Shogun Assassin, Bug, and Other.

“Your technique is magnificent. When cut across the neck, a sound like wailing winter winds is heard, they say. I always hoped to cut someone like that; to hear that sound. But to have it happen to my own neck, is ridiculous.”

Master of Death

Shogun Assassin

The above quote was spoken by one of the three Masters of Death, after his encounter with Lone Wolf in the desert.

If the sentence I just wrote doesn’t make you want to immediatley go out and watch Shogun Asssassin, I don’t know what will. But take my advice: you should.

Set in a nameless empire, lead by an evil shogun, the main character, Lone Wolf, must avenge the murder of his wife, all the while travelling with his two year old son, who has a target on his head.

This movie is along the same lines of Sergio Leone’s Westerns from the 60s: in other words, its f**king bad ass. Lone Wolf travels across the countryside, battling ninjas on the way, all the while educating his son and seeking revenge on the Shogun. Trust me when I say…..they do not make movies better than this. They simply don’t. A few notes before I move on:

  • Mom, you would absolutely hate this movie. Don’t see it.
  • If any of my readers own GZA’s Liquid Swords album, then you would recognize the samples taken from the movie. GZA sampled lines from the first ten minutes or so of the movie, and made them intros to his songs. For instance, when you first play GZA’s album, a child’s voice starts, “When I was little, my father was famous……he was the greatest samurai in the empire.” That is likewise the first line to the movie. On another note, Liquid Swords is one of the best damn hip hop albums ever. I’ve always felt GZA was the darkhorse member of Wu-Tang, and this album is him at his best.
  • Watching Shogun Assassin, I could picture myself being a young Quentin Tarantino, sitting in a video rental store and totally getting a hard on from all the violence. The blood effects you see in the Kill Bill movies were taken directly from Shogun Assassin (blood shooting from headless necks, ect…At one point, fake blood actually splatters onto the camera lens. I have never seen this before….its like they said, Screw it, it makes this movie even more bad ass if we leave the fake blood drops on the camera. And you know what….they were right). Ofcourse, that’s Tarantino’s thing: he’s a movie buff who pays homage to almost every obscure movie ever. Its just cool to make the connection.
  • Some of the coolest names ever are used in this movie: Lone Wolf. The Masters of Death. Those two alone are enough to make this movie cool.

Anyway, before I start talking about something else, I will once again emphasize: they don’t make movies better than this. They just don’t.

Another Movie I’ve Seen Recently:

I also saw Bug recently, directed by William Freidkin in 2006, he of The Exorcist fame (and also The French Connection). It stars Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, and Harry Conick, Jr. My roomate, who is a huge horror movie fan, convinced me to watch it (this is not, however, truly a horror movie).

When I saw it, I was totally, totally freaked out. Of any pychological thriller, this psyched me out worse than any I have ever been. I was actually feeling myself for bugs afterwords, and I had to turn off my ceiling fan (a reference to the movie….you’ll have to watch it). A word to the wise: if you do plan on watching Bug, do not take any paranoia inducing drugs.

But despite my original feelings: I am very glad that I watched this film. Because it is damn good.

There are several main themes, one of them being loneliness, and the effects on the brain and the thinking process that loneliness can cause. Fear and paranoia are also key themes. But more than anything else, there is one theme that towers above all others: Brutal Insanity.

I use the word Brutal because to say Insanity would not be enough: the insanity seen in the movie is so extreme that it actually makes it way into the viewers head: I felt insane watching this movie.

Another theme was Reality: when one starts watching it, he/she is certain that what he is seeing is real. But as the movie goes forward, reality becomes blurred: by the end, we don’t know if what we are seeing is real, or figments of the characters imagination. Brillantly, Freidkin continually keeps us linked to reality throughout the movie, so that we can’t simply assume its all an illusion; reality is always there, right on the other side of the door. I can’t emphasize how brillant these concepts are.

Other notes about Bug:

  • The acting was tremendous. Ashley Judd was superb; Michael Shannon was downright disturbing; and Harry Conick, Jr. was awesome. These three characters made the movie what it was.
  • The movie was originally a play, first performed at Notting Hill, England in 1996. It was written by Tracy Letts, who also wrote the screenplay for the movie. In case you were wondering who Michael Shannon was: he played the character Peter in every performance of the play, as well as the movie. When Lionsgate decided to produce Bug as a film, they wanted a bigger name actor to play Peter, but Freidkin insisted that Michael Shannon be cast as Peter. After watching this movie, it makes perfect sense: Michael Shannon has mastered this character to the point that he really is Peter. I can’t imagine anyone else playing Peter, in fact. Its become a character that has become untouchable by all else. Kudos to Friedkin for sticking to his guns.
  • The play, just like the film, contained ample violence and frontal nudity. It was performed in Chicago and New York through 2005.
  • Mom and Dad: don’t watch this movie, you would both absolutely hate it.

And I guess that about sums it up. If you do plan on watching this movie, remember that it is disturbing. Brace yourself for unimaginable scenes. But if you watch it without becoming too paranoid or freaked out, it is an absolutely brillant movie that is worth discussing.

And now, to totally switch it up and pull the old 180…..

Football Picks:

Sorry to switch gears on you so fast.
Here’s my picks, home teams in caps (mandatory message: I am ripping off anyone who ever wrote pic articles).

Zona +8 over WASHINGTON: Washington’s good, but they didn’t show me much in Green Bay last week. I know Zona doesn’t have Warner anymore (or maybe they do…I’m writing this without checking injury reports). Anyway, they’re a frisky team, and I think they stay frisky in Washington. Should be a good game.

Atlanta +8 over New Orleans: I’m not sold on New Orleans in this game for a few reasons:

  • Both teams play in domes. That sort of takes away the home field aspect that New Orleans had (to an extent).
  • Atlanta can play pretty well; they don’t always do, but they can.
  • Besides last week, New Orleans has been terrible. They haven’t even been underachieving: they’ve been putrid. I know they won big last week, but I just can’t trust a team that suddenly is great in Week 5.

BUFFALO +3 over Baltimore: Its time for Baltimore to lose to a lousy team. Its bound to happen. We saw what the Bills almost did to the Cowboys two weeks, and the Cowboys are a better team. I think Buffalo wins by a touchdown.

Minnesota +9.5 over DALLAS: Two main reasons I’m picking Minnesota in this game:

  • They’re both dome teams.
  • Adrian Peterson. You absolutely have no idea what’s going to happen when this guy is playing. All bets are off, they say.

New England -16.5 over MIAMI: This is always a tough game for the Pats, no matter how well they’re doing at the time. And right now, they are steam rolling people like I have never seen. Not saying this is a trap game or anything: just saying, don’t be surprised if the Fins hang around for a little (when I say a little, I mean the first half. I trust the Pats).

GIANTS -9 over San Fran: This should be an easy win for the Giants. If not, they need to really, really look in the mirror.

Tampa Bay +2 over DETROIT: Little confused here; is Detroit really favored by two? What the Hell? Is it me, or does this spread seem wrong? Tampa Bay’s a much better team, even without a decent back. Just seems two points too high to me (should have been a Pick ‘Em game).

Tennessee -1.5 over HOUSTON: I’ll repeat what I said last week: Houston is just not the same team without Andre Johnson. They desperately need this guy back.

OAKLAND -3 over Kansas City: Okay, Kansas City isn’t playing at home, which means they will most probably lose. Seriously….Arrowhead Stadium should be credited as the twelve man on the field.

As for Oakland….they’re pretty good. I think Oak’s defense just beats up on people all day.

Jets +6 over CINCINNATI: It’s official: Cincy stinks. They are not good. It’s also official: Marvin Lewis is not a good head coach. He proved he can call defensive plays as the coordinator at Baltimore in 2000, when they one of the most ferocious Ds ever: but he is not a good head coach. Period. His name should be number one on the to be fired list across the league. Anyway, I think the Jets atleast keep it close here.

PHILLY -5.5 over Chicago: Just for the record: I hate both of these teams. They’re good enough that they can blow out an opponent any given week, but they’re bad enough that you can never trust them. Screw these guys: I don’t care what happens.

SEATTLE -8.5 over St. Louis: I have a rule: never put any faith in the worst team in the league, especially when they haven’t won a game and have to play at one of the toughest fields in the league.

Pittsburgh -3.5 over DENVER: This one is easy on paper: Pittsburgh has got to win this game. It scares me a little that its so obvious, but I have to go with common sense.

Indy -3 over JACKSONVILLE: Ahh, the infamous Indy-Jacksonville battle. I know Jacksonville always plays the Colts tough, especially at home, but this is Indy’s test to show everyone how good they are. I think they step it up.

Last Week: 6-6-1

The Season: 44-38-7

Have a good Sunday.

Until Next Time,

Greg

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One thought on “Shogun Assassin, Bug, and Other.

  1. jay says:

    I just don’t get the Shogun Assassin thing, movie didn’t do much for me.

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