Well I was able to check out the 1977’s ‘Black Samurai’ for the first time and I’m not quite sure why I put it off for so damn long, I think it might have something to do with the shoddy looking cover art on the VHS copy I had. Being a HUGE fan of ‘Enter the Dragon’ and having such an amazing time seeing ‘Black Belt Jones’ on the big screen here in Portland Oregon for the legendary Hollywood Theater’s Kung Fu Theater a few years back with a packed crowd I should have certainly done it sooner. Yep Jim Kelly is once again a total bad ass in some of the most outrageous scenarios of his whole career! The proof is in the poster alone…
So I really wouldn’t say he screams of a “Samurai” per say here in any real way even though there’s a brief scene of him messing around with a samurai sword. Here’s really more of a 007 James Bond type of guy here, an Agent of D.R.A.G.O.N. to be exact, who’s using his crazy kung fu skills to annihilate any asshole who he can get his damn hands on! And boy do throw some real wild ones his way for a total ass whooping. The whole plot revolves around Kelly hunting down a satanic black magic cult who’s kidnapped his lover, lead by the most geeky unthreatening, snake obsessed, white guy, villain boss I’ve surely laid my eyes upon. Kelly’s challenged by all sorts of his evil minions, tuff guy street thugs, tribal type warriors, insane little people with whips and most bizarre, the cult leader’s evil giant pet vulture! Yes he has a hand to hand battle with a damn vulture and also flies around in a jet pack, has a couple rad car chases and hangs at a mariachi party all while looking the most stylin’ and ripped as Bruce Lee while doing it all.
That’s not to say the sleazy cult director, Al Adamson makes it at all flow smoothly as there’s some seriously ridiculous yet fully satisfying martial arts battles here to gloriously behold. Jim Kelly still has the kick ass moves, but the crazy choppy editing and some of the perplexing overdubbed dialogue thrown into scenes has just got to be heard and seen to be believed! This certainly has got me on a Jim Kelly kick lately because this one was so satisfying, after this pandemic cools down I’m sure this one needs another play with a group of friends. It’s a full on train wreck of fun that plays out just like a grimy pulpy comic book adventure.
Jim Kelly’s one of the coolest 70’s action heroes and here in Black Samurai he proves once again exactly why he can’t be messed with especially if you decide that kidnapping his girlfriend is somehow a good move (it’s NOT). It’s well paced, throws everything but the kitchen sink at you and to be quite honest most of it sticks to the wall. From his rad track suits to his flashy sports cars, Kelly displays a suave, cocky swagger that never gets old. Let Black Samurai take you back to the 1970’s for on hell of an over the top adventure! Check this trailer out if you’ve never seen it before if you’re in doubt!
Here’s a great interview with Jim Kelly:
This week’s comic book cover hits home here as the planet faces the Coronavirus head on. Well back in 1981 The Thing was affected heavily by a deadly one himself called “Virus X”!! Created by the evil giant headed mastermind MODOK it was designed to be hyper-contagious and deadly to the population.
Virus X was so damn deadly, in Marvel Two-in-One #82 the story’s called “The Fatal Effects of Virus X!” MODOK first tested it on group of homeless people he snatched from the streets, and soon set his sights on The Thing to see exactly what it’s effects would be on a superhuman being. As if the Thing hadn’t been through enough already dealing with his monstrous appearance MODOK’S virus mutated him even further! The Thing almost loses his life but luckily his friends Goliath & Captain America are there to give him comfort and kick MODOK’s tiny little ass located on the back of his head!!
I’m totally excited about the upcoming She-Hulk series on Disney+ and from what I hear they’re going to expand the lore of the “Hulk” from the comics. They’re bringing more of the gamma charged enemies and allies to the small screen supposedly, rumors are currently that ‘The Red Hulk’ might be the big baddie of the She-Hulk show. Count me in true believers and let’s go a little further though to bring in one of the true classic gamma-irradiated supporting characters, Doc Samson!
Being both a great friend of Bruce Banner and also a formidable enemy to the Hulk, Samson got his great strength and iconic green hair from self imposed gamma radiation exposure. Way back in 1971, in Incredible Hulk #141 he made his at the slightly villainous debut. Samson a college professor and psychiatrist, siphoned off gamma radiation from Bruce Banner after he was temporarily cured of being the Hulk. Samson, who had been working with Banner/Hulk in his job as a psychiatrist, purposely exposed himself, granting him a superhuman strength & muscular physique also causing his hair to turn green. Doc then in the comics, tried to win over Banner’s long time love Betty Ross and caused him & The Hulks first (but definitely not their last) epic brawl. Later however Samson proved himself as a valuable ally to Banner ad even the misunderstood jade giant.
The interesting thing about Dr. Leonard Samson is that many forget he was already introduced in the 2008 Edward Norton Hulk movie. Ty Burrell possibly portrayed him in, however he never went on to portray the superhero from the comic books. Is it possible he might return in the She-Hulk series to grow the green locks? Doubtful, although it’s also probable he’ll appear, but more likely a Leonard Samson jr as the Burrell character’s son takes on the actual role of the iconic superhero, much like how it went down in the comics.
Whatever the case he’d be a dynamic addition to the MCU and the Hulk lore. Samson has also spent plenty of time with She-Hulk in the comics and might even make for a decent love interest in the series? The character has always been a favorite of mine and I’m hoping that he just might pop up for some action in the MCU along with a cast of “Hulk” related villains and friends.
Who do you think should portray Doc Samson in the MCU?
Just a reminder to everyone out there, if you’d forgotten or ever wondered who’d win in a fight between Star Trek’s Spock & Wolverine, I’m here to remind you there is a definitive answer! Yep back in 1996, X-men did indeed meet Star Trek in a one shot comic book crossover and well, just take a look!
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! There’s love in the air today so we’re going to have to go way back to the 1990’s, particularly 1997, which admittedly was an era where I wasn’t religiously reading comics books like I was in the 80’s and early 90’s. Here though is an actual Valentine’s Day special from Marvel that I thought was particularly interesting for the choice for one particular couple featured on the cover..,,Titania & The Absorbing Man!! They strangely feature poor Daredevil and Venus all by themselves, we of course get the obvious couples of Spidey and M.J. & Cyclops and Phoenix. But the inclusion of the powerhouse duo of Absorbing Man & Titania is pretty unexpected, even though they were (are still?) a true match made in heaven. They met all the way back in ’84’s classic ‘Secret Wars’, eventually ended up getting married and continued to kick ass all over the place together. I’ll admit I’ve never read this one, but my interest is peaked as I’m pretty curious if the two of them actually get a little story of their own!
The Thing was always one of my favorite superheroes, I just couldn’t get enough of this damn character. He was so freakin’ cool that besides being one of the mainstays in the Fantastic Four comics he also was the main character of ‘Marvel Two in One’ series (that started in the 70’s) and teamed up with pretty much every superhero to ever appear in the comics. There were some really really obscure team ups I’ve got to mention someday in another post. Well in 1983 I was beyond stoked as kid when John Byrne decided to give Ben Grim his very own solo series, it was one of my favorite things EVER (no pun intended)! Well issue #6 was always one of my favorite covers just ‘The Thing’ in all of his rocky glory in a simple black background. This issue itself utilized the blackness in quite an interesting way as well as he faced off against the Puppetmaster, this one drawn by the legend Ron Wilson and Brent Anderson is a true classic and shows that sometimes the best covers are sometimes the most simple!
I’ve got this new found love for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie from 1990 since watching it for the first time in decades! It was sooo much darker in tone than I recalled. When I saw it back in the day I was a fan of the original comic books, my older brother had a bunch of them in the 80’s along with other cool weird indie comics like ‘Radioactive Black Hamsters’ and ‘Cerebus’ so the movie at the time felt purely like kid stuff. The original comics had an even darker, bloodier and grittier tone to them something I think would be quite interesting to see brought to the big screen some day. Well one of the old TMNT covers crossed my mind from back in the day, issue #10 had bad ass one the folded, front and back. This totally tubular classic was drawn by Peter Laird way back in 1987, an era when they kicked a lot more ass and all wore the same color head bands. One of my favorite vintage Turtles comic covers for sure!
There’s been all sorts of controversy about Brie Larson lately on the internet in regards to the upcoming Captain Marvel movie. Some people are fully up in arms about her recent statements regarding white males as film critics, not wanting to be interviewed by ‘white dudes”, wanting fewer white males on her Captain Marvel press tour and just wanting more diversity in general. I understand her concerns, but It’s clear that her approach to the topic has clearly triggered some fans. She could have stated her issues in a much smoother way that’d likely have spoke to fans of the comic books, who have ironically been throughout the years mainly white males. Will all of her recent statements about calling hard for diversity in the film biz affect the box office numbers for the Marvel blockbuster? We’ll have to wait and see but one thing I’ve been perplexed about from the initial announcement of Captain Marvel the REAL controversy: the decision to base the character on a white female, “Carol Danvers” and cast Brie Larson at all. I’m ok with the decision but would’ve much rather my era Captain Marvel been given a chance. The one who came before the “Carol Danvers” character way back in the early 80’s. Growing up, my Captain Marvel was first and foremost, Monica Rambeau.
Yep, Monica was the first female Captain Marvel, appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man annual #16 and eventually went on to become the leader of The Avengers in the 80’s. She’s a total badass who harnesses a multitude of energy forms, irradiated with energy blasts from different dimensions that also gave her the ability to move at light speed. Besides being the leader of The Avengers she was also the first black superhero to join the ranks of the team. In my opinion she’s also a much more interesting character in general. Monica was a New Orleans native and worked for the harbor patrol there operating as an ACTUAL captain of ship. At one point she caught wind of a wicked plot to create of a dangerous supernatural energy weapon, Rambeau took it upon herself to try to stop the threat and in turn was exposed to a powerful extra-dimensional energy.
She gained the ability to convert her body to pure raw energy. Soon, the papers began to refer to her as “Captain Marvel”. It wasn’t long after that she’d run into issues controlling her vast new power and her growing energy abilities almost made her a danger to the public. With the help of Iron Man & Spider-man she was able to successfully release the excess of it safely. She made the decision to utilize her powers to fight for the good of the earth under the name she was given by the media. Using the same name of a pervious male super hero Mar-vell, she’d quickly drawn attention of Earth’s mightiest heroes, The Avengers. Joining the team she worked her way up as one of the greatest members in their ranks and eventually accepted the role of leader of the team. Her story is pretty awesome and as a kid growing up she was one of the main superheroes I’d known as the leader of The Avengers along with Captain America & The Wasp.
To me Monica’s Captain Marvel should have been given the chance to front her own MCU movie. As much as I do agree with what the overall points that Larson has been trying to make about “white dudes”, it appears a bit like she’s been trying to exploit the topic of diversity to gather attention for her movie. With the topic being a big part of her MCU campaign, I’ve been perplexed since I’d first heard many of her comments about diversity, just why Marvel chose her character to be the “Captain Marvel” we see in the first female led superhero MCU movie. As a white woman herself and the FIRST female Captain Marvel being ‘Monica Rambeau’, (a character of color who worked her way to the top roster of the Avengers) isn’t it a bit odd to choose ‘Carol Danvers’ who only first took the Captain Marvel mantle as recently as 2012?
I do think Larson should have addressed this, especially with her campaign for diversity in the film industry recently gathering so much attention. She maybe even could have even suggested the character for the movie be Rambeau, in respect to the iconic character and just diversity in film in general. Whatever the case, it’s good to get the history of the female Captain Marvel character out there for discussion, in my opinion Marvel made a HUGE mis-step in not presenting the true original female Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau for the upcoming movie.
I’ve been hearing lately that the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ movie franchise is going to again be rebooted after the shit show of the Michael Bay era of the reptilian heroes in a half shell. So it sparked me to revisit the original 1990 movie the other night which I hadn’t seen in probably 20 years or so. I was amazed at how well that movie has aged, seeing it in theaters back in the day I’d enjoyed it but kind of dismissed it as “kid stuff” at the time as my older brother in the 1980’s collected the original indie comic series and I’d had the chance to read them as a kid. If you’re aware of the TMNT early beginnings you’ll remember that it started off as a dark, gritty & violent comic series. I was blown away back then at the sheer oddity of the characters and the equally bizarre story lines of the originals. When I decided to revisit the 1990 TMNT film I’d forgotten just how dark that original movie actually is, especially considering today’s climate of safe moviemaking. The movie is almost closer to an R-rating than it’s original rating of PG. There’s kids smoking & drinking alcohol, robbing people, the foot beating up April O’neil, Raphael beaten into a near coma by The Foot and a badly beaten and bloodied up Splinter strung to a fence. It’s actually a pretty dark and gritty movie with the addition of the comedic surfer dude Turtles to lighten things up.
So currently we’ve got these new “TMNT” flicks, a big bloated Michael Bay produced, soul-less mess of CGI, uninspired storytelling and poor character development. The current franchise just hasn’t been connecting with fans the way they’d hoped, mainly with the amount of money that the films have made. Now they’ve got plans for a brand new reboot and it’s never been more clear just what this franchise needs to do: go old school.
So first off let’s address the obvious big issue, imo the latest Michael Bay era CGI Turtles look terrible. They’re massive 8 foot tall green hulking humanoid turtles with creepy ass faces and not in a good way. Compare the newest incarnations with the very original designs. They couldn’t be more opposite. Even the Turtles of the 1990 movie do essentially look pretty much like what you’d hope for, sure they’ve been made much cuter but they stay fairly true to the original vision. So let’s face the facts, the original designs of the 80’s weren’t broken so why try and modernize them by making them the opposite of what they were intended to look like? Bring back the smaller classic versions of these characters, go simpler with their general design. It’s a lot easier to digest and most definitely not rocket science folks.
Next I’d say you could go the similar route that many movies are taking by making the next movie a direct sequel to the original or at least setting the movie in the late 80s’ or early 90’s, it’s clear people love that era of film today (Stranger Things, IT anyone?). That being said bring back the suits!! Put real actors in real costumes with modern day animatronics the Turtles could look absoluterly mind blowing. The 1990 movie Turtles STILL look great and that was with a micro budget of 13.5 million dollars for the whole damn film. What they could do now would be incredible, we all want to believe that the TMNT are actually living breathing creatures and the latest movies sadly look like fakey cgi rendered cartoon characters inserted into the “real world”.
Lets get real here and let’s keep the budget low, we don’t need a TMNT movie to be on the scale of an Avengers film, we need a smaller more personal, more heartfelt movie with high stakes like the original. Next let’s get some real martial arts, real choreography and some real stunts again. One thing that blew me away revisting the 1990 movie was the actual real on screen martial arts that were displayed, it was pretty amazing actually and I’d love to see something in that vein in a brand new Turtles movie. It’d be like nothing out there in the mainstream that’s for sure. Lastly I’d love to see a darker more serious storyline, of course an “R-rated Turtles” movie would be my first choice, one that evokes the original comics would be absolutely insane. However, I know that’ll never happen so I think at the very least going as dark as the original movie would be more than good enough. Let’s see the Turtles roaming the city streets at night, jumping from rooftop to rooftop and roaming the dank sewers. Bring on the amazing real life set pieces, puppets and crazy creatures once again, I think fans would go bonkers for a throwback style TMNT. However I doubt Hollywood has the courage to try something as unique and inspired as the original movie. What do you think?!
So there’s a damn big ‘split’ (no pun intended!) in movie goer’s opinions on M. Night Shyamalan’s latest movie ‘Glass’. The long awaited sequel to both ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘Split’ has caused a ton of debate online, some think it’s the perfect end cap to Shyamalan’s “Eastrail 177” trilogy other’s think it’s a boring waste of two hours. For me I found it to be a compelling end to the saga, in fact I saw the critics bashing this movie so hard that I was truly expecting the worst going in. I mean Shyamalan’s let me down before in big ways (The Happening, The Last Airbender anyone?) so I was fully prepared to begin my next phase of “hatin’ on the guy” once again. Luckily he stuck to his guns and in my opinion delivered a smart, tense & mysterious movie that feels right in line with ‘Unbreakable’ & ‘Split’. He definitely subverted my expectations, not in the same way Rian Johnson did with ‘The Last Jedi’ but in a way which I’ve come to appreciate early on in M. Night’s career. I was hoping that it would avoid trying to be a “Marvel” movie, something it seems all big Hollywood productions are desperately trying to replicate using a somewhat, imo, tired film making style, mixing their usual “witty banter comedy” with gigantic bloated CGI battles, that at this point makes me begin to nod off in theaters.
Instead he creates smaller scale action sequences that feel real, tense and important when they occur. I’ve grown pretty damn bored with the modern superhero movies and their predictable tropes and overuse of green screens & rubbery cartoony CGI action sequences. Glass feels like it could actually happen in the real world and I was pretty scared Night was going to try and tap into that Marvel-esque money making formula that’s all the rage. Thankfully it feels like a natural progression to what came before it, more like a Christopher Nolan style superhero film than ‘Infinity War’ or ‘Aquaman’. That being said I can see how modern audiences conditioned to the ultra fast paced video gamey CGI action stuff would find plenty of reasons to be pissed off at this one. Its a dramatic supernatural thriller with slight elements of the superhero genre sprinkled about, I think ‘Glass’ will surely satisfy fans of the the two previous installments.
That all being said the movie does have plot points I found a bit disappointing. Not because they were bad moves, but because it didn’t go the way I ENVISIONED it to. The movie sets up the audience for things that might not occur at all and this all works as it feels like the real world as opposed to ‘The Last Jedi’ which is based in 100% fantasy in an established universe spanning back to the 1970’s. Shyamalan’s decisions left me disappointed and heart broken, but not in a way that destroyed the film’s appeal to me. It made me want to go back and watch all three in order and the films third act subverts expectations in ways I never saw coming. It feels like Shyamalan wasn’t merely looking to cash in on his new “superhero universe” but rather had a complete story he was willing to start and end. It was bizarre seeing a movie that didn’t feel like it was trying to tease the next installment. It brought back familiar faces from Unbreakable and Split as well and all of them were wonderful in the roles, I’ve got to admit though the characters didn’t do what I’d originally imagined they’d do. Again, I kinda appreciate that.
A few things that bothered me? Wanting more of Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson interacting, but I guess we got a heap of that way back in Unbreakable and there’s some clear problems with how Jame’s Mcavoy’s character was kept imprisoned in the mental ward where the three of them were locked up in. Minor qualms really, my major being one of the key events that occurred at the end left me perplexed and actually quite saddened. Again never expecting they’d go there and go that direction. So all in all ‘Glass’ is one I highly recommend, I give it an ‘A minus’ as it left me thinking about it a couple days later and left me wanting a second viewing now that my expectations aren’t there. Night delivers a beautiful, tense, realistic superhero character piece that fully enhances what came before it. Check it out, but don’t expect your usual superhero flick!