Tag Archives: boxing

Movie Review – Creed 2 (2018)

Hold onto your zhopas, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of “Creed 2.”

It’s funny. After “Creed 1” I was like, “Ha! Now Creed Jr. should go to Russia and kick Ivan Drago’s ass to avenge his father!”

Well, turns out Hollywood thinks just like I do.

Hard to believe, but I remember being a little kid in the movie theater watching Rocky and Ivan go at it and now so many years later I am watching their sons go at it and then returning to my blog to tell my 3.5 readers about it.

In case you forgot, in Rocky IV, during the 1980s Cold War era, Apollo dies in a fight against Ivan.  Rocky, Ivan’s couch, failed to throw in the towel and blames himself for Apollo’s death.  He then returns to Russia to train and fight Drago and bring back victory to America.  USA, USA, USA!

In this go around, we learn that the 1980s loss to Rocky caused Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) to lose his standing, respect, and wife.  He had to flee to the Ukraine and live in poverty.  Among the ashes, he trains his son, Viktor, to rise and become a great boxer.

Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), Rocky’s protégé, is challenged.  Blah, blah, blah, Rocky says no, Creed says yes, shit happens, will he live or die etc.

By now, the Rocky formula, after 8 films, is ingrained in our heads.  Someone ones to fight.  The fight looks insurmountable.  Death and destruction is likely in store for the hero.  The hero stands his ground.  He gets knocked down but he gets back up to take more punishment, thus a metaphor for life.  In the end, he wins the unlikely victory.

Hard to believe Rocky flicks are still being made after all these years but they are still going as strong as ever.  And after each one I’m like, “I can’t see how they could think of another one after this” but now I realize they will.

To the film’s credit, the Dragos are humanized.  In the original, Drago is shown to be a cold, uncaring monster, a product of Communism, the result of a government that was willing to divert all of its resources away from the poor and into a fighting machine that would wage war for the USSR’s honor.

In this installment, we see that Russia doesn’t like a failure.  While Rocky was able to walk away from boxing and open a restaurant, Drago has become a joke and wants his reputation back.  Viktor has trained his whole life for this and it hurts him that his mother (Brigette Nielson) left him.  Both are fighting for respect and it is weird…though you root for Creed, you also want an ending where the Dragos will be accepted by their country again.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  In theory, the idea of a sequel to Rocky IV in which the sons of Creed and Drago fight to avenge their fathers sounds idiotic and childish but in reality, they managed to pull it off, give it heart, and make it worthwhile.

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Undead Man’s Hand – Part 5 – The Loser Jack McCall

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Labeled a loser by everyone, from his father to his girlfriend, Young Jack McCall loses his 100th fight, effectively ending his career as a bareknuckler boxer.

He seeks solace in a biography of his hero, Wild Bill Hickok.

Chapter 27       Chapter 28        Chapter 29

Chapter 30

 

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Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 29

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Otto was a monster. Bulging, rippling muscles. Thick red beard. And his arms? When his right hook connected to Jack’s face, it was as if he’d just been smacked with a tree trunk.

The kid was dizzy now. He was seeing double. Blood, sweat and tears dripped into his eyes. He could barely see it but he sensed it. Another wallop coming his way.

Jack dodged. Slowly, his vision came back to him. He blocked another punch with his forearms. It left his arms feeling as though a polar bear had just tried to rip them off, but at least his face was spared further abuse.

The crowd was out of control. They cheered wildly, urging Otto to pummel Jack to death. Who can blame them really? There wasn’t much else in the way of entertainment in Deadwood.

Jack spotted Ginny. She didn’t look particularly concerned…or interested…just bored. Alas, the distraction was just what Otto needed to land a clobbering blow to Jack’s jaw.

Every one of Jack’s teeth mashed together as the kid went down for the count. Buck, who served as both fight promoter and referee, stepped into the ring and counted.

“1…2…3…”

Oh how women make men do stupid things. Motivated solely by his unrequited love for Ginny, Jack’s legs twitched. He put one hand on the fence.

“…4…5…6…” Buck looked down at the victim.

“Stay down, kid,” he whispered out of the corner of his mouth.

Too late. Jack was up. Barely. His knees buckled. His body shook all over. But he balled up his fists and took a fighter’s stance.

Otto laughed. “Come on,” the giant said as he pounded his chest. “I’ll give you a free one.”

Jack soared his fist into Otto’s chest. It felt like he’d just punched a brick wall.

Otto responded with an uppercut that lifted Jack three feet into the air until he slammed to the ground below.

This time he was out. Buck started in on the ten count. When he reached nine, Jack stirred just a bit until his body gave out on him.

Buck raised Otto’s hand high in the air for the whole crowd to see. “Otto Ziegler, ladies and gentlemen! The reigning champion!”

Otto bowed and collected his cheers as Buck bent over to whisper in Jack’s ear. “Thus ends your whirlwind career in pugilism, kid. Get up and get the hell out of here.”

Buck tucked a five dollar bill into Jack’s pants pocket.

“And don’t say I never gave you anything.”

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Daily Discussion with BQB – What Was Your Favorite Muhammad Ali Quote?

Good morning 3.5 readers.

We’re waking up to news that “The Greatest” boxer, “Muhammad Ali” has passed away at 74.

Those who followed his career remember his poetic ability to taunt opponents with proud, public declarations of his abilities.

Obviously, the one to me, that is most memorable and I have heard used most often in pop culture is, “I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.”

Can you think of any others? Or do you have any memories to share?

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Movie Review – Creed (2015)

An aging boxer and his young protege, the son of his former friend/rival….

TRAVEL TO RUSSIA TO BEAT THE EVER LOVING SHIT OUT OF THAT DIRTY ROTTEN SOVIET COMMIE IVAN DRAGO AS PAYBACK FOR KILLING APOLLO IN ROCKY IV!  USA! USA! USA!

OK. So that wasn’t the plot. But it really should have been. Totally would have been had I written it. Maybe that’s why Sly never takes my calls.

Bookshelf Q. Battler here with a review of Creed.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

When it comes to the seventh installment of a film series chronicling the lives of people who beat the crap out of each other, “good writing” is a phrase you’d think would not come to mind.

You’d be wrong. Stallone has done it again.

When Rocky Balboa came out in 2006, I thought Stallone was scraping the bottom of the barrel then. But then I watched it. Rocky’s challenge in that film wasn’t to win, it was just to stay alive as an old timer in the ring for one last go around.

In that movie, he delivered a speech to his son that sums up the whole series, i.e. “life will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.”

Rocky’s always been about trying.  Yoda said “Do or do not, there is no try.” Rocky said, “Try.” Shut up Yoda.

Anyway, move forward nine years, I thought Stallone was REALLY reaching by putting out yet another film but low and behold, he’s done it again.

THE SETUP: Adonis Johnson aka Adonis Creed is the illegitimate son of famous boxing legend Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers, who you might also remember as the only tough guy in Predator who didn’t go on to become a state governor).

He grew up in two separate worlds. After his mother’s death, he ended up on the streets, scrapping with the other boys and landing himself in juvenile detention.

Enter Apollo’s wife, Mary Anne (played by Phylicia Rashad – Mrs. Huxtable in a movie!) who out of the kindness of her heart, adopts Adonis, even though he’s the product of her late husband’s extramarital hi jinx.

But you can’t dump on Apollo too much for not being there for Adonis. Fans of the series know that in Rocky IV, Apollo died at the hands of that roid raging commie Ivan Drago, but Goddamnit, he died for America. He died so Rocky could challenge Drago to a rematch and win in the name of capitalism. Suck it, Soviets.

That was the last movie I remember Brigitte Nielsen being hot in, come to think of it.

Anyway, Adonis then moves on to the good life with Mary Anne, who lives in a mansion because unlike that dumbass Rocky, she didn’t let a degenerate moron like Pauly manage her family’s finances.  God you suck, Pauly.

All this leads to Adonis being very confused. He wants to step out of the shadow of a famous father he never knew. He wants to prove himself. Be his own man. He avoids using Creed’s name.

He wants to be a boxer but no one will train him…because he doesn’t HAVE to be a boxer. Boxing, as various people tell him, is a sport for people who don’t have any other shot at the good life. Adonis has a wealthy benefactor mother. He doesn’t need to get his face punched for a living.

Or does he? Financially, he doesn’t. Mentally, he does. He wants glory and thus he journeys to Philly and pesters elderly Rocky to become his Mickey..err, manager.

But it’s not easy to make it as a Creed.  Whatever success Adonis finds, people attribute it to a father he never knew. And there are people who want to take advantage of his famous last name. All the while, there are people who accuse him of coming from privilege which he views as unfair. Mary Anne may have saved him, but he never lost the hunger of a kid growing up on the streets.

There’s even a subplot in which Adonis falls in love with a female musician with progressive hearing loss…i.e. she’s trying to become a famous singer before she can’t hear herself sing anymore.  Stop!  Stop! I can’t handle all this sadness!

It was great.  It really was.  Stallone has gone to the well twice now in a series that by all rights, jumped the shark in Rocky 5 (the one where Rocky has a street fight with ‘Tommy Gunn.'”  Boo! Worst Rocky ever!

Michael B. Jordan proves his acting chops.  I’d like to see more from Tessa Thompson, who plays Adonis’ girlfriend.

I will say this. If its the last film in the Rocky series, its a worthy ending. If it isn’t, I have no clue where Rocky could go from here, though I really feel that my “Rocky and Adonis go to Russia to beat the shit out of elderly Ivan Drago” could be a worthy contender.

Have your people call my people, Sly. I’ll totally write that screenplay for you.

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Movie Review – Southpaw (2015) – Special Guest Reviewer – Jake Hatcher

By:  Jake Hatcher, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Private Eye

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE: A special treat for you, 3.5 readers.  If you’re following Pop Culture Mysteries, then you know that the Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Private Eye, Jake Hatcher, was once a formidable pugilist.  His fists of fury brought down a number of vicious opponents, not to mention the Third Reich.

Thus, I decided to take a powder for this review and allow “The Jersey Jabber” to take over.

Jake Hatcher, Guest Movie Reviewer

Jake Hatcher, Guest Movie Reviewer

Another Saturday night and no dame to while away the hours with.  I was lonelier than an injured dog with one of those safety cones around its neck that renders it unable to lick itself.

To my surprise, I stepped into my office and found an envelope on my desk.  Inside?  A movie ticket for the film Southpaw and the following note:

See a movie on me, Hatcher.  It’s the least I can do for the man who keeps my 3.5 readers entertained with tales of daring-do.

Sincerely,

Bookshelf Q. Battler

Blogger-in-Chief for the Bookshelf Battle Blog

Huh.  Delilah must have dropped it off while I was at the liquor store.

Did I say liquor store?  I meant to say while I was putting in a hard day of sleuthing.

Much appreciated, Mr. Battler.  Though honestly, the least you could have done was pony up the dough for two tickets. Hell, you could have even talked that looker of a lawyer of yours into accompanying me.

Dim lights.  Emotional flick.  Perfect atmosphere to sneak in a little smooch-a-roo but oh well.  Who am I kidding?  I’ve got a better shot at stealing the Queen of England’s crown jewels than I do at stealing a kiss from the delicious dish Delilah K. Donnelly.

You know, 3.5 readers, in my day films were only shown for a limited time.  If you missed it, it was tough titty said the kitty. Thus, if some turkey gobbled up the action that you missed, you’d allow him to give you an earful and you’d thank him for it, because by and large, word of mouth was the only way you’d find out about the story you missed.

Things are different today.  Miss a film in the theater?  Just watch it on your television.  Or your phone.  Or those damn i-Whatevers.  Big phones basically.  Watch a movie on your toaster, your toothbrush, your refrigerator, your cuisinart.  If it’s a beep boop machine, then you can watch a damn movie on it.

And you can watch it whenever you want too.  On the can, in line at the delicatessen, at the dentist’s office while your teeth are getting drilled, while you’re pretending to give two shits about whatever it is your dumb friend is saying, it doesn’t matter.

Bottomline – I’m supposed to warn you that this review has more SPOILERS than Ms. Donnelly has beauty, so if you haven’t taken it in yet, then take a walk, Jack.

Movieclips Trailers – Southpaw

Mr. Battler, all complaints about your cheapness aside, I do thank you for giving me the chance to watch this movie.  It brought the good old days of my boxing career back to me faster than a Maserati with a brick on the accelerator.

So this fella, Jake Gyllenhaal.  I take it he’s the cock of the walk in Tinsel Town these days.  I’m not light in the loafers or nothin’ but I can tell a handsome man when I see one so I imagine the broads go gaga over this galoot.  Guys like that have their choice of roles so it’s to his credit that he chose this one, since it’s not exactly a glamorous one.

Gyllenhaal plays Billy Hope, an ironic name to be sure because this cat becomes utterly hopeless.

At the start of the picture, Hope has it all.  A mansion the Sultan of Brunei would be happy to call home.  A swimming pool you could sail a battleship through.  More friends than he can shake a stick at.  An adorable daughter and a wife who’s hotter than a bowl full of jalapenos.

(I just have to say that to entertain the 3.5 readers, Ms. Donnelly.  You know she’s got nothin’ on you.)

Have you folks taken a gander at this Rachel McAdams broad?  All I can say is I’ll see your “Hubba Hubba” and raise you an “Awooga!”

That gal is easy on the eyes, let me tell you.  For most of the first part of the movie, she runs around in a skimpy dress that really shows off her dynamic derriere.

Not that I want to pay attention to stuff like that, but I am a private detective.  It’s my job to notice these things.

Anyway, you don’t need to listen to me flap my yapper all night, so let me give you the straight skinny.

Hope’s world comes crashing down when Miguel Escobar, a rival for the heavyweight belt, makes an inappropriate comment about Mrs. Hope.  The champ gets madder than a box full of boll weevils, a fist fight ensues, and both fighters’ entourages join in the melee.

A gun is drawn and fired, Mrs. Hope takes a bullet and croaks like a frog on a log and yours truly is left to suffer without McAdams’ keister to gawk at for another hour and a half.

Again, I was just doing my job.

Luckily, there was plenty of other action to make up for the lack of McAdam’s marvelous mangoes.  I won’t rat out the details but the whole mess causes Hope a whole heap of financial and legal problems, see? He loses his house, his money, his kid and hits rock bottom, a place this gumshoe knows only too well.

It’s up to down and out trainer Tick Wills (Forest Whitaker) to give Hope some hope and bring him back from the brink of self-destruction.

Curtis “50-Cent” Jackson plays Hope’s conniving manager Jordan, a real slick type who drops Hope like a bad penny when the going gets tough.

As if there wasn’t enough irony in this film, 50-Cent is the fella that springs the bad news to Hope that he’s got less cash than a check-out register at a discount dime store.  Word on the street is that 50, or “Fiddy” as I hear folks call him, just filed for bankruptcy and his nickname has become more than apt.

Can anyone explain to me what a rapper is?  I woke up a year ago after a 59-year nap and like a kangaroo with a sewn up pouch, I’m confused.  All I can gather is they talk fast in rhyme to a beat.  It’s like being a real smooth Lord Byron I suppose.

Whatever rapping is, the film is accompanied by a soundtrack that rap aficionados will want to check out.  Fiddy is featured on the album, and another fella called Eminem offers up a diddy called, Phenomenal.

It’s catchy.  You should listen to it.  I hummed it for awhile after I got home until Ms. Tsang kicked me out of her kitchen because she couldn’t stand to listen to me anymore.

Can’t say as I blame her.  Sometimes I’m not the best company.  Just ask the three ex-Mrs. Hatchers.

I tip my fedora to Gyllenhaal.  The key to great acting is to transform into someone the audience doesn’t recognize, and Jake does that here.

(Try not to get confused, 3.5 readers.  The star’s name is Jake, but my name is also Jake.  Two Jakes, no waiting.)

Hope is a mumbling, bumbling fella, a punch drunk palooka who’s taken one too many smashes to the cranium.  He’s a powder keg full of rage and ready to see the slightest provocation as the match needed to set him off.  Gyllenhaal plays him to a tee.

Acting isn’t an easy gig.  When I first arrived in LaLaLand, I gave the old thespian routine a go and was laughed at by the entertainment industry power brokers like I was a clown in a pair of polka dot pants.

I try not to think about that though.  Sometimes when you fail, all that really happens is you come that much closer to figuring out what you’re good at.

Me?  I have two skills:

1)  Sleuthing.

2)  Punching dangerous desperados in the face.

Word has it Mr. Battler will even help me regale you 3.5 readers with the tale of how I became so good at the latter.  All I’ll say for now is I wish I’d never allowed that scumbag Mugsy McGillicuddy to force me to take a dive.  It cost me my chance at fame and fortune but even worse, my sweet, sweet Peaches.

If you want my recommendation, this film is worth your time.  It’s a gut wrenching story of loss and redemption.  The moral of the tale?  Appreciate what you’ve got and don’t stoop to the bad guy’s level or else you’ll lose it in an instant.  Sometimes the bigger man is the one who walks away.

Mr. Gyllenhaal, keep at it.  I think this acting thing of yours is going to work out for you.  And again, just because I pointed out that you’re a man of dapper visage doesn’t make me some kind of switch hitter for the Oakland Athletics.

Finally, I’d just like to say if my courtship of Ms. Donnelly doesn’t work out, you’re welcome to stop by Tsang’s Hong Kong Palace and eat my special egg roll, Ms. McAdams.

That’s not some kind of inappropriate innuendo.  Ms. Tsang shared her recipe with me and I make a mean plate of those delicious appetizers.  We could share a meal and shoot the bull was all I was trying to say.

Is it hot in here or is it just me?  Must be this damn trench coat I’m wearing in July.

Jake Hatcher is a hardboiled film noir style detective who fell asleep in 1955, woke up in 2014, and was recruited in June of this year by Bookshelf Battle Blog Lead Counsel Delilah K. Donnelly to solve 100 Pop Culture Mysteries.

If you have a question about movies, music, TV, books, or other forms of entertainment, drop a dime to Bookshelf Q. Battler by tweeting @bookshelfbattle and he’ll put Hatcher on the case.

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