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Friday, 30 December 2011

The Killing Machine Review

Right from the second this DVD started running in my player, I had a good feeling about it. The opening song has the exact pace I was looking for in this movie - and the film managed to match that pace and then some.

I had previously seen only 2 of Lundgren's movies as a director: Missionary Man, and The Mechanik - both of which end with epic shotgun-induced headsplosions.

Would you believe this is the less epic of the two?

Whilst Missionary Man is a fairly slow-paced film, a modern update of the classic western - a mysterious figure turning up in a town rife with conflict to help out the citizens, The Mechanik is an action-packed thriller which opens like the second half of Taken and closes like the second half of Missionary Man. Both of these films were awesome, and Lundgren has certainly proved that he can not only act and kick some serious arse, but can direct a half decent movie as well.

The Killing Machine, however, takes things to a whole new level. Right from the off, we get some incredible and brutal action, with Dolph taking down 4 guys in the opening sequence, before we flash back to the beginning of the actual story. I used a comparison with Taken above for The Mechanik, and I'm afraid I'm going to have to use it as a comparison again here - but not for the plot, rather for the violence. Oh, and the DVD covers, since they look identical:

Note: 'Icarus' is the title of the Director's cut - Dolph Lundgren's verison of the film. I watched the producer's cut - called 'The Killing Machine', so will be reviewing that.

One of the things I loved about Taken was, aside from in the driving scenes, the gun violence is incredibly realistic. The prime example for this being when Neeson shoots the henchman through the glass window in a door, and he just drops like a rock, with some bloodsplatter. The shot lasts all of a second, and is one of the most realistic looking headshots ever to appear on film. Whilst most films will either dwell on graphic wounds, like Saving Private Ryan, or will shoot them in a stylized manner, maybe with slow motion, or some kind of artistic imagery, such as Tommy DeVito's death in Goodfellas (see A History of Violence for a combination of both of these), Taken took things in the opposite direction, and made the violence graphic, but extremely quick - taking place in real time, with realistic wounds. The Killing Machine takes this a step further - keeping Taken's ultra-realistic gunshot and bone breaking wounds, but adding to it to make the violence as graphic as possible without appearing to be trying to dwell on it. Think *SPOILER ALERT* Leonard DiCaprio's death in The Departed - it's over in a split second, with him dropping realistically and not much time spent dwelling on the wound, and yet we get a very graphic blood-splatter on the wall behind him from the exit wound. The Killing Machine takes this kind of action - and applies it to nearly every death throughout the film - possibly creating the most realistic action movie of all time regarding violence.

A lot of the shots show the weapon going off in the same frame as the wound being inflicted - which always heightens the realism.

The visual effects outside of the shootings are incredible as well, especially regarding the wounds inflicted during the two torture scenes in the movie:

Let's put a Smile on that face!

Seriously, whoever did the effects on this had better wind up in Hollywood soon - because the wounds in this film are far more graphic than those in a lot of movies with 20 times the budget. The way the wounds leak in the few shots where we do pan back to someone who has been injured is also incredible, looking incredibly realistic, and slightly unnerving. In fact, this is the most impressive set of effects I've seen in a low budget movie since I watched The Thing earlier in the year.

Whilst the plot of The Killing Machine is nothing new - an ex-KGB agent who tried to leave his life behind winds up as a hitman for the mob, who then come after him after he botches a job in Hong Kong - it is fast paced and suspenseful. And despite the fact that you know exactly what is going to happen at every turn, is still incredibly thrilling to watch. Lundgren's use of different types of camera and shutterspeeds to reflect the mood of each scene is astounding for a man with so little experience in directing, and the voiceovers by the character fit in perfectly, sounding like a non-pretentious version of Max Payne.

Why don't you go shoot someone with your M4 you fucking conformist.

In all honesty, this is all you could ask for in an action movie, it doesn't make you think too hard - it doesn't try and be overly innovative, and yet it is just clever enough to be gripping, and has so much action I swear it must have broken some kind of record for a single-man bodycount. Wait, scratch that - I just remembered Punisher: War Zone...

No-one touches my KTD, N00B!

In fact, that's probably the best comparison I can make - the character has a similar background to that of Viggo Mortenson in A History of Violence (but switching origins with Mortenson's in Eastern Promises) - a man who wants to get away from his past life, and settle down with his family, but is unable to because not obeying his former bosses puts his family at risk, and so goes on a killing spree that even The Punisher would be proud of. Of course, that does make sense, all things considered:

Honestly, this is actually the movie I felt The Expendables should have been. The effects in that were too obviously added in post, and I think trying to give that many characters interesting parts was just too difficult for them to handle. By scaling back to having just one unstoppable machine 80s action star, and giving him a real motive for his violence, Dolph Lundgren has managed to create a perfect genre piece revenge movie, for about the 4th time in his career. In fact, I think Dolph Lundgren has actually become the master of the action-revenge movie (let us not forget that Deathwish isn't in fact a revenge movie, since Bronson never kills those actually responsible for his wife's death), and this is possibly the pinnacle of the genre. Of course, there isn't much originality here (Dolph Lundgren as an ex-KGB agent AGAIN?), but it's an action movie, so why worry? And the fact that only two of the deaths are ridiculous enough that they could have been in a Steven Seagal film shows some restraint on Dolph's part to not play into the stereotype of low budget action films.

 Pictured: The only completely unrealistic death in the entire movie. Fairly impressive for a film made by an old 80s star for $5 million. Take THAT Van Damme!

On the subject of which - it's also nice to finally see a film which was shot in Canada admitting to this, and not trying to play itself off as being set in America as so many do. You know all those films set in Washington D.C. which are filmed in Toronto? Can't think of one? How about ANY film set in D.C. where you see a skyscraper? Since there are no skyscrapers in D.C. Oh, plus half the films set in New York...

Oh look, a 50-odd storey building in Die Hard 4 - well, that can't possibly have been shot in Canada, can it?

You know, in LA confidential, the cameras were placed deliberately so that any building taller than city hall would not be seen, because at the time the movie was set, that was the tallest building in LA. But when you come to movies set in D.C...

So mad props to Dolph for that - why play to the American audience. Canada has awesome stuff too...

Fuck yeah.

In fact, the only real problem I had with the film (as well as the ridiculous death scene pictured above) was how open it was left at the end. It just didn't feel right, leaving the film at the point we did. If it had ended a scene earlier, things would have been perfect. If we had seen what happened next, it might have been better, but the ending felt pretty lackluster after the rest of the film. Oh, also, the codename for Dolph's character Icarus was a bit distracting, since I'd just watched Sunshine...

So, to sum up - awesome pace, well shot, compelling if a little cliched story, bitching soundtrack, incredible effects, and that guy from Inglorious Batards. What more could you want?

Given Fred Williamson would make a ridiculous KGB agent-turned Russian mobster...

Another cool thing about this film is that Dolph mixes up his fighting style so that rather than just the straight karate and shooting we're used to, he throws in some proper MMA-style shit as well, throwing and grappling dudes to mix things up with his punches. He looks great too, which is a relief, given some of the pictures of him which have been floating around recently:

Though, to be fair, he did play a heroin addict right after this, so maybe he was just trying to get into character?

This is Dolph at his finest, and it's unbelievable that he wasn't a fan of this cut of the movie. Now I really want to see the director's cut to find out what he did differently!



4 Stars

Brilliant action film, incredibly well shot, and with some half decent emotional scenes as well (unlike Steven Seagal's sex scene in 'A Dangerous Man'. Talk about awkward...). The plot is fairly predictable, but unravels nicely, and is on a par with other similar films such as A History of Violence. The pace of the action is incredible, and you wonder how they manage to keep it up for an entire movie without guys getting shot to pieces becoming boring. This film is nothing ground breaking, but has got to be the best action movie to come out since Punisher: War Zone. Plus, silenced Desert Eagles - What more could you want?

Das Vidanja!


(I speak no Russian whatsoever, so I'm hoping my basic grasp of Serbian (do viđenja) is enough to have spelt that correctly...)

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth

I have a confession to make. One I'm actually rather ashamed of. Arkham Asylum is actually only the second Batman graphic novel I have ever read, after Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. In fact, the only graphic novels I have read other than these two are Garth Ennis's entire run on The Punisher's MAX series, the first few issues of Preacher, and Alan Moore's Watchmen. That's it. I've skimmed through other people's copies of "The Crow" and odd issues of various Marvel comics, but that's it. I am not well versed in the world of graphic novels.

That said, I still feel capable of reviewing Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, so here are my opinions on it:

Whilst the subplot involving Amadeus Arkham and the founding of the Asylum is thrilling and intriguing, Batman's storyline is, for the most part, fairly dull. The majority of the villains who appear are only seen on one or two pages, often not really doing anything. Whilst the inclusion of Clayface, the Mad Hatter, and Maxie Zeus was undoubtedly to add to the atmosphere of insantiy, I would have liked it if these villains had actually done something. Whilst Doctor Destiny's early fate felt rewarding, had I known that all the encounters with Batman's adversaries would be this brief, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed that scene quite so much.

In fact, every last one of these characters could have been switched for just standard deranged inmates - they play no real part in the story, other than adding to the atmosphere. However, when you've just come from reading Ennis's Punisher, and Frank Miller's The Dark Knight, you have an expectation that the villains will all be a struggle to defeat, and will all play a significant role. Instead, we have a group of villains who do nothing but sit around and talk, and whilst I can see what the intention was: to contribute to the atmosphere and insanity of the piece, the fact that I was expecting Batman to have to fight all of these villains meant that their appearances were more of a let-down than anything else. Perhaps as a first-time reader this would have been a more intriguing approach - reminiscent of the scenes in the Shining such as Shelly Duvall running in on the original furries, or Jack Nicholson's unfortunate bathroom experience - but coming from reading The Dark Knight Returns, it just felt like a cop-out. As though they didn't have enough pages to really show off these villains, but still wanted to include them. Still, having now finished the book, I feel that what they did with these characters, whilst frustrating at the time, was a clever divergence from the comic-book norm, and as such helps contribute to the uniqueness of the piece.

Another thing which makes this graphic novel unique is the artwork - the panels vary from grayscale pencil sketches, to full blown watercolours, to even what appear to be photographs, and the lettering is just outstanding, with each character being given their own style of lettering to mimick their speech. Whilst batman's speech bubbles appear black with white text, the joker speaks in a sharp, red, manic font which, whilst occasionally making it difficult to read what he's saying given how small the print of the book is, really gives us a great insight into his state of mind, and an amazing representation of his speech pattern. All these things contribute to that word I keep coming back to: Atmosphere - as that is what this comic is truly about.

The backstory to Arkham Asylum is dark and thrilling, with Amadeus Arkham's tale being gripping right from the first page - from his mother's insanity, to his dealings with the man who inspired him to set up the asylum and later went on to push him over the edge into full-blown insanity himself, this story could have been written as a stand-alone and still been well worth the read. The way the story is intercut with Batman's storyline is also incredible, especially with the juxtaposition in the fight with Croc (my only real disappointment here is that it wasn't Bane who Batman was fighting - since each character is simply characterized by being massive and strong, but Croc's physical nature takes away from the realism of the piece, being a mutant-crocodile and all...)

The ending as well, whilst initially a let-down, leaving too many open questions, suddenly became brilliant with the revelation on the last two pages. I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't read it, but if you've reached the point when it looks like everything is resolved and are still wondering "Well, that was dumb, because what if...?", turn the page to the final two-page spread for the reveal, and suddenly the ending seems quite brilliant, and makes the earlier scene in which Batman decides to go back in after finding the tunnel out of the Asylum finally make sense.

In all, then, I would recommend this book for its fantastic artwork, and the imposing atmosphere it creates. The story is brilliant as well, as long as you know what to expect going in. Don't go in expecting this to be anything like The Dark Knight Returns, and you should do fine. Think of it more as being Batman's The Shining, and I guarantee you'll enjoy it. Now please press Ctrl+f and see how many times I've used the word "atmosphere", then berate me for not being able to come up with any suitable synonyms.

So, to sum up, whilst disappointing in areas at first, once I had finished the book, I realized what it all meant, and was thoroughly impressed with the end result. The joker is drawn absolutely insanely, and you should probably buy this book just to look at the way in which his speech pattern is imitated in text form. The book is also responsible for the inclusion of the "disappearing pencil" magic trick in The Dark Knight, in case there are any fans of the film out there, so if you want to see the origins on that little gem, look no further. Arkham Asylum tells a fantastic horror story, broken up with a thriller of a man on the run from a crowd of lunatics who want him dead, both of which come together like a Johnny Gossimer novel at the end. If you want a horror comic, and are a fan of Batman like myself, look no further. at 128 pages, it is a little on the short side, and I felt Batman's storyline could have been extended to make it into more of an epic. But then, if it had been too long and included unnecessary subplots I'd just be bitching about that now instead, so whilst there are areas which could have used a little more attention, I'm happy with the short length of the piece.

I'm rambling now, so I'll sign off. I liked this book, and so should you. Here's a little teaser to pique your interest:

Now I guess I'll have to play the game "Arkham Asylum" and see if it's anything like the graphic novel...


P.S. in the gym, waiting for my training partner to arrive, the Princess Diaries came on, and I started watching it (confusing it with The Princess Bride, a film everyone tells me I need to watch (No Homo)). Suddenly, I'm looking forward to seeing Catwoman in the next Batman film...

Don't worry, guys, she's 19 here. You're safe.

Reading this also makes me less concerned about the reboot I mentioned earlier, because it actually gives the creators a chance to go in a completely different direction. Let's have the first Batman Horror movie. Let's have Batman's The Shining. Then maybe we won't be wondering what the fuck they're doing planning a reboot before Nolan's last film is even out.

Monday, 19 December 2011


Today, I finally received news of one of those events which shocks the world. Something so great, I can hardly even believe I'm typing it. That's right: They are remaking American Psycho, and setting it in the present day.

For some reason, people keep emailing me this image today - what does this have to do with Ameican Psycho being remade?

Now, this seems a little odd, since a lot of American Psycho was heavily tied in with the eighties, being a social commentary and whatnot. However, it is still possible they will be able to pull this off, given Wall Street is still as callous and greedy as it ever was. My only concern is that, with the times having changed so much, how will the story differ from the original (which already differs greatly from the book)?

Luckily, IMDB Pro already has a page up for the new film, so here are a few select samples, copied and pasted in for your pleasure:


Synopsis: A wealthy New York investment banking executive hides his alternate ego as an internet troll from his co-workers and friends as he escalates deeper into his illogical, gratuitous fantasies.

Memorable Quotes:

Patrick Bateman: I'm at a loss. He was part of that whole..."Mac thing"... you know?
Donald Kimball: What do you mean... "Mac thing"?
Patrick Bateman: Well, I think for one that he was probably a closet homosexual and a hipster. Who bought overpriced hardware to try and look "individual"... that Mac thing.

Patrick Bateman: [voiceovers] I can't believe Bryce prefers Van Patten's tripcode to mine. If I was a Newfag I would start a thread with Van Patten's Facebook on, telling everyone to troll him for being a dick. But I'm not. I'll just speak to one of the sysops instead - they all come on my IRC, and won't want to get Banhammered for not trolling him for me.

[Bryce posts that he is going to go offline, Bateman interrupts]

Patrick Bateman: Let's see Paul Allen's tripcode.

[Looking at Paul Allen's thread]

Patrick Bateman: Look at that custom wording, so it actually spells something. The tasteful use of Leet Speak. Oh my God, it even has an exclaimationmark!

Patrick Bateman: Did you know Linkin Park's debut album, titled simply "Hybrid Theory" has sold over 24 million copies worldwide? And that 5 of the 12 tracks on the album were released as singles? Their follow up album Meteora was a little emo for my taste, but Hybrid theory defines the perfect fusion of alternative rock, and hip hop.

Elizabeth: [laughing] You... You actually own a Linkin Park CD? More than one?

Patrick Bateman: Ask me a question.

Club Patron: So, what do you do?

Patrick Bateman: I'm into, uh, well, murders and executions, mostly.

Club Patron: Do you like it?

Patrick Bateman: Well, it depends. Why?

Club Patron: Well, most guys I know who work for Apple's legal department don't like it.



Hipster's Sign: I am the 99%. Feed me a stray cat.

Patrick Bateman: Don't you want to know what I do?

Christie: No. No, not really.

Patrick Bateman: Well, I work on Wall Street... for Goldman Sachs. And I think you really need to get yourself a proper job and start paying taxes, so you can pay for my bonus when it comes time for our next bailout.
[The girls shake their heads, Bateman's Jaw Tightens]
Christie: Is that really how Capitalism is supposed to work?
Patrick Bateman: Well, actually, Christie, that's none of your business. But I can assure you, all your moneys are belong to us.
Patrick Bateman: [on the phone to his lawyer] Harold, it's Bateman, Patrick Bateman. You're my lawyer so I think you should know: I've trolled a lot of people. Some furries on the Fur News Network uh, some obese people on YouTube - maybe 5 or 10 - um, a fashion Blogger who walked into a propellor. I spammed her facebook 'Get Well' page with posts saying she looked like Willem Dafoe. I hacked into Lori Drew's cell phone and left a message saying she killed Megan Meier for the Lulz, and used a low-orbital ion cannon to DDoS 9gag last week. I posted a pic on /b/ telling people to go on imagefap and search for "loli" - I had to, someone has to clean out all the cancer - and, uh, some other .gif I can't remember maybe some gore? But not that chainsaw one. And Mitchell Henderson. I've been putting an iPod on Mitchell Henderson's grave on the anniversary of his death for the past 4 years now. I don't want to leave anything out here. I guess I've trolled maybe 200 people, maybe 400. I have screenshots of a lot of it, uh some of the guys on my IRC have seen the pictures. I even, um... I even RickRoll'd some people, and I tried to pretend I thought Millhouse was a meme. Tonight I, uh, I just had to DDoS a LOT of Websites. And I'm not sure I'm gonna get away with it this time. I guess I'll uh, I mean, ah, I guess I'm a pretty uh, I mean I guess I'm a pretty 1337 guy. So, if you get back tomorrow, I may show up on IRC, so you know, keep your eyes open.
Bateman excuses himself from a conversation by claiming he has an appointment with "Clay Davis". This was Isiah Whitlock Jr.'s character's name in The Wire.
In each scene with Detective Donald Kimball (Charlie Sheen), The Rock asked Sheen to portray the character three different ways: 1) Kimble knew Patrick Bateman killed Paul Allen, 2) Kimball didn't know Bateman killed Allen, and 3) Kimball didn't think Bateman killed Allen, but was fucking with him for the lulz. Johnson would then edit the takes together, giving the audience an unsure vibe of what Detective Kimball thought of Bateman.
Unlike Harron's 2000 adaptation of America Psycho, The Rock's version includes a scene with Patrick Bateman's brother Sean, played by Casper Van Dien. Interestingly, Van Dien played Juan "Johnny" Rico in Starship Troopers, alongside Michael Ironside (Christie), although the two never appear on-screen together in this film.
In the first interview between Detective Kimball (Charlie Sheen) and Bateman, when Kimball asks what Bateman thinks could have happened to Paul Allen, Bateman suggests that a poster from >>>/mu/ may have hunted him down and killed him for saying Spandau Ballet are a rubbish band. Steven Berkoff, who plays Paul Allen, also starred in The Krays (1990), in which his character, George Cornell, is shot by Ronnie Kray, who is played by Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet.
Initially, Lions gate were keen to cast Val Kilmer as Detective Robert Kimball. However, after Kilmer overheard The Rock refer to him as "The worst Batman ever", he left the project. The part eventually went to Charlie Sheen.

P.S. How appropriate it is that my 111th post would just happen to be about American Psycho. Check out my trips!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Top Everything of 2011 - An Idea I Totally Stole From Because I'm Lazy and Unoriginal and Need Content

Despite 2011 still having half a month left to go, has released their list of "The Top 8 of Everything of 2011". Not to be upstaged by them, and wanting to fit in with the "cool" kids, I've taken that idea and run with it, creating my own list of the top things of the year. I hope this makes up for all the neglect. Enjoy.

Movie of the Year

I’m going to hold off on this one to some extent, since I haven’t seen Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which I suspect will be the film of the year. However, commenting on films I have seen, it’s still going to be a challenge to come up with one which really defines the top movie of 2011. Warrior was an enjoyable genre piece, and definitely worth the watch, but it felt almost like I was watching a guide on “how to make any sports movie, ever”. The only thing it didn’t include was tension between white and black players on a team who finally decide they can trust each other, or the guy from Saw VI playing an East German Bobsleigh racer…

Seriously, Warrior plays out exactly as you would expect it to, and whilst the action is awesome, the emotional scenes are intense, and Tom Hardy’s traps are fucking huge – it is ultimately predictable, and brings nothing new to the table.

Other than Tom Hardy's Enormous Traps, that is.

A Serbian Film is another possible nominee for this category, but again, it didn’t really live up to the hype. Whilst on the rewatch I certainly appreciated it more, realizing that it was not “predictable”, as the ending was never meant to be a twist, but simply the inevitable outcome (I didn’t rage about ‘Until Death’ because Jean Claude Van Damme was obviously going to die at the end, because it’s supposed to be inevitable, so why did it bother me with A Serbian Film? Because of the fucking hype surrounding it, and everyone calling it a “horror film”, making me see the similarities with SAW before anything else). However, A Serbian Film still isn’t exactly ground breaking, and whilst one hell of an achievement for a first time writer and director, I hardly feel I can award it the title of Film of the Year. And this leaves me in a difficult position. You see: What good films have come out this year?

Hugo will be torrented by thousands of /b/tards who want to furiously fap to Chloe Moretz...

Of IMDB’s list of the 10 most popular films of the year, the only one I have seen, or indeed want to see, is Warrior (As of writing this, it is #184 on IMDB’s top 250 list). Can we really have had such a bad year in film that a decent, but incredibly predictable and clichéd sports movie, is the best we’ve got? Depressingly, it appears so. Even films soon to be released, such as the new Sherlock Holmes, or Mission Impossible 4, will undoubtedly fail to live up to even Warrior’s modest prestige, so I can only hope that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy really is a good as everyone says, otherwise it looks like the film industry is dead.


I suppose ultimately, the film of the year would have to be the combined parts of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. It’s a real cop-out, because they’re not actually great movies – but it is nice to see a film series like that finally tied up, so Daniel Radcliffe can go about making films where the Germans shoot him to pieces as he storms a bunker, and Rubert Grint can go back to Eiffel Towering girls on wild weekends.

And Ralph Fiennes can go back to being a Nazi?

"Actually, It's Rafe"

Video Game of the Year

The debate here is going to be as boring as ever. First Person Shooter fanboys will be raging hard, shouting either “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3!” or “No! Battlefield 3!”, but the truth is, neither of these deserves to win. We have had enough of games in which Russian terrorist groups plan to set off a nuclear bomb in the United States, or Terrorist groups set off a biological weapon in London, allowing the Russian Army to take control of Europe. All these games have the same basic plot – because they aren’t trying to sell the campaign modes. They’re selling you a new map pack for your online gaming. Gone are the days when games would bother with things like plot, or half decent AI. And sure, Battlefield 3 deserves acknowledgement for making those stupid button-bashing cut-scene moments vaguely enjoyable, after the abortion which was Resident Evil 4 made us all rage beyond belief at the idea of someone including such a shitty function in a game.

But that doesn’t make up for all the short comings of these games. Call of Duty is still the same boring old game it ever was – with the same frustrating AI we’ve always had to deal with. 90% of the time your team are useless, standing behind you when you need to back out of a doorway, or running in front of you as you are trying to snipe, but when you try and go Lone Wolf, the game punishes you for not staying with your team, sending enemies to quickly overwhelm you, just because fuck you, they can.

Call of Duty also has the problem of never really having a limiter placed on the amount of bad guys who can appear – the quicker you play through a section, the less you have to fight. Now, obviously in World War 3 your enemies will be able to keep bringing in reinforcements, and I’m not saying they should make these games like Splinter Cell, with a restricted number of enemies all in their own specific areas. But ‘Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater’ had a much better solution to this – enemies will mass where action is occurring, so if you kill an inordinate number of enemies in one area after the alarm is raised, there will be far fewer enemies to fight in the next section of the game. Snake Eater came out in 2004, and has Modern Warfare 3 beaten both in terms of enemy AI and spawing, as well as in terms of making a game where you fight a terrorist group forcing a war between the United States and Russia engrossing and fun to play. Modern Warfare 3 is designed solely for Multiplayer online gaming, and still sucks for this, because respawns are too quick, and so there is never a realistic break in combat as one would expect.

"I'm glad Viet Cong aren't magically appearing behind us every 5 seconds and knifing us in the back. That would be most unfortunate."

Everyone hates campers – but we all hate the dicks who you finally kill only to have come up behind you 2 seconds later and knife you because of insta-respawn – even more. In fact, I don’t even find these games fun to play online anymore, because they are simply full of kiddies who learn the maps inside-out, and run around ‘pwning’ others. And when you do manage to kill them, what happens? Nothing. They respawn instantly, and start acting like a dick again. I would like to see more intelligent multiplayer content. I know there is an online mode in which you are limited to only 5 lives, and whoever is left at the end is the winner, but this still seems unsatisfying. In fact, Battlefield’s ‘Rush’ mode is the only online first person shooter mode I still enjoy, and even that can be a piss take at times.

Especially when you're playing with cunts like this...

As far as Battlefield’s campaign goes, I just couldn’t stand the scene where you are forced to kill an American Marine who bursts in on you after you receive intel from a Russian – simply because if you don’t kill him, he shoots you. What the fuck? You wind up being arrested regardless, couldn’t we have a slight variation from the story where you choose how you end up being questioned? ‘Splinter Cell: Double Agent’ had the same missions and ending regardless of what you did, but leaving the player in charge of a few simple actions, and giving us alternate cut scenes made it feel as though the player was changing what happened. Coming back to Snake Eater – you could kill The End without ever having to fight him if you so desired, by sniping him prior to entering the warehouses after defeating The Pain. Ocelot’s bullets would also change chambers, or even guns. When you face off with him in the plane, sometimes he had the loaded gun, sometimes you did. These little differences never affected the overall story, but it made you feel like you were in control of the game. Having to shoot a Marine because he will kill you on sight if you don’t takes all the emotion out of the act, and makes it as dull as any other killing in the game. Battlefield is certainly a better series than Call of Duty, but it’s not much of an improvement.

Forza is another contender for the game of the year, but again this suffers from the same problem as the first person shooters – it is just an extension of the previous games. Nothing new has been brought to the table for Forza 4, and whilst it may have improved realism, and some bitching AI, it is ultimately just Forza 3: improved. In fact, when I asked my younger cousin, who loves racing games and is a massive fan of Top Gear, if he wanted Forza 4 for Christmas, he wasn’t interested. Because it isn’t bringing anything to the table which Forza 3 didn’t already. And what does that
leave us with?

A forced meme about arrows in the knee?

Skyrim is the talk of the town of late, but having a slow as fuck piece of shit laptop, I can’t really comment on the game, as I haven’t played it. Likewise, although I have played through limited sections of LA Noire, I wasn’t that impressed with what I saw, but acknowledge that maybe this is because you need to see the whole picture to appreciate it. When I watched the scene from Scarface where Tony confronts Frank by itself, I thought it was shit. Watching that scene in context, however, it is an awesome scene in an awesome film, and I can’t believe I ever disliked it. So, whilst I can say I wasn’t impressed with LA Noire, I must also acknowledge that perhaps if I had played through all 3 discs, rather than just odd sections, I would like it.

Just as I can now fully appreciate this scene in Scarface...

I’m afraid, then, I am forced to agree with Cracked’s Jack O’Brien in saying that Angry Birds is probably the game of the year – because it has popularized hand-held gaming in a way not seen since Pokemon Blue and Red were first released. Angry Birds has made gaming socially acceptable in any circumstance whatsoever. Try playing Manhunt whilst working security in a Sainsbury’s, and you get some weird looks. Play Angry Birds behind the counter, and it’s all cool. Angry Birds has made gaming whilst you take a shit acceptable, and for that, it deserves some credit. But hang on – Angry Birds, whilst only becoming truly popular this year, was released in 2009; so by that logic, couldn’t the game of the year be Metal Gear Solid 3, because Konami are rereleasing it as part of their HD collection along with ‘Sons of Liberty’ and ‘Peacewalker’?


Person of the Year

I would love to be able to write Aziz Shavershiam here. The Zyzz was the embodiment of the spirit of live fast, die young, and leave an aesthetic as fuck corpse. But thanks to a certain incident involving a Sauna in Thailand back in August, it is sad to think that the Zyzz will never be eligible for this nomination again.

God is Mirin' you Now, my Brother...

I cannot, however, in good conscience, award The Zyzz with the title of the Top Person of the Year 2011. Because no matter how much I, and thousands others, were mirin’, there is a man who changed the face of the world as we know it.

I slated The Dark Knight a bit (ok, a lot) after it came out, because it was such a letdown. However, on rewatching it, I found I actually rather enjoyed it, knowing what would happen, and no longer expecting it to live up to the hype (just like A Serbian Film). I mention this, because there is a piece of dialogue in that film which I think needs to be discussed, so you can truly understand why I have made the choice I have for Person of the year.

After Harvey Dent falls to his death (and no, I don’t consider that a spoiler – if you wanted to watch The Dark Knight, but haven’t seen it by now, you don’t know enough about movies to have found this Blog), Lieutenant Jim Gordon gravely states:

“The Joker won. Harvey's prosecution, everything he fought for - undone. Any chance you gave us at fixing our city dies with Harvey's reputation. We bet it all on him. The Joker took the best of us and tore him down. People will lose hope.”

Assuming the world is Gotham City, and the shining light in politics – the beacon of social policy to which every country aspires, is Norway, then I’m afraid my nomination for Man of the Year 2011 goes to The Joker:

That guy has rape face...

Anders Behring Breivik. Breivik murdered 69 people on the island of utoya, and a further 7 in an attack on a Government building in Oslo. It was the worst massacre the world has ever seen, with Breivik, as Encyclopedia Dramatica would put it, smashing the ‘high score’ for the most people killed in a single rampage by an individual. People were calling for Breivik’s head, and yet Norway’s justice system will not allow the imprisonment of an individual for more than 30 years.

Breivik did to Norway what The Joker did to Harvey Dent – he took away their most beloved, and utterly destroyed them. Unfortunately, Norway reacted in a similar manner to Harvey Dent. Rather than stand tall as Gotham’s District Attorney, and await the capture of the individuals responsible for Rachael Dawes's Death, so he could punish him within the law, Norway decided to circumvent its own laws in order to punish those responsible for the murder of its loved ones.
Norway, the shining light of justice, equality, and socialism in the world, refused to let Breivik take the stand in his own defence in Court, and kept the details of the trial private. Not only this, but Breivik, a man who premeditated these attacks, and wrote a gigantic document explaining his reasons for the attacks, and what he hoped to achieve, was found insane by the Norwegian Courts - a convenient way of keeping a man, who in any society with life sentences or the death penalty would have been declared sane, locked away for the rest of his life, thereby avoiding the maximum penalty of 30 years the Courts could legally give him.

Breivik won. Norway’s Human Rights policies, everything they stand for - undone. Any chance they gave us at fixing our own countries dies with Norway's reputation. We bet it all on them.
Breivik took the best of us and tore them down. People will lose hope.

Anders Breivik has reduced Norway’s stance on Human Rights to little more than a joke, on a par with Serbia’s maximum sentence of 30 years, about which everyone jokes because we all know that, despite the courts in Serbia only being able to give you a 30 year sentence, once you go in prison, you will never be coming out. Norway’s stance on human rights has been reduced from a shining beacon for all nations to aspire to, to being on a par with a country which right now has one of its generals appearing at the Hague facing charges of crimes against humanity (though, Mladic is actually a Bosnian Serb, for the record). Whilst Norway is still seen to be standing up for the rights of the accused far more so than, say, The United States, or Iran, it has fallen a long long way. And after all, even if Two Face was a sympathetic character – killing those who deserved it, and even sparing some who did on the flip of a coin – his disregard for his own beliefs is what Gordon felt would ultimately destroy the Hope of the people of Gotham. And unfortunately, we have no Dark Knight to take the blame for Norway – no Jack Ruby administering extra legal justice so the Country itself could still appear righteous. Norway was pushed too far – and gave out its first ever life sentence to a sane individual. And for making them do this, Breivik is my man of the year. He is The Joker. And in 8 years time, we’ll see who emerges on the international stage as our Bane...

Awesomely, for this analogy, I get to be Gary Oldman. Almost makes all those murders worth it…

I’m kidding – please don’t hunt me down for that comment.

Picture of the Year

This one doesn’t need any real discussion. Sure, there are plenty of funny pictures out there, but we’re talking here about pictures that really capture the essence of what 2011 was all about. So, I don’t believe we need look any further than a picture of a fat ill-educated member of the working class pepperspraying people who are fighting to give him a better pension, better healthcare, and a higher wage. God Bless America.
He used 99% of that can...

I’ve heard people moaning about the Occupy movement, saying it’s all just a bunch of rich college kids who have nothing to complain about themselves, standing up for something because it’s the cool thing to do, and not because they actually need the rights they’re demanding. But holy shit – you know what that makes me think?

I'm still working on the script. I just need One Day More. And yes, that is two awful puns on consecutive pictures.

Yeah, that’s exactly the set-up of Les Miserables. You know, the musical where we’re on the side of the rich college revolutionaries? Whilst we’re on the subject, I think we may have a nominee for the worst film of 2012 here, too:

Look at that cast, and weep.

Website of the Year

I miss the old days to some extent. IMDB was a great site to lurk on a good 8 years ago, before it was bought by Amazon and starting getting shitty about what you could and could not post. I believe the concept of summerfags was invented on the Big Lebowski discussion board long before the term was ever applied to 4Chan (or 4Chan even existed). Likewise, I kind of miss the days when The Spoony Experiment was THE website to visit. This entire site only exists because I was a Spoony fanboy, and felt like doing some ranting reviews along the lines of his, but unfortunately, that site declined to such an extent I never really visit it any more (I suspect some of you are thinking the same about this Blog).

After that, became the place to be, and although it still does host some amusing articles and videos, either there has been a decline in quality of late, or I’m finally getting bored of the format. And whilst I would happily vote 4Chan as the greatest site of 2011, I can’t bring myself to type that, because 99% of it is shit (and I’m not even just counting /b/ here).

I guess, then, there is only one real choice for the greatest website of 2011. And don’t worry, I’m not so egotistical I would vote for my own site (though I totally would if I had two sites and posted on them with different names). My website of the year for 2011 is:

Yes, the Superior Wiki lives on in another form, brought back to us by the infamous Ryan Cleary:

Although missing many of the images stored on the old site, the new version does have the upside of including articles which were previously deleted for being too offensive. One particular page of interest is, of course, that of Madeleine McCann:

ED loves nothing more than controversy (well, LULZ, though LULZ inevitably create controversy), so it’s nice to see the site finally got some balls back, now that it’s being hosted in Switzerland. Another nice edition is hate pages directed at the editors, which could never be seen before, because whilst they were more than happy to dish out nastiness, none of them could take it. However, with DeGrippo moving over to OhInternet, which I hope by now has gone under (but I won’t actually check on that because I don’t want to give them traffic if the site is still up and running), the pages of the old editors are now filled with the same lulzy content as every other profile page on the site. What’s more, even Cleary’s page is filled with jokes about how mega-Aspie he is, including a fantastic quote from the telegraph, which states:

“Mr Cleary is described as a "recluse" by his family and leaves his home so rarely that police who carried out surveillance on the property were unsure whether he would be there when they raided it, because they had never seen him go outside.”

When you can write that kind of shit on your own editor’s page – you know your website is truly in it For The Lulz.

Their Banner Wasn't Lying!

There was a brief time with no adverts, but unfortunately, like all sites, they needed cash to keep running. So, ED now has Ads again, and I’m still stuck on a crappy Blog site without my own .com – such is life in Russia.

I was looking for any excuse to post this one...

Well, that’s all the serious business out the way, so I’ll just round this up with a few quickfire nominations for more obscure categories.

The Least Helpful Response to a Serious Question

Here is a man at his wits end. As he later described in the thread, his wife had obviously been to this hotel, and it turns out she stayed in the room with another man. He feels he has to leave her for violating his trust, but doesn’t want to break up the marriage as they have kids together. And how does the very first poster respond when he first voices his concerns?

Stay Classy, 4Chan…

Hey, whilst we’re on the subject of 4Chan, how about…

Most Ridiculous Premise for a Raid Which Was Somehow Successful

This might sound like a bit of an odd category, but I had to include it simply because of this. As we all know, /b/tards will occasionally open a thread asking others to suggest a video they can all raid with RIP comments, then they all get involved and have a jolly good chuckle at the result. They also edit Wikipedia pages, flood Yahoo Answers, and search Google using fancy software which constantly refreshes the searched topic to bump it up the list of “most common searches” in order to make things seem convincing. In cases where someone says “Let’s write RIP on 50 Cent’s new video, and say that Ja Rule shot him”, you can see how this sort of thing may fool people. However, it’s a bit harder to see how anyone falls for this sort of shit when the winning post is:

That’s right. Adele died of a cake overdose. And you know what? A few comments and votes by /b/tards later…

…and people actually bought it:

Some /b/tard posted this, this is not from my Facebook. Because 1. I no longer have a Facebook, and 2. I don't speak to women. Ever.

Let me say that again, just to reinforce how ridiculous it is: People actually believed that Adele, the singer, had died from “Acute Cake Toxicity” at the age of 23, because it was on Wikipedia and YouTube.

Ok, so maybe it is KIND of believable...

And to think I thought they were trolling when I first heard Amy Winehouse was dead. I give these guys too much credit…

Dumbest Analogy Ever

So one day a thread appears linking to a study in which quotes were taken from both convicted Rapists, and Mens Magazines (like the ones Danny Dyer writes for), seeing if participants could tell which of the quotes came from which source. Inevitably, the age old argument erupted of whether or not women really are "asking for it" when they go out dressed like whores, and whilst no-one could quite top Dave Chappelle's musings on the matter, there were some attempts to construct a logical argument as to why dressing in slutty clothes is not an invitation to be raped. Unfortunately, said analogy had a fairly big flaw in it...

Best Dressed Man

Now, normally these polls vote for George Clooney at the Academy Awards, despite the fact he is wearing the same Tuxedo from the same Tailor as 50% of the other men present. However, this award isn’t for the most stylishly dressed male of 2011. This is an award for the man who best represents 2011 with his sense of dress. In other words, this award should actually be called “The Most WFT? Picture of a Guy Dressed Retardedly” Award. And I give you our winner:

The more you look at it, the weirder it gets.

And finally, we have the award you’ve all been waiting for. The award everyone wants to see the winner for. So, here it is, the last award of the night:

The Most Beautiful Smile of 2011 Award

This girl just has the most incredible smile. Such lovely, perfect teeth. Don't you think?