Rob Abrazado (flatvurm) wrote,
Rob Abrazado
flatvurm

Day in the sun

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood around here: sunny and warm, and also I don't have to work, which is refreshing. After waking up, I spent the afternoon out and about, basically running errands, but also just taking the opportunity to put a little pavement under my feet and get some quality walking time in. Besides the bank, post office, and library, I also hauled over to the Showboat to take advantage of a little slot freeroll they sent me because they miss me. Made five bucks. Got a corn dog.

I strolled the Boardwalk for a while, basically just taking in the sights. Which, you know, isn't really something you do around here, unless you enjoy geriatric bikini-spotting, but, hey. Something for everybody. I did take a little tour of the Steel Pier, which is basically Atlantic City's version of an amusement park. Which is to say...it's like an amusement park, except smaller, crappier, and more run-down than other amusement parks. As is my habit now, I stolidly refused to be taken in by any carny games.

It's not even close to the heart of summer around here, but it's already a lot warmer than I like. Which, granted, is basically always the case for me unless I can see my breath. I may have to take up constant poker time again just so I can spend my downtime in an air-conditioned environment. We'll see how the summer progresses. I also picked up some four-for-ten-dollars souvenir tee shirts, which I enjoy for summer and exercise wear. I'm generally a black tee shirt kind of guy. Anything approaching white that I wear and then sweat in generally then starts retreating from white rather quickly. But when it's a cheapo souvenir shirt, who cares. :)

Anyway. Now I'm back home, struggling to keep cool and remain motionless as much as possible. [I started writing this post early this evening, but then was interrupted, and am finishing up now in the middle of the night. So it goes. - Ed.] Welcome back to summer. The Borgata Summer Open is almost over, which led me to believe that I might have a little more free time coming up, but glancing at next week's schedule reminded me that next weekend is July 4th weekend, so...well, I remain busy. Looking forward now to the next week after that.

* * *

At work the other night, I bore unfortunate witness to possibly the lamest misquote of all time. Somebody at the table had mentioned something about KFC. Someone else at the table said, "Hey, you ever seen Spaceballs?" "Sure." "'What's the matter, Colonel? Chicken?' Remember that?"

A slightly embarrassed silence briefly descended.

Someone else stepped up. "You mean, 'What's the matter, Colonel Sanders? Chicken?'"

I mean...come on.

* * *

Doing my bizarre periodic tax assessment on myself results in me having to keep closer track of my finances than I'm customarily used to. While wrapping up my June numbers, I noticed the startling statistic that my monthly income in June dropped like a third from my income in May. There are reasons for this, of course...notably that not only were there five weekends in May instead of four, but one of them was Memorial Day weekend, which is extra work and extra attendance at the poker room. Still...it's unnerving sometimes to have such a giant swing in income from month to month. As with any operation involving variance (like poker), the way to survive these swings is with bankroll. Sadly, in life as well as in poker, I don't really have a bankroll, so...these things tend to show up on my radar. Weird kinda life out this way.

* * *

As part of the block of Asian action movies I've been enjoying, I somehow stumbled into more Bruce Lee knockoff flicks. I told myself I wasn't going to do stuff like that any more since the mistaken procurement of a couple of such movies a while ago, but there was an actual, excusable chain of events that led to this. (I had requested a collection of movies from Netflix, because I wanted to see one of them, and that appeared to be the only way I could get it. Netflix ended up mistakenly sending me a different collection, which didn't have the movie I wanted, but...well, I am who I am, and I watched 'em all anyway.) One of these knockoffs was called Bruce Lee Against Supermen. It was terrifically bad.

So...technically you can consider this spoiler territory. Honestly, though, I gotta tell you...it doesn't really matter.

The movie starts off with our star (Bruce Lee imitator Bruce Lai, again, not to be confused with Bruce Le or Bruce Li) dressed as Kato from The Green Hornet. You know...chauffeur outfit, black mask, kung fu. He fights people. At first I figured that this was just a quick way to capitalize on the Bruce Lee image...I mean, you could make the argument that anyone could dress up like a chauffeur and wear a black mask, you know? But, no, this actually was intended to be a Green Hornet story. Or, at least, the subtitles led me to believe so, as we are now shown that our lead is, in fact, part of a crime fighting duo that includes someone named Green Hornet. This is accepted as so, even in the face of the glaring fact that the crime-fighters in question wear all-red outfits. Yes. The "Green Hornet" in question is a scruffy-bearded white guy. The character I assumed to be "Kato" was actually throughout the movie consistently subtitled as "Carter," so...who knows what was going on there. Anyway. The movie continues.

It appears that the gentle, elderly Dr. Ting has devised some sort of magical petroleum-refining process that will end world hunger. (?!) This secret is apparently in high demand by wealthy people, as we are told by the scene involving the good doctor haggling with a couple of Asian guys wearing kaffiyehs. Just picture a couple old Chinese men dressed like shieks. In any case, some wealthy guy out there is pissed that the doctor won't do business with him, so he gets his gang of unrulies together to lean on the doctor and his lovely daughter. The Green Hornet has somehow deduced that Dr. Ting will be getting into trouble, so he sends Kato Carter to protect the doctor. Carter shows up in Hong Kong, meets up with a buddy of his, and the two of them show up in time to see the doctor and his daughter getting kidnapped.

This leads to, and I am not kidding here, the single worst chase scene in the history of cinema. Nothing happens. It's just...like...people driving. We switch perspectives between the kidnappers getting away in their car, and the heroes following them in a taxi. Back and forth. Again and again. For a long time. This, it turns out, would eventually become a theme in the movie. Not people driving, necessarily, but unnecessarily long and uneventful chase scenes. I got the distinct impression that they just needed to make the movie longer. God only knows why. Anyway, the kidnapping scheme is foiled, Carter and Dr. Ting's daughter apparently start dating, if the subsequent musical montage is to be believed, and life goes on.

The antagonist heavies, apparently now aware that the Green Hornet is on their case (although this is never really explained, as Carter is in plainclothes and the Green Hornet himself has never appeared), decide to ratchet up the stakes by calling in reinforcements. One of these is a sniper. Carter is walking around town one day and is suddenly attacked by a faraway sharpshooter. Apparently while befriending a little girl on the street? Anyway, he saves the girl, and uses her wind-up walking doll to... Well, I'm not honestly sure how the wind-up walking doll fit into all this, but the camerawork indicated that it was a big deal. Anyway, the sniper bolts, Carter gives chase, and we are again treated to an unnecessarily long and completely uneventful chase scene, this time on foot. They eventually fight.

Okay, so, having failed to achieve anything going by the sniper route, our villain this time turn to an evil kung fu master called...wait for it...Superman. Okay, so I'm thinking, "Sweet, I finally get to see Bruce Lee fight Superman!" Ah, but no. Well...yes and no. Superman, in this case, is not the Man of Steel like you and I know him. He is actually a slightly thick, mustachioed Asian man in a black unitard with white trim and...are you ready?...a white bedsheet tied around his neck as a cape. He apparently engages in a kung fu workout routine that involves leaping across a room back and forth, grabbing paint brushes, and doing calligraphy banners on the floor. And then laughing evilly. A lot. (I had a friend of mine translate the banner. Her interpretation: "Uh...it just means 'Chinese kung fu.'" No, I don't know why this involved evil laughter.)

The villains hire Superman to take on Carter. Superman is a mercenary, you see. His fee, and this is a direct quote from the movie: "A hundred-thousand cash, ten nice girls, and a truck full of booze." What...what the fuck, Superman? In any case, Superman is on the job. Actually...Superman proper is not yet on the job. He assigns a couple of underlings to it: these two masked, like...tumblers? I dunno.

Anyway. Somehow unrelated to this Superman thread was another attempt on kidnapping the good doctor. This new scheme involved sending in the villain gang's resident femme fatale to seduce Carter in a bar and keep him busy. Contrary to what I expect from action movie tropes, this plan actually works. Carter falls for the sexy, sexy bait, and is busy in a hotel room getting his swerve on when Dr. Ting gets kidnapped again, this time successfully. Dr. Ting's daughter finds out about the kidnapping, and goes to find Carter, ignoring warnings from Carter's bud not to disturb him in his hotel room. I will attempt to describe the sequence of events that occurs, and keep in mind that this goes on in more or less real time.

As we join the movie already in progress, Carter and the babe are naked and sweaty on the bed, doing the horizontal mambo.

Dr. Ting's daughter bursts through the hotel room door. She is mortified by what she sees. (I am still not clear at this point on whether she and Carter are actually dating or not.)

Carter and the woman are now fully clothed as they join the scene.

Dr. Ting's daughter: "Carter, what are you doing?!"

Carter: "I...uh..." [wanders out of frame]

Villain babe stands up and confronts Dr. Ting's daughter.

Dr. Ting's daughter slaps villain babe.

Villain babe slaps Dr. Ting's daughter.

Catfight ensues.

Seriously...that's how long it took. Villain babe's ability to set the land speed record in going from a state of complete undress to fully clothed is apparently all for naught, as the resulting catfight results in lots of clothing being torn off of both combatants. Eventually I think they both somehow get down to their underwear. Or underwear and tatters, anyway. Eventually, somehow, Dr. Ting's daughter is the one to win this fight. As the brawl had somehow taken both contestants into the hotel bathroom, Dr. Ting's daughter celebrates her victory by attempting to drown the villainous vixen in the shower. Damn, man...never cross the daughter of a genius Hong Kong research scientist, that's all I'm sayin'.

Anyway.

All is apparently forgiven after that, as the good guys set into motion their plan to rescue the doctor. This all hinges on Carter's plan to disguise himself as a rickshaw driver. (Something I've noticed from all these Bruce Lee knockoff films is that they tend to incorporate elements from authentic Bruce Lee movies such as, for example, Bruce Lee disguising himself as a rickshaw driver in The Chinese Connection.) This works astoundingly well, by the way, but also results in Carter spending the entire rest of the movie (except the end, noted below) shirtless and in overalls. Nice! Anyway, the rickshaw ends up coming in handy throughout the following scenes, as it is both used as an effective weapon and a passable rescue elevator once its hooked up to a pulley. The other item of note in the rescue scene is a bunch of gun-toting thugs trying to thwart the rescue attempt and Carter's buddy picking them off with a slingshot. Sweeeet.

Once the low-level mooks are out of the way, Carter then has to go up against four of Superman's minions, a quartet of costumed, tumbling, clown-like henchmen who largely caper around and giggle in a hysterical falsetto. The majority of their fighting style seems to consist of leaping into and out of trees. The melee eventually prances off into the distance, and it seemed to me that the fight was never actually resolved on camera, but we're to take it that Carter eventually prevailed. There was also some kind of subplot revolving around Superman's two lieutenants, but somewhere along the way I think they gave up supporting Superman when they found that they had been bought instead of sent along on a righteous mission. At least some people found it in their hearts to turn down the hundred-thousand in cash, ten nice girls, and a truck full of booze. (I mean, really, Superman. Damn.)

Anyway. As was fated, Carter eventually faces off against Superman himself. This villain really doesn't share any powers in common with his namesake, though he does like to leap around a lot, which is almost like flying. What he does have, though, we find out after he gets his ass kicked a little, is a nice pair of matching spiked bracers, which he eventually dons and uses to fuck up Carter's day. Finally, as a last resort, Superman pulls a knife from his boot (a move I always admire), and stabs Carter in the leg. It comes to pass, however, that this is not enough to deter our hero from victory, and at long last when it appears that Superman may indeed prevail, Carter pulls the knife out of his own leg, and stabs Superman in the nuts. Yes, friends...a knife to the balls: it's the new Kryptonite!

As the movie starts to wrap up, the Green Hornet, our red-clad bearded crimefighter from earlier, finally shows up to clean up the rest of the mess as the big bosses are making their escape. (At some point that I wasn't really aware of, a special Green Hornet tracking device was planted on somebody.) Weirder, Carter also shows up for the wrap dressed in a costume identical to that of the Green Hornet, which is to say, in a red body suit. What's also revealed at this time is...well, remember that femme fatale sent in earlier to (successfully, remember) seduce Carter and who ends up losing a catfight with Dr. Ting's daughter and with her head held under a the shower at a cheap motel? Well, no hard feelings...turns out that all this time she's been an undercover Interpol agent or something. What the fuck?!

And, well, there you have it, friends. What more can I really say? :)
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