My Latest Obsession- part 1

20 Aug

My mother would say I am easily amused. I would add to that with the admission that I am easily obsessed. Since I wrote my post reviewing Almost Human for AFC, I have been consumed by a need to see all the things done by Karl Urban. All the things. Even the terribly horribly bad ones- of course, we know I love those bad movies, so I know this surprises no one.

Not gonna lie… Karl Urban is pretty damn awesome.

karl urban lounging

what? when was this? why was I not there??

I wrote in that article that I have enjoyed his work since Riddick. This is true; but the caveat is that I really haven’t gone out of my way to see all the things ever. Especially since a lot of the films he’s done in the US occurred while I’ve been a broke grad student with no ability to watch things.  I also started a new job this week, so the break between jobs was a perfect time to immerse myself in marathon DVD/Netflix watching. And oh it’s been fun!

“If anyone tells you that sci-fi isn’t about hair, they’re lying.”
~ wish I knew the details of when Karl Urban said this

I read somewhere that in a review of a project, the reviewer said that Karl Urban chewed the scenery. I haven’t seen that. I’ve seen an actor that dives headfirst into roles- even when the character/script/film/whatever was less than stellar. That makes him fun to watch.  Seems like he takes the roles seriously and puts himself into it. Refreshing change from actors who are just there for the paycheck; not that that is a bad thing- John Barrowman & Shark Attack 3 fit that list and I still love them both.

So let’s take a look at the various projects and roles I’ve watched- and remember, statements are my opinion. If you disagree, that’s A-OK because it makes the world more interesting. Oh, and this is gonna end up being a multiple post piece because there are so many projects to write about!

DOOM DoomCover

I remember the trailers for this film before it came out in theatres. They pushed the first person shooter aspect as though the entire film would be seen that way. Put me right off. Which made me sad because I tend to enjoy films with The Rock- not a great actor, but fun! So I had no idea that Karl was in this movie until I saw it on his credits list. I figured since it had been a long time, I could find it available to watch- most likely free with one of my many subscriptions- and finally check it out. I’ve never played the video game the film was based on so I was going in blind. The premise is that an incident has occurred on Mars and a team of kick-ass marines, led by The Rock with Urban’s “Reaper” as his second in command, have to go and deal with it. They don’t have any clue what happened, but better to be safe than sorry, right?

Essentially what happens is that millennia ago the population of Mars was destroyed by a mutation in their DNA and scientists at the Mars base have found this mutation and decided to test what it does. Duh! It’s obviously going to do something bad! With the team’s arrival on Mars you discover that “Reaper” is actually siblings with the scientist that is essentially now in charge and that the missing scientists are mutating. And scary evil monsters that are hard to kill. Even for tough marines. Much like every other movie of this type you have the good guys going into ridiculous random dark tunnels wherein you just know that evil monster is hiding somewhere to attack.

Look... it's not a good idea to get on Reaper's bad side, alright?

Look… it’s not a good idea to get on Reaper’s bad side, alright?

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. But I love ridiculous scary action flicks with drooly monsters and big guns. I also tend to enjoy space marines. It’s a thing. I enjoyed the arc of The Rock’s character. And Urban’s arc was interesting as well. There are many points where you yell at the screen, things like “oh, come on, just use the BFG already!”, but that’s part of the fun. My end thoughts are that I wouldn’t change the channel if I found this running on cable.

And as for Karl Urban… he can rescue me from evil mutant monsters any day.

Truth about Demons demons cover

I feel like this came out when I was working at Blockbuster back in my 20s and that I thought about renting it then- I enjoy scary movies- but somehow missed it. The cover is so familiar that I swear I must’ve shelved it a dozen or so times. Let me start with my end thoughts- this is not a good movie. It is an independent horror film with the premise of an anthropologist (why do they waste time mentioning that? It doesn’t have an impact on the story) being stalked by a sorcerer in order to be sacrificed to his demon god. See? Even the storyline is lame. But the script, at first, is horrible! I almost turned it off after 15 minutes but decided to try to tough it out. And there were enjoyable bits… just not enough to make me recommend this film. Though, I know there are some people out there who would enjoy it or at least enjoy watching it. I should add it to my bad movie marathons…

What did I like about it? Besides Urban’s characters complete cluelessness and refusal to accept the supernatural even after he witnessed things?

Nothing good ever happens in a movie when someone gets a videotape in the mail...

Nothing good ever happens in a movie when someone gets a videotape in the mail…

Well… it’s a New Zealand production and things from Australia/New Zealand/Tasmania are often a little… off. And I like that. You know that scene in Eurotrip where the kids drink absinthe and see the green fairy/start making out with their siblings? Movies from down under frequently have that kind of feel. I love it. Well, that feeling is there- just not 100% realized. Especially after the full introduction of “Bennie”, the female lead and semi-future-sorta love interest of “Harry” (Urban’s character). She seems to be either a person who is tripping balls constantly or a schizophrenic. Though, to my clinical mind, she doesn’t meet the criteria for schizophrenia but I wouldn’t rule it out as a diagnosis. She is the believer in the supernatural that meets up with Harry and gives him the information he needs as well as helping him survive the sorcerer’s attack. Without her, Harry would’ve been dead half an hour into the movie. It’s her full introduction that makes the movie watchable.

There were moments that were complete wastes of time but I’m glad to have seen the movie. In particular, I liked the end. And not just because it was over- the ending was the only piece that fully made 100% sense.

Xena: Warrior Princess & Hercules: The Legendary Journeys xena_and_hercules

OK… I remember watching both of these shows occasionally when they aired in the 90’s. Niether ranked high on my list, but if I was home on a Saturday afternoon when they aired and had nothing better to do… they were fun. The series follow heroes (Xena and Hercules, respectively- depending on which you watch) who wander the lands of Greece etc, fighting gods, monsters, and other villains. I’m not sure if there aren’t a lot of actors in New Zealand- where the shows were filmed- or what, but Urban plays multiple characters throughout the runs of both.

he can shoot me with an arrow any day. am I right?

he can shoot me with an arrow any day. am I right?

His two most frequent characters, and the ones he plays on both shows, are “Cupid” and “Julius Caesar”. Cupid is first introduced on Hercules and from the get-go he is a fun and entertaining character. As “Aphrodite”’s son, his job is to shoot arrows and cause love matches. But he acts like a whiny teen- of course, his mother is a self-centered, vain Barbie doll, so it’s not really a surprise. He’s kind of adorable with his surfer good looks and wings. And the pouty face when he has to shoot an arrow at “Psyche”… so cute! Of course, as mythology goes, he eventually wins her over (without an arrow) and Psyche and Cupid live happily ever after- a fact that is hinted at with his later appearances on Xena, wherein he has a son causing trouble. I wish Cupid had been the character Urban played more often but Caesar won that… There’s nothing wrong with the character- but I feel like Caesar ran his arc in 3 or 4 episodes. He didn’t need the other 5 or 6.

Let me explain why I feel that way- the fun of Hercules & Xena was that they were cheesy entertainment that clearly didn’t take themselves too seriously.karl as caesar They fought gods and monsters for goodness sake! But by bringing in the Caesar character and making him, essentially, Xena’s archenemy, they seemed to be trying to make the show take on a more serious storyline; one with “historical accuracy”. Wait… what? Once or twice, sure- that’s fine, we can pretend. But suddenly she’s stopped toying with the gods and is off in Europe trying to stop Caesar’s empire from taking hold. Bringing the Celts (sort of), and the idea of “one god”… that’s not what we watch this show for!

Looking strictly at Urban, he played two other roles. In the first season he played a jealous older brother attempting to have his brother sacrificed in order to gain power. Eh. It was a fine performance but the character was a douche. Then came Cupid. Delightful. And what an outfit! Then Caesar. I’ve said my piece already. Finally, a single episode as “Kor”. Kor was a barbarian (I think), whose tribe was enemy to the first Amazons. He had a lust for a girl from the future who was transported back to this time. Don’t ask. I gather this was supposed to be a spin-off teaser episode but then the spin-off didn’t happen. Apparently, it was called Amazon High and is listed on Urban’s IMDB, but I can’t find episodes anywhere. I would’ve enjoyed seeing more of this character as it wasn’t clear how developed (read- evolved) the barbarians were. Urban’s final appearance on the series was as Caesar- though it may be my favorite episode with the character.

The two series are cheesy (for the most part) and fun. Recommended for that alone. But if you just want to check out Urban’s episodes (as I did during my marathon of all things Urban), you don’t need to know anything else about the shows to do so. And the Cupid ones are a heckova lotta fun.

More soon!

7 Responses to “My Latest Obsession- part 1”

  1. Valerie August 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    I LOVE when Karl Urban gets “discovered” and then adored. He’s wonderful and I love watching him in anything. And I have watched him in PLENTY. I started off with Hercules and Xena and I’ve tried to see all his movies at the very least. 😉 I have the DVD for The Truth About Demons. YOWSA. It’s been awhile since I’ve watched though…

    • elizabeth ann August 28, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

      I got a hold of pretty much everything… at least what’s available. Sad that I can’t find a couple of things. Sigh.

      • Valerie August 28, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

        Did you find Heaven? That one keeps sticking at me recently, like I should find it and watch it again. But I don’t know if I had a videocassette of it or if I actually bought the DVD. LOL And I have the DVD (again, somewhere!) of The Price of Milk but I never watched it. Now I want to watch it! I’m going to credit you for that. 😉

      • elizabeth ann August 28, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

        I enjoyed the Price of Milk. Its odd. I like that.

        I have not managed to get a hold of Heaven. grrrrr.


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