In Case You Missed It…

While I was away (let’s say on a road trip to find the Buddha so I could kill him), this was announced to be more than just an April Fools Day joke leftover from 2015. It comes out next month and you can bet your Bento that I’m looking more than forward to getting my death dick double wet.

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Episode 76 – City Under Siege (2010)

or “Big Top Beatdown”

Featuring: Aaron “The Storm Riders” Kwok , Qi “Journey to the West” Shu, Collin “The Matrix Reloaded” Chou

Director: Benny “Gen X Cops” Chan

Writers: Benny “Gen X Cops” Chan & Chi-Man “Invisible Target” Ling

Origin: Hong Kong

Review_____

“Life is like a flying dagger. As the flying dagger goes, it must hit the target.”

All my life I’ve been searching for something
Something never comes never leads to nothing
Nothing satisfies but I’m getting close
Closer to the prize at the end of the rope…

The Tomb’s 3rd anniversary is October 1st. Three is the “novelty sneakers” anniversary. If someone doesn’t get me some of that groovy be-chinned footwear, all love is a lie and life is a pointless endeavor that goes on forever. Just so you know.

On to other matters, because of my many months away from The Tomb (let’s say due to a journey through alternate realities where I had to stop an evil version of myself from destroying all of existence by killing our other selves and absorbing their power to supplement his own) I’m taking a further break from the Tour de Farce so I can give higher priority to other movies that have crossed my desk since. And yes, it’s a literal desk, made of the finest polished femurs, spines, and rib bones of Rupert Murdock’s ancestors. Totally worth the hauntings.

To that end, I thought it prudent to finish this review (started in January) before putting the T de F back into its cryogenic freeze tube for a while longer. Today’s episode features the Hong Kong sing-a-long ring ding dong we call City Under Siege.

Expected a Dr. Dre reference? Nope. He’s banned from The Tomb for selling $300 headphones to stupid children with stupider parents. Anyway, before we get started, let’s mine the ancient secrets of the mystical island of Hong Kong!

On second thought, never mind. This review’s already 4 months late and my laptop is starting to give me third degree dick burns. I don’t have time to play tour guide. If you wanna know any esoteric facts about HK, its economy, its culture, its people, its impact on the rest of the world, or its dark history of horrendous crimes in the fields of drug trade and human trafficking (I’m presuming), pay your preferred search engine a visit. Let’s just get to the movie and cut to the chase…oh, I forgot to mention that a hefty portion of today’s movie revolves on an axis of knife throwing. That might have been pertinent info before making a pun like “cut”. My apologies.

Not to be confused with the Police Academy sequel (#6!) of the same name, City Under Siege is the tale of Li Fei (Aaron Kwok), whose peers call him Sunny… not really sure why, but let’s say it’s because of his sunny disposition. Or that time he stabbed a waitress to death with a fork for rupturing the yolks on his sunny-side-up eggs. Whatever pulls your lever. Anyway, when Sunshine’s parents died in a car accident (and sadly not during an armed mugging which always makes for a better origin), his uncle Tak (Wah Yuen) took him in and gave him a job as a clown in his traveling performance troupe, The Thunderbolt Circus. Though grateful not to have been cast off like the orphan he was, Sun was never happy as a colorful fool and instead wanted to live up to his dear departed daddy’s legacy as the knife throwing “King of Flying Daggers”, 26th descendant of the legendary marksman, Thousand Flying Daggers. Unfortunately for Sunny he’s more like the Prince of Flying Daggers, and even then the “Prince” part would be more an honorary family title than an earned one. This guy sucks more than a hospital custodian’s ShopVac in the middle of an ebola outbreak when it comes to the family cutlery slinging business. I wouldn’t trust him to butter my biscuits let alone let him hurl sharp lengths of steel at me while I’m strapped to a spinning wheel o’ death!

Despite his insistence that the talent in his genes will bear fruit if Uncle Tak (no word on an “Aunt Tik”) would just give him a chance to put innocent paying customers’ lives in danger, his cousin Zhang Chu (Collin Chou) refuses to give up his place in the spotlight as the show’s marquee marksman. In fact, he threatens to gut Suns if he doesn’t stop trying to horn in on his job, so don’t expect to see our hero headlining shows anytime soon. Unless maybe Chu gets a bout of the flu or leaves the circus to go on a crime spree as a psychotic hulking brute…

It feels like we’re supposed to pity our protagonist in this scenario, but when we’re introduced to him, Sunny literally (as said in Rob Lowe’s Chris Traeger inflection) goes off script during a show in Malaysia and comes within seconds of committing manslaughter on an unknowing audience dupe before cool guy Chu has to step in and put “The Prince” back in his place! Sure, as with the majority of movie bad guys, ChuChu comes off as a douche knocker. BUT, he very likely saved a woman from PTSD at best and straight up VIOLENT DEATH at worst at the hands of selfish man-child Sunny, who was willing to endanger those around him for the sake of his own fucking ego! This guy is our hero!? Holy shit. Overcoming poor self-esteem and a limited natural skill set is fine for a budding hero-to-be like Spider-Man or Kick-Ass, but they only put themselves at risk with their amateur tomfoolery. Sunny is a fucking sociopath! No matter how far this flick may go in its efforts to redeem its do-gooder over the remainder of its runtime, it’s now going to be dragging The Stone of Shame for the extent of said stigmatic excursion. For shame!

As is cinematic law, Chu and the other “too cool for school” members of their little big top clique single Sunny out as the weakest member of the social herd, and as such exercise their dominance by treating him like a red-nosed reindeer. Whilst in Malaysia engaging in their post-show chicanery, the crew catch Sunny tagging along and opt to include him as their point man (i.e. stooge) whom they can just ditch/scapegoat/murder later as the situation requires. Their scheme? The bullies are investigating a local cave rumored to be home to a cache of buried treasure! BUT (yes, there’s always a but there… much like the case of my lap), as we the audience were presented in the picture’s prologue, this cave was the site of war crime experimentation by the Japanese military in the waning days of WW2: Axis Boogaloo. Check out the Men Behind the Sun movies for more on that kinda shit. In an effort to bring an end to their protracted campaign to extend the shadow of their empire over the entire East, these army scientists were dabbling in an immoral aerosol that would induce monsterism in their P.O.W.s, turning the captives into rampaging abominations! Basically Nature’s Goodness minus the pleasing taste.

Before the mutagenic mist could be perfected, the raiders from the Rising Sun’s workspace was bombed all to shit (in a scene I’ll antagonistically analyze later) by the Red Stars, leaving any remaining stashes of the unfinished super-beast spray buried. Can you see where this is going? If not, you might need to make an appointment with the figurative optometrist to get your foresight checked. Benny Chan isn’t just leading us with a trail of bread crumbs, he’s dropping full-on baguettes shaped like arrows! For those with mental glaucoma, here’s the malnourished rendition – the gang open the containers expecting precious metal (to be fair, the first one does have a stash of the shiny stuff) and get a chemical sauna instead a la Return of the Living Dead‘s Frank and Freddy. Our hero ends up passing out on a conveniently placed fishing boat nearby, one of the gang lays dead by broken neck when his attempt to kill Sun goes fatally wrong, and the remaining quartet of super steroid saturated nogoodniks are left vomiting vanilla pudding, no doubt destined to become evil Hong Kong off-brand Ninja Turtles. Not to be confused with Michael Bay’s actual bastardized half-shell bohemoths.

Anubis Note: In case you haven’t seen Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, “bohemoth” is how we spell that shit here. And yes, it’s pronounced “bo-he-muth” in case you were wondering.

It turns out the vessel our bumbler stumbled upon is a smuggling ship, and when his hosts find him unresponsive on board, they toss his sorry ass into the South China Sea! Lucky for him it seems the naturally occurring tides are coincidentally heading back to his homeland of Hong Kong, where he’s washed ashore after a few days afloat. Finally freed from his one-man coma cruise, Sunny awakens to find his body doing its best impression of Spongebob’s stage act: The Amazing Mr. Absorbancy! Sporting an XXXXL waistline and the incessant sensation of walking in wet sneakers, he tries to find his way back to the Thunderbolt Circus home office, discovering how hard it is to hitch a ride in the middle of the night when you look like a cast off from a Ju-On movie set on a cruise ship. Fortunately for him, a lovely lady named Angel Chang (played by Qi Shu, who we recently saw in Journey to the West!) stops, requesting help with her bamboozled back tire then offering her impromptu AAA lifeline a ride home in thanks. Along the way, Sunny recognizes Angel from the local newscast and marks out, declaring his fandom for her. Of all the people in HK who could’ve happened along looking for help, it just so happens that the minor celebrity our hero’s got the awkward stalker hots for is the one. Even for a movie that’s not just stretching it, that’s hyper-extending said “it” like the arm/leg of a generic bad guy in a Steve Seagal movie. Backwards elbows and knees, people. Cringe.

Returned home, Sun bids adieu to his love interest-to-be and plops into bed like the garbage bag full of tapioca he has become. Overnight, he secretes more liquid refreshment than the entirety of the background dancers did across all four volumes of Sweatin’ to the Oldies. While he’s soaking his sleeping space harder than a gang of 3rd grade bed-wetters at a sleepover, his fellow Thunderbolt performers make their turn to a life of crime official as they rob an armored truck to the tune of 5 million dollars! I’m guessing they’re Hong Kong dollars though, so it’s more like 20k American, give or take? Meh. That’ll barely afford them one of Gwyneth Paltry, errrr Paltrow‘s vibrators and a gallon jug of Japanese whale oil lubricant. Peasants.

Fuck sake. For $15k that thing better be a piece of StarkTech that turns into a suit of portable Iron Man armor!

The armored car is just one stop on the quartet’s crime spree tour though, as they’ve been busy knocking over jewelry stores and the like too. Enhanced with telekinetic powers, super strength, and bulletproof skin, it’s been the proverbial cakewalk for the villains. Unable to stop them with mere guns and police brutality, the Mu Shu porkies call in superhuman specialist agents Suen Ho (Jing Wu) and Ching Shau Wah (Jingchu Zhang). Partners in career and in life, the pair are accused of being an adorably low key professional law enforcement couple and could be sentenced to live happily ever after if convicted. I can say, with no certain certainty, that I’m certain these two are my favorite Asian movie couple since Wild Zero‘s Ace and Tobio.

The movie (or at least the English subtitle track I had to hunt down) tells us that Ho and Wah have arrested supernatural criminals before, but doesn’t give us any further allusions to just who these enhanced do-badders were. No idea if the pairing have appeared in prior Benny Chan productions, but in all honesty I really don’t care to look any further than I have already. My dick burns are getting burns on top of them! Just to be safe, I’m going to say that CUS takes place in a cinematic Hong Kong akin to Spider-Man 3 NYC – metahumans aren’t littering the place like Captain America: Civil War, but they’re also clearly not undiscovered yet like Meteor Man.

Speaking of, Meteor Man is part of the Marvel Universe continuity. I shit you not. It’s only a matter (or meteor) of time until we see Robert Townsend’s name show up on a cast listing for Avengers: Infinity War!… maybe “NetFlix’s The Defenders”?… maybe not?… probably not. Blart.


Exhibit A

The duo are due to exchange nuptials (or “swap nups” if you’re me, which you’re not, for which you should be praising Ra) in 30 days, so Hao vows to take the Frightful Four down in 20. Really? So he’s going to let them run roughshod on the Kowloon precious gems market for 3 weeks before he decides it’s time to put an end to their shenanigans?! Prick. Speaking of, Angel’s boss/boyfriend KK (Slider?) informers her that the higher ups at the news station are kicking her down the corporate ladder a few rungs so they can give her spot to a younger, hotter replacement named Yoyo. Yoyo? Yep yep. Not only is our lady losing her seat at the anchor desk, but it turns out she’s lost her seat in her boyfriend’s lap too, also replaced by her Duncanian rival. We learn that Angel herself got where she was by traveling the exact same path as Yoyo, but that’s different! Right? Cuz she’s a hero? Meh. Moving on. In an effort to save a shred of what remaining pride our heroine has left, Angel dumps a glass of water over K’s cranium, declares their relationship null and void, and officially hands in her verbal resignation. Whatever makes you feel less like a stepped-on piece of dog shit in the middle of the sidewalk, lady. Keep your head up and move on. Godspeed.

What’s a working gal to do in this modern age of HD media, where genetics are prized over journalistic ethics? Where looks trump integrity? Well, it just so happens that the same day old maid Angel finds herself destined for the unemployment line (or the glue factory… I’m not sure how they tackle this shit in China), her biggest fan awakens with abilities beyond those of mortal men. Indeed, just like Chu and, uhm, the other three circus performers (I’m not good with names or having to look them up), Sunny’s received his membership card to the Superhumans Society! On his way to the police station to explain his situation (and distance himself from his crime spreeing co-workers), his pathway is impeded by a hostage negotiation. Angel, having the Lois Lane-like super power to be in the right place at the right time, witnesses Sunny make the save, freeing the captive policewoman from her assailant with a combination of telescopic slow-mo “precision vision” and inhuman strength, accuracy and reflexes, with which he throws a single stick, shattering the abductor’s gun and piercing his arm from across the street! While everyone around him stares agape in awe and the press presence swarms him for a statement like ants on a Twinkie, ‘Gel whisks him away to a cab (I guess she’s just leaving her own car abandoned in the middle of traffic?!) for a “private interview”… which, despite the probable perversion with which you may have read that (ya gutter creeper), doesn’t mean they went home and swapped sweet and sour sauces. Amazing the places a pair of quotation marks can take the human mind.

With little imaginary hearts floating around his head (might wanna check your scalp for parasites, Flapjack), Sunny’s more than happy to give the newly freelance reporter her exclusive one-on-one with the Hong Kong Kal-El. Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Doom (in this instance, a lovely house in the middle of nowhere with an in-ground pool!), Chu and the others have kidnapped several biological engineers in hopes of reversing the grotesque monster mash side-effects of their genetic mutation. Despite being told there is no way of turning them from Fangoria cover models back into a Silver Ash cover band, they find hope when they see their old punchline Sunny on the evening news looking none the worse for toxic wear. A testament to the ancient healing powers of the South China Sea? Or just another use of the old science fiction deus ex machina of “some people are just genetically different and are immune to stuff!”? Either way, Chu and chums aim to find out.

Arriving at the Thunderbolt Circus locale faster than Bruce Wayne going back to Gotham after conquering The Pit (fucking Dark Knight Rises), the bad guys try to nab their errant clown mid-interview. Chu should change his name to SPF 69, cuz Angel just got Sun blocked! *rimshot* Awkwardly introducing himself to the minor celebrity while his hairline recedes and his increasingly lumpy face is painted up with Luna Vachon veins (see below), Chu confesses that he’s her number one die-hard fan and makes rapey face at her. How… flattering? You can practically hear Miss Chang’s ovaries shriveling on the vine the longer he talks to her. The expected altercation is instigated and the movie’s first real exchange of wire-fu is initiated!

No brawl-for-all by any stretch of the term, Sunny and Angel spend the time running and ducking their pursuers as best they can before finally being subdued. Chu threatens to bleed our hero in the search for the secret of his success, but his knife is halted by the timely intervention of the mutant hunting dynamic duo, Hao and Wah, sporting mirrored shades and martial arts! The battle ends when Sunny, seemingly turning into a cartoon character with his comically red “pressure cooker” face (that you expect to send steam shooting out of both ears), freaks the fuck out and throws two fistfuls of flying daggers at his prior impeder of career promotion. Chu responds in kind, deflecting the swarm of steel shards with a flurry of his own, sending razor sharp metal ricocheting all over the fucking place! Small appliances explode, glass shatters, structures collapse, one of the villains takes an errant dagger to the chest, and the rest of the antagonists beat feet while the heroes collect the unconscious Sunny and rush him to a hospital.

In intensive care, Sunny’s examined by scientists and it’s indeed determined that he bears the mythical movie MacGuffin of antibodies unique to his DNA. Yep, out of the billions of people who would have otherwise been malformed by exposure to the experimental discharge (like the other four people that were), one of the tiny group of FIVE just happened to be uniquely resistant. Not even to the formula in its entirety, mind you, but only the dangerous uglifying parts of it. Don’t think I enjoy telling movie logic to get off my lawn like this. My nitpickery is tantamount to acupuncture needles being slowly pushed between my vertebrae, or filling my codpiece (what, you don’t wear a codpiece?!) with hungry scarabs. It is my curse. Damn Tiki Gods. You put termites in their pillows one time and you spend the rest of eternity wanting to chew your fingers off at bullshit times like this!

While the white coats would rather keep Super Sun under indefinite lock and key for more in-depth observation (and likely dissection for sale to some Chinese super soldier program), the police don’t think the public would be too pleased with the smiling new face of mutant moderating being held in constabulary custody. Instead, Hao and Wah are assigned to be his bodyguards while Miss Chan picks up the role of talent agent to the city’s new cynosure for his upcoming avalanche of inevitable media overexposure. It happened when the Simpsons found that monkey’s paw, and it’ll happen to you too! Angel’s also fallen in love with the little goof already, because of course she has. Some would say she’s got hearts in her eyes, some would say they’re just dollar signs. I say it’s both. I may just be a foreigner, but fill my eyes with that double vision. No disguise, for that double vision.

The glamorous life of hocking Diarrhea Killer and prancing like a grinning idiot for publicity appearances goes straight to the hero’s head, ironically swelling it figuratively while his enemies’ domes are swelling literally. As for Hao, his plan to use the unwitting Sunny as bait to draw out the baddies has put a cramp into his marriage plans, postponing the date and drawing out Wah’s ire instead. She proposes that instead of the two of them tackling the remaining trio of mutants themselves, they train Sun to actually be a superhero rather than just play one, evening up the odds. Hao’s ego won’t let him risk someone else completing his job and taking his glory though, so sad to say, this is the exact moment you can start the countdown clock for Wah’s impending inclusion in the movie’s “in memorium” reel.

Cue the next fight, as Chu and the others make their next move, striking while Sunny D’s doing yet another photo shoot. The in-name-only slayer of sinners gets bodied hard by his nemesis, while Hao uses his uncanny acupuncturist prowess to beat Chu’s girlfriend with ease, promising to have her locked up and experimented on for the rest of whatever life she has left. She opts for what’s behind Door #2 instead, and self-immolates amid the pool of gasoline she was carelessly left incapacitated in. Back inside, Chu shows us his ignorance on human biology (specifically how antibodies work) by Dracula-ing off some of Sun’s vein V8, only to be massively disappointed when it doesn’t remedy away his uggo-itis. Before he can stomp the envy of his eye six feet under, the Heroic Duo drop in from off-screen to save the day. Rather than retreat, Hao’s determined to make good on his promise to marry his wifey-to-be on time, so he trades blows with the biggest baddie and leaves it up to Wah to keep their bait from being snatched off the hook by the last remaining member of the Chu Crew, uhm, mohawk guy.

Ill-prepared for the mutants’ continued evolution, Hao’s pride is his downfall, as his ambition to close the case distracts him from preventing his lady getting her internal organs pulverized by Mohawk. When he finally notices, it’s time for a late retreat as he escapes with Wah and Sunny in tow. But it’s too late. With tear streaked cheeks and a mouthful of blood, Wah tells her incredibly sweaty man to take care of himself, never lose himself, and never be afraid because she’ll always be watching over him. Then she dies…in the passenger seat of a stolen station wagon. Just like Han Solo… in my 2003 fan film re-visioning of Return of the Jedi.

As if this loss wasn’t enough of a shake up, the movie’s timeline gets a bit weird here. Hao sets up Sunny on a cot in a shack along a nearby river and sticks him full of needles to nurse the defeated hero back to health. When said hero comes to, he finds his savior nearby, torching his dearly departed in the flames of his makeshift pyre (i.e. he set the station wagon on fire)…in the same area she died…so…this all has to be taking place not too long after our previous scene…so whose house did they break into for their acupuncture session?! And since when can acupuncture fix broken organs and blood loss in what can’t have been more than a few hours!? OUCH! There goes another two scoops of scarabs.

And so, with both of our brotagonists having fallen hard from the height of hubris, now they must pick each other up like a pair of crane game claws. You know how much of a bitch those things can be. Forged by Loki himself, they are! Anyway, Hao vows to teach Sunny how to control his powers in his scorched fiancee’s honor, so let’s cue the montage!

With her boyfriend/client engaged in secret training for what could be weeks (or might just be a few days? The movie’s not 100% clear on it.), Angel’s left alone to mourn his perceived passing. As alone as you can get when you’re under 24 hour police protection, at least. The star-crossed lovers flashback to black & white renditions of their prior scenes together, denoting loss and longing as such scenes do. Having put the entire city under siege (we have a title!) alongside his last remaining cohort since Sunny’s disappearance, Chu (who stole Weird Al’s plastic Rambo muscle suit from UHF) uses his enemy’s pilfered cell phone to call Angel and tell her how he desperately needs her to deliver him from his personal Hell of emo teen sadness. Note to readers: listening to The Cure and other depressing music when you’re sad doesn’t make you less sad, it just reminds you why you’re sad in the first place, then piles on MORE SAD! Despite the saying, fighting fire with more fire only makes a BIGGER FIRE!

Feeling like she has nothing left to live for now (or maybe she’s just tired of needing a security detail every time she has to dump ass), Angel strikes a plan with the pigs to use her as a lure to entice Chu into a trap. She could just call him back and allow the military to triangulate his locale via the phone, but that wouldn’t put her life in immediate danger, so why bother?! Remember how well things went the last time an Asian movie in The Tomb tried to lure a monster into a trap? No? Go read my Garuda review. I’ll wait.

See? Yeah. Same thing happens here. Shit goes south faster than a racist Yankee after the Emancipation Proclamation. Just as Angel is about to see if her namesake(s) are real, guess who appears from nowhere to save her from being turned into street pizza? If you guessed anyone other than Sunny, you’re either too preoccupied to be reading this episode right now, or you’re just really really really shitty with names. Before the two heavies finally finish their feud in furious combat, Hao takes out both Mohawk and himself, using an urn filled with his beloved’s ashes to smash a light fixture and ignite a broken fuel line. An all too short-lived (no pun intended) exchange whose ultimate finale is predictable, sure, but I like Hao’s use of the urn…which probably contained more than a few leftovers from the station wagon’s ashtray mixed in with whatever he was able to salvage from Wah’s herself if you think about it.

Now for the big climax. Our final showdown is a fair mix of flashy martial arts punches and kicks, superhuman feats of tossed transportation (cars and trucks and such), both guys saving Angel from certain doom, a noble sacrifice or two, an effort to apply some last minute pathos to the villain, and a mandatory bit of the throwing knife dueling that started this whole rivalry, though not as much as you’d expect given all the hours/days/weeks of training Sunny pulled in the previous sequence. Speaking of, here’s a PSA for any fellow mutants out there: Don’t be like Chu. Take absolute care when it comes to protecting your lower back in any combat situation, as any perforation of the area has a high likelihood of causing your internal organs to violently detonate. I recommend investing in one of Lumpy Leroy’s Cast Iron Cummerbunds! Tell ’em Anubis sent you to get free shipping and $5 off your first order!

Good triumphs over evil, and just to make sure Benny Chan gets to tick off the final line of his “superhero movie tropes” checklist, Angel throws herself in front of one of Chu’s daggers to protect Sunny while he’s busy being a paragon of human decency and saving a family trapped in a flaming car. She survives though, and Sunny kills Chu, so the audience gets to go home on a high note. Such ends the ballad of Johnny Two Blades, errr, Twin-Dagger Sunny. Marge, is this a happy ending or a sad ending?

I opted to review CUS based entirely on the promise of “a circus clown gains super powers and has to fight his co-workers who have become super villains”. Little did I know that Sunny’s screen time in greasepaint would be relegated to his 5 minute introduction, thus abandoning the novelty almost immediately. Boooo. Points lost out of the gate for the misleading synopsis. Things don’t get much better from then on either. It’s not that this is a bad superhero movie. The problem is that Benny Chan tries so hard bending over backwards to emulate the Hollywood blockbuster comic book flick formula that he falls on his head and knackers himself, leaving us with one of the most generic by-the-numbers super movies I’ve ever seen.

If you and your riffmates are looking for a feature to play Genre Bingo with, CUS fills all the boxes in its category. Hapless hero? Check. Hero’s parents dead? Check. The villain is an associate from the hero’s personal life? Check. The hero’s crush falls in love with him shortly after getting to know him? Check. Said romantic interest is injured/killed during the final battle? Check. The villain’s given moments of sympathy so we’re supposed to regret his forthcoming death? Check. The hero wins his first fight, loses his second, then comes back to win in the end? Check. Pride and/or ego lead to the hero’s momentary downfall? Check. The hero overcomes his fall from grace by embracing the wise words of a mentor/father figure? Check. Training montage?! BINGO! BINGO! BINGOOOOO!

Yep. That’s my biggest beef with this movie: I’ve seen it all before. Chan tries something a little atypical of the Asian fantasy epics, but over does it on the Americanization stuff. I’m all for tweaking with the General Tso recipe, but not with heaps of ketchup. The computer generated shit’s not the best, but I don’t expect it to be from any movie born of an outside-of-Tinseltown budget. Consider my expectations tempered in that regard. Also, despite my general dislike for Sunny’s goofball demeanor (and those stupid hand motions he makes every time he refers to himself as “Twin-Daggers”), finally seeing him buckle down and become the mature good guy in the final act, despite being hackneyed, made me hate him a bit less. He’s still a heaping tub of chodeslaw though for putting that audience member’s life at risk in the beginning. Psycho. Angel’s only a smidgen further north on the moral compass, because she didn’t almost kill somebody with her fuckery. She did start her relationship with Sunny under the animus of hitching herself to his rising star though, looking out for her own best interests while also getting to stick it to her former employer for letting her go. Because again, she was being replaced by a younger, more attractive woman, the same way she herself ascended to the position in the first place!

As noted prior, Hao and Wah are my favorite part of this titular besieged metropolis. They’re cute without being overly saccharine. They’re equal parts business and pleasure without going too far to either end. Hao’s conceit leads to his greatest loss, but he earns his redemption by becoming the hero’s teacher, then gets his peace in the end, fulfilling his duty and joining his beloved in oblivion. Aces. Sadly, when your supporting cast is more endearing than your main characters, you’re doing something wrong, Benny. Write better.

I’m going to end this episode on the movie’s groaniest groan-inducer before I take off. Remember when I said I’d get back to my ire over the destruction of the Japanese army’s Malaysian Frankenstein lab? Yep. Although the attack on the lab comes from outside, a series of precisely laid out explosions erupt inside of the cave in a designated order. I’m not the type to think that anything is impossible. Highly improbable, of course, but not necessarily impossible…except this. Could the Chinese forces have infiltrated the lair the night before, laid out a bunch of C4, and simply been waiting for the right time to blow their load of shock & awe all over the faces of their enemies? Sure. Maybe. No. Never. Stop. I’ve included a little visual aid to illustrate this particular blister on my butt.

Our next two episodes will be features in name but not in length, so they shouldn’t take four months to finish. Keep your eyes peeled like the delicious delicious grapes they are for the first such installment in the next few days, with the other coming out Sunday-ish. Until then, this is the end. The only end, my friend. Always live your life like a flying dagger!

Moral of the Story: Don’t take for granted the love you have today, because you could lose it tomorrow. Also, acupuncturists are some of the most dangerous people on the planet!

Screenshots_____


But… if it’s “Universal”, how can it be “Limited”?


“GAH! I’VE HAD THAT FUCKING ‘CALL ME MAYBE’ SONG BURIED IN MY BRAIN FOR FOUR YEARS! FOR THE LOVE OF CRONENBERG, SOMEONE HIT ME WITH A SHOVEL AND DISLODGE IT!”


“Gacy Good Times International – introducing underage boys to crawlspaces the world over!” (Coulrophobics? I’m sorry. Coulrophiliacs? You’re welcome.)


So other countries have their own Criss Angel to suffer through? Kinda nice to know we in the US aren’t alone in suffering madoucheians.


“Your milk money or your life!”


“I know you’re hungry, but we can stop and get you some fresh clam strips. Those have been sitting under my seat for at least a week.”


“This is James Chang. James came out of a 10 year coma last week and has never seen ‘2 Girls 1 Cup’. We’re going to broadcast his reaction live, tonight on ‘60 Minutes‘.”


Looks like the next Wolverine movie will be based entirely on a version of the character found in those Chinese dollar store action figure sets. Maybe this will be the first step toward finally getting that Super Man Big Alliance team-up movie we’ve been begging Marble and CD Comiks for!


Up next in the Chinatown Burt Reynolds Look-a-like Pageant: Charlie “The Gator” Zhang!


If Beavis and Butthead taught us nothing else, it’s that nothing stops a nosebleed better than a tampon.


“I want to thank you for electing me your King Dingus for the season! I will do my best to uphold the honor of the position at the sacrifice of what little dignity I have left!”


Nice shades. If they look into each others’ eyes, will it create some kind of reality collapsing infinity loop?!


Hey! He stole Meg Griffin’s power to grow her fingernails long! Plagiarist!


“Well, you know we’re gonna end up in this 3-way eventually, so we might as well get it over with so we can make our car payment on time. Paper, Rock, Scissors for position?”


“I killed my stylist for dressing me in this stupid hat. Then I formed his face skin into my corsage!”


As much as I love Elizabeth Banks, this is what the new Rita Repulsa should look like!


Excedrin headache number 245 – You’ve been exposed to an experimental toxin and turned into a raging mutant. Your brain feels like its going to explode out of your skull, and simple aspirin won’t do the trick. You need Excedrin!… or a hole drilled in your head to release the evil spirits that are haunting you. Either one works, really.


Ever cried so hard that tears came out of your whole face? If not, you’ve never known real love. Congratulations.


This is why you never try to cuddle your pet porcupine.


“So you decided to turn the car we stole into your fiancee’s funeral pyre?”
“Yes…”
“Okay. Did you happen to look it over first to make sure there wasn’t anything else in there? I only ask because I can’t find my wallet…”


Hao’s DIY car crematorium was such a success that he decided to really up his game and turn it into a career! He’s in such demand now that he’s burning entire skyscrapers full of bodies every day!


Yes! Someone finally answered the Craigslist contract I put out on Justin Beiber! Guess I better get that $120 together. Time to turn in my bottles and cans.


I told Nosferatu not to feed on those professional bodybuilders, but at least he’s seeing some sick gains! What vampire needs the use of their testicles anyway?


The ages old geek query of “What if Venus De Milo (from the live-action Ninja Turtles show) fucked Killer Croc?” is finally answered.

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Anubis will return next time in
“The Three People You Meet in Texas”

Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

Episode 75 – Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance (2015)

or “Heads on Pianos: Return of the Black Gift”

Featuring: Mathew “Samurai Cop” Karedas , Mark “Samurai Cop” Frazer , Bai “Crank: High Voltage” Ling , and a VERY special appearance by Tommy “The Room” Wiseau

Director: Gregory “Mad Cowgirl” Hatanaka

Writers: Gregory “Mad Cowgirl” Hatanaka, Rich “Sociopathia” Mallery, Tony “American Nudist” Young

Origin: USA

Follows: Samurai Cop

Review_____

“I am not you! I will NEVER be you! I. Am. Joe. MARSHAAAAAAAALL!”

Hey. So… I’ve been gone awhile. Let’s just say it was something funny like a whiskey-fueled vision quest through the Gobi Desert with the ghost of Hunter S. Thompson so I don’t have to talk about my actual problems. Groovy? Groovy.

Anyway, 2015 ended on an omega level downer with the passing of Our Lord Lemmy Kilmister, and so far 2016 has been a Hollywood hit parade of death. I won’t post the ever growing list of the lost, as we’ve all got enough to be down-in-the-dumps aboot. Prior to anybody pointing their accusation fingers, let the record show that their deaths weren’t my doing! My bosses in the Pantheon decided that they were doing away with letting vacation days roll over, so I’ve been on a break from the reaping race for the last few months with that whole vision quest thing, lest I lose my paid days cache. Nobody fucks with my vacation days, ya dig? Dunno who’s been covering my shifts since, but I’d bet my life savings (an abandoned van buried in upstate NY that’s full of empty bottles and cans) that you can direct your digital hate mail to Tuoni via tuonideathmaker420@pantheon.fi if you’re looking for someone to vent on. Those Finnish gods can be real pricks when no one’s looking. He’s the hemorrhoid who pulled the trigger on Donald Pleasence after finally seeing The Puma Man on “MST3K”!

The year kicked off on a total wet fart start and has rolled mercilessly down that same path ever since. But, let’s just see if we can’t open up a Glade Freshness Bomb© and dissipate some of this emotional flatulence with a few laughs! Before we grab our garlic buttered popcorn and our pitchers of Jack & Coke (now known as “The Lemmy”), let’s catch the neophytes up on just what a “Samurai Cop” is.

In 1991, a thistle thong bikini of a movie named Samurai Cop was let loose on the metaphorical bathing suit area of cinema seekers the world over. The penultimate picture for since-dead Iranian writer/director Amir Shervan, SC was made on a budget that would make so-called “shoestring” projects look like summer blockbusters in contrast. Known by some as the homeless man’s Lethal Weapon, the flick was an offense to the senses. At the plot’s epicenter, two Asian gangs were at war over some prime crime Los Angeles real-estate: a Chinese gang known as the Ginza and a Japanese Yakuza splinter group calling itself The Katana, who were such a tiny splinter of the Yakuza that there were only two Asian members (one of whom may have actually been half Mexican), with the remainder of the roll call being filled with black and white extras in thrift store “$5 Bag of Rags” wardrobes. The most notable of the Katana was their big white enforcer, Yamashita, whose full beard wasn’t enough to disguise the monstrous jaw behind it. Yep, it’s our dear dearly departed friend of the Tomb: Robert Z’Dar. The Maniac Cop himself. May his chin forever rest in peace.

Assigned to take the bad guys down were LAPD Detective Frank Washington (Mark Frazer) and SDPD Detective Joe Marshall (Mathew Karedas), who was flown in to help with the case given his extensive background in Japanese culture. Yep, our titular titan of law enforcement is a white guy name Joe. Such brave casting. Bravo.

Between Joe's sped-up sword fighting powers (and the poorly attached lady mop upon his brow) and Frank's penchant for indiscriminately shooting bad guys on a whim (and his arsenal of goofy facial expressions and bad jokes), the villains had no chance. The bad guys were brought down, invitations for sex were thrown around between characters more than an '80s porno, cake was served, and another awful movie slipped into the obscurity it was condemned to, not even getting a riffing aboard the Satellite of Love like fellow '90s trash bin refugees Future War, Werewolf, The Final Sacrifice, and Soultaker.

The acting, the dialogue, the dubbing, the action-free action sequences, the FF>> car chases, the FF>> sword duel, the inconsistent film quality (and tint), the unbalanced audio, the awkward sex scenes (one preceded by the seduction of a woman via birthday cake and banana hammock), the 4th grade art class wall decoration of a lion’s head, the random gay Costa Rican waiter with an affinity for cops (or “cawps” as he calls them). It all added up to a mind-boggling murder orgy for the IQ points of all who watch it. I was lucky to have the commentary track of Trash Movie Master Joe Bob Briggs hold my hand through the initial viewing, so I recommend you seek out the same DVD release to lube up your sanity sphincter rather then just trying to cornhole yourself dry with this one. Barring that, I suggest getting your wittiest friends together and ingesting some mood enhancing chemicals if nothing else, because it is a sanity train wreck.

I honestly couldn’t tell if Samurai Cop was a clusterfuck of outright incompetence, or the many-layered master plan of a diabolical genius who was crafting a legacy that would inspire others long after his death. Either way, thanks to the total corruption of humanity by the internet’s reach, some of history’s failingest failures that ever failed have been brought to the attention of people who probably would have avoided them otherwise. And thanks to another arm of the worldwide web’s spider god (crowdfunding sites), Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance was conjured from the darkest depths of The Deep Ones to rain emotional trauma upon us as like a golden shower of madness from All-Father Odin himself. That guy downs a LOT of mead too, so you know that’s gotta be a frothy, odorous, volatile shower.

So yes, my own cinemasochism aside, I place a mountain of blame for the mental meltdown given to me by watching Samurai Cop Part Deux upon YOU, the sadists who threw their disposable income at the creators of this project, thus enabling them to commit their proposed sin upon the rest of us! Speaking of, we’re two pages into this episode, so I should probably prematurely eject the pregame show and make with reviewing the actual movie whose moniker adorns the above subject line! Don’t worry, since it’s still a relatively new release I won’t be going into a lot of detail about the plot, so this is gonna be a shorter read for those with a bus to catch or a loved one waiting for you to pick them up from prison. But not for you dominatrices out there. You’re being paid to be in charge, damn it! Earn your paycheck and subject them to the sweet abuse of tardiness!

Also, ignore the irony of letting me tell you what to do if you actually took that last bit to heart. *wink*wink*

For anyone who wasn’t sure what tone the movie was going to take (like myself), here’s a hint: the opening scenes flashbacks to 1991 to focus on detectives Washington and Marshall and the tragic event (and Joe’s subsequently hilarious reaction – the greatest repeated delivery of “NO!” since Dr. Loomis lost his shit during the Halloween IV finale) leading up to their eventual separation from each other… and no attempt is made at concealing how much both actors have aged in the quarter-century since. So, yeah, this flick is gonna be intentionally terrible. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is relative to your personal preferences. As for me? It’s a fine line between dumb and fun and dumb fun when it comes to intended crappy movie-ness. That said…well, if I told you right now, you might not read the rest of the review, so let’s carry on!

25 years later, Joe and Frank are estranged. While Detective Washington has continued the civil struggle to uphold law and order (the state of social being, not the TV show) in LA, Marshall-san has gone off the grid to live the hermit life away from the temptations and torments of humanity. You know, like a “Facebook break”, but in real life. The conflict that will inevitably bring the pair back together? The Katana and Ginza are at it again! Despite being killed in the prior feature, Katana patriarch Fuj Fujiyama (Cranston Komuro) is back, older than dirt and twice as ugly. Since the slapdash “take what you can get” assemblage of random black and white guys didn’t serve his needs so well in ’91, Fuj Fuj’s since outsourced his goon hiring to one of those talent agencies that works solely in porn actors. Not to be confused with one of those video series where it’s a fake porn agency and the guy’s just pounding amateurs on a casting/blasting couch to post on his xHamster account.

Fuj Fuj’s Clitori Quorum cuntcists (“Cunt cysts”? Might wanna get to your gyno.) of adult actresses Bai Ling, Lexi Belle, and Nicole Bailey (aka Zoey Monroe – check out “Princess Peach Gets Fucked By Her Kingdom” for more of Miss Monroe’s thespianism). Ling plays Doggé, not to be confused with Doge the canine meme. Snoop Doggéy Doggé is Fuj Fuj’s current Katana enforcer, while Hera (Belle) and Tessa (Bailey) bring up her rear (much where I’d like to be) as her kinky muscle. And if you expected a muffdive-a-trois scene in a movie where a trio of porn actresses play deviant characters in roles involving power differentials, well, you’re right. Don’t get too excited though, cuz it looks like the movie’s Kickstarter didn’t make it to the “hardcore sex scenes” tier. It’s 10 seconds of 2am Skinemax at best.

A series of assassinations have sprung up in the LA area in recent weeks, with bigwig power players from the Ginza (no longer Chinese and instead now ALSO members of the Japanese Yakuza for no apparent reason) being the targets. The killers leave Katana medallions behind, so it seems we’ve got a Yakuza civil war on our hands. Not nearly as cool as Captain America: Civil War, but what is? You know what else isn’t? Batman v. Superman. Fuck you and your Christ allegories right in the gall bladder, Zack Snyder.

In their rise to power, the Katana also start shit with their other rivals, the Shinjuku, turning this tale into a 3-way war to keep the Shins and Gins from treaty-ing up against them… I think? I don’t know. Either I’m being dragged through a shit pit of a script or I’ve suddenly been stricken with ADHD. I re-watched the first 15 minutes half-a-dozen times and I still couldn’t make heads nor tails of this clusterfuck! Anyway, Frank’s investigation brings him into contact with an emaciated Joe Marshall who looks like human beef jerky. After killing an impromptu gang of pop-up ninjas, the Black Gift and the Wonder Bread Warrior re-buddy up and get down to hero business.

The remaining hour boils down to oddball fight scenes, Joe using the old Samurai Cop magic to seduce a young Joan Jett look-a-like, random cameos from returning bit characters, Tommy Wiseau in bad Black Mask cosplay shouting incoherent lines of dialogue fed to him from off-camera, and all manner of oddly shot scenes awkwardly cut together with flashback footage and unexplained clips from fake TV commercials. The callbacks and parodizing of the original movie (like the return of the random lion head!) give way to weird-ass fever dream nonsense that was either included as a film school freshman effort to “art up” the production a la David Lynch, or was the result of the movie being edited with a wood-chipper and an industrial sized jar of Elmer’s.

Whereas much of Samurai Cop was shot in generic outside settings (parking lots, presumably abandoned property, etc), Deadly Vengeance was shot almost entirely on closed sets, many of which resemble the backgrounds for any number of direct-to-video Aliens and Terminator knock-off features from the far gone ’80s and ’90s. Exterior scenes mostly consist of fly-by footage of LA and the actors standing in front of green screens… mostly. Green screens? Yeah, Executive Producer Wiseau definitely had more than one hand in this hole. My favorite instance of this? A Tor Johnsony Yakuza goon marches in place in front of a Chinatown backdrop, only said backdrop stays stationary, thus killing the illusion of movement outright. If Ed Wood were alive today, this type of screen tech tomfoolery would be one of his hallmarks.

Speaking of Ed Wood, the acting is all bad. Very bad. Very very bad. Not sure if it’s all just part of the joke (which Mark Frazer is clearly in on, if nothing else) or what happens when your cast is made up of more than a few professionals from the meat market back lots. Or back door lots if you pay them an extra 20%. Bai Ling’s performance is particularly horrendous, but she’s such a coke-fueled dynamo that it was impossible for me not to witness! She’s the type of woman you equally want to get drunk with and fear getting drunk with because you’re almost positive that she’s the 29th Lord of Chaos. You never know which direction she’s gonna take her Wonkavator in, but you should have your life insurance paid up before you get on board! Speaking of things I unironically enjoyed, I would legit pay real money for a copy of the movie’s soundtrack. Why? Because I’m a manimal.

A couple interesting tidbits of triv for y’all – at one point, Joe comments that he’d heard everyone on the force thought he was dead. Chances are this is an inside joke. The movie was originally supposed to feature Frank teaming with Joe’s daughter to fight the almost exclusively Caucasian Japanese marauders…because Hatanaka and friends didn’t realize that Karedas was still alive to reprise the title role! Once they found out, though, everything was rewritten and so we got the movie we have today instead. Also, despite his passing before he could be involved with the actual production of the movie, Robert Z’Dar’s visage plays “Where’s Waldo?” a few times along our trek to the end credits, as well as an homage drop of someone being called a “maniac cop”. Finally, were you aware that one-off 007 George Lazenby was originally enlisted to play a part in the pic? True story. Unfortunately, the geezer was a bit under the weather when he was scheduled to shoot his part, so his “shaken, not stirred” ass had to be written right off Her Majesty’s secret service and out the proverbial door. Oh what could have been though…

And that’s that. Samurai Cop 2 was part fanboy love letter sequel and part Russian Roulette of retarded nonsense. The good, the bad, and the mediocre. I came, I saw, I did the walk of shame after. It outdoes its predecessor in terms of production value and general competence, but doesn’t snag that coveted “so bad, it’s good” category that it seemed to want to be. There are hushed whispers in these haunted hills of a making-of documentary on Deadly Vengeance‘s origins rumored to see release this summer. If said fruits reach a ripened state, you can bet I’ll be throwing up my thoughts here like so much expired canned lobster meat. So, look forward to that! Or don’t. I’m not responsible for your personal expectations.

For those who tried to call me out (including one person who actually sent me a fax!) over my disdainful comments about black licorice in my last review, let me state very clearly right now so everyone knows it: I do NOT discriminate against candy based on its color nor country of origin! I’m no Reescist. *rimshot*

Oh, and on the topic of call outs, this one goes to the Donald Trump supporter who called me a “faggot” for my negative comments about said sentient anal wart Chia Pet marinated in Nacho Cheese during my Danger 5 review: I am unvexed by your lazy slur. It doesn’t apply to me, so it has no power over me. It’s about as effective as calling me a giraffe or a dining room table. If I were gay, I’d feel empowered to separate your jaw from the rest of your no doubt misshapen skull, rattling your tiny pea brain around like the stirring bead inside of a can of spray paint. As is though, your insult was flaccid. Actual gay men would probably be more insulted at you calling me a “faggot”, as I’m far from being the sexiest bear in the Yellowstone circle jerk. Either way, get your head out of your grandpappy’s ass and check your calendar. It’s 2016. If you can’t come up with something portraying a little spontaneous wit (might I suggest “shit juggler” or “coconut fuck” to get you started?), don’t waste our air oxygenating your racist, sexist, xenophobic, fetid gray matter. And you know why I can call you a racist, sexist, xenophobe? Because you’re supporting someone who is literally those things! I’d toss some more unsavory truths your way in retort, but you’ve already outed yourself as a Trump Thumper, and it’s hard to hit you below the belt when you’re so proudly wearing it around your ankles. Besides, insults coming to me from a Drumpf guzzler? You might as well be shooting spitwads at a Sherman. Hell, you didn’t even have the chutzpah to use your real email address in your feedback form! If you wanna live under the rule of a propaganda propagating penis potato (or “dick tater”), break out your Mr. Fusion and go heil Der Fuhrer with the rest of your time displaced ilk. #MyStruggle #DoTheDrumpftyDrumpf

Now, I’m off to watch “Lucha Underground” and make love to the root beer float birthday cake my Evil Dead Bride made me before she gets home from the killing fields. Will I be back soon with another mediocre episode of tepid humor and unwarranted angerlust? I make no guarantees beyond the guarantee that there are no guarantees…I gare-own-tee! Later, nerds.

Moral of the Story: Love is one continuous stream that never ends. Didn’t know that? You should’ve gone to Japanese school.

Screenshots_____

I guess Troy McClure is renting his place out for porno shoots now. Here’s a screenshot from Gropers & Groupers, cumming soon!


Jeezus. I used to think I was 100% hetero, but after this I think I may be a Bai sexual. *rimshot*


Ladies, if your ass has never caused a black man to make a face like that, you need to drink more milk. Yowza!


“You’re lucky. I wanted a machine gun too, but they just gave me this weird Spencer’s Gifts disco ball piece of shit. How the fuck am I supposed to kill anybody with this thing!?”


Special guest appearance by “Strangers with Candy”’s Jerri Blank.


Holy Nefertiti’s titties. After 25 years, Joe looks like an unwrapped mummy.


Kids, THIS is why you always use a lubricant when masturbating. *The More You Know*


Tommy Wiseau’s next project? A remake of the David Hasslehoff “drunken cheeseburger consumption” video.


The lion patiently stalks his prey. As much as we want to interject and save her, we cannot interfere with nature. We can only continue filming as Joyce DeWitt’s fate is sealed.


Wiseau is not shielding his eyes to view an atomic blast or a solar eclipse. He’s simply heeding the Surgeon General’s warning for the safest way to watch Paul Blart 2.


Sure, it’s only a repainted NERF gun, but in her hands it might as well be a grenade launcher! RUN!


Don’t worry Joe, everyone’s probably too distracted by the naked lady sword fight to notice you desperately sucking in your gut back there.


One of the gaffers filled Joe’s suit with centipedes during his last bathroom break.


There are worse ways to wake up than with a woman’s nipple giving you a Wet Willy. Joe’s just upset because he was having that nightmare where he’s Chekov in Wrath of Khan.


“Yes, I am Joe Estevez. Yes, I am the brother of Martin Sheen, and the uncle of Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez. And yes, I was the villain in Rollergator. Now, if you’re done being starstruck, could you direct me to the craft services table?”


President Donald Trump with Vice President Nightman (ahhhAHHHHahhh!).
(The Nightman Cometh)


A still from Greg Hatanaka’s new Kickstarter campaign to fund his next Tommy Wiseau vehicle: Black Mask 3: Meet Joe Black Mask.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Big Top Beatdown”

Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.