Tag Archives: Van Damme

Predator: Some of that Schwarzennshizz.

Here’s The Abyss back again for a quick review on an oldie but a goodie, Predator. In happening upon Predator in a friend’s movie collection, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity not to watch this one again. Let me just say that, when it came to the Alien and Predator series, I watched those bad boys in order. And then watched AVP 1 & 2. I immersed myself in the horror/sci-fi genre and it felt real nostalgic to come back to it after so long. And it doesn’t hurt to love the Govenator.

So let’s travel back to a wonderful time when Arnold was still a huge action star and not involved in politics. A time when Carl Weathers was ripped as balls. A time when Predator was a badass. Oh wait, he still is. In having to choose between the two successful baddies of the AVP series, I will always lean towards the Predator species. Superior hunting skills? No need for vast numbers to eradicate from within the human species? Sign me up for that. Although I get a bit hesitant to say I like the way Predator looks with those mandibles in comparison to Alien, but I like the way Peter Cullen did the voice effects. I’ll take blades over acid

What a rag tag group of hardasses.

blood any day.

So, coming from an operation gone wrong standpoint, (a helpful suggestion from Arnold himself) Dutch (Schwarzenegger) and crew get dropped into hostile territory. Somewhere in the vast wilderness of Central America, the military has recruited a handful of elite operatives for a rescue mission. Some officials were downed in their chopper (“Get to the choppa!”) and they must be rescued from some bad news drug smugglers. So throw in some Carl Weathers in his prime as C.I.A. Dillon and a Native American spirit dweller (Sonny Landham) and you have yourself a gruesome, action packed, guys gettin’ vaporized horror thriller.

Pretty dope. A bit strange with that face though...

Now, when you think about Predator and the cast that was assembled, you have to wonder about the steroid requirement on set. And the fact that there wasn’t one. Arnold was bustin’ his dogs out hardcore for some guerilla warfare with Carl Weathers not far behind (it must’ve helped being Apollo Creed). You got Jesse Ventura as Blain. That absurdly crazy man was in Vietnam, the WWF, and a political activist, all in one life. Let’s talk accomplished. Add Bill Duke, the insanely gargantuan Bible thumper of the group with a bad attitude, always mumbling about noises and the Holy Spirit. Everybody else’s bodies kind of dropped off the radar after that, because you only need 4 or 5 big bodies to really take on a single Predator.

And let’s talk about the heartbreak that would’ve made this movie even better. Van Damme was supposed to play Predator. His kicks and karate know-how

That's a big gun, Bible Thumper. Gonna fell some trees?

would’ve left everyone on set in shambles. But he just had to complain about the awkwardness of the suit and its clammy feeling walking around. Where’s Seagal when you need him? Steven never complains. With that tragic loss, the movie turned to Kevin Peter Hall, creature enthusiast. Whether it be Predator or Harry and the Hendersons, this guy gave it his all until he died. Although you could tell that costume was mad awkward to maneuver.

Ventura and Duke. The big old crazies.

Overall, the story is simple and easy to follow. With a film like this, or Alien (which is a bit more complicated) you don’t need too much to go on. It’s more about the visual effects and aspect anyways. Despite a ridiculous initial battle scene with the guerrilla warriors that left not a single man in Dutch’s platoon scarred, the movie fell into what I would consider a Hollywood realm of possibility. The acting didn’t matter so much and the believability of an elite force just barreling through the woods with giant ass guns, firing from the hip and felling trees with their biceps, didn’t help much either. But this series has become quite iconic in its scope in pop culture today. Everyone gives it up for Arnold and his attempts at becoming a beloved American actor. Not acclaimed, but loved all the same. His lines will forever stand out in my mind.

He's wondering where Van Damme is...

And to create such a creature as they did who is loved and recognized by a considerable number of sci-fi fans. I applaud those who attempt his costume, if at all at conventions. So, if nothing else, appreciate this movie for its novelty. Overall, even for its time, it just falls through the cracks of what is considered a classically good movie. But a cult followed movie? This fits right in. So let’s take it that way and appreciate Carl Weather’s screams in vain as his arm is severed by Predator’s heat laser. Get some of that Schwarzennschizz. A solid 6.8 out of 10.

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Chocolate: Not Your Typical Muay Thai Film

In my searchings through the Martial Arts section at F.Y.E, I came across a Thailand Martial Arts films I had not heard of before. It featured, on the cover, a young girl, poised with swords in hand, the most intense look on her face as if to say, “Yeah, I’ll rough you up a bit, Van Damme style.” This immediately piqued my interest.  So I got it, took it home, and watched it with my best bud, E.

Let me just say, this is a major statement in the Martial Arts entertainment/otherwise industry. Not only does a girl do Tony Jaa like moves in this film, but she beats up guys 3-4 times her size. With a ridiculously good idea at its base, this solid films sets you up for an action packed Muay Thai styled film that didn’t disappoint, and never left an opportunity for a great new location for an action sequence.

So Zen (Yanin Vismistananda) is the subsequent child of a West Side Story love

Look at those moves. Wow, Yanin.

affair. One parent Thai and one Japanese, this love child of two warring factions is born autistic. Not only is she born autistic, but her concentration allows her to catch things thrown at her from all angles and allows her to pick up Muay Thai fighting techniques from the dojo next door and from T.V. (some great moves from Tony Jaa’s films, obviously a planted element from same director, Panna Rittikrai)

Literally. Destruction.

When things start to heat up with old wounds opening, Zen must protect her mother Zin (Ammara Siripong). The cancer eating away at her is expensive to treat, and Zen and Moom (Taphon Phopwandee) must team up to add an element of suspense and comedy to this film about how tweens can do anything. Collecting old debts and pissing off No. 8 (Pongpat Wachirabunjong) and getting her father Mashashi (Hiroshi Abe) involved, who knows what lengths an autistic girl will do to protect her family of attrition.

There are some really great elements in this movie that shine through in all of

I'm just gonna keep showing you these.

Prancha Pinkaew/ Panna Rittikrai’s work. First of all, fight locations. This movie has fight scenes in a ice factory, warehouse, slaughterhouse, and tea house, all in one. Using the layout of the locations in combination with Yanin and the stunt actor’s skills makes for a deadly combo that is played out poetically on film. Jumping over boxes, avoiding ice hooks and blocks, what could be better than imagining this all happening in an actual real life situation? This girl knows her stuff, and it shows hard.

How is this not a 12 year old girl?

And that’s another thing that impressed me so much. Yanin Vismistanada, a 24 year old Thai girl, master of Taekwondo with a 3rd degree Dan blackbelt, looks like a 12 year old. Looks can be deceiving. He moves are fluent, her Tony Jaa imitation is flawless, she’s got the works. Discovered on the Born to Fight set in 2003 by Panna Rittikrai himself, this girl is destined to eventually equal/surpass Jaa himself (or at least Dan Chupong).

Simply the best.

With some fantastic English spoken by both Thai and Japanese men (still needed subtitles though) and quite a few transvestites, speaking to Thailand’s rich heritage, this movie has a combination unlike anything I’ve ever seen. An inspirational movie speaking to how children can do whatever they wanna do, this movie is a definite need in anyone’s growing Martial Arts collection. I give this movie, in comparison to all other Panna Rittikrai/Muay Thai movies I’ve seen, a definite 9.5 out of 10.