Sunday, September 30, 2012

Japan has nothing to worry about


The first ever Chinese Aircraft Carrier formally entered service this week, underscoring the nation’s ambitions to be a leading Asian naval power. While the Laoning lacks aircraft and won’t be combat ready for the foreseeable future, the Defence Ministry’s long expected announcement said that the carrier’s commissioning significantly boosted the navy's combat capabilities and its ability to cooperate in responding to natural disasters and other non-traditional threats. A statement said: "It has important significance in effectively safeguarding national sovereignty, security, and development benefits, and advancing world peace and common development."

China has been the only member of the permanent five nations of the UN Security Council not to have an aircraft carrier in service until the launch of the Liaoning. It is understood that the Chinese had a serious case of NPE 'Naval Penis Envy' considering that the U.S. has always maintained an Asian presence with at least one of their 11 gigantic aircraft carriers. In addition, UNETIDA the UN body that is responsible for protecting the planet from Extra Terrestrial threats oft cited China’s deficiency in naval air power as a issue for the defence of Asia in its annual regional defence reports.

President Hu Jintao, presided over the Liaoning’s commissioning ceremony on Tuesday morning at the ship's home port of Dalian, along with Premier Wen Jiabao and top generals and admirals. Hu called on the crew to complete all remaining tasks according to the highest standard. The carrier's political importance was highlighted in Premier Wen's remarks to the ceremony, in which he said it would "arouse national pride and patriotic passion."

The vessel is actually the former Soviet navy's unfinished Varyag, towed from Ukraine in 1998 minus its engines, weaponry and navigation systems. Following years of refurbishment at Dalian it began trial runs in 2011 to test the ship's propulsion, communications and navigation. Launching and recovering aircraft at sea however will be its greatest operational obstacle ahead of the years required to build the proper aircraft, train pilots and to develop a carrier battle group. Ambitiously the Liaoning has also been portrayed as a kind of test platform for the future development of up to five Chinese designed and built carriers.

Source: Fox News

Saturday, September 29, 2012

No need to dread Dredd

Unlike the Total Recall remake, this Dredd is not a re-imagining of the 1995 Judge Dredd movie but of the 2000AD comic book source material. Sadly for a lot of people, Sylvester Stallone as Judge Dredd in Danny Cannon’s exceptionally flawed but thoroughly entertaining adaptation of the iconic British comic-book anti-hero is all they know of the character. While the look of the 1995 production was very crisp and it’s comic book origins were clearly obvious in everything from the design of Mega-City One itself to the costumes because they remained faithful to the artistic depiction; Stallone however, slammed a black mark against it by removing Dredd’s helmet about 20 minutes in, irking all fans everywhere. As much as I enjoyed it for a popcorn movie, I was not very upset when I discovered my copy of it succumbed to the otherwise dreaded DVD rot!

A new Judge Dredd movie concept had been bandied about for a while, once it was clear that there’d by no sequel to Cannon/Stallone’s effort. Eventually details emerged which cast Karl Doom/Star Trek Urban as the futuristic lawman but interestingly in a low-budget independent British production to be shot in South Africa. This intrigued everyone of course; people want Dredd on screen more than most other comic book characters - but surely not without the detailed neon and grime filled futuristic setting of Mega City One enabled only by several hundred million dollars today? If we had to lose that then there would have to be a story of such exceptional quality, strong characters and/or excessive violence for us to ignore the low budget shortcomings. Did we get that? No, but close. I do think we got was a thematically superior movie that certainly sated the lust for violence all true Dredd fans have.


The plot to this movie is exceedingly simple: street judge veteran Judge Dredd and his new psychic 'mutie' young rookie partner Anderson [Olivia Thirlby] are sent to investigate a triple-homicide in the lovely sounding 'Peach Tree' block, a 200-floor tower filled with normal everyday citizens and naturally a generous helping of depraved scum and villainy. After arresting a suspect, the block's criminal overlord Ma-Ma initiates a lock down of the building until the judges are captured or killed prompting everyone in the building with a weapon to hunt them down. The judges, without much hope of rescue must play a game of cat and mouse survival to obtain their freedom. 

Urban delivers a near-perfect representation of Dredd from the comic books. His voice is pretty much what can be expected, Urban's own variation of Eastwood much in the same vein as Bale did Batman. He managed to make "I'm the law" a more character defining statement than Stallone's "I am the Law" which, while is the more correct phrase, was delivered as a laughable punchline in comparison to Urban's gravitas. Urban was emphatic about keeping Dredd's helmet on and fans will be pleased to know that it's never taken off. This lead the actor to have the unenviable task of acting the entire movie with just his mouth and vocal inflections. The fact that Dredd has never been one for smiling, laughing or positive emotion for that matter - meant that Urban had pretty much to portray the character with a half dozen different types of scowl.


Dredd also starred Lena Game of Thrones Heady who delivers a terrific performance as the criminal master-mind Ma-Ma, a former prostitute who was disfigured by her pimp before she killed him and took control of her own empire. Thirlby who has been doing movies I've only vaguely heard of since 2006 was a great Cassandra Anderson, eager to prove herself to her mentor Dredd. Doctor Who and Holby City's Rakie Ayola turns in a cameo as a Chief Judge

Alex 28 Days Later Garland began writing Dredd in 2006, over two years before the movie's announcement. Pete Vantage Point Travis who is also well regarded as the director of the acclaimed 1994 TV movie Omagh, took the helm of Dredd and brought a very different style to the project that one would have expected. His work on Endgame in South Africa in 2008 obviously prompted him to perceive a new vision for MC1 which he has now brought to the screen. Design wise however I must level my most major criticism with this movie. Mega City One unfortunately did not seem all that "mega". I knew that due to the small budget we'd not see anything close to a faithful representation of MC1 from the strip but it is such a central core element of Dredd that I feel that there is something huge missing from the movie. I don't think an orchestral score would have fit this at all, so no Alan Silvestri, but felt Paul Leonard Limitless Morgan's choice of representing the score with industrialised sequencing was poor.


There are glaringly obvious similarities between this movie and this year's earlier video-game-like killing fest The Raid. While The Raid may have been released first, development and principal photography of Dredd predates it. There's also no doubt that The Raid was a woefully disappointing mess at least to people who know what they're talking about, while Dredd has actual character development, a plot, real acting, cohesive direction and has Gatling guns.

Final Verdict: Extremely violent and faithful take on a day in the life of Judge Dredd.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No quarter for a quartered man - Part 19 in my "Shoot First, Questions Never" series!

After a hiatus of over two years since the ultra-controversial Part 18 I've finally found a story to top it!

On Saturday, Houston police officer Matthew Jacob Marin shot and killed Brian Claunch, an aggressive pen-wielding wheelchair-bound one-armed, one-legged man in a group home.
Police said the double amputee [left] threatened a police officer and belligerently brandished a metal object about. While in his wheelchair, Claunch confronted and cornered the officer and made threats. He came "within inches to a foot" of the officer and did not follow instructions to calm down and remain still. When Claunch produced a metal object and began to make stabbing motions at the officer, Officer Marin, the officer's partner discharged his weapon and fatally shot the suspect.
At the time, the officer did not know what the metal object was that the man was waving, a police spokesperson said. The object was later revealed to be a ballpoint pen.
The officers had been called to the home after a caretaker there called and reported that Claunch was causing a disturbance. He had a history of mental illness, several previous drug-related convictions and he lost a leg above the knee and all of one arm when he was hit by a train. "He sometimes would go off a bit, but you just ignore it," group home owner John Garcia told the press.
Officer Marin, is a five-year veteran of the department. In 2009 he also fatally shot a suspect when he came upon a man stabbing his neighbour to death at an apartment complex and opened fire when the suspect refused to drop the knife.
Verdict: Righteous Kill! While a lot of them are jolly folk and have mentally accepted their disability, I've encountered plenty of 'disgruntled' wheelchair users who think they have some sense of 'entitlement' to a walkway by crashing into your ankles or worse - those that don't thank you for accommodating them by stepping out of the way, opening doors etc. I was raised to excuse myself out of pity for these "poor unfortunates" even if I'm not actually in the wrong - and believe me: I'm NEVER in the wrong. Naturally my true never-realised desire has been to put a nine-mil slug through their heads as they wheel away so I'm glad I can live vicariously through the actions of Matt "Trigger-happy" Marin

Thank you officer, I hope the FBI investigation is quickly brushed over and you're back on streets soon.

Source: FOX News

Sunday, September 23, 2012

UNETIDA: "We shot nothing down"

Colonel "Whopper" Creedon, Deputy Director for Intelligence UNETIDA/UNPASID gave a statement to the press on Saturday citing that on Friday September 21st, "a calibration test of Annihilator Five one of our secret orbital defence platforms may have accidentally initiated a misfire."

"This is not uncommon," offered Creedon. "However we assure you that during all calibration, the weapons are facing away from the planet and the moon. We can safely say that we shot nothing down, no satellite, space junk or space craft."

Creedon continued, "Concerning the recent media reports in the news media about a 'Yellow and orange ball'; we are quite sure this was just old space junk in a slowly decaying orbit that was just then finally coming to a planet fall. It's pure coincidence that this just happened at the same time as our calibration."

Creedon offered no explanation to reports of a flotilla of UNETIDA naval assets leaving port from HMNB Clyde under the command of Captain "Harpoon" Dutton, KBE seen heading out to sea in the direction of the 'trail of light' seen on Friday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Let us re-imagine - Total Recall

I about as much wanted to see this remade as I did another of Paul Verhoeven’s movies - Robocop, but for different reasons. Robocop is the singular greatest movie of all time and it should never be remade because nothing can be better than it period. Total Recall [1990] on the other hand is a guilty pleasure of sheer nonsense that entertains more because it’s indeed so daft it’s great and why try to do better than it as Phillip K. Dick’s original story was just as daft?

Colin Farell is our brain-fucked hero this time around and seems like a sad and pathetic character which keeps him more in line with Dick’s source material. He works at a factory in London making robot soldiers without questioning the need for millions of them like a good little boy. However he lives in Australia and instead of the nightmare that is today’s air travel he has a comfy “Fall” a sort of vertical bullet train that takes him from London [part of the United Federation of Britain] to The Colony which seems to be the entire Australian continent. These are also the only inhabited regions of the planet, the others having fallen to the ravages of nuclear war during the century. Fed up with the nature of his boring and predictable existence he goes to Rekall to have a more exciting memory implanted but unbeknown to him he already has exciting memories – those of his real life – or is it?

Underworld’s Len Wiseman does a terrific casting job with the ladies by adding his wife Kate Bekinsale as well as Jessica Biel who are suitably distracting from the many holes in this hokey plot. On the other hand Brian Cranston with a ridiculous hairpiece is easily the hammiest I’ve ever seen him as the UFB Chancellor Cohaagen who wears his body armour over his suit and leads from the front, literally. I also question Bill Nighy as the master rebel genius, whose appearance was foreshadowed throughout the whole movie to the point where the audience was "huh?" when he appeared. I must also mention Harry Gregson-Williams superb score that hopefully will lead him on to impress us all with a bit more varied set of projects now that his career with Tony Scott is sadly over.

While the design of the movies set pieces are quite extraordinary, a sight to behold, sadly the movie’s physics are even more laughable than your average sy-fy channel movie. Even when you try to fathom what could possibly survive long enough to build the Fall’s ‘track’ that close to the Earth’s flaming core [let alone drill thousands of kilometers from both ends and assuming that the different tectonic places the exit points are situated would never move again!] you would assume that knowing that halfway through the journey you experience weightlessness and a subsequent complete gravity reversal - wouldn’t it be prudent to wear magnetic boots or at least adhere yourself to a solid surface? Sorry I love sci-fi but that treats people like idiots.

Final Verdict: This new 2012 version while deeply flawed, still is almost as entertaining as it’s progenitor. It’s a convincing chase movie with dazzling special effects, daring stunts and solid performances from it’s leads. However it lacked the charm and the wit which made the original, while dated now, what it was. Total Recall 2012 will be forgotten in 20 years but even then we will still be saying “Get your ass to Mars!”

Colonel Creedon Rating: ***

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

There is only one RoboCop

Yes I've seen the photo. If you haven't seen it, then you will have to look elsewhere for it because I will not be throwing any kind of support behind this new "RoboCop".

Paul Starship Troopers Verhoeven crafted a outstandingly violent tale of a man who became a robotic Judge Dredd melded with Dirty Harry and armed only with a simple set of 3 rules and a machine pistol redefined justice for cinema goers in 1987 and it cannot be remade.

To think that a violent science-fiction movie is all RoboCop is however then you've either not seen it enough or it's been to long since you've seen it [the third option - that you've not seen it is literally a crime around here]. You see - RoboCop is set in Detroit for a reason - the same reason that the city is not thought of in glamorous terms even today, a place of little prosperity, high unemployment and urban crime. The movie explores the gamut of humanity; emotion, immortality, greed but most importantly - identity.

RoboCop was also a satirical look at some elements of Reaganomics but especially the rise of media that can all too easily be used to sway or even change public opinion. A brewing World War III is mentioned briefly by a newscaster on a channel that later uses 60 seconds of airtime to advertise a family oriented nuclear destruction themed board game.

RoboCop is my favourite movie of all time. I've helped fund the statue they're erecting in Detroit and I own three different DVD copies [above] containing different cuts, different qualities and presentations in different aspect ratios just to experience everything in different ways and analyse it even more than I have done so with my religion - Star Wars. The reason for this is because I know that each time I look upon something so undeniably perfect in every way I find answers to many of my own questions.

While I enjoyed the Brazilian move Tropa De Elite which he directed, I do not believe that José Padilha has the talent to make little more than a shadow of the the original RoboCop as even The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner himself could not make even a passingly good sequel to the original in 1990. It is because of this that I will not see this 'remake', so I care nothing about the Dark Knight-esque, G.I.Joe 'accelerator suit' inspired new RoboCop design, nor do I care to be informed about the latest Robo-rumours from your favourite websites.

I choose not to comment further on RoboCop [2013] because for me it will be as if it doesn't exist.

Links from IGN

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Bourne Legacy? No, The Bourne Miscalculation

Once director Paul Greengrass and therefore Matt Damon stepped away from this otherwise brilliant franchise which had a rare consistency of excellence from the first to the third movie, my serious interest waned. It picked up slightly when I discovered the usually splendid [if not tad too over-exposed right now] Jeremy Renner would be stepping forward not as Jason Bourne, but as Aaron Cross another “creation” of the secret government project that created Bourne. Pair him with a cast including fellow Oscar-worthy actors Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton and this just might be something to see.

Sadly no. This was a failure. While I felt the action scenes were somewhat adequate, well timed and choreographed and I was pleased by the level of automatic gunfire and loud noises; I felt overall that the movie was devoid of the tension and suspense that made the previous entries in the franchise what they were. Performances from the aforementioned Oscar-class cast were ho-hum at best for which I lay the blame firmly at the feet of director Tony Gilroy who proved he should really just stick to writing as he's damn good at that instead. 

Gilroy probably had a greater understanding of the whole somewhat meandering plot of the series since he actually wrote everything! Sadly he just wasn't able to coherently let the rest of us mortals watching know just what the hell he was trying to do. The plot device that this was a different perspective on some of the same events, a greater clandestine level behind the scenes of the already clandestine world created in the original trilogy was utter shit. It was so convoluted that it lacked the cohesion to be entertaining when the action started and at that point vanished up it’s own arse.

At some point along the way I think they knew they had actually lost their way and it seemed like an afterthought to add certain elements of the previous trilogy including mentioning Jason Bourne and showing photographs of Matt Damon to “remind” people what they were watching. Some movies do this in an effortless way that makes perfect sense, but this movie was hitting you over the head with them as if to say – “but look here is what happened then, only now it’s now, do you see what we’re trying to do?” – yes I could eventually I guess but at that point I was beyond caring. I woke up when the flaccid and unconvincing “evil super-agent” introduced only 20 minutes before the ending died wonderfully ridiculously along with my enthusiasm for more of this.

Final Verdict: Avoid it, watch the other three instead for proper entertainment – THAT’s Bourne’s legacy, not this nonsense.

 Colonel Creedon rating: **

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Expendables explode again in The Expendables 2

You’ll all remember my rave review of the original The Expendables in 2010. The brainchild of Sylvester Stallone, the movie brought some down on their luck 80’s/90’s action stars together with a few new friends like Jason Statham to kick ass on a made-up tropical island. The movie was to say the least, absolutely fucking fantastic but criticisms were Stallone's skewed direction and that while  that it should have been a tongue-in-cheek cheesy action movie - parts of it took itself a bit too seriously. One scene that was totally out of place was an attempt to introduce a serious emotional depth to Tool, Mickey Rourke’s character while was flawlessly delivered by Oscar nominee Rourke, it had no place in a movie that should have essentially been a balls-out auctioneer where the only dialogue that should have been spoken would use gunfire and explosions as punctuation.

If you’re a misguided individual who thought that the element I described, was what made the movie, you missed the point of the movie itself. The majority of criticism levied against Stallone’s effort was because of that. Thankfully Sly listened to my criticism and got Simon Con Air / The Mechanic West to helm. West proceeded to dispense with any cohesive message like Rourke’s “loss of humanity and atonement” speech replacing the void with a mortality lesson and even more testosterone into the cast just to blow shit up with far less yapping - and naturally it worked.

While the dialog is a regurgitation of all the stars previous roles put together by a group of trained monkeys and at best it’s basic plot makes the A-Team seem as deep as Inception, the sheer goose-bump inducing awesomeness of seeing so many screen-heroes together at once lets you ignore that. I laughed and cried tears of pure joy at the sight of Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis waltzing through an airport on screen together literally shooting the heads off bad-guys as they make their way to exact retribution on evil Jean Claude Van Damme while delivering dry one-liners as Chuck Norris supports them from above like some bearded guardian-angel ninja . That is a truly most wonderful moment in cinematic history and the movie itself, one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever seen.

The opening scene of The Expendables 2 was a protracted tantric orgasm of incredible action, death, destruction, dismemberment, vaporisation, guns, rockets, armoured vehicles and of course ridiculous one-liners and the movie rolls like that until the end taking only a few small breathers for exposition but really it was just so your own heart rate would go back to normal or so that you'd not die of adrenaline poisoning. The level of clichéd utterly predictable trademark Hollywood violence, scored once again by Brian Tyler, combined with the sheer nonsense surrounding various action stars appearance [and disappearance] and melded with the artistic beauty that Simon West previously showed us in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was a recipe for true celluloid magic.

Final Verdict: Oh joyful perfection

Colonel Creedon Rating: EXEMPTION GRANTED

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Seven years?

I guess that if this was my first post back then today is a seventh Birthday of sorts for Whopper's Bunker

I'm reliably informed by many people, people who've either had or read blogs regularly that seven years is a long time to maintain one when looking at average blog lifespans. While I can't obviously say I post every day or even with the frequency that I used to, I guarantee that while it may be slow, there is no intention of wrapping things up on my part.

Thank you to all those who have contributed ideas for content and read and commented this year. More to come.

Colonel "Whopper" Creedon