I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Archive for May, 2010

Tony Jaa rides his elephant off into the sunset?

Monday, May 31st, 2010

ongbak2Well, if you haven’t heard already, it’s being reported that a couple days ago Tony Jaa literally shaved his head, rode an elephant up to a Buddhist temple and took his vows to become a monk. The most complete article on the matter is at twitch.

(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Dennis Hopper

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

dennishopper
WELL, WE can’t say we didn’t see this one coming, but it’s still sad. I first heard several months ago from some of you right here in the comments that Dennis Hopper’s cancer had gotten real bad and he was on his last legs. I think he managed to tough it out at least a couple months longer than anybody thought he would.

I never feel qualified to write eulogies, but Mr. Hopper’s contribution to movies in general and to the kind of shit I like specifically is pretty fuckin huge, so I feel like something should be said.
(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Clones of Bruce Lee

Friday, May 28th, 2010

tn_clonesofbruceleeTHE CLONES OF BRUCE LEE is based on the true story of actor and martial artist Bruce Lee (b. 1940) and his unexpected death in 1973. It does take some dramatic liberties, for example they say he died of a heart attack (in reality it was a brain problem, specifically a cerebral edema) and also an agency called the Special Bureau of Investigation takes blood samples from his body and uses it to make three clones of him and use them as secret agents (in real life they only made two, and one of them came out lumpy so they couldn’t use it).

The SBI plan is not flawless. For one thing, the clones don’t automatically know how to fight. Bolo Yeung has to train them. They never explain who Bolo is playing, so I gotta assume he’s playing himself, a former co-star of Bruce Lee, training the lab-grown cellular matter of his dead colleague. It makes you wonder, too – was Bolo a spy this whole time? Was he sizing up Bruce on the set of ENTER THE DRAGON? Did he consider Van Damme clone material when he was doing BLOODSPORT? Does he ever get jealous that he’s not the one they want to clone? I mean he seems worthy of cloning to me. There aren’t many guys like Bolo, other than that guy in DRUNKEN MASTER that I thought was Bolo but it turned out it was some other guy. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

tn_dragonWe here in Seattle are very proud of Bruce Lee. We claim him as our own. He’s one of our icons like Jimi, Cobain, and… well, I’m not gonna say Sir Mix-a-lot. I don’t know. Quincy Jones?

Of course, Bruce was born in San Francisco, raised in Hong Kong, filmed his movies in Hong Kong. He only lived here for about 5 years. But I think it’s fair to say they were important years. Any biography of Bruce mentions that he studied philosophy, right? Well that was right here at our University of Washington. He actually majored in drama, so give us partial credit for his acting too. He started his first kung fu schools here. He met his wife here. He married her here. When he died his family still lived here, so he’s buried here, and so is Brandon. We still don’t have a Bruce Lee statue, but Linda and Shannon Lee are trying to build The Bruce Lee Action Museum here. So we got a legitimate claim, I think. We are a Bruce Lee town.

That’s why it’s so embarrassing that some dumb motherfuckers dropped the ball and got us completely erased from this biopic. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

tn_warriorsjourneybruceleeiconIt just occurred to me that there’s a Fred Williamson movie I could’ve reviewed to go from GAME OF DEATH to DEATH JOURNEY to WARRIOR’S JOURNEY. But we don’t got time for word games. Let’s get rollin.

There are a whole lot of documentaries and TV episodes about the short life of Bruce Lee, so why did we need another one in 2000? Well, because this was the uncovering-King-Tut’s-tomb of Bruce Lee documentaries, created by John Little, a bodybuilding expert who is also considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on Bruce Lee. Little went through the archives and studied notes, sketches, outlines and footage to find out what Lee’s plans were for his unfinished movie GAME OF DEATH and what footage was shot that wasn’t used in the fake-beard version that was released (the Graverobber’s Cut). He shows through interviews and archival business how Lee’s career and evolving martial arts philosophy were all leading up to what would’ve been his masterpiece, a movie where he teaches all his ideas but through some of the best fight scenes ever constructed. Then Little unveils what was made of GAME OF DEATH, edited together with the takes Lee planned to use (luckily he wrote all this down!) (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Game of Death

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

tn_gameofdeathbruceleeiconMan, I hadn’t seen GAME OF DEATH in a long time. I forgot it was this ridiculous. It’s known for the yellow jumpsuit (homaged in BERRY GORDY’S THE LAST DRAGON, SHAOLIN SOCCER, KILL BILL VOLUME 1, etc.) and his fight against Kareem Abdul Jabbar while wearing it. But that’s only 11 minutes at the end, taken from the unfinished movie Bruce started directing before he took the opportunity to star in ENTER THE DRAGON. The other 90% is a bunch of filler bullshit trying to stretch those scenes out to feature length, with an entirely different plot that sleazily exploits the mystery surrounding Lee’s death.

But you know what, some of Lee’s friends and students are in it, so they must’ve approved. For example, Chuck Norris. Oh wait, that’s just clips from WAY OF THE DRAGON. Well, what about Kareem Abdul Jabbar? Oh wait, that’s some other tall black dude in sunglasses, because Kareem didn’t want to take part in the new scenes. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Jaws of Death

Monday, May 24th, 2010

tn_jawsofdeath(aka MAKO: THE JAWS OF DEATH – but I got no clue who Mako is)

I rented JAWS OF DEATH because the cover and the title made it seem like a JAWS rip-off. But actually it’s more in the tradition of the weirdo-with-attachment-to-unpleasant-animal movies like WILLARD. The director, William Grefe, also did STANLEY, about a guy who uses rattlesnakes to get revenge. In this one it’s sharks.

Richard Jaeckel (THE DIRTY DOZEN, also the crappy TV sequel to THE DIRTY DOZEN) plays Sonny, a guy who lives alone on an island and his only friends are the sharks, who he talks to, feeds every day, and even swims with. They won’t harm him because he wears one of those magical medallions that give you a psychic connection to all sharks. Like many of us, he got his during the war from a dude sitting in a throne shaped like a shark (there’s a flashback). (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The stupid argument that will not die

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

shakespeareMan, I thought I had made peace with this thing. Today I came across this comment on collider.com that’s the purest version of the “what kind of an asshole has basic competency standards for movies? it supposed to go BANG!!!” argument I’ve seen in a while:

LOL @ all the people expecting Transformers to be art house Oscar caliber films. And I really don’t think those twins were racist caricatures. They were just stupid. I also don’t think anybody really hates Michael Bay. It’s just trendy to say that you don’t. Films are escapism, folks, did you all forget that? Michael Bay does what does best: makes escapism movies, and makes them well. If you like “real-life” so much, stay out of the theater and go watch History Channel, and stop being pretentious film-scholar-wannabe’s.

And as you can see if you follow the link I couldn’t help myself, I had to go off on the poor guy. It just infuriated me for some reason. This is not a burden I should try to shoulder. People will always say stupid shit like this, I can’t patrol the internet trying to set them straight. I gotta let it go. Or we need to come up with a way to rebut it that’s as succint as “what u expect, shakespeare lol.” The shortest I can come up with is “okay, you take ‘Batman and Robin’, I’ll take ‘Dark Knight.'”

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Seagal Predicts: Rand Paul’s Armed EPA agents

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

seagal-predictsFor the second time in a week I was reading the news and the current headlines reminded me of something Seagal put in a movie years ago. So just in case this becomes a regular occurrence I decided to call this topic Seagal Predicts.

This one comes from that guy Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul (BRUNO) and winner of the Kentucky Republican Senate primary on Tuesday. Now that he’s in a senate race he’s having to live down all the outside-of-the-mainstream opinions he’s mouthed off about in the past, which it turns out is gonna be a hefty task because he’s a regular guest on the Alex Jones radio show. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Loose Canon: Way of the Dragon (aka Return of the Dragon)

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

tn_wayofthedragonThere are a few people walking the earth, or in our memories, who are so good at what they do, so unique in their talents, that we almost mistake them for gods or super heroes. You could be born a prodigy and practice all your life, striving for excellence with every breath you take, and still not match Muhammad Ali, James Brown, Mozart or Michaelangelo. It takes more than training, more than talent. It takes a whole lot of both of those things, plus a drive to be the very best, plus… something else. If we knew what that something else was then everybody would dance like Michael Jackson.

Well, I think we can all agree that Bruce Lee is one of those individuals. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.