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“A Healer in Every Home” • • • • • • • •

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CONTENTS

8

Anthony Anderson: King for a Day

Combative Critics Do The Ring Two Tony Jaa: The New Bruce?

22

16

24 26 Ben Blackwell Is a Dirtbomb

Matthew McConaughey: Rollin’ His Own

Reggie Hudlin Does The Black Panther

Game Reviews............................................4 Technology.................................................6 Comics......................................................8 Rad Rides..................................................9 Music.................................................10-11 Anime.................................................12-14 Movie Review...........................................21 TheBreakdown/Ratz Strip.........................31

Publisher Arvell M. Jones Associate Publishers Desmond C. Jones Paul Martin,Canada Darnell Sealie Editor in Chief André McGarrity Associate Editors Nadeira Rickford Jim McFarlin Web Site Editor Kenan Cross Assignment Editor Barb Roberts Web Master Mani Syed Photography Garrin Clark Writers Andre McGarrity Michelle McGlothlin Wayne Smith Z.T. Boyd Marsh Matulionis T.J. Grech Garrin Clark Michael Sherrill Garrett Clark Kenan Cross Ross Howard Christoper Young Art Director Carter Jones Illustrator Frank Parr Advertising&Marketing Michael Sherrill Garrett Clark Ross Howard www.decodemag.com editor@decodemag.com sales@decodemag.com 313.875.4936

Decode © copyright 2005. All rights reserved by Encode Media Group, Inc., P.O. Box 13158, Detroit, MI 48213; 313/875.4936. Decode is published 6 times a year. Editorial contributions must be submitted by mail with return postage. Publisher assumes no responsibility for return or safety of unsolicited art, photos, manuscripts, books, audio or video cassettes. Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without written permission; request for permission must be made by mail in writing, must include a self-addressed stamped envelope and should be mailed to Encode Media Group, Inc., P.O. Box 13158, Detroit, MI 48213. Decode is available free of charge at participating distributors. Subscriptions are available in the U.S. and Canada for $6.00 for 4 issues. Printed in the USA. In Canada send inquires to: Box 271 Waterford Gate, Pickering, ON L1V6N3 Canada. Telephone 416/704.4776. E-mail editorial materials to editor@decodemag.com. E-mail sales and marketing inquiries to sales@decodemag.com. Website: webmaster@decodemag.com


PORT WARS WARS PORT

NO MATTER WHO LOSES, YOU WIN By Ken Cross Not too long ago, on this very planet we call Earth . . . (Okay, bad Star Wars references aside), Nintendo has ruled the portable gaming scene with its Gameboy system. The Big N has controlled this market with a vice grip even Fidel Castro would be envious of. Not to say they haven’t been challenged before: There was the Game Gear and Nomad from Sega, TurboExpress from NEC and a few others, yet they were all summarily crushed under the might of the Gameboy. The system has gone through a couple of upgrades, notably the Gameboy Advance and Advance SP, yet there has been a lack of true innovation in the handheld market. Other than more powerful graphics, the Gameboy has largely stayed the same. Nintendo finally realized this and stepped up with the Nintendo DS. The DS marks the first new innovative idea for handheld gaming. It’s got two screens, one of which is a Continued on page 5

DOOM 3

GAMES

(X-Box) Activision The grandfather of scary-ashell, first-person shooter (FPS) video games is back and it’s never looked any better than it does on the Xbox. The objective of the game hasn't changed much – shoot grotesque demon creatures and try to stay alive long enough to escape – but the graphics, sound and story all have been kicked up several notches. Aside from terrifying shadowy hallways that hide very bad things, the co-op mode is the gem of this game. Now you can play with a friend and kick monster butt. You can can also play tournament games, death match,


team death match and last man standing (up to four players). Anyone who's played the previous Doom games will love this version, but the one downfall for Doom on this platform is that the controls are awkward and hard to get accustomed to. Clunky controllers aside, Doom 3 will give you more than your money's worth in thrills, chills and gun play. Overall, Doom 3 is a great FPS and a better-than-average multiplayer game. - ZT Boyd

GAMES

touch screen, and it also has wireless capability to allow for cable-free matches against your friend(s) from across the room. Nintendo also isn’t above taking some good ideas from other companies – DS is backwardscompatible with Gameboy Advance games, a nod to Sony’s popular feature from Playstation 2. All of this adds up to a cool system brimming with potential innovation never before seen in gaming. Still, a lot of analysts see DS as Nintendo’s knee-jerk reaction to the newest challenger for its throne of portable supremacy. A couple of years ago, Sony announced that it was throwing its hat into the portable gaming arena, and just about everyone knew that the system would be called Playstation Portable (PSP). The PSP was slated to have PS2-caliber graphics, run off a new media disc format, plus be able to play MP3s, view pictures and play movies! It sounded like something that was straight out of a dream, and when the PSP made its debut at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2004 interest soared to a whole new level. There were more than a few concerns about the system’s battery life, and whether Sony could create the system at a price that would allow it to realistically compete with the Nintendo DS. Then when it was 4 Continued on page 6 5


PORT WARS WARS PORT

NO MATTER WHO LOSES, YOU WIN (Continued from page 5)

announced to go on sale in Japan for only $50 more than the Nintendo system, fans went into a frenzy, causing the PSP to sell out on the island mere hours after it was launched. Nintendo’s DS had a better launch in the U.S. due to its cheaper price tag and the advantage of coming out on the busiest shopping day of the year. It really comes down to a matter of preferences. Like big, vibrant, colorful screens? Get a PSP. Prefer innovations like two screens and touch panels? Get a DS. Each system has minor advantages over the other, giving neither company a clear cut edge. The thing that has kept – and continues to keep – Nintendo from the top is its stubbornness to adapt newer technologies to its gaming systems. It’s now 2005 and not one Nintendo system has an Internet application available, whereas their competitors Sony and Microsoft were both early adopters of the online gaming market. For this reason, Nintendo is looking up at both companies in the Console Gaming Race. The same also holds true for the DS; Nintendo has only managed to make the graphics for the DS look similar to the Nintendo 64, while PSP’s graphics mop the floor with it. Nintendo is banking on the gaming populace to overlook these minor flaws and latch onto their innovations. (Continued on page 7)

CONSTANTINE (PS2)

GAMES

THQ So, the film didn't do so great in the theaters. That doesn't mean the game has to suck, right? Well, that's true to a point. The Constantine video game is a notch more entertaining than the movie – but only a notch. In the game, you get to play John Constantine as you travel to Hell to recover a mystical but cursed object. Along the way, you get to kill demons with the magic spells, guns and items you collect though the game. Though there is nothing new about this game, THQ has done a decent job of translating a lukewarm movie into a fair 3D action adventure. The graphics are particularly impressive in that the detail to character is dead on: John Constantine actually looks like Keanu Reaves. There is a lot of potential in this title, but the creators tied this game too closely to the movie and not enough to the popular comic book. If there's a next time, they should look to the books and add a little something new of their own to give us something we haven't seen a million times before. - JJ


(Continued from page 6) Yet, they may once again be snakebitten by their old methods. In this ADDaddled age we live in, many consumers are unwilling to wait for the time it takes for the really innovative stuff to come out. Plus, only the most hardcore fans might latch onto the innovative games, as they could be too quirky for mainstream buyers to accept. Sony, on the other hand, has always had its eyes on the real prize: consumer appeal. The PSP is built to be a media juggernaut, something that is in high-demand. It can do it all, really: It’s an iPod, Gameboy, Portable DVD player and picture viewer all wrapped up in one convenient little package. No one product should be this good! The Port Wars are really just beginning. Sony is coming out with guns blazing, aiming straight for Nintendo’s crown. The Big N had best learn how to adapt quicker to emerging technologies, or they may just see history repeat itself and wind up on the losing end of this particular war as well.

6 7

METAL GEAR: ACID (PSP)

GAMES

Konami This isn't your older brother's Metal Gear – unless he was a nerd who spent his early dating years playing card-based. role-playing games. That's right, Metal Gear: Acid is a RPG/Strategy game you play by using cards and taking turns. Sounds wack, but Acid is actually a very cool game that no gamer should be ashamed of playing. Konami did something that not many gaming companies will do today: They took a BIG gamble with one of their flagship titles and did something original with it. Though it may be jarring to someone expecting an entirely different type of game, players will soon come to realize this game is just as entertaining and suspenseful as its predecessors. Acid is designed for a portable audience in an unique way. It’s nothing special in terms of graphics or audio (mostly just drawings and text), but the missions are fun and condensed for gaming on the go. MG:A may not be for everyone but everyone should definitely give it a try. - Chris Young


INTERVIEW WITH A KING

ANTHONY ANDERSON RULES MOVIES AND TV

You’ve seen Anthony Anderson before. He’s been in too many movies for you to not have caught at least a glimpse of him. He was probably the guy who stole whatever scene you were watching. From his first professional gig, on NBC’s Saturday morning teen sitcom Hang Time, to his big break opposite Jim Carrey in Me, Myself and Irene, his two Jet Li movies (Romeo Must Die and Cradle to the Grave), and his new role on the intense cop drama The Shield, Anthony is showing no signs of slowing down. With everything that’s on his plate, Anthony still took time out to give Decode a few minutes of his time. Decode: Tell us a little bit about King’s Ransom. Anthony Anderson: Uh-uh. No. Y’all got to go see it. I’m married to Kellita Smith and we’re going though a divorce and she’s a bit of a golddigger. So I come up with a plan to kidnap myself to get out of paying her alimony. She sort of figures that I’m going to do something drastic to get out of paying her, but not like that, so she comes up with a plan to kidnap me on the same night. It’s just about how that unfolds when I’m kidnapped for real. D: Did you enjoy doing this movie with all the wonderful actors? AA: I did. Because for the most part all of those are my friends up


(Continued from page 8)

- Michelle McGlothlin & Andre McGarrity

8 9

INTERVIEWS

there, so we had a ball making it. It was just a project where friends went to work doing something they love to do and hopefully that shows on screen. D: Besides yourself, who do you think is the funniest person in the movie? AA: Everybody brings it. Regina Hall, Charlie Murphy, Donald Faison, Jay Mohr, Kellita Smith, Leila Arcieri, Nicole Parker, Brooke D'Orsay. Charlie Murphy probably has some of the better stories to tell. D: You’ve now taken a turn as a dramatic actor with your new role on FX’s The Shield. Which do you prefer, comedy or drama? AA: The two are different. They brought Glenn Close and myself onto the show this season. I play the new bad guy they try to get rid of all season long. It’s an opportunity to show the audience another side of me that they haven’t seen before. So I’m happy about that. D: You’re known for stealing scenes in movies. Did anyone steal scenes in King’s Ransom? AA: Yeah, they did. And I wasn’t one of them. You know I watched this film and sat up there and was like “Wow, I wish I was Donald in this movie,” just because he and Charlie had some of the funnier things to do. All I’m going to say is Charlie Murphy, Donald Faison, a bubble bath and a plate of grapes. That’s all I got to say. D: You guys got to do a lot of ad-libbing in this movie. How was that? AA: Our director just really gave us the freedom to do so and we did. We had come up with some things on the spot and so did our director and he was like “OK, this is it. Now let’s go for it and see what we come up with. Let’s see what we get.” And more often than not, that’s what we ended up using in the film. Probably everything you laughed at in the film we came up with on the spot. It’s liberating as an actor when you’re on a set like that. D: People know you because you’re in everything. You’re one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood. You’ve been in the business for a while now making at least two movies a year. How do you keep from burning out? AA: I don’t. I just love what I do. My work has taken me all over the world, so I can’t get burned out. Sometimes we all get that needed break and we take it to recharge our batteries, and then we just go back out again and do what we do. And I love it.


..

50 CENT MASSACRE

REVIEW OF 50 CENT’S SOPHMORE CD Shady/Aftermath/Interscope I have to agree with many of the other critiques regarding this CD. Listening to it brings me to the conclusion that “Fitty” made this CD to send a message to a few people and label-haters who feel he went Hollywood. Well, the hot 16’s spit on the CD has made me, and many others, want to listen to what he is saying. To make the hot 16’s bang in our eardrums are hot producers at the top of their game. The Massacre brings producers like Dr. Dre, Eminem, Sha Money, XL, Tony Yayo, and The Bass Brothers (Jeff and Mark Bass). To best experience this CD, hire a Club DJ to bang your favorite track all day. If you can’t do that, spend about $1,000, buy a top-of-the-line system for your house and get a ticket for disturbing the peace in your gated community. Best of all, take your car or your boy’s car and deck it out with four 12” sub woofers, and four 6” midlevel and two hi-end tweeters. Once you’re finished,

YING YANG TWINS WAIT (The Whisper Song), CD-Single TVT Records

Oh my God, these Southern backroad rappers have done the damn thing again! The soulful, bass-filled song called "WAIT" is a killer – meaning that it is going to tear up the underground with the trolls before it even gets to the surface dwellers. Yes, the surface dwellers, the ones that only listen to the radio "hits" and wait for the video shows to tell them what is good. But there is always light at the end of the tunnel...OK, maybe light at the end of the strip club hallway. The song is hot and shows that the Twins are heading in another artistic movement, bringing their Southern, Playalistic club-banger style together with more of a "thugs need love too" attitude. Or at least, they need lust. Whatever the case, the Twins are on top once more with help from producers DJ Smurf, Lil' Jon and Three Six Mafia. Look out for their new CD entitled U.S.A. (United States of Atlanta), due out this spring.

MUSIC

- DJ Big Kahuna (of Detroit)


go to your nearest hot spot and crank up track 2, “In My Hood”; track 4, “I’m Supposed to Die Tonight”; track 6, “Gatman and Robin”; track 7, the monster hit “Candy Shop”; track 10, “Ski Mask Way”; track 12, “Ryder Music”; track 13, “Disco Inferno”; track 14, “ Just A Lil Bit,” and track 18, “Build You Up,” featuring Jamie Foxx. I really could go on and on, but I won’t. The Massacre is worth the wait the labels put us through to add four extra cuts. The CD is worth the $19.99 you may have to pay if you missed the $9.99 release-day price of the CD. I’ll bet money that the clowns who bootlegged the CD first now realize they don’t have some of the hot stuff that will definitely be banging in the summer. So go and pick up the CD and own it for real, for real. My three hot drop cuts are tracks 7, 14 and 20. 50, Dre, and Eminem, come take hip-hop to the next level of its game because the bus is loaded and waiting for a few good drivers. - DJ Big Kahuna

BEN-PO Please Listen to My Demo H.O.D. Records

Tofu Records

J-Rock icons L'Arc En Ciel explode onto the American music scene with their latest album, Smile, their first US release. No one could ask for a better example of the best of Japanese rock. Front-man Hyde has the kind of voice that kills, sliding effortlessly between sexy rock-star growl and shiverysmooth falsetto. From the opening number, “Kiss,” to “Fullmetal Alchemist Theme Song” and “Ready Steady Go,” Smile drives hard, with some of the prettiest guitar riffs in rock. Find this album. Now!

- Marsh Matulionis

- Deshaun Davis

MUSIC

L'ARC EN CIEL Smile

The feeling you get when you listen to BenPo's latest project is like T.I. realism meeting 10 Kanya West consciousness. This album transcends race, gender and 11 geography. Ben-Po has the ability to drop songs like "The Fight Club" that's sure to get it crunk in the dirty South. The lyrical flow of the "Fire" will make any East Coast hip-hop fan say, "My man spittin’." The radiofriendly "Feels Good" will even have Granny singing along. Also be on the lookout for Ben-Po Presents the Doe Boyz, an LP featuring of some the hottest artists from the Midwest, ATL and Cali.


THE GHOST COMES OUT

ANIME CLASSIC GHOST IN THE SHELL BLITZES U.S. By Marsh Matulionis

ANIME

ver since Masamune Shirow's manga Ghost in the Shell and its groundbreaking movie adaptation hit U.S. shores, fans have been fascinated by that universe. Live action sci-fi and anime have both borrowed heavily from images we first saw in that film. And we're not just talking about eye candy here. Sure, there's plenty of action and a heroine with the chops to make Lara Croft jealous, but underneath all that is a deep, philosophical story that gets us all thinking about humanity and all the different ways we struggle to define it. It's a brilliant cocktail of the visceral and the cerebral. This past summer the first volume of Production IG's television series, subtitled Stand Alone Complex, hit video store shelves. You don't have to be familiar with the Ghost in the Shell franchise to love Stand Alone Complex. In fact, director Kenji Kamiyama wanted the series to retain the flavor of the original without clinging too closely to what is a remarkable movie. He's done that. The series doesn't pick up where the movie left off, but instead goes on its own tangent. Sure, we still have Kusanagi, Batou and the rest in high-octane action in 21st century Tokyo, but there's a new conspiracy to untangle now. Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, the visually stunning sequel to the original movie, made its theatrical debut last September. Unlike the TV series, Innocence picks up three years after the first movie and focuses on Batou and Togusa and their uneasy partnership following Kusanagi's disappearance. Momoru

E


NARUTO TO INVADE U.S. By Ken Cross

In February the smash hit Naruto was licensed to be released in the U.S. How hot is Naruto? It's hot enough, and cool enough, to make crazed adolescents forget all about Goku and Dragonball. Naruto has all the ingredients of a runaway smash. It's already ßber-popular overseas; there's an incredible amount of underground fans who love it, and it's a best-selling manga for VIZ’s Shonen Jump. This fall, Naruto is slated to debut on Cartoon Network. If it can manage to pass censor screenings, Naruto might be one of the best shows to ever air on American TV. Naruto takes place in a world 12 where ninjas are everywhere. The 4th Hokage (village leader) of the 13 Hidden Leaf Village of Konoha once did battle with the Kyuubi, a fabled nine-tailed demon fox. To defeat it, he had to sacrifice his life and seal it into the body of a child. That child is Uzumaki Naruto and because of this, he becomes feared and hated by the villagers. As he grows older, Naruto decides to become the strongest ninja and obtain the title of Hokage to prove that he, too, is worthy of love and admiration. There's a lot to like about Naruto, even when compared to DBZ. There are some unbelievable battles and a lot of comedy, but the story and characters are what truly make this series a winner. This fall, anime fans everywhere are in for a real treat.

ANIME

Oshii returned to direct this movie and his deft touch is all over the piece. The art in this film is flat-out stunning. Newly out on DVD, this movie is a definite must-have. And there's more great news for the manga lovers out there! Dark Horse Comics has just reissued the original "Ghost in the Shell" manga, restored to its original Japanese format, and with previously edited sections replaced. American readers can now see what started it all, exactly as it was originally published. Also, the sequel manga, Man Machine Interface, has finally been released in a similar, unedited graphic novel. Want more? How about a video game? Bandai has that, too, designed for the PS2 platform. Only this time you can actually BE Kusanagi and fight alongside Batou in an eye-popping CG universe. This game is so cool, if it's not at the top of your gotta-have-it list you need to have your head examined. Best of all, Bandai is re-releasing the original Ghost in the Shell movie, complte with enhanced audio/visual and language options in a glorious feature-packed set that is sure to please even the most die-hard fans. The Ghost universe has never looked or sounded better. It's an incredible time to be a fan of this franchise, and if you aren't already, all you need to do is watch just one of these Ghost properties and you will be completely infected.


ANIME REVIEWS NEW STELLVIA SOARS, BUT IT’S NO SLAM DUNK

STELLVIA VOL. 3 Geneon Entertainment

I

By Ken Cross n the early goings of Stellvia, all of humanity is fearing the fallout from the explosion of a distant star that nearly destroyed the entire planet. That’s the reason why interstellar military acadamies/defense forces like Stellvia were created. In this volume, their moment of truth is at hand: The Second Wave is drawing dangerously close! That, however, is farthest from heroine Shima Katase's mind. She is dealing with her own shortcomings – primarily a lack of confidence in herself and whatever latent abilities she's shown in flashes. Adding to her trouble is the emergence of a new rival: the child prodigy Rinna Kazamatsuri. Rinna-chan (Little Rinna is a loose translation) happens to be naturally good at just about everything that has to do with piloting. Her talent only adds to Shima's frustration and she falls into a depression. She doesn't have much time to think about that, though: The Second Wave appears to be an imminent threat to all the people on Earth, and it's time for Shima and her classmates to act! This being my first volume of Stellvia, I wasn't too versed in the background and characters of the show. I found it very easy to get into, however, as the core relationships were well established and prominently displayed throughout the program. This is where Stellvia truly shines. The relationships of all the characters give the show a bright, bubbly feel. I came to care about these characters fairly quickly, even though I started from the 3rd volume. Stellvia also has great character and mechanical designs. This should be no surprise as XEBEC, the studio behind one of my favorite shows (Martian Successor Nadesico) and their use of CG blended with animation is top notch. The marriage of CG and cel animation never seems out of place, a trend that has become more common with modern anime titles. The dub is also well done, as the entire core cast actually sounds their age even though all parts are voiced by adults. I had a lot of fun with this title, and would recommend it to all of you who enjoy a good shoujo/action show.

SLAM DUNK Vol. 1 Geneon Entertainment

ANIME

At long last, Slam Dunk has come to the United States! While some of you may not know this, Slam Dunk is an extremely popular series, more than partially responsible for the explosion of interest in the NBA back in the mid-90s. Oops...I think I've just dated myself. Yes, Slam Dunk is an OLD series, making its debut back in the heyday of Dragonball Z over in Japan in the 1990s. The response from fans over the series and its manga counterpart were so strong that backboards were erected all over the country. The few fans that knew about Slam Dunk back then (myself proudly included) clamored for it to come to the States. Finally we've been granted our wish by Toei's new publishing arm in the USA...nearly 10 years after the series ended. Hey, better late than never, right? And some of us actually thought that it WOULD be never. - Ken Cross


COMBATIVE CRITICS

OUR WARRING REVIEWERS ARGUE OVER THE RING 2 By André McGarrity and [Wayne Smith]

Where to begin with this movie? [Actually, I’d prefer we didn’t BEGIN at all. In fact, I wish the jack@$$es that made this movie wouldn’t have BEGUN it!] Ring 2 is basically the same movie as The Ring, [Only it sucks @$$ way more] but less disturbing and far more convoluted [Trust me, he’s being nice here, folks]. Six months after passing the curse of the deadly videotape on to the next unsuspecting fool in the first movie [Whoever the hell that was, cause the retards making this film don’t bother to tell us], Rachel (Naomi Watts) and her weird son, Aidan, have moved to a new town to start over. [Apparently they decided to start over with their acting careers, too, cause their performances in this movie are %$#@ing horrible!] Things seem like they are finally normal again, but of course it can’t be that simple. As the tape travels around the country and the evil Samara continues her killing spree, the three happen to cross paths again in the small town that has become home to our heroes. [Heroes? Can you really call people who knowingly pass along a tape that will kill a person in seven days a hero? I think not.]

TONY JAA KICKS IT WITH DECODE By Paul Martin

There comes a time when the master must give up his title to the younger apprentice and let the pupil take the mantle. Martial Arts has reached that time, and Tony Jaa is heir apparent. Decode predicts Tony soon will take his rightful place on the throne alongside such legends of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Decode recently had the chance to chat with Tony about his new movie Ong-Bak and his upcoming film,Tom-Yum-Goong.


This time, however, things are a little more complicated. A quick copy of a tape won’t save them this time. It seems Samara is now obsessed with Rachel (or Aidan – it’s hard to tell) and wants desperately to become Aidan so that Rachel will be her new Mommy. That ruins any chance of Rachel dumping this curse on someone else. [I guess by doing the sequel this way the producers figured they could avoid the problem with the first film’s storyline – LIKE NOBODY BUYS VHS ANY MORE, YOU STUPID %$$#s! We own DVDs! They (Hollywood) hardly produce VHS tapes anymore! If you’re gonna remake a movie that was made back in 1998 (Ringu) then you could at least update it to apply in 2005!] There is no real explanation of how Samara has the ability to possess Aidan or why she suddenly has become so keen on the idea of Rachel being her mother. [That’s because American teenagers are stupid and the people who made this movie know that. These are the same teenage morons who watched, and bought, The Grudge and made it a hit here in the USA. 16 17

Decode: How did you first get started in Martial Arts?

MOVIES

Tony: I first started when I was at the age of 10. I watched a lot of movies by Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li. I would come home from those movies and practice those moves myself and after a while I wanted to train. So I went to Master Panaa (Ritthikrai) when I was 15 and asked him if I could train with him. At first, I would work in the crew and work behind the scenes. I would pick up stuff from the stunt men. I carried the dollys, cut the slates, and was a waterboy for a long time until I worked my way up to eventually being an extra. After a while, Panaa advised me to go and study at a Physical Education Academy. There I learned all the different types of Martial Arts, from Wu-Shu, to Tae-KwonDo, and all various forms. I then came to work with Panaa as a stunt man and then I realized that as a stunt man you only get seen behind


COMBATIVE CRITICS THE RING 2 (Continued from page 17) If they will go see The Grudge, then %$#@, they’re stupid enough to fork over money for this piece of $#!% too.] We do get a little insight into Samara’s origin before she was adopted. It’s not much, but we learn that Samara’s birth mother seemed to know her little bundle of joy was evil and tried to drown her before she was stopped and committed to an insane asylum. I know these might be disturbing subjects for Wayne, considering his origins, but to those of us without the mark of the beast it’s pretty lame. [Yes, for a moment I thought, “Oh, %$#!, people will be on to me!” But then I realized that this movie is so bad, people will forget about how to cause my demise because they, like me, will be too pissed off that they spent their hard-earned money watching this sorry excuse for a sequel. Of course, that made me feel much better.] Sure, there are a few shocks and scares here, but after seeing the first Ring, they seem to hold far less of a punch. [The only thing scary about this sequel is the fact that someone handed them money to make it.] In the first movie we did not know what to expect, adding greatly to the shock factor, but with the second we expect our scares in new ways. Unfortunately, in almost every way, The Ring 2 fails to deliver the kind of horror that will be talked about around the watercooler at work the next day. [Unless the horror story being told is that you spent $8 to see this piece of $#!% when the money could have just as easily been spent on Internet porn!] The only new freak-out scene is Samara’s Gollum-esque climb from her watery tomb. [Sadly, folks, he’s right: This sequel packs about as much fright as The Care Bears Movie.] No, it’s not as groundbreaking as the head spinning in the original Exorcist or Wayne’s legendary romp on the floor of a

TONY JAA KICKS IT WITH DECODE (Continued) the scenes. People don't know that you are really the one doing the action. So I put together this project with Panaa and presented it to director Prachya Penkaw. D: You do a lot of your own stunts in this movie without wires – crazy stuff. Why was that so important for you? T: Well, it was something we wanted to do and we knew it was challenging, but for the first film to depict Mui Thai we felt it was something that we had to do. We wanted everybody to see those moves, and everything that was involved in Mui Thai, definitely. Also we wanted people to see my abilities and to see that it was really my ability that allowed me to do these things.


(Continued from page 18) truck stop bathroom with a $2 hooker (male or female, we’re still not sure), but it’s still creepy. [Hey, she was a female! (Well, most of her anyway.) And you’re just pissed off because she (it) was your cousin!] Other than the budget and the special effects, this movie isn’t much more than an unintelligible B-movie that Wayne would probably consider a classic horror film. Unfortunately for the rest of us who do not possess Wayne’s challenged taste in films, Ring 2 leaves much to be desired. [Whoa there, Nellie! You cannot honestly say that you thought I liked this film the slightest bit. If so, then you need to lay off the crack pipe, my friend! I told you, sampling the $#!% you sell is a BAD idea and not to do it. But, as I can clearly tell by your insight into my psyche, you must have overdosed! There is no turning back for you now. Fess up – you bought The Grudge, didn’t you?] The only slight advantage Ring 2 holds over the original is that it’s faster moving. But moving faster toward nothing isn’t that much of an advantage. [Well, hopefully, you will have the advantage of reading this review and realizing that paying to see this movie will just knock your IQ down a few hundred points! Hell, after sitting through Spanglish, Constantine, Hide and Seek, Boogeyman and now The Ring 2, I’m convinced I’ve dropped down the food chain to just one step higher than a 18 monkey. Which places me just above crack smoking $#!%heads like André…but just barely!] 19

D: So for your next movie, Tom-YumGoong, have you done more of the same or are we going to see you move in a different direction? T: Of course this movie will be different, but there will be a novelty with this one. It will be something for people to keep their eye on, as there is a higher budget, an international production team and international stars. So it is going to be quite nice and quite different! As to how different it is going to be, you will have to wait and see.


SIN CITY

S

BOOZE, BROADS, AND BULLETS

MOVIE REVIEW

- TJ Grech

MOVIES

in City is the first great film of the year. This stylized, action-packed, violentas-hell, down and dirty noir thriller is not for the faint of heart, but certainly should not be missed, either. Sin City is not an adaptation of Frank Miller’s award-winning cult comics; it’s a direct translation. It was shot word for word, panel for panel from the book. Even the harshly contrasted black-and-white style of Miller’s art was loyally depicted, with a couple splashes of color compliments of director Robert Rodriguez. Out of the seven volumes of the Sin City graphic novels, three are told in the film: “The Hard Goodbye,” “The Big Fat Kill” and “That Yellow Bastard.” Each story is a classic noir yarn complete with flawed protagonists dealing with inner demons as they embark on a tale of bloody revenge. Mickey Rourke steals the show as Marv, a hardheaded, simpleminded, murdering brute on a mission to find out who’s behind framing him for the murder of a prostitute. Marv is a man that you’d never want to meet, but you’ll still feel sympathy for him when you’re not cheering him on for breaking open someone’s skull or sawing off their limbs. Clive Owen is Dwight, quite possibly the most rational man in Sin City. When the drunken, woman-beating Jackie-Boy (Benicio Del Toro) harasses Dwight’s new fling, Dwight decides to teach Jackie-Boy a lesson. The two men find themselves in Old 20 Town, a borough of Sin City ruled by heavily-armed prostitutes lead by Gail (Rosario Dawson). When Jackie-Boy’s drunken antics break the uneasy truce between the hook21 ers and the cops, the women of Old Town are left open to a hostile takeover. Dwight and Gail rally the ladies of Old Town on an adventure that leaves the streets covered in blood. Bruce Willis is Officer Hartigan. Taking on one last case before retiring, he rescues 11-year-old Nancy Callahan from a pedophile who’s the spoiled son of a powerful senator. Hartigan shoots off the pedophile’s hand and (ahem) genitals, but the corruption of Sin City leads to Hartigan being framed for the crime. Finally released from prison, he finds that 19-year-old Nancy has grown up and really filled out, now working as a stripper. But someone is after these two, a Yellow Bastard – no, not frightened; the man is literally yellow. When Nancy is kidnapped again, Hartigan is back on the job. Completely shot on digital film, mostly against a green screen with CGI elements added later, the style of Sin City is awe-inspiring. The whole film is like nothing you’ve ever seen before, yet seems vaguely familiar as it harkens back to a filmmaking style of yesteryear. The movie is worth seeing for its style alone, but will be forever remembered for its hardcore, back-alley tales.


ADVENTURE IN THE SAHARA

AN INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY By Garrin Clark (w/ André McGarrity)

Matthew McConaughey has kept something of a low profile the last couple of years. Now he’s back in a big way with a bold new adventure flick that has enough good old actionadventure, comedy relief (compliments of Steve Zahn) and sex appeal (provided by Penélope Cruz) to satisfy the most fickle fan. On a inventive promotional tour, where he traveled across the country in his own RV and met with critics, writers and fans alike, McConaughey came through Decode territory and sat down to talk about his philosophy on approaching life, stupid stuff he won’t do and, of course, Sahara. DECODE: What drew you to this film? MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY: I’ve been trying to get this role for seven years. I’d gone out to see the author in his home in Colorado. I went to see him in Arizona a couple of times. What I found was, here’s a guy [who was] a treasure hunter, an adventurer. Here’s a guy that wrestled an alligator Saturday morning and danced with the queen in a tuxedo on Saturday night – all in the same day. A guy who’s got that dexterity to be at home, yet used to travel to these exotic lands – which is what I like to do in my real life. D: So there is a lot of you in this character? MM: Sure. I mean, this guy is a JK Living dude. And JK Living has been something I’ve been trying to live by for the last 15 years – Actually ever since my father passed away. It stands for Just Keep Living, which means if you’re going to do it, do it with pleasure. Which means wherever you are, if it’s inevitable, that’s where you’re going to be, then want to be there, you know? We have a lot of people running around with a pulse, with blood running through them, but a lot of people are dead. Or we’re here all the time [mimicking typing] and you ask, when is the last time you went there? “Well I haven’t actually gone there because I sat there on the screen.” Well, get out there and check it out.


D: Don’t talk about it, be about it.

INTERVIEWS

MM: It was like that growing up in my family. We could only watch an hour of TV a night. My mother always said, “Don’t watch someone do something for you. Get out and go do it.” It’s all the things that suck the most, but feel the best once you get them done. So, this guy, Dirk Pitt, he comes with a lot of that. If you can go left and it’s going to be fun but a lot more dangerous, or you can go right and be safe but it could be boring, he’s going left every time. He’s just saying yes to life each time, moving forward and having a good time doing it, even if [he’s] getting shot at. This is a part of the humor of the story. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. [The movie] has some cool things to say. It’s got some cool action. Look at the premise: I’m chasing an ironclad battle ship from the Civil War that I think made it across the Atlantic up the Niger River into Mali, Africa. That’s all he needs. He’s chasing the commas in the history books, where they didn’t find that ship and say, “Oh, it must have sunk in the Atlantic,” Dirk is like, “Hang on a minute! The case is still out on that and I’ve got a few ideas.” A buddy of mine who saw it the other day goes, “Yeah, you have a couple of ideas. You’re a bit psycho, too.” So he was that [kind of] guy and I was looking for a franchise character, which if this 22 film does well, if people go to see it and enjoy it, then I get to strap on Dirk’s boots again and again and again. The author wrote 16 books. [It’s] a little Romancing the Stone, a little James Bond and he drinks tequila. 23 D: Did you do your own stunts? MM: I had to be more of an athlete in this movie. We had to ride camels at 35 miles per hour and try to hop onto a train. Riding that land yacht across the [desert], that was me up there and that was a bit scary. A big wind would come from behind and pull that sail the other way and pull me off my feet. I had a safety cable, but [if I felt] it would not have been a soft landing in any way. I have a real good stunt man named Mark Norby who does the stupid stuff. I don’t do the stupid stuff. I don’t like getting lit on fire. When the explosion happens on the boat and you see Dirk Pitt go sailing over...now, I ran and jumped onto a little mattress, but when you cut to that wide shot and you see this guy sailing with this explosion behind him, no, no, that’s him. D: The chemistry between you and Steve Zahn is really good. MM: It’s funny, isn’t it? He gives me a lot of hell [in the movie], man. Half the time I listen to him and half the time I just ignore him, you know? Really think about that, though. Notice at the end of the movie, who’s Mr. Clean and who just got the snot beat out of him? Me.


DETROIT DETROIT GETS GETS BOMBED! BOMBED!

INTERVIEW WITH BEN BLACKWELL OF THE DIRTBOMBS ByTJ Grech

C

all me biased, but if you have a craving for great rock you need not look any further than the Rock City capital of Detroit! Motor City bands seem to be the brave souls who have been leading lost children through this exciting rock revolution, past the terrors of trashy pop-punk, manufactured boy bands and big-breasted, bottle blonde women who only appear to have a shred of “talent” due to the magic of post-studio production...phew! Be it the electric blues of The Sights or the ass-kicking, tough-asnails stylings of The Paybacks, Detroit offers up rock music like a prostitute offers her love. (OK, not the prettiest analogy, but you get the idea.) We must certainly not forget the THE DIRTBOMBS! Their energetic and exciting music has taken the scene by storm, leaving all those who lend an ear in a state of near orgasmic pleasure. Dirtbombs drummer Ben Blackwell graciously answers a few questions for all you rock fanatics to enjoy. DECODE: First off, how did the Dirtbombs come to be, and where did the name come from? BEN BLACKWELL: Mick (Collins, the lead singer and guitarist) started assembling the band back in 1992. I joined in 1999. The name is pretty self-explanatory. D: Seeing the Dirtbombs live is truly an experience. Quite possibly one of the best live bands I’ve seen. How difficult is it to stay so lively, energetic and fresh night after night while on tour?

ADVENTURE IN THE SAHARA

INTERVIEWS

(Continued)

D: How important was it to convey that closeness between those two characters? MM: Yes. This is one story in the middle of 16 stories the author wrote. So, again, if this works and people go to see it we’re going to jump into another story and do another one, we had to get across a familiarity so you would believe we had been friends since kindergarten, that we had been on 20 adventures before this one and we will be on 20 adventures after this one. You happen to be catching one of the adventures. If you like it, you’re going to come back next time and catch us on another one.


D: What’s the next movie you have in the chamber? MM: The next film coming out is something called 2 for the Money. Shot that with Al Pacino, directed by DJ Caruso. It’s like Wall Street. It’s get-down time on that one. We’ll probably do that one later this year. Then after that I have some things in my production company I’m hoping to shoot.

24 25

INTERVIEWS

BB: Playing night after night can get taxing, but I’m not going to complain. I just try to focus all of my energy for a single day within the 45 minutes to an hour that we’re on stage. D: At the moment, there is a tremendous amount of great music coming from Detroit. The city has truly reclaimed its “Rock City” title. What is it about Detroit that THE DIRT ON BEN Name: Benjamin J. Blackwell seems to breed great rock ‘n’ roll? Birthdate: June 12, 1982 BB: There’s no specific reason Favorite Movie: My Blue Heaven Detroit breeds great rock ‘n’ roll, Favorite Book: Sam the Cat, just like there’s no reason why Matthew Klam Iowa breeds great corn farmers Favorite Food: Doner kebabs and LA breeds great @#*!heads. Favorite Album: Modern Dances, D: What do you consider your greatest achievement to date and Jandek what would you like to achieve in Zombie vs. Robot, who would the future? win? Whoever came up with this BB: My greatest achievement to question is really the person who date is learning to wipe front to back. I soon hope to learn how to deserves to win. do it without needing a mirror. D: What are the future plans for the Dirtbombs? BB: We're working on a singles comp that should be out sometime next year. Pick up the Dirtbombs latest release Dangerous Magical Noise. For more news, pics, tour dates, bios and more, be sure to check out the band’s official Web site at www.thedirtbombs.net.


HUDLIN HUDLIN JOINS JOINS BLACK BLACK PANTHER PANTHER

WRITER/DIRECTOR REGGIE HUDLIN: TAKING ON A COMIC BOOK ICON By Arvell Jones (w/ Ken Cross and TJ Grech)

When you think of Marvel comic book heroes, the Black Panther may not be the first character that comes to mind. When you think of comic book writers, the name Reggie Hudlin probably isn’t ringing in your head, either. However, these two unlikely pop-culture partners came together this year with the re-launch of Black Panther #1. Hudlin talked to Decode about Black Panther, SpiderMan, Marvel’s movies and how he hopes to change your perceptions of who the "top dogs" in the Marvel universe are. DECODE: What led to the decision to re-launch Black Panther, which recently had an unsuccessful resurrection? RH: Black Panther is a great idea that has been waiting on the right execution to fulfill its potential. Like the X-Men (who really didn’t take off until the ‘70s) or Daredevil (who really didn’t get popular until the ‘80s), sometimes the proper approach to a concept takes time to figure out.

INTERVIEWS

PHOENIX – ENDSONG

Marvel Comics I’m glad to say that Phoenix – Endsong manages to hold up to the Dark Phoenix Saga and in some ways surpass it. Writer Greg Land and artist Greg Pak have crafted a story that is not only worthy of following such a great X-Men story, but one that can stand beside it as an equal. When a rogue Shi’ar group manages to compel the Phoenix Force back into creation to destroy it once and for all, a half-crazed being of pure cosmic destruction is unleashed. To make matters worse, the insane being searches out its favorite host: Jean Grey-Summers. Who cares if she’s dead? It just animates Jean’s dead body and forces part of Jean’s soul back to life to help find the one person in the universe they both can’t live without – Cyclops! (Watch out, Emma).


D: Why did you decide to take on a character like Black Panther? What attracted you to him? RH: I’ve loved the character since his debut when I was a kid. The name resonates with people even if they've never read the comic, the costume is simple and fly, and the character himself is a smart, tough guy who is an international player. What's not to love? D: Black Panther has always been considered a more second- or third-tier character. How do you plan on getting mainstream readers interested in him and his story? RH: I think the Black Panther is more relevant to readers today than ever. People today are interested in wealth and power. Here’s a guy who is the king of a country so wealthy they don’t even have to pump their petroleum deposits. They’ve got alternative fuel sources we can’t even imagine. They’ve got the cure for cancer. And the reason they’ve got all this stuff is because they’re the only African nation that has never been conquered. How do you go all those centuries without ever being successfully invaded? By being the most kick-ass people on the planet. People think the Vietnamese are tough because they beat the Chinese, the French and the Americans. But the Wakandans make the Vietnamese look soft.

Admittedly, Endsong is not as big and extravagant a production as the Dark Phoenix saga, but it makes up for that in the development of its human relationships. Where in the Dark Phoenix saga we had swashbuckling space adventure mixed with some touching emotional elements, Endsong picks up the emotional baton and takes our X-Men to new emotional highs (or lows, depending on how you look at it). The scene in Issue #3 were Wolverine has to kill Jean repeatedly before she “stays dead” is worth the price of admission alone. - André McGarrity

26 27

INTERVIEWS

D: Can you tell a bit about the first story arc and what we can expect? What has changed for the Black Panther since we last saw him?


HUDLIN HUDLIN JOINS JOINS BLACK BLACK PANTHER PANTHER

WRITER/DIRECTOR REGGIE HUDLIN: TAKING ON A COMIC BOOK ICON (Continued)

RH: The trick to writing a book like this is to appease two audiences: People like myself with 30 years of continuity in their heads, and people who’ve never picked up a comic book before, let alone Black Panther. The first arc is called “Who Is the Black Panther?” and it lays out the Panther’s origin story. Basically, every 50 or 100 years someone tries to invade Wakanda and they end up getting their a$$es handed to them. We start in 5 B.C. and quickly move up to the present day, where a team of super villains representing all kinds of business, governmental and religious interests conspire to conquer Wakanda. And they get their a$$es handed to them. D: Is there any part of the hero’s recent history that will essentially be “reconned” out of continuity? That is, will there be a story element that will be ignored, and if so, why? RH: Since we’re starting at the beginning, we’ll have the luxury of deciding what stays in or not. Sometimes when I look at an old idea that makes no sense, and I think I’m going to discard it, I come up with a way for it to make sense. So I hesitate in making broad pronouncements now. D: It seems that the Black Panther won't be the only Marvel icon you will be writing when you take over the reins on Spider-Man. What’s going to be your focus for the character? RH: To me, Spider-Man is Charlie Brown with super powers, so it's all about piling on the embarrassment. D: Are you going to revamp some old villains for Spidey to fight or will you create some new ones? RH: Both, of course. D: When can we expect the book to hit the shelves? RH: April. Spring into Spidey!


FORD’S FORD’S NEW NEW RAD RAD RIDE RIDE

2005 FORD MUSTANG LOOKS BACK TO THE FUTURE By Paul Martin

RIDES

The ‘Stang for 2005 is all new! Ford truly looked back at Mustangs of old to come up with this brand-new design. Every inch of Ford’s famous pony car has been changed from the last two decades of variations. Thanks to some automotive nipping and tucking, as they say in Tinseltown, the new look is instant retro and instantly recognizable. Guided only by its legacy, the clean-sheet design approach gave birth to an all-new platform, including a new chassis, suspension, powertrain, re-engineered solid rear axle, new interior and dynamic new styling. The restyled Mustang is powered by one of the following engines; a 3.8-liter, 190-hp V-6; a 4-6-liter, 250hp SOHC V-8; or a 4.6-liter, 320-hp DOHC V-8 (available on the Cobra model). You can also choose between a 4-speed automatic or a 5speed manual transmission. ABS is optional. The 2005 Mustang GT is the first mainstream production Mustang to break into the 300-hp arena. An aggressive, forward-leaning reverse grille and new jeweled-round headlamps in trapezoidal housings deliver striking new design flair. In the days of high priced SUVs and gas-guzzling monster vehicles, one wonders if the market will gravitate to this new beast. With the upsized engine gas consumption cannot be cheap! Let’s not forget, though, that this is a muscle car – one of the only muscle cars to have made it out of the ‘60s to the new century. There is no doubt that Ford’s new approach to the Mustang is a winner. What’s old is new again.


THE BREAKDOWN DECODE’S MUST LIST

MOVIES

BATMAN BEGINS

June 17

He’s back, and this time he’s here to save the franchise from the curse of Joel Schumacher!

June 29: War of the Worlds – Tom Cruise takes on aliens; aliens win. July 1: Fantastic Four – Marvel’s superhero family sitcom. Jul 15: Charlie & the Chocolate Factory – Depp, Burton. ‘Nuff said! Aug. 19: Domino – Keira Knightley as a kick-ass bounty hunter!

MADDEN NFL ‘06

GAMES

August 8

Madden is a game that has taken on a life of it’s own. As usual, it only gets better with age.

June 7: Killer 7 – Be one of seven assasins in this stylized game. June 13: Batman Begins – The movie will rock. So will the game! June 27: Fantastic Four – Finally, play as Marvel’s Fab 4! July 1: NCAA Football ‘06 – Gridiron glory is back!

GATCHAMAN: CE BOT SET

May 31: Samurai Champloo Vol. #3 June 14: Planetes Vol. #1 July 26: GTO: The Movie Sept. 6: Inu Yasha Movie 3: Swords of an Honorable Ruler

RATZ

July 7 - August 13

May 19-30: E3 – THE con for everything electronic and cool. July 14-17: Comic-Con International – THE comic/pop culture event! May 27-29: Anime North (Toronto) – All the anime you can stand. June 17-July 31: Boom Boom Huck Jam – Skateboard, MotoX, BMX

30 31

ANGER MANAGEMENT TOUR Eminem, 50 Cent, Lil’ Jon, G-Unit, D-12, Obie Trice and Stat Quo on the concert tour of the summer!

By Wayne Smith & Frank Parr

EVENTS

ANIME

June 14

The classic that spawned Battle of the Planets, uncut and with 20 episodes never seen in the U.S.!


"Clark's work is the quintessential manual to health and fitness in the extremely vigorous arena of competitive paintball at its highest level. Written by an experienced authority on both fitness and the game itself, The Next Level is a must-read for any serious paintball athlete." -Joshua D. Silverman, Assistant Editor, Paintball 2Xtremes Magazine www.pb2x.com "Garrin practices what he preaches, and the way he plays, the way he looks, and the way he performs is proof that what he says is in his book is truth. For paintball players, it's something that we can relate to and apply to our sport. It's my ‘bible’ for my desire to be a better paintball player; I carry it with me daily." -Bea Youngs, Writer, Player and Founder of www.beayoungs.com

THE NEXT LEVEL By Garrin Clark

The Next Level is a book written by a professional athlete, specifically for the sport of paintball. This book is designed to improve your physical attributes in the following categories: - Faster running speed - Faster reaction speed - Agility - Hand eye coordination - Open focus - Overall explosiveness and strength All sports, including team sports begin with the individual athlete; whether your sport is competition paintball, basketball, football, soccer, or baseball, The Next Level will greatly help to increase your physical capabilities and athletic performance, with clear descriptions and over a 100 illustrations.

www.tnlpaintball.com

Decode Magazine - 2005 Summer  

Decode Entertainment Magazine Semi Annually - Summer June 2005 Issue