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Musings from the Edge of Forever

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with RONIN ON EMPTY.

Cobra Commander Blues

Recently, Kozo weighed in on his thoughts on Lee Byung-Hun’s (LBH!) appearance in the new GI:JOE movie, as well as other Asian actors like Rain playing ninjas in Hollywood productions. With that in mind, I thought I’d share my two cents about the movie and LBH’s performance, among other things.

LBH Photo

 At least I get to show my face, take that Ray Park!

First of all, I cannot emphasize enough that GI:JOE is a ridiculous, cheesy, and over-the-top movie. I thought it was okay, and for the most part, I could suppress my skepticism and “just go with it,” that is until the Joes decided to storm Destro’s unbelievably intricate and impossible-to-exist underwater base. At that moment, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. Even if I were ten, I’m pretty sure I would think it looked lame (BTW: District 9 was made with probably a quarter of the money this movie was made, and it’s effects look photo-real. Go see it. It’s great).

LBH

Much better than the Speed Racer Rain figure.

 What really captured my attention was the Snake-Eyes/Storm Shadow subplot (complete with pint-sized versions of the characters beating the snot out of each other in a flashback) and LBH’s performance, in particular. I mean, Ray Park, was fine — but it’s hard to screw up a mute dressed in black with badass martial arts ability. No, it was LBH who stole the show — he’s actually the only actor who had one interesting acting moment — a misty-eyed meditation that segued into his flashback. Anyway, the guy is cool as a cucumber and looks snazzy in his perpetually white duds (I’m not sure how this guy eats spaghetti without ruining his clothes, but I digress). I liked his performance so much, I would be tempted to call this a “star-making role,” if not for the fact that a) he’s already a star in Asia and b) he didn’t appear in the other Hasbro toy commercial, Transformers 2, which played to an exponentially larger audience globally despite it’s inability to contain a credible storyline or believable performances (save Optimus Prime, he was the only good actor in that one!).

 Even my beautiful, but ever-skeptical girlfriend was impressed with LBH, despite thinking he was a total goober back in his cheesy K-Drama days. But in all honesty, it was Cobra Commander that she really liked, albeit only when he a) wasn’t wearing his stupid mask, b) not chewing up the scenery with bad overacting, and c) wooing Zooey Deschanel in a totally different movie.

Cobra

 After Summer dumps him, Cobra Commander institutes 500 DAYS OF COBRA.

Setting aside my seemingly burgeoning man crush on LBH aside, I have to admit I’ve been watching a lot of Korean stuff lately — in particular, The Good, The Bad, The Weird,  and the Daniel Henney flick My Father (it’s just okay, I guess. Really, the brief footage of the actual people that this film’s story is based on that runs over the end credits is infinitely more moving than the entire film).

I should also mention that I spent the last few days watching a Korean drama entitled Someday. A massive review is forthcoming, but take this moment to announce that I may never watch a Korean drama again. And not because I hated the show. Sure, I have Coffee Prince on my DVD shelf in California, and my mom has Something Happened in Bali, Women of the Sun, Damo, and Ilchimae, but I don’t think I’ll be watching any of them. I use to harbor the idea that if I owned a DVD produced in Asia that I was obligated to write a review for the site. I no longer work under this self-imposed delusion.

In any event, the last time I reviewed a K-drama, I’m pretty sure I swore I would’t do it again and I liked My Lovely Sam Soon. To tell the truth, K-Dramas are too much of a time commitment, they usually don’t payoff in the way you’d hope, they’re littered with annoying cliches, and they’re harder than hell to write reviews for. So no more K-Dramas! But then again, I heard that Storm Shadow himself is starring in a K-Drama called IRIS. Oh crap.

2 Responses to “Cobra Commander Blues”

  1. Yinique Says:

    “I may never watch a Korean drama again.”

    A wise choice, indeed. And I say this as a Kdrama addict (I’m *this* close to enroling into one of those 12-step thingies).

    K-dramas are a whole ‘nother world and a whole ‘nother can of worms. Sure, they’re as riddled with cliches as Swiss Cheese is holes. But sometimes even those cliches can become charming. There’s a definite formula, and I’m beginning to suspect that crack is one of the ingredients…

    What was I saying again? Oh yeah, stay away from IRIS! At least until you see some good reviews. If there’s anything I learned from my years of watching Kdramas even your favorite actors are no guarantee of quality or even enjoyment. Also, Kim Tae Hee is in it, who is pretty, but is she pretty enough for you to be able to overlook her non-existant acting skills? You make the call :)

  2. Sanjuro Says:

    Yinique,

    I’m glad I put my foot down because I’m in a place where K-dramas are plentiful, subtitled, and cheap-to-reasonably priced.

    Here in Singapore, all those K-dramas that are still going for $50 or more in the US are on sale here for less than $20US, and the new ones are pretty reasonable. I’m not sure about the English subtitles though — they can range from outstanding to atrocious, and sometimes within the same boxset.

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