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

“The Unit” episodes 2.23 and 3.6 featuring Randy Couture

tn_couturecountdownlogoPart of the reason for my Countdown to The Expendables was to expand my action movie horizons. I didn’t want to just revisit movies I’d seen before, so I gave myself some rules: for each major EXPENDABLES cast member I wanted to review a movie I’d never seen before. Not just one I hadn’t reviewed or hadn’t seen in a long time, but one I had no experience with at all.

But with Randy Couture this is a problem, because he doesn’t have 50 movies to his name like Gary Daniels. I’d already seen and reviewed his two biggest roles: THE SCORPION KING: RISE OF A WARRIOR (villainous scorpion king who presides over the rise of a warrior), and REDBELT (commentator who Mike Terry tries to tell the tournament is fixed). I’d even seen most of his bit parts, like as a cage fighter in CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE, and of course this top notch door-answering in TODAY YOU DIE:

He’s also in the Mark Wahlberg football drama INVINCIBLE and the Rob Schneider prison comedy BIG STAN, but neither of those seemed Expendable enough to fit what I was looking for. This leaves one excellent possibility: an ’05 mixed-martial-arts-themed no budgeter called NO RULES, where he apparently plays a fighter who leads a satanic cult. Unfortunately I couldn’t find it for rent and I’m not sure I can get it in the mail before EXPENDABLES comes out. So later for that one.

Instead I did what I could to research him. I watched some of his UFC fights and his two appearances on “The Unit,” a TV show created by his REDBELT director David Mamet. I know Couture’s Expendability has come into question in some comment threads here. But despite his lack of a celluloid trail he seems like one of the more intriguing Expendables to me. While most of his co-stars represent a long history of action movies (or at least a recent history in action movies), Couture’s contribution is to represent an authentic bad motherfuckerness that could not possibly be questioned.

In part 3 out of 5 of Stallone’s recent Ain’t It Cool Q&A, Adam from Olympia asked “With that talented cast of badasses, who would win in a fight if all hell broke loose? Who would be the last man standing?” All Stallone really offered was, “Steve Austin is a mammothly strong man and Randy Couture is hard as Pittsburgh steel. Dolph certainly is not someone you want to flip off at an intersection because he may simply flip your car over, so in reality you can never bet against a professional light weight and heavy weight champion and be considered sane.”

I’m not sure if Stallone is agreeing with me here or not, but after watching some of these UFC fights I got no question in my mind that Couture is the only possible answer to that question. Stone Cold and Dolph I’m sure would acquit themselves admirably, but they don’t got the same skill set. Couture’s actual occupation is to survive horrendous beatings while punching, kicking, and pulling on the world’s toughest men until they’re afraid they’re going to break a bone or suffocate and are forced to tap the mat, morse code for “uncle.” That’s his fucking job, and he’s very good at his job. You could say he’s gotten employee of the month a record number of times.

couture-silviaCouture looks kind of like Ed Harris if he lifted weights all day and wrestled enough to get cauliflower ears. He’s best at the grappling, with his specialty being what they call the “ground and pound,” when he manages to get an opponent on his back and just sits on top punching his face in. But over his career he’s continually added new skills, becoming just as good at standing up and “dirty boxing” or kicking the other guy’s legs out.

He seems to specialize in defying expectations. I watched his first fight with Chuck Liddell, where nobody seemed to think he had a chance. They keep saying he’s going to have to get Liddell down to the ground to wrestle him, but he surprises everybody by nearly punching the guy out. Joe Rogan and the other commentator can’t believe what they’re seeing. Then there’s the fight against Tim Silvia in UFC 68. They show the “tale of the tape” and it’s ridiculous – Couture is 7 inches shorter, I forget how much lighter, but they normally got about 100 pound difference according to Wikipedia. Sylvia’s got a 5″ reach advantage. Couture had previously retired, hadn’t fought in a year. Most importantly he was 12 years older. Most of the big UFC guys are in their 20s, this guy’s fighting in his 40s, so he’s not expected to have the cardiovascular stamina to hold up against a young guy. Everybody says Couture is gonna get smashed, but he immediately knocks the guy down and dominates the entire match, winning by unanimous decision.

But my favorite is UFC 44, where he fights a WWE-looking bleach blond champ named Tito Ortiz. Before the fight the camera crew interviews various celebrities in the crowd like Michael Clarke Duncan and some NFL players. Fellow Expendable Jason Statham happens to be there, and fortunately for his ass is diplomatic and doesn’t predict a winner. Everybody else says Ortiz. But of course the 40 year old Couture dominates the whole fight. By the end, the crowd that was booing Couture and chanting “Tito” has conveniently switched sides. After 5 rounds with Couture in total control Ortiz gets some kind of desperate lock on Couture’s leg. Couture reaches down and for a second I was disappointed, thinking he was tapping out. But he wasn’t – he was spanking the guy. As if to say Naughty boy. Stop trying to hurt my ankle. Go to your room.

Yeah, I know, this hardly dispels the reputation of UFC as being “kinda gay.” But it’s some funny shit to see the supposed old man shaming the young powerhouse like this. That’s one reason why he’s such an appropriate Expendable. In a time of pretty boy actors training to seem like real fighters Couture is a real fighter training to seem like he can read his lines properly. Modern Hollywood’s idea of a tough guy is a good looking kid in his mid-twenties working out his pecs and maybe getting a little peach fuzz to go with his aviator glasses. Couture is the opposite in every possible respect. He doesn’t try to hide his male pattern baldness or his monstrous former ears. He’s not gonna be able to switch it up and do a romantic comedy with Sandra Bullock, is my guess. Even when he gets cleaned up and smiles for the red carpet he’s gonna look like this:

couture-redcarpet

I think Stallone was trying to cover alot of bases with his cast. He’s got ’80s action icons like himself and Dolph, he’s got Jet Li as the legend of Hong Kong cinema and martial arts, Statham representing modern action (for whatever that’s worth), Stone Cold representing the pro-wrestlers, so he wanted to get a mixed martial artist in there too. Maybe going from a fighter to an actor is not a natural leap, but then neither is football player to actor, and that didn’t stop Jim Brown from starring in some of our favorite movies. Come to think of it Jim Brown himself was a commentator for the first few Ultimate Fighting Championships, later to be replaced by another b-movie star, Don “The Dragon” Wilson.

In fact, the concept of UFC I think was most likely inspired by the old martial arts movies with mysterious islands and tournaments between fighters of different disciplines. Shit, they even fight in “the octagon” – you can’t tell me that didn’t come from THE OCTAGON! So UFC and movies have always had connections, and I think it’s only natural that some of those guys will make some fight movies the way various champion kickboxers did in the ’80s. In fact, mixed martial artists turned actors like Couture and Oleg Taktarov are way more manly and battle-hardened than Van Damme, Don the Dragon or Gary Daniels were when they started making movies. Of course Stallone wants to hang out with them.

And none of those guys had David Mamet to help them out. Until REDBELT came out I never would’ve guessed that Mamet studies Brazilian jiu-jitsu. But now that I know that I’m guessing it was his idea to put Couture in a couple episodes of his elite black ops squad TV show ‘The Unit.’

Couture’s first episode is the season 2 finale “Paradise Lost,” where he just has a cameo as “Sergeant Strickland,” a soldier who brings The Unit of the title some bad news. He has to inform this secret anti-terrorism team that they’ve been accused of war crimes, are being disbanded and can’t even talk to each other or they’ll be busted for conspiracy. Couture stops them from entering a base, but then the Colonel played by Robert T-1000 Patrick (their regular boss on the show, I assume) takes over chewing them all an elite unit of new assholes.

For his small amount of screen time Couture is used well. You see his nasty ear before you see the rest of him – it’s like a shark’s fin, announcing his presence:

couture-sharkfin

Then the last glimpse of him is a creepy-as-hell Michael Meyers type shot where Dennis Haysbert (the leader of The Unit) comes out of an office and sees him just standing there watching at the end of a hallway. It kind of seems important at the time, but he never shows up in the episode again.

‘The Unit’ seems like a pretty cool show, lots of scary CIA guys making wives uncomfortable by approaching them in grocery store parking lots and shit, betrayed agents busting out the hidden caches of weapons and cash, secret codes and macho dialogue written by Mamet. Well, his sister Lynn Mamet, anyway. This storyline has them getting set up and having to go dark like the A-Team. Haysbert flees to Panama City where an old agency type buddy gets him a new name, social security number and passport, explains that the real guy has no family except a brother who’s not getting out of the joint any time soon. When Haysbert asks where the real guy is now his friend says he went missing a couple years ago.

“Anybody know what happened to him?”
“Only me,” his friend smiles.

There are a few Mamet connections besides Couture. Max Martini, Officer Joe from REDBELT, is Mack, the angry scary member of The Unit. Ricky Jay is a sardonic CIA asshole. Rebecca Pidgeon is Patrick’s treacherous bitch of a wife. I didn’t notice William H. Macy or any other magicians in there. It sort of has Mamet’s cynical know-it-all brand of conservative politics, which I didn’t really mind. I already bought into these guys being honorable supermen who can handle anything, so I’ll buy into the idea that we gotta let them do whatever they want to stop terrorism. And actually since the cliffhanger got me hooked I also watched “Pandemonium,” the 2-parter that follows, where The Unit uncovers and disagrees with another agency executing prisoners that they’re worried will be freed when a Democrat takes over the White House and wants to close down all the infamous illegal prisons and shit.

Couture has a much bigger part in “M.P.s”, the sixth episode of season 3. There are three storylines: most of The Unit is in Iraq guarding an obnoxious pop singer (Mikalah Gordon, who it turns out is from American Idol, which is not surprising because she’s clearly not from professional acting) and her fluffy dog during a USO visit. Hector (Demore Barnes) is courting a watiress, with the support of the Unit wives club (probly the source of all the boring subplots in this show, is my guess). And Noel from ‘Felicity’ (Scott Foley) is teamed with Couture’s Sergeant Strickland character to transport a terrorist suspect (Al Faris – customs official in Mamet’s SPARTAN) to his home country for execution.

Lynn Mamet’s brother David actually wrote this episode, so Couture gets to use some good phrases he didn’t get to use in SCORPION KING 2 such as “his affectless state” and “if we bypass that rationale” and “advance to your goal by another man’s road,” all while debating prisoner control techniques and ethical matters. I’m sure Mamet is a Couture fan and deliberately wrote a bigger part for his cameo character. So it’s interesting that he doesn’t set him up for a big fight scene or anything. Instead he uses him purely for Badass Juxtaposition. While “the good looking boy scout” Noel treats the prisoner harshly and coldly, Couture argues that he’s still a human being and offers him small gestures like talking about daughters and playing cards with him.

You’re just waiting to see what window of opportunity this will open for the terrorist, but being familiar with Couture’s fights now I wasn’t at all scared for him. I figured he could handle it. In fact, he could just let that guy go and count to twenty and then run after him, I don’t think anybody would be in danger.

Ultimately the character’s philosophy turns out to be foolish – in fact (TV EPISODE SPOILER) it turns out Noel’s actual mission was to let something like this happen before the prisoner is transferred. But I think macho Mamet still has some sympathy for Strickland. I bet Mamet agrees with Noel that it’s a shame Strickland’s career should be ruined just because he has a heart to go with those fists.

Couture actually does really well in this episode wearing a suit and doing full Mamet conversations and speeches. Maybe that’s why his nickname is The Natural. Somehow somebody taught him how to act. I think he’ll do well in THE EXPENDABLES, mostly for his fighting skills, but I hope some day we’ll get to see him in a role that combines the kind of acting he does here with the kind of assbeating he does in the trademarked eight sided battle arena. That would be great to see him with a bigger role in another movie directed by Mamet. Or Isaac Florentine, if you want to give him REDBELT II.

expendables-checklist7

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.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 10th, 2010 at 1:19 am and is filed under Drama, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

68 Responses to ““The Unit” episodes 2.23 and 3.6 featuring Randy Couture”

  1. The Unit is seriously one of my favourite TV Shows. The perfect mix between fictional badass military action and soap opera. You can most of the time expect that at least one of the story keeps you interested for the whole episode, either the “men on a mission” or the “army wifes and their problems at home” story. And one episode even starts with a cameo of William H. Macy as the president of the U.S.A.! I always wondered why this show failed to catch on bigger with audiences. And I wish they would finally show Season 4 here. :P

  2. I’ve seen the first series of this and the ratio of boring wife nonsense to badassery is way too high.

  3. And yesterday I already read some negative to lukewarm reviews for The Expendables, but to be honest, unless you and the majority of the regular commentators say it’s a bad movie, I won’t curb my enthusiasm.

  4. Hell yeah, The Unit! I love me some Mamet, and this show offered me hours of great entertainment when I got the bootleg DVDs just south of Baghdad a couple years ago. I could go on & on about the badassness of The Unit, but you should just watch it, at least the non-female parts. Sounds kinda fruity to say that, but, oh well, it’s true. The surprisingly well done Armyisms (“Who in here can show me a Ranger tab?” // when Blaine gets his secret pay allotment for his wife in the episode Vern mentions, etc.) are what made the series rewarding for me, as well as the macho of course.

    And I felt awful for Couture’s character after how he gets played. Mamet’s an expert at this kind of con premise, but this one was hard to accept on an emotional level. Poor bastard.

  5. The absolute best thing about “wives at home” storylines were the Summer Glau episodes. I mean, talk about badass juxtaposition!

  6. Ah , good old Randy Couture , I remember that fight with Ortiz , and how they presented Randy as the hard working , hard training father figure , and Tito as the bad boy . That’s the way I always think of him , ready for anything . There was a time when , in my opinion, the scariest guy in MMA was Wanderlei Silva ( and is nickname is “The Axe Murderer”, not something “soft” like The “Natural”) , but Randy is even more dangerous when you think of his experience in the ring and when you think of the fact that he’s 47 and still kicking ass.

    Also , please Vern review No Rules when you have the time , in that movie there’s also Don Frye , another MMA fighter turned actor that we know very well!

  7. Randy Couture is actually a Government experiment to try to make a bigger and stronger clone of Ed Harris

  8. I also think that Stallone wants to hang out with mixed martial artist for a couple of reasons. First he specifically said that he wanted to avoid the “pretty boy with abs” type and focus more on the real fighters in the behind the scenes called “Soldiers” that you can see here :

    http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/lions_gate/theexpendables/

    No shit. In that trailer you can see Antonio Nogueira , a MMA fighter that I’ve seen fight a couple of times on TV, just like Couture , and he’s an extra in that movie! They even have a fight just for the crew!

    Second Stallone himself talking in that behind the scenes , is comparing MMA fighters to gladiators , a link to the past , exactly the state of mind of some MMA championships , like the Bushido Pride , a way to honor traditions . I really think he’s a big fan of the sport.

  9. And on “The Unit”, I don’t watch TV , especially tv-series , but I’m really interested in this show. It looks like a TV version of “Rainbow Six” , the Tom Clancy book ( sort of like “The Lord of the Rings” of counter-terrorism) , that I really love . There was a movie version of that book in the work , but I don’t know what happened . In the “special forces big budget movie” category , instead , we had SWAT. Goddamn it.

  10. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 10th, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Jesus, is that really his ear? how did that happen? Does it happen in one punch, or does it just change over the course of a thousand punches? I have never seen anything on the side of a mans head that looks so much unlike an ear. Also, it looks even less like a shark fin. But now I am aware of really tough mother fucks wearing this look, I promise not to point and stare (incase I am given donut ears for being an asshole).

  11. CallMeKermit: The Unit is based on a book named “Inside Delta Force”, don’t know if it means anything to you, but you sound like someone who could know it. (I don’t. I just know the TV show.)

  12. Kermit: SWAT aren’t special forces. They’re not even military. They’re just cops with cooler uniforms.

  13. Vern – Unlike certain people around here, I never once questioned Couture’s enlistment in EXPENDABLES. I mean its like if PREDATOR came out now, people would bitch about why Jesse Venture that “rasslin commentator” is there. Couture’s film/TV outings may be limiting compared to the rest of the cast, but he’s legit badass warrior like a Jim Brown and yes even a wrestler like Jesse. Hell look at Couture and Jesse, tell them that they’re not tough guys.

    Also who in the fucking hell thinks UFC is “kinda gay”? I may not care about that or MMA like I do with say baseball, basketball, pro football (college is fucking dull), but I respect UFC/MMA as a bunch of guys beating the total shit out of each other. I can only imagine what it takes for someone to compete in that sport, much less be champion. I suppose for some folks there is a question of legitimacy because of Brock Lesnar. But the guy was an accomplished NCAA wrestler, dude’s a monster. Even if I might have to pull ou the “Pussy” card because of the way he quit the Pro Wrestling business because it was too “too tough” for him. I bet the heads on Arn Anderson and Terry Funk’s shoulders spun 360 like THE EXORCIST when they heard that.

    Caoimhín – Yeah I believe it was unfortunately one of those concessions to get something like THE UNIT produced because the network probably felt like women wouldn’t tune in to something like that unless there was bullshit like that.

    Which begs the question: Do women actually like that token nonsense? I’m sure women fantasize all day about having to take care of the mundane domestic details while their useless halfs go save the world or blowing that cute mailman. I mean what the hell?

  14. Vern, Mickey Rourke agrees with you on Randy’s Badassitude. I just saw some crap Leno interview with Mickey, who was named biggest badass in The Expendables. Mickey said “Randy Couture is the biggest badass in The Expendables. I want no part of that man.”

    Randy Couture is a god amongst men, specially to those of us who were watching when he started – at the age when other guys start thinking about retirement. His beating of Vitor Belfort was a thing of beauty.

  15. Judging by all the comments I read about The Unit over the last few years, I found out what my Badass Juxtaposition is: Liking the action AND the housewife parts of that show.

  16. Ace, the ear comes from years of friction in wrestling. Try this…. put the side of your head against a brick wall. Rub your ear vigorously against the bricks. Repeat for 30 years. Voila: ear, a la Couture.

  17. The Unit was one of my all-time favorites shows, even though the last season started to be more about the team being essentially a bunch of superspies instead of elite military. And the wives subplots almost always dragged any given episode down. Still, Haysbert was great as a Mametian wisdom-spouting badass.

    And by the way, Macy did have a bit part in the show in one episode. He played the President of the United States. He was terrific, as always.

  18. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 10th, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Darth Irritable. So the ear does not get punched and then explodes?

  19. Inside Delta Force is a great read. Not quite a great book, necessarily, but a great, quick read. The author is no longer allowed to come near my CONUS place of employment; he’s something of a legend and a notorious shithead, depending on who you ask. Sua Sponte.

  20. The Unit kicks ass, or kicked ass I should say. The show started off great, with Mamet doing the writing and Eric Haney (author of ‘Inside Delta Force’ and a former badass) overseeing all the military action.

    It went down hill in the later seasons as HT mentioned, and we ended up with dudes shooting machine guns off motorcycles instead of the somewhat realistic seeming action it started with.

    I really don’t understand how this hasn’t been made into a movie yet. Whether its Rainbow Six as someone mentioned or something like the Unit, we need a big budget, well-done special ops kind of movie. Just think about it, all the Delta Force scenes from Blackhawk Down, stretched into a full length movie. I’d see it.

    Oh and about “Inside Delta Force”, for anyone interested in the realities of that sort of Special Forces stuff, its a good read. Haney was one of the first dudes in the unit, and has all kinds of cool insights and stories about being one of the most hardcore dudes in the world.

    As for Couture – he’s just a likable dude. He’s got some charm, seems reasonably intelligent and can kick ass with the best of ’em.

  21. Ace: Nope. No ear explosion. Though damn if that wouldn’t be an awesome result. “The winner, by Ear Explosion in the third round…”.

  22. I don’t think anyone ever had any problem with Couture’s inclusion in THE EXPENDABLES. It was about his prominence in the marketing or something equally inconsequential. Me, I like my badasses badass and could care less about what their IMDB page looks like. When Statham (a former street thug and Olympic athlete and current big beefy motherfucker) is far and away the wimpiest guy on your team, you got one half of the Noah’s Ark that we’d need to send into space to colonize a hostile planet.

  23. Jareth Cutestory

    August 10th, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Maybe someone who knows something about fighting can answer this: Are speed and agility no substitutes for brute strength in a fight? Would Jet Li’s ability to land 50 hits in the time it takes a bigger man to land one not amount to very much? Are Jet Li’s movies all just razzle dazzle with no real practical application?

    Also, SWAT are just cops with cooler uniforms. But they still get to laugh at CHIPS.

  24. Jareth, did you steal my earlier post to Kermit or are you scanning me right now?

  25. For real, that HALO jump in the very 1st episode was a dope moment in TV or any medium. Intense. The show isn’t always operating at the highest levels, but it hits some high points of excitement and badassery that are unmatched in most action-dramas.

  26. Mouth – Regarding that author being legendary/shithead, so he’s your local Steven Seagal then, eh?

  27. Jareth – it depends. Ali was the Jet Li of the heavyweight boxing community, and he won plenty. However, the little guy needs to land his 50 punches to win. The big guy maybe only needs one. But even then it depends. A lot (arguably most) of the power in punching comes from velocity at point of impact. A lot of the really big guys don’t hit as hard as you’d expect due to poor technique, and limited velocity – technique is genuinely important.

    In the speed v power debate, the little guy has to get 10 or 15 things right, without fucking up once. The big guy only has to get one.

    On the other hand, a little guy like Li, in real life, would go straight for the winning shots – knee, groin, throat, ears (the old clap your hands on some poor bastard’s ears and see if you can’t burst his eardrums trick), and to a lesser extent, nose (most guys slow down once they’re pissing serious blood out their nose – though not Dolph I bet), and eyes – either gouge or poke, works pretty well.

  28. Did you guys read that other part of the Sly Q&A where he said that Gary Daniels was probably the second toughest guy in the movie? Who the hell saw that coming?

  29. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 10th, 2010 at 8:28 am

    I guess Jet Li would need an elephant gun to stop some of those big fucks. I think if one of the grapplers put one of their death squeezes on the little fella, it would be lights out.

  30. While talking about fighting, let me go slightly off topic and ask something that I wonder for years. I hope you can answer this question:

    Do you know the films of Bud Spencer & Terence Hill and how popular are they in your country? (In Germany: VERY popular!)

  31. I’m not a big guy compared to most of my coworkers, (I’m actually rather skinny.) but I have good technique in nonstriking combatives, which my unit does for PT often.  I think a draw is pretty much a victory against some of these behemoths with their Vin Diesel tris and such.  

    I’ve wrestled and fought untrained civilians, usually as a demonstration & because they insist on it, and the difference is night and day.  Even some Lou Ferrigno dude doesn’t last more than 2 minutes against me unless he fights dirty or maybe gets really lucky, which hasn’t happened yet.  I can’t describe it exactly, but untrained dudes are really easy to get in an armbar or sidemount paintbrush.  If he’s wearing a collared button-down, forget it — I cut the blood off in his jugular within 45 seconds if we go to the ground.  

  32. Bud & Terence who?

  33. Jareth Cutestory

    August 10th, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Darth Irritable: Thanks for the awesome response. I’ve always thought that Li would be a formidable opponent, but I have no practical knowledge on which to base this. Something about the way Li’s films often make a point of stressing the adaptability of his technique, the pinpointing of the enemy’s weakness, and the knowledge of anatomy. It’s not always easy to tell how much of that stuff is just an entertaining fiction.

    It’s my understanding that there is a Li vs. Lundren fight in EXPENDABLES. Li is 5’6 and Lundren is 6’5. I’m really looking forward to seeing that. I haven’t seen any footage of Li in action for this film, just jokes about his size. I’m hoping the film sets up his size disadvantage only to later demonstrate that it isn’t a factor at all (ie. he kicks all kinds of unholy ass).

    Majestyk: What’s the proper etiquette after you’ve scanned someone? Do you buy him dinner afterwards? Do you give the guy a promise ring?

  34. Jareth: Just respect me. That’s all I ask.

  35. RRA – I didn’t mean “kinda gay” as in “they’re pussies” but as in “they are almost naked guys rolling around on the ground together while the commentator talks about ‘the full mount’ and on the cover it says ‘PRIDE’.” Maybe “homoerotic” is the word I should’ve used.

    But let’s not change the discussion to this, I’m just clarifying there.

    Ace – if you really want to know here’s wikipedia on cauliflower ear:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cauliflower_ear

    I don’t think it happens as often anymore because people have learned to drain the fluid when their cartilage has been separated. Maybe if THE EXPENDABLES is popular enough it will be renamed Couture Ear.

    By the way I should’ve mentioned that Couture originally hails from Everett, Washington.

  36. Jareth Cutestory

    August 10th, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Majestyk: After your string of killer comments in the END OF DAYS thread, particularly the “sex cult leader” remark, I pity the fool who doesn’t pay you the proper respect. Entire seasons of SNL have failed to rise to that level of wit.

  37. Vern – UFC is only about as “gay” as football, if you get my drift.

  38. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 10th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    I guess the Couture ear is better than the Chopper ear.

  39. I’d say there’s waaaaaaaay more man-on-man ass-paddling going on in football than in UFC.

  40. Jareth Cutestory

    August 10th, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Majestyk, did you see this news story:

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/what_block_buster_8s3kXE7eDLsboBgkDlXzvI

    It’s not about ass-paddling. It’s sort of a follow-up to the street manners discussion.

  41. Great all things Couture post Vern. Couture is a bad ass and is from the Pacific North West.

    THE UNIT is a pretty good show. I believe Shawn Ryan who created THE SHIELD helped work on THE UNIT with Mamet. Mamet even directed at least one episode of THE SHIELD.

    Mouth is right freakishly big buys with cosmetic muscles get gassed easily.

    Speaking of the UFC, I emailed Vern this Saturday but I at UFC 117 this past Saturday Stephen Seagal was prominently shown in the locker room and corner of middleweight champion Anderson Silva in his title defense against Chael Sonnen. Joe Rogan even acknowledged Seagal’s presence during the broadcast and mentioned something about how Seagal had been with the champ for hours leading up to the fight and believed Seagal was treating the champ with Chinese medicine in preparation for for his match. Seagal’s appearance was awesome and very “The Worlds Most Interesting Man” esque. Also a funny thing I noticed was Anderson Silva came to the ring to the song “No Sunshine” by DMX which is off of the “Exit Wounds” Soundtrack. This had to have been a tribute to Seagal by the Champ. The title fight was an epic one, and of the best in UFC history and Silva won by submission late in the fight. I am Sure not only did Seagal’s Chinese
    medicine help the champ win the fight of his career, but I am sure he also offered some spiritual advice and helped Anderson see the “holes” in Sonnen’s attack.

  42. They shoot shit in my neighborhood all the time. All the Brooklyn scenes in MUNICH were done right around the corner from my house. They did up the whole block like it was the 70s but then you barely noticed it in the movie. They might as well have done it with green screen. I haven’t yet been forced to alter my routine to accommodate a shoot, but I imagine it would be pretty annoying. New Yorkers don’t like to be told to stop walking when they’ve got someplace to be. Movie people think everything they do is life or death, so they tend to forget that the rest of the world doesn’t give a fuck whether they get their shot or not. They just want to go home. I’m not surprised that it gets physical sometimes. That’s why I have it on good authority that the PA who has to lock down the street (and sometimes has to chase people down to get them to sign release forms if they end up in the shot) is considered the absolute worst job on the set. Only the greenest PAs who don’t know any better get that job. The more seasoned vets prefer to stay in the truck, smoke weed, and siphon off petty cash like it’s going out of style.

  43. I fifty-third the love for “The Unit”. In a non-UFC/football kind of way. Ahem.

    And yes, the housewife parts were the least interesting to me, although I think the writers were honestly trying to go for something more than a ‘relatable’ demographic. There’s some real personal drama inherent in the premise of mega-ninja-elite soldiers having and _wanting_ to have a normal life with a wife and kids they can love and spend time with; and the show plays around with this idea in ways which I find a lot less cloying (although often just as soapy in its own way) as, say, “Desperate Housewives”.

    So if you think in terms of “Desperate Housewives who have to deal, for better and for worse, with husbands who can and will kill the utter bleep out of anyone who crosses their personal and somewhat variable morality thresholds–but who aren’t mobsters”, then, well, that helped me sit through those parts. Plus the writers stretch hard in trying to integrate the wives and kids (and occasional girlfriends) into the sekrit-ops package. Again, for better and for worse.

    At any rate, it was nice to be reminded occasionally that these James Bond types were human beings with real lives away from the fight, even though they love the fighting so much that both their ‘real lives’ become tangled at odds. I respect the show for trying and sometimes succeeding at doing something along that line.

    (The wife-plots tended to be more tightly written than the hubby-plots, too, where sometimes things were done for coolness sake that suffered heavily from fridge logic afterward.)

  44. I have read about certain gyms in Iowa where some of the best wrestlers and MMA fighters train. Pat Miletich has his gym in the Quad Cities area. Anyway, to the guys who train there, the cauliflower ear is a badge of honor. It is an instantly recognizable mark of their warrior culture. The new athletes who arrive to train aspire to have the mangled aural receptors, the guys who have them flaunt them proudly. If you watch MMA and see a fighter who has a severe set of cauliflower ears going on the chances are good they train out of one of those famous gyms in the midwest. And if that is true it also stands to reason that that fighter is an exceptional wrestler.

  45. What’s more homoerotic, UFC or how many times people have said how much they love “The Unit” in this talkback?

  46. Mr. Majestyk: Yeah , I know that SWAT is not part of the military , and is not a special forces group like GSG 9 , SAS and our NAS. Maybe the correct word is elite division or unit .But the “special” in their name makes them a specialized section of the police , with additional training in different weapons , equipment and tactics. And….okay fine , cooler uniforms .

  47. Plus, any group with LL Cool J in it must always be defined as special. The ladies love him, I hear.

  48. Stu – Vince McMahon.

  49. My point is , a movie about elite units is a cool concept , especially in this ultra-realistic/gritty period in action movies. When reading Clancy or McNab , you get the idea of that these highly trained professionals are able to finish a job in seconds , the “breach-bang-clear” actions described in the books are lightning fast , and speed is vital in hostage-rescue situations. I think that a realistic movie about this kind of operations is a nightmare to film , becuase of the speed and the absolute absence of over the top action , but I also think that in the right hands this is a good idea and a good replacement for shaky-cam shittiness. Plus with the modern focus on realism , I think that we need a movie entirely dedicated to elite units abd their modus operandi , with a serious approach and believable , realistic action.
    A good , well shot , fast and tactical shootout battle in close quarters can easily become the new quick draw.
    There’s still nothing like that (that I know of) , and I was looking forward to SWAT to see some of that kind of action , but , damn , that was a letdown.

  50. They could do it the way they shot the fights in SHERLOCK HOLMES (a movie which, judging by my nonexistent memories of it, may or may not actually exist, even though I just saw it two weeks ago). Show it in slow-mo first, breaking down the intricate precision piece by piece. Then replay it at full speed to show the shock-and-awe of their blitzkrieg assault.

  51. CJ : I like to read a little bit of everything , and sometimes I enter my counter-terrorism/political-intrigue phase. In that phase I mostly read Tom Clancy , so I didn’t knew that book. Thanks , buddy , it’s time for me to investigate!

    Oh , and we love Terence and Bud here in Italy ! But I think you already knew that , no ? I’m also told that in Germany Django is very popular , so , I’m guessing , the Terence Hill Django is a national treasure !

  52. Mr. Majestyk : Yes , that’s a good approach . I don’t remember much of Sherlock Holmes either , but I do remember the fight scenes , so I guess that aspect of the movie really works. But I’m also a little sick of slow motion , and sometimes directors use it to grab by the hand the viewer , like he’s not very smart , and , if the scene is too fast , he’s not going to understand what’s happening , that dumb bastard.
    Maybe set up the action in the “planning section” of the movie , create tension with shots of the location and the enemies ( like , in the classic good-bad-ugly quick draw example above , the eyes of the cowboys and a wide shot of the cemetery ) and then play it at full speed to show the shock-and-awe of their blitzkrieg assault.

  53. I don’t think Django is very popular in Germany anymore, but it WAS apparently popular enough to give hundreds of unrelated Italo Westerns titles with “Django” in it over here. Also after Spencer & Hill became very popular in the 80’s, some of their earlier serious movies got re-cut, -dubbed and released as comedies. Ironically the Terence Hill Django (not sure if we really mean the same movie, because of the renaming that was going on here) became a movie without any Django references. (And now the anti-hero of the movie became a hero, who was always cracking jokes and talked about “that fat guy”.)

  54. BTW, I’m obsessed with slow motion shots. I sometimes spent hours with searching the internet for cool slowmo shots (fiction and non-fiction). But Zack Snyder’s completely clueless overuse of that device almost cured me from it.

  55. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 10th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Slowmo died for me after 300 too.

  56. You think Couture-ear is nasty? Check out Hendo-ear http://www.cdn.sherdog.com/_images/pictures/20080908025514_henderson.JPG.
    Wrestlers got it bad.

  57. Majestyk: Some of vastly prefer to lock down streets on location. (it’s a helluva lot better then getting people coffee or hauling around lights and cables.) And we can’t WAIT for those people-especially New Yorkers-who don’t give a fuck whether or not we get our shot or don’t like to be told to stop walking. Oh, we spend our days between shows waiting for those folks. Shuttin’ them down hard and fast, that’s the FUN part of crew work. The absolute worst days are the ones where you have to hang out on the corner for six hours and every so often some tourist wanders by and asks, “Oh, are they shooting a movie? Who’s in it?” but otherwise ALL YOU DO IS STAND THERE. THAT’S torture. It’s when you get to sic the cops on somebody, or explain loudly and in great detail that if they don’t turn the fuck around and walk another way they could get hit by a stunt car and killed. That’s entertainment.

    My attitude is always, be as polite and respectful and reasonable as possible, for as long as you can, and always say please and thank you; UNTIL somebody starts giving you attitude or could potentially ruin the shot. Then the gloves come off. Then you raise your voice. I went off Christian Bale-style on this guy one time who was trying to barge onto the location of a Bruce Willis movie, and he was threatning to come back and kick my ass and saying how many guys he had to back him up, ect. Yeah, well, I had 200 million dollars, the police department, and an entire movie studio behind me. And Bruce. And that beats your gang any day.

  58. CC – Off-topic, but I wonder is it possible for a guy like in your position to actually know if a movie is on schedule/budget or become a HEAVEN’S GATE, ISHTAR type runaway shooting trainwreck?

  59. CC: I’m gonna assume you’re an L.A.-based PA. All the PA’s I know are NYC locals who do a lot of commercial work. Entirely different breed, more like teamsters in attitude. They’re in it to beat up the production for petty cash and do as little work as possible. I’ve never talked to one of them who wants to deal with people in any way. They want to do their runs and get as far away from set as the range of their walkies will allow. Doing anything involving the public or the talent is considered sucker work because there’s no chance to make an extra buck with a phony receipt. I’m sure you’re no stranger to that kind of hustle, but from what I’ve heard, L.A. crews are a lot more idealistic and nowhere near as mercenary as NY crews.

  60. CJ : Yeah ! A lot of western movies are re-titled Django without any connection to the original Franco Nero classic , especially with him in the lead . And , yes , we’re talking about the same Terence Hill Django movie , because I knew that it was re-dubbed as a comedy , but I didn’t knew that they actually added references to the “fat guy” ( I suppose that is Bud ). It’s pretty funny when you think about it , Django is almost always in a cemetery and he’s pretty grim , but ,no, they have to change him into a wisecracking guy.Man , they do a lot of strange shit with dubbing and titles !

  61. Majestyk: I’m neither an LA nor a NY based PA: I’m in New England. My friends and I consider ourselves professionals who work hard as hell on every single set we’re hired on, whether it’s one day or five months. Regarding the kind of PAs you’re describing, all I can do is qoute Michael Mann and De Niro: “You musta worked some dipshit crews.”

    Teamsters, however–yeah, I can’t argue with that.

    RRA: When a production is a disorganized, out-of-control overbudget wreck, EVERYBODY on set knows it, even the lowliest day-player extra. Thankfully, though, I’ve never really worked on a film like that. I’ve worked on some crazy, hectic, dysfunctional sets but never an ongoing meltdown like what you’re describing.
    It’s a weird sort’ve social dynamic on film sets; I’ve been told that it’s very familiar to anyone who’s been on any kind of military campaign. When things are going well everybody is doing their job and there’s a sense of accomplishment and forward momentum; when things are going badly you get a lot of confusion, frustration, and general ennui like, “What the hell are we doing here? This is pointless.” Actors and crews are like soldiers in that you start to worry when they stop bitching.

    The best situation is to have confident people in charge who clearly know what they want and can at least project the image of being unfazed by the latest disaster or problem. Good producers, directors and first assistant directors inspire cast and crew by being out front, leading by example, and keeping them busy, even if their choices may seem inexplicable at the time. A film that knows where it’s going can even inspire a crew to work through their lunch break, which is like hell freezing over. ‘Cause when it’s 10:00 AM and you’ve on set since 4:00 in the morning? Man, you live for lunch time. : )

  62. CC: I think we’re discussing a fundamental difference between film and commercial production. Films are made by filmmakers; commercials are made by ad agencies. There’s a culture of mutually assured rape in commercial productions where the production company is looking to rape the PA’s so the PA’s are looking to rape the production company. It seems to be a system that works, but I guess it really surprises out-of-towners when they come here. My roommate is a PA who recently moved up to art coordinating, and even though she’s tough as tungsten and could probably take most of us here (except Mouth) in a fair fight, I’ve seen her come home in tears from the abuse heaped upon her for 20 hours straight, all for $250 a day before taxes with no benefits. Playing the receipt game is the only way to make it worthwhile. It’s just an accepted part of the business.

    Besides, at the end of your job, you get a Bruce Willis movie. At the end of hers, she gets a Lowes commercial.

  63. why do alot of our threads end up being about sex one way or another?

  64. Kermit: that movie exists, and is also arguably the best Steven Segal movie ever (as well as one of the top Kurt Russell movies ever). It’s called Executive… …… um… Decision. Action. Decisive Action. One of those. I get its title mixed up with the Clancy book of the similar name in the Jack Ryan series. (No relation between the stories, but the movie is very much a Clancy-ish story.)

    The whole film is predicated on the idea that the spec-ops team is preparing for a lightning blitz assault that ought to be over in ten seconds or less–BUT the team keeps having to jump over unexpected hurdles getting to that point. Superb movie; I hope to upgrade my VHS edition to Blu-Ray someday (although I’d settle for DVD if the BR turns out to be a mere upscale of DVD code.)

  65. I Have The Highest Respect For Randy Couture,His Workout Regime & Fighting Career Is An Inspiration To All Who Are Getting Older & Want To Get Better :> .UFC/MMA Is A Great Sport,Anything Can Happen And Although I Would Recommend It Anyway I Would Say To Those To Who Feel Boxing Isn’t What It Used To Be To Give It A Chance,Great Stuff And Very Inspiring As Far As The Work Ethic Of the Fighters.It’s Like Pro Wrestling Should Be & Will Take Out Boxing In The Next 10 Years As Other Than Pacman Vs. Money Mayweather Are There Any Fights That Capture The Publics Imagination? [In My Opinion Of Course].

    Randy Coutures Next Fight At The End Of the Month Is Against James Toney Which Will Be An Intereting Experiment.UFC 117 Was A Great Event.I Think You Would Enjoy The Sport In General On A Monthly Basis Vern :>

    Here Is The Seagal Clip Refered To Earlier.Chael Sonnen Did a Great Job Hyping This Fight And I Was Gutted For Him But Once I Knew Seagal Was Involved………………….Doom http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScZSCIW27x0 [Look Out For The Kicks lol]

    By The Way Brock Lesnar Is The 21st Century Mike Tyson & His Credentials Cannot Be Questioned [Esp His WWE Titles :)].He Has The Fear Factor Among His Peers & Next Opponents,Interesting Times Ahead……………………………

  66. Gotta put my two cents in on THE UNIT. It’s a great, great show. Not perfect, but they do a super job of showing how guys in the military have to cope. Sometimes the stuff with the wives is a bit heavy handed or forced (like when they try to wedge the wives and girlfriends into the espionage stuff), but generally it is extremely, extremely superior writing (especially for a t.v. show that is about action). A lot of it seems real. They do all sorts of different types of shows, sometimes missions, sometimes about the methods of training. That main character played by the dweeb from FELICITY (which I’m sure you have never seen, Vern, because why would a badass guy like you know about it…) was outstanding from day one as the new guy and by the end of the show his character had really grown in a very natural way. Just great writing.

    And Ricky Jay was in a bunch of episodes and his was very cool as usual.

  67. Thats awesome Steven Seagal is training anderson silva!

  68. I just saw Couture in an episode of HAWAII FIVE-O (Directed by Joe Dante, who recently did many episodes for that show), where he played a serial arsonist. It was a good role for him. He was seriously menacing and every time you think “Oh, now he can show off some MMA moves”, he doesn’t. Actually his character doesn’t seem to be a fighter at all. More the kind of guy who beats up people who are already tied up and watched them burn.
    All in all the episode is nothing too special, but if you are interested in the further acting adventures of Randy, you should check it out.

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