Friday, July 20, 2012

The Road to The Expendables 2: Jet Li in Fist of Legend

Jet Li Kicks A Lot Of Ass!
Crotch Hits: 7

Gen had made me a wonderful dinner for my birthday so this week so she got the night off from The Road,  my friend Mike G. will have the finals words. Which is kind of a shame since Gen suffered through three not so great movies and Mike gets to sit through a decent one.

A remake of Fist of Fury (which is a classic in itself starring Bruce Lee) Fist of Fury is the story of one man's revenge against the man who killed his master as well as making some revenge against the "horrible" people of Japan.  Set in 1937, this film is usually regarded as one of Jet Li's finest martial arts films along with Once Upon a Time in China 1 & 2.

And like any good martial arts film, the plot is fairly straight forward with a small twist or two and high on action. The fight scenes were choreographed by Yuen Woo Ping and are the main reason he was hired on to The Matrix fight staff. The action is incredibly fast paced and plentyful. The sound effects are exagerated and not just punches and kicks either. At one point a character kicks a tree and you would have thought it was a redwood falling.

I han't seen the film in a few years but Fist of Legend lived up to my memory of it. This is the Jet Li I like to remember as opposed to a great majority of his North American work. Li moved fast and crisp and at the time there was only one other guy like that (Donnie Yen).

Fist of Legend is still a classic, just be in the right mind when you watch it. This is a kung fu movie. It is not Citizen Kane.

Mike's Quick Take

"Par for the course for your average kung fu movie... the romance was totally tacked on and kind of bizzare. The fight scenes were good but I was surprised at how long they went for."

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Road to The Expendables 2: Jean Claude Van Damme in Cyborg

Jean Claude Van Damme vs Cyborg Pirates... we think
Explosion Count: None. Unless you count sparks as it explosions

After last week's review of Masters of the Universe, I turned my attention to Van Damme's Cyborg. For those of you who are unaware, Cannon Films was setting up to make a sequel to the He-Man film... and then couldn't afford the rights. Unfortunately the film company had already spent 2 million dollars on sets and costumes so they just wrote another movie over a weekend and cast Van Damme as the hero...

... wait a minute...



I had never seen Cyborg until we sat down to watch it. Honestly, I think I had caught the end of the film several times on TBS but never the whole thing and boy, I am so glad that I didn't. I watch a lot of bad movies and this one was so uninteresting, I barely know what it was about. There is a woman who's a cyborg, who holds the cure to some plague. Then we have Van Dmme is a "slinger" which is kind of like a gunslinger or ronin type guy. He initially helps the woman cyborg until he gets the crap kicked out of him by another cyborg called Fender. Apparently Fender killed Van Damme's pseudo family in flashbacks where Van Damme wore a horrible mullet wig.

And that's all I can really tell you. This movie lost my interest in about 15 minutes. It was obvious that a lot of the violence was cut for a rating so there wasn't even that to help sustain it. But here are kind of the notes I took whenever something remotely interesting happened.

- Noticed that most of the villains are named after guitars.
"My name is Fender and I rock! ... GET IT?"

- I'm not the biggest fan of Masters of the Universe but if the sets and costumes in this were honestly for a sequel, it really would have been a downgrade from the first one.

- Hey! There's the guy who played Conan on tv.

- Seriously that's a horrible wig.
"My Chris Gaines look"

- There's a scene where Van Damme is crucified by the bad guys and all I could think of was "Were they going to crucify fucking He-Man?"

The Gen Summation

"Even with ice creme this movie was terrible. And ice creme makes everything better!"

Later this week: Jet Li!

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Road to The Expendables 2: Dolph Lundgren in Masters of the Universe

Explosion Count: 2 good explosions, 5 weenie ones

When I was a kid, I loved He-Man. More than Transformers, more than GI Joe, I loved He-Man. So when they announced a live action film starring Dolph Lundgren (fresh off of Rocky 4) and on paper, he fit the role perfectly.

Unfortunately the film wasn't written well.

Essentially, Skeletor takes over Castle Grayskull to get The Sorceress's power and to beat He-Man. He-Man and company escapes to Earth and lose their cosmic key. Mayhem ensues.

And by mayhem I mean He-Man fights some of Skeletor's troops, Monica Geller and Lt Tom Paris get caught up in the action which leads to a final showdown between Skeletor and He-Man.

As an artifact of the 80's it's got everything. it was a Cannon film, Dolph Lundgren, the hard ass principal from Back to the Future, lasers, a Drew Struzan poster. It also had a young Courtney Cox and the dude who played Paris on Voyager.

The problem is that the movie itself isn't very ... well... He-Man. Skeletor (played masterfully by Frank Langella)'s troops are basically Stormtroopers. Orko has been replaced by Gwildor and while Man At Arms and He-Man are similar to their cartoon counterparts but neither are actually in the movie a huge amount. A lot of Skeletor's standard back up goons aren't here, replaced with lesser characters.

And what's the deal with He-Man using a gun all of the time?

And this wasn't a cheap movie either, 22 million for a budget and a lot of quality sets and costumes. Some of the effects aren't so great, He-Man on the hover board for instance is pretty terrible. The ending also kind of rips off Jedi a little... and has time travel that doesn't make sense.

Overall, more fun than Delta Force.

It just doesn't feel a lot like He-Man.

Gen's review: "It was like... I'm going to be He-Man but have laser guns and stormtroopers" and then as the credits rolled "All of you people should be ashamed!" to the tv.

Next Week JCVD!