Monday, January 19, 2009

Bronson Lee, Xbox Champion

The selection of videos available for download on the Xbox Live marketplace has grown steadily since the inception of the service a few years back. The number of available movies has grown steadily to nearly 800 titles, and though the choices lean heavily on more recent releases there are also a surprising number of vintage titles available – many in 720p high definition. Better still, there are several titles (like Mike Hodges' superior adaptation of Michael Crichton’s The Terminal Man) that never made the jump from VHS to DVD.

As a child of the early video store era, there are certain titles that have a strange, nostalgic effect on me. It isn’t necessarily because they’re great movies; it can be because they were your first rentals (which for me would have been Sudden Impact, Life of Brian, and Hardbodies, thank you very much), because of particularly memorable artwork (Withnail & I was rented solely because of the Ralph Steadman artwork), or that the packaging simply edged others off the shelves (how many fondly remember the porn-sized boxes of Monterey or Continental Home Video?) Warner Bros’s memorable giant clam shell box featured the standard pics, title, and synopsis rampant on a background graphic that resembled a Roy Lichtenstein go at grass against a night sky. While far from the only video line with major studio support behind it, Warner Bros edged out the competition with sheer size, and we remembered spying the same titles in store after store. One title that always caught our eye was Bronson Lee, Champion, given legitimacy by virtue of being one of very few Warner Bros Kung Fu titles, an intimate group which included Enter the Dragon and Black Belt Jones. Though we never rented it, we always noted its presence, and we were knocked out by its sudden appearance on the Live marketplace. Someone at Microsoft must have the same nostalgia pangs that we do about the title, because they used a hastily snapped picture of the old Warner video box for the display picture. It's even got the "Martial Arts" section sticker on it!

We also really enjoyed reading Microsoft’s little write-up.

Is the beginning really set in Ohio? Why go through that bother just to get him to Japan? We also read “farm” as “arm” on two separate occasions, a change which the makers should maybe have considered. I also enjoyed the odd line break right in the middle of “$50,000”, making it seem like the karate tournament prize was $50 – an amount that would have scarcely paid for travel to and from the airport. We watched the 30 second preview and caught the middle of a scene that looked like a skit from a Japanese version of Sabato Gigante set in Jim J Bullock’s apartment from Too Close for Comfort.

Oh, yea...we'll be chcking this out soon.