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JulyDiaz

Episode 157 - Surf Ninjas: LIVE!

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I have a problem with the general hodgepodge nature of their use of Asian themes and stereotypes in this film.

 

Let's start with the title of this movie. The movie is called Surf Ninjas (note the horrible "Asian" font used in the title screen) yet they are not ninjas. Ninjas were like the spies and mercenaries of feudal Japan who did the jobs that were beneath that of the cultured samurai. Contrary to popular belief knowing and doing some martial arts does not make one a ninja. Nothing that the main characters do could be considered ninja-like at all. They are not really surfers and they aren't ninjas. The closest thing this movie has to ninja's are the underlings of Colonel Chi.

 

Where to start with Colonel Chi? First, it's a white guy named Colonel Chi who wears samurai armor. Putting aside the fact that he's white, there is conflict between his dress and name. Samurai are Japanese, and Chi is a Chinese or Taiwanese surname. Also samurai didn't have traditional military ranks, so he can't be a samurai and a colonel. Colonel Chi is described as a foreign mercenary in the film. Why does he have a rank if he's a mercenary and as a mercenary why does he want to take over a nation if he's not working for somebody? If he wanted to take over and rule of his own will that wouldn't make him a mercenary. So we have to assume that he's some mercenary who loves Japanese culture but not enough to know Chi isn't a Japanese name who employees only Asian underlings. Which brings us back to the ninjas in the movie. Their actions are ninja like in nature, but ninjas would wear clothing to camouflage into their surroundings, not just straight up cameo colored clothes. The whole point of the ninja were to be silent and unseen which none of their clothing does in this film. Also, in the restaurant fight scene they are straight up wearing kendo helmets, gloves and chest wear over top their tiger print "ninja" clothing. If it does need to be pointed out there is no connection between the sport of kendo and ninjas.

 

All of this brings us to Patusan. So it's a made up nation, but it is also very clearly Thailand. That's not just in the fact that they shot in Thailand but everything we see about it is Thai. The clothing worn by Kelly Hu and their royal garb at the end are all traditional Thai style of dress and clothing. Even the food we see is vaguely Thai with maybe a few Chinese elements thrown in. Which brings me to Baba Ram. While Thailand is full of Buddhist as in most of Southeast Asia, there is no central holy figure to it like the Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhism which Baba Ram is truly trying to evoke or emulate. The name Baba Ram is also more Indian sounding than Thai sounding.

 

I'm sure I'm missing a bunch of other examples, but I hope you get the idea.

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I quickly want to talk about Little Patusan. So when Patches takes the boys there he tells them that when the people fled from Colonel Chi's invasion they came there to settle and they started Little Patusan. The younger brother states at one point in the film that he's eleven and in the flashback scene he's a baby, so Little Patusan is roughly ten years old. In that short time these people fled from their home country bought a block of beach adjacent properties and establish a community for fellow Patusani refugees. Where did they get the money to do all this let alone the open real estate to do so? Did it start with them buying the restaurant and expanding from there? Why did all the refugees settle in one city in America? It's a tiny island nation, exactly how many people left? Surely there can't be enough. Also do you think ever for one second Patches of Adoptive Dad thought that hiding the princes of Patusan in the same city where all the Patusani refugees fled to was not the best of ideas?

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Nailed it, Cam! Awesome C+O!

tumblr_mwxt5ntCnO1so2e9ko1_500.gif

 

Thank you kindly sir.

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How about the fact that when the ninjas initially attack the boys at their father's restaurant, Iggy tries to persuade of them to not attack him by assuming a racist caricature of an Asian accent? ("Me no speak-a English. Me wash dishes.") Fuck, son! If I were that ninja I would have been like, "Shit, I wasn't gonna hurt you, but now you've kind of left me no choice..."

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Is it me or is there an absurd amount of fight scenes that occur in a restaurant in this movie?

It kind of makes sense when you consider that the game and movie were apparently developed at the same time -- the first level of the game is the restaurant.

 

8EEiyFC.jpg

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Just realized that Leslie Nielsen has a cordless phone receiver! (Two years before Home for the Holidays built a sequence around trying to keep a phone cord untangled.)So even though he doesn't have a cell phone, he can just keep the receiver, which is the exact size of an early cell phone, on his person rather than on the rest of the phone, and not have to run to it when he gets a call. Sure the receiver would need batteries, but it can't use them more than the Game Gear.

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TV Guide has a second opinion (3 stars out of 5):

 

A concise, witty script, an extremely likeable and attractive group of performers, and an abundance of exciting, well-staged kung-fu combat scenes add up to the kind of enjoyable, unpretentious family entertainment the major studios once excelled at but seem to have forgotten how to make.

 

SURF NINJAS is a martial arts-themed comedy for the whole family that features bloodless kung-fu battles, an endless stream of often amusing adolescent wisecracks, and a complete lack of profanity.

However:

The one false note in the film is the miscasting of Leslie Nielsen as Asian warlord Colonel Chi. While Nielsen deftly handles the comic aspects of the part, he fails to convey the character's tyrannical side. His death scene, in which Johnny deliberately pushes him into a pool of water to electrocute him, is completely at odds with the light-hearted tone of the rest of the film and represents a shocking moral lapse on Johnny's part.

You don't say!

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The one false note in the film is the miscasting of Leslie Nielsen as Asian warlord Colonel Chi. While Nielsen deftly handles the comic aspects of the part, he fails to convey the character's tyrannical side. His death scene, in which Johnny deliberately pushes him into a pool of water to electrocute him, is completely at odds with the light-hearted tone of the rest of the film and represents a shocking moral lapse on Johnny's part.

 

Wait, what?? Nielsen's character isn't tyrannical enough?? The torture chamber and threatening his right-hand man with an electric knife doesn't do it for you? The fact that he had the king and queen killed? That he had "ninjas" trying to KILL children?? And probably tortured their kidnapped father?? That he had a village burned?? A chain gang of innocent villagers doing manual labor?? Acting like he was unarmed to make Johnny drop his sword and then attacking him with a mechanical arm?? Johnny should pull him out of the water and then push him in again tbqh.

 

Srsly with that opening sentence I thought this complaint was gonna be about casting Nielsen as a character who should BE Asian, not... this shallow critique. Gtfo, TV Guide and learn to format your site so it

 

doesn't cut sentences in weird places.

 

(┛ಠДಠ)┛彡┻━┻

 

I'm okay. It's been a long day. I'm not that angry.

 

(☞ ̄‿ ̄)☞ Electrocution = SHOCKING moral lapse

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Lots of good comments, but I would like to add this idea that was overlooked in the podcast:

 

Patusan is the most technologically advanced country on earth.

 

Colonel Chi has a (mostly) fully functional left hand which he can control entirely through his brain. Such a piece of robotics would be cutting-edge technology right now, and they built his somewhere in the late 80's early 90's. That would have been an incredible breakthrough at the time. His robotic half-skull is would be even more advanced (Except for the bluetooth, this we know how to do). Forget wood-carving, those people are master robot builders.

 

Which bring me to the second point: maybe they got all the surfboard so quickly because they didn't carve them all up by hand, but instead used some super robots that only them could develop at the time.

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just back from Logan .... it's worthy of all the praise ... it's bloody brilliant. wish i could say more than that but i'd risk spoiling it and that's not cool. i tried to stop watching trailers about a year or two ago and this is the first big one i didn't see a single frame of before sitting down to watch it and, other than a few obvious points, i had no clue what was going to happen and it just made the whole experience so much better ... so if you haven't seen a trailer or read any reviews then don't .. just go see it. it's amazing ... i'll shut up now.

 

only problem is i had to sit through trailers for power rangers and ghost in a shell. i think in future i'm gonna have to stay outside till just before the movie starts .. or i could just close my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears and start singing "LA LA LA LA LA!!!" ..

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just back from Logan .... it's worthy of all the praise ... it's bloody brilliant. wish i could say more than that but i'd risk spoiling it and that's not cool. i tried to stop watching trailers about a year or two ago and this is the first big one i didn't see a single frame of before sitting down to watch it and, other than a few obvious points, i had no clue what was going to happen and it just made the whole experience so much better ... so if you haven't seen a trailer or read any reviews then don't .. just go see it. it's amazing ... i'll shut up now.

 

Thank you I appreciate that because for some stupid reason I have to wait until June to see it.

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only problem is i had to sit through trailers for power rangers and ghost in a shell.

Is that a problem because both of those look like hot garbage?

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just back from Logan .... it's worthy of all the praise ... it's bloody brilliant. wish i could say more than that but i'd risk spoiling it and that's not cool. i tried to stop watching trailers about a year or two ago and this is the first big one i didn't see a single frame of before sitting down to watch it and, other than a few obvious points, i had no clue what was going to happen and it just made the whole experience so much better ... so if you haven't seen a trailer or read any reviews then don't .. just go see it. it's amazing ... i'll shut up now.

 

only problem is i had to sit through trailers for power rangers and ghost in a shell. i think in future i'm gonna have to stay outside till just before the movie starts .. or i could just close my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears and start singing "LA LA LA LA LA!!!" ..

I lucked out in that my trailers were Fast 8 and the Belko Experiment which both look equally amazing in their own way. I loved Logan for how far away it was from previous X-Men movies, though I was kinda sad in that Marvel Studios didn't make this as it would have been able to been more closely resembling Old Man Logan and show the absolute horror of the villain uprising, what happened to the other heroes like the Avengers and street level heroes like Daredevil and Hawkeye, and the act that broke the Wolverine as a person. Again, if you have not read this book please do so because it's incredible and shows a new side of the Wolverine psyche.

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I think firsttimecaller's point is he doesn't want to know anything--good or bad--about the movie. This way he can make up his own mind and nothing gets spoiled for him,

 

I've been trying to do that myself actuaaly, although I still watch trailers. I just try to avoid too much movie news. By not allowing any preconceptions to muddy the waters, it allows for a more pure movie watching experience.

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I think firsttimecaller's point is he doesn't want to know anything--good or bad--about the movie. This way he can make up his own mind and nothing gets spoiled for him,

 

I've been trying to do that myself actuaaly, although I still watch trailers. I just try to avoid too much movie news. By not allowing any preconceptions to muddy the waters, it allows for a more pure movie watching experience.

 

exactly.i used to watch all the trailers, all the review shows, read all the magazines but i found i was knowing way too much of movies before i even sat down to watch them.

 

sometimes it's hard not to watch them though. i mean i watched the fast8 trailer without even thinking about it. i just had to see it.

 

the power rangers trailer makes the movie look like alot of fun. there's going to be some serious training montages in that thing. but in saying that i always liked the transformers trailers and then the movies ... well lets say ... not so much. and it could easily have been for a transformers movie. it would be a pleasant surprise if it turned out to be good.

 

and i really want ghost in the shell to be good and it looks great but i'm worried about it. it's got alot to live up to and there's alot of baggage with it now ... fingers crossed

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After some thought there are a number of elements in "Surf Ninjas" that remind me of "The Dictator" where the True ruler(s) of a foreing country in despair is in danger of being assasinated but at the end of the day defeats the bad guys, comes back home to bring "democracy or whatever" to its people and marries a woman he met less than a week ago...

 

 

I know its a stretch but theres also a restaurant scene and everything... What I'm saying is that The Dictaror is a soft reboot/remake of Surf Ninjas (Maybe)

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After some thought there are a number of elements in "Surf Ninjas" that remind me of "The Dictator" where the True ruler(s) of a foreing country in despair is in danger of being assasinated but at the end of the day defeats the bad guys, comes back home to bring "democracy or whatever" to its people and marries a woman he met less than a week ago...

 

 

I know its a stretch but theres also a restaurant scene and everything... What I'm saying is that The Dictaror is a soft reboot/remake of Surf Ninjas (Maybe)

But is Jason still in The Dictator?

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When I think of the song "Barbara Ann" by the Beach Boys, the first thing that comes to mind is this gem from Saved by the Bell:

 

 

It's funny that TV and movies portrayed these 1990's teens as massive Beach Boys fans, and not even like the really good Pet Sounds Beach Boys either. At the beginning of Airborne, we also see Mitchell Goosen and his friend walking home singing "California Girls." I guess the writers at this time just thought any teens from California would be obsessed with the Beach Boys.

 

Anyone notice the ninjas in one scene wearing what appear to be actual Zubaz Ninja outfits?

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Am I the only one who has been playing the Second Opinions theme from this episode on repeat for days?

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june??? it makes no sense. just release it everywhere at the same time

It's funny because sometimes it's really slow and sometimes its not. X-Men movies use to come out at the same time, but Deadpool, Apocalypse and now Logan are months behind. It's especially annoying when it is literally everywhere but here.

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I'm so happy that they're doing Chopping Mall / Killbots!

Body Parts is another good choice, but CM is fantastic.

I actually rewatched it recently and thought it would be a great choice, in the vein of Death Spa and Lifeforce.

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It's funny that TV and movies portrayed these 1990's teens as massive Beach Boys fans, and not even like the really good Pet Sounds Beach Boys either. At the beginning of Airborne, we also see Mitchell Goosen and his friend walking home singing "California Girls." I guess the writers at this time just thought any teens from California would be obsessed with the Beach Boys.

 

 

Don't forget that the Beach Boys had a huge bounceback in the early 1990's, and were cool for a while - including a big hit with 'Kokomo' and a bump from their using John Stamos as their drummer. If anything, all of these Beach Boys references are more on point than the Van Halen reference in Surf Ninjas: totally tapping into a weird retro surfer zeitgeist that was around for a couple years in the early 90's.

 

As per Wiki:

 

[The Beach Boys] eventually bore a strong influence on indie rock, which Smile was a progenitor of. In the 1990s, the Beach Boys received a resurgence of popularity with alternative rock groups and young record-buyers of independent music. According to Sean O'Hagan of the High Llamas, "[they] stopped listening to indie records" in favor of the Beach Boys. Bands who advocated for the band included founding members of the Elephant 6 Collective: Neutral Milk Hotel, the Olivia Tremor Control, the Apples in Stereo, and of Montreal. United by a shared love of the Beach Boys' music, they named Pet Sounds Studio in honor of the group. Smile also became a touchstone to bands who were labelled "chamber pop", a genre influenced by the lush orchestrations of Brian Wilson, Lee Hazlewood, and Burt Bacharach.

 

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Don't forget that the Beach Boys had a huge bounceback in the early 1990's, and were cool for a while - including a big hit with 'Kokomo' and a bump from their using John Stamos as their drummer. If anything, all of these Beach Boys references are more on point than the Van Halen reference in Surf Ninjas: totally tapping into a weird retro surfer zeitgeist that was around for a couple years in the early 90's.

 

Did somebody say 90s and the Beach Boys?

 

 

All I'm thinking about now is Todd Glass guessing U2 songs

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