The Quesadillas Crisis!: Brad To The Bone In The Raid On Revlon

A Fistful Of Lollipops… 

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“Ok, let me see if I’ve got this straight. In order to be grounded, I’ve got to be crazy. And I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded, that means I’m not crazy anymore, and I have to keep flying” – Capt. John Yossarian. 

“Well, bless my blueberry muffins, what’s going on?!”

Crisis!

Revlon – one of the last remaining Federation Planets to resist being assimilated into the mighty bad Zandokan Empire – has called on the Galactic Defence Militia to bolster its defences. But with Zandokan Zkorpion Zquadrons wreaking havoc on what’s left of the Federated supply lines, vital munitions [AND FOOD!] can’t get through.

Secretly, Brad Company have flown in to help out, but Major Baumer – Revlon’s notorious Commander-in-Chief – has found out and is preparing to arrest that irreverant cake-scoffer: Brad Fartlighter, who – on the other hand – has encountered a far more pressing problem in the canteen…

“Whaddya mean, ya don’t ‘ave any quesadillas left?!” 

“I mean we’ve completely run outta Mex grub, Commander…” Sandy the Grubserver moaned.

“Jeez, that’s a bummer, man!” Brad huffed.

“No, that’s Baumer – Major Ritegard Baumer – he’s the Head Honcho you need to take this up with around here

“Wha-?! NO quesadillas, an’ THAT jackass in charge?! BLAZES! This war’s becomin’ even more intolerable…” Brad grumbled.

Suddenly, Harris Wrench – his Chief Engineer – staggered disconsolately through the door.

“Whoa, fella – you’re dischuffed about the quesadillas situation as well?” Brad sniffed.

“Nah, worse than that, mate… Y’know the squadron they sent ta intercept those incomin’ Zandokan figh’ers? Control just confirmed: they’ve bin wiped aht… ALL a’ them…

“An’ this base is on alert fer imminent attack…!”

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“What the hell were you thinking?” – Master Sergeant Farell. 

“I’m tellin’ ya, fellas, ’twas a scandal on a grand scale,” Brad grumbled to Harris and Barb Degoya: their huge Rontavahrian handyman as they strolled across the Main Precinct.

“Once upon a time, ya could get a bag a’ ‘pops an’ be guaranteed ta get those lovely red ones: the Strawb’ Supremes, but since Zan Doka shuffled onta the scene, ya can ‘ardly get ’em! Instead, “they” just put in these lousy orange ones that nahbody likes, ev’ry bloomin’ time  – gah! Bloody Zandokans…”

“Don’t you fret, Commander,” Barb consoled in his deep baritone drawl. “Oi’m quite partial to the orange ones meself. Oi can help you wiv dem if you loike.”

“Uff, typical – asleep fer the danger, awake fer the cake as per frickin’ usual,” Brad muttered, but with a wry smile so as not to upset his gargantuan alien buddy.

“Cake?! No cake here, Commander. It’s bad enough trying to get any quesadillas around this base…”

“Ya can say THAT again, fella…”

Suddenly, the three amigos froze in horror.

“LANDO’S TEETH!” Brad hollered. “They’re ‘ERE already!”

On the horizon, darting about like dark gnats, but soaring ever nearer: twenty Zandokan Zkorpions – supersleek and as deadly as fudge – infested the mauve sky. The trio raced towards the hangar, just reaching shelter as the initial Imperial laserfire began strafing the Precinct.

“We gotta get up there!” Brad shouted boldly. “Come wiv me, Barb… Let’s BOTH grab a fighter an’ sock it to ’em! Whaddaya say, big fella? Ain’tcha gonna risk it fer a biscuit?” 

“Mmm, Oi loike biscuits…”

“Yay! Attaboy – c’mon Barby, let’s go party…!”

Barb heaved the hangar doors open; they both rushed in.

“What the blazes-?!” the Commander cried, mortified to learn that NO fighters remained. “This is nuts; there’s gotta be-”

And then he perceived the familiar sight of a standard BrtFtr-X2 fighter lurking in the shadows over at the far wall: “-ONE!” 

As he dashed over, Barb cried: “Don’t bovva, Brad! It’s probly a dud! Don’t-!”

But the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger didn’t listen. With one effortless bound, he jumped up into the cockpit; he’d already got the fighter moving before closing the canopy. While the Zkorpion-driven carnage raged outside, Brad charged the BrtFtr’s boosters and catapulted it skywards.

“Groovy, baby…” he mouthed gleefully.

“…’Ey, m’man, I’m in the Control Tower – I’ll be lookin’ out for ya,” Gaz drawled into Brad’s ear-piece. “Besta’ luck, Commander…”

“Cheers, fella… Right, let’s see what we can see- aow, donner und blitzen!” Brad cursed as he fumbled with the onboard Stereo soundsystem. 

“Where ist der Holzplatten?! Ya know I can’t engage in a dogfight wivaht it… AHA, ausgezeichnet!!

“There’s the bunny…”

“This is it, fellas – locked on Intercept Course. Dozen raiders @ 2:10 – three of ’em peelin’ off in me direction. Gonna engage. Lasers locked on…”

Like countless times before, Brad opened up the Attack-Scanner but in that mo, the weirdest sensation came over him; flashbacks reeled across his feverish mind – Jeez, what a time to get Aviation Sickness!

Panic and confusion swept through the Control Tower. 

“BRAD!” Harris cried. “Ya switched off yer targetin’ computer! What’s wrong?”

“Huh, did I? Ulp, Blimey Charley! Musta flicked the wrong switch…”

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“Never let me catch you doing a victory roll over my airfield again. Understood?” – Squadron Leader Colin Harvey. 

Okey dokey, fellas, this is where the fun begins!”

The first Zkorpion fighter veered into Brad’s sights; he opened up his laser console to click the raider into smithereens.

Brad clicked. And clicked again. Nuthin’ happened!

His cannons would NOT fire.  

“Whut in the name a’ Edrio Two-Tubes is goin’ on?!” he barked, but then chilled out. “Never mind… Y’know me – I got some tricks up me sleeve! ‘Ow about the Affleck-Hartnett Manoeuvre?”

“Ah nah, mate – ya wouldn’t!” Harris – who had raced up to the Tower to observe his Commander’s progress – cried in dismay. “…Would ya?!”

“Sure, why not? Works ev’ry time…”

Brad sent the BrtFtr into a wide arc – making sure that a gaggle a’ Zkorpions were latched onto his tail – and hurtled straight twards other incoming fighters.

As he veered stunningly close to them, Nacho squealed: “YEEE! El grande testicolos! Commandante, DON’T!”

He did.

The collision culminated in a colossal fireball that billowed across the sky.

“Yo, works EV’RY time…”

But still too many gnats hounded the hero.

In mid-swoop, the BrtFtr shunted violently, Brad rocked in his seat; his cake sprawled into smithereens across the console.

“AOW, bloomin’ ‘ECK!”

“Brad! Ya’ve bin hit!” Harris yelled out.

“Madre de Dios! BAIL OUT!” Nacho screamed.

“Aow, cobblers…” Brad muttered, jamming the controls aside.

The fighter banked sharply to starboard and slammed into the nearest Zkorpion raider; two fireballs erupted instantaneously. The onlookers in the Control Tower gasped in silent disbelief.

“BRAD!” Lexi yelled…

“Oh, let’s just wing it, shall we, Mrs. Bell?” – James Bond. 

Gaz beamed a wide grin, as he scanned his console: “Be cool, y’all – he hit Eject just before impact…”

“Phew! Jammy beggar…” Harris sighed. “So where the ‘eck is ‘e nah…?!”

One Imperial raider cruised past the point of the collision. The pilot failed to detect a small device being attached to his sidescreen; a short burst, and the canopy slid open. The Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger lunged in: “‘Ere… gerrahtavit!”

He yanked the startled occupant out; as the Zandokan hurtled groundwards, his Wilhelm scream gradually muted in the mauve air…

Brad hurriedly clambered in, closing the canopy and relevelled the craft’s wild and wavering course.

“Hiya, fellas!” he chirped. “I’m back-! ‘Ey, ‘Arris! Jeez, man, ya gotta take a butcher’s inside this ‘un! Blimey, when the Emperor said ‘e wuz gonna increase ‘is Offence Budget a gazillionfold, ‘e wuzn’t gassin’! Whoa, this is one helluva cool crate…

Excitedly, the Ace opened up the throttle: “Let’s see ‘ow fast this baby can g-WWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAA-HA-HA-HA-HEYYYYYY!!”

Beware! Brad in a top-a’-the-range Imperial Fighter = the crafty ol’ Terran found himself in his element. Swiftly, and surely, he ducked, dipped, dived and dodged through the aerial battlezone, picking off each raider with lethal – if a tad cocky – precision. Within minutes, the once-formidable Zquadron had been depleted to only three fighters; two of those lost their nerve and fled back across the wastelands…

Your hero’s final laser-salvo of the day turned out to be his weakest – with one wing merely scraped, the last fighter glided gently into the city outskirts.

“‘Ey, Gaz, this ‘un’s goin’ daan in the vicini’y o’ the Ponda Baba Charm School; despatch a Fuzzwagon ta pick ‘im up, will ya? See ya on the graand.

“Cheers! Brad, out…”

“You’re over-revving…” – Mrs. Bell.

A group of Benjhazi refugee boys had been playing Pookball outside; obviously, they’d scattered when the Zkorpions attacked, but one bright-eyed lad: Trey-Va Zinc – who harboured dreams of joining General Rajendra’s Free Fighters Rebellion when he grew up – had stayed to gawp at the unfolding dogfight; Trey-Va thought he recognised the maverick style of that lone fighter ace…

Watching the spluttering craft limp to the edge of the airfield, he sprinted over. In one effortless bound, the pilot leapt out of the cockpit onto the ground. Before the fighter had slid to a halt. Both now-setting suns glinted behind the hunky figure, casting him in a snazzy silhouette; but the boy realised that it was HIM. When he popped another ‘pop in his gob, there was no doubt.  

“THAT’S how ya save the galaxy, kid…”

Boyoboy, I KNEW it!” the lil fuschia-skinned alien chirped. “It’s YOU, innit?!”

“Betcha Pookball trainers, kid! It’s me, awright…”

“The Cakecharmer! I recognised ya from yer Military Fuzz mugshots!”

“Ha, didya now? Clever fella, Trevva! ‘Ere, ‘elp yerself…” Brad enthused, offering his bag of candy; Trey-Va eagerly delved in.

“Cor! It’sa real ‘onour ta meetcha, Mr. Fart! I’ve got all yer- HEY! Haven’tcha got any red ones?!”

Altaira Morbius: “Where have you been? I’ve beamed and beamed.” 

Robby The Robot: “Sorry, miss. I was giving myself an oil-job.” 

Harris moseyed on over to Brad and Zinc, guffawing hysterically.

“HA! ‘Ere comes the ‘Ero of the ‘Our! Yet again, ‘e expects cheerin’ masses ta come aht an’ celebrate ‘im, but whut is there? Ha ha ha! Just  – heh heh! – some lil Benjhazi boy, ha ha ha!”

“Uff, laugh it up, fuzzball – I didn’ see YOU in- uh-oh…”

“BRAD!! Brad Burrito Fartlighter! STOP right there, smartass…!” Major Baumer boomed as he marched across the airfield to berate the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger. “YOU… have tried my patience for the VERY LAST TIME… Just what the blazes do you think you’re doing, idiot?!”

“Er, savin’ the city from Imperial attack y’know, the sorta objective anyone would-”

“Stow it! You acted without orders – you could have put the whole base in danger-!”

“‘Ey, Dumbo! Flap yer ears an’ ventilate yer brains! Yer whole base WUZ in danger! That’s why I-“

“Stole a fighter, which you subsequently destroyed! You attacked without getting proper authoriz-”

“Well, technically, I did NUT attack – couldn’t! The figh’er’s bloomin’ laser-toobs were EMPTY!”

“Hmm… DAMMIT anyway! That was a really expensive piece of hardware you wreckedyou’re-!”

Jeez, man, ‘twuz a wreck awrightI’m lucky I got orf the graand in that obsolete hunk a’ junk-” 

“YOU, Mr. Flash, are the obsolete hunk. Just had a vid-conf with Major Spoiler, and you know what he said to me?”

“Don’t break wind in the elevator?”

“What?! NO! Goddammit! Why does everything have to be one big joke to you?! No, he said you’re for it now! And I concur! We’re going to put you on a charge… and- and for goodness sake, DO your jacket up, man! This is NOT the time or place for flashing your abs…”

“Heh, wha’ever ya say, Bummer-“

“DAMN you, Brad! For the umpteenth time, it’s Baumer! BAU-mer!!”

“Gezund’eit, baby…”

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“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room” – President Merkin Muffley. 

“DAMN your eyes, Brad…” Baumer boomed, as both men marched across to the Major’s office. “NOBODY’S impressed with what you just pulled! You’re finished-“

At that moment, Brad Company and assorted members of the gound crew hangin’ around outside the hangar let out a huge, resounding cheer; Brad acknowledged them by pumping a triumphant fist in the air.

All of a sudden, Taz De Maria – one of the new, young rookies – raced across the airfield to meet the beaming hero.

“We all think it’s like really cool what you just did, Commander, so I like got you this…” she cried, handing over a foil-wrapped package.

Brad gleefully opened it to reveal a whoppin’ great piece of nutty chocolate fudge cake.

“Aww, bless yer ‘eart, Taz…” the hero spoke softly, fondling his prize with the utmost care.

“You like deserve it, Brad,” she continued. “An’ it was like, really great how you- WHOA! Nice abs…”

She gave him a quick, nervous hug before rejoining the crowd; Brad turned back, in smug-mode, to the enraged Commander-in-Chief:

“NAHBODY, huh…?”

“Hmm, well…” the Major growled furiously, clearing his throat. “This doesn’t change the fact that you are, quite simply… the most unreliable, recalcitrant waste of space I have ever had the misfortune to manage… You are an utter disgrace to the Militia! And our Resistance! There is nothing remotely heroic in your brash idiocy! Heck, you wouldn’t know Discipline if it slapped you across the kisser! I will make sure that you are stripped of your rank, thrown out of the service and shipped back to that godawful English estate from which you crawled out! Also, I will see to it personally, Commander, that there will be no one to stop us from deleting your miserable little blog! You’re finished, Fartlighter – you’re NOTHING! The bums ALWAYS lose!

“You got that, Brad…? [AHEM!] Brad…?”

“Huh… whassat…? Did ya say some’t, fella? Only I’ve jus’ bin tryin’ ta get these nut’y-crumbs outta me beard…”

The officer face-palmed in despair.

“Ugh! Just take your accursed Company an’ get the hell off my base… Do I make myself clear?”

“Crystal, baby… Jeez, any gaff that does NOT serve quesadillas deserves to be reprimanded in my book-”

“You are NOT qualified to have your own book, Fartlighter,” Baumer sighed. “But I’ll gladly throw mine at you ANY DAY…!”

Brad stepped forward, defiantly licking chocolate cream off his luscious lips.

“Ya know some’t, Bummer? I always thought of ya as a cold, unfeelin’ twitface, but… yer really a rootin’-tootin’ emotional bundle a’ fun…

“Ain’tcha, coochie-coo…?”

And with that, the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger trudged nonchalantly back to the Calista.

The Major just stood there, speechless, but seething… 

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“How many times have I told you nerks? Never fly straight and level for more than 30 seconds in a combat area!” – Darth Vader. 

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Zeitdilatation: A Herstory Of Alternate Futures (And Not Before Time)

A Post Dealing With Alternative Futures, NOT Alternative Facts, Thank You… 

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“Time has branded them, and fettered they are lodged in the room of the infinite possibilities they have ousted. But can those have been possible seeing that they never were? Or was that only possible which came to pass? Weave, weaver of the wind” – Stephen Dedalus (Ulysses).   

“I have been trying to reconstruct the state of my brain as it was about 1878… or 1879? …I find it impossible to disentangle…” HG Wells pondered, struggling – in his 77th year – to recall the scintillating ingredients that helped create his enduring classic: The Time Machine (1895 is the annus you were looking for, Bertie, ol’ boy). Brad has tried just to maintain the state of his brain over this past fortnight alone. Impossible to disentangle…? Uff, tell me about it…  

Honestly, since the last Post, drafts discussing movies, comics, books and other SF-related gubbins have been given the Brad treatment – there seems to be no shortage of ideas, but the knack of compiling this stuff into a coherent and readable format eludes me for the mo.

Yes, perhaps contemplating the alternatives to Publish triggered the spark that culminated in this investigative piece. Imagine: if this writer was on top form, you would have had one (or two!) more different – probably more awesome! – subject(s) to digest, on some day last week. As well! It’s amazing how such minor decisions can trigger major alterations in our everyday lives; not so much travel in time, but these little tweaks that make subtle changes to the course of individual (or collected) destiny are known as time dilutation, or Zeitdilatation as Einstein called it. The literary genre concentrating on counterfactual narratives called Alternative History has thrived as a fluctuating fixture of SF for as long as writers have been fascinated by the endless possibilities that Kismet and/or Karma can conjure…

And lo, Brad goes boldly forwards (or backwards…?) into another (hopefully) constructive and erudite composition. Like the protagonist of Wells’ classic template for all (subsequent?) time travel tales concedes:

“So with a kind of madness growing upon me, I flung myself into futurity.” 

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“When [The Man In The High Castle] came out, there was a smell of gunpowder in it, the whiff of revolution… Sometimes awkward, sometimes obscure, thoroughly unpredictable… yet ultimately controlled and driven by rational, moral purpose” – Ursula K. Le Guin.

Surely a modern classic of counterfactual narratives is The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick – a Hugo award-winning novel published in 1962 exploring the scenario in which the Axis Powers, hawing won the the Second World War, occupy America. It has been developed into a successful TV series – its second season premiered in December, while a third has already been commissioned.

Mystery, intrigue – and death – surrounds a film reel – entitled The Grasshopper Lies Heavy – allegedly containing news images depicting an alternate history in which the Allies WON the Second World War; it forms part of a series of footage sought by an unknown collector known only as – hey!The Man In The High Castle.

Having searched in vain for this book for ages, the success of the TV series should push it prominently back into all main book stockists!

“I travelled far and wide through many different times
What did you see there?
I saw the saints with their toys
What did you see there?
I saw all knowledge destroyed
I travelled far and wide through many different times…” – Ian Curtis. 

Yes! For once you get a TV review on this site.

Following hot on The Man In The High Castle’s alternate heels is the BBC dramatization of Len Deighton’s 1978 thriller: SS-GB, based on the (downright preposterous of course!) premise that Britain fell to the Nazis in 1941. A police detective (played by Sam Riley who played Ian Curtis in Anton Corbijn’s biopic: Control) investigates a murder of someone crucial to the development of the Nazi atomic bomb…

The first part (of five) of SS-GB got off to a gripping start with an assassination on Pall Mall – the processionary route leading up to Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately, events took a turn for the adverse; a slow, frightfully DULL and gloomy montage of shadowy figures in trenchcoats and fedoras mumbling incomprehensibly amongst themselves. Dark times, indeed! No really, there was absolutely NO lighting, so in lieu of a decent script, we were unable to detect the actors’ subtle nuances and suchlike. The second episode did little to revive my interest, or twitch on that blasted light switch! 

When the third episode came around, the episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. featuring Ghost Rider – one of my childhood faves – aired on a different channel at the same time. So my choice of alternate – ha! – viewing was made instead. Again! No change left in Marvel’s whoppin-great budget to spend on any heavy-duty lighting! Good job the Spirit of Vengeance’s head is on fire, or nothing would be visible (can you believe he’s actually typing this?!)

With the disappointment of SS-GB, it’s not so much a case of: “what if?” but “so what?”

Can’t help but think what dear ol’ Bertie would have made of it all…

*

Ponder for a moment one particular counterfactual route: Brad DID run for election.

The glorious Bradtopia that would eventually flourish offers – as you would expect – a wonderful society. What will you have? Well, everything you could possibly want.

And nothing to fear.

Why, there is freedom and frizbees for everyone! All books, comics, chips and university places are FREE; you can find Mexican, Thai and Korean snack shacks on every street; and the US President will be popping round this evening for tea – oh yes, she will be bringing her own cake… 

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“We really should have had a Secretary Of The Future” – Kurt Vonnegut. 

Kong: Skull Island: The Bradscribe Review

Let’s Get Down To Monkey Business…

“My Kong is more of a god. He represents the unknown in the world. I wanted to make a movie that was as much about the big moments of Kong punching a helicopter out of the sky as the small lyrical moments” – Jordan Vogt-Roberts.

“Skull Island… shit…

“I’m still only on Skull Island…”

Scientist John Goodman wants to explore an uncharted island in the Pacific and ends up discovering an Eden just too primal to handle. Enter Tom Hiddleston’s ex-SAS survival expert: Captain Conrad (nice nod to Joseph Conrad, author of Heart of Darkness), who curiously knows all the dangers that will confront them on the island…

The essential military escort is provided by Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and his hapless – and characterless – band of monkey snacks. Also tagging along is Brie Larson’s war photographer and Tian Jing as a scientist to help sell this movie to China… 

Personally, another Kong movie was the last thing on my wishlist; the 2005 remake was so insipid, and the 1933 original is one of my most beloved movie faves, so this outing was never going to top that…

…or was it? 

“I don’t know that there was an alpha male pecking order. Although I did mess with the young guys. If they started up, I would go: ‘What’s your number on the cast list?'” –  Samuel L. Jackson. 

Notice how the ‘King’ epithet is excluded from the title – his eminence is subdued here by the other – let’s face it, poorly-conceived – prehistoric beasties. The much-touted helicopter-destruction scene came and went with barely a flutter on the Bradmonitor. Apart from ripping out the tongue of that… that – whatever it was – there is very little here to remind you why Kong became such a big screen icon in the first place. And, hey, what’s the point of character development if most of the ensemble are not going to make it out alive? Sheesh! Some snappy dialogue should have been on order – notice how no cool quotes were available at the time of going to Publish…

Must admit the opening sequence with Marlow crashing on the island back in ’44 looked like a neat set-up; considering how this character – played by the usually quite dependable John C. Reilly – could have been the one to bring in some much-needed comedy moments; alas, his performance became a tad too goofy for my liking. 

But honestly, what is with Tom Hiddleston, here?! He looks like how Brad feels: vacant, bored, wishing he was someplace else…

How apt that The Animals’ We Gotta Get Out Of This Place played on the trailer – that was going through the minds of the other twenty cinema-goers, all unaffected by what had just flooded over their retinas. So, watched the post-credits sequence all by me lonesome… 

And am strangely less-than-enthralled by the prospect of a Kong vs. Godzilla clobberfest lined up for 2020…

“Jordan told me he wanted to sneak an indie film into a blockbuster… [Conrad is] a hard, capable man who knows his way around a sharp object” – Tom Hiddleston.

Never a skull moment? 

Upon viewing the first few stills from the movie, was amazed to see the crew armed with ol’ Armalite rifles; oho, methinks – going for a a retro feel here? Only later did news break that Kong: Skull Island is actually set in 1973; does Tom Hiddleston have a phobia of flares and sideburns?! Absolutely no effort to immerse himself in the period! This setting, however, presents the opp to go for a groovy soundtrack: The Stooges! Black Sabbath! Vera frickin’ Lynn?! And of course, three of the most beautiful words in the English language: Creedence Clearwater Revival, with which we are treated to snatches of TWO of their awesome classics. Nice to have Bowie included as well, but all these tracks can be enjoyed in my own time anyway!

Ho-hum, roll out the old monster-movie cliches: (un)naturally, there is yet another attempt to freak out any arachnophobes in the audience; the token pansyass official nerk who is inevitably consigned to meet a grisly end, and other fillers too numerous to mention. Gone are the sacrificial brides, but also woefully absent is – thanks to the CGI, here as abundant as the “lush” vegetation – any sense of terror or menace. 

Or excitement, while we’re at it.

If only Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ direction had been as gung-ho as Samuel L.s “performance.”

By the time Kong engaged in his climactic tussle, my yawns just would not let up. Not even the shenanigans aboard the jolly ship USS Junkpile could salvage my flagging interest…

After a hard week, rather than allowing me to escape into the realms of movie magic, this lame viewing experience felt like being stranded on an inhospitable island for twenty eight years… and eleven months…

and meh…

“John C. Reilly’s Marlow makes you feel like you’re watching a version of Apocalypse Now where Dennis Hopper’s been replaced by Fozzie Bear” – Larushka Ivan-Zadeh.

BRADSCRIBE VERDICT: Uff, monkey nuts…

Logan: The Bradscribe Review

A “Superhero Movie” Like No Other…

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“You must be Wolverine! That remarkable metal doesn’t run through your entire body, does it?” – Magneto. 

“I feel relieved I’ve exorcised my gnawing frustration,” Hugh Jackman said in a recent interview, promoting his last screen venture as the popular mutant: Wolverine. “I always felt we’d never really got to the bottom of this character.”

It is – yet again – that most common of premises: the near future, but for Logan, a future too near for his liking. How did the wise-crackin’, cigar-chompin’, adamantium-clawed, reluctant chocolate milk slurper get reduced to driving limos for hen parties?

What’s more: how the blazes did Brad get roped in to watch this third solo instalment, when the first was barely watchable, enough to dissuade him from sitting through the second?! As a HUGE fan of the X-men comics, this series personally felt like an unfilmable venture, with nobody capable of bringing these extarordinary characters – especially Wolverine and Professor X – to life, but since their stunning debut way back in 2000, they have exceeded my lowest X-pectations – ha!

Well, after preview screenings of ts opening 40 mins back in December, the unanimous praise tweeted as frenetic as fudge, piqued my interest. 

But, of course, this is Patrick Stewart’s swansong as the professor as well as Jackman’s final outing in his most famous role. For old times’ sake, this just had to be watched. 

Just two cinemas in the next town, and only one of those was showing Logan – built in 1911 and restored to its original style (two screens only), complete with a dinky wooden ticket booth (smaller than a phone booth!) plush carpets and ornate banisters, such a gritty, gory and – dare one say it, X-rated – drama seemed quite incongruous lurking within this most handsome and venerable little establishment.

Armed with his torn-ticket and chocolate milk, your correspondent ventured tentatively upstairs to check out the Screen’s drapes.

Oh my, methinks, hope this motion picture is equally as impressive as the decor… 

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“People don’t change, Wolverine. You were an animal then and you’re an animal now. I just gave you claws” – William Stryker. 

The year is 2029, but this is a science-fantasy scenario. If there is any technology, you have to nab it, and the Mex border eerily reflects the desolate and hopeless circumstances of desperate and world-weary people. Charles Xavier is now an elderly shell of his former self. The world’s most powerful brain is deteriorating due to degenerative disease – a very dangerous state witnessed at least twice to chilling effect.

Logan has – rather shockingly – visibly aged since the last time we saw him. His claws bedevil his temperament with Arthritis. And those lacerations don’t heal so effectively like they used to; then again, his most painful wounds cut into him deeper than just his flesh…   

What happened? 

Both Logan and Charles have fallen so far – it’s a looong way from the pristine hi-tech chamber of Cerebro…

Be warned: this Wolverine cuts, slices and skewers in full graphic detail – there are absolutely NO holds barred. Director James Mangold has deliberately set out to show the brutal, ugly and washed-up world of aging “superheroes.”

When you are just about to give this miasmic misanthropy a miss (not to mention these grisly sights makes that choco milk taste really bitter), these adult X-ways are enriched with one of the finest junior performances in recent times – Dafne Keen is sensational as Laura; she is full of surprises and wants to get ahead…

But what really freaked me out – the real milk-spiller – came in the excellent performance of Boyd Holbrook as cybernut Pierce: Good Lord! Honestly, it’s like watching a 17 year old Brad strutting around up there! The resemblance and mannerisms: uncanny! Jeez…!

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Cyclops: “He’s not one of us. There’s no way he’s going to take orders.”

Prof. Charles Xavier: “Give him an order worth following. He’ll take it.”

Logan is far removed from the puerile tomfoolery of Suicide Squad, the underwhelming CG blandness of X-Men: Apocalyse and the hilarious irreverence of Deadpool, although the latter’s unexpected success showed that there is a demand for such R-rated material. Interestingly, this film looks more like a mutant road-trip movie, with two irascible old gits constantly barking at each other. No wonder Laura stays mute, and stares out of the window…

This is my first trip to the cinema since Rogue One – so obviously the next would have to be quite a formidable one. Watching a foul-mouthed Professor X and Logan deriding X-Men comics is worth the ticket price alone.

“There’s no living… with a killing.”

Too damn right.

Perhaps too much for us to view here; perhaps the brutality outweighs the drama too x-plicitly – it will be some time before my second viewing is made.

But it cannot be denied: 

From Wolverine’s opening drink-addled expletive to Laura’s final symbolic gesture, Logan is a powerful piece of movie-making. Jackman’s Logan brought out the cheers, while Stewart’s Charles brought out the tears. 

Logan’s run may be over, but he finishes as the first clear Winner of 2017. 

Well, what would you prefer, yellow spandex?

“Hugh, you were at the National Theatre with Sir Trevor Nunn, you cannot have claws coming out of your hands – this is ridiculous” – Deborra-Lee Furness (aka Mrs. Jackman). 

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“Got anything other than chocolate milk?” – Wolverine. 

BRADSCRIBE VERDICT: Claw-some

4-out-of-5