The main event: Mortal Kombat the movie.
"It's so real, it hurts!!!"
Uncensored pop culture criticism and comics creation conversation.
(If you're not into reading and you want to spoil the match-ups, then skip to the bottom of this post for the ROUND TWO bracket image.)
Enter the Dragon vs. DOA: Dead or Alive
Little known fact about Bruce Lee: he was also a champion beach volleyball player (and if you told him you were looking for a slightly more "mature" attitude, his pectoral muscles would inexplicably swell to three times their normal size). Facing this overwhelmingly talented, distressingly busty version of '70s icon Bruce Lee, the shiny, comfortably 21st Century characters of DOA didn't have a chance. "Based on a video game?" scoffed Lee, "Ha. Ha ha hahha haha ha."
The grueling battle ended with victory for: Enter the Dragon!
Battle Creek Brawl vs. The Quick and the Dead
Two wildly different versions of the West butted heads in this instantly classic match-up: a shanty-town were all the citizens like to stop-and-stare from time to time, and a Texas that is populated almost entirely by burly men. And those burly men were quite good at hugging each other and getting angry, but, well, they just couldn't do much against gun-slinging A-list Hollywood actors. Staring down her gun at a critically wounded Jackie Chan, who knelt bleeding on the ground, pleading for her to take pity and just end his life, Sharon Stone snickered and walked away, leaving Chan's barely breathing body to be picked at by the vultures that were swooping lower and lower.
The grueling battle ended with victory for: The Quick and the Dead!
Redbelt vs. Bronson Lee, Champion
The exploitation wizards that came up with Bronson Lee had no idea what they were in for, going up against David Mamet's well-dialogued Redbelt. Who'd of thought that one of the all-stars of contemporary theatre would also be a macho douchebag who was way into MMA? Bronson Lee didn't, and not only did he get his ass-kicked, but he was talked out of ever bothering trying to act again. Insult to injury, my friends, insult to injury. Perhaps either Charles Bronson or Bruce Lee would have stood a chance, but poor B.L. never did.
The grueling battle ended with victory for: Redbelt!
Sidekicks vs. Bloodfist
This was one of the toughest matches to call in the whole first round, because both of these movies are so... uh... good! Bloodfist fared well in the early goings, as it took immediate advantage of being readily available on DVD to control the early goings of the fight. But once Sidekicks realized that its cult status, being available almost exclusively on hard-to-find VHS tapes and bootleg DVDs snapped out of its racist day-dreaming to conjure an early-nineties Chuck Norris that was still more or less in fighting form. And also, Joe Piscopo beat Billy Blanks in a swimsuit competition. Sidekicks sneaks into round two! It might just be worth watching!
The grueling battle ended with victory for: Sidekicks!
Mortal Kombat vs. The Quest
The longest, knock-down drag-out fight of the first round. Mortal Kombat came out waving around it's many shittily-animated arms, claiming re-watchability, and a superior level of Enter the Dragon knock-offery. But then Jean-Claude Van Damme ran around with some kids, took off his shirt, and did a split, and everyone in the audience, Christopher Lambert included, swooned. This one will be debated into the ages. Was it a fair fight? Were the judges biased by a bizarre, unhealthy fascination with the Muscles from Brussels? Are they rejecting all video-game based tournament movies until Marvel Vs. Capcom finally gets greenlighted? The world may never know.
The grueling battle ended with victory for: The Quest!
Bloodsport vs. Best of the Best
Come on people. Bloodsport wins. Duh. Bloodsport won with its eyes closed.
The grueling battle ended with victory for: Bloodsport!
The Karate Kid vs. Never Back Down
One of the greatest sports movies (let alone tournament movies) ever made faces it's most successful (and not all that successful, at that) knock-off. There may well have been things about the 2000s that were okay, but Never Back Down wasn't really one of them. No contest. Way to go, Daniel-son.
The grueling battle ended with victory for: The Karate Kid!
Over the Top vs. The Karate Kid, Part III
We've met many people over the years that have claimed to have been entertained by Over the Top, but we don't really believe them. Meanwhile, KKPIII is a much better, way more over the top B-movie than Over the Top. It's not even time yet, in just the first round, to even sing the full praises of The Karate Kid, Part III. A sleeper candidate? A wildcard? Could be, could be...
The grueling battle ended with victory for: The Karate Kid, part III!
Be back next week to see which movies fight their way into ROUND THREE!
Here at Culturology, Nick and I are getting a jump on the NCAA's upcoming March Madness by hosting a tournament of our own. What better kind of tournament than a tournament tournament? So check out the bracket below (click to enlarge) and make your choices! Then tune in next week to see how the first round plays out.
The ROUND ONE contenders:
Battle Creek Brawl: They tried to make Jackie Chan famous right after his brief appearance in Enter the Dragon. Despite flashes of his amazing charisma, it would take another decade after this movie for Chan to make it big (as big as Billy Kiss from Pittsburgh).
Best of the Best: Eric Roberts leads a team of American characters in a charge against a superior Korean Taekwondo team.
Bloodfist: Low budget fighting in the Philippines that spawned eight sequels -- more than any other movie on this list. With Billy Blanks!
Bloodsport: Jean-Claude Van Damme in the role that he never bettered, in his first and best movie. The clear favorite in the tournament.
Bronson Lee, Champion: What do you get if you cross Charles Bronson and Bruce Lee? A motherfucking champion, that's what.
DOA: Dead or Alive: Like Enter the Dragon, but with volleyball.
Enter the Dragon: The original. But is it the best?
The Karate Kid: One of the truly classic tournament movies, even if it's not as intense as the more adult fare of Bloodsport or Enter the Dragon. But can 1984's favorite plucky New Jerseyite win a whole tournament tournament in 2010?
The Karate Kid, part III: The oft-overlooked final chapter of the original Karate Kid trilogy. Most people think it went right from KK II to The Next Karate Kid, but first the Karate Kid and Mr. Miyagi had to take on some seriously menacing Vietnam veterans.
Mortal Kombat: The entirely watchable first foray into franchising the iconic video game into a filmic empire. One of the many Enter the Dragon homages in the tournament. With Christopher Lambert!
Never Back Down: Karate Kid, reinvented for douchebags in the 21st century.
Over the Top: Sylvester Stallone never speaks above a whisper (he must have been really tired when they filmed this) in this B-movie, truck-driving, arm-wrestling, father-son-bonding classic.
The Quest: Jean-Claude Van Damme is a street fighting stilt mime scamp (possibly some sort of weird child labor offender... or fetishist), forced to escape New York City and stow away on a cargo boat, where he proceeds to get caught, get saved, and get sold into martial arts slavery in Thailand. Also directed by JCVD.
The Quick and the Dead: Sam Raimi's dolly zoom wild west classic. Gene Hackman, Sharon Stone, a young Leonardo DiCaprio, and guns! What more could a tournament movie need?
Redbelt: David Mamet loves MMA. Who would've guessed? Clearly the artsy-fartsiest of the movies in the tournament.
Sidekicks: A very special vanity project for Chuck Norris, but is he really in this movie, or just a figment of our overactive imaginations?
That's the list! So now go, download the ROUND ONE bracket, and play along to see if your picks move onto ROUND TWO next Friday!
Avatar money, Nick hates best of decade lists, Ross suggests we make worst of the decade lists, more Tron, the characters from Street Fighter IV vs. Super Street Fighter IV vs. Street Fighter III vs. Guilty Gear X vs. Mortal Kombat, Homer and Ned and the nacho hat, and creepy images of Cammy haunt us after the end theme.
TATU (are they lesbians?), Jean-Claude Van Damme and Vivica A. Fox in The Hard Corps (not a porno), Mortal Kombat (bores Nick), Michael Jackson's toilet money (weirds us out), new Sade AND Bernie Worrell (not together... whatever, you get the idea), Jersey Shore on MTV (excites Neal), Dexter season finale (thrills Neal), and Daytripper #1 (satisfies Nick but leaves him longing for a cliffhanger).
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