“It’s like turning your radio dial to K-I-L-L.”

Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 3:50 pm Comments (1)

Wouldn’t it be hilarious if that previous entry was the last one ever?

Just been busy with work lately, so I wouldn’t be surprised if August slips us by without a single update. As always I’ve got a fair few ideas of stuff I want to do, it’s more just a matter of having the time and the motivation to go ahead and do it – two things work does a fantastic job of sapping out of me. I’m almost thinking it might just save us all a bit of heartache if I put the site on hiatus (as in an official hiatus, not one of my unofficial “holy shit I forgot about the website for like six weeks, what am I gonna do?!” hiatuses) and come back when I’ve got something to show. I mean, it’s not like I have much to blog about either!

Well, I did watch Dark Angel a few days ago.

This is one with a bit of personal history. Well, family history, I guess – throughout all my life my dad has managed to bring it up in vague conversation just enough for it to be a title that sticks out in my mind. I don’t know if it’s like The Neverending Story where even if I never watched it or heard about it, I always knew it because of the VHS box sitting in the cupboard, but if I ever saw it then it probably wasn’t the art that stuck in my mind. Only a year or two ago did I learn it was one of Dolph Lundgren’s action flicks, but again, I still had no idea what it was about. I mean, it’s a title that’s vague as all hell, but it’s practically oozing with sci-fi charm. “Dark Angel.” I mean, you just need to say it and you imagine big blocky space ships flying across starscapes.

It’s actually more of a odd-couple cop story with sci-fi elements. Unexpected!

Having watched Showdown in Little Tokyo first, I got serious vibes of it right from the start. Dolph plays a hardass cop with a vengeance (Showdown: His papa was murdered! Angel: His partner was murdered!) who sticks with his instincts rather than the code of conduct, and is paired up with a by-the-book partner who rubs him the wrong way. Problem is, while Showdown was effectively meant to introduce Brandon Lee to Western audiences, the whole film came across as “Dolph Lungren is better than you at everything.” Yeah, they eventually warm up and start working together, but I can’t remember any notable instance where Brandon was actually necessary. Dark Angel makes their relationship more interesting, both because the partner is actually working for the bad guys (spoilers!), but also how after he defects he changes from by-the-book cop to a bullet-pumping threat-spewing bundle of rage. Which is awesome.

Also it helps that Dark Angel (which I should mention is apparently known as I Come In Peace in America, but man what kind of dorky title is that, it should go join Batteries Not Included and the other dorky movie titles) is basically about an intergalactic drug war taken to Earth, with both the criminal and the law enforcement arriving on Earth and taking their battle with them, getting the police force, the FBI and ne’er-do-wells wishing to capitalise on their technology chasing after. All I remember of Showdown was the gratuitous sex and violence, Dolph Lundgren’s giant penis and something about them putting drugs into cans of dog food. Not a good way to make an impression, folks.

Dark Angel may be a very by-the-numbers cop mystery story, but it really is the addition of ridiculous sci-fi elements that make it so endearing. They’re not just dealing with some dude who murders people – they’re dealing with a dude who injects fatal doses of heroin into people and then drains their bodily fluids! Why? Man, hell if I know, it’s just the kind of stupid thing that makes an impression. The two people from space really are no more than just pale guys in long coats, white contact lenses and with lots of fancy space-age toys, but that alone just makes it a much more appealing mystery story. They have to work out how a group of gangsters were murdered in a nightclub so quickly, effortlessly, and all with the same razor-precise slices to the neck, and eventually find it to be a disc that traces in on humans’ electromagnetic fields. The scientist (who totally steals the show, I must say – he only appears in two scenes and it’s only in one of them where he’s in top form, but give that guy a freakin’ medal!) could very well just be excreting bowel contents into words, but it’s just neat to get something interesting rather than your usual, “he shot him. Have fun tracing the bullet, boys!”

It doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, nor is it sophisticated watching, but you know me by now, something fun and quirky with a few interesting additions are enough to get me intrigued. And now that I’ve watched it, I can definitely say that aside from some amusing dialogue, there’s nothing Showdown in Little Tokyo has that this doesn’t top.

Today’s observation: Does the British Skin Foundation really exist? It just seems like something shampoo and shaving ads made up just to sound cool.

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