What Watchmen didn’t teach us

If you’ll indulge me for a minute, boys n’ girls – well, a bit more than a minute; let’s be honest here – I’d like to indulge in a little editorializing.SCAN0022

Recently, I reread Watchmen. I do that every once in a while. I first purchased my copy back in high school. Since then, I probably read the thing… well, about once every year to two years. Not much different from most people, I’d guess.

But this time around, it sparked some thoughts.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell any of you what Watchmen is – if you haven’t read it, you’ve heard of it. It was one of the game-changers, the ones that showed us what the medium is truly capable of. Of course, one could argue that such indications were always there if one cared to take a look, but Watchmen was one of the first that you could shove a copy into someone’s hands and say ‘you want to know what comics are all about? Read this, baby.’

And then there’s the spin-offs. Recently, of course, there’s been the various Before Watchmen minis (which, although certainly unnecessary, are far from the blasphemous undertakings that some fans paint them as), but I’m not talking literal spin-offs here. I’m talking about the influence of the book.

What has it influenced? What hasn’t it influenced? Rare is the wannabe writer who reads it and doesn’t, on some level, go ‘whoa – I wanna write something like that!’

And many have tried. And some have come close.

And many, many others have failed, and that’s what I’m here to talk about today. Continue reading

American Ninja: Mutoids

Strange observations, weird thoughts, and snarky rebuttals are the domain of Mutoids — Mutant Reviewers’ notated journey through the film of the week.  So what did we notice about American Ninja?


  • This movie really, really needs an establishing text, because I have no idea where it starts out.  Wikipedia says Philippines, and who am I to argue?
  • Brooding loner with fancy butterfly knife skills… we have our lead!
  • Hackeysack is the official pasttime of the US Army
  • Army base doesn’t have its own airport, but must form a protective convoy just to get a single person to her flight.
  • The opening theme is so dang hyper — especially with that trumpet — that it cracks me up

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American Ninja: Ninjas in the 80s


Jackson: Have you ever heard of ninjutsu sir?
Colonel Hickock: What’s that?
Jackson: The secret art of assassination.

It’s a well-known trope that pop culture ninjas, like pirates, are nothing like their real-world counterparts.  While there were indeed ninjas, they were assassins rather than warriors who chose to blend in, use underhanded weapons, and kill when the victim was least suspecting it.  Unlike the samurai, the ninja were seen to have no honor nor great status.

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American Ninja: Review

Justin’s Review: ninja1If you were to intentionally create the most stereotypically 80s action movie today, there’s no way you could top what’s already been done in American Ninja.

Largely responsible for the elevation of the ninja to near-mythical status, American Ninja is a hodge-podge of admittedly better 80s films, including The Karate Kid, James Bond, and probably anything to do with Chuck Norris.  Yet it pushes so hard the ninja aspect that instead of being mediocre today, it’s actually endured as a cheesy cult classic that features genuinely enjoyable (if ridiculous) action.

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Six iconic 80s movie soundtrack tunes


Is it just me, or is the movie soundtrack in decline in pop culture?  It used to be that a movie could really launch a song into the stratosphere and that films would have robust soundtracks, but I am hard-pressed to think of the last major non-Chipmunks movie that sent a song to the Top 40s.  Perhaps the greatest era for the movie-tune partnership was the 80s, and today I’m going to list six memorable tunes and why they still mean a lot to me.

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