Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Familiar Faces in Movies (Part IV)

Very much the second half of Part II yesterday, another eight familiar faces in movies today~

Brian Cox

(Left) Troy (2004) … Agamemnon
(Right) X2 (2003) … William Stryker

Very much like the notorious partnership of Guy de Lusignan and Reynald de Chatillon in Kingdom of Heaven, Menelaus in Troy had an evil accomplish too, or rather the mastermind of the whole Trojan invasion, presenting Agamemnon played by Brain Cox. While Reynald, oops, Menelaus is fighting for his dignity (to get Helen back); Agamemnon only joined his brother to broaden his empire. An evil king who fits every quality as an evil king, I believe many audiences would cheer the moment he was killed.

Another villain role played by Brian Cox is William Stryker in X Men 2 (or just X2 in short). X2 for me is perhaps the darkest and bloodiest chapter of the trilogy, even though I did enjoy the brief alliance of Magneto and the other X Men. Presumably the creator of Wolverine, William Stryker heightened the hatred and fear of the public to make his move against the X Men community. Serve him right for his undoing by Wolverine at the end of the movie.

It’s rumored that an X Men movie with Wolverine as the lead (with his name as the title as well) will be out next year, and will be on the history of Wolverine. If that is true, then we will probably get to see Brian Cox as William Stryker again, and in a strange way, hate him again years after the same character died :)

Kelly Hu

(Right) X2 (2003) … Yuriko Oyama/Deathstrike
(Left) The Scorpion King (2002) … Cassandra

If you’re a fan of Wolverine, then you will have no problem recalling a female version of Wolverine in X2. Created through the same method used on Wolverine, she is Lady Deathstrike, played by the beautiful Kelly Hu. Unlike Wolverine, she was constantly under the control of Willaim Stryker, and only had a few brief moments of self-consciousness, only to be applied with more suppressive substances by her master again and again. Her fight with Wolverine in the end was unforgettable, and I remember cursing the editing crew for cutting in other scenes in between their fight. It would be extra cool if she could wake up halfway through the fight and join the rest of the X Men.

In The Rock’s the Scorpion King, Kelly Hu played Cassandra, a witch with an oddly modern name :) even though the movie was set in ancient Egypt, way before the event of Inmotep which triggered Mummy I and II. Kelly Hu was supposedly the target of an assassination by the Rock (I can’t remember his character’s name in that movie, haha), but the Rock sympathized her and escaped with her instead. After that the story just went like a roller-coaster ride of the Rock’s fighting, and more fighting, and even more fighting until he ‘inevitably’ became the Scorpion King :)

Kelly Hu is hot, don’t argue with me on that :-D She is great in both movies, though I like her more as the deadly Lady Deathstrike. She is in her late 30s this year, and she still looks, well, hot :-D Can you come up with other actresses with such qualities?

Hopefully she will be in Wolverine next year as Lady Deathstrike as well.

Anna Paquin

(Left) Darkness (2002) … Regina
(Right) X-Men (2000), X2 (2003) & X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) … Rogue/Marie D'Ancanto

I must say that Rogue, played by Anna Paquin in the whole trilogy of the X Men is quite a disappointment. Nothing wrong with her performance, but the characteristic of Rogue as according to the movies is unbelievably weak. Rogue in the cartoon series is the most powerful female member of the X Men in terms of sheer strength. While Storm needs the ‘cooperation’ of the weather elements, and Jean Grey is only good with her mind control, Rogue is more versatile and doesn’t need to depend on ‘external factors’. In the movie, Rogue is more like a little girl who needed constant protection from the rest of the X Men, and her special ability seemed to be dismissing more and more in each movie until she finally gave it up in the Last Stand. Why was she being written in such a way? I have no idea at all. Is it because Anna Paquin is so cute :) the writers just didn’t want her to get physical like the rest? Probably~

Anyone watched Darkness? I’m not very sure if it was in cinema back in 2002, but I only watched the VCD release two years back. You can probably guess from the title that it’s a horror movie, with the story centered on a haunted house, which was quite similar to the Amityville Horror. There were more emphasis on character development and emotional elements though, and Anna Paquin played a troubled teenage girl who was trying to save her family from the evil of the house. Her character in the movie was perhaps much stronger than Rogue in my opinion. Check out the movie if you can, the ending will definitely blow you off your seat.

Michael Biehn

(Right) Aliens (1986) … Corporal Dwayne Hicks
(Left) The Terminator (1984) … Kyle Reese

I think Michael Biehn is more popular in the 80s, as he was involved in two super blockbusters back then: the Terminators and Aliens, both directed by James Cameron. It’s probably because the big director liked his performance and wanted him in both his project. And no kidding, Michael Biehn is a very talented actor, and his performance as a battered soldier is really notable in both the Terminators and Aliens, even though in both those movies, he was shadowed by Sigourney Weaver and Arnold Schwarzenegger respectively.

Bill Paxton

(Right) Thunderbirds (2004) … Jeff Tracy
(Center) Predator 2 (1990) … Jerry Lambert
(Left) Aliens (1986) … Private Hudson

Between Corporal Hicks (Michael Biehn) and Private Hudson in Aliens, I remember the later better. Before Hicks’s marine team got kicked in their asses :-D by the alien warriors, Private Hudson played the funny guy in the team, and after that, he became the noisiest and the most annoying one among the survivors. I also remember him as being the one with a smiley skull on his marine gear.

Although Bill Paxton’s roles have different characteristics for all three movies, one thing identical in him is his pitchy and a bit squeaky voice. It’s quite funny actually, especially when he played Jerry Lambert in Predator 2. The moment he started speaking, he sounded like he was trying to hold himself from laughing (even though he’s not). His ending however, was extremely gruesome. I probably shouldn’t mention it here to avoid scaring off readers who do not fancy the Predator series.

In Thunderbirds, Bill Paxton played Jeff Tracy, the head of the Thunderbirds. He played the character very well actually, and it’s hard to link his characters in Aliens and Predator 2 with the concerning father as portrayed in Thunderbirds. Anyway, since half of the movie is about his children instead of him, I didn’t pay much attention to him. Also, most of my attention goes to Lady Penelope as well ^^, so I guess I only remember Bill Paxton more in Aliens and Predator 2.

Oh, by the way, Bill Paxton played a very minor role in the Terminator as well. No idea at all? He was the among the three punk gangsters killed by Arnold Schwarzenegger when he asked for their clothes. A very minor role indeed, but a very important one nonetheless, since in the later two Terminator movies, demanding biker jackets became one of the two trademarks of the Terminator (another one being the more famous quoting of "I'll be back"), so Bill Paxton's role was in a strange way important to the whole series :-D It is very hard to recognize him, but again, his 'squeaky' voice helped a lot to identify him :-)

Sienna Guillory

(Bottom) Eragon (2006) … Arya
(Top) Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) … Jill Valentine

Here’s a question for people who watched Underworld: who would you cast as Selene if Kate Beckinsale is unavailable? For me, I will definitely cast Sienna Guillory. I like her very much as Jill Valentine in Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Not only was she skillful in martial art scenes, she looked cool with all sorts of gun and weapons on :-D As the final chapter of Resident Evil, called Extinction is coming soon, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing her again, hopefully in the same cute outfit as well. ^_^ Oh, not to forget Milla Jovovich as well, this time, she will play a short-haired Alice wielding double machete instead. Cool~

Anyway, still on Sienna Guillory. ^^; If you like Lord of the Rings, Eragon is the one movie you won’t want to miss. Instead of guns, Sienna Guillory was wielding sword in Eragon, and looks really wonderful as well.

Derek Jacobi

(Right) Underworld: Evolution (2006) … Alexander Corvinus
(Left) Gladiator (2000) … Gracchus

For both movies, Derek Jacobi is just spot on, as his short white hair, beard and moustache are very much his trademarks now. In Gladiator, Derek Jacobi played Senator Gracchus, one of the few Roman senators who supported Maximus to regain the Republic from the Emperor who assassinated his own father; in Underworld: Evolution, Derek Jacobi was Alexander Corvinus, the origin of the both the Vampire and Lucian clans.

A very serious actor, Derek Jacobi’s characters seemed to be able to command respect from people around him easily. He’s probably the most suitable actor to play an elder advisor in a movie.

Devon Aoki

(Right) DOA: Dead or Alive (2006) … Kasumi
(Center) Sin City (2005) … Miho
(Left) 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) … Suki

When you first see her, you might think she is Japanese. But actually she only has about a quarter of Japanese ancestry. But Devon Aoki is hot, really hot and super hot! ^^ She played Suki in the first 2 Fast 2 Furious. Cute pink racecar and a hot girl, what more can you ask? :)

In Sin City, one of my all time favorite movies, Devon Aoki played Miho, the silence Katana wielding girl who appeared in the section featuring Clive Owen. Even though she had no dialogue throughout the movie (she didn’t even move her lips one bit!), she was absolutely hot (that’s the fifth time I used ‘hot’ to describe her now ^^). Nice to hear that she will be in Sin City 2 as well, which is under development right now.

As for the movie adaptation of DOA, I don’t think I would watch it if not for Devon Aoki. What is the abbreviation again? Dead or Alive? It’s very much Devon or Aoki for me. Muahahaha~ Nonetheless, Devon Aoki is very young (she an ’82, which means she’s just two years older than me, Ha!), so I’m sure she will have a very promising future as a superstar. I believe pretty soon she will be as shiny as Angelina Jolie, or Keira Knightley.