite some time, to its inevitable conclusion: Lee collapsing onto the beaten pulp of what once was his foe.

epicmoment

Lee’s not much for one-liners in this film, but there is moment where he finally decides to kick some ass and beats up four or five guys and looks at all other takers and challenges: “You wanna fight someone?  Fight me!”

It’s cooler than it sounds.

[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]

Sometimes you have to do the wrong thing to get the right thing done.  And Bruce Lee is a mean mother-fucker.

[THE CHECKLIST: 09 outta 25]

[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[  ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[  ] Crotch Attack
[  ] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[  ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Factory/Warehouse
[  ] Giant Explosion(s)
[  ] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[  ] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[  ] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[X] Manly Embrace(s)
[  ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[  ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[  ] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[  ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[  ] Tis The Season
[  ] Torture Sequence(s)
[  ] Unnecessary Sequel
[  ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice

saw-head

Too Easy: A Splitting Headache

The Big Boss (1971) © Golden Harvest Company

ID:BORE

[THE CHALK-OUTLINE]

Independence Day (1996) The Special Edition: Breakdown by Rantbo

A drunken ex-pilot, an environmentalist techno-geek and the Fresh Prince save mankind from a WAR OF THE WORLDS. And successfully kill off 80s action in the wake.

[THE EXECUTION]

Essentially, aliens attack Earth, because they hate how awesome and united we are and it’s up to a rag-tag group of Americans to save the planet with our ballsy initiative, quick thinking skills and camaraderie in the face of adversity. You know, a bunch of flag waving rah rah bullshit and explosions. And as this was the SPECIAL EDITION version, I had the honor of watching 9 more intense minutes of Randy Quaid’s kids! And you can too!

WATCH as the little one gets sick, stays sick and then at the end—is magically not sick! SEE the girl from MRS. DOUBTFIRE try futilely to get some teenage coward to stick his penis in her! And BE SURE to stick around…

I’m not a fan.

In fact, I have special contempt and loathing for this movie, which I’ve went over once before in a rant I did last year, so here’s the relevant part of the article, paraphrased and re-edited for your reading pleasure:

The date: June 11th, 1993. Steven Spielberg’s technological masterpiece JURASSIC PARK opens in wide-release in the United States. Young and old moviegoers alike are delighted as computer graphics take film to new heights of visual spender and achievement. It was truly a great day for cinematic history.

The date: June 21st, 1996. Almost three years later to the day, Action Icon Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Action thriller ERASER opens and marks the last official 80s Style Action film to be released theatrically. And though it is panned by critics and girlymen alike, it delivers all it promised and more. Machismo, one-liners, a large body count, explosions, and Arnold wrestling a crocodile. A blast of a film, it now remains a bittersweet entry to my action collection, as ONE WEEK later, Bad-Ass cinema took unto itself a blow from which it has yet to recover.

The date: July 3rd, 1996. On the eve of America’s finest day, a tragedy strikes the hearts, minds and eyes of Action fans, leaving us bewildered in its wake of mass pussification. INDEPENDENCE DAY opens in wide-release. Gratuitous violence is officially forced into the backseat of moviegoers hearts as computer graphics commandeer the Action bandwagon, without a single practical shot fired.

Checkmate.

The family-friendly hero was born from the womb of a big-eared blabber-mouth named the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and liberal pussies everywhere swooned to his distant cat-call “WOO! I HAVE GOT TO GET ME ONE OF THESE!” The crowds couldn’t get enough of the shiny computer graphics and lost in the spender of the pretty colors, lost sight of what made an action movie so special: Unapologetic R-rated violence.

The summer blockbuster was re-defined. Out went the muscle-bound, homoerotic beefcake gun-nuts that Action fans had come to know and lust after, and in came the good-looking inoffensive pretty-boys that get Mom’s stamp of approval, and along with it, the studio chiefs. And forever more shall us BadAss cinema fans read, an invisible banner, underneath the marquee… ‘Abandon All Hope, Ye Lovers Of Action, this land has been overtaken, in the name of Mass Attraction.” Proclaimithed July the third, nineteen-hundred and ninety-six, he who doth “Woo!”

If that’s not reason enough to make you hate INDEPENDENCE DAY, I’ve got a few more.

Like most end-of-the-world movies this one has non-stop plot-holes, illogical scenarios and outright stupid shit. Here’s a few I noticed in-between bouts of acute narcolepsy.

-You can avoid so much as a skinned-knee by hiding in a maintenance closet 2 feet from a city sized fireball. And furthermore, survive a helicopter crash if you’re related to a central-plot character. At least until after you hug your kid and have a tear roll down your cheek.
-The alien spaceships have a force-field that can deflect nuclear warheads, but get fucked-up beyond repair after crashing into some sand.
-Jeff Goldblum can take leaps in logic, like Superman can clear buildings, and yet no one bothers to question the thought process of his poor writi—er, conclusions.
-At the end, Smith and Goldblum have 30 seconds to evacuate the alien mother-ship; they take over a minute and a half. You don’t even have to time that shit, it’s quite apparent it’s 3 times longer than it should be. Same could be said about the movie as a whole.

It’s also packed with pseudo-clever cutesy referential bullshit. REM’s ‘It’s The End of the World…’ plays during the beginning, some poor white trash watch THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL on a shitty broken television set in a winnebago.  And of course, you can’t do a SCI-FI movie without peppering some un-inspired groan-inducing 2001: A SPACE whatever references throughout your picture. Not to mention ID:4 is just a tech-savvy version of WAR OF THE WORLDS.

Worst of all, this movie clearly influenced Michael Bay…
It’s chalk full of un-funny comedic relief, nothing happens for almost an hour, it has more special effects than ideas and the last half an hour is one giant homage to god and country.  And money, can’t forget money.

I’m starting to get pissed off—long story short, this movie is long, boring, insipid stupid garbage. It’s pro-god, pro-military, pro-marriage, pro-war and pro pretty much everything else I can’t stand.  But, if you dig crap like VOLCANO, ARMAGEDDON, THE PASSION and 2 GIRLS, 1 CUP—well, INDEPENDENCE DAY could be your new-old favorite film. And, if it is, and you are over 16 years of age, GTFO my website. Happy 4th of July.

[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]

Will Smith is Captain Steven Hiller is a Pussy

I got nothing against Will Smith, he genuinely seems like one of the nicest celebrities in the game, but fuck ‘em. Fuck him right in the ass, with a big rubber dick. I find it hard to believe that this asshole’s charisma, shitty pop music and good looks were able to single-handedly trounce the beefcakes of the glory days. It’s like watching Rambo slaughter an entire army with his bare hands and then die of an infected hang-nail a week later. This has to be a conspiracy. Anyways, I’ll do my best to be, not fair, but not completely bias and volatile here.

Smith punches out an alien wearing foot-thick bio-armor. That’s kinda badass. Later he does a pretty good pimp-away walk from some flaming wreckage. And he is quite ripped, and when shirtless, emits a fair amount of homoerotic vapors. But then he tries sucking on a stogie, and can’t pull off looking anywhere near as cool as Schwarzenegger. So fuck him thrice for trying.

Outside of making Disney-style heroism mainstream, I have to say I hate him almost as much for his goofy non-stop babble. Smith never shuts the fuck up. He’s constantly jabbering and filibustering his own dialogue with crap like the following…

“That’s what you get! Ha Ha! Look at you! Ya ship’s all banged up!”

“Who’s the man? Huh? Who’s the man? Wait till I get another plane! I’m a line ya friends up right beside you! Where ya at, huh? Where ya at?”

Can’t he just stand there and look stoic? Is that so much to ask? When did silent angry reflection stop being cool? Oh, wait: July 3rd, 1996—right, I almost forgot.

[THE BODY COUNT: YOU FIGURE IT OUT]

A plane full of people explodes.
Four helicopters full of people explode.
The cities of L.A., New York, Houston and Washington D.C. explode.
A bunch of missiles explode.
Eleven jets explode.
An air force base explodes.
NORAD explodes.
A room full of Area 51 doctors get slaughtered.
An alien gets shot in the head.
A Pepsi can explodes.
A bunch more jets explode.
A bunch more missiles explode.
Alien fighters explode.
Another airbase explodes.
Randy Quaid explodes.
The alien warships explode.
The alien mothership explodes.
Then my brain shut off—and exploded.

[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]

I’ll go with the city of Houston.

No, wait. Harry Connick Jr.—NO, Houston. I’m sticking with Houston.

[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]

“Don’t get premature on me soldier, we don’t light up till the fat lady sings!”

“This is our victory dance. Not until the fat lady sings. This is important.”
“Fat lady. I gottcha.”

The whole ‘fat lady’ shtick is based around Will Smith getting to smoke a cigar. Sigmund Freud once said, “Sometimes a cigar, is just a cigar.”—but, George Carlin once said, “Yeah—well sometimes it’s a big brown dick!” This is a latter representation of the metaphor. I believe that ‘the fat lady’ is Will Smith’s nickname for his penis. It’s long, it’s brown and Harry Connick Jr. sucks on the wet end of it. That’s a black man’s dick, no doubt ‘bout it.

“I ain’t heard no fat lady!!!”
“Forget the fat lady, you’re obsessed with the fat lady!”

“Let’s kick the tires and light the fires, Big Daddy!”

[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]

Vivica A. Fox (KILL BILL) plays a stripper, but as this movie was PG-13, you don’t get to see so much as a nipple. Plus, she pretends not to be ashamed of her profession as a slutty dance-whore. But she ain’t fooling me. Inside, I bet she’s slowly killing herself with self-loathing and disgust. This thought alone allows me to sleep at night.

[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]

I liked it when the dog outran the giant slow-mo explosion. That shit was INTENSE!

Run Boomer! RUN!

One-liners? Christ, take your pick, this movie is a constant steam of mid-nineties grade school trash talk…

“Just a little anxious to get up there and whoop E.T.’s ass, that’s all.”
“Welcome to Earth–[PUNCH] Now that’s what I call a close encounter.”
“I have GOT to get me one of deez!”
“Payback’s a bitch, ain’t it!?”
“All right, you alien assholes! In the words of my generation: UP YOURrrrrrS!”
“Ha-ha-ha! Hello, boys! I’m BAaaaaaaaCK!!!”
“We’re gonna have to work on our communication!”
“Oh! Elvis has left the building!”

Personally, I can’t pick just one. I hate them all, equally.

[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]

Roland Emmerich has a hard-on for fucking up Lady Liberty. I think he hates freedom. We should lynch his America-hatin’ ass before he does it again in 2012.

[THE CHECKLIST: 18 outta 25]

[  ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[  ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[  ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Factory/Warehouse
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[X] Manly Embrace(s)
[  ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[  ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[X] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[  ] Unnecessary Sequel
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[  ] Vigilante Justice

Checkmate, 80s Action.

Bond Breakdown #02: From Russia With Love (1963)

[THE CLASSIFIED INTEL]

From Russia With Love (1963): Bond Breakdown by Rantbo

Number 1, the mysterious leader of the evil organization known as SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion), puts two of his top agents to work on a devious project. Kronsteen aka Agent #5,  devises a plan to steal a high-tech cryptographic device (a Lektor Decoder) for the Soviets, while at the same time enact revenge on MI:6 and 00 Agent James Bond, for the destruction of their outfit in Crab Key and the subsequent death of their agent, Dr. Julius No. Rosa Klebb, aka Agent #3, is put in charge of carrying out the dastardly deed of organizing for Bond to do the dirty work and in the end, pay for his misdeeds against SPECTRE.

[THE BOND SONG AND CREDITS SEQUENCE]

After a nail-biting opener, the filmmakers go to work at raising my blood pressure yet again, but this time, it isn’t the possible death of my favorite secret agent that gets my heart pumping, it’s Lisa “Leila” Guiraut*.

Leila is the first official half-naked female body of the now famous Bond Credit Sequences. The James Bond Theme blares in all its glory, as the credits are displayed in a light show on the bouncing breasts, gyrating hips and waving abs of the gorgeous belly dancer. Using her skin as a projection screen, title designer Robert Brownjohn, begins a tradition of making credit sequences, not only fun, but anticipated. Well done, old man.

The only thing lacking from the sequence, is a film specific “title” song. While one was recorded with famous 60s English singer, Matt Monro, it isn’t played properly until the end credits. I’m not a big fan of the song, but I still find it kind of a shame that it never really got its opening credits due. On the plus side, John Barry is officially THE composer and on top of the amazing Bond Theme returning (thus solidifying it inseparable from the series), Barry also creates a second Bond theme, used in times of pulse-racing action and moments of peril. It too, becomes an instant classic and is featured in many of the future installments.

*You get to see much more of the lovely Miss Leila during the gypsy camp scene later on.

[BOND—JAMES, BOND (SEAN CONNERY)]

Body Bags Filled [9 for certain, 11 unconfirmed] Bedpost Notches [4]

Connery returns in his sophomore performance as 007. He first appears (as himself and not a guy in a mask) in what would become typical Bond fashion. In pre/post coitus suaveness. James is kicking back and having himself a little holiday with returning Bond film beauty, Sylvia Trench. The formula set from DR. NO is brought back by director Terrance Young, as Bond is interrupted in his bliss, by a call informing him that ‘M’ is cranky and needs him to report for duty. Bond agrees after negotiating out a little extra time to finish the job at hand. Oh, James!

But Young also made sure to keep things fresh by upping Bond’s a darker edges, making the character less sunshine and puppy-kisses this time around. We are shown the side of Bond that makes his superiors pick him time and again, the dark side. They know that even though Bond is a bit of a rogue and a joker, when the fit hits the shan, Bond will do the dirty work necessary to complete his mission. After killing an assassin in cold blood, a la DR. NO, Young had to delve a little deeper to get audiences talking with a sequence in which Bond repeatedly strikes a woman for information. Granted, this film was made in the 60’s, but it’s still quite jarring to see the hero beating on a woman. But, it works for the character, as it’s a great reminder to the audience that as charming and likable as James is, he is still a machine with a license to kill and a drive to get the job done, that reaches above morality.

Connery gives another great performance and it’s clear that he is WAY into the role. I’ve read quotes that FRWL is Connery’s personal favorite outing as the character, and it shows. The role is also much more physical and in doing many of his own stunts, you can tell that Sean gave it his all. He gets in a brutal fight to the death, a gypsy-camp shootout, he dodges certain death from swooping helicopter blades and gets down and dirty using gasoline tanks and a flare gun to blow up a fleet of perusing boats. Bond just plain kicks ass and this sequel simply solidified that as fact.

[THE BOND VILLAINS]

Eric Pohlmann as The Voice and Tim Moxon as The Hands of Number 1

Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty, Van Helsing and Count Dracula, Superman and Lex Luthor, America and Russia, and James Bond and this guy: Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but we don’t know that yet. ‘Number 1’ is all the identity he is given. His face is never shown, and he is represented only by his commanding, yet calm vocals, and a pair of well-groomed hands. Rather than physically represent the evil of global terrorism, it is left up to the performances of his subordinates to sell the eerie intimidation and ruthless malice behind the curtain. Luckily, Number 1 has some of the best. This role is very small and shrouded in mystery, but will continue to build in the following films, eventually becoming one of the greatest movie villains of all time.

Vladek Sheybal as Kronsteen aka Number 5

As the Chief Planning Officer for SPECTRE, Kronsteen is the brains behind the nefarious schemes and orchestrated chaos of the organization. Number 5 conducts the film’s plot like a grandmaster game of chess, which is fitting, as he is a world champion of the game in his spare time. He sets up the pawns of good and the knights and rooks of evil and foresees all their conceivable moves—almost. Kronsteen forgot one thing, to account for the sheer awesomeness of one British Bad-Ass. Too bad, as this means his ass. Though his part is small and his screen time is limited, I liked this character and I think Sheybal did a great job of bringing the cock-sure brainiac to life.

Robert Shaw as Donald ‘Red’ Grant

“Donald Grant, convicted murderer. Escaped Dartmoor Prison in 1960. Recruited in Tangier, 1962.”
Blondie here happens to be the top student at SPECTRE’s assassin outreach program. Trained in what could only be Chuck Norris’s back yard, Red is ready for anything, be it a punch in the gut from an angry Austrian midget, having to snipe during a gypsy camp shootout, or getting into a legendary brawl with Britain’s top agent.

Red emanates an eerie claustrophobic vibe, as he works from the shadows, always staying two steps ahead of Bond. His calm demeanor and cold hearted killings cover the film like an ill-fitting tuxedo—but in a good way. Quint can take a long walk off a short peer into a sharks mouth, this is my favorite performance by Shaw and set the bar for Bond henchmen that few, if any, were able to pass.

Lotte Lenya as Rosa Klebb aka Number 3

Intimidating, creepy and oddly sexy (I’ll explain), Rosa Klebb absolutely owns the screen whenever visible. A bronze medalist in the SPECTRE organization, Klebb makes it difficult to envision the guy that edged her out for the runner up. Most people would put Red as the principle villain of the picture, but I disagree. He’s just a glorified and well toned henchman with a bunch of screen time. Rosa Klebb is the one to watch. Pulling the strings of Number 5’s plan, she hand picks Red and Bond Girl Tatiana like the highest paid casting agent in Hollywood. Klebb knows her shit.

She starts by recruiting Red from the ninja compound and tests his manliness by equipping brass knuckles and punching him in the gut. Her next mission, to recruit an embassy clerk to seduce Bond, she does by playing out a game of intimidation infused with patriotic duties and promises of riding-crop fetish spanking for punishment (or pleasure) of screwing up.

Tasty. That stuff in the bedroom with Bond and Romanova doesn’t have anything on the sexual tension of this interview. But, you know what they say about the best laid plans of overconfident uptight chess players and pseudo-lesbianistic interrogators…

When her plan goes tits-up, Klebb decides to get her hands dirty. By becoming a maid. That’s not a joke, just a half truth, that happens to be funny. Posing as such, she infiltrates Bond’s hotel room to steal the coveted Lektor and is betrayed by her own pawn, Tatiana. Bond and Klebb tango about the room as she tries to kick him with a poisoned knife jutting out of her clodhoppers. She fights like a Spartan, but ends up succumbing to a fatal gunshot wound, via Tatiana. Oh, the spanking that would have gone down had she survived! But, she didn’t. It is to be a shame.

[THE BOND GIRLS]

Eunice Gayson as Trench—Sylvia, Trench

Bond’s first girlfriend, Sylvia, is back again for a piece of the old JB. And I still love her. Introduced yet again next to Bond, she’s lookin’ foxy in a two-piece bathing suit, hair all down, like a 60’s pinup girl—damn. Originally it was conceived that she was going to be a mainstay in the Bond films, but sadly that piddled out. Not sure why, but I believe it had to do with director Terrence Young not returning for the next installment. Gayson was a friend of his and got the gig because of it. So, regrettably, this is her farewell performance, but thankfully it was a memorable one. I especially love her little pout she gives when James is on the phone, getting called back into duty. Placating the poor girl, Bond decides to throw her a bone and negotiates enough time to give her satisfaction, one last time. Upon hearing which, she claps her hands together in gratitude and excitement—too cute. I miss her already.

Martine Beswick as Zora and Aliza Gur as Vida

Before pumping his main squeeze Tatiana for information, Bond gets into a precarious situation featuring these two gypsy sex-pots. In love with the same man, these two “ladies” are destined to duke it out for the right to woo said lucky bastard. Bond happens to arrive at the camp on the night of the brawl. Oddly, James is appalled as the two beauties lunge at one another in a fury of hair pulling, nail swiping and cheap blows. These kitties like to scratch, Meeeow! Unfortunately, soon after round one begins, an unrelated shootout busts up the campsite. Chaos ensues, but with a healthy dose of superspy ass-kickery, things are set right . Impressed with how badass Bond is, the camp leader praises James and honors a request from him to stop the cat fight. Problem is, this leaves the battle undecided and it is up to the man who stopped it to resolve the matter…

It is still a mystery to this day, as to just what occurred during the long hours of that night, but what we do know is that the next morning a certain two ladies are seen cooking breakfast and mending the clothes of a very satisfied looking Scotsman.

Daniela Bianchi as Tatiana “Tania” Romanova

Kerim Bey: “Charming, charming—charming!”
Her name is a mouthful, but luckily her mouth is just the right size for Bond. Plus, it sounds so cool when Connery says it: Taught-E-Ha-Na. I must say Miss Daniela is one drop-dead gorgeous little lady and she scores high on a bunch of other Bond girl levels. Tatiana is such a great leap from the “stand there and look pretty” style of the first film, as she actually does stuff while looking good.

Tricked into believing that she is working for her country, she agrees to play the traitor, selling her country out for a man she had only seen in a picture, (Bond, of course). MI:6 suspects a trap, but they allow Bond to go through with it regardless and this poor girl is caught in the middle. Tatiana plays the role of the love-lost damsel-in-distress a little too well and becomes torn between her fear of Klebb and her love for James. But, we all know which emotion wins over the other. Bianchi becomes the role, and with both smarts and beauty, she sets a standard for future Bond Girls—I for one would defect for some of her Russian lovin’, that’s for certain.

[THE BEST BOND-AID]

“An ordinary black, leather case—with 20 rounds of ammunition here and here [on the left and right bottom sides]. In the side here, a flat throwing knife. Press that button there [right front face], and out she comes. Inside the case, you’ll find an AR-7 folding sniper’s rifle. It’s .25 caliber with an infrared telescopic sight. Then if you pull out these straps [dividing the inner compartment], inside are 50 gold sovereigns. 25 in either side. Now, watch very carefully. An ordinary tin of talcum powder. Inside, a tear gas cartridge. That goes in the case against the side, like that. It’s magnetized, so it won’t fall. Now, normally to open a case like that, you move the catches to the side. If you do, the cartridge will explode in your face. Now, to stop the cartridge exploding, turn the catches horizontally… then open normally.”

Try getting that bag past airport security nowadays. Bond ends up using the rifle, ammo, knife and teargas to, of course, whip some ass. The sovereigns don’t really get used, per say, but they end up serving as a badass means to an end. All-in-all, it’s “…a nasty little Chrishtmesh preshent.” But more importantly, it is designed and delivered to Bond by one of the greatest characters of all-time, Major “Q” Boothroyd as played by the outstanding Desmond Llewelyn.

Replacing the actor Peter Burton (from his brief stint as the character in DR. NO), Desmond Llewelyn IS Q. Here in his first outing, ‘Q’ is only given a small and pretty uneventful appearance. Summoned to M’s office just as 007 is ready to disembark, he delivers the goods from his department in a serene and dignified manner. He does his job and that is that. Not much else to say—for now. It isn’t until later installments that the filmmakers took notice in the untapped genius that Llewelyn had to offer.  I’m just thankful that they came to their senses and gave the old boy a shot. More on Q as his role develops.

[BOND'S GREATEST HITS]

The Body Count [21 and 11 unconfirmed]

Bond seals 9 evil men’s fates, mostly by bullet, but a couple Rube Goldberg style with a grenade and a big blonde baddie with a knife. Team Bond racks up 6 confirmed kills throughout the film’s duration and Team SPECTRE matches Bond with an impressive 9 kills, mostly executed by Red.

As for the unconfirmed, there is one man that Bond bashes about the head in the Gypsy camp raid, but it’s not clear as to whether or not it was a fatal blow and the other 10 belong to sailors that are engulfed in Bond’s gasoline fire at the end of the film. I don’t think that anyone could have paddled safely out of the fire, but I can’t be sure.

The Best Fight:

Bond vs. Red

The famous Orient Express fight. Bond and Grant, two agents from opposing sides, both at the top of their game, throw themselves into a tornado of punches, kicks and body slams. All within one small passenger-car room. The battle is exquisite, and quite brutal considering the time in which it was made. Editor Peter Hunt truly outdid himself with this one.

The Most Satisfying Kill:

When forced with the decision to betray her superior officer, or shoot an enemy spy, Tania goes with her heart and plugs one in her comrade, Klebb. Tatiana just couldn’t bear to waste such a gorgeous slab of hunk like James. Poor Rosa, the sweet old dear goes down fighting, but ends up like so many of those who oppose Bond, twitching in agony as they slide down a wall to die. “She had her kicks.”

[HIS WORD IS HIS BOND]

Best Witticism:

Bond’s Turkish ally, Ali Kerim Bey, enacts revenge on a Russian assassin, by shooting him as he climbs out of a hidden hatch concealed by a giant painting of Anita Ekberg on the side of his apartment building.

[After the Russian is shot and falls to his death]

Bond: She should’ve kept her mouth shut.

Best Double Entendre:

Boatman: …it’s a great sport, this punting!
Bond [cuddling with Sylvia in another boat]: I couldn’t agree with him more.
Sylvia: Mmm, I may even give up golf for it.
[Bond gets a phone call]
Moneypenny: He’s [M] been asking for you all morning, where in the world are you, James?
Bond: Uh—well, I’ve just been reviewing an “old-case”.

[THE MISSION DEBRIEF]

This film is essentially DR. NO with a higher budget. Along with the extra cash, the filmmakers took a little more care to make a serious and practical Bond. Terrence Young, again, takes all the ingredients that made the first film so special and added a splash of sheen, comedy and grandeur. The extra money and effort shows as the film is beautiful, smart, sexy and thrilling.

Young approaches FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE as kind of an homage to the success of the first film. All of James’s enduring quirks return, but with a slight comedic ~wink, wink~ post modernism twist. And Bond repeats many of the events that occurred in DR. NO; M has to track Bond down and tear him away from Sylvia, Bond arrives at the airport (this time in  Istanbul), but in the same series of shots, he is greeted by a chauffeur, he is watched by a man in a car, he is tailed by another mysterious man, he inspects his hotel room—and so on and so on. What makes this so great is that they allow you to become familiar with Bond’s mission to mission lifestyle. All the while, setting you up for the twist when all these familiarities are thrown out the window of a speeding train. It gives the viewer a taste of what it’s like to live a week in Bond’s shoes. The same-ol’-same-ol’ of day to day life as a spy is all a charade. It takes nerves of steel and balls of brass to do what Bond does so well. Thankfully the talented folks behind these adventures knew precisely how to deliver. FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE is a fantastic Bond film and re-defined the action genre from the previous re-definition that DR. NO gave it. It is a rare occurrence that a sequel will outshine it’s predecessor, but this movie should be listed as the definition of the circumstance.

[THE 007 SEVEN]

[  ] Destroys Evil Doer’s Lair
[  ] Drinks or Orders a Vesper Martini
[X] Gets Captured and/or Tortured
[  ] Introduces Himself As “Bond—James, Bond”
[  ] Teams-Up With Felix Leiter
[X] Uses Judo or a Walther PPK to Dispose of an Enemy
[  ] Wears a Tux*

*Though Sean Connery does, it is revealed that the character was not Bond, but a man wearing a Bond-Mask. So, no dice.

Tatiana: “There are some English customs that are going to be changed.”

RANTBO will return in (a review of) GOLDFINGER

Knock Off killcount

Knock Off (1998)

Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme

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Van Damme kills 13

Discuss

Knock Off rights held by Sony Pictures.

Bond Breakdown #01: Dr. No (1962)

[THE CLASSIFIED INTEL]

Dr. No (1962): Bond Breakdown by Rantbo

Bond is playing the role of the clean-up hitter by cruising down to Jamaica with orders from M to investigate the death of fellow agent John Strangways and his secretary. With a secondary objective to determine whether or not their disappearance is related to some disrupted missile launchings for the CIA. Bond’s keen detection skills lead him to a small island named Crab Key and it’s mysterious owner, Dr. Julius No.

[THE BOND SONG AND CREDITS SEQUENCE]

Arguably, the most recognizable image from this or any film series, the gun barrel POV shot has defined Bond since the beginning. Added late in post, it was thrown in as an afterthought and the role of the Bond’s silhouette was played by Mr. Connery’s stunt double, Bob Simmons. True Fact. I love stunt-man appreciation. So, already this flick is off to a damn fine start. Now, in future installments, the POV shot is a lead-in to the opening action sequence, but that tradition didn’t get started until the next entry. So for now, we have to settle for the first ever BOND CREDIT SEQUENCE.

The entire sequence centers around some technicolor polka dots and conga dancers. The tune is catchy, but the visuals are like something out of a mid 40s Disney movie, like THE THREE CABALLEROS. However, the beginning does feature the now famous, James Bond Theme.  Originating from the song “Good Sign, Bad Sign” composed by Monty Norman, the track was re-arranged and orchestrated by the musical genius, John Barry. It is, in a word: Fantasmorgasmic. So, all-in-all, not bad for the baby-steps that would grow up and become a beautiful bouncing piece of Action Movie history.

[BOND—JAMES, BOND (SEAN CONNERY)]

Body Bags Filled [4 + A Spider] Bedpost Notches [3]

He’s tall, he’s dark, he’s handsome in a toupee, he’s smokin’ (literally) and most of all, he’s shexshy. He is James Bond, as played by Sir Thomas Sean Connery.  We are introduced to Bond’s roguish good looks after a series of camera shots that establish his location, but only tease at to what he looks like.  It isn’t until the TRUE first Bond Girl sets up his most famous line, that he is unveiled to the audience.

Que the theme. The cool thing about this scene is that it is intended as a comedic moment, and though it is that, it also came off as just plain badass. Most people, I think, miss the fact that he is just mimicking the way that Sylvia introduced herself, because Bond is a smartass and he knows the best way to bag a beautiful lady is to mock her and attack her ego.  All it takes is a hop, skip and a shit-eating grin later and he’s in like a dirty shirt. Bond is very cocksure, but it works because he is so charming. The audience must have thought this as well, because the filmmakers went on to have Bond deliver it in almost every subsequent film. Connery, combined with director Terrance Young’s influence, crafts the perfect gentleman spy.  Darkly witty yet brashly sophisticated, smooth yet ruthless, cheeky yet cold, Sean Connery was James Bond.

Back on the job, Bond’s first order of business is fraternizing with MI:6’s secretary and being chastised by his boss, M, for not sticking to the 007 code of arms. Establishing Bond, early-on, as the rebel agent. They don’t use him because they want to, they use him because he’s the best, despite his rebellious routines and egotistical domineer.

Regrettably outfitted with his industry standard Walther PPK and the lowdown on his latest assignment, Bond is off to kick some Caribbean ass—right after he ties up the loose ends of this night’s sexual endeavor, that is. Connery is a great Bond and is understandably the most popular choice when it comes down to picking favorites. I myself, love the old rascal and even in his lackluster (official) farewell performance, I find myself again and again thinking how he was the best part of bringing Bond to the big screen. There is nothing bad I can say about the man.

[THE BOND VILLAINS]

Anthony Dawson as Professor R. J. Dent

The First “Number Two” type character. A local metallurgist, he is also a part-time unwilling assassin for Dr. No. Dent doesn’t have a large role in the film, but along with Miss. Taro, he serves as a great conduit for the evil schemes of the film’s main villain. He is a coward at heart and does a good job of showing us how far people will stoop in fear of a higher authority. Trying twice to eliminate Bond while he sleeps, the wormy little bastard fails time and again. But, rest assured, he gets what he deserves.

Zena Marshall as Miss Taro

She’s a naughty little minx and justifiably gets Bond’s comeuppance (double-entendre alert). A secretary at the Government House in Kingston, Taro allows us to see just how high Dr. No’s influence can climb. Bond reads her like a Sunday paper though, and knows that she is nothing but trouble. But what better way to take care of business than to take care of business?  None I can think of, and neither can Bond. His intuitions correct, Bond evades death en route to Taro’s abode and in true Bondian fashion, plays it like he doesn’t have a clue or care in the world.

Zena plays Taro’s surprise at Bond’s arrival like a true pro and her subsequent scene of duty is one of my favorite moments in the film. Taro goes the whole nine in her job to keep James around for her back-up to arrive, by participating, in what today’s standards, could only be classified as date rape. But hey, you can’t blame Bond, she had on a tight towel! Though she looks a little off in her Asian makeup, Zena is a classic beauty and even manages to look sexy while spitting in Bond’s face when he sticks it to her—and by that I mean, has her arrested.

Joseph Wiseman as Dr. Julius No

The title character doesn’t show up until late in the third act, but thankfully Wiseman’s performance makes it worth the wait. He plays the villainous Dr. No, as a eerily calm and coldly calculating monster. And Wiseman’s performance was more than enough to sell the diabolical nature of the mad atomic scientist. At one point he calls Bond “…just a stupid policeman”. Ouch. If anyone but this guy had delivered that line, I think  it would have come off as laughable, but Wiseman sells it and it connects like a metal-clawed bitch-slap. Which brings me to the franchise’s first ‘Bond Villain Quirk’.

Dr. No is outfitted with a pair of metal hands that would make George Lucas cream his skivvies.  The funny thing about his metallic mitts though, is that I find them completely unnecessary. Dr. No was intimidating and creepy enough just being himself. But, they didn’t take anything away from the performance. Wiseman’s performance is so endearing that he not only manages to pull off looking cool with big goofy metal hands, but he even manages to look halfway serious in a ridiculous over-sized hazmat suit for the final fight scene with Bond. Even with his limited screen time, Dr. No set the proverbial bar for all the Bond Villains to follow and he set it pretty high.

[THE BOND GIRLS]

Eunice Gayson as Trench—Sylvia, Trench

Like I said above, Sylvia Trench IS the first Bond Girl, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Well—perhaps a little more, if the movie were NC-17. But Hell, for a PG rating this girl delivers the goods. Not only is she super cool for setting up Bond with his iconic introduction line, but she also has banging body, wits and a healthy outgoing athletic interest—and I’m not talking about her putts. Her appearance in Bond’s apartment is a classic moment in film and makes for a very sexy and funny scene. I really dug her and I’m not alone, as she pulls off something no other female character has done in this series since, enticed James back for more.

Sylvia Trench will return in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder

What can I say about Ursula Andress that hasn’t been said a million times before? How about that she is a highly overrated C-List Bond Girl that is given far too much credit and is always unfairly titled the first Bond Girl, whom set the bar for all the following?

Anyone still here? OK, allow me to explain. First, let me say what I like about her. 1. Yes, she is extremely good looking. 2. …, I—well, there you go. Honey shows up with about a half hour to go in the picture and aside from some eye candy and a couple of sexist jokes, she served no purpose. OK, sure, she is the reason that Dr. No’s henchmen are able to find his island’s intruders, but that could easily have been made any other number of other things.

I understand that she was the “first”, but it takes a lot more than sentimental tradition to make me jump on the fanboy bandwagon. And, by the way, I am in the WAY minority on this. Google search BOND GIRL LISTS and without exception (so far as I’ve found), she is always number one and the only reason anyone ever gives is posterity and a variation of “Boy, she sure looked hot coming out of the surf!”

01:19:48—You’re Welcome

I admit, I think Ursula does a fine job of standing around looking pretty, but did they have to make her character so stupid? She actually believes in a ridiculous legend about a killer dragon that hunts the island at night, looking for trespassers. Seriously. And Honey claims to have started reading the encyclopedia when she was 8, having started with ‘A’, and is now on ‘T’. I guess she must have just missed that part back in ‘D’ that explains Dragons are fictional creatures. As James from the novels would say, “Silly Bitch.” But aside from all my personal qualms, I don’t hate Honey, she’s an alright Bond girl, who serves her purpose and I am glad she’s in the film. I just don’t understand her foam-at-the-mouth fan base.

[THE BEST BOND-AID]

We’re not quite there yet. Bond is issued his iconic Walther PPK and he uses a geiger counter, but that’s nothing worth gabbing on about.

[BOND'S GREATEST HITS]

The Body Count [11 and 2 Potentials]

Bond takes out 4 directly, another 3 indirectly and 2 potentials. The 3 unintentional, though welcome deaths belong to a hearse full of Dr. No’s men, The Three “Blind” Mice, who accidentally swerve off a road after Bond evades them by driving under some heavy machinery. “I think they were on their way to a funeral.”

The two potentials are men that Bond fights and knocks off of suspended walkways. Assuming that they were left unconscious, the must have died in the lair’s explosion. But there is no way to be sure.

The villains manage to take out an agent, his secretary and Bond’s poor island assistant, Quarrel. And the final death is suicide by cyanide. One of Dr. No’s henchmen takes that bite, out of fear for what would happen to him if No found out he had blabbed. Talk about respect through fear.

The Best Fight:

Bond vs. The Cabbie

There are a couple fun ones in the picture, but my favorite is the first. After discovering that his driver is employed by the unknown enemy, Bond holds the henchman at gunpoint and the fool gets uppity. A couple judo flips and punches later, the poor bastard is more than ready to chomp his cyanide-laced cigarette.

The Most Satisfying Kill:

That honor goes to Professor Dent. After numerous attempts to kill Bond, Dent finally thinks he’s got the drop on old James, but he is sorely mistaken. Bond was waiting for the bastard and after obtaining the information he needs to solve the case, plugs Dent twice in cold blood.

[HIS WORD IS HIS BOND]

Best Witticism:

[Professor Dent grabs his empty (unbeknownst to him) gun and fires at Bond]
Bond: That’s a Smith & Wesson, and you’re had you six [Pip-Pip!]

Best Double Entendre:

Moneypenny: James! Where have you been? I’ve been searching all over London for you. [Picks up phone]
Moneypenny: 007 is here sir. [Slaps Bond's hand away from the papers on her desk]
Bond: Moneypenny! What gives?
Moneypenny: Me, given an ounce of encouragement. You’ve never taken me to dinner looking like this [referring to his tux]—you’ve never taken me to dinner…
Bond: I would, you know. Only “M” would have me court-martialed for—illegal use of government property.

[THE MISSION DEBRIEF]

When you put together Terrance Young’s direction, Ted Moore’s cinematography, Peter Hunt’s editing, Ken Adam’s production design, Monty Norman’s theme, Bob Simmons’s stunt work and Sean Connery’s performance as Bond, you get something special: The First Modern Action Film. With the fast paced fight sequences, theme music, chase sequences, explosions and witty one-liners, I can’t help but be in awe as I am able to watch my favorite genre be born in glorious high-definition.

However, the film is not perfect. It suffers from some second-act lag, some unintentionally funny moments and some dated customs and effects. But the sum of it’s parts, both good and bad, created Bad-Ass Cinema and gave birth to the gritty anti-heroes of the 70s, which in turn birthed the larger than life machismo heroes of the 80s. They would not exist without this film and for that alone, I have undying respect.

So, all-in-all, it’s a pretty solid picture and a great way to kick off one of the longest-lasting and most successful action franchises in history. And in closing, may the Gods of Action watch over our dearly departed brothers, Cubby Broccoli, Harry Saltzman and Terrance Young. You gave me so much and all I can give in return is my Action fanboy love. Thank you, gentlemen.

[THE 007 SEVEN]

[X] Destroys Evil Doer’s Lair
[X] Drinks or Orders a Vesper Martini
[X] Gets Captured and/or Tortured
[X] Introduces Himself As “Bond—James, Bond”
[X] Teams-Up With Felix Leiter
[X] Uses Judo or a Walther PPK to Dispose of an Enemy

Honey: “What are YOU doing here?—Looking for shells?”
Bond: “No—I’m just looking!”

RANTBO will return in (a breakdown of) FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

Bond Breakdown: Special Entry: Climax! Casino Royale (1954)

Bond #00 - Casino Royale 00

[THE CLASSIFIED INTEL]

Casino Royale (1954): Breakdown by Rantbo

Special (American) Combined Intelligence Agent Jimmy Bond is on a mission to win a game of baccarat and clean-out a Soviet Agent named Le Chiffre, thus removing his pot to piss in and forcing him to golden shower the steps of lady liberty with his commie information.

[THE BOND SONG AND CREDITS SEQUENCE]

Bond #00 - Casino Royale 01

At one point Bond plays some out-of-tune jazz on a radio, but that’s as close as this came to having any score. The only other “music” present was a couple dramatic noise flares to signify when something shocking was goings on.

As for the Credits, you almost get the standard White-Font, Black-Backdrop Scroll, but they forgot to include all the cast and the words were all fuzzy. All-in-all, a pretty lackluster affair, I must say.

[BOND—JIMMY, BOND (BARRY NELSON)]

Body Bags Filled [01] Bedpost Notches [01*]

Well, since this was the first filmed performance of James Bond, I’ll cut Nelson some slack. He sucked. Alright, perhaps I’m being a bit harsh, but an American James Bond? It makes my flesh crawl. To be fair, the guy does an OK job and to his credit he almost manages to appear cool and intimidating, and as far as hansom-wise, I guess. I mean, is this what got 50s chicks hot under the apron? I dunno and I don’t really want to.

*All he does is kiss the girl. But this was made in 1954 and kissing on television was practically like butt-humping during the Super Bowl half-time show nowadays. So, I counted it.

[THE BOND VILLAIN]

Peter Lorre is Le Chiffre

“If you continue to be THAT obstinate, I—I’ll have to tortu-YOU’ll BE TORTURED TO THE EDGE OF MADNESS! Believe me, you have no hope whatsoever, you hear? NONE!”

Peter Lorre is awesome. He actually made the boring-as-Hell 50 minutes worth watching. Which I assure you, is no small feat. Now I thought that the role of Le Chiffre was done perfect in the ‘06 version of the story by Mads Mikkelsen, but if I take into effect just how shitty and uninteresting everything else was in this 1954 version—Peter Lorre deserved a Oscar for this portrayal. His little stout stature and toad-like features matched much closer to how I pictured the character in the book, and come on—it’s Peter Lorre! You couldn’t find a better actor to play the villain back then. So, I risk being redundant, but Lorre was THE reason to watch the show.

[THE BOND GIRL]

Linda Christian is Valerie Mathis

Vesper Lynd mixed with Rene Mathis. Ewww! Wait, only in name and occupation. Valerie is an undercover French Agent and thankfully, spends most of her screen time gagged and tied to the wall. In the backstory, the poor girl was smitten with the dangerously dashing Jimmy Bond and foolishly fell in love. But that was then, this is now and now, Valerie is working for Le Chiffre. OK, she doesn’t really like her new boss, so I guess she isn’t a complete bitch. But, as this is the 50s, the program has little use for her other than a scandalous kiss to get the sexually repressed viewer’s long-johns moist and to hang around the third act so Bond can have someone to save besides himself. Which of course means, “The bitch is(n’t) dead.”. I think ‘Meh’ sums up her character pretty well.

[THE BEST BOND-AID]

Well, Bond uses a screwdriver to hide his winning baccarat check…

[BOND'S GREATEST HITS]

The Body Count [01] The Best Fight and The Most Satisfying Death

Bond kicks the shit out of Le Chiffre’s main henchman Basil, Fifties Style! That of course means three awkward punches and an “Oof!” sound. Hardcore! But it gets better, a minute later, Bond finishes poor Basil off with an off-screen gunshot! Talk about obscene gratuitous violence—I for one found it quite disturbing.

[HIS WORD IS HIS BOND]

Best Witticism:

Leiter: “Aren’t chu the fella who was shot?”
Bond: “Naw, I’m the fella who was missed!”

That’s about as witty as Bond gets and as for cracking sexual puns, forget about it. I’m still surprised they allowed that kiss to make it on the air.

[THE MISSION DEBRIEF]

Bond: “I’m no hero, I don’t like pain, but I can tell you one thing right now—you won’t get anything outta me! Pain and killing is part of my job…”
Le Chiffre: “And of mine too, Mr. Bond.”
Bond: “HahahI’ll bet chuuu LOVE IT!”
Le Chiffre: “How did you find out!?”

I guess the question is: Am I glad I watched it?… Yeah, I guess so. If for nothing else I can feel slightly more complete in my action movie pilgrimage, but it’s not something I’m going to brag about having seen. For the time, this must have been to the TV viewers, what LOST is to me now. Riveting and unbeatable. And it’s also the most accurate portrayal of the book that’s been made so far. That has to count for something, right? I don’t know. In the end the whole thing took less than an hour, it had some fairly quotable lines and it’s cool to see Peter Lorre play the first ever Bond villain, so all-in-all, it wasn’t that bad.

[THE 007 SEVEN]

[  ] Destroys Evil Doer’s Lair
[  ] Drinks or Orders a Vesper Martini
[X] Gets Captured and/or Tortured
[  ] Introduces Himself As “Bond—James, Bond”
[X] Teams-Up With Felix Leiter*
[  ] Uses Judo or a Walther PPK to Dispose of an Enemy
[X] Wears a Tux

*In a way. Bond works with a Clarence Leiter, who must be Felix’s British cousin.

RANTBO will return in (a breakdown of) DR. NO

12 Pounds of Bullshit

[THE CHALK-OUTLINE]

12 Rounds (2009): Breakdown by Kain424

A mish-mash of the plots of Ricochet, Die Hard With A Vengeance and Speed, minus anything that made those films cool.

[THE EXECUTION]

How can the guy who gave us such awesome action classics as Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger possibly fuck up such an easy premise?  I can’t be sure, but it might have something to do with horrible cinematography and the PG-13 rating.

I’m fairly certain that 12 Rounds was aiming for the PG-13 rating to begin with, as all of the cussing is offscreen (so it can be edited out more easily later and put back in for an EXTREME unrated dvd later) and the violence filmed so poorly that one cannot discern the choreography at all.  The latter makes it so terrible that one has to take their eyes from the screen just to rest a while before returning to the movie.  This should NEVER happen in ANY movie.  I mean, just watch this clip:

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12 Rounds rights held by Fox Atomic

I have not edited that in any way, the movie is actually filmed like that.  It goes on like that for the ENTIRE duration!  Unfortunately, this filming “technique” heavily detracts from an already sub-par piece of work from a once-dependable Action director.  Combine this with the cinematographer’s need to aim the camera directly into beams of light, and you’ve got a film that seems bent on becoming unwatchable.

The film deprives us of crowd-pleasing moments and even emasculates the hero by giving the final line and hit to his girl.  It’s truly sad, seeing as the plot absolutely lends itself to many possible great moments.  For a film featuring a pro-wrestler, it’s depressing that there isn’t a single great fight sequence.

It’s not all bad news though, as star John Cena shows remarkable improvement in his range as an actor here since The Marine.  Cena exudes a kind of angry badassitude that so rarely permeates in Action films today.  He has great promise, but if he continues to get involved in crap like this, it’ll be pro-wrestling forever or DTV land, and not in the top tier either.  Say hello to your next co-star, Mr. Lamas.

[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]

John Cena is Detective Danny Fisher

No one takes this guy seriously.  Even though he looks like a huge, muscled out Marky Mark, Fisher takes shit from his wife, his partner, the bad guys, and the FBI.  Any threats he makes are ignored, and it turns out that this is all completely justified when the 5′8″ 120 lb. villain manages to beat the hell out of him in a helicopter.  Danny Fisher is a wuss.

[THE BODY COUNT: 12]

In the unrated version, a few of the deaths are given a bit more blood, but overall it’s pretty limp.  Cena isn’t really responsible for any of the deaths shown in the film, while the main baddie is responsible for all of them.  Most are offscreen, but corpses are shown later, so at least we have confirmation.

[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]

Fisher’s partner, Carver, gets taken out like Jeff Daniels in Speed, but not before uttering the word “bitch”.  This guy was pretty annoying for the first quarter of the film, so his was a welcome demise.

[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]

Though Fisher and Carver nag at one another a bit, they don’t seem to have that classic gay couple squabbleness like one would find in the usual buddy-cop film.  Nothing there, really.

We do get to see Cena play dress-up over the course of the film, first as a cop, then a firefighter, and also in casual wear.  He refuses to go shirtless though, perhaps to further make him seem like more of a wuss.

[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]

The women in this film are all gorgeous and useless.  Sure, they all seem to be adept drivers or pilots, but are also shown to be defenseless, emotional blackmailers.

[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]

I am really struggling to come up with an epic moment here, or at least one that I liked.  I suppose when Cena pulls a Live Free Or Die Hard and sends an unmanned police car into some transformers to knock out the power was pretty cool.

As for the best one-liner, I liked it when the bad guy is sitting across from our hero on a bus, and Cena delivers, with perfect angry intensity this:

“What’s keepin’ me… from reaching over there and kickin’ the SHIT outta you!?”

Cena completely pulls off the scene, but doesn’t deliver on the line’s promise.  For shame.

[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]

It’s always actually about money.  So it’s ironic that this film didn’t make any.

[THE CHECKLIST: 11 outta 25]

[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[  ] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[X] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[  ] Factory/Warehouse
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[  ] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[  ] Manly Embrace(s)
[  ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[  ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[  ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[  ] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[  ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[  ] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[  ] Tis The Season
[  ] Torture Sequence(s)
[  ] Unnecessary Sequel
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[  ] Vigilante Justice

Another Film “Improved” By Shaky-Cam

12 Rounds (2009) © WWE Films, Inc. and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Street Fighter: The Legend Of That Hot Chick From EURO TRIP—No, Not The Blonde, The Other One. Yeah, The Chick From SMALLVILLE.

[THE CHALK-OUTLINE]

Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li (Unleashed and Unrated Edition) (2009): Breakdown by Rantbo

Robin Shou teaches a questionably hot girl to make energy balls and fire them at a corrupt business criminal in revenge for kidnapping her father.

[THE EXECUTION]

If Clive Barker and Ang Lee had a butt baby together, and it decided to follow after its fathers’ profession, it would make this movie. Which sounds either awesome, or like the worst idea ever. And I’m somewhere in the middle. I’ll give you the bad news first…

This entry is interesting, as you can clearly see how action has been pussified over the last 15 years.

STREET FIGHTER (1994)

Lead Character: Jean-Claude Van Damme. Former European karate champion and nineties action icon.
Story: Special Forces Commando and his elite team of fighters take on a crazed drug lord-turned Private Army General, bent on world domination.

STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI (2009)

Lead Character: Kristin Kruek. Former girlfriend to teenage Superman and hard-body dancer in EURO TRIP.
Story: Concert pianist learns to wire-fight and tap her inner half-circle-forward punch to defeat a white-collar criminal that messed with her family.

Probably the best proof is in the character of Vega. The actor playing him, went from a ripped beefcake to the creepy guy (not Fergie) of the Black Eyed Peas.

It just got ‘retarded in here!’

The worst thing about this film though, has to be the embarrassingly annoying catering to morons. Lets begin with the terrible and unnecessary stupid fucking voice over. Which literally tells you EXACTLY what’s going on, the moment the words are spoken. It’s fucking HORRIBLE! Then, after the 1st act it all but disappears (thankfully) and doesn’t come back till just before the end credits, making me believe that it was an afterthought added in post by some dumb-ass studio exec that couldn’t handle the visual ambiance telling the story. Think the original cut of BLADE RUNNER, only much dumber. Sadly, the voice over isn’t the most insulting aspect–no, no, we get flashbacks for that.

Again, only in the first act and right before the end credits, the filmmakers decided to use flashbacks for some of the most insultingly apparent shit from literally 5 minutes before and again from 30 seconds before. Literally, 30 seconds pass and we get a flashback so us dumb fuck audience members can see what we SURELY missed LESS THAN HALF A MINUTE AGO! Arghhh!!!

Though all is not lost with SF:TLOCL.

The settings are gorgeous. I always thought Thailand looked like a shithole, and it does–But, the way in which it is captured in this film, it looks like slightly less of one. I looked up the director, and sure enough it turns out Andrzej Bartkowiak was/is a cinematographer for some pretty slick looking action movies: LETHAL WEAPON 4, FALLING DOWN, U.S. MARSHALS. But recently he’s been into directing: EXIT WOUNDS, CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE, DOOM–this piece of shit… Needless to say, I think this guy should stick to holding a camera.

And then there’s Neal McDonaugh as Bison…

I don’t particularly care for the actor, and as far as being “Bison”, he is in name only, but–this guy is written as one evil mother fucker. Wow. We’re talking Emperor Palpatine from JEDI and Scar from THE LION KING immorally vicious type fuck-head. He does a bunch of shitty-shit, the nastiest of which I’ll discuss later, but for the most part, you just have to watch him in action. And as if his deeds were not sinister enough, every time he moves, (when in a fight), a lion roars, so you know he’s a bad mother fucker. Bison makes this laughable garbage uncharacteristically dark and unnecessarily funny all at the same time.

So, in the end. I’m glad I watched this one. It’s pretty awful, but there are too many unintentionally funny moments and gonzo-wacky shit going on to make me regret my time spent. I think I might even have to own a copy of this, if for nothing else than to show other people so they can understand what I’m talking about.

[HOW BAD-ASS ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?]

Kristin Kreuk is Chun-Li

“I had to lose myself to the pulse of the streets. I had to become one, with the people of Bangkok.”
“This was all so new to me!”
“I felt lost–chasing a ghost, I might never find.”

That’s an example of her voice over. ~Shudder~ So, I already hate her for that reason, and the level of her badassitude doesn’t help out so much, as it’s all ridiculously goofy shit.

-You watch her grow throughout the opening credits and she manages to go from being 100% Asian to being maybe 10% by the time she is a teenager. They didn’t show her undergoing any surgeries, so I have to assume that it’s one of her special moves. Or an alternate costume (she pressed select!).
-Able to defy gravity by float-jumping off of 100 foot drops, a lot.
-Can snap necks with her ankles. Think about that–that has to take talent.
-Has the power to look strikingly sexy one moment and like a total bridge-troll the next.

My PreshiouSSSssss

Chris Klein is Interpol Agent Chuck Nash

The new God of shitty action cops. The guy listens to crunk music, has never showered–so far as I can tell–and acts/talks like a sassy teenage cheerleader. He’s hysterical.

Also, he’s a total fucking scum bag. For instance, at one point to avoid being seen by Michael Clark Duncan, Nash grabs Moon Bloodgood and starts snogging her hardcore. The best part is, there is no way that they would have been noticed. Wait, I take that back–THE BEST part is, after Duncan drives off, Nash says this: “That had to be done.” And that’s not even his best stuff, check out this dialogue gold:

“Call me Nash.”

“I LUV this job!”

“You don’t want a ticket to this dance–detective!”

“Of course. [OF COURSE!] It’s a front for Shadaloo. Bison’s bringing crime into the neighborhoods to drive the land value down. And then he’s buying it back up wholesale!–We gotta move on that.”

“Nash–out.” My favorite. He says this gem twice during the film after getting off a cb radio. And it’s said with such seriousness and conviction, I laughed out loud both times.

[THE BODY COUNT: AROUND 40]

Holy Hadouken! This movie actually topped it’s predecessor. And WAY more violently, I might add. I didn’t watch the theatrical cut, but after watching the DVD, it’s clear that they shot for an R rating. Which is pretty sweet, when you think about it. The good guys manage to rack up around 23-25 of the evil doers and Chun-Li even manages to get a couple herself, including the goriest, I might add (see next section).

The weird thing is, I don’t seem to remember there being fatalities in the Street Fighter games–or guns. But both are presented here in full, uncut glory. The bad guys obviously rack up the rest of the count, most of which is in a giant shoot out between Nash’s and Bison’s men. It’s pretty well shot, and you can tell the director is a fan of 80s action by the way he sends wave after wave of faceless men after one another, filling each other with lead, never to be seen again. Or before, for that matter.

[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING & DEATH]

The top death easily goes to Bison. Sorry, spoilers. After getting his ass blown off a rooftop with a fireball (MORTAL KOMBAT style), Bison lands crippled on the edge of a scaffolding. It’s at this point that his daughter (who is unaware that he is evil) is trotted out by Nash, just in time to witness Li jump down onto his neck, grasping it with her ankles and letting the weight of her 100 foot fall twist his fucking head around backwards.

His eyes bulge in the light of a streetlamp as blood oozes from his mouth. Pretty wicked, and I have to say, completely unexpected.

[CHICKSWEAT AND FEMCHISMO]

They make no qualms about Bison’s underboss Cantana’s fish-market hobbies, as she is duped into revealing Bison’s secret bad-guy plans after being shanghaied on the dance floor by Li–in one of the most laughably stupid seduction scenes EVER filmed, I might add. They spin around the dance floor looking constipated to some awful ‘Street Fighter’ rap song, before leaving to go clam dive in the bathroom. Oh, and I think it’s worth mentioning that Li also snaps Cantana’s arm like a slim-jim.

It’s an odd kink, to be sure, but it did help loosen that tongue, which is what it’s all about. Isn’t that right, ladies?

[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]

Bison beats Cantana to death with his bare hands. And we get to see it. It’s completely fucked up and brutal. And if being punched to death wasn’t bad enough, he has her strung up by her fragmented arms. That’s just cruel.

Also, Moon Bloodgood’s character sets professional women back further than Erin Brockovich, by constantly flaunting her titties in super-tight half-shirts and push-up bras. And she’s supposed to be a respectable agent.

But that shit is NOTHING compared to what happened around the 50 minute mark…

One of THE most fucked up scenes, I’ve ever seen. EVER. (Seriously, I actually yelled out ‘What The Fuck!”) This scene happens while Robin Shou is telling Bison’s back story to Chun-Li. It’s a classic tale of unwanted youth, rebelling over his unfortunate situations, but a minute or two in, the random-shit-o’-meter gets buried in the red.

A teenage Bison believes that he needs to transfer the goodness of his soul(?) into his unborn daughter to make himself impenetrable to his own conscience and moral influence. So, Bison lays his beautiful bride down in a sacred cave and carefully undoes her blouse. He gently caresses her swollen pregnant belly and just when I think that a special effect of light and magic will send his “goodness” into her–HE STABS HIS HANDS THROUGH HER BELLYBUTTON AND RIPS OUT THE BABY.

The young woman screams, blood sprays everywhere and Bison roots around in her entrails dislodging the unborn baby which sounded like a boot stuck in mud–only wetter, mixed with the sound effects of the alien chest-burster.

I’m sorry, but I must reiterate–What–The–Fuck!? What the fuck does this sick shit have to do with a fighting tournament? And more importantly, WHY? Why–The–Fuck did they have to show this? I don’t remember this move in the game.

Look, I’m 100% pro-movie violence and gore, all-the-way. But the sheer idea of having a pregnant woman stabbed through the stomach by her husband’s bare hands–in a fucking Street Fighter movie, is as ill-conceived as that poor child. Not too mention fucking sick. They wouldn’t even pull that shit in a Friday the 13th movie. This movie succeeded in doing something no-other has done since I was a child. Grossed me out. Ugh–I feel dirty.

[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]

Chun-Li finally gets to fight an actual character from the game around the one-hour mark. Thankfully all the bullshit I had to sit through (aside from Nash, who is my hero), is made worth the wait with one amazing logic-defying move. Li kicks Vega in the face and sends him flying, literally FLYING–up, over AND behind her into a gravity defying 4320° upward spin, that Tony Hawk himself couldn’t pull off jumping out of an in-flight airplane. Vega sticks the landing, by the way. So perfectly, in fact, that even an East German judge would give him full marks. THEN, he caresses his MASK where she connected. It’s so fucking dumb, I have to applaud it.

As for the one-liner, there are dozens, literally dozens, of lame-ass pre and post-beat-down one liners, but they are all so, so terrible. But, when I had all but given up hope, one bit of dialogue got me giggling like a munchkin…

Papa-Li [sobbing after being reunited with his daughter]: “You know I tried so hard for so many years–just to keep you safe–to protect you–to make sure you had the good life.”
Chun-Li [trying to emote]: “I would rather have you!”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]

Pinhead ain’t got shit on M. Bison.

[THE CHECKLIST: 16 outta 25]

[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[  ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[  ] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[  ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[  ] Factory/Warehouse
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[  ] Manly Embrace(s)
[  ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[X] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[  ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[  ] Unnecessary Sequel
[  ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice

Robin Shou has officially been in 3 separate fighting videogame-franchise movie adaptations. A moment of silence for his career…

Street Fighter: Alpha Ex Turbo Wiskey Tango Foxtrot The Movie

[THE CHALK-OUTLINE]

Street Fighter (1994): Breakdown by Rantbo

An eccentric douche, in a red leather jumpsuit and cape, tries to take over the world. Is foiled by a French guy disguised as an American guy and a rag-tag team of goofy looking gay buttholes. Of course!

[THE EXECUTION]

I don’t understand why so many people hate this movie. I’ll agree, it’s pretty bad, but not nearly enough to warrant the amount of negative bile spewed when it’s brought up in conversation. It’s a movie, based on a game, that so far as I can tell, has no storyline outside of FIGHT! And in my opinion, this movie is on-par stupid with the game. Street Fighter 2 has a ludicrous premise, silly-ass characters, a shitty (non-existent) story and over-the-top nonsensical fighting–just like the movie! So what’s there to complain about? And personally, I’d much rather watch the movie than play the game, because in the movie you get to watch Van Damme tussle with Gomez Adams.

As far as shitty videogame adaptations go, this one is one of the least shittiest. While it’s not quite as not-shitty as DOA, SILENT HILL or LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER, it’s still less-shitty than MORTAL KOMBAT 2, all 3 RESIDENT EVIL’s, DOUBLE DRAGON,  SUPER MARIO BROS., WING COMMANDER, LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER 2 (also written by de Souza), MAX PAYNE, HITMAN and everything Uwe Boll’s done. And I’d say it’s on the shittiness par with the original MORTAL KOMBAT and DOOM. But I rarely hear people making fun of those movies (Uwe Boll withstanding).

STREET FIGHTER is an action comedy targeted at teenagers and kids from the early 90s that frequented arcades and were fans of Van Dammage. If you don’t fit into that crowd, you probably won’t get too much enjoyment out of this one. I, however, find it thoroughly entertaining.  There’s a couple fun action scenes, a few funny jokes, a bunch of laughably bad ones: Raúl Juliá flying around in a leather-daddy cape with Mario’s power boots, the incredible Hulk’s little brother and pop-sensation Kylie Minogue blowing shit up with a rocket-launcher. How can you not get some enjoyment out of that?

[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]

“He was a brave man, a true warrior.”

Jean-Claude Van Damme is Colonel William F. Guile, The Repo Man

-Single-handedly drives an army tank, with twin warheads attached, into a warehouse and through shear badass intimidation alone, convinces a couple hundred people to turn themselves in for arrest without conflict.
-When outnumbered 20 to 1, against a squad of machine-gun wielding automatons, not only does Van Damme not give up, he pulls out a knife.
-Sports an Old Glory tattoo on his bicep
-Able to pole vault without a pole and could easily win gold in the Olympic long jump event, as he is able to pull off a 20 yard long, 15 foot vertical, jump kick.

JCVD: [Solemn] Troopers, I just received new orders. Our superiors say the war is canceled. We can all go home. (Raúl Juliá) is getting paid off for his crimes, and our friends who ave died here will have died for nothing. But, we can all go home. Meanwhile, ideals like peace, freedom, and justice, they get packed up. But, we can all go home. [Angry] Well, I’m not going home. I’m gonna get on my boat, and I’m going upriver, and I’m going to kick that son of a bitch Bison’s ass so HARD that the next Bison wannabe is gonna feel it! Now, who wants to go home–and who wants to go with ME!? [Troopers Cheer]

[THE BODY COUNT: A VERY SURPRISING 32]

32 deaths in a PG-13 Street Fighter movie!? Oh, wait–this was directed by the writer of COMMANDO, DIE HARD and 48HRS. The world makes sense again. Van Damme caps an impressive (again, for the movie) 11 kills and even more impressive is his sidekick Kylie with 4. Pretty good for a skinny little midget. And backing them up was Team U.S.A. with 15 commie(?) corpses. The remaining 2 stiffs belong to Raúl Juliá, which I’ll discuss in the next section.

[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKINGS & DEATHS]

It’s a two-fer one this time. Shortly after the opening credits, Raúl Juliá proves his badassitude by allowing a couple of his captured American soldiers to try and kick his ass.

“You came from across the world to fight me, soldier. Now’s your chance. [Swing--miss--neck-snapped] Pathetic.” [Next in line steps up] “Yes! Your turn now! [Lunge--miss--neck-snapped]”

[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]

Almost all the male characters are paired off in this film.

Ryu and Ken: clearly together, these two bicker like an old pre-prop 8 couple.

Balrog and E. Honda: there is a scene in which this pair are trapped in a torture chamber and the following conversation takes place…

Balrog (who’s chained to a wall): “Honda, gimme your hand!”
Honda (who’s tied to a torture rack): “We’ve only been in jail two hours. Maybe next month.”
Balrog: “Gimme your hand, fool!”

Dhalsim and Blanka: Since Van Damme is too shallow to accept Blanka’s new look (until later, after realizing he still loves him) Dhalsim steps up to un-break Blanka’s heart.

Sagat and Vega: Just look at these two and try dispute me?

Dee Jay and Zangief: A clear cut case of Cub and Bear.

I believe the pairing up of the male characters, was to suggest to the audience that the matched up men are sexual partners, as there is too little time to delve into their relationships with such a large ensemble cast.

And then there is Van Damme.

“He doesn’t like women does he?”

Van Damme wages a war, for the sole reason (at least for himself) of getting revenge on Raúl Juliá for kidnapping his buttbuddy, Chuck Blanka. I think it’s clear that Raúl never watched KICKBOXER, as he would have learned: You just don’t fuck with Van Damme’s lovers.

JCVD: “Dis is deh collection agency (Raúl Juliá), your ass is 6 months overdue–and it’s mine!”

Van Damme eventually does end up coming to the rescue of his lost love, but after seeing how warped Raúl Juliá’s chemicals have made Chuck look, he feels he has no other choice but to kill him and end his misery as he is no longer as sexually appealing as Van Damme. It’s here that Dhalsim takes a stand for fugly men everywhere and jumps on the grenade that is Blanka’s disfigured body. I guess Van Damme will just have to choose a new partner from the line-up of good looking single men at the end of the film. As if he wouldn’t have anyways.

[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]

[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]

A military staff meeting, on how best to locate and disarm Raúl Juliá, is interrupted with an assassination attempt by a waiter. Brandishing a knife, the killer runs across the table to strike at Van Damme, but has his feet kicked out from underneath him and before he can even try standing back up, is struck in the throat with a judo-chop and thrown to the floor like a discarded candy wrapper.

JCVD: “Any other, new business?”

And though that above line is pretty funny, I still like the following more.
[Upon finding out the Van Damme has “died”]
Dee Jay: “Dat’s great news General, congratulations!”
Raúl Juliá: “On the contrary, I mourn.”
Dee Jay: “OhK.”
Raúl Juliá: “I was hoping to face (Van Damme), personally on the battlefield. One gentleman warrior, to another. In respectful combat–Then I would snap his spine. Argh, the road not taken…”

[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]

I miss Raúl Juliá. Vaya Con Dios.

[THE VAN DAMMAGE: 3 outta 5]

[  ] An Entire Fight, Sans Shirt
[X] Close-Up Screaming
[  ] Dancing
[X] Jump-Kicks A Guy, Through Something
[X] Special Move Involving Either The Splits or A Spinning Round-House Kick

[THE CHECKLIST: 17 outta 25]

[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor” [JCVD]
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[  ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[  ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Factory/Warehouse
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[X] Manly Embrace(s)
[  ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[  ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[  ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[  ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[  ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel
[Sort Of...]
[  ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice

Chun Li: My father saved his village at the cost of his own life. You had him shot as you ran away. A hero at a thousand paces!
Raúl Juliá: I’m sorry–I don’t remember any of it.
Chun Li: You don’t remember?
Raúl Juliá: For you, the day [Raúl Juliá] graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me–it was Tuesday.