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Monday, November 17, 2008

UFC 91 Randy Couture VS Brock Lesnar

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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 91 Couture VS Lesnar, time to punch that Read more button, baby!

Introductory thoughts about the more significant lineups

Following a pause period stretching well over the duration of one year, and characterized by prolonged legal dispute against the UFC, Randy Couture is back to defend his Heavyweight Title. This warrior still considers his body integral enough to be exposed to top level mma competition, and, seeing his exceptional career with all the upsets he managed to pull off so far, he is the epitome of experienced will-breaker, as well.

Randy wanted to collide with Fedor Emelianenko, the UFC's incapability to arrange this, - among other things concerning sober relations between respect and payment - have largely contributed to Couture's decision of leaving the organization. Nowadays Randy does not think that Fedor VS Couture will ever happen, as there are too many legal obstacles in the way of such a fight. Let us see if this statement is a part of a convoluted marketing strategy or an expression of commitment towards the UFC, which, maybe, the organization demanded anyway. If I recall correctly, The Natural now has a six fights contract to fulfill. Coming back to the fray having his title defended against Gabriel Gonzaga in UFC 74 Respect, the classic question everyone will ask - including your dogs and cats - is this:

Could! The! Natural! Be! Able! To! Stop! This! Young! Super! Humanoid! Called! Brock! Lesnar! With! 45! Years! On! His! Back! ???????????

And those 45 years are on Randy's back, too. Real-life Incredible Hulk Brock Lesnar comes to you as a man who forgot to pull a leg off against Frank Mir, being granted with the question: tap or be lame largely literally. Upon his return though, Brock managed to stop Heath Herring in UFC 87 Seek and Destroy. The Beast states that he likes Randy very much. But, as of November the 15th, 2008: "I don't like Randy." Couture states that Lesnar poses some very interesting problems for him, as this humane mountain claims much more out of mere space-time than Randy does - not Randy's own words, me confesses - and he - Couture - feels massively challenged to deal with such a young- and exceptionally powerful competitor. Even better/worse: according to UFC President Dana White, Brock Lesnar is a psychotic competitor. One look in the eyes of The Beast and you can tell that White but stated the evident.

Kenny Ifinishfights uhm... sorry, Kenny "KenFlo" Florian comes back to us after handing a decisive loss to Roger Huerta in UFC 87 Seek and Destroy, now the mature competitor steps up against deeply upset Joe Stevenson who has a hard time digesting the circumstance that quite a few fans consider him to be an underdog in this lineup. He states that he will prove them wrong. Sure, shock us, Joe!

Demian Maia vs Nate Quarry

Nate Quarry, the UFC's most experienced dasher faces his toughest challenge to date by the night. Demian Maia, possessor of a flawless mma record is as lethal of a fighter on the ground as you will ever see, and he won't necessarily pretend that he is not. Maia always looks for the possibility to take the fight downstairs, even if it requires some tricks to rely on: it looks like as if Demain would slip in front of Nate Quarry early in the first period, but I am not sure if this was an actual slip or a "trick-slip" to make Quarry excited. Regardless of which variant is the actual one, Nate jumps on the Jiu-Jitsu master, seemingly failing to notice that either he just walked into the trap Maia set up for him, or he - Quarry - just managed to engage his opponent on the field that he is remarkably good on. Through a brief- yet rather effective ground session in which Maia is the spider and his opponent is the fly, Demian eventually soaks an arm in, forcing Quarry to tap out.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs Josh Hendricks

I don't really understand this particular match. Josh Hendricks is Randy Couture's training partner who tried to imitate Brock Lesnar, that is OK so far. Josh Hendricks, I suppose, also was curious of how he could perform in the Octagon, and one must think that he asked Randy to put a good word for him. The Dana White must have nodded, as Hendricks is granted a UFC debut by the night, against none other than Gabriel "Big Nose" Gonzaga! Well, what could we expect if to put an enthusiastic random gym guy against a seasoned mma professional? Not sure about you, but I certainly would anticipate the seasoned mma professional to dispose of that enthusiastic random gym butt in 5 seconds - TOPS!

Gonzaga causes disappointment for me, as he needs one minute and one second - that is: 1:01, for your information - to destroy this poor dude, who is failing epicly at recognizing characteristics of the known Universe. Just kidding, of course: Gabriel deserves quality credit, as he asks for Referee Steve Mazzegatti's confirmation whether the supervisor wants to see consecutive bombs being unleashed on the downed opponent. This rite of tender compassion demands valuable seconds, mind you. Mazzegatti nods on those strikes of further punishment nevertheless, just to make sure that Hendricks got handed quite useful tools to conduct a thorough reality check with. Once the second strike of ruthless enlightenment connects, Mazzegatti jumps in to save the defeated.

The blow that was the beginning of the end is of further note here: not frequently you see a strike that has "ricochet potential" in it, yet, this one is among those rare punches: notice how the strike connects on the chin, then, slipping down, it affects the center of the chest, still packing such tremendous power that you can see the force of the impact departing through Hendricks's back. All in all, definite credit to Josh for taking this fight, more precisely: for taking that, and not changing his mind about it. Let us see if the UFC makes a habit of offering executions from now on.

Dustin Hazelett vs Tamdan McCrory

What's more funny than seeing a leprechaun performing in the Octagon? I'll tell you what: seeing two performing, even better: against each other. If I grasped correctly, Dustin Hazelett plans to be the most successful submission practitioner in the world, an agenda accomplished by rigorously focusing on this particular aspect of the game. This collision has a nice, furious character to it whenever the fight chooses to take place in these brief- yet fierce standup exchanges, though eventually the fighters find themselves on the ground. Solidifying his statement and intrinsic desire about being the most effective submission wizard in the whole wide world, Hazelett eventually offers a rather graphic presentation of high level limb molestation, earning him the w, let alone a significant building block he can place in his - utterly metaphorical - temple of submissions.

Randy Couture vs Brock Lesnar

The Natural still looks competent in the Octagon, which wouldn't be of particular news, not if the opponent would exhibit humane proportions and corresponding fighting style. Brock being more like a CG creation though, it isn't hard to be amazed by Couture's readiness to wage this war in a rather sober, but, to be quite honest with ourselves: Not. Particularly. Interesting. Manner. The name of the game is the "fence clinch" herein. I am sorry, I do not know if this common Octagon status has an official name- or nickname to it, therefore I will refer to it as the fence clinch. I refer to the status in which you see the rivals gripping each other at the fence, trying to find a way to express effective hostility. This is a relatively safe position to be in for a - khm, khm - "little while", as the posture itself is a combined question mark by which both fighter is asked what they are able to do, what they can come up with. Let me draw your attention to something, though:

the Biggerer the Duderers Arer Iner the Fencer Clincher -

the longer the clinch will be, subsequently, the more hard of a time you will have keeping your eyes open over the "action", as there will be very little of that at the first place. If any, that is. I remember the matches of Tank Abbot from the dawn of UFC. Oh my, what a complete waste of time those matches were! You roll the opponent to the fence, then spend the entire time of the fight constraining him there, hoping to steal some short range shots on the head or on the body. Even present day UFC is affected by this terrible phenomena: the match between Brandon Vera and Tim Sylvia from UFC 78 Validation is a sedative of brutal efficiency, for example. Vera will tell you that he broke his hand and that kinna' threw the gameplan away, well, I can relate to it. Meaning: I don't care, I kinna' expect you to deliver excitement with your hand kinna' broken, to be honest. Among other warriors, Forrest Griffin could do that. Randy Couture could do that. Not to mention that in an ideal world, I wouldn't have to gain information about Vera's broken hand from Vera.

Sorry for this detour. A massive portion of this here collision between Couture vs Lesnar remains faithful to these clinching at the fence traditions. Fortunately, some intense maneuvers do occur before these sequences, yet, though those are mainly in Brock's favor, they prove insufficient to put Couture away, but they are effective enough to take The Natural to a thorough dance at the fence. I recall Brock going for a successful takedown, - the attempt itself is an evident sign of respect towards The Natural's standup abilities - yet at one particular point, even Randy tries to go for one from the clinch, though eventually failing at bringing The Beast downstairs. When Brock seems to control the positions, Couture finds the wits- and experience to turn a dire situation around, succeeding at getting free of the hulking man's clinch, connecting with a precise strike to open Brock up above the brow as a significant goodbye-move to this particular sub-sequence.

You know what? I think Couture should not feel himself relaxed between rounds. More precisely: I think he should, but he should not express his relaxation openly. It brings bad luck to this man, trust me. Back in the earlier days of the UFC, Randy smiled enthusiastically after the first round against Ricco Rodriguez, and, indeed The Natural looked good in the opening period. Then he got battered. Now Randy smiles after the first period against Brock, and indeed he looks totally competent against the superhuman CG creature Lesnar terrifies you as.

In the second round though, Brock connects with a good shot to the temple, sending Randy to the ground whose head quickly gets subjected to the most furious trademark Donkey Kong session you could see from Brock so far: hammerfists after hammerfists raining down, eventually causing a Referee stoppage. Brock goes home as the New UFC Heavyweight Champion, it's nice to see Randy telling "Good Job!" to him, and it's interesting to hear fans BOO!-ing the former Pro Wrestler, who, after all, have proven himself considerably, second time now. We are to see if Brock Lesnar will be another Tim Sylvia, God, I hope he won't. I have nothing against Tim Sylvia either, yet I find Brock Lesnar to be a much more entertaining/interesting fighter/athlete and screen phenomena. I don't think the dude deserves the dislike factor he got upon scoring the belt. By the way, don't send this review to Tim Sylvia if you want to see a next one.

Kenny Florian vs Joe Stevenson

Well, I hope Joe Stevenson does not plan to open up a gallery to showcase how he taps out of rear naked chokes to different opponents. Now he has a significant addition to this particular performance. This match never reached a second period, Kenny Ifinishfights demands a tapout from Stevenson by effectively outclassing the passionate competitor. To tell you the truth, Stevenson did not even enter the Octagon, - worship metaphors, biatches! - no one did expect Kenny Florian, who states in the postfight interview that it is exactly what he wanted. He wanted to come here and make a statement. He wants BJ Penn's Lightweight Belt. He adds this: "I consider him the Master and I want to kill that Master."

Wohow. Kenny Florian is indeed a surprisingly good fighter, mainly because he approaches the game scientifically. Let us see if this proves to be enough to catch The Little Buddha red handed. But, never forget that it's not necessarily good news if you catch BJ Penn while his hands are red, you know. Or his elbows. Joe Stevenson and Sean Sherk have a whole lot, even a WHULLUT to tell you about this.

Aaron Riley vs Jorge Gurgel

Jorge Gurgel is an obsessionist, though such a word, as I notice, is not yet in existence. Gurgel's personal mania is that fighting is more entertaining to watch when the collision unravels in the standup position, so, regardless that he is a black belt jiu-jitsu practitioner, he prefers to remain on his feet, regardless how silly he gets beat to. This is a classic event, take heed and bear witness of the heroic effort of Jorge Gurgel, pretty much making a fool of himself by refusing to exhibit any will whatsoever to take this fight to the territories he might be able to win that on. You got to give credit for this fighter nevertheless for desperately trying to oppose a man who surpasses his - Gurgel's - standup abilities, but, to be honest, I am not sure what his plans are for the future. When someone beats him with his - Gurgel's - thorn-out arm, would THEN he be satisfied? He either needs to evolve as a standup warrior or needs to realize that the approach he is following now will never get him all that much far.

Of the remaining bouts, I did not bear much interest, therefore I wrap this up, having the focal points of the night accounted on. 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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Friday, November 14, 2008

The Bank Job

Brain Robbing

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To say that life is among the greatest storytellers, probably would be an understatement, especially when you consider that Roger Donaldson's latest motion picture delivery to date, The Bank Job, is based on true events that took place in London, 1971.

The frame of the buildup is rather intriguing: the British Government finds itself in an untenable situation, being incapable to arrest a certain individual without exposing the United Kingdom to grave developments that could lead to a revolt. As you may have guessed, this particular person maintains very effective blackmail potential over the British Royalty, and, as such: over its Government, as well.

Information suggests that the blackmailer, Mr. X probably keeps the blackmail photos in a safe deposit box of Lloyd's Bank, Baker Street, but the Royalty would never make a move for them, as they don't even possess knowledge of those outrageous photos, even worse: these highest circles probably would collapse on themselves if they had. The Intelligence Agency comes up with a plan. What they want to do is to set up a bank robbery themselves, so the hired/involved villains could take all the loot they want in exchange for the "Royal Portfolio", taken from the safe deposit box of Mr. X.

If this sounds implausible already, then those past real life events are eager to amaze the viewer further on: the robbery is indeed instigated by the Government, but a radio amateur accidentally intercepts the transmissions taking place between the robbers. He informs the Police of his continuous findings, and, no further emphasis is needed: a quite convoluted-, nevertheless absolutely logical narrative carnage of intersecting, overlapping agendas begins.

The fabric of the movie is that of a matrix of organic relations between interests, in which each one of these parties must figure out what-, and how to react, and, most importantly: towards who to react. Roger Donaldson creates and offers quality screentime in this dualistic narrative effort. A massive, initial portion is dedicated to the presentation of the arrangements taking place before the heist, yet the robbers will have but a harshly limited time to resonate joy beside their suspected loot, and this is the point from which on Donaldson switches gears and pushes the pedal to the metal.

Thankfully, the film does not want to be an action flick, the real fun, and, for some degree: the real challenge here is to remain in the game without losing trace of the happenings, though worry is not necessarily to be invoked if at first you fail to set one particular aspect of the rather complex buildup in place. The work of Dick Clement and Ian La Fernais - the interpreters of these real life events - definitely deserves multiple sit-throughs.

Fortunately enough, Bank Job presents you all its considerable intrinsic values through a top notch cast, focally characterized by the key role of Jason Statham, probably one of the ten most charismatic masculine phenoms you could see on the contemporary big screen. While beautiful Saffron Burrows, the giver of the tip renders an absolutely solid performance as a female sidekick, Peter Bowles delivers a very memorable, albeit, sorrowfully not too prolonged interpretation of the head of the Intelligence Agency. No sober man would want to cross this man's path without a fake nuclear bomb in the pocket. Let it be too.

Donaldson's effort surprises consensus as a brave enough installment to dismiss usual action-novelties and stale dialog patterns you heard a million times before, choosing instead to entertain the viewer with its flamboyant, cleverly convoluted storyline. Even better: you can't even place the term "fictional" into the latter sentence, or, at least, that wouldn't cover recorded events. As for these recorded events: all should be clear in 2054, as this is the date by which the British Government will grant public access to the documents concerning this case from 1971. You either choose to wait around for that date, or, you could always follow the witty suggestion the actual bank robbers formed as a message sprayed on the wall on Baker Street:

"Let Sherlock Holmes solve this!"

Solid engagement for the eyes, definite delicacy for the mind: The Bank Job invites you to hop on that van, as there is always a free place to take.

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