Monday, March 31, 2014

Divergent Review

Divergent Review
I want to say that I never read Divergent or any book pertaining to Veronica Roth's post-apocalyptic story. I went into this as a movie and a movie alone. I did not carry any baggage. At this point, it seems useless to try to play the catch-up game. More films based on adult fiction books are being churned out at an alarming rate. That is typical Hollywood, once they get a whiff of success, they will sell that idea to death. Usually when that happens, it can be sticky. In 2000 and 2002, "X-Men" and "Spiderman" set the stage for the superhero genre. But then every superhero script under the sun got greenlit without much caution, and that led to bunch of bad superhero movies being made. The same can be said about the adult-fiction-book-turned-movie genre, most are hit and miss. I remained optimistic though, "Divergent" the movie has received good reviews so far, and there is a great cast, what could go wrong?

Maybe its just me, because most of these franchises based on adult fiction books have not worked for me. I love "The Hunger Games" and I loved "Harry Potter" and if you count "Chronicles of Narnia" and "Lord of the Rings" then I love those too. But "Twilight?" "The Seeker?" "Eragon?" "The Host?" Gag on all four. I don't dislike what they represent, I just don't like poor story structure, bad acting, silly cliches, emotionless weight, and crummy decision-making. I honestly feel like "Divergent" makes several poor choices throughout its running time, and I am curious if it worked out better in book form. 

I guess I should discuss the plot a bit. "Divergent" takes place in a post-apocalyptic future after a big war ravaged the world. What was the fighting all about and who was involved? I couldn't tell you, I suppose I was to have read the book before viewing the film. In the aftermath of this war, society broke down into five factions. Those factions are Abnegation (for the selfless), Amity (for the peaceful), Candor (for the truthful), Erudite (for the intelligent), and Dauntless (for the brave). Why society decided to break into factions is never really realized, for plot convenience, I'm sure. Beatrice (Shailene Woodley) is of Abnegation faction, but on her 16th birthday she gets to choose a faction for herself, a sort of coming-of-age type thing. She has to take a test which will guide her decision at The Choosing, but instead of arriving at one decision, the test offers three separate decisions, which means Beatrice is Divergent. What does it mean to be Divergent and why is it so bad? We never really find out, all we know is Beatrice is in trouble because they needed to make this story tense somehow.  There is also a plot about how the Erudite faction is displeased at the Abnegation faction, because Abnegation governs the other factions, and Erudite feels they should govern them. Why? I guess the story needed a bad guy.

I am not trying to be coy or offensive, the film offers no insight on motivations or decisions of its characters. It seems director Neil Burger decided to make a movie exclusively for fans of the book and nobody else, which leads to an incredibly monotonous experience. Watching "Divergent," I was reminded of David Lynch's adaptation of "Dune" back in the 1980's, and how people were given glossary cards at each theater to help them understand the story being told onscreen. I wish I had received a glossary card for "Divergent." I don't see how this movie could win over any new fans who are not initiated with the books. I don't buy anything about the factions, I don't buy why they matter, I don't buy why Divergent's are so terrible or really why they hold any significance at all. I hope everything was better told and explored in the book, because everything in this film is poorly-written, poorly-explored, and poorly-created. In fact, its just plain too wordy, someone could easily make a drinking game based on how many times the word "faction" is used.

It also doesn't help that, despite a great cast, the acting is painfully deficient. I had hopes for Shailene Woodley after viewing last year's "The Spectacular Now," but she decided to become a blank in this movie, I get no emotion off of her, which means her story doesn't matter. Theo James plays Four, a Dauntless member who becomes Beatrice's love-interest is equally robotic onscreen. Great actors like Miles Teller, Maggie Q, Ray Stevenson, Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz and Mekhi Phifer are not given any real thematic meat to play, and their talents are horribly wasted. The real trainwreck is Kate Winslet, whose villain role is laughably bad. Have you ever wondered what it would be like for Martha Stewart to play a villain? Now's your chance.

Look, I don't care if a book is dense and full of depth. That doesn't mean you get to write a movie with tons of holes, lots of questions and half-answered deliveries and hope everybody will play along. Oh wait, this is will be a series of movies? So we get another one in a few years? Still, not acceptable. You have to convince me to come back for a second outing, draw me in with a great story and raw emotion which will send me reeling out of theater, rabid for the sequel. "Divergent" doesn't even come close to that. The reason why I love "The Hunger Games," "Lord of the Rings," "Harry Potter" and "Chronicles of Narnia" films is because they are willfully explored stories, brought to life by terrific ensembles and pack an emotional punch that decks me in the heart every single time I watch them. "Divergent" doesn't do any of that, it is lazy in its storytelling and terrible in its directing. This film receiving a fresh rating on is absolutely scary.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Overlooked Film of the Week- DOUBLE! "Chronicles of Narnia 1 & 2" (2005 & 2008)

Overlooked Film of the Week- #49 and #50

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe & Prince Caspian
Ever since 2001, we have had a big saturation of fantasy films based on teenage novels. I am not quite sure that its been an over-saturation yet, but a saturation nonetheless. (I think we have had an over-saturation of superhero movies, but I still love them!) We have had great examples of this rapidly multiplying sub-genre like "Lord of the Rings," "Harry Potter" and "The Hunger Games." We also had awful examples like "Twilight," "The Golden Compass," and "Eragon," and I don't think its going anywhere anytime soon. As long as authors are pumping out young adult fiction, somebody in Hollywood and greenlight a series. 

One series that I feel has been brushed under the rug has been "The Chronicles of Narnia." I don't understand why they are not pumping out the movies as quickly as the other studios are with their respected franchises. I don't understand why its not getting the same traction as the other franchises are. "The Chronicles of Narnia" is a big deal to me. I find it to be something on par with the fantasy series'. I do like "Lord of the Rings" more, I do think the first two "Chronicles of Narnia" movies are better than the first 4 "Harry Potter" movies. These movies are full of magic, adventure, humor, great acting, great action and triumphant music. The special effects of the animals alone is worth buying and owning these movies, yes buying and owning these movies. Just like Warner Brothers found three wonderful, believable actors for Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermoine Granger, Disney found four great actors for the Pevensie family. Tilda Swinton was wickedly awesome as The White Witch, and Liam Neeson created an unforgettable character for never playing an actual person.

The first film in the series was "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe." I wanted to see the movie immediately when I heard it was going to come out. My 6th grade Language Arts teacher introduced me to the world of C.S. Lewis, and the characters that were enthralled in it. My class read "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" and I thought it was a pretty cool story, filled with metaphors that enriched the experience. I felt the first movie really represented the essence of that book. It was a movie full of adventure, intrigue and grandiose. There were also some dark spots that I found incredibly well-made and intense. As I stated above, the special effects work was phenomenal. Those looked like real lions and real rhinoceroses, as well as real wolves, minotaurs, centaurs and a huge host of other fanatical creatures that inhabited Narnia. Although, despite all the extra fluff, it can down to a committed cast and crew, who were determined to bring this thing to life. Congratulations.

In 2008, the sequel entitled "Prince Caspian" the series began to take a much darker turn in storyline, but the grand scale of the event was joyous to watch. The battle scenes in "Prince Caspian" are some of my favorite battle sequences in all of fantasy films. Yes, they rank that high. The new additions to the cast were perfect notes to bring this sequel to the next level. Plus, the story took us further into the mythology of Narnia which was pretty exciting. Not only that, but the Pevensie family grew as characters, and it was neat how the movie reflected their growth as characters. I never made it further in the book version of this story, and I never knew why. But I have to say, as far as the films went, "Prince Caspian" was a more than worthy addition to the series.

The casting in both films is magnificent across the board. Like I said above, we really believe in the four Pevensie children, we have to in order to believe in this franchise and they make us believe. They feel like a family. They feel like they have lived with each other. The work by William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes and Georgie Henley deserve every ounce of credit of doing this series right. They really become the characters and grow as the series does. Aside from Swinton and Neeson, the other supporting cast in each film is great. James McAvoy appears in "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" as Mr. Tumnus, a fawn who was crucial to the Pevensie's success. McAvoy has always had some very serious range, and he proves it here. Jim Broadbent, who is always perfect, has a small but awesome role as a professor.

In "Prince Caspian" I was always blown away that Ben Barnes never became a star afterward. Ben Barnes plays Caspian, who is driven out of his home and ends up with the Narnians, whom he plans to help and to become their king. He needs help though, and he calls for the Pevensie's for help. Caspian is a true hero, but he's at times flawed, he is sometimes niave, he often in over his head. Barnes is able to capture all of these emotions and more with genuine ease. Barnes deserves to be bigger than he is and I hope he eventually gets there. Fans of "Game of Thrones" will be happy to see Peter Dinkage playing a dwarf and "Mystery Men" fans will love the voice work by Eddie Izzard. For the sequel, the casting was perfect.

If you haven't had the time to check into this series, do so as soon as possible. I hope this eventually materializes into the next great franchise.

Biggest Movie Badass Bracket: Second Round Outcome

The second round for my Biggest Movie Badasses bracket has come to an end. Here is how the second round voting ended up.

Top Left Bracket- Action Heroes

James Bond (1) vs. John Rambo (8)
With over 79% of the vote, James Bond strikes again and will be advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.

Ripley (5) vs. John McClane (4)
This was a close one, so close that I had to calculate the votes twice because I nearly missed some. But after triple checking the votes, John McClane advances to the Sweet Sixteen, winning 58% of the vote.

Sarah Connor (6) vs. Lee (3)
With an overwhelming 89% of the vote, Lee superkicks Sarah Connor out of the running and will be advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.

Dom Torretto (10) vs. Indiana Jones (2)
After winning over 70% of the vote, Indiana Jones defeats Dom Torretto for the Sweet Sixteen spot.

Action Heroes Sweet Sixteen:
James Bond (1) vs. John McClane (4)
Lee (3) vs. Indiana Jones (2)
Voting Begins Tonight and will go until WEDNESDAY APRIL 2ND.

Top Right Bracket- Amoral Figures

Tony Montana (1) vs. Marv (9)
Once again, Montana is proving how big his cojones are by defeated Marv with taking almost 100% of the vote.

Snake Plissken (5) vs. Sonny Corleone (4)
After a big vote, Snake advances to the Sweet Sixteen with 68% of the vote.

Anton Chigurh (11) vs. The Bride (14)
Another incredibly close voting match-up, one that was decided only by 3 votes. With 51% of the vote, Anton Chigurh advances to the Sweet Sixteen, The Bride can be found in the grave of Paula Schultz.

Oh Dae-so (7) vs. Jules Winnfeld (2)
Jules Winnfeld proves how much of a badass motherfucker he is by advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.

Amoral Figures Sweet Sixteen:
Tony Montana (1) vs. Snake Plissken (5)
Anton Chigurh (11) vs. Jules Winnfeld (2)
Voting Begins Tonight and will go until WEDNESDAY APRIL 2ND.

Bottom Left Bracket- Historical Figures

Bill The Butcher (1) vs. Kikuchiyo (9)
The Butcher once again shows his power and not even a samurai sword can phase him. With over 95% of the vote, The Butcher advances.

Nameless (5) vs. Rooster Cockburn (4)
After a hard fought shoot-out, with 59% of the vote, Nameless advances.

Lt. Aldo Raine (11) vs. William Wallace (3)
William Wallace defeated Aldo Raine with 66% of the vote.

Ujio (10) vs. Maximus (2)
Maximus easily advances over Ujio with 87% of the vote.

Historical Figures Sweet Sixteen:
Bill The Butcher (1) vs. Nameless (5)
William Wallace (3) vs. Maximus (2)
Voting Begins Tonight and will go until WEDNESDAY APRIL 2ND.

Bottom Right Bracket- Fantasy Figures

Han Solo (1) vs. Legolas (9)
Han Solo advances with 80% of the vote.

Darth Vader (5) vs. Mad Max (4)
Darth Vader advances with 95% of the vote.

Wolverine (6) vs. Boba Fett (3)
Big vote, but Wolverine upsets Boba Fett with taking 57% of the vote.

Predator (7) vs. Terminator (2)
Terminator easily takes out Predator with 87% of the vote.

Fantasy Figures Sweet Sixteen:
Han Solo (1) vs. Darth Vader (5)
Wolverine (6) vs. Terminator (2)

Voting Begins Tonight and will go until WEDNESDAY APRIL 2ND. So start voting right now, you guys have been great so far and this has been a lot of fun. To make more sense of the bracket, check out the updated photo below:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Nymphomaniac: Volume I Review

Nymphomaniac: Volume I Review
When a director tries to make a meaningful movie about a rather taboo subject, the ending result can be a blessing or a curse. Sometimes, it rather ends up in the latter, we as a culture still seem stiffened when it comes to having adult discussions about adult ideas and adult feelings. I understand that we live in a world with a certain degree of censorship, I know that adults are not the only age that lives in our country. At the same time, does that mean adult subjects should not be taken seriously on film?

If there is a master of adult ideas on film, its Lars von Trier. I mean, good Lord, take a look at "Breaking The Waves," or "Dancer In The Dark," or "Dogville," or "Antichrist" or "Melancholia." von Trier has a stylish eye, no doubt, but he always has something to say about his subjects. He constantly takes everything to the next level. He does so because he never waters everything down, he never tries to side-step anything. When a creates a world, it feels like a world that is occupied by real people, and then he smothers your face in that world. Lars von Trier had to make "Nymphomaniac" because he is the only artist currently working who could give the story the devotion and care it truly needed.

To a lot of you, the prospect of a four-hour tale of a woman claiming to be addicted to sex recounting her life for a stranger may not sound like the best time at the movies. I can already guess that your brainwaves are firing off right now, forcing you to wonder if I have gone completely off the deep end. The truth is that I have been a fan of von Trier for quite sometime and curiosity drove my decision to check out this big, sex saga. Sure, it may not sound like the average blockbuster. But von Trier is able to capture a captivating story filled with great performances and even greater drama. Von Trier decided to chop his epic story in half, with both volumes available now to rent on ITunes. (Although, as of right now, Volume II is a lot more expensive.) I don't know how this tale is going to end, but I have to say that it is off to a great start.

The film opens with Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) finding a badly beaten woman in the middle of a road. He assists her into his home, tends to her bruises and fixes her a meal. The entire time, she confesses to how bad of person she has been. The girl's name is Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and she begins to tell Seligman about her spiral into sexual addiction. We learn it started at a very young age, and that her parents may not have done the best job raising her, which always leads to the children being more influenced by their friends than their family. We learn Joe had very possessive friends and soon enough, she was hooked on sexual addiction. We learn how Joe's life forced her to be completely emotionless and how that made her become so detached from social norms and utterly narcissistic in her ways. The movie features a fantastic glimpse into the life of someone addicted to sex. Everything is handled maturely, but at the same time, von Trier crafts a well-told and entertaining story from the subject.

What shocked me about "Nymphomaniac: Volume I" was how funny it was. There are bits of humor sprinkled within the first half hour that both pleased and surprised me. Lars von Trier has never really been remotely funny before, so this new change of pace was refreshing. The humor never feels out-of-place, it never feels forced, the film never feels like it wants to be something its not. Everything is handled so delicately that I wanted to stand up and applaud. I don't know if I can think of another movie that balanced sex, faith, love, family, relationships, need and desire in such mature terms and still was able to etch smiles on its audience. But Lars von Trier was able to accomplish that, and make it look so easy.

The film is littered with great performances. The work by both Skarsgard and Gainsbourg is the glue to the entire movie, and they have wonderful chemistry together. As the film is told mainly in flashbacks, we have a host of actors coming in and out, but each one leaving a swift mark. Christian Slater and Connie Neilsen play Joe's parents, and they both do fine work. Shia LaBeouf has a rather meaty role as Jerome, the only man who has stung Joe with love. His work here is calculated well and he gives one of the best performances of his career. Uma Thurman has one big scene, and is a dozy. I won't reveal what it entails, but Thurman absolutely nails it, and creates some of the most unsettling imagery in the whole film. Stacy Martin plays young Joe in many of the characters flashbacks, and so far, Martin's presence has been a tour-de-force. What she is asked to do onscreen isn't easy and automatically earns my respect for taking this project seriously and creating something awesome out of it. Watch out for Miss Martin in the future, ladies and gentlemen.

If I have one major problem its with some of Lars von Trier's style ideas. Like I said above, Lars von Trier has many stylish fetishes he puts on the screen every time, and mostly they are good. Sometimes, he is able to speak volumes about a subject without ever using spoken language. In "Nymphomaniac: Volume I" he smacks his metaphors over your head with a sledgehammer. Usually, von Trier is able to make his metaphors subtle and unnoticeable, here they are underlined in red and circled twice. Von Trier has always been a clever filmmaker and I was hoping for some of that again, I am not sure why he decided to make the decisions he did this time out. But that's really the big thing that nagged me throughout the film.

If you are expecting a big sex marathon in this movie, look elsewhere. This movie is about an adult idea nurtured with care and discussed seriously. It is guided by a magnificent array of performances, and the best thing I can say is that I can't wait to see how this ends. I think you'll be surprised by what you see, if you're daring enough to sit down and watch "Nymphomaniac: Volume I." Its incredibly ambitious, and that ambition pays off with flying colors. I will get to the final volume sometime in the near future. Right now, I am humbled to say "so far, so good."


"The Purge: Anarchy" First Trailer

I watched the first full trailer for "The Purge: Anarchy" and it looks as if it moving in the direction I feel it should have moved in at the beginning.

The trailer is filled to the brim with armored cars, clans of purgers, fire-soaked cars, brawlers, weapons of nearly every sort. I mean let's face it, the idea of an annual 12-hour event where all crime is legal is a preposterous idea, so it deserves an equally preposterous movie. Purposefully make something so off-the-wall, something that doesn't take itself seriously at all. I also hope that this movie stays as far away from the horror genre as possible. A problem I had with the first movie was that it wasn't scary and it shouldn't have been scary. With the premise in question, a home-invasion horror movie is the dumbest way to use the idea.

"The Purge: Anarchy" looks to have some intensity in it, but that can be used well. I like that they are expanding the world of The Purge, because secluding the movie to a rich family planning to hold themselves up and wait it out is silly. Frank Grillo is the main feature of the trailer and it looks like we will get a few stories in one for this film. I am looking forward to that, I want to see how all aspects of our culture is affected by this law. I hope the movie features lots of what the title promises, Anarchy.

One more thing, is just me or would Frank Grillo make a great Punisher??

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer

The aspect of the new "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie has been polarizing to say the least. There are people on both sides of the fence. Even your dear writer doesn't have a firm grip of his feelings when it comes to this new franchise. Even after seeing the first trailer for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," I still am on the fence about the whole ordeal. There is quite a bit that is still uncertain about the film. Its a trailer that doesn't give a lot away, which is a good thing.

I can say that ooze plays a role in the trailer. So I am wondering if they the turtles are aliens or are from another dimension. I love that the Turtles are throwing wisecracks in the trailer, it feels like the ninja turtles in full form. Their movements in the trailer are even pretty cool. I wonder how much the ooze really plays a part in the movie. I also am curious about the connection between April O'Neill and Shredder, as they are onscreen with each other for a good amount of the trailer. Are they family, long-lost friends? We don't know, I just hope it doesn't hurt the overall story.

Overall, the trailer is worth a look. I don't know if it will sway the opinion you have the reboot right now. We didn't get a whole heck of a lot of footage, but its quite certain that this thing is happening, for better or for worse. This reboot will hit theaters this summer.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cheap Thrills Review

Cheap Thrills Review
Take in this moment, for its the last time any of these guys smile the rest of the film.
Right now, I want to get on every radio station, every channel on television, every social media outlet, and on every mountain across the world. I want to shout at the top of my lungs to tell everyone to go see "Cheap Thrills." Easily, the best movie of the year so far, one of the craziest, most delirious, most bizarre rides I've been on in awhile. "Cheap Thrills" is a blistering movie that will get under your skin quick and never let up. That's what I want to tell everyone immediately. It is completely unlike anything playing at any theater right now, its unlike anything you'll see within the next few months (maybe, I maybe too far into hyperbole right now.) This is a movie that calls for a rowdy time, its a movie you'll be thinking about, that you'll discuss the next day with the first organism you come into contact with. 

On the other hand, I am afraid to hype this baby up too much. "Cheap Thrills" is definitely a movie that is not for everyone. There are big moments in this movie that will turn the casual viewer off. "Cheap Thrills" is a movie only for those who have thick skin. Those who do not mind a movie with a somber ending. Those who don't mind with coming up with some answers themselves, because this movie doesn't give us all the answers. Sometimes I hate that, sometimes I find that a special director can create something good out of it. Director E.L. Katz has created something demented, something filthy, something daringly haunting and it needs to be seen. Katz leaves some things unresolved, and its up to the audience to create an outcome. You just have to understand what your getting yourself into.

The film opens introducing Craig (Pat Healy in an unforgettable first performance). Craig lives with his wife and 15-month-old son in a crampy apartment in Los Angeles. On the morning of the movie, he gets an eviction notice and he looses his job at a car shop. He feels so depressed and helpless that he tells his wife he is meeting up with a friend, but instead goes to a sleazy bar to drink away his misfortunes. Craig then meets up with Vince (Ethan Embry), an outgoing guy who apparently knew Craig in high school. Craig is kind and polite, but there seems to be a tension between the two. Its tough to cipher whether or not Craig and Vince were the best of friends in high school.

Just as Craig is about to leave, he sees Vince talking with Colin (David Koechner) and Violet (Sarah Paxton), a strange married couple who invited Vince to drink with them. Colin is very welcoming in an uncomfortable kind of way, the exact type of person you try to shrug off at the bar. But he's buying very expensive alcohol for Vince and Craig, and its Violet's birthday, so Craig decides to stay for a few more drinks. Things start to get really weird once Colin begins offering money to Vince and Craig for certain dares. At first, its all seemingly harmless, i.e. who can take a shot first, who can do this and that first. But as the movie wears on the dares start to escalate and escalate and escalate to the point that my jaw was hanging off my mouth when there only six and half minutes left in the movie. Craig and Vince become so unrecognizable its insane. Who are Colin and Violet? Are they two rich, bored nitwits just looking for a good time, or two scientists conducting a social experiment?

That is all the description I want to give to you. Because trust me, you are not going to want me to spoil this for you. "Cheap Thrills" is a wild ride. It is edited in a stylish, gritty, grounded way that is addicting. At first, "Cheap Thrills" will look like a dark comedy that is stranger than usual, but once Craig gets knocked out by a security guard and the group ends up back at Colin's house, it becomes something else entirely. If you know David Koechner, you'll remember him from "Anchorman" and many other slapstick style comedies. This is absolutely nothing like anything he has ever done before, and if this movie takes off, it will transform him into a star. After you see "Cheap Thrills," you'll want Pat Healy to be in 100 new movies starting tomorrow. His transition from loving family man, to sad unemployed loner to deranged individual is quite the astonishing accomplishment. This is also different work from Ethan Embry. Yes, Embry has done movies similar to this one in the past, but there is a dark fiery to his presence in this movie that was unforgettable. Everyone's work is above-par and it makes "Cheap Thrills" that much better.

Another thing "Cheap Thrills" gets right is its comedy, and you better believe it pushes the dark comedy genre to the edge. There were several moments in this film where I started laughing, then sat back, thought about what I was laughing at, then instantly felt ashamed. That is going to happen to you too over the course of this movie. This is smart comedy that is jet-black in its tone. Many have tried to capture this type of comedy before, and many of them have failed. E.L. Katz makes it all look so effortless. At the same time, E.L. Katz is taking you down an ambitious road, and I am curious to see how casual viewers take in what he shows you. Like I said above, its not going to be for everyone, but if you give it a try, you may find you had more in common with it than you imagined.

Impeccably told by a great cast of actors, "Cheap Thrills" is absolutely worth seeing and easily the movie to beat for 2014 right now. Its rough around the edges, its got some hard laughs and some incredibly dark material. But every single moment and every single minute of "Cheap Thrills" is expertly told and richly imagined. Buckle up, turn it up, give it a try. 


March Madness Biggest Movie Badass Bracket: First Round Outcome

You've been voting for nearly a week and a half now. Finally, it is time to move onto the second round. Just like in basketball, there were some surprises and big upsets in the first round. Let's take a look.

On the top left hand side of the Bracket...The Action Heroes!

James Bond (1) vs. Chris Sanchez (16)
With over 90% of the vote, James Bond sneaks past Sanchez for the win.

John Rambo (8) vs. Martin Riggs (9)
Two memorable characters with close seeds made for a challenging decision. With 54% of the vote, John Rambo moves onto the 2nd round. I guess it helps to be a loner sometimes.

Ripley (5) vs. Lee Christmas (12)
With 87% of the vote, Ripley moves past Lee Christmas to the 2nd round, Christmas was right all along, can't beat a classic.

John McClane (4) vs. John Mason (13)
With 75% of the vote, John McClane rushes John Mason to the 2nd round. Yippee Kayee motherfucker.

Sarah Connor (6) vs. Cameron Poe (11)
With 89% of the vote, Sarah Connor terminates Cameron Poe from the bracket. The tough girls are doing great so far.

Lee (3) vs. "Bud" White (14)
Its Bruce Lee and with over 90% of the vote, he easily karate kicks "Bud" White out of the way to make the second round.

Popeye Doyle (7) vs. Dom Torretto (10)
In the biggest upset on this sub-bracket. Dom Torretto pushes the pedal to the metal to get past Popeye Doyle with 78% of the vote.

Indiana Jones (2) vs. Chan Kwok Wing (15)
In this memorable clash of East vs. West, it was Jones that made out on-top with over 85% of the vote. Always helps to be apart of the Greatest Generation!

Action Heroes 2nd Round:
James Bond (1) vs. John Rambo (8)
Ripley (5) vs. John McClane (4)
Sarah Connor (6) vs. Lee (3)
Dom Torretto (10) vs. Indiana Jones (2)

Top Right Sub-Bracket-Amoral Figures

Tony Montana (1) vs. Bonnie/Clyde (16)
Tony Montana proves once again that he is "the bad guy" and can "take all the fucking bullets!" with almost 100% of the vote, Montana beats Bonnie and Clyde for the 2nd round.

El (8) vs. Marv (9)
I suppose it helps when you come up in the most dangerous city in the world. With 94% of the vote, Marv strangles El out of the 2nd round.

Snake Plissken (5) vs. The Driver (12)
Even with being a good driver, nothing could stop Snake from getting 89% of the vote to get to the 2nd round!

Sonny Corleone (4) vs. Mr. Blonde (13)
Sonny Corleone beat out Mr. Blonde for the 2nd round with over 80% of the vote. No, the Corleone's did not make me an offer I couldn't refuse.

Tyler Durden (6) vs. Anton Chigurh (11)
In the first big upset, Anton kills it with 67% of the vote to beat out Tyler Durden.

Harry Callahan (3) vs. The Bride (14)
In one of the closest battles with 59% of the vote, The Bride upsets Harry for the win. I guess he wasn't dirty enough.

Oh Dae-so (7) vs. The McManus Brothers (10)
In another hard fought battle, Oh Dae-so moves past The boondock saints with a little under 60% of the vote.

Jules Winnfeld (2) vs. Paul Kersey (15)
Kersey has defeated many enemies, but one. With almost 100% of the vote, Jules shoots past Kersey for the win.

Amoral Figures Second Round:
Tony Montana (1) vs. Marv (9)
Snake Plissken (5) vs. Sonny Corleone (4)
Anton Chigurh (11) vs. The Bride (14)
Oh Dae-so (7) vs. Jules Winnfeld (2)

Bottom Left Sub-Bracket- Historical Figures

Bill The Butcher (1) vs. Jaguar Paw (16)
I guess I lopsided this one a bit, either that or people just REALLY love them some Daniel Day-Lewis...with 100% of the vote. Bill The Butcher gut-wrenches Jaguar Paw.

Sam Spade (8) vs. Kikuchiyo (9)
There must be something about the blades on this bracket, with 56% of the vote, Kikuchiyo strives onward to the second round.

Nameless (5) vs. Doc Holliday (12)
Between these two cowboys, it was tough. But with 58% of the vote, Nameless shoots down Doc Holliday for the 2nd round.

Rooster Cockburn (4) vs. Daniel Plainview (13)
Cockburn gave Plainview a milkshake to drink as he took 80% of the vote to the 2nd round!

Atticus Finch (6) vs. Lt. Aldo Raine (11)
In a huge upset, Aldo Raine scalps Atticus Finch for the second round, taking 60% of the votes. I guess nice guys do really finish last.

William Wallace (3) vs. Pvt. Jackson (14)
As good a shot as Jackson is, he couldn't hit his target this time. With an overwhelming 95% of the vote, William Wallace gallops on to the 2nd round!

T.E. Lawrence (7) vs. Ujio (10)
A hard fought battle these two had, but with 57% of the vote, Ujio slides by Lawrence for the victory.

Maximus (2) vs. Chichanghook (15)
The gladiator puts himself to the test against the American Indian and succeeds, taking 80% of the vote with him.

Historical Figures Second Round:
Bill The Butcher (1) vs. Kikuchiyo (9)
Nameless (5) vs. Rooster Cockburn (4)
Lt. Aldo Raine (11) vs. William Wallace (3)
Ujio (10) vs. Maximus (2)

Bottom Right hand Bracket- Fantasy Figures

Han Solo (1) vs. Ironhide (16)
No surprise here, Han Solo takes nearly 98% of the vote against Ironhide.

Conan (8) vs. Legolas (9)
In a tight race, Legolas swiftly takes down Conan with 67% of the vote.

Darth Vader (5) vs. Selene (12)
The Force was with Darth Vader this week and vampires are not immortal. Vader advances with 89% of the vote.

Mad Max (4) vs. The Hulk (13)
I guess not everybody is puny in Hulk's world as Mad Max takes 75% and the win over him!

Wolverine (6) vs. Blade (11)
Whether they are vampires or half-vampires, they are not doing hot on this bracket. The great Wolverine takes 85% of the vote.

Boba Fett (3) vs. RoboCop (14)
The silent Boba Fett takes out RoboCop with over 94% of the vote.

Predator (7) vs. Katniss Everdeen (10)
Katniss has hunted many things and won many tournaments, but she was no match for the Predator as they took 74% of the vote and the win over Katniss. The odds were not in her favor.

The Terminator (2) vs. Michael Myers (15)
The Terminator took nearly 80% of the vote over Myers, I guess that guy can die.

Fantasy Figures Second Round"
Han Solo (1) vs. Legolas (9)
Darth Vader (5) vs. Mad Max (4)
The Wolverine (6) vs. Boba Fett (3)
Predator (7) vs. The Terminator (2)

Those are the results, start voting for the second round now. The voting will last until Sunday, March 30th So get your votes in now!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Need For Speed Review

Need For Speed Review
I know absolutely nothing about the video game in which this movie is based upon. I have vague memories of watching my brother play this game. All I can rate on this movie is what is presented to me. I wanted to point this out before I got too far in this review. Let it be known though that if the video game consisted of nothing but a "Fast & Furious" style drag-racing crew, caught up in a much weaker script, being led by an actor channeling the TV character he's famous for. Then I think fans of the video game will love "Need For Speed."

Unfortunately, that is all "Need For Speed" the movie seems to offer. We are offered a look into the lucrative world of underground racing. But the movie is so similar in style and execution to the "Fast & Furious" franchise that I found it difficult not to compare the two. The film revolves around Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) and Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), two rivals within the world of criminal racing. After a team-up to build a fast car, Dino challenges Tobey to a race for profit. While Tobey is winning, Dino sets up a trap that leads to the death of one of Tobey's friends and sets Tobey up as the fall guy. Tobey goes to prison while Dino goes to the funeral of the friend. Two years later, Tobey is released on parole and ready to get revenge on Dino. In order to gain that revenge, Tobey will enter a winner-take-all race to get to Dino. The execution of all of this is so mind-numbing that I can't believe I am talking about a real film.

Another bizarre choice is handling the character of Tobey Marshall. I like Aaron Paul quite a bit as an actor, and I was genuinely curious to see how he would handle a lead role in a big action movie. What I don't understand is how lots of traits within Tobey's personality mirror Jesse Pinkman from "Breaking Bad." I loved "Breaking Bad" and I think Paul absolutely crushed it as Pinkman, but why channel it in this movie? Tobey didn't start cooking up Crystal Meth in this movie, so what's the point? Why go out of the way to create a somewhat Jesse Pinkman clone? For long stretches of the movie, Paul is out of Pinkman mode and that's when he really shines. I think he has some great scenes and real strength as an action star. But I just hate how they handled his attitude at times.

I have equally loved Dominic Cooper over the years, so it pains me to say that he absolutely wasted here. He's a typical, cartoon bad guy in this and nothing more. There is nothing unique about his plot, there is nothing clever in his dialogue or backstory. He doesn't have a decent line or decent scene in the entire movie. He's just the bad guy needed in order to get this story going. What a waste of a dominant and prominent actor. With Cooper's involvement, he could have creating a character who was more than a villain, someone edgier, someone memorable. Its a little disappointing how off the mark they landed with his character.

The car scenes are big, loud and have a tendency to kick some serious butt. Again, a lot of the editing relies heavily on car movies that came before it. I think a lot of studios follow a template when it comes to making a certain type of blockbuster. I honestly hope that the upcoming "Batman vs. Superman" movie looks absolutely nothing like "The Avengers," because that's the route Hollywood seems to be taking. If something makes money, copy it to the point of pointlessness. What Hollywood doesn't seem to realize is that not every car movie looks like the "Fast & Furious" model. Look at "Drive." Look at "Death Proof." Look at "Two-Lane Blacktop." Those are great examples of car movies that don't look like that model. I will say again that I never played the game. Perhaps that's what the game is like, to which I'd argue that not everything that works on a video game can translate onto screen. Which is possibly why barely any video game adaptations have worked.

I loved that Kid Cudi was in the movie. I loved Michael Keaton's brief yet effective moments onscreen. I loved some of the energy the film possessed. I think Imogen Poots is one of the most underrated actresses of her generation. Other than that, I can't say too much else about "Need For Speed." It had potential, but its constant shoulder on familiarity is what hurts the film the most, in more ways than one. If this is really what a "Need For Speed" film should have looked like, then I guess it just wasn't for me.


The Essentials- DOUBLE! "Independence Day" (1996) and "The Game" (1997)

The Essentials- #49 and #50

Indepedence Day

The Game
Sadly, a few days ago actor James Rebhorn died, he was 65 years old. To honor his death (and to catch up on my weekly columns), I have decided to write about two of my favorite James Rebhorn movies. Rebhorn was a great character actor, on both film and television. In both "Independence Day" and "The Game," the characters he plays could not be more different from each other. His range was deep and full of tremendous power. It is quite the shame he died so soon.

"Independence Day" was a simple story taken to the epic extreme. A huge alien spacecraft hovers in our atmosphere, then breaks off into dozens of slightly smaller ships that begin to descend into our ozone. The aliens begin attacking our cities all over the world, until the world responds. "Independence Day" works as a homage of the B-Movie alien movies of the 1950's as well as a clever action movie. Some parts are silly yes, but that is all part of the fun. "Independence Day" was easily one of the most popular blockbusters of the 1990's, but I firmly believe it earned everything it gained that summer.

Despite seeing our world get blown to bits, there is some fun humor sprinkled into this spectacle. Much of that is due to Will Smith and Randy Quaid. Will Smith plays Captain Steven Hiller, a USA fighter pilot who gets sucked into the war against the invading aliens. There was a time when Smith's inclusion in a film meant something. When he was still a supporting actor and his ego didn't overtake every aspect of his life. Hiller is a man full of honor and on the brink of becoming a family man. Smith allows to feel each of these emotions and creates a memorable character. Quaid plays Russell Case, a crop-duster and former pilot during The Vietnam War.  Quaid has plenty of funny stuff to play with, but he's got some grounded dramatic scenes that he nails as well.

The rest of the cast includes Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Adam Baldwin, Vivica A. Fox, Harry Connick Jr. and Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek). Everybody has wonderful moments to shine. "Independence Day" is a great example of a huge cast being able to really let loose in the script. Nobody's actions never seem false, or sappy, or overdone. Everything feels as real as it could possibly get. James Rebhorn plays the snarky Secretary of Defense. He believes in the mission to defeat the invaders, but he's stern and somewhat cold about his proceedings. Rebhorn showcased a great antagonist. 

Actor performances aside, "Independence Day" had some of the best visuals of any blockbuster in the 1990's. Those are some of the most realistic alien spacecrafts ever committed to film. Sure, they are clunky ripoffs of flying saucers, but they looked magnificent. The aerial space battles are visual feasts, and I love how everything was easy to follow. I also liked the alien design in the film, and the brief but effective spooky scenes that included them. All in all, there is a lot to love about "Independence Day" and there is not another alien invasion movie like it.

David Fincher is a above-average director. The first Fincher movie I ever saw was "Fight Club," and that is mostly what he is famous for. Yet, he made "The Game" first, and when I look back now, "The Game" was a great precursor for "Fight Club." Had I seen "The Game" first and had I read the book Fight Club, I would have easily felt Fincher was the perfect director for the adaptation. There is a darkening, unique style that sets Fincher movies in a different category. There is also a mysterious cool factor hidden in each of Fincher's films as well. Throughout all the style and darkness, Fincher always has something specific to say, he always has a story worth telling.

Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is a wealthy investment banker, whose glamorous life has come with a cost. When he was young, he witnessed his father commit suicide on his 48th birthday. Van Orton is also incredibly estranged from his only brother Conrad (Sean Penn). On Nicholas's own 48th birthday, Conrad gives a voucher for a "game" to Nicholas, claiming that the game will change his life. 

And changing Nicholas' life it does. From the moment Nicholas accepts the game, the game itself starts. The game quickly affects every aspect of Nicholas' life. He goes from wealthy banker with a nice home, to a homeless drone with nothing to his name. It also seems that everybody in Nicholas' orbit are all part of the game. Fincher's film really ramps up the suspense and intensity. The film feels disorienting at certain moments, as if all hope will be lost and we'll never find out who or what is doing this to Nicholas. But that's the supreme lesson the film. "The Game" is a fable about how we are judged, how our pasts come back to haunt us and how we can change as a result. When we first meet Nicholas, he's a snoot and kind of a jerk. When the game breaks him down, he feels more like a human. Which is the point of the entire game, to teach you something about your life and find something that may have been missing. 

Michael Douglas really keeps things moving forward. There is a good reason he was a great lead in throughout the 1990's. Douglas' range is brought forth in a way that I don't think we ever saw again. His personality and mannerisms made us believe that he could be an investment banker as well as a man trying to find himself. Its great character work. The work done by Rebhorn is also quite different from "Independence Day." He plays an associate of Consumer Recreation Services, the company that created the game. At first, his character seems cut from the same cloth as his character in "Independence Day," but as the movie wears on, Rebhorn's character unlocks vast surprises. I think Rebhorn really nails it too.

I think you owe it to yourself to see both of these movies, for big reasons and little reasons. I will truly miss Rebhorn and his work and these movies sum up what made him great in the first place. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Closer Look At The Biggest Movie Badasses Bracket (Part IV of IV)

By now, I am sure all of you have been reading along. You've been voting, you know what to expect. Now, all that is left is to give one last commentary on the final piece of the bracket. The bottom right bracket that belongs to the Fantasy Figures. Any badass from the science fiction or fantasy region will be represented in this sub-bracket.

Han Solo (1) vs. Ironhide (16)
 Han Solo is not just a gifted spaceship rider, or a bar brawler, or a leader in a rebellion against a galactic enemy. He's not afraid of anything, no matter what size or how powerful his enemy. And when a woman tells him she loves him and he can get away with saying "I know" without getting slapped later is pretty awesome too.
Ironhide always seemed more fearless and more intimidating compared to the other Transformers who came to Earth. So much so that Optimus Prime seemed to constantly keep him in check. He loves his cannons and he loves to use them, even if it means fighting some bad-mouthed humans.

Conan (8) vs. Legolas (9)
"Crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of the women." What a quote from quite the guy.
If there was one member of The Fellowship that was tons of fun to watch, it was Legolas Greenleaf. He was nimble, quick, and good with his arrows. No matter if it was shooting down an Orc or a giant elephant creature, he got the job done.

Darth Vader (5) vs. Selene (12)
Whose your daddy? Took over an entire galaxy in one swoop, betrayed his friends for absolute power, and killed endless amounts of beings in order to get there. We didn't say he was good, but he asserts his power with ease. Using his lightsaber or The Force in order to get people to do his bidding.

A vampire caught in a war between her people and werewolves seems badass enough, so does her fighting skills and state-of-the-art weaponry. But there is something more to Selene, protecting the people she loves, no matter who she has to hurt.

Mad Max (4) vs. The Hulk (13)
Revenge in the post-apocalyptic future may seem like a tough ordeal, but not when you're Mad Max.

HULK SMASH. Yeah, he's a green rage monster, and he smashes things.

The Wolverine (6) vs. Blade (11)
We can talk about his wise-cracks, we can talk about how much ass he kicks through roughly six movies, we can talk about his "don't mess with me attitude." But all I can really say is that he's practically an immortal, coldblooded, fighter.

He's part human and part vampire. He has all the vampire's strengths but none of their weaknesses. On a sidenote, he is impeccably great at weilding a samurai sword.

Boba Fett (3) vs. RoboCop (14)
The silent, incredibly lethal, flying bounty hunter from Star Wars. Easily, the most menacing being from that universe.
A once good cop turned into a crime-fighting cyborg. He's got a commanding demeanor and some big tricks up his sleeve.

Predator (7) vs. Katniss Everdeen (10)
They are invisible, they can see in the dark, they have a wide variety of crazy weapons and all they want to do is see if they can hunt us. Plus, they are just scary looking, in an ugly kind of way.

Some may think its a stretch to include this hero, but she nearly won two gladiatorial death-matches. I think that is worth the note of including her.

The Terminator (2) vs. Micheal Myers (15)
Whether he is a good guy or bad guy, The Terminator is a force of technology. He never eats, or sleeps, and if needs something, he takes it. He is a master of every weapon, every skill, he can hide and become nearly everyone. Some machines can do it all, The Terminator could coin that phase.

Michael Myers is a silent murderer who keeps on trekking on. There never seems to be slow in his step. Nothing seems to harm or phase him. What makes him truly scary yet completely worthy of being on this bracket is definitely being silent and deadly in equal measure.

And with that, my commentary on this entire bracket is complete. The first round voting ends on March 26th. Thanks for reading.

A Closer Look At The Biggest Movie Badasses Bracket (Part III of IV)

Yesterday I posted some commentary on the top left side of my Badass bracket. I also laid out some commentary on the top right side of my Badass bracket. I did this so that if any of wondered who somebody was or needed an idea of who to vote for. I have extended the first round of the voting to this Wednesday March 26th, just to give you all a chance to read up on each character. We are almost done looking at everybody. This post will focus on the bottom left side of the bracket, known as the Historical Figures.

These "historical figures" are both based on real people and fictitious individuals. I chose each of these individuals because they exist in a time nowhere near the present and they don't exist in fantasy worlds. Plus, they are all badasses. So that helps too.

Bill The Butcher (1) vs. Jaguar Paw (16)
There aren't too many people on this blog who are awesome with knives. But I think Bill The Butcher could beat just about anybody in a melee fight. Not only that, he's a ruthless gang leader in 1800's New York City and a voice that can give anybody nightmares. He has such a powerful presence, that he easily gets anybody to clamor to his feet.

When you're entire tribe of people has been brutally killed or kidnapped, you would think it would take more than an eclipse to make a more dominant tribe scared of you, but not Jaguar Paw. He escapes death again and again. He is also successful in keeping a pack of hunters off his back. Which counts for something.

Sam Spade (8) vs. Kikuchiyo (9)
Sam Spade is one guy who never kills anybody in "The Maltese Falcon," but he's a very different type of badass. Spade is the type of guy that can tear you down with his words. He's such a smooth talker that he can force anybody to act a certain way or better his cause. When he has to get rough, he always seems to stay on top of his agenda. Spade may not be a violent man, but he's surely a sly man.

A group of samurai's will do anything to keep their village protected by a group of bandits. Kikuchiyo just does it cooler than the other six.

Nameless (5) vs. Doc Holliday (12)
The Man With No Name is quite possible the roudiest, deadliest, most primal of any on-screen cowboy in history. He's cunning and deadly, in every form of each word.

All movie long, Doc Holliday is dying of consumption. Yet, that doesn't stop him from having one of the fastest hands in the West. It also doesn't stop him for drinking huge amounts of alcohol, gambling and putting himself in harms way. Somebody who isn't afraid to die should be feared greatly.

Rooster Cockburn (4) vs. Daniel Plainview (13)
No matter if you've seen the original 1962 classic or the 2010 remake, its clear that Cockburn is a true force of nature. Every man he kills, every way he handles himself, every swig of liquor makes him somebody to watch out for. 

With a stern voice and an ironclad personality, Plainview will rollover anybody for a profit. He only wants to do one thing, find oil and sell it. He's killed his own brother for it, he's disowned his own son for it, and he's killed a God-fearing man to prove a point. There aren't too many people on this bracket as cold as Daniel Plainview, but he absolutely deserves to be presented here.

Atticus Finch (6) vs. Lt. Aldo Raine (11)
Not at all who you'd expect to see on this bracket. We all know that Atticus Finch is as noble as it gets, as honest as it gets, as righteous as it gets and as pure as it gets. That is all true, and it can never be taken away. But let's take a look at what Finch does over the course of his story. He defended an innocent black man in court in a southern state during a time when racism was apparent in that region. That takes balls, big balls, the type of balls only Finch could have.
Instead of fighting hate in courts, Raine decided to scalp it. A much different approach, but there is no telling how much the Nazi's would have feared The Inglorious Basterds had they been real. Raine is a man who is completely fearless, completely driven by his task. Its a marvel to watch.

William Wallace (3) vs. Pvt. Jackson (14)
So he never shoots fire from his eyes or bolts of lightening from his ass, but Wallace certainly kills men by the hundreds. He's a skillful tactician and fighter, and for a common man, he's not afraid to say whatever to anybody (noble or not). But Wallace has a gift of stirring the badass in other individuals, creating an endless hordes of awesome. 
As good as Wallace is with his sword, Pvt. Jackson is as good with his sniper rifle. Protecting his team to save Pvt. Ryan. He's got a glorious attitude that can turn sour on some pitiful Nazi Germans, but what guides him is The Lord and his rifle, of course.

T.E. Lawrence (7) vs. Ujio (10)
Leading an army of less-equipped soldiers into battle with industry juggernauts don't just award you in the pages of history. But I bet they certainly help.

Ujio is another samurai who is so committed to the way of the samurai that it makes him incredibly lethal. He taunts outsiders, he devotes himself to his sword everyday, and he fights with fury. No matter what, nothing drives Ujio more than honor, but that doesn't mean one can't be a badass doing it.

Maximus (2) vs. Chingachgook (15)
A solider who becomes a slave, a slave who becomes a gladiator and a gladiator who defies an empire. Seems like a touching, honorable story, but when Maximus is with the Romans or himself, he's awesome as hell. He's awesome in and out of the arena, which makes super-cool.

I remember when I first saw "The Last of the Mohicans," my Dad always said "don't mess with dad." I don't think I could agree more. The entire epic running time of this movie, Chingachgook never gets one scratch, one bruise or one bloody body part in any battle. He is careful and calculated when he fights, but his heart drives him. He's possibly the most noble badass in the entire bracket, but a badass nonetheless.

That's the bracket for Historical Figures, remember first round voting ends March 26th.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Closer Look At The Biggest Movie Badasses Bracket! (Part II of IV)

I just finished taking a look at the Action Heroes portion of my Biggest Movie Badasses Bracket. This is the second part of my commentary on my Biggest Movie Badasses Bracket. This is to help you guys vote on the first round of the bracket and get familiar with each part of the bracket. This post will focus on the top right hand side of the bracket, the amoral figures.

Tony Montana (1) vs. Bonnie & Clyde (16)
He murdered himself to the green card. He swiftly took control of Miami's drug world. He killed his best friend for marrying his sister. He snorts cocaine like he's drinking water. He stole his rival's wife away from him. He suffered more bullets, more drugs, more alcohol, more beatings than an average man could within three hours of running time, yet through it all, it took so much to finally defeat him. He has no fear and he just doesn't care. Which makes him extra-dangerous.

This pair ran a very credible, very successful crime spree. It may have been fueled by love, but it was also fueled by danger. Each of person in this pair could easily hold their own, but together they are nearly unstoppable. 

El (8) vs. Marv (9)
He's a lone man in Mexico, who carries a guitar-case full of weaponry. He wages a one-man war against the Mexican Drug Cartels for women, because he wants to get laid. If anything has bullets and a trigger, he can shoot it. And El shoots just as well as he can play a Spanish guitar. He's gone through drug-dealers like they were nothing, including his brother who turned to crime. It doesn't matter who they are, he will kill them all.

He's nearly impossible to kill. He's survived beatings, gunshots, cars, baseball bats, claws, explosions and deadly prostitutes. He's so badass that he had to be electrocuted twice on death row. He's very clever in the way he tortures and kills his foes, all to discover who killed his true love and who framed him for it.

Snake Plissken (5) vs. The Driver (12)
I think the photo above speaks for itself as to why Snake is on this list.

Is it possible to be badass in a car? Well, The Driver made it that way. With his stylish scorpion jacket and black gloves, he puts a little pazzazz in his badassery. But don't let that fool you, The Driver can drive out of any bad situation and evade police with ease. He can say anything to anybody and make them feel intimidated. He also has a fierce streak which could leave you breathless.

Sonny Corleone (4) vs. Mr. Blonde (13)
Sonny maybe a hothead, but he has deep family values and loyalty to his friends. He maybe rash in decision-making, but that does not make him less dangerous. He also has an attitude that gives him more flair.

He cuts off a cops ear while singing and dancing, he stands still when several people confront him and he'll do anything to pull off a job. Not bad at all.

Tyler Durden (6) vs. Anton Chigurh (11)
Created a underground fight club that became a domestic terrorist cell. Was able to convince somebody of going back on their decision by having that person beat them up. Will inflict pain on himself in order to prove a point, plus he's just a damn good fighter.

He's quite, he's calculated, and he has interesting methods of killing. He may say that he is working for organized crime, but Chigurh is only for himself, and he's got the menace and means to prove it. When the worlds worst criminal organizations fear this guy, it means something. When he's compared to the Bubonic Plague, that means something, too.

Harry Callahan (3) vs. The Bride (14)
Just Harry's voice is enough to make you cringe. Callahan doesn't take crime lightly, and sometimes he bends, breaks and downright shatters the rules to keep order.

She's an ex-assassin who wanted a different life, but that was halted when her former team killed her for quitting. She is smart in kung-fu, sword fighting and popular culture. She took down 88 assassins all by her lonesome and was able to break out of coffin that was buried beneath the Earth. Pretty awesome.

Oh Dae-so (7) vs. The McManus Brothers (10)
He was imprisoned for 15 years by an unknown enemy. During those 15 years he found out that he was framed for murder. So he trained himself to find who did this to him and gain revenge. He trained himself to fight, and he even took on a gang of thugs just to prove he could. He took on an endless horde of henchmen with a hammer. He laughs at the mere thought of torture, but he'll rip out as many teeth to find out who framed him.
In movies, people kill bad guys for many reasons and become vigilantes for a variety of ideas. But how many people feel as if it the Will of the Lord to destroy evil in the world. That's bold and nobody does like the McManus brothers.

Jules Winnfeld (2) vs. Paul Kersey (15)
A philosophical hitman whose wallet says "Bad Motherfucker," of course he's second seed.

Here is another example of an ordinary man who found out his wife was murdered and his daughter raped. All it took for him to start killing muggers on a nightly basis was hearing the police tell him that there is only a chance to catch the people who wronged him. Kersey's crusade wasn't easy from the start, but over the course of the franchise, he became deadlier and deadlier.

So this is my commentary on my bracket, happy voting.

Remember, you have until WEDNESDAY MARCH 26TH to vote the first rounds. The other two parts will be up soon, so if you still need help deciding, its coming.