And The Bradscribe Award For Best Sci-Fi Of The Year Goes To…

The Bradscribe Awards 2015: What Was Best: Maz, Max, Mish Or Machina?

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The academy may pride itself on its history, but the world around it is changing, and unless it begins to reflect these changes, I can see the Oscars ceasing to be of any relevance to a growing and vocal new generation of artists who see it as a relic of the old world” – David Harewood.  

Hello and welcome to the Bradscribe Awards!

As we were blessed with a year brimming with various cinematic nuggets to choose from, it’s only fair to review it in our own lavish ceremony. And besides, many of you have been wondering – especially as this site has slagged off more than its fair share of crud these past twelve months – what actually managed to impress me during 2015!

One thing you can be certain about the Bradscribe Awards – activated to honour the criminally-overlooked field of science fictionthey are bright and visionary. And diverse. Nominees can be black, brown, blue or green. Or shiny and chrome. 

Also, there’s lots of cake on offer…

Why Don’t The Oscars Celebrate SF?

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“It is a genre that I think doesn’t get enough respect when you consider how many issues sci-fi brings up that we need to deal with” – Sigourney Weaver.

There seems to be an unwritten rule stipulating that science fiction – and fantasy, and horror, come to that – do not receive awards recognition in the main categories. Sure, the Academy recognises the technical achievements of this genre, but really, you can quite easily find some of the best scripts and acting in this continually innovative field.

In trying to sort this migraine out, trust longtime Bradscribe fave, Sigourney Weaver, to come to the rescue:

“The work being done in sci-fi is some of the most interesting, provocative work out there.”

Yet why should this genre tend to make little impact when Oscar season gets into full swing?

She has remarked how the Academy consists of “mostly people like me who are over a certain age” who tend to look for the “the more conventional movie.”

Uff, nuts to that. 

Part of SF’s wonder is its ability to offer more unconventional thrills. Rather than get stuck in the same mundane, formulaic soup – which, let’s be honest, too many mainstream dramas do – the genre is experimental and challenging, vital components sought, surely, by the modern movie-goer.

Before launching into the main ceremony, here’s a little sketch to get you warmed up. Hey, it was either this, or a flashy-but-ultimately-pointless song-an’-dance extravaganza: 

Without further ado, let’s get down to the essential categories:

Best SFX: Mad Max: Fury Road

Jurassic World just looked big; Star Wars: The Force Awakens looked impressive, but Namibia nabbed it.  

Best Music Score: Mad Max: Fury Road

This would have been set aside for John Williams – continuing the fine tradition of classic scores for Star Wars – but on first viewing, the new score was barely discernible. 

Best Original Screenplay: Ex Machina

Intellectually-stimulating sci-fi is what we crave at this site. Nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar, how it did not win last night is my pet peeve of this year’s ceremony. 

Congrats to Alex Garland, who made his directorial debut with this instant classic. Here, honestly, this Award was as predictable as that Titanic boy getting the Best Actor Oscar… 

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Martian 

Drew Goddard worked wonders with Andrew Weir’s novel.

Rising Star Of The Year 

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“It’s important that the conversation carries on… Everybody should be the change they want to see and go from there, but keep talking, keep doing” – John Boyega. 

This Rogue Stormtrooper received most of the biggest laughs at the packed cinema this reviewer attended. While everybody is quite rightfully lauding Daisy Ridley as the new New Hope – an equally impressive entry to the SW galaxy, we should not overlook this young and promising boy from Peckham. The Oscars have, but Brad hasn’t…

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Let’s assess candidates for the Woman Of The Year and Man Of The Year:

Woman Of The Year 

Always keen to catch strong and memorable women’s roles, especially in SF. However, there seemed to be fewer notable women’s roles on offer this year. Emilia Clarke should have brought in an exceptional Sarah Connor, but had weak material with which to work; and Bryce Dallas Howard made a mark only by outrunning a T Rex. In high heels. Never gonna let that lie… 

But who made it onto the final list? 

Honestly, Sigourney should be here – for old times sake – but Chappie was so underwhelming; even she couldn’t make it bearable. Instead, we have plumped for:

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5. Scarlet Witch 

It was great to see Wanda Maximoff on the big screen at last, but so frustrating that she had so little to do, and had barely any “character” to develop sufficiently. Oh well, hope she gets more (worthy) screentime in the forthcoming Captain America: Civil War… 

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4. Maz Kanata

Maz is over one hundred years old, and she had – until those First Order loons swept in and trashed the place! – her own swell pad at which anyone in the galaxy can hang out; even got her own awesome statue outside it(!). She happens to possess Luke’s lightsaber, and also counts Chewie as her boyfriend. Way ta go, girl! 

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3. Imperator Furiosa

When Mad Max made his energising and explosive return to the big screen, little did anyone expect that Cherlize Theron would not only steal Immortan Joe’s War-Rig, but steal all the scenes in the year’s most explosive actionfest. Her presence was so seismic that the subtitle should have read: Furiosa Road. 

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2. Alicia Vikander

As Eva: the AI centre of attention in Ex Machina this Swedish actress made an immediate impact. And held her own against the big boys in The Man From UNCLE. Already looking forward to her next projects.

Congrats to Alicia for confounding the run of play by snatching the Best Supporting Actress gong; but really, she deserved the Best Actress Oscar. For a vastly more impressive picture…

This girl should go far. We hope. 

1. Not surprisingly, the Real Greatest Woman of this – and, for that matter, every other – year just happens to be – unreservedly, wholeheartedly: Mrs. B, but seeing how we really should be talkin’ about movie stars (and me darlin’ still won’t reverse that online pics ban) let’s move swiftly on. 

But in case you’re still wondering, you can find the Woman Of The Year here:

And now, on to the:

Man Of The Year 

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5. Ant-Man.

Always a personal fave comic character, it seemed inconceivable how the tiniest Avenger could transfer easily onto the big screen. Initially, Paul Rudd looked like a disastrous case of miscasting, but he helped make this little movie the surprise package of the year. 

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4. Andy Serkis

The actor most synonymous with motion capture – who lit up the Bradmonitor when he first crawled onscreen as Gollum – not only brought us our new villain of the Dark Side: Supreme Leader Snoke, but a traditional live action nasty called Ullysses Klaw in Avengers: Age of Ultron. 

Always a treat to watch, Serkis is the only reason to look forward to yet another Planet of the Apes sequel. 

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3. Kylo Ren

The villain of the long-awaited new Star Wars episode, had to make a rather special impact. Fotunately, Kylo Ren did just that. How many times has Brad replayed that scene of him staggering through the dark forest, then energising his lightsaber? Guess that correctly, dear reader, and YOU can have a slice of cake… 

Best Supporting Actor Award for Adam Driver methinks?

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2. Ultron

“Look at me! Do I look like Iron Man?!”

Traditionally a formidable villain in the Avengers comic, a certain degree of trepidation led up to the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron. 

No worries! They got the look just right. Voiced malevolently by the Amazing Spader-Man, he turned out to be supercool as well as superbad! And he was blessed with oodles of great lines! 

In any other year, Ultron would have stolen this category, but there was one fella who managed to impress me even more, and that was: 

1. Oscar Isaac

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“There’s some stuff he’s got in his tool set which is properly rare. Fierce talent, that’s what you want – and that’s exactly what Oscar’s got. You don’t need to be a filmmaker to see it” – Alex Garland. 

You may be thinking this was staged so that yours truly could chortle: “And the oscar goes to Oscar!”

Ha ha, no really, ever since spotting him steal scenes from the Crowe way back in Ridley Scott’s otherwise lacklustre Robin Hood, Isaac has been carving a very special niche in modern movies. He gave one of the best performances of the year in Ex Machina, but Poe Dameron was woefully underused.

We just can’t wait to see him steal the show as the eponymous archvillain in X-Men: Apocalypse!

Right? 

Crud Of The Year 

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“It was stupid. It was trash… It was not a flop that quietly came and went without anyone noticing. It got the disrespect it deserved” – Joe Queenan.

Gotta take the rough with the smooth, so they say, but even so…

It’s hard to believe, but 2015 still manage to serve up some particularly underwhelming duds. Rather than rant eloquently about the ever-dwindling standard of movie-making, let’s get these turkeys out of the way, sharpish:

Chappie; Fant4stic Four; Jupiter Ascending; Pixels; Terminator: Genisys;

Even presented with the offer of sitting through this abysmal cack for free, you still couldn’t entice me. Honestly, you would think Game Of Thrones adequately paid Peter Dinklage’s rent, so why did he have to get involved in this tragedy? 

Let’s cheer ourselves up with the:

Magic Moments Of The Year 

Well, bless my frickin’ quarnex battery! Here are the most awesome scenes to have graced our local popcorn parlours this past year:

5. 2015 Arnie vs. 1984 Arnie in Terminator: Genisys

You can’t beat nostalgia. A stylish nod to the classic scene from the original Terminator movie. If only the rest of the movie was as cool as this. One to search for on Youtube only.

4. T Rex vs. Indominus Rex from Jurassic World

This fourth installment of the Dinoland franchise may not have wrangled its way onto my Best of The Year list, but the climactic scrap between these two giants evokes the spirit of the original Jurassic Park. An extra slice of cake for that Mosasaurus 😉 If anyone can get near it, that is…

3. Kylo Ren stops a laser blast in midair

 So Snoke says Kylo needs to complete his training. If he can do that, his powers look pretty formidable to us!   

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2. That Ex Machina Dance 

Just when you think you’re gonna bust some heavy-duty grey matter getting to grips with the premise of top class AI drama: Ex Machina, so Professor Isaac – really unexpectedly – teaches us how to cut up the dance floor – yeah! This was destined to be THE Magic Moment Of The Year, until we gawped at: 

1. The Sandstorm from Mad Max: Fury Road

Let’s face it, all two hours of this exhilarating high-octane thrill-ride exudes movie magic of the highest calibre, but you can enjoy this classic scene right here: 

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! The cake!

Best Movie Of The Year

So, what provided the most outstanding viewing experience of the year?

  • It was wonderful to be able to marvel at a new Star Wars movie, but although it was great to have new exciting characters and elements to savour, feelings that we were watching a retread of the 1977 original still filtered through.
  • The Martian certainly provided our happiest visit to the cinema together this past year.
  • Ex Machina is the solidly-written, well-crafted thought-provoking movie that the genre cries out for, but:

The frenetic energy, stunts, and sheer irresistible spectacle of Mad Max: Fury Road clinches it!

Last, but not least, is the:

Outstanding Contribution To Film

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Douglas Slocombe was a British cinematographer of exceptional skill. Some of his film credits: Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), The Italian Job (1969) and the Indiana Jones trilogy, read like a list from the Bradscribe Hall of Fame. 

He passed away last Monday aged 103. As a tribute, here is perhaps his most iconic work: 

So, congrats to Max. Your cake is thoroughly well-deserved. 

While compiling this Post, we were delighted to learn last night that Fury Road secured a mightily impressive hoard of six Oscars: Costume Design; Editing; Make-Up; Production Design; Sound Editing; and Sound Mixing. 

But why stop there? Best Actress should have gone to Theron; moreover, Fury Road deserves Best Picture…

Officially the top cinematic sensation of 2015, show us your appreciation, Max: 

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Oh, what a year! What a lovely year!

And they discovered water on Mars. Which was nice. 

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Hell For Leather: Warriors Of The Dystopian Wasteland

The Maximum Force Of The Future! Refueled and Revised…

MAD AS HELL: Take it to the Max
MAD AS HELL: Take it to the Max

“Where must we go… we who wander this Wasteland in search of our better selves?” – The First History Man. 

Extraordinary. Long before Fury Road (hands down: the best, most enjoyable movie of 2015) but trailing woefully in the skidmarks of The Road Warrior, the wasteland – created by the ravages of armageddon – brought forth a terror quite beyond imagining, revving, racing, screeching and tumbling from your neighbourhood video rental store during the 80s.

Here, in this blighted territory, i.e. a bargain bucket of dodgy old videos, some of the most horrendous post-apoc movies can be found. After the skills and thrills of the original Mad Max movies, how did their imitators manage to turn out so unbelievably crap? It’s nuts.

By definition, nothing should exist in the “wasteland.” It serves merely as a pitiful reminder of humankind’s inept irresponsibility when it comes to the physical environment; the corruption of moral values we (used to) hold most dear. It’s no more than a harsh representation of dreams shattered and hopes crushed. And yet it is a potent symbol destined to feature consistently as the bleak and unforgiving terrain on which dystopian adventures will unfold.

“The Forbidden Zone was once a paradise. Your greed made a desert of it,” as one wise old ape will moan many centuries from now…

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“Mad Max is a movie about a post-disaster world, and its success has inspired oodles of disastrously bad films. Witness Grade-Z movies so execrable that you’ll be yearning for a couple of minutes in Thunderdome” – Cyriaque Lamar.  

Holy guacamole. And you thought the end-of the-world was bad! “Post-apocalyptic” truly is a byword for tosh!

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior has a lot to answer for! It inadvertently spawned a whole slew of dire rip-offs, mostly emanating from Italy – the hub of nearly all cheesy sci-fi ever produced. Those of you too young to remember: count yourself the lucky ones.  

What better example to throw in than Il Nuovi Barbari (The New Barbarians) – aka Warriors of The Wasteland (1982), a riotous piece of Italian crap featuring the Templars: a hilarious gang of gay roadsters in souped-up go-karts and dune-buggies (come on, the wasteland is a gas, isn’t it?!) terrorising any pitiful bands of apoc-survivors delirious enough to stray into their “territory.”

Then came The Atlantis Interceptors, aka The Raiders of Atlantis, aka Atlantis Inferno, aka call it what you will – it will always be crap. Someone had the nerve to distribute this fantastic rubbish. Nevertheless, you just could not take my eyes off it. More crazy, contrived vehicles (knives sticking out of the hubcaps, for goodness sake!), shoulder pads and helmets, but this time they came through a portal from another dimension to unleash havoc in a high octane bat-shit frenzy! Radical. 

Amazing to think how – on the other side of Armageddon – people will still rely on four wheels to get by. Not only that, apparently people willingly don American Football gear(!), have mohicans, and engage in other bonkers behaviour simply too ludicrous to elucidate here.

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“Maximise your madness, and shift into overdrive as we make the world safe for burning rubber” – Sybil Danning.  

Spare a thought for the much-maligned: Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared Syn. This “High Noon at the end of the universe,” starring Jeffrey Byron, Tim Thomerson and Mrs. John Travolta was released in abominable 3-D. At the time, this was exactly the sort of madness worth cramming into my overworked and overheated VCR.

Say what you will about this universally-derided crud, for me it was an intensely enjoyable madhouse. Unlike it’s contemporaries, Metalstorm did not hail from Italy. It was produced by Charles Band, who – during the early 80s – carved out his own unique batch of ultra-cheap shoddy flicks.

Moreover, the vehicles seemed to be more practical armour-plated kubelwagens (with warped engine noises), and – what was more gratifying – there was no shitty American Football gear on show; heck no, these dudes looked like they were destined to duel in the desert. By 1983 standards, Metalstorm (in Standard format, not that tacky 3-D anaglyph version, thanks) is not as awful as most people would have you believe.

Thankfully, 2019: After The Fall Of New York never crossed my sensors. Just as well, sneaking a peak via Youtube now it looks more mediocre than The Atlantis Interceptors (if such an unenviable feat is possible). Still, at least deliberately setting it Stateside meant that the ubiquitous American Football clobber wouldn’t look so incongruous. 

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“Its in your nature to destroy yourselves” – T-800 Cyberdyne Systems Model 101. 

Extra tail-gating and hub-cap-hurling mayhem was to come via Exterminators Of The Year 3000, an Italian Mad Max rip-off (also from 1983) which, again, had to be rented to be believed. A heavy slab of (grilled) cheese – synonymous with the 80s, for sure. Gingerly rewatching it in the comfort of hindsight, actually, it ain’t half-bad; it grips from the get-go and has an amazing original score by Detto Mariani. 

In conclusion then, rather than contemplate whether we exist only to destroy the land and deplete our resources, we should question whether there is an unwritten law stipulating that these mixed-up denizens of the “wasteland” have to arse about in American Football gear. 

As we speed – indeterminately, (ignorantly?) and inexorably – towards an unknowing future: where must we go?

Wait!

Just had a groovy idea: turn down the volume of the above classic clip and run this grungy track from Amphetamine Reptile Records (below) instead.

Hardcore road-ripper! Pedal to the Metal!

“Dear Future Generations,

Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum” 

Kurt Vonnegut.  

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What a waste…

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Fall In With Brad’s Badass Brigade!

Everybody online… looking good!

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“Get on the ready line, Marines, get some today! Move it out, goddammit! Get hot! Move it out, move it out, move it out! Move it out, move it out, move it out! Aaarrrr, absolutely badasses!” – Sgt. Apone. 

Alright sweethearts, what are you waiting for? Breakfast in bed?! When the going gets tough, the tough go badassing. By definition, a badass is someone tough, uncompromising or intimidating. 

Not like me ta be sittin’ reading a book in coffee shops trying to look remotely intellectual… well, some of the time, but whenever that dreaded bug-hunt should arise, this is the Dirty SF Dozen that this natural-born-leader would want fightin’ by his side…

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“GEDDU DA CHOPPAH!” – Major “Dutch” Schaefer.  

1. Dutch

Can’t think of a stronger or indefatigable officer than Dutch as the first to get selected.

Many times spent smeared with mud lying in the shadows glowering at my extraterrestrial enemies, it’s so reassuring to learn that this Special Forces team-leader has been there, done that, got the T-shirt, ripped it up and set it ablaze to light up the jungle night.

Dropped into a Central American nightmare – for all the wrong reasons – they have to contend with Adrien Brody the Predator (1987). The Major is tough, dependable and guaranteed always… always to stick around…

The One That Got Away: Blain

A carbon copy of Dutch, plus ‘tache, a Little Richard tape and wisecracks! But despite wielding a six-barreled M134 Minigun, four years before the Terminator got to let rip with one – and sharing my irritation of Alabama ticksBlain got zapped, alas, by the Predator too darned early. 

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“She’ll fight my battles for me…” – Roy O’Bannon. 

2. Imperator Furiosa

This one-armed bandit has literally taken the blogosphere by a storm as big as the one that engulfed the War-Rig and Immortan Joe’s feral band of pursuers. Feisty and determined, the only thing Furiosa lacks is a Y chromosome. It is absolutely fantastic for our favourite genre to be imbued with a new female action hero in the Ripley-mould. So this tough-as-nails, grease-smearing driver automatically earns her place here. Certainly a more honourable path than modelling for perfume bottles. 

And you know she’s been put next-in-line; if me an’ Dutch get completely rat-arsed in a bar in Mogadishu, then she – unreservedly – takes command. THAT’S how highly her performance in Fury Road (2015) is rated at this blog.

Equal opportunities: Brad is all for ’em. Look, most of my Followers are female. (Stop that sniggerin’, there! Knock that shit off, Hudson!) They don’t call me an Officer and a Gentleman fer nothin’ y’know…

The One(s) That Got Away: 

Up until last week, ol’ Max Rockatansky himself would’ve made this List quite easily, but circumstances change, especially when a blistering movie comes out of nowhere to completely obliterate the Action Movie Book o’ Rules.

If you thought you might find Ellen Ripley: Scourge of the Xenomorphs in this Post, then hard luck she’s on leave shooting the fifth Alien movie. See here: 

And if you were expecting Sarah Connor here, soz, but Brad doesn’t do obvious. If he did, none of those impressive promotions (cluttering my desk), nor these medals (glistening in the binary sunset across my ample pecs) would’ve come my way…

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“I like to keep this handy for close encounters” – Cpl. Dwayne Hicks

3. Corporal Dwayne Hicks

The only one of the Space Marines to make it out of the nightmare of LV426 alive – a splendid qualification in my – or any –book. In the gung-ho shenanigans of Aliens (1986), Hicks was the one with coolness and steady nerve to keep what was left of the cast going – it’ll be a pleasure to see him again when Alien 5 finally comes in…

The One That Got Away: Vasquez. 

Another strong brigade-contender sadly obliterated from existence. 

Under NO circumstances, NO badass should EVER have to be trapped with an asshole at the moment they meet their maker…

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…AND THOR!

Son of Odin! Scion of vaunted Asgard! Wielder of the Mystic Mallet: Mjolnir! Protector of- OI! POINT BREAK!! Stop arsing about in that duck pond and get on the ready line!

Fine… as you Asgardian fops are wont to bark: “Hast thou not ‘eard?! Get thee out of yon brackish water! And get thine swanky clobber on…!! Dost ye know what thou art?! Thou art a [EXPLETIVE DELETED].” 

Move it out! Move it out! Move it oww… nuts… Shoulda selected frickin’ Heimdall instead… bah….!

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“You’re in my way, Piglet… I like to get everyone’s attention. That way, I don’t have to repeat myself” – Ham Tyler.

4. Ham Tyler

The original V miniseries became the must-see TV event during that giddy Summer of ’84. It began splendidly, but when bad-piece-o’-work Ham Tyler gate-crashed the scene, spraying Teflon rounds at those lizard stormtroopers with his trusty mini-Ingram machine-pistol, me and me mates just went bananaz! 

This master of covert operations, communications and bad relations aka “the Fixer,” was morally despicable, yes, but thank the stars he joined us in fighting off the Visitors. 

The One That Got Away: Mike Donovan

God love us: since when did TV news cameraman Mike Donovan become a contender for my brigade?! An exceptional heroic character, certainly, a bit of an ass perhaps – some girls at the time remarked that he had a great ass – but he was far too good to be bad…

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“Well, hello Mr. Fancypants! I’ve got news for you pal, you ain’t leadin’ but two things right now: Jack and shit… and Jack left town” – Ash.

5. Ash

Quite frankly, ‘Badass’ is Bruce Campbell’s middle name. How could he not be on this list?!

Transported to John Ford-country in circa. 1300, the Badassery of Ash – in Army of Darkness (1992) – was way too strong for an invading legion of the dead as he led a bunch of primitive screwheads to victory. Perfect material for any brigade then, not just mine – and besides, his boomstick is way bigger than mine… Groovy.

The One That Got Away: Groot

The main reason why Guardians of the Galaxy became the top grosser last year was the overabundance of badassery on display (see No.7). Love that swishing-attack-trick “he” does with his “branches.” At the time of writing, will wait to reconsider his status once he has – ahem – grown up. 

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“How you doin’, Chewbacca? Still hanging around with this loser?” – Lando Calrissian. 

6. Chewbacca

This beloved walking carpet has stood in the shadow of that smuggler for far too long. It’s about time he got the recognition he deserves. Besides, in the spirit of “Let the Wookie win” and all that, if we rejected his entry to the brigade, he’d just go bat-shit bonkers and probably rip No. 2’s arm out. 

More importantly, this crossbow-wielding pensioner from Kazhyyyk has aged surprisingly well, unlike…

The One That Got Away: 

…who looks even more like a scruffy-looking nerfherder than ever before.

Of course, by rights, Han Solo should get an automatic call-up – for ol’ times sake – as demanded especially by thousands of fans – I KNOW, OKAY? I SAW THE PETITION… but suppose we had to march into a detention area. What do you think would happen if this Corellian upstart flagrantly disobeyed MY orders in front of the brigade, eh…?   

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“Quit smiling, you’re supposed to be professional” –  Rocket Raccoon.  

7. Rocket Raccoon 

A considerable faction of the blogosphere know very well my unwavering respect and admiration for this charming, but deadly, character, as you may see here. Judge him by his size, do you?! Ain’t nothing like him, (but he’s in on condition that he does NOT put in a request for No.2’s arm).

Hey, at least he’s not asleep for the danger, awake for the money, like some grunts we could mention…

The One That Got Away: Starlord

Not convinced this Terran thief would be good for morale. Handy in a close-quarters skirmish, expert pilot of the Milano, yes, but he exhibits too much preoccupation with that accursed Walkman.

Plus: we fight as one impenetrable unit, so his measly 12% just wouldn’t cut it…  

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“I saw your dogchips glowing in the dark…” – Rogue. 

8. Rogue Trooper

During the ’80s, from the hallowed pages of 2000AD, came the adventures of Rogue Trooper, the genetically-modified, blue-skinned grunt – the most feared man on Nu-Earth – created by Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons; the zarjaz art on Cam Kennedy’s tour-of-duty was particularly impressive. 

At the very least, Rogue shoulda had his own movie by now – esteemed comics writer Grant Morrison was working on a script as recently as 2011, but that seems to have gotten lost in the notorious development-hell…  

The One That Got Away: Strontium Dog. 

Already submitted a Post featuring this much-venerated Muto bounty-hunter. See here:

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“If I still had legs, I’d kick your ass!” – Ivan Klimatovich. 

9. Hellboy

If this war becomes a living hell, we got one helluva guide to see us through…

Mike Mignola’s unique hellspawned hero: Hellboy was raised from infancy among mortals to fight the assorted minions of darkness, which he did onscreen twice: in 2004 and 2008. Yet another of those whose involvement was deemed unconditional, ‘cos you know, whatever happens, he can promise us two things: 

1), he will always look this good; and

2). he will never give up on us. EVER. 

And just look. At the size. Of that whammer…

The One That Got Away: Abe Sapien

A good swimmer, but – by no means – a badass. 

Anyway, that penchant for bad eggs will NOT be tolerated. The last thing me and the crew need is to be pinned down in a fire-fight… and be stuck with a vomiting raccoon… 

Snake

“I guess I go in one way or the other… doesn’t mean shit to me. Alright… I’ll do it. Give me the pardon paper” – Snake Plissken. 

10. Snake Plissken

Escape from New York (1981) was a bonkers movie, but at least it was one of John Carpenter’s more distinctive efforts. Again, this uncompromising dude has got his own ultra-cool shooter; he rides his own glider; he’s got an eye-patch; his name is “Snake” – what more badassery could you ask for…?  

Luckily, the film also features one of Carpenter’s favourite actors: Lee Van Cleef, who brought his own indomitable range of badassery to countless westerns… 

The One That Got Away: R J McCready. 

Sans eye-patch, but R J McCready was endowed with a more considerable crumb-catcher – in John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) – as befits a true Arctic warrior…

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“Ooh, gurns, gurns, gurns! C’mon, Sal. The Tigers are playing… tonight. I never miss a game” – Clarence J. Boddicker. 

11. Robocop (1987)

If you have to fight and survive on the mean(est) streets of dystopian and crime-ridden Detroit, you’ll receive automatic acceptance from us, fella. We would have put you higher up the chart, but those submerged memories sound disconcerting…   

Never mind, go get ’em, boy!

The One That Got Away: Robocop (2014)

Totally did NOT want to be subjected to this lame and pointless exercise.

Remake the duds, NOT the classics, please… NEXT!

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“Welcome to the 2oth century, Jack Deth!” – Santa Claus. 

12. Jack Deth

“Jack Deth is back, and he’s never been here before” ran the classic tagline for this mental Blade Runner rip-off. Deth is the 21st century L.A. cop/bounty hunter charged with travelling back to 1984 to hunt down Whistler – the maniac-criminal who can turn people into zombiefied crazies called “Trancers.”   

1984, hell yeah… back then, you see, anyone could make this kinda shit… and make it entertaining. Of course, Deth was “played” by Tim Thomerson, who undoubtedly had printed – and no doubt patented – the T-shirt exclaiming: “Badass For Hire” for his entire career…  

The One That Got Away:

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“Argh… mediocre!” – Immortan Joe. 

For once, we will have to concur with that late, bloated pus-ball…

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And that rounds off my Mother of all Lists. Badass here! Badass there! Everywhere a-oh, okey-dokey then, you know the drill. Lock an’ load… then kick some.  

Let’s rock!!

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The Long Road To Fury Road

How And Why Did It Take 30 Years To Get Another Mad Max Movie?!

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“Every time Heath [Ledger] would come through Sydney, we’d chat about Max. The world lost someone great when he went. Tom [Hardy] was the next to walk through the door…” – George Miller. 

As mad as it may seem, there are other, more alarming and frustrating, ways to spoil a promising franchise than giving a starring role to Tina Turner. In those dark Maxless years that followed Beyond Thunderdome (1985), another instalment of everyone’s fave Interceptor-driving, dogfood-guzzling cop seemed highly unlikely. After Mel Gibson’s impressive directorial debut with Braveheart (1996), Australian master of the post-apocalyptic roadkillfest: George Miller felt that the time was right to return to his beloved dystopian franchise.

During the late 1990s, impressive conceptual art for a fourth movie about the Road Warrior started doing the rounds. It is very pleasing to learn that renowned British comics artist (and Mad Max fan): Brendan McCarthy was involved in these preparatory stages (and even gets a co-writer credit on Fury Road!) but then, the film industry – as well as everyone else – could never have foreseen 9/11. That infamous day not only deflated the American dollar but also drastically inflated Max’s proposed budget.

Unfortunately, not long after, Gibson went, well, mad. His much-publicised troubles with the law forced a “heartbroken” Miller to seek another Max. It is said that in 2006, Miller had intended to offer the lead role to Heath Ledger, and there were serious discussions before said actor met his untimely fate. So, by not getting the Joker, Miller opted instead for… Bane?! 

Honestly, how mad does that sound?! But hold on, ‘cos it gets madder…

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“As the world fell, each of us in our own way was broken. It was hard to know who was more crazy… me… or everyone else” – Max Rockatansky.  

Amid all this kerfuffle, Miller was able – also in 2006 – to direct Happy Feet, an animated sure-fire sprog-pleaser featuring the voice of Frodo Baggins as a dancing penguin… for pity’s sake! Obviously not the form of madness that Rockatansky-fans the world over had in mind…

One of the more intriguing diversions on the way to realising a fourth Mad Max movie came as recently as 2007 in the amazing – and quite unbelievable – form of an ensemble DC superhero movie(!) which Miller was all-too-ready-and-willing to direct.

However, by all accounts, the provisional script for Justice League:Mortal was poor; with a writers’ strike in full swing, it could never hope to get developed. Moreover, the all-too-familiar blight of an uncontrollable budget, and unfavourable Australian tax incentives doomed it further.

If all had gone to plan, Justice League:Mortal would have featured Megan Gale (who makes an appearance in Mad Max: Fury Road) as Wonder Woman, Armie Hammer as Batman, and…!

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Get this – Hugh Keays-Byrne (who plays both Immortan Joe in Fury Road and the Toecutter in the 1979 original) was tipped to play Martian Manhunter! 

Mad? Why, that’s positively insane!!

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“When I came in, there was no script, just… storyboards. So I spent the time just writing a ‘bible of tribal’… The stunt guy and I used to say we were making the last real, live stunt-action film” – Colin “Not Mel” Gibson. 

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Possibly the only sane news to gain from this delirious state of affairs is that – yes! – there will be more pedal-to-the-metal Mad Max mayhem to come!  

“We’ve got one screenplay and a novella,” Miller reveals about our chances of seeing at least two more movies of Mr. Rockatansky(!) “It happened because with the delays [on Fury Road] and writing all the backstories, they just expanded.” Despite all the troubles that beset Fury Road, Mad Max: The Wasteland is definitely a go.

“Fast and Furious 7 is all CG,” dismissed Colin Gibson, Mad Max: Fury Road’s Production Designer. “The cars are shiny and pretty, but there’s not much physics in there.” Hell no, make cars do things that cars can’t do and suspend all belief in one gear-shift? No thanks. Quite rightly, Gibson realised that live stunts, evoking the movie-making of the original Max movies, was in order: “to make it completely real.”

The Australian Outback served as the perfect setting to evoke that grungy post-apocalyptic look for the original movies, but this time, even that could not be guaranteed; Namibia had to step in.

…Namibia?! 

“Part of the problem was we built for the firm, hard ground of Australia,” Gibson explained. “And then it pissed down with rain for two years running, and you couldn’t shoot the desert for blooming flowers and camels fucking each other and pelicans dancing.” 

Yep, as mad as a doof wagon… 

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Cheers!