Tag Archives: over the top

The Expendables 2: Redonkulousness.

I have never seen the original Expendables. I had only ever heard vague rumors about how ridiculous these movies were. I had to see it for myself. So we rolled out and hit up the theater hard for this action-packed massacre of bullets and destruction. I was expecting the bloodbath of the newest Rambo. What I got was one of the most ridiculously and classically cliche things I’ve ever seen in my life. And I laughed all the way through my enjoyment.

Sylvester Stallone is back as Barney Ross, a character who is not really a character. More of Sylvester Stallone as his mumbling self with some jacked biceps. He’s got his crew with him, and they’re on some mission

Always fire from the hip, boys.

to kill someone or other in some Middle Eastern looking village. They all roll up in battle jeeps and brandish light machine guns out the ass and wield Gatling guns with one arm, smokin’ fat cigars with the other and whatnot. Just your average C-rated action film.

What makes people see these movies, you may wonder? (Or not…) It’s all about everyone’s favorite action hero. And there’s such a damn long list!:

You got yourself classic Stallone. I’ll never forget the first time I watched Demolition Man, or the first time I left the room when my friends watched Over the Top. His forgetably bad movies are what makes Rocky so good in comparison (and Rambo too, I guess…) He just needs to get his shit together and figure out how to talk correctly though.

This is where everyone lost it.

You got your relatively new newcomer, Jason Statham. Making it big in the Transporter series, this guy has been garishly blowing up the screen with nonsense after nonsense. His Guy Ritchie days were great, but America has loved to cast Statham in weirder and weirder movies. I’m talkin’ In the Name of the King and Crank 1 and 2. I can’t tell you how many nightmares I had over Crank 2…

Then you have Jet Li. There can be no complaints about one of the best action stars/ martial artists the world has ever seen since Bruce Lee. I was so happy to see him get the hell out after the first scene in this movie and no longer associate himself with the Expendables (unless he comes back for the third round…).

You got yourself Terry Crews, star of The Longest Yard remake and Everybody Hates Chris. What he has become known

What’s that hat all about, Stallone?

for is a bit more tragic and bizarre than his acting career. Yay, Old Spice!

There’s Randy Couture! His MMA days must be getting stale! And that cauliflower ear must be rancid! Don’t try to fool us with your book reading and glasses wearing. Your name is this movie is Toll Road. Enough said.

And then you got Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. One I love, one I’ve always despised for the Die Hard series. (I wish they would stop making them…) If I ever hear another Yippie-Kai-Yay again, I may have to go Alan Rickman on his ass. But you can’t go wrong with Arnie. He holds a gun like such a boss in these movies! Firing from the hip, laying waste to countless, faceless minions all over the movie. Looks like the Govenator will never lose his touch.

Absolute kick perfection.

And some new faces! There’s Dolph Lundgren, greatest joke It’s Always Sunny has ever made. Chuck Norris, the biggest and most soft-spoken hardass of them all. He appears every once in a while, and this Walker doesn’t need a walker, you feel me? But what sealed it for me was Jean Claude Van Damme as Jean Vilain (looks like villain right?). His obsession with goats and round house flying kicks is what made this movie badass. Seeya Liam Hemsworth, you got a knife right through the heart from a Jean Claude kick.

So what do all these players equal? One of the most hilariously classic action movies I’ve seen since well… ever. You can’t get more cliche and classic action than with a movie like this plot and characters like these. We were all losing our shit in the movie theater laughing from all the classic one liners and unrealistic gigantic explosions. It was all so great, right down to Liam Hemsworth declaring that he was dying from Jean Claude’s boot stomp. You gotta love movies like this.

So whether you love action, or love satirical action, this movie is a must see. I’m

Classic Stoagie.

gonna go back and watch the original ASAP. You gotta love all the mindless destruction and countless body count that comes up with movies like this. So come in with an open mind, because, at first glance, this movie is gonna be awful. But remember, not all bad things are totally bad. Some things that are expendable, are just so damn good. 6.5 out of 10.

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Bitch Slap! Yeah! It’s THAT BAD.

I don’t know how much I’m gonna be able to say about this movie without just shitting all over it. This movie, in one and only one sense, is bad. Look, I’m as big of a Kevin Sorbo fan as the next guy (Hercules 2016), but this movie didn’t have enough of that sword wielding hunk. Sure, he can make fun of himself, but there wasn’t enough of him to make fun of.

So there are these three hook- I mean… women. Trixie (Julia Voth) is a stripper, somehow dragged into the events of the two other con

How much does it hurt to push those boobs together?

artist/undercover femme fatales. Hel (Erin Cummings), called this name for her flamboyantly red hair I guess, is the head of the operation, meanwhile Camero (America Olivo) is a hotheaded gun pusher that bends to her lesbian will. (Every woman in this movie is a lesbian of some sort. The odds, right?)

The whole plot of this movie takes place in a desert next to a trailer of some guy who the girls shoot in order to find information but

Sorry Gage… Bang Camero.

obviously hotheaded Camero can’t handle her itchy trigger finger. Too bad Gage (Michael Hurst; this guy played Hercules almost more than Kevin Sorbo…). With in-party fighting and an unnecessary water fight scene with slathered boobage, this movie takes the 1960’s and 70’s sexploitation films to a whole new level. To the point where not even the plot matters, the acting is terrible, and the story is nonsensical.

For the record, I hated the flashbacks throughout the movie that explained what they were doing here. There was no need for that explanation, let alone a twist based on the love relationships of the three women with each other. There is a 7 or 8 minute long lesbian make-out scene in this movie. No joke. Sure, I’m a guy and what guy doesn’t want to see that every once in a while in a film… but I grew bored. Really bored. I’m surprised I didn’t just turn the movie off. Thanks for instant streaming at my fingertips, Netflix.

With no budget and just a bunch of slutty bitch-slapped biatches, Kevin Sorbo literally is the standout in this movie. The

Why couldn’t you two have stolen this movie away?

side characters had more depth and a more interesting look than the main skanks. And I’m not using these words to degrade women. This is literally the dialogue I heard throughout the movie, drivel that entered my ear holes for some reason and stuck there and won’t seem to eek out. But I’m looking at you, William Gregory Lee as Hot

Love always, Kevin Sorbo.

Wire and Minae Noji as Kinki. You should’ve just killed them execution style and stolen the movie. Much better.

So I was bored to tears and embarassed for an over-embellished parody of the exploitation films of a yesteryear. The movie doesn’t take itself seriously, and I wouldn’t wish watching this movie on anyone else. I was expecting Grindhouse quality. I didn’t realize I would get softcore bore. Oh well, lesson learned. 2.3 out of 10, purely for pretty women.


Ip Man 2: The Grandmaster Returns

I was happy to sit down and watch the second Ip Man after having watched the first, enjoying the story with interspersed martial arts fight scenes throughout. With more of a focus on story over choreography, this one didn’t catch my attention as much as I would have liked. It wraps up like Cinderella Man and makes you feel all good inside, but I didn’t have any of those jaw dropping moments. Let’s just get to the plot, shall we?

In this one, Ip Man (Donnie Yen reprises his role) has moved to Hong Kong after beating back the Japanese years before. He has plans to start his own martial arts school, but no disciples seem to be interested. With money problems and a

Two masters goin’ at it.

suppressive British government, Ip Man must maneuver his way through life, following his principles and maintaining a happy family. But it’s not all easy going for the Ip Man.

I really was surprised how this film focused more on story rather than substance. It had all the elements of a triumph of the will story without all the fight scenes and technique. My impression of Wing Chun from this film is one of precise and calculated moves, more than the clever and wily style of other martial arts styles. There aren’t flashy kicks or the use of elbows or knees, it is all more in the quickest

Donnie Yen, as refined as ever.

way to take someone out. I do appreciate that though. Donnie Yen shows off how quick he can be in a flurry of punches I’ve never seen demonstrated in a Kung Fu movie before. I give him his due for that.

The acting is just as good in this film as in the last. But I’m talking more about the Chinese actors than the English speaking ones. Although I’m pretty sure that Brian Burrell is living my dream of being a white man from America living in an Asian country. My country of choice, though? Thailand. Gotta give it up for the Muay Thai and Thai food. (Volcano chicken all the way.) But anyways, the English speaking actors (with as few of them as there probably are in China) just took things over the top and need to work on delivery. This is a common problem though in foreign films, so I don’t blame them too much. They were better than some.

I do appreciate the message the Ip Man films send to a wider audience than just China. The oppression felt in China has

I gotta get me one of those…

been quite prevalent in the last 100 years by foreign countries and bigger world powers. It has been a triumph over the bully in the last century, and China knew how to depict that. I give props to Wilson Yip for doing a good job in that department. I feel for the Chinese in this film and the way that most people look down on Chinese martial arts. Hell, martial arts in general. But I’m pretty sure, other than stamina, that any martial arts expert could take out a boxer with the right moves. Like me and all the other martial arts enthusiasts out there, I appreciate martial arts in all its capacity. Asia will always dominate in my heart.

Dope.

In a different twist I wasn’t expecting in this film, I was touched more than inspired to do martial arts. The music was good and uplifting, the cinematography wasn’t bad, and the Wing Chun kept it brief and brutal. Not much to complain about, but I still do love the fight scenes from the first movie more. 7.4 out of 10.


Tokyo Gore Gore and More Gore Police

I think I just appropriately changed the title. Because I was expecting gore, but not the magnitude I was given. I was relentlessly pounded with blood and carnage to such an excessive degree that I was in awe and stitches from all the laughing, at the same

Ah yes, the ever popular school girl…

time. This movie is satirically poking fun at the horror/gore genre, even putting gore in the title. It never takes itself too seriously (although some of the actors onscreen may have to deliver some of their lines with a straight face) and it has all the fun you’d ever want from a fantasy/anime/comedy/horror film (look at all those genres in a line…). I was fascinated and swept away by this Japanese wonder.

For as much of a plot as there is here goes nothing. Ruka (Eihi Shiina) is a member of he futuristic Japanese police force. In a similar situation to RoboCop, the police have been revamped with privatization. This is all in order to defeat

You love to see the woman from Audition in some hand rain… (That’s what it was tagged as…)

anime-like creature villains known as Engineers. Created by an evil mad scientist (Itsuji Itao), these Engineers have key-like tumors placed into their bodies (like a macabre Kingdom Hearts) that allow them to regrow injuries into gory and grotesque weapons. Ruka is a special member of the task force that is sent out to handle these demons with her always trusty katana. What a relief that swords are more effective against evil in the future than guns are…

After discovering an evil plot and a hidden past, Ruka must embrace who she is and destroy everyone in her path. This leads to a whole lotta ridiculous gore (basically things you can’t do to or with the

Slugma woman!

human body) and some of the funniest dismemberment scenes I’ve ever witnessed in a film. I was loving it and never wanting the blood spurts and cut in half bodies to stop (that’s a classic M for Mature anime scene for ya). This movie makes no real attempts to take itself seriously, and I was happy to see that. When you watch the scene in the Engineer bordello, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Just all that gore…

This film is also interspersed with dark infomercials that pop up on the T.V.’s throughout the film. There’s proper swords for Hara-kiri (Japanese ritualistic suicide), mini-kawaii boxcutters for wristcutting (Kawaii meaning cute), and a whole lot of anti-suicide ads. I’m not sure what some of them were for, but maybe it just meant that suicide or mutilation leads to the creation of more Engineers? Strange…

This movie literally has some of the most messed up gore I’ve ever seen. Entering into a reality of warped body image, this movie can do what it wants. Anybody who is an Engineer can recreate themselves into a warped version of themselves with weapons of personality attached to themselves. A venus flytrap for legs, a

There’s no end to the weird.

katana arm, chainsaw on a chain… and my favorite I can’t mention that you’ll have to see to believe. I said before that A Serbian Film left me in awe and despair. This film had the same amount of disturbing scenes, but it was all done with a smile on its face. I like this one far better.

Yay!

Everything is over the top and there’s far more blood than you’d actually think can be in one human body. It’s all tongue in cheek with unrealistic corpses and bottles that can take your whole face off. This movie can’t even go a whole 5 minutes without another dismemberment. I loved every minute of it. It is truly one of those cult classics that ranks up there with Evil Dead in the way it’s presented. So if you like horror/gore movies like that, you have to see this. A big word up for Tokyo Gore Police. 9.1 out of 10.


The Bodyguard #1 & 2: Not Your Average Thai Film

I’m gonna combine the first Bodyguard and the second, as one flows into the other. I loved this movies so much that I even watched them back to back. Petchtai Wongkamlao is a hilariously funny guy and he did a great directorial job with the onscreen humor and action. The movies didn’t focus too heavily on himself and he did this quite humbly. A lot of the humor comes from plays on words and references you have to get from knowing his work with Panna Ritikrai and Tony Jaa. Either way, these movies will kick your ass with their in your face guns and side splitting foreign comedy.

The first films starts off with Wong Kom (Petchtai Wongkamlao) as a bodyguard/official operative. He has come to this international convention to guard a major player named Chot Petchpantakam (Surachai Juntimatom). With the ensuing attack and lots of wire fu

Wongkamlao, the unconventional action star.

(Kung Fu with wires. Think a la Crouching Tiger.), Wong attempts to save Chot, but he is shot in the crossfire. The rest of the film focuses around Wong’s committed attempt to regain his honor and Chot’s son, Chaichol (Piphat Apiraktanakorn) trying to keep his father’s business running. With assassination attempts, a crew of street rats, and a rags meet riches story, this movie has a lot of humor and heart.

Just some Thai humor for ya.

In the second Bodyguard, things are a bit different. Wong is an undercover agent attempting to take down a crime syndicate that is dealing in weapons of mass destruction. After infiltrating a night club as a “provocative dancer”, Wong screws up yet again. Some explosions and gunshots later, Wong must become a famous luk thung (basically, a Thai country singer) star and keep everything from his wife, Keaw (Janet Keaw). With more laughs and quite a bit more explosions, this film surpassed the budget for Ong Bak with 1 million Baht (Thai currency), becoming the biggest film to be made in Thailand. It would be eclipsed by Ong Bak 2 shortly after.

Tony Jaa makes an appearance as the shopkeep boy.

What made these American standard B-rated action films so great is that they didn’t take themselves seriously. Wongkamlao is spinning through the air with two guns cocked and completely infinite in bullets, whipping around the room, absolutely annihilating people in very strange ways. The actors aren’t to serious about their villainous ways and it really shows throughout. Biggest example is the Thai comedian that shows up in both films. In the first, he (and I wish I could decipher which character he was) always wears something inappropriate and never talks. In the second, he dies at the end without saying anything. What makes this so great is that (and I hope it was fake) at the end of the second film, this guy blows up at Wongkamlao for not including him more in the film. I think the Thai sense of humor is spot on and could do very well over here in America.

There are so many over the top explosions and gun fight scenes that you can’t take this movie too seriously. It’s all the

That’s a bit vulgar… and a midget.

kind of action that makes Tony Jaa’s films so popular, but even more so. And that’s another great thing. They advertised in Thailand and America that Tony Jaa was going to be a big player in both these films, and he shows up to do a 5 minute action scene. It always has something to do with one of his other films, and it’s great to see that he can laugh at himself. (Where’s my elephant?)

All the heart and guns in the world.

This movie really shows just what Thailand is like. It’s more than all the action scenes and comedy that comes from these movies. And Wongkamlao knows that. There’s poverty and crime, burgeoning cities and night life, even a rich cultural aspect you don’t always see in an action film. And that’s where the heart comes from in these movies. It’s a movie you set out to do with your friends and come to love making and showing off. I’ve done it myself a dozen times. It’s not serious, it’s just showing that you can make an entertaining movie, and it doesn’t have to be award winning. And that’s why I think American audiences should check out these movies. Embrace this new culture and realize we’re a lot more alike than we think. And for this, The Bodyguard series deserves a comedy induced and action packed 7.5 out of 10.


Iron Monkey: Martial Arts in Flight

I have to say at first I was a bit skeptical about this movie. From the get go, the Iron Monkey/Robin Hood hero is flying through the air pulling off some ridiculous kicks and spin moves. It reminded me of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but in more of a comical way. And then I let all those inhibitions go and enjoyed the movie for its technique and visual thrill. By the end, I was pumped up, and inspired to go downstairs and try out some moves on my little sister. But it was 2 in the morning, and I was to lazy to beat up on a sleeping person.

Iron Monkey is the epic tale of a man with a hidden, superhero-like identity. Yang Tianchun (Yu Rongguang) is a medical doctor. He treats the poor for no fee and makes the rich pay what they feel is necessary to heal their ailments. Nights, Yang

Donnie Yen, the master.

moonlights as The Iron Monkey. He sneaks into the evil Governor Cheng’s (Jean Wang) chambers and steals from him. He defeats a dozen guards and four Shaolin monks. It is apparent that no one can stand up to the power of The Iron Monkey.

Wrought with despair at having any of his massive plunder taken, Governer Cheng orders the head of his guard, Fox (Yuen Shun-yi) to search and find anyone who could be the Iron Monkey. When a foreign physician/rapist martial artist rolls into town, Wong Kei-ying (Donnie Yen) and his son/disciple Wong Fei-hung (Angie Tsang) are arrested. Noticing Kei-ying’s power, the Governor enlists him to find the Iron Monkey, or he will leave his son in the dungeons forever. It is up to Donnie Yen in his fight for his son and the well being of a town who benefits from the one man he is trying to capture. Let the chase begin.

Angie Tsang, what amazing things she did with that stick.

After getting over the wire propelled stunts and kicks, I came to really enjoy the characters and the setting for this film. A remake from back in the 1970’s, this movie went farther and more elaborate than I’m sure the other film did. Based on a myth of the Wong father and son’s interaction with an “Iron Monkey” like character, a real mystery is placed around a Batman like character.

All of the fight scenes are dope. Every one is unique and takes place in a different location that utilizes the surroundings to pull off a spectacularly choreographed fight scene. And there are 4 martial artists whose skills are showcased. It’s not all about the Monkey. I

An evil power looms…

found that to be a relief from films that focus on the protagonist and no one else. The Iron Monkey actually had less fight scenes than anyone else!

And here’s another thing that blew my mind. Donnie Yen’s son in the film is actually played by a girl! Angie Tsang is on Hong Kong’s national Wushu martial arts team. She won silver in the Asian Games and Gold in the Wushu Championships. And the whole time I thought she was some malnourished little boy. I’m always thrilled to see a young woman destroying big burly guys on camera with skills she actually can do and will do in order to defend herself and utlimately kick you ass (i.e. Chocolate). A big bravo and props sent Angie’s way.

What a great last fight scene. Get some of that.

With an almost over the top plot with lots of great comic relief and fight scenes, this movie is something I would recommend to a lot of first time martial arts movie watchers. It has the plot in order to draw you in and then blows you back with the martial arts action. Donnie Yen is a martial arts destroyer as usual, and I plan to do a lot more reviews of his movies in the future (most likely his Ip Man films). This movie inspires you to fight for the weak and poor, and rightly so. It is the true way of a master. 8.2 out of 10. 

 


Deadfall: So many good things go oh so wrong…

Let me start this off with a short video that I watch at least one time a day to calm the nerves:

If you watch Deadfall, a couple of scenes from one of his best performances from that Youtube compilation will start to look familiar. And that’s all you’ll really remember about this film.

And that is exactly what makes this film remarkable. Nicholas Cage’s performance, with his strange wig hair and dark sunglasses and matching mustache, is so over the top you can’t believe it actually made it into the film. What did the director ask him to do? There are times when he stumblingly mumbles over half the lines. Others, he’s had to dub over the original audio because it was so incoherent. Did they allow the great Nic Cage to do what he wanted during this film, most likely drunk and living it up? I hope so.

Everything else about this movie is so basic. Joe Donan (Michael Biehn, the man I will always remember from The Abyss as Lt. Coffey) is a con artist who accidentally shot his dad, Mike Donan (James Coburn) in a con. With his father’s last dying wish, Joe

The legendary Nic Cage.

travels to his father’s brother’s place and finds himself in a whole new world of cons and deceit. Nicholas Cage is actually only in the middle third of the film, but his performance as Eddie is unforgettable.

And would you believe it that there are two other good actors in this film? Leave it to Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew and Nicholas Cage’s brother, Chris Coppola to utilize his connections. There’s Peter Fonda as, get this, Pete. He’s only in it for about two scenes, but he makes more of an impression than a lot of the other actors in this film. And, in my favorite performance of the entire film, is Charlie Sheen. Playing the smooth pool player, Sheen dazzles onscreen with intelligent lines, a cool attitude, and a suave look. He actually plays a realistic looking conman, unlike EVERYONE ELSE. For shame…

That woman was in it, but I didn’t care.

With unremarkable acting from a very minimal script, I’m sure it was hard to ever make this into a B-rated movie. It clings onto a solid C if anything, and wishes it could rise. You know what brings it out of the dregs of all those other movies you were never meant to see? NICHOLAS CAGE. This man is a legend. He can take any average college film and turn it into something you should see before you die. That man is King Midas. This movie became gold when he graced it for 45 minutes. After he leaves the silver screen (if it ever made it to that), it all goes downhill. There’s some creepy German doctor from The Human Centipede with a scissor hand for God sakes! That was less entertaining than one scene of Nic Cage ripping it up. Damn it, all movies need to have Nic Cage in it at all times. He should’ve been the star (no offense, Biehn. Wasn’t your best.)!

So watch this for the Cage. Ignore all else. By all means, stop watching after his unfortunate end. It’ll be worth it. Trust me. Deadfall as a whole, 3.1 out of 10. Nic Cage’s performance? 10 out of 10.

Absolutely wonderful. 10 out of 10 Nic Cage.