Repost Review – Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD, pt. 1

mv5bmjixyzq2mjetnjgwmc00zmm2lwi1mjatownkoge2odyyzdk3xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyntayodkwoq4040._v1_uy1200_cr8406301200_al_Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD (1998)–wait, yes, I can hear the mental brakes squealing, please finish the paragraph–may just be the best comic book movie ever. Yes, comic book movies existed way back in the dim days of the dawn of time–before the beginning of the Marvel Universe, before the X-Men came, when woolly mammoths roamed the Earth. Granted, most of them weren’t all that good, but when they were, you get a masterpiece like this one.

Masterpiece? Welllllll….yeah. It’s a word I will stand by. This movie has the all-to-rare blend of cheese, competence, gusto, earnestness, cool–and (attempted) depth that makes it genuinely watchable, enjoyable, and even rewatchable.

Most of all: it tried. It kept trying all the way through. And most of it? Hits the mark.

Hasselhoff is excellent as the cigar-chewing (…and smoking, I guess), gives-no-darns tough guy, leader, and Father to His Men. He goes whole hog on the role, gives it his all, growls, scowls, grins, menaces, and muscles his way through with enormous success. It also helps that he’s got the physical build to play a larger-than-life character. Hasselhoff is 6’4 and consistently paired off with shorter actors, his costumes emphasize his shoulders, and, yeah, he looks good. Just about everybody else is well-cast, too: from the scrawny but he’ll-grow-into-it Rookie to the utterly punchable supercilious bureaucrat, to the slavering villainess.

Conflicted divorce lawyer single mom? Or glamorous super-spy?

The only real weakness is the action sequences. They’re extremely small-scale, and pretty darned flat. A little more money and a few dozen more stuntmen would have done wonders. I’d also point out that Lisa Rinna, Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, “an old hand at the sexpionage game” and second in command on the strike team, appears not to have been informed that she’s in a comic book movie. Oh well.

So, plot:

Opening in A Bunker, Somewhere,

“Ooo! He’s gonna shoot him!…who shot him?”
“Ok, so, that guy–”
“No, no, I know who got shot, it was that guy who was talking. Why?”
“Because the other guy is a traitor.”

HYDRA infiltrates and then attacks a SHIELD base to steal the corpse of Baron von Germanname, last of the global bogeymen. As to why there is a corpse on ice and not a pile of ashes in an unmarked urn somewhere, well, no clue. There is some slight resistance–

“Who this? Oh, the guy who was shot. Is he not dead?”

–a little bit of action–
“I don’t know what is going on.”

–Our first one-liner–

“That was a stupid saying. ‘Lets rock and let’s roll.’ For what?”

“What is going on? Still don’t know.”

–and a reveal of our female villain. The almost-dead-guy gasps out some dying words…
“What? What? He thought she was a boy? A man?”
“No, he was talking to Nick.”
“Like, just in general. Like, his last words. Like, ‘Mama!’ Only, he says Nick.”

And we are introduced to Nick Fury, a retired badass who is for reasons known only to himself spending his days in an abandoned mine in the Yukon, whaling on a rock wall with a pickaxe. Hey…wonder if he knows anyone else up there….

However, duty calls in the shape of a slightly-gormless new recruit who doesn’t even mind that Fury’s first response to the intrusion is a rather resentful beatdown.

“Is that Nick? Nick Fury? Why is he doing that?”
“He didn’t know who it was.”
“He had no call to beat the man!”
“It could have been an enemy!”
“You look first, and then you beat people! You do not beat them first! This is not a good Nick Fury.”

Fury, it turns out, is rather bitter about having been put out to pasture, and isn’t interested, until he’s told about SceneOne McDeadGuy.

“They killed who?”
“That guy who said ‘Nick’.”

After exchanging barbs with Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, “an old hand at the sexpionage game,” and yes, that is a direct quote from the movie, matters proceed.

“What is this girl’s name? Pretty girl.”


“The eyepatch is not necessary.”
“He only has one eye!”
“Right. They didn’t have to have him that way.”
“He was that way in the original.”

Onboard the Helicarrier, we are introduced to PaleFace MindReader, an mind reader, who introduces herself by reading Fury’s mind.

“Did she know him?”
“No. She’s a mind reader.”
“She is?”

The Helicarrier set is quite a nice one. Yes, it’s a leftover from whatever submarine flick was released that year, but it has excellent set dressing and depth of field or whatever that sort of thing is called. And having background chatter, PA announcements, lots of extras moving around, so on and so forth, is also good for setting up verisimilitude. I mostly just like the fact that it’s not 110% CGI.

Notice the depth of the set on that second image: the heroes have already gone through one set of airlocks, the current space they’re standing in, and then the Contessa in the background is opening up the elevator, which they enter on camera in a single tracking shot. That’s cool!vlcsnap-2018-05-31-11h20m08s557(Fury is grinning because he can’t hear the No Smoking sign over the sound of how awesome he is)

So Nick Fury, un-retired badass, gets straight to the butting of heads with his supercilious, obstructive, and petty supervisor. We know this guy is obstructive and petty because he tells Fury to put out that cigar.

“He shouldn’t be smoking! Breaking the rules is when you do good to break the rules. He is not a hero. That is an anti-hero….no matter how many people like him.”
“Nicotine is addictive.”
“That is not an excuse.”
“Look, he has to have the cigar when he says those lines, because they’d sound stupider if he didn’t have it.”
“I bet it helps him keep a straight face!”

The standard debriefing/cool toys scene follows:

“James Bond! He is M…? Q, no, he’s Q.”

As does a quick one that spoke deeply to my ex-payroll preparer heart:

“Heh, heh, heh, did you get that? It’s his W4. They’re trying to get him to sign his W4.”
“And he should!”

We are also introduced to the Life Model Decoys, a concept which plays quite an important part in the comics and also (HINT HINT FORESHADOWIIIIIING HINT) in this very movie. We also get a pretty cool line: “I don’t know whether to congratulate you or put a stake in its heart.”
Meanwhile, The Rookie is asking leading questions so the senior agents can explain the plot to him. The scene is a bit on the nose, but it serves its purpose to a) provide exposition for the audience, b) make it clear that the senior agents know what they’re talking about….so it really isn’t Rookie’s fault he’s a bit gormless.


“This guy…is he gonna be a crook?”
“He looks like a crook.”
“He’s a rookie. That’s why they have him chasing the W4s around.”
“Well then why doesn’t he know this stuff? This is important history.”
“Because he’s a rookie!”
“He’s an agent, isn’t he?”
“He just graduated from spy school! He’s not supposed to know anything!…heh heh heh, did you get that, spy school? High school? Heh heh. That was funny.”

To be continued later on account of my notebook went missing.

Love and Destiny – ep 49 – CDrama Recap

“So the heroine is in a spot where she has to die in about three days so she can be reincarnated as her immortal self, but there’s this one guy who is in love with her as a mortal and he’s like, ‘No way, nuh-uh, no one’s taking you.’ But if she doesn’t die, she’s going to be screwed because they’re going to take away the thing that’s keeping her original self alive and give it back to the hero because he gave up his heart for the other thingy and he’s going to die if he doesn’t get it back soon.”
“So we want her to die.”
“Yeah, she has to die, but she’s worried because she doesn’t actually know that and she’s thinking the hero only liked her for her past self. But the guy who likes the heroine as a mortal is up to his eyeballs in this other plot. He wants to get revenge on this other guy who is down in the spirit world right next door to hell–but not quite there, he’s not actually fully dead–and they hate him so much they’re going to bring him back from there just so they can kill him properly this time. And if they do that, there’s a chance that the demon king will be able to come back from hell, too, which is why they sent the heroine to Earth in the first place, so she’ll die and the demon king won’t be able to come back. Also, the guy everyone hates is her grandfather and her mother just jumped into the spirit world abyss to get away from the people who had her and bumped into him down there.”
“And the reason the mother had to jump into the abyss is because she was rescued by the guy who is in love with her adopted daughter, who is kind of a psycho–but she’s very cute–and, uh, she wasn’t rescued well enough.”
“You lost me again.”
“Yeah, I love hearing about this show from Riders because I can follow it in bits and then she says something else and it stops making sense again.”
“Well, they were going to use the mother to open the gate of hell, but now they’re probably going to have to use the heroine. Except that the person who is trying to open the gate is the guy who likes her and doesn’t want her to die. And then there’s the bit with the heroine’s older sister and the hero’s younger brother. They’re having a romance and it’s very funny and cute, but it’s on hold because the brother got turned to stone for a thousand years.”
“…Oh, okay then!”
“Oh yeah, and then there’s this evil girl who is in love with the hero and she’s making aaall the wrong decisions. She’s awful.”
“See, now I’m completely caught up. I can jump in at episode forty-nine and be just watchin’ right along with you.”

So anyhow, back to Phoenix Queen and Evil Phoenix Dad. Being in the imprisonment place makes you lose your mind sooner or later. Also, it’s right next door to Hell and this is the second-most demonically contaminated place in the universe.

Evil Phoenix wants to know who pushed her down? She says nothing. He says: well, you were dethroned, weren’t you? Did YOU lose our crown?! Why are you even talking to this guy, Queen? Anyhow, she recaps the scheme to him. He says: meh.

She says: I am not you. I still respect you as my father. Even if you’re evil and I overthrew you, I definitely won’t kill you! (No wonder this lady ended up next to hell. She’s kind of pathetic. Evil Dad says as much.)

Meanwhile in Yuan Hall, HuaYan is invading, with the stylishly requisite cloth mask that all CDrama heroines wear when they’re being sneaky. She grabs the Needle and starts out–Yuan Tong sees her leave. I thought Yuan Tong was at the Front?–but HuaYan makes it to the outbound Gate and away before Yuan Tong catches up.

But a report is made.

Meanwhile…Jiu Chen is getting the reports of Qing Yao. He can’t help Yun Feng, and QY will be able to deal with it. Meanwhile, Lin Mo hasn’t died yet and her spirit in the McGuffin hasn’t been changed yet. If she lives through her birthday due to Jingxiu’s meddling, it’ll all have been in vain. Si Ming says: let it happen. Jiu Chen says: But then Ling Xi will never be back!–Lin Mo may live happily for the rest of her life, but then when she dies in just a few years, the Demon King will be able to come back himself. And that’s ALSO my job to prevent.

Si Ming tells him that there’s a twenty-four hour deadline–but he is NOT SUPPOSED TO INTERFERE by imperial degree…Jiu Chen, of course, storms off.

Back in the world, Jingxiu has brought Lin Mo breakfast noodles that he personally made himself. Are they delicious? Nope…salty. Lin Mo isn’t interested in noodles, though. She’s much more concerned about Jingxiu giving her his life bead….he’ll suffer injuries on her behalf and slowly lose his senses. He’s already lost his sense of taste…he says: no big deal, I’m an immortal. I’ve already tasted everything worth tasting.

Jingxiu explains his history to her. His entire life has been bent on revenge–until he met her. He wants her to live. (Where he can see her.) Lin Mo blubbers a little and doesn’t think that this is good. He also throws some shade at Jiu Chen, who he says is fixated on Ling Xi–not Lin Mo.

Jingxiu makes her promise: don’t give up on yourself for anyone else. Lin Mo just cries more.

Meanwhile, HuaYan is waiting to make the drop. Lieutenant spots her–looking very suspicious—and finds the Needle left under the table. HuaYan is making her way out in the mortal world, but Yuan Tong is close behind. Jingxiu gets the Needle. OH NO. Today is the blood moon!

Jingxiu says: killing Phoenix King on her birthday is going easy on him.

They are going to deliver the Needle to Orc Commander for Rebel Rebel…

Meanwhile, Jingxiu seals Lin Mo into her room. And they set off. It’s weirdly quiet in the Phoenix Realm–Rebel’s attentions are fixed on opening the black hole, and he’s careless–and he never suspected that Orc Commander worked for them. Lieutenant congratulates his master, but Jingxiu tells him not to get cocky. (well, don’t. Even if you are the Best Not-Evil Vizier Ever.)

Jingxiu does something with his vine magic: he just wants this all to be over.

So, at the Black Hole Portal to Next-Door-To-Hell, Rebel has the Evil Needle and all of his people…and gets started.

Back in the world, Lin Mo is brooding in her room. She goes to a window…sees the red moon…

Jiu Chen is searching somewhere nervously–oh, is he in the Phoenix realm?–looking for Jingxiu.

At the portal, Rebel is chanting ominously…

Inside the portal, Phoenix Queen and her wretch of a father are observing the happenings…you know, I genuinely hope Jingxiu is able to actually kill this guy. I honestly do.

Rebel and Orc Commander descend into the portal. OC is just a little freaked out. Phoenix Queen confronts them. He’s going to unleash hell on earth…and she’s going to watch. Except that she’s still weak and injured. Rebel throws a bit of well-deserved shade at Heaven and its laws, but, basically, when they do fight, Phoenix Queen gets knocked down almost immediately.

But when Rebel starts to focus on the portal, Evil King flies in to block it. He fights rather more successfully than his daughter–she still jumps in to save him–and then he jumps back to save her and has blood from the mouth–He is King of the Phoenix Tribe, and while he lives no one will enter the demon gate.

And at this point, applauding sarcastically, Jingxiu arrives. And now he has a sword. He stabs Rebel! (The actor is pretty bad at the choreography). OH LOL ORC COMMANDER ALSO STABS HIM IN THE BACK AT THE SAME TIME. AWESOME.

SO AWESOME. Now go do Yuandu.

Hah, and Orc Commander checks to make sure he’s dead. Lieutenant is there watching. Jingxiu goes over to resolve the actual reason he’s there. Phoenix Queen, like the MORON SHE IS, tries to stop him. The Evil Phoenix King asks who he is….was that a rhetorical question or not? Anyhow, Jingxiu is monologuing and it’s not a good sign. You guys don’t have time.

Evil Phoenix says: bring it. KILL HIM JINGXIU! Lieutenant and Orc Commander hold off Phoenix Queen, and Jingxiu slices up Yuandu. Oh yeah. But then Lieutenant slashes Phoenix Queen. Why! Hey!?

Jingxiu takes a moment to celebrate his vengeance. Orc Commander says: we’ll have to let the Queen die. We do have the Princess, after all. (Don’t do it, Jingxiu. You’ll make Lin Mo unhappy.)

But he says: Lingyue, we’re even now. And, uh oh, Jiu Chen arrives. He clears the area of the floating demon mists and strolls over. One dead Rebel…

One Lieutenant, who salutes and gives him a mostly true synopsis of the situation…Jiu Chen says: tell him that good and evil are separated by a thin line. Walk on the right side of it. He also notices that the Queen is still alive.

Meanwhile, Antler Puppy has tracked Lin Mo down and is bouncing off the magic seal on her door. But she hears it chirping and goes over….it can’t get in and it’s backing away. So she comes out to see it and it gets a nice pet in, at least. (How come you feel fatter, buddy? Aw.) Meanwhile, Yuan Tong has been hanging around the same inn and is smelling the Antler Puppy. And she spots Lin Mo! –and calls her “Ling Xi.”

And beats up on Antler Puppy, of course she did.

Yuan Tong starts to freak out.–if anyone finds out that Ling Xi is alive, Jiu Chen will die. So she’ll kill Ling Xi! And she’s starting to, only OH MY GOSH SO AWESOME GOOD BOY ANTLER PUPPY! Antler Puppy turns into his Antler Wolf form and roars off with Lin Mo on his back.

So, back in Phoenix Realm, the Phoenix Queen has been successfully repatriated and is in bed. Jiu Chen leaves her to a servant (to definitely not get murdered, sure.) Meanwhile, Thunder is about to lead a detatchment to investigate–and keep guarding the actual black hole.

Jingxiu is getting a report: they’ve cleared the country of Rebel’s people. And his heart is giving him trouble. Dude…he’s also bleeding. Lin Mo is in danger.

Also, Jiu Chen is getting similar spidey-sensations.

Antler Wolf is carrying her away from a pursuing, crazed, Yuan Tong. But Yuan Tong knocks them out of the sky–and is hurting Antler Wolf! NO NOOOOO! Directly in front of the black hole portal. Lin Mo begs her to stop hurting her puppy! Yuan Tong says: shut it, I HATE YOU. There’s only the two of us here, why are you pretending to be weak!

So Yuan Tong blames Lin Mo/Ling Xi for absolutely everything that happened to her. Nice transferrence. But the demon king won’t let Yuan Tong kill her. And, at this point, the soldiers of Heaven arrive. Including Thunder. He asks if she’s not dead yet, heh. And Yuan Tong blames her for trying to open the portal. You utter fucking bitch. Yuan Tong also starts beating on her with magic.

Thunder says: focus on the portal! Yuan Tong continues the beating, but Jiu Chen flies in just in time. To collapse. Thunder says: Jiu Chen, WHAT THE HELL?!

Lin Mo says: do you also want to kill me?

Jiu Chen says: I’m here to save you.

Lin Mo says: By bringing back Ling Xi?

Girl, you are Ling Xi.

Jiu Chen says: Give me the life Jingxiu gave you. Hurry!