Sunday, June 29, 2008

Who Would Win in a Fight: Tong Po vs. Chong Li

Casey: I have to admit that I'm pretty excited about this match-up. Tong Po of Kickboxer versus Chong Li of Bloodsport; my god what a fight! 

Let's keep things clean and say that Tong Po doesn't get to dip his hands in broken glass and Chong Li doesn't get those mace pellets he used on Van Damme. Given this scenario, I don't think that Tong Po stands a chance. Chong Li is a guy with a definitive kill record in the ring (matched only by Dei Han of Best of the Best). The best that Tong Po has ever done is maim Van Damme's brother. Of course, he did put him in a wheelchair. But he didn't have the gusto to finish the job, which I think is key in a pit match to the death.

Here's how I see it happening: Tong Po throws a couple of flying knees and 'bows at Chong Li, which he easily evades (because Tong Po is slow and stupid). Chong Li flexes his pectorals a few times and then deals a devastating blow to Tong Po's knee, exposing the bone. He finishes him off with a vicious blow to the face and then hits him again while he's on the ground. Blood pools under Tong Po's pony tail and Chong Li flexes some more. The fight is over in 14 seconds. Bam!

Now, broken glass and mace pellets allowed, this might be a different story. Tong Po is the champ in his respective universe and, who knows, he might land a hit or two. One well-aimed blow to the face could blind Chong Li making things a bit more interesting. But I still thing it's a long shot. For my money, Chong Li is the man.

Chris: Alright, let's look at the facts:

Both men are accomplished fighters and have vicious, if not down right evil fighting tactics. Nothing is above these men to gain a victory, and they both revel in other's pain and sorrow. However Casey makes an important distinction in that Chong Li certainly has a more impressive fight record. He has killed not one but two opponents with his bare hands and both within a very short amount of time. Tong Po has no kills to that we know of. Not to mention that Chong Li fights multiple opponents within a short time span while Tong Po has the luxury of arranged fights that only come every now and again, and also the advantage of choosing his opponents. Granted, Tong Po is one mean ass motherfucker. I mean, he actually raped Van Damme's girlfriend before their big fight just to mess with his head, but I feel confident that Chong Li would have done the same thing if he was presented the opportunity. 

Now I'm gonna go out on a limb here, but I think a legitimate yardstick of each fighter's skill is the Van Damme that each antagonist battled in their respective movies. Let's face it, Kickboxer had multiple training montages which produced a Van Damme (Kurt, AKA Notsu Cau, translated as 'The White Warrior') that could take a massive beating- as demonstrated in the final battle where he was repeatedly pummeled with fists wrapped in shards of broken glass. The Van Damme of Bloodsport (Dux) could not take a hit nearly as well and would commonly go to the mat after a single blow from his opponent, be it Chong Li or any of his previous challenges (of course he would then get up and do the splits and the other guy would pretty much cry like a little girl and run away). So it's possible that we are underestimating Tong Po's ability by comparing him to an opponent with a higher endurance than Chong Li had to face. But if you factor in the two Van Damme's skills in martial arts, you see a clear distinction in finesse between the two that is to Dux's advantage. After all, Dux was trained to never limit himself to any one style while Kurt learned his style by kicking down a tree. So we must assume that Chong Li faced a quicker adapting opponent than Tong Po faced.

In the end, while Tong Po deserves an invitation to the Kumite, I think my money is on Chong Li. What he lacks in pony tail he certainly makes up for in pectoral muscles. That guy could probably do sign language with those things. They'd dance for a little while and look really mean at each other and then Chong Li would rip off one of Tong Po's testicles and do that weird crowd pumping action he does with his little hands.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Why a new Highlander is a Good Idea

A bit of an old story, Summit Entertainment recently announced its intentions to do a Highlander remake. I'm actually pretty excited about this one. Of all the remakes concepts out there, this is one of the better for a number of reasons.

First, the Highlander is already heavily franchised. Aside from the four movies, the Highlander television series ran for six seasons starting in 1992, not to mention the futuristic Highlander animated series, recent Highlander anime series, and the countless Highlander spoofs and spin-offs. So it's not as if a new movie has the possibility of soiling an already perfect trilogy (i.e. Indiana Jones). In fact, I expect nothing good from a remake except some head-lopping action. Actually, it's about time for a new Highlander installment if you ask me.

Second, there isn't anything about the Highlander that will really benefit from sweet CGI. Basically, the Highlander is about two things; 1) swordplay, and 2) the Quickening. The first of these can only be made more badass with good choreography and editing. And the second requires only lightning special effects, which have been pretty good for quite some time now. While I'm of the opinion that the old 80's lightning effects (think Return of the Jedi) were awesome, I also think that some of the new Fantastic Four style stuff isn't bad either. So what could go wrong?

Now, I know that no cast will ever match the original (Chris Lambert teamed up with Sean Connery is a formidable duo), but no one should expect that. One of the biggest problems with these remakes is that we have huge expectations based on the originals. But with Highlander, what we are dealing with is an epic original and a long subpar legacy. A subpar remake just makes sense at this point, and anything better is a bonus. 

Maybe this remake will pave the way for other remakes of older, crappier movies that if done well the first time, would have been awesome (how about Tron?).

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Tribute to Screwface

I just watched Marked for Death, starring Steven Seagal, and I must say: hot damn! For those of you who, like myself, can't really remember which Seagal film is which, Marked for Death is the one with the Jamaican drug ring in Chicago that Seagal busts up with limited assistance and multiple broken arms. Now, the next few lines are going to contain a nice little spoiler, so read on at your own risk (although I'll also say that the spoiler in no way spoils the movie as the action is untainted).

The antagonist in this movie is one Screwface. He's one of the Jamaican Leopard People (?), and a bad-ass mother if I've ever seen one. Basically, the secret to Screwface's power is that "he has two head and fours eyes," which ends up meaning that Screwface is actually two people, identical twins. I just wanted to write a few words about how tough the death(s) of Screwface was.

First, Seagal goes to Jamaica, breaks into Screwface's compound, using some sweet homemade silenced machine guns along the way. He eventually meets up with Screwface, runs a sword into his crotch, and chops his head off. Not ad. But this death leaves the viewer a little unsatisfied since it's a) a little too quick, and b) a little too clean (both of these blows were deft in that little blood was spilled).

However, these concerns are laid to rest with the death of the second Screwface. Seagal goes back to Chicago thinking that he's killed Screwface only to find the second Screwface alive and well. They get into a brawl which ends by Seagal slashing Screwface down the center of his face with a sword, then pushing in his eyes (like in 28 Days Later, totally nasty), then throwing him through a concrete wall, then breaking his back on his knee (like King Slender in NES Pro Wrestling), and then dropping his limp body down an open elevator shaft onto an exposed spike, leaving him impaled, blind, and broken. Snap!

If I were a bad guy in a 90's action movie, that's how I would want to go. I've got to say, director Dwight Little really got this one right.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Swayze Immortalized!!!

Thanks to the Movie Blog for uncovering this masterpiece of ink and rainbows. 

My god, it's beautiful.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fight of the Week: Busey vs. Gibson in Lethal Weapon

In light of this week's poll winner, I have chosen to highlight the front yard brawl from Lethal Weapon (1987) as this week's 'Fight of the Week'. This killer end scene pits the suicidal Sargeant Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) against a psychotic mercenary known as Mr. Joshua (Gary Busey).

First of all, can I just point out how absolutely awesome it is that it turns out that not one, but both of these actors are totally fucking nuts in real life! The public didn't know it at the time, but it turns out that these two didn't have to do a whole lot of 'acting' to achieve the crazy personas they were portraying. Here's a little sample:

And this:

So yeah, two whack jobs on a lawn duking it out with the ranking police officer on scene allowing it? I'd say that's a recipe for success in anybody's book. This scene (and the movie in general) also really helped boost Mel Gibson to that next level in action film greatness. There is no denying that he was already a well established actor prior to Lethal Weapon with his success in the Mad Max series, but this really shoved him into the pop spotlight and set him up for a series of humorous, slightly unstable ex-military characters down the line (Bird on a Wire, Air America, Conspiracy Theory, etc.). Granted, the aforementioned string of movies were not his best. In fact, some may even argue that they sucked big, fat donkey dicks. But the characters Mel plays in all of them certainly borrowed many of their better attributes from Martin Riggs.

All in all, it's a great fight scene with a fantastic set, colorful characters, and a fitting end to one of the 80s greatest contributions to action films. So say a prayer for Gary Busey and take a look at this fantastic scene.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

No Kickboxer?

I've been spending a lot of time in the Action/Adventure sections of various video stores over the last few weeks, scouring the shelves for obscure action films (if anyone knows where I can get Prayer of the Rollerboys on DVD, I'd be much obliged), and have had to face a startling truth: 

Most video stores keep dangerously few kickass action movies in stock 

Just today I was unable to find Kickoxer at Hollywood Video. Kickboxer! What kind of a video store doesn't carry Kickboxer? I went on to look for Tango and Cash, No Escape, and They Live, only to be thwarted on all accounts. I was relieved to find Bloodsport in its proper place. And I should mention that the Schwarzeneggar collection looked close to complete. 

The lesson I've learned is the following: you cannot rely on others for your action fix. I can only blame myself for not having Kickboxer in my personal library. I will never again make the same mistake.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Lost Boys (1987)

In honor of the upcoming release of Lost Boys: The Tribe (July 29, 2008), today we are going to review one of the best 80's vampire action films of all time, The Lost Boys, directed by Joel Schumacher.

The story goes something like this: a single mother moves to a seemingly quiet town on the coast of California. The eldest son, Michael, played by Jason Patric, rides a motorcycle and so, naturally, gets mixed up with the rough kids in town (i.e. Keifer Sutherland and Bill S. Preston, Esq.). It doesn't take long before he realizes that these ruffians aren't just a bunch of leather-wearing bad boys, but in fact vampires. Yes, vampires. Not sophisticated, slightly homoerotic Interview with the Vampire vampires. More like grotesque, cheesey From Dusk Till Dawn vampires.

Eventually, Michael gets tricked into becoming a vampire himself. But according to the the local vampire experts, also known as the Frog Brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander), he can save himself by killing the head vampire before he's fully turned. Michael and his brother Sam (Corey Haim), along with the Frog brothers, stage a last stand against Keifer and his gang of creatures of the night. Keifer ends up impaled on some antlers and all's well that ends well... or so they thought?

This movie is riddled with creepy scenes and an even creepier soundtrack that continues to haunt my dreams (specifically, "Cry Little Sister" by Gerard McMahon). But the way the vampire stereotypes are depicted is truly wonderful. For example, at one point Michael and Sam enter the vampire lair during the day to kill Keifer while he's asleep. They find the "shit sucking vampires" sleeping not in coffins, but hanging from the roof like bats and dispose of a few with wooden stakes to the heart (Keifer makes it, but Bill S. Preston, Esq gets it). Too cool. Mix in a little bit of teenage rebellion and you get the train scene, which I have to say, is masterful.

What I've read about Lost Boys: The Tribe shows promise. Director P.J. Pesce (proud director of From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter) appears to be sticking to the formula; i.e. California, vampires, Feldman, Haim, gore, etc. All of the ingredients are there. He's just got to execute. Let's keep our finger's crossed on this one.