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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

UFC 84 Ill Will review

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Mixed martial arts clearly became a significant form of both mass entertainment and - as Bruce Lee put it - an expression of the human body, the latter being, no doubt, the original field of operation of these ancient traditions, now living and breathing through competitive events around the world. Though many may consider men who enter the proving grounds little more than hired human pitbulls to rip each other apart for hard cash and radical amusement, I tend to utterly reject this rudimentary view, concluding that professional level mma is the combat of highly disciplined human spirits, opposing each other for the duration of the bout, probably ending up as unified in the process as we could conceive, simply through their magnificent shared experience of being in a cage where the damage one suffers is the wit one failed to exhibit. That is how, in my opinion, the mma fighter fights against herself/himself.

Japanese people compete to gain an insight of their own current abilities through the collision process of their skills with that of other's. To me, the ultimately glorious moments of mixed martial arts are not of those of KOs and submissions. They are of those of hugging the formal rival at the end of the bout, circulating the most honest, uncompromised, pure respect each fighter deserves simply by stating themselves on the proving grounds, regardless of the results. The ensuing peace between fighters after a good collision is such a palpable, legit sensation that it never got old so far - and won't ever will.

This here is a review of the UFC event UFC 84 Ill WIll, time to punch that Read more button, baby!

Introductory thoughts about the more significant lineups

Ill Will features three bouts of exceptional interest: the main event for the UFC Lightweight Championship is but the tip of the iceberg, supported firmly by two lineups which certainly do seem as fascinating as the main attraction itself.

The scheduled championship bout is taking place between former UFC Lightweight Champion Sean "The Muscle Shark" Sherk and your belt defender, BJ "The Prodigy" Penn. The latter won the title in UFC 81 Rapid Fire, defeating Joe "Daddy" Stevenson in a match that turned into quite a decent bloodbath - oxymoron? - and could/had to be organized because the title ended up vacant previously.

Former lightweight champion Sean Sherk have been deprived of the belt because of the use of steroids. It is not like he got deprived of the title because steroid usage have happened on Earth before, you know. Examinations showed that Sherk himself used illegal substances, causing a half year suspension of Sean and a vacant belt, ready to be battled for. For the record, though: to the day of the Ill Will, Sherk rejects all accusations of illegal substance usage, even took and passed a lie detector test - with negative results. The positive test result he scored when examined for steroids caused a stain on his reputation though, something he plans to eradicate via delivering a performance which worths a belt. Naturally, I shall not pass judgment on the steroid matter, instead let me draw your attention on how integral the Muscle Shark comes to this match as. As Sean states, he feels that the belt still belongs to him as he never have actually lost is, though The Little Buddha BJ Penn hardly looks as someone who has intention to legitimize Sherk's assumptions and claims as far as who the belt rightfully belongs to.

Some emotional content is inherent to the lineup, and emotional content is always a pleasure to greet when exhibited by professional level mma fighters whom are about to face each other. While Sherk thinks that BJ is a warrior who could be submitted if pressed superhard - see the "former Penn"'s match against Matt Hughes - , Sean also states that he himself is a competitor who rather ends up dead than to quit. The Muscle Shark shares his assumption with us that BJ comes from an integral, supportive background, and, according to Sherk's observations, people with similar history have a tendency to consider quitting as a tool to rely on. BJ's words, on the other hand, do sound like crystal clear sobriety to me as The Little Buddha points out how one could easily be harmed permanently if to refuse to give in. Allowing this does not make much sense.

BJ Penn gives us his personal recollection of the events that formed him to be as mature of a fighter as he is by the day of the Ill Will, remembering how his body, his condition was unready before to deliver what he was capable of. Indeed, he was grinded up by Matt Hughes in UFC 63 Shootout, a match in which The Little Buddha had truly great moments, yet gased out when the bout moved to the distance. As Penn states, he disrespected fighting before and took his talents for granted, now that he is aware that fighting disrespects the fighter if the fighter disrespects fighting, - and how much shy sharks should a Sherk should shoot if a Sherk should shoot shy sharks? - he states that he is not about to make this mistake again. Indeed, the Penn we have seen in UFC 80 Rapid Fire was a new Penn, and THAT new Penn is the one we see by the day of the Ill Will as well, without a doubt. As for the mood established for the collision, BJ says that Sean is weak in the mental game, a notion which I personally found both very strange and reckless to voice when heard, as The Muscle Shark is notorious of grinding down opposition with a tenacious mental warfare characterized by relentless forwarding. Maybe BJ meant something entirely different, something he plans to show for us today. Either way, a lineup of great anticipation we have been waiting for, and a row of excessively interesting questions are about to be answered now that opposing Ill Wills are to ruthlessly, finally collide tonight.

The first co-main event concerns mma legend Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva and Keith "The Dean of Mean" Jardine. If someone does not need introduction as an mma fighter then Wanderlei Silva is the man, an evident legend who though has an unfortunate losing streak these days, lengthened by Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell in UFC 79 Nemesis when the two had collided in a slugfest of the instant classic character. Wanderlei Silva now is a warrior with his back against the wall. Coming to the collision with Keith on a losing streak, The Axe Murderer is either to score a victory or to face the inevitable question about his future, mma, and the relation between these latter two.

Keith "The Dean of Mean" Jardine is actually the perfect pick to put in front of Silva. Keith scored a tremendous upset in UFC 76 Knockout, defeating The Iceman Chuck Liddell who was busy climbing back to the top after losing his belt to current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Though many claim that the Liddell who was fighting against Jardine wasn't the Liddell you don't want to see or summon, - depending whether you are his opponent with a glove ON your hand or a spectator with popcorn bucket IN it - he had his moments nevertheless and I think it is safe to say that Keith have put up one helluva fight to go away with the W after three rounds.

Now that Jardine banged out a stoppage on Forrest Griffin, - not something you see every day - got knocked the hell out by Houston Alexander and won a decision over The Iceman, it seems safe to say that The Dean of Mean currently has the fortunate tendency to cause radical surprises, and let me tell you this: what you just read is an example of redundancy as a surprise always should possess something radical to it, otherwise it ain't worth calling a surprise.

Either way, let me draw your - hopefully - keen attention to the nice matchmaking concept underlying here, a concept neither the UFC, a cyberninja on speed, or a sedated sloth could miss out on. Solidification: now that the organization has a warrior who has a tendency of beating opponents he simply isn't supposed to, let's see if he performs JUST that when he is invited to do JUST that. Makes sense? Hell, yes! Why not put him in front of yet another legend? Either Silva claims his statement and establishes himself as Top Dog once more, or Keith Jardine goes away with the undeniable trait that he actually can destroy legendary mma asses, and this is not only something that establishes a name you must count with in the sport, it is also exactly what The Dean of Mean is looking for tonight, as well.

The third event of focal interest gives you Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida and Tito Ortiz. Not in pairs though, quite the contrary: to collide with each other, which sounds a bit more interesting. Nothing against hugging mma fighters though, in fact, those are the nicest and most glorious moments, according to the onion's scientific considerations. Ortiz is of course a trademark face of the UFC, well, now it seems more proper to say former trademark face, as it seems about 99% that this is his last match in the organization. UFC President Dana White clearly voiced his opinion about how satisfied he would end up as if Lyoto Machida would kick Tito's ass. He wishes all the best for Tito otherwise and bla, yet looks forward seeing if his suspicion of a superior fighting skill than of Tito's is indeed possessed by The Dragon.

Well, as far as Tito, the marketing line is this:

Face it gals and boys, you can not escape forming your impression! You either HATE the Tito Ortiz or you fricken LOVE the Tito Ortiz, no neutrality is offered for you at all! This stance is something Tito himself admits and probably consciously aims for, as well His personality is well suited to build up anticipation for a bout, (especially if he takes part in it) and surely, he has the top level fighting skills as well. Funnily enough, tough, he states this: first and foremost he is an entertainer, and he is a fighter, secondly. This was more than enough to kick Ken Shamrock's vet ass (mind the simple "v", seriously: MIND the simple "v"!) on three different occasions, yet now, as I see it, Tito will face the biggest mma challenge of his life yet. Why is that? Here is why.

Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida is first and foremost: a fighter. Secondly: he is a damn good one, too. Machida cares little if any if his performance amuses the crowd, - hell, by this attitude he certainly amuses me, though - instead he treats opposition with pretty much scientific attention and lethal punishment potential unleashed as toll on each false or irresponsible moves exhibited by the rival. To account this style briefly, let us put it this way: The Dragon will seek out your weakness and beat you with it. Machida's record is flawless by the day of the Ill Will, coming to face Tito after taking apart The African Assassin Sokoudjou in UFC 79 Nemesis. The funny, following saying is heavily related of course, offered by Lyoto:

"I defeated the Alaskan Assassin. I defeated the African Assassin. What other Assassin am I to defeat to get a title shot?"

Lyoto is easy to mistook for, in my opinion. You could take him immensely falsely as an "eminent" fighter who never risks anything, but, seeing interviews with him, my impression of him changed blatantly and fundamentally, absolutely for the better. His voice and his voiced thoughts are very serious, very mature. This is a complete fighter and a complete man. A complete fighter and complete man who comes to kick ass professionally, and this is both the least and the most we are to anticipate from the sport.

Tito arrives to the weigh ins in one of his trademark T Shirts, the statement on it reads: "Dana Is My Bitch" Epic, yes? Tito even invented his victory-ritual prior to the bout which he performs for us on TV, let us see if he will have the chance to perform it for
UFC President Dana "I say f*ck a lot on the Ultimate Fighter Reality TV Show which I do feature myself on and I do say f*ck a lot even when interviewed, mainly because I think it makes me look 5+ years younger (hair included) and NO, I have NO idea that they gonna BEEP! my f*cks the f*ck out. F*CK!" White, or will the ritual go down as tender remembrance, unable to claim just values for itself surrounded by such Ill Wills.

Thiago Silva vs Antonio Mendes

The night delivers two seeeerious, serious Brazilian dudes to start out the event, Thiago Silva is a fighter with a flawless mma record and also is inventor of one of the most radical and amusing winning gesture I have ever seen to date, - see for yourself, just make sure not when in the octagon without a mic - last time we seen him he hastily destroyed rising UFC promise Houston Alexander in UFC 78 Validation. A quick full mount, a torrent of bombs, a station in Houston's career that will hopefully make him even more better of a fighter.

Fellow Brazilian and former prison guard Mendes thinks that Thiago's flawless record lacks a scalp whose proprietor's skills would live up to the highest expectations, the level characterized by pure intensity, the level Mendes is about to unleash on Thiago.

Indeed, he unleashes intensity in form of a quite surprising and quite powerful high kick, an attack coming out of nowhere, leaving Thiago exposed for a brief period, yet not long enough to form further punishment of stopping power on. Thiago actually does the quite sane thing in a bitter situation, effectively hugging Mendes to himself to stay in a clinch with him, stopping the former prison guard from long range assaults of the finishing character. This brief, yet essential period gives a rest sequence for Silva, then a takedown from Mendes goes sour. Sour for Mendes, that is. We had chance before the witness Thiago Silva's precise, relentless ground and pound game, and this is exactly what he does now, as well: he forces a tap out of Mendes, who, I think, - I am not sure if I should dare say this, but will I do, anyway - taps out quite hastily. I am absolutely ready to admit though that there are times when a pro level mma fighter knows that the situation is hopeless, why not tap out then? My impression remains this, though: I would say I have seen fighters coming back from sourer situations than the one Mendes got defeated in, but I have no intention of course to verdict the "proper judgment" of his performance. I think he looked quite good and dangerous, actually. And for Thiago Silva? The dude constantly proves that he is absolutely ready to be, and, in fact, should be thrown in front of top level competition. Not much if anything left to prove for him in the upstream. His winning gesture was delivered, and looked as good as used to. Got the feeling that we will hear about this warrior soon, whom we are yet to see in a truly desperate situation.

Wilson Gouveia vs Goran Reljic

An up-and comer with the potential to turn the tide of a very bitter situation, - or at least had that potential for at least once before - Wilson Gouveia is looking for a statement as harsh as he made against Jason "The Punisher" Lambert in UFC 80 Rapid Fire. Countering with a one punch KO at the fence, this power and relentlessness are the exact tools you want to rely on if to put in front of an apprentice whom master is none other than fellow Croatian Mirko "CroCop" Filipovic. Though the UFC matches for CroCop did not turn out the way we have hoped them to turn out as, the masterful kickmonster's legacy is certainly summoned in the octagon: Reljic throws full power high kicks around like you shoot pictures with your camera in Japan on a particularly shiny day, and let me tell you this: the fact that Gouveia's head remains roughly on the neck all the time is an mma accomplishment already.

Reljic shows relevant power on the proving ground with a keen readyness to rely on - as Joe Rogan precisely notes - almost casual full scale assaults. He comes out of nowhere, but when he comes, he comes big time. This is truly nice to watch, yet might become predictable, an aspect Reljic has to work on before revealing as a force the organization must reckon with.

The fight boils down to Gouveia's considerable ability to offer excessive resistance if harassed superhard, this is exactly what happens here, as well: Wilson exhibits TKO treat towards Reljic on numerous occasions, a back and forth battle of aggressor Goran and demonstrator of an effective counter game Gouveia we witness in the first round. The second period solidifies Gouveia as a precision striker, he connects about three times with very impressive attacks, convincing Goran to take a temporal nap in the octagon. A brief ground and pound sequence follows this up, a sequence though which Gouveia is unable to turn into a conclusion. The Croatian escapes, and connects with a huge counter strike shortly: the resultant Gouveia deserves all credit for a nice recovery rate, yet the attack swarm Goran unleashes on him proves way too much to take this time around. A stoppage puts an end to an impressive display, let us see who the Croatian is to face up against next time, as you could hardly ask for a more convincing UFC debut.

Rameau Sokoudjou vs Kazuhiro Nakamura

Previous victims of Lyoto Machida are to face off against each other, and let me tell you this: they deliver one intense, sober mma round with an aggressor Sokoudjou dictating the pace, yet this Nakamura dude is someone you want to take very seriously as he surely can take two decent strikes and a third and smash you to the ground quite convincingly. In this here match the bulky Nakamura exhibits more of a defensive game, also a very good of it is what he maturely demonstrates. Though the Japanese contestant delivers a convincing readyness to face a real life Predator, this latter mentioned fierce entity finds a hole in the last moments of the first round, and lands a blatant shot on the chin of Nakamura. Kazuhiro goes down, but it is actually the leg he falls on which leaves him unable to continue. Both fighters looked very good, Sokoudjou showed his trademark character, while Nakamura remains a dedicated, sober and fervent fighter whom I can't wait to see triumphant in the octagon soon. It is very hard to dislike the guy, why not start liking him instead?

Wanderlei Silva vs Keith Jardine

Girls and boys, it was some serious sight to behold. Let us account the event like this:

Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva is Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva in Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva's Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva Murders Keith Jardine with an Axe.

You have the chance to execute two blinks of the eyes before Keith falls to the ground from numerous hits on the head, Wanderlei is all over him in the next moment, takes the throat (!) to lock precision for the kill, and: kills. The 36th second of the first round gives you The Axe Murderer the whole sport is afraid of, gives you The Axe Murderer the whole sport is more intense with. Credit goes for Keith of course: he is still a very good fighter, recently he has a tendency to move on radical scales, that is all there is to it, really: now he gets knocked the hell out in a similar fashion as he got knocked by Houston Alexander, yet I would not be surprised if Jardine would destroy some serious ass by the time he appears again on the proving ground. In fact, I would be surprised if he would fail to do so. An intense showdown with Wanderlei doing what he does best, while doing it 110%. Also notice this: Keith Jardine was a DEMON in the staredown, I loved it! If I loved anything more than that, it was Wanderlei's reaction to the Jardine Demon, as he had: 0, cite that I, herein: ZERO reaction to it.

Ivan Salaverry vs Rousimar Palhares

You can't ignore a dude who comes to a top level mma bout with the name Rousimar Palhares, especially not if he squeezes the hoile fighting spirit out his rival by MAD level Jiu-Jitsu skills and a physical buildup of a raging bull. These are the traits, tools and related accomplishment Palhares brings to the table tonight, submitting his opponent in an armbar which he transitions to from a very dangerous rear naked choke attempt. Palhares certainly looked as The Thing tonight, would be a sight to behold how he manages against the top dogs of the division. Just for the record: I am still pretty convinced that Rousimar wore a cap during the match, that was not the hair, not the hair. Could not be it. Don't inform HIM about my suspicion though.

Christian Wellisch vs Shane Carwin

This is a swift one. Shane Carwin goes away with the W after delivering a blatant strike of instant stopping power in the 44th second of the first round. What else can we say - Thank you, come again!

Lyoto Machida vs Tito Ortiz

This match have turned out as it - well, sort of: - "supposed" to turn out, also with a nice touch by Tito it concluded with. Not many, if anyone found the remedy against Lyoto yet, but it is damn sure that no one ever shown the remedy to this day. Tito is no exception. Let me draw your attention to this here simple, but, in my opinion, quite important notion: in this here match Tito never has a chance to reach Machida. He can't hit him, he can't kick him, he can't take him down. The Dragon, on the other hand, gives considerable hard time to the Huntington Beach Bad Boy, selling him a vicious kick-trick on multiple occasions, or simply by connecting with a casual high kick that lefts you wonder how come Tito just meta-communicates "that's not 'nuff, baby" to Lyoto. This little vibe is clearly visible by the replays, pay close attention. This is nice, no?

They roll for three rounds in the stand up in which Machida clearly maintains control and an upper hand. Tito exhibits some frustration, but nothing serious. But nothing too mature, either. Understandable though, as Ortiz came here to dominate, and gets - in my opinion - clearly surpassed by Machida's versatility. Interesting thing is this: in the conluding moments of the first round it is actually Lyoto who takes Tito down and scores some heavy bombs on the veteran UFC blob, probably the bell is the sweetest friend reality could greet Tito with.

To my satisfaction, though: Tito gives you the brilliance an mma legend - which he is, in my opinion - should and could give in such a tremendous battle. He gets Lyoto in two different submission attempts in the last rounds, The Dragon escapes only because he possesses tremendous ground skills himself, but those are very very close and very very nicely executed by Ortiz. Thus the match ends up with a mildly frustrated Tito who, fortunately calms down and shows maturity at the end, no hard feelings towards Machida, way more of those towards Dana White. Some mic time is devoted to Tito where he can promote his clothing company at www.punishmentathletics.com and he even states that there are 3 or 4 years of pro level competition in his body yet, but it is not likely that he will participate in the UFC anymore. But not impossible, either. Well, I certainly do hope that we WON'T have to see Tito destructing clearly inferior opponents in smaller organization to collect further reputation. He has plans of being an actor soon. I think he has what it takes. But you need a serious role, Tito, believe you me. Don't take the first offer if it stinks and gives you no lines to speak. Just take the second one of such offers. Ahhahah! Now, seriously: I look forward to see how stuff will turn out for the Bad Boy, as his match against Machida turned out in a fashion that left his dignity and reputation intact, and paths thus widely opened. The mere fact that he cho
ose to do battle with a fighter of flawless record deserves credit, in my opinion. Though I surely do realize that Tito would have lost all his authenticity if to chickening out from Machida's way. And chickening out is not something you ever saw Tito doing.

As for The Dragon, he performed masterfully in his most important fight to date yet, now he is a warrior who seems as circumstantial to stop as to do that with a train armed with sinister looks and a lost stop sign. And sad thing is: it is the attempter who is armed with a sinister look and a lost stop sign in this relation, not the train. As of today it is safe to say that you have to seek superhard if you plan to find a fighter as intelligent and versatile as Lyoto Machida is. Truly can't wait to see who he will be put up against next.

Rich Clementi vs Terry Etim

This was an OK match with an average excitement factor, resulting in an OK decision with not even averagely surprising outcome, though Terry Etim had his moments. Notable UFC veteran Rich Clementi ends up victorious, though does so in a match which he will not likely show amongst the first five of his bouts when to account his mma career to his descendants.

Jon Koppenhaver vs Yoshiyuki Yoshida

Hmmmm. And then again: hmmmmmm. Let us take a good look on Jon Koppenhaver and state the Obvious again: hmmmmmmmmmmm. Now let us elaborate. Koppenhaver is a relative newcomer to the UFC, coming to the octagon through the Ultimate Fighter. The guy exhibited a personality which was very easy to exhibit support for: Koppenhaver comes from a massively troubled past, truly, mma was a shelter he ran to, - Praised Be Thy Wisdom, Jon - hoping he will be able to build an existence on his own God given assets like fists and stuff related. This is all OK, this all very OK when the guy nn the opposing corner has the roughly similar story to tell, and both have agreed to kick each other's ass for cash and recognition. Koppenhaver's latest appearance in The Ultimate Fighter Season 6 Finale was a blast: he made a hilariously intense and passionate fight with Jared Rollins and four gallons of blood involved, one of the most memorable matches of all times, in my opinion. This is all supercool, even better, let me ask you this: does not Koppenhaver remind you of Lady Kier from Deee Lite, only a masculine variant? Hehe, maybe I have the Philip K. Dick here, please inform me if I do. But there is a notion to be made apart from the question: by the time we have seen Koppenhaver performing this amazing match with Jared Rollins, he (Koppenhaver) already had a stain in his reputation. In 2007, September he participated in a real life assault, beating the shite out of a civil man and even choking him out. This is not cool, it is not even needed to add "I think" to this, as this is simply: not cool. The man on the street simply can not say anything to make you destroy him. Yes, you can give the Darth Vader to him with black stuff on head, voicing

Don't. Make. Me. Destroy. You.

but: beating him up crapless with your fellow people beaters as a professional mma fighter? God, this is such a nonsense. I am actually surprised that they let Koppenhaver fight after this. Cool stuff for mma. (It was irony, at least an attempt at that.) Koppenhaver could have been amongst the mma warriors whom have my absolute sympathy, now he fell out of my favor - I can imagine how crushed Jon would end up as knowing this. To account the match itself: Jon Koppenhaver's ass gets choked unconscious here by Yoshiyuki Yoshida in the first round. Talking about irony, baby.

BJ Penn vs Sean Sherk

The main event of the evening turned into a rather stable boxing match in which Sean felt himself to be quite competitive - I could not share his view though, yet one must realize how different it must be when IN the octagon, not around it. BJ pretty much takes Sean apart in a standup battle which is massively characterized by The Little Buddha's ability to driftle away from the way of punishment while his own attacks have a vicious tendency to connect and claim a literal toll of blood on The Muscle Shark in a short while. Surely, Sean connects, but connects rarely and not via convincing impact power. He has but one punch which seems to pose danger against the Belt Defender, but this is match basically turns out as one that easily and safely could be regarded as: complete ownage of the Challenger. Penn tonight is the better fighter, a notion which is about to grow evident by the end of the third round. BJ chooses to explode and to destruct by the period in question. Some softening punched do connect to lead Sean to the fence, then a flying knee comes out of parts you don't necessarily want to know, and connects on head. Consecutive, intense ground and pound is rigorously administered by The Little Buddha to wrap up the round. He says: "He is done." when he walks away to the corner. Though both the Referee and Sean Sherk think otherwise, BJ points his hands at his opponent, accounting the badly battered shape the former Champion is in.

Decision is swiftly formed though that Sherk should not continue indeed. BJ exhibits a quite radical gesture yet, licking blood off his glove, which is somewhat OK I guess - especially that he promised to do so -, but what I found a bit vicious was that he walked up the recovering Sean and borrowed some extra blood to lick. Uhm. This is some bizarre shit, in my opinion. Fortunately though, the two competitors do hug each other and show mutual respect in the end, BJ invites Sean to his place anytime if and when The Muscle Shark is ever to spend some quality time in Hawaii, the place BJ is native and resident of.

The final conclusion of the match is this: The Little Buddha emerges triumphant and know holds the UFC Lightweight Champion belt by beating the former title holder, yet he voices his opinion that he does not necessarily have intentions of remaining a lightweight competitor. He asks if we want to see him colliding against George St. Pierre. Let us conclude the review of the match by saying this: as of today, you could not make up a dream match more interesting and more anticipated than one to take place between BJ and GSP would immediately be. Period. So, let us hope that the moment we are now waiting for will soon become a - reality.

Jason Tan vs Dong Hyun Kim

Jason Tan from Liverpool comes to this match as masterful practitioner of a very unorthodox fighting style: this is the highly secretive Exhausting Your Rival By Letting Him Smash Your Face In With His Elbow For Three Consecutive Rounds form of fighting. Now, seriously: I am completely baffled by Tan's ability to tolerate punishment, let alone how he seems virtually immaculate after the beatings he gets administered. It is pretty much safe to say that he has no moments in this match, his punishment resistance is the highest I have seen so far, This dude needs some serious work on his offensive skills and we will got to see a fighter who will be extremely hard to stop, but will be extremely entertaining to watch. Credit goes for Dong Hyun Kim for never stopping: he bangs out the victory on Tan with his elbows (!!), when the stoppage occurs, you can see how disappointed Tan ends up as, he has pretty much 0 concerns that he just ate in 10 consecutive elbows. Truly, I have no words for this. Puzzling stuff. Someone get a hold of this Jason Tan dude and make a fighter out of him hastily, please, as the kid has something that only one in a million has. (Now I tried to give you the experienced mma armchair molester who have seen it all. Inform me if you thought I was OK at it, if you thought I sucked tremendously, inform me even more.)

Ill WIll was a tremendous night, deserver the five onions as if the night of the Ill WIll would not score five onions then no mma event could ever do that. So: that it does. Hope you had a fine evening and found the review useful - thank you for reading it, and see you next time.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Speed Racer

Out of Proportions
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Tatsuo Yoshida's Mach GoGoGo was (and in fact, still is) a great, even notorious anime series which started to air in 1967, claiming stunning popularity for dirty, fictional automobile competition and related role models for the whole family both in Japan and in the US. West Germany banned the series after three episodes back in 1971, claiming the violence it was depicting might compromise the values of a civilized society.

In the late '60s and early '70s, Speed Racer - that was the translated title used to market the series outside of Japan, as smarter readers might have figured it out even on their own, accept me humble congratulations - surely must have revealed as a violent, vivid experience indeed, as those races were very dirty, and could easily be misinterpreted. The very concept of harassing each other with high-tech assault equipment and various booby traps ready to set off on the rivals while all participants happen to sit in vehicles with the same finish line in focus DOES originate from Yoshida's work, something we can see in zillions of inspired works these days, even outside the field of entertainment concerning competitive events. Sounds neat 'nuff yet? According to the Wachowski Borthers, it is not only neat but quite suitable for a Hollywood style motion picture adaptation. So that is what they do deliver, for no less than 120 minutes characterized by burning rubber.

Warning! Warning! The film has hideous actor The Matthew Fox in it, truly, I did not have any idea about this, so a bit lackadaisical I do end up as, having to voice my opinion again of how terrible of an actor Matthew Fox is. No problem though, he has little canvas time in this movie, though surely, he never could have little 'nuff of that.

Frankly, Speed Racer is a quite terrible movie aimed for a family friendly environment, even better: an environment which happens to be filled by popcornterrorist micro communities, naturally, fluently compatible with family friendly outputs, themselves. Ahhah! Movie theaters? Notice how all sounds neat and nice so far, as what possibly could be the problem with a family friendly output solely made for entertainment? Absolutely nothing. Yet Speed Racer abuses the mere genre it tries to enrich.

The length of the movie is immensely tiresome, I tend to think that the directors have lost pretty much all sense of sober relations to the narrative language and proportions they had to count and work with herein. Picture you are an 8 or 10 year old kid. No way in hell Speed Racer will deliver you fluent, flamboyant fun all the while. As hypothetic child, let alone adult, you will grow evidently bored during the amazingly shallow dialog sequences and/or video clip editing, finally you are quite likely to exhibit an inner suspicion sooner or later that the race sequences that you'll eventually get to witness ain't that nicely introduced or realized at all to keep a sitorgan stationary for 120 horrendous minutes.

The buildup is inept, and ineptly intimidating as well, this being, in my opinion, pretty much the worst a movie with similar aspirations and agendas might end up as. At it's soul, this is a very easygoing and very lightweight affair with a wild, romantic appeal. But - HELL! It actually takes itself MAD SERIOUSLY, which suits as good for it as a fake tan for a mummy.

- Is this a screenshot from Speed Racer?
- Nope, just spilled my salad mixture.

Let me elaborate: it is immensely inept, as the movie takes it's audience stupid enough that the masses of spectators of races are must to be shown for time to time, giving you hints what kind of emotions you are to circulate at the given moment, in case you would miss the correct interpretation of what was going on in that flashy, 5-6 seconds of racing sequence you just happened (or thought you have had chance) to witness. You will see cheering fans and commentators, then worrying fans and commentators. Finally, you are to consume your very next dose of fleshy car racing videogame fix, just to end up at some entirely surficial, shallow dialog about family values and personal determination. You know, the usual "This is MY life dad, you have to UNDERSTAND, and please HUG ME!" direction is keenly presented, add a little, frankly, quite annoying chocolate molester twerp to it - younger brother of the protagonist Speed Racer - who tries to debate honest laughs out of you, but the poor child's intentions are so clear that it would be something like a mental rape if you would submit to him and laugh on the bleheh! faces and calculated productions he harasses consensus with. Sorry twerpy, I feel you, but you won't get MY laughs. Not THIS time.

-ONE more goddamn color and I'll PUKE!
- Ye, but not to me belly this time, OK??

These attractions and funny faces he makes were surely worked on real life family members flawlessly, but sorry, I tend to wonder instead how come a 10-12 year old could possess a face which already started to submit to gravity?? All in all, the monkey was better. Once you have seen the film, this harsh statement will fall into place firmly. I admit I laughed at the channel switching sequence, though. I am pretty sure you will, too. Let me ask you this: wouldn't you agree that this particular sequence is more humorous/efficient than the sum of all the rest the younger brother delivers apart from this scene?

It is not accidental that I accounted on the little guy. Apart from the abruptly presented race sequences the film delivers, he is pretty much the main attraction of the movie. Races themselves give you little more - if it's more, at all - than the experience you get from a racing game, even from a trailer to popularize such a product. What is slightly more worse than that is that race segments are simply: Not. That. Good. I realize how this sounds as a statement forged from bad intentions, yet I assure you: the ensuing situation when we look into the matter more deeply, is way worse than the surface was.

Visually speaking, race segments are not bad, yet could have had way more aspirations in my opinion to go for the '60s feel to deliver retro. It is very hard to understand how come the film is lacking all sorts of catchy melodies/focal themes for example. This adaptation has nothing much to tell, not via the races, not via other presentational channels. But let us draw our attention to the focal problem: races have no stake, no character, no goddamn soul herein. No goddamn weight, no goddamn meaning to them either, Angy God Forbid my harsh language here. I do think that my statement and related notions are sorrowfully solidified by the elements I just accounted on, I refer back to he constant depiction of the audience's and the commentator's reactions - as, once you see the race for more than 7 seconds, it grows very obvious that the creators had no intention to do anything significant with the nice CG sets they built up. Some car will be rammed off, some other will get some tires popped and drift away, and so on and so forth. Nothing, absolutely nothing of the taste, of the nature of competition is revealed herein. No tension on the track, in the audience, in the cockpit. Just determined eyeballs in determined helmets. What a laugh, and what a bitter of it!

Speed Racer is a movie driven by weightless agendas and stale sketchbook performances, hoping to wrap up handicaps with all the colours a mind can conceive and perceive. The protagonist is simply stated to be the bestest pilot around, so he proves this, and his family does cheer, and you should too, because they get shown to you cheering, and so you should join. And share their joy. Then rewind and share again. Surely, a classic racing movie could be able to do that. The complete lack of the ability to summon such a honest mood is what places Speed Racer on the exact opposite pole of this imaginary scale, though. At the End Sequence, the directors actually warn you - through the little twerp and monkey - that Happy End will be unleashed on you with so high volume that you are better to be prepared. There is nothing more sad than pointing out where you placed a punchline in a joke and how exactly it is humorous, wouldn't you agree?

As we accounted on, the film rolls for a vastly tiresome length of 120 massive minutes, this buildup is established by one focal conflict which at least is strictly presented and weights in as acceptable, yet, unfortunately even this won't add too much to the final results in the long run(s).
Do not worry, I won't spoil your enjoyment, yet let me wrap this up with a notion that will get you interested, hopefully. The most staggering thing in Speed Racer, is this: it is actually The Matthew Fox who speaks the ONLY thought worth remembering from this movie.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Forbidden Kingdom

Karate Kid K.I.A.
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Forbidden Kingdom was a tremendously anticipated - hereby comes the Disturbance in the Force - Hollywood Kung Fu flick, main reason for this is that the output delivers the most popular faces of the genre, a simultaneous canvas presence of truly authentic figures whom we hoped to catch together since times immemorial, indeed. Forbidden Kingdom lives up to it's promise, of course. Jackie Chan and Jet Li are both ready to embarrass themselves in a movie which is loosely - khm, clumsily - based on famous installments of Chinese literature, especially the work titled Journey to The West.

Well, the Kung Fu genre have traveled over the Big Waters already and gave us tremendous results, Kung Fu Hustle, Hero, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, just to name a few. This here effort Forbidden Kingdom scores at box offices big time, yet I tend to think that the main reason for this success is that you can't possibly find an excuse to miss a movie out with Jackie and Jet present in it - that does not mean that the output CAN'T be bad. Actually, it CAN. And, sadly: it IS.

The best attraction you are about to witness herein is the main title screen and corresponding credit list period, I am sorry to say. These moments do unleash a stunning, dare I say this: neo-retro Kung Fu mood with superb, lazy, sinister musical score and famous retina stigmas of the genre, then you are about to witness Jet Li as the Monkey God, showing an army of hostiles their proper place in the quite proper setting to do so: in the Skies, they wage their wars. The flick abruptly loses interest in the hilarious opening, just to collide this truly nice period into a sequence of sheer brilliance: a Kung Fu Geek you witness who have fell asleep via his - probably - usual way: watching one of his favorite 236482348732648 Kung Fus, and now his mind interprets the audio stimuli from the video as elements to incorporate into his dreams about the Monkey God. So, it is quite a flawless concept so far, not a subject to debate about.

And also, it is about the last minute you will enjoy flawlessly, at least according to the strict, yet hopefully rigorously scientific considerations of the Opinion Onion. Behold who you will HAVE to, behold the Michael Angarano, who is about as bad actor as Matthew Fox, only this one is sadder. Am I being a blatant sitorgan opening if I am to voice my curiosity of how one develops elaborate undereye wrinkles by the age of 21? This is the age Angarano threads on as of the release date of this flick, and I must admit, he is somewhat suitable as a New-Age Karate Kid, but ALAS!, let me ask you this:


The question remained silent once voiced, so let us resonate it again, this time with deep, intense honesty and curiosity:


Add that this Karate Kid is easily worse than the original, by the way. Michael Angarano is the Everyday Average Loserguy the film gives for you as a role module you could easily relate to in case you have sophisticated collection of checkered shirts and acnes on body parts a decent woman is not even aware of, and surely, director of this here celluloid molestation Rob Minkoff might simply assume that you can't escape being an Everyday Average Loserguy once a fanatic of Kung Fu Classics.

Forbidden Kingdom grows kind of suspicious when you witness Jackie Chan's awkward depiction of an old fella who runs a video rental the Karate Kid is a regular at, - you bet, baby - suspicion though turns into something much more worse when Mr. Big Bully and Co. do start to - well - bully the protagonist. Man. Then again: maaaan! Have you ever witnessed one of those:

"NO! PLEASE TEACH ME HOW TO FIGHT, PUHHULLEEEZ!" - movies? To be perfectly honest, I was blatantly afraid that I am about to witness Michael Angarano's Way to the Exploding Fist, and my fear gained legitimization shortly, though, at least via an infantile mutation which tries to sell itself as cinematic originality, yet utterly fails to deliver saved enriching/abusing you with the experience of a stock-fantasy affair with Jackie, Jet, and two beautiful Chinagirls in it. Still a stock fantasy, and a badly written at that, as well. I will give you proof shortly.

Here are the main assumptions: there is the Angarano, who must, absolutely MUST give the Sacred Weapon of the Monkey King back to it's proprietor, but, as results of an ancient confrontation taking place between the Everyday Usual Final Stage Boss Character and the Monkey King, now the legendary martial artist is petrified, only to be released if his weapon touches on the statue now he takes part in consensus as.

So! The Fearless Angarano and his haircut both (!!) do end up being transported to an alternate reality which resonates nicely with ancient Chinese times and sceneries. I admit that the cinematography is beautiful, no problem in this regard at all. Considering the subject matter these stunning natural environments do deliver on their own, finding UGLY images is the Challenge here, not to show Beauty Blatant which is all over the place. Well, at least something have been done to legitimize focal flaws, since Angarano seems totally out of place and time, let him be put beyond space and time for the sake of fiction functionalization. Sorry about that.

Little time is about to flow away prior the Angarano's encounter with Lu Yan, - Jackie Chan - who is fortunately a perfect speaker of English in ancient China, even better: the waitress in the pub also is totally on the theme when you ask for a refill in English. Lu Yan informs the young protagonist about the Legend of the Monkey King, and they decide to team up to liberate the iconic hero. Little if any do they know that the Final Stage Boss Monster has entirely different plans in his highly sinister mind, even sends a Witch after the Sacred Relic, a Witch who was born to Wolves. And also she is a simulacrum of the great Mortal Kombat character Sindel. This focal role is portrayed by beautiful Chinese actress Bingbing Li, the scenes in which Bingbing and Angarano are both present are of particular interest. I would keenly urge Angarano fans - oxymoron? - to state the Top 10 Reasons why one would take one's eyes off of Bingbing in favor of Michael, me = mad curious, truly. Now is the time to account on Yifei Liu as well, she gives us the female sidekick character, who is in shadow of to the constant threat that Angarano might actually go for the mouthy-mouthy, lypsi-lypsi on her, yet !SPOILER! - he won't have that chance. Yifei Liu gives you similarly solid canvas presence as Bingbing Li, a credit which is due for the Final Stage Boss Monster, Deshun Wang, as well.

Bingbing Li's intact canvas presence gives much needed relief.

An example of flaws and incoherency: a Silent Monk - Jet Li - appears, who steals the Monkey King's Relic from Angarano, yet, as it turns out hastily: he has NO intention stealing the Relic. So, he just - kind of: stole it. Makes sense so far? He states that he Seeks the Seeker of the Artifact. Now check this: when he FINDS the Seeker, he stoles the precious item from him while the Seeker is asleep. Well, asking those trite, redundant question like: "Sorry, dude, aren't you happen to be the Seeker of the Relic who I seek? After all, you have the Relic!" would hardly live up to common sense or coherent script writing.

All is set for the big attraction, you will have the acceptable 10 minutes+ fight sequence between Jackie and Jet, and then some other, acceptable fight sequences as the improbably shallow fantasy story "develops." For your information I wish to voice my aspiration that the term "acceptable" I account the fight sequences as is intended to be a rigorously scientific description, and a scientific description I do aspire to give, none less, not I! Let us scrutinize unto the deep well of the past and let us behold some example movies which delivered easily superior fight sequences to these: the aforementioned Kung Fu Hustle comes into my mind yet again as a piece to courageously and hilariously praise the genre, yet the Tony Jaa films are a must to mention, as well. Remember the final showdown in Tom Yum Goong? Hell, one minute (!) from that fight sequence weights more than the entire Forbidden Kingdom, Your Angy God Forgive that I state the obvious herein.

This here old fashioned new wave Kung Fu hybrid still relies on the most banal fight concept ever revealed, yet so vastly utilized even to this day: there are two types of fighters that can take part in a skirmish: 1. the Infinite Hitter, 2. the One Puncher. The Infinite Hitter always comes back, no matter what. Because he has a focal role. Thus he has superhumanic attributes. Notice that these focal characters are always very skillful, they evade and block the strikes just to counter back, while their associates are usually suck excessively, these are the literal masses and masses of people your protagonist engages in battle with, administering one strike per kopf and client checks out, thank you come again. Surely, it does not mean the tiniest of sense to surround yourself with elite fighters if you are a Final Stage Boss Monster, instead you want to rely on warriors whose asses get kicked around via a little less effort than putting out a bonfire with a water cannon in rainstorm.

Forbidden Kingdom is an excessively awkward, mocked mixture of twisted, inept ambitions, an output lacking any kind of inventive tale appeals or sober seriousness to it, instead it sinks steadily to end up as a very average fantasy-quest with very average fantasy characters, chasing - I am sorry to inform you that you have guessed correctly - very average fantasy agendas. The New Karate Kid Michael Angarano is actually a factor to degrade the output as opposed to enrich it, as his canvas presence currently is nowhere near to that of any other actors he gets unleashed in the same sequence with. In the end one can't help but voice the opinion that even Jackie and Jet can not make a great movie out of the great mess this unfortunate result is composed of and ends as. These two onions I do give for this delivery is not a result of my grouchy nature. These two onions I do give for this delivery is the result of my extremely tender, marvelously kind nature.

Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Moment You Have All Been Waiting For, Has Now Became a Reality!

The Opinion Onion Gives You:

Za! Michael! Angarano! Thing!

- What if I CAN'T do that??
- Oh, you are good at THAT!

The One Dollar Kung Fu Stance!

- ... and then I'll have a HAIRCUT!
- IS the Seeker CERTAIN that he is PREPARED?


- HOW I gotten into this??
- Mysterious are the Ways of the Tao, no doubt anymore.

- Uhm. Michael. You are on - uhm. Camera?

The One Million Dollar Kung Fu Look!

The Priceless Kung Fu Look!

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Friday, May 16, 2008


Not My Curse Anymore

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Beowulf is the earliest European manuscript we are currently aware of, an Epic poem composed of more than 3000 lines, transcribed though by an unknown author-or probably authors, as the patterns of the letters do seem to originate from two different scribes. Who exactly Beowulf, primal protagonist of the Epic might be, one might ask. Let us answer this question which is not too circumstantial to solve safely and properly, as, quite simply put:

Beowulf Is The MAN!

Relentless facer of gravest dangers most do not even dare to think of, proud victor of monstrocities most do not even dare to describe, and to top all of that: Beowulf, as we will see, also is a legend with a robust moral dilemma which the protagonist won't likely to solve only with muscles, weapons and oneliners. Though all these shall, and - !SPOILER! - WILL be utilized. The truly nice narrative which sings, keeps and praises grandiose myths of ancient times is extremely well suited for contemporary adaptations, especially since scholars state that the poem itself might very well be a record of oral traditions, let us even say: tales. Suspicion hastily arouses that tales are heavily reliant on entertainment, thus the Beowulf Epic may have been the framework of effective plays, performed by Bards whenever an audience was eager and persistent to be entertained via multiple sittings - blatant beer brawls in between sets are optional, yet heavily recommended. The Beowulf Epic was MADE to entertain, and it is so Epic indeed that it is essentially BEGS to be told.

A recognition which reached quite the proper persons Before The Ragnarök Had Cometh!, say that I, herein. Smart, dexterous creator of myriad elegant installments aimed at senselessly radical degrees and forms of popcorn molestation Robert Zemeckis joins up with a high-end CG production assault team financed by Sony to give you this here Anglo-Saxon classic via an animated presentation.

Screenplay writers Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary do deliver a clever selection of the original text, utilizing chosen sequences to construct a fluent foam of narrative which remains heavily reliant on the originator, yet unravels as a smartly researched variant tailored for the big screen. Synopsis: Court and Kingdom - let alone the beerhouse! - of Danish King Hrotgar is under constant terror by a monstrous malediction who lives and hunts in the vicinity, oftentimes exhibiting his physical superiority whenever he finds humans too loud or too disturbing. Or both, which is the intact pawn of a promise that hostile actions are about to be administered to fry some casual mortal butts. This troll goes by the name of Grendel, and he is bad, bad news. After a particularly eventful night characterized by the monstrous creature's somewhat evident presence and - initially - protesting viking limbs deciding - eventually - to walk their separate, autonomous ways: the King sinks into despair. On the Seas comes a hero though, and by the name of Beowulf, a hero comes on the Seas, indeed.

The legendary Geat and his fellow warriors are proposing to banish the demon from Hrotgar's land in exchange for some quality beer, a Golden Artifact of Special Significance, and some more of quality beer. Deal is done, Beowulf is about to face Grendel as an equal rival to him, meaning he is not about to wear armor or wield weapons to confront the malediction. This nice, elegantly simple and simply elegant base assumption is your core structure to sew a truly robust Epic on, a story to offer both a brand new protagonist and a terrible secret that is about to infect these Lands once more, as surely, it already have succeeded on an occasion and now grows more rampant and more determined to unleash terror.

From now on I will assume you did not yet have seen the movie thus I stay away from actual narrative points and attempt to give a hintfoam about the neat traits that you are about to experience.

The Beowulf Epic and thus this faithful adaptation creates terror via corrupting it's focal characters, thus fear is not but an outer sensation which haunts and poisons, rather it is created by the incapacity of the protagonists to act according to everyday common sense - yes, a precious commodity in the world of dragons and trolls - which though is deeply, utterly mocked around by a Forbidden Beauty no Viking Warrior can resist against. No, not even Beowulf, it might be so. The Champion of Champions, Destroyer of Maledictions is consumed by the mere admiration of the staggering beauty he beholds and helpless to resist. Some maledictions won't ever use weapons against their prey, they instead consume them by drowning those calculable spirits unto their very own inventions and emotions, those silly, casual mortal vibes that can be provoked and invoked so fluently once the mask of mere beauty is at the disposal of the Malediction. The Muhahaha! part is especially strong and legit in Beowulf, too.

- OK, you have some skills. My turn.

This here Epic will deliver you such a Demon, and that particular creature has definite access to the tool of beauty, a tool she is even a masterful handler of. The climax of the movie witnesses a Beowulf who is absolutely and necessarily aware of the inner corruption he was subjected to and could not laugh out loudly at, while question arises if this act of him have left more imminent treats to deal with than the possession of a constantly tainted, passive self. And believe you me: the past has left such a thing. And that thing is not about to sit around for long.

The output's realization factor is as high-end as we have ever seen to date. Characters are modeled after real life actors, a cast palette you will find quite a few heavyweights in - yet I think there is no need to pinpoint any of them, as recognizing the originators is great optional fun on it's own merits. Especially Grendel. Hm, who could have been Grendel? Hmmm. Matthew Fox?? Naaah, Matthew couldn't ever touch this. EVVVER! Hell, Matthew would masterfully spoil the output even if his role were nothing more than being cut down in the background shouting: "EEK!!" without even being actually SHOWN. Matthew Fox, what a wonderfully terrible actor!

- He Had Faceth The Matthew Fox, and Hath RETURNED!

Apart from the story which, thanks to it's ancient written original reigns as unavoidably yet welcomely strong and fluent, dialogs and dramaturgical choices are certainly worth accounting on, as well. Spoken lines, voice registers, facial expressions all do deliver truly pleasant surprises via exquisite channels of pure originality and massively stable conceptualization/revelation of each character, there are literally dozens and dozens of little vibes you can't help but laugh out loud honestly at, and this is not something we can tell everyday, not with the calculated, usual CG punchlines that are safe, suitable, and, most importantly: great ho! ho! ho!-s for All Generations. Just to mention one of these: Wiglaf and Beowulf at the Entrance of a Highly Illegal and Sinister Looking Cave, Second Occasion. Hilarious, brilliant dialog work there, in my opinion.

This here movie Beowulf threads on the realistic CG approach, and does that with weighty, armored boots on, never coming short of convince power and the ability to constantly, flamboyantly surprise and thus entertain it's intaker. Truly not much to elaborate on except maybe my personal notion that this was the best, even bestest - thank you, thank you - realistic CG effort I have seen to date. A related tip yet: in case you have the chance to witness the movie on a device with image sharpening capabilities, I'd say go for it, definitely. A little bit of sharpening filter emphasizes the tremendous detail work that is everywhere to be found, revealing them even more profoundly. Truly a feast for the eyes. To wrap this up I can't help but refrain a memorable sentence of Beowulf which he speaks after showing mercy for one of his rivals, dismissing the defeated warrior after an insightful dialog, concluding the idea-exchange by this here words: "He has a story to tell!"

Quite similarly, all should see this output, - that includes You, Dearest Visitor - as this here output has a definite story to tell.

Naaah, I don't do that every day.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Clockwork Orange

Victim of Modern (R)age

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Anthony Burgess, author of the book A Clockwork Orange wrote the text inspired by events that must have had robust emotional impact on him - let alone his wife. The early 1960's were notorious of the antagonistic new generation that characterized the London scenery and corresponding era, an alarming social tendency that unleashed a particularly repulsive experience on Burgess, resulting in a humongous boost to deal with the issue on a wider scale than his innermost private self. Thus experience which is very hard to digest becomes inspiration and primal motivation factor for a creative output that never have lost of it's significance, quite the contrary: the importance of A Clockwork Orange is evidently timeless, even better/worse: the only direction it is capable to go is a definite Forward.

It is time to account the event that led the author to construct his vision. A group of hoodlums assaulted Burgess's wife, unleashing sour inspiration on the writer to deliver his fictional portrait of such a hive entity, especially it's Boss character who is essential element of both the 1962 text original and the 1971 film adaptation by Stanley Kubrick. In A Clockwork Orange, harmony is but a dull, obsolete idea, an invention of enforced constrains, acting as handcuffs on the rampant hands of blissful, sweet deviancy. For your protagonists, Alexander Burgess - a son figure? - and Co. destruction is the most proper and most natural way to express, to affect reality. To alter, influence consensus very efficiently with minimum effort, as no effort is needed to invoke something which is yet to be invented or constructed - effort instead emerges and unleashes on All That Have Been Formed or Constructed Already, let it be materia, flesh or psyche. In the dystopian future Burgess delivers values are but outposts that need to be mocked, abused, denied and eventually destroyed, while violence is the mere language the new breed can honestly express itself in.

Reasons are numerous why this creative output works as fluent to this day as it always had, yet the main factor is none other than the Chigurh Phenomena, though we certainly should regard that as the Alex Burgess/DeLarge Phenomena instead, as Burgess wrote his novel in 1962, that is a Vantage Point < - you DON'T want to click this link, baby - validated by 43 years to the credit of the author of A Clockwork Orange, as the work to incorporate Anton Chigurh,
No Country for Old Men comes in 2005.

Notice, nevertheless how the respective authors of A Clockwork Orange and No Country for Old Men - written by Cormac McCarthy - are revealing the same character-module for us. Main protagonists Alex Burgess and Anton Chigurh are both exhibiting flawless capacity to get away with excessive harm they administered without feelings of remorse present to haunt them afterwards, yet surely, Chigurh is a "Complete" anti-superhero while Alex still threads on the same, sweet, ultra-violent path which though would certainly lead to the the state of superignorance Chigurh bizarrely reigns in.

A DEFINITE Start There, Boy!

A Clockwork Orange delivers a narrative construction built up by three major chunks, as Burgess's main interest is not about to gas out once depiction of excessive abuse have happened on multiple occasions. The first series of insights boil down to the delivery of an emerging culture of ultraviolence, while I do realize how twisted it sounds, I truly do think that this is the case: the hoodlums you witness herein have their own existences so reliant on and so massively fused with hardcore abuse that their reality indeed offers a Sandbox Universe in which you are free, even better: invited to deconstruct All You Encounter, a twisted relation in which the actual results of harm are not as important or focal as the capacity, the bizarre celebration of the FREEDOM to harm is.

Surely, a conscious choice is offered and inevitably taken by all participants of a civilized society whether to harm or not to harm. The act of not-harming, though surely you would prefer to, is quite an impotent stance, in my opinion. The act of not-harming because you realize the damage you would do in an individual is a legit stance. A Clockwork Orange delivers you hoodlums who harm to celebrate and express their Total Freedom, I am not entirely sure they do realize what they actually do, in fact, I think they do not. In the Universe they create and live through, Good Old Ultraviolence is the same pleasantry as Good Old Beer and Good Old Cardgames, something to chase void, stale time periods away with, something to offer them incalculable moments and intensity. Maybe, JUST maybe they do get a glimpse of Highly Forbidden Remorse Deep Inside which is surely the biggest NO! NO! to admit in a hive entity as this, yet the core of the matter is this: existence is stale, pointless, and gives you unsatisfactory stimuli if to lived the way as the Elders propagate - therefore you must live it whatever way you please. Claiming of freedom to harm comes with the first three elements in such an ultimately desperate, stale, grey reality. In fact, nothing more remains, nothing else is capable to express freedom so completely as exhibiting the capacity of hurting another person. When they hurt and humiliate they pose as dominant force of society, simply because they deny and throw away the assumption that generally you should NOT break into people's houses, should NOT beat up the man and rape the woman while you sing Singing in the Rain. This is a NO! NO!, yes?

Surely, this might be a NO! NO!, yet we don't need to tell them that, as Alex Burgess and Co. becomes Alex Burgess and Co. exactly by throwing away these elementary assumptions consciously, thus they claim a degree of freedom where terrorizing and beating up persons is totally natural, Good Old Fun, inherent element, but some casual asset originated from natural, Good Old COMPLETE Freedom. The fact that Alex sings Singing in the Rain while he administers kicks to the man in my opinion tells us clearly that he does nothing but pretty much celebrates the Complete Freedom he just claimed and now demonstrates. How often do you break into someone's house just to beat the inhabitants down and to sign some sentimental melodies above their abused bodies? I bet this is not something you do on a regular basis. Neither do I. Why do not we do this? Does it mean that by NOT doing this we do NOT possess Total Freedom? Yes, it does mean that. Alex and Co. whom are doing it as daily routine have Total Freedom though, and notice how unacceptable this Total Freedom is.

I think these are the basic assumptions Burgess arrived to via conceptualizing the operations and rampant interests of this new breed, the generation that works via an equation which states that claiming Total Freedom is absolutely acceptable granted you can get away with Good Old Fun by beating the Hoile Spirit out of someone - something which Alex actually does, leading to the second chunk of the buildup of A Clockwork Orange.

This here second chunk is the most essential part of the narrative, I'd say. Suffice it to say that Alex ends up in jail, and later he hears rumors about a new treatment called the Ludovico Technique. The method is intended to rehabilitate convicts as totally harmless individuals. Alex manages to get the chance of undergoing the treatment, in exchange for instantaneous freedom.

The Ludovico Technique is a form of aversion therapy: patient is strictly constrained to an observer position, while he gets subjected to repulsive vision-and sound stimuli. The catch is this: some funny substance is administered prior to the actual treatment, thus the observer develops associations between violent acts and gruesome physical distress. Once violence is present in the vicinity the affected person grows effectively sick: no chance whatsoever to commit violent acts anymore, as he would collapse on the floor the moment he would try to do that. So Alex ends up as a new man, and a new man he ends up as, indeed. Yet Burgess asks you this: is he became a better person indeed? The author elegantly points us to the notion that the protagonist did not undergo a honest transformation, rather he got deprived of the free choice whether to commit violent acts. This truly nice, narrative touch that definitely poses as focal importance in the buildup is used to fuel the third and final chunk of A Clockwork Orange, a period to account how - if anyhow - Alex manages to get along in society with his deeply altered self.

One of the final sketches is particularly powerful, surely I do refer to the scene in which Alex meets with one of his previous victims. This is the period I regard as simply the most important of all that A Clockwork Orange delivers, as I get the impression that the previous victim effectively tries to forgive for Alex. Whether he succeeds or not - remains to be seen by you.

Stanley Kubrick's output is robust, vivid and comes with an eternal grin, a grin which have lost nothing of it's seriousness during the four decades it have shown itself for already. Now it seems evident to me that Kubrick had some funny fixations as a film maker, what I find of especial note is his constant usage of classical music pieces as background score. Evidently his personal favorites, no? Same is the case here: you will have the exquisite chance to listen to Ludwig van Beethoven's 9th Symphony pretty much in it's glorious eternity, and this is a superb thing both to do and to take part in, not a matter to debate about.

Surely, A Clockwork Orange reigns in position as one of the most important influence factors ever to enrich popular culture: the vivid London atmosphere, that naked, dangerous, explosive vibe and hilarious visual appeals/costumes it so blatantly delivers envisioned the emergence of a culture which was legendarily rampant and remained of essential significance to this day - please see Punk, please see Sid Vicious, please see Sex Pistols. And please: do see A Clockwork Orange.

- Who we beat up on This Fine Day, lads?
- Me lad, question is, who we DON'T??

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Event Horizon

to HELL With It!

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A stable, elegant installment to consort the exquisite focal elements of the Doom phenomena with the Alien direction, Event Horizon remains among the few sci-fi outputs that not particularly need to fear of the Ultimate Conqueror many must regard as: Time.

Surely, writer Paul Eisner had an evident fixation on Stanislaw Lem's Solyaris back in the day he - Eisner - came up with the story of this flick, yet the final result coats and keeps borrowed elements within an integral buildup which is not afraid to deliver pretty descent space-time novelty disturbances throughout the nicely realized presentational setup the film speaks in.

A pretty pleasant surprise to enrich the period characterized by the Year 2K Hysteria, Event Horizon sends a massive spaceship to no other dimension than the one many feared would collapse on Earth: Hell. Now, what may prove even more interesting that this? Easy: a flick needs to send the ship BACK from Hell. And, OH!, that it does indeed, giving us the exquisite chance to join a small everyday spaceparty trying to see what exactly went by on the vessel. One surely anticipates the darkest events, and darkest events one sees on the horizon, indeed.

Director Paul W.S. Anderson had great moments before, and I find Event Horizon to be one of those. The movie has a cold, ignorant atmosphere surrounding it with no pleasant findings to be made, neither promised of whatsoever. The screenplay follows entirely classic sequences solidified to be cute, welcomed traditions probably by the first Alien film. These elements include the absolutely not-to-be-left-out period in which crew members having their meals just to have their casual briefing of the situation that have previously occurred, yet seldom are the times when such happenings would propose fruity events to come. Not to mention how important it is to commence briefing while your crew members shovel boiled eggs and stuff related into their respective heads.

Event Horizon gives you two focal characters: great actor Sam Neill portrays Dr. William Weir, the Mastermind behind the Event Horizon spacehip, the first vessel with the capacity to travel along the shortest way between two different points. What the shortest possible distance between two different points might be, one might naturally ask. Consensus awareness surely would tell us that the shortest possible distance between these - eagerly cited and joyfully praised - two different points is: the Straight Line. Yet the Event Horizon operates by entirely different concepts, realized and put to the test by Dr. Weir himself. This great scientist states this: shortest distance between two different points is NOT the Straight Line. It is: Zero.

The spaceship's engine is an artificial Black Hole, - and here comes the intermediate spacehead talk, check this: - capable to bend the fabric of space-time in a way that starting point and destination point would occupy the same space and same time - thus through-travel can occur, while the artificial Black Hole would release the highly illegal (?) parallel dimension it just created to travel on, leaving consensus space-time ultimately intact. A very nice fictionfoam by Paul Eisner in which this focal idea remains strong originator, while he relies on Lem's similarly masterful inventions to forge quite effective support elements from, as we will eagerly scrutinize.

The other key protagonist the movie offers is Laurence Fishburn, giving you Captain Miller. The Skipper of the rescue vessel which happened to be sent out to investigate the Event Horizon does not seem to have much admiration for fairy tales, yet little!, if any!, does he know that he and his crew is about to experience a frightful one of those. I notice we have gotten ahead of ourselves, which is cool once you attempt to astral project, a definite no-no if to review a piece of entertainment. The Event Horizon's first journey was registered as a failure, the vessel got lost at unknown coordinates, never to be heard from again. You know the classic twist:

Until Now

Seven years following it's vanish, the gigantic ship reappears, begging to be checked out thoroughly. A brief, yet elegantly spent time period accounts the ship as more of a living entity than a construction of human knowledge and materia, suggestions do constantly reveal that the vessel has "seen" and "undertook" phenomenas, events and experiences that are way beyond the capacity of mankind to comprehend. These cautiously hinted elements are to reach their relative peek points via the finding of the records the previous, of course entirely disappeared crew of the Event Horizon have made. The message they recorded firstly appears only in vocal form, stating: "Save Yourself from Hell" in Latin, yet the investigators do have a hard time to decipher the input correctly. As it turns out later on, though: the crew of the Event Horizon had quite a hardcore party for quite a while prior to their complete banishment to a plane and form of existence you not necessarily want to experience without a superthick glass to separate you from it.

- Dude! You are LEVITATING!
- And figure THIS: that's how it goes the whole DAY!

The buildup has a nice rhythmization to it, as the unpleasant atmosphere reigns more than ready to send out vibes that are totally capable to compromise the inner operation of the investigators. One young dude - Jack Noseworthy, what an exquisite name! - comes into contact with an abomination the ship exhibits, this entity is only referred by the boy as "the darkness in me". A highly inventive creative death scene is about to occur by this time, as the character -I assume - chooses to act according to the darkness he experienced, thus he abruptly finds himself in an airlock, opening up wildspace on his body. Let me tell you this: human anatomy exhibits a blatant handicap if to face off wildspace, and of this, Event Horizon informs you clearly, convincingly.

This memorable sequence poses as focal point in the fabric, as the boy's highly successful attempt to demonstrate extreme space tourism correlates with the fresh assumption that the Event Horizon been and came back to and from Hell Itself. Lem's fiction from Solyaris is skillfully implemented: respective sour conscience manifests and haunts everybody onboard. The Event Horizion materializes your darkest, bitterest secrets, and amazingly: this truly great idea indeed reigns in an altered position once it operates on entirely negative registers. While Lem uses his idea to voice and unleash emotional and spiritual issues, Eisner translates them to voice and unleash fear and terror. I particularly like the tagline of the flick, stating: Infinite Space, Infinite Terror. Sexy, no? The effectiveness of Lem's output remains brilliant in both cases, yet the original variant does offer optional, yet very interesting routes to furtherly wonder on, I think. If you are interested, please be sure to check out my Solyaris review which I wanted to link for you, yet almost forgot.

A key point to conduct focal observations from is the depiction of Hell's foul breath the vessel brought back with itself, and I would say that Event Horizon delivers an acceptable novelty feast to satisfy twisted curiosity with, though these revealed atrocities themselves have a hard time to deconstruct what we belive to be "proper" and "legit" beyond flesh. Therefore flesh remains the element to abuse when Hell is about to claim it's rampant presence. The movie takes a cute, even decently realized adjustment to the imagery of the classic RPG game of the day, Diablo by Blizzard Entertainment, placing the good doctor Weir - who, SPOILER!: goes massively nuts and chooses to worship Hell - into set pieces that harmonically resonate with the weighty dark fantasy appeals the aforementioned hack'n slash role playing classic enriched popular culture with.

Thus, strangely enough: my concerns are the same as my delights, as Event Horizon shows you a Hell which is fair 'nuff once the agenda is nothing more than to reveal surficial traits of it, yet the flashy, brief, novelty-showaround of abused flesh and blood do weight in as the Primal Conclusion Hell can shock you with, at least according to the vessel and it's narrative creators. I do not think that this would be the case in an "Ideal Proper Hell", though. In "Ideal Proper Hell", such affairs as Event Horizon depicts certainly should be but the beginning of something much, much worse. I am ready to assume that this particular field to contain experiences much worse than pain is a risky deal to reveal, let alone: to invent and to construct. Event Horizon thus gives you but the naturally anticipated, considers you will be quite satisfied and shocked with it, and dismisses you abruptly, while I am sure "Ideal Proper Hell" would "stand" in front of you just to ask:

Ready to see - MORE and - DIFFERENT?

Event Horizon never asks you this, yet it certainly delivers an acceptable novelty showdown to conclude it's storyline, even better: the final twist has some extra appeal to it, especially considering that the event it gives you does NOT, in fact, happen in the film's reality. It does happen nevertheless in the respective realities of those whom have confronted with Dr. Weir's highly deformed, final form. I think this is the aspect "Ideal Proper Hell" STARTS from, also remains an aspect that Event Horizon exhibits no massive interest in.

- Doctor, what does the term "hardcore" mean to you?
- Question is what I mean to the term "hardcore".

This 1997 output remains a charming variant on science fiction ready to communicate via a darker tone, it even seems unfortunate that recent sci-fi directions do not aspire to offer tales and narratives on this particular register. Solid acting, some surprisingly good environmental ideas and related special effects, let alone the possibility to peek unto Hell through a keyhole: the Event Horizon's Black Hole is BUT a keyhole, yet it's welcomed existence emphasizes the possibility and, maybe, satisfiable need to check out other Hell !S! in the future, just to make sure we respect them, rejecting their keen invitations to take part in them in any other way than for the sake of development, fun, and inventive, quality entertainment.

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