Posts Tagged ‘action’

The Octagon

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

The best thing about this movie is the title– the Octagon. Doesn’t that sound ominous? It’s like the Pentagon, only with more sides. On the poster, the first “O” in “octagon” actually is an octagon. Isn’t that clever?

For some reason, I thought this was going to be a sci-fi movie. Maybe I was just too excited by the picture on the video that shows Chuck Norris with his body filled in with a celestial theme. Maybe it was just wishful thinking. Anyway, this is a good-old fashioned action movie, only with a lot of talking compared to action. Much of the talking takes place in Scott (Chuck Norris), our protagonist’s head. It seems that he was trained in martial arts, was in some war, and has recurring echoing voices that try to further the plot along.

Now Scott’s left his old life behind and is… uh, I’m not sure what. He’s just militant about not going back to his old life. Meanwhile, everyone in the movie has a horrendous hairdo, including Chuck with his trademark feathered mullet, his friend A.J. with his poofy hyper-feathered David Hasselhoff-esque ‘fro, the South African dude with the poorly dyed blond bowl cut, and the Bad Guy, whose Asian Halloween wig from Spencer Gifts mullety thing is beyond description.

Central to the plot is the action. We discover that everyone Scott comes into contact with is being menaced by (inner voice talking): NINJAS… NINJAS … ninjas … ninjas. It turns out that Scott’s adopted Asian brother is running a summer-camp for training ninjas! Unfortunately, Scott’s had a feud with his brother for decades, as shown in many flashbacks, and is now his “lifelong enemy.” Scott now has a dilemma– can he kill his own brother? In all the flashbacks we see, Scott’s brother is a major dick. If my brother was that big of an asshole, I would have smacked him long ago. Anyway, Scott travels to the ninja camp, which we now discover is the Octagon in the last 15 minutes of the movie as the camera dwells on an aerial view of the compound, which indeed has 8 sides (the word “octagon” or any reference to any polyhedron is nowhere in the dialog).

There is sporadic martial arts action, throughout the film, but the ninjas don’t seem to be trained very well; Scott half-heartedly bitch-slaps them and they’re down. This film also contains a very half-hearted car chase ending in nothing being crashed, on fire, or even slightly dented. The bad guys have the good guys blocked in for a moment, then the good guys drive away while the bad guys are all like, “oopsie, we lost them!” There are also numerous attempts at humor, most of which are completely random and have no bearing on the plot. For example, Scott wants to sign up with a mercenary employer and wanders into the wrong room– one with square dance classes going on. Oops! Hilarity almost ensues! There is some sex, in the form of seeing 1/2 a nekkid booby for about 1.5 seconds, but that, plus the use of the word “shit” twice, was enough to get this cinematic gem rated R.

The main reason to watch this is because of the fact that when a white person dies, he does it very loudly and very slowly. One little blow dart to the chest can make someone dramatically thrash around while yelping in pain for several seconds. Also, watching the pussy ninjas getting picked off one by one while Chuck barely breaks a bare-chested sweat (he has to take his shirt off for some reason or another in pretty much every scene) and looks bored throughout most of the film. However, this film is very relevant today with all its talk of terrorism, funding terrorists, mercenaries, and the fur coat business. We learn an important lesson: if you want to fight terrorism, learn to speak “Slope” or “Ay-rab.”

Yo Yo Girl Cop

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

You’re probably thinking that this movie is a hip cry at a female officer, like “Yo, yo girl cop!” but it is not. It is exactly what it looks like– the cinematic portrayal of a teenaged girl recruited by the police, whose only weapon is a yo-yo. Granted the yo-yo can produce metal spikes when needed, but nonetheless it is still … a yo-yo. This film is apparently based on an 80s Japanese TV series, and it stars the Japanese teen idol Aya Matsuura, making it roughly analagous to, say Charlie’s Angels: the movie.

Our story opens with a teenage street urchin known only as ‘K’ being held in a jail in NYC. A police officer with a comically-exaggerated limp explains that there is a website called Enola Gay that all the kids are into that teaches them everything from how to kill themselves from how to build bombs with the stuff that you find in your school’s chemistry lab. Recently, an ominous countdown to an unnamed event showed up on the site… and it’s now K’s duty to find out what it is. Coincidentally, K’s mom is being held in another jail and her trial is in 3 days. Mom will magically get out of jail if K can pose as a high school student and get to the bottom of things.

The Limpy Guy is head of the Department of Underage Agents, and it’s his duty to train and recruit nubile young girls to infiltrate high schools around Japan to find out what the sinister underworld of teenagerdom is like. The last agent he recruited ended up strapping a bomb to herself and setting it off. K, now with the new code name of Asamiya Saki, is her new replacement. Thus K is shipped to Japan and given one weapon: a deadly yo-yo which somehow manages to be concealed in a slick leather holster around her thigh, though her schoolgirl uniform is nearly impossibly-short. Of course, she isn’t taught how to use the yo-yo, which results in a couple of comic relief scenes where she smacks herself in the head while trying to use it to deliver justice.

While in school, K uncovers all the regular stuff that goes on in high schools, including popular kids who bully loner girls and teachers who turn a blind eye to it. Bullying eventually leads these kids to the Enola Gay website, where they learn the fine art of strapping empty coke bottles full of what looks like grape ginger ale to themselves and blowing themselves up. But what is the big countdown for? Here’s where I got a little shaky on the plot due to my TV being so old that the tube has shifted below the frame thus obscuring subtitles. Though I was watching the film in “English dub” mode, I couldn’t see the translation of anything that was on the students’ computer screens, which might have been central to the plot.

Meanwhile, A badass dude at school has been going around slickly giving iPod Nanos to girls. There are suitcases full of money involved, and other intrigue points. The movie culminates in an epic battle between K and her school rival in an abandoned warehouse. The two girls have somehow managed to quickly shed their school uniforms for a leather cat suit that repels bullets (but not samurai sword blades), and a blinged-out Judas Priest-esque leather outfit. There they duke it out stylishly with their killer yo-yos, yelling such fiendishly diabolical lines as “you are going to die. RIGHT NOW!” and “I’ve had enough of this SHITTY SITUATION!”

Why did the Limpy Guy go all the way to NYC to find K to do what millions of other Japanese schoolgirls could have done? You’ll find out in the end, which is moderately heartwarming as everything wraps up nicely. K menacing the world with her killer yo-yo