Coffee Talk #654: Excited and Scared For Big Trouble in Little China Starring The Rock

Big Trouble in Little China is one of my all-time favorite movies (I’m talking top three). As a lifelong fan of pro-wrestling, I vowed to support any movie Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is involved with. When the rumor of The Rock starring in a remake of Big Trouble in Little China broke, I was immensely excited…and more than a little bit scared. On paper, it should be a movie that I love, but John Carpenter’s 1986 classic has elements that I expect a 2015 movie studio to completely miss.

You see, I have no doubt that The Rock would be brilliant as a modern day Jack Burton. Kurt Russell was fantastic in that role, playing the overconfident (wannabe) hero that thinks way too highly of his abilities and completely overestimates his prowess with the ladies. While I don’t think The Rock would be able to achieve the mesmerizingly charming dopiness that Russell pulled off, he’d be able to bring more physicality to the role, allowing the movie’s action to reach new heights (for the Jack Burton character, anyway).

The reason why Jack Burton is such a wonderful character is that he absolutely thinks he’s the hero, but is most certainly not. The true hero of Big Trouble in Little China is Wang Chi, subtly and expertly played by Dennis Dun. Dun’s Wang Chi has a quiet confidence; he’s much more capable than Jack Burton could ever be, but you’ll never hear him brag about that fact.

Should the Big Trouble in Little China remake happen, I completely expect Hollywood to fail in the casting of Wang Chi. I expect the studio to cast someone that’s too pretty and too willing to take a back seat to The Rock. With the way Hollywood has been casting Asian-Americans lately, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Wang Chi rewritten as 1/8th Chinese so that some caucasian pretty boy can play the role. As much as Jack Burton’s character made the original Big Trouble in Little China, Wang Chi was equally vital to the mix. The two characters and two actors complemented each other perfectly, in a way that few pairs in other buddy movies ever have.

So while I’m terribly excited for a Big Trouble in Little China remake starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I’m going to temper my expectations. I fully expect The Rock to make a kick-ass Jack Burton, but I’m worried about what Hollywood will do with Wang Chi. I fear that the new version of the character will lack the strength the original had and I fear that he won’t be the true hero of the story.

What do you guys and gals think? Are you amped for a Big Trouble in Little China remake? Any casting ideas for Wang Chi? Kindly share all your thoughts in the comments section, lest you be doomed to the hell of the upside down sinners. (The Chinese have a lot of hells.)

Random Thoughts on Avengers Age of Ultron

Avengers Age of Ultron is sure to delight most fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie has everything that made the first Avengers movie incredibly popular — fantastic special effects, awesome action sequences, and snappy Joss Whedon dialogue. As a lifelong comics nerd, my usual pet peeve with comic book movies is deviating greatly from the source material. To my surprise, I really liked the major changes made for the movie.

While I greatly enjoyed Avengers Age of Ultron and will definitely see it in theaters again, there were a few things about it that bugged me. Below is the customary RPadTV binary breakdown of the film. As always, I’d love to hear what you have to say about the movie, so after you’ve seen it, kindly share your thoughts in the comments section. Now turn on your spoiler shields and let’s get avenging!

Ultron Owns (Good): I’m a big fan of the comics version of Ultron. Since the movie version is very different, I was worried about this incarnation of the robotic bad-ass. The original was created by Hank Pym (Ant-Man, Goliath, Yellow Jacket, etc.) and based on his brain patterns. The movie version was created by Tony Stark and based on his personality. That made for a highly entertaining baddie. Whereas comics Ultron is a megalomaniac that’s hellbent on wiping out organic life, the movie version is like a warped version of Tony Stark with the “sardonic dick” dial turned to 11. Like the original, movie Ultron is powerful, ruthless, and brilliant. Unlike the original, movie Ultron is hilarious and witty. Despite the fact that movie Ultron wants to destroy humanity, you kind of want to have a drink with him (yes, I know he can’t actually enjoy liquor, but still….).

Some of the early reviews of Avengers Age of Ultron criticized the movie’s villain, saying that Ultron wasn’t nearly as good as Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. I could not disagree more. Even though he was very different from the comics version, I thoroughly enjoyed the Ultron character. James Spader had fun material to work with and he rocked it.

Incredible Action (Good): This aspect of Avengers Age of Ultron was completely expected, but enjoyable nonetheless. I loved the blend of CG special effects and melee choreography. The effects — there are just so many cool ones to choose from. As for combat, there were a few Captain America scenes that made me utter a Keanu Reeves, “Whoa.”

Black Widow and Hulk (Bad): While the first Avengers movie was very Iron Man heavy, Avengers Age of Ultron was far more of an ensemble effort. The movie gave more characters time to shine than the original did. Unfortunately, it also gave us plot lines like the romance between Black Widow and Hulk. This bit did absolutely nothing for me. It felt forced and unnatural; going into the movie, I couldn’t imagine these characters having a romantic relationship and the actors/script did nothing to change that. This plot was a waste of time — a poor excuse to give Scarlett Johansson more screen time.

Hawkeye Surprises (Good): To my surprise, Hawkeye had a lot of screen time and great material to work with. As one of the “normal” humans on the team, Hawkeye’s mortality and fragility help make him more interesting and easier to identify with. I enjoyed how Avengers Age of Ultron played on the fact that he’s just a guy with a bow that’s hanging out with Norse gods, gamma irradiated powerhouses, and dude’s with billion-dollar self-defense suits. Showing that Hawkeye has a normal family life in addition to his insane Avengers life, was a fun touch.

Captain America’s Mighty Magnets (Bad): I hated Cap’s magnetized gauntlets, even though they make his unbelievable shield-throwing somewhat more believable. This is a total fanboy complain and I’m well aware of this, but I love Cap’s ability to ricochet his shield at impossible angles, hitting multiple targets, always having it return to his arm. While magnetized gauntlets that help the shield return to his arm makes sense, I preferred Cap’s shield-throwing being one of his inexplicable abilities.

Whedon Witticisms (Good and Bad): Some of the early reviews of Avengers Age of Ultron said that Whedon’s dialogue seems tired and dated. I respect that opinion, but disagree with it. As a fan of dense and witty dialogue, I very much enjoyed the movie’s script. While some called the snappy dialogue tired, I found it familiar and entertaining.

Quicksilver (Bad): Seconds after Quicksilver was introduced I thought, “Wow. Kick-Ass got a crappy costume and an even crappier accent.” Although I enjoyed how Quicksilver’s storyline ended in Avengers Age of Ultron, I thought he was mostly lame until his resolution.

Elizabeth Olsen big

Scarlett Witch (Good): Sure, the movie version of Scarlett Witch basically had Phoenix’s powers — a combination of telepathic and telekinetic abilities. Given how vague and ridiculous her “hex” powers in the comics are, I understand the change, even though her powers were awfully convenient in several scenes. All that said, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Chase Olsen is beautiful and I’ve been ready for ascent for nearly two years. She made the Scarlett Witch how in Avengers Age of Ultron.

Vision (Good): I enjoyed the movie version of Vision. He was cool, calm, and collected character. His power’s special effects were fun to see. Vision had one of the most enjoyable “Wow!” moments of the movie when he handed Thor his hammer. A more subtle moment (that totally got me) was when he checked out Thor’s cape, admired it, and grew himself a cape. Out of all the new heroes introduced in Avengers Age of Ultron, Vision was my favorite. I’ve enjoyed Paul Bettany’s acting and the character’s special effects were slick.

Bottom Line: Aside from the banal and insipid romance between Black Widow and Hulk, I only had minor complaints about Avengers Age of Ultron. I very much enjoyed the movie, will see it again in theaters, and watch it dozens of times after it’s available digitally. It has everything I want from a summer movie — great action, snappy dialogue, and fantastic special effects. While I understand why some people won’t enjoy Avengers Age of Ultron, I think those people enjoy killing fun. If you’re any kind of comics nerd, go see this movie now!

For another take on Avengers Age of Ultron, check out the PaulSemel.com review.

Better Than Batman vs. Superman Trailer (Dawn of Justice)

As some of you know from the RPadTV Google Hangout, I wasn’t a fan of the recently released Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer. It did absolutely nothing for me. It didn’t show me anything new (control your photo leaks, Warners!) and it didn’t get me more excited for the movie. It was two minutes of banality. Thankfully, the crews from How it Should Have Ended and Screen Junkies have whipped up videos that are far more entertaining. Continue reading “Better Than Batman vs. Superman Trailer (Dawn of Justice)”

New Fantastic Four Trailer is Surprisingly Cool

I know that many of you are down on the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, but the latest trailer just might get you interested. It’s very cool — surprisingly so. The tone seems correct, the special effects look great, Kate Mara (the sugar mama of my dreams) is hot, and Dr. Doom looks bad-ass. Yes, it’s only a trailer and Fox has botched this franchise before, but the latest Fantastic Four trailer has me slightly hopeful.

For me, the movie hinges on Dr. Doom. I absolutely hated how he was portrayed in the previous movies. Dr. Doom is absolutely not an evil businessman, as played by Julian McMahon. The comics have him as a really unique mix of science and sorcery (and mommy issues). Even though the trailer was better than I was expecting, I was dismayed to find out that the upcoming Dr. Doom is Victor Domashev, an evil programmer, rather than Victor Von Doom, the megalomaniacal scientist/sorcerer we’ve known and loved for decades.

That said, my expectations for the upcoming Fantastic Four movie were so low that the new trailer was a pleasant surprise. Perhaps that’s the best way to approach the movie — expect mediocrity (or worse) and be happy if the movie is above average (or better). Yeah…that’s probably the way to go.

If you missed the first trailer, give it a look here. After you’ve watched the new trailer, kindly share your thoughts on it in the comments section. Are you hopeful that the third time will be a charm for the Fantastic Four? Or do you think it’ll be another hot mess from Fox?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer Two

As part of the “Star Wars Celebration” event in Anaheim, Disney has released the second trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Naturally (for nerds), this is a monumental occasion that requires abundant introspection and discussion. The trailer features several characters new to the Star Wars saga, as well as some old fan favorites (I’m talking original trilogy!). I’ve watched it once and I’m totally geeked out, but need to watch it a few dozen times throughout the day in order to temper my excitement.

More importantly, I want to know what you gungans, wookiees, and ewoks think of Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer two. Check out the clip below and let’s talk about it in the comments section (please!).

Olivia Munn Cast as Psylocke: Worst News of 2015

RPadholic Tokz was kind enough tell me that Olivia Munn has been cast as Psylocke in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse movie. Director Bryan Singer made the announcement on an Instagram post. As a fan of the Marvel Comics character and someone that thinks Olivia Munn is dreadful on multiple levels, this is the worst news I’ve heard all year.

For those of you unfamiliar with the character, Psylocke was born a British mutant and later possessed the body of a Japanese assassin. Her most popular and longest lasting incarnation portrays her as a mashup of the two. She has the British upbringing, psychic powers, and kick-ass ninja skills. Yeah, it doesn’t make sense, but neither does Olivia Munn getting cast in a major comic-book movie (half-kidding). On the plus side, Psylocke gets around and has had dalliances with several Marvel superheroes, so maybe casting a trollop like Munn was an inspired choice (again, half-kidding).

While I admit (rather painfully) that Munn was good in The Newsroom and I begrudgingly enjoyed her performances, I’ve pretty much hated everything else she’s done (in life). Psylocke is arguably the coolest female X-Men member of all time. She kicks ass, physically and mentally. She wears a uniform that’s completely inappropriate for combat, but easy on the eyes. Her psychic daggers are immensely wicked. Her backstory is so ridiculous that it became ironically entertaining. And there’s something funny about a strong and powerful woman named…(wait for it) Betsy. While a few of you RPadholics mentioned me boycotting X-Men: Apocalypse, I just can’t do it. As terrible as Olivia Munn is as a person, I’m too much of a nerd to not see an X-Men movie.

On the plus side, the movie is full of beautiful women that aren’t dreadful people (afaik). Hopefully the likes of Sophie Turner, Rose Byrne, Fan Bingbing, and Jennifer Lawrence will counteract the awfulness of Olivia Munn playing Psylocke.

Of course, this post is just one man’s opinion. I’d love to hear your thoughts on (the terrible) Olivia Munn playing (the awesome) Psylocke in X-Men Apocalypse. Kindly share your feelings (like a Care Bear) in the comments section.

Psylocke

Source

Furious 7 Superbowl Trailer is…Bittersweet

It’s with mixed emotions that I write about the Furious 7 trailer that aired during the Superbowl. As many of you know, I love the Fast & Furious franchise — the movies are an outstanding mix of action, fun, and stupid. You’ll also recall that I’ve always been mesmerized by the late Paul Walker’s acting. He was an amazing source of unintentional entertainment. While I’m thrilled that he’ll be returning to the big screen for one more high-octane adventure, I’m also sad that I won’t be getting more films from one of my favorite crappy actors in movie history.

The Furious 7 Superbowl trailer has me amped for the movie. The action looks bigger and more ridiculous than ever. The situations seem more absurd (love Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson kicking ass with a broken arm). I also love the addition of Nathalie Emmanuel; she’s a gorgeous woman with a hot accent (and yes, I enjoyed seeing her naked in Game of Thrones season 4). Several of my friends are excited about Jason Statham, but that guy kind of bugs me. He’s played the same character for like 20 movies and it looks like he’ll be going to the well one more time in Furious 7. Another possible negative is Iggy Azalea’s cameo. I don’t get her…at all (and she has crappy taste in basketball players). Having said that, there’s just too much big, dumb fun in the trailer and I have no doubt that I’ll be entertained by this big, dumb movie.

When you have a chance, watch the Furious 7 trailer below and share your thoughts on the clip (please!). Also, what’s your take on Jason Statham?

Two Ted 2 Trailers For Your Teddybear Enjoyment

Check out these two Ted 2 trailers that were recently posted by Universal Pictures. First is a Superbowl spot featuring Tom Brady. The second is the extended trailer with more everything. While the lovely Mila Kunis isn’t in the sequel, she’s replaced by the equally lovely (in a different way) Amanda Seyfried. While the leading lady switcheroo will disappoint some viewers, everyone should be happy to learn that Sam Jones will be back in Ted 2. That guy is awesome…and probably needs the work.

Anyway, check out both clips when you have a chance and let me know what you think. Also, I need you do discuss the pros and cons of swapping Mila Kunis for Amanda Seyfried (because that’s an important discussion to have). Personally, I’m all for the switch. While Mila Kunis is a gorgeous woman and arguably the hottest MILF in Hollywood, I’ve always been a sucker for Amanda Seyfried’s anime eyes. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her in Ted 2.

Fantastic Four Trailer Is….

A trailer for the upcoming Fantastic Four movie has landed and it’s way different from what I was expecting. The tone is somber and serious, giving the movie a more dramatic feel than your typical summer-superhero fare. That’s not a bad thing at all and, of course, the trailer only shows one aspect of the movie. Having said that, as a longtime FF reader and someone that enjoyed moments of the previous Fantastic Four movies, the trailer didn’t have the tone that I wanted. When I think about the Fantastic Four, I think of Marvel’s foremost superhero family. Yeah, they have cool powers due to an irresponsible experiment with cosmic rays and they go on amazing adventures, but the dynamic between Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny is what “makes” the book for me.

Also, the trailer needed about 900 percent more Kate-Mara-in-skimpy-clothing clips.

Seriously though, Marvel superhero movies have generally been more “fun” than DC’s more serious films. While I’m sure that the Fantastic Four movie will have comedic moments and sweet CG-powered fight scenes, the trailer is making me prepare for a more serious side of Marvel’s filmic efforts.

What do you guys and dolls think of the trailer and its feel? Kindly share your thoughts in the comments section.

Kate Mara Fantastic Four

 

Coffee Talk #650: The Best Nerd Movies of 2014

2014 was a busy year for nerd movies. Some were excellent (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), some were uneven (X-Men: Days of Future Past), and some were crap (The Amazing Spider-Man 2). Out of all the nerd movies released this year, one surprised and delighted me more than any other — Guardians of the Galaxy.

The surprise was on a couple of levels. While I’m a fan of the recent Guardians of the Galaxy comics (Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Brian Michael Bendis), I didn’t think these characters were mainstream enough for a mass hit. Despite the monosyllabic talking tree and the haughty talking raccoon, that’s exactly what happened. Guardians slaughtered the box office and was generally well reviewed by mainstream media outlets.

The other surprise was Dave Bautista. As a longtime pro-wrestling fan that prefers skilled technicians over musclebound oafs, I’ve loathed Bautista for more than a decade. He sucked in the ring and on the mic for the WWE. I was certain that he’d suck in Guardians of the Galaxy. His performance was…shocking. Obviously Big Dave was made for action scenes, but I was astounded by his comedic timing. He delivered some great lines in the movie and I’m still astounded that his acting was entertaining.

As I’ve written a few times in the past, I believe that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superior movie from technical and writing standpoints. That said, Guardians is way more fun and re-watchable. Since their digital releases, I’ve seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier twice and…you know, I’m not actually sure how many times I’ve watched Guardians, but it’s definitely more than 10.

With its fantastic special effects, outstanding use of music, and fun performances, Guardians of the Galaxy gets my pick as nerd movie of the year.

LEGO Movie

Honorable Mentions

The LEGO Movie — This one was a surprise. I was expecting a saccharine movie for kids, but got a clever and heartfelt film. LEGO Batman ruled. “Everything is Awesome” ruled. The LEGO Movie was a smart and funny movie that’s great for children of all ages, and one of the most charming movies I’ve seen in years.

Birdman — I need to watch this movie again…several times. The writing and performances were great, but the camerawork was mesmerizing. The way the movie was filmed, it looks like a couple of really long tracking shots. Some have argued that it appears to be one tracking shot. Birdman is strange, powerful, and dazzling…but I’m still not sure what I saw. This movie definitely needs repeat viewings.

Birdman

Your Turn — As always, I want to hear about your favorite movies of 2014. Fire away in the comments section (please!).