Friday, October 31, 2014

What's Rambo Doing on His Day Off? #13

After another successful mission, John Rambo unwinds by inviting Col. Trautman to his cabin for a weenie roast.

As seen in Rambo: The Force of Freedom episode 20: Enter the Black Dragon.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Murder She Wrote Recaps: S2E5: Sing a Song of Murder

Angela Lansbury pulls double duty in this episode, playing not only Jessica Fletcher, but also her cousin Emma, a heavily made-up British singer whose dulcet tones are so splendid that even the Sid Vicious-style punkers that have just walked into the theater can’t help but sing along. Emma also shows a bit of that old Fletcher moxie by surviving a few murder attempts and by blasting a street tough over the head with a flower pot.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Let's Talk About Rambo: Episode 20: Enter the Black Dragon

In a storytelling flourish the likes of which are rarely seen from this era of animation, this episode starts in media res with Rambo foiling a SAVAGE plot and subsequently getting into a man vs. submarine battle. Warhawk is piloting a submarine in a river as Rambo stands on the banks.

They shoot a torpedo at Rambo. I'm not sure if they thought it was going to continue its path onto land or what, but it doesn't matter, because Rambo shoots it and blows it up, then he shoots the submarine until it explodes. Six or seven times is all that is needed.

Warhawk is driving the damaged sub towards the sea to escape, and Rambo decides to swim after them. Trautman goes "They're out of our territory!", as if to say that they can't be pursued across some kind of national border.

Rambo, like a little kid, goes: "But I'm a free citizen!" and keeps swimming. I'm not sure if either of them knows how international law works.

Warhawk and company do end up escaping in a smelly cattle car on a train.

This is just the first five minutes of the episode. Since there's so much spare time left over, and Trautman is so pleased with the outcome of the mission, he suggests the Force of Freedom go on vacation! Rambo's like "Hey, I could use a vacation!"

Rambo takes Trautman back to his cabin and they have a campfire cookout. Then Rambo hikes further into the mountains the next day for his vacation. "Civilization is great," he says, "but without nature, what's it worth??"


Warhawk is tired of Rambo foiling his plans. Luckily, he has heard whispers of the existence of the world's greatest assassin....... BLACK DRAGON.

Not this guy, unfortunately.
This guy.
"Who's that?" the other members of SAVAGE ask.

"When he's on your case, you're as good as gone!" Warhawk explains.

Apparently they've all forgotten that they worked with Black Dragon just four episodes ago. When they tried to blow up the Hoover Dam. In fact, judging by the patch on the shoulder of his ninja suit, I think Black Dragon is already a full and qualified member of SAVAGE.

Anyway, they go to Japan to hire him to assassinate Rambo. After speaking with his ninja underlings, all of whom sound like 60-year-old Italian New Yorkers who have never heard a Japanese accent in their lives, Warhawk is finally able to meet with Black Dragon himself.

"You pay me what I ask, and I will do what you ask!" Black Dragon says.

"I accept your terms!" says Warhawk, as though they just had some sort of in-depth negotiation. But I mean, isn't that the most basic premise of why they were there? What terms are there to accept? They were already hoping to hire Black Dragon to do a job!

Cut to Rambo's cabin, where a dozen ninjas parachute from a plane!

So they're good at something, at least.
But Black Ninja is nowhere to be seen. SUDDENLY! There he is! Hang gliding onto the scene! I believe the implication was that he hang glided all the way from Japan.

They all go into Rambo's empty cabin and start hanging out. Remember, Rambo is on his hiking vacation still. Black Dragon picks up Rambo's bow and gets some sort of sense of him from it, sort of like how you give a hunting dog a piece of the person's clothing to track them. So Black Dragon now knows where Rambo is hiking, and sends his ninja team out to fight him.

Also, here's something you need to know about Black Dragon. Any time he wants to go somewhere that is more than 10 feet away, he covers the distance by doing either back or front handsprings. It's his preferred method of travel. He is the man!

So the ninjas find Rambo and attack him, but as Rambo tends to do, he disappears into the wilderness and creatively takes them out one-by-one. A few examples:

1. He tricks one of the ninjas into thinking that he is hiding underwater and breathing through a hollow reed. The ninja jumps into the water and slashes all the reeds and grass, looking like a fool.

So embarrassing
2. He turns a 30-foot tree into a catapult by tying the top end of it to the ground and luring a ninja into touching it.

3. He uses a forest rabbit as a distraction to get the drop on a ninja.

4. He creates a Rube Goldberg machine with at least four components (one of them being a life-like Rambo dummy) that ends with the ninjas being swept up into a net.

5. He hangs himself by his feet from a tree to make it look like he has been snared by a forest trap. When the ninjas get near, he makes them fall into a 20-foot pit that he somehow had time to dig out and disguise.

Meanwhile, KAT and Turbo have driven to Rambo's cabin to pay him a visit. They don't know if he'll be there, because he doesn't have a phone so they can't call ahead, which explains why Trautman has to fly a chopper to pick up Rambo at the start of most episodes. But it does not explain why, during the opening theme, Trautman picks up a phone and says "GET ME RAMBO!"

As you might imagine, KAT and Turbo are immediately captured by Black Dragon, which leads us to our final confrontation.

Rambo comes home and gets in an epic fight with Black Dragon. They are very evenly matched, even with all of the ninja equipment that Rambo has to contend with. For a while, they get into a cool sickle vs. makeshift whip (made out of a belt) battle. This is Rambo's all-time most challenging fight vs. a human, for sure! I believe one time he had a great deal of trouble fighting a panther. So animals are still his greatest nemeses.

The fight ends when Rambo elbows Black Dragon in the ribs, then picks him up over his head in a gorilla press position and tosses him out of the cabin. Black Dragon decides to come back and fight another day and disappears behind the pink cloud of smoke bomb.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Professor Robert Langdon Facts #4

Straight from the pages of Dan Brown's Inferno...

Image credit: AgentButt-Kick

Did you know?

Professor Robert Langdon is skeptical of those who call themselves authors thanks to e-publishing.

Professor Robert Langdon considers his photographic memory to be his most reliable intellectual asset.

Professor Robert Langdon prefers the elegant Porta-Potty graffiti of Italy to the vulgar Porta-Potty graffiti in America.

Professor Robert Langdon appreciates most of the historical artifacts on display in Florence, but he draws the line at historical bathtubs.

Despite its overabundance of phalluses, the Piazza della Signoria is one of Professor Robert Langdon's favorite plazas in all of Europe.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What's Rambo Doing on His Day Off? #12

It's the ceremonial launch of the world's most powerful and deadly nuclear submarine, but John Rambo has has seen plenty of doomsday vehicles come and go. He's more interested in wistfully scanning the crowd for hot chicks.

As seen in Rambo: The Force of Freedom episode 19: Fire in the Sky.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Let's Talk About Rambo: Episode 19: Fire in the Sky

We catch up with Rambo and the team as they're chilling out at Boston Harbor for the launching of the world's most advanced nuclear sub. They're all introduced to the sub's captain, who has the voice of Optimus Prime. But Rambo rudely doesn't hear the introduction because he is too busy scoping out chicks from the balcony.

Ina special treat for the sub launch, a skydiver drops down with the ceremonial bottle of champagne to be smashed. The captain ties a rope to it and swings it at the sub. But when it hits, the champagne bottle EXPLODES!

You see, the skydiver was Sgt. Havoc in disguise.

The explosion leaves a hole in the side of the sub, which is how SAVAGE hijacks it. They jump in the hole and then drive the sub away. Apparently the hole lets people inside, but does not affect the sub's underwater movement?

As a distraction while this is all happening, Gripper attacks the harbor with a super old ship (we're talking from 1700s here), the kind with giant sails and cannons.

Luckily, Rambo and team hop into Old Ironsides to do battle!
The captain gives Rambo a naval sword used by famous American captain John Paul Jones. Rambo swings on a rope over to the enemy ship and swashbucklingly fights SAVAGE, including doing that classic "slide down a sail using your knife" move.

But soon enough he's trapped belowdecks while SAVAGE scuttles the ship. However, escape is easy for Rambo: he just blows a hole in the side of the ship with a grenade and swims out through the in-rushing water.

A physical impossibility for anyone but him.

However, his team thinks he's dead. "I'm sorry about Rambo," the captain tells Trautman.

"Don't be!" Trautman says. "He knew the risks!" (Cold!)

So Rambo gets to shore and everybody's trying to hug him and stuff. But he's too busy scanning the crowd for SAVAGE agents. And what do you know: the very chick he was ogling at the start of the episode is actually evil!

She hops in her car and takes off. Rambo jumps into the Attack Jeep (which he has parked in the lot like it's a normal car!) and gives chase.

She gets into a large float plane to escape, but Rambo boards it too just before she takes off. The woman and her copilot, Nomad, quickly eject, leaving Rambo stuck on a crashing plane! He grabs the map to their base and then bails out himself, using an inflatable raft to cushion his landing into the ocean many thousand feet below as though he just watched Temple of Doom.

He gets picked up by the team, and is presented with Turbo's latest invention: a rocket-powered, one-man submersible! He takes it to SAVAGE's island base, where they have gathered all the evil leaders of the world to have a bidding war over the stolen sub.

After a quick martial arts battle with the evil woman, Rambo is thrown into the cove inside the island, where he is pursued by a school of great white sharks!

However, Rambo quickly tames one of the sharks and makes it his mount, riding it throughout the base, jumping in and out of the water like a dolphin, while avoiding gunfire.
I think it's important to note that in this show's animators' eyes, great white sharks are entirely white(ish).
He gets into the sub somehow and scares Warhawk and company away by tricking them into thinking flares are dynamite. Rambo chases them to the deck, where they get into a chopper to escape, but not before leaving him with a present: a ticking, conventional warhead that's about to explode!

Gripper asks Warhawk why he didn't use a nuke. Warhawk has to explain that a nuke would also kill them, then calls Gripper an idiot.

Rambo, faced with certain death, picks up the missile, which is about 10 feet long and 5 feet in diameter and must weigh hundreds and hundreds of pounds, and throws it into the ocean.

For his bravery, the ship captain says Rambo should be rewarded and offers to let him keep that antique sword.
Badass name for a sword, you have to admit.
Rambo says, "It sure came in handy," (note: he never once used it ever) "but a good deed is its own reward!"


Remember that this episode, featuring nautical adventures, is called:

Fire in the Sky