Category Archives: Sport

Meglobox (2018)

Director: Yō Moriyama
Japan. 6h 30m ish

This epic mini series was made in honour of the 50th anniversary of the iconic Manga Ashita no Joe. It closely follows the often tragic story of Junk Dog, a young fighter who has been picked up by a trainer, Gansaku Nanbu who has fallen from grace and uses the kid to fix fights to raise money to pay off his debts.

In this future era there’s a classic sci fi set up, there are two distinct classes, citizens and non citizens, Junk Dog is of the lower cast, a non citizen who fights in the outskirts of a mega city but he dreams of making it into the Megloboxing ring as a citizen to fight the number one ranked fighter, Yūri. Who, through a series of unfortunate events turns up in Junk’s ring and the two battle it out, Junk Dog gets his ass handed to him but the young kid never gives up and this intrigues Yūri, who leaves the fight but urges the “Stray Dog” to com and fight him in the big ring. This really awakens something and soon he encourages Nanbu to help him fight in Meglabox. Nanbu is pretty useless but he strikes an all or nothing bargain with the man he already owes money to, the pair arrange for a fake citizen card for Junk Dog who renames himself Joe, and they enter him into the games. Continue reading Meglobox (2018)

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Creed (2015)

Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Michael B Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Sylvester Stallone, USA. 2h m

After the Rocky franchise boiled down to the beat up old man, Balboa (2006) reclaimed some of the old school Rocky glory once again for Stallone, who’s been going through some kind of midlife crisis pumping out the Expendables (2010)as if they are going out of fashion, and considering most of the cast can’t be taken all that serious anymore they are kinda out of fashion but they are fun, entertaining and raking in the cash, he touched base with a more violent older and chunky Rambo and now he’s back to Rocky to re live another chapter. It’s beautiful that he still has the heart and passion for this character and films but he seems to want to hold on to that hero baton rather than pass it on.

This emotive drama mirrors the arc of the original Rocky, there’s a humble boxer his mentor and the woman he adores who is his sound conscience and his rock. Having made the same base creed then plays around with these ideas, sometimes swinging a left hook and surprising us other times copying from the original. But after so many Rocky movies it’s not too difficult to predict which turn the movie is taking next, but this doesn’t mean that some scenes aren’t powerful enough for the viewers to not want to cheer this new hero on. Continue reading Creed (2015)

Knightriders (1981)

Director: George A Romero

Starring: Ed Harris, Tom Savini, Patricia Tallman, Stephen King, Christine Forrest, Gary Lahti, Warner Shook . USA . 2h 25m

While Romero is well known for his ground-breaking horror movies, it is his change of pace movies like Monkey Shines (1988) or Knightriders that really spark the imagination and allowed him some personal exploration, this drama about a travelling renaissance fair troupe is not only deeply personal for him and it’s cult followers but a chance to express some of his moral code into an imaginative story.

Seemly inspired by age old tales from Medieval Europe and a man dealing with his own strict moral code, there’s an amazing battle between good and evil temptations in this action drama and it all starts with Billy (Harris), who leads a travelling troupe of motorcycle jousts. Billy styles himself according to King William’s ideals, and is constantly balancing these internally within the ruins of the modern world. His battle, financial pressures and the strains from the group becoming so popular start to fracture the group apart. Continue reading Knightriders (1981)

Born Strong (2017)

Director:Ross Hockrow, Gary Cohen
Starring: Eddie Hall, Hafthor Bjornsson, Brian Shaw, Zydrunas Savickas UK. 1h 25m

Back in the blistering 1970’s Arnold Schwarzenegger amazed us with Pumping Iron (1977), the summer of late/early 70’s was to be his final Olympia but the grimy insight into the back stage world of body building really fueled another generation. And while the sport is similar this vein of the weight lifting community is alive and thriving and this, much like Pumping Iron is an introduction to it’s hero and champions.

Born strong identifies the four strongest men on the planet and their journey to qualify for the Arnold Strongman Classic. This arm of the sport isn’t about aesthetics but in creating a body that is incredibly powerful, each of the men weight at least 400 lbs and while they are able to pull a train they can’t put on their own sock or at times successfully wipe their ass. Continue reading Born Strong (2017)

Fat City (1972)

Director: John Huston . Based on Fat City by Leonard Gardner
Starring. Stacey Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrell, USA. 1h 36m.

There’s something magical about John Huston’s Fat City. I’m not sure if it’s the relatable characters, which are more realistic than cinema usually allows, or the detailed social dissection  by the masterful Huston himself. For years I had overlooked this believing it just is another poor relation to Rocky, but in fact it’s the opposite way around. I have always adored the Rocky story that eventually turned into an epic Saga which is still going 40 years later, a man with true grit and determination, rising up to great heights to live the American Dream and fighting with a true heart… Continue reading Fat City (1972)

The Program (2015)

Program (3)

Director: Stephen Frears
Story by: David Walsh
Starring : Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd, Lee Pace, Denis Ménochet, Dustin Hoffman. UK, France. 1h 43m

While I’m a closet fan of biographical dramas I can’t say that I’ve seen many sport orientated versions of these hit and miss epics, I had only recently seen Foxcatcher which was a brilliant depiction of a series of disastrous circumstances and not something I was aware of to start with but I managed to not only get into the film and enjoy it but I also learn a lot about the 1980s Olympics scandal.

Personally I’m not into cycling and this movie makes no attempt to sell it to anyone I may have caught snippets of information in the news about the real event behind this after watching the program it’s very clear that are media only scratched the tip of the iceberg.

The story is still pretty much the same rise and fall of Lance Armstrong falling from the massive height of owning the most yellow jerseys to his obscurity today played by the ever talented Ben Foster who animates Lance down to the smallest detail it’s almost creepy and the creeping continues in the story itself, Lances bitter and twisted inner demons are revealed from the husk that he turned into during the period where his cancer was at its worst but during his Frankenstein reanimation an absorbing psychological insight into the workings of a possessed madman who managed to pull off the biggest scam in sporting history.

If Armstrong is to be seen as being one of the biggest villains then our superhero comes in the guise of David Walsh played by Chris O’Dowd, his suspicions are often supported by the more power for Armstrong spin team but is blistering loyalty pays off as he slowly uncovers the gritty details what seems to be a widespread and ongoing scan and order to promote athletes.

The film is quite brilliant and there is an obvious amount of passion that has gone into it but it kind of has all of the mechanics for Wikipedia page, yes the details are there all the facts and the timeline are sound, but the film flounders a little,  not dragging up much needed flair to the cinematic version of this story but while the acting is brilliant especially bends portrayal of Armstrong that’s pretty much where the lies. the reprise just isn’t there and we all know Armstrong has been stripped of titles the film doesn’t shed any new light and will not help win any cases it’s just simply there to educate a wider audience and to demonstrate what wash have to go through in order to retain is Status and to push the story.

It seems quite apparent that the director was extremely detach from Support itself there is no love for cycling there’s no promise that it’s a safer sport that is better respected now that this travesty has been put aside.

The film pulls punches when needed but that said, the drama doesn’t seem to have any real direction for most of the film it seem to be trying to portray the facts from the side of Armstrong but then makes a bold move and immediately start attacking his character trying to illustrate his absence for morality but only from the point of Welsh and the general public I think for this movie to have been a better success it really should have been the answers that the fans were looking for and they would have to come from Armstrong himself.

AOFA05

 

 

Rating 5/10

R – Triplets of Belleville (2003)
L – Cycling Movies, Sport Docufilms
A – When is a documentary a film?
5S – Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd, Lee Pace, Dustin Hoffman

Pumping Iron (1977)

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Pumping Iron (Sport, Biography, Documentary 1977) (12) D : George Butler and Rober Fiore: W: Charles Gaines (book “Pumping Iron”): C: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Mike Katz, Franco Columbu 1h 25m. USA.

 Synopsis: From Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach California to the showdown in Pretoria, amateur and professional bodybuilders prepare for the 1975 Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe contests in this part-scripted, part-documentary film. Five-time champion Arnold Schwarzenegger defends his Mr. Olympia title against Serge Nubret and the shy young deaf Lou Ferrigno, whose father is his coach; the ruthless champ psyches out the young lion. Sardinian Franco Columbu competes in the lightweight class; at home in Italy he solves a tight parking problem by lifting the car into place. Joe Weider is the marketer; Mike Katz and Ken Waller go for the title of Mr. Universe. Bodybuilding and a celebrity-to-be go mainstream.

A sweaty slice of 1970’s muscle and bitching, glory riding and iron pumping. This movie is one of the early documentaries that had so much character and potential it could easily be adapted into a cinematic film and excite a new generation of body builders and cinema fans simultaneously. The sport was defiantly at a new high point in the 1970’s with the arrival of Arnie and Lou this helped build many illustrious careers. There are constant broken English quips from Arnold throughout as he is the focus of the film. While the rest of the plot revolved around the physical and emotional struggle to the Olympia. With no discernible screenplay as the film is based on documentary footage, the cinematography while instant there is a lot of obvious close-ups on the individuals and their “amazing” bodies, as there aren’t too many sweeping landscapes in Golds Gym.

The personality of the young buff men is enough to carry this film on through the ages, as one of the long loved bodybuilding movies possibly of all time. It was enough to warrant a sequel of the ladies of body building only a few years later.

Despite hardcore followers knowing the results of the Olympia and the run up events, this film lends it popularity to going behind the scenes and showing the gruelling and comedic training and quirky personalities that are usually hidden behind closed gym doors. It gives light to those intimate moments behind the stage and it certainly does have a group of very entertaining bolshoi people to study for this distinctive venture.

For most of the time the body builders were not heard and just seen sporadically on stage. Within pumping iron there is a first chance to see the sportsmen talking for themselves (and what a job they made of it), it’s half the cringingly bad rapport that you’d expect and half amazingly sentimental and intellectual talks with other builders, it really did open the doors on what is really going on behind the muscle in the gym.

If your not into the sport or a fan at all, then it won’t be as rewarding but it’s still pretty entertaining, if only for the unashamed schits and giggles.

R: Pumping Iron II (1985) Foxcatcher (2014), Generation Iron (2013)

Q: Arnold “Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer.”
TIL: Working out in the gym is like cumming…. I’d like to add that I am yet to experience this..
BS: Overall my best scene award goes to Arnies interview when he talks about giving “advices”.
L: Sports Documentaries.Body Builders in Movies.
DGI: Knock a Shot every time a guy flexs his biceps.
5B: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno


09


Rating : 9/10

Kisha

Travelers (2011)

TRAVELERS

(Thriller,Sport, 2011) (18) D/W: Kris McManus P: Alex Edwards, Brian A Levine – 1h 24m. UK

TAGLINE: It’s in the blood.

Four friends set out on a motorcycle adventure weekend, clocking up miles in an attempt to outrun their urban lifestyles…

travellers

Basics is that a  group of arrogant city boys go out camping in the wilderness on their pretty motorbikes, insult some locals about being inbred and attack a caravan which they discover a dead body is inside.. or what they presume is a dead body.. The owners of the caravan (obviously Irish Gypsies) come back and seek their revenge on their home being attacked.. the dead body gets up and it turns out it’s one of the Irish guys girlfriend/sister (probably both, we are talking about the rednecks of the British Isles here) who isn’t best pleased at her home being kicked in but takes mercy on the boys as her bothers/lovers deal out some punishment. The city boys find themselves on the run from the Irish and are being picked off one by one, and also manage to get themselves pulled into the Irish fighting scene as a redemption for their deeds! There is a lot going on in this film!

This movie for what it’s worth could have been an hour shorter. Yeah 24 minutes to tell the story then maybe an hour of real Irish Gypsy fighting! Saying that the fight scenes are pretty ruthless. Okay I’m being a bit harsh, it is a good story.. but I had problems with it..

It’s let down by the lack of acting and dialogue, but the depth of the plot keeps you interested enough to watch it through but afterwards I personally felt a bit cheated. Which is actually how I felt with another of McManus’s movies Dead in France (2012).

In a similar vein as Deliverance (1972) , Pig Hunt (2008) or more accurately Devils Bridge (2010), this movie tells the story of backwoods meets metroman with devastating consequences which in itself is nothing new but this has a slightly different twist on the subject which is inventive but could have been executed a bit better.

The only differences between this and Devils Bridge (2010) is a bit of a Shrooms (style twist to it. In addition to this one of the city boys is from a traveller background so kinda knows all about the life. So if he did know.. why the hell did he want to get back and why didn’t he protect his friends? Douchebag!

travellers-still

It’s just below average, I think with a bit of tweaking and more emphasis on the twist/fighting and maybe some better production this could be an amazing movie. I want to like it but… I do really appreciate lo-fi British movies, there is a lot of creativity going on in this scene, it just needs a gentle push and it could be great again.

R : Knuckle (2011) which is more of a documentary, highly entertaining. Deliverance (1972) , Pig Hunt (2008)

5/10

05

Cyborg (1989)

CYBORG
(Action, Sci Fi 1989) (18D : Albert Pyun W : Kitty Chalmers : JCVD 1h 26m USA.

A Martial artist hunts a killer in a plague-infested urban dump of the future.

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Holy fuck JVCD to the rescue all of man kind.

We’re screwed if we had to depend on him now; the only people who can rely on him are the canines of the world.

really liked this movie, it’s not the most complex or involved movie of all time but it has it’s charms. You soon learn that some brutish thug and his gang murdered JCVD family which forces the splits champion into a revenge road trip across America. Nothing new about that, chuck in a dying world and a skin job (yes a reference to Blade Runner (1982)) and we have many excuses to kung fu everyone to death! There is a little side story going along with it involving a cure to save the worlds population but that’s the general idea. If you don’t mind a bit of dated futuristic ass kicking then this should please, you’ll need to look past the bad hair and retro Mad max (1979) clothes to see the beauty of the movie. Hold on… No need, this is Mad max! Its just on the disgarded set of Masters of the universe II

OK it’s not the best movie ever, it’s not aged as well as other older sci fi movies but then it wasn’t the biggest budget movie ever but its one that I am fond of from my childhood.

As much as I hate wanky guitar solos that go on too long I also really hate the battered hero finding amazing strength to beat the bad guy only because good must conquer bad.. but the final fight scene is pretty epic in the rain and all the slow mo repeated shots you can wish for..

Q: “I like this world”. RThe Quick and the Dead (1995), Android (1982), Mad max (1979)

6/10

06

Green Street (2005)

(Crime, Drama, Sport, 2005) (18) D/W: Lexi Alexander W: Dougie Brimson 1h 49m. UK

TAGLINE: Stand Your Ground and Fight.

A wrongfully expelled Harvard undergrad moves to London, where he is introduced to the violent underworld of football hooliganism.

Another footie hooligan movie and another Elijah Wood being a preppy yank in the UK!? I remember trying to believe his character in The Oxford Murders (2008) but it was really hard. This was just as difficult, I just can’t take the freaky eyed hobbit all that serious. Anyway I really enjoyed Cass (2008) and Awaydays (2009), this doesn’t have the gritty nature of the other two but it does feature some of the cast. As a passage to manhood movie for little Elijah it’s not that bad, a lot of it was totally unbelievable but it was a good movie.

There are some interesting snippets in the movie, I think to try and illustrate that hooligans are real people too?

Anyhoo.. . Elijah’s sister has hooked up with an ex hooligan gone straight because he’s now a responsible father (yeah it happens just like that) The ex football hooligans little brother is also a thug and ends up baby sitting Elijah and chucks him into a world of violence with he laps up with gusto! Lots of crazy shizzle happens and there is a big stand off with Millwall who never disappoint.

Elijah comes across as a choirboy corrupted in this film but even by the end he still seems to be a little kid, maybe some facial hair would help here? The movie is totally owned by  the gang leader Charlie Hunnam, who shows a more honest manly dose of aggression and compassion which holds the entire movie together.

T: Cass Pennant makes a cameo. Q: “So he’s a Yank AND an undercover “journo”, looks like we’ll have to give the boy two funerals”.

R : Cass (2008), Awaydays (2009), The Oxford Murders (2008), Rise of the foot soldier (2007).

6/10

06