Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Rogue Assassin

The hit movie “Rogue Assassin” stars “the One” hero Jet Li and the Transporter star Jason Statham. Directed by Philip G. Atwell, the inch-to-inch action film floods not just with the two world certified hit actors but with scenes that can make you eat all your popcorn until the last pop. Li plays as “Rogue” the international assassin that et off a bloody crime war between two Asian mobs: the Chinese Triad led by Chang (John Lone) and Japan's Yakuza headed by Shiro (Ryo Ishibashi). Car chases are also not deprived of this movie and perhaps is one of its highlights, as Jet Li rides his $257,000 silver Spyker C8 Spyder.

The magnificent Spyker has the following specs that brought it to the blockbuster action hit:

MSRP: $257,000 - $257,000
Length 165.0”
Body width 74.0”
Height 42.0”
Wheelbase 101.0”
Curb 2,750 lbs.

Maximum seating 2

Base engine size 4.2 liters
Base engine type V-8
Horsepower 400hp
Horsepower rpm 7,500
Torque 354 lb-ft.
Torque rpm 4,000
Drive type rear-wheel
Fuel tank capacity 1 9.8 gal.
EPA mileage estimates 14 / 19 (city/highway)

Not just the spyker, in the fictional Yamagawa Motors, which is Shiro’s car dealership, their showrooms are filled with high-end cars like Ferraris and Lamborghinis that at one scene became bits and pieces. Although fans of Statham's "Transporter" movies will be excited that he's once again in a film with flashy modes of transportation, he's not the one driving the fancy cars but the One star.

"Rogue loves it. Jet Li doesn't," says Li dryly. "Jet Li when he was 20-years-old would have loved it."

"Rogue" is the possible beginning of an action trilogy by writers Greg Bradley and Lee Anthony Smith. Famed fight choreographer Corey Yuen designs the martial arts action, while Devon Aoki, Luiz Guzman and Nadine Velazquez co-star.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

These movies are Great but the cars are really the Stars

David Cronenberg's film, A History of Violence was a story of an ordinary man living peaceful in a rural area of America who developed a fiercer version of himself after the robbery of his café. The movie’s got a lot of twist but without the mighty presence of the Chrysler 300C, it would not fit your criteria to be a great movie. Specially made for the movie to play the sinister vehicle, the jet black Chrysler 300C has chrome trim, darkened slit windows, gaping, barking-shark grille and low-rider stance. The evil Chrysler 300C was featured in the scene where the goons lead by Ed Harris went to the house of Viggo Mortensen to threaten his family.

Our second collection is the movie Swordfish starring John Travolta and the absurd looking TVR still carrying UK plates. According to screenwriter and film expert William Goldman, for a movie to be a sure hit, there should be seven people best in their leagues of being a director, director of photography, set designer, casting director, etc. But I want to add that choosing the car is as important as it is to choose the actor and Swordfish met my added criterion. The movie was crappy and ill-conceived mess that it became a blockbuster.

As I was talking about sinister vehicle earlier, if there would be the best sinister vehicle ever, the P5B Coupe in the Mick Jagger/James Fox Sixties acid gangster movie Performance would be the first to come to my mind.

I also doubt whether the folk in the next apartment to Keanu Reeves' character Neo in The Matrix would appreciate him smashing through their wall pursued by replicants. And as for that huge chase scene in the third Matrix film, where Neo and Laurence Fishburne are smashing up all those Cadillac CTSs, you will find yourself worrying about the other drivers' no claims bonuses. I mean, even if all those people are actually submerged in amniotic fluid while being fed nutritious mush through a tube while their minds are controlled by an evil computer, you can expect they'd still want a good credit-rating and clean driving license.

Friday, October 12, 2007

James Bond’s Greatest Gadgets

We have treated the James Bond movie series as a worldwide epic, not just featured the exotic escapades of the mighty spy but also gawked our fill of its out of the ordinary gadgets. The popsci.com collected the ever famous Bond gadgets of all time so we’ll know which of them we can also have to feel some Bond action.

15. Car Magnet
You Only Live Twice features a number of over-the-top gadgets—trapdoors that lead to sliding chutes, exploding cufflinks, cigarette guns, bogus bridges that pass over a shark-infested tank—but the best gadget of the bunch would have to be the oversize, helicopter-carried car magnet.

14. Water Exhaust
To foil the bad guys in the beginning of Thunderball, Bond raises a bulletproof shield over his car’s rear window and converts his two exhaust pipes into fire hoses. A huge blast of water knocks over Bond’s pursuers, leaving them looking wet and silly.

13. Walther PPK
The first Bond gadget ever used was the Walther PPK automatic pistol used in Dr. No. In the first-ever onscreen meeting between Bond, M and Q, Bond is told to relinquish his Beretta in exchange for the Walther PPK.

12. Vital-Sign-Reading Cellphone
007's new mobile phone in Casino Royale acts as a personal media hub and on-call M.D. This modification of the latest Sony Ericsson has an MP3 player, Bluetooth, an RSS newsreader and a 3.2-megapixel camera with image stabilization. It’s one of only a few Bond gadgets that you and I can actually buy, although the sale model may not include the injectable sensor that monitors vital signs and transmits them back to HQ for emergency diagnostic testing.

11. Deadly Briefcase
In From Russia with Love, Bond is presented with “an ordinary black leather case,” according to the Q branch equipment officer—except, of course, for the 40 rounds of ammunition stored in containers that pop out from the bottom, a throwing knife that projects from the side, 50 gold sovereigns hidden in the lining and a bottle of tear gas disguised as talcum powder, magnetized to cling to the exterior. It will also explode if not opened properly. “A smart-looking piece of luggage,” remarks M.

10. Full-Scale Remote-Control Car
Q shows up in Tomorrow Never Dies as a worker at a car-rental agency, ready to present Bond with his new and improved ride. It’s a BMW 750iL with “the usual refinements” and one not-so-usual customization: Not only can it be turned on by a cellphone, it’s controlled by a touch-sensor directional pad.

9. Camera Gun
In a crucial scene in the 1989 License to Kill, Bond (played by Timothy Dalton) has a plastic explosive that looks like a pack of cigarette but actually is a camera but is converted into a long-range sniper rifle and is customized, through a sensor on the grip, to fire for only one person: James Bond.

8. Robot Dog
In A View to a Kill, walking in for his customary briefing in M’s office, Bond, played this time by Roger Moore, finds Q steering a “prototype for a highly sophisticated surveillance machine.” By the looks of the bulky, ’80s remote control, we have a different definition for “sophisticated” technology nowadays, but this robotic dog is still a Bond-gadget classic.

7. Alligator Conveyance
Bond has the unenviable task of sneaking onto the secret all-female island run by a woman known only as Octopussy, in the eponymous film. His method of getting there, it turns out, is by hiding inside an underwater mechanical alligator, which is successful in getting him both there and back.

6. Aston Martin DBS
In Goldfinger, Q reveals the Aston Martin DBS, “with modifications.” Its windows are bulletproof, and the number plates, as they’re known in England, are revolving. Then there are the controls within the armrest that can produce a smokescreen and an oil slick and raise a bulletproof shield (over the already bulletproof window). There are also front-wing machine guns and a rotating flower of blades that extend from the hubcaps. Finally, the top of the gear shifter flips to reveal a button, which Q tells Bond never to press as it is connected to the ejector seat.

5. Little Nellie
Little Nellie, Bond tells Tiger Tanaka in You Only Live Twice, is “a wonderful girl, very small, quite fast, can do anything—just your type.” Tiger is not impressed. After seeing it constructed, he asks, “A toy helicopter? This can only be used for children.” But Q explains the features: two fixed machine guns, two rocket launchers, two heat-seeking missiles and, in the back, two flame guns and two smoke ejectors; also some mines that can be dropped from the air.

4. Venom Boot
A favored gadget in From Russia with Love is the shoe with a spontaneously revealed venom-injector jutting out from the toe.

3. Laser Watch
In Goldeneye, things don’t look good for Bond (Pierce Brosnan) and Natalya Fyodorovna Simonova when they find themselves locked in a room on a train that’s set to explode imminently, but fortunately Bond has on his Omega Seamaster Pro, customized with lasers that cut through metal and detonate bombs remotely. He cuts a hole in the floor, and the two climb out, run, and jump from the explosion, much to the chagrin of 006.

2. Jetpack
After an extended brawl with (and the subsequent murder of) Col. Duvall in the opening sequence of the 1965 Thunderball, Bond escapes Duvall’s henchmen on a balcony by taking off in a jetpack.

1. Lotus Esprit
In The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond faces off with Karl Stromberg, a self-described recluse who lives in an underwater lair. Naturally, this means Bond needs a submarine car—a vehicle so worthy of envy that we’ve deemed it our favorite Bond gadget of all time. The Lotus Esprit features wheels that turn inward to reveal four lateral fins and a periscope from the roof.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Bentley for Bond

James Bond being a Bentley guy was not really known to us, who have just seen the world-renowned spy in his movies. The first novel about James bond was written by Ian Fleming. In this initial narrative, James Bond first had driven a Bentley. The Aston Martin DBS which most regard as the ultimate Bond vehicle appeared a little later as an improved Bentley. Bond’s real personal car, now we know to be the Bentley is the spy’s only real “hobby” as said in the block buster movie series.

Being a certified Bond historian, Sebastian Faulks authored the Bond book as a tribute for the mind that gave the world James Bond, Ian Fleming. Fleming is celebrating his centennial birthday.

In contrast to the Bond movies set in the present times, we will be riding a time machine because the setting is sometime in 1967. Definitely, in this era, Bond wouldn’t be riding a Continental GT to fit his image and station.

In 1967, all Bentleys were a single letter, the model “T” as a sedan or a two-door coupe with coachwork by the in-house custom body builders of Rolls Royce, James Young and Mulliner Park Ward. To exclude the radiator shell, the T is almost a Rolls-Royce Silver shadow.

With Bond driving BMWs in the recent motion pictures, it may be considered dishonoring the automotive beginnings of the epic. With Bond having a Bentley again as his best buddy, it is but a proof that the two are undeniably a perfect tandem.

James Bond had driven three Bentleys of different models in the novels. He got his first Bentley in Casino Royale, it was a 1930 supercharged 4.5 liter model, the legendary “blower Bentley” one of the 55 manufactured in “battleship grey” which the spy bought in 1933 and he kept during the World War II. The production limited car was destroyed by a load of fourteen tons of newsprint dropped from a truck in Moonraker.

Bond’s next Bentley was a 1953 Bentley Mark VI, it was also a “battleship grey”.

The Thunderball featured the third of Bond’s Bentley. It was a Continental Mark II with an R-Type chassis, the vehicle reflects Bond’s taste in vehicles.