Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Week 5: “Big Play” Slay Saves The Day and “Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky”

Written by :
Published on : October 13, 2016

 

Welcome back to Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon. In this spooky sanctum I’ve poured over all the replay tape to come up with my favorite NFL play of the week. Then it’s straight back to the projector to unspool a film you may have not been aware of…

 

The lights have dimmed, the bats are fluttering, and the graves have been treated with quicklime.

 

Week 5: “Big Play” Slay Saves the Day

 

Nothing like a big win to keep a season’s hopes alive after a three game losing streak. Darius Slay is now getting paid like a top cornerback and he finally looked it on Sunday with a forced fumble that ended up giving the Lions the lead and then this huge interception to put the day away.

 

Wentz’s first NFL pick was a backbreaker with time still on the clock and a Lions defense that had trouble stopping the Eagles’ offensive march most of the day. It seems obvious enough that all Slay had to do was “become the receiver” on a deep ball, but re-watching the tape shows just how good Slay’s coverage on Nelson Agholor is and the play Slay makes isn’t just a jump ball, but an aggressive and intelligent move. As a Lions fan I’m hoping that Slay continues this caliber of play throughout the rest of the season. He’s a bright spot on a defensive side that’s struggling with injuries and mediocrity.

 

The cherry on top? I was at the game. And while the play happened on the opposite side of the field from where I was sitting, there was absolutely no feeling like seeing Slay pivot and head back the other way. “Fly Eagles, Fly” getting drowned out by “Gridiron Heroes” on the way home.

 

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Your humble author making new friends…

 

Week 5: Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky

Story Of Ricky blu cover

 

Director: Lam Ngai Kai
Released: 1991

 

I managed to catch this one via another internet recommendation when it was streaming on Netflix (which is sadly no longer the case), and I can safely say I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Sure, Gareth Evans’s The Raid (2011, 2014) movies have a little bit of that “anything can happen” martial arts perfection, but while those flicks truck in expert action and a sense of videogame-era storytelling, this one pours on the red stuff and crazy special effects for the most outrageous gore set pieces I’ve ever seen in the martial arts genre.

 

Not being too familiar with the picture’s background, I was able to find that the film is supposedly a very faithful adaption of a Japanese Manga, and director Lam cut his teeth working at the illustrious Shaw Brothers studio in Hong Kong, so he’s definitely got the right pedigree.

 

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The plot, which is of course gloriously beside the point, hinges on good-guy titular inmate Riki in a not-too-distant future where all prisons have been privatized. As with many violent kung-fu movies, the evildoers’ corruption revolves around the heroin trade and like the best of these types of movies, the jailor and inmate villains are gloriously stylized in the mold of the “Street Fighter” game franchise.

 

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The outlandishly cartoonish violence can border on camp at times, but the good far outweighs the bad with Riki strangling an enemy with his own intestines (which Riki removed in the first place), our hero performing bootleg surgery on his own tendons in the span of twenty seconds, and a full blown monster a la the mother of all horror films: Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive (1992). That’s right. This picture is so batshit crazy and ludicrously nutty that it deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as Dead Alive. If you screen this movie for a date and your partner reacts positively you got marriage material right there.

 

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Here’s a nicely edited highlight reel of the gonzo gore insanity:

 

Full movie below:

 

 


How The Karate Kid Ruined My LIfe

Written by :
Published on : May 22, 2016

 

 

One of my favorite movies growing up was 1984’s The Karate Kid. If you haven’t seen it, fuck off. If you don’t remember it, it’s essentially teenage Rocky in the San Fernando Valley. Ralph Macchio learns karate from wise old Mr. Miyagi so he can stand up to these Corba Kai jerks and go out with Elisabeth Shue. I loved this movie, and it created several lifelong obsessions: movies about teenagers, “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama, Elisabeth Shue and most importantly, karate.

 

Being a martial arts expert seemed like the coolest thing in the world to me. You could not give a fuck about anything and beat up anyone who tried to mess with you. As a shy and socially awkward kid, this was all that I wanted. I signed up for a taekwondo class convinced that I had discovered the shortcut to self-confidence. I was 100% wrong about that.

 

The problems started even before I got to class. Putting on the outfit, or gi, for the first time, I had a horrible realization: there was nothing cool about wearing this thing. First of all, it’s white. And it was definitely after Labor Day. Secondly, it’s this weird short robe that has multiple ties like a straitjacket. I began to understand why Jean Claude Van Damme always wound up shirtless in his movies. Realizing that everyone would be wearing a gi, I resigned myself to looking stupid. At least we would all looks stupid.

 

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When I got to class, things got worse. I realized that this wasn’t going to be learning life lessons with an enchanting old man. I realized, for the first time, that this was karate class. It was school after school. That I willingly signed up for. What an idiot I had been! It wasn’t even a part of school that I enjoyed, like reading or lunch. It was basically gym class, led by somebody’s beefy dad who would sweat when he yelled at us. Very un-Miyagi. If I wanted to get yelled at, I could have stayed home.

 

I might have been able to put up with all this bullshit if the class had delivered the goods. But it totally did not. I learned a few basic punches and kicks, that’s it. Nothing that was going to impress Elisabeth Shue or fight off the Cobra Kai. When I saw a bunch of older kids waiting around for their class to start, I realized this wasn’t a shortcut to anything. This was like a cult: once you’re in, you’re supposed to stay in. After that first class, I told myself I wouldn’t be back for another class.

 

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But then a funny thing happened: I didn’t quit right away. Because I realized that I didn’t know very much taekwondo, but I knew a little bit. Maybe that would be enough to diffuse a dangerous situation. I started waiting for something to happen, an excuse to show off my newly acquired karate moves. That’s when I realized that Ralph Macchio only learned karate because he was getting beat up everyday. Was I really hoping to be terrorized by a bully? Did I want my life to get worse just to prove that I went to a karate class? What the fuck was wrong with me?

 

After that, taekwondo only had one thing left to teach me: how to quit something your parents have already spent a bunch of money on. And I turned out to be pretty good at that. So thanks, Ralph Macchio.

 

 


Are we talking about Ronda Rousey the right way?

Written by :
Published on : August 4, 2015

UFC 190: the world watched as Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey destroyed Bethe Correia in a matter of moments. To many, this outcome was no surprise. Rousey is at the top of her game and Dana White, President of UFC, is struggling to find real opponents to challenge her. This was supposed to be Rousey’s toughest match to date but if you blinked you might have missed the whole thing.

Ronda Rousey and Bethe Correia at UFC 190

 

Ronda is a beast in her sport. A force to be reckoned with.  But are we talking about her the right way? Seconds after her big win, news outlets from around the world started to spin out their versions of the ‘big story’. My problem is that some writers, pundits, fans use language that is totally objectifying. Look, she is woman. And she is attractive. But that has nothing to do with her fighting prowess or have any affect on how you should talk about her. We, collectively, need to stop filtering her talent through our genitals.

She isn’t a novelty, or some sideshow. She is the best female fighter on the planet and she deserves our respect. Just like all female athletes (not just the pretty ones). So all the jokes hinting at domestic violence, sexual assault, or general misogyny need to stop.

 

Rousey with her Team after the win

 

Don’t get it twisted. You can like her as a fighter. You can find her attractive (I know I do). You can be delighted by her down-to-earth charm. But we cannot allow our own ideas of aesthetics to alter the way we talk about an athlete.  That’s just not fair.

We don’t do this stuff to men. In the great Kobe vs LeBron debate, no one judges James by his hairline. These points are superficial. We talk numbers and stats. But as soon as breasts get added to the equation, we lose all sense of integrity.

I wish the best of luck to Ronda Rousey. In and out of the octagon. I know she doesn’t need it but I hope she continues blazing the path she’s on. And to all the creeps out there that can’t see past her good looks. I hope a very strong person beats your ass. I don’t care if that person is a man or a woman, ugly or attractive, I just hope they do a good job and they take their time.

 

 


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