Posts Tagged ‘ Explosions ’

The War Crimes of 50 Cent: Thoughts on 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand

In the world of film there’s good movies, bad movies, and a lot of movies that lie somewhere in between. But it’s the ‘B movies’,the special, lower budget films, that turn out to be weirdly endearing. Sure they’ve got faults, but there’s enough good things in them to make you watch them. There’s usually some wild, crazy aspect that makes you appreciate them for what they are. Good entertainment.

The 2009 video game 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is the game that I’ve played that feels most like a  great B Movie. It’s got a silly premise, it’s over the top, offensive, partially retarded,  and it’s damn fun.

The plot of the game is basically non existent and serves only as an excuse to propel Fiddy into a series of increasingly ludicrous and violent situations.

You play as Mr. Cent, and the game begins with you performing a concert in some giant stadium in some unnamed city in some geographic area that resembles the middle east. We have to assume it’s the middle east, cause there’s lots of sand, hence the title, and everyone speaks with a bad accent. Promptly after finishing the concert, Mr. Cent tries to collect eh 10 MILLION DOLLARS that his promoter guy is supposed to owe him, but his promoter guy is broke.

He got robbed by some terrorist/gangster/warlord guy and has no cash. So when Fiddy ever so politely threatens to kill the shit outta him unless he pays, he forks over a priceless artifact, the McGuffin of the story, a diamond and jewel encrusted skull.

Which promptly is stolen by people who work for the terrorist/gangster/warlord in the next scene. Fiddy gets double crossed, tripled crossed, and I’m pretty sure at one point even quadrupple crossed by various people who either want to kill him for no reason, or steal his skull. So he sets off to shoot a ton of dudes until he can get his skull back.

And shoot a tons of dudes he does, like so many dudes I’m pretty sure Mr. Cent could rightfully be charged with war crimes of some sort. And in shooting tons of dudes there’s some blood, also hence the title.

The game plays just like Gears of War, but without the roadie run and unfortunately also without the chainsaw gun.

You run into new areas, duck behind cover, shoot terrorist henchmen and then proceed into the next area to repeat the process. It’s fun, cause it’s not especially difficult, you can pretty much run n gun most of the time. So they gameplay’s not bad, it’s just basic stop n pop, and it’s fun in a mindless sort of way, it’s just the whole game itself is kinda offensive to anyone with moral sensibilities of almost any sort.

First off lets begin with the main character 50 Cent. He’s not a soldier, he’s a rapper. He’s not fighting through the middle east in an effort to liberate some country from the throngs of terror, he’s not trying to save anyone, he’s just in this whole situation for the money.

It’s a little hard to identify with him honestly, I mean I’m just a white guy livin’ in suburbia, I’ve never performed at a concert and expected 10 million dollars, I’ve also never been shot. The biggest problem is the motivation moving the story along, Fiddy wants to get paid. That’s it, you’re killing all these guys because you want a skull covered in diamonds. There’s just not a bit of nobility there.

So all the dudes that you kill in the game, you kill in the quest for money, your own personal greed as Mr. Cent. You want your skull back, and you will murder as many people as it takes to get it.

Sure they’ve all got machine guns and bad dispositions, but when you’re raining down hellfire and machine gun bullets at them from a helicopter, killing at least a few hundred guys in one level, you can’t help but think about the cycle of violence begetting violence, is getting a priceless skull really worth having the lives of all these men on your conscience?

Should I just go cut my loses and go home, cause I think what happens in the game might be considered an international incident.

It’s something I’ve never had to ponder before in my video games. In Call of Duty, the bad guys are either nazis or terrorists and you’re a soldier in a war, so it’s ok to shoot them in their faces. In Halo you’re shooting monster aliens, so it’s not just ok, it’s required to shoot them in their alien monster faces.

But in 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, well I feel that it’s safe to say that all the people that Fiddy shoots are at least “Bad Guys“, cause they work for a terrorist/gangster/warlord, but it still seems a little bit unnecessary. Fiddy comes out of the experience looking like a monster, he can kill hundreds of men, call them all bitches, and then continue killing, all so he can get his bling.

In addition to proving to being a cold hearted, gangsta killa, Fiddy refers to all the women in the game as “Bitches”, which would be more offensive, if half the women int he game weren’t middle eastern hookers/strippers. YAY FOR MISOGYNY!

50CENT IS THE BEST ROLE MODEL EVER!

So yeah If you can get past the moral quandaries and general douchitude that Fiddy brings to the table, you’ll probably enjoy 50 Cent: Blood On The Sand.

Cause to be honest the game’s hilarious. It’s so fucking stupid, I can hardly believe it even got made.

SERIOUSLY. YOU’RE THE RAPPER 50 CENT FIGHTING TERRORIST BAD GUYS IN THE MIDDLE EAST TO GET SOME BLING.

The game even has a taunt button that you can use to say various offensive things.

I’m pretty sure if you were a dumb ass 13 year old kid into rap music this would be “The Best Game Ever Made OMG!!!

But the problem is that the game plays well enough that all the stupid shit manages to become just part of the charm. It’s like Army of Two but even less serious, it’s like the short bus version of Gears of War.

I’m pretty sure that the people who made the game did so with tongues firmly planted in their cheeks. There’s no way to go about this material without a sense of humor. Which is the reason that the game gets a pass, because to be offended by something this retarded would be stupid.

Nothing this dumb should be taken seriously, and because the game is so silly it somehow manages to work.

There’s an undeniable charm to shooting a ton of faceless terrorist bad guys, hearing Fiddy yell something about getting his skull back, all while listening to really classy lyrics like these:

Nigga, it?s not a war when there’s casualties on one side, I ride
Turn it up on you niggas after Jay ride by
I click-clack, that?s that, I don’t flash, I mash
I wave the Uzi at ?em, I make a movie out ?em

Nigga, my gun go off
You see the barrell turnin’, you feel the hollows burnin’
Nigga, now you learnin’, nigga, my gun go off
Call it attempted murder, nigga, I’m tryin? to merk you
When I come back bustin’, nigga, my gun go off

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Universal Soldier Regeneration Is Not Very Good

The first Universal Soldier came out back in 1992, was directed by Roldand Emmerich, starred Jean Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren, and is a pretty decent action movie.

It’s got a pretty ludicrous plot. Van Damme is killed in Vietnam while fighting with Lundgren, their bodies are preserved and they’re brought back as super soldiers in the early 90’s. Lundgren goes crazy, makes a necklace out of various people’s ears, and tries to kill Van Damme. There’s shooting, chasing, fighting and explosions, it’s fun.

Unfortunately Universal Soldier Regeneration lacks fun. And most of the movie lack Van Damme.

The movie starts out alright, with a pretty decent car chase. These two kids get kidnapped by the bad guy universal soldier and there’s shooting and smashing and it’s a good way to start the movie. It’s the next hour that drops the ball.

Cause the only reason anyone rented this movie is that they wanted to see Jean Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren fighting again. That doesn’t happen till about 75 something minutes into the movie, so up until that point the watcher probably just doesn’t give a fuck.

So that plot has something to do with Russian people who are angry about some political prisoners or something so they kidnap the prime ministers kids, that’s what the first scene was all about. They take the kids to Chernobyl and plant some bombs that’ll blow up one of the reactors there. It’ll cause  a ton of radiation and mess up 100’s of miles of Russia or something.

It honestly feels like the movie is set in Chernobyl because the producers had an abandoned industrial looking place and some burnt out old buildings to film in.

The angry Russian guys are employing a mad scientist sort of dude who sucks at acting, and has one leftover 2nd generation universal soldier; which makes the Americans get involved, they’re concerned ya see. They send some forces who get the shit killed out of them, and then there’s a subplot with this American commando guy trying to save the kids, and I just didn’t care.

Yeah there’s some action, and the middle hour of the movie isn’t altogether boring, it’s just kinda dumb. The Americans send in the four non-Jean Claude UNISOLs that they’ve got, they all get killed by the new 2nd gen bad guy Unisol controlled by the angry Russian guys. They all get killed pretty quick. It’s just surprising, cause you know in the first movie it was kinda established that these dudes were hard to kill, but most of them die by getting stabbed, or punched a lot.

So there’s some more stuff that goes on, and the Americans get their asses handed to them, and they realize that finding Jean Cluade is like their only chance, but since he’s been in only like 2 scenes in the first hour, they have to shoot him up with some serum that’ll turn him into a killing machine. So finally after an hour of not caring we finally get to watch him in the movie.

Dolph shows up as a clone of his dude from the first movie and the excitement builds.

So the first legitimately awesome stuff happens, Jean Claude is mowing guys down, there’s this really great sequence where he takes out like an entire floor of dudes in a single shot, then he goes upstairs and proceeds to stab a ton of guys. It’s really cool, I was thinking at this point, that if the movie continued to be this cool I’d forgive the Jeane Claude free middle hour.

But alas it doesn’t continue to be that awesome.

Jean Claude randomly wanders into a room where Dolph is bothering those kids from earlier and then they fight. It’s a little bit random really. The fight is pretty cool, there’s plenty of them throwing each other into various things that break, and then bust through a couple of walls. And just when you think it’s gonna go on for a bit longer and things are going to get even more impressive, Dolph gets killed and it’s done.

So the whole reason that anyone would decide to watch the movie in the first place, a cinematic re-match between Van Damme and Lundgren is over in about 5 minutes or so.

Then Jean Clause has to fight the movie’s main bad guy, and eventually the movie ends with the viewer still sad and disappointed.

It’s not that the stuff that isn’t Jean Claude is terrible, it’s just not super great, and as a viewer I could have cared less. The action is okay, the special effects aren’t bad, and it’s a decent looking movie, Peter Hyams was the cinematographer  after all. Actually for a direct to DVD movie it’s quite good looking, most of it looks well made. So I guess for a direct to DVD action movie you could do a lot worse.

It’s just, as someone who wanted to see a fun action movie involving Jean Claude Van Damme, it was depressing to see him sidelined for an hour of the movie, so that there could be filler scenes and plot involving people that I didn’t care about.

The Core

The Core (2003) is a disaster movie, and you’ve already seen it.

If you took elements of various ensemble disaster movies and mixed them in a blender, and then took away a little of the budget, you’d probably end up with a movie like The Core.

It fits the mold just about perfectly.

ACT 1: Scenes of mysterious bad stuff.

Then establishing various characters, some doing heroic stuff, some being scientists.

Scientists guys realize bad stuff is happening. Warn people. Come up with plan.

Meet some more side characters.

ACT 2: A Disaster that is more bad and scary than the mysterious bad stuff happens.

WE HAVE A PLAN TO STOP THE END OF THE WORLD!

CUE MONTAGE!

ACT 3: Plan goes into action!

Various unforeseen complications happen to plan.

Side Character Dies.

Plot twist from actions of side character! Didn’t see that coming!

Characters resolve some problems with each other.

Side Character Dies Dramatically.

OMG CAN THEY DO IT?

World Saved!

And that’s pretty much what you expect, and that’s pretty much what happens. The Core is essentially Armageddon, but instead of flying into space to use nuclear bombs to solve an environmental disaster they must go into the center of the Earth!

So the movie starts off with this scene of some people just dropping dead, and it’s kinda amusing an unexpected and after some science from Aaron Eckhart, we have a scene with Hilary Swank landing a space shuttle in the L.A. river. Then some bird in London get all crazy and fuck up some shit, a bus gets knocked over, little kids are crying, it’s kinda silly really, but fun. You’re like why are all these birds fuckin up shit in this movie about the core of the earth?


ELECTROMAGNETISM and SCIENCE! It’s pretty much the reason why all the bad scary stuff is going on. It shoots lightning that kills the shit outta Rome, and then it sends a radiation beam down through the heavens to melt half of San Francisco.

That’s about where the destruction ends though. There’s really not that much, those few scenes, and it isn’t actually all that impressive anymore. The CGI in The Core, has not aged well, the stuff looks about as good now as your average Sci Fi channel movie.

Oh yeah so the whole reason that all the bad scary stuff is happening is cause the core of the Earth stopped spinning due to some military shenanigans, and that fucked everything all up. So Delroy Lindo has built a spinning laser thing that melts the crap out of rocks, and he’s invented some magical alloy which he calls UNOBTANIUM that they can build stuff with. So pretty much he is singlehandedly responsible for inventing the stuff that saves the world.

So their plan is to build a giant phallic ship that will shoot lasers into the ground to melt/burrow into the core of the earth. YUP! Even less plausible than landing space shuttles on an asteroid.

The second half of the movie is essentially an example of AND THEN set piece filmaking. Bad stuff just keeps happening to keep the action moving along.

Ok so the first few minutes of the mission to save the earth go ok, AND THEN some whales show up, AND THEN there’s an underwater quake, AND THEN there’s a giant underwater whirlpool/cyclone thing…

A few hours later… AND THEN the computer screens freak out, AND THEN they crash into a giant crystal cavern, AND THEN a crystal jams the lasers, AND THEN they’ve gotta fix the ship, AND THEN it starts to cave in, AND THEN LAVA!!!!!

Stuff just keeps happening, stuff just keeps getting worse. Every time there’s a solitary moment of peace some crazy shit starts happening, like giant chunks of diamond that the Earth burrowing laser train has to avoid. It’s just not all that interesting honestly, you know which characters are gonna live and who’s gonna die, and the special effects consists of mostly a lot of yellow orange swirls with a laser train burrowing through. (A laser train of which I couldn’t find any pictures online, and as I have already returned the DVD to Netflix I don’t have a source to get one myself)

But because being outside of the laser train would kill the characters there’s not much going on besides some bad special effects shots. So we’re left a whole bunch of movie just set in the ship’s cockpit, and it just isn’t all that tense, or all that engaging.

So lots of stuff happens and they set of the nukes and then they save the world.

On the plus side I did enjoy Aaron Eckhart in the movie and there isn’t an Aerosmith them song.

The movie aint great, but it aint too terrible, besides the science being retarded and all.

I’d say that if it’s ever on TV and you’re really bored, and incapable of moving or changing the channel, you could do worse. But if you had a choice, I’d just say watch Armageddon instead.

Reign of Fire

Now some movies don’t age well, they become dated, and they get worse over time.

Other movie like Reign of Fire, just get better.

When the movie came out in 2002, it was pretty cool. You’d have probably heard the movie described like this:

“The world has been all fucked up by dragons, like they totally burnt everything and ate everyone and stuff. Christian Bale, you know that guy from American Psycho, he’s got a band of survivors living out of an old castle in the English countryside just trying to survive. Matthew McConaughey shows up as this dude Van Zan, he’s a bald, American dragon hunter; they fight some dragons and it’s pretty cool.”

And it is. It’s a pretty cool movie. It takes a concept that seems a little far fetched, and grounds it with a decent sense of realism. The times are hard, life sucks, people are starvin’ and dragons are flying around fucking everyone’s shit all up. There’s not very much comedy in the post-dragon apocalypse. The movie takes itself seriously and never overstays its welcome. The plot moves along, the characters are pretty decent, and it has some of the best dragons ever put on film.

There’s a number of really awesome dragon scenes in this movie. There’s a scene where the use guys jumping out of a helicopter as dragon bait. So yeah I know it isn’t the smartest sounding idea, but it’s pretty cool none the less. There’s fire and explosions and honestly it’s the best movie McConaughey has ever made.

That's Right, It's The Guy From Dazed and Confused

His Van Zan is so awesome. Like I want to have his babies awesome. He shows up in the movie riding a tank, rides right up to Christian Bale’s castle and is like “Let me the fuck in, I kill dragons!”. Christian Bale is like, “um how bout no” to which Van Zan responds with a bit of the crazy eye, and then says “We can do this easy, or we can do this real easy“.

He then spends the rest of the movie being super badass. Like the two things he carries with him when fighting dragons: Shotgun and a battle axe.

Alright so that’s what the movie was like in 2002.

It’s 2010 now. The movie has just gotten better.

When you describe the movie to people nowadays it’s a lot easier:

“DUDE HOLY SHIT! THAT MOVIE’S AWESOME! IT’S LIKE BATMAN AND KING LEONIDAS AND THIS BALD GUY WHO SUCKS IN SOME OTHER MOVIES BUT IS TOTALLY AWESOME IN THIS ONE FIGHTING DRAGONS. IT’S PRETTY SWEET.

Wait? What? Leonidas? Yeah Gerard Butler is in the movie, just nobody noticed back in 2002.

But now in 2010:

Yeah, it’s even cooler now.

Ok so Christian Bale does yell a little but never goes full on Batman Voice, which is a plus. Gerard Butler doesn’t even get a chance to yell anything about Sparta, but he is Christian Bale’s buddy, and Matthew McConaughey is still the most badass guy in the movie.

But really, McConaughey attempts to kill the biggest dragon in the movie in mid air with a battle axe, It might be the coolest thing ever.

Reign of Fire is a solid movie that has not just held up over the past few years, it’s gotten even better.