This Week in Geek (24-30/05/10)


This week, I bought Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, just for completism's sake. I'm not expecting major revelations from it. I also got David Tennant's Casanova mini-series. Man, that's going to play havoc with my Amazon suggestions. Fellow gamers Etienne & Julie (the Time Lords) went to Montreal's Chinatown last week, and brought back Ip Man, the Donnie Yen picture about Bruce Lee's master. I was going to buy it for myself at some point, but it's so much better as a gift! Thanks guys!


DVDs: My flipping of Battlestar Galactica proceeds apace, this week with Season 2.5. The second half of the second season takes us from the appearance of the Pegasus to a WTF?!? season finale on New Caprica. The show was pretty fearless, I must say. There a few weaker stand-alone episodes in this set, which is fully acknowledged in the podcast commentaries (which aren't without humor, especially when Ron Moore's wife shows up). Commentaries are featured on each episode, and almost all have deleted scenes. The box is supplemented by some fun video blogs and a showcase for the R&D logos of the first two seasons. And here I was waiting to the very end of the credits for them all this time.

A first for Kung Fridays this week: The double feature. Yep, we watched Fist of Fury and Fist of Legend. So who's better? Bruce Lee or Jet Li? Well, Bruce Lee's version has pacing issues (nothing a good editor couldn't fix), but it stands as Bruce's best film. Nay, his only good film. Basically, his master is killed and he turns into the Punisher (with fists). It's hugely entertaining and intense, and unlike his other movies, doesn't jerk you around on the action. There's plenty. The DVD has an interview with one of his stuntmen, but is otherwise pretty bare (photo gallery, trailers).

Jet Li's Fist of Legend is a much slicker piece, though the 90s are as dated today as the 70s are, in their way. Jet is a much showier fighter, here paired up with action choreographer Yuen Woo Ping, but he doesn't have the same charisma. In fact, he gets one scene stolen from him completely by veteran Japanese actor Yasuaki Kurata (and it's one that makes the film worth watching all by itself). Of course, it's not the same story aside from the set-up, with a much more balanced view of the Japanese, and our hero Chen Zhen a patsy instead of a psycho. Definitely one of Jet's better films, and overall better than Fist of Fury, but I'll give the edge to Bruce for sheer entertainment. The DVD has an excellent commentary track from expert Bey Logan and more than 2 hours of interviews with the director, stars and fans, as well as a martial arts seminar with Kurata, and deleted scenes. Good stuff.

My plunge into Doctor Who last week continued as I flipped a couple more classic stories on DVD. First was Delta and the Bannermen, starring Mel and the 7th Doctor. It's a piece of outright whimsy set in the 1950s, with some fun musical choices (rare for that era of Doctor Who) and a crazy tour bus filled with aliens. Fun and imaginative, though I can't recommend everything about it, especially the bizarre romance between Billy and Delta. The DVD is a "cheapie", which means it lets the commentary tracks (voice and text) tell the story of the making of without an attached documentary. Interviews made for a program at the time are included. There's also a sketch in which Sylvester McCoy is put on trial for his outtakes, and a piece on the 7th Doctor's comic strip (I love this series).

The 3rd Doctor and Jo are in The Curse of Peladon, which I decided to watch because I also wanted to get back into the old New Adventures books, and I'm up to the Peladon sequel, Legacy. Curse of Peladon is one of those stories you sit on the fence for. It's perfectly pleasant without being particularly engaging. It's got neat aliens, but terrible designs. It's got a deep political story, but it's riddled with plot holes. But I suppose the regulars are very good in it and the Ice Warriors put in an appearance. The making of stuff is split between this DVD and The Monster of Peladon (which I suppose I'll watch next), but there are also featurettes on the Ice Warriors and the Pertwee/Manning duo.

RPGs: Just finished playing a session of Doctor Who RPG, and the secret archenemy stands revealed as another surviving Time Lord. Some very nice comedy bits with the guest military, a little action, a little jeopardy, and a few crazy reveals along the way. I expect the season to come to its finale in only a couple of sessions now. And since from here to there is all one continuous "story", I've put a lockdown on Story Points. They won't be regenerating anymore (though I will hand them out for good role-playing, etc.). This is a measure I've taken because of the Story Point bloat we feel has overtaken our game as the group grew. A Time Lord + Companion combo has 20 SPs to burn in any given session. But we have 2 Time Lords and 3 Companions besides. That's 52 SPs, not counting those of gadgets. Expenditure was much more conservative this around, and dare I say, less gratuitous. Let them go crazy with points in small insular stories, but put the pinch on them come "arc" time. And may I say, the Once Upon a Time in China theme does wonders for our Chinese Companion's action scenes.

New Unauthorized Doctor Who CCG cards: 39, including cards from The Eleventh Hour and pick-ups from various sources. This completes my Dreams of Gallifrey set, which is about two months late from my originally announced schedule. But I seem to be back with a vengeance, so there is that.

Hyperion to a Satyr entries this week include:
Act I Scene 1 - Tennant (2009)



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