Monthly Archives: March 2012

Movie Characters You Want On Your Side. Always. The Sequel!

There’s an old proverb that says “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Give a man a team of ass kicking movie characters and he won’t need a fish, because he’ll be too busy kicking ass.”

I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes.

Anyway, a few months ago DVD Critics Corner! created a list of famous movie heroes you’d want to go into battle with. Since I had so much fun creating that list, I decided to do a sequel!

Please note: Like most sequels, this installment is probably not as good as the first one, and I’m doing it strictly for the paycheck.

Here’s another list of totally awesome movie characters you’d want on your side:

 

Name: John Matrix

Occupation: Colonel, Special Forces (retired)

Movie Appearances: Commando (1985)

Pros: Freakishly strong, great catchphrases.  Cons: Stay at home dad.

The Deal: Did you know the Boy Scouts have a “Human Killing Machine” merit badge? They don’t. But if they did, Matrix would have three. When a vicious Central American Dictator kidnaps his daughter, Matrix single handedly mows down everyone who gets in his way to get her back. Let’s hope his darling daughter remembers that the next time she whines about stuff:

Jenny – Daddy, why can’t I get my eyebrows pierced?

Matrix – Huh? I’m sorry honey. I was thinking about the time I chopped off a guy’s arm with a machete while I was on that one man rescue mission to save your life. What were you saying?

Shining Moment:  “Remember when I promised to kill you last? I lied.” That’s gold, Jerry!

 

Name: Spock

Occupation: Science Officer USS Enterprise, Starfleet Federation Embassador

Movie Appearances: Star Treks I-VI, Star Trek (2009)

Pros: Good at math. Cons: Shows no emotions, therefore will not laugh at any of your awesome jokes.

The Deal: Sure, James T. Kirk gets credit for saving the galaxy dozens of times, but if it wasn’t for a certain Vulcan, his toupeed butt would have been toast before the movie franchise even started! Spock is super smart and possesses amazing diplomacy skills, but when push comes to shove, he’ll slap a Vulcan neck pinch on you that will have you on the floor faster than a sorority girl at a kegger.

Shining moment: He came back from the dead. Suck that, Klingon Empire!

 

Name: The 300

Occupation: Spartan Soldiers

Movie Appearances: 300 (2006)

Pros: There’s 300 of them! Cons: They do more ab crunches before 9 AM than you do all year, fatty!

The Deal: In 300, King Leonidas and 300 of his best soldiers square off against King Xerxes and his army, which consists of everyone else on the planet. Do they run away? No! Do they give in? No! Do they die? Yes. Not exactly an upbeat ending, but the well trained and tenacious Spartans give Xerxes a heck of a run for their money! Before they’re horrifically slaughtered, of course. Spartans are a “glass is half full” race of warriors I guess.

Shining Moment: Leonidas and his guards welcome Xerxes’ messengers into the castle, then toss them into a bottomless well. What did the Persians learn from that? Never go visiting without an edible arrangements fruit bouquet!

 

Name: The Shoveler

Occupation: Part-time superhero.

Movie Appearances: Mystery Men (1999)

Pros: His chrome plated shovel of justice! Cons: His son needs his chest protector back for baseball practice.

The Deal: God gave him a gift. He shovels well. He shovels very well. And when Champion City needed a hero, The Shoveler answered the call! Brave, stalwart, and fearless, he patrols the city fighting evildoers wherever they may be!  Did I also mention he’s really really nice? Seriously, the guy is just aces. Heart of gold!

Shining Moment: Beating guys with a shovel, surviving a movie with Ben Stiller And Janeane Garofalo.

 

Name: James Howlett/Logan/Wolverine

Occupation:  Former soldier, Adjunct instructor –  Charles Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters, Stone cold badass.

Movie Appearances: X-Men 1-3, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

Pros: Adimantium claws, super healing power. Cons: Canadian.

The Deal: So angry. So very angry. Oh Logan, who hurt you? If I had mutant powers like the other X Men, my power would be the ability to mend a broken heart. And your adimantiun plated heart is broken Logan. Is it ready to be healed?

Shining Moment: Beheading Ryan Reynolds at the climax of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was the greatest thing in the history of film.

Click here to read the first installment of Movie Characters You Want On Your Side Always. 

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My Robot Can Beat Up Your Robot

REAL STEEL (2011) Director: Shawn Levy Starring: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lily, Dakota Goyo Rating: PG-13 for robots punching each other.

There are two kinds of robots: the friendly robots who assemble cars and play games, and the robots that want to exterminate all humans in a cataclysmic nuclear fire. I’m not sure which side those Roomba cleaning robots fall on, but I wouldn’t let those little buggers clean the rooms where the missile launch codes are kept. Just saying.

In the sci-fi world of Real Steel people love robots – in fact, they love robots so much they let them get into the boxing ring and pound each other mercilessly because it’s more fun than watching humans do it!

The year is 2020 –  cellphones and computers have transparent touch screens like in the Star Trek reboot and people drive concept cars. In movies the “near future” is like the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas; it’s loaded with lots of crap that looks cool but we’ll never actually own.

Real Steel stars Part-time X Man Hugh Jackman is Charlie Kenton, a former boxer/robot boxer owner whose career is on the skids because his robots keep getting pummeled into scrap metal. But it’s okay. Another cool thing about the “near future” in this movie is high tech computer controlled robots which should cost millions of dollars are the same price as a pre owned BMW.

To make things worse for Charlie, his long estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) comes back into his life because his Mom died and his Aunt (Hope Davis) wants deadbeat Charlie to sign over custody. Charlie agrees to take his kid for the summer in exchange for some cash to buy another robot which he promptly destroys in another fight. Did I mention Charlie really sucks at robot fighting?

Max finds an old sparring robot in a junkyard he breaks into with Charlie (Did I mention Charlie also sucks at being a Dad?) and decides to fix up the old clunker and turn him into a champion fighter. Much to Charlie’s surprise, Max’s robot Atom is one tough metallic cookie and starts winning matches on the minor league robot boxing circuit.

Real Steel copies a lot of the story elements from the Rocky movies. There’s plenty of training montages and toe to toe brawling in the ring, But Real Steel surpasses Rocky in a few ways: the mute Atom is a better actor than Sylvester Stallone and Charlie’s super hot girlfriend Evangeline Lily is not nearly as whiney as Talia Shire.

Charlie, Max, and Atom face World Champion fighting robot Zeus and his skilled handlers in a championship match that will decide who the ultimate robot fighter.

Can the plucky underdogs topple the undefeated champion?

Will Atom and the other fighting robots become self aware and turn on their human oppressors which sparks the inevitable war between man and machine?

Can Charlie stop sucking at being a Dad?

Two of these three things happen at the end of Real Steel. The third thing, which would have been a great plot twist by the way, doesn’t happen because once again no one listens to me.

Why do I bother?

Close Encounters of the Cowboy Kind

Cowboys and Aliens (2011) Director: Jon Favreau Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde Rating: PG-13 for old west violence and scary space aliens

Pop quiz, hotshot…

You invite a friend over to watch a DVD. He’s in the mood for an action packed sci fi movie, and you want to watch a classic shoot em up western.

What do you do? What DO you do?

I say ask your friend to leave! It’s not like he was going to contribute anything to your evening. Would it have killed him to stop off at the 7-11 for a bag of chips or an assortment of snack cakes? And he goes through your stuff when you’re in the bathroom. I’m serious! Don’t ask me how I know, I know!

But, if you insist on letting this snooping deadbeat (who is NOT your friend) stay, might I suggest you watch a movie you both will agree upon like Cowboys and Aliens, a sci fi western with scary creatures from outer space and gunslingers galore!

On a typical day in the wild wild west, a man (current 007 Daniel Craig) awakens in the Arizona desert with no memory of who he is or what has happened to him, which is not out of the ordinary for anyone who has spent an extended period of time in Arizona. The only clue he has to go on is a strange metal bracelet on his left wrist which looks like any other piece of southwestern jewelry except it doesn’t have all that damn turquoise on it.

The man moseys into a nearby town of Absolution where he is identified by the Sherriff as Jake Lonergan, a local outlaw who robs cattle and rustles banks or whatever outlaws did for kicks in 1873  (I’m not much of a history buff). His presence also attracts the attention of a local hot girl named Ella who is played by Olivia Wilde, a stunningly beautiful woman whose slinky grace and almond shaped eyes has me firmly convinced one of her parents is a Siamese cat.

Absolution is under the thumb of greedy cattle baron Woodrow Dolarhyde (a grizzled Harrison Ford) who storms into town with his crew demanding the release of his drunken idiot son from jail.  Unfortunately, Dolarhyde’s fun is interrupted by a squadron of alien spaceships who blow up half the town and carry off several townspeople, including his drunken idiot son.

Lonergan, Dolarhyde, hot girl, and a bunch of western character actors set out to rescue their kin and to make the desert safe for outlaws and bandits again. There are some creepy encounters with the CG aliens who are neither friendly to nor charmed by 19th century humans who only bathe when the seasons change.  Along the way Lonergan begins to piece together what happened to him (hint: his bracelet aint jewelry), Olivia Wilde reveals why she’s the only hot girl in the entire southwest, and Dolarhyde bores everyone with stories about archeology and Nazis.

During the films climax which features a fierce battle between humans on horseback and aliens in their towering mothership, we learn the space creatures are here mining for gold. It’s never explained why they are doing this, but I assume the gold will be brought back to their home planet and processed into quality rings and necklaces and sold directly to the consumer at rockbottom prices.

Cowboys and Aliens is an interesting mashup of two popular film genres, an experiment I hope other film makers try with other genres.

Hey…How about a horror courtroom drama!

A rom-com disaster film?

A musical heist movie?

You still there?