Not too much going on in these parts. There was a small amount of excitement at work last weekend when, during a thunderstorm, we partially lost power to the poker room. Basically there was a power flicker, and then the lights came back on at half strength and all the TVs were turned off. I think also the AC shut down, which is never fun in a casino, let me tell you. Amazingly, we still had enough juice available to keep the shuffle machines going. Gotta have your priorities, I guess. That state of affairs probably only lasted a couple of hours before we got full power restored to the room. It was enough, though, that the floor felt it prudent to wander around and remind all the dealers what's to be done in case of a full-on power failure. I was in the middle of dealing when a floorwoman leaned in behind me and said, "Do you know what to do if the lights go out?" Feigning being flustered, I said, "Uh...scream and panic?" I don't think she was amused. :)
I remain in Asian Action Movie mode these days. At first this got started with the expected Hong Kong kung fu flicks, but somehow I found myself wandering into Thai action movies, which are turning out to be quite exciting indeed. (This is what led to the previously mentioned SARS Wars, by the way...now in the queue.) The last masterpiece I saw was this film called Born to Fight. Let me try and explain what went down.
So there are these two cops. They're taking down this big-shot drug lord, and the bust goes fairly awry. The drug lord is captured, but one of the cops is killed (in a terribly implausible manner, by the way) by a bomb that the drug lord set. The surviving cop takes this pretty hard, and takes some time off. With this time off, he accompanies his sister on some kind of charity mission in which members of a Thai collegiate sporting association deliver humanitarian goods to a poor, isolated village. So the cop, his sister, and a bunch of athletes are in this village handing out blankets and rice and getting to know the locals and basically just chilling.
So far, so good? Okay.
This is what happens. One of the drug lord's loyal lieutenants shows up with an army in tow and takes over the village. Seriously. They basically just conquer it. Then they somehow tap into the Thai parliament's computer network and broadcast the lieutenant's video blog to every laptop held by a Thai government official. He says, in a nutshell, that the government is to release the drug lord and deliver him to that village. If this demand is not met, he's going to massacre the population of the village and broadcast it to the international media. Bummer.
The cop, who managed to evade capture when the village was first taken, is skulking around trying to figure out what to do when he accidentally discovers the full extent of the villain's nefarious plan. He sees that the army has brought with them a missile toting a nuclear warhead. The plan is: once the drug lord is safely delivered, he and the lieutenant are going to leg it "over the border." (I forget now where to...maybe Cambodia?) It's up to the lieutenant's lieutenant to hang around and, once the drug lord is across the border, he is to fire the nuclear missile into Bangkok. Yeah. These guys do not fuck around, man. It's hazy now, but I believe that upon discovering this plot, the cop is also captured.
In any case, revolution is fomenting among the captives. Sentiment is growing among them that they cannot allow this situation to continue, and little by little, they are pushed closer and closer to actually doing something about it. The tipping point comes when they're all sitting around listening to a radio broadcast, and some patriotic song comes on. I don't know if it's the national anthem or just some popular nationalistic song, but they all stand up and sing along. The guards try to shout them down, but to no avail. When the song ends, that's it...the shit it on now, son. The crowd of villagers basically all get up and bum rush the soldiers guarding them. Many are cut down by gunfire, of course, but sheer numbers break the guards' ranks, and basically the rest of the movie is just a free-for-all festival of combat.
Here's what's awesome, though. The cop...well, he's what you'd expect from an Asian action flick supercop; he uses martial arts, awesome acrobatics, gunplay, and vehicular operation all to great effect to stomp on bad guys. He also, apparently, liberates much of the drug army's supply of explosives and, well, blows things up. But that's all standard fare. What makes this movie a real winner is that the athletics association goes out and kicks a tremendous amount of ass using the power of sports. Friends, it is glorious.
The cop's sister is a taekwondo champion, so she goes out and kicks ass in a traditional manner. But there's also Soccer Guy, who mostly ran around and kicked things at people's heads. Someone made the mistake of tossing a grenade at him, which of course he kicked back to the thrower, and it blew up. That's just awesome. My favorite just in terms of visual appeal may have been Gymnastics Guy, who could run around tumbling and stuff and then suddenly launch into a pommel horse routine that nicely doubled as a way to kick the shit out of everyone standing around him. Also he jumped off the roof of a building and fell downward, spinning around in the pike position until he kicked the machine gunner below him in the head. Even the villagers got into the act. There was like an eight-year-old girl beating the crap out of a soldier using jump kicks, quite probably exacting revenge for her executed father. The best in that department, though, was the one-legged guy who would pivot around on his crutch and kick the shit out of people that way. You know, with his one remaining leg. It just...it just doesn't get any better.
Anyway, so...yeah, you can see I got pretty excited about that movie. That made a convert out of me, and I've definitely got to check out a few more Thai titles. Tony Jaa (Ong Bak, etc.) seems to be a good starting point for this endeavor, so we'll see how things go from there. Besides just the overall awesomeness of Kicking Ass with the Power of Sports, there are also just unbelievable stunts in this film. So, if that's your bag, then, yeah, I'd have to say I recommend this flick. :)
Anyway. So I've got some Bruce Lee movies on deck, which was really the whole point of this exercise to begin with. Sadly, my favorite one, Return of the Dragon, doesn't seem to be available from Netflix, which I find to be a ghastly state of affairs. Anyway, though, I've got a few others, and Bruce Lee is Bruce Lee, so...it's all good. I got to rewatching the Once Upon a Time in China trilogy, which was super sweet, of course. I've thrown a few Jackie Chan titles in there, and I actually thought about making a whole Jackie Chan marathon out of this, but I really don't think I'd be able to take it. :) Plus, I mean...can you ever really top Drunken Master II? I mean...really?
Anyhoo. I'm gonna wrap this post up, since I hadn't really intended to sit here and talk about movies, and I don't appear to be going anywhere else with this. :) So...that's it, then. Peace out, everybody. :)