Monday, December 20, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen.... Flux!

A while ago, Agent Burgos of the Arizona Avengers sent me a tweet asking me to retweet it. Since Burgos is also the guy who interviewed me for The Weekly Dose on a bit back, I thought nothing of it and retweeded the post. A bit later I went back and clicked the link and read the story. It was about Tracie's Tooth Fairy, a non profit organization that raises awareness and much needed funds for people who require dental work as a result of going through chemotherapy and radiation for cancer treatment. As I too had cancer, I became intrigued in the story. From the best of my knowledge I didn't have any negative effects from my chemo and radiation. The catch is, insurance won't pay for the dental work because the damage to an individual's teeth is a result of a medical procedure.
I read the story and then reread parts. Looked at the photos and saw the beautiful smile Tracie had. I linked to the facebook page for Tracies Tooth Fairy and looked at the photo albums. Then I decided to do something about it. I left a post on her page that said I wanted to make her a character in my comic book, Youth in Asia. I had already begun writing a story involving the character, originally the new heroine was going to be played by Kyle, Nash's girlfriend.
Last Wednesday night, or Thursday morning as it were, the young lady in the article contacted me on facebook. She said that Dan Burgos had got in touch with her about me making her into my new character. She was excited, and asked if I had concept artwork. I immediately began drawing costume pieces for her to pick from. The next morning I emailed the pics to her and she replied with her choice. We have continued to discuss the story ideas and costume color schemes.
The other night I drew up a larger version of the character in order to have a better grasp of the colors to be used. I texted the picture to her and she loved it.
And last night, I wrote a six page origin story for her character in Youth in Asia. I emailed the script to her and am awaiting a reply with her thoughts. I will commence with the page work tonight. It's going to be a great start to a character that will bring a lot of new adventures the Youth in Asia universe.
All because I retweeted.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jay & Silent Bob Chasing Dogma; A Hardcore Review *SPOILERS*

Kevin Smith's one note loser duo of Jay and Silent Bob first made it onto comic books with the Clerks comic book. Don't get me wrong, there is a place for dick and fart jokes, even on your graphic novel shelf. With writing by the enigmatic Smith and art by the seriously underrated Duncan Fegredo (Girl, and Tank Girl) seriously push the envelope of decency and self respect in this, god knows what the hell it was supposed to be about. But it did have the amazing origin of Suzanne which was hinted at in the end credits of Mallrats. Although they did redo said origin in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.
The artwork is fucking amazing. As only Fegredo can offer. You can follow Duncan on his official twitter account.... You can follow Duncan on his official twitter account.... or Smith for that matter. Aside from the professional formalities of whoring those two. Hope they have the decency to send that shit back my way. Especially since Smith stole the whole pigtails gimmick from me when I bumped into him at Wizard World 2005 in Los Angeles and then put it in Clerks 2. I want my two dollars.
Anyways, the story follows, I guess, lovable losers Jay and, his hetero life mate, Silent Bob as they get kicked out of Trish "The Dish's" living room after overstaying their welcome and ruining her interview with some Entertainment Tonight ripoffs.
Right now I am watching Chelsea Handler do standup, and it has me wondering if she really is a slut, like she pretends to be with her routine.
So the two bust down in the television section of an electronics store AND, wait for it..... watch the entire John Hughes library. Lunch Box starts crying and Jay of course probably starts dry humping something. Thing I don't get is the sheer number of bitches who think Jason Mewes is hot. I'm not gay, but I wouldn't fuck him WITH YOUR DICK!
The two get kicked out and then decide to go the Shermer in Illinois to become the resident weed suppliers for the white bread suburb. But hey, everyone has to have a dream, right?
Meanwhile, Suzanne jailbreaks from a train wreck from Provasic labs. Making like Harrison Ford in Fugitive with an incompetent Tommy Lee Jones lookalike chasing after her.
Somehow she runs across the duo and Jay makes his famous "super monkey" speech. But not before the two make it to someplace in Illinois where they hang out in a high school where Anthony Michael Hall and Emilio Estevez somehow haven't aged and are STILL in high school. Here's the twist, they are the chronic connection at that school, and they kick Jay and Lunch Box's asses and toss them in a locker room with a bunch of naked guys.
I can't really capitalize on an endearing moment on this book. Probably cause there really wasn't one. However, I am not saying all stories have to have viable substance or meaning. Cause I am pretty sure most of the comics I've done don't have people rethinking their lives. It's just pure entertainment at the lowest common denominator folks.
But, the art work, all in black and white and the writing mixed together are what make this such a great book. The style is way different from the Clerks comic, but expanding the View Askew universe. I honestly wish Smith put out more comics. And I wish Duncan get more credit for his truly unique style of work.
The time it took me to get back to this book, after probably at least a few years since I last read it was worth it. Since Kevin Smith is known for his dialog and plot I am going to go back to a great heel promo from ECW. Steve Corino, the self proclaimed "King of Old School" came out to the ring to confront the "Human Suplex Machine" Taz in what was a great cowardly heel moment. Corino told Taz that he could beat "the most miserable son of a bitch on the planet" easily. However, just moments before he had injured himself lifting 600, no 800 pounds on the bench press. The whole time, the crowd was chanting, "Taz is gonna kill you!" Since an obviously injured Corino was unable to make a run at the Champ, he brought out a man who could.... Chris Candido.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: A Hardcore Review *SPOILERS*

I know what you're thinking, "What's he reviewing? The comic, the original cartoon, the live action movies from the 80's, the video games, the toys, or the new line of comics, the new line of toys, or the new all CGI movie from a few years back?" Well, I am reviewing the original, Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as collected in First Graphic Novel of the original Mirage series. So with that being straightened out, let's begin, shall we.
The 80's were a decade of overindulgence, in pretty much everything. Neon spandex, cocaine, big hair, eye shadow, Converse All-Stars, cocaine, trippy new wave industrial music, Dire Straits, cocaine, ninjas, teenage driven horror movies and comic books, mutants, AIDS, hyper-sexuality and cocaine. Somewhere along that time frame, Kevin Eastman met Peter Laird, and the two came up with the idea to combine to comic book loving community, which still revolved around the news stands, love of ninjas from Frank Miller's now epic run on Daredevil and teenage mutant phenomenon running rampant over in Claremont and Byrne's X-Men. Throw in a common reptile and you have, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. To think this all hatched in 1983 with Mirage's first issue of TMNT, and by the end of the decade the nation had gone Cowabunga Crazy for the foursome of cold blooded martial arts masters. Hell it not only brought about a hit live action movie, with several in descending order of failure sequels, a really cool cartoon that spawned toys, a cereal and Halloween costumes, but a rabid cult following of kids, teens and young adults that would help carry the torch for the next twenty years.
The story consists of four turtle brothers, mutated by a very familiar accident. An accident involving a runaway truck carrying glowing ooze and a kid rescuing a blind man. However the story goes further than that, with a canister falling off the truck and smashing a glass bowl being held by a little boy. In the glass bowl, four baby turtles. Brothers. Who grew up, and were mentored by a rat named Splinter, who was also transformed by the mutagen. Splinter had studied the art of Ninjitsu while in Japan. He was a pet of ninja master Hamato Yoshi.
I think you know the story from there. Splinter raises the turtles as his own, teaches them the way of the ninja. And sets them out to fight for those who cannot. But even in New York, a group of four foot tall, talking turtles are gonna gain some attention. And it's not a group of reporters seeking interviews. It's street gangs, organized criminals and a growing insurgence of a shadowy ninja clan called the Foot, headed by the next of kin of the man who's brother was killed by splinter's Master Yoshi, Oroku Saki.
The story is a lot faster paced than the original movie, which slowed things down quite a bit. It also changed it, in that there was no brother of Saki, just Saki himself. And Saki gets killed rather quickly. The second story in the collection involves Baxter Stockman and his hot assistant April, and Stockman's Mouser hoards that will rid New York of its rat problem, and rob it blind at the same time.
However this is just the first volume of collected graphic novels by Eastman and Laird. The subsequent collections don't all contain stories with art from the original creators.
After going in different directions with their creative lives, Eastman sold his half of the rights to Laird and went on to write Bodycount with Simon Bisley doing the art chores. Bodycount drew the turtles back to their hyper violent origins complete with stylized renderings of a super hot, buxom April and a savagely 'roided out Casey Jones teaming up with Raphael in a story filled with blood and guts.
Recently Laird has sold the rights to the turtles franchise to Nickelodeon Studios for sixty million dollars. It seems Nick is planning on returning the foursome to their late 80's kid friendly ways with more cartoons like 2007's all cgi animated feature.
A book like the this only comes along a few times in every generation. I was there when it all began. Meaning I was alive, not necessarily reading the reptilian exploits until I reached my thirties. However, I rarely missed an episode of the cartoon and owned several of the toys. I am glad to see the Turtles get their recognition with being around for over a quarter century now. And take their place in the annals of small press comic book history.
The story itself has quirky dialog, and the lettering is confusing. The word balloons are placed in the wrong order at times, making you have to back track a little in order to get the characters to speak in the right sequence. The art, much like The Crow is heavily stylized and dated in such a way with character's hair styles and clothing. But this is not a problem, as I have said, a dated piece is not necessarily a bad thing. It helps conjure up thoughts of that time period, helping you remember the things you loved about being that age. Although a lot of the clothing from the 80 was pretty fucking hideous. The only good thing to come back is the spikey short hair on chicks, leggings and the whole punk look. Back to the story downfalls. The dialog is cheesy. But you have to admit it's not a bad start for two guys who would become legends in the comic book industry. The artwork improves as it always does, or SHOULD, and the characterizations get better. Even though the turtles all look alike, they have distinctive personalities that seem to match the weapons they use.
A fun side note to the history of TMNT. I and my then girlfriend, Jessica almost named Sabu Splinter, because of his uncanny resemblance to the ninja master.
TMNT the original stories sparks a lot of nostalgia for me. In life, not just comics. I mean like I said, I didn't read these original stories until recently, and shame on me for not having done it sooner. And there's a big nostalgia in a young man making a road trip to Madison Square Gardens in the early 80's, while he was still in college to witness a moment that has been talked about, and watched over and over again. Mick Foley regales it best in his book, "Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks" when he talks about the time he hitch hiked from his college in order to get to the World's Most Famous Arena to watch Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka dive off the top of a steel cage onto a bloodied Don Muraco after the conclusion of their Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship match.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lisa's murderer sentenced to 22 years

Today in a Tucson court room, Paul Beam, the man responsible for murdering my old girlfriend Lisa Marie Berrie on August 12, 2008, was sentenced today to 22 years in prison after taking a plea bargain on second degree murder charges. This same time one year ago, Beam had been convicted of first degree murder, and in February of this year he was sentenced to 25 years to life without the possibility of parole. That was before it was discovered that one of the jurors had lied about her background.
For those of you who have never had the opportunity to be called for jury duty service I will let you know a little bit about the process. First, you cannot serve on a jury if you have ever been convicted of a felony. Unless your rights have been restored. This would include the ability to vote, and own a firearm. During the jury selection process, the judge will ask the prospective jurors questions about their lives, including job backgrounds, children, education and other thing relevant to the trial at hand. In the case of the juror misconduct, the woman lied about being both a victim and an assailant in domestic violence cases. This caused the judge, Clark Munger to order a mistrial. And for Beam to be retried.
I learned last night from Lisa's sister, Suzi, that the sentencing for Lisa's murderer was happening today. Which was a little bit odd, since I was called for jury duty today as well. Although in city court, not federal, which would handle a murder trial and sentencing. And I learned after being dismissed from service, that he had taken a plea bargain, dropping the charge from first degree murder which could carry a life sentence, to second degree murder which would involve significantly less time in prison.
Lisa would be 28 in December this year. Beam is 37 right now. Which means if he gets out prison he will be 59. I say "if" because, according to Suzi, Beam looked as if he had taken some abuse of his own during the past five hundred plus days he has spent locked up. Suzi also mentioned that Beam was chained to a small group of prisoners, all who faced sentencing today, and that the other felons looked disgusted when they heard what he had done.
My only thoughts are that when he gets out, twenty-two years is a long time to think about this. It's a long time to let emotions grow. And a long time to let the proverbial pot boil over. In twenty-two years I may be able to find the strength to forgive him for taking Lisa from this world... then again, probably not.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dead West; A Hardcore Review *SPOILERS*

After going damn near a month without a review, I decided to start reading and rereading graphic novels I have in my library. As you may know, my favorite graphic novel of all time is Teenagers from Mars, written by Rick Spears and drawn by Rob Goodridge, better known in the industry as Rob G. Even his wife calls him Rob G. It's kind of like how a group of friends in a sketchbook all refer to one guy by his full name of Paul Fini. The same Paul Fini who does a book called Bliss from his own comic book imprint Indie Only Press. But that's a whole other story.
This story takes a two different genres and mashes them together in a bomb digity comic book. Spears and Goodridge strike again in this 2005 original graphic novel from Gigantic Press the same people who put out the Teenagers from Mars trade. It reads fast paced with seriously cool action in a zombie spaghetti western of movie quality proportions. Dead West could easily translate into either a full length live action movie or an animated movie with all the trimmings.
Dead West marks the revenge of a young native man, who longed to be a hunter and a brave. When his tribe was slaughtered by greedy white men, the brave, who is only ever referred as "Cub" hatches a plot to bring revenge on those responsible. Invoking some sort of death pact, the young brave makes a circle around the nearby town and then commits ritual suicide. But.... the young man comes back from the dead, along with everyone else in the cemetery. The key is the circle cannot be broken by the undead.
In the nearby town a man has been hanged for stealing livestock. A young woman, who is also a whore, pregnant, possibly with his child is forced, along with the rest of the town to witness the "justice." The way he comes back is awesome. Lifting himself up on the noose and biting the rope in half. Dozens of the dead come back to terrorize the town.
There was very little dialog in this book, but some of the lines were classics. When the pregnant whore is given a gun by the man with no name who is being chased by a bounty hunter, she shoots the owner of the whore house and laughs, "I got you! I fucking got you!" I largely suspect the man had raped her.
When "Cub" finds his zombie father, the chief about to take his final resting place, he tells his father that he has enacted revenge. His father tells him something so profound. He says, "Did you take a wife? Have a son?" When the tribe was killed all "Cub" did was live for revenge. When he should have kept the tribe going on.
The story closes with the formerly pregnant, now mother and the man with no name leaving the town and breaking the circle. And a vulture leaves the circle too.
This book is awesome on a lot of levels. True, Goodridge's style can be a bit stiff where his people look like mannequins. But altogether, this book is fucking solid as they come. And even better it's small press.
This Hardcore Review regards Dead West with the grade of a true old school tough son of a bitch who never got his due in the United States, until he got a World Heavyweight Title shot. "Dr. Death" Steve Williams took on the then Extreme Championship Wrestling World Championship Raven in a fight that saw "Dr. Death" bleed on American soil, which is super rare. But it was the end of the match that saw just how hardcore Steve Williams really was. It took three super kicks from leader of the Blue World Order, Big Stevie Cool and a DDT from Raven to stop the man who was an All-American in both collegiate wrestling and football and one of the most dominant American wrestlers who ever stepped foot into a Japanese ring.

Unwanted; A Hardcore Review *SPOILERS*

Several years ago (2008), when people were still using Myspace on a seriously regular basis, I became "friends" with Diablo, one of the writers on the graphic novel that would shortly be released called, The Unwanted. A bit later, at San Diego Comic Con 2007, I met Diablo and picked up the original book. Shortly thereafter I began to read it, but for some reason could only get about twenty pages in before I had to put the book down.
Three years since that time I finally sat down and read the book. It works on so many levels. The base of the story itself reminds me of the movie Stigmata. Thinking about it, woman goes to South America and buys a relic from a vendor. The relic, a necklace is manifesting in a type of possession of whomever wears it. The woman is a teacher at a school for juvenile delinquents. And the evil spirit is hunting the kids.
These stone wall, emotionless kids realize what is going on and they plan to take out the demon. The gather up everything they can find to use as weapons. And even though they started out as enemies, they became a team.
After they kill one of the demons incarnations, one of the kids gets sucked into a parallel world of brimstone and fire, populated by these creatures. With the help of one of the other instructors at the school/detention facility they find out how to bring her back. Smash the amulet.
The end of the story shows some of the kids, who at the beginning hated each other show a survivor's solidarity.
At times the writing was a bit stiff and hokey. Like some of the slang the kids threw, just seemed forced and unnatural. But on a whole, this is a solid story, that seems to scream for a sequel and a prequel. The artwork, as I was informed by Diablo was farmed out to an artist in South America, Juan Romera. His style is completely graphic and stylized. All the line work has a single line weight. Which in some respects is annoying, however, Romera has his own style, much like Mignola or Mike Allred, of Mad Man and X Statix and X-Force before that. The artwork is wholly rendered in black and white, graphic styling. And it works on so many levels. I appreciate small press, which this totally qualifies as. Diablo Productions is the publisher.
This book, as with everything else I review is graded based upon hardcore moments in wrestling history. The Unwanted rates a moment from Japan, probably the FMW or Frontier Martial Arts and Wrestling promotion, which inspired ECW in many ways. The moment came when Sabu was walking to the ring for a match. A fan grabbed Sabu's burnoose off of his head. Sabu, in full character jumps the railing and begins punching the fan. Sabu was and is a wrestler who was taught to protect the business by his uncle Ed Farhat, the Original Sheik. And by staying character Sabu is probably one of the last of a dying breed of wreslters who never wanted to be a superstar.

Monday, November 15, 2010

JLA Earth 2; A Hardcore Review

At Tucson Comic Con I picked up a few books, including JLA Earth 2, volume 2 of Love and Rockets and Denny Riccelli's Get That Chicken. Today I will be reviewing JLA Earth 2 which features the core of the Justice League, of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash and Kyle Rayner Green Lantern going up against alternate Earth versions of themselves in the Crime Syndicate. Written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Frank Quietly this graphic novel burst onto the scene in the early 2000's.
The Crime Syndicate are easily the best part of this book with Johnny Quick, The evil Flash needing Speed Force-like drugs to keep up his normal hyper self. And when he comes down he begins to annoy the Ring, Green Lantern's counterpart. The Ring's power ring is a mystical sentient being of it's own and continually talks down to him. While Batman's doppleganger is Owlman, who is just as cunning, but way more ready to kill anyone who gets in his way, possibly even the passive aggressive Ultraman who at first glance seems to be Superwoman's bitch. Lois Lane is the Earth 2 Superwoman who feeds on her own narcissism and deep seeded need to control others, like Jimmy Olsen and Owlman.
The strange thing about this whole storyline is that it's built around failure, not success. And I don't mean a failure of a story, cause it's awesome. The concept is that the only ones who can succeed on their respective Earths are the heroes that belong there themselves. It's a great concept that spawned a few episodes on Justice League the cartoon and an animated movie, Crisis On Two Earths, which you can watch on Netflix.
What would you do if you knew there was another Earth with an exact opposite version of yourself? Would you attempt to change that world for the better/worse?
The book begins with the Justice League attempting a rescue on a jet liner that is about to crash. After the plane is landed by the team, they discover all 24 passengers are dead, their money with pictures of Benedict Arnold instead of George Washington and their hearts on the right side of their bodies. Martian Manhunter discerns that there is some parallel dimension that the plane was pulled from. Meanwhile on the Crime Syndicate's Earth an identical plane appears with people from our Earth.
The whole story is filled with some amazing scenarios, including Owlman and Superwoman having an affair all in the plain view of Ultraman who appears to be wrapped around Superwoman's little finger.
In the end, the Justice League realizes nothing they do is going to change Earth 2. That the harder they try, the more they are destined to fail. Earth 2 cannot and will not allow the Justice League to win. It's an amazing ideal that the ultimate goodguys are in fact badguys on Earth 2. A fascinating concept. But the Justice League does in fact decide to do something evil in order to gain access to the Crime Syndicate.
It's essentially something I was just thinking about last night. Being a hero sometimes means knowing nothing you do will change the world for the better. No matter how hard you try. But as a hero you still do everything you can, no matter the futility.
This is the first review I have done in a while, as my laptop has been on the fritz and is probably on it's last legs in some respects. I am working to rectify this situation as quickly and as inexpensively as possible.
The grade for this book is a fairly recent match from TNA and more than 20 years in the making. Flair versus Foley in a Last Man Standing match. Or a Death Match if you will. Both combatants blade, with Flair pulling another four alarmer. Battling up and down the entrance ramp and back into the ring. Flair takes a back body drop onto a pile of thumbtacks. Ultimately the ending, which some feel was lackluster, I really liked. Flair lands a splash onto Foley putting them both through a table. And as the count reaches ten, both Flair and Foley stand with Flair crumbling to the mat just after. The end result being that even though Flair was the work horse for so many years it was the man he called a "glorified stuntman" who could take more punishment. And the match ended with Foley having his hand raised.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Crow; A Hardcore Review

The penultimate gothic graphic novel ever. Written and drawn by James O'Barr back in the days when comics went from being just for kids, to being driven towards a more adult audience. Created by a distraught O'Barr after losing his girlfriend to a drunk driver, the ink poured out in graphic chapters of metaphorical payback. In much the same way that I originally formed Youth in Asia to be somewhat autobiographical in that very similar metaphorical nature.
Visually very different from the high quality and "image" conscious books of the day. It stands as an independent triumph in the comic book world, that spawned more than half a dozen sequels from different creators and a reboot from none other than Todd McFarlane. The Crow also made its way to the big screen in an adaption starring, in his final role, Brandon Lee, three sequels and a television series; not to mention the toys.
And 16 years after the Brandon Lee driven epic, and almost twenty years after the original graphic novel, there are rumblings of a remake of the 1994 feature film. As of this blog post, rumor has it that former underwear model and wanna be gangsta rapper, "Marky" Mark Wahlberg to reprise the role of the late great Eric Draven.
But this review is about the James O'Barr comic book. The use of varying art styles by O'Barr keep the story flowing extremely well. During the present time sequences, O'Barr relies on hard line work and basic graphic stylings. Where as in the flashback portions, gray scale and wash are used to give a softer side to the uber gritty revenge based storyline. Much in the same way that the Brandon Lee classic used filters and colors to give Eric Draven much needed balance.
There is no real "return" chapter to the story. Draven, pretty much shows up and starts his killing spree. And sure the book's artwork is a bit dated, but what Kirby classic from the 60's or seventies isn't dated by its physical appearance. It's part of the book's charm.
The multi kill sequence in Top Dollar's hangout is epic in much the same way as the movie version's massive shootout complete with brooding lighting, massive blood loss, and a few choice words. The thing I really like about The Crow is its use of poetry and music lyrics for chapter breaks and to set the mood for the coming events. As prophetic as Eric Draven's character is, he still uses soliloquy during the final moments of his tormentor's lives.
The history of the deaths of Shelly Webster and Eric Draven is different than the movie, in that Shelly and Eric were killed along a rural highway, after celebrating their engagement. T-Bird, Top Dollar, Fun Boy, Tin Tin, Tom Tom and Skank are all packed into T-Bird's car and stop when they see the couple broken down on the side of the road. Without much thought, the gang murders Eric and then begin to torment Shelly. Raping and killing her, with Fun Boy doing the deed after her head is blown off.
The whole time the crow is instructing Eric not to look into certain portions of his life with Shelly. To maintain focus on the mission at hand. But Eric is motivated by his true love for Shelly. He cannot help himself in wanting to see those once beautiful moments of his life. Moments that once brought him peace. And that love and peace is what fuels his vengeance. Draven can't be killed. He can't even be hurt. And with the death of those who wronged him and his beloved, he can finally be at peace.
For those who are new to my Hardcore Review, you may wonder what I use to grade the projects I review. Well, I don't use stars, letter grades, percentages or even fucking smiley faces. This is the Hardcore Review, and I utilize hardcore moments in professional wrestling history to grade the projects I review. The classic tale of justice and balance by James O'Barr rates a moment people never thought they would see. The place was Asbury Park. The promotion, Extreme Championship Wrestling. The combatants, Bam Bam Bigelow, the hometown hero, and the World Television Champion, Taz. After a pretty huge battle, including a modified belly to belly overhead suplex by Taz, putting Bigelow through a table. But that's not the moment. The moment came a tad later when Taz jumped on the back of The Beast from the East and locking in his dreaded Tazmission. Out of the field of view of the ref, but clear to those watching on pay per view, The Beast tapped. But since the ref didn't see, the match didn't end. Bigelow threw his legs out from under him, sending both himself and Taz crashing through the ring, to the cement floor underneath. Who rose first was the Beast, who then dragged a near unconscious Taz back into the ring and pinned him to win the World Television Title.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

300; A Hardcore Review *SPOILERS*

FINALLY.. after years of owning the graphic novel, I read 300, the tale of a group of Spartans and King Leonidas who take on the Persian army, which numbers in the hundreds of thousands. An army so vast it shakes the ground it marches on. With numbers so massive it drinks the rivers dry. The army of a hundred nations threatens the free states. And Sparta has a reputation, for not taking any shit.
The story opens with a Persian messenger rides into Sparta to appeal to Leonidas to yield to the coming onslaught, with an offering of earth and water. Leonidas warns the Persian that in Sparta, even a messenger is held responsible for the words they speak. The messenger and his small cadre are then forced into a nearly bottomless pit, where they find their earth and water.
After attempting to reason with Ephors and the Oracle, Leonidas is denied his request for an army to take down the advancing Persian army. So, instead, Leonidas goes for a walk with his personal bodyguards consisting of 300 Spartans.
The book is some of Frank Millers most amazing work. Sure he is probably most remembered for The Dark Knight Returns and his seminal creator owned series of graphic novels, Sin City, but I feel that 300 is some of his most beautiful work. Amazingly rendered line work with astonishing colors by Lynn Varley, Miller's personal colorist and former wife.
The battles depicted are so graphic and perfect in nature that the story flows without any gaps or flaws. The identity of Xerxes, the God King who commands the hundred nations of Persia. He demands only that Leonidas kneels before him, and he will be Warlord of all of Greece. The only being Leonidas would answer to, would be Xerxes himself.
Leonidas was approached by fellow Spartan castoff, who was born deformed and was then hidden by his mother and father. Wanting to join the Spartan 300, he was denied due to his inability to protect himself and his Spartan to the left. This man then decided to kill himself, but for unknown reasons failed in his attempt. Found by the Persian army and offered a position, by Xerxes, to lead a faction of his army against Leonidas and the Spartans. This man wanted it all, women, power and most of all the uniform he was denied by Leonidas.
Not easily dissuaded, Leonidas and his diminishing number continue to advance and plan. Easily the best portions of the battles were the wall made of stone, with mortar supplied by the fallen Persians, and the wall made of Persians themselves. The artwork seemed so personal and prophetic in nature. Sitting here thinking about it all, the book just reflects so much history, even though it wasn't based on historical facts. 300 is a book I feel every comic book fan should read. Whether you're a super hero fan or a fan of anything else, you need to read this book. It is a must read in my opinion. The writing and art mesh as well as anything else Frank Miller has ever done. And easily made one of the coolest ancient battle epics that became a killer fucking movie, EVER!
Hopefully, by now, if you've been reading my reviews by now, you know that I don't use thumbs, up or down, stars or letter grades to rate the comics, movies, music and video games I review. Since this The Hardcore Review, I utilize hardcore moments in professional wrestling history to establish my grade. And 300 is fucking hardcore. How hardcore? Well, it goes back to a unification of two wrestlers who wanted to make an impact. Lance Storm and Justin Credible. And another wrestler who was hanging up his boots, in "The Franchise" Shane Douglas. Alongside his valet, Francine, Douglas was making an announcement of his retirement at Crossing the Line 1999. Both Justin and Storm came to ring proclaiming that they themselves would be the one to take up the mantle of "the Franchise." To which, Douglas said, while they were both making waves in ECW, neither of them was a franchise. Tommy Dreamer was the man who was going to fill the shoes of Douglas. To which both Storm and Credible responded in the negative to say the least. Jumping Douglas, forced "The Queen of Extreme" Francine into the middle of the ring, unprotected. Setting up a massive cane shot from Credible, bloodying Francine and knocking her to ground. Sure there had been a ton of violence in ECW. And even quite a bit of violence against women. But I believe this was the first full on cane shot to a woman's face. Censored on the preview for the pay per view, and on Hardcore tv, the only way to see it without the black bar, is to own Crossing the Line 99.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ideas are bulletproof

This rant was written back on January 13, 2009

Genocide: n. The systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group.
I will add to this, age group. As you may or may not have noticed our generation; those that are between 20 and 40 are being culled from the herd. The herd being the human populace. And for that I will not stand. People don't realize or maybe they're just complacent or apathetic to the idea that it is our generation that fights the wars. Our generation that consumes and spends our hard earned income to keep what the politicians have left of our infrastructure in tact. Our generation that has always been expendable. It means we truly hold more than we know in terms of power. We're the ones who are "going" to take care of the older generation when they can't wipe their own asses or administer their own meds. We're the ones who are expected to raise the younger, chosen generation to take the reigns of power when it is handed to them. This begs the question as to why my generation, you, my brethren are so void of application and determination that we're going to sit idly by and let these fuckers screw us from our birthright. It's ours for the taking and we're just gonna watch it fucking float on by and say, "whatever." NO! FUCK THAT! I won't sit and let them rape me for my work and my mind and my creative output. I'll fucking die at the hands of the beast first. To use a very cliche phrase; I would rather burn out then fade away.
And you can't stop them. You can't stop that machine alone. You cannot. It's not that I don't believe in myself. It's not that I don't believe in you. I feel that people are invariably creatures of habit. People are things that never want shit to change because in a fact of matter they themselves do not handle change very well. When something is going well, or even not going well, it may still be a comfortable situation. And by upsetting the balance of that comfort, even to make the situation better, is a chore in and of itself. It becomes something that people cannot deal with by themselves, so they allow the snowball to get bigger. And by allowing change to not take place and the status quo to maintain as the status quo, you risk the balance of power becoming increasingly corrupt and bloated. And then you can't get the king off the throne.
This is where we are. And you may say, "nay," we have a new multicultural president waiting in the wings. Ready to pick up and take arms along side his fellow Americans. I say no, there is now way that the corporations, the most megalomaniacal thing in the world has taken the brass ring and crushed it long ago. There is nothing left for people to fight for other than bringing down the masters. We can and if you want it bad enough we will. But there's gonna be casualties in this war. There are gonna be hurt fuckin' feelings too. But hey a big fat check can cure all that shit. You left me with my 40 acres and mule in terms of my service, but I raze the fields and salt the fucking earth. I will slaughter the mule and bathe in its blood. Not because I am in anyway humbled, but because I believe in what's right. There is nothing that a corporation can do except try and take what they will from you and your assets. We aren't communism, but in the same time capitalism is a shit seeking missile that will never stop until they get their cut from the deal. And in exchange for their cut they offer you the chance to play their game. To play by their rules. Sure your message gets out to more and more people. But most of those millions who will make you go platinum are fucking sheep and they'll eat anything that is put in front of them. Sheep. And you know what else sheep can be led to do? Run in a flock off a cliff.
People quick to rally at a war cry must understand that we must not be full. We must be hungry. Our spirit must always hunger if change is to come. And fuck the self righteous. We will follow no ONE's lead. Nay. I ask not that you follow my lead. Or his. Or hers. I insist that WE take fucking ownership for once in our lives. For once in human existence, WE stop and take ownership of the things that lay before us. We cannot undo what has already been done. We cannot change the past. We can only direct the future, never predict it. And one person's perspective of the "greatest generation." You know the generation that fought Hitler. The generation that rallied to war when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. These are the same generation that sat a did nothing when the president was told by Emperor Hirohito that there was going to be attacked. This was the same generation that allowed Hitler to rise to power. This is the same generation that sponsored the cultivating of Germany's greatest scientific minds to suit our own evil selfish deeds of creating something so horrendous that it would one day be the fear of unmaking everything. You may say "greatest generation." I say just a generation. They labeled us lazy, apathetic, complacent and fed us pills until we stooped into a coma. Then they gave us a moniker I will never forgive them for. Simply they called us "X." The unknown variable. The unnamed. And by happenstance, unworthy to take the reigns of power. That being said...
There is nothing I want to see more than America burn. Not in a sense of my people, your people and good people losing everything they ever had in their lives, but in a sense where everything goes back to zero. It's one fucking digit. The whole and absence of a number. And in binary it means, "off." To which we switch the machine off. Pull the plug of the fatted calf whose teat we suckle at feeling all warm and secure. Like there is anything that can or will be done to try and mend the fences or bridge the gaps that capitalism and "the American Way," has left me and mine poor, uneducated and hungry in the streets, like dogs. Well my mother warned me about dogs in the streets. Don't pet those mangy dogs. Don't feed 'em neither, cause they'll just keep coming back. You can put a fucking bumper sticker on your car that mommy and daddy bought you, and feel nice and secure that you're doing your part. Cause you're not. If you haven't gone hungry. Lived pay check to pay check. Or felt obligated to feed those who are left to rebuild their lives. America is inherently racist. The country was founded upon the genocide of the natives. It was built on the sweat and blood of the Asians who built the railroads, and the Africans that tilled the fields and clothed the masters. And the people who tend to the fields now are the same people who were created when the white Europeans came to this once rich land and raped the women, slaughtered the men and crushed the children under their boot heels; thus creating my people, the Latinos, Hispanics, Chicanos or in my case, Mexicans. And I am most certainly that. Working class, hardly educated, and seriously in debt to corporations who refuse to loosen the death grip they hold on the whole fucking world. This isn't a question of if, but when they will come to your door claiming that you inherited your neighbor's debt simply because you live in the neighborhood.
The amazing this is we live in a world controlled by digital and electrons and circuit boards. Things that exist, exist solely in a data format. They don't really exist unless there is input. People look at things in purely material means and they lose the purpose of the message. It's not about having or not having. It's about making sure you have more than the next guy. Just make sure you survive. And for so long I have JUST survived. No longer will I just survive. I will, with every breath I can muster until my life is over, will I stop the fight for what I believe. The toppling of a monster so great that no one save 13 lone terrorists tried to bring down. And I in no way mean I can kill the American Spirit. Fuck that. Keep your spirit. I want it's head on a fucking silver plaque hanging over my front door. I want the head of ever corporation mounted and stuffed, adorning my game room. I want those fuckers to fear me like they should. I want to bleed them of their life's work. I want them to feel my wrath. And then their bones will ache at the mere sound of my footsteps. The will piss their pants at the slightest whisper of my voice. Fuckers! All of them. And I want their blood to cover the earth. And when it does it will douse the flame of my eternal hatred for their idealism.
People just don't realize that these corporations of money grubbing, sycophant terrorist organizations, disguised in finely tailored suits. These stuffed suits with not morals, no scruples, and not ethics would throw a mere decimal of their daily pittance at me to shut me up. But it's not gonna work. Nothing short of killing me will halt my voice. Marvel can keep any big money long term contracts with medical and dental in their desk drawer for the next sucker to come by. DC can save their lines about changing the comic book world. Being new and inventive doesn't come with a price tag. It doesn't get awards. It doesn't get recognized. True innovation is brought about with violent sweeping change. There is little that can be done to stop it, if anything at all. And I will innovate some violence all over your mother fucking asses and violently rape your minds with ideas that will pervert and exploit the sheep masses that follow in your stead. The people you claim to help haven't been redeemed. They haven't been saved because you invented the wheel. Modern technologies have brought about more harm and malice than The Plague. The idea that you have changed the world only shows how ignorant of the ideals and dreams of the world. Sure the atomic bomb ended World War 2, but if you people had never sponsored the rise of the Reich then the bomb would have never been a necessity. This is the dawn of a new age. An idea that cannot be bought off. A truth that cannot be killed. And ideas are more powerful that any tool or weapon you could ever create. More people have died for ideas than from bullets, disease and famine. And I plan to tell you all about it.

Clerks 2; A Hardcore Review

The third venture for Dante and Randal in this finality to the Jersey saga. Ok so maybe it's not final. What would all my Generation X slacker brethren have to do with the rest of our meaningless cumulative existence without more Kevin Smith goodness?
First off I have to admit I had not seen this epic on the big screen as I was in San Diego for the 2006's San Diego Comic Con International.
Having Randal back for another round is always welcome. Kevin Smith writes the best non-sensical dialog, and it is always a good thing no matter how many times I have seen it.
My serious issue with this movie is that Smith keeps putting his wife in his films. Dude, she is not nearly as hot as you seem to think she is. And she's not a very good actress. She's too stiff and not easily acceptable as one of the loser geeks in his reality. That and giving her the Mary Jane line was a bit much.
The use of Randal as a gay catalyst in Clerks is something I didn't really understand other than Smith wanting his gay brother something to hold onto in his films. Somehow I doubt the GLBTQ community is ready to send an award to Smith for his outreach to their plight. I empathize with Randal as he seems to find something wrong with everything in his way. And he always has the best 1Liners and come backs. I see a bit of myself in this character who can always make others laugh at crude fucking humor and shit.
Things get better as Rosario Dawson shows up in a bra that doesn't quite hold her tits in place while she dances to the Jackson Five. Fuck. That and the really unusual musical number he insists that he has always wanted to have in one of his flicks.
And as much as people protest, the donkey scene is quite hilarious. The new common denominator of Randal versus Elias is a welcome change from the usual rigamerole of Dante v. Randal.
In all this movies has almost everything the original had and more including Jay reinacting the scene from Silence of the Lambs and a whole juxtapositon for about go-karts versus masturbation.
I think this is the first time I have watched this in my home since I bought the DVD back in 2006.

As an end all I give this quality classical Generation X slacker flick as the pentultimate basis upon which I will base all other slacker projects, movie, comic or otherwise. This movie rates Sabu slashing open his biceps on the barbed wire versus Terry Funk (a wound that required over 100 stitches) and taping it shut and finishing the match.

Things That Suck interview circa 2009

Here is an interview I did a while back via email. I have never seen it in either print or on a website anywhere.

On Mon, 3/2/09, Thingsthat ReallySuck .. wrote:

From: Thingsthat ReallySuck ..
Subject: Youth in Asia
Date: Monday, March 2, 2009, 1:00 AM

Hello Mr. Chihak,
We have recently partook of your comic. We have drank deep from the bounty of your riches, in the adventures and misadventures of John Nash and his sock. We did have a series of questions for you. We strongly wish you would endeavor to answer:
1.) Who/what was your inspiration for Genocide (personal? ethnic? cultural? political?)
2.)Is the sock included in the "group of 20 something friends?" (meaning is the sock 20 years old?)
3.) What are the "basic catastrophes" that occur in that #1 issue?
4.) How would you define "anti-hero" given the OED definition of "one who is the opposite or reverse of a hero?" Especially when your hero, John Nash, is very much a conventional hero.
5.) Was the fact that John Nash is a pro-wrestler (unconventional) in any way inspired by Spider Man (conventional) and his past origin deeply rooted in the fact that he fought in wrestling matches?
6.) Is Apex City a metaphor for the Island of Misfit Toys?
7.) Did the women's liberation movement exist in your continuity?
8.) Does the anti-hero's pig-like manifestation reflect inherent misogyny?
9.) Why does Grrry's name-tag say Lola? Is it a reference to the Kinks/is she transgendered like the Lola of the song?
10.) How is the sock being "sneaky" during the dinner in the first issue?
11.) How can we fight in the revolution? What kind of armaments are there? Is it militia-based?

We look forward to your answers. Thank you for your contributions to the comic community.
Curious Readers

PS Have you seen Food of the Gods?
PPS How do you feel about the term "misogyny-fest" to describe your creation?

1.) Who/what was your inspiration for Genocide (personal? ethnic? cultural? political?)

Obviously you don't watch wrestling nor have you done any research after reading my book. The Genocide character is not a slam at people of Middle Eastern descent. He is an homage to my favorite wrestler, Sabu. If I wanted to make a political statement about genocide, I probably would have had a tag team consisting of Dick Cheney and George W Bush look-a-likes
2.)Is the sock included in the "group of 20 something friends?" (meaning is the sock 20 years old?)
Agnew, is not a sock.
3.) What are the "basic catastrophes" that occur in that #1 issue?
basic catastrophes?

It's a friggin wrestling match. And then Nash takes out some gang bangers in an alley. Sorry, my story telly abilities have improved since issue one
4.) How would you define "anti-hero" given the OED definition of "one who is the opposite or reverse of a hero?" Especially when your hero, John Nash, is very much a conventional hero.
Conventional hero in the sense that he's a vigilante? Dunno what you mean about that. He works outside the confines of the law. Issue two is a social commentary about how the justice system doesn't work. And how citizens should take matters into their own hands.
5.) Was the fact that John Nash is a pro-wrestler (unconventional) in any way inspired by Spider Man (conventional) and his past origin deeply rooted in the fact that he fought in wrestling matches?
Uh, probably somehow way in the back of my subconscious. But wrestling happens to be a passion of mine and something I could writer for, so I decided, Nash has to have a day job.
6.) Is Apex City a metaphor for the Island of Misfit Toys?

no, although Triple X is an homage to ECW, and that place was a metaphor for the Island of Misfit Toys, so in a strange way, yes.
7.) Did the women's liberation movement exist in your continuity?
My guess is you don't believe a woman can be strong and not have to be conservative. Yes the movement exists. I am myself a firm believer of women's lib. A woman can be anythign she wants, even sexy and strong.
8.) Does the anti-hero's pig-like manifestation reflect inherent misogyny?
Wow. Sounds like my book touched a nerve. The look is supposed to reflect a more beastial or primal visage. Not misogyny. Lemme guess. You're either a very sheltered woman or a guy who is totally whipped into thinking that any view of a woman's sexuality means a man is responsible and also a pig. Funny. I thought we had come far in our ways. Guess not. I am not misogynist. In fact I admire women quite a bit. In fact my mom is my hero. Maybe you should print that.
9.) Why does Grrry's name-tag say Lola? Is it a reference to the Kinks/is she transgendered like the Lola of the song?
No, Grrry just felt like wearing a nametag that says Lola. I haven't even heard that song.
10.) How is the sock being "sneaky" during the dinner in the first issue?
It's a joke pertaining to Harley Quinn in an episode of Batman The Animated Series
11.) How can we fight in the revolution? What kind of armaments are there? Is it militia-based?
The armaments are free speech and ideas. Militias are so white trash and fucking unorganized. It's more of a revolution towards shitty mainstream comics.

As for the idea of my book being labeled "misogyny-fest" I would say no. Look at any mainstream comic which depict women as being victims and helpless. Let me know if that might be a bit more misogynistic than what is within the pages of Youth in Asia. Actually a lot of my fanbase is female. SO I guess they don't feel that way.

And are you a source of review for the book or other comic books?
Apparently I am at a loss for you, as I am guessing this going to go on a website saying that my book really sucks. COol, I guess you can't please everyone.
Your answers are as follows. Please feel free to quote me.

Watchmen; A Hardcore Review

On Friday March 6, 2009, there was a historical event that came upon the movie and comic book industry....
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's Watchmen hit theatres. Me and my crew went at half after midnight on the day in question.
What followed is three hours of some of the most captivating feature film I have ever seen. The idea that this was an impossibility only a few years ago, and then chided by Alan himself, as he broke ties with DC and said none of his comics needed to be turned into movies. Well he was right about League, that was a pile of shit, and he had his name attatched to that one.
Watchmen is one of the most loved and best selling graphic novels of all time. One of a handfull of graphic novels taught in college classrooms. It encompases the worst feelings of the cold war and the bitter hideousness of McCarthyism.
In short, the movie was a huge success. The soundtrack rocked. They intermingled 80's pop with modern covers and seemed it beautifully. The visuals were spot on. The costume redesigns were great.There were a few things that were superfluous: like the seemingly endless sex scene abourd the Owl-jet. It was the type of scene that makes you feel like you were watching Roadhouse with your mom. That level of discomfort. The build up on Rorschach was great. Jackie Earle Haley was awesome. As if this was the role he was born for (it reminded me of Brandon Lee and the Crow). The only other man who could have been Rorschach was that crazy fucker Danny Bonaduce. The prison scene made my night with Rorschach uttering the most famous words of the series, "I'm not locked in here with you! You're locked in here with me!"
And man Golden Age Silk Specter may have been hotter than Modern Age Silk Specter. But that whole pin up doll thing really works for me. Not to mention she was a redhead. NOICE!
I give Watchmen a blast from the past... Mankind being chokeslamed through the top of the Cell onto the cold hard, unforgiving canvas below, with a steel chair crashing onto his head.

SCUD The Whole Shebang!; A Hardcore Review

I had begun collecting issues of SCUD several years ago, although I found several different issues, I never collated a complete series. And after several years at San Diego Comic Con 2008 SCUD creator Rob Schrab announced that SCUD had been collected into an omnibus after he had finalized the series with the last four issues.
The compilation is amazing, including all 24 covers and a tremendous intro by Kate Freund. The story is top notch on the weird-o meter. A story about a robot assassin that self distructs after its target has been terminated, and it's available at your corner "venting" machine. It's a concept that is destined to be legendary. The humor and grandeur that it amasses is truly a thing of beauty. This book spans more than a decade worth of Rob's work and two major heartbreaks in his life. Rob has a tremendous gift of creativity and amazing use of the brush. His line work is quirky and just right for the job of a disposable assassin named after the greatest nemesis weapon of the first Gulf War. SCUD delivers on all fronts, spanning the diverse plane of earth all the way to heaven for the woman he loves. SCUD is the best of a medium that can go anywhere. SCUD even became a video game, and an action figure.
The idea of a machine that kills based on a preset contempt level is sheer genius. The fact that it desires to keep its target alive and on life support in order to sustain its own life is Orwelian. And then he goes to work for the mob in order to earn money to pay to keep his primary target on life support so he too can remain alive.
In short, you gotta read SCUD to believe it. And once you do, it will change your life. And it will also make you realize why Rob Schrab should be writing all of Comedy Central's programming.
The grade I give SCUD is a flashback from 1994 when Chris Benoit earned his nickname, "The Crippler" by suplexing Sabu right onto the top of his head, breaking his neck.

Dead Noon; A Hardcore Review

It has to happen. You cannot conceivably like everything you see or hear or read. And well, I gotta say, I did not dig this movie. As a reviewer it is my job to tell my honest opinion, and that's the tough part. You can't only review stuff you like. That's dishonest. Like doctors who only include certain patients in medical studies. Watch old ER reruns, you'll know. Dead Noon stars veteran stuntman and my personal favorite Jason Voorhees of all time, Kane (pronounced Kah-nay) Hodder as a the storyteller. After he pulled his "victim," I guess, I don't remember him killing her or anything out of the back of the van, he proceeds to tell a story about a man who walked straight out of hell to find revenge against the family lineage that took his life. The badass was from the old west where he slept with his partner's wife and then thought to try and kill him when the Kane (the partner's name) finds out and gets pissed. Beyond the sordid gun play and very cheesey, "beats the devil in a hand of poker" the man in black, unfortunately not Johnny Cash, leaps through time to the present where all the law enforcement in Wyoming are still apparently wearing long duster jackets and cowboy hats. Man I don't even remember how this flick ended, cause I jumped online while it was playing.
The movie used a jumpy steadycam and a ton of low budget modern movie tricks, like the CGI fire, which was actually pretty cool. The on fire cowboy from hell with the flaming bullets was an awesome effect, even if the skull head was three sizes too big to be an actual skull. This could have been the Western Ghostrider, pre Nick Cage and his rediculous hairline. JUST SHAVE IT OFF ALREADY!
To grade this upon my usual scale of pro wrestling hardcore analogies seems harsh. I wanted to like this movie so much, but the poor audio and terrible dialog made me long for one of those flaming bullets myself. Kane Hodder aside, this movie rates The Rock's "The People's Elbow." Now to some wrestling fans that might seem generous, but remember this scale is based on the more hardcore the wrestling analogy the more I liked the movie. And well, it was either that or Hulk Hogan's shitty big boot and craptastic leg drop. I thought I would try to be nice, out of respect for Mr. Hodder. Plus I know that somewhere out there is a movie so terrible it will rate the "mighty" Hogan leg drop. Probably one of Hogan's movies itself.

Afro Samurai; A Hardcore Review

Here we go. Back on the horse of movie reviews. Furthermore I will also be reviewing comics, video games and music albums here in the future.
As for this series, I was hesitant at first, as it was brought to America by Spike TV. not that Spike is a bad station, but I have felt, for some time now, that whenever someone or something (ie a tv station, website, radio station, newspaper etc) I tend to be wholly against it, especially since I saw Pulp Fiction. But I'll save that for another time. Afro Samurai is the story of a man seeking vengeance for his slain father. Simple enough, right? See Afro's father used to be number one. As in the world's number one fighter/ killer, and he had this sacred headband proclaiming so. The only person who could challenge number one, was the person with the number two headband. And along comes Justice, who with only a pair of six shooters, cuts down Afro's old man. Afro absconds with the number two headband along with his father's severed head. He gets jumped and mugged and the headband is lost for years.
Afro is taken in by an old sword master who runs a dojo. Afro's only thought is to get that number two headband and then kill Justice. Afro finds who holds the number two headband and subsequently cuts him down.
Afro's trails take him through many fights, as being number two can be challenged by anyone. Of course Afro wins all of the fights in full on bloody battle. The end of the four part series, as I have no idea if they intend to make a second series, other than the movie, Afro Samurai Resurection, sees Afro face off with Justice for the sacred number one headband. I won't spoil anything else.
Afro Samurai stars the voice talents of Samuel L. Jackson as Afro, and Ninja Ninja (Afro's sidekick); Ron Pearlman as Justice; and Kelly Hu as Okiku. Musical score composed by Wu Tang Clan's The RZA. The animation is top shelf, some of the best I have seen in anime. The music is amazingly good, with some of the best fight scene beats I have ever heard. I would recommend Afro Samurai to anyone who is a fan of Anime, fight movies, hip hop or any combination of the above.
As an end all rating; Afro Samurai rates Masato Tanaka versus Mike Awesome on TNN just before the New Year 1999. The finale called for Awesome reverse super sitout powerbombing Tanaka through a fucking table. You have to see this to believe it. Awesome wins back his ECW World Heavyweight Championship in one of the greatest hardcore title matches this writer has ever seen. And just one more round in the Awesome v. Tanaka mega feud that spaned more than a decade and two continents.

Jack Frost; A Hardcore Review

Ever want to see Shannon Elizabeth get raped to death by a homicidal mutant snowman and his carrot penis? Cause that's what you'll get with this "high" quality movie. I say "high" cause it's probably ten times better when you're high. Michael Keaton play a loser saxaphonist who goes insane and kills people.... wait, that's the "other" Jack Frost? Jesus how many of these captastic flicks is gonna get made?
A serial killer some how gets in a car accident on his way to execution and gets splashed with some fucking chemical (not unlike Daredevil) and turns into a mutant frosty. He heads up his remaining time by heading to the nearby backwoods town where he was captured by a bumbling sheriff who is then threatened with death no matter the fires of hell Jack Frost (the killer's name) must go through. Man, I thought I was gonna enjoy this movie. Cause it's a stupid, crappy horror movie and I enjoy shit like that. I've seen it two or three times now and it gets better and better every time I watch it. Wait did I say "better and better?" I meant "ho hum and duh." This movie couldn't fill a latrine. Wow. I think I found something to bitch about. Something I also enjoy.
Well death by homicidal snowman cock is better than death by.... well I'm sure there's something out there worse to die by.
In my old grading scale this rates J.T. Smith falling from the top rope and cracking his head on the cold, hard unfogiving concrete floor of the ECW Arena. Wait for it..... only to be showered with chants of, "You fucked up!" from the every growing throng of unwashed masses. And I say that with the utmost love. The ECW fans may have been bloodthirsty and filthy, but they were the most knowledgable and loyal fans in the business.

Manos the Hands of Fate; A Hardcore Review

Even with the guys of Mystery Science Theater 3000 leading the way, with killer jibes and knock out blows, it still wasn't enough to make me wish I wasn't dining on one of those flaming hell bullets from Dead Noon. Actually this flick made me wish I was watching Dead Noon.
Rated I believe as the "worst movie ever" from the long line of "watched it right before I tried to kill myself" films from the MST3K library. And that covers a lot of ground.
I cannot believe that someone got paid to make this unless it was for the express purpose of wanting, nay, craving, no, needing to be ridiculed at a later date.
Freddy Got Fingered who? Gigli what? And I haven't seen either of those abortions.
This fucker rates the closest to the mighty Hogan leg drop I can get. I am sure there is another movie out there worthy of this honor. So I am bestowing the hardcore award of Sid Vicious' "awesome" right hand. That is the most fitting award that can ever be bestowed up Sid Vicious.

Observe and Report; A Hardcore Review

What more can I say except, sure was a lot of cock in this movie.
Once again Seth Rogen is pretty damn hilarious. He's the new Vince Vaughn in terms of being the regular, quasi out of shape funny guy.
Any way, he plays Ronnie, this dilusional mall security guard who dreams of being a savior. The movie opens with a slow motion montage of the goings on in his mall. The second it ends, the hilarity ensues. A chubby mid lifer runs amoke in the mall parking lot, flashing female patrons and yelling some pretty heinous shit at them.
Bring in Ronnie and his random crew of motley misfits, a greasey whatever the fuck that guy was and the Chinese twins who have as much a hard on for firearms as my crazy, dilusional cousin, who interestingly enough is also a security guard with dilusions of gradeur.
Ronnie's other dream includes plowing the cosmetics counter whore, played almost too well, by Anna Faris.C'mon, this chick works at every fucking mall in the free world. And ladies, if you cannot identify this bimbo, well then it's because it's you.
After quite a bit of craziness including having to see Ray Liotta's fucked up mug and his partner's obscene hairline and Steven Segal-like ponytail for far too long. The dialog was pretty good, with Liotta playing the hardnosed, battle hardened detective who fails at every attempt to hold back the "retard" with the badge.
The movie culminates with something you see coming a mile away, even if it is tiny and almost obscured by errant belly flab. As well as the whole romance thing that according to Rich from KRQ's John Jay and Rich, Roy Orbison could see coming. Only to be corrected by John Jay and the internet.
Make sure you have fun while watching this movie, but please don't take your "Fifi" loving soon to be twelve year old daughters.... SANDRA! Jesus, and then she has the audacity to get mad at me for saying cock like twenty times afterwards. Fucking douchebag. I swear to god.
Now, onto the grade this movie receives. Observe and Report deserves the biggest car crash award it can possibly receive. And that would be once again dipping back into the classic match from King of the Ring 1998 where upon Mick Foley flew off the top of the Cell and crash landed through the Spanish announce table and halfway rolling under the guardrail behind them.

Unbreakable; A Hardcore Review

My job entails that I stay awake three nights a week while my clients get some well deserved shut eye. In order to help myself stay conscious, I take a plethora of caffeinated soda and my PS3, and a small selection of movies and games. Tonight I watched one of my all time favorite movies, Unbreakable. This movie is great for so many reasons. It caught a lot of flak for having the whole comic book tie in, especially at the begining where it gives random facts about comics. I loved it the first time I saw it back in 2000 and I love it nine years later. Willis and Jackson play off of each other so well, with Robin Wright Penn doing a fantastic job of playing the estranged wife who just wants her husband back. The opening of the movie on the train is such a great way to begin. No back story, just David Dunn's semi origin.
And when he meets Elijah for the first time, Jackson lets slip that he is the villain. He refers to David's son, Joseph as "the child." Not, "your son," or by his name, simply as a noun, almost a pro-noun if he could have gramatically gotten away with it. This was something that I never noticed until now as a crux point in revealing the Elijah character. Also, his description of the characters in battle. The villain having a slightly larger head than the hero. And with his hair, Elijah most definately has a larger melon than Dunn.
The key moments in this movie may have been left on the cutting room floor, as one of the deleted scenes reveals David Dunn trembling and sobbing in the shower. Shyamalan stated that he felt this moment came to late in the movie and that Willis' character would have had too much time to move on from his terrible origin of the massive train derailment. I feel the opposite. A character might look like they have passed that moment by, but most people will break down at the most unusual times. The other possibility could be that David was supposed to be the strong, silent, heroic type. I can agree with that notion, although it makes for a typical and in my opinion, boring archetype. Things manifest themselves in this movie very well, especially the relationship between David and his son, when Joseph decides to prove to him that he is "unbreakable." The reactions from Willis and Wright Penn are phenomenal, and Joseph's Spencer Treat Clark is right up there with Haley Joel Osment with Willis in The Sixth Sense. The cast was firing on all cylinders. And Jackson as always is tops with his over the top at the end, but perfect shaping of Elijah. Now Jackson may pick his rolls out of a hat. Sometimes it's a great character, and sometimes it's Formula 51, but this time, Jackson was spot on and I have no complaints what so ever.
And now for the grade. Unbreakable is quite possibly one of the greatest comic book movies ever made. And it is an enjoyable ride the first or the hundred and first time you watch it. This movie receives its just desserts in the form of one of the most awesome maneuvers ever pulled off in a wrestling ring. It's Rob Van Dam hitting his magnum opus for the very first time on his "best friend," Scotty Anton.Often immitated, never ever fucking duplicated, The Van Terminator!

S.K.O.W.: A Hardcore Review

The seminal 80's movie from writer John Hughes that is often overlooked in terms of holding it's place in 80's movie history is 1987's Some Kind of Wonderful. The movie follows the exploits of every man high school Junior, Keith and his tomboy best friend Watts, played by Eric Stoltz and Mary Stuart Masterson. Watts character could be described as the protagonist of the story, and is by Eric Stoltz in a making of featurette. She is also quite possibly the protagonist in my attraction to strong females with tomboyish qualities and short hair. Keith is an artist, who works at a gas station aafter school, all the while pining for some chick named Amanda Jones, who is coined as "sex" by Keith's younger sister, Laura.
The movie's plot takes Keith through the wringer of falling for Amanda and doing everything in his power to ask her out. She accepts on the basis that she has had enough of her boyfriend's cheating ways. Amanda is then thrown into a world she knows nothing about, as she comes from a working class family, but is "allowed" to hang with the "richies." Keith gets detention to be able to spend time with Amanda, who has plans of her own for avoiding the whole ordeal. In sitting through detention, Keith makes friends with the school misfits, lead by Duncan. Through their mutual dislike for Hardy Jenns and both being artists of sorts, they become friends.
The moment of truth in this movie might be the practice kiss between Watts and Keith for most viewers. However for this reviewer, the moment to watch is when Keith drops by Watts' to talk. He lays down on her bed, and she plops down next to him. The tension in that moment is classic as Watts has been in love with Keith for some time. Only seeing what he wants, Keith misses the whole thing, until he sees Watts at the end of the movie standing my the car she drove for Keith while on his date with Amanda. He flashes back to the kiss, and suddenly knows it was always her that he really loved. The last line of the movie when Watts puts on the diamond earrings Keith bought for his date with Amanda. She asks, "how they look?" Keith answers with a classic line, "You look good wearring my future."
This is my favorite 80's movie. And the best written John Hughes film ever made. Even though he didn't direct it, it was his movie. In my own grading system, this movie rates Rob Van Dam versus Jerry Lynn for the ECW World Television Championship at Hardcore Heaven 1999. It was 20 plus minutes of action the likes of which had ever been seen. The two had a handful of matches, none of which delivered quite like this, with both combatants being knocked cold during the match. The major moment of the match was Lynn's Somersault Flip over the top rope, sending Van Dam through a table that exploded from the impact.
There are a few things in life that no matter what can make me happy. This movie is one of those things.

Grandma's Boy; A Hardcore Review

So, I had to do something heavily weed related for the April 20 (4/20) "Hardcore Review." And here it is, Grandma's Boy is a flick I have seen more than half a dozen times in the span of the last year and a half. And it is just as funny as the first time. Guy gets booted from his apartment, because his roommate takes the rent money and spends it on "massage therapy." Or as Kevin Nash says, "yeah, they'll massage your cock for money." It's hilarity the way I always wanted a slacker film to be. Slacker films took a dive in the mid ninties, but made a comeback with titles like Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Grandma's Boy. Ever wondered what the day to day life of a video game tester was like? It's pretty extreme, from losing your housing due to your roommates sexual proclivities to telling your coworkers why you are always tired due to the massive orgies you have almost nightly with your three female roommates. To your coworkers finding out you roommate with your grandma and her two elderly friends. And a twenty something virgin getting it on with one of said roommates, to a very quirky asshole who designs the games you test talking like a robot and thinking he's part of "The Matrix." This movie has everything you need in a qualit slacker flick, including plenty of sexual innuendo and almost an hour and half of weed smoking.
From thievery to lunchtime video game challenges to a guy jerking off without locking the bathroom door (not a pretty picture) with insanely hilarious results, Grandma's Boy is your cure to a boring night at home. It's probably even funnier when your stoned.
In terms of grading this fil m in my own unique way, I give this flick a high grade in Sandman versus Sabu at Houseparty 1998. The original Stairway to Hell match. Sabu breaks his jaw, and Sandman is bloodier than I have ever seen him in a vitory that takes knocking out the Suicidal, Homicidal, Genocidal Maniac with a homerun-like swing with Jim's trusty friend, a singapore cane.

The Wrestler; A Hardcore Review

I have seen this movie four times now in this new year. This is the first time I watched it legally. That should tell you all something. That I would get a bootleg, watch it three times and then go and get the movie when it's released on BluRay.
For the uninitiated, wrestling is a dance of sorts. And this movie chronicles a short period of time in the life of Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a wrestler who is past his glory days. Ram, as I will sometimes refer to him during this review, is played by Mickey Rourke, who as perhaps destiny would have it is a past his prime actor, whom many critics have said has revitalized his career with this flick. Ram is broken down, physically and mentally by the business and life. As many wrestlers will attest, being on the road as much as wrestlers are, he has become estranged from his daughter. This was probably the most realistic depiction of the life of a professional wrestler EVER! The road and the wrestling life does weird things to otherwise normal and honest people. Drugs, cheating on spouses. Drinking and driving. The famous time when Triple H met Ric Flair for the first time, in the buff with a balloon attatched to "Space Mountain." Fucked up shit happens on the road. There's not a lot to do when you live out of a suitcase and the cheapest motel you can find is your home 300+ days a year. It's a tough life. And when people say, "well making a hundred grand a year is worth it." Try staying away from your loved ones, your home and yourself in all actuality for over 300 days a year and see if the money is worth it. Not the least to add to that is also the fact that you wrestle five days a week, twice on Sunday and you get no time to recover from the injuries that pile up on you. And after you see this movie and learn a little about the world of pro wrestling, you will know that it is probably the least fake industry in the world. These are real men and women whose lives get torn assunder because they do what they love.
This film is gritty and quasi documentary-like in cinematic scope. Shot with a "live" feel to it, where you feel like someone who is in on the action, you become privy to all the once secret brotherhood of pro wrestling.
Ram's only interpersonal relationship is with over the hill stripper, Cassidey, played extremely well by Marisa Tomei. Cassidey is Ram's confidant. She knows more about him than his own daughter. And when he decides to mend broken fences he finds out just how much of that bridge he burned.
This is the story of a man, who never learned to follow what should have been important in life and instead persued unhealthy relationships, prolonged a career that he was not willing to let go of twenty years ago when he was on top.
This analogy came a week ago when Michael Jordan was voted into the Hall of Fame. It is from ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning. Jordan was the best in his field for 14 years. Basically the entirety of his career. But 14 years is well short of a lifetime. And for someone who once had the adulation of millions, and was revered by little boys and girls on every playground basketball blacktop in the world, it is very hard to stop and become a normal person. It's the reason soldiers have terrible times acclimating to mainstream society after seeing the worst toils of war. Someone like myself can be an artist and a writer until the day I drop dead. Even if I were to ever be thought of as the best, I can still do what I do for as long as I choose to. It is harsh to think of the devastation this wroughts on men, who in their fifties are still vital, physically and mentally and just not viable commodities in the field they chose.
This industry is brought to the forefront of the public eye. Wrestlers are not offered health insurance. They are a select few without pensions, or retirement options. These are men and women who give of themselves for the love of those who come to see them. This is something Vince McMahon and Dixie Carter need to look at and realize that withouth these men and women killing themselves night in and night out are left bankrupt, homeless, without families and without futures in broken down shambles of human bodies. This industry needs to change. And you the fans, and people who believe everyone in this country deserves that chance to have a future can help make that possible. Voice your opinions. Make the change happen. Vince can afford to give his employees health insurance. Right now all wrestlers are "independant contractors" and that means Vince and Dixie can make all the profit off their backs they want, and not pay into the system.
For everything this movie has done in being a great film and bringing awareness to the public, the honor I bestow upon it is not another hardcore moment in wrestling history, but a spot in my Top Five favorite movies of all time. I was asked why I did not have a typical grade for this film. I thought that placing it in my top five favorite movies was enough, but here goes. The grade I give this dates back to 1996 when a new feud was begining. A broken ring and a one hour time delay could not keep these two combatants from tearing the house down. Rob Van Dam and Sabu put up a four star match which included the ring ropes breaking during the match, the two wrestling around the arena and then pulling off a great finish. Triple Jump Moonsaults, Super Arabian Facebusters, all with a broken set of ring ropes. It may be known as the broken ring match, but many remember this as the match that started the war between two men who flew higher and performed crazier acrobatic stunts than the next five fliers in total. RVD v. Sabu was one of the most entertaining feuds from ECW, as they teamed up while they still hated each other to capture the Tag Team Belts, and then battled over the ECW World Television Title all while being cheered on by fence sitter Bill Alphonso, who finally joined with RVD after Sabu was released from his contract in 2000.

40 Year Old Virgin; A Hardcore Review

Goddamn! How is it that this movie gets better and better every fucking time I watch it? Right now I am watching this for the third time in a week. This time with the director and cast commentary. Knowing that a lot of this was ad libed is awesome. There is just something really special about this flick.
The poker game. "A bag of sand?!" What the fuck? Cal finishes up after having his asshole licked by a chick's dog. Andy and his dirty talking "girlfriend" who says, "ME so horny. Me love you long time!"
And then the whole, "You know how I know you're gay" series. CLASSIC and GENIUS!
David completely romanticizing the fucked up four month relationship he can't get over, TWO YEARS LATER!
There is something everyone can relate to in this movie. Comedy! Pure comedy. This movie will be funny forty years from now.
Apatow and gang solidly deliver on all cylinders. To every door.
This movie is probably the funniest movie I have EVER seen. The grade I give this has to surpass the traditional hardcore role and encompass the entirety of ECW hilarity, at it's utmost. The take over and first appearance of the BWO. The Blue Guy (Blue Meanie) takes the center of the ring and does the Scott Hall thumb 'n hop and then chucks his toothpick, which Joey Styles calls, "That's a chicken wing!"

Too Cool to be Forgotten; A Hardcore Review

This biographic by Alex Robinson about middle aged Andy Wicks, who will do anything to quit smoking. He seeks help through the guidance of his wife to see a hypnotherapist. His therapy session takes him back to his days when he took his first smoke; high school in 1985.
This story takes our protagonist through the week when he was set to smoke for the very first time. And all Andy can think about is not taking that very first drag. Although Andy does get to set about some plans he missed out on like asking cutie, Marie to a friend's house party. Andy had his mind set to right all the wrongs in his life.
The whole while Andy finds himself wondering if he is even going to go back to his life, or if he is doomed to relive his entire life again. Andy realizes how good things are in his life and how much he loves his wife and two kids.
This is a funny, quirky look at the way life happens and how the grass is always greener. Andy learns a life lesson he didn't even realize he was set to learn. And he is able to set something right and say goodbye to the life he once had and to someone in particular.
I highly recommend Too Cool to be Forgotten. It's a quick read, and a memorable one. Robinson writes 80's high school dialog as well as John Hughes. He knows typical teen angst like Aaron Spelling. And Too Cool is too much. My grade for this book is the amazing international three way dance from the Anarchy Rulz (1999) of Super Crazy (Mexico) v. Tajiri (Japan) v. Little Guido (Italy). These three combatants always put on great match. The attemted double submission of Tajiri by Crazy and Guido was spectacular. As was the Camel Clutch by Guido with Tajiri drop kicking both of his opponents right in the mush. This is truly one of the all time great three ways in ECW history. And measures up every time I rewatch the pay per view.

Sopranos Season 3; A Hardcore Review

Holy SHIT! I know I know this series is over and everyone felt like they got kicked in the nuts right after making out with their brother/ sister with the finale. SHUT UP! Cause I ain't seen it yet. And I wanna be surprised that it ends with the screen going blank without any closure. FUCKERS! GAWD!
With that out of the way... Can this series get any better. I mean it was like finishing volume six of the Walking Dead. What the fuck else can possibly happen here. You hate Tony's mom for all of season's one and two and then she just drops dead? I barely got a chance to hate her this season. Then Tony hooks up with the yummy and completely psycho Annabella Sciorra. That whole strip tease with the super tiny skirt thing... I had to change my pants. And his reaction to "who" she is. Fucking amazing. If I can write half that well, I'll be a fucking genius.
This is one of the two greatest series of the past fifteen years. The other being OZ. That's a whole other thing, brotha.
Murder, betrayal, drugs, murder, drugs, murder... And then there's the HUGE letdown. I knew for a long time that the female FBI plant was supposed to be my Hollywood dream woman, Fairuza Balk. I knew that she filmed the part in the last episode. And then she was told they would not bring the character back for season 4. So she made other arrangements. Then they decide to bring the character back, as they should (it's Fairuza Balk for crying out loud) and she's already commited to another project. So they recast the role and then reshoot it. Which I understand, but how can you plant a character, give them five minutes of screen time with a whole plot point resting on their shoulders, and then "decide" not to bring the character back? I mean Fairuza or not, that's just ludicrous.
Oh, all that and Meadow looses her virginity, and Christopher finally gets "made." THAT, my readers, IS how you fucking write, direct, shoot and act out thirteen of the finest episodes known to man.
This IS Raven stealing the Sandman's estranged wife, Laurie and his seven year old son Tyler in the middle of one of the most violent, heated and personal feuds in ECW, FUCK THAT, WRESTLING history. Tyler proclaiming that, "I know" when Raven says his parent's divorce is all Jim's fault, dressed like Raven and then throwing his head back and holding his arms out like a brainwashed little Flock member. Drink the Kool-Aid little Tyler. DRINK IT!

Hard Boiled; a hardcore Review

I am going to remind everyone who reads these reviews that the grading system I use is this: instead of thumbs up or stars, I rate on hardcore moments in pro wrestling history. The more hardcore the event, match, promo or moment the more I liked the book, comic, movie or video game I am reviewing. The less hardcore the moment, the more I disliked it. An example would be anything related to Hulk Hogan would be highly NOT recommended. Onto the review...

Have you ever wondered how many different ways a human being can killed with a fire arm? Hard Boiled answers that question. A lot.
Hard Boiled in the preeminent John Woo movie. It is more than just a shoot 'em up flick. It is THEE shoot 'em up flick. John Woo knows action. He knows gun play and he knows dialog. Hard Boiled is the overt guy flick. There's no over done or added in typical romance bullshit. No, pithy "I think I'm better than you," dialog. And absolutely nothing goes unscathed in this ultimate action movie.
From the opening teahouse shootout to the end, never seems to end action sequence in the Hong Kong hospital, John Woo and company deliver. And they deliver without a delivery fee and on time. Chow Yun Fat proves with this movie that he is a absolute baddass. Fat does for action heroes in Hong Kong, what Bruce Willis is for action heroes in the state, but without all the one liners. Sure he's been in other quality movies, but this one is by far his best, and puts him on the map for good. Fat is to gun play what Bruce Lee is to Kung Fu flicks. There is simply none better. All that and his name is Tequila. Everything blows up, gets shot, bleeds it out or dies from blunt force trauma in Hard Boiled. A movie so fucking awesome they made a genre of movies from it, and a series of shoot 'em up video games.
Tequila is a no nonsense cop in Hong Kong, who kills one of his own in the opening, and amazingly coreographed shoot out with the Chinese Triad. Covered in flour, Tequila makes the final bullet count. He's more of a shoot first ask questions and deal with the consequences later kind of cop. And if fans want it any other way... FUCK 'EM!
Fighting his way to the top of the Triad's hitlist, Tequila causes waves within his precinct. His boss hates him. His lady friend can't stand him. And all Tequila wants is his jazz band drummer/ partner back.
This movie culminates with an epic sequence in a hospital where Tequila finds he has friends in strange places, and a whole bunch of people die in extremely fucked up ways. Mostly involving bullets and blood loss. Oh but count the ways. And the varying calibers used in the carnage.
Cops try and protect the patients all while the Triad begin acing anyone not affiliated with them. And I do mean everyone, even the newly born in the maternity wing. Watch as Tequila and Alan race to find the armory cache. Witness as the Triad lessen in number with every squeeze of Tequila's trigger finger. And amaze as nothing stands in the way of the only Hong Kong cinema superstar who kills better with chromed steel than with his fists of fury. And action fans wouldn't have it any other way.
This movie rates a special historic moment in hardcore wrestling history. Way back to the 1980's when the NWA still reigned as pro wrestling's moral conscious. A cage match. An "I quit match." All rolled into one. The object: batter your opponent so badly that he is forced to say, "I quit." That's the only way to end the match. And since it's within the confines of the mighty and fearsome steel cage, there's gonna be absolutely no shenanigans. The challenger, Magnum T.A. versus the United States Champion Tully Blanchard. This was NOT a wrestling match so much as it was a knock down drag out, everyone's gonna bleed.... A LOT kinda match. Blanchard has a wooden chair thrown into the cage where he smashes it to pieces, and then uses a fragment with a very sharp point on the head of Magnum T.A. Somehow, Magnum gets out of it, and uses the wooden stake on Blanchard, a member of the prestegious Four Horsemen. And even though the microphone was nowhere near Tully's mouth, you can see and hear his cries for mercy, as he squeals, "I quit!"

JCVD; A Hardcore Review

I am going to remind everyone who reads these reviews that the grading system I use is this: instead of thumbs up or stars, I rate on hardcore moments in pro wrestling history. The more hardcore the event, match, promo or moment the more I liked the book, comic, movie or video game I am reviewing. The less hardcore the moment, the more I disliked it. An example would be anything related to Hulk Hogan would be highly NOT recommended. Onto the review...

"Wrong place. Wrong time." This line has been said so many times and by so many bad guys. That line was not uttered once during this flick. But it pretty much sums up the film, and the life of Jean-Claude Van Damme. He came to America with a dream to be a movie star. He quite school early on in life, because he knew he had something to offer the world. And he became, "The Muscles from Brussels."
This film was shot at the beginning like a documentary. It made it seem very real to heart. As if Van Damme was trying to say something about his life and how it all went wrong. The opening sequence itself was brilliant in that he's filming an intense action scene and something goes wrong in the middle of a very long shot, that as film buffs know is not only expensive, but also very hard to do without putting in jump cuts. The response from the Asian film maker was, "I could care less that you brought John Woo to American audiences," as he throws darts at a Hollywood sign dart board at point blank range. This is the same lack of respect JCVD has gotten from the people who pay to see his movies. And I don't understand why. He's a better actor than Arnold. And at last he's not 60 and doing 'roids like Stallone. This is a guy who is very relatable to the public.
JCVD goes into a soliloquy in the middle of the movie. He talks about how fucked up his life is. But he makes a point. That he sees beauty in everyone. And that even though it is hard for him to judge others, it seems to be very easy for them to judge him. Whether these words are true or not, remain to be seen, but it is a beautiful idea none the less. It is true. We do cast our own insecurities upon those who rise above. We do enjoy to see them succeed. But as the Green Goblin said in the first Spider-Man movie, the one thing they like more than cheering a hero, "is to see a hero fall." And I think that is very true in a lot of us. I say that and I include myself. There's nothing as satisfying as seeing someone everybody "marks out" for have a human moment and fall from grace. That's just the way things are. I did it when Paris Hilton got busted for DUI. I wanted that twit thrown in the hole. I was glad to see that LeBron wasn't good enough to get his team to the finals. I felt some sort of twisted vindication because of that. Somehow, his failure made me feel like I was a better person. As if somehow I had succeeded where he had failed. And I think people felt the same way when Van Damme became a coke head and really fucked up his career. It doesn't make him a bad person. It makes him human.
And any time I can watch something or read something or listen to something and feel like I have learned something or grow as a person myself, I have to give it up for that.
In saying so, JCVD was in no way an action flick. You don't get to see him kick anyone's ass. He doesn't do the vaunted splits at any time. He plays himself. He plays a guy, who just happened to rise above, and achieve some fame, however fleeting it may have been. He plays a guy who does fight for his child. He plays a guy we've all pretended to be after exiting the movie theatre doors. And in watching this, I give him credit. At least he admits that he's human. At least he has that ability, however belated it might be. Or however dishonest it might have been. He plays JCVD, and this will be his crowning moment to me. He showed me he has the chops to take himself outside of the typecast characters he has played for twenty-something years, and become something more.
With this movie I find it hard to relate back to a moment of true hardcoreness in pro wrestling. In doing so somehow makes me feel like it would unvalidate the ideals I hope Jean-Claude has taken upon himself. So I will do my best to make this a choice of not only hardcore history, but a moment that defined a human being... This was a night several years back in Greensboro, North Carolina when "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair returned to his nostalgic form before our vary eyes. This was suspension of disbelief that a man in his mid fifties could win the World Heavyweight Title from "The Game" Triple H. The whole night leading up to a defining point in Ric's career... The comeback. All night long we were treated to the thought that Ric was gonna fight for the title. And you knew he couldn't win. Butn when Hunter entered his dressing room, and talked down to Flair, it lit something in belly of the "wheelin' dealin', kiss stealin', limosine ridin', jet flyin' son of a gun." He became the greatest worker in the business AGAIN. And you believed, until, Hunter hit "the Pedigree," that Flair would become the 17 time World Champ.

One Day as a Lion EP; A Hardcore Review

I am going to remind everyone who reads these reviews that the grading system I use is this: instead of thumbs up or stars, I rate on hardcore moments in pro wrestling history. The more hardcore the event, match, promo or moment the more I liked the book, comic, movie or video game I am reviewing. The less hardcore the moment, the more I disliked it. An example would be anything related to Hulk Hogan would be highly NOT recommended. Onto the review...
Zach is back! And he's just a pissed as when he left. And anybody who loved all that is Rage Against the Machine is in the groove. As much as I loved Rage, I absolutely hated the bullshit watered down, poppy shit-a-cular music by so called super group, Audio Slave. Fucking pretty boy Chris Cornell is a washed up pussy from the stone age of the Seattle movement. Let it go Chris, no one wants to hear what you have to fucking say anymore. Go join a fucking reality show ya fucking 'mo.
Now back to the band. The vocals of Zach De La Rocha mixed with the insane drumming efforts of Jon Theodore. Yeah you know him kids. He's the guy from the Mars Volta. The combination of raw energy and blinding lyrics are a breath of fresh air and something I could sit and listen to for hours on repeat. I dig when music can be this good. When I'm working on my comic I listen to my mp3 player, fuck it I'm not gonna sell out and fucking brand everything, and when I do it's usually harder edged stuff. You could cut someone's head off with the lyrics spit by de la Rocha. So I chill at a coffee house, with a tasty beverage and push out as much as I can possibly get with my mind in a blur and caffeine racing through my veins.
To me, Rage will always be King, but One Day as a Lion is a very good follow up. The beats are hard, but justified and the poetic that Zach waxes is philosophical in nature as it is anti-govermental in all honesty. I would kill to be able to write my comic as well as Zach writes lyrics... LITERALLY. Who do you want dead. It doesn't get any better in the lyrics department than Zach. He rates number one in my top three lyricists.
The music envokes a somewhat primal spirit that drives me to rise up, behead my captors and burn down the fucking big white building housing the enemy.
Deplorable in any other country. With the threat of being hung for having such thoughts, Zach is free to espouse the ideals of free speech and necessitate the vilification of those who have taken from our hard work and souls for the longest of time. People have yet to realize, as have those in charge....
"There are more of us than there are of you."
and my personal favorite
"People shouldn't be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

It is a great honor to bestow upon this amazing piece of work, a moment that was so hardcore, because it was bereft of steel chair shots and blood, that it was truly hardcore because of the work put in by the two men in the ring. So hardcore in fact that the loser actually got a standing ovation from the crowd. A classic in every sense of the word, and all the more so, because we will never see it's likes again. I give you Kurt Angle v. Chris Benoit for the WWE title at the Royal Rumble 2003. 20 minutes of mat wrestling mayhem. From Benoit's DDT of Angle on the ring apron to the more than half dozen ankle lock submission attempts by Angle. To the final moment when, after being the ankle lock more times than I even counted and the grueling ferocity of Angle's need for validation as champion Benoit finally, achingly, and to the crowd's collective gasp, tapped out.