BANG BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BANG (zip) (zip) (fizz) SMAK BOOM BOOM (zip) (fizz) (zip). BANG BANG.

With all these bullets flying back and forth, it’s difficu
lt to have any thoughts whatsoever on John Rambo, when watching John Rambo. The story is simple, which is good, because it’s (zip) hard to concentrate (BOOM), or even hear yourself ZIP above the think (noise) BOOM.

In all honesty, I’m not writing this in the cinema, but you get the idea. To prove that I understood the plot, here it is in 38 words.

Rambo lives near Burma, it’s dangerous. Burmese BAD. Missionaries come. Want to enter Burma. Rambo says no. Then he takes them. Missionaries get captured. Rambo has to kill everyone BAD, sometimes spectacularly. Rambo saves Missionaries! But not Burma.

It was last Sunday night, and I’d walked over to Palace Westend in light rain. I don't have an excuse, I couldn’t have ended up in that cinema by mistake. While John Rambo was never likely to be any good, there was something appealingly adolescent, and plain awful about it. At times, I questioned what I was doing, whether this should actually be a turning point in my life. Perhaps I was close to an epiphany. 28 years old, 11:00, Sunday night, in a shopping centre, with a beer. Maybe I would come out of the zip cinema realising it was (zip) about time I SMAK (zip) (whiz) BANG BOOM BOOM BOOM.

Killing is as easy as breathing

According to Wikipedia, John Rambo is one of the most violent movies ever produced, with 236 killings, an average of 2.59 every minute. By my reckoning, there were 234, but it still seems like a staggering figure. However, once you’ve done a few sums, it actually isn’t that many.

For instance, there are just 778.8 seconds of solid killings in John Rambo. This adds up to 12.8 minutes of screen time, or 14% of the movie. As a result, 80.02 minutes of this 93-minute film passed by with no killings at all.

14%. Assuming that's what you pay your money for, it's enough to make you ask for it back. Until you look at it like this.

- A discount cinema ticket at Palace Westend costs 1000 ft.
- 1000 ft divided by 236 per killing, or 234, gives you 4.
- Effectively, each screen killing costs 4ft. (3 ft on cheap days).

Pretty competitive, that. And once you start comparing it to other films (for argument’s sake, let’s say Seven and Bambi), John Rambo looks like the pound shop of Hollywood blockbusters. By today’s standards, it'd be 142 forint per screen death in Seven. Pricey yes, but compared to Bambi, it’s a bargain. As far as I can remember, there’s just one killing in that movie. 1 divided by 1000ft… equals 1000ft.

Come on, Walt! For goodness sake, that’
s a little dear.

Should this even exist?

I learnt something that night. Unfortunately, it wasn’t about myself, or killing, but rather the Burmese military. They’re mean! Not only do they blow things up, they murder people, hit people, beat people, slap people, rape women and children, then shoot them. In a very exciting way.

All of this pornographic violence, presented in slow motion and with surround sound, struck me as somewhat questionable. In fact, in a boneheaded action film such as this, a dire situation becomes ridiculous - Burma looks artificial, like the town in Blazing Saddles.

For me, the film was far more revealing about Sylvester Stallone. It’s his Apocalypto, a glimpse into the mind of a slightly mad man. He wrote the screenplay, produced it, directed it, starred in it, and ultimately saves the day with a massive machine gun. I honestly felt as if this was Sly's 6th birthday party… and I'd been invited to sit around and watch.

Andy T.

Enjoy the View

Ah, Budapest! There are few cityscapes that come close. From the Fishermen’s Bastion, I cast my eye down the riverbank at the rich architectural tapestry: the splendid parliament building, the curvaceous Gresham Palace, the slender Chain Bridge… then, all of a sudden: blam, blam, blam! My vision is shot to pieces by three hotels.

Three monstrosities: huge luxury chains, I might add. Now, the Sofitel
architect was somewhat worse than mediocre but at least it’s set back a little from the river. The Intercontinental, clad in brown plastic, swears blind that it’s not as bad as it might have been. And then there’s the Marriott.

“Enjoy The View” runs the slogan. I’m just searching the small print for “but don’t take the blindfold off until you’re inside.” The cheek of it! A few moneyed customers enjoy the view, while the rest of us enjoy an enormous grey slab of concrete. There are better-looking multi-storey car parks, and they don’t usually park them so badly. The glossy pamphlet rather glosses over this by bravely showing the exterior by night.

Only one other hotel in Budapest can compete for the title of City’s Greatest Eyesore, and that’s the Hilton. Positioned precisely 1 millimetre away from the Fishermen’s Bastion, it’s the choice of the truly discerning culture trampler. As invasively located hotels go, it could look worse: its tinted, mirrored windows do at least deflect attention away from it, and the roof design tries to capture something vaguely historical.

Of course, if you’re actually interested in history, you might be slightly aggrieved to find it buried under the hotel or at least consumed by it. 13th-century Dominican church ruins merge seamlessly with 1970s hotel design, so much so that they’re easy to miss.

So it's difficult to see whose crime is the greatest in this whole sorry affair: the former Communist State; the multinationals that own the hotels; or the tourists that stay there. Whichever way, I look forward to the "futuristic-looking yellow building" that will soon grace Clark Ádám tér. That, my friends, is progress.

Andy Sz.

Why do they come here?

Keleti's Arena Plaza opened in a blaze of glory around Christmas, Vörösmarty tér has unveiled its new H and M, but there's one poor little shopping centre that almost everyone has forgotten about. 'Poky' MOM Park never had an awful lot going for it, but there's much less now, given that half the shops seem to have closed down.

I was there a few weeks back, and noticed that even though the management had started to put cars inside the shopping centre, it hardly makes a difference. Customers still shuffle sleepily around, not wanting to move too quickly because then their trip will be finished and they'll have to go home.

Sadly, it's all very like Dawn of the Dead, George A Romero's semi-coherent attack on consumerism. This Zombie Great tells the story of a group of people in a shopping mall trying to withstand a zombie attack. At the beginning of the film, as two of the protagonists look down at the undead congregating outside the mall, there is the following exchange...

Francine: 'What are they doing?! Why do they come here?'

Stephen: 'I don't know. Some kind of instinct. Memory, of what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives.'

Ha! This conversation could easily have taken place in MOM park, standing on the balcony, watching people milling aimlessly from shop to shop. And, while all this has the potential to be quite frightening, at least nobody in MOM Park is eating anyone else's entrails.

Dawn of the Dead

MOM Park

Andy T


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