Thursday, November 20, 2008
Commie Red Night: Red Scorpion and Bloody Mary
Oh Dolph Lundgren. Forever immortalized as Ivan Drago in Rocky 4, he seemed poised to be the next giant Aryan, lantern jawed action hero in the action hero frenzy of the 80s. He was He-Man AND The Punisher, but he just never really blew up, he was never the next Arnold. Arnold has a surprising degree of wit and even self-parody in even his most dyed in the wool 80s actioners, and that is what made him more than just another hunk of man-meat, and arguably, it is what made him the governator of California today. Dolph has no humor to his roles, and I say it is because he is a Swede. Nothing against the Swedish people, they made Saabs and meatballs and are by and large an incredibly gorgeous group of people. They are not really known for their humor, however. I mean, neither are the Austrians, but I imagine Hitler had some interesting parlor tricks and witty anecdotes up his sleeves. I joke, I joke, I kid, I kid!
I hopped over to Woody's Liquors tonight and bought some Poland Sering vodka. Forever I thought this stuff was called Poland Spring, then my friends pointed out to me one night that the 'p' is actually a lower case 'e'. Poland Sering, what it means to rip off the logo and name of a water company from Maine. Poland Sering is gross, really gross vodka. Even in my spicy as hell bloody mary, you can taste the funk through the heat on the first couple of gulps. But, like a good Russian and a better drinker, I soldiered on, much like Dolph would have to do to survive the many dangers that await him in "Red Scorpion". (I'm not Russian, and that last sentence blows.)
I knew I was going to like this movie when Dolph got hammered on vodka in the opening scene and went on a rampage in Africa. The Spetsnaz send Dolph to Africa to help the Cubans quell the revolts of a local revolutionary. Dolph wakes up in Africa, sweating balls, and rinses his mouth with vodka. He then rubs vodka on his neck and giant pecs. He stumbles through the village and enters a bar. There, he beats the living hell out of a bunch of people and starts singing some Russian song while slamming vodka out of the bottle and throwing people hither and yon. The troops run in to stop him and he beats the piss out of them, steals one of their AKs and starts shooting shit up. More troops come in, and another big man, the late great Brion James is the guy that finally takes the giant drunk maniac down.
This opening sequence is great, and is up there with all the best drunken rampage action scenes ever filmed. Dolph gets thrown in the slammer with an African revolutionary fighter and a sweaty reporter played by the excellent character actor M. Emmet Walsh. They eventually break out and their is a slam bag truck/armored vehicle/motorcycle/helicopter chase through the desert. This movie continues the legacy started by "Predator" of people listening to Little Richard to get pumped up for battle. The action sequences in this movie are top-notch and are a reminder of how great action movies were before CGI. Nowadays, the damn movies look like video games. Before CGI, when a truck blew up, a truck really blew up, and that looks 10 million times better than some animated crap made by a worker drone in George Lucas' dungeon. For further proof of this, watch the first three Indiana Jones films then watch the new one. When you are done crying, puking and punching yourself in the testicles from how horrible the new Indy film is, you will log on to your computer, come back here and leave a comment saying "damn, you was right!"
As Dolph, the revolutionary and M. Emmet Walsh wander the desert, it becomes apparent that Walsh hates Dolph because he is a "commie Red"! There is one great scene where they are all sitting around the fire and Dolph asks Walsh if all Americans swear as much as he does. Walsh replies "In America, we can swear whenever, wherever and however much we damn well fuckin' please! Its a little thing we call freedom of speech!" He then gets up and says he'll take 'first watch'. As he stomps off into the night he says "Fuck! Shit! Piss! Shit!" M. Emmet Walsh is basically the non-blood, non-explosion, non-drunk Dolph highlight of the film. There are some lulls in the film, as a bushman teaches Dolph the ways of the locals. The tribesmen give Dolph a scorpion tattoo, basically the same one I have. If you are a Scorpio, you need to have a scorpion tattoo, its just the way. Scorpios are notorious wackjobs and weirdos, etc. Whatever, I have the same birthday as Ol Dirty Bastard and I'm damn proud of that. Anyway, once he's been tatted by the tribesmen, Dolph throws his dogtags into the desert and becomes a full-on revolutionary fighter for the locals.
My notes say "Boring for like 15 mins, then shit starts blowin up!"
The ending sequence is more top notch action, with explosions, shootings and hand to hand combat galore. This is not the greatest movie ever, and there are about 15 or 20 boring minutes in it, but almost every other minute in the film is highly enjoyable action or M. Emmet Walsh swearing or both. So, with that, I say pour yourself a nice tall vodka drink and settle in for a mostly damn fun movie. Glasnost ruled.