Thursday, January 31, 2013

Montage = The movie just got REAL Part V

Whenever someone brings up a training montage in a conversation, the first image that comes to my mind is this picture of Apollo and Rocky frolicking in the water! The training montage is an integral part to action and martial art movies. It conveys a journey that our hero is going through. A painful journey, which is testing not only his endurance but also his mind. This is one of the reasons why movie buffs like ourselves watch these kind of movies. I think having a training montage in these films are essential and really tell us a lot about the hero, in terms of their strength, their passion, their dedication, and most of all their cause. 

I stated in a previous blog entry that the general movie viewer, do make fun of movie montages, because of the stigma that is attached to them. But I bet if you took these same people, back into the 1980's when montages were 'in vogue', then I do believe their opinion would drastically change. 

This is by far the hardest instalment I will be doing for this subject. The reason? There are so many montages, that need to be put in here, but if I did that, I think the site would crash due to the amount of pure FUCKING BADASSERY AND AWESOMENESS. I will pick some of my favourites, and also ones that do deserve some recognition. I think majority of you will already know, which ones I will pick. 

Rocky. The movie that started it all. I could not write this entry and not mention the first movie, that really explored the montage. In this montage, the music and the atmosphere go hand in hand. Bill Conti orchestrated a brilliant score, and it's one of the most memorable in cinematic history. Not too shabby right? 1976 was an interesting year for movies. It was definitely the year of the Drama genre. Rocky is a drama film, but with something more. Most drama orientated films that get released, don't do a thing for me. A lot of it is recycled to the point, you don't care what happens to the characters. With the film Rocky, you care about what happened to every single character, even that dirtbag Pauly. Why? Because it is a true underdog story. And I know I will get people sitting behind their computer that will laugh at what I am about to say. Stallone really conveyed a depth most actors wish, they could possess naturally. He proves in this film, he indeed can act.  Seeing his character possess such a depth, makes you really root for him. You want to see him go the full distance with Apollo Creed, so having this training montage to show the effort he was willing to put in, is admirable. 

No Retreat No Surrender is an underrated montage in my opinion. Sure it screams 'HOLY SHIT THIS IS THE 80'S', but the song is catchy, it fires you up, and again it's an underdog story. Sure the characters they are playing are teenagers, and to see teenagers having that kind of dedication to their mind and body, is pretty kickass. While most kids in 1980's movies were joining street gangs and pissing off Linda Blair in such films as Savage Streets, you have to be happy that these kids are pretty damn wholesome. It was also awesome to see that Jason, has a friend in RJ and will help him train...even in the most compromising positions. I am so glad I found this in a bargain bin, because finding this was like finding buried treasure. The film as a whole, is brilliant, sure it's not perfect, but it has heart. And you can see that from all the actors, as absurd as some of them might be...say like this guy

Man I just had to put this guy in there, I mean look at this fatty, he's indulging the fuck out this chocolate cake, and he takes Karate...Now his montage would have been a classic. 

There are no words, which can convey my happiness for the all the montages that are used in the cinematic masterpiece, Rocky IV. This montage has a great deal of depth to it. Here we see Rocky training in Siberia with Pauly and Duke. Now this isn't like any other kind of training he has done before. The training he did with Apollo was tough. But this is tough on a much grander scale. They don't have the typical facilities you would see in a normal boxing gym. And seeing this in comparison to Ivan Drago's training, you think 'Fuck...Drago is going down'. He is that willing to avenge Apollo's death, he will work with what he's got. And that dedication my friends is how a real champion is made.

Cannon were really onto something when they produced one of the best American Martial Arts movies, to grace the big screen...Bloodsport. What I love about training montages that involve Van Damme, is that they incorporate a way of training,which is used in a lot of different films, but they don't have the same charm. I could have put King of the Kickboxers in this entry and while I do love that movie, the montage is just not up to scratch with the likes of Bloodsport. I love this montage in particular, because you see Dux become a man. He wants to honour his Shidoshi and what better way than being trained from scratch by him. Sure we see Dux become more physically fit, but this montage is more about the mind and getting Dux to really focus. And it is conveyed perfectly. Van Damme can really act, when given the chance, and this training montage proves it. 

Yeah it's that time again for the last Rocky IV montage. Did you really think I was going to leave this one out? This is just badass. And what is awesome about this is the fire up song. 'Hearts on Fire' by John Cafferty is a song that possesses everything that was awesome about the 1980's. I love this one, because while the previous Rocky IV montage is outstanding, this is just in another league. In the previous montage Rocky is just finding his feet in terms of how to train, because he is really working with the bare essentials. And now seeing that Adrian has come all this way to be with him during this life adjustment, he knows that he will train harder now. AND FUCK DOES HE TRAIN HARDER!! I just love how ripped and shredded we see Stallone. He is fucking super human in this film. Now in the movie people thought Drago was super human with his strength and build, but he has a dirty little secret...STEROIDS MOTHERFUCKER! And while we see Stallone becoming more fit and shredded and prepared, we do see Drago struggle. The Russian boxing team in this film are shown to have a lot of pride, and if Drago is struggling, they need to keep their game face on, with the help of steroids. 

And to all my buddies out there who know how much I love Kickboxer, know that I would never leave out this montage. No fucking way! Kickboxer, is hands down Van Damme's best work. And man this montage is a big orgasm for me. It possesses everything I love about martial art montages. At first we see Kurt struggle, and he is pretty much failing to impress Xian. He is struggling to learn what Xian sees as the basics. But once he makes Kurt remember why the hell he is doing this, he reacts like any normal dude out seeking revenge...HE KICKS DOWN A MOTHERFUCKING TREE!! And from then on we see, the most amazing progress. I love the musical score to this. It conveys a slow, burning passion for Kurt, in terms of wanting to avenge his brother but also his passion to be more strong, physically and emotionally. And did I mention HE KICKS DOWN A MOTHERFUCKING TREE!!!

And now we have reached the last montage for this entry. And in my opinion, probably the best. I know a lot of people prefer Rocky IV's montages and so did I for a long time. But this montage is just pure bliss. The reason? A friendship really established between Rocky and Apollo in the third instalment of the franchise. Rocky is in the worst slump he has ever been in. Mickey has just died, and he lost in such an embarrassing manner to Clubber Lang. Apollo feels that he needs to help Rocky. And at first he just couldn't get into Apollo's way of training. It is totally different, to what he was used to. And then for a short time, we did think that Rocky was never going to get out of this. But an argument with Adrian soon puts things in perspective. And what we see in this montage, is just the same underdog we saw in the first Rocky movie. He is finding his feet again, but the determination and passion is back. Some might say, the eye of the tiger? See what I did there? You saw it. The ending of this montage could not be more awesome. Because Rocky knows how far he has come, and seeing him that happy always puts a smile on my face. And frolicking in the water with Apollo, just adds that touch of class. 

I just want to take the time to dedicate this to my big brother James. If it wasn't for him showing me all these movies growing up, I wouldn't have this passion and excitement that I do. I remember when we used to pretend to be Rocky and Apollo and re-enact the fight scenes, and those are some of the best memories I have of us. These montages will also remind me of all the hard work you put into your training as a boxer. If you had a montage of yourself training as hard as these guys which you did, it would be up here too.  Thanks a bunch bro! 

I hope you have enjoyed my dedication to movie montages. It has been a pleasure writing about this. And expressing my joy and passion for these kind of movies. These montages are really important because, they show us how hard our heroes work and how champions are made. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Devils Nightmare...!!!

You know when you were a kid, and you went to some boring as hell family thing, and they are so immersed in their own world that they just plop you infront of a TV and just go 'Have fun!' so that they can go and bitch about the economy to their siblings?

No? Well shit, sorry, you must have missed out on the payoff that this ignorance on the behalf of your parents delivered.

On one such evening, at the tender age of 10, I found an obsession with late night SBS (Special Broadcast Station, otherwise known in Australia as Super Boob Station). This channel used to show all the foreign films and arthouse tripe that you either love or hate, mostly hate. But late on a friday or staurday night, you could watch all of Jess Franco's greatest, and Eat Carpet, which was a show dedicated to showing fucked up short features. And I mean fucked up. Once I watched a short film about a 15 year old boy who got caught by his dad while getting nailed by his gay lover, so he got upset (the 15 year old I mean), threw gasoline over himself, lit a match and yeah, died and stuff. It was an Australian film, they sure do love those Dramedys.

ANYWAY, the love affair began at 10, when I watched this fucked up movie called 'The Devils Nightmare'.
It was my first real foray into foreign horror, and may have even been my first real horror film.
The other kids were fast asleep, the lights were out, and I started watching what seemingly started out to be an old Stock Footage style WWII film. It truly was kind of crap, and I got the remote to change the channel...Then a baby got stabbed.

Now I'm not an advocate of baby stabbing, but my curiosity was piqued, I mean, my 10 year old mind ran amok, becasue surely they didn't film nasty business like that in the olden days right?

Well wrong, as I found out in my later years, but as I decided to keep watching, the movie shortly turned to colour, and lo and behold, the title sprang over this outrageously amazing music. THE DEVILS NIGHTMARE. Ooer, sounds like scary stuff, do I change the channel? Hang on, I'll get the TV guide, hold up, whats this? Nudity? Strong Violence? Horror? Well, lets just see how we go ok?

What followed was the most absurd and strange film, terrifying at times, sexy the whole way through, but with the unintentional addition of slapstick humor to boot. I was big on Monty Python at the time, so anything that was unusual, I just laughed at, thinking it was deliberate.

The movie picks up after a WWII sequence during present day (back then it was present day anyway) with a group of SEVEN tourists, who are visiting somewhere, and get lost in shitty weather and are then forced to stay in a mooney castle, where a succubus comes and messes shit up for everybody, super inconveniently.
The SEVEN tourists then get picked off one by one by the evil bitch, and it is up to a proud Priest to stop her. Yes proud. Each of the SEVEN tourists represent the SEVEN SINS, and are all punished accordingly.

The super fox of the 70's Erika Blanc, plays the succubus.

She seriously was very nice to look at, pretty and sultry before I even knew what sultry meant. The movie is laugh a minute, lots of funny random shit and needlessly angry conversations between old men, a fat dude scoffing salami and chicken, a super awkward lesbian scene between a lusty nymphoid and a lazy bimbo. This movie honestly has the works. 10 year old me was enjoying the flipping heck out of this slapstick business.

Oh, then this happened...

Oh, dear God, what is it? Well the little synopsis on the tv guide said blah blah succubus rablah blah, but South Park had not been invented yet, and I had no idea what the hell a succubus was. This demon wench is still Erika Blanc, but by golly, you wouldn't know it. This pic actualy spooks me the hell out when I scroll near it.
So this psycho goes around for the last half of the film, haunting the castle, looming in the shadows, and creeping up on people, making the same sound the grudge kid does (30 years earlier beeeeotch,, take that!). Its actually kinda terrifying, I admit, I turned it over to something a bit brighter on the colour scale, but couldnt resist, I had to continue to the very end.
I was rewarded for it, and you will be too, once you join the club and dig on the goodies that this Euro sleaze fest has to offer.

The film is available in its english dub (I saw it originally in Italian with subtitles) which is the only way you can watch it. I own a four dvd set called Fright Night, which I believe is the going transfer for all other DVD releases made by Redemption in the UK and USA. Its a pity that no-one has decided to take this classic and remaster it properly. The verison I watched as a child, and on repeat viewings on the same channel, were very dark and atmospheric, with most of the outside scenes aside from the ending, set at night. The DVD clears up a lot of the fuzz, and looks rather nice, but all night times scenes are shown unfiltered, and now obviously look like daytime, which causes it to lose a lot of the chills in the chase scenes, and the gloomy exterior shots of the spooky castle.
I'll take it any way i can get it though, and even though this film is trashy and dodgy at best, it remains very close to my heart and i think once you get past the barrier of sillyness that overwhelms this movie, you may even find a place for it in your heart, hell you might even get a little freaked out by the succubus.

I mean, look at this bitch, shes fucking scary!!!


And for your consideration...THE TRAILER!!!!!!


As a side note the music in the trailer features in the movie too, you can get an awesome cd of the soundtrack to both this and A Doppia Faccia, with Klaus Kinski, as a soundtrack pack, its worth your money, as is this film! Enjoy!

Montage = The movie just got REAL Part IV

Now I am going to slow it down a little bit for you...But hear me out, just because there's a slow montage in the film where the protagonist is going through some tough times...whether a friend has died, a relative has been paralysed or if a friend is critically injured in a an underground fight also known as The Kumite, you cannot deny the 'emotional' montage. Usually what consists of this montage is the main character is upset about something. In Frank Duxes case in Bloodsport a friend he has made during his stint in the Kumite has been critically beaten up by the DELICIOUSLY EVIL, Chong Li. Now you can never underestimate the power of friendship, especially when meeting them in an underground fighting competition. Bonds are made that can never be broken. And I mean never. It is what brings men together, but in Chong Li's case he's just there to break them all apart...Dramatic enough for you?

I thought I would put up this particular version with the scene before the montage because I think it is important to see,  what spirals emotional fighters to have these kind of montages. You see Frank Dux and his journalist lady friend arguing over the dangers of fighting in The Kumite. This chick clearly doesn't get it, so she has a hissy fit about it because she cares about Dux. This isn't just about fighting, this is about respect, dedication and also he is doing this to honour his Shidoshi, so I would have told this bitch to STEP THE FUCK OFF. Woah I kinda got a bit angry there didn't I? 

 What is awesome about this particular montage is that we see moments from the Jackson and Chong Li fight and how it makes Dux feel.You have gotta love flashbacks, they are one of the most solid aspects of the 'emotional' montage.  Sure he is damn upset and angry after what had happened to Jackson. But you can also see in his face that he is deep down a little scared of what might happen to him, when he faces Chong Li.  So having his journalist lady friend losing her shit over something she doesn't understand is bound to make him have second thoughts. He also wants to make sure he can honour his Shidoshi by winning, so of course he is going to be conflicted. 

 Looking at this image, we can just see what was about to happen...Tong Po is going to fuck up Eric Sloane so he can never fight again. Just imagine that for a moment. Your brother who is your best friend, a champion kickboxer, has his first fight in Thailand, and the most evil man in cinematic history paralyses the shit out of him. When Kurt finds out that his brother Eric paralysed from the waist down, he knows what he has to do. Sure he has tears of pain and sadness, but soon those tears turn into tears of hate, anger and more importantly REVENGE! I know I say this a lot, but you cannot go wrong with a revenge story. And with a good revenge story you have an even more 'emotional' montage. 

As you can see Kurt is really conflicted right now about what has just happened to his brother. He is in a foreign country, with no real friends besides his acquaintance Taylor. He has no idea what to do, but he knows one thing, he cannot let this brutal slaying bestowed upon his brother slide. He is seeking revenge the only way he knows learn Muay Thai. In this montage, he asks a trainer of a local Thai Dojo if he can be trained in Muay Thai to get revenge, and everyone in the dojo just laughs at him...did you notice I am bringing back the word dojo? So as he handles rejection and his hate, sadness and pretty much every shit emotion known to man, he walks around Thailand, just hoping he can find a way to make things right. 

You all knew this was coming!!! If you didn't, you clearly haven't learnt anything from the previous entries I have made about montages. The Rocky franchise is by far the best in terms of making a great montage. And the 'emotional' montage there is no exception. Rocky has just seen his best friend die in an exhibition boxing match against Ivan Drago. He is a badass, evil Russian athlete, that really doesn't need to box to scare and instil fear. All he has to do is look at you with those eyes and do THAT know which stare I mean!

After everything that has happened to Rocky in his life, with nearly losing his wife during child birth, Mickey dying, you would think the fucking gods would give Balboa a break. You fuck with Stallone's friends and family, well that's it, because now you are going to get the greatest 'emotional' montage of a lifetime, and you will fucking love it!!! Yes you know what is coming, don't act dumb, just get fucking pumped up for this!

This is one of the best montages used in cinematic history. Now you may think fuck that is a big call. But seriously this is just genius. You finally get to see what is REALLY going on in his head. He has gone through some crap in making his way up the boxing ranks, and there has been a lot of bumps along the road in terms of his personal life. I love the song, which is 'No easy way out' by Robert Tepper. Not only is this a motivational song, which pushes your limit, but it is just great to fire up to and sing. I'll be honest I have been listening to this song on repeat while writing this blog...Don't judge. Now while you see all these memories coming up in his head, the best memories to look out for are the ones of his friendship with Apollo, which developed with each film. What made their friendship strong, was when Apollo pulled Rocky out of a slump in the third film. He retrained him, he showed him a new way to box and it shows in the final fight in Rocky III. Apollo also gave Rocky a new outlook on life, and that is what is the most important thing to realise. 

You may think I read way too much into this last montage that I have shown you, but I haven't. These raw emotions have always been there, it's just the majority of people don't understand the true greatness of the montage and just make fun of them. And that sickens me a lot. My love for Rocky will never die, because if it wasn't for these movies, I wouldn't know how to play movies in my head from start to finish, I wouldn't have known how to love(YEAH YEAH LAUGH AT THAT ALLLLLLL YOU WANT). But these movies made me come to terms with the fact that I myself am an underdog in my own way. The movies, the soundtracks and the montages are what helped shape me! 

I hope you have enjoyed Part IV of my dedication to the montage. I will be back for the fifth and final instalment shortly. And man shit is going to get fucking real. The next instalment may be a long one, so I will try my hardest to make it as entertaining for you as possible!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Montage = The movie just got REAL Part III

Oh shit will get real now. I love the 'beat down montage'. You know which  I mean...where the fight would be too long if we showed every single round so we do a montage to sum it up quickly. Now I am gonna break down another version of the 'beat down montage'. Sometimes, more so in martial art movies, is that you see all the rounds of the fight but the final 5 minutes or so is orchestrated with fire up music. It emphasises each helicopter kick from different angles, and each body explosive punch to the gut. In doing this, it really conveys the brutality of the fight. Lets call this 'Beat Down Montage 2'.
So for the standard 'beat down montage' the best example I could give you is Rocky IV. There is so many different examples of this particular montage I could give you, but this is by far the best one! The fight with Ivan Drago is a fucking brutal one. I mean this steroid pumpin' murderous Russian DOES NOT GIVE A FUCK, and when he says 'I must break you', you should fucking believe him and be slightly scared. Now this is hands down one of the best of the 'beat down montages'. The choreography is amazing, and also the song goes down a real treat. It expresses how raw this fight will get. Neither of these men want to lose, and they are seriously giving it everything they have left that is humanly possible. Or in Drago's case how far the steroids will actually take him. 

Now I will tell you about the second kind of 'beat down montages'. They are not like your 'typical' end fight montages, but like I just said previously. It emphasises everything that is brutal about the fight but with MAXIMUM FORCE, and a kickass tune. I find in martial art 'beat down montages 2' they use more instrumental tunes. A perfect example of this is Bloodsport. I know you will be thinking, that I do use a lot of Van Damme movies as examples. But if something is done perfectly, you may as well flaunt it. 

Now it's around the 6.20 mark where the real 'beat down' happens. Sure there is a menacing musical score before this because of Bolo and his pure evilness, and while Van Damme was getting beat down it isn't THE beat down. Make sense? I thought so! But I hope you now understand what I mean by the end fights. They usually have a classic formula. I find in martial art movies, in the final 5 minutes or so, the hero finally gets his second wind and remembers why he is fighting...REVENGE!!!!! So after taking a beating for about 6 minutes of screen time, he starts to really fight back, and everything we thought we knew about the villain in terms of fighting skill, has just gone away because it's our hero who is the better fighter and the better man. 

Another great example of this is Best of the Best. Oh yeah if you haven't seen this awesome movie, JESUS FUCKING CHRIST WATCH IT NOW!
It kind of has the same premise towards the end as Bloodsport. But just check out what I mean. The end fight 'beat down' totally has the same formula. Best of the Best never got the critical acclaim like Bloodsport did, so I will use this as an example and also my appreciation to a flawless American Martial Arts movie.  The fight starts to go in Tommy Lee's favour at around the 4.10 mark...just listen for the inspirational music to will not be able to miss it.

Now this may come across as cheesy. Oh lets cue up the music for when the hero is FINALLY going to start kicking ass. Sure it's predictable. But if something is done right then what is the problem. I will never understand why action and martial art films constantly get made fun of for things like the movie montage. Yet chick flicks which have more predictable story lines than any other genre of film, and are constantly recycled, do not get the same 'bad reputation' as an action or a martial art movie. Most of the action and martial art movies are based around revenge, there is no denying that. But I am pretty sure there are way more creative ways to kill someone in a film, which are FUCKING INTERESTING AND KICKASS than all the different ways you can win the girl of your dreams over with your bumbling idiot charms. I would love to keep ranting about this BUT back to the issue at hand. 

Daniel Laruso is targeted by the typical 1980's douchebags. The ones who will drive a sports car to school and pressure the really popular but super sweet girl to date them. Now these same douchebags from the Cobra Kai have been picking on Daniel, and they know he never fights back...until now! Just watching this next montage makes me so damn happy because we see the bullies slowly get dropped off by Laruso, one by one! Clearly that sweep the leg bullshit hasn't been working for you! 

I just love the look on all their faces, when they see this so called wimp beat the shit out of all of them. And he does it with such class and style. Sure he doesn't have much 'swagger' as the dudes from the Cobra Kai, but his style is just as effective. And man how can you not like this song? 'You're the best around' by Joe Esposito is a perfect fire up song, and this can get you in the mood for everything. It is also great listening to the song when you are feeling your worst. You know what, just watching the whole entire fucking movie is where it's at! So if there are any kids out there reading this, just learn karate in secret and then kick the shit out your bullies. Try doing it at a karate tournament if you can though!

This is an amazing 'beat down' montage. For several reasons. The fact we get to see Van Damme kick the shit out a lot of people, the brutality of it and more importantly STAN FUCKING BUSH! This song is one of my favourites among the fire up song genre. Not only is it an awesome song to dance and sing to, but it is one of the best songs to work out to.

I love the shit out of this montage because we get to see the different styles that each of the fighters possess. And it is curious to think watching these certain fighters, what background they actually came from. Especially that guy who does that weird jumping crap and looks like he is always ready to play a game of leap frog. Was I the only one who thought that? I also love how at the end of the montage we see Jackson just throwing some poor guy off the runway. It is interesting seeing that because Jackson really isn't too much of a martial artists. He is a brawler, but that is what is so awesome about him and it adds to his charm.

And the last example I will put up in regards to the 'beat down montage 2' is my all time favourite, Kickboxer. As if you didn't know I was going to put this up. Now I want you to see the Supreme edition that a guy has made himself to make it is as uncut as the original VHS version. I will upload you the second part of the fight. In this video you won't see Van Damme getting knocked around but the back story is he hears his brother Eric yell 'Nok Su Kow'. This phrase and seeing him brother say this, inspires him and remind's him of why he is beat the shit out of Tong Po so badly they he and his boss Freddy Li will have to get work  being prostitutes,because there is no way they will get any jobs or respect after this fight. But as you can see, music is played as Kurt kicks the crap out of Tong Po. He has literally gone through hell in this fight, but he knows he needs to avenge his brother. And fuck does he do a KICKASS job of that. 


I really hope you enjoyed the third part to my dedication to the movie montage. Now you are probably thinking, is that it? No no my friend, would I do that? There is still much I have to discuss in terms of different montages. So stick around there will be more to come. 

Montage = The movie just got REAL Part II

Here we have Part II for my dedication for the movie montage. Now I thought I would try something a bit different. I could do this in order of how a film is portrays it's montages, but since I don't play by anyone else rules I will start Part II off with a dedication to the 'Credit Montage'. You know the ones I mean. The beginning or end credits that have a montage of the film stills or footage from the film or the previous film, if it is a franchise.

This is something I wouldn't expect many people to discuss, but I think this is just as important than the montages we see in the film. You may be asking 'How is this important Jade? Clearly all that medication you are taking is messing with your mind'. Now the medication could have something to do with this, or my love for montage in movies just needs to be expressed in full, so why not include something that is just as awesome? 

I love when a movie uses a montage in the end credits. It's always awesome when you have really loved a movie, but then the end credits turn out to be a montage of the film you have just watched? How the hell can you resist this? A great example of this Rocky V. Sure it is not the best of the Rocky movies. But I think the end credits redeems a lot of the fifth film's crapola qualities.

What is so amazing about the end credits for this particular montage, is that we get to relive all the memories we have from the previous Rocky Movies. Whether they were sad, happy, heartbreaking, and just all round BADASSERY, they all got into your psyche and got you excited. I bet if you just watch this end credits, you are going to want to watch the previous Rocky films...don't act as if you wouldn't. 

Now as I said before I also love opening credit montages. They are just as powerful and they are great for setting the tone for the film. There is several I will mention and the first is a personal favourite of mine. It is from Kickboxer and it has the song 'Streets of Siam' by Stan Bush. This is a magnificent opening, because we see Kurt and Eric Sloane as fresh tourists in Bangkok. Whether we see them buying flowers from some ladies in a boat, or see the very classy prostitute district or even better actually seeing ERIC PICK UP A FUCKING PROSTITUTE, this just shows it will be the last bit of fun they have for a while...because Tong Po is going to crush you Eric. 

The next opening montage I will be using is the amazing opening credits to Rocky III. This truly sets the tone for the film. We see Rocky who is now a heavyweight boxing champion, becoming civilised and less hungry for fights, because let's face it he's finally made it. He is married with a child and he his rich now, everything that is great has fallen into his lap. So when we see Clubber Lang moving up the boxing ranks and being a possible contender for Rocky, we just know shit will get what is a quick way of showing this? A MOTHERFUCKIN' MONTAGE!

And finally I have chosen Bloodsport's opening credits. Why? Well I am obviously a massive fan of Van Damme and his body of work...and just his body too BUT this opening training montage features some of the competitors for the Kumite. And when looking at these competitors in particular it makes you wonder which one of them will challenge Van Damme or which ones he will make look like roadkill. I love the music that is used as well, because while it is calming, it does have a menacing quality to it. It puts you in the mood to fight. I just don't suggest you watch this film, and start shit with a random person, unless you can fight, so by all means challenge away! And also it has BOLO in this opening montage soooooo what the fuck is not to like? 

I seriously could go on forever with these videos and examples, but you would be here all freakin' year listening to me going on about how fucking awesome they are. There are plenty of different examples of the opening and ending credit montages. But I just wanted to show you the best examples out there, and the ones which have made a great effect on the film, and really excited or fired up the viewer. 

The opening and end credits montages are something a lot of people forget. I know that a lot of emphasis is put on training and final fight montages, which is understandable because they are the heart of the film. However without these opening and ending credits, the tone wouldn't be set for the film or wrapped up as neatly.

Hope you have enjoyed this quick little read, and I hope it makes you want to watch these kickass movies!!!

Montage = The movie just got REAL Part I

As most of you have gathered by now, I am a woman who loves her action, martial arts and zinematic classics. Now these movies wouldn't be half as successful if it wasn't for the soundtracks which are 9 times out 10 used in a montage. You know shit has gotten real in a movie if there is a montage or in Rocky IV's case, 4 montages. 

I love a montage more than ANYBODY. Growing up watching these movies, I always felt a montage was needed in these kind of films because it showed you the hard work these men were putting themselves through as an act of vengeance. 

Unfortunately, montage's just seem a thing of the past. We never see a good montage any more. As much as I still love modern action and martial art movies, I feel a bit of the heart has gone because the montages have been phased out. I understand as the years go on, film also changes and they are looking to do different things, so obviously people see montages of a thing of the past which can only be associated with cheesy 1980's movies right? WRONG!! Montages are what seal the deal for me in terms of action movies. As much as I loved Expendables 2, it would have been so cool to have had some kind of training montage. It wouldn't have had to make sense, it would have just added to the MOTHERFUCKIN' BADASSERY that it already possessed. 

I think the montage use in a film is very effective especially in action movies. The reason? You are watching a Rocky movie right? Now let's face it only a small portion of us are going to be able to look like Stallone in terms of his body. So when you see him struggling, trying to find his feet, trying to be the best he can be, it makes you realise he is just human like the rest of us. The montage makes you realise 'okay he isn't as invincible as I once thought'. 

 I mean have you guys seen the montage in Rocky IV? Hrm I need to narrow that down more since there are 4 of them. Rocky is driving in his car and we can hear the fire up song 'No easy Way out' by Robert Tepper. And in this montage we can see Rocky thinking about all the events up to this point, which has shaped him as a boxer, as a husband to Adrian, as a friend to Apollo and also shaped himself. Make sense? This is incredibly powerful, and sure it may look cheesy to people who don't understand, but to those people I say, just go back into your boring life and watch 'The Room' again...oh and go fuck yourself!

There are different kind of montages out there. You got the training 
montage which shows the star of the movie training, trying to push himself to the ultimate limit. And these montage's are great because you see the anguish, the pain, but you see at the end of the montage how all that pain was worth what they have achieved 

Then you have the thinking montage, just like the example I gave from Rocky IV. The protagonist will have to spend some time alone to reflect on what is happening in their lives. They are at a crossroads, and they don't know what to do, so they think about everything that is important to them, and how it has affected them personally. This can be just as powerful as a training montage. I mean these guys aren't just about working out and getting bigger biceps...they do have emotions too.

You also have the credit montage. You know the ones I mean. With the really awesome fire up music at the end with a montage of scenes from the movie whether it is stills or actual footage. I always love the credit montage, it knows how to fire me up!

And finally you have the fighting montage. You know which ones I mean. Sure I would love to see Rocky fight each opponent for 15 rounds a piece, but if we had that in the film, it would be just way too long. But, what is just as good is seeing a montage through the fight. Sure you will see the first couple of rounds, but then the montage really kicks in. The music gets heavier, faster and more epic. This would fire anyone up with a soul! 

I think a really good montage, is what makes these great films become classic films. People tend to make fun of montages in these movies, because to them it looks outdated, and lame. But they can't be so lame, that pop culture always feels the need to reference them, whether it is in cartoons, magazines or even in other movies. The action movie montage is a classic, and the sooner everyone realises that, the more people will want this classic scenes to be restored in more recent films. Sure montages are used in films still to this day. But they will never be remembered, cherished or immortalised as much as the action movie montage. 

I know I have used Rocky as an example for the meaning of a montage. And there is plenty of films that have used montages. But c'mon now, we all know Rocky is the ahead of the pack in terms of how to make a perfect montage. In the next couple of articles, I will be talking about different montages used in action and martial art movies. 

I hope you have enjoyed the ride so far into the mind of a montage...because Part II is about to get real...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Kickboxer = Perfection

Kickboxer is a film which I have grown up with, so this film has been with me since my early childhood. This film was what really started it all in terms of me loving American Martial Art movies and just violent movies in general. Yeah sure it has cheesy parts in it, but it is so damn enjoyable, and I think this should be in every movie buffs collection. I often find that a lot of people don't put Kickboxer in their top 5 Van Damme movies, which is something I find odd, because it really is the best one. It has a real awesome story, I mean who doesn't like a revenge story. But I think this does tend to get overshadowed by Bloodsport a lot. Bloodsport is another one of my favourites of Van Damme's which would be in my top 5, but I just don't think that is as good as Kickboxer.

I would love more than anything to be able to get the true uncut edition that I remember watching over and over again, but alas it is harder to find than Carmen San Diego. For me this does have it all. It has a great storyline, excellent choreography if not brutal, memorable characters especially like Xian and Taylor, and of course one of the most BADASS villains of all time, Tong Po. 

I really do think they need to revisit Kickboxer in a direct sequel. There was Kickboxer 2: The Road Back starring Sasha Mitchell who plays one of the Sloane Brothers. Alas though Van Damme did not make an appearance in this film because his character was killed off, along with his brother Eric and his girlfriend Mylee. But for a sequel I think I would like to see Van Damme and Qissi(Tong Po) - fight to the death once more. Or I think I would love to see a film which is just about Tong Po's character, and why he became the BADASS MOTHERFUCKER that he is. 

And I would like to point out that the soundtrack and score to this movie is pure perfection. The score is by Paul Hertzog, and man did this guy get it right. Sure there are songs that are very relaxing and calming but at the same time, they fire you up. Speaking of firing up, you can't forget Stan Bush's kickass songs which are in this film. 'Streets of Siam' is the film's opening track and it just sets the tone for the film perfectly. His next song 'Fight for Love', is used after Kurt finds out his brother Eric is paralysed. And in this song you can really feel the hurt and emotions that Kurt must be going through. And finally, 'Never Surrender'...There is not enough words to describe how much this song fires me up. It makes you think that you can do anything you want if you just keep fighting, not giving up and of course never surrendering. It's a true 80's fire up song, and I do believe if more music was made like this today, the world would be a way better place to live in. 

Oh and as promised here is the Kickboxer Supreme Edition. I am going to put the last part of the fight up for you because it is BRUTAL and you need to see it!!!! So happy that this guy edited this and made it pretty much perfect! Don't be put off when it changes colours, this guy has pieced this together from different editions of the film to make it as 100% authentic and original as possible. Enjoy my fellow podcastrators :) 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cover Story Not Included

We spoke briefly about the awesome power of VHS cover art. How it ignited my imagination and paved the way to an unhealthy obsession, I didn't mention however how this old friend of mine abused this power, how it tricked me, manipulated me and just flat out lied right to my face.

The VHS gave us a special gift, it allowed us to turn our homes into a private cinema, where we could watch whatever we wanted how ever many times we wanted. We owned a piece of the movie business for the first time and we were all hooked pretty quickly.  A market arose for films to be made purely for this format, and they were extremely popular. It didn't take too long for distributers to realize which movies under this elk proved to be the most popular, " too scary for the cinema" they would say "too steamy for the silver screen" they would promise, with pictures scattered all over the front and back cover of nearly nude goddesses and bat shit crazy gore everywhere, they tickled our titties and our blood lust alike and sucked us in. We thought we found a rare gem, an undiscovered classic that we can boast about to others later. We took it out of the case and into our VCR watched the trailers that accompanied it, noticing that they seemed pretty shitty but we just ignored this until the movie started and we realized we weren't watching what we bought. We were tricked and we will never forget or forgive.

Welcome to the true art of the VHS, misdirection. How many times have you picked up a VHS case and thought to yourself this looks awesome? the cover art is wicked with a painted visage of girl running away from a big house with her clothes falling off in tatters, on the back all you can see is a messy collage of boobs and red stuff spilling everywhere and you suddenly realize you're home. You kick yourself when you realize that film is actually about an old couple who keep a rabid half human in the basement and most of the film is a dramatic albeit poorly acted social  commentary about parenting with no boobs in sight. You feel like a fool, you curse the heavens and swear that you will never watch a video again! Until you see a big green cover with a beefy man beast carrying away a scantily clad model and the ruse starts all over again. This was how they got you, they didn't have much to promote their lesser known titles, the video stores were too busy promoting their blockbuster titles with promotional items that made you drool. They needed to suck you in somehow and the cover was the best instrument. With the VHS you always judged it by the cover. If you don't want to get caught out I discovered two rules by which I judged what I should choose after the tenth time i'd been had.

#1: If there is a crazy amount of gore on the back cover and that's all there is, there's a big chance that that is literally all there is. It probably wont be that scary and the gore scenes in it wont shock you because they are all on the cover.

2# The woman on the cover is almost never involved in the actual film. If she is really attractive and pretty much naked and you don't recognize her at all, she's a model and a venus fly trap, hiding something a lot more gooey with a ridiculous 80s hair style and an annoying habit of screaming too much.

Below are some of the best examples of VHS trickery, don't take this as a reason not to watch these, I will explain why. Some of these were actually a pleasant surprise, some of them weren't, but all were misleading.

This movie was actually quite enjoyable. Shadowzone released in 1989 by CIC Video, to me looked totally bad ass. admittedly I had absolutely no idea what this film was going to be about, our copy you see had the blurb on the back ripped off. There were a few pictures still scattered about but with no context to go by I was still lost. There was " Shadowzone a new dimension of unparalleled terror" and a picture of a man cast in shadow and a weird demon rabbit thing, so I discarded that information and went to the cover for answers. Some flying demon with a  lab coat, presumably a doctor or some sort. We can either assume that the demon has a doctorate of some kind, probably in pain or a doctor turned into a demon whichever you deem more plausible. There is a naked lady in a space age capsule, looks like she's asleep, maybe the demon or alien is sending human meat up to his planet to either procreate with it or eat it in a ritual fashion but not before he performs a lot of unnecessary surgery first, just for shits and giggles. Now this picture has a different tag line, which makes even more Ludacris assumptions. Now I think its going to be in space and some sort of rip off of Alien. On my video cover it says " on the dark side of dreams a new terror takes shape" WTF! now I'm just confused. Someone having a nightmare about Alien somehow conjures up an alien demon doctor who can phase through walls using lightning and snatches naked lady astronauts, got it! what a relief.

The actual synopsis is as follows:
After someone is killed in the subterranean project called "Shadowzone," a NASA captain is called in to investigate. In the project, sleeping subjects are induced into a deep EDS state whereby they become portals to a parallel universe. Unfortunately this causes adverse reactions in the subject, and something gets through the portal, the consequence of which is an attrition problem.

Well then no mention of flying, lightning wall phasing demon doctors there. Without giving any of the movie away, it was actually pretty enjoyable. Some pretty impressive gore effects at the beginning and some very very frustratingly selfish\stupid scientists ( including James Hong from Big Trouble In Little China and Louise Fletcher from Brainstorm). Fairly cliché but also host to some hilariously surprising moments. The girl in the capsule is not the girl in the movie, the girl in the movie is much more attractive.

I love this cover, It is so deliciously dodgy. It has absolutely no motion to it whatsoever like it was shot on a soundstage. The guy is a total badass and the girl is so blown away by his awesomeness she either cant see or has been rendered mentally disabled. If you are slightly confused its because on my copy the chick riding on the back has her head titled back and her eyes closed, I cant seem to find that one on the net though. This cover tells us that we are meeting the ultimate weapon in the fight against crime. This tells me two things, this guy is a vigilante because he isn't wearing a unifrom and that this movie is going to be a b grade action film with a very little known cast but a lot of great 'F'ing fun. I turn it on the back and see a bunch of lads with guns ready to paint the town red. looking like they are all going to a Universal Soldier party dressed as Dolph, I'm already in heaven. I was able to read the blurb of this one.

 Directed by Lawrence D Foldes 1983 Fellow High school Graduates, Kevin, Scott, Fred and Stan- are now at college. Our hero Kevin, starts developing strange notions about what is right and wrong in this corrupt world. This comes to a head one night when Kevin's sister is brutally raped and left to die. Kevin and his buddies set out to avenge her death by forming a vigilante group to hunt down the gang responsible. This chilling climax sees violent three way confrontation between the boys, the gang and the police with horrifying results.

Just wow, that sounds like this movie is going to deliver exactly what the cover is promising me. Lots of explosions, revenge, some bad acting but a hellova good ride... I have never been so pleased at being so wrong. This movie is one of the most serious and confronting movies I have ever seen. It's messed up and intense with an amazing performance from all the actors , I went in looking for some visceral carnage and ended up getting  a rare gem. I should have noticed the name Ernest Borgnine and realized that this was going to be special, it also a Cannon distribution film so, you know, that should have been a hint as well. That my friends is when misdirection can be a beautiful thing.

Oh Society you devilish thing you. I'm kind of cheating on this one. I'm using the example of how we misdirected the friends (or victims) of ours into watching this with absolutely no idea what they were getting themselves into. We showed this to a friend of ours , who we knew would like it, in the same weird and uncomfortable way we all do. We started by forbidding her to look at the back cover, so she would only have the front cover to judge the film by tee hee. So I'm going to delve into that for a moment. We have an artist rendition of a well dressed man looking very concerned, maybe a little distant, he knows something but is powerless to do anything. That or he's fed up with his dates penchant for the gross. Then we have an otherwise pretty girl in a nice dress pealing her face off like a mask she accidently put on with super glue. Her facial expression makes it look like the whole process is quite pleasurable. Apparently it's "all about fitting in" or "if we don't belong they'll eat you alive" as this cover suggests. Which conjures images of popularity in the school yard, corrupt teenagers pulling the façade from themselves to reveal the monsters they truly are. Either way we presume that the cover is a metaphor for what the film contains, possibly some form of flesh eating sorority 80s high school camp film style.

In actuality: total bat shit crazy carnage you will never wash from yourself even after you pass away.
I'm not telling you any more about it. I enjoy seeing how many people I can fool with this cover and the other cover you can inter change with it which is equally as vague. Do yourself a favour and don't look at the back cover and just watch it. ( for 18 and over only) enjoy.

I know So far in this list I haven't delved much into the disappointing side of misdirection. This is my key example. This cover has so much damn promise. Big spikey metal ball thing and a Robot ready to slash someone who looks remarkably like Ben Kingsley. This film looks like a sci fi fantasy with some very interesting visuals. I just really couldn't wait to watch it, it looked like a low budget version of Heavy Metal. My VHS blurb was as follows.

Sons of Steel is a futuristic action packed motion picture set in the gloom of an acid rain beaten metropolis. Step into the future... A harsh, emotionless world of humanoids vicious scientists, life extending drugs, pulsating rock music and the battle of supremacy. Only super hero Black ALice can prevent the devastation of being transported back in time to battle the evil forces of Oceana.

Fuck.. yes. Although fairly convoluted, this sounds like pure orgasmic glory. The pictures on the back suggest an interesting visual style. I'm going to enjoy this I thought. Nope.

I am an Australian, I don't mind some Australian films, but for some reason this country is obsessed with the image we want to portray to everyone else. I give this film kudos for steering away from coming of age dramas and dirty grimy visuals as we have come to expect but that doesn't mean I going to overlook the fact that this film was annoying, poorly written and extremely hard to understand even for someone who speaks with and hears the Australian accent all day every day. All this needed was two good actors and for someone to focus, and some violence, any sort. Oh and some fantasy and less blade runner references. The last thing you notice and the thing you wished you noticed first was that its M rated for "sexual allusions and occasional language" The half naked women and acid rain reference promised me excitement and all I got was a politically correct fuddled mess. It would have been excellent as a short story. I keep it around as a reminder that not all VHS taste as sweet as they smell.

I could keep going on and on, because there are oh so many and I haven't even delved into the fake actress cover craze of the 90s but I'm sure you fine people have other awesome things to do like make toasted sandwiches, which is exactly what I'm going to do right now. I might even grab  a VHS I haven't seen. Wish me luck.

Until next time. Safe Journey.

Jerry Goldsmith 1990 to 2004

So its been a few weeks, and I have not delivered the final part of my Jerry Goldsmith journey, and I am sorry. But now I feel like my computer may deem it worthy to NOT shut down in the middle of me writing this article (this is my fourth attempt).

With that aside, you are probably wondering why the fuck it goes to a random number like 2004? Well that because Jerry Goldsmith unfortunatley passed away that year. So without any further interruptions, lets get on with this!

1990: Total Recall

When a composer that has scored an uncountable amount of movie and tv music over a 50 year period gets up and declares a specific score to be his masterpiece, you generally perk up and pay attention.
The opening beats to this movie set the tone, the mystery and the action, along with an oncoming tidal wave of suspense and sci-fi operatic epicness. This score is the perfect blend of Goldsmiths action, sci-fi, and thriler related music, which suits the movie perfectly. It doesnt surprise me that Jerry Goldsmith deemed this score his best. It seems like this is the music he was working his whole lifetime to acheive, and this movie was the perfect platform to use it in. Every composer looking to score a sci-fi film need not look any further than this.
Listen to this why running out of breath on Mars.

1998: Deep Rising

First and foremost, if you haven't seen Deep Rising, why the fuck are you still here? Go watch it right now please.
There isn't much to say about this music, other than everytime the main theme pops up during this film about giant sea snake thingys, I want to dance to it, and load up a crossbow at the same time. The pounding and exotic nature of this music just sounds like a really fucked up time on a cruise ship, which is actually what the movies about, so go figure!
Listen to this when riding your gi-joe awesome boat across the high seas, you dance if you want to.

1999: The Mummy

Wow, i don't care what people think of this film, it rocked. It was entertaining as hell. The late 90's were Brendan Frasers years of glory. The 80's had Raiders of the Lost Ark, but all through the 90's there were no high adventure tales, old school danger and intrigue, anti-heroes getting the girl, fighting the local assholes, all that jazz, mummies, you know the stuff.
That was, until The Mummy came out.
Jerry Goldsmiths music in this is Egypt. Even if thats not the music they play in the bazaars there, we have been raised on hollywood version of Cairo, so that every time we see a pyramid, we hear this kind of music:

Dont listen to it for too long, your ears will hurt.
Jerry looks like he took inspiration from these sources however, and made his own action music out of it and made it more awesome. The music in the movie suits our feeble imaginings of Egypt and its grandeur, circa early 1900's.
Listen to this when you are escaping gigantic walls of sand, or Arnold Vosloo, or both, they are as scary as each other. 1.54 jumps up from behind and has casual sex with you by the way.

So ends our journey. Hopefully I have introduced you to a different train of though in regards to Jerry Goldsmiths movie music, and maybe even movie music in general. People don't seem to care that much anymore when composing scores, Harry Gregson Williams I am looking directly at you you transformer porn recorder.
There are few that keep the dream alive, amazing artists such as Michael Giacchino (Star Trek 2009), Brian Tyler (Bubba Ho Tep), and Ramin Djwadi (Game of Thrones) pumping out amazing music every step of the way. I also have to shout out Alan Silvestri, who keeps on making amazing music decade after decade, with no sign of stopping anytime soon.
Its a damn dirty shame that people would rather use generic, lame shitty music that would not even make it past the editing room usually. Theres an alarming 'That'll Do' attitude going on nowadays. Sorry to call you out again Harry Gregson Williams, but if you actually put a motif or two in the Total Recall remake, I might have actually enjoyed one of the 800 chase scenes, or one of the 500 other scenes that should have but didn't have ANY emotional impact.

I'll leave you guys with this, because it is kind of a segue into my next article about the dying art of Opening Titles. These opening titles reportedly cost over a million to make, which is nutbar city (population Salkinds) but I don't give a shit, it's not my money.

Yep, music by Jerry Goldsmith. By the way, this movie is fucking awesome.