Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Raid 2 - The scoop and digest

For Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais, life in Jakarta began in 2009 with Merantau.

I'm sure many aren't aware of their first collaboration.

The box art incorrectly states Merantau Warrior.

Why?  Who knows?

Evans does 'threesomes', epic fights and bone-crunching violence.

In order for Mel Gibson and Danny Glover to at least compete, Jet Li famously 'slowed down' when the mismatched duo took him on in Lethal Weapon 4.

SNK's original shit storm Fatal Fury allowed Terry and Andy, Andy and Joe or Joe and Terry to take on a single CPU opponent.

As The Raid was fairly tremendous, topping his devastating original would be quite a feat.

You don't have to watch Machete to feel how much these things hurts... 

Changing the formula, this butter is spread beyond 24 little hours.

I will be brief as possible because further analysis will explode later.

Plot details and/or spoilers will strike faster than lightning.

Those making a noise without shouting include:

Iko Uwais - Rama
Arifin Putra - Uco
Alex Abbad - Bejo
Tio Pakusodewo - Bangun
Oka Antara - Eka
Cecep Arif Rahman - The Assassin
Julie Estelle - Hammer Girl
Very Tri Yulisman - Baseball Bat Man

A group of cars arrive in a sugar cane field and a bound and bagged man (Rama's brother Andi) is forced over a freshly dug shallow ditch.  Rising underworld star Bejo promptly orders his death via a shotgun blast to the head.

Flashing back to events just after the original, police big cheese Bunawar informs Rama that in order to bring down the corrupt Reza, he must go undercover.

Committing a minor crime is traditional to feast on lumpy porridge and while in the clink, he's given the identity of Yuda - Uwais's char in Merantau.

Wait a mo, he's an 'undercover cop'?

If you make this dangerous act of surveillance plural, you'll have an absolute classic 1992 scrolling brawler from Irem. 

Once inside, a punch-up with multiple inmates inside a toilet cubicle is just a drop in the ocean...

Bangun's son Uco is impressed with Rama's takedown of 15 baddies and offers allegiance, which is rejected.

A set-to in mud escalates into a riot and Rama is eventually knocked out by screws.

Two years later...

Now free as a bird, Rama is taken to meet Bangun who is grateful for protecting his son while inside.

Bangun's guy Eka escorts Rama to spacious digs where he takes the opportunity to call his wife and requests to hear the voice of his child.

At a porn den, the man in charge orders a 'bitch' wearing a strap-on to fuck a willing participant in the asshole.

Yes, you can't expect somebody in this line of work to ask nicely.

When Uco informs what he receives in bribery money is no longer sufficient, things go nuts.

At some point, we meet Koso who turns out to be an assassin working for Bangun in order to provide for his family.

On the receiving end of a karambit knife, Koso later opens up to The Assassin, one of Bejo's top henchmen.

We also say hello to Baseball Bat Man and Hammer Girl.  Incidentally, the latter is deaf and relies on her brother's instruction.

They embark on a kill crazy rampage across town as members of rival gangs fall by the wayside.  Oh, Rama can't help but get stuck in and as police attack, he's at the centre of corruption.

Uco is 'disciplined' by his father but when Bejo and his cohorts invite themselves in, Uco blows Bangun away.

Rama is subsequently overpowered by The Assassin and taken away in a taxi to be presumably buried in the same sugar cane field as his brother.

Along with the help of the injured Eka, they escape but his saviour dies when taking five in a wasteland.

Right boys and girls, you wouldn't like Rama when he's angry.

Forcing entrance to Bejo's warehouse isn't exactly subtle or scientific, but nevertheless, effective.

Baseball Bat and Hammer Girl team up against Rama and once both are deprived from our company, The Assassin is eager to take care of unfinished business in the kitchen.

Rama dispatches the ultimate challenge and finally reaches Bejo.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.  Oh, and a few more bangs later...

Uco kills Reza and Bejo, but is gutted like a fish by karambit.

As the victorious and exhausted Rama staggers downstairs, Keiichi and his gang arrive. Dialogue is silently exchanged with Rama eventually stating "No... I'm done."

Err, what was this like?  (Deep breath).  How about....FUCKING INCREDIBLE.

Seriously.  It's that good.

Fisticuffs in the original were unforgettably insane but are somehow even more rip-roaring.

Have trust, you've never seen anything like it.

Weapons are used to terrific effect and the result is nothing short of spellbinding.

For fights turned up to 11, choreography has to be served with aplomb and I'm happy to say, this is remarkably spot on.

Such innovation is testament to Evans, who also designed and edited.

The sound of impact is suitably meaty and delicious bloodshed is effortlessly displayed without the slightest element of prudish disguise.

As the BBFC passed this uncut, they must have been having a good day.

You'd be forgiven for expecting a perfunctory story with acting slightly diffusing an otherwise colossal situation but on both counts, they're pulled from the highest of drawers.

Villains are arguably straight from a comic book but who gives a flying fuck?

In case you didn't notice, Baseball Bat Man, Hammer Girl and The Assassin each have their own weapons turned against them.

This is one greedy bastard of a film as a high speed pursuit demands absolute admiration.

Every extreme battle oozes originality and Rama's showdown with The Assassin might be worth watching...

There's a nod to Enter the Dragon in this meticulously staged affair as they begin by 'touching fingers'.

The cream of orchestrating action should be associated with Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg and of course, John 'the legend' Woo but for such a fledgling director, Gareth Evans is already right up there.

For once, believing the hype machine is almost right.

It's a ludicrously entertaining, smile out loud, adrenaline pumping affair.

In regards to prolonged description, I've been purposely bashful because you must simply admire the most thrilling piece of celluloid that 2014 is likely to offer for yourself.

Yeah, I know it's only April.

Opening a fierce debate and discounting individual film, who's your personal favourite from this high-kicking list?

Van Damme, Donnie Yen, Chuck Norris, Sammo Hung, Dolph Lundgren, Jackie Chan, Tony Jaa or Jet Li?

Despite their essential significance, the end boss takes a back seat but psychotic man mountain Bolo is the obvious exception to the rule.

Iko Uwais is the new geezer in town and like Jet Li, it's only a matter of time before America secures his services.

He is the prince of punches, king of kicks and master of melee.

Of course, it would be sacrilege if Evans wasn't invited, along with his legion of bad-ass Silhat supremos.

Put it this way, the 'great man' would be impressed.

If you don't know who I'm referring to, oh dear...

Monday, 14 April 2014

Game Over Man!

Regardless of individual skill, nobody sets out to purposely die in a video game.

After all, what's the point in playing if you have no interest in at least trying to force success?

While it counts for nothing today, back in the 80s and 90s, arcades, home computers and consoles rewarded failure with static imagery often more legendary than the game itself.

Unless stated, all screens are from the arcade.

I've chosen specific pixels as I know some exist on multiple formats.

The following are basically continue screens as they simply become game over when the counter reaches zero.

As they are undoubtedly iconic, I suppose allowances can be made.

Final Fight, 1989
Street Fighter II, 1991
Alien vs. Predator, 1994
Either/or, both are quite decent.

AVP unfortunately made it to the big screen - twice.
Shadow Warriors, 1988
Capcom made sequels exclusively for the SNES.

Final Fight 2, 1993
Final Fight Tough, 1995
Based on a comic, at least the punishment for failing was marginally interesting...

Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, 1993
The prospect of biffing a T-Rex?  Let's get on it. 

Right, now for the proper animals.

While there are countless amounts to choose from, I'm distancing myself between those who just utter the repetition of Jigsaw's catchphrase as that would be duller than shitwater.

Let the banquet kick ass.

A.B. Cop, 1990
Alien 3, 1993 (Mega Drive)
Yes, I'm not needlessly repeating the SNES interpretation because you've already seen that...
For the record, the NES game (and every other), were visually worse.
Awesome Possom, 1993 (Mega Drive)
Dying is bad enough but been buried in a junkyard just sucks.
Battletech, 1994 (Mega Drive)
You can call it MechWarrior, if you like...
Shadow of the Beast, 1989 (Amiga)
Shadow of the Beast III, 1992 (Amiga)
Of course it will look great, but the PS4 reimagining will bomb.

Always the optimist. Ha ha!

Pulstar, 1995
Blazing Star, 1998
If anything, the sequel was a right BONUS.
Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, 1996 (PS1)
You have perished.

A summary of achievements promptly follows but is of little consolation.
I most remember this for an intelligent script, admirable voice acting and gothic atmosphere.
Even slowdown and tedious loading refused to bring down an excellent adventure.
CarnEvil, 1998
Donkey Kong Country, 1994 (SNES)
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, 1995 (SNES)
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, 1996 (SNES)
God of War series, debuted in 2005 (various Sony machines)
Think that's bad?  Get ready to be happy.

Upon failure, you are informed of the following. 

Friday the 13th, 1989 (NES)
At that very moment, the sensation of elation diminishes.

The connection from reality is broken and ejecting drool on a steel mattress is considered an achievement.

Before entering a vegetative state, regret is engineered to your partner and love dissipates.

Unable to digest such agony, your better half self-terminates all visiting rights.

With the plug pulled on life support, issuing ironic gratitude with your dying breath tastes supreme.

Pulling yourself together, please continue.

Ghost Pilots, 1991
It's a slight shame that SNK didn't follow up this decent 19XX wannabe with a sequel.
Jungle Strike, 1993 (Mega Drive)
Even the iciest of hearts will melt at seeing the demise of this poor bastard.
King of the Monsters, 1991
King of the Monsters 2: The Next Thing, 1992
It wasn't just World in Action that exploited Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, 1994 (SNES)
This parody and/or rip-off is particularly bizarre.

Policenauts, 1996 (PS1)
Metal Slug, 1996
Many forget that before SNK bought them out, this was originally a Nazca creation.
Mortal Kombat 4, 1997 (PS1)
New York Warriors, 1990 (Amiga)
Operation Thunderbolt, 1988
You are fatally wounded.  Your mission has failed.
Operation Thunderbolt, 1994 (SNES)
Ranx: The Video Game, 1990 (Atari ST)
Rastan, 1987
Sengoku 3, 2001
Super Sidekicks, 1993
Yep, watching Emmerdale is more exciting...
The beautiful game progressed (in more kicks than one).

Super Sidekicks 2: The World Championship, 1994
Super Sidekicks 3: The Next Glory, 1995
The Ultimate 11: SNK Football Championship, 1996
Sparkster, 1994 (Mega Drive)
Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1993 (Sega CD)
I'm no expert on the Coppola film but did a teeth-bearing, shit sucking, badly pixelated Keanu Reeves actually occur?
Probably not, but his British accent remains offensive...
The Adventures of Mighty Max, 1994 (SNES)
The House of the Dead, 1996
It's disorganised chaos but is somehow abstract.
Vampire Night, 2000
Silent Hill 4: The Room, 2004 (PS2)
Viewpoint, 1992
Your craft crash lands on a planet that nobody remembers.
Super Mario 64, 1996 (Nintendo 64)
Haunting Ground, 2005 (PS2)
The performance is over.
Subtlety left ambiguous, the prospect of Debilitas raping Fiona is definitely disturbing.
Raising the stakes, the Castlevania series is happy to participate.

Aria of Sorrow, 2003 (Game Boy Advance)
Castlevania, 1999 (Nintendo 64)
Castlevania Legends, 1997 (Game Boy)
Circle of the Moon, 2001 (Game Boy Advance)
Harmony of Dissonance, 2002 (Game Boy Advance)
Portrait of Ruin, 2006 (Nintendo DS)
In 2008, Order of Ecclesia boasted a trilogy of DS lovelies.

Alucard biting the big one brought this.

Symphony of the Night, 1997 (PS1)
Game Over.  Cue cheesy cackle (HA HA HA HA HA).
My top ten will follow...
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