Movies that were inspired by Metal Gear-Kong: Skull Island. 

King Kong, of course, was the 1933 film that featured an expedition to an uncharted island that was pretty much ruled by a giant ape, who is brought back-in captivity-to New York City to be displayed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”-only to break out and climb the Empire State Building, where he meets his final fate. The movie was also a sort of modern take on “Beauty and the Beast”, with the Ape smitten with damsel actress Ann Darrow.

 

The film of course was referenced in Metal Gear Solid II, as part of the reason Jack/Raiden and Rosemary started dating (Well, apart from being manipulated by the Patriots).

 

And the King Kong inspired Donkey Kong is of course an nintendo icon, one which Solid Snake went up against in the “Super Smash Bros” series.

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It’s also spun off a small movie franchise over the years, with mixed results-one sequel, Son of Kong, shortly followed the original film; then he starred in a series of Japanese films, one in which he faced off against Godzilla, and the other, where he fought a robotic duplicate, mecha kong. Snake can also sympathize, at least from Metal Gear Solid III’s Sustenance tie-in to Ape Escape (Unfortunately, not included in any HD version).

There were also two remakes, one in 1976 which led to a 1986 sequel, and a 2005 one by Lord of the Ring’s Peter Jackson, both of which had mixed reception. Kong of course has also appeared in various animated series, comics, novels etc.

In 2017 a new Kong film was released, part of Legendary Pictures’s new “Monsterverse”, started by 2014’s “Godzilla”, directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. However, what surprised many during the press tour for the film was that Roberts stated he was keen on developing a Metal Gear Solid film, and even consulted with Hideo Kojima about the project (With Kojima no longer in charge of the Metal Gear brand though, I’m wondering how this all works out, though).

Of course, the film has some Metal Gear influence. Kong: Skull Island’s opening credits show us the dawn of the cold war via newspapers and archival footage, as it’s a period piece set in the mid 70’s, via

MGS 3’s opening is pretty similar-at least at first-with several newspapers also setting up the setting, although it later becomes far more “Bondesque”.

A great deal of the games also utilize live-action footage of events to help shape the narrative, including some political and military footage.

However, this could just be a coincidence. Far more likely as a reference are the Sky Devils unit led by Samuel L. Jackson’s Packard, all of which have the callsign FOX.

 

Although curiously, it’s emblem resembles that of another video game icon, the Kingdom of Hyrule, in the Legend of Zelda. (This is intentional on behalf of the director).

 

Also intentional: Marlowe’s WWII plane turned boat, the Grey Fox.

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Grey Fox is named after a Metal Gear character, a FOXHOUND agent who is initially captured by Big Boss, but then later becomes sympathetic to his cause. After a battle with Snake leaving him near-death, he’s revived and experimented on by Patriots member Dr. Clark (Formerly Big Boss’s support and friend, Para-Medic), becoming a Cyborg Ninja that became involved in the Shadow Moses incident.

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Both Grey Foxes are of course converted from their original purpose into something else, but both are vital to saving our heroes.

Possible also a possible reference (although maybe not) is Conrad braving poision gas with a gas mask and cleaving through pteranodon like creatures with a samurai sword, something which brings to mind two Metal Gear characters….

 

Psycho Mantis, from Metal Gear Solid I and 5…(and sort of in 4)

 

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and of course Grey Fox and those with similar attributes in later games…

As for the Metal Gear movie, Kong itself proved to be a  fairly good success so perhaps it’ll eventually get made-and hopefully, is much better than a lot of other video game adaptations have been in the past.

Bond in Review: Live and Let Die Part IV

Bond, Felix, and Quarrel Jr. take the fight back to San Monique to destroy Kananga’s operation and rescue Solitaire. Bond trades his usual PPK for a Smith and wesson magnum revolver, and decides to be a bit stealthy, wearing  an all-black suit. Among it’s many callbacks to other Bond films, Bond’s suit in this movie seems to be reference in the SPECTRE poster (although the outfit he wears in the film is a bit different)

 

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Here, Solitarire is bound and about to be sacrificed to a poisonous snake like Baines earlier in the film, in a scene you’d probably expect to see in a King Kong film, not in a Bond film.

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However, Bond withdraws his shot when the snake ritual abruptly switches to another thing, Baron Semedi, rising from his “grave”. What follows is pretty weird, as Bond opens fire on Samedi and the revelers; killing the snake man and apparently hitting Samedi too, but it turns out to be perhaps a wooden dummy. However, before it collapses, it’s eyes roll up, which is kind of weird.

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After Bond saves Solitare, Semedi (the real one?) emerges from his grave again, and challenges Bond to a machete fight, as Bond has just used up his ammo already.Related image

Quess he didn’t follow his own advice years before…”That’s a smith and wesson, and you’ve had your six.”

 

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Bond manages to knock Semedi into a casket of snakes, where they bite and poison him to death…or do they? and uses the Baron’s grave to gain access to Kananga’s underground base. Kananga seems a bit more genial here, much more upbeat and less angry than his earlier appearances in the film. Here, he takes Bond’s other weapon-a shark gun that shoots compressed air bullets (presumably if Bond needed to swim his way out?) which he then gleefully uses on a couch.

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Kananga says that the explosives which have now destroyed the poppy fields have only damaged part of his operations, and that he can rebuild easily with Bond out of the way. As Felix makes another ironic quote about Bond getting ‘tied up’, Bond in fact does get tied up, over a pool of sharks-and with Kananga cutting his arm so it’ll attract sharks.

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Parodied of course later on in “Austin Powers…”

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But like Austin later on with his floss, Bond’s got a little dues ex machina of his own. Not only does his watch of course function as a magnet-which he uses to get one of the bullets-but the watch also doubles as a small saw!

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Escaping and facing Kananga in a brief stand off, Bond manages to overpower him and they both go into the water, where Bond feeds him the bullet. And we’re given perhaps the most ridiculous (and fairly grainy, for some reason) death in the series, as he pretty much turns into a balloon and bursts (although it’s totally bloodless).

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But, like Diamonds Are Forever and the next film, we’re given a post-villain scene where the henchman tries to get revenge. Bond tries to teach Solitare a game of cards (in this case, Gin rummy).

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But it turns out Tee-Hee has gotten a ride and wants vengeance for his boss, and so we’re given one of those Bond cliches, the train fight. There’s a brief fight here but Bond quickly manages to damage and jam Tee-Hee’s arm, throwing him-and then his mechanical arm-off the train. We get a kind of double joke here-Solitaire saying “That wasn’t very funny!” since she was stuck in her bed for most of the fight (an unintentional joke to Tee-Hee’s constant giggling) and Bond saying “Just being disarming, darling).

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But that’s not it, yet-the final shot of the movie is Baron Semedi on the very front of the train, laughing!

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It’s not ever followed up on, of course, unless you count the Goldeneye 64 mission.

 

Although it’s a bit bizzare in going for the more supernatural than the fantastic, Live and Let Die I feel is a far more polished, good looking, fast-paced and entertaining film than “Diamonds Are Forever”, and easily the strongest of the “Guy Hamilton trilogy” of early 70’s Bond films. Sure, it’s got some silly moments like it’s predecessor, but somehow with Moore it works far better than the usually more serious Connery. It also doesn’t really hit you over the head with it’s location the way “Diamonds” did, and unlike Diamonds-which was mainly stuck in Vegas-feels like more of a globe-trotting adventure, leading perhaps to Bond locations being somewhat more varied in later films (Especially The Spy Who Loved Me, for instance). Although Moore hasn’t quite fit perfectly into the role yet, he comes across far more friendly here than his somewhat more mean-spirited performance in his next film. In addition to the supernatural angle, it also departs in a few other ways from formula, perhaps to distinguish itself more from the Connery films-Bond’s intro for instance quickly getting the briefing out of the way, and in a different setting than M’s office; and of course the total absence of Q.

This kind of ends the “Bond in Review” of the regular Bond films, but at some point I’ll post a review of Connery’s return to the role, in the interesting 1983 Thunderball remake, Never Say Never Again.

 

 

Bond in Review: Live and Let Die Part III

Bond’s trip to New Orleans is unfortunately almost cut short when he ends up in the same cab with Mr. Big’s taxi driver from New York, and is taken back to the airport. It’s here we meet Adam, who has probably the most normal-sounding name of any Bond henchman ever….and this is in a film with henchmen named Tee-Hee, Whisper, and Baron Semedi.

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Adam and the cab driver inform Bond he’s going “skydiving” over the bayou-without a parachute. (although Bond would later do so in Moonraker, pictured below fortunately there was a villain with a parachute nearby and Bond somehow steers with his butt. Still a great stunt though).

 

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However, Solitare quickly improvises a false betrayal of Bond, pretending to hit him with his handbag, allowing a distraction to sucker punch Adam and quickly escape to a nearby plane, where he proceeds to-like the earlier scene with the bus-drive around-and generally damage-the plane while the villains crash trying to keep up with him, with the bewildered Mrs. Bell as his passenger, who just wanted to get a flying lesson. I find it kind of funny that the shot that introduces her, and the shot that closes the scene are exactly the same.

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After Felix handles the complaints of the actual flight instructor, Bond and Felix head to another Filet of soul restaurant, although Bond decides to *not* sit next to the wall this time. Meanwhile, Bond’s other ally Strutter suffers the same fate as the New Orleans agent in the opening sequence, and we get an unintentional joke from Felix: “I hope he isn’t laying down on the job”.

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Here we get a lounge singer singing the title tune, although with a female voice instead of Paul McCartney. It’s one of the few times in the films we hear the film’s song as something other than an instrumental soundtrack, and it helps that the lyrics don’t really have much to do with the film itself. I couldn’t see somebody say, in “Goldfinger” singing the theme song at Goldfinger’s ranch or something like that.

Although Bond doesn’t get flipped through the wall this time, his chair does descend to another of Mr. Big’s hideouts (which I’m sure is pretty much the same set from earlier.) With the recaptured Solitaire, Mr.Big quizzes Bond if whether Bond “messed” with Solitaire, and cost her powers. Bond, being a gentleman, refuses to answer, but if he must he’d rather speak to Kananga. Mr. Big, to the suprise of no one, rips off his fake hair and mask and reveals he was really Kananga the whole time, and we get your Bond villain monologue.  His villainous plot is strictly small potatoes. He’s using the dual identities-and Samedi scaring people away from the fields-as a pipeline to distribute his drugs, giving it away for free so that there will be a monopoly. It’s not exactly starting World War III so people can migrate into underwater cities, or even Goldfinger’s elaborate fort knox plan. Still, it’s in keeping with the more realistic schemes in the novels, and actually is a bit of an improvement on the original novel, where Mr. Big was mainly concerned with Gold pirate coins to help finance the Soviets in the cold war(The name “Kananga” is actually an invention for the film, which I’ll explain shortly). Dalton’s films would also feature somewhat scaled down drug-smuggling plots-and indeed, elements of the “Live and Let Die” novel would make their way into Dalton’s second film as well.

 

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We get a tense scene where Kananga takes Bond’s watch, and asks Solitare to tell him if the numbers he reads are correct-and he’ll have Tee-Hee start snipping Bond’s fingers off with every wrong answer. None of them are right, but he spares Bond for the moment just so he can get really angry at Solitare-and then leaves her to Semedi, who lets out this great laugh as he burns her cards. Then she pretty much vanishes for the next half hour of film.

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Bond is taken to a crocodile farm. In reality, this place was owned by an actual man named Kananga, so that’s where the name in the movie comes from (I’m guessing they scouted out this location before writing the final script). After an ill-fated attempt to use his magnetic watch to escape using a nearby boat, Bond then uses the crocs as stepping stones.

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40 years later, a different Bond would make a similar approach in Skyfall, although with CG Komodo dragons.

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Bond escapes in another boat-this time a speedboat, and we get the film’s famous speedboat chase. Or infamous, since it introduces J.W Pepper.

 

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While “Diamonds are Forever” of course had a “Keystone cop” sequence-and so would Roger Moore’s swan song, View To A Kill-Live and Let Die-Sheriff J.W Pepper is a whole other level, sort of a stereotype “redneck” character. This movie came out a few years before “Smokey and the Bandit”, so it’s not really them taking off another genre with a similar antagonist. The chase itself is pretty good, with a nice number of stunts including this one:

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Bond’s own chase isn’t as related to Pepper, it’s mainly collateral damage, especially when his car-destroyed by one of Kananga’s boats-and later his brother-in law Billy Bob who gets knocked out by Adam.

 

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The chase also gets one of Kananga’s men stuck in a swimming pool, but also ruins a wedding as well. Right at the “If any man…” part via a boat ramming into a wedding cake. oops. Weddings in James Bond films rarely seem to go well-not only for Bond and Felix, but for the bystanders.

 

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Before he left, Bond would again ruin another wedding in “View to a Kill”. Between the cop comedy and this, I’ve got to wonder if these were somewhat deliberate nods to this film.

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Finally, Bond is able to blind Adam, and push him into a nearby open tanker, causing an explosive collision. After all the havoc, we get this pretty funny exchange when Bond pops up to reunite with Felix.

Pepper:What are you?Some kind of doomsday machine, boy?Well, we’ve got a cage strong enough to hold an animal like you here!

Felix:Captain, enlighten the sheriff, please.

Captain:Yes, sir.JW, let me have a word with you. now this fella’s from London, England.

He’s an Englishman workin’ in cooperation with our boys.A sort of secret agent.

Pepper: Secret agent?!On whose side?!

Next: Back to San Monique!

 

Bond in Review: Live and Let Die Part II

Bond-and the audience-arrive in San Monique, and we’re immediately introduced to Baron Semedi, another one of Kananga’s henchmen, “The man who cannot die” and perhaps one of the most supernatural aspects of the film. Here, he’s giving a bizzare stage show while Bond checks into his hotel.

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Samedi-who has a very deep voice and laugh-is played by the late Geoffrey Holder.

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The character is certainly one of the most memorable henchmen in Bond, and got a spot in the “Goldeneye” game:

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and his later look in the film seems to have inspired Bond’s “Day of the Dead” costume in SPECTRE:

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Bond, checking into the hotel, is told that a “Mrs. Bond” has already checked in. Another weird slam on Bond’s OHMSS marriage? Like the Moneypenny thing in the last movie, Bond seems slightly perturbed, but that’s about it.

 

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Here Roger’s cigar makes it’s first appearence (although like his harder edge in the first two films, it didn’t stick around for long) and is used with spectacular effect as he combines it with aftershave to torch a snake.

Oddly enough, this sort of relates to another hobby of mine, Metal Gear-in which Solid Snake improvises a similar attack against Big Boss at the end of Metal Gear II. Big Boss of course, started off as “Snake” himself-the original.

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After this, we quickly meet Rosie, a CIA agent reportedly working with Felix, but who also, of course, was the woman assigned to the ill-fated agent Baines. She’s kind of portrayed as a bit jumpy, especially when she finds a bloody hat with chicken fingers on the bed.

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We do get a funny Moore line here:

It’s just a hat, darling,

belonging to a small-headed man who lost a fight with a chicken.

The next morning, Bond gets a tarot card-an upside down Queen of cups, hinting that Rosie might not be what she seems. It’s never quite made clear who gave him the card, as it’s never really brought up again. Solitare makes the most sense but she’s not quite on Bond’s side yet…

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Here we meet Quarrel Jr., the son of Bond’s ally in Dr. No, and like Quarrel himself in Dr.No we’re initially led to believe he might be one of the bad guys, but just like in Dr.No, he’s one of the good guys, working with Bond and Felix like his father did. This actually is partially due to the fact that while in the book continuity Quarrel Sr. helped Bond during the events of Live and Let Die (and later died in Dr.No) The movies were adapted in a different order, and Quarrel Sr. was killed off in Dr.No, the first film.

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This also briefly recreates part of the dynamic of Dr.No, when you think about it, with Bond, Felix and Quarrel working together. Although this isn’t Jamacia, it was filmed (in real-life) in Jamacia, so it’s a bit of an interesting callback, especially like Dr.No this is the first film for a Bond. While some aspects of Moore tried to stay away from Connery’s portrayal-for instance Moore smokes cigars, while Connery smokes cigarettes-other aspects are pretty much very Conneryish-especially Moore’s initial approach to the role, although in this film he’s considerably ‘nicer’ than his “Man with the Golden Gun” approach.

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….except to Rosie here, who gives Bond confusing directions about where Baines was killed (Plus Kananga pretty much spells it out that she’s a bad guy on the phone in an ajacent seen) After a sexy picnic, Bond has had enough, and wants to know what’s really going on. Rosie however freaks out and is shot by a scarecrow concealing a gun, another one of the film’s somewhat creepy visuals. Say what you will about the ‘safe’ direction of Guy Hamilton, but his films did have some of the more bizarre Bond images here and there, something that would continue into his next-and final Bond film, The Man With the Golden Gun.

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Kananga is mad that Bond’s not dead, and thinks that Solitaire might be up to something. Speaking of bizarre visuals, her costume in this scene is certainly one.

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After Kananga’s gone, Bond himself sneaks onto Kananga’s fortress via hang glider (smoking a cigar at the same time too!) and confronts Solitaire, with the “lovers” card info, and she quickly falls for him.

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Looks like after his somewhat unsuccessful attempts to woo villainous Bond girls in “Thunderball” and “You Only Live Twice”, Bond is able to turn this one over to the good guys, although she’s lost her card-reading powers as a result. However, she’s somewhat more innocent than either Fiona or Helga (Who were both SPECTRE, anyway). As she’s with Bond, she kind of mumbles some strange weirdness, which kind of gets a slight eye roll from Bond, but now that’s she’s with him, she’s quite eager for further ‘lessons’.

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I’ve lost it.

The High Priestess is wife to the Prince no longer of this world.

The spiritual bridge to the secret church.

Bond enlists Solitaire’s help to find out what Rosie was trying to hide in the fields nearby. They are greeted by Samedi, whose flute doubles as a transmitter to tell Kananga that Bond is being nosey.

 

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Bond discovers that the fields guarded by the scarecrows and Samedi is in fact poppy fields for heroin. After nearly being shot down by helicopters, Bond and Solitare board a rusty double decker San Monique bus, and then get chased by Kananga’s police force.

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While this scene might seem a bit like the Space buggy one from Diamonds Are Forever-Bond being able to outmaneuver his pursuers in a clumsy vehicle (and we’ll see more scenes like this in Roger Moore film’s later on-Particularly For Your Eyes Only and View to A kill), it seems to work a lot better-there’s more of a sense of speed, there’s far less goofy music (Here, it’s the instrumental version of the title theme), and despite being old and rusty, the bus doesn’t look half as silly as the buggy. Plus there’s a great bit where the whole second deck is sheared off by a bridge, landing on the pursuing car.

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“Sweet mother of pearl!” as Quarrel Jr. says as Bond quickly makes his escape, boarding the boat-and Bond gets ready to investigate the final agent murder-in New Orleans, where there’s obviously another connection going on.

Of course now Bond’s made Kananga extra angry by taking his woman and his psychic, and Solitaire knows it…..next stop: New Orleans.

 

 

 

Metal Gear Profiles-Raiden Part III

With the Patriots and the Snakes gone, Raiden lead a normal life-or what passes for one when you’re a cyborg ninja mercenary. However, in order to help provide for his family, and to help those who hadn’t quite adapted that well to the end of the Patriots, Raiden joined the Maverick Private Military company. However, on one of his assignments as a bodyguard to protect an African prime minister, things went awry.

 

Attacked by Cyborgs who then took the minister, Raiden also had to focus against an old nemesis-a modified Metal Gear RAY.

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Catching up, he eventually came face to face with the cyborgs Jetstream Sam and Sundowner, but he was too late to save the Minister, and unfortunately his own cyborg body was heavily damaged during the fight.

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His body was eventually repaired and upgraded, although he lost even more of what was left of his organic self. He found out that Sam and Sundowner worked for the Desperado group, who wanted in part to restore the “War Economy” of the Patriots.Image result for Blade wolf

 

During one of his missions to investigate what was going on with the group,  he encountered the IG-69000, but was able to salvage most of it after the battle to convert it into an ally, Blade Wolf.

 

He also stumbled upon a plot to turn children into Cyborgs as well.

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He learned of this plot by one of them-George, who (sort of) likened Raiden to one of the Ninja Turtles: “A real ninja? Cowabunga! Go Ninja, Go Ninja go!” He also discovered that Desperado had links to World Marshall Inc, another PMC, and it’s CEO, senator Armstrong.

Eventually raiding World Marshall,  the stress of the mission and Sam’s revelations about the Cyborgs he was encountering-that many were just people trying to get by-caused Raiden’s “Jack the Ripper” persona to re-emerge. Part of his justification-to prevent others from becoming what he is.

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After escaping from Denver and taking out Sundowner and Jetstream Sam, he then learned that Desperado planned to sabotage peace talks in Pakistan. With the help of his old friend Sunny Emmerich-now even more of a super genius and a member of the SOLIS private space flight company, Raiden journeyed to Pakistan, where he learned that Armstrong planned to engineer an attack on peace talks and blame it on Desperado, with World Marshall reaping the rewards and starting a new “war economy”.

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Armstrong first fought Raiden in the Metal Gear Excelus, an MG designed not as a nuclear platform but as an anti-cyborg weapon, and featuring spider-like six legs instead of a Metal Gear’s usual bipedal stance.

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With the unit disabled, Armstrong personally confronted Raiden, but thanks to Nanomachines in his body, giving him super strength and invulnerability, was able to protect himself from Raiden and his HF balde, which broke.

 

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However, Blade Wolf tossed Raiden Jetstream Sam’s sword, which had the power to cut through Armstrong’s nanomachines.

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Finally able to defeat Armstrong and his plans, although some form of the War economy would still go on, regardless-including Raiden’s own group, Maverick. Raiden decided to leave Maverick, and go solo, fighting his own war….perhaps against his own dark inner nature.

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Bond in Review: Live and Let Die Part I

After Connery’s exit in “Diamonds are Forever”, the search was on for a new James Bond-and hopefully not a one-shot like Connery. They found their man in Roger Moore, who had been on the TV series “The Saint”. Once again, Guy Hamilton was brought back to direct.

Three things are apparent right away-First,Moore no longer has the hat Connery and Lazenby wore. Second, the Aspect ratio is greatly reduced from Connery-and Lazenby’s films. (The rumor is that this was because people were used to seeing Roger Moore on squarish TV. The more widescreen look would return with “The Spy Who Loved Me”.) Third, the music is notably different-this is the first Bond film not scored by John Barry, it’s actually “Fifth beatle” George Martin. Which is more relevant shortly….

Like DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER’s opening, we see a quick transition of locations, but none of these feature James Bond. Instead, we see three men subtly killed-one, by a horrible piercing sound which kills him in the United Nations in New York, second in New Orleans during a funeral via stabbing and a quick coffin cover-up, and third, by snake bite in the island of San Monique. Still no Bond.

Then, we come to our opening credits, one of Bond’s trippier ones, with a wide-eyed woman transforming into a flaming skull, and another woman with snake tattoos.

And of course there’s that song, one of the best Bond songs. Like “A view To A Kill” “Living Daylights”  and “You Know My Name”  later on, this isn’t a ballad but more of a rock/pop song, by former Beatles member Paul McCartney and his WINGS group, presumably brought on by Martin. I wonder what George and Paul thought about Bond’s comment in Goldfinger about “listening to the beatles without earmuffs”. It’s a very energetic, fast paced song, not really having much to do with the plot of the movie at all like some other Bond songs (“Goldfinger” in particular) but it’s still one of the all time greats.

Bond’s intro is him in bed with Italian agent Miss Caruso, who he recently helped in some unseen “rome affair”. Unfortunately, M and Moneypenny decide to play a visit, and there’s quite a bit of comedy-that largely sets the tone for the Moore era-as Bond and Moneypenny attempt to hide Miss Caruso from M’s gaze. As he’s given the briefing, we’re given a bit of a look at Bond’s home, something rarely seen in the films.

 

His kitchen in particular looks like the opening gunbarrel dots, except in reverse colors. I wonder if that was intentional? Bond is also given his own “Q” scene, as Desmond Llewlynn sits this one out, and Bond sort of demonstrates the gadgets. Although M seems to ask about the coffee machine’s abilities, it’s not actually a Q device.

What is very Q-ish is of course Bond’s new watch in this film.  This is really the first really major ‘gadgety’ watch, as the Thunderball one really just had a Geiger counter. This one has magnets and buzz-saw, the former of which Bond demonstrates with M’s coffee spoon-and Miss Caruso’s dress zipper.

M’s quick briefing informs him that the three dead agents have something in common-they were all investigating Mr.Kananga, the ruler of the island of San Monique.

Next, we’re given a interesting transition as Bond takes off to visit New York, where the first agent was killed in the UN. Along with some great music by Martin, we see a mysterious female land read tarot cards overlaid over Bond’s journey.

“A man comes.

He travels quickly.

He has purpose.

He comes over water.

He travels with others.

He will oppose.

He brings violence and destruction.”

It’s pretty unusual but very interesting. We’re starting to get in more of a supernatural area here, one of the things that makes this Bond film fairly unique, especially after “Diamonds are Forever” which, while it featured a fairly outlandish plot featuring a diamond satellite, was still kind of a simplistic plot with not many layers. Bond’s greeted in New York via phone by his CIA friend and ally Felix Leiter, who once again looks the part. David Hedison plays it well, although like in “Diamonds Are Forever” he’s slightly annoyed with Bond’s shenanigans and is part comic relief.

Hedison, along with Jeffrey Wright, is one of the more consistant Felixes, reprising the role for “Licence to Kill” where his character was badly injured and his wife killed by the villain, prompting Bond’s revenge in the film. This would also be the last film to feature Felix until 1987’s Living Daylights, which introduced Dalton and featured John Terry in the film. It’s not really explained how John Terry’s Felix somehow reverted to his former self and aged two decades inbetween Dalton films, but hey, it’s Bond so continuity isn’t exactly their forte.

Felix is keeping an eye on Kananga, but the villain fools the CIA with a pre-recorded speech. Here we’re also introduce to the voice from the transition-and our Bond girl-Solitare, played by Jane Seymour. Apart from this, Seymour is well known for the time-travel romance story Somewhere In Time, the mother (and wife of future Bond villain Christopher Walken) in Wedding Crashers, and of course, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

Meanwhile, Bond is driven to Felix, but his driver is quickly killed by a silent dart to the head. Here we get our first Roger Moore action scene-nothing special really, as Moore quickly tries to maneuver the keep the car from crashing into other cars-instead crashing up the steps of a building instead.

Tracing the car Bond stops at a weird voodoo shop, where he buys a stuffed snake to distract the shopkeeper so he can slip into the back and check out the car. Getting into a cab-unknowingly driven by another Kananga henchman-Bond arrives at the Filet of Soul restaurant….and he’s also followed by another  guy.

In the restaurant, Bond is quickly sent into a revolving door, where he now meets Solitare, Tee-hee, and “Mr.Big”.

Tee-Hee makes short work of Bond’s gun with his ‘claw hand’, sort of putting him in the category of Bond henchmen who have gimmicks-Oddjob and Jaws, for example.

Mr. Big of course, is also played by Yapphet Kotto, and is pretty much obviously the same character with a bit of prosthetics.

Kotto of course is well-known movie wise as Parker from ALIEN…

and also for his role as a Detective in Homicide.

“Mr.Big” just states that “Names are for tombstones” when Bond tries to give his trademark catchphrase greeting. He also gets a reading from Solitare-the cards, BTW, another cheeky use of “007”-and pulls the fool, but then the lovers, which stuns Solitare.

I was re-watching Live and Let Die and noticed something curious about Solitaire's Tarot Cards

Leaving outside to be ‘wasted’ Bond is saved by the man tailing him earlier, Harold Strutter, in fact an CIA guy working for Felix. After criticizing Bond for not being cautious, the two wonder what connection Mr.Big and his criminal empire has with Kananga. However, Bond has another connection to pursue-the murder of the second agent, Baines.

Next stop: San Monique.

 

Marvel Cinematic Universe-Iron Man: Who should take up the armor?

It’s been speculated that perhaps the coming Avengers films might feature the end of Robert Downey’s run as Iron Man. Iron Man-alongside it’s Summer 2008 companion of course, started the whole shared universe known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which featured a series of films featuring heroes with shared continuity and characters, and boosted the company’s profile considerably, bringing it eventually into Disney’s orbit two years later. It also revitalized Downey’s career.

 

It also spawned of course, two sequels (although they weren’t quite as acclaimed as the first) and of course Iron Man would also appear in The Incredible Hulk, The first two Avengers films, Captain America: Civil War, and of course the recent Spider-Man Homecoming film.

However, at one point, perhaps he’ll leave the role-Downey of course has brought this up a few times during the recent PR for Spider-Man, and the guy mainly in charge of the MCU, Kevin Feige, was quoted as:

“I do think Iron Man, like Spider-Man, like Batman, like Superman, like James Bond has existed long before most of us were around and will exist long after most of us are gone,So it’s inevitable.”

While this is not confirmation of anything, there does seem to be the possibility that eventually Iron man-or at least Tony Stark-will step down from the MCU, although the movies will still go on with their current continuity. It’s possible Iron Man might even be killed off in the Infinity War films. An Iron Man 4 doesn’t seem to be quite on Marvel’s schedule for the near future, either, as they’re quite busy right now with not only IW, but also Thor Ragnarok, Black Panther, Ant-Man II, and Captain Marvel. Not to mention their rapidly growing TV stuff (SHIELD, their Netflix stuff etc.), which shares the same universe. Plus sequels to Homecoming are in development as well.

However, if Downey Jr. leaves the role in some capacity, could we see a new Iron Man? Here’s some possibilities….

First, the most obvious. James Rhodes, Iron Man’s friend. When Tony’s personal problems with alcohol and his company going down had him unable to perform the role of Iron Man, Rhodes took on the role for a year or two, including fighting in the original Secret Wars, before Tony recovered and took back his company. Rhodes still worked alongside his friend, sometimes in armor, sometimes not.

When Tony was briefly presumed dead, Rhodes once again took up the armor, this time a heavily-armed variant. When Tony returned once again, Rhodes continued as the “War machine”. A similar development of course happened in the movies, although WM has never quite been Iron Man proper-although he’s been both WM and the Iron Patriot (Comics rhodey was also briefly the Iron Patriot, redeeming the title from original holder Norman “Green Goblin” Osborn) as well as briefly being Iron Man again.

 

 

So I suppose it’s possible that should Tony step down for good, Rhodes-played by Don Cheadle in the films (apart from I, where he was played by Terrence Howard)-could lead. Only a few problems-Cheadle is as old as Downey Jr, and it’s conceivable he might be stepping down too. Also, I seriously doubt we’d see Terrence Howard return to the role either. Plus there’s also the character getting very badly injured in Civil War.

 

So maybe not.

Here’s another possibility-Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts. The character briefly donned the armor in Iron Man III (As well as getting some Extremis powers for a brief time).

Even a Vogue photoshoot also toyed with the idea a bit….

…And it’s happened in the comics. Pepper became “Rescue” although she hasn’t used the suit quite as much in recent years.

So that’s a possibility, especially with female superheroes now being more in vogue (With Wonder Woman, the upcoming Captain Marvel, Silver & Black etc.)

One recent development in the comics has been the revelation that Tony Stark is not, in fact, the biological son of Howard and Maria Stark, but another man is-“Arno Stark”. Tony was actually adopted all along; and their real son who had health problems, got genetic enhancements, and eventually met his adopted brother. However, I can’t quite see Marvel Studios going down this route, except maybe as a villain, as Arno, in at least one possible future, becomes the villainous Iron Man 2020.

Image result for Arno stark

The current Iron Man (Since Tony is currently in a coma) in the comics is also known as “Ironheart”, a teen genius called Riri Williams. Interestingly, she’s based on Disney Channel actress Skai Johnson, whose already done some Marvel voice work in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon.

 

Hey, it could happen. For the “Ultimate universe” series, Nick Fury was re-imagined as  looking exactly like Samuel L. Jackson.

Come 2008, well….

Here’s a couple other alternatives….in the comics, when Iron Man became a villain in “The Crossing”, uh, crossover, the Avengers briefly brought in a younger, teen Tony from an alternate universe to fight his older self (In a similar fashion, many of the current “original 5” X-men also have teen counterparts due to some time travel shenanigans, although the older Cyclops and Jean Grey are still dead).

The “Teen tony” concept was also used in the animated series Iron Man: Armored Adventures

And even in Civil War we got a partially CGed Downey in a digital ‘flashback’ hologram.

 

However, the use of CG doubles-no matter how like-life-for actors and actresses (especially deceased ones) is still a controversial practice.

Another current Iron Man in the comics is yep, this guy.

 

After the “Secret Wars” crossover, Victor Von Doom was healed of his scars, and became a supporting character in the “Iron Man” comics, where his sorcery skills came in handy.

Lately though, with Tony Stark in a coma following the events of Civil War II, Doom became the other Iron hero, dubbed by Marvel as the “Infamous” Iron Man. He’s trying to become a hero, but it’s kind of hard giving that he was pretty much villain no.1 at Marvel for a long time. He’s got no Fantastic Four as a foil though (Although current members the Thing and Human Torch are still on Earth although on different teams, Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman are on a cosmic journey following Secret Wars).

 

However, having Doom as a new Iron Man in movies is a big obstacle. First off, Marvel Studios does not currently have the right to the Fantastic Four (including Doom). Even then, the character’s backstory/motivation might take a few movies to get over….and if one thing’s certain, Doctor Doom is really hard to adapt to the big screen.

 

   

While the first two Dooms are reasonably accuarate comic-wise in the costumes, neither really has the proper personality of the comics Doom. And the third…well…..let’s not talk about that.

Anyway, all this is speculation, as we don’t have any definitive answers to how Iron Man will go out.