I originally discovered The Angry Video Game Nerd over at Screw Attack, where his episodes grew in popularity from his creation in 2006 almost over night. As a loyal fan, “The Angry Video Game Nerd” has offered some of the funniest and most clever reviews of some of the worst video games ever created, and with creator James Rolfe’s love for film, and film making, the episodes are a pop culture fan’s dream. Here are five great episodes from the Nerd you should watch before the movie.
Robert Mandel’s action thriller is one part “Rambo,” one part “Blackboard Jungle,” and one part “Lethal Weapon” that really never quite comes together in to anything impressive. When the dust has settled it’s merely a mediocre shoot em up with a gimmick that director Mandel only rolls with until mid-way in to the narrative. “The Substitute” really only presses the idea of a mercenary posing as a substitute teacher until it runs out of steam. Then it becomes a monotonous movie about mercenaries battling a drug cartel.
The biggest difference that sets John Badham’s remake apart from Luc Besson’s original “La Femme Nikita” is the context of the decade. Even set in the late eighties to early nineties, Besson’s original has a very timeless appeal to it and is still a template for many action films. John Badham’s remake though is very soaked in nineties ephemera, to the point where you can almost hear “90210” playing in the background of every scene. Thus it distracts from the story Badham is trying to tell. Which is a stacked deck, considering “Point of No Return” is a weak retread of an action masterpiece.
“The Angry Video Game Nerd,” for the uninitiated, is an online personality and character created by James Rolfe, who plays really bad vintage video games on his show usually by request of his fans. He then provides insightful commentary (along with excellent comedy) that also includes a lot of rage, anger, and bafflement as to how what he’s played could have ever been allowed for public consumption. “The Angry Video Game Nerd” is a wildly popular and influential online series that is mostly familiar to gamers and pop culture fans alike, so it’s wise that director James Rolfe takes the big screen debut of his beloved character, and broadens it to appeal to more general indie audiences alike. Director James Rolfe and Kevin Finn’s movie is still a niche comedy with loads of cult potential, but will also catch the eye of movie goers in the mood for meta-comedy, and an honest to goodness indie road trip film.
I don’t know how the hell you screw up “Double Dragon.” It’s a beat em up video game set in the future where two warriors Jimmy and Billy (or Bimmy if you’ve played the video game) have to save their girlfriend from a humongous crime syndicate. There could have been so much to go on with this concept, and it might have made for a wicked great apocalyptic action film. Instead, much like “Mortal Kombat,” it’s neutered for kids, and sucked of all of its originality. Even at eleven years old I knew “Double Dragon” sucked. And I liked everything, back then. Even the Marvel Comics mini-series had more of a toothy, edgy vision of the video games than this movie did.
If you can forgive the fact that Director Brett Ratner completely knocks off the Kevin Sorbo “Hercules” series by presenting a lighter more satirical tone behind the myth of Hercules, his treatment of the character isn’t a complete loss of time. In actuality, “Hercules” is a solid action comedy that takes the wind out of the Greek Myths, in favor of a more grounded tale of the warrior Hercules, whose entire legacy is built around fantastic tales and illusion. Much like Sorbo’s Hercules, Dwayne Johnson plays the character with a tongue in cheek and self awareness all the while thrust in to fantastic situations that require he actually step up to play the hero.
Watching “Hercules,” feels almost like what Disney would have done to Superman if DC ever let them turn the character in to an animated feature film. It has all the hallmarks of the Superman mythos. Not to mention it embraces the classic hero’s journey, and is one of the few Disney features based around mythology rather than an age old story. Disney could very well have approached the tale of a young God in training with an animation style that could have rendered the film bland and forgettable. Instead, “Hercules” is one of their more unique and outside the box animated adaptations.
I’d be willing to bet that even the most hardcore Arnold Schwarzenneger (billed as Arnold Strong) fan will tap out after thirty minutes of “Hercules in New York.” It’s a brutally awful attempt to cash in on the Hercules logo, while also failing to turn Schwarzenneger in to a star. It also doesn’t help that whether it’s Arnold with an English dub, or Arnold in his original voice, “Hercules in New York” is impossible to sit through. It’s almost kind of fun to see Arnold try to enunciate English, though, as he plays Hercules, a young demi-God who lives in paradise with women at his feet, and is still bored.
You have to give it to the Asylum. Not only did they beat the studios to the punch on the female “Expendables” movie, but they cast actual brawlers for the roles of their titular Mercenaries. While Hollywood may be going for wafer thin women on their own version, “Mercenaries” brings aboard a lot of the obvious suspects of what a female “Expendables” movie should rightfully be composed of. Cynthia Rothrock is the leader, and the heroes of the film are Zoë Bell, Vivica A. Fox, Nicole Bilderback, and Kristanna Loken, while Brigitte Nielsen pulls up the rear as the film’s villainess. It’s a very impressive line up for a movie with seemingly half the budget of “The Expendables.”
Good news, everyone! We got a “Tekken” sequel! We didn’t ask for one, and it’s likely a lot of people forgot there was a live action movie, in the first place, but we got a “Tekken” sequel, anyway. This isn’t so much a sequel, though, as it is the production company taking all the left over parts and producing a follow up with almost no plot, or characterization. Not that the “Tekken” games had much of the former, anyway. But fans of “Tekken” (all five of them) will be annoyed to see that Jin is nowhere to be seen, Heihachi is only a small player in the narrative, and now series antagonist Kazuya is the main hero of the sequel. Hey, no one’s paying attention, so why be loyal to the games?