Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Batman: Arkham City is easily as addicting as any narcotic. After buying it last week, my XBOX 360 controller has become permanently fused to my hands. The numerous fights and melees, which happen frequently and at the drop of dime, are enough to have ones thumbs and forefingers in a perpetual state of cramped exhaustion. The Thousand Pounds Fight Team admittedly knows such addiction all too well, and has decided that merely playing the game is not enough. The next logical step is to enter the game grid and try ones luck on Gotham’s streets. In keeping with that spirit, they have put together a test video which aims to accurately recreate the combat style and camera angles of the game. It’s set to the strains of the “Arkham City Main Theme” by Nick Arundel. Altogether, it’s an aesthetically accurate recreation of the game. Now if only they could build a time travelling Delorean, go back to when The Dark Knight was still in the planning stages and hand Christopher Nolan this test footage as an audition reel. Maybe he would have taken the hint.
With every passing day, New York City’s legacy as the birthplace of Rap music and Hip-Hop culture is looking more and more like the lost history of a forgotten kingdom. This is due to the big apple having zero mainstream presence in the music as of late. As Drakes second album is poised to set a new creative bar for the next of generation rap stars (or so various media outlets are saying), the traditionally east coast brand of the music is now something that youngsters can see on VH1, like some well-preserved museum exhibit. If such a place existed, KRS-1 would undoubtedly be a key attraction. However, the Blast Master continues to release new music in the vein of that which made him a giant so long ago. He now sounds the horn for the forgotten legacy he represents with “Just Like That.”
An action renaissance is upon us. At the rate things are going, American martial arts films (or American films with decent fight scenes period) will one day become the sole province of low budget independent filmmakers. Independent stunt teams and film companies continue to prove unequivocally that big or even average budgets aren’t needed for well-staged action. When special FX technology becomes refined to the point where the average citizen can render convincing CGI on their home PC, the major studios will surely be in trouble. Until then, scrappy independent crews will continue turning out product like Urban Fighter.
Though the RZA has never been the best or most charismatic rapper in the Wu-Tang Clan, I have always found his abstract and off beat style intriguing. His verses take on the characteristics of urgent stream of consciousness rants, almost as if he can’t control his own thoughts. Every now and then, this approach has yielded moments of inspired genius. Still, he can be just as effective when applying a stricter discipline to his delivery.
From the outset, action heroes were almost always portrayed as stoic supermen. From the sneering “Dirty” Harry Callahan to the dead pan Paul Kersey, protagonists in action films rarely showed anything resembling vulnerability. Even the ones who used fists instead of guns (such as Bruce Lee) possessed some sort of otherworldly ability that made them more than ordinary men. By the time the 1980’s rolled around they were even outfitted with comic book physiques that made the ultra-masculine ideals they represented seem that much more unattainable. It was in the latter part of the decade that a high concept offering from producer Joel Silver would set a precedent in the genre by going against that trend. It cast a TV star who was physically unremarkable and without a hint of stoicism in the lead role plunked him in the middle of a warzone.