Wednesday, April 24, 2013
It took over ten years, but television finally took advantage of the soap-operatic epic of Terry Goodkind's SWORD OF TRUTH novels, which provided one of modern fantasy's most powerful femmes formidables, Kahlan Amnell, examined here.
The series, produced in part by Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert of XENA fame, provided a loose adaptation of the book's continuity. Naturally, since television shows need stories that give some sense of conclusion at the end of each forty-something minutes, storylines tended to focus on the "D&D" aspects of the books' premise-- how a Mage appoints heroes to the office of the Seeker, what range of powers are commanded by the faith of "Confessors" to which Kahlan belongs, and so on.
That said, Bridget Regan-- an American actress, and one of the few regulars on the series who did not hail from the vicinity of the show's Ne Zealand shooting-locale-- does an excellent job overall, both in her combat-scenes and in stories about the emotional turmoil of her romantic situation ith the titular Seeker.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Though Chuck Bartowski was the central character of the NBC comedy-adventure series CHUCK, arguably two of Chuck's support-cast-- his "handlers" Major John Casey and Sarah Walker-- became as integral to the show's dynamics as the nebbishy star of the show.
To sum up the particulars of the show quickly, computer-nerd Chuck finds himself propelled into the world of spy games and international terrorism when his college roommate, himself a spy, downloads the merged databases of the CIA and the NSA into Chuck's brain, thus making Chuck a vital asset to both agencies. Chuck becomes even more valuable when he learns how to tap into the skill-sets encoded by the database, allowing the former nerd to become an expert at defusing bombs, fighting in any martial-arts style, and so on.
Both NSA agent John Casey (Adam Baldwin) and CIA agent Sarah Walker (Yvonne Stahovski) become Chuck's handlers, initially protecting Chuck from other agencies. Eventually the three of them, as well as the show's other supporting characters, form an independent troubleshooting agency.
Within the sphere of the Femme Formidable, Sarah was much in the vein of characters like Emma Peel, albeit with a much harder edge, which may seem ironic given the strong comedy element of the series. Even John Casey, also touted as a badass, was played for more humor than Sarah. Of course the principal reason for this was that Sarah was constituted to be the romantic element in Chuck's life. However, throughout the series her skills with fighting and shooting were always portrayed as being on the same level as any other professional's, and only rarely was she in the position of the "damsel in distress." The photo above shows one of Sarah's many kickass fights, which were in themselves one of the show's main attractions. In the last season Sarah even became merged with Chuck's database temporarily, so that during that time she became a literal "super-spy" in the same vein as the star of the show.
The film DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE may not be among the best American-made martial-arts flicks, but its title is certainly the most repetitive in any genre.
I have nothing to say about any permutation of the DEAD OR ALIVE videogame, since as I've noted earlier I don't follow that form of entertainment. But I did find that the 2006 film adaptation of the game was goofy if derivative fun, and obviates one of the biggest criticisms of the game by featuring female fighters whose breasts are (comparatively) real.
Since I don't have a lot to say about the place this lightweight flick holds in the history of Femmes Formidables, I'll content myself with reprinting my observations from my film-review of same.
"Corey Yeun, veteran of several Jet Li/Hong Kong actioners, directed this vid-game adaptation, partly filmed on a famous Hong Kong movie set in Heng Dian, China. However, while the three actresses are all adept at the fighting-stunts given them, it's quite evident that none of them are capable of the extreme athletics of the best HK cinema battles. Frankly, even the big warehouse battle of CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE is superior to any of the fights in DOA. This may be one reason the film approaches the girls' battles with a comic tone, though not to the extent of ridiculing the central heroines. Devon Aoki probably gets the best single battle, fighting a huge muscular opponent who attacks her in her hotel, while Pressley gets the most amusing battle: battling it out with her own dad (a Hulk Hogan-like wrestler) in order to prove her abilities. Finally it all winds up with a big multi-character battle in which villain Eric Roberts, souped up by his miracle device, nearly beats all of the heroines. He's rather comically beaten when his device is simply removed (too cheap to spring for an implant, guy?) and Aoki kills him by blowing up his entire island."