Tag Archives: Splinter Cell

Non Sequitur: Battle of the Badasses

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming so that we may bring you this special presentation.

Battle of the Badasses, Vol. 1: Kurtwood Smith vs. Michael Ironside

As unbelievable as it may seem, Kurtwood Smith and Michael Ironside have never appeared together in a movie. ((So sayeth IMDb.com.)) I believe this is because the combined badassedness of the two would be nigh-impossible to contain in a single motion picture. Auditoriums in which the Smith/Ironside film was being shown would hemmorhage badassery, which would then flood the multiplex and take over every other film being shown. Two doors down in That Charming English Fop, Hugh Grant would suddenly pull a Scarface and fatten every stiff upper lip gathered ’round the delightful, period-accurate dinner table with a Louisville Slugger. Clear across the multiplex, the children watching Shrek 4: Ogre and Ogre Again would recoil in horror as the beloved green grump began to feast on exquisitely-pixelated human flesh.

Clearly, a head to head, no holds barred, balls to the wall showdown between these two men—men who define the very essence of badassishness—is out of the question, but I can always dream.

Kurtwood Smith: Badass

Kurtwood Smith may be most recognizable to contemporary audiences as Red Forman in the television series That 70’s Show. Red is the father of not only two children, but also the word “dumbass,” which he apparently created to describe his son. There is no question that Red is a badass, but the character is played for laughs, and most incarnations of Ironside-badassitude would wring Red Forman out like an overused snot rag.

To find the quintessential Kurtwood Smith badass it is necessary to leap forward one decade, to 1987. In RoboCop Kurtwood Smith portrayed Clarence Boddicker, ((RoboCop was almost the movie that would have oozed badassery: Michael Ironside was at one time up for the role of Alex Murphy, which ultimately went to Peter Weller, who—without the benefit of a cyborg body—barely registers on the Badass Scale.)) the man who was directly responsible for Alex Murphy’s transformation from ordinary police officer into the ass-kicking titular character. Boddicker began by obliterating Murphy’s hand with a pump-action shotgun, then turned him over to his men, who fired round after round into the helpless cop’s prone body. Boddicker himself then delivered the killing shot, a blast directly to Murphy’s right temple. The scene is one of the most brutal, vicious moments in cinematic history, and Clarence Boddicker scared the ever-loving crap out of fourteen-year-old me.

Michael Ironside: Canadian Badass

Whereas Kurtwood Smith’s image has been softened over the years, Michael Ironside remains a hardcore badass. One look at the man tells you two things: first, he’s fully capable of tearing your face off and nailing it to a wall; second, he’d enjoy it.

Ironside (Canada’s premiere badass) has had a career full of badass roles, from the malevolent Darryl Revok in Scanners (1981) to the malevolent Richter in Total Recall (1991) to good guy badass Sam Fisher in four installments of the Splinter Cell video games. ((Ironside as Fisher is the ne plus ultra of perfection in voice casting.)) Even when he’s not playing the villain, Ironside will break both your arms just to see you dance like Michael Flatley. Where Kurtwood Smith as Clarence Boddicker scared the crap out of me at fourteen, Michael Ironside as Michael Ironside scares the crap out of me at thirty-three.

Movie fans may recall the hype generated when badasses Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro appeared together for the first time on screen in Heat (1995). I submit that the meeting of those two powerhouses was not only anti-climactic but would pale in comparison to the jaw-dropping, nut-crunching spectacle of a Kurtwood Smith/Michael Ironside showdown. The event could only be described as an earth-shaking collision, the movie could only be titled Badass, and all other auditoriums in the multiplex would have to be evacuated any time it was screened.

Even More Damn Games

Christmas cash is practically a license to buy all the frivolous stuff that I couldn’t justify earlier in the year. Laura and I took another trip to Blockbuster last night after dinner. Though Laura couldn’t find a movie to rent, I made out like a bandit in the used video game section. As the kids might say, “25% off for the win!”

Darkwatch

A first-person shooter that takes place in the Old West, or what some call “The Weird West.” Outlaw Jericho Cross, seeking a quick payoff, robs the wrong train. In doing so, he releases an ancient vampire named Lazarus. ((That’s right, the “hero” is a man whose initials are “J.C.” and he resurrects a vampire named Lazarus.)) Rather than kill Jericho, Lazarus embraces ((Dear White Wolf: Please don’t sue me for using the term “embrace” to describe one vampire creating another. Hugs and kisses, Kris.)) him, and the outlaw begins his transformation into a blood-sucking, undead horror. Jericho flees Lazarus, hoping to join up with a group called the Darkwatch, who… well, I don’t know what they do yet. I haven’t gotten that far. I played for just shy of an hour last night and I’m enjoying the game so far. It’s a cross between Red Dead Revolver — probably my favorite Xbox FPS — and Van Helsing. Jericho has access to a variety of ranged weapons (including a pistol called “The Redeemer”), most of which have some manner of blade built into the butt or stock, allowing Jericho to use them as brutal melee weapons when the shambling, undead wretches get too close for comfort. As a secondary ranged attack, Jericho can throw stuff. So far, I’ve found only one throwable weapon: dynamite. Pretty effective, though. As the game progresses, Jericho will gain more vampiric powers. Right now, he’s got some nifty “blood vision” and a “vampire jump.” He’ll also gain special abilities depending upon whether he performs “good” or “evil” actions at certain points in the game. I’ve been playing him as a goody-two-shoes outlaw up to this point, so he’s got silver bullets that do additional damage againt the aforementioned undead wretches.

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

Now my Splinter Cell collection is complete. ((Well, except for the new paperback novel I saw on the shelf at the bookstore a couple of weeks ago.)) Sam Fisher is my hero, and Michael Ironside ((Okay, totally off-topic here. Am I the only person on the planet who wants to see Michael Ironside and Kurtwood Smith throw down?)) is the perfect guy to give him a voice. If they ever do a Splinter Cell movie (oh, you know they will), they’ll have to get Ironside to dub all of Ben Affleck’s lines. ((Dear Hollywood: That was a joke. Please don’t cast Ben Affleck as Sam Fisher in the Splinter Cell movie. Thank you. BFF, Kris.)) Given that I’ve yet to complete the second Splinter Cell game, Pandora Tomorrow, there was some internal debate as to whether or not I should pick up Chaos Theory. I was toying with the idea of getting Jade Empire instead, but I thought that might make Sam mad. I imagined hearing a gravelly voice say, “There’s a man in my way, Lambert,” then barely being aware of my head being turned around 180 degrees before all turned to darkness. ((I didn’t wet my pants a little bit while thinking about that. Not right there at the used video game table of the local Blockbuster. No, sir. Not me.)) Plus, Chaos Theory has a cooperative multiplayer mode, which is good news for Miscellaneous G™ and me.

Spider-Man 2

Someone decided to take the open-ended, free form style of the Grand Theft Auto series and apply it to the Spider-Man franchise. ((The same has been done with everybody’s favorite yellow family in The Simpsons Hit & Run, which is tons of fun.)) Good idea. I liked the first Spider-Man: The Movie: The Game well enough, but some of the restrictions on the gameplay were just plain silly. For instance, Spider-Man could not descend below a certain level while web-swinging through the city or he would… die. Just up and croak. Silly, I tell you. In the second installment, Spidey is free to go pretty much where ever he wants. He swings between and around buildings, runs along the sidewalk, hops a ride on a passing car and goes for a refreshing swim in the harbor. There’s a storyline to follow, but if you’d rather just patrol the streets saving people from thugs, foiling bank robberies, chasing getaway cars and the like, there is no shortage of randomly-generated mini-missions available. I rented Spider-Man 2 earlier this year, and had a blast with it, so this was a good find. Next up on my Spidey game wish list: Ultimate Spider-Man.